Welcome to the Cooper County, Missouri
Genealogical Web Site
Addresses and Places to Visit

Planning a visit to Cooper County? This page can help you plan your visit to be most productive.   Hopefully, your visit will include a mixture of genealogy, visits, and some fun. Listed on this page is a sampling of historic sites to visits, repositories of genealogical information; but it is not all inclusive. If you are looking for genealogical information the places to visit are:

  1. Boonslick Regional Library, Boonville Branch
    This library is strong on published family histories, cemetery records, maps and atlases, local histories, and genealogical references.  If you wish to make copies then bring your change.   Located at 618 Main Street, hours are 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and 9:00 A.M. through 4:30 P.M. on Saturday.

  2. Cooper County Courthouse
    Records are divided between the County Clerk and the Circuit Clerk & Recorder.   Some records may not be available as the county records are being microfilm.   Records include marriage records, limited birth and death records, wills, probate records, tax records, etc.   People are friendly and helpful.   Some offices open at 8:00 A.M. and others at 9:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. Copiers are available, although I am unsure of the cost and policy for copying records.   Further information on the Cooper County Courthouse is provided below.

  3. Cooper County Historical Society
    The Cooper County Historical Society is strong on county histories, is the best source for cemetery records, and is the only repository for family group sheets.   The CCHS is especially strong on the southwestern part of the county.   A copier is available so, again, bring your change.   The society is in the process of acquiring what will be the only microfilm reader for genealogical information in the county.   They are also in the process of obtaining various microfilm records; contributions are welcome.   The society also has various publications for sale.   Further information on the Cooper County Historical Society is presented below.

  4. Friends of Historic Boonville
    The Friends of Historic Boonville has a vast pictorial library.   In addition, they are the best source of information on historic buildings in the county.   The Friends of Historic Boonville also has various publications for sale.   Further information on the Friends of Historic Boonville is presented below.

If you are looking for historic sites and buildings your resources include:
  1. Friends of Historic Boonville
    Be sure to check out their web site given below.

  2. Boonville Chamber of Commerce
    The Boonville Chamber of Commerce will be happy to help you plan various aspects of your trip.   They have a number of nice pamphlets and maps to help you out.   The Boonville Chamber of Commerce can provide you with information on where to stay and eat; as well as some of the fun things to do on your visit. (Try the Katy Trail).   The Chamber of Commerce also has a number of books for sale along with T-Shirts and souveniers.   Further information on the Boonville Chamber of Commerce is provided below.

  3. Cooper County Historical Society
    Be sure to check out their web site given below.

  4. Mo River Net Web Site
    Please check out our friends at Mo River Net.   They have information of a historical and genealogical nature not given on this site.   A little exploration of this site will also provide information on where to stay and visit.

We hope you enjoy your stay in the county; and find the people to be full of "midwestern" charm and hospitality.

The insert in the lower left shows the bluffs located at Merna, Cooper County, Missouri where the 1st Battle of Boonville started.  The battle ended in the general area shown in the main picture.  The site is located on Morgan Street in Boonville on the Missouri State Penitentiary grounds.  Incidently, this also the same rough location as the 2nd Battle of Boonville.  The inset in the lower right is the "Nelson" house located nearby on Locust Street in Boonville.  The Mayor of Boonville surrended the City of Boonville to General Lyon at this home.

The inscription on the marker states "On the morning of June 17, 1861, one of the first engagements of the War Between the States occurred between State and Federal Troops here in the hills below Boonville.   The engagement began at 8 A. M. and ended near this spot with the surrender of the town by acting City Mayor James H. O'Brian to Union General Nathaniel Lyon.

Raw, pro-Southern State Guardsmen had been hastily organized and called out to defend the state on June 12 by Governor Claiborne F. Jackson.  It was here that General Lyon's trained forces first met and overcame a force under the command of General John S. Marmaduke, dealing a severe blow to the Southern cause in Missouri and to the prestige of Governor Jackson.

