Douglas County, Missouri

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Douglas County
Douglas County courthouse in Ava
Douglas County courthouse in Ava
Map of Missouri highlighting Douglas County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 36°56′N 92°30′W / 36.93°N 92.5°W / 36.93; -92.5
Country United States
State Missouri
FoundedOctober 19, 1857
Named forStephen A. Douglas
SeatAva
Largest cityAva
Area
 • Total815 sq mi (2,110 km2)
 • Land814 sq mi (2,110 km2)
 • Water1.0 sq mi (3 km2)  0.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total11,578
 • Estimate 
(2018)
13,373
 • Density14/sq mi (5.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district8th

Douglas County is a county located in the south-central portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2020 census, the population was 11,578.[1] The county seat and only incorporated community is Ava.[2] The county was officially organized on October 19, 1857,[3] and is named after U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas[4] (D-Illinois) and later Democratic presidential candidate.

History[edit]

The bluff above Hunter Creek at Vera Cruz

Previously, the county seat was located at Arno, west of Ava. Prior to that, Vera Cruz (formerly called Red Bud) was the county seat. Vera Cruz is located on Bryant Creek, which flows through the middle of the county. The Civil War Battle of Clark's Mill took place near Vera Cruz on November 7, 1862, and resulted in a Confederate victory.[5] After the American Civil War, during a period of general chaos, a group from the western part of the county broke into the Arno courthouse and removed the records back to Vera Cruz. Later in 1871, a new town site was selected, present-day Ava, near the location of the former U.S. Civil War military Post Office, Militia Spring. The location of this new town seemed to satisfy most of the residents of Douglas County to be their point of county government.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 815 square miles (2,110 km2), of which 814 square miles (2,110 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.1%) is water.[6]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Roadside park in Mill Hollow adjacent to Route 5

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18602,414
18703,91562.2%
18807,75398.0%
189014,11182.0%
190016,80219.1%
191016,664−0.8%
192015,436−7.4%
193013,959−9.6%
194015,60011.8%
195012,638−19.0%
19609,653−23.6%
19709,268−4.0%
198011,59425.1%
199011,8762.4%
200013,08410.2%
201013,6844.6%
202011,578−15.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2015[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 13,084 people, 5,201 households, and 3,671 families residing in the county. The population density was 16 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 5,919 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.86% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.95% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. Approximately 0.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among the major first ancestries reported in Douglas County are 31.3% American, 13.2% English, 12.3% German, and 9.7% Irish.

There were 5,201 households, out of which 30.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.00% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.80% under the age of 18, 7.00% from 18 to 24, 24.50% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 17.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,335, and the median income for a family was $36,648. Males had a median income of $22,706 versus $17,060 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,710. About 12.90% of families and 17.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.80% of those under age 18 and 18.20% of those age 65 or over.

Religion[edit]

According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Douglas County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Douglas County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (22.95%), Church of the Nazarene (16.28%), and Mormons (13.70%).

Established in 1950, a Trappist monastery, Assumption Abbey, can be found nestled on 3,000 acres in the Ozark hills. An associated Friary, Our Lady of the Angels, is located nearby. Both facilities have overnight rooms available to be utilized by the public for a small fee in order to find a place of solace and quiet reflection.

2020 Census[edit]

Douglas County Racial Composition[13]
Race Num. Perc.
White (NH) 10,602 91.6%
Black or African American (NH) 35 0.3%
Native American (NH) 74 0.64%
Asian (NH) 24 0.21%
Pacific Islander (NH) 0 0%
Other/Mixed (NH) 604 5.22%
Hispanic or Latino 239 2.1%

Education[edit]

Of adults 25 years of age and older in Douglas County, 69.7% possess a high school diploma or higher while 9.9% hold a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools[edit]

Ava High School in Ava, Missouri

Private schools[edit]

Public libraries[edit]

  • Douglas County Public Library[14]

Politics[edit]

Local[edit]

Douglas County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Alicia Miller-Degase Republican
Circuit Clerk Kim Hathcock Republican
County Clerk Karry Davis Republican
Collector Laura Stillings Republican
Commissioner
(Presiding)
Larry Pueppke Republican
Commissioner
(District 1)
Richard Mitchell Republican
Commissioner
(District 2)
Danny Dry Republican
Coroner Rick Miller Republican
Prosecuting Attorney Roger Wall Republican
Public Administrator Linda Coonts Republican
Recorder Tina Boyd Republican
Sheriff Chris Degase Republican
Surveyor Andy Daniels Democratic
Treasurer Theresa Miller Republican

The Republican party holds most of the elected positions in the county, though this has not always been the case; in the early 1900s, Douglas County was primarily Democratic.

