Hiram Young (c. 1812-1882) was one of the leading manufacturers of wagons in Independence, MO for westward pioneers in the mid-19th century, notably the Forty-niners, and a successful African-American entrepreneur.

Young was born a slave in Tennessee in the early 19th century, and married while still a slave. He moved to Missouri, and at some point he purchased his wife Matilda's freedom; according to some reports he bought Matilda's freedom before his own, a common practice at the time because the children of a slave and a free person inherited the mother's status.

This slideshow shares ways in which Hiram Young is remembered in the Kansas City area including two recent public art installations - one in a park in Independence, Mo. and the other a bridge in Kansas City, Mo. which follows the route of the Santa Fe Trail.

The images from the Truman Library are a mural painted by Thomas Hart Benton titled "Independence and the Opening of the West" which was finished in 1960.

Benton always insisted the figures represented types of people and not actual individuals. Regardless, the mural vividly depicts hustle and bustle of Independence during the time period when Young was one of the wagon makers and entrepreneurs.

Read an article by trails historian Pat O'Brien - brent-schondelmeyer.squarespace.com/s/Hiram_Young.pdf

Music: Inspired by Bingham, Mengel Brothers,

Sources: Wikipedia, Truman Library

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