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Kirksville is the county seat of Adair County, Missourimarker, United States. It is located in Benton Townshipmarker. The population was 16,988 at the 2000 census. Kirksville also anchors a micropolitan area that comprises Adair and Schuylermarker counties. The city is perhaps best known as the location of Truman State Universitymarker and A.marker T.marker Still Universitymarker.


Kirksville is located at (40.19368958, -92.58285181) .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27.2 km²), of which, 10.5 square miles (27.1 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.38%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 16,988 people, 6,583 households, and 2,975 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,624.0 people per square mile (627.1/km²). There were 7,303 housing units at an average density of 698.2/sq mi (269.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.38% White, 1.73% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.59% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

There were 6,583 households out of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.8% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city the population was spread out with 15.6% under the age of 18, 37.6% from 18 to 24, 20.5% from 25 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 82.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,836, and the median income for a family was $36,772. Males had a median income of $26,776 versus $22,309 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,388. About 14.4% of families and 30.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.


The first permanent settlement in Adair County began in 1828. Most of the settlers were from Kentuckymarker. This was twenty-five years after the Louisiana Purchase, seven years after Missouri was granted statehood, and four years after the Sac and Fox Indians surrendered their claims to the land. The original settlement was called "Cabins of White Folks" or simply "The Cabins", and was located six miles (10 km) west of present-day Kirksville, along the Chariton River. The area was named after John Adair who was governor of Kentucky at the time. In Violette's History of Adair County the town has been identified with "Long Point" and "Hopkinsville." However, a small block-house is distinctly cited as being built in 1832 "on the ridge at Long Point, just outside the city limits of Kirksville."

Origin of Name

According to tradition, Jesse Kirk, Kirksville's first postmaster, shared a dinner of turkey and whisky with surveyor working in the area on the condition that they would name the town after him. Not only the first postmaster, Kirk was also the first to own a hotel and a tavern in Kirksville (contrary to popular belief, the name of the city has no connection to John Kirk, onetime president of Truman State University). However, the grandson of Jesse Kirk reported that the town was named for Kirk's son John, a figure of local legend credited with killing two deer with a single bullet. "Hopkinsville" was explained as a joking reference to the peculiar gait of John Kirk's lame father-in-law, David Sloan; the jocular name was discarded when the village was selected for the seat of justice in Adair County.

The Big Neck War

"Cabins of White Folks", a very small settlement near what is now Kirksville, had been established for one year in July 1829, when a large party of Iowa (or Ioway), led by Chief Big Neck, returned to their former hunting grounds, in violation of treaty. One of the Ioway's dogs killed a pig, and they threatened (or according to some sources insulted) the white women. The settlers sent messengers south to Randolph Countymarker. Captain William Trammell led a party north to help, and engaged the Indians. Routed, they returned to the cabins, got the women, and headed for Huntsville. Four of the Randolph men, including Trammell, were killed in the fight. A group of militia under General John B. Clark pursued and apprehended Big Neck and his braves, Big Snake, Young Knight, and One-that-Don't-Care. The Ioway tribesmen were captured March 11, 1830, and put on trial by a grand jury of Randolph County. The jury found on March 31, 1830, that: "After examining all the witnesses, and maturely considering the charges for which these Iowa Indians are now in confinement, we find them not guilty, and they are at once discharged."

The Battle of Kirksville

The Battle of Kirksville was fought August 6-9, 1862 during the American Civil War. Union troops led by John McNeil forced Confederate volunteers under Joseph Porter to vacate the city. Casualty estimates (almost entirely Confederate) range from 150-200 dead and up to 400 wounded. According to the August 12, 1862, Quincy Herald there were 8 Federal dead and 25 wounded. The victorious Union commander, Colonel McNeil, gained brief national attention for his post-battle execution of a small number of Confederate prisoners. These prisoners had been previously captured in battle and then paroled with the understanding they would no longer take up arms against the Union, upon penalty of death if recaptured. Nonetheless, Confederate government officials were outraged, and it is said that Confederate president Jefferson Davis even called for the execution of Colonel (later Brigadier General) McNeil if he were to be captured.

