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Franklin, Missouri
Location of Franklin, Missouri
Location of Franklin, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Howard
 • Total 0.23 sq mi (0.61 km2)
 • Land 0.23 sq mi (0.60 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
597 ft (182 m)
 • Total 70
 • Estimate 
 • Density 402.60/sq mi (155.45/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 660
FIPS code 29-25624
GNIS feature ID 0718163

Franklin is a city in Howard County, Missouri, United States. It is located along the Missouri River in the central part of the state. Located in a rural area, the city had a population of 70 at the 2020 census. It is part of the Columbia, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.

As the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, the community played a major role in the westward expansion of the United States.


The town of Franklin was founded in 1816 and named for Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. William Becknell, known as the "Father of the Santa Fe Trail" lived on a farm a few miles northwest of Franklin. There was a spring near Becknell's property, Boone Lick Spring. The spring and its saline water were sufficient to attract people from St. Louis and points east, who came to distill the water for its salt. They came so often that they created a trail, calling it the Boonslick Road. The Boone refers to Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, sons of Daniel Boone; the brothers first operated the saltlick business.

In 1821, William Becknell put a notice in the "Missouri Intelligencer" stating he was creating a party to go "westward, for the purpose of trading for horses and mules and catching wild animals of every description." On September 1, 1821, his party crossed the Missouri River at Arrow Rock and set out along what would become known in a few years the Santa Fe Trail.

A devastating flood of the Missouri River destroyed much of Franklin in 1827. Residents rebuilt a short distance away on higher ground, creating New Franklin, Missouri.

The Cedar Grove was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Kit Carson

Born in Madison County, Kentucky, near the city of Richmond, Kit Carson was raised in Franklin after migrating there as a boy with his family. Lindsey Carson was a farmer of Scots-Irish descent, who had fought in the Revolutionary War under General Wade Hampton. He had a total of fifteen surviving children: five by his first wife, and ten by his second wife (Kit's mother), Rebecca Robinson. The Carson family settled on a tract of land owned by the sons of Daniel Boone, who had purchased the land from the Spanish prior to the United States annexing the territory by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Boone and Carson families became good friends, working, socializing, and intermarrying.

Carson was eight when his father was killed by a falling tree while clearing land. The father's death reduced the Carson family to a desperate poverty, forcing young Kit to drop out of school to work on the family farm, as well as engage in hunting. At the age of 14, Kit was apprenticed to a saddlemaker (Workman's Saddleshop) in Franklin. The town was the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail, which had opened two years earlier. Many of the clientele at the saddleshop were trappers and traders, from whom Kit would hear stirring tales of the Far West. Carson is reported to have found work in the saddle shop suffocating: he once said "the business did not suit me, and I concluded to leave". Around 1826, aged 16, Kit secretly signed on with a large merchant caravan heading to Santa Fe.


Franklin is located at 39°0′41″N 92°45′13″W / 39.01139°N 92.75361°W / 39.01139; -92.75361 (39.011316, -92.753747). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.23 square miles (0.60 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 314
1930 346 10.2%
1940 325 −6.1%
1950 324 −0.3%
1960 355 9.6%
1970 252 −29.0%
1980 196 −22.2%
1990 181 −7.7%
2000 112 −38.1%
2010 95 −15.2%
2019 (est.) 93 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 95 people, 42 households, and 26 families residing in the city. The population density was 413.0 inhabitants per square mile (159.5/km2). There were 52 housing units at an average density of 226.1 per square mile (87.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.9% White and 1.1% African American. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 42 households, of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 47.1 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 3.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.1% were from 25 to 44; 36.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 53.7% male and 46.3% female.

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