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Scott County is a county located in Southeast Missourimarker in the United Statesmarker. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was 40,422; a 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 40,673. Its county seat is Bentonmarker . The county was organized in 1821 and named for John Scott, the first Congressman from Missouri.

The Sikeston Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of all of Scott County.


The second county formed in Missouri’s Southeast Lowland Region, Scott County was created by the Missouri state legislature on December 28, 1821. The county was named in honor of John Scott (1782-1861), the first congressman from Missouri.

Southerners were the first settlers on Spanish land grants in the late 1790s. The King’s Highway (El Camino Real), laid out in 1789, crossed the county which lies in territory claimed by Osage Native American tribes until 1808. The Delaware and Shawnee tribes roamed into the area around the 1820s.

Benton, the county seat, was laid out in 1822 and is named after Thomas Hart Benton, one of Missouri’s first U.S. Senators. From 1864-1878, the county seat was located at Commerce, a town laid out in 1823 on the Mississippi River. Long known as Tywappity, the town started out as a trading post and became a river landing by 1803. Rezin Bowie, brother of James, was syndic of Tywappity Settlement before 1800. The first Baptist Church was formed here in Missouri in 1805. New Hamburg, the third town founded in the county, was settled by German immigrants in the 1840s. The first log church was St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Sikeston, the largest city in the county and the fourth settlement to be founded, was settled in 1800 and was laid out in 1860 by John Sikes on the Cairo & Fulton Railroad.

The county, devastated by guerilla raids during the U.S. Civil War, grew rapidly from the 1870s to the early 1900s as its dense forests were limbered off and numerous railroads were constructed. Towns founded during this period included Diehlstadt, Morley, Oran, Perkins, Blodgett, Crowder, Vanduser, Illmo, Fornfelt (Scott City), Chaffee, Ancell, and Kelso. The Thebes-Mississippi River Railroad Bridge at Illmo dates back to 1905. Located nearby is Cape St. Croix, a rock island in the river where Father De Montigny erected a cross in 1699.

Located near Morley is the gravesite of Nathaniel W. Watkins, a state legislator and a general in the Missouri State Guards who was also the half-brother of Henry Clay. In the county for a short period of time lived Wilson Brown, the ninth lieutenant governor of Missouri and noted early legislators such as Joseph Hunter II and Abraham Hunton.

Cotton, soybeans, melon and grains were all common crops in Scott County. Between the Mississippi River and Little River District drainage ditches lies one of the oldest drainage systems in the United States, Crowley’s Ridge, established in 1905, is a remnant of an old coastal plain that crosses the country.

On January 28, 2004, the Scott County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Scott County, 72.9% possesses a high school diploma or higher while 10.6% holds a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public Schools

Private Schools

Post-Secondary & Higher Education


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,103 km² (426 mi²). 1,090 km² (421 mi²) of it is land and 13 km² (5 mi²) of it (1.18%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


As of the census of 2000, there were 40,422 people, 15,626 households, and 11,219 families residing in the county. The population density was 37/km² (96/mi²). There were 16,951 housing units at an average density of 16/km² (40/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.68% White, 10.50% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 1.11% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 15,626 households out of which 35.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 13.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.40% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 22.90% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,735, and the median income for a family was $48,847. Males had a median income of $30,169 versus $19,269 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,363. About 12.30% of families and 16.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.50% of those under age 18 and 13.60% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

Villages and other locations

  • Crowder - Located on State Highway Z.
  • Lusk - Located at the intersection of State Highway N and State Highway NN.
  • New Hamburg - Located on State Highway A.
  • Rockview - Located near State Highway M.
  • Salcedo - Located at the intersection of State Highway Z and State Highway Y.
  • Tanner - Located at the intersection of State Highway Z and State Highway ZZ.



Politics at the local level in Scott County is completely controlled by the Democratic Party. All of Scott County's elected officeholders are Democrats.

Office Incumbent Party
Assessor Teresa M. Houchin Democratic
Circuit Clerk Pam Glastetter Democratic
Clerk Rita Milam Democratic
Collector Mark Hensley Democratic
Commissioner – District 1 Dennis E. Ziegenhorn Democratic
Commissioner – District 2 Donnie Kiefer Democratic
Coroner Scott C. Amick Democratic
Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger Democratic
Prosecuting Attorney Paul R. Boyd Democratic
Public Administrator Pam Dirnberger Democratic
Recorder Tom Dirnberger Democratic
Sheriff Rick Walter Democratic
Treasurer Glenda Enderle Democratic


Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 53.12% 9,494 45.55% 8,142 1.33% 238
2004 58.69% 10,198 40.31% 7,004 1.00% 174
2000 52.12% 8,159 46.59% 7,293 1.29% 202
1996 38.71% 5,878 59.76% 9,074 1.53% 233

Scott County is divided into two legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representativesmarker. Most of the county is included in the 160th District and is represented by Rep. Ellen Brandom (R-Sikeston). Brandom ran unopposed in 2008 and was reelected with 100% of the vote. The remainder of the county is a part of the 161st District and is represented by Rep. Steve Hodges (D-East Prairiemarker). Hodges also ran unopposed in 2008 and was reelected with 100% of the vote.

Scott County is also a part of Missouri's 27th Senatorial District and is currently represented by State Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau). In 2008, Crowell defeated Linda Sanders (D-Jacksonmarker) 64.2%-35.8%. Scott County backed Crowell with 60.10% of the vote while Sanders received 39.90%. The 27th Senatorial District consists of Bollingermarker, Cape Girardeaumarker, Madisonmarker, Mississippimarker, Perrymarker, and Scott counties.

In Missouri's gubernatorial election of 2008, Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon (D) defeated former U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof with 58.40 percent of the total statewide vote. While Nixon performed extremely well and won many of the rural counties in the state, Scott County voters opted to back their native son Hulshof, who was born in and grew up in Sikeston. Hulshof narrowly carried Scott County with 53.12% of the vote while Nixon received 45.55%.


In the U.S. House of Representatives, Scott County is represented by Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau) who represents all of Southeast Missouri as part of Missouri's 8th Congressional District.


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