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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, December 28, 2005

How La Charrette, the book, came to life

About the time this picture of me was captured in 1995, I had begun searching both the Southwest Collection and the general library at Texas Tech University (where I chaired the Animal & Food Science Department) for leads about La Charrette. But even then, my primary focus was on the genealogies and home communities of my German ancestors. It was about 1998 that I first realized that all of my ancestors came from within 25 mile radius of one another in Germany...and that all had disembarked at Marthasville Landing (a k a Charrette Landing) to eventually own much of its farmland. Only after publishing my family ethnohistory and genealogy in 1999 did La Charrette take center stage.

The title link provides a useful outline for how one self-publisher sees 'books coming to life.' My experiences include all of those items plus much, much more. Form my boyhood fascination with Daniel Boone, western exploration, Native Americans, and related topics, the interest gradually grew. By age 22 I acquired the La Charrette document of Dr. Irion's which held my interest for the next thirty years. Whenever I gained access to a new library anywhere in the world, I would search for 'La Charrette'. What I did NOT find convinced me that no one had ever published on this lost village of my birth. With a draft manuscript inhand by 2002, a contract was established with Pebble Publishing at http://www.pebblepublishing.com/index.htm but the status of the national economy scared the publisher off. Instead, he suggested iUniverse as a potential alternative. iUniiverse, Inc., another self-publisher at http://www.iuniverse.com/ , was what I needed to bring La Charrette Village to 'life'.

My plan for the next series of blogs in early 2006 is to highlight some of the events and techniques which aided in my bringing the 200-year old village history back to life. Not only had there never been a serious study on village history, but much of what was published lacked accuracy and detail on many 'facts'. Today, all this somehow seems apropriate. Not only did I just complete the preparation of my notes and references for the Warren County Historical Society Archives, but I approved the last proof copy of La Charrette a few minutes ago. Its due off the presses in January. I hope you enjoy its new content, and its new look.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Friends of La Charrette

The process of creating a self published book has been an amazing experience. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect has been the many contacts and friends developed along the way. From searching in archives, to acquiring hundreds upon hundreds of items via interlibrary loan, to sharing draft copies seeking suggestions, to working with the publisher, the many book signing sponsors and surrogates standing in for me at various events...I can only express my most sincere thanks for all their help, and friendship.

The most prominant of these are of course noted in the Acknowledgements, either collectively or by name. But when Cathie Schoppenhorst of Marthasville offered to attend the November 2005 Holiday Fair in St. Louis in my absence, she set a new standard among friends. Always a lover of family, history and genealogy, Cathie contributes mightily to her home community with a happy smile as displayed above, and as captured in poetry at the title link. By marriage we claim common ancestry but other members of my immediate family were also very supportive over these past five years.

Thanks to the entire family of La Charrette friends for your help! As a result, the newly reissued volume, La Charrette: A History of the Village Gateway to the American West Visited by Lewis and Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike will appear in January 2006. In addition to sporting a new title, its new cover has BillyO's (a Warren County native son and world renowned artist) rendition of Lewis and Clark departing La Charrette, a 20 page index, two pages of "Praise for La Charrette" offered by literary critics, professional as well as avocational historians plus a Forward by History Professor F. Todd Smith of the University of North Texas. There are even newly discovered details about La Charrette Village included.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Early Marthasville History

In 1980, Ralph Gregory of Marthasville, a very active local historian, published a small booklet about the early history of the sister city to La Charrette Village. The Three Pines Publishing Company of South and Third Streets was the publisher of A History of Early Marthasville, Missouri shown here. Here is revealed how the oldest surviving town in Warren County joined with its famous but short lived neighbor. The title link offers opportunity to learn more about Marthasville.

Dr. John Young, a physician, founded Marthasville in 1817, but apparently it was Dr. John Jones who most actively practiced medicene there. Young opened the first general store and built water-powered mills on nearby Tuque Creek. Several churches dominated the landscape during its formative years.