After the Battle of Boonville, the State Guard retreated to southern Missouri, where under the command of General Sterling Price, they eventually defeated the Unionists in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, August 10, 1861.  The battle for Missouri was to continue indecisively for 4 more years."

P.O. BOX 324
(660) 882-6370
Dr. Bob Wiegers, President

Boonville Branch
618 Main Street
Boonville, MO  65233
Phone: (660) 882-5864
Following is a listing of resources available at the Boonville Branch of the Boonslick Regional Library.

320 First Street
Boonville, MO  65233
Phone: (660) 882-2721
Fax: (660) 882-5660
Located at the historic and recently restored MKT railroad station.  The inset shows a restored caboose located on track in from of station.  Historical Information is available along with souvenirs and books.

The rails of the MKT Railroad reached Boonville on May 31, 1873.   On July 4, 1874, a large celebration was held to dedicate the new MKT railroad bridge.   The beginning of a long and prosperous partnership had begun.

The only surviving Spanish Mission Style Depot on the MKT, or "Katy Railroad" as it is fondly referred to, is here in Boonville, Mo.   A total of five Spanish style stations were constructed on the Katy RR line.   The other four locations were: Caddo, OK, Osage OK, Cleveland OK, and Chanute KS.   The construction of these five passenger stations, started in 1910 and ended in the 1920's, which was the height of the Katy passenger service.

The Boonville Katy Depot was built in 1911 and 1912 in a vacant livestock lot.   A large amount of dirt was brought in by the Cochran Construction Co. to elevate this lot to its present level.   The Katy employees constructed the 130x39 ft. station with many items that were locally available at that time.   The concrete floor support beams were used 60 pound railroad rails.   Some of the land fill was cinders from the old steam locomotives that ran through Boonville.   A very easy way to disposing of this waste.   The brick walkway and the archway bricks were bright in by rail from Coffeyville, KS.

In its glory days, the Boonville passenger station was a popular stop for travelers on their way to and from the Southwest.   As many as 25 to 30 trains a day chugged into town.   Traveling salesmen or "drummers" came by train with trunks of samples to set up at the Frederick Hotel where they displayed their wares for merchants to make their selections.

By 1958 the automobile had surpassed the iron horse as the most popular form of transportation.   On May 1, 1958, the south bound #5 and north bound #6 passenger trains stopped at the Boonville station for the last time.   Most of the riders of that day were traveling for the distinction of being among the last passenger on the Katy.   With the construction of I-70 just south of Boonville in the early 1960's, rail freight into the city also came to a halt.   In the late 1960's the Katy railroad finally closed the old depot.   Almost 100 years of paseenger and freight service to Boonville came to a stop.

For the following 20 years, freight trains continued to run through Boonville.   During this time the Katy used the depot for storage and the building started to show its age.   The west dormer and the tile roof started to leak.   They were removed and replaced with red asphalt roofing.

On October 4, 1986, the last freight train labored its way through Boonville.   The closing of the Katy railroad presented a rare opportunity to create a hiking and biking trail, the Katy Trail State Park.

Katy caboose #134 and its tracks were donated to the city of Boonville by the Union Pacific railroad and moved to its present site on February 9, 1991.

In 1994 and 1995 a concerted effort was made to raise funds to restore and preserve the Boonville Katy Depot.   The total project cost for this restoration was $425,000.   On May 31, 1998, the Re-dedication of the Katy Depot was held.   That day commemorated the 125 years that the Katy Rails reached Boonville.   During the week of August 31, 1998, workers constructed the Katy rails in front of the depot which were donated by the Union Pacific Railroad.   The above information was Compiled by: Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Clark House
616 East High Street
Boonville, MO.
Site of the First Cooper County Court
Robert P. Clark, and his wife, Malinda, and children from Estil County, Kentucky, settled in Franklin in 1817.   Mr. Clark practiced law there.   The following year the family moved across the Missouri River to Boonville where they bought a lot and built this house.   In all probability this house was the site of the First Cooper County Court.   An entry in the 1821 ledger states "...at a court continued and held at the house of Robert P. Clark in the town of Boonville, pursuant to adjournment on Tuesday the ninth day of January 1821..."   Mr. Clark held office as Circuit Clerk, County Clerk, County Treasurer, County Postmaster, and County Commissioner of Schools up to and through 1835.   His house with the attached dog trot and summer kitchen is remarkably well preserved with original siding, framing, and millwork, 4 fireplaces, random width flooring, walnut staircase to third floor, and a number of 6 over 6 windows.   The above taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table".

