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Franklin County, Missouri
Seal of Franklin County, Missouri
Map of Missouri highlighting Franklin County
Location in the state of Missouri
Map of the U.S. highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded December 11, 1818
Named for Benjamin Franklin
Seat Union
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

930.65 sq mi (2,410 km²)
922.81 sq mi (2,390 km²)
7.84 sq mi (20 km²), 0.84%
 - (2010)
 - Density

110/sq mi (42.43/km²)

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri on the south side of the Missouri River. Franklin County is part of the St. Louis Metro Area and contains many of the city's exurbs. 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]

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 that aided freight traffic and passengers. 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 local vineyards have produced award-winning wines in recent decades.

The rural county has had severe problems with the production, distribution and consumption of methamphetamine, an illegal drug. The police and health care systems have been strained in trying to deal with the crisis. Labs producing the drug were shut down in a major arrest in the area. The struggles of the county personnel with effects of the drug, both in personal and official terms, was explored in an A&E documentary entitled Meth: A County in Crisis (2005).


The highest educational attainment in Franklin County consists of the following:

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

Public Schools[]

  • New Haven Public School District - New Haven
    • New Haven Elementary School (K-06)
    • New Haven Middle School (07-08)
    • New Haven High School (09-12)
  • Meramec Valley R-III School District - Pacific
    • Meramec Valley Community School (PK) - Pacific
    • Meramec Valley Early Childhood Center (PK) - Pacific
    • Truman Elementary School (K-05) - Pacific
    • Robertsville Elementary School (K-05) - Robertsville
    • Zitzman Elementary School (K-05) - Pacific
    • Nike Elementary School (K-05) - Catawissa
    • Coleman Elementary School (K-05) - Villa Ridge
    • Riverbend School (08) - Pacific
    • Meramec Valley Middle School (06-07) - Pacific
    • Pacific High School (09-12) - Pacific
  • St. Clair R-XIII School District - St. Clair
    • St. Clair Elementary School (K-02)
    • Edgar Murray Elementary School (03-05)
    • St. Clair Jr. High School (06-08)
    • St. Clair High School (09-12)
  • Sullivan School District - Sullivan
    • Sullivan Primary School (PK-01)
    • Sullivan Elementary School (02-05)
    • Sullivan Middle School (06-08)
    • Sullivan High School (09-12)
  • Union R-XI School District - Union
    • Beaufort Elementary School (K-06) - Beaufort
    • Central Elementary School (K-03) - Union
    • Clark-Vitt Elementary School (04-06) - Union
    • Union Middle School (07-08) - Union
    • Union High School (09-12) - Union
  • Washington School District - Washington
    • Family Resource Center (PK) - Washington
    • Washington West Elementary School (PK-06) - Washington
    • South Point Elementary School (K-06) - Washington
    • Marthasville Elementary School (K-06) - Marthasville
    • Labadie Elementary School (K-06) - Labadie
    • Fifth Street Elementary School (PK-06) - Washington
    • Clearview Elementary School (PK-06) - Union
    • Campbellton Elementary School (K-06) - New Haven
    • Augusta Elementary School (PK-06) - Augusta
    • Washington Middle School (07-08) - Washington
    • Washington High School (09-12) - Washington
  • Franklin County R-II School District - New Haven
    • Franklin County Elementary School (K-08) - New Haven
  • Lonedell R-XIV School District - Lonedell
    • Lonedell Elementary School (K-08) - Lonedell
  • Gerald Elementary School District - Gerald
    • Gerald Elementary School (K-05) - Gerald
  • Strain-Japan R-XVI School District

Private Schools[]

Alternative schools[]

  • Autumn Hill State School (K-12) - Union - Handicapped/Special needs
  • Franklin County Special Education Cooperative (PK-12) - St. Clair - Special Education
  • Four Rivers Career Center (09-12) - Washington - Vocational/Technical



According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the county has a total area of 930.65 square miles (2,410.4 km2), of which 922.81 square miles (2,390.1 km2) (or 99.16%) is land and 7.84 square miles (20.3 km2) (or 0.84%) is water.[4]

The center of the Missouri River forms the nominal northern border of the county, although the river has changed its course since boundaries were first established: a portion of St. Charles County near St. Albans is now south of the river, while a portion of Franklin County near Augusta is north of the river.

