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Washington County
The Washington County Courthouse in Potosi
The Washington County Courthouse in Potosi
Map of Missouri highlighting Washington County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°58′N 90°53′W / 37.97°N 90.88°W / 37.97; -90.88
Country United States
State Missouri
FoundedAugust 21, 1813
Named forPresident George Washington
SeatPotosi
Largest cityPotosi
Area
 • Total762 sq mi (1,970 km2)
 • Land760 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Water2.6 sq mi (7 km2)  0.3%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total23,514
 • Density31/sq mi (12/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district8th
Websitewww.washingtoncountymo.us

Washington County is located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2020 United States census, the population was 23,514.[1] The county seat and largest city is Potosi.[2] The county was officially organized on August 21, 1813, and was named in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States.[3]

History

The French explorers Renault and La Motte entered the area of present-day Potosi in 1722–23. However, no permanent settlements were made until 1763, when François Breton settled near Potosi and began to operate a mine bearing his name. The Bellview Valley, near Caledonia and Belgrade, was settled in 1802 by the families of William and Helen Watson Reed, their sons, Robert, Joseph, and Thomas Reed, William Reed's brother and nephew, Joseph and William Reed, Annanias McCoy, and Benjamin Crow. Washington County was officially organized on August 21, 1813, out of Ste. Genevieve County.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 762 square miles (1,970 km2), of which 760 square miles (2,000 km2) is land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) (0.3%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18202,769
18306,784145.0%
18407,2136.3%
18508,81122.2%
18609,72310.4%
187011,71920.5%
188012,89610.0%
189013,1532.0%
190014,2638.4%
191013,378−6.2%
192013,8033.2%
193014,4504.7%
194017,49221.1%
195014,689−16.0%
196014,346−2.3%
197015,0865.2%
198017,98319.2%
199020,38013.3%
200023,34414.5%
201025,1957.9%
202023,514−6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1790–1960[6] 1900–1990[7]
1990–2000[8] 2010–2015[9] 2020
Largest ancestries (2000) Percent
American United States 19.8%
French France 15.6%
German Germany 10.4%
Irish Republic of Ireland 9.6%
English England 5.9%

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 23,344 people, 8,406 households, and 6,237 families residing in the county. The population density was 31 people per square mile (12/km2). There were 9,894 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.47% White, 2.48% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.15% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Approximately 0.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,406 households, out of which 36.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.80% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 106.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,001, and the median income for a family was $38,193. Males had a median income of $27,871 versus $18,206 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,095. About 17.10% of families and 20.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.40% of those under age 18 and 12.90% of those age 65 or older.

Religion

According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Washington County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Washington County who adhere to a religion are Roman Catholics (36.73%), Southern Baptists (21.74%), and Baptist Missionary Association of America (16.86%).

Politics

Local

Republicans hold a sizeable majority of the elected positions in the county.

Washington County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Heather Eckhoff Republican
Circuit Clerk Ashley Gum Republican
County Clerk Jeannette Allen Republican
Collector Carla Zettler Republican
Commissioner
(Presiding)
David Sansegraw[11] Republican
Commissioner
(District 1)
Doug Short Republican
Commissioner
(District 2)
Code Brinley Republican
Coroner Steven Hatfield Republican
Prosecuting Attorney Josh Hedgecorth Democratic
Public Administrator Judy Gillam Republican
Recorder Jamie Miner Republican
Sheriff Zach Jacobson Republican
Surveyor R. Timothy Daugherty Democratic
Treasurer Phyllis Long Republican

State

Washington County is divided into three legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Missouri House of Representatives – District 118 – Washington County (2020)[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike McGirl 4,757 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 118 – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ben Harris 3,955 100.00% +53.95
Missouri House of Representatives – District 118 – Washington County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ben Harris 1,316 46.05% -53.95
Republican Michael P. McGirl 1,542 53.95% +53.95
Missouri House of Representatives – District 118 – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ben Harris 3,783 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 119 – Washington County (2020)[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Nate Tate 535 98.35%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 119 – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Nate Tate 495 100.00% +35.35
Missouri House of Representatives – District 119 – Washington County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Dave Hinson 193 65.65% -35.35
Democratic Susan J. Cunningham 101 35.35% +35.35
Missouri House of Representatives – District 119 – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Dave Hinson 447 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Washington County (2020)[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chris Dinkins 3,335 98.73%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Special Election - Washington County (2018)[15]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chris Dinkins 131 70.81%
Democratic Jim Scaggs 53 29.29%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Paul Fitzwater 3,177 100.00%
Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Washington County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Paul Fitzwater 1,837 100.00% -23.43
Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Paul Fitzwater 2,617 76.57%
Democratic Michael L. Jackson 801 23.43%

All of Washington County is a part of Missouri's 3rd District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by Elaine Gannon (R-De Soto).