Today it has little industry serving mostly as a bedroom community to larger communities in the area. A nice place to live and rear a family. It is recognized for agricultural pursuits, its local bed-n-breakfasts, wineries, the Katy Trail and its prominate German heritage as shown at http://deutschcountrydays.org/

Gregory, now 96-years young, was honored for his continuing contributions to local history by the the Washington Historical Society at their 2005 Christmas Party. The 'Museum Builder Award' is the highest honor the Society bestows. Ralph was among the first to publish a review on La Charrette, and was ever helpful in my researching its history. Congratulations, with thanks, to this exceptional gentleman.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The 1824 Will of Flanders Callaway

The most pertinent aspects of Flanders Callway's will are recorded at http://www.rootsweb.com/~mowarren/wills/flanders.htm by James D. Murray while the title link offers information on his extended heritage. His will was processed by C. Willis, Clerk of Montgomery County, Missouri in Deed Book of May 1833 - 1837, pages 189-191. After explaining his desires regarding medical expenses, funeral arrangements, and burial, he outlines the procedure for disposal of his earthly possessions. Slaves were first addressed, then land and cash. His daughter Frances and son-in-law William T. Lamme, all of La Charrette, were to recieve $5.00 as was typical for other heirs.

It is the tombstone of Willam T. Lamme's that appears above. Its private cemetery is on the property of descendant Margy Miles of Marthasville, Missouri who provided me with the picture. Lamme died later at 63 years of age. By all accounts Flanders Callaway, and his family, continued to advance the Missouri frontier much as had his father-in-law, Daniel Boone.

The Flanders Callaway family bolg at http://www.callawayfamily.org/blog/2004/11/flanders-callaway-house-femme-osage.html provides many interesting details as does the Callaway County, Missouri Website at http://callaway.county.missouri.org/JamesCallaway.html .

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Americanization at La Charrette

The ethnic mixing at tiny La Charrette is as rich as any in our national 'melting pot'. The title link provides an insightful discussion of its fitful origin, and how the topic of miscegenation may be taught. In nearly all cases of mixed marriages on the earliest frontier, it appears as if necessity expressed itself as the mother of invention, i.e. ethnic mixing. Mostly male slaves were brought from Africa who bonded with Indian slave women. Likewise, most Europeans were males who also sought Native American women as partners. In reality, there was a shortage of women on the American frontier. This process is clearly reflected by the Creoles (Native American - Frenchmen) living at La Charrette when Lewis and Clark came by in 1804 as suggested in the commerative medallion (shown at left) commissioned by the Marthasville Lewis and Clark Celebration Committee in 2004.

Soon friends and families of Daniel and Rebecca Boone brought black slaves and then the Germans arrived. Boone's clan and the Germans tended to bring their women with them, yet they too soon intermarried outside of their cultural and ethnic circles. Americanization was now fully underway. Naomi Zack's book on Thinking About Race at http://www.wadsworth.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M2b&product_isbn_issn=053453564X&discipline_number=5 provides a contemporary philosophical view of these matters in todays society. Dr. Zack is a philosophy professor at the University of Oregon. Today the concept of Americanization goes far beyond ethnic mixing as discussed at http://www.msu.edu/~millettf/americanization.html and on many other such Webpages offering other points of view. Is Americanization somehow linked to the emergence of American Dream?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Trail of Tears

Freedom for Native Americans was to be a long time in coming as they were pushed every farther westward. The title link offers an opportunity to learn about the greater Indian removal processes as presented by Joan Gilbert in her recent book, The Trail of Tears Across Missouri.

