Bates County is a county located in the west central part of the U.S. state of Missouri, two counties south of the Missouri River and is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. As of the 2020 census, the population was 16,042. Its county seat is Butler. The county was organized in 1841 and named after Frederick Bates, the second Governor of Missouri.
This mostly rural county has an overwhelmingly ethnic European-American population, which has declined in number since the early 20th century as people have moved to cities.
The borderlands of Kansas and Missouri were battlegrounds for insurgents during the American Civil War, with raids going back and forth across the border. Bates County is noted as the site for the first combat engagement during the war of African-American soldiers serving with the Union and against Confederate forces, which occurred on October 28–29, 1862. The First Kansas Colored Division (part of the state militia) fought Confederate guerrillas at the Battle of Island Mound four miles north of present-day Rich Hill, Missouri, and the Union forces won.
The Kansas soldiers were badly outnumbered but stood their ground, fighting valiantly. The skirmish was covered by The New York Times, which noted the men's bravery at a time when many people questioned whether former slaves could make good soldiers. Their heroic action preceded President Abraham Lincoln's announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 and establishment of the United States Colored Troops.
Following a massacre of men and boys and the burning of Lawrence, Kansas, by Confederate bushwhackers in the summer of 1863, the United States General Ewing ordered the evacuation of the civilian population from rural areas of Bates and nearby counties except for within a mile of certain Union-controlled cities, in order to cut off sources of support for Confederate insurgents. This was done under Order No. 11. The county had been a base of Confederate guerrillas. But, Ewing's order generated outrage and added to support of guerrillas in some areas.
This mostly rural county continued to support agriculture in the decades after the Civil War. Since the early 20th century, population has declined as people have moved to cities for work.
Legacy and honors
- A statue commemorating the Battle of Island Mound was installed on the north lawn of the county courthouse in Butler, seven miles from the skirmish site.
- The skirmish area has been preserved since 2012 as the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site, and its historic prairie is being restored.
- The Battle of Island Mound (2014) is a short documentary film made in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; it won two Emmy Awards in 2015 for historic documentary and cinematography.
- Cass County (north)
- Henry County (northeast)
- St. Clair County (southeast)
- Vernon County (south)
- Linn County, Kansas (west)
- Miami County, Kansas (northwest)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,653 people, 6,511 households, and 4,557 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (7.7 people/km2). There were 7,247 housing units at an average density of 8 units per square mile (3.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.33% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Approximately 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,511 households, out of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.50% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $30,731, and the median income for a family was $36,470. Males had a median income of $30,298 versus $19,772 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,477. About 11.50% of families and 14.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.30% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.
According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2010), Bates County is regarded as being a part of the Bible Belt, with evangelical Protestantism being the most predominant religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Bates County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (34.21%), United Methodists (15.78%), and Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (14.48%).
|Black or African American (NH)||155||1%|
|Native American (NH)||92||0.6%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||9||0.06%|
|Hispanic or Latino||335||2.1%|
- Adrian R-III School District – Adrian
- Adrian Elementary School (PK-05)
- Adrian High School (06-12)
- Ballard R-II School District – Butler
- Ballard Elementary School (PK-06)
- Ballard High School (07-12)
- Butler R-V School District – Butler
- Butler Elementary School (K-06)
- Butler High School (07-12)
- Hume R-VIII School District – Hume
- Hume Elementary School (PK-05)
- Hume High School (06-12)
- Miami R-I School District – Amoret
- Miami Elementary School (K-06)
- Miami High School (07-12)
- Rich Hill R-IV School District – Rich Hill
- Rich Hill Elementary School (K-05)
- Rich Hill High School (06-12)
Politics are divided at the local level in Bates County. Republicans hold a majority of the elected positions in the county.
|2020||76.70% 6,410||21.08% 1,762||2.21% 185|
|2016||59.64% 4,772||37.36% 2,989||3.00% 240|
|2012||45.46% 3,513||51.40% 3,972||3.14% 243|
|2008||41.75% 3,431||55.43% 4,555||2.82% 232|
|2004||53.22% 4,479||45.09% 3,795||1.69% 142|
|2000||48.88% 3,783||49.02% 3,794||2.10% 162|
|1996||34.70% 2,483||63.33% 4,531||1.97% 141|
|1992||42.06% 3,204||57.94% 4,414||0.00% 0|
Bates County is split between three legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives, all of which are held by Republicans.