Missouri Senate – District 3 – Washington County (2020)[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Elaine Freeman Gannono 8,440 98.60%
Missouri Senate – District 3 – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Gary Romine 7,071 83.11% +25.35
Green Edward R. Weissler 1,437 16.89% +16.89
Missouri Senate – District 3 – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Gary Romine 4,905 57.76%
Democratic Joseph Fallert Jr. 3,587 42.24%
Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2020 75.34% 7,442 21.47% 2,121 3.19% 315
2016 61.34% 5,681 33.91% 3,141 4.75% 440
2012 42.25% 3,697 55.12% 4,823 2.63% 230
2008 31.08% 2,993 67.05% 6,456 1.87% 180
2004 50.37% 4,622 47.87% 4,393 1.76% 162
2000 42.93% 3,536 49.90% 4,110 7.17% 591
1996 39.69% 3,097 57.77% 4,508 2.54% 198
1992 39.60% 3,049 60.40% 4,851 0.00% 0
1988 57.19% 3,978 42.64% 2,966 0.17% 12
1984 51.46% 3,460 48.54% 3,264 0.00% 0
1980 50.52% 3,278 49.35% 3,202 0.12% 8
1976 47.00% 2,855 52.84% 3,210 0.16% 10

Federal

U.S. Senate – Missouri – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Roy Blunt 5,083 55.41% +15.32
Democratic Jason Kander 3,516 38.33% -15.13
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 269 2.93% -3.52
Green Johnathan McFarland 179 1.95% +1.95
Constitution Fred Ryman 126 1.37% +1.37
U.S. Senate – Missouri – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Todd Akin 3,486 40.09%
Democratic Claire McCaskill 4,648 53.46%
Libertarian Jonathan Dine 561 6.45%

Washington County is included in Missouri's 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Jason T. Smith (R-Salem) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to finish out the remaining term of U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau). Emerson announced her resignation a month after being reelected with over 70 percent of the vote in the district. She resigned to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative.

U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Washington County (2020)[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 7,473 77.68%
Democratic Kathy Ellis 1,915 19.91%
Libertarian Tom Schmitz 219 2.28%
U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Washington County (2016)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 6,186 69.70% +10.33
Democratic Dave Cowell 2,424 27.31% -5.81
Libertarian Jonathan Shell 265 2.99% +0.83
U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Washington County (2014)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 2,990 59.37% -5.99
Democratic Barbara Stocker 1,668 33.12% +1.33
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 109 2.16% +1.09
Constitution Doug Enyart 113 2.24% +0.72
Independent Terry Hampton 156 3.10% +3.10
U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Special Election – Washington County (2013)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jason T. Smith 732 65.36% -2.73
Democratic Steve Hodges 356 31.79% +2.66
Libertarian Bill Slantz 12 1.07% -1.71
Constitution Doug Enyart 17 1.52% +1.52
Write-In Wayne L. Byington 3 0.27% +0.27
U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Washington County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jo Ann Emerson 5,868 68.09%
Democratic Jack Rushin 2,510 29.13%
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 240 2.78%

Political culture

United States presidential election results for Washington County, Missouri[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 8,047 80.56% 1,804 18.06% 138 1.38%
2016 7,048 75.53% 1,926 20.64% 357 3.83%
2012 5,071 58.32% 3,417 39.30% 207 2.38%
2008 4,706 48.95% 4,711 49.00% 197 2.05%
2004 4,641 50.57% 4,459 48.58% 78 0.85%
2000 4,020 48.64% 4,047 48.97% 198 2.40%
1996 2,259 28.78% 4,315 54.97% 1,276 16.25%
1992 2,157 26.93% 4,211 52.57% 1,642 20.50%
1988 3,240 46.29% 3,744 53.49% 16 0.23%
1984 3,755 55.70% 2,987 44.30% 0 0.00%
1980 3,439 53.19% 2,873 44.44% 153 2.37%
1976 2,526 41.36% 3,543 58.01% 39 0.64%
1972 3,818 63.14% 2,229 36.86% 0 0.00%
1968 2,641 46.26% 2,292 40.15% 776 13.59%
1964 2,286 36.91% 3,908 63.09% 0 0.00%
1960 3,437 56.47% 2,649 43.53% 0 0.00%
1956 3,383 58.70% 2,380 41.30% 0 0.00%
1952 3,338 55.33% 2,684 44.49% 11 0.18%
1948 2,200 47.98% 2,370 51.69% 15 0.33%
1944 2,900 58.30% 2,065 41.52% 9 0.18%
1940 3,817 56.92% 2,881 42.96% 8 0.12%
1936 2,909 49.29% 2,942 49.85% 51 0.86%
1932 2,246 40.40% 3,275 58.91% 38 0.68%
1928 3,019 58.96% 2,091 40.84% 10 0.20%
1924 2,397 54.42% 1,955 44.38% 53 1.20%
1920 2,618 58.36% 1,837 40.95% 31 0.69%
1916 1,657 53.80% 1,394 45.26% 29 0.94%
1912 1,059 41.27% 1,121 43.69% 386 15.04%
1908 1,753 56.11% 1,330 42.57% 41 1.31%
1904 1,673 54.64% 1,339 43.73% 50 1.63%
1900 1,751 53.60% 1,500 45.91% 16 0.49%
1896 1,547 51.41% 1,458 48.45% 4 0.13%
1892 1,200 47.54% 1,303 51.62% 21 0.83%
1888 1,222 47.73% 1,336 52.19% 2 0.08%