Photograph with Permission of Ted Hitt
660) 882-2114
County Clerk has birth and death records from 1883 to 1893 and burial records; Circuit Clerk & Recorder has marriage, divorce, civil court & naturalization records from 1819, land records from 1812; Associate Circuit Clerk has probate records from 1828.   Note: This county coordinator has been advised that it would be prudent to check with the Friends of Historic Boonville before contacted county offices.

At the March term of Circuit Court in 1819 the circuit judge appointed three commissioners to locate and superintend the building of a courthouse and jail for Cooper County.   Eight persons promised to donate 50 acres if the county seat were located in Boonville.   At the September term in 1820 the commissioners reported they reserved places for the courthouse and jail on the 50 acres.   Remaining lots were sold to the public for $16,245.25.   A brick courthouse was built in 1821-23 for a cost of $9,699.

In 1831 a brick floor replaced the wooden one on the first floor, and additional work was done on the second story gallery floor.   At the July term of court in 1838 the courthouse was ordered to be sold at public auction.   When the building was razed, some of the brick was reportedly used in the next courthouse.   The $9,000 cost would have been a great sum in 1821.   The county used the courthouse for only 15 years before replacing it, certainly not a typical lifespan for such a costly building.

In May, 1838, the county court ordered a portion of the public square to be laid off into lots and sold to raise funds in order to build a larger courthouse.   The site for the courthouse was retained but reduced in size.   It overlooked the river and provided and excellent view from the cupola.

A model and plan of the courthouse were filed with the county clerk.   The court appropriated $10,800.   Subsequent appropriations for the courthouse brought the total to approximately $30,000, again a very high figure for the time.   The court ordered the second story to remain unfinished until a later date and requested that the ornamental work remain simple.

The county court received the building at the August term in 1840.   This building served Cooper County until 1911, when commissioners who reported on the building declared it unfit.   It was sold for $300 and demolished in March of 1912.

The Current courthouse was built in 1912 for about $95,000 by the W. J. Cochran Construction Company of Boonville.   Petitions to the court asking for a $100,000 bond issue to finance the new building resulted in an election in June 1911.   The town of Boonville made a contribution of $15,000 toward the construction.   Cornerstone ceremonies were conducted July 9, 1912, and the building was received by the court September 15, 1913.   The above taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table".

P.O. BOX 51
Roe Street
Pilot Grove, MO  65276
1:00PM - 5:00PM
Fri., Sat., and Sun.
Open From May 1st through October 18th
Will open upon special request and visitor is from out of town
Muriel Brewer or Lee Ripperger
Directions: From north as you enter Pilot Grove, turn right at the 4-way stop.
Building is on the right as you come in to town.  As you turn to your right,
it is the first building on the right.
A funeral home and bank are across the street to the south
and the small park is to the east.
Membership dues are $10 per year
Cooper County Historical Society

Resources Available
Cooper County Burial Records
Family Histories
County Atlases
County Maps
Local Histories
(Microfilm Records)Early Cooper County Newspapers
(Microfilm Records)Cooper County Census Records
(Microfilm Records)Adjoining County Census Records - Limited
(Microfilm Records)Cooper County Slave Census Records
(Microfilm Records)Cooper County Probate Records
Archeological Information
Copy Service
County Tour of Historic Sites
Tourist Information
Genealogical Material
The Cooper County Historical Society will do research for individuals, ten dollars for a "on site" search, (cemetery records, history books, family records, etc.,) Further research for wills, marriages will be available with volunteers for additional fees. Write to the above address or e-mail Muriel Brewer or Lee Ripperger.