Those displaced by this process from La Charrette and Cote sans Dessein represented members of the Roy, Revard and Robedouix families, relatives of the Charles Tayon family of La Charrette. Louise Roy (1843 - 1893) was of 'mixed' heritage and as such assigned to the Nemaha Reservation located in present day Rulo Township, Richardson County, Kansas. Her presence there is verified at http://ioway.nativeweb.org/text/genealogy/nemaha1860.htm ,
a genealogical Webpage. The activities of Joseph Revard of Cote sans Dessein, who moved to the Kawsmouth community (Kansas City, Kansas) by 1821, resulted in his being scalped for his expressed beliefs about people of 'mixed' blood heritage residing there as explained in great detail at http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v008/v008p065.html
Proceed to page 66 of this posting for the details of this Osage vs. Cherokee conflict involving stolen horses.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Great Westward Migration

The title link provides an excellent opportunity to learn how the great western migration got underway. Steamboats were central in aiding families move down the Ohio, up the Mississippi and by 1817 they started up the Missouri, soon to dock at La Charrette Landing - about a decade later it would be called Marthasville Landing. The picture shown above captures the mood that held sway for the better part of the next century. The picture comes from Stanley Vestal's 1945 The Missouri, (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln).

They came by the boat loads, all from the east. Germans represented the largest single group settling in the community recognized today as Missouri's German Belt. A typical, yet nostalgic story unfolds at http://www.sfbparish.org/history.htm for families seeking Marthasville Landing. There were also those at La Charrette who continued seeking adventure and better times. Jacob and Abraham Darst headed to Texas in 1831 to join with the DeWitt Colony. Arbraham was the son-in-law of Flanders and Jemima Callway, his brother Jacob died in 1839 in the Battle of the Alamo as doumented at http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/DD/fdazx.html Commerce and merchandise of every imaginable sort represented a vital aspect of these exciting times to include "missionary honeymooners" as related at http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=7204 to "wiskey trading fur traders" like Joseph Robidoux lll of Cote sans Dessein extraction as related at http://www.brokenclaw.com/genealogy/robidoux.html But it was risky work running a river boat on the Missouri as described in detail at http://members.tripod.com/~Write4801/docs/moboats-3.html One such Captain was a member of Daniel and Rebecca Boone's family, Arch S. Bryan who lived in Washington, across the river from where La Charrette once stood. He started into the business after departing the community to seek his fortune mining for gold in California.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Professionals and Royality

Initially the frontier was essentially devoid of any professionals...no teachers, lawyers, scientists or doctors were present. But by 1803 La Charrette's first school teacher arrived, although Anthony C. Palmer did not teach school there until 1807. Next physicans arrived. The title link offers a review on the status of frontier medecine and how it advanced. My blog of September 30, 2005 "Lucky Life Events" chronicles a more local progression of the medical leaders in Charrette Township. But between the arrival of Palmer and medical doctors at nearby Marthasville, there were scientists and men of nobility starting to traveling through. John Bradbury was an exceptionally highly regarded botanist from England. His travels posted at http://www.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/bradbury.html chronicle his stay at La Charrette visiting with Daniel Boone, and later with John Colter. Bradbury made significant contributions to both science and history as his travels took him up the Missouri in 1811. Both artists and a scientist traveled around the village as part of the 1819 -20 expedition led by Major Stephen Long. The artists were Titian Ramsey Peale and Samuel Seymour whose popular works are offered on the Internet, museums, galleries and commercial outlets. Thomas Say was a zoologist traveling overland to the immediate north of La Charrette with Peale as explained at http://faculty.evansville.edu/ck6/bstud/say.html Say was a founding member of the Philidelphia Academy of Natural Science and the acknowledged father of American descriptive entomology. Parakeets, turkeys, larks, sandpipers, partridges and heel flies were all recorded about La Charrette to advance yet another frontier... the scientific one. The turkey sketches shown above are those of Peale's but no doubt Say identified the bird and related details a few days after they had traveled around La Charrette. The print holds its present day origin to the American Philosophical Society Library. A bit later Prince Paul, Duke of Wurttemburg was one of the few scientist who also claimed rolality when visiting La Charrette. More of his status appears at http://www.bigcanoerecords.com/dukepaul.html Connecticut preachers arrived in 1816 and 1819. The first La Charrette congregation of twelve was formed with the aid of Reverend Welch in 1818 in the home of Flanders Callaway. Reverend Peck came in 1819 and records one of the last visits with Daniel Boone. Peck's biography appears at http://www.sbhla.org/bio_peck.htm

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Codes, Laws and Taxes

There were four legal systems evident during the life span of Village Charrette. Oral Native American codes were overlaid by Spanish, French and American laws and regulations administered under the appropriate jurisdiction...and to various degrees all were evident during the transition from Missouri Territory into Statehood. These factors are explained at the title link for the State of Louisiana which closely allied the diversity of legal conditions at La Charrette.

