Liberty, Missouri

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Liberty is a city in Clay County, Missouri and is a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. At the 2007 population estimate, the city population was 29,993[3]. It is the county seat of Clay County[4]. Liberty is also home to William Jewell College.



Liberty was settled in 1822, and shortly later became the county seat of Clay County.[citation needed]

In 1830, David Rice Atchison established a law office in Liberty. He was joined three years later by colleague Alexander William Doniphan. The two argued cases defending the rights of Mormon settlers in Jackson County, served Northwest Missouri in Missouri's General Assembly, and labored for the addition of the Platte Purchase to Missouri's boundaries.[5] In October 1838, the two were ordered by Governor Lilburn Boggs to arrest Mormon prophet Joseph Smith Jr. at the Far West settlement in Caldwell County.[5] Immediately after the conclusion of the Mormon War, Smith and other Mormon leaders were incarcerated at the Liberty Jail for the winter as Doniphan labored for a quicker trial date. Although Doniphan led a force of Missouri volunteers ordered to capture the leaders, he defended Joseph Smith in trial and won him a change in venue. While en route to their new venue, Smith and his followers escaped and left Missouri for the new Mormon settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois.[5]

Atchison relocated to Plattsburg in Clinton County, as Doniphan continued to make his name in Liberty. Doniphan would join a company of Clay County men and command the 1st Missouri Mounted Volunteers Regiment during the Mexican-American War. The wartime fervor was covered by the Liberty Tribune, founded in April 1846.[citation needed]

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