Webster County, Missouri facts for kids

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Webster County, Missouri
Map

Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the USA highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded March 3, 1854
Seat Marshfield
Largest City Marshfield
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

594 sq mi (1,538 km²)
593 sq mi (1,536 km²)
1.2 sq mi (3 km²), 0.2%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

37,483
61/sq mi (24/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website: http://www.webstercountymo.gov/
Named for: Daniel Webster

Webster County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 36,202. Its county seat is Marshfield. The county was organized in 1855 and named for U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster.

Webster County is part of the Springfield, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Webster County was organized on March 3, 1855 and encompasses 590 miles of the highest extensive upland area of Missouri’s Ozarks. The judicial seat is Marshfield, which lies 1,490 feet above sea level. Webster County is the highest county seat in the state of Missouri. Pioneer Legislator John F. McMahan named the county and county seat for Daniel Webster, and his Marshfield, Massachusetts home.

Marshfield was laid out in 1856 by R.H. Pitts, on land that was given by C.F. Dryden and W.T. and B.F.T. Burford. Until a courthouse was built, the county business was conducted at Hazelwood where Joseph W. McClurg, later Governor of Missouri, operated a general store. Today’s Carthage Marble courthouse was built in 1939-1941 and is the county’s third.

During the U.S. Civil War, a small force of pro-Southern troops was driven out of Marshfield in February 1862, and ten months later a body of Confederates was routed east of town. On January 9, 1863, General Joseph O. Shelby’s troops burned the stoutly built Union fortification at Marshfield and at Sand Springs, evacuated earlier. By 1862, the telegraph line passed near Marshfield on a route later called the “Old Wire Road.”

In Webster County, straddling the divide between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers rise the headwaters of the James, Niangua, Gasconade, and Pomme de Terre rivers. A part of the 1808 Osage Native American land cession, the county was settled in the early 1830s by pioneers from Kentucky and Tennessee. A Native American trail crossed southern Webster County and many prehistoric mounds are in the area.

The railroad-building boom of the post Civil War period stimulated the county’s growth as a dairy, poultry, and livestock producer. The Atlantic & Pacific (Frisco) Railroad was built through Marshfield in 1872, and by 1883 the Kansas City, Springfield, and Memphis (Frisco) crossed the county. Seymour, Rogersville, Fordland and Niangua grew up along the railroad routes. Early schools in the county were Marshfield Academy, chartered in 1860; Mt. Dale Academy, opened in 1873; and Henderson Academy, chartered in 1879. Today, education is still at the forefront of the county’s foundation.

On April 18, 1880, an intense tornado measuring F4 on the Fujita scale struck Marshfield. Its damage path was 800 yards (730 m) wide and 64 miles (103 km) long. The tornado killed 99 people and injured 100, and it is said that 10% of Marshfield's residents were killed and all but 15 of its buildings were destroyed. The composition “Marshfield Cyclone” by the African-American musician John W. (Blind) Boone gave wide publicity to the cyclone, which is still listed as one of the top ten natural disasters in the history of the nation.

Astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889–1953) was born in Marshfield and attended through the third grade in the public school system. A replica of the Hubble telescope sits in the courthouse yard and the Marshfield stretch of I-44 was named in his honor.

Marshfield holds claim to the oldest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi River. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush and wife Barbara visited the parade on July 4, 1991, while campaigning for the presidency through Missouri. Webster County also boasts the longest continuous county fair in the state of Missouri.

The annual Seymour Apple Festival, established in 1973, has grown to one of Missouri's largest free celebrations, with estimated crowds of more than 30,000 congregating on the Seymour public square each second weekend of September. The festival pays tribute to Seymour's apple industry, which began in the 1840s, with Seymour being called "The Land Of The Big Red Apple" around the turn of the 20th century, when Webster County produced more than 50 percent of the state's apple crop.

Featured at the annual three-day event are more than 10 musical acts, numerous competitions for people of all ages, as well as more than 150 craft vendors and food venues, featuring the festival's signature barbecued chicken. The festival is sponsored by the Seymour Merchants' Association and is staffed completely with volunteer labor from the community.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 594 square miles (1,540 km2), of which 593 square miles (1,540 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-44.svg Interstate 44
  • US 60.svg U.S. Route 60
  • US 66.svg U.S. Route 66 (1926–1979)
  • MO-38.svg Route 38

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 7,099
1870 10,434 47.0%
1880 12,175 16.7%
1890 15,177 24.7%
1900 16,640 9.6%
1910 17,377 4.4%
1920 16,609 −4.4%
1930 16,148 −2.8%
1940 17,226 6.7%
1950 15,072 −12.5%
1960 13,753 −8.8%
1970 15,562 13.2%
1980 20,414 31.2%
1990 23,753 16.4%
2000 31,045 30.7%
2010 36,202 16.6%
Est. 2016 38,189 5.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 31,045 people, 11,073 households, and 8,437 families residing in the county. The population density was 52 people per square mile (20/km²). There were 12,052 housing units at an average density of 20 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.20% White, 1.16% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. Approximately 1.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,073 households out of which 37.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.00% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.80% were non-families. 20.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.90% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 101.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,948, and the median income for a family was $46,941. Males had a median income of $28,168 versus $20,768 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,948. About 9.60% of families and 14.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.00% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns


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