Created: March 3, 1835 under an act of the Missouri General Assembly.
Organized: 14 Sept 1835 from Jackson County. When the Justices James McClellan and William Savage, met in McClellan's residence about three miles southeast of Peculiar. William Lyon was appointed clerk of the court and county government was organized, included the setting up of Grand River Township.
ACT ORGANIZING VAN BUREN COUNTY.
Be it enacted by the General Asseinbly of the State of Missouri, as follows :
- All that portion of country included within the following limits, shall be and is hereby organized into a separate and distinct county, to be known as the County of Van Buren. All the rights and privileges granted to separate and distinct counties, be, and the same are hereby extended to the said County of Van Buren ; Bounded as follows, to wit : Beginning at a point on the middle of range twenty-nine, where the same intersects the township line, between townships forty-six and forty- seven; thence west, with said township line to the state boundary ; thence south, with said state boundary, toa point where the township line, be- tween townships thirty-nine and forty, intersects the same with said township line ; east to the range line between ranges twenty-eight and twenty-nine ; thence north along said range line, to a point three miles east of the southwest corner of Johnson County ; thence west to the southwest corner of Johnson County ; thence north, along the middle of range twenty-nine, or Johnson County line to the point of beginning.
- The northern boundary line of Van Buren, as constituted by the foregoing section, shall be the permanent southern boundary of Jackson County, and all the territory included in the County of Bates, shall be, for all civil and military purposes, attached to Van Buren, until the said County of Bates shall be organized into a separate and distinct county, by law.
- The County of Van Buren shall be added to, and compose apart of, the Eighteenth Senatorial District, and shall, in conjunction with the County of Jackson, elect one senator at the general election in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-eight ; the said County of Van Buren shall form a part of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, and the courts to be holden in said county, shall be held at the house of James W. McClellan until the tribunal transacting county business shall fix on a temporary seat of justice. The county courts of said county shall be holden on the first Mondays of February, May, August and November.
- David Ward, of Lafayette, Samuel Hink and William Brown, of Jackson County, are hereby appointed commissioners to select the per- manent seat of justice for said county, and the same shall be selected as near the geographical center of said county as a suitable place can be obtained, not exceeding five miles from the center thereof, and the said commissioners shall be invested with ah' the powers granted to com- missioners under the existing laws, in relation to the selection of seats of justice.
- The governor is authorized to appoint three justices of the county court of said county, who shall hold their offices until the next general election in the year 1836, and until their successors are duly elected, commissioned and qualified.
- All taxes due the County of Jackson by persons residing within the County of Van Buren shall be collected, in all respects as if this act had not passed. And all suits which have been commenced against citizens residing within the County of Van Buren shall be prosecuted and decided as though this act had not passed.
This act to take effect and be in force from and after the passage thereof. May 3, 1835.
First called Van Buren, in honor of Pres. Van Buren, Whom the Missourians delighted to honor at that time; but after he had been the presidential candidate of the Free Soil party in the preceding canvass; the democratic legislature changed the name to Cass County on February 19, 1849, to honor, Lewis Cass, of Michigan. He had been the Democratic candidate in 1848, and had been defeated by Gen. Taylor.
ACT CHANGING ITS NAME TO CASS.
Be it enacted by the General A ssembly of the State of Missouri, as follows :
- All that portion of country included in the limits of Van Buren county, as now established and defined by law, shall hereafter be known and called Cass County, instead of Van Buren County.
- All laws in force relating to the County of Van Buren, shall be construed to apply in all respects to the County of Cass, and all acts and things done and performed, and contracts made, and all acts, things and contracts which may be done, performed or made before the first day of July, 1849, in the name of the County of Van Buren, shall be as valid and binding in all places and on all parties concerned, as if done, performed or made in the name of Cass County ; and all contracts or business made or entered into, or which may be made or entered into, prior to the first day of July, 1849, in the name of the County of Van Buren, may be continued and completed in the name of Van Buren County ; Pro- vided, however, that this act shall not be construed to require any con- tracts made or business entered into after the passage of this act, to be made or entered into in the name of Van Buren County ; but the same may be made, entered into and completed in the name of Cass County.
- All rights which said county had under the name of Van Buren County, shall still remain in full force under the name of Cass County ; and all claims, rights and demands of every kind, which any person or persons may have against said County of Van Buren, shall remain in full force against the County of Cass, and this act shall not be construed to ef- fect the right of property in any manner whatever ; but all contracts to which said County of Van Buren may be a party, or in which said County of Van Buren may be interested, shall be carried out and completed in the manner indicated in the second section of this act.
- All officers, civil and military, appointed or elected, or to be ap- pointed or elected, for said County of Van Buren, shall be deemed and taken to be appointed or elected for the County of Cass and are hereby authorized to act as such, and all courts heretofore established and directed by law to be held in the County of Van Buren, shall in all respects apply to the County of Cass.
This act shall be enforced from and after its passage. Approved February 19, 1849.
Lewis Cass, an American statesman, born at Exeter, New Hampshire, October 9, 1782, died in Detroit, Michigan, June 17, 1866. He was the eldest son of Jonathan Cass, who served in the Revolution and rose to the rank of major in the army. In 1799 he was stationed at Wilmington, Delaware, where his son found employment as a teacher. In the following year the family went to Marietta, Ohio, where Lewis studied law, and in 1802 he was admitted to the bar and began to practice in Zanesville. In 1806, he married Elizabeth Spencer, of Wood County, Virginia, and shortly afterward was elected a member of the Legislature. In this capacity he drew up the address to Jefferson embodying the views of the Legislature on Aaron Burr's expedition and drafted the law under which Burr's boats and provisions, built and collected in Ohio, were seized. From 1807 to 1813 he was state marshal. In the war of 1812 he was colonel of the Third Ohio Volunteers, under General Hull, and after Hull's surrender was appointed colonel of the Twenty seventh infantry, and was shortly after promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. At the close of the campaign he was in command of Michigan, and in October 1813, was appointed governor of the territory. He acted as governor, and ex officio, as superintendent of Indian affairs for eighteen years, during which time he negotiated twenty-two treaties, secured, by cession of different tribes, immense tracts of land in the Northwest, instituted surveys, constructed roads, built forts and organized counties and townships.
The county seat is, Harrisonville, MO 64701, and was named for Hon. A. G. Harrison, of Callaway.
The three southern tiers of townships were relinquished to Bates County on Feb. 22, 1855.Population of Cass County, Mo. in 1870-19,296; 1876-18,069; 1880-22,431
According to the 1990 census Cass County had a population of 70,492 residents. In the 2000 census there was a population of 82,092.