History and Genealogy of Franklin County, Missouri



This website is dedicated to preserving the history of Franklin County, Missouri, and to providing helpful information and resources to people researching Franklin County history and genealogy. It is not connected to any historical society or governmental body; however information about such organizations is included herein. The content is copyrighted and is not to be used without permission. Note all links take you away from this site. Good luck with your research.




Court was originally held in Ambrose Ransom's Large Log House

Second Courthouse built in 1849 (No photographs of first actual courthouse).

Historic Courthouse built in 1922-1923 and still in use today.

Present Franklin County Government Center

Present Franklin County Judicial Center



Local History Class at East Central College

Message Board

Join Discussion Group


Historical Societies

Civil War Roundtable

Veteran's Hall of Honor

Franklin County Government Offices

Scenic Regional Library





Black History

Native American  History

Books About Franklin County History

National Registry of Historic Places in Franklin County


Brief History of Franklin County

Franklin County was established in 1818, two years before Missouri was admitted to the Union as a state. When the Missouri Territory was organized in 1812, there were only five counties: St. Charles, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau and New Madrid. Franklin County was once part of St. Louis County. Between 1812 and 1820, the number of counties increased to 15 with the addition of Washington (1813), Howard (1816), and Jefferson, Franklin, Wayne, Lincoln, Madison, Montgomery, Pike and Cooper (all 1818). Any student of history and genealogy relating to Franklin County in the first half of the 19th century would be well advised to become apprised of the details of county formation and township formation as townships also evolved before assuming their present form. Someone living in St. Louis County in 1814 might actually have been in present-day Franklin County. Likewise, someone living in Franklin County in 1818 could have been living in present-day Gasconade County.

When the county was first organized, Newport was selected as the first county seat and remained so until 1825, when an act of Legislature effected its removal to Union. Before a courthouse could be built at Union, court was held in a structure belonging to Ambrose Ransom (see photo at right).

Two invaluable sources of early Franklin County history are Goodspeed and Kiel histories. "Goodspeed" is an 1888 history published by Goodspeed Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois, correctly called "History of Missouri, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, & Gasconade Counties. The "Kiel" history, correctly referred to as "The Centennial Biographical Directory of Franklin County, Missouri" compiled and published by Herman Gottlieb Kiel", 1925, is basically a book of lists, but the lists are a great tool for the researcher.

Click Map (from Kiel's 1925 history) to Enlarge

Unidentified Franklin County Photo

Scene on Oak Grove Church Road




This page was last updated Wednesday, November 8, 2013.

Franklin County Coordinator for this Missouri USGenWeb Project is Sue Blesi

ęCopyright 1996-2013, Sue Blesi. All rights reserved.