A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Franklin County, Missouri

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Franklin County


Franklin County is a county in the eastern part of Missouri, bounded on the north by the Missouri River, which separates it from Warren and St. Charles Counties; on the east by St. Louis and Jefferson Counties; on the south by Washington and Crawford Counties, and on the west by Gasconade County...

When the first settlers appeared there was a village of 200 or more tepees in the Bourbeuse Valley, but the Indians soon quietly disappeared. The first settlements were made along the Missouri Valley, under Spanish grants, and by Frenchmen, as would appear from the names of various streams whereon they located. The first American settler was probably Kincaid Caldwell, in 1803...James North came in 1818; he built the first water mill, and was drowned near it. The same year came Dr. Peter Kincaid, a Scotchman who had served under Napoleon; he platted the town of St. Albans which was swept away by the flood in 1844...

The county of Franklin was organized December 11, 1818, and was named for Benjamin Franklin. As originally constituted it included the counties of Gasconade and Osage and portions of Maries and Miller Counties. Gasconade was detached and organized as a county in 1820, practically reducing Franklin to its present dimensions, although its boundaries were not accurately defined until 1845.

Upon the organization of the county, David Edwards, Philip Boulware, Sr., William Laughlin, David B. Moore and William Harrison, as commissioners, established the county court at New Port, in St. John's Township, near the Missouri River, and erected a small court house. In 1825, on petition of a majority of the people, the General Assembly passed an act for the removal of the seat of justice to some point near the central part of the county, and making Barnabas Stickland, Moses Whitmore and Brackett Barnes to select a location. Union was agreed upon, and Nathan Richards having donated thirty-seven and one-half acres of land for public uses, a log court house was built, in 1828, at a cost of $844.97, and this was occupied until a brick building was erected in 1849...The first county court was held in January, 1821, at New Port...The last session at New Port was November 7, 1826, and the first at the new seat of Union was June 25, 1827...The first session of the circuit court, under Territorial laws was held by Judge Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, March 8, 1819. Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 2, pp. 510, 511. (--State of Missouri, History of Franklin County, 1888, Goodspeed, p. 287.)

[II]

The first inhabitants of Franklin County were the Mound Builders...The Indians were the sucessors of the Mound Builders...

Most of the Indians gradually left the area, but a remnant were left behind; they belonged to the once powerful tribes of Shawnees, Delawares and Osages, and had a village of 200 to 300 cabins in the vicinity of the Bourbeuse River, named Shawneetown.

The inhabitants of Franklin County were at this time chiefly distributed in a few settlements along the Missouri River, mainly on "Spanish grants", tracts of land ceded by the Spanish governor of St. Louis. These settlements were known as the "Labaddie" settlement, the "Du Bois" settlement, the "St. John's" settlement, the "Newport" settlement, the "Boeuf" and the "Berger" settlements. A list of the Spanish grants may be found in the History of Franklin County. (--History of Franklin County, pp. 214, 217.)

Township Organization

After numerous changes in the municipal townships...the question of township organization came up in 1872. May 25, a petition was presented to the county court looking toward township organization, but as there was no evidence before the court that a majority of the signers were legal voters, no action was taken...

Several attempts were made from time to time, and on the first Tuesday in April, 1875, elections for township officers were held at the following places in each township, respectively; Boles Township, Gray's Summitt; St. John's Township, Cleve's mill; Washington Township, Washington; Calvey Township, Catawissa; Prairie Township, Prairie school-house; Central Township, St. Clair; Meramec Township, Stanton; Boone Township, Japan; Luon Township, Port Hudson post-office; Boeuf Township, Blish's mill; New Haven Township, New Haven; Union Township, Union. Officers were elected in each township, who served one year, by the end of which time the experiment of township organization became unsatisfactory and was abandoned. The municipal townships of the county remain as named above. (--History of Franklin County, p. 236.)

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Franklin County Mines

Caswell Mine

It was located at Section 3, Township 20 N, & Section 34 Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Cove Mine

It was located at Section 34, Township 42 N, Range 1 E. Northunberland Mine

It was located at Section 5, Township 41 N, & Section 32, Township 42 N, Range 1 E. North Virginia Mine

It was located at Section 9, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Silver Leaf Mine
It was located at Section 21, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Giles Mine

It was located at Sections 32 & 33, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Skinner Mine

It was located at Sections 19, 30, & 31, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Piney Mine

It was located at Sections 8 & 19, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Jeffries Mine

It was located at Section 21, Township 41 N, Range 1 E. Otten Mine

It was located at Section 28, Township 41 N, Range 1 E.
These were vertical mines. (--History of Franklin County, pp. 208, 209.)

