Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Clinton County was organized by an act of the General Assembly of Missouri in 1833 and its boundary defined as follows: "The portion of territory heretofore attached to the county of Clay, in the State of Missouri, lying within the following boundaries, to-wit: Commencing at the northwest corner of the County of Clay, running thence with the boundary line of the State north, to the middle of township fifty-seven; thence with the middle of said township east to the boundary line of said tract, so attached to Clay County; thence with the said boundary south, to the Clay County line; and thence with said line to the beginning, be and the same is hereby declared to be a separate and distinct county, to be known and called by the name of Clinton, in honor of De Witt Clinton, of New York."
David R. Atchison, John Long and Howard Everett were appointed commissioners for the purpose of selecting a seat of justice for said county of Clinton...under the law entitled an act for the organization of counties hereafter established approved January 14, 1825. The act took effect January 2, 1833.
On January 15, the commissioners made their report: The east half of the northwest quarter of Section 27, Township 55 N, Range 32 W, containing 80 acres...also another tract...containing 80 acres...also another tract...containing six acres.
One of the commissioners, Gen. David R. Atchison, afterward stated that it was the intention of the commissioners to locate the county seat on the 80 acres of land lying just east of the proposed site of Plattsburg, and upon a more elevated spot of ground...A man named Walker hastened to Lexington to the Land Office and entered the 80 acres, believing by so doing a chance was open for speculation. The act of Walker caused the commissioners to locate the county seat where it now is...
On the second Monday of March, 1833, the first county court met in the county of Clinton at the houes of Laban Garrett, and there organized and set in motion the machinery necessary to its civil government... (--History of Clinton and Caldwell Counties, 1922, pp. 75, 76.)
It should be remembered that Clinton County was established before the Platte Purchase, in June, 1836, and that Clay County was formed from Ray County and that Ray County was organized out of the territory of Howard County, November 16, 1820. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 5, pp. 151, 304; Vol. 2, p. 19.)
The report of the commissioners (see above) was approved, and the name of the town to be laid off was Concord. In the following January, 1834, it was changed to Springfield, and in 1835, it was again changed to Plattsburg, in honor of Plattsburg in Clinton County, New York... (--History of Clinton and Caldwell Counties, 1922, p. 93; Conard, Vol. 2, p. 33.)
Before its organization, Clinton was attached to Clay, for civil and military purposes, and extended north to the Iowa line...The county was organized from a part of Clay, January 15th, 1833, and included the present territory of Gentry and Worth Counties. It was reduced to its present limits, February 12, 1841. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1874, p. 161.)
The first circuit judge of the Circuit Court of Clinton County was David R. Atchison, appointed by Governor Edwards, afterwards Senator, Vice-President and by a peculiar combination of circumstances was President of the United States, one day, March 4, 1849... (--History of Clinton and Caldwell Counties, 1922, p. 155.)
Some Actions of the County Court
The County Court met on the 8th day of June, 1838...and made an order establishing and defining the boundaries of Jackson and Lafayette Townships.
The court met...on Thursday after the second Monday in June...at this term of the court, Concord Township was established.
In the 13th of January, 1834, the County Court changed the name of the county seat from Concord to Springfield.
Grand River Township was established at the May term of the court in 1834, and Hardin Township at the June term following.
About this period, January 10, 1835, the Legislature changed the name of the county seat to Plattsburg.
Washington Township was established in March, 1835. At a special term of the court held June 4, 1838, an order was made dividing the attached portion of Clinton County into additional townships. They were Nodaway; Jefferson; Crawford; Noble; Linnville and Platte.
Baldwin Township was organized, October, 1839, and named after Isaac D. Baldwin.
These townships, however, have no existence now, excepting Platte, and in fact the townships first established by the court have all undergone changes in their boundaries.
(The boundaries are given on page 78, Hist. of Clinton Co., Johnston, 1923.)
On December 7, 1871, new townships were named:
Shoal; Platte; LaFayette; Lathrop; Concord; Atchison; Jacksoh; Clinton and Hardin.
(These boundaries are given on pp. 79, 80, 81 and 82.)
(--Hist. of Clinton Co., 1923, Johnston, pages 77, 78, 79, 80, 81.)