Lafayette County, Missouri

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Lafayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2000, the population was 32,960. Its county seat is Lexington[1]. Lafayette is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

The county was organized 16 November 1820 (effective 1 January 1821) from Cooper County and was originally named, "Lillard," for James Lillard of Tennessee. On 16 February 1825, the name was change to "Lafayette," for the Marquis de La Fayette.



Lafayette County was settled primarily from migrants from the Upper South states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. They brought slaves and slaveholding traditions with them, and quickly started cultivating crops similar to those in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky: hemp and tobacco. Lafayette was one of several counties settled mostly by southerners to the north and south of the Missouri River. Given their culture and traditions, this area became known as Little Dixie. In 1860 slaves made up 25 percent or more of the county's population.[2] Residents generally supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. Before and more heavily after the Civil War, Germans directly from Germany and German Americans from the St. Louis area settled in the area making up a large part of the population of Concordia, Emma, Wellington, Napoleon, Higginsville, Mayview, and Lexington. The German population tended to support the Union during the Civil War.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 639 square miles (1,655 km²), of which, 629 square miles (1,630 km²) of it is land and 10 square miles (25 km²) of it (1.49%) is water.

Adjacent counties

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