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Caldwell County, Missouri facts for kids

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Caldwell County
Caldwell County courthouse in Kingston
Caldwell County courthouse in Kingston
Map of Missouri highlighting Caldwell 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 December 29, 1836
Named for John Caldwell
Seat Kingston
Largest city Hamilton
 • Total 430 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Land 426 sq mi (1,100 km2)
 • Water 3.2 sq mi (8 km2)  0.8%
 • Total 8,815
 • Density 20.50/sq mi (7.92/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 6th

Caldwell County is a county located in Missouri, United States. As of the 2020 census, the county's population was 9,424. It is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. Its county seat is Kingston. The county was organized December 29, 1836 and named by Alexander Doniphan to honor John Caldwell, who participated in George Rogers Clark's Native American Campaign of 1786 and was the second Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky.

Caldwell County was originally established as a haven for Mormons, who had been driven from Jackson County in November 1833 and had been refugees in adjacent Clay County since. The county was one of the principal settings of the 1838 Missouri Mormon War, which led to the expulsion of all Latter Day Saints from Missouri, following the issuance of an "extermination order" by then–Governor Lilburn Boggs.


Mormon settlement

Caldwell County was originally part of Ray County. The first white settler was Jesse Mann, Sr., who settled one-half mile northeast of the public square of Kingston on Shoal Creek in 1831. The early settlers moved back south in 1832 for better protection during the Black Hawk War uprising.

A few Mormon settlers, who had been evicted from Jackson County, Missouri, moved into the county in 1832, and included Jacob Haun, whose mill on Shoal Creek would become the scene of the bloodiest incident in the Mormon War, known as the Haun's Mill Massacre.

The settlers established Salem, the first town in the county, two miles southeast of Kingston. A larger number of Mormons moved to the county in the fall of 1836. The Missouri General Assembly created Caldwell County in December 1836, with the understanding that it would be dedicated to Mormon settlers. Its county seat was Far West, Missouri. By 1838 Far West reported a population of 4,000.

The major figures of early Mormon history, including Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Edward Partridge, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt and John D. Lee, were included in the migration.

Mormon War

Mormon settlers moved further north into Daviess County, particularly at Adam-ondi-Ahman after Smith proclaimed that it was the Biblical place where Adam and Eve were banished after leaving the Garden of Eden. He said it would be a gathering place on the Judgement Day. The Mormon War erupted following a skirmish between original Missouri settlers and Mormon settlers in the Gallatin Election Day Battle.

After the Missouri militia was routed in the Battle of Crooked Creek, Governor Lilburn Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44 to evict the Mormons from the state. Three days later, a group from Livingston County killed 18 Mormons in the Haun's Mill massacre. Troops laid siege to Far West, where Smith surrendered in October 1838. The settlers agreed to leave; they abandoned Far West and regrouped in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Following the dissolution of Far West, the county seat was moved to present-day Kingston.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 430 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 426 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 36.svg U.S. Route 36
  • MO-13.svg Route 13
  • MO-116.svg Route 116


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,458
1850 2,310 58.4%
1860 5,034 117.9%
1870 11,390 126.3%
1880 13,646 19.8%
1890 15,152 11.0%
1900 16,656 9.9%
1910 14,605 −12.3%
1920 13,849 −5.2%
1930 12,509 −9.7%
1940 11,629 −7.0%
1950 9,929 −14.6%
1960 8,830 −11.1%
1970 8,351 −5.4%
1980 8,660 3.7%
1990 8,380 −3.2%
2000 8,969 7.0%
2010 9,424 5.1%
2020 8,815 −6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,969 people, 3,523 households, and 2,501 families residing in the county. The population density was 8/km2 (21/mi2). There were 4,493 housing units at an average density of 4/km2 (10/mi2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.56% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. 0.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,523 households, out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.20% were married couples living together, 8.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.00% were non-families. 25.50% 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 2.51, and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.10% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 97.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,240, and the median income for a family was $37,087. Males had a median income of $28,710 versus $19,523 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,343. 11.90% of the population and 9.70% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.10% of those under the age of 18 and 12.90% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.



Ghost town


Caldwell County is divided into 12 townships:

  • Breckenridge
  • Davis
  • Fairview
  • Gomer
  • Grant
  • Hamilton
  • Kidder
  • Kingston
  • Lincoln
  • Mirabile
  • New York
  • Rockford

Notable people


Public Schools

    • Braymer Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Braymer High School (07-12)
  • Breckenridge R-I School District – Breckenridge
    • Breckinridge Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Breckinridge High School (07-12)
  • Cowgill R-VI School District – Cowgill
    • Cowgill Elementary School (Pk-08)
    • Kingston Elementary School (PK-08)
  • Mirabile C-1 School District – Polo
    • Mirabile Elementary School (PK-08)
    • New York Elementary School (K-08)
    • Polo Elementary School (PK-04)
    • Polo Middle School (05-08)
    • Polo High School (09-12)

Public libraries

  • Breckenridge Public Library
  • Hamilton Public Library

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Caldwell (Misuri) para niños

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