|Courts in St. Louis||| Print ||
St. Louis was founded in 1764. Its earliest judicial system followed Spanish and French civil codes, as the territory was traded back and forth between Spain and France. By 1804 St. Louis was under American jurisdiction, as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Each district in the Louisiana Territory had multiple courts:
In 1812 Congress created the Territory of Missouri. The first four courts in the above list were active until 1813 when they were abolished and replaced by the Court of Common Pleas. The Circuit Court of St. Louis began on 15 February 1815, continued into early statehood (10 August 1821) and into the present.
By 1841, there were four courts under supervising control of the St. Louis Circuit Court:
After the Civil War, the Court of Common Pleas, Law Commissioner’s Court, and Land Court were replaced by the St. Louis Circuit Court (1 January 1866–Present).
Other courts were St. Louis Criminal Court (1 February 1839–1897, when it became the Circuit Court for Criminal Causes); St. Louis Court of Criminal Correction (15 March 1866–1980s), and the St. Louis District Court of Appeals (1865–1870). The latter became the St. Louis Court of Appeals and is still in operation.
Probate cases in St. Louis have been under the auspices of seven different courts.
An index to some of the earliest existing court records (1804–1858) for St. Louis may be found in the Missouri Historical Society Research Library. St. Louis Circuit Court records (1787–1875) are being indexed and digitized by the St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project and can be found online at the Missouri State Archives Website.
Civil/Criminal/Chancery case files are in the Office of the Circuit Clerk in the City of St. Louis. There are over two million cards indexing these records, dating from 1858–1979. This information is currently only available by contacting Kathy Grillo at the Circuit Court office. Each card contains the name of the plaintiff and the defendant, the case number, and the date filed.
Circuit Court Offices
St. Louis City Circuit Court
Circuit Court of St. Louis County
St. Louis Genealogical Society. St. Louis County, Missouri Probate Records. 4 volumes. St. Louis: the Society, 1982. vol. 1 1804–1849; vol. 2 1849–1861; vol. 3 1862–1869; vol. 4 1870–1876. [This information is from the will books, not the probate files.]
Missouri State Archives, Local Records Program. An Abstract of the St. Louis Court System, 1804 to 1875. 6 February 2004.
St. Louis Genealogical Society · #4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140 · St. Louis, MO 63143 · 314-647-8547