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The city of Liberty, Missouri is a suburb of Kansas City, and the seat of government for Clay County. Settlers began arriving in the area in the early 1800s, and the town was founded in 1822, becoming the county seat shortly thereafter. Liberty is the second oldest incorporated town west of the Mississippi River. During the 1830s, the Liberty Landing was one of several steamboat docks along the Missouri River, and the town was a jumping off point for westward expansion, as well as an economic center. The Liberty Jail held Joseph Smith, the first president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who was held there during the winter of 1839. The city is home to William Jewell College, one of the oldest private colleges in Missouri, founded in 1849. In September of 1861, the Battle of Liberty, also known as the Battle of Blue Mills Landing, occurred when Union forces unsuccessfully attempted to keep the Confederate Missouri State Guard troops from crossing the Missouri River to reinforce General Sterling Price at Lexington. Although the Confederates suffered greater casualties, they were able to successfully cross the river, and ten of sixteen Union field officers were killed or wounded. Surrounding communities include Claycomo, Gladstone and Kearney. Kansas City is about sixteen miles southwest of Liberty, and Independence is just over twelve miles to the south.


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