Saint Francois County, Missouri: Wikis

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Saint Francois County, Missouri
Map of Missouri highlighting Saint Francois County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the U.S. highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Seat Farmington
Largest city Farmington
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

452 sq mi (1,172 km²)
449 sq mi (1,164 km²)
3 sq mi (8 km²), 0.65%
PopulationEst.
 - (2008)
 - Density

63,214
140.8/sq mi (54.3/km²)
Founded December 19, 1821
Named for St. Francis River
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.sfcgov.org/
Footnotes: [1]

St. Francois County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 55,641. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 63,214. The largest city and county seat is Farmington[2]. The county was officially organized on December 19, 1821. It was named after the St. Francis River. The origin of the river's name is unclear. It might refer to St. Francis of Assisi. Another possibility is that Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit who explored the region in 1673, named the river for the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier. Marquette had spent some time at the mission of St. Francois Xavier before his voyage and, as a Jesuit, was unlikely to have given the river a name honoring the Franciscans.[3] Natives pronounce the county's name as if it were the English "Saint Francis."

The Farmington Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of all of St. Francois County as well as all of neighboring Washington County. St. Francois County is a component of the Saint Louis CSA also known as Greater St. Louis.

Contents

History

The first settlement in St. Francois County was made in the spring of 1796 at what is now known as Big River Mills by Andrew Baker, John Ally, Francis Starnater and John Andrews. They each located claims in 1794 but did not bring their families until 1796. Andrew Baker was the only one who had a house; the rest lived in camps. Baker, who built a large home along the north bank of Big River, established a community there. At one time he reportedly owned 200 slaves and was one of the wealthiest men in the area. Eventually all his children married and left the farm which consisted of 740 acres (3.0 km2). The farm was sold for taxes and later sold for $30 per acre. Several families settled that same year on Big River; among them were Elisha Baker, his son Elijah and Joseph Reed from Bois Brule Bottom. In 1798, Solomon George became the first to settle on Little St. Francois River.

A memorable circumstance occurred around March 1, 1797. Henry Fry and Rebecca Baker having concluded to be married, started, in company with Catharine Miller, Mary and Abraham Baker (two sisters and the brother of the intended bride,) and William Patterson, for Ste. Genevieve, the nearest point where anyone authorized to perform the service could be found. When they were eight or 10 miles (16 km) from home near the crossing of the Terre Bleu, they were met by the Native Americans and all, save Rebecca and Abraham Baker, were stripped of their clothing and left to find their way home in this plight; the wagon loaded with venison, intended for the wedding feast, was also robbed. This unfortunate adventure caused the postponement of the marriage for one year.

That same year, other immigrants began coming to this new country. Among these was the Reverend William Murphy, a native of Ireland and a pioneer Baptist minister from the Holston River area in East Tennessee who procured a land grant. He and his three sons Joseph, William and David, along with a friend, Silas George, arrived by boat that fall in Ste. Genevieve. None in that community could speak English, so a Mr. Madden, living three miles (5 km) distant, was sent for. He invited them to his home, and the following day sent a Native American with them to show where good claims could be secured. David Murphy located his claim in the north side of the selected site, where Washington School now stands. Reverend Murphy selected as his claim an area to the south that was later known as Carter Spring, now McIlvane Street, and Joseph Murphy located on a plot to the northwest, later known as the Swink farm situated on old Highway 67, all just south of the present site of Farmington in 1798. After securing their claims, these men returned to Tennessee for their families. But sickness overtook them, and both the Reverend Murphy and Silas George died before reaching home. In 1801, David Murphy, a son of Reverend Murphy, cut the first tree that was felled in what was long known as Murphy Settlement. The next year Joseph, William and Richard, brothers of David Murphy, arrived and began permanent settlements on grants made by the Spanish Government.