At the presidential level, Washington County was a fairly independent-leaning or battleground county for many years, however, it has voted increasingly more Republican in recent elections. While George W. Bush carried Washington County in 2004, he narrowly lost the county to Al Gore in 2000, and both times the margins of victory were significantly closer than in many of the other rural areas. Bill Clinton also carried Washington County both times in 1992 and 1996 by convincing double-digit margins, and unlike most of the other rural counties in Missouri, Washington County was one of only nine counties in Missouri that favored Barack Obama over John McCain. Obama won Washington County by just five votes in the 2008 election.

Like most rural areas throughout Missouri, voters in Washington County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles but are more moderate or populist on economic issues, typical of the Dixiecrat philosophy.[citation needed] In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Washington County with 81.37 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Washington County with 56.48 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Washington County's longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage.[citation needed] In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Washington County with 81.47 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 75.94 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. In 2018, Washington County rejected Proposition A which would have made Missouri a right to work state with 82.1 percent of the vote.

Donald Trump won the county with 75% of the vote in 2016, continuing a trend of white, rural Midwestern counties that had voted for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012 and had swung hard to Trump in 2016. The Trump campaign had made promises to bolster the jobs situations in the Rust Belt, which combined with elevated social liberalism from the Democrats, may have played a role in the margins—which could be said for various other white working-class Midwestern counties that did the same.

Missouri presidential preference primary (2008)

Main articles: 2008 Missouri Democratic presidential primary and 2008 Missouri Republican presidential primary

In the 2008 presidential primary, voters in Washington County from both political parties supported candidates who finished in second place in the state at large and nationally.

Former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) received more votes, a total of 2,345, than any candidate from either party in Washington County during the 2008 presidential primary. She also received more votes, almost double, than the total number of votes cast in the entire Republican Primary in Washington County. Washington County was Clinton's fifth strongest county in Missouri; she only did better in Dunklin, Wayne, Carter and Ripley counties.

Education

Among adults 25 years of age and older in Washington County, 62.5% possess a high school diploma or higher, while 7.5% hold a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Public libraries

Government and infrastructure

The Potosi Correctional Center of the Missouri Department of Corrections is located in an unincorporated area in the county.[20] The prison houses male death row inmates.[21]

911

Fire Departments

Ambulance District

Washington County Ambulance District. Administrator – Justin Duncan

Law Enforcement

Washington County Sheriff's Office

Potosi Police Department

Missouri Department of Conservation

United States Forestry Service

Attractions

Transportation

Primary state highways

Secondary state highways

Airports

Railroads

Communities

Cities

Villages

Unincorporated communities

Townships

See also

References

  1. ^ "Explore Census Data".
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Eaton, David Wolfe (1918). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 370.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  6. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  7. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  8. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  9. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  11. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/NOVEMBER-2018-CANVASSED-RESULTS.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/candidates-issues-results/
  13. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/candidates-issues-results/
  14. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/candidates-issues-results/
  15. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Feb_6_2018_results.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/candidates-issues-results/
  17. ^ https://www.washcoclerk.org/candidates-issues-results/
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Breeding, Marshall. "Washington County Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  20. ^ "Institutional Facilities Archived 27 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine." Missouri Department of Corrections. Retrieved September 18, 2010. "Potosi Correctional Center (C-5)" "11593 State Highway O Mineral Point, MO 63660"
  21. ^ Lombardi, George, Richard D. Sluder, and Donald Wallace. "The Management of Death-Sentenced Inmates: Issues, Realities, and Innovative Strategies Archived 27 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine." Missouri Department of Corrections. 8–9. Retrieved September 18, 2010.

Coordinates: 37°58′N 90°53′W / 37.97°N 90.88°W / 37.97; -90.88