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Clay County, Missouri

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Clay County, Missouri

Clay County, Missouri
South side of the Clay County Courthouse (designed by Wight and Wight) in Liberty
Map of Missouri highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded January 2, 1822
Seat Liberty
Largest city Kansas City
 • Total 409 sq mi (1,059 km2)
 • Land 397 sq mi (1,028 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (28 km2), 2.8%
 • (2010) 221,939
 • Density 559/sq mi (216/km²)
Congressional districts 5th, 6th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .gov.claycountymowww

Clay County is a U.S. Representative Henry Clay from Kentucky, later member of the United States Senate and United States Secretary of State.[3][4]

Clay County is part of the Kansas City, MO-KS Metropolitan Statistical Area and contains many of the city's northern suburbs, along with a substantial portion of the City of Kansas City itself.

Clay County owns and operates the Midwest National Air Center in Excelsior Springs.


Clay County was settled primarily from migrants from the Upper Southern states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. They brought slaves and slaveholding traditions with them, and quickly started cultivating crops similar to those in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky: hemp and tobacco. Clay was one of several counties settled mostly by Southerners to the north and south of the Missouri River. Given their culture and traditions, this area became known as Little Dixie. In 1860 slaves made up 25 percent or more of the county's population.[5] Residents generally supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, as the Confederate flag flew over the county courthouse for many years following the end of the Civil War.

Many members of the Latter Day Saint movement found refuge in Clay County in November 1833. In 1836 mobs drove the members of the church from the county.[6] Leaders of this church, most notably President Joseph Smith, Jr., were imprisoned for some months in Clay County in the jail at Liberty (see Liberty Jail). In May 2012 the LDS Church opened a Kansas City Missouri Temple six miles southwest of the Liberty Jail site at 7001 Searcy Creek Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri.[7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 409 square miles (1,060 km2), of which 397 square miles (1,030 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (2.8%) is water.[8] It is the fourth-smallest county in Missouri by area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


As of the census[13] of 2010, there were 221,939 people, 72,558 households, and 50,137 families residing in the county. The population density was 558 people per square mile (216/km²). There were 93,918 housing units at an average density of 236 per square mile (91/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.46% White, 5.18% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 2.05% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 1.77% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Approximately 5.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. As of the census[14] of 2000 23.3% were of German, 14.5% American, 11.0% English, 10.8% Irish and 5.6% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 72,558 households out of which 33.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.40% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were non-families. 25.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 32.30% from 25 to 44, 22.30% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,347, and the median income for a family was $56,772. Males had a median income of $40,148 versus $27,681 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,144. About 3.80% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.40% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.

There are 151,042 registered voters.[15]


Public schools

  • Excelsior Springs School District No. 40 – Excelsior Springs
    • Elkhorn Elementary School (K–5)
    • Lewis Elementary School (PK–5)
    • Westview Elementary School (K–5)
    • Excelsior Springs Middle School (6–8)
    • Excelsior Springs High School (9–12)
    • Excelsior Springs Technical High School (12) – Alternative/Technical School
  • Kearney R-I School District – Kearney
    • Dogwood Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Hawthorne Elementary School (K–5)
    • Holt Elementary School (K–5)
    • Kearney Elementary School (K–5)
    • Southview Elementary School (K–5)
    • Kearney Middle School (6–7)
    • Kearney Junior High School (8–9)
    • Kearney High School (10–12)
  • Liberty School District No. 53 – Liberty
    • Liberty Early Childhood Education Center (Pre-K)
    • Alexander Doniphan Elementary School (K–5)
    • Franklin Elementary School (K–5)
    • Kellybrook Elementary School (K–5) – Kansas City
    • Lewis & Clark Elementary School (K–5)
    • Liberty Oaks Elementary School (K–5) – Kansas City
    • Lillian Schumacher Elementary School (K–5)
    • Manor Hill Elementary School (K–5)
    • Ridgeview Elementary School (K–5)
    • Shoal Creek Elementary School (K–5)
    • Warren Hills Elementary School (K–5)
    • Liberty Middle School (6–7)
    • South Valley Middle School (6–7)
    • Liberty Junior High School (8–9)
    • South Valley Junior High School (8–9)
    • Liberty High School (10–12)
    • Liberty North High School (10–12)
  • Missouri City School District No. 56 – Missouri City
    • Missouri City Elementary School (K–8)
  • North Kansas City School District No. 74 – North Kansas City
    • Bell Prairie Elementary School (K–5)
    • Briarcliff Elementary School (K–5)
    • Chapel Hill Elementary School (K–5)
    • Chouteu Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Clardy Elementary School (2–5)
    • Crestview Elementary School (K–5)
    • Davidson Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Fox Hill Elementary School (K–5)
    • Gashland Elementary School (K–1)
    • Gracemor Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Lakewood Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Linden West Elementary School (K–5) – Gladstone
    • Maplewood Elementary School (K–5)
    • Meadowbrook Elementary School (K–5)
    • Nashua Elementary School (K–5)
    • Northview Elementary School (K–5)
    • Oakwood Manor Elementary School (K–5)
    • Ravenwood Elementary School (K–5)
    • Topping Elementary School (K–5)
    • West Englewood Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Winnwood Elementary School (Pre-K–5)
    • Antioch Middle School (6–8)
    • Eastgate Middle School (6–8)
    • Maple Park Middle School (6–8)
    • New Mark Middle School (6–8)
    • Northgate Middle School (6–8)
    • North Kansas City High School (9–12)
    • Oak Park High School (9–12)
    • Staley High School (9–12)
    • Winnetonka High School (9–12)
  • Smithville R-II School District – Smithville
    • Smithville Elementary School (Pre-K–2)
    • Smithville Upper Elementary School (3–5)
    • Smithville Middle School (6–8)
    • Smithville High School (9–12)

