It’s been 200 years since the creation of Cooper County. Originally part of Howard County which was organized on January 1st, 1816, it took less than three years for the need and desire to create another county south of the Missouri River became a reality.
Cooper County was organized on December 17, 1818, effective date February 1, 1819. But even then, Cooper lacked all the powers, privileges and immunities of a separate and distinct political subdivision until March 1, 1819, when the first Circuit Court was held in the county.
Boonville was the original county seat of Howard County and court had been held in the home of Joseph Jelly inside Hannah Cole’s Fort. As Boonville was now located in Cooper County, it became the county seat for Cooper County until such time as a permanent location could be made. The Legislature appointed five men to locate the county seat. They were Able Owens, William Wear, Charles Canole, Luke Williams and Julius Emmons. As Boonville wasn’t the only possible location for the county seat, Asa Morgan and Charles Lucas donated 50 acres in Boonville near the Missouri River for the county seat.
The first courthourse was completed in 1823. The second one was built in 1840. The third and current and courthouse was completed in 1913.
This was just the beginning. Cooper County is rich in Missouri and US history as well as county history. The Cooper County Historical Society (CCHS) will be hosting events throughout the year as we celebrate this momentous milestone.
Here is a tentative list of some of the programs scheduled.
February 11, 2 p.m., Civilian Conservation Camps & the Camp in Pilot Grove by Liz Davis at Wesley Chapel, Hwy N, just south of Pilot Grove off Hwy 135.
April 8, 2 p.m., The Boone’s Lick Road—Critical Artery to the Central Missouri Frontier by David Sapp at United Church of Christ in Boonville.
June 10, The Civil War in Missouri, by Mike Dickey at The Fred Restaurant in Boonville, Social hour 5-6 p.m., Dinner and speaker at 6 p.m.
October 14, 2 p.m., Stories & Restorations of the Machpelah Cemetery by Don Coen at South Howard County Historical Museum, New Franklin.
December 9, 2 p.m. The 200th Anniversary of Cooper County by Mary Ellen McVicker, PhD at DAR House, Boonville.
To stay informed, check out or become a member for only $15 a year. Call, email, write and just stop by for more information.
CCHS Research Center 660-834-3582 CCHS, PO Box 51, Pilot Grove, Mo. 65276 111 Roe St., Pilot Grove, Mo.