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History

Rock Port is the county seat for Atchison County in the northwest corner of Missouri. The community of 1,318 people (2010 census) is situated in a largely agricultural area. In 1836 the Platte Purchase added the present counties of Andrew, Holt, Atchison, and Nodaway to the State of Missouri. In 1841 the territory was sub-divided and Holt County was orgarized. By an Act of the State Legislature in the winter of 1844, the northern part of Holt County was made a separate county, with the name of Atchison, and was organized February 14, 1845. It was named for David Rice Atchison, U.S. Senator from Missouri, who was President of the United States for one day in 1849 when John Tyler refused to be inaugurated on Sunday.

People first settled at Rock Port's present location so they could use Rock Creek to power
grist mills and distilleries. Rock Port was laid out on April 8, 1851, by Nathan Meek, builder of the first grist mill on Rock Creek. The Post Office was originally named Byron and was established April 3, 1855. At that time there were only two towns in the county: Linden, the county seat located north of Byron (later Rock Port), and Sonora, on the Missouri River west of the present town of Watson.

In the 1830s a territorial dispute called The Honey War eventually resulted in the State of Missouri losing a ten mile stretch of land to the State of Iowa in 1851. It was decided that Linden was too far north and west to remain the county seat and that its location was inconvenient for people living in the southern and eastern parts of the county. In a hotly contested election with Tarkio, Rock Port became the county seat in 1856.

The first house erected in Rock Port was built in the spring of 1851 by A. G. Buddington on the southwest corner of Main and Mill streets and occupied by him as a general store. This site is the present location of the Atchison County Library.

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