The Howard County Courthouse is located at 1 Courthouse Square, Fayette MO 65248; phone: 660-248-3400.
Located in Howard County, Fayette was incorporated in November 1826 (reincorporated in 1830), and has served as the county seat beginning in 1823. Howard County, the sixth county organized in the Missouri Territory, was organized by act of the Missouri General Assembly on January 13, 1816 from the western portions of St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, two of the five original counties that comprised the Missouri Territory. At one time the county covered 22,000 square miles and included much of the land north of the Osage River. Now covering 463 square miles, twenty-nine Missouri counties, and five Iowa counties have been formed out of the area that was originally Howard County. Fayette is located approximately 117 miles east, northeast of Kansas City and approximately 23 miles from Columbia.
According to the "Fayette, Missouri Survey Summary Report" (June, 1992), money flowed into Howard County from 1825-1860. The economy was based on Missouri River shipping and farming including tobacco, hemp, and cotton. The area was "extensively rooted in the traditions and agricultural practices of the agrarian South." During these prosperous beginnings, this young community merely sought to get essential services centered around the square to accommodate early settlers in the county.