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THE MISSING LINK IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN FRONTIER
Denton, TX (March 27, 2006)—The works of a Missouri-born author and retired professor will be featured in three local events from April 22-26, 2006. His book, La Charrette: A History of The Village Gateway to the American Frontier, is central to two ongoing national bicentennial celebrations, that of Lewis and Clark and Zebulon Pike’s. Never before has the history of multi-cultural La Charrette Village, America’s first westernmost village of the Louisiana Purchase, been revealed. “Both expeditions departed from La Charrette in 1804 and 1806, respectively,” said the author, Dr. Lowell M. Schake. “This September 20, Lewis and Clark re-enactors will return to the location where the village once stood to again ‘Shout for Joy’!”
This missing link in American history will be among the 100 or books featured at The North Texas Book Festival on Saturday, April 22 at The Denton Civic Center, 321 East McKinney Street at Bell Avenue from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Denton Public Library will host a reception and book signing for the Port Aransas, TX author on Sunday, April 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Emily Fowler Library at 502 Oakland. Schake explained, “that only seven families lived at La Charrette Village, yet they represented a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of the American West with unique ties to Texas. Lewis and Clark wanted to train there, but the French denied them entry into the territory.”
On April 24, 25 and 26, Schake has volunteered to tell Denton ISD 4th and 5th graders about life at this multi-lingual Missouri River village where the Native American-French families lived with nine orphan children. “There was no school, church or store, just a rugged fur trading outpost with a river landing” is how Schake described the lost village of his birth where his maternal grandparents once lived in the same cabin as Daniel Boone did years before.
As the last-known settlement west of the Missouri River, La Charrette played a pivotal role for travelers on their way to exploring the American frontier. It was there that they stopped to rest, to conduct their business, or to get maps and advice for their journey.
Schake’s book is important not only to American history, but also important to the study of diversity. As a settlement of French and German settlers, Black slaves and American Indians, La Charrette was an early experiment in multiculturalism. as a settlement of French and German settlers, Black slaves and American Indians. The rich multicultural history of this small Missouri town had languished in obscurity until this book was published. La Charrette offers a compelling look at the daily lives of frontier settlers—their hardships and their triumphs.