Boonville / Franklin
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
N 38° 59.219 W 092° 45.382
15S E 521100 N 4315359
The Starting Point for the Santa Fe Trail
Waymark Code: WM152N
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 01/17/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member OzarksJim
Views: 116

The town was named after Benjamin Franklin.

In 1819, the Missouri Intelligencer and Boonslick Advertiser became the first newspaper printed west of St. Louis. In 1821, Franklin was the starting point of the first Santa Fe caravan of pack mules to trade with Mexico. This first venture was organized by William Becknell. Although before 1821, there had been occasional parties travelling its general route and ending up in a Spanish jail, the Santa Fe trade which began with Becknell, established in fact the great trail of commerce called the Santa Fe Trail. This was also the year Mexico became independent of Spain, and at once it removed the old Spanish trade restrictions.

After the success of Becknell with trade in Mexico, other trades from the area were quick to follow. The wagon road between Franklin and Arrow Rock ferry had been laid out in 1816 by way of Cooper's Fort, across the bottom lands. It continued west ward from Arrow Rock, along the north side of Salt Fork Creek as far as Grand Pass in 1819, the first road in Saline County, Missouri. Besides the Arrow Rock ferry, there was a ferry at Boonville, and a ferry across the LaMine River between Boonville and Arrow Rock in 1821. Hardemen's ferry across the Missouri, near the mouth of the LaMine also dates to around 1821.

This original road to Fort Osage from Franklin, substantially followed the Osage Indian Trace. As early as 1822 the trail across Lafayette county to Jack's ferry at Lexington, was kept in repair, the small creeks bridged.

The Boone's Lick traders as they were called, useing this road were small investors, who sometimes mortgaged all their property to buy their goods and outfit their wagon trains. As they profited some of them soon began to hire teamsters, hunters and agents. Dry goods and useful articles of cutlery and other light hardware, comprised the bulk of their goods. They obtained their goods and outfits from Franklin merchants most of the time. These goods came to Franklin mostly from Philadelphia and New York, being transported by wagon over the Alleghany Mountains to Pittsburgh, and from there down the Ohio River by small steamboat to St. Louis or even St. Charles. Some of this freight was brought from thence to Franklin over the Boone's Lick Road. But the bulk of this merchandise was brought up the Missouri River in keel-boats, until the steamboatmen became sufficiently familiar with the channel to take their craft up to Franklin.

As the trade with Santa Fe became more popular and increased, more steamboats came farther up the Missouri, to places like Lexington, Fort Osage Landing, and Liberty Landing.

The original town was so heavily damaged by floods that most of its people moved in 1828 to New Franklin, just northeast of modern day Franklin. A great flood in 1993 swept away the few foundations of old Franklin that remained, as well as the Missouri Intelligencer monument and a DAR marker that stood beside the MKT tracks. This picture was taken a couple of years after the 1993 flood, and damage is still evident in the dislocation of Missouri 87 (which the Santa Fe Trail followed approximately for several miles west of town) and in the presence of a stagnant pool in a pit scoured by a vortex of the rushing floodwater. At lower right you can see the 1924 highway bridge over the river to Boonville, and just west of it the approach then being built for a new highway bridge.

This was the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail.

Marker erected by: State Historical Society of Missouri & Missouri Highway Department
Date marker erected: 1999

Marker Text:
Boonville, early prosperous river town, was first settled, 1810, by Hannah Cole, a widow, and her 9 children. A neighborhood fort was built at her place in the War of 1812. In 1817 the town, named for Daniel Boone,3 was laid out and became the seat of newly organized Cooper County, named for Sarshall Cooper,. pioneer. Here was the first State fair in Missouri, 1853. On June 17, 1861, here, in the first engagement of the Civil War in Missouri, Federals under Lyon defeated State Guard under Marmaduke.

Thespian Hall (now Lyric), oldest theater in use west of the Alleghenies, was built 1855-57. Kemper Military School opened as a boarding school, 1844; and the Episcopal Church was built, 1846. In 1889 the Missouri Training School for Boys was opened.1 Here lived David Barton, U.S. Senator, 1821-1831; Lon V. Stephens, governor, 1897-1901; and the journalist and educator, Walter Williams

Here, where Hannah Cole once operated a ferry, 2 bridges cross the river. On the North bank was "OLD" Franklin, Boon's Lick Trail end and start of the Santa Fe Trail.

Franklin, founded across the river from Boonsville, 1816, was once the metropolis of the Boon's Lick Country, a central Missouri region taking its name from a salt lick in the area worked by the sons of Daniel Boone. Here was the first land office north of the Missouri River, 1818, and the first newspaper, 1819, the "Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser." First steamboat up the Missouri, the "Independence," docked, 1819. From 1817-28 Franklin served as seat of Howard Co.2 Encroachment of the river brought town abandonment beginning with the laying out of New Franklin, 1828.

From Franklin, William Bucknell, "Father of the Santa Fe Trail," led, 1821, the first successful trading expedition to Santa Fe and took the first wagons over the route, 1822. Jacks and jennets brought back were the founding stock of Missouri's mules.

John Miller, governor, 1826-32, lived here, and here Kit Carson was apprenticed to a saddler and George Caleb Bingham's father ran a hotel. In the vicinity are sites of family forts of the War of 1812.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
Notes and corrections since original marker erected: A flood destroyed the original marker in 1993. A duplicate was installed.

1. In 1983 the Missouri Training School for Boys became the Boonville Correctional Center.
2. By 1824, Fayette served as the county seat.
3. Town was actually named for Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of the famous Daniel Boone.

Additional point: Not Listed

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