Friday, February 20, 2015

Jim Bridger

James "Jim" Felix Bridger (1804-1881) = Explorer, Guide, Mountain Man. Scout. Storekeeper. Storyteller. Trapper. Best known to have discovered the Great Salt Lake in 1824, Yellowstone in 1840 and founded Fort Bridger on the Oregon Trail in 1843.
Born on March 17 in Richmond, Virginia, he grew up to not only speak English, but French and Spanish as well as six Native American languages. He was reported to have been made chief of five tribes as well. He traded with the Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanche, Kiowas, and the Sioux Indians, bringing the furs in to Chouteau's trading post. 
When the fur market in Europe crashed and ended his trapping career, Bridger switched to storekeeping, buying a general merchandise store which his son-in-law operated in Westport (present-day Kansas City, MO). In 1855 he bought a farm near the old Dallas community south of Kansas City on State Line running from 103rd to 107th St and east to Wornall Road where on the crest of the hill south of Indian Creek he built a stone farmhouse. It is said that he and George W. Kemper also built a store in Little Santa Fe (f. 1852) which is on the old Santa Fe Trail 2o miles from Independence, however it  burned in 1856 during the border warfare.
Jim acquired a pair of elk horns as a prize once for the fastest steamboat on the Missouri River to mount to their prow. They were first presented to the Polar Star, then the James H. Lucas. Lucas beat the Star's record from St. Louis to St. Joseph by three hours and 16 minutes.
Bridger died, blind at 77, on July 17 and was buried about 200 yards northwest of 101st and Jefferson streets where he lay until he was removed to Mt. Washington Cemetery in 1904.

Historical Note #1: One of biggest things that led to the downfall of the fur business was the discovery of the detrimental effects of mercury poisoning to the hat makers in Europe. Mercury was used to felt the fur then.
More to read:
1. Here Lies Kansas City: A Collection of Our City’s Notables and Their Final Resting Places. By Wilda and Hal Sandy. 1984
2. History of Jackson County, Missouri. By W. Z. Hickman. Historical Publishing Co., Topeka, KS.; 1920; reprinted Southern Historical Press, Greenville, SC; 1990.
3. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. Independence, MO; 1975.
4. Jim Bridger: Frontiersman and Mountain Guide. By Charles W. Maynard. PowerKids Press, NY.; 2003.
5. The Heritage League of Greater Kansas City History Map. PO Box 10366, Kansas City, MO.
6. The History of Jackson County, Missouri. Union Historical Co, Birdsall, Williams & Co; KCMO; 1881; reprinted by Ramfire Press, Cape Girardeau, MO; 1966.
7. Oregon-California Trail Association, 524 South Osage Street, Independence, MO 64051-0519, (Map brochure -- Following the Trails in Jackson County, Missouri; magazine & newsletter -- Overland Journey; News From the Plains)
7. Oregon Trail Tourist Brochure, National Park Service
8. “New Red Bridge Spans River, Tracks and History” by Seann McAnally. Jackson County Advocate. Nov. 23, 2011, page 1.

Places to visit in MO.
1. Missouri River -- Navigable rivers were the first highways. Plan a driving highway trip along the Missouri River from St. Louis to St. Joseph (or visa versa). Imagine you are Bridger, paddling a canoe up or down river.
2. Stop, Drop Your Eyes, and Read the marker on Bridger's Bldg, next-door to Kelly's Inn, at 504 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO.
3. Look up! A Westport Historical marker is attached to a brick building on the corner of Pennysylvania and Westport Roads, Kansas City, MO.
4. Pioneer Park, Westport Road and Broadway, Kansas City.
5. 1963 Westport Historical Society Marker Dedicated to the Memory of the Pioneers Who Settled the Town at the Westport Shopping Center, 1002 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO. (near the old covered wagon at the corner of the parking lot atop a steel post).
6. Watts Mill markers at 103 St. (south side) between State Line Road and Wornall, Kansas City, MO.
7. Red Bridge Road. Also stop at Minor Park to see the prairie schooner swales and read the DAR marker, on Red Bridge Road, between Holmes Road (east of) and the Bridge. Kansas City.
8. New (Little) Santa Fe historical markers, on the Old Santa Fe Trail, between State Line and Wornall Road at the cemetery (west of Avila University), Kansas City, MO.
9. Red Bridge (Portrait) spans Big Blue River between Blue River Parkway and Holmes Road
10. National Frontier Trails Center, Independence.
11. Jim Bridger's Newest Markers -- 901 Carondelet Drive (site of his original farm home) and at the New Santa Fe Historical Society Trails Center, 9901 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Mo.
12. Mt. Washington Cemetery, 614 Brookside Dr., Independence

