History of the Doniphan County Courthouse

The first courthouse was located in a warehouse owned by James R. Whitehead in the town of Whitehead, approximately 2 miles North and 1/2 mile east of downtown Wathena. This courthouse was used from September 15, 1855 to September 18, 1856. 

After Troy was made the county seat, the first building used as a courthouse was part of what is now called the Higby House, built in the summer of 1856. This building was used until the fall of 1859, when a new brick courthouse was constructed on the north side of the public square in Troy, nearly opposite the Higby House. Before this courthouse was built, there was no county jail, and prisoners were taken to Atchison for confinement. 

In 1867, the 1859 brick courthouse was destroyed by fire. Insurance money of $3,200 was recovered, bonds were issued, and a new courthouse was constructed by James E. Dryden. It was completed in the fall of 1868 at a cost of $6,000. Over the years, improvements increased the total cost to about $10,000. In 1880, an addition was made to the west side.

In 1870, a new jail was built at a cost of $8,000. In the 1950s, a new jail was constructed on the northeast corner of the courthouse square, which served as the Sheriff’s office, jail, and residence. 

The current Doniphan County Sheriff’s Department and jail was built in 2008 on South Main Street. It has a capacity to house over thirty prisoners.