Early in the spring of 1800, William, Joseph and David Murphy returned to Missouri with their families. They were accompanied by a younger brother, Richard, who came to establish a home for their widowed mother, Sarah Barton Murphy. Soon Mrs. Murphy and three other sons—Isaac, Jesse and Dubart—her only daughter, Sarah, a grandson William Evans; a hired hand and African American woman and boy followed. The journey was made by flat boat down the Holston River into Ohio; thence to the Mississippi River and up to Ste. Genevieve, a distance of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km). Many places infested with hostile Native Americans, they managed to pass in the night while keeping concealed along the banks during the day. When the party arrived at Ste. Genevieve, the inhabitants gave them a rousing welcome. About the same year, Michael Hart and his son Charles settled in the same vicinity.

At the time of this settlement the area was under Spanish rule. On October 7, 1800, Spain ceded the whole of upper and lower Louisiana to France. It was not until our own Louisiana Purchase on April 30, 1803 that this area became a part of the United States. Settlers came in large numbers after the Murphy Settlement was established, and at the close of 1803 it had grown to a sizable community. Most of the settlers had enjoyed freedom of worship in their previous homes but found here they were restricted in worshipping God according to their Protestant tradition. Mrs. Murphy frequently invited friends to her home where secret prayer meetings were held while sentinels kept guard to warn of approaching danger. The religious restriction imposed by the Spanish officials gave way when the United States came into full possession. When the settlement learned that control of the land had passed to the United States, Mrs. Murphy was given the honor of the first Protestant prayer in public west of the Mississippi.

There was never a lack of law and order in the Murphy settlement. Differences among people were generally referred to Sarah Barton Murphy and her decisions were accepted as final. There soon came an itinerant Methodist minister to the community who preached at Mrs. Murphy's home. Although most of the settlers were then Baptists, it was decided to organize a church at once. Mrs. Murphy donated 1-acre (4,000 m2) of ground, in what is now the Masonic Cemetery, for the erection of that church. The first Protestant house of worship in Farmington was a log structure about 22 by 30 feet (9.1 m). In 1805 Sarah Murphy organized and taught what is believed to have been the first Sunday school west of the Mississippi River. This great lady who exerted strong social, moral and religious influence over the entire community, died in 1817. A monument now stands to her memory on the site where that first church was erected.

The daily arrival of new immigrants continued the growth of the community. Families, whose names are still prevalent today, moved in and were instrumental in developing not only the area but the entire state of Missouri. Nathaniel Cook, one of Missouri's earliest and most prominent lawmakers, located his claim in the southeastern part of the county in 1800, now one of the most educated and affluent portions of St. Francois County. Following soon thereafter were such notables as: John Caldwell, William Holmes, Jesse Blackwell, Elliott Jackson and James Davis. From 1805 to 1810 settlements developed along such streams as St. Francois River, Doe Run Creek, and Flat River which are familiar to locals today; by such personages as Squire Eleazer Clay, John Robinson, Isaac and John Burnham, Lemuel Halsted, Samuel Rhoades, Solomon Jones and Mark Dent, many of whose descendants still reside in the county.

The constant influx of settlers to the area brought about a demand for a permanent seat of government. Appointed as commissioners to locate the county seat were Henry Poston, William Alexander and James Holbert. A generous donor was found in the persons of David Murphy and his wife Rachel, who by deed dated September 2, 1822 ".....gave as a donation to the County of St. Francois, upon which to fix the county seat, fifty two acres of land...”

The new county was made from parts of three counties already established, Ste. Genevieve, Jefferson and Washington, and comprised 410 square miles (1,100 km2). An article written by Sallie Burks Keith furnishes this interesting insight as to the method by which boundaries of the new county were established: "Mr. Carol Williams and three other men met at a point (supposedly the present Court House Square) and were to ride until six by the clock; one north, one south, one east and the other west. Where each stopped was to be the boundary line. Thus the irregular line."

At that time the first Governor of Missouri, Alexander McNair, appointed James Austin as Presiding Judge and George McGahan and James W Smith as judges for the first St. Francois County Court. They held their first meeting on February 25, 1822, in the home of Jesse Murphy, on a site now believed to be the home of John F Whitworth on McIlvane Street.

