Webster County, Missouri

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Webster County, Missouri
Webster County Missouri Courthouse 2017.jpg
Webster County Courthouse
Map of Missouri highlighting Webster County
Location in the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded March 3, 1854
Named for Daniel Webster
Seat Marshfield
Largest city Marshfield
Area
 • Total 594 sq mi (1,538 km2)
 • Land 593 sq mi (1,536 km2)
 • Water 1.2 sq mi (3 km2), 0.2%
Population (est.)
 • (2017) 38,665
 • Density 65/sq mi (25/km2)
Congressional districts 4th, 7th
Time zone Central: UTC−6/−5
Website www.webstercountymo.gov

Webster County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 36,202.[1] Its county seat is Marshfield.[2] The county was organized in 1855 and named for U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster.[3]

Webster County is part of the Springfield, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Webster County was organized on March 3, 1855 and encompasses 590 miles of the highest extensive upland area of Missouri’s Ozarks. The judicial seat is Marshfield, which lies 1,490 feet above sea level. Webster County is the highest county seat in the state of Missouri. Pioneer Legislator John F. McMahan named the county and county seat for Daniel Webster, and his Marshfield, Massachusetts home.[3]

Marshfield was laid out in 1856 by R.H. Pitts, on land that was given by C.F. Dryden and W.T. and B.F.T. Burford. Until a courthouse was built, the county business was conducted at Hazelwood where Joseph W. McClurg, later Governor of Missouri, operated a general store. Today’s Carthage Marble courthouse was built in 1939-1941 and is the county’s third.[3]

During the U.S. Civil War, a small force of pro-Southern troops was driven out of Marshfield in February 1862, and ten months later a body of Confederates was routed east of town. On January 9, 1863, General Joseph O. Shelby’s troops burned the stoutly built Union fortification at Marshfield and at Sand Springs, evacuated earlier. By 1862, the telegraph line passed near Marshfield on a route later called the “Old Wire Road.”[3]

A part of the 1808 Osage Native American land cession, the county was settled in the early 1830s by pioneers from Kentucky and Tennessee. A Native American trail crossed southern Webster County and many prehistoric mounds are in the area.

The railroad-building boom of the post Civil War period stimulated the county’s growth as a dairy, poultry, and livestock producer. The Atlantic & Pacific (Frisco) Railroad was built through Marshfield in 1872, and by 1883 the Kansas City, Springfield, and Memphis (Frisco) crossed the county. Seymour, Rogersville, Fordland and Niangua grew up along the railroad routes.

Early schools in the county were Marshfield Academy, chartered in 1860; Mt. Dale Academy, opened in 1873; and Henderson Academy, chartered in 1879.

On April 18, 1880, an intense tornado measuring F4 on the Fujita scale struck Marshfield. Its damage path was 800 yards (730 m) wide and 64 miles (103 km) long. The tornado killed 99 people and injured 100, and it is said that 10% of Marshfield's residents were killed and all but 15 of its buildings were destroyed. The composition “Marshfield Cyclone” by the African-American musician John W. (Blind) Boone gave wide publicity to the cyclone, which is still listed as one of the top ten natural disasters in the history of the nation.

Astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889–1953) was born in Marshfield and attended through the third grade in the public school system. A replica of the Hubble telescope sits in the courthouse yard and the Marshfield stretch of I-44 was named in his honor.

Marshfield holds claim to the oldest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi River. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush and wife Barbara visited the parade on July 4, 1991, while campaigning for the presidency through Missouri. Webster County also boasts the longest continuous county fair in the state of Missouri.

The annual Seymour Apple Festival, established in 1973, has grown to one of Missouri's largest free celebrations, with estimated crowds of more than 30,000 congregating on the Seymour public square each second weekend of September. The festival pays tribute to Seymour's apple industry, which began in the 1840s, with Seymour being called "The Land Of The Big Red Apple" around the turn of the 20th century, when Webster County produced more than 50 percent of the state's apple crop.

