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Wayne County, Missouri facts for kids

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Wayne County
Wayne County Courthouse in Greenville
Wayne County Courthouse in Greenville
Map of Missouri highlighting Wayne 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 11, 1818
Named for Anthony Wayne
Seat Greenville
Largest city Piedmont
 • Total 774 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Land 759 sq mi (1,970 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (40 km2)  1.9%
 • Total 10,974
 • Density 14.178/sq mi (5.474/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 8th

Wayne County is a county located in the Ozark foothills in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2020 census, the population was 10,974. The county seat is Greenville. The county was officially organized on December 11, 1818, and is named after General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who served in the American Revolution.


Wayne County was created in December 1818 by the last Missouri Territorial Legislature from portions of Cape Girardeau and Lawrence counties. Wayne County thus actually predates statehood. In March 1819, Congress established the Territory of Arkansas, and most of Lawrence County became Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory. The small strip that had been excluded was added to Wayne County by the Missouri State Constitution of 1820. The Osage Strip on the Kansas border was added in 1825. Between 1825 and 1831, Wayne County was actually larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware combined. All or part of 32 present Missouri counties once belonged to Wayne County. Despite its size, the Census of 1820 revealed that Wayne County had a total population of just 1,239 white inhabitants and 204 African American slaves.

When Wayne County was formed in 1818, the territorial legislature appointed five commissioners to govern it. They chose a small settlement called Cedar Cabin on the St. Francis River to be the county seat. Renamed Greenville, it had grown to about 1,000 by the turn of the 20th century. By 1940, however, the population had declined to 572. In 1941, the remaining inhabitants were forced to relocated because of the construction of Lake Wappapello. This new town's population had fallen to 270 in 1950, but has now increased to about 450.

The Wayne County Courthouse was destroyed by a fire in 1854. In 1866, the records in new courthouse were stolen, and in 1892 the courthouse again burned down. Thus few county records survive from that time.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 774 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 759 square miles (1,970 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.9%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 67.svg U.S. Route 67
  • MO-34.svg Route 34
  • MO-49.svg Route 49

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,443
1830 3,264 126.2%
1840 3,403 4.3%
1850 4,518 32.8%
1860 5,629 24.6%
1870 6,068 7.8%
1880 9,096 49.9%
1890 11,927 31.1%
1900 15,309 28.4%
1910 15,181 −0.8%
1920 13,012 −14.3%
1930 12,243 −5.9%
1940 12,794 4.5%
1950 10,514 −17.8%
1960 8,638 −17.8%
1970 8,546 −1.1%
1980 11,277 32.0%
1990 11,543 2.4%
2000 13,259 14.9%
2010 13,521 2.0%
2020 10,974 −18.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the 2010 Census, there were 13,521 people, 5,717 households, and 3,850 families residing in the county. The population density was 18 people per square mile (7/km2). There were 8,083 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km2).

The racial makeup of the county was 97% White, 0.7% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 1.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. According to the 2000 Census, the most common first ancestries reported in Wayne County were 32.9% American, 15.0% German, 11.9% English, 11.7% Irish, 3.0% French (excluding Basque), 2.0% Dutch and 2.0% Italian.

There were 5,717 households, out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were husband-wife families. 32.7% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 19, 5% from 20 to 24, 14.2%% from 25 to 39, 36.4% from 40 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.8 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,954, and the median income for a family was $39,419. Males had a median income of $26,048 versus $18,250 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,378. About 15.8% of families and 23% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.9% of those under age 18 and 12.7% of those age 65 or over.


According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Wayne County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Wayne County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (62.76%), Methodists (10.08%), and Roman Catholics (7.07%).



Of all adults 25 years of age and older in Wayne County, 87% possessed a high school diploma or higher while 30.3% had a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

  • Clearwater R-I School District - Piedmont
    • Clearwater Elementary School (PK-04)
    • Clearwater Middle School (05-08)
    • Clearwater High School (09-12)
    • Williamsville Elementary School (PK-06) - Williamsville
    • Greenville Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Greenville Jr. High School (07-08)
    • Greenville High School (09-12)

Private schools

  • Victory Baptist Academy - Piedmont - (PK-11) - Baptist
  • New Hope Christian Academy - Silva - (PK-12) - General Baptist

Public libraries

See also

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

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