Cape Girardeau County
Cape Girardeau courthouse in Jackson
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
|Founded||October 1, 1812|
|Named for||Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat) and a rock|
|Largest city||Cape Girardeau|
|• Total||586 sq mi (1,520 km2)|
|• Land||579 sq mi (1,500 km2)|
|• Water||7.8 sq mi (20 km2) 1.3%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||130/sq mi (50/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Cape Girardeau County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri; its eastern border is formed by the Mississippi River. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 75,674. The county seat is Jackson, the first city in the US to be named in honor of President Andrew Jackson. Officially organized on October 1, 1812, the county is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot, an official of the French colonial years. The "cape" in the county's name is named after a former promontory rock overlooking the Mississippi River; this feature was demolished during railroad construction.
Cape Girardeau County was organized on October 1, 1812, as one of five original counties in the Missouri Territory after the US made the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It is named after Ensign Sieur Jean Baptiste de Girardot (also spelled Girardeau or Girardat), a French officer stationed 1704–1720 at Kaskaskia in the Illinois Country of New France. In 1733 he founded a trading post on the Mississippi River, which developed as the present-day city of Cape Girardeau. The "cape" in the county name was a rock promontory overlooking the Mississippi River and Claire's house; the original cape rock was destroyed by railroad construction.
Jackson, Missouri is the county seat. The first Cape Girardeau County Courthouse was constructed in 1818 by John Davis. This courthouse burned in 1870. The present courthouse in Jackson was completed in 1908 and was designed by P.H. Weathers.
The county is the site of one of the oldest cold cases in the state of Missouri. Bonnie Huffman, a 20-year-old schoolteacher, was found murdered in a ditch just outside Delta on July 2, 1954. Her case was never solved.
Cape Girardeau is referenced in Dave Van Ronk's song "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me," which has found a place in the folk canon since its release in 1962. The song was featured prominently in the 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis. In the second verse, the singer refers to having "been all around Cape Girardeau and parts of Arkansas...poor boy, I've been all around this world."
The geography of Cape Girardeau County varies greatly. The areas around the towns of Delta and Dutchtown are flood plains, which were cultivated as cotton plantations. Western and northern areas are hilly and forested.
- Perry County (northwest)
- Union County, Illinois (northeast across the river)
- Alexander County, Illinois (east across the Mississippi River)
- Scott County (southeast)
- Stoddard County (south)
- Bollinger County (west)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 68,693 people, 26,980 households, and 17,941 families residing in the county. The population density was 119 people per square mile (46/km2). There were 29,434 housing units at an average density of 51 per square mile (20/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.13% White, 5.28% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. Approximately 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 26,980 households, out of which 31.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.80% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.50% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.40% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,862, and the median income for a family was $58,037. Males had a median income of $32,371 versus $20,833 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,303. About 6.70% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.40% of those under age 18 and 10.10% of those age 65 or over.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2010), most residents (76.88%) in Cape Girardeau County adhere to a religion, while 23.12% do not.
Among those who do adhere to a religion, Cape Girardeau County residents' religious affiliations are:
- 62.56% Evangelical Protestantism
- 19.19% Catholicism
- 15.77% Mainline Protestantism
- 1.53% Others (mainly Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses)
The main religious denominations among all adherents in Cape Girardeau County are:
- 19.84% Pentecostals
- 19.19% Catholics
- 18.60% Baptists
- 17.11% Lutherans
- 12.01% Methodists
- 7.18% Nondenominationals
- Delta R-V School District—Delta
- Delta Elementary School (K–6)
- Delta High School (7–12)
- Oak Ridge R-VI School District—Oak Ridge
- Oak Ridge Elementary School (K–6)
- Oak Ridge High School (7–12)
- Nell Holcomb R-IV School District—Egypt Mills
- Nell Holcomb Elementary School (K–8)
- Jackson R-II School District—Jackson
- Gordonville Attendance Center (K–3)—Gordonville
- Millersville Attendance Center (K–3)—Millersville
- North Elementary School (K–5)
- Orchard Drive Elementary School (K–3)
- South Elementary School (PK–5)
- West Lane Elementary School (3–5)
- Jackson Middle School (6–7)
- Russell Hawkins Jr. High School (8–9)
- Jackson High School (10–12)
- Cape Girardeau Public Schools No. 63—Cape Girardeau
- Alma Schrader Elementary School (K–4)
- Blanchard Elementary School (K–4)
- Clippard Elementary School (K–4)
- Franklin Elementary School (K–4)
- Jefferson Elementary School (K–4)
- Cape Central Middle School (5–6)
- Cape Central Jr. High School (7–8)
- Cape Central High School (9–12)
- Cape Girardeau Career & Technology Center (10–12)
- Cape Christian School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Assembly of God/Pentecostal
- St. Mary Cathedral School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
- St. Vincent De Paul Elementary School (K–8)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
- Trinity Lutheran School (PK–8)—Cape Girardeau; Lutheran
- Immaculate Conception School (PK–8)—Jackson; Roman Catholic
- St. Paul Lutheran School (PK–8)—Jackson; Lutheran
- Eagle Ridge Christian School (PK–12)—Cape Girardeau; Non-denominational Christian
- Notre Dame Regional High School (9–12)—Cape Girardeau; Roman Catholic
- Saxony Lutheran High School (9–12)—Jackson/Fruitland; Lutheran
- Metro Business College—Cape Girardeau
- Southeast Missouri State University—Cape Girardeau
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Since the late 20th century voters at the local level have switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, which is now predominant in Cape Girardeau County. Republicans hold all of the elected positions in the county. The county also has elected Republicans to state and national offices.