- District 56 — Michael Davis (R-Kansas City). Consists of unincorporated areas in the northwestern quadrant of the county south of Drexel.
- District 57 — Rodger Reedy (R-Windsor). Consists of unincorporated areas in the northern part of the county south of Archie and Creighton.
All of Bates County is included in Missouri's 4th Congressional District and is currently represented by Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hartzler was elected to a sixth term in 2020 over Democratic challenger Lindsey Simmons.
|Libertarian||Steven K. Koonse||195||2.35%||-0.32|
At the presidential level, Bates County has become solidly Republican in recent years. Bates County strongly favored Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Bates County in 1996 with a plurality of the vote, and a Democrat hasn't won majority support from the county's voters in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Like most rural areas throughout Missouri, voters in Bates County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which tend to influence their Republican leanings, at least on the state and national levels. Despite Bates County's longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes. In 2018, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition A) concerning right to work, the outcome of which ultimately reversed the right to work legislation passed in the state the previous year. 75.43% of Bates County voters cast their ballots to overturn the law.
Missouri presidential preference primaries
The 2020 presidential primaries for both the Democratic and Republican parties were held in Missouri on March 10. On the Democratic side, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) both won statewide and carried Bates County by a wide margin. Biden went on to defeat President Donald Trump in the general election.
The 2016 presidential primaries for both the Republican and Democratic parties were held in Missouri on March 15. Businessman Donald Trump (R-New York) narrowly won the state overall and carried a plurality of the vote in Bates County. He went on to win the presidency.
The 2012 Missouri Republican Presidential Primary's results were nonbinding on the state's national convention delegates. Voters in Bates County supported former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), who finished first in the state at large, but eventually lost the nomination to former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts). Delegates to the congressional district and state conventions were chosen at a county caucus, which selected a delegation favoring Santorum. Incumbent President Barack Obama easily won the Missouri Democratic Primary and renomination. He defeated Romney in the general election.
Then-Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) received more votes than any candidate from either party in Bates County during the 2008 presidential primary. Despite initial reports that Clinton had won Missouri, Barack Obama (D-Illinois), also a Senator at the time, narrowly defeated her statewide and later became that year's Democratic nominee, going on to win the presidency.
Bates County is divided into 24 townships:
- Robert Heinlein, science fiction author who was born and lived in Butler, mentioned the town in his short story "Requiem" and the novel To Sail Beyond the Sunset, in which the main character mentions the town several times
- Howard Maple, professional athlete in American football and baseball
- Charles O'Rear, photographer and author best known for his photo Bliss, the default wallpaper of Windows XP
- Stan Wall, former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Warren Welliver, Missouri Supreme Court Justice (1979–1989)
- "Bates County History". Bates County. Archived from the original on December 21, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- "2020 Population and Housing State Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. pp. 208.
- "AFFAIRS IN THE WEST.; A Negro Regiment in Action—The Battle of Island Mounds—Desperate Bravery of the Negros—Defeat of the Guerrillas--An Attempted Fraud", The New York Times, 19 November 1862, accessed 22 February 2016
- "Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site". Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- " 'The Battle of Island Mound' wins two Emmy Awards from NATAS Mid-American Chapter", 7 October 2015 Press Release, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, accessed 29 February 2016
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Bates County, Missouri".
- Breeding, Marshall. "Butler Public Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Breeding, Marshall. "Rich Hill Memorial Library". Libraries.org. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- "Howard Maple Baseball Stats | Baseball Almanac".
- Bates County website
- Digitized 1930 Plat Book of Bates County Archived 2011-08-16 at the Wayback Machine from University of Missouri Division of Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books
- "Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site", Missouri State Parks
- " 'The Battle of Island Mound' wins two Emmy Awards from NATAS Mid-American Chapter", 7 October 2015 Press Release, Missouri Department of Natural Resources