State[edit]

Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 82.81% 5,773 15.01% 1,046 2.18% 152
2016 72.34% 4,818 24.13% 1,607 3.53% 235
2012 59.43% 3,869 36.97% 2,407 3.59% 234
2008 45.27% 3,014 48.95% 3,259 5.78% 385
2004 70.08% 4,412 28.40% 1,788 1.52% 96
2000 63.53% 3,317 34.73% 1,813 1.74% 91
1996 61.03% 3,145 36.06% 1,858 2.91% 150
1992 57.14% 3,203 42.86% 2,403 0.00% 0
1988 74.63% 3,671 24.90% 1,225 0.47% 23
1984 75.00% 3,846 25.00% 1,282 0.00% 0
1980 60.76% 3,151 38.78% 2,011 0.46% 24
1976 63.51% 2,924 36.21% 1,667 0.28% 13
1972 67.00% 3,350 32.90% 1,645 0.10% 5
1968 59.75% 2,420 40.25% 1,630 0.00% 0
1964 58.64% 2,217 41.16% 1,551 0.00% 0
1960 73.68% 3,242 26.32% 1,158 0.00% 0

All of Douglas County is a part of Missouri's 155th District

Missouri House of Representatives — District 155 — Douglas County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lyle Rowland 5,641 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives — District 155 — Douglas County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lyle Rowland 2,424 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives — District 155 — Douglas County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lyle Rowland 5,360 100.00%

All of Douglas County is a part of Missouri's 33rd District.

Missouri Senate — District 33 — Douglas County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Cunningham 5,713 100.00%
Missouri Senate — District 33 — Douglas County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Cunningham 5,478 100.00%

Federal[edit]

Missouri's two U.S. Senators are Republican Josh Hawley and Republican Roy Blunt of Strafford.

U.S. Senate — Missouri — Douglas County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Roy Blunt 4,753 71.31% +17.76
Democratic Jason Kander 1,556 23.35% -14.71
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 174 2.61% -5.78
Green Johnathan McFarland 81 1.22% +1.22
Constitution Fred Ryman 101 1.52% +1.52
U.S. Senate — Missouri — Douglas County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican W. Todd Akin 3,498 53.55%
Democratic Claire McCaskill 2,486 38.06%
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 548 8.39%

All of Douglas County is included in Missouri's 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Jason T. Smith of Salem in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to complete the remaining term of former U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Cape Girardeau. Emerson announced her resignation a month after being reelected with over 70 percent of the vote in the district. She resigned to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative.

U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 8th Congressional District — Douglas County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 5,313 82.31% +7.76
Democratic Dave Cowell 944 14.62% -1.07
Libertarian Jonathan Shell 198 3.07% +0.59
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 8th Congressional District — Douglas County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 2,133 74.55% -0.67
Democratic Barbara Stocker 449 15.69% -2.54
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 71 2.48% +0.84
Constitution Doug Enyart 64 2.24% -2.67
Independent Terry Hampton 144 5.03% +5.03
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 8th Congressional District — Special Election — Douglas County (2013)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 1,011 75.22% -2.20
Democratic Steve Hodges 245 18.23% +0.75
Libertarian Bill Slantz 22 1.64% -3.45
Constitution Doug Enyart 66 4.91% +4.91
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 8th Congressional District — Douglas County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jo Ann Emerson 4,942 77.42%
Democratic Jack Rushin 1,116 17.48%
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 325 5.09%

