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Bates County, Missouri facts for kids

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Bates County
Bates County Courthouse in Butler
Bates County Courthouse in Butler
Map of Missouri highlighting Bates County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Missouri
Founded January 29, 1841
Named for Frederick Bates
Seat Butler
Largest city Butler
 • Total 851 sq mi (2,200 km2)
 • Land 837 sq mi (2,170 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (40 km2)  1.7%
 • Total 16,042
 • Density 18.851/sq mi (7.278/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Bates County is a county located in the west central part of the U.S. state of Missouri, two counties south of the Missouri River and is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. As of the 2020 census, the population was 16,042. Its county seat is Butler. The county was organized in 1841 and named after Frederick Bates, the second Governor of Missouri.

This mostly rural county has an overwhelmingly ethnic European-American population, which has declined in number since the early 20th century as people have moved to cities.


The borderlands of Kansas and Missouri were battlegrounds for insurgents during the American Civil War, with raids going back and forth across the border. Bates County is noted as the site for the first combat engagement during the war of African-American soldiers serving with the Union and against Confederate forces, which occurred on October 28–29, 1862. The First Kansas Colored Division (part of the state militia) fought Confederate guerrillas at the Battle of Island Mound four miles north of present-day Rich Hill, Missouri, and the Union forces won.

The Kansas soldiers were badly outnumbered but stood their ground, fighting valiantly. The skirmish was covered by the New York Times, which noted the men's bravery at a time when many people questioned whether former slaves could make good soldiers. Their heroic action preceded President Abraham Lincoln's announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 and establishment of the United States Colored Troops.

Following a massacre of men and boys and the burning of Lawrence, Kansas by Confederate bushwhackers in the summer of 1863, the United States General Ewing ordered the evacuation of the civilian population from rural areas of Bates and nearby counties except for within a mile of certain Union-controlled cities, in order to cut off sources of support for Confederate insurgents. This was done under Order No. 11. The county had been a base of Confederate guerrillas. But, Ewing's order generated outrage and added to support of guerrillas in some areas.

This mostly rural county continued to support agriculture in the decades after the Civil War. Since the late 20th century, population has declined as people have moved to cities for work.

Legacy and honors

  • A statue commemorating the Battle of Island Mound was installed on the north lawn of the county courthouse in Butler, seven miles from the skirmish site.
  • The skirmish area has been preserved since 2012 as the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site, and its historic prairie is being restored.
  • The Battle of Island Mound (2014) is a short documentary film made in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; it won two Emmy Awards in 2015 for historic documentary and cinematography.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 851 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 837 square miles (2,170 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.7%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 3,669
1860 7,215 96.6%
1870 15,960 121.2%
1880 25,381 59.0%
1890 32,223 27.0%
1900 30,141 −6.5%
1910 25,869 −14.2%
1920 23,933 −7.5%
1930 22,068 −7.8%
1940 19,531 −11.5%
1950 17,534 −10.2%
1960 15,905 −9.3%
1970 15,468 −2.7%
1980 15,873 2.6%
1990 15,025 −5.3%
2000 16,653 10.8%
2010 17,049 2.4%
2020 16,042 −5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2000, there were 16,653 people, 6,511 households, and 4,557 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 7,247 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.33% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Approximately 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,511 households, out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.50% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,731, and the median income for a family was $36,470. Males had a median income of $30,298 versus $19,772 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,477. About 11.50% of families and 14.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.30% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.


According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2010), Bates County is regarded as being a part of the Bible Belt, with evangelical Protestantism being the most predominant religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Bates County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (34.21%), United Methodists (15.78%), and Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (14.48%).




Unincorporated communities


Bates County is divided into 24 townships:

  • Charlotte
  • Deepwater
  • Deer Creek
  • East Boone
  • Elkhart
  • Grand River
  • Homer
  • Howard
  • Hudson
  • Lone Oak
  • Mingo
  • Mound
  • Mount Pleasant
  • New Home
  • Osage
  • Pleasant Gap
  • Prairie
  • Rockville
  • Shawnee
  • Spruce
  • Summit
  • Walnut
  • West Boone
  • West Point


Public schools

    • Adrian Elementary School (PK-05)
    • Adrian High School (06-12)
    • Ballard Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Ballard High School (07-12)
    • Butler Elementary School (K-06)
    • Butler High School (07-12)
    • Hume Elementary School (PK-05)
    • Hume High School (06-12)
    • Miami Elementary School (K-06)
    • Miami High School (07-12)
    • Rich Hill Elementary School (K-05)
    • Rich Hill High School (06-12)

Private schools

Public libraries

  • Butler Public Library
  • Rich Hill Memorial Library

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Bates para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic fashion designers
Carolina Herrera
Oscar de la Renta
Paola Hernández
Mondo Guerra
Marisol Deluna
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