Geography[edit]

Webster County straddles the drainage divide between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers and the headwaters of the James, Niangua, Gasconade, and Pomme de Terre rivers arise in Webster County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 594 square miles (1,540 km2), of which 593 square miles (1,540 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18607,099
187010,43447.0%
188012,17516.7%
189015,17724.7%
190016,6409.6%
191017,3774.4%
192016,609−4.4%
193016,148−2.8%
194017,2266.7%
195015,072−12.5%
196013,753−8.8%
197015,56213.2%
198020,41431.2%
199023,75316.4%
200031,04530.7%
201036,20216.6%
Est. 201738,665[5]6.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2015[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 31,045 people, 11,073 households, and 8,437 families residing in the county. The population density was 52 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 12,052 housing units at an average density of 20 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.20% White, 1.16% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. Approximately 1.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,073 households out of which 37.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.00% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.80% were non-families. 20.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.90% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,948, and the median income for a family was $46,941. Males had a median income of $28,168 versus $20,768 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,948. About 9.60% of families and 14.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.00% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Local[edit]

Webster County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Jim Jones Republican
Circuit Clerk Jill Peck Republican
County Clerk Stanley D. Whitehurst Republican
Collector Kevin Farr Republican
Commissioner
(Presiding)
Paul Ipock Republican
Commissioner
(District 1)
Ward Jones Republican
Commissioner
(District 2)
Denzil Young Republican
Coroner Michael Taylor Republican
Prosecuting Attorney Ben Berkstresser Republican
Public Administrator Danielle Boggs Republican
Recorder Gary Don Letterman Republican
Sheriff Roye Cole Republican
Surveyor Dennis D. Amsinger Republican
Treasurer Mary P. Clair Republican

The Republican Party predominantly controls politics at the local level in Webster County. Republicans hold all but two of the elected positions in the county.

State[edit]

Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 66.52% 11,450 30.07% 5,039 3.41% 572
2012 54.56% 8,406 42.65% 6,570 2.79% 430
2008 46.31% 7,521 51.14% 8,306 2.55% 414
2004 67.61% 10,086 31.18% 4,651 1.21% 181
2000 56.66% 6,721 41.35% 4,904 2.99% 236
1996 54.63% 5,512 41.43% 4,180 3.94% 397

Webster County is split between Missouri's 137th and 141st Districts in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Missouri House of Representatives — District 137 — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lyndall Fraker 9,038 100.00% +24.14
Missouri House of Representatives — District 137 — Webster County (2014)[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lyndall Fraker 3,935 76.86% -9.49
Democratic Sandy Grogan 961 18.77% +18.77
Libertarian Bill Boone 224 4.37% -9.29
Missouri House of Representatives — District 137 — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lyndall Fraker 6,912 86.35%
Libertarian Bill Boone 1,093 14.65
Missouri House of Representatives — District 141 — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Hannah Kelly 5,640 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives — District 141 — Webster County (2014)[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Tony Dugger 3,303 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives — District 141 — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Tony Dugger 5,778 100.00%

All of Webster County is part of Missouri's 33rd District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by Mike Cunningham (R-Rogersville).

Missouri Senate — District 33 — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Cunningham 14,820 100.00%
Missouri Senate — District 33 — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Cunningham 13,404 100.00%

Federal[edit]

U.S. Senate — Missouri — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Roy Blunt 11,450 68.16% +17.58
Democratic Jason Kander 4,612 27.45% -14.13
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 397 2.36% -5.48
Green Johnathan McFarland 150 0.89% +0.89
Constitution Fred Ryman 190 1.13% +1.13
U.S. Senate — Missouri — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Todd Akin 7,739 50.58%
Democratic Claire McCaskill 6,363 41.58%
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 1,200 7.84%

Most of Webster County is included in Missouri's 4th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The southwestern party of the county is included in the 7th Congressional District, which is represented by Billy Long (R-Springfield).

U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri’s 4th Congressional District — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Vicky Hartzler 9,821 78.39% +4.27
Democratic Gordon Christensen 2,267 18.09% -0.29
Libertarian Mark Bliss 441 3.52 -3.98
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 4th Congressional District — Webster County (2014)[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Vicky Hartzler 5,307 74.12% +1.98
Democratic Nate Irvin 1,316 18.38% -6.18
Libertarian Herschel L. Young 537 7.50% +5.08
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 4th Congressional District — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Vicky Hartzler 8,350 72.14%
Democratic Teresa Hensley 2,843 24.56%
Libertarian Thomas Holbrook 280 2.42%
Constitution Greg Cowan 102 0.88%
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 7th Congressional District — Webster County (2016)[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Billy Long 2,778 70.78% +8.95
Democratic Genevieve (Gen) Williams 921 23.46% -4.55
Libertarian Benjamin T. Brixey 226 5.76% -4.40
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 7th Congressional District — Webster County (2014)[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Billy Long 1,150 61.83% -2.20
Democratic Jim Evans 521 28.01% -1.56
Libertarian Kevin Craig 189 10.16% +3.76
U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri's 7th Congressional District — Webster County (2012)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Billy Long 2,282 64.03%
Democratic Jim Evans 1,054 29.57%
Libertarian Kevin Craig 228 6.40%

