Franklin County Administrative Offices are located at 400 Locust Street East, Union MO 63084; phone: 636-583-6356.
Organized December 11, 1818, (effective January 1, 1819) from St. Louis County and named for Benjamin Franklin. The original county seat was the Village of Newport which no longer exists. The City of Union became the county seat in 1825.
The French trappers and hunters traversed this region at a very early period, and gave names, which are still borne, to many of the streams. A few of these adventurers, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, settled within the present limits of the county and obtained valuable land grants from the Spanish Government, which were afterward confirmed by the U. S. Government.
Daniel Boone with some of his companions lived for several years in this county, previous to 1803, when he removed to Warren County. Among those who remained were the Roaks, Coalsers, Kincaids, Maupins and others.
In 1818, Franklin was erected from St. Louis Co., and for 2 years the Gasconade River was its western boundary, and the present county of Gasconade one of its principal townships. The county seat was located by the commissioners, William Laughlin, David Edwards and Thomas Buckner at New Port, but in 1830 it was removed to Union. The first court was held Jan. 1st, 1819, at the house of Hartley Sappington, a short distance above Washington, Joseph Reeves and James Higgins, justices, and Benoni Sappington, sheriff.
Isaac Murphy was appointed to keep a ferry on the Missouri, and gave $500 bonds to pass horses at 50 cents each and foot passengers at 25 cents; and Edward Simon, to keep a ferry over the Gasconade at half the above rates. Thomas Henry was appointed surveyor.
The county settled up slowly, at first with emigrants from Kentucky and Virginia, but later the tide of German immigration set in this direction, and now one-half of the inhabitants are of German birth or descent.
During the Civil War the mass of the people remained loyal to the Government, and the county was not seriously disturbed, except during the few days of Gen. Price's raid.