The Kirksville Cyclone

On the evening of April 27, 1899, a cyclone passing through Adair County cut a path of destruction three blocks wide, killed 32 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings. The popular song "Just as the Storm Passed O'er" was based on the event, and the Kimball Piano Companymarker exploited the incident for its advertising, when one of their instruments was carried a long distance by the tornado but still found in working condition.

On May 13, 2009 Kirksville was again the victim of a large tornado. A tornado estimated as an EF2 on the Fujita scale struck the northern edge of Kirksville destroying or severely damaging many homes, several businesses, and at least one factory. Two residents living just outside the city limits were killed by the tornado, and as many as a dozen other area residents were injured.


Kirksville is home to three institutions of higher learning:


Kirksville is served by two watershed. Hazel Creek Lake (530 acres), formed in 1982, was first used as a water source the next year. The larger water source, Forest Lake (640 acres), was formed by the city in the 1950s when it dammed Big Creek. Forest Lake anchors the Thousand Hills State Parkmarker, located just west of the city.

Kirksville trash pick-up is currently conducted through the Veolia Environmental Services of Macon, MO. The company also picks up recycling and yard waste for the city.


The City of Kirksville operated the Kirksville Regional Airportmarker (formerly Clarence Cannon Airport), four miles (6 km) south of the city, by the village of Millardmarker. Kirksville, by way of La Platamarker, is serviced by Amtrak's Southwest Chief which runs along the BNSF Railway.

Kirksville once had two operational railroads that ran through town. The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad, which became Burlington Northern in 1970, ran east and west. The portion of the line that ran west of Kirksville towards Green City was abandoned and eventually torn down in the early 1950s. The portion of the line that ran east of town towards Edina, Labelle, and West Quincy was torn down in the middle 1970s. The depot which serviced along the Burlington Northern in Kirksville still stands along Elson Street just north of Cottonwood Street and plans are that it will be renovated.

Kirksville's other railroad, the Wabash Railroad, which became the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1960 and later became the Norfolk Southern Railway in 1982 after N&W merged with Southern Railway, ran north and south. In April 1992, the last official NS train ran the line between Albia, IA and Moberly, MO as the railroad announced it would abandon the line due to a loss in profit. During the summer of 1993, the railroad reopened to train traffic as the floods of the midwest affected lines around the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Trains continued to run the line until 1995. After failed attempts from buyers wanting to purchase the line and turn it into a shortline railroad, work began on tearing down the railroad from Moberly, MO northward toward La Plata, MO where it has a hookup with the BNSF Railway and from Moulton, IA southward toward La Plata, MO. The portion of the line from Moulton, IA northward towards Albia was purchased by the Appanoose County Community Railroad. In late September 1997, the tracks through Kirksville were finally torn down leaving the city without a rail line. The project to tear down the abandoned line was completed by the end of 1997.

In 1952, the United States Air Force opened a radar base that was home to the 790th Radar Squadron, an Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, in Sublette, about 10 mi (15 km) north of Kirksville. The Air Force deactivated the 790th Radar Squadron in 1968. The Federal Aviation Administration took over running the radar and most of the surrounding were given to Northeast Missouri State Universitymarker.[18590] The current radar, an Air Route Surveillance Radar - Model 3, is a long-range radar that feeds data to air traffic control centers that control aircraft flying over the region.

Three fatal airplane accidents have occurred near Kirksville:
  1. On May 6, 1935, a plane carrying Senator Bronson Cutting of New Mexicomarker crashed south of Kirksville, killing him. As a result, Congress created the Civil Aeronautics Administration.[18591][18592].
  2. On May 22, 1962, Continental Airlines Flight 11, heading to Kansas Citymarker from Chicagomarker under heavy weather, was brought down by a dynamite explosion northwest of Kirksville. Some aviation historians consider this the first act of aviation terrorism in history.
  3. On October 20, 2004, Corporate Airlines Flight 5966 (now RegionsAir) crashed just south of Kirksville Regional Airport, killing 13 of 15 passengers and crew.