The Bourbeuse River runs for 107 miles in the county. It cuts a deep, narrow valley and is very crooked. It empties into the Meramec River near Union. This river is mostly undeveloped, with limited access and few bridges over it. During low water, a number of fords allow crossing.

The county is located in the Ozarks region, with steep hills and deep valleys, caves, springs, and sinkholes characteristic of karst areas. The underlying rock is typically carbonate, including limestone and dolomite. Mining activity in the county included ores of lead, copper, zinc, and deposits of refractory clay. The soils in most of the county tend to be thin, rocky red clay, and are poor for most agriculture, while the soil near the Missouri River is dark, rich, and thick, and used primarily for row crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. Much of the county is covered with thick forests, reestablished since in the 1920s.

Urbanization is increasing in the county, especially surrounding Washington and Union, and along Interstate 44. St. Albans is now a continuation of the suburban region of St. Louis County while the majority of the county retains a rural character and includes extensive wilderness areas, typical of exurban areas.

Adjacent counties[]

Major highways[]

  • I-44.svg Interstate 44
  • US 50.svg U.S. Route 50
  • US 66.svg U.S. Route 66 (1926–79)
  • MO-30.svg Route 30
  • MO-47.svg Route 47
  • MO-100.svg Route 100
  • MO-185.svg Route 185


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 2,379
1830 3,484 46.4%
1840 7,515 115.7%
1850 11,021 46.7%
1860 18,085 64.1%
1870 30,098 66.4%
1880 26,534 −11.8%
1890 28,056 5.7%
1900 30,581 9.0%
1910 29,830 −2.5%
1920 28,427 −4.7%
1930 30,519 7.4%
1940 33,868 11.0%
1950 36,046 6.4%
1960 44,566 23.6%
1970 55,116 23.7%
1980 71,233 29.2%
1990 80,603 13.2%
2000 93,807 16.4%
2010 101,492 8.2%
Est. 2012 101,412 8.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 93,807 people, 34,945 households, and 25,684 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile (39/km²). There were 38,295 housing units at an average density of 42 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.47% White, 0.94% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Approximately 0.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 44.9% were of German, 13.0% American, 10.7% Irish and 7.7% English ancestry, according to Census 2000.

There were 34,945 households out of which 36.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.50% were non-families. 22.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.40% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 30.00% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 12.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $54,392, and the median income for a family was $62,969. Males had a median income of $35,849 versus $23,344 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,529. About 4.50% of families and 7.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.90% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.


The unemployment rate in Franklin County is 10.6% as of August, 2010, above state and national averages.

Manufacturing accounts for the most (23.8%) employment in Franklin County, primarily in the city of Washington, followed by trade, transportation and utilities (18.8%), education and health care (17.7%), and construction (11.3%).

The biggest employers in Franklin County are the manufacturing firms of Magnet LLC, Cardinal Brands Hazel Division, GDX Automotive, Sporlan Valve Company, and Meramec Group Inc. as well as the Meramec Valley R-III School District in the public education sector and Schatz Underground Cable Inc. in the construction industry. Small farms and wineries also greatly contribute to the economy in Franklin County.



  • Berger
  • Gerald
  • New Haven
  • Pacific
  • St. Clair
  • Sullivan


  • Leslie
  • Miramiguoa Park
  • Oak Grove Village
  • Parkway

Census-designated places[]

  • Gray Summit
  • Villa Ridge

Other places[]

  • Beaufort
  • Catawissa
  • Labadie
  • Lonedell
  • Luebbering
  • Moselle
  • Robertsville
  • St. Albans
  • Spring Bluff
  • Stanton



The Republican Party predominantly controls politics at the local level in Franklin County. Republicans hold all but one of the elected positions in the county.

Franklin County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Tom Copeland Republican
Circuit Clerk Bill D. Miller Republican
County Clerk Debbie Door Republican
Collector Linda Emmons Republican
John Griesheimer Republican
(District 1)
Terry Wilson Republican
(District 2)
Mike Schatz Republican
Prosecuting Attorney Robert E. Parks Republican
Public Administrator Mary Jo Straatmann Democratic
Recorder Sharon L. Birkman Republican
Sheriff Gary F. Toelke Republican
Treasurer Debbie Aholt Republican


Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 46.82% 22,896 51.29% 25,082 1.89% 921
2004 56.33% 25,557 42.31% 19,195 1.36% 617
2000 54.75% 21,336 41.61% 16,216 3.64% 1,418
1996 46.18% 15,540 50.44% 16,973 3.38% 1,137

Franklin County is divided into five legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives; four of which are held by Republicans and one Democratic seat.

