The City of Kirksville

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KIRKSVILLE TORNADO 1899 - submitted by Paulette Haynes, Anderson, Indiana

City of Kirksville

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The town of Kirksville was laid out in 1841 and became the county seat on May 18, 1842. While the name Kirksville literally means village of churches, the city was named after its first postmaster, Jesse Kirk. Legend has it that the surveyors working in the area were invited to share dinner and good whiskey with Kirk provided that they name the town after him. The deal was made, and the new town became Kirksville. 

Kirksville, distinguished as the site of Missouri's first State teachers college and the world's first college of osteopathy, was settled by pioneers mainly from Kentucky and Tennessee about 1828.  First known as Long Point, than as Hopkinsville, the town took the name of Kirksville in honor of early settler Jesse Kirk, when it became the seat of Adair County, 1841.

Northeast Missouri State Teachers College was founded as the First District Normal School, 1870, when the legislature provided for normal schools north and south of the Missouri.  Adair Co. and Kirksville won the north school with a bid including Joseph Baldwin's North Missouri Normal which he had opened, 1867, in the old Cumberland (Presbyterian) Academy, chartered, 1861. In 1996, after several name changes, Northeast Missouri State University became Truman State University.

Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), founder of osteopathy, opened the American School of Osteopathy, 1892.  This school combined with the 1922 Andrew T. Still College of Osteopathy and Surgery, 1926, to form the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery.  On the campus is Still's log cabin birthplace, moved here from Jonesboro, Va.

Kirksville, a city of the fertile prairies, founded on land that once belonged to the Sauk, Fox and Iowa Indians, serves north central Missouri as an educational, hospital, and manufacturing point for poultry, livestock, and grain crop area.

Memorial Park here commemorates the Battle of Kirksville, a Civil Ware action of Aug. 6, 1862.  The Federals under Col. John McNeil routed the Confederates under Col. John C. Porter (The correct first name for Colonel Porter is Joseph).  Also in the park is the site of old Cumberland Academy, antecedent institution of the teachers college.

Memorials on the campus of the teachers college are a statue of Joseph Baldwin and the Kirk Memorial Building honoring John R. Kirk college president (1899-1925), leader in public school organization and teacher training.  A memorial student loan fund honors Eugene Fair (president 1925-1937), for his state educational leadership.

In Kirk Memorial is the noted Violette Museum, named for history professor E. M. Violette who began the collection.

The Following from "A Scetch of Adair County" by Dr. A. H. J. John in 1876.

There are two Newspapers, the "Rigister," W. C. B. Gillespie, Publisher, and the "Journal," S. M. Picken, Publisher, besides a Job Office; two banking Houses fourteen Dry Goods Stores; four Clothing Stores; two Book Stores; nine Grocery Stores; two Furniture Stores; five Drug Stores; two Jewelry Stores; three Hardware Stores; two Saddle and Harness Shops; three Lumber Yards; two Wagon Shops; for Hotels; two Hide,  Fir and Wool purchasing Stores; two Brick Yards, (near tow,) two Marble Shops; three Grain Warehouses and two Hay Establishments.  There are also two Grist Mills; one Woolen Mill; one Plow Factory; one Hub and Spoke Factory; one Cheese Factory; one Planting Mill and Furniture Factory.

Water, Wood and Coal being of easy access recommends this town as a very desirable place for manufacturing purposes. Population 4,000.

Click here for more of "A Sketch of Adair County"  

Kirksville web links:


date unknown - picture provided by Cheryl


Kirksville Missouri Chamber of Commerce

Kirksville, Missouri Maps

Missouri Civil War Battle Kirksville American Civil War

Kirksville R-III School District

The Adair County Public Library

Truman State University (Kirksville, MO)

Kirksville, Missouri - Hotel/Motel  Pages:

Personally, I like the Shamrock.  It is a motel where you can drive up to your door.
It is a spacious old style motel which will remind you of road trips in the 60's.
Each room as a front and a back door. It is a one story building with large grassy center area surrounding the pool. There's plenty of room to let the kids run.  The rooms are quite large compared to newer budget motels. Very clean. The rooms have obviously been renovated over time. There is an adjacent restaurant. Dogs are allowed and you get coupons for a free breakfast (limited menu) at the restaurant next door. Smoking and non-smoking rooms.

Kirksville Weather