Adair County, Missouri

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Adair County, Missouri
Adair County Courthouse.jpg
Adair County Courthouse
Map of Missouri highlighting Adair County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded January 29, 1841
Named for John Adair
Seat Kirksville
Largest city Kirksville
 • Total 569.32 sq mi (1,475 km2)
 • Land 567.00 sq mi (1,469 km2)
 • Water 2.31 sq mi (6 km2), 0.35
 • (2010) 25,607
 • Density 45/sq mi (17.4/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Adair County is a county located in Northeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 25,607.[1] Its county seat is Kirksville.[2] The county was organized January 29, 1841 and named for Governor John Adair of Kentucky.[3]


The first permanent settlement in Adair County began in 1828. Many of the first settlers were from Kentucky, and Adair County was named for John Adair, a respected Governor of Kentucky.[4] This was 25 years after the Louisiana Purchase, seven years after Missouri was granted statehood, and four years after the Sac and Fox Native American tribes surrendered their claims to the land. The original settlement was called "Cabins of White Folks," or simply, "The Cabins," and was located six miles (10 km) west of present-day Kirksville along the Chariton River. The area was named after John Adair who was Governor of Kentucky at the time.[5]

The Big Neck War: In July 1829, a large party of Iowa (or Ioway) Native Americans, led by Chief Big Neck, returned to their former hunting grounds in violation of treaty. One of the Ioway's dogs killed a pig and they threatened (or insulted, according to some sources) the white women. The settlers sent messengers south to Randolph and Macon counties asking for help. Captain William Trammell responded with a party of some two dozen men to help. By the time of their arrival, the Ioways had left the area and moved upriver into what is now Schuyler County. Trammell's force, augmented by several of the men from The Cabins, pursed and engaged the Ioway at a place called Battle Creek, killing several Native Americans including Big Neck's brother, sister-in-law, and their child.[6] The Trammell party lost three men in the skirmish, including Captain Trammell himself, and one additional casualty died of his wounds shortly afterward. The surviving whites returned to the cabins, collected the women and children, and headed south for the Randolph County settlement of Huntsville. Later, a group of militia under General John B. Clark pursued and apprehended Big Neck and his braves, capturing them in March 1830. Soon, several escaped from jail and fled to the current state of Iowa; however, Big Neck himself and the remainder were put on trial by a grand jury of Randolph County. The jury found on March 31, 1830, that: "After examining all the witnesses, and maturely considering the charges for which these Iowa Indians are now in confinement, we find them not guilty, and they are at once discharged."[7] The acquittal of Big Neck seemed to have brought the war to a peaceful, if uneasy, conclusion. A few months later, white settlers returned to The Cabins, this time in greater numbers, and this time to stay permanently. The outbreak of the Blackhawk War in 1832 again caused consternation among the early settlers although all fighting was hundreds of miles away in present-day Illinois and Wisconsin. To ease fears in the area, militia units were dispatched and two small forts were constructed. One, Fort Clark, was located on high ground adjacent to The Cabins. Several miles to the northeast, another detachment of troops established Fort Matson. After months of no hostile Native American activity in the Adair County area, both forts were abandoned. The site of Fort Clark is now marked by a large boulder and plaque, while the Fort Matson site was later the location for a church, name corrupted to Fort Madison (not to be confused with the Iowa city). The Fort Matson/Madison Cemetery still remains.[8]


According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the county has a total area of 569.32 square miles (1,474.5 km2), of which 567.00 square miles (1,468.5 km2) (or 99.59%) is land and 2.31 square miles (6.0 km2) (or 0.41%) is water.[9]



Unincorporated villages[edit]


Adair County is divided into ten townships:

