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Photograph of Clark County Court House at Kahoka, and history of location of county seat to 1872

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 Picture of Clark County Court House through the courtesy of Clark County Historical Society



History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri

The Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1887

Page 286 - 288

"whereas it appears to the satisfaction of the county court that the commissioners appointed by said court to re-locate and remove the seat of justice of Clark County, and select a suitable place for the erection of public buildings of said county, have selected the most suitable place for election of public buildings: therefore be it ordered that the place so selected, to wit: Block number five in Johnson’s addition to the town of Kahoka, shall be the permanent seat of justice of Clark County. And that the donation received by said commissioners, to wit: block five in Johnson’s addition to the town of Kahoka by William Johnson and wife, and also the donation of $12,000 in cash by John Hiller, be and the same is hereby accepted by the county court of said county, and that the report of said commissioners be and the same is hereby approved.

According to the foregoing order of the court the reader would understand that William Johnson and wife donated the square on which the courthouse stands to the county. This, however, is not strictly true for reason that Messrs Hiram M Hiller, John M. Hiller, C. B. Matlock and John E. Stafford had previously bough the land on which the courthouse stands, and taken a bond for a deed for same from the said Johnson, so that the donation was actually made by Hiller & Co., and by their direction the title was maid directly from Johnson and wife to the county. However Mr. Johnson is entitled to credit for making a large donation, besides doing a vast amount of work in order to secure the location of the county seat at Kahoka. The county court would not accept a donation of town lots, but wanted a donation of money with which to erect a courthouse. In order to raise the money Mr. Johnson and others donated to Hill & Co. about forty town lots, and the citizens subscribed $2,000, to be paid in cash. This subscription was also turned over to Hiller & Co. This firm then furnished $12,000 in money to the county, and had in satisfaction therefor the aforesaid town lots and the $2,000 promised on the subscription list, and of which about one-fourth has never been paid to them. P. S. Washburn was then appointed superintendent of the public buildings of Clark County. Messers J. G. Orr and P. H. Conner, of Quincy, Ill., secured the contract for building the courthouse for the sum of $18,985, and on the 19th of January 1871, they filed their bond in the sum of $40,000, conditioned to build said house according to the plans and specifications which were a part of their contract. The courthouse was accordingly erected by said contractors during the year 1871, and the first term of county court was held therein, beginning January15, 1872. It is a substantial two-story brick building 45 x 72 feet in size. It has a basement story in which the county jail is located. The first story above the basement contains halls, stairway and the county offices, and the second contains the courtroom. In the county offices are fire proof vaults in which to keep the public records. It is located on the center of Block No. 5. in Johnson’s addition to Kahoka, as before mentioned, and is surrounded with many beautiful shade trees. At the May term in 1872 of the county court, Peter S. Washburn, superintendent of public buildings, made settlement, showing that he had been furnished by the county $10,000 in bonds, $12,000 in cash, $815 in warrants, $22,815 in all, and that he had paid out for public buildings the sum of $22,815.86, leaving a balance of 86 cents due him. Out of this sum he had paid Messrs Orr and Conner $19,042. The balance he had paid out for constructing a jail in the basement, and for other purposes pertaining to public buildings. His report was accepted and approved.

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