Private schools




The three person Clay County Commission oversees the issues of Clay County. The current makeup of the commissioners is two Republicans and one Democrat.

Clay County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Cathy Rinehart Democratic
Circuit Clerk Stephen Haymes Democratic
County Clerk Sheri Chapman Republican
Collector Lydia McEvoy Republican
Pamela Mason Republican
(District 1)
Luann Ridgeway Republican
(District 2)
Gene Owen Democratic
Prosecuting Attorney Dan White Democratic
Public Administrator Debra L. Gwin Democratic
Recorder Jay Lawson Republican
Sheriff Paul Vescovo Republican
Treasurer Ted Graves Republican


Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 38.64% 41,518 58.95% 63,341 2.40% 2,583
2004 46.70% 44,763 51.72% 49,573 1.58% 1,520
2000 46.57% 36,983 51.31% 40,747 2.12% 1,689
1996 34.29% 23,524 63.54% 43,593 2.18% 1,493

Clay County is divided into six legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives, five of which are held by Republicans and one by a Democrat.

  • District 31 – Jay Swearingin (D-North Kansas City). Consists of the communities of Avondale and North Kansas City, and under a tenth of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 31 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jay Swearingin 4,669 51.27
Republican Matthew K. Thompson 4,437 48.73
  • District 33 – Jerry Nolte (R-Gladstone). Consists of the communities of Claycomo, Gladstone, Oaks, Oakview, Oakwood, Oakwood Park, and Pleasant Valley, and a small part of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 33 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jerry Nolte 7,853 65.13
Democratic Jim Stoufer 4,204 34.87
  • District 34 – Myron Neth (R-Liberty). Consists of the communities of Birmingham, Glenaire, Liberty, Randolph, and a small portion of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 34 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Myron Neth 6,551 54.56
Democratic Mark Ellebracht 5,457 45.44
  • District 35 – T.J. Berry (R-Kearney). Consists of the communities of Holt, Kearney, Missouri City, Mosby, Pleasant Valley, Smithville, and a small portion of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 35 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican T.J. Berry 13,656 69.49
Democratic Jim Baldwin 5,997 30.51
  • District 36 – Bob Nance (R-Excelsior Springs). Consists of the communities of Excelsior Estates, Excelsior Springs, Lawson, and Prathersville.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 36 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bob Nance 2,272 69.65
Democratic Barbara Lanning 990 30.35
  • District 38 – Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City). Consists of a portion of Gladstone and less than a tenth of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 38 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Ryan Silvey 9,133 69.65
Democratic Debbie Colozza 3,979 30.35

Clay County is divided into two districts in the Missouri Senate, both of which are held by Republicans.

  • District 17 – Luann Ridgeway (R-Smithville). Consists of the communities of Avondale, Birmingham, Claycomo, Gladstone, Glenaire, Holt, Liberty, Missouri City, Mosby, North Kansas City, Oaks, Oakview, Oakwood, Oakwood Park, Pleasant Valley, Prathersville, Randolph, Smithville, Sugar Creek, and a fifth of the city of Kansas City.
Missouri Senate - District 17 – Clay County (2008)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Luann Ridgeway 50,451 53.09
Democratic Sandra Aust 44,578 46.91
  • District 21 – Bill Stouffer (R-Napton). Consists of the communities of Excelsior Estates, Excelsior Springs, Kearney, and Lawson.
Missouri Senate - District 21 – Clay County (2008)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Stouffer 6,035 59.72
Democratic Joe Sadeghi 4,071 40.28


All of Clay 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 – Clay County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Sam Graves 45,210 65.17
Democratic Clint Hylton 24,142 34.80
Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 49.55% 54,516 48.86% 53,761 1.59% 1,748
2004 53.07% 51,193 46.31% 44,670 0.62% 597
2000 48.75% 39,083 48.75% 39,084 2.50% 2,006
1996 41.85% 28,935 47.15% 32,603 11.00% 7,609


Notable natives

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 277. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 83. 
  5. ^ T. J. Stiles, Jesse James: The Last Rebel of the Civil War, New York: Vintage Books, 2003, pp.10-11
  6. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1941) p. 144-145
  7. ^ "Kansas City Missouri LDS (Mormon) Temple". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  14. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  15. ^ Registered Voters in Missouri 2008

Further reading

  • Woodson, W.H. History of Clay County, Missouri (1920) online

External links

  • Clay County government's website
  • Clay County Economic Development Council website
  • Digitized 1930 Plat Book of Clay County from University of Missouri Division of Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books
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