Nodaway County, Missouri Second Courthouse
by Tom Carneal

According to legend, this picture which hangs in the office of Mr. Thomas W. Carneal at Northwest Missouri State University, was painted by a convict who spent time in the Nodaway County Jail, the building to the right.  The building to the left is the second courthouse in Nodaway County.  It was located at the site of the present courthouse.

The first courthouse lasted until 1853, when it was apparent that a larger and better building was needed.  In July of that year the county court ordered a building built with James Ray as supervisor.  The cost was $6,461.32.  The brick two-story building was put in the center of the town square with a small jail beside it at the northeast corner.  The jail cost $3,000.  The brick was made in Maryville for the almost square building of about 50 feet each side.  To reach the second floor the judges and clerks used an outside stairway; sawdust covered aisles stretched through the middle of each floor.  Benches made of timber logs lined the courtroom walls, and the building was also used by the people for a school, store, church and meeting place for various lodges.  Led by two Union veterans just home from the Civil War, the citizens planted trees on the courthouse lawn which had been bare to that point.

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