Washington is a city on the Missouri River in Franklin County, Missouri, United States. The population was 13,892 from the 2010 census. It is the corncob pipe capital of the world, with Missouri Meerschaum located on the riverfront. Named after George Washington after it came under American control, the town was first settled during the rule of the Spanish Empire. It was originally called St. John Meyer’s Settlement and was the site of the Spanish log fort, San Juan del Misuri (1796–1803). Family and followers of Daniel Boone settled the area across the river from Washington, Missouri starting in 1799. In 1814 a ferry boat was licensed for crossing the Missouri River to the north and the settlement became known as Washington Landing.
In 1827 a town was laid out, with sale of lots starting in 1829. The cost of land was waived if the buyer could build a substantial house within two years. This encouraged many new settlers. Substantial numbers of anti-slavery German families started moving to the town in 1833, and they soon overwhelmed the existing population of slaveowners. However, many of the original slaveowner’s homes still remain throughout the town. Washington became a strong supporter of the Union during the American Civil War. The town was ransacked by Confederate General Sterling Price‘s soldiers, but they were unable to keep control of the area. After the war, Washington became a railroad and steamboat transportation center.
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