The county was officially organized December 19, 1821, from parts of Ste. Genevieve, Washington, and Jefferson counties. James Austin, George McGahan and James W. Smith were appointed by the Governor as a county court, and their first meeting, held February 25, 1822, was at the house of Jesse Murphy, where they appointed John D. Peers as county clerk. The first circuit court was held at the same place, and on April 1, 1822, the Honorable N. B. Tucker was named judge and John D. Peers served as clerk. Henry Poston, John Andrews, William Alexander and James Holbert were appointed commissioners to locate the county seat, and on September 22, 1822, D. Murphy donated 53 acres (210,000 m2) of land for that purpose which the county court accepted on February 27, 1823. In 1824, a stray-pen and a log jail, made double, and a brick court-house were built. At various times churches and schoolhouses were built in convenient localities; new settlers joined the pioneers, and peace and prosperity reigned. The following are some of the early citizens elected to represent St. Francois County in the Missouri House of Representatives: Henry Poston (1826); David Murphy (1828); Corbin Alexander (1830, 1832).

Around 1845, the manufacture of pig-iron was begun at Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob, and the hauling of the iron to Ste. Genevieve, the nearest landing on the Mississippi River, gave remunerative employment to a great number of teams, and the colliers, smelters and others furnished a home market for the surplus farm products. In 1851, the old log jail was set on fire by an inmate, who came near perishing in the flames. It was soon replaced by a substantial stone building. In 1850, the old courthouse was removed, and a larger and more commodious one was erected in its stead. In 1851-1852, a plank road was built from Iron Mountain to Ste. Genevieve via Farmington, which gave a new impetus to trade. In 1854, Prewitt and Patterson erected some bloom furnaces three miles (5 km) east of Farmington on the plank road where it crossed Wolf Creek, which gave employment to a great number of men and teams. The ore was hauled from Iron Mountain and the iron to Ste. Genevieve for shipment. In 1858, this furnace, known as Valley Forge, became the property of Chouteau, Harrison and Vallé, Charles A. Pilley, superintendent, and was profitably worked until 1863 when the machinery was removed and the buildings and lands sold.

At the beginning of the late American Civil War, St. Francois County, like most others in Missouri, was divided politically, and many took refuge from the enrollment act in the ranks under M. Jeff. Thompson, whose force at one time destroyed the Iron Mountain Bridge over Big River. It was in this county that the noted guerrilla, Sam Hilderbrand, began his operations, and he and other unprincipled men took advantage of the times to settle feuds existing before the war, killing and plundering peaceable citizens. Among the number inhumanly murdered were such men as Judge Charles Burkes, Joseph Herod and Thos. Haile, Sr.

Education

Of adults 25 years of age and older in St. Francois County, 72.4% possesses a high school diploma or higher while 10.2% holds a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

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Public Schools

Private Schools

Vocational/Technical & Other Schools

Colleges & Universities

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 452 square miles (1,172 km²), of which, 449 square miles (1,164 km²) of it is land and 3 square miles (8 km²) of it (0.65%) is water.

The general surface of St. Francois is hilly or undulating, but the extreme southern and northeastern corners are table lands excellently adapted to fruit-culture and grazing purposes. The country around Farmington, and for several miles on either side of the St. Francis River, is excellent land, well timbered and sufficiently undulating to render drainage unnecessary. It is well supplied with water from never-failing springs and isdrained by Blackwell and Rock Creeks, St. Francis River, Wolf and Back Creeks. Stono Mountain, embraced in this section, is said to afford excellent sheep pasturage.

The southwestern portion of the county, drained by Indian Creek, is exceedingly hilly. The central and northern section is drained by Big River and its tributaries, Flat River, Davis Creek, Big Branch, Terre Bleu and Three Rivers. The valleys of these streams are excellently adapted to agricultural purposes, the cereals all doing well, while the neighboring mines furnish a ready market for farm products. On several of the steams mentioned, there are good mills, and many more excellent sites having sufficient water power to run a mill the entire year.

