Hiram Young was born about 1812 in Tennessee. In 1847, Young obtained freedom
and with his wife moved to Independence, Missouri. Taking advantage of his location
near the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, he built wagons for western emigrants. By 1860,
Young was turning out thousands of yokes and between 800 and 900 wagons a year.
As Civil War tensions mounted along the Kansas-Missouri border, Young and his
family fled to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1861. He returned to Independence at the
war’s end to find his business sacked and destroyed. Nevertheless, Young succeeded
in building a school for African American children in Independence. Trying without
success to recoup the losses he had suffered during the war, Young died in 1882.