Webster County Courthouse

The Webster County Court House is located on the square in Marshfield, Missouri. They are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Central Time zone). Closed holidays (Missouri celebrates Truman's Birthday May 8, nothing else different.) Charges as of 1996 for copies are $1.00 per page, certified copies add $1.00, except for certified marriage licenses which are $9.00. Webster County is not on line yet.

Records at Courthouse

Courthouse burned in 1863; destroyed by cyclone in 1881.

Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds, 1854-1887; Deed records, 1855-1925; Marriage license records, 1855-1921; Marriage license register, 1883-1918.

Clerk of the County Court: Permanent record of births, 1883-1884; Register of births and stillbirths, 1883-1893; Permanent record of deaths, 1883-1884; Record of state board of health, 1883-1905.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Circuit court records, 1855-1898.

Clerk of the Probate Court: Probate records, 1856-1886; Probate minutes, 1879-1882; Administratorís/executorís letters, bonds and records, 1871-1898; Inventories, appraisements and sale bills, 1871-1889; Settle≠ment records, 1871 -1890; Guardianís/curatorís records, 1871-1898; Will records, 1870-1924.

Phone numbers are as follows:
Circuit Clerk: 417-859-2006
Recorder: 417-468-2173
Probate 417-859-2041

Address:
Webster County Courthouse, Marshfield, MO 65706

History

Webster County, organized in 1855, contained areas previously located in Greene and Wright Counties. Sixty acres of land were donated for the county seat. The land was divided into building lots by July 1856 and became Marshfield.

In November 1856 the court appropriated $1,000 and authorized construction of a courthouse on the east side of the square. James M. Allen was appointed superintendent.

The rectangular building measured 20 by 40 feet with the narrow side facing the square. Its two stories were framed with oak and built on a rock foundation. The walls were painted white, windows shuttered, and an outdoor staircase ascended the building's south side. John C. Andrews, contractor, completed the courthouse during August 1857. It was destroyed by fire in 1863 in a Civil War incident.

In 1860 the County Court envisioned a grand courthouse in the center of the square and appropriated $28,000, but the war interrupted the plan. Activity resumed in march 1868 when the court appropriated $18,000 and gave a contract to Dr. E. Hovey for $17,531.40. Hovey completed the building in January 1870. The large, two-story, brick courthouse had a hip roof and round arched windows, with a string course marking division of the two stories.

The second story was damaged by a tornado on April 18, 1880. R. P. Goodall and Frank A. Bradshaw from Laclede received the contract for repair work June 8, 1880, and added a cupola above the entry.

In the 20th century numerous complaints were made about the deplorable condition of the building. But it was not until an engineering firm from Springfield made an alarming report on the building's condition in February 1930 that the county vacated the offices of the clerk and County Court and closed the courtroom. Others apparently continued using this building until 1939 when it was razed as construction began on the present courthouse. Brick from the old building was used in constructing interior walls of the present courthouse.

Preliminaries were begun in 1935 for a new courthouse. E. R. Sanford, architect from Springfield, drew plans, but problems arose, and the project was canceled. In 1938 a bond issue carried, and the court accepted the plans of another Springfield architect, Earl Hawkins, in October 1938 (see Figure 3). Work Projects Administration approval of the plans came in June 1939. Carthage stone was selected for the building material. Total costs of Webster County's present courthouse amounted to about $150,000; final work was completed late in 1941.

Copyright 2002 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia and permission granted to reprint here.