Political culture[edit]

|titlestyle = background:#ccccff; |title = Presidential elections results }}

United States presidential election results for Douglas County, Missouri[15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 5,898 84.26% 1,016 14.51% 86 1.23%
2016 5,486 82.30% 984 14.76% 196 2.94%
2012 4,649 70.90% 1,710 26.08% 198 3.02%
2008 4,405 65.63% 2,140 31.88% 167 2.49%
2004 4,498 71.09% 1,741 27.52% 88 1.39%
2000 3,599 68.15% 1,546 29.27% 136 2.58%
1996 2,601 50.17% 1,744 33.64% 839 16.18%
1992 2,569 44.35% 2,126 36.71% 1,097 18.94%
1988 3,225 64.85% 1,735 34.89% 13 0.26%
1984 3,662 70.45% 1,536 29.55% 0 0.00%
1980 3,440 65.50% 1,677 31.93% 135 2.57%
1976 2,652 56.82% 1,981 42.45% 34 0.73%
1972 3,773 75.73% 1,209 24.27% 0 0.00%
1968 2,836 67.11% 978 23.14% 412 9.75%
1964 2,280 58.87% 1,593 41.13% 0 0.00%
1960 3,611 78.08% 1,014 21.92% 0 0.00%
1956 2,910 71.98% 1,133 28.02% 0 0.00%
1952 4,051 81.49% 909 18.29% 11 0.22%
1948 2,734 69.85% 1,163 29.71% 17 0.43%
1944 3,570 82.45% 746 17.23% 14 0.32%
1940 4,870 77.90% 1,350 21.59% 32 0.51%
1936 4,031 65.15% 2,118 34.23% 38 0.61%
1932 2,362 53.50% 1,922 43.53% 131 2.97%
1928 3,758 84.00% 681 15.22% 35 0.78%
1924 2,617 69.16% 909 24.02% 258 6.82%
1920 3,327 82.09% 577 14.24% 149 3.68%
1916 1,730 65.26% 737 27.80% 184 6.94%
1912 855 30.56% 566 20.23% 1,377 49.21%
1908 1,922 64.84% 699 23.58% 343 11.57%
1904 1,830 71.91% 437 17.17% 278 10.92%
1900 1,705 57.72% 858 29.05% 391 13.24%
1896 1,598 48.32% 1,700 51.41% 9 0.27%
1892 1,309 53.23% 328 13.34% 822 33.43%
1888 1,306 54.03% 477 19.74% 634 26.23%

Douglas County is, like most other counties located in the GOP bastion of Southwest Missouri, a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. No Democratic presidential nominee has won Douglas County since William Jennings Bryan in 1896, and no other nominee has done so since 1864.[16] While statewide elections tend to be closer throughout the state, this is not the case in Douglas County, as no Democratic gubernatorial nominee had won the county in over 50 years until Governor Jay Nixon's narrow pluralistic win in 2008. Furthermore, with all local elected offices being held by Republicans, voters have kept the traditionally Republican dominance alive in Douglas County.

Like most rural areas throughout the Bible Belt in Southwest Missouri, voters in Douglas County traditionally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which tend to strongly influence their Republican leanings. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Douglas County with 85.78 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Douglas County with 59.36 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Douglas County's longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Douglas County with 71.97 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 78.99 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.

Communities[edit]

The county has only one incorporated town: Ava, the county seat. Also, a number of current and historic communities are present:[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. pp. 165.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 108.
  5. ^ U.S. National Park Service CWSAC Battle Summary Archived 2008-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  12. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  13. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Douglas County, Missouri".
  14. ^ Breeding, Marshall. "Douglas County Public Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  15. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  16. ^ Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 31, 239 ISBN 0786422173
  17. ^ Moser, Arthur Paul; A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets Past and Present of Douglas County, Missouri
  18. ^ Post Offices in Douglas County, MO

Further reading[edit]

  • Searching for Booger County - Ozark Folk Histories, Sandy Ray Chapin, Boogeyman Books (2002) ISBN 978-0-9668075-3-0
  • Baldknobbers - Vigilantes on the Ozarks Frontier, Mary Hartman and Elmo Ingenthron, Pelican Publishing (1988) ISBN 978-0-88289-683-0

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°56′N 92°30′W / 36.93°N 92.50°W / 36.93; -92.50