Independence, Missouri

An 1855 illustration of Independence, Missouri. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Notable Events:

Independence, Missouri was founded in 1827 to serve as the westernmost port of the fur trade on the Missouri River. It later served as a jumping-off point for the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, and two battles were fought here in the Civil War. The First Battle of Independence ensued when a combined force of Confederate soldiers and bushwhackers, including William Clarke Quantrill, captured control of the city in 1862. Two years later, Major General Sterling Price led his Confederate raiders into the Second Battle of Independence. Price's victory there allowed him to continue his Missouri Expedition by moving toward Kansas City before his decisive defeat at the hands of General Samuel R. Curtis in the Battle of Westport. Today, Independence is better known for its importance in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as the childhood hometown of President Harry S. Truman. The city also hosts a number of historic museums that document its regional importance in the mid-19th century.