Historical Note #2: Modes of travel across America during Jim Bridger's lifetime were walking, horseback, canoeing, wagons, prairie schooners, ferries, and steamboats. The steamship Arabia traveled up and down the Missouri River around the same time (1850s) as the Polar Star and the James H. Lucas. Visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum, 400 Grand Ave, Kansas City to see the kind of things steamboats brought to supply shopkeepers such as Bridger along the Missouri River. Steamboats have been described as "a Walmart on paddlewheels."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

George Champlin Sibley

Major George Champlain Sibley (1782-1863) = Factor of Fort Osage. Surveyor. George left Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis and headed up the Missouri River to build Fort Osage. He kept a journal of his trip and noted on September 5, the boats were unloaded, tools laid-out, and a sketch of the fort's layout was drawn. Paint indicated which type of buildings went where – red for blockhouses, green, the factory and his home, and blue for the officer’s quarters. A trading post and a church was soon built close by. After signing a treaty with the Osage Indians, Fort Osage was christened on November 10, 1808.

The War of 1812 caused the evacuation of the Fort from 1813 to 1815 and when George returned, he brought back his bride of fifteen years, Mary Easton (1800-1878), born in Rome, New York, the daughter of Rufus Easton, St. Louis' first postmaster. They married in September of 1815. Fountain Green, a home he built for them outside of the fort, was filled with furniture, books and a piano. The Indians were fascinated by the piano and would gather outside whenever Mary played. They adopted three children, orphans of their long-time Osage friend, Sans Oreille.

When missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (Boston, Massachusetts) arrived at Rapid de Kaw (Collen’s Ford) in 1821 to build Harmony Mission School at the request of some of the Osage Tribal Chiefs, Sibley was there to oversee the work on the construction of a government trading post near the mission. In 1825, Sibley, Ben, Alexander Majors' father, and others surveyed the Santa Fe Trail, a distance of about 775 miles.

After Sibley's retirement, George and Mary joined Old Blue First Presbyterian Church (f. 1818) in St. Charles. They are buried on the Lindenwood University campus.

Historical Note: Chester Harding painted a portrait of George Sibley sometime in the 1830s. Mr. Harding also painted a portrait of Daniel Boone.

More to Read:
1. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
2. “Genealogy News Bytes” April 2008. (e-newsletter); "Letters Received by Agents from All of the Factories" (microfilm) and "Indian Trade Letters, January 19, 1822, Serial 60" (microfiche) at Midwest Genealogy Library, 3440 South Lee’s Summit Road, Independence, MO
3. Seeking a Newer World: The Fort Osage Journals & Letters of George Sibley. By Jeffery Smith. 2003
4. A Condensed History of the Kansas City Area: Its Mayors and Some V.I.P.s 1850-1950 ” Assembled by George Fuller Green. City Historian. The Lowell Press; Kansas City, MO. 1968.
5. Empires, Nations and Families: History of the North American West 1800-1860. Anne F. Hyde. University of Nebraska Press, 2011.
8. Santa Fe Trail Map, either obtained from the National Trails System Office or the Santa Fe Trail Association, Larned, KS
9. The Survey & Maps of the Sibley Expedition, 1825, 1826, & 1827. By Stephen Schmidt & Richard E. Hayden. Santa Fe Trail Association, August 2011.

Places to Visit in Mo.:
1. Missouri River
2. Fort Osage, 107 Osage Street, (formerly: Six Mile), present-day Sibley.
3. Fort Osage Historical Marker, put into place by the Native Sons & Daughters of Kansas City,
3. Try to trace the old Mission Road. It began between Lexington and Fort Osage, running through Van Buren Township in Jackson County to the north bank of the Marais des Cygnes River in the extreme southern part of future Bates County, near Papinsville above the point where it merges with the Osage River.
4. National Trails Museum, 318 W. Pacific, Independence (across the street from the Bingham-Wagner home).
5. Santa Fe Trail
6. Papinsville Historical Society Museum and the Marais des Cygnes River
7. First Presbyterian Church (est. 8/30/1818). Founded as the Old Blue Church by Rev. Salmon Gidding & Rev. M. Matthews. St. Charles. St. Charles County.
8. Lindenwood University (f. 1827), 209 S. Kings Highway, St. Charles

Saturday, September 20, 2014

James M. "Kain Tuck" Rush

James M. "Kain Tuck" Rush (1826-1892). Carpenter. Farmer. Pioneer. James M. was born in 1826  to Henson and Margaret Stout Rush, the first son of six children.
James married 2 times, first to Mary Blake circa 1848. They were the first Rush family to migrate to Missouri from the present-day Adair County, Kentucky. The following year, after Mary died in childbirth in Booneville, he headed west to California's gold fields.