CCHS is a group of over 150 members dedicated to the preservation of historic sites and information.   Monthly meetings are held in various places over Cooper Co. and planned to cover a variety of interests.   Members receive written notice of meetings and a quarterly newsleter.

CCHS annually donates a Cooper County History book to each 4th grade student in the school systems.   Each fall is the occasion for a festival in the historic village of New Lebanon.   Other activities include sponsoring historic markers, tours, and special events.   All meetings are free and open to the public.   The center is maintained through fund raisers, memorial donations, and operated with all volunteer help.

Hain House
412 Fourth Street
Boonville, Mo.
Owned by Friends of Historic Boonville
"George Hain, a Swiss immigrant, arrived in Boonville in July, 1836, and began construction of this two room log house with a loft reached by a boxed staircase.   In 1843 he married Sophia Atull and they started a family which would occupy this typical Missouri home for the next 145 years.   As the Hain family grew, so died the residence until its completion in the late 1850's.   Hain was a blacksmith and horticulturiest by trade.   His son, George J. Hain, purchased the house from his estate in 1887.   Hain, Jr. was a successful merchant, owning and operating a general merchandise store call "The Peoples Store."   His daughter, Agnes Hain, resided in the home until 1981, when it was purchased by the Kemper Foundations of Kansas City and give to the current owner, the Friends of Historic Boonville.   The Friends utilize the home for special meetings, art and craft exhibits and give tours of the structure.   The adjoining yard, the Hain House Memorial Garden, is open to the public and is the site of the annual Brown Bag Lunch Concerts held every June.   The Hain House stands as a symbol of the success of an immigrant ant the American dream."   The above infomation taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table".

Looking west by northwest from Lookout Point from Cooper County towards
Howard County.  Arrow Rock is located extreme bend in the River.
Boonville, MO
Harley Park, located on the bluffs of the Missouri River, was established in August of 1887.   Ground was given to the city to provide a park for the community by William Harley, an emigrant from Ireland who was born in 1796 and came to Boonville many years before the Civil War.   The original tract contained 8 acres and 12 more were added later.

City baseball teams began using the park in 1891 and erected the first actual grandstands in 1907.   The first Daniel Boone Days Celebration was held in the park in 1939.

The old street lights with golden eagles topping them grace the main entrance to the park.   They represent the style of street lighting from the 1930's to the 1950's.   The street lights were originally situated on the southern approach to the bridge.

In the park are four Central Missouri Hopewell (Middle Woodland Period) Indian burial mounds dating from 100 B.C. to 500 A.D.   The first of these mounds is near the northeast entrace of the park.   It is about 50 feet in length and about five feet high.   The other three mounds are located at the end of scenic Lookout Point.   The largest one is about 60 feet in length and about nine feet high.   In 1970 the mounds were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.   From Lookout Point one can view the sites of the old forts in Howard County, The Boonslick Salt Springs, and site of the town of Old Franklin, the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail. The above information was Compiled by: Boonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photograph with Permission of Ted Hitt

P.O. BOX 1776
(660) 882-7977
Friends of Historic Boonville
Judy Shields, Administrator

The original limestone blocks were quarried in the old City Quarry on the Missouri River in 1848.  Built with the use of slave labor for $6,091.50, the two story jail had large open rooms on each floor equipped with 1-1/4 inch round rings bolted into the walls.   Prisoners were shackled to these rings at their feet.   In 1871, the adjoining two story brick structure was added for the sheriff's office and living quarters.   In 1878, a board and batten barn was constructed at the southeast corner of the back yard for the sheriff's horses.   This barn was the site of one of the last public hangings in Missouri in 1930.   In the front room of the Sheriff's side Frank James, one of Missouri's most notorious outlaws, was charged with train robbery.   The cells are empty now; the jail was closed by Federal Court Order in 1978, citing the structure as "cruel and unusual punishment."   The structure is owned and has been restored by the Friends of Historic Boonville, who use the structures as their offices and home to their archives.   The facility is open for tours.   The above infomation taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table".   Additional information on the Old Cooper County Jail.

