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Boonville, the county seat of Cooper County, is in north-central Missouri. Daniel Boone’s sons, Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, came to the area in the early 1800s, establishing a salt mining operation at a salt lick in what is now Howard County, across the river from where Boonville now is. Early in its settlement, Boonville was known as Boone’s Lick or Boonslick. The town was officially platted in 1817, and incorporated in 1839. With the development of the railroad and the American Civil War, Boonville was viewed as a strategic location by both the Union and the Confederacy. Two Civil War battles were fought there, and the town was occupied twice. Boonville is situated on the south bank of the Missouri River, across the river from Franklin and New Franklin. I-70 is in the southern portion of the town. Joseph Franklin Rutherford, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is said to have been born in Boonville, although some references list his birthplace as Versailles. The Budweiser Clydesdales were bred on a ranch just east of Boonville.


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