A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Stoddard County, Missouri

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Stoddard County

[I]

The General Assembly passed an act in the year 1829 which defined the boundaries of a new county, to be erected out of a part of Wayne County. It was to be named Stoddard, in honor of Captain Amos Stoddard, the agent of the United States Government who received the transfer of the Louisiana Territory. At this time, however, the county was attached to Cape Girardeau County, and the court of that county divided the territory into two townships. That part of Stoddard County east of Castor River was called Pipe Township and the part to the north and west Castor Township ...

Stoddard County remained under the jurisdiction of Cape Girardeau officials until January 2nd, 1835. At that time the territory of the new county lay between St. Francois and Little Rivers and to the south of Mingo, the Big Swamp.

The commissioners for fixing the seat of government selected the site of the present town of Bloomfield, and the first meeting of the county court was held at the house of A. B. Dailey. This court was composed of Jacob Taylor, Field Bradshaw, and John Eaker, and Jonas Eaker was the clerk of the court ... The circuit court in Stoddard County was organized at the house of A. B. Bailey by John D. Cook, on March 21st, 1836 ... The court house was burned during Price's raid in 1864. It was one of a number of court houses destroyed about the time of the Civil War, but unlike most of the other cases, the records of the county were not destroyed. They had been removed by Major H. H. Bedford, who after the war was over without the loss of a single book.

The rebuilding of the court house was undertaken in 1867 ... It was completed in 1870 ... There had long been a strong rivalry between Dexter and Bloomfield, and for a number of years an effort was made to move the county seat from Bloomfield to Dexter. Failing in this, the people of Dexter secured in 1895 the enactment of a law declaring that four terms of the circuit court should be held in Stoddard County, two of them at Bloomfield and two in Dexter, making Dexter practically one of two different county seats. A two-story brick building was erected to be used as a court house.

This arrangement, however, was found to be unsatisfactory, and within a few years the law was repealed, and Bloomfield became once more the sole county seat. This left the people of Dexter with a court house on their hands for which they had no particular use. It was finally transferred to the Christian Church to be used for college purposes. For a short time an academy was conducted in the building, but in 1911 the building became the property of the school district of Dexter and was used as a High School. (--History of Southeast Mo., 1912, Douglas, Vol. 1, p. 304.)

The townships of Stoddard County are: Pike, New Lisbon, Richland, Elk, Liberty, Duck Creek and Carter. (--Encyclopedia of the Hist. of Mo., 1901, Conrad, Vol. 6, p. 95.)


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