Westport, Missouri

Mural of the Battle of Westport, displayed at the Missouri State Capitol. Painted by Newell Convers Wyeth. Courtesy of Roger Rowlett.

Notable Events:

  • Arrival of the McCoy Family (1831)
  • First General Store Established (1833)
  • Platted as Westport (1834)
  • Battle of Westport, to the South of Brush Creek (October 23, 1864)
  • Annexed by Kansas City (1899)

Westport traces its history back to December 28, 1831, when the Baptist missionary Isaac McCoy arrived to work with the Shawnee Indians who had been displaced by the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In 1833, Isaac's son, John Calvin McCoy, established a general store along the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails, and named the area "Westport" to reflect its position as the jumping-off point for westward travel and trade. Eventually, in 1838, McCoy was one of 14 investors who founded the "Town of Kansas" at a landing along the Missouri River, just three miles north of Westport. The landing had been used as a site for riverboats to unload their wares and travelers instead of at Independence, a four-day journey away. Eventually, development occurred at the landing site itself, and it grew into the City of Kansas in 1853. By the time of the Civil War, it was commonly referred to as "Kansas City." Like many cities on the Western Border, Westport suffered its share of chaos during the war, most notably in the Battle of Westport, which is often described as the "Gettysburg of the West." That battle marked the end of major Confederate incursions into Missouri, and the end of the war itself soon followed. Eventually, Kansas City gained railroads and access to a burgeoning cattle trade, while Westport stagnated and was officially annexed by Kansas City in 1899. Today, Westport remains a distinctive neighborhood several miles to the south of modern downtown Kansas City.