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Horizontal mines

Thomas Mine

It was located at Section 5, Township 40 N, & Section 32, Township 41 N, Range 1 W, on survey 3279 granted to Gabriel Care. Appleton Mine

It was located at Section 5, Township 40 N, Range 1 W. Ellett Mine

It was located at Section 6, Township 41 N, Range 1 W.
Hamilton Mine

It was located at Section 31, Township 42 N, Range 1 W.

Patton Mine

It was located at Section 30, Township 42 N, Range 1 W.

Wicker Mine

It was located at Section 5, Township 41 N, Range 1 W.

Shotwell Mine

It was located at Section 32, Township 42 N, Range 1 W.

Peninsula Mine

It was located at Sections 15 & 16, Township 42 N, Range 1 W.

Jack Mine

It was located at Section 24, Township 42 N, Range 2 W.

Binsbacher Mine

It was located at Section 36, Township 42 N, Range 2 W.

Highland Mining Company's Mine

It was located at Section 21, Township 42 N, Range 1 W.

Judah Spring Mine

It was located at Section 19, Township 41 N, Range 1 W.

Booth Bank -- Iron

It was located at Section 27, Township 41 N, Range 1 W, two and one-half miles from Dry Branch. (--History of Franklin County, p. 209, 210.)

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Other Landmarks

Fisher's Cave

This cave is situated about two miles south and one mile east of Stanton. Garrett Cave

Garett Cave is one and a half miles east of Sullivan. Saltpeter Cave

Saltpeter Cave is a large opening below Fisher's Cave... Gunpowder was made here at an early day. Persimmon Gap

Persimmon Gap is due south from Stanton about three miles. Jacob's Well

Jacob's Well is a strange curiosity. It is located in Township 43 N, Range 4, about one and a half miles west of Detmold. The mouth of the well is in a slight depression, and at the bottom of this depression is an opening about fourteen inches wide and four feet long, down through solid rock. After going down the rock the wall opens out to ten or twelve feet square, and descends about eighty feet to the water, in the center of which there is a hill or mound large enough to hold two or three persons.. (--History of Franklin County, pp. 212, 213.)

Labaddie's Cave

One of the remarkable caves in Franklin County is known as Labaddie's Cave. It is situated on one of the main roads leading from Union to the farm of C. S. Jeffries (1888), near Labaddie Station, on the Missouri Pacific R. R...It is said that in the early days, just when no one seems to know now, a hunter named Labaddie, accompanied by his son, a small lad, about twelve years old, trailed a bear which he had wounded into this cave. The hunter followed the bear into the cave, under the impression, it may be, that the bear was nearly or quite dead. The father did not return, and the son, after waiting several hours for him to return, became alarmed, and went back alone to St. Louis.

If a rescuing or investigating party were ever organized, its efforts at finding the body were fruitless, the difficulty being probably to identify the locality. In after years a gentlemen entered the cave, and found the skeletons of the hunter and the bear where they had fallen in an unseen but not unequal death struggle, as both had perished. The remains of the hunter were not brought out, for interment, as it being thought the most fitting place for them to rest, was where they were found. The hunter was Sylvester Labaddie... (--History of Franklin County, pp. 211, 212.)


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Franklin County Firsts

The first store...was established at New Port, previous to which time the people traded mostly in St. Louis...At this original store in New Port, (conducted by Pres G. Rule) was kept a general stock of dry goods, groceries and hardware...

It is generally conceded that Kincaid Caldwell was the first American settler in Franklin County. He settled in Section 6, Township 44 N, Range 1 West in 1833...

Hartly Sappington was one of the early settlers, coming into the county in 1806, and settling about two and a half miles up the Missouri River from the present site of Washington. He built the first horse mill west of St. Louis.

James North, who built the first water mill in the county, came in 1818, and was drowned in the creek near his mill in 1823.

The first white men who came into the county were French hunters and traders who gave names to many of the streams which are evidently French...Daniel Boone and some of his companions lived for a few years in the southwest part of the county, but in 1803 he moved on to Warren County...

By striking off Gasconade County from Franklin (ca. November 25, 1820) the area of the county was considerably reduced, and in 1845 new boundaries of the county were established.

Following the organization of the county, December 11, 1818, the old town of New Port was selected as the county seat. Here the court-house and other public buildings were duly erected, and New Port remained the county seat until it was removed to Union. The county court met for the last time at New Port, on November 7, 1826, and for the first time at Union at the house of A. Ranson, June 25, 1827. (--History of Franklin County, pp. 218, 222, 224, 225, 229, 232, 233; History of Gasconade County, p. 623.)


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