The uplands are well timbered, yielding from 40 to 100 cords of wood to the acre. The timber consists of white, red and black oak, ash, cherry, walnut, hickory, maple, gum, papaw and dogwood, with beach, sycamore and butternut on the bottoms. Cedar and pine are found in a few localities on the uplands. The soil is generally a black loam. In the vicinity of Farmington, after passing through the first or top soil, there is rich, red-clay subsoil. If these lands have a specialty, it is for grass; all kinds of grass grow luxuriantly, producing from 2 to 2 1/12 tons per acre, which readily markets at from $12 to $20 per ton. Blue grass, it is said by farmers from the blue grass region of Kentucky, does nearly as well here as there, and as an evidence, it is found growing spontaneously in the woods, lawns, old fields and meadows.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected area

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 55,641 people, 20,793 households, and 14,659 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile (48/km²). There were 24,449 housing units at an average density of 54 per square mile (21/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.14% White, 2.02% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 20,793 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.90% were married couples living together, 11.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.50% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,551, and the median income for a family was $47,923. Males had a median income of $29,961 versus $19,412 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,047. Approximately 14.90% of the population and 11.00% of families were below the poverty line, including 19.80% under the age of 18 and 11.50% over the age of 65.

Cities and Towns

Politics

Local

Politics at the local level in St. Francois County is predominantly controlled by the Democratic Party. In fact, all but one of St. Francois County's elected officeholders is Democrats.

Office Incumbent Party
Assessor Dan Ward Democratic
Auditor Judy K. Ellis Democratic
Circuit Clerk Vicki J. Weible Democratic
Clerk Mark L. Hedrick Democratic
Collector Pamela J. Williams Democratic
Commissioner – District 1 Bret Burgess Republican
Commissioner – District 2 Patrick Mullins Democratic
Coroner James Coplin Democratic
Presiding Commissioner David Cramp Democratic
Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn Democratic
Public Administrator V. Kenneth Rohrer Democratic
Recorder Steve Grider Democratic
Sheriff Daniel R. Bullock Democratic
Surveyor Terry Effan Democratic
Treasurer Kerry Glore Democratic

State

Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 34.55% 8,418 63.49% 15,468 1.96% 478
2004 52.14% 11,903 46.43% 10,601 1.43% 327
2000 46.42% 8,712 50.22% 9,425 3.36% 632
1996 40.23% 7,192 57.19% 10,224 2.58% 461

St. Francois County is divided into two legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives.

  • District 106 - Rep. Steve Tilley (R-Perryville). Consists of the eastern parts of the county. In 2008, Tilley ran unopposed and was reelected with 100% of the vote.
  • District 107 - Rep. Linda R. Fischer (D-Bonne Terre). Consists of the western parts of the county. In 2008, Fischer defeated Louie Seiberlich (R) taking in 51.78 percent of the vote in the entire district to Seiberlach’s 48.22 percent.

St. Francois County is also a part of Missouri's 3rd Senatorial District and is currently represented by State Senator Kevin Engler (R-Farmington). In 2008, Engler defeated Dennis Riche (D) 58.72-41.28 percent. St. Francois County backed Engler with 61.11 percent while Riche received 38.89 percent. The 3rd Senatorial District consists of Carter, Iron, Reynolds, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, and Washington counties, and parts of Jefferson County.

In Missouri's gubernatorial election of 2008, Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon (D) defeated former U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (R) with 58.40 percent of the total statewide vote. Nixon performed extremely well and won many of the rural counties in the state, including St. Francois County. The former attorney general Nixon carried St. Francois County by a wide margin with 63.49 percent of the vote to Hulshof’s 34.55 percent.

Federal

In the U.S. House of Representatives, St. Francois County is represented by Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau) who represents all of Southeast Missouri as part of Missouri's 8th Congressional District.

