Welcome Jackson Country

Jackson County is located in the western portion of the U.S. state of Missouri, on the border with Kansas. As of the 2020 census, the population was 717,204. making it the second-most populous county in the state (after St. Louis County in the east). Largely suburban it is the most populated county in the Kansas City metropolitan area consisting of mostly detached single family homes. 

Although Independence retains its status as the original county seat, Kansas City, Missouri, serves as a second county seat and the center of county government. The county was organized December 15, 1826, and named for former Tennessee senator Andrew Jackson, who would become President of the United States three years later in 1829.



Jackson County was long home to members of the indigenous Osage tribe, who occupied this territory at the time of European encounter. The first known European explorers were French trappers who used the Missouri River as a highway for explorations and trading with regional Native American tribes. Jackson County was claimed as a part of the territory of New France, until 1763 and the British victory in the French and Indian War. After that, France ceded this territory west of the Mississippi River to Great Britain’s ally, Spain. In 1800 Spain was forced by France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso to return its Louisiana Territory (of which modern Jackson County formed a part) to France. Soon abandoning its claims in North America, Napoleon of France sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

Operating on behalf of President Thomas Jefferson, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through Jackson County on their notable Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804, to survey peoples, property and resources of the Louisiana Territory. Among other items, their report indicated a “high, commanding position” along the river within the current boundaries of Jackson County; in 1808 Fort Osage was constructed there. This stockade and trading post was one of the first U.S. military installations within the Louisiana Purchase territory, and remained active until 1822.

In 1821, Jackson County was included in the newly admitted state of Missouri. Jackson County was organized on December 15, 1826, and named for Andrew Jackson, U.S. Senator from Tennessee and military hero of the War of 1812, who would ascend to the Presidency shortly after, in 1829. Its county seat was designated as Independence, then a minuscule settlement near a spring. However, the rapid increase in westward exploration and expansion ultimately resulted in Independence becoming the starting point for three of the great Westward Trails: the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the California Trail. Following the American Civil War and construction of railroads through this area, nearby Kansas City, Missouri, ultimately eclipsed Independence, though both towns remain county seats.

In 1838, the “Town Company” bought a small piece of land along the Missouri River in northern Jackson County, establishing “Westport Landing” (today this is known as the River Market district). The area outside Westport Landing was renamed in 1839 as the “Town of Kansas”, after the local Kanza or Kaw tribe.

The town was chartered by Jackson County in 1850 and incorporated by the State of Missouri in 1853 as the “City of Kansas”. In 1889, with a population of around 60,000, the city adopted a new charter and changed its name to Kansas City. In 1897, Kansas City annexed Westport.


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