County Seat of Jefferson County, Missouri

Intro by Lisa K. Gendron

The county of Jefferson, taken from the southern portion of St. Louis County, was organized by act of the Territorial Legislature Dec. 8, 1818. L. B. Boyd, Thomas Evens, Jacob Wise, William Bates, William Null, Peter McCormick and Henry Metz, were appointed commissioners to select a seat for the new county. Herculaneum was selected. James Bryant and his wife donated land on which to erect the public buildings. The first term of Circuit Court was held here on March 25, 1819, by Nathaniel B. Tucker, judge of the Northern Circuit ; Samuel Woodson, clerk; and Andrew Scott, sheriff.

However, after a few years, rapidly changing county lines created a demand for a more central location. Finally a petition to the court resulted in the appointment of Minor Mothershead, Thomas Hurst, William Hurst, Jesse Phillips, and Paschal Detchemundy, commissioners to consider removal to a more central place. A site was selected and voted on at a general election held in Aug., 1832. Charles Mothershead was appointed commissioner of the county seat at the Sept., 1834 term. After he resigned, Clinton Mothershead was appointed in his stead. Hugh O'Neal and Samuel Merry, owners of the new site donated the same to the county, April 7, 1838, but the matter was not settled until by act of the legislature, Feb. 8, 1839. The town, first called Monticello, was surveyed and laid out by George W. Waters, surveyor. The name was soon changed to Hillsboro.

Dailey Commercial Bulletin, St. Louis MO - June 13 1836

The sale of lots in this town will take place on the 21st day of June, 1836. It is in the heart of a mineral country. The district in which it lies is very well watered - the negro fork of the Maremech, called Big River and the Joachim and Platten creeks flow not far from it. It is on the direct route from St. Louis to Belleview or the Iron Mountain, and the rail road must pass immediately by it. This is a portion of that finely timbered mineral region, well adapted to the production of wheat and small grain, which is now attracting the notice of the community. As to the present mode of travelling there, a passage from St. Louis to Herculaneum of about three or four hours in a steam boat can be had any day of the week, from which a ride of fifteen miles will take the traveller to Monticello, which is the centre of the county of Jefferson. Monticello is in the vicinity of the Big River Lead Mines that now afford the finest prospects.


Journal of the Senate of the State of Missouri



Mr. Alford presented to the Senate, A petition from sundry citizens of Jefferson praying that the county seat of said county may be removed from Herculaneum the present county seat to Hillsborough in said county, Which was read, and On his motion, Was referred to a select committee, Which Mr. President named to consist of Messrs. Alford, Campbell and Sterigere.

Image of the petition (no signatures)


Petition for removal of county seat from Herculaneum

Missouri State Historical Society - Columbia Western Historical Manuscript Collection

Transcribed by Kim Miller & Lisa K. Gendron. Many thanks to Jim Johnston for his help in verifying many of these signatures.

I tried my best to verify as many of these signature as possible. If you see a family name that I have wrong, please let me know.  Spellings are as written in the document.


For a county seat in the same vicinity and further that the county seat shall be removed from Herculaneum to this place above designated and your petitioning as in duty bound rule forever pray July 19,1826


Note on how to match the signature image pages to the following list. The first three images are one long list. The list below goes all the way down the left side of the first three images, and then down the right side of all three images. Then, it starts at the top left of the next three images and then to the right column to the end. In order to not cut off any names, a few of the signatures from the bottom of each page will appear at the top of the next page.


List of signatures: 

Left column of first three images

Signature page 1Signature page 2Signature page 3

Thomas Williams

Avington K. Willson

William Wright

Thomas Moss

Mark Moss

Edward Butler

James Doyle

Moses? ___

A L Wilcox

Thos P.  Bucker

Saml McMullin

Lennerd Parker

Abm. Gibbs

James Thoburn

Jas Wright

T.W. Rogers

Joseph McMullin

Thomas Brewer

Jesse Knighton

Hugh McTernan

Mike Munagan

James Dornseif

Mat (or Hart) Diel

Rbt Caving

John Brooks

Elisha Westbrook

James Robinson

James Whithead

J Thomas Whitehead

Wm Robinson

Samuel Whitehead

Robert Whitehead

Ammon Knighton

Daniel Cox

T W McGuire

Thomas Coleman

John Staples

Samuel Staples

Isaiah Goza

John Hensley

Mathew McPeake

David Stong

Thomas Herd

Louis Bolduc

William Mothershead

Thomas Lord

Isaac Hellenbrand

Samuel Herrington

John Bittick

Jonathan Hillibran

James Jones

Thomas Benton

William Williams

Zephniah Nobles

Henry Pruit  (or Prewit)

