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Shannon County
Shannon County
Organized January 29, 1841, from Ripley County and named for George Shannon on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

County Seat: Eminence

Courthouse Address:

Shannon County
P.O. Box 148
Eminence, MO 65466

When first organized in 1841, Shannon County embraced a much larger area. When Texas, Reynolds and Carter counties organized, they absorbed parts of Shannon County.

For the first courthouse, officials picked a site near the center of the county, across the Current River near Round Spring. Built in 1845, the 16-by-20-foot, hewn-log courthouse cost $75. Fire caused by Civil War activities destroyed this early Shannon County courthouse along with all county records.

After the war, county officials again looked for a location near the center of the county for a new courthouse. Thomas J. Chilton deeded 50 acres, one of the few sites with clear title, upon which Eminence was laid out in 1868. Within a year, builders completed a 30-foot-square, weather boarded courthouse. Contract price was $3,000 bid by William Orchard and T. B. Dunvas of Thomasville, Oregon County. Fire destroyed the building December 31, 1871.

For the next courthouse, a two-story frame with offices on the first floor and a courtroom on the second was built. In time the county outgrew this courthouse; the county and circuit clerks' offices moved to other quarters. An arsonist set fire to the courthouse and both clerks' offices in March of 1895. The courthouse was not seriously damaged, although all county records were destroyed. The building was later moved to the north side of the square and used for several years as a commercial building. No known photographs of these early courthouses exist.

County citizens voted November 10, 1898, to finance the next courthouse by a direct tax. In March 1899 the court invited architects and builders to submit plans. County Court officials selected the plans of Henry H. Hohenschild. Hohenschild's first plans provided for a building costing about $9,000, almost twice the sum Shannon County could commit. The court contemplated possible changes and asked the architect to draw plans for a building costing not more than $5,000.

Partial funding came from the Odd Fellows for the attic story, which was used for their lodge. This probably explains the unusual roof configuration. The first story was arranged for office space; the courtroom, measuring 34-1/2 by 38-1/2 feet, and two jury rooms were on the second floor.

R. M. Beatty, contractor, was supervised by George Mathews [sic] of West Plains. Henry Cardz acted as county superintendent. Cornerstone ceremonies took place on August 11, 1899. On May 23, 1938, fire destroyed this courthouse, which was insured for $23,500.

After the courthouse burned, an election to remove the county seat to Winona failed. A project submitted to the Work Projects Administration was rejected in June 1939, but after architect Dan R. Sanford, Springfield, conferred with the court in August regarding plans for a new courthouse, the proposal was resubmitted and approved in November 1939. The two-story plus basement building, built of reinforced concrete, concrete blocks and structural steel, has brick veneer with white stone entry. It was completed in the summer of 1941 and dedicated August 2, 1941. G. A. Norton of Springfield was the foreman, a contractor of wide experience. Shannon County's present courthouse has 27 rooms and cost $77,500. W.P.A. approved financing for $52,000; the county paid the remainder, $25,500.

Copyright 2002 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.
Additional History
The courthouse burned during the Civil War in 1863, again in 1871, and 1938; recorders office burned in 1893.

Eminence was first located about one and one-half miles below Round Spring on the east side of the Current River in 1842. It was burned by Federal soldiers in 1863 and in 1867 the town was located on its present site on the south side of Jack's Fork River about eight miles above its junction with the Current River. The courthouse has been destroyed by fire twice since location on its present site.

In 1841 Shannon County was much larger, taking in parts of Carter, Ripley, and Texas counties.  The first courthouse was built across the Current River near Round Springs for $75.00.  It was burned during Civil War activities.  After 3 more courthouses( and 3 more fires) the present day courthouse was dedicated on August 2, 1941.

In January, 1842, the General Assembly of Missouri, finding that no county to be called Shannon had been organized, commissioned Samuel Hyer of Crawford, West Maulding of Ripley, and Joseph M. Stephenson to organize the county and fix a time and place for holding court. They appointed Pate Buford to represent Shannon County in the 1543 General Assembly. On January 26, 1843, a call was issued to hold the court of Shannon County on the first Monday of April, 1843 at the home of "Andrew McCane." The court was directed to locate the seat of Justice to be named Eminence in honor of Eminence, Kentucky, the home of the Shannons

Records at Courthouse

Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds, 1859-1887; Deed records, 1871-1892; Marriage records, 1881-1921.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Index to circuit court records, (no dates); Circuit court records, 1872-1915; Index to tax suits, 1880-1932.

Clerk of the Probate Court: Index to probate records, 1869-1911; Probate records, 1880-1904; Administratorís/executorís docket, 1875-1896; Administratorís/executorís letters, bonds and records, 1876-1899; Settlement records, 1876-1891; Will records, 1907-1918.

More Links
Birth & Death Records Database

Search for Shannon County on Archives' Online Catalog

Roll by Roll Listing of Microfilm

Local Records Inventory Database

Missouri Birth & Death Records Database: Search & Record Availability