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,283
1860 8,436 269.5%
1870 11,448 35.7%
1880 15,190 32.7%
1890 17,417 14.7%
1900 21,728 24.8%
1910 22,700 4.5%
1920 21,404 −5.7%
1930 19,436 −9.2%
1940 20,246 4.2%
1950 19,689 −2.8%
1960 20,105 2.1%
1970 22,472 11.8%
1980 24,870 10.7%
1990 24,577 −1.2%
2000 24,977 1.6%
2010 25,607 2.5%
Est. 2013 25,572 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2012 Estimate[1]

Adair County is part of the Kirksville, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 24,977 people, 9,669 households, and 5,346 families residing in the county. The population density was 44 people per square mile (17/km²). There were 10,826 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.82% White, 1.20% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.39% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Approximately 1.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 9,669 households out of which 25.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.50% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.70% were non-families. 31.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.20% under the age of 18, 27.40% from 18 to 24, 22.80% from 25 to 44, 18.40% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 88.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,677, and the median income for a family was $38,085. Males had a median income of $26,323 versus $21,837 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,484. About 11.90% of families and 23.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.80% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.


Public Schools[edit]

− ** La Plata R-2 Elementary School (K-06) − ** La Plata R-2 High School (07-12) − ** The La Plata R-2 facilities are located in La Plata, Missouri in northern Macon County, Missouri, however the district boundaries encompass part of southern Adair County as well.

Private Schools[edit]

Post Secondary Education[edit]



Adair County is governed by a three-member commission. The presiding commissioner is elected by the county voters at large. The first district and second district commissioners are voted on by the residents living in the eastern half of the county, and western half of the county respectively. Each commissioner has an equal vote in all county business. Most offices are housed in the Adair County Courthouse, a structure dating from 1896 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Adair County Sheriff's Office is located in the Adair County Detention Center one block north of the courthouse, while the Prosecuting Attorney's office resides in the County Annex building across from the detention center.


Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 48.03% 5,575 49.72% 5,771 2.25% 262
2004 62.36% 7,019 36.37% 4,094 1.27% 142
2000 53.93% 5,518 43.72% 4,473 2.35% 240
1996 34.17% 3,503 63.41% 6,501 2.42% 248

Adair County is divided into two legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives, both of which are held by Republicans.

Missouri House of Representatives – District 1 – Adair County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Craig Redmon 11 61.11
Democratic Keri Cottrell 7 38.89
Missouri House of Representatives – District 2 – Adair County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Zachary Wyatt 4,314 56.75
Democratic Rebecca McClanahan 3,288 43.25

All of Adair County is a part of Missouri’s 18th District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown).

Missouri Senate - District 18 – Adair County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Brian Munzlinger 4,119 54.61
Democratic Wes Shoemyer 3,424 45.39


All of Adair County is included in Missouri’s 9th Congressional District and is currently represented by Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. House of Representatives – Missouri’s 9th Congressional District – Adair County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer 5,374 77.26
Libertarian Christopher W. Dwyer 1,536 22.08
Write-in Clifford (Jeff) Reed 46 0.66

Federal - Presidential[edit]

Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 49.63% 5,891 48.31% 5,735 2.06% 245
2004 55.83% 6,367 43.30% 4,938 0.87% 99
2000 57.34% 6,050 38.86% 4,101 3.80% 401
1996 44.78% 4,656 42.71% 4,441 12.50% 1,300

Former U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) received more votes, a total of 1,284, than any candidate from either party in Adair County during the 2008 presidential primary.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 200. 
  4. ^ Violette, E. M. (1911). History of Adair County. The Denslow History Company. p. 34. 
  5. ^ Adair County Historical Society. "Adair County History". Adair County Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  6. ^ A Book Of Adair County History, page 34-36. Published 1976 by The Kirksville-Adair County Bicentennial Committee
  7. ^ History of Randolph County
  8. ^ A Book Of Adair County History, page 37-38. Published 1976 by The Kirksville-Adair County Bicentennial Committee
  9. ^ "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°11′N 92°36′W / 40.19°N 92.60°W / 40.19; -92.60