  • District 98 Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair). Consists of all of the cities of St. Clair, Union, and Villa Ridge.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 98 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Dave Hinson 7,050 60.50
Democratic Mary Jo Straatmann 4,603 39.50
  • District 105 Paul Curtman (R-Pacific). Consists of all of the city of Pacific.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 105 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Paul Curtman 1,611 57.43
Democratic Michael Frame 1,194 42.57
Missouri House of Representatives - District 109 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Scott D. Dieckhaus 8,617 100.00
  • District 110 Ben Harris (D-Hillsboro). Consists of a tiny part of the county bordering Jefferson County.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 110 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Carrie Cabral 173 51.95
Democratic Ben Harris* 160 48.05
  • District 111 Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan). Consists of all of the communities of Berger, Gerald, Leslie, Miramiguoa Park, and Oak Grove Village, as well as all of the cities of Sullivan and New Haven.
Missouri House of Representatives - District 111 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Dave Schatz 6,349 71.70
Democratic Tod DeVeydt 2,506 28.30

All of Franklin County is a part of Missouri’s 26th District in the Missouri Senate and is represented by Brian Nieves (R-Washington).

Missouri Senate - District 26 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Brian Nieves 20,684 62.45
Democratic George “Boots” Weber 10,545 31.84
Constitution Richard E. Newton 1,892 5.71


All of Franklin County is included in Missouri's 9th Congressional District and is currently represented by Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Following redistricting, the county will be moved into the new 3rd Congressional District in which Luetkemeyer will still be representing.

U.S. House of Representatives - District 9 - Franklin County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer 24,682 77.93
Libertarian Christopher W. Dwyer 6,981 22.07

Political Culture[]

Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2008 55.31% 27,355 42.98% 21,256 1.71% 847
2004 58.32% 26,429 40.95% 18,556 0.73% 333
2000 55.78% 21,863 41.26% 16,172 2.96% 1,159
1996 40.66% 13,715 41.23% 13,908 18.12% 6,111

At the presidential level, Franklin County is fairly independent-leaning, but, like many exurban and mostly rural counties, its voters often favor Republican and conservative issues. While Bill Clinton did manage to narrowly carry the county both times in 1992 and 1996, George W. Bush strongly carried Franklin County in 2000 and 2004 and like many of the rural counties in Missouri, Franklin County favored John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.

Like most predominantly rural areas, voters in Franklin County generally strongly support socially and culturally conservative principles and therefore tend to be more amendable to voting Republican. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Franklin County with 76.89 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Franklin County with 56.13 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Franklin County’s longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Franklin County with 77.61 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 75.94 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.

2008 Missouri Presidential Primary[]


U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) won Franklin County with 35.68 percent of the vote. Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) came in a close second place with 30.51 percent while former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) finished third with 27.70 percent of the vote in Franklin County. Libertarian-leaning U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) finished a distant fourth with 4.07 percent in Franklin County.


Then-U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) carried Franklin County with 55.83 percent of the vote. Then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) received 40.28 percent of the vote from Franklin County Democrats, one of his more impressive showings in a predominantly rural albeit exurban county. Although he withdrew from the race, former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-North Carolina) still received 2.96 percent of the vote in Franklin County.

  • Despite being a strongly Republican country, Hillary Rodham Clinton received more votes, a total of 7,177, than any candidate from either party in Franklin County during the 2008 presidential primary. Barack Obama received 5,179 in the Missouri Democratic Primary. Both Democratic candidates each received more votes than John McCain in the Republican Primary in Franklin County, who received 4,032 votes.

See also[]


Further reading[]

Historical Review of Franklin County, Missouri, 1818-1968. (Melvin B. Roblee & Vera L. Osiek, editors) (1968). Union, Missouri: Franklin County Sesqui-centennial Corporation.

External links[]

Coordinates: 38°25′N 91°05′W / 38.41, -91.08

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Franklin County, Missouri. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.