The current Kirksville City Council Members are [18593]:

Mayor Martha RoweA Kirksville resident since 1973, Rowe was employed by a local accounting firm between 1980 and 1993, and continues to work part time for that firm during tax season. Elected in April 2002, she is serving her third term on the City Council. Her term expires April 2011.

Mayor Pro Tem Jill McCordMcCord is a Kirksville native. She has a nursing and healthcare administration background. She and her husband, Mac, moved back to Kirksville to open the Cottage Grove Bed and Breakfast. First elected in April 2006, her term expires in April 2009.

Council Member Aaron RodgersonFirst elected in April 2007, his term expires in April 2010. The Pastor of the Southside Baptist Church, Rodgerson has voted along Church lines, such as opposing the sale of alcohol in the city as well as protesting the expansion of anti-discrimination legislation to homosexual people.

Council Member Todd KuhnsTodd and his wife Bich first moved to Kirksville in 1996. He now works on staff at Truman State Universitymarker as Web Services Manager. Todd posts regular council updates on his website, [18594]. First elected in April 2008, his term expires in April 2011.

Council Member Richard L. DetweilerDetweiler graduated from Kirksville Senior High School in 1972, and in 1982 he graduated from Truman State Universitymarker (formerly Northeast Missouri State University) with a B.S. in Business Administration. First elected in April 2008, his term expires in April 2010.

Though members of the City Council are elected without partisan affiliation, this Council is more progressive than the one that governed in the middle years of the decade. The previous Council (in which Martha Rowe was a dissenting minority) sold off watershed land against the protests of mass numbers of city residents, but was overtaken by scandal when one of its members was arrested for drunk driving but got preferential treatment from the police, and the mayor of that time is currently in federal prison for committing arson and insurance fraud.

Adair County, whose population is mainly in Kirksville, has shifted Democratic in its voting patterns in recent years. In 2006, its representation in the state House and Senate were Republican, while they are now Democratic (state Senator Wes Shoemeyer and state Representative Rebecca McClanahan replaced Republicans). The county also voted significantly more Democratic in the presidential race and even voted for Jay Nixon for governor rather than Kenny Hulshof, who had represented the area in the U.S. House for over a decade.


Paired with Ottumwa, Iowamarker, Kirksville is a media market region, ranked 199 by Nielsen, and home to an ABC affiliate, KTVO-TV 3marker. Kirksville is home to seven main radio stations.
Frequency Call sign Nickname Format Owner Web site
1450 AM KIRX News, Talk and Good Time Oldies Oldies Simulcast KIRX Group [18595]
88.7 FM KTRM The Edge College Radio/Alternative Truman State Universitymarker [18596]
89.7 FM KKTR . National Public Radio
Simulcast of KBIA Columbia
Truman State University [18597]
90.7 FM KGHN Christian Radio Religious C.A.R.E. Broadcasting [18598]
93.7 FM KTUF Today's Best Country, K-TUF Country Simulcast KIRX Group [18599]
94.5 FM KRXL The Classic Rock Station, 94.5 The X Classic Rock KIRX Group [18600]
107.9 FM KLTE . Religious Bott Radio Network [18601]

The Kirksville-Ottumwa DMA includes a FOX affiliate, KYOU-TV 15, and is covered by NBC and CBS from Hannibalmarker-Quincymarker and, in some areas, Kansas City. Radios in Kirksville can also pick up stations from Brookfieldmarker, Maconmarker, Moberlymarker, Hannibal-Quincy, and Keokuk, Iowamarker. Among low-powered translators and micro-broadcasters is 107.5 FM, operated by students from Truman's campus.

In print, Kirksville is served by the Daily Express six days a week and on Thursdays by the Index, a weekly newspaper produced by students at Truman State University.

Truman students produce a weekly news broadcast, News 36, played on CableOne channel 3 and on their on-campus station, TruTV, on Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm, and 2:00am.

Notable citizens


External links

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