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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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Interview an Oak ?

If I could interview a tree, my choice would have been this one were it still alive. To my knowlege, this old knarred tree trunk is one of the very few remaining physical entities associated with La Charrette history dating from its earliest times. This trunk of a Chinquapim (Chinkapin) oak, centuries old and shown above with Wendy Schake, was once on Widow St. Franceway's farm at La Charrette Village. Later my great-great grandfather Ahman owned the farm. I passed by its original setting thousands of times going from my home to points beyond, and returning. A picture of this majestic tree in its entirety appears on page 58 in the 1976 booklet, Historic Sites of Warren County, Missouri by Margaret C. Schowengerdt. (An article about La Charrette Village, filled with the usual mix of facts and fiction, appears on page 63.) How this centuries old tree found its way to the University of Missouri, College of Agriculture campus where this picture was taken in 1984 is interesting.

Missouri State Highway 94 was being brought into the modern world with a new bridge crossing Charrette Creek in the plans during the late 1960s. As you might predict, this wise lovely old tree stood the path of progress. The local community became enraged upon the prospect of its loss. Letters were written to editors, politicans and the highway department to spare this fate. Instead, the tree was declared a 'Champion' with its 185 inch girth and declared the largest oak of its kind in Missouri. Rather than completely destroy this 'Champion' tree, its trunk was moved to the University of Missouri - Columbia and displayed in a botanical garden. To learn how to properly identify Champion Missouri trees proceed to the title link. More recently, another 'Champion' Chinquapin oak from St. Charles County has been declared. Somehow, I think the original 'Champion' still reigns with its richly endowed history. And, the last time I passed by its location at Mizzou it was not to be seen... Wonder what that interview might have revealed?

Another major relic is the log home of Flanders and Jemima Callaway thought to have been constructed shortly before 1812. It has been razed and cataloged with the intent to reconstruct under private ownership. A picture appears on page 57 of La Charrette.


Anonymous Margy said...

Interesting picture, Lowell! I wonder where the tree is now - I would love to visit it. What a shame it was cut down! I have that book also (Historic Sites of Warren County) and love it. Which farm was that on 94? How far out after you turn onto 94 at Marthasville? I know of a couple of old places out there that I love. One large plantation style brick, in particular, is really old but in bad shape. I love those old places! If only they could talk, huh? :-)

9:58 PM  
Blogger Lowell M. Schake said...

The tree was at Lone Oak Camp, a fishing camp where Ben Gardyne once lived about one-third mile west of State Highway 47 on Charrette Creek. The adacent property was owned by my great-great grandfather Herman Ahmann, later others of his family. His log barn was immediately across Highway 94 from Lone Oak.
Where was the old brick house? In Charrette Bottoms or in the hills?

4:34 PM  
Blogger Lowell M. Schake said...

The tree was at Lone Oak Camp, a small fishing camp about one-third mile west of Highway 47 on Charrette Creek where the bridge now crosses the creek. Ben Gardyne once lived there. The ajacent property was owned by my great grandfather Otto Ahmann, later others of his family.
Where is that brick home - in Charrette Bottoms or in the hills?

4:39 PM  

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