Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

Ste. Genevieve County Courthouse
Map of Missouri highlighting Ste. Genevieve County
Location in the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded October 1, 1812
Named for Saint Genevieve
Seat Ste. Genevieve
Largest city Ste. Genevieve
  Total 507 sq mi (1,313 km2)
  Land 499 sq mi (1,292 km2)
  Water 7.6 sq mi (20 km2), 1.5%
Population (est.)
  (2015) 17,919
  Density 36/sq mi (14/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Sainte Genevieve County, often abbreviated Ste. Genevieve County (French: Ste-Geneviève), is a county located in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,145.[1] The largest city and county seat is Ste. Genevieve.[2] The county was officially organized on October 1, 1812, and is named after the Spanish district once located in the region, after Saint Genevieve, patroness of Paris, France. It includes the earliest settlement west of the Mississippi River outside of New Spain, part of the French colonial mid-Mississippi valley villages.


Ste. Genevieve County is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of St. Louis. Ste. Genevieve is the principal town and the county seat of Ste. Genevieve County with a population of around 5,000 people. Ste. Genevieve was the first permanent civilized settlement in Missouri. The actual date of establishment is, like many other dates, connected to genealogy. There is a conflict of opinion as to the exact year depending on the preferred source. The year 1735, according to Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri, and most of the descendants of the early settlers, is the most generally accepted date. Dr. Carl J. Ekberg, in his book, Colonial Ste. Genevieve, is of the opinion that the date of the establishment of Ste. Genevieve is closer to 1750, based on interpretations of early letters, maps, and Catholic Church documents. Regardless of which date one wishes to believe, Ste. Genevieve is about 250 years old.

The village of Ste. Genevieve was originally included in the Illinois Country. This was generally accepted to be all the land claimed by the French from the mouth of the Ohio River, north to the Great Lakes, and including the valleys of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers. The seat of government was established in New Orleans, and what is now Missouri became part of Upper Louisiana Territory. The early French explorers and settlers were known to have been in the Ste. Genevieve area in the very early 18th century.

Salt was a very important commodity then in the preservation of foods and curing of animal hides, and the early French settlers were quick to exploit the salt springs on Saline Creek just below Ste. Genevieve. Mineral explorations lead Renault and La Motte to the area, and some of the very earliest lead mines were named for La Motte in nearby Madison County.

Probably the biggest factor in the establishment of Ste. Genevieve was agriculture. Across the Mississippi River in Fort de Chartres and Kaskaskia, there was a growing need for agricultural land for the colonists. Across the Mississippi from Fort Kaskaskia was a large fertile section of river bottom, called the "Grand Champ" or Big Field. The "Old Town" of Ste. Genevieve was originally located here. It was approximately three miles south of the present site of Ste. Genevieve. The village of Ste. Genevieve was originally an offshoot of the older French communities on the east bank of the Mississippi River—Cahokia, Kaskaskia, village of Chartres, Prairie du Rocher, and St. Philippe. The rich agricultural lands of the river bottoms were main attractions that lured most all of the early French pioneers to Ste. Genevieve. All the civil and legal business of Ste. Genevieve was transacted at Kaskaskia until about 1766 when the first commandant, Philippe de Rocheblave, was installed at Ste. Genevieve.

The present site of the town of Ste. Genevieve was moved to its present higher location, from the river bottoms after the devastating floods of 1785. According to a sworn statement by one Julien Labriere, in October 1825, "there were about fifty or sixty cabins in the old village. The old village was overflowed so as to be on the tops of houses. The water in many places was twelve or fifteen feet deep." Although the Mississippi River was a natural barrier, travel back and forth was frequent and common. The first commercial ferry at Ste. Genevieve was established about 1800. When Missouri was first being settled, the Osage Native Americans were the only tribe between the Osage River and the Mississippi. They were of the same stock as the Sioux and were hostile to the whites. Around 1787, the Spanish government, who had acquired the territory from France in 1762, brought in a band of Shawnee and Delaware Native Americans, who had been friendly to the French, to help protect the settlers from the Osage. After the French had established and settled Ste. Genevieve, the first American settlers started showing up in about 1788, and trickled upriver from Cape Girardeau and New Madrid. Starting about 1794, Americans began migrating into the Ste. Genevieve District from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Starting around 1840, German Catholics began settling around New Offenburg and Zell, and shortly after German Lutherans began spreading into Ste. Genevieve from Perry County.

In 1800, France reacquired Louisiana from Spain, and in 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte I sold it to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase. U.S. officials took over in 1804 and Ste. Genevieve County was formed in 1812 as an original county, from the old Ste. Genevieve District. It is bordered on the east by the Mississippi River, on the north by Jefferson County, on the west by St. Francois County, and on the south by Perry County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 507 square miles (1,310 km2), of which 499 square miles (1,290 km2) is land and 7.6 square miles (20 km2) (1.5%) is water.[3] The county's northeastern border with Illinois is formed by the Mississippi River.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201517,919[4]−1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790-1960[6] 1900-1990[7]
1990-2000[8] 2010-2015[1]

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 17,842 people, 6,586 households, and 4,926 families residing in the county. The population density was 36 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 8,018 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.03% White, 0.72% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Approximately 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,586 households out of which 35.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.60% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.20% were non-families. 21.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 27.90% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,764, and the median income for a family was $56,170. Males had a median income of $33,609 versus $18,875 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,876. About 6.00% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 7.90% of those age 65 or over.


