Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy
- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places / Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Web Sites
- 7 References
Wayne County, Missouri is believed to have had six courthouses. The first was a two-story log building which served as the county courthouse until 1849. This was replaced with a brick courthouse built in that year until it burned in 1853 or 1854.
That courthouse was replaced with new two-story brick courthouse constructed in 1856. That building was subjected to fire on 14 Dec 1892, but the extent of damage is unclear.
After the 1892 fire, yet another new courthouse was built the following year. This was another two-story brick building. This served as the Wayne County Courthouse until that building was torn down in 1924.
A bond issue was authorized in 1923 to build a new courthouse, with cornerstone ceremonies held in 1925 and construction completed in December of 1926. This courthouse was condemned because of the 1941 construction of Lake Wappapello.
- Wayne County Courthouse (University of Missouri Extension)
The earliest white settlements in what is now Wayne County are said to have been in 1802, when a few settlers arrived from Kentucky, with more coming into the county from North Carolina in 1806.
Prior to county formation in 1818, what became Wayne County was a part of St. Francois Township of Cape Girardeau County.
Wayne County, Missouri is one of Missouri's oldest counties. Wayne County was organized as a county of Missouri Territory on 11 December 1818 by an act of the territorial legislature. This law became effective 1 November 1813.
The county was created from parts of Cape Girardeau and Lawrence Counties. (Most of Lawrence County became part of Arkansas Territory when that territory was created by Congress in March of 1819.)
Greenville became the county seat in 1819, which was the same year in which the town was incorporated. Missouri was not admitted into the Union until 10 August 1821.
Greenville was originally known as Cedar Cabin. In 1941, the town was relocated because of the construction of Lake Wappapello. The new town was located about two miles north of the original site, on a higher elevation.
The first post office opened in Greenville 10 August 1832.
Wayne County comprised a vast area from 1825 to 1831 that is said to have been larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware combined. The county was so large that, at one time, it was known as the "State of Wayne."
- See an interactive map of Wayne County border changes at N2Genealogy.
The Wayne County courthouse burned in 1853 or 1854, with a complete loss of records. In addition, courthouse records were stolen in 1866. Another fire occurred in 1892, although the extent of damage is uncertain.
When the 1893-1926 courthouse was in operation, records were scattered in various offices throughout Greenville because of lack of space. Whether this resulted in loss of some records is uncertain.
Places / Localities
- The State Historical Society of Missouri has information on historical Missouri place names for all 114 Missouri Counties.
Cascade | Clubb | Coldwater | Greenville | Hiram | Leeper | Lodi | Lowndes | McGee | Mill Spring | Patterson | Piedmont | Shook | Silva | Wappapello | Williamsville
- Greenville Cemetery (Find A Grave)
- New Prospect Cemetery (U.S. GenWeb Archives)
- Wayne County, Missouri Cemetery Photographs (RootsWeb)
- Wayne County, Missouri Cemetery Records (Interment.net)
For tips on accessing Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy census records online, see: Missouri Census.
- Tong, H.F., Historical Sketches of the Baptists of Southeast Missouri. St. Louis: National Baptist Publishing Company, 1888. (Google Books link with complete text)
- Cramer, Rose Fulton, Wayne County, Missouri. (Google Books)
- Douglass, Robert Sidney, History of Southeast Missouri, Vol. 1. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1912. (Google Books)
- Interactive map of Wayne County townships (Histopolis)
- The University of Missouri Digital Library has digital copies of Missouri county plat books (ca. 1930) for all Missouri counties including Wayne County.
- Missouri Newspapers at the State Historical Society: Wayne County (State Historical Society of Missouri)
- Wayne County Journal-Banner, Piedmont, Missouri
- Wayne County, Missouri Obituaries (Newspaper Obituaries)
- Missouri State Archives provides on-line access to Missouri Death Certificates more than 50 yrs old starting in 1910.
Societies and Libraries
Family History Centers
- A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets Past and Present of Wayne County, Missouri
- Family History Library Catalog
- Wayne County Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Wayne County History... (e-Reference Desk)
- Wayne County, Missouri (GenWeb)
- Wayne County, Missouri (Wikipedia)
- Wayne County, Missouri Ancestry & Family History (ePodunk)
- Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy Forum (GenForum)
- Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy Trails History Group (Genealogy Trails)
- Wayne County, Missouri History, Records, Facts, Genealogy and Ancestry (Family History 101)
- "Anthony Wayne," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).