Mercer County, Missouri

Mercer County, Missouri

Mercer County Courthouse in downtown Princeton
Map of Missouri highlighting Mercer County
Location in the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded February 14, 1845
Named for John Francis Mercer
Seat Princeton
Largest city Princeton
  Total 455 sq mi (1,178 km2)
  Land 454 sq mi (1,176 km2)
  Water 1.3 sq mi (3 km2), 0.3%
Population (est.)
  (2015) 3,694
  Density 8.3/sq mi (3/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Mercer County is a county located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,785,[1] making it the second-least populous county in Missouri. Its county seat is Princeton.[2] The county was organized February 14, 1845 and named for General John F. Mercer of the Revolutionary War.


Early years

Mercer County was organized February 14, 1845, from part of Grundy County, Missouri.[3] It is named in honor of General John Francis Mercer who fought and died in the American Revolutionary War. The first permanent settlements in what is now Mercer County were in 1837 when a few families from other parts of Missouri moved to the area. James Parsons, a Tennessee native, is generally considered to be the first permanent settler in the spring of 1837.[4] The land was still included as part of Livingston County at that time and would remain so until 1841 when it would become part of the newly created Grundy County. Prior to 1837, the land was used by Native American tribes, primarily the Sac/Fox and Potawatomi, as prime hunting grounds. The occasional temporary hunting village would be established by the tribes but otherwise the land was devoid of humans. The town of Princeton, named for the battle where General Mercer was killed, was established as the county seat in 1847.[5] The northern boundary of the county was in dispute for the first six years of its existence due to the Honey War, a bloodless territorial dispute between Missouri and Iowa. The boundary was 9.5 miles farther north than present day prior to an 1851 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Civil War

Mercer County, like its neighbor to the east Putnam County, was a staunch supporter of the Union. Most county residents had roots in northern U.S. states "back east" like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, and didn't have the strong slave-holding tradition of other northern Missouri counties like Macon, Audrain, and Monroe (commonly referred to as Little Dixie) whose population largely emigrated from Southern states. In the 1860 U.S. Census, only 12 Mercer County families were listed as slave owners, with a combined total of 24 slaves.[6] Fewer than 20 Mercer County men fought for the Confederacy, while well over 1,000 volunteered for Union service. Among the units containing men from Mercer County were the Twenty-Third, Twenty-Seventh and Thirty-Fifth Regiments, the Second and Twelfth Cavalry, the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, and various smaller units of the Missouri State Militia.[7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 455 square miles (1,180 km2), of which 454 square miles (1,180 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) (0.3%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20153,694[9]−2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2015[1]

As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 3,785 people, 1,600 households, and 1,089 families residing in the county. The population density was 8 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 2,125 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.72% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Approximately 0.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,600 households out of which 28.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.60% were married couples living together, 6.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.90% were non-families. 29.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.00% under the age of 18, 6.70% from 18 to 24, 24.20% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 22.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 95.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,640, and the median income for a family was $35,313. Males had a median income of $26,690 versus $19,814 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,140. About 10.20% of families and 13.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.30% of those under age 18 and 14.50% of those age 65 or over.




The Republican Party predominantly controls politics at the local level in Mercer County. Republicans hold all but two of the elected positions in the county. Presiding Commissioner James Mason died in September 2015, just nine months into his first term. Russell Duane Hobbs, former sheriff of Mercer County, was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon in January 2016. In the 2016 presidential election Mercer County had the highest Republican turnout in the state of Missouri with greater then 85% of the population voting for Donald Trump.

Mercer County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Diane Blunk Republican
Circuit Clerk Tammy Crouse Republican
County Clerk Judy Hamilton Republican
Collector Susan Moore Republican
Russell Duane Hobbs Democratic
(District 1)
Shane Grooms Republican
(District 2)
Zachary Martin Republican
Coroner Douglas B. Priest Republican
Prosecuting Attorney open
Public Administrator Kelli Judd Republican
Recorder Tammy Crouse Republican
Sheriff Steve Stockman Republican
Treasurer Susan Moore Republican


Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 66.26% 1,090 30.58% 503 3.16% 52
2008 60.29% 1,043 35.84% 620 3.87% 67
2004 69.69% 1,237 29.24% 519 1.07% 19
2000 64.20% 1,144 34.01% 606 1.79% 32
1996 34.10% 516 64.24% 972 1.65% 25

All of Mercer County is a part of Missouri's 3rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives and is represented by Nate Walker (R-Kirksville).

Missouri House of Representatives — District 3 — Mercer County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Nate Walker 1,018 100.00

All of Mercer County is a part of Missouri’s 12th District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby).

Missouri Senate — District 12 — Mercer County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Dan Hegeman 986 100.00


U.S. Senate — Missouri — Mercer County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Todd Akin 813 50.03
Democratic Claire McCaskill 664 40.86
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 148 9.11

All of Mercer County is included in Missouri’s 6th Congressional District and is currently represented by Sam Graves (R-Tarkio) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. House of Representatives — Missouri’s 6th Congressional District — Mercer County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Sam Graves 992 81.11
Democratic Bill Hedge 176 14.39
Libertarian Russ Lee Monchil 55 4.50
Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 75.83% 1,255 21.33% 353 2.84% 47
2008 66.88% 1,169 29.69% 519 3.43% 60
2004 66.43% 1,207 32.03% 582 1.55% 28
2000 67.86% 1,250 30.13% 555 2.01% 37
1996 41.75% 660 44.28% 700 13.98% 221

Missouri Presidential Preference Primary (2008)

Mercer County, Missouri
2008 Republican primary in Missouri
John McCain 114 (27.74%)
Mike Huckabee 132 (32.12%)
Mitt Romney 62 (15.09%)
Ron Paul 91 (22.14%)
Mercer County, Missouri
2008 Democratic primary in Missouri
Hillary Clinton 141 (60.52%)
Barack Obama 80 (34.33%)
John Edwards (withdrawn) 10 (4.29%)




Other communities

Historical communities




  • Harrison
  • Lindley
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Medicine
  • Morgan
  • Ravanna
  • Somerset
  • Washington

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Missouri Secretary of State, Missouri History: What are the Origins of Missouri Counties?
  4. A Directory of Towns, Villages and Hamlets of Mercer County, Missouri by Arthur Paul Mosler.
  5. Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Edited by Howard L. Conard Vol. IV, Pages 327-328. Published 1901
  6. The Post-Telegraph newspaper, Mercer, Missouri. April 1960.
  7. Rogers' Souvenir History of Mercer County, by W.B. Rogers. 714 pages. Published 1911.
  8. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  9. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  10. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  11. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  12. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  13. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  14. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. USGenWeb: GNIS Query Results, Mercer County, Missouri
  16. USGenWeb Project, Mercer County, Missouri

Coordinates: 40°25′N 93°34′W / 40.42°N 93.57°W / 40.42; -93.57

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