Franklin County, Missouri

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Not to be confused with Franklin, Missouri.
Franklin County, Missouri
Franklin County MO Courthouse 20140920 pano1.jpg
Franklin County Courthouse in Union
Seal of Franklin County, Missouri
Map of Missouri highlighting Franklin County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded December 11, 1818
Named for Benjamin Franklin
Seat Union
Largest city Washington
 • Total 930.65 sq mi (2,410 km2)
 • Land 922.81 sq mi (2,390 km2)
 • Water 7.84 sq mi (20 km2), 0.84%
 • (2010) 101,492
 • Density 110/sq mi (42.43/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri on the south side of the Missouri River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 101,492,[1] making it the 10th most populous county in Missouri. Its county seat is Union.[2] The county was organized in 1818 and is named after Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.[3][4]

Franklin County is part of the St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area and contains many of the city's exurbs.

The county has wineries that are included in the Hermann AVA (American Viticultural Area) and is part of the region known as the Missouri Rhineland, which extends on both sides of the Missouri River. Rural Franklin County has had problems with the production and consumption of methamphetamine and was featured in an A&E documentary entitled Meth: A County in Crisis (2005).


Occupied by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples, this area was populated by the historic Osage tribe at the time of European encounter. The region was first settled by Europeans during the rule of the Spanish Empire. The Spanish log fort San Juan del Misuri (1796–1803) was built in present-day Washington. After the American Revolutionary War, migrants from the new United States started moving West. Among them were the family and followers of Daniel Boone, an explorer who settled the area starting in 1799. For the next two decades, most settlers came from the Upper South, bringing their slaves with them to work the land.

In 1833 substantial numbers of German immigrant families settled in the area, and soon they outnumbered the slaveowners. The Germans opposed slavery, and their descendants became strong supporters of the Union during the U.S. Civil War. The Confederate General Sterling Price led his troops in ransacking the area during the war.

Before the war the county was served by steamboats moving freight and passenger traffic on the Missouri River. Later it also became a railroad transportation center. Manufacturing industries were established at the end of the Civil War and successive ones have continued.

Bias Vineyard, near the small city of Berger, is located within the Hermann American Viticultural Area (AVA), designated in 1983. Röbller Vineyard and Winery near New Haven is also in the Hermann AVA. Wineries along both sides of the Missouri River are part of the Missouri Rhineland, whose vineyards were started by German immigrants in the mid-19th century. Before Prohibition, Missouri was the second-largest wine-producing state in the nation. Everything was closed down except for limited production of wine allowed for religious purposes. The state's wine industry had to be completely rebuilt, which has been taking place since the 1960s.

The rural county has had severe problems with the production, distribution and consumption of methamphetamine. The struggles of the county with effects of the drug, was explored in a 2005 A&E documentary entitled Meth: A County in Crisis.


The highest educational attainment in Franklin County consists of the following:[citation needed]

  • High School Graduates: 59.1%
  • Associate Degree: 10.6%
  • Bachelor's Degree: 10.9%
  • Graduate Degree: 7.5%