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HENRY COUNTY

"MODEL COUNTY OF THE PRAIRIES"

The first known trip through the County was by hunters and trappers in 1826. The first settlers came to the area in the fall of 1830, seven settlers arrived that year. By the end of 834, a total of 82 settlers had arrived in the area of Lillard County, of which a part would later be known as Rives County, then later as Henry County. In 1820, Lillard County was organized and was later divided into Henry, Lafayette, Johnson and major parts of St. Clair and Bates Counties. In December 1834, Rives County was declared an independent division of Missouri. In 1841, the name was changed to Henry County after Patrick Henry. The site for the County Seat was selected in the fall of 1836 and was named after Governor DeWitt Clinton of the State of New York.

The first session of Court was held in a home on May 4, 1835. Henry County has had two Courthouses. The first dates from 1837 when the County was called Rives. The Court appropriated $2,500, and the Commissioners presented a plan for a brick Courthouse in December 1837. John Mercer received a contract for the work, which he completed in 1839. Final cost of the building was $2,565. In 1853 the Court appropriated $1,500 to improve and complete the structure.. By the 1880's this Courthouse was considered unsafe and was condemned in 1884 and razed in 1887. After several unsuccessful attempts, residents of Henry County passed a $50,000 bond issue in 1891 for construction of a new Courthouse. The Court accepted plans of Kansas City architects Frederick C. Gunn and Louis S. Curtiss, and gave the contract to D. J. Hyde & Co. of Sedalia for $47,221 in February 1892. Cornerstone ceremonies for Henry County's present Courthouse took place June 24, 1892.

The early settlers found the land to be fertile with a constant water supply from springs and rivers. The same holds true today with agriculture being the economical basis of Henry County. Approximately 80% of the County is forested and moderately hilly, most of which is adjacent to the U.S. Corps of Engineers public lands bordering the 55,600 acre Harry S. Truman Reservoir. 

Henry County is virtually a sportsman's paradise. There are abundant fishing waters containing many varieties of fish. The hunting opportunities include deer, coyote, squirrel, turkey, and dove. The Truman Reservoir has an abundance of migratory water fowl.

The County now has an estimated population of 21,949 persons. Those cities and villages within Henry County and their estimated population is as follows: Clinton, 8,945: Calhoun, 455: Deepwater, 422: Montrose, 375: Urich, 492: Windsor, 2,847: Blairstown, 97: Brownington, 70: and Tightwad, 60.

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