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Cape Girardeau County

Archive Center History

The Cape Girardeau County Archive Center holds some of the oldest records in the State of Missouri dating back to the late 1790s when Don Louis Lorimier was Commandant of the Cape Girardeau District of Louisiana during the Spanish Regime. Though Lorimier could neither read nor write, he arranged land grants for the early settlers, held court, and performed marriages for the inhabitants. Upon occasion, he even called up militia to protect the district.


Louis Lorimier's Original Signature


Bartholomew Cousin, Lorimier’s secretary

In the 1990s, Cape County Commissioners--Gerald Jones, Larry Bock, Max Stovall, and County Clerk Rodney Miller stepped forward to protect these and other Cape County records. County funds combined with Local Record Program grants have brought about this modern storage facility to preserve our county records.  


Our collection includes records in English, German, French, and more. These records chronolize Lorimier's founding and into the twentieth century. Included are Missouri Territorial Records, records generated at the time of statehood, and Civil War documents.

Over 4500 cubic feet of records are available for researchers at the Archive Center. These include, but are no limited to:

Ø  Tax records

Ø  School records

Ø  Probate, Circuit, and Common Pleas court records

Ø  Marriage records

Ø  Some Birth and Death records

Ø  Limited Military records 


The records were moved in 2001 from storage areas as varied as the Jackson Circuit Courthouse bell tower and the Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse dungeon and are now located in the climate controlled Archives Center in Jackson, Missouri. With a view to the future as we protect our past, the new Cape Girardeau County Archive Center will serve the county and its citizens for years to come.

Cape Girardeau County Court House 1872

Cape Girardeau County Court House 1906

Local News: Penzel picked for new Cape County Courthouse; plans unveiled  (9/15/18) | Southeast Missourian newspaper, Cape Girardeau, MO
New County Court House 2020 


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