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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Lewis & Clark on the Information Superhighway

Celebrate Two National Bicentennial events at La Charrette!

It was Friday, May 25, 1804 when Captain Clark recorded "To a small french Village called La Charatt of seven homes only, This is the last settlements of whites in the bend Starbord." Here Lewis & Clark spend the night, "bought corn and butter" and acquired information about conditions upriver. By September 20, 1806, after an absence of 848 days, Corps of Discovery members sight cows on the river bank which "caused a shout to be raised for joy" as they once again approached Charrette Landing, this time from the west. Little wonder why La Charrette may now be considered the equivalent of Cape Canaveral as our nations first launch pad into the vast unknown.

"Hi, I'm Joseph Chartran, syndic here at La Charrette Village... Actually, its my ghost of past days shared across some 200 years. I settled at La Charrette before Lewis and Clark came by. I trap furs here...big money for me, great future for 'Angelique', my Osage wife, our son Joseph, Jr. and our five orphan kids. Great life it is. Better than in big cities the likes of St. Charles or St. Louis where I was before. La Charrette is wonderful place to live, hunt, trap beaver and farm with my friends. I'll help Lowell Schake, a native of Marthasville, Missouri, tell you all about the other expeditions and famous people who came by La Charrette and all of our other adventures hereabout on the North bank of the Missouri River."

Joseph's "miserable" "poverty stricken" village of only seven families share nine orphans among them. As syndic, Joseph was in charge at La Charrette. Since Joseph spoke mostly French, Osage along with some other Indian dialects but only a little English, present-day author Lowell M. Schake, a Missouri farm boy born there before becoming a retired university professor, will serve as interpreter. A living history of La Charrette Village will emerge. Lowell will also offer present-day links to other interesting sites and events related to Joseph's facinating life. Much of the information will come from the first ever book about Joseph's unique home, farther into the American west than any other, on the vast and largely unexplored new American frontier of the Louisiana Purchase. Other references and documents will also be shared with casual readers, historians of all stripes, and school children across America, all in support our national celebrations of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and that of Zebulon Pike's. Did you know that Pike's Expedition had as much or more to do with initiating western expansion than The Corps of Discovery did?

"I helped Pike start his big expedition too. He stayed two nights in my bousillage cabin with us. I can tell you more. Listen-up...I remember much more...Daniel Boone, John Colter, Charles 'Indian' Phillips,Godfrey Duden, steamboating, The Duke from Wurttenburg, the first Santa Fe Trail map, the founding of Marthasville, and ... I have lots of stories to share with you all."

Professor Walter Kamphoefner, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History at Texas A&M University says, "One might question whether a village of seven houses rates a book, but to do so would be to underestimate both Lowell Schake and La Charrette. This was not just any village, but for nearly a half-century in the late 1700s and early 1800s, it was the last outpost of European settlement on the Missouri River, the natural highway to 2000 miles of Indian country, everyone's laststop on the way out and the first stop on the way back. Lowell Schake has done a remarkable job of digging into French, Spanish, and territorial records to reconstruct the multi-racial, multi-lingual, and multi-ethnic society of his home town, the intriguing frontier village of La Charrette.”

LA CHARRETTE: VILLAGE GATEWAY TO THE AMERICAN WEST (ISBN 0-595-27538-9) iUniverse, Inc. 2003, is being reissued. This Reader's Choice, Editor's Choice and STAR Program volume has earned fabulous reviews. See its 'Five Star' on-line reviews at Barnes & Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=fq6f6Wj9Z6&isbn=0595275389&itm=3 and at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0595275389/qid=1120695879/sr=1-10/ref=sr_1_10/104-2962684-2702363?v=glance&s=books or order from iUniverse, Inc. at http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-27538-9 for only $19.95. Kirkus Reviews of New York offered comments on this volume reissued in 2006 at http://www.kirkusdiscoveries.com/kirkusreviews/discoveries/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001350947

“Schake’s book documents the intimate life and history of a village that helped serve as a launching point into the territory…and its role in American frontier life” was how Brad Urban of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Suburban Journals framed his review. Likewise, Margy Miles, a Daniel Boone relative exhaults La Charrette as revealing new facts about her famous frontier family at http://www.mpcps.org/boone/lacharette/schake.shtml

The cast of characters living at La Charrette were colorful frontiersmen of the highest order. La Charrette was THE American frontier before the west was distorted by novels, TV and movies. The University of Texas Professor of History, W. H. Goetzmann, ranked the leading giants of western exploration in his 1966 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Exploration and Empire. His top three were “Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Colter…” all intimately associated with La Charrette Village. It was as if all significant happenings related to westward exploration and expansion somehow involved this Village…until now lost to history.

La Charrette offers everyone a joyful adventure into American history: true, rugged, raw, unabashed and so quintessential American, then as now. Some even consider it a 'missing link' in American history. Follow along as Joseph and Lowell travel about at this crossroads of varied cultures, explorations and western expansion as our shared 'American Dream' unfolds, or browse the book that Lowell wrote, with collaborator Jerome Holtmeyer, about Joseph and his friends on-line at http://tinyurl.com/7nug5 Here is provided a search engine to Google your way throughout the book. Just enter the word or phrase you wish to locate and the page numbers with that information will appear. You will need to offer your e-mail address and establish a password to proceed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowell Schake's scale model pictured above is proving to be a fascinating topic of conversation for elementary students who visit the Warren County Historical Society's Museum and Library at 102 West Walton Street in Warrenton, Missouri.

7:00 PM  

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