|Cape Girardeau County, Missouri|
|Elected countywide officials|
|Circuit Clerk||Charlene Biester||Republican|
|County Clerk||Kara Clark Summers||Republican|
|Charles J. Herbst III||Republican|
|Prosecuting Attorney||Mark Welker||Republican|
|Public Administrator||Lisa Reitzel||Republican|
|Sheriff||Ruth Ann Dickerson||Republican|
|Treasurer||Roger L. Hudson||Republican|
- District 146 – Consists of most of the entire county outside of the city of Cape Girardeau, although a small portion of the northern edge of the city is included in this district. The district also takes in all of the city of Jackson as well as the communities of Pocahontas, Oak Ridge, Old Appleton, Gordonville, Dutchtown, Delta, Allenville, and Whitewater. Donna Lichtenegger, a Republican from Jackson, was reelected in 2012 to her second term in the Missouri House.
- District 147 – Consists of most of the city of Cape Girardeau and a small sliver of the mostly rural stretch of Highway 74 to Dutchtown. Kathy Swan, a Republican from Cape Girardeau, was elected in 2012 to her first term in the Missouri House. Five representatives, all of whom have been Republicans, have held this seat in a span of five years following Nathan Cooper's resignation in 2008: Cooper, Mary Kasten, Clint Tracy, Wayne Wallingford, and now Swan.
In the Missouri Senate, all of Cape Girardeau County is a part of Missouri's 27h District and is currently represented by Republican Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau. Wallingford ran unopposed in 2012 and was elected to his first term in the Missouri Senate to succeed fellow Republican Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau. Crowell successfully served two terms/eight years in the Missouri Senate and was ineligible to seek a third term due to term limits.
|2012||56.02% 19,797||41.56% 14,686||2.43% 857|
|2008||56.23% 20,672||41.75% 15,348||2.02% 744|
|2004||65.26% 22,433||33.49% 11,511||1.25% 429|
|2000||62.50% 18,543||35.36% 10,491||2.14% 635|
|1996||49.68% 13,781||48.38% 13,422||1.94% 538|
|1992||54.41% 15,080||45.59% 12,636||0.00% 0|
|1988||70.08% 17,336||29.50% 7,298||0.42% 104|
|1984||70.39% 17,299||29.61% 7,276||0.00% 0|
|1980||66.50% 16,197||33.11% 8,064||0.39% 96|
|1976||56.62% 13,079||43.35% 10,013||0.03% 7|
|1972||57.09% 12,656||42.05% 9,322||0.85% 189|
|1968||37.96% 7,217||62.04% 11,795||0.00% 0|
|1964||42.74% 8,506||57.26% 11,396||0.00% 0|
|1960||49.07% 9,384||50.93% 9,739||0.00% 0|
McCaskill was reelected to her second term in 2012 with 54.81 percent of the statewide vote over former Republican U.S. Representative W. Todd Akin of Town & Country and Libertarian Jonathan Dine of Riverside; Cape Girardeau County voters, however, supported Akin with approximately 54 percent of the vote.
|Republican||W. Todd Akin||18,913||53.67|
Blunt was elected to his first term in 2010 with 54.23 percent of the statewide vote over former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Libertarian Jonathan Dine of Riverside, and Constitutionalist Jerry Beck of Novelty; Cape Girardeau County voters backed Blunt with just over 69 percent of the vote.
All of Cape Girardeau County is included in Missouri's 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Republican Jason T. Smith of Salem in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to complete the remaining term of former Republican U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson of 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.
|Republican||Jo Ann Emerson||26,038||74.00||+8.05|
|Republican||Jason T. Smith||6,005||70.10|
|Write-in||Robert W. George||48||0.56|
Since the mid-1960s, like many other Southern conservative voters, many Cape Girardeau County voters have switched from the Democratic Party to support Republican Party candidates. Lyndon B. Johnson was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Cape Girardeau County in his landslide election in 1964. Since then, voters in the county have backed the Republican presidential nominees, often by substantial margins.
Like most areas throughout Southeast Missouri, voters in Cape Girardeau County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which have influenced their shift to Republicans. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Cape Girardeau County with 83.19 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support, as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Cape Girardeau County voted against a state constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research, with 63.12 percent opposed. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support, and Missouri became one of the first states to approve such research. Cape Girardeau County's voters have supported such populist causes as increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Cape Girardeau County voted to increase the minimum wage to $6.50 with 60.04 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every county in Missouri, with 75.94 percent voting in favor. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage in their states.
- Cape Girardeau (small part in Scott County)
- Jackson (county seat)
- Scott City (mostly in Scott County)
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- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 270.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- Breeding, Marshall. "Cape Girardeau Public Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Breeding, Marshall. "Jackson Public Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Breeding, Marshall. "Riverside Regional Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
- Digitized 1930 Plat Book of Cape Girardeau County from University of Missouri Division of Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books