Political culture[edit]

Presidential elections results
Presidential Elections Results[14]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 76.7% 12,840 19.0% 3,177 4.3% 726
2012 69.1% 10,708 28.5% 4,409 2.5% 379
2008 63.8% 10,431 34.8% 5,685 1.5% 240
2004 68.2% 10,194 31.2% 4,657 0.6% 93
2000 61.9% 7,350 35.1% 4,174 3.0% 356
1996 48.8% 4,958 38.0% 3,855 13.2% 1,339
1992 41.0% 4,361 39.0% 4,149 20.0% 2,130
1988 56.7% 5,123 43.1% 3,890 0.2% 22
1984 65.0% 5,529 35.0% 2,982
1980 58.7% 5,121 39.1% 3,409 2.2% 189
1976 48.0% 3,510 51.4% 3,759 0.6% 46
1972 68.5% 5,095 31.5% 2,343
1968 56.9% 4,118 35.2% 2,547 7.9% 572
1964 46.6% 3,341 53.4% 3,824
1960 63.0% 4,603 37.0% 2,707
1956 55.7% 3,940 44.3% 3,132
1952 61.7% 4,701 38.0% 2,894 0.3% 20
1948 52.0% 3,581 47.8% 3,292 0.3% 17
1944 60.5% 4,281 39.3% 2,785 0.2% 15
1940 57.7% 4,818 42.1% 3,518 0.2% 16
1936 55.2% 4,469 44.6% 3,612 0.3% 21
1932 41.9% 3,083 57.2% 4,211 0.9% 63
1928 63.0% 4,002 36.9% 2,343 0.1% 8
1924 51.1% 3,168 44.1% 2,730 4.8% 299
1920 61.5% 4,000 37.3% 2,428 1.2% 81
1916 51.4% 2,114 46.2% 1,903 2.4% 100
1912 35.4% 1,387 42.1% 1,649 22.5% 879
1908 49.5% 1,901 45.8% 1,761 4.7% 180
1904 52.9% 1,854 42.1% 1,474 5.0% 176
1900 48.4% 1,721 47.8% 1,702 3.8% 135
1896 45.4% 1,666 54.1% 1,985 0.5% 17
1892 45.4% 1,389 41.6% 1,273 13.0% 399
1888 48.0% 1,441 42.8% 1,286 9.2% 276

Like most counties situated in Southwest Missouri, Webster County is a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. George W. Bush carried Webster County in 2000 and 2004 by around two-to-one margins, and like many other rural counties throughout Missouri, Webster County strongly favored John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008. The last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Webster County was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Like most areas throughout the Bible Belt in Southwest Missouri, voters in Webster 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 Webster County with 82.32 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 Webster County with 57.94 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 Webster 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 Webster County with 75.50 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.

Missouri Presidential Preference Primary (2008)[edit]

Webster County, Missouri
2008 Republican primary in Missouri
John McCain 1,343 (26.59%)
Mike Huckabee 2,576 (51.00%)
Mitt Romney 897 (17.76%)
Ron Paul 168 (3.33%)
Webster County, Missouri
2008 Democratic primary in Missouri
Hillary Clinton 2,218 (61.20%)
Barack Obama 1,249 (34.46%)
John Edwards (withdrawn) 119 (3.28%)

Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) received more votes, a total of 2,576, than any candidate from either party in Webster County during the 2008 Missouri Presidential Preference Primary.

Education[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Private schools[edit]

  • Ozark Mennonite School - Seymour - (01-10) - Mennonite
  • Marshfield Christian School - Marshfield - (K-12) - Nondenominational Christianity

Public libraries[edit]

  • Seymour Public Library[15]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Village[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Webster County". www.webstercountymo.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Official Results" (PDF). Webster County Clerk. November 8, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Official Results" (PDF). Webster County Clerk. November 4, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "General Election, Official Results" (PDF). Webster County Clerk. November 6, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  14. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  15. ^ Breeding, Marshall. "Seymour Public Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps, and Dent counties, Missouri (1889) full text

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°17′N 92°52′W / 37.28°N 92.87°W / 37.28; -92.87