The Adair County Courthouse is located at 106 West Washington Street, Kirksville MO 63501; phone: 660-665-2552.
Organized January 29, 1841, from Macon County and named for John Adair, governor of Kentucky.
Adair County was a favorite Indian hunting ground at one time. Early white settlers passed down stories about the visits the Indians were accustomed to make to the region after they had yielded their claims and relocated farther north in Iowa.
The first attempt at settlement by the whites in this county was not made until 1828, 25 years after the Louisiana Purchase, and 3 years after the extinction of Indian titles to the land. It was 1828 that a band of sturdy pioneers came from Howard County to dwell in what is now Adair County, a region which was as yet very much as nature had made it. James Myers, Isaac Gross, Stephen Gross, Nathan Richardson, Reuben Myrtle and Jacob Gupp are, according to traditions, the men who composed this first band of settlers. It seems that Gupp was the only unmarried member. These men decided to locate on the east side of the Chariton about six miles west of what is now Kirksville, and tradition has it that they proceeded to build three cabins. The settlement became known as "The Cabins." The nearest neighbor to this band of newcomers was Joseph Loe, 30 or more miles to the south in what is now Macon County.