A 55-page booklet of new United State laws was published in 1804, and new U.S. taxes were collected by 1805. The sketch pictured here shows Mr. William B. Rice assessing taxes a few decades later. According to the 1876 book, Pioneer Families of Missouri (the source of the picture), Rice was a Revolutionary War veteran, a judge and tavern proprietor on Booneslick Road where one could get corn bread and "common fixins" for 25 cents. Rice was assessing taxes in Montgomery County, the home county of La Charrette Village.

A faint copy (the best available) of the 1814-15 tax assessor's records at La Charrette show Louis Tayon living on the "Charette Creek" watershed as the first entry on page 44. Details regarding the evolution of various slave codes is discussed by Missouri State historians at http://www.sos.state.mo.us./archives/education/aahi/earlyslavelaws/slavelaws.asp Another of their Webpages allows you to search the oldest of Missouri Supreme Court cases dating from 1780 at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/judiciary/supremecourt/ An 1811 case apparently involved the 'shify' La Charrette neighbor Charles 'Indian' Phillips et al. vs. Silas Bent over $300 damages to two horses, one sorrel and one bay. By 1821 Jose Tebeau had arrested Phillips as a "stray" in St. Charles.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Slaves at La Charrette

The abhorent practice of slavery on the earliest frontier of the Louisiana Purchase often goes under reported, or overlooked, by many historians. The informative article at the title link is typical. Aspects of slavery existed among the Native Americans for eons, frequently representing those captured in battle. Some were captured on the Lower Missouri before La Charrette was established there and sold into the slave trade in the old south. Later slaves (mostly blacks or those of mixed African-Native American heritage) were sold at public auction as documented in the sale bill pictured here.

La Charrette's first known squatter, Jean Marie Cardinal, Sr., held Nicholas Colas as his Native American slave. Soon after Cardinal's 1780 death, Colas married his Native American wife and became the father to their children who later resided at La Charrette, Cote sans Dessein and St. Louis. Black slaves arrived at La Charrette with the family of Daniel Boone in the later 1790s setting into motion the exceptional mixing of people so vividly protrayed at La Charrette. Thus it is apparent that the practice of slavery was well underway before the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase, or when the great Western Expansion followed decades later. Americanization and social progress would follow along at a much slower pace.

A partial list of slaves associated with La Charrette include: Nicholas Colas who belonged to Cardinal; Derry was Boone's servant; York, William Clark's servant visited the village twice as a Corps of Discovery member; Joseph, a French-Indian (and four others) were owned by Don Carlos Tayon; Flanders Callaway sold his black slaves Venus, Daniel and Westly for $450 to his son James in 1815 but by 1837 still owned four female slaves named Kipley, Lucinda, Dorcas, and Livina plus Jeff, a 'boy'. Other Missouri slave holders also listed their slaves as chattel property as revealed at http://www.centerplace.org/history/misc/soc/soc14.htm and were taxed accordingly.

Slaves freely offered their support during the Civil War as explained at http://www.duboislc.org/MissouriBlacks/p03_CivilWar.html Pvt. George C. "Uncle Cal Wyatt" Martin (1831-1937) of southern Warren County was one of them, later to establish himself as the longest living Civil War veteran of the County. But at the time of his death full civil liberties were not yet available to minorities like "Uncle Cal." The evidence of social progress since the founding days of La Charrette represents milestones of the greatest order.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

La Charrette Fur Trade Economy

The title link pictures W. Crosby Brown in his home as a recreated version of La Charrette fur trading post east of Washington, Missouri. Looking very much the part of an 1800 La Charrette trapper, Crosby was helpful to me during a 2002 visit when conducting research on La Charrette. The picture shown here is my recreation of a trapper arriving at the village at the mouth of Charrette Creek.

