Tales of a Century-Old Courthouse: New Madrid County, Missouri

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Mary Sue Anton

In 2015, New Madrid County Missouri celebrated its courthouse centennial. To mark the occasion, the classical Greek revival courthouse gained a spruced-up stained glass dome over the rotunda, a resurrected 1821 County Seal, new portraits of founding fathers, festive banners surrounding the building and branching down Main Street, and special events for the citizens. This book recounts tales, old and new, of the courthouse. The reader begins in the frontier world of early judges sitting in unheated or stifling log cabins as they sort out justice and bring the law to a wilderness area. Hear how in the old days, the all-male jurors were sequestered in the attic overnight. A sheriff tells how he reluctantly hung two men convicted of murder. He had to do it; he had asked for the office. One official found himself running for office against his own son. This story made news all around the state. Come inside the distinguished courthouse building today, as county officials talk candidly about their current roles as well as recall a few tall tales.