Highway #5
(660) 882-7143
"Ravenswood is the private home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Leonard.   This stately residence was built in 1880 by Capt. Chas. E. Leonard and his wife Nadine Nelson Leonard.   The house has 30 furnished rooms.   Few changes have been made in the house and today the furnishings, decorations, and the home itself is much the same as it was when it was built.   The farm of 2000 acres, much of which was purchased from the government, was established in 1825 and six generations of Leonards have lived here.   The present owner is the fourth generation.   His son Chas. E. Leonard, the fifth generation, is managing the farming operation.   Successive generations living in one place for onver 100 years have accumulated a household of china, glass, paintings, and antique furnishings.
BR> The house is open to the public with an admittance.   Individual tours are welcome.   Large groups are asked to book in advance.   Located on Highway 5 off Interstate 70 at the 'Boonville, Tipton, Ashley Road Exit', about 11 miles south of Boonville.   From Highway 50 it is 11 miles North of Tipton.   It sets off the Highway to the East and may be easily recognized by its large white pillars."   The above taken from taken from a local tourist leaflet.

Roslyn Heights
821 Main Street
P.O. Bos 297
Boonville, MO  65233-0297
(660) 882-5320
"Wilbur T. Johnson and wife, nee Rodia Stephens, built this elegant home in 1895. The building was lighted by both gas and electricity.  The house is highlighted by its original ornate woodwork.  Other features include pocket doors, hinges of sculptured brass, a stained galss window, and eight very distinct mantels which set the decorative theme for the rooms in which they are located.  The parlor has a hand painted ceiling.

The Gay Nineties period was one of "gracious living" and the third floor ballroom was considered the height of elegance.  Today it houses a very extensive collection of dolls.  Roslyn Heights is furnished with antique furniture of the 1890 period or older.

Tours are available on Sunday and Thursday afternoons from April 1st to December, and for groups by special appointment.  The annual Christmas Open House, with trees galore and every room decorated, is the first week in December."   The above taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table".

Thespian Hall
522 Main Street
Boonville, MO   65233
"Thespian Hall, constructed 1855-57, the oldest theater west of the Allegheny Mountains, is now owned by the Friends of Historic Boonville.   It was a gift to the Friends of Historic Boonville by the Kemper Foundations of Kansas City.   The Friends operate a full time community arts program at the theater, which features the performing arts.   Built by the loca Thespian Society "...as a monument to the liberality of good taste of our citizens," the building today stands as a visiton for the community.   Dedicated on July 3, 1857, Thespian Hall began its long life as a catalyst for community involvement and civic pride, as home for the arts, City Hall, and meeting space for the Odd Fellow and Masons.During the Civil War, Thespian Hall filled the needs of both the Union and the Confederates, as a headquarters and hospital.   After the war, the Turn and Gesang Veren, a German athletic and singing society occupied the building.   In 1900 it was converted into the Stephens Opera House by its owners, W. Speed Stephens and Lon Vest Stephens. &nbps; During this era, Boonville became known as "the best little theater town in Missouri," playing host to many major touring comapnies and vaudeville acts.

After the 1920;s, the building became known as the "Lyric Theater," a movie house owned by Fox Mid-West Movie Theaters.   Until 1975, when the Friends acquired the structure, movies from the days of silent films to 3-D were enjoyed in the theater.   Today it is a historic building still making history."   The above taken from "The "Boone's Lick"... A la Carte Missouri History on the Table". For furthur information check out
Thespian Hall.

Walnut Grove Cemetery Association
C/O Ada Townlain
1006 Locust Street
P.O. Box 143
Boonville, MO   65233
If you are searching for information on relatives buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, Missouri; you may desire to write to the above location. As always a contribution to the cemetery upkeep fund would not hurt your cause.


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