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The Boonslick or Boone's Lick Country is a cultural region of Missouri along the Missouri River that played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States and the development of Missouri's statehood in the early nineteenth century.[1] Here, the Santa Fe and Oregon and California trails had their genesis as extensions of the older Boone's Lick Trail.[2] The region takes its name from the a salt spring or "lick" in western Howard County first settled by Nathan and Daniel Boone, sons of Daniel Boone. The area supplied many of Missouri's early leaders and despite an early French and Spanish exploration was populated by settlers and slaves from the Upland South, largely Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.[3][4] The region's borders have always been nebulous but have always included the present-day counties of Boone, Callaway, Cooper, Howard, and Saline. During and after the American Civil War, the area became the center of a larger region known as Little Dixie.[5]

"The county election" by George Caleb Bingham is an example of early political life in Missouri.

Franklin, Missouri, founded in 1816, was a large river port and early center of settlement and economic activity. There the Boone's Lick Trail ended and William Becknell blazed the Santa Fe Trail westward. Currently, Columbia, Missouri is the largest city and location of the University of Missouri, which was established in 1839. George Caleb Bingham painted in both towns; his works illustrate pioneer and river life in the early and mid-nineteenth century. Other early towns were Arrow Rock, Boonville, Fayette, and Rocheport. Franklin, lost to the powerful floods of the Missouri, was refounded upon the bluff as New Franklin.

Today the area is predominantly rural with the exception of the city of Columbia. Located adjacent to the Missouri Rhineland, the region has also seen a proliferation of wineries. In addition, the Katy Trail State Park runs along the Missouri River.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Barile, Mary. The Santa Fe Trail in Missouri. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press. 2010)
  3. ^ of Change: Death and Cemeteries in the Boonslick Region of Missouri" Maryellen Harshbarger McVicker
  4. ^ Babcock, Rufus, editor. Forty Years of Pioneer Life: Memoir of John Mason Peck D.D. (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1864)
  5. ^ History of Little Dixie

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