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 Polk County
Organized January 5, 1835, from Greene County and named for United States President James K. Polk.

County Seat: Bolivar

Address:

Polk County
102 E. Broadway
Bolivar, MO 65613

Photograph

History
Courts first met in Polk County in private homes. William Jamison purchased the site of Bolivar from the U. S. government in 1835 for the county seat. In May 1837 the court appropriated $125 for the courthouse, a sum supplemented by private donors. By 1842 the building, located on a corner of the square, had served its purpose and in November was ordered sold to the highest bidder on 12 months credit.

Jamison also acted as the first superintendent of the second courthouse. An advertisement appeared in the Jeffersonian Republican March 30, 1839, for a 50-foot-square, brick building with separate contracts for masonry and woodwork. By November 1841 the brick work was almost complete. The courthouse was located in the center of the square with a board fence and hitching post around the perimeter. The building survived the Civil War. It was sold in October 1905 for $351, then vacated for safety reasons.

As early as 1903, Polk County tried to build a new courthouse, but a levy failed in November of that year. Two years later, to finance a new courthouse, the electorate authorized bonds, which were sold in September 1905. Four or five plans were submitted for the court's consideration. The court selected the plan of Robert G. Kirsch in October. The following month Atlas Construction Co., St. Louis, received the general contract for $41,950. The design was the same Kirsch used in three other Missouri counties: Adair, 1898; Carroll, 1901; and Vernon, 1906. Polk and Vernon courthouses were the last of the Romanesque designs to be built in the state. Cornerstone ceremonies for the Polk County courthouse, which is still in use, took place on May 24, 1906; the dedication was held on November 25, 1907.

Copyright 2002 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.
Additional History
Records at Courthouse

Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds, 1871-1887; Deed records, 1837-1929; Mortgage deeds, 1884-1905; Index to marriage records, 1836-1920; Marriage records, 1836-1916; Military discharge records, 1863-1933.

Clerk of the County Court: Permanent record of births, 1883-1891; Register of births and stillbirths, 1872-1900; Permanent record of deaths, 1883-1890.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Circuit court records, 1836-1887.

Clerk of the Probate Court: Index to probate records, 1835-1846; Probate records, 1835-1890; Administratorís/executorís letters, bonds and records, 1837-1896; Inventories, appraisements and sale bills, 1855-1898; Proof of publication, notices and affidavits, 1868-1879; Settlement records, 1869-1887; Will records, 1839-1917.
More Links
Birth & Death Records Database

Search for Polk County on Archives' Online Catalog

Roll by Roll Listing of Microfilm

Local Records Inventory Database

Missouri Birth & Death Records Database: Search & Record Availability