The frontier fur trading industry held a longstanding tradition in North America since the 1600s as related at http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/teacher/highered/crafts/craft4.htm
These same events were active at La Charrette since the 1760s into the 1820s. Many fur trading expeditions went upriver and visited La Charrette as related in the journals of Dr. James at http://www.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/thomas.html Native Americans were essential to success in this million dollar business. For their furs they were offered trinkets and beads, like those pictured at http://www.thefurtrapper.com/trade_beads.htm But other articles were also traded, including liquor.

Of all the motivations leading to western exploration, none were more important than the dreams of riches in the fur trade. Beaver were the preferred pelt for the manufacture of 'in vogue' hats for men in Europe driving this international trade boom.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Corps of Discovery Visits

Corps of Discovery members first arrived at La Charrette in May 1804 when the poor villagers furnished them with a few provisions upon departing as shown in this Marthasville Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Committee commerative of the event. Here world renowned plein-air artist BillyO recreats their departure into the western wilderness. By September 1806 they returned to celebrate! Sing songs, sip whiskey, dance and tell stories. As the most western settlement of America's new Louisiana Purchase, this had become a rather common occurence. Private trade expeditions had been exploring upriver for over 30 years before Lewis and Clark to say nothing about those individuals wandering about on their own. History Professor Walter Kamphoefner, Director of Graduate Studies at Texas A&M University, expressed it this way. "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, everyone's last stop on the way out and the first stop on the way back." Later as a Brigadier General, William Clark returned at least once, probably more often, to visit La Charrette when Indian Agent of the Missouri Territory. The title link provides more details of Lewis and Clark at La Charrette while journal entries at http://www.uky.edu/AS/ModernStudies/HumSocSci/lc95/sec3/dates3/Date70.html offer yet another insight to their September 20, 1806 arrival. Many other Web pages are devoted to these exceptional moments in history.

Today, with predictable consistancy, we wish these conversations and events had been recorded in greater detail. Unfortunately, little remains of most of these events except for the 1795 expedition of Jean Baptiste Trudeau. President Jefferson read Trudeau's account at Chorette's Creek (soon to be La Charrette Village) which likely led to Lewis and Clark wishing to train at La Charrette as initially planned. I too wish their plans would have been fulfilled.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John Colter - America's first mountain man

John Colter was a most exceptional person. One of the first to join with Lewis and Clark, he soon became recognized as their best hunter to aid in provisioning the expedition. He served the expedition with distinction, but, at his request, was relieved of his assignment at the Mandan Villages in 1806. He thought he would be "lonely" back in St. Louis. For four years he remained in the western wilderness, alone, and discovered Jackson's Hole Valley, the headwaters of the Snake and Colorado Rivers, the Valley of the Big Horn River, plus Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and so much more. Today his recreated wax likeness is a museum display as posted at http://server1.westwaxmuseum.com/colter.html

The title link explains his adventures to include his capture and his ensuing miraculous escape to freedom from the Blackfeet Indians. Today we consider Colter one of the most important men of the American west. Much has been written about Colter, but what Professor Goetzmann wrote about him in his 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning book exceeds all others. He discussed the leaders of western exploration, and ranked them ....Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Colter...all allied with La Charrette Village history. Learn more of this La Charrette Village neighbor at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Colter and at http://www.olden-times.com/OldtimeNebraska/n-csnyder/nbstory/story9.html

Colter was a very private family person... a farmer, a fur trapper, hunter, explorer, leader of expeditions, naturalist, ranger and hero figure who also helped William Clark draft the earliest maps of the American west which he knew by heart. I might add, he is my La Charrette idol. Regretably, he died a young man in his late thirties on May 7, 1812 (one newspaper report says at La Charrette) while serving as a U.S. Volunteer Mounted Ranger with Nathan Boone's Company at La Charrette.

His memorial at New Haven, Missouri, across the Missouri River from La Charrette, stands as a lasting tribute to this exceptional man. My sister Dorothy Schake Meyer is standing too the left of the picture shown above.