Joseph Medley

Joseph Missplay  X his mark 

James Medley X his mark

Thomas Medley X his mark

James Green X his mark

James Shultz

John Wilson X his mark

David Dove

George Grayham X his mark

George West

Christopher Shultz X his mark

Abram  Barry X his mark  (his probate is spelled Barree)

Elijah West X his mark

Aaron Yurick X his mark

Aaron ________ X his mark

Johnston Shoults

Michael Brinley

Jno Noland

Samuel Graham

J Warner

J Bors(inkblot)

William Ellis


Right side of first three images


Peter Williams

John Nichols

John Rabb

Richard Hendrickson

Aaron Cook

Michel Clover

William Graham

Barkly Aly

James Stewart

(name cut off)

Orson Baker

H.H. Jones

Milton Baker

Minor Motherhead

William Hogan

B T Hansell

Jacob Stroup

Thomas Cumins

John Hendrickson

Henry G Brown

Jonathan Drinning

A Fight

Phillip W Roberts

__ holcomb Holcomb

Moses Waddell

R Haverstick

Thomas Deane

William Rogers

William Ogel

Jonathan Strickland

Henry Haverstick

Silas Williams

Washington Brown

John Brown

Thomas Williams

Henrey Cook

Robt Ogle

George _ Haverst (there is an obstruction over the rest of the name, but I'm sure it is Haverstick)

James Nowlin

Wm Donnell

Caleb O’Haver

Adam Wilson

John G Green

David K __lly

Thomas Knight

Solomon Belew

Abraham Johnston

David Null

Isacc Willson

Enoch Holcomb

Hezakiah? Wright

James Smith

John Smith

Robert Jameson

Peter Stroup

Jesse Butler

William Drenen

William Haverstick

Philip Roberts  X his mark

Isaac Benton (same as name below)

Samuel Wilson X his mark

George Nash  X his mark

David Sullens

Wm Stewart

Isaac Benton X his mark

Joseph Rogers X his mark

P Jarvis

B. B. Byrd

Jacob Wise


Left side of second set of images

Signature Page 4Signature Page 5Signature Page 6

T. C. Trustee

John Leon

Gideon Peter Norman


Heilly W Hail

Edward E. Burns

John Johnson

Bartlet Edds

George Button

Jas Camper

Elmer Niclos

H.W. Lonhg

M___ Hargis

James Armstrong

Thos Garrity

Arthur T. Dobyus

Wm T. Cox

Jachob Weidman

Hamelton Williams

Jacob Shoulse

Richard Lemastter

Benjamin English

James R___

William Bogess

John Huskey

John Williams


William Williams

A Cottle

Isaac Cottle

Azariah Holcomb

James _ Kite

John Wright

Thomas J Kemper

Thos Edwards

James Evans

Ruben ___kes

John Waddell

William Wickerham

Samuel Charles 

William Breavy

James Cochran

Wilson McKeen

Merideth Wideman

Samuel Mun__

Daniel Eastwood

Samuel M Palmer

Tomas Evens

Lenard Couch

Richard Steen

Michael McKee

Willis ________

Joseph McKee

Robert Mculloch

Archibald McKee

Jacob Wilson

James Pounds

Hezekiah  ________

Isaac Erving

Abraham Evens

Marke? Wideman

Samuel Lappy

Anthony Lappy

Zacharich Griffin

Abraham Benton

John Gamble

John Rogers

Aquila Wickerham


Right side of second set of images


Isaac Carrow

John S Davis

Andrew Young

Thomas Trimble

Hardin Nowlin

Robert Coxwell

John McLaughlin

Abraham Hendricks

Warner Lewis

Peter Thurman

James Steen

Jim Moss

Zacharias Moore

William Steen

Samuel __ton

Bryant Deeds

Elisha T Hayward

Wm Gray

Ga J Johnston

B J Johnston

J W Fliyile (complete guess...don't recognize the name)

James Thomas

David McMeans

Anthony Thomas

Austin Byrd

B Johnston Jr.

Wm Wright

Wm Smirl

Aaron Smirl

John C Graves

R S Stewart

J Stewart

J Wise

A M Kinney

Abr Hildebrand

Jasa Blaen  (complete guess...don't recognize the name)

N. Wise

George Carter

Alexander McMeans

Jacob Swaney

Henry Boli

Samuel Byrns

William Crow

Jacob Crow

James Hart

John Sheffield

David Hilderbrant

John McGuire

Absalom Richardson

John Hick

William Mcgates

John Leech

George Dill

George Gibson X his mark

J M Eigelbarger

John Gilmore X his mark

Levi Brinley

Fredrick C Luke X his mark

Andrew Craig

Jacob Wideman X his mark