Political Culture

Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 51.57% 12,660 47.01% 11,540 1.42% 350
2004 52.71% 12,087 46.87% 10,748 0.43% 98
2000 49.50% 9,327 48.17% 9,075 2.33% 439
1996 34.98% 6,200 50.96% 9,034 14.06% 2,492

At the presidential level, St. Francois County is a fairly independent-leaning or battleground county although it does has a slight tendency to lean Democratic. While George W. Bush carried St. Francois County in 2000 and 2004, both times the margins of victory were significantly closer than in many of the other rural areas. Bill Clinton also carried St. Francois County both times in 1992 and 1996 by convincing double-digit margins. Like many of the other rural counties in Missouri, St. Francois County favored John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008, although the margin of victory was small.

Like most rural areas throughout Missouri, voters in St. Francois County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles but are more moderate or populist on economic issues, typical of the Dixiecrat philosophy. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed St. Francois County with 79.03 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 St. Francois County with 50.53 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 St. Francois 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 St. Francois County with 79.36 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 75.94 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.

2008 Missouri Presidential Primary

Republican

Unlike many of the rural areas in Missouri that backed former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), St. Francois County narrowly backed Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) with 38.01 percent of the vote. Huckabee finished in second place in St. Francois County with 35.90 percent. Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) came in third place, receiving 20.89 percent of the vote while libertarian-leaning U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) finished fourth with 2.95 percent in St. Francois County.

Huckabee slightly led Missouri throughout much of the evening until the precincts began reporting from St. Louis where McCain won and put him over the top of Huckabee. In the end, McCain received 32.95 percent of the vote to Huckabee’s 31.53 percent—a 1.42 percent difference. McCain received all of Missouri’s 58 delegates as the Republican Party utilizes the winner-take-all system.

Democratic

Former U.S. Senator and now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) won St. Francois County by an almost three-to-one margin over now President Barack Obama (D-Illinois). Clinton carried St. Francois County with 70.25 percent of the vote while Obama received 25.84 percent of the vote. Although he withdrew from the race, former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-North Carolina) still received 2.90 percent of the vote in St. Francois County.

Clinton had a large initial lead in Missouri at the beginning of the evening as the rural precincts began to report, leading several news organizations to call the state for her; however, Obama rallied from behind as the heavily African American precincts from St. Louis began to report and eventually put him over the top. In the end, Obama received 49.32 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 47.90 percent—a 1.42 percent difference. Both candidates split Missouri’s 72 delegates as the Democratic Party utilizes proportional representation.

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton received more votes, a total of 5,418, than any candidate from either party in St. Francois County during the 2008 Missouri Presidential Primaries.

References

  1. ^ City-Data.com
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ St. Francois County, Missouri Place Names, Western Historical Manuscript Collection

Coordinates: 37°46′55″N 90°25′20″W / 37.78194°N 90.42222°W / 37.78194; -90.42222


Genealogy

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Saint Francois County, Missouri
Map
File:Map of Missouri highlighting Saint Francois County.png
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the USA highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the USA
Statistics
Founded 1821
Seat Farmington
Largest City Farmington
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

 sq mikm²)
 sq mi ( km²)
 sq mi ( km²), 0.65%
wikipedia:Population
 - (2000)
 - Density

55641
Time zone Central : UTC-6/-5
Named for: Saint Francis of Assisi

St. Francois County (French: St-François) is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2005, the population was 58,453. Its county seat is Farmington6. The county was organized in 1821 and is named for Saint Francis of Assisi. Natives pronounce the county's name as if it were the English "Saint Francis."

Contents

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,172 km² (452 sq mi). 1,164 km² (449 sq mi) of it is land and 8 km² (3 sq mi) of it (0.65%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 55,641 people, 20,793 households, and 14,659 families residing in the county. The population density was 48/km² (124/sq mi). There were 24,449 housing units at an average density of 21/km² (54/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 96.14% White, 2.02% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 20,793 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.90% were married couples living together, 11.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.50% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 103.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,199, and the median income for a family was $37,266. Males had a median income of $29,961 versus $19,412 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,273. 14.90% of the population and 11.00% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 19.80% are under the age of 18 and 11.50% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Saint Francois County, Missouri. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
Facts about Saint Francois County, MissouriRDF feed
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County of subdivision1 Missouri  +
Short name Saint Francois County  +

This article uses material from the "Saint Francois County, Missouri" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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