Historical Markers in
Clay County, Missouri

1 East Kansas Street 11 East Kansas Street 12 North Main Street 15 East Kansas Street 16 North Main Street 17 East Kansas Street 7 East Kansas Street 9 East Kansas Street Alexander W. Doniphan Antioch Church Antioch Church Bell-Pharis House Boggess Hardware Store Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport Civil War Memorial Clay County African American Pioneers Clay County American Revolution Veterans Clay County Courthouse Clay County Historical Museum Col. John Thornton Confederate Soldiers Crowley Cemetery Curran Park Doniphan – Hubbell House Faces of the Commonwealth First Court House Site First National Bank Founding Fathers Frank Hughes Memorial Library General Alexander William Doniphan Goldman-Duckworth House Grand River Baptist Church Hall of Waters Intelligencia James Farm Jesse James Bank Museum John Dougherty John Priest Greene President's Home Jurisprudence Kansas City to Liberty to Excelsior Springs Interurban Depot Lewis and Clark Mural Liberty Liberty Lodge No. 49 I.O.O.F. Liberty Mormon Jail Liberty Presbyterian Church Liberty Tribune Lightburne Hall Lou E. Holland Lucy A. Ward Love Mass Grave Site Methodist Episcopal Church Founded 1822 Passing Pleasures, Tourist Treasures Replica of the Statue of Liberty Replica of the Statue of Liberty Riverview Sacred Waters Scales and Rails Site of First Daylight Bank Hold Up in United States St. Luke A.M.E. Church Suburban Archways The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri The Lewis and Clark Expedition Across Missouri The Liberty Landing The Liberty Spring The Trenches On The Hill Veterans Memorial War Memorial War Memorial Watkins Mill Woodneath World War Memorial "The Old Graveyard" "Mt. Memorial Cemetery"
Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821, becoming the first state entirely west of the Mississippi River.
Clay County, Missouri, located in the central part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally home to various Native American tribes, including the Osage, Delaware, and Kansa tribes. European exploration of the region began in the late 18th century, with French trappers and traders establishing trading posts along the Missouri River.

In 1822, Clay County was officially established and named after Henry Clay, a prominent American statesman at the time. The county quickly became a hub for settlers moving westward, serving as a gateway to the western frontier. The town of Liberty, located in Clay County, became a center of commerce and trade, attracting a diverse population.

During the mid-19th century, Clay County played a significant role in the emergence of the abolitionist movement. Many residents were vocal opponents of slavery, and Liberty became known as a hotbed for anti-slavery sentiment. Notable figures such as Frank James and Jesse James, who later gained fame as outlaws, grew up in Clay County and were influenced by the abolitionist sentiments prevalent in the area.

Clay County also played a vital role in the development of transportation and infrastructure in Missouri. The construction of the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad in the late 19th century facilitated trade and travel in the region. The county continued to flourish throughout the 20th century, with the growth of the Kansas City metropolitan area and the expansion of education, healthcare, and industry.

Today, Clay County remains a vibrant and thriving community, blending its rich history with modern advancements. The county boasts a diverse economy, with a mix of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. It is also home to various cultural attractions, including museums, parks, and historical sites that showcase the county's fascinating past.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Clay County, Missouri.

  • 1822: Clay County is established by the Missouri legislature.
  • 1826: Liberty, the county seat of Clay County, is laid out.
  • 1833: The infamous Mormon War takes place in Clay County, leading to the expulsion of Mormons from the county.
  • 1855: William Quantrill, a Confederate guerrilla leader, organizes his band of raiders in Clay County.
  • 1862: The Battle of Blue Mills Landing, a small but significant Civil War engagement, occurs in Clay County.
  • 1864: Jesse James, a notorious outlaw, and his gang launch their first successful daylight bank robbery in Gallatin, Clay County.
  • 1872: A devastating tornado hits Kearney in Clay County, causing significant damage.
  • 1951: Smithville Lake is built in the southern part of Clay County as a flood control and recreational project.
  • 1955: The Clay County Historical Society and Museum is established, preserving the history of the county.
  • 1997: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, adjacent to Clay County, undergoes major renovation and expansion.