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Ste. Genevieve County, 73.8% possesses a high school diploma or higher while 8.1% holds a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

Private schools



The Democratic Party completely controls politics at the local level in Ste. Genevieve County. Democrats hold every elected position in the county.

Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Linda Wagner Democratic
Circuit Clerk Diana Grass Democratic
County Clerk Sue Wolk Democratic
Collector Phyllis A. Vessell Democratic
Garry L. Nelson Democratic
(District 1)
Randy J. Bahr Democratic
(District 2)
Joseph Gettinger Democratic
Coroner Eric Basler Democratic
Prosecuting Attorney Carl Kinsky Democratic
Public Administrator Mary Jo Ramer Democratic
Recorder Peggy Yamnitz Democratic
Sheriff Gary Stolzer Democratic
Surveyor Gerald Bader Democratic
Treasurer Judy E. Thomas Democratic
Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 36.15% 2,878 61.35% 4,884 2.50% 199
2008 32.87% 2,861 65.48% 5,699 1.65% 144
2004 46.90% 3,845 51.32% 4,208 1.78% 146
2000 48.36% 3,525 48.76% 3,554 2.88% 210
1996 37.31% 2,515 60.23% 4,060 2.46% 166
1992 33.97% 2,372 66.03% 4,610 0.00% 0
1988 55.65% 3,437 43.57% 2,691 0.78% 48
1984 51.53% 3,070 48.47% 2,888 0.00% 0
1980 40.19% 2,490 59.60% 3,692 0.21% 13
1976 42.21% 2,260 57.70% 3,089 0.09% 5


Ste. Genevieve County is divided into two legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives.

All of Ste. Genevieve County is a part of Missouri's 3rd District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by State Senator Gary Romine (R-Farmington). The 3rd Senatorial District consists of Iron, Reynolds, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson County. In 2012, Romine defeated Democrat Joseph Fallert, Jr., a state representative with four terms, by winning the entire 3rd District, although Fallert beat Romine in Ste. Genevieve County by 4,905 to 3,061.


U.S. Senate — Missouri — Ste. Genevieve County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Claire McCaskill 4,758 59.80
Republican Todd Akin 2,735 34.38
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 463 5.82

Ste. Genevieve County is included in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Jason T. Smith (R-Salem) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to finish out the remaining term of U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau). Emerson announced her resignation a month after being reelected with over 70 percent of the vote in the district. She resigned to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative.

U.S. House of Representatives - District 8 – Ste. Genevieve County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jo Ann Emerson 4,711 60.97
Democratic Jack Rushin 2,761 35.73
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 255 3.30
U.S. House of Representatives - District 8 - Special Election – Ste. Genevieve County (2013)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jason T. Smith 579 54.37 -6.60
Democratic Steve Hodges 451 42.35 +6.62
Constitution Doug Enyart 17 1.60 +1.60
Libertarian Bill Slantz 12 1.13 -2.17
Write-in Wayne L. Byington 6 0.56 +0.56
U.S. House of Representatives — District 8 — Ste. Genevieve County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jason T. Smith 1,983 51.94 -2.43
Democratic Barbara Stocker 1,461 38.27 -4.08
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 98 2.57 +1.44
Constitution Doug Enyart 137 3.59 +1.99
Independent Terry Hampton 139 3.64 +3.64

Political culture

Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 50.25% 4,055 47.25% 3,813 2.50% 202
2008 42.29% 3,732 56.42% 4,979 1.29% 114
2004 46.54% 3,791 52.55% 4,281 0.91% 74
2000 47.94% 3,505 49.24% 3,600 2.82% 206
1996 30.89% 2,078 53.47% 3,597 15.64% 1,052
1992 24.94% 1,780 53.17% 3,795 21.68% 1,547
1988 41.08% 2,532 58.60% 3,612 0.32% 20
1984 54.37% 3,245 45.63% 2,723 0.00% 0
1980 44.00% 2,768 52.84% 3,324 3.16% 199
1976 41.72% 2,241 57.54% 3,091 0.74% 40

Unlike many other rural counties throughout Missouri, Ste. Genevieve is one of the most reliably Democratic strongholds in presidential elections. George W. Bush lost Ste. Genevieve County both times in 2000 and 2004; in 2004, it was one of only four counties (the independent city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County) that voted for John Kerry. Unlike other rural counties throughout Missouri, Ste. Genevieve County was one of only nine counties in Missouri that favored Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008. The Democratic dominant streak in Ste. Genevieve County, however, was broken in 2012 when Mitt Romney carried it by three points over President Barack Obama. This was the first time that a Republican presidential nominee had won Ste. Genevieve County since Ronald Reagan carried the county in his landslide reelection bid in 1984.

Like most rural counties throughout Missouri, voters in Ste. Genevieve County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles but are more moderate or populist on economic issues, typical of the Dixiecrat philosophy. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Ste. Genevieve County with 75.25 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Ste. Genevieve County with 56.22 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Ste. Genevieve County’s longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Ste. Genevieve County with 79.26 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 78.99 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.

Missouri Presidential Preference Primary (2008)

Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri
2008 Republican primary in Missouri
John McCain 518 (40.76%)
Mike Huckabee 419 (32.97%)
Mitt Romney 270 (21.24%)
Ron Paul 47 (3.70%)
Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri
2008 Democratic primary in Missouri
Hillary Clinton 1,922 (62.36%)
Barack Obama 1,050 (34.07%)
John Edwards (withdrawn) 85 (2.76%)



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns


See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  4. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  5. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  6. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  7. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  8. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  9. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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