Boonville is a city in Cooper County, Missouri, USA. The population was 8,319 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Cooper County. The city was the site of a skirmish early in the American Civil War on July 17, 1861. Union forces defeated a small and poorly equipped force of the Missouri State Guard in the first Battle of Boonville. History : The community derives its name from Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, who were the sons of Daniel Boone and established their salt business near the community in the early 1800s by delivering the salt from salt licks to St. Louis. The area has been called "Boone's Lick" and the route from the lick to St. Charles/St. Louis, Missouri is called the Boone's Lick Trail. The eastern terminus near Boonville at Franklin, Missouri is considered the original start of the Santa Fe Trail. The first pioneers were Hannah and Stephen Cole, who settled in 1810. During skirmishes with Native Americans in the War of 1812 they moved to a fort on the north side of the Missouri River (called on markers as "Hannah Cole Fort"). That fort subsequently became the first county seat of Howard County, Missouri. The Cooper County Jail was built in 1848 and remained in place until 1979 with a claim that it was the longest-serving jail in Missouri history. In 1855, Thespian Hall opened and now claims to be the oldest continuously running theatre west of the Allegheny Mountains. During the American Civil War, the community was fought over and held by both sides including in the Battle of Boonville on June 17, 1861, a month before the First Battle of Bull Run which gave the Union control of the Missouri River; and 2nd Battle of Boonville on September 13, 1861; and its capture by Sterling Price in 1864 in Price's Raid. Boonville Missouri cemeteries contain American Civil War soldiers. The city was a strategic target because of its location on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The track was subsequently taken over by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. In the 1980s, the track section that traversed the town was converted to parkland, as part of Katy Trail State Park. Today, the "Katy Trail" is the longest rails to trails system in the United States. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch InBev opened the Warm Springs Ranch west of Boonville as the primary breeding farm for the Budweiser Clydesdales. * Wikipedia and Photos Courtesy of William Bechmann (2011).