Wedding Photo: James & Theresa Rush
Enroute with his wagon train, he stumbled across a nearly dead man who had been fenced in because he had fallen ill. Rather than risking the spread of a possible deadly disease, wagon trains often left the sick in wooden pens to ward off wild animals, with enough food and water to last them for a few days. As the wagon train meant to camp close by a few days, James nursed the man, named John Walls, until he regained his strength and was able, with James' help, to keep up with the travelers when they moved on. Mr. Walls dubbed James "Kain Tuck," because James was a "Kaintuckian" (from Kentucky); he felt indebted to the man who rescued him.
James had little success in finding gold, so he returned to Missouri, sailing around South America. He married his 2nd wife, Theresa Jane Loveall (1835-1909), February 1, 1855 in Miller County. Seven children were born to this union.
James was listed as a southern sympathizer in August of 1862 after the Civil War began, automatically revoking his citizenship. However, since he served in the Union Army as a private in Co. B, 6th Regiment MO. Cavalry from June 11, 1863 to July 18, 1865, was honorably discharged with no injuries, his citizenship rights were restored in May, 1866.
Both were laid to rest in the Rush Chapel Cemetery, Miller County, MO.

More to Read:
1. The Rush Report. Compiled by Gaynelle Jenkins Moore. Research Assistance: David W. Rush. March 2003.
2. The Loveall Report. Compiled by Gaynelle Jenkins Moore. April 2010.

Places to Visit:
1.  Miller County Museum, 2005 Highway 52, Tuscumbia, MO.
2. Rush Chapel Cemetery, (see his Civil War Veteran tombstone), on Rush Road between Mary's Home and Tuscumbia, Miller County.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jabez Ham

Elder Jabez Ham (1796-1842) = Farmer. Primitive Baptist minister. Born on August 3 to Rhoda and Stephen Ham, Sr. of Madison Co, KY.

Jabe married Hannah S. Todd (b.1798), daughter of Hannah and Peter Todd [1756, PA.- c.1841, Ky.) a former Revolutionary War Soldier , on January 13, 1814. They emigrated to Missouri in 1817 and altogether had 14 children. A dark chapter came into their lives when Indians massacred all passengers, including two of their boys, on a wagon train going west but one, Joel Campbell Ham (1818-1887). He escaped by crawling into a haystack and the Indians overlooked him. He returned to Missouri.

Elder Jabez Ham organized a church on Loutre Creek in Montgomery County, Missouri called New Providence *. In a letter, written by a Callaway County woman to her sister in Kentucky about a wedding she attended officiated by him, she described him thus: "He had on a long buckskin overcoat that looked so funny! Mr. Ham was a spelling and reading the ceremony from the book." He was said to be quite a character. Another story involves a State senator, one Mr. Harper who left Montgomery County to get a load of corn in Callaway County. Harper wore his usual home-spun clothes and on his way back home, he went by a house where Jabe was preaching. Harper stopped by to hear it and during the services, Jabe asked the congregation to kneel in prayer, which all did except Harper, who leaned his head upon his hand. Then Jabe prayed that the Lord would bless "that Virginia man, who had on store clothes, and was afraid or too proud to get down on his knees."

He passed away in Callaway County, Missouri on December 12, 1842 and is buried in the New Providence church cemetery.

(Note: Elder Ham was my 4th great-grandfather.)

* Historical Note: According to my unpublished research into pioneer Missouri churches 1541-1910, Joseph Baker (d.1811) came from Kentucky to Montgomery County in 1809 and  organized a Baptist church in 1810 on Loutre Creek, called "The Church on Loutre." In September of that year, the congregation called Joseph Baker as their pastor, electing William Savage clerk and set apart Samuel Brown as deacon. Baker's church and Ham's church may have been some distance apart on the creek, or perhaps, for some reason, the congregation drifted apart and Jabez Ham reorganized the church body. More study is needed.

More to Read:
1. The Ham Family Kith and Kin. By Rev. Ervin Charles Tipton. San Rafael, CA. 1977.
2. Madison County, Kentucky Marriage Records, Vol. 1, p. 113.
3. Pioneer Families of Missouri. By Byron and Rose, History of Pettis Co, p. 972.
4. Revolutionary War Records for Peter Todd, #S31430, Rowan County, NC under Capt. Robert Moore
5. The Ghost Towns of Central Missouri: Callaway & Osage Counties. by Kelly Warman-Stallings. Ketch's Printing, Jefferson City, MO, 1998. Vol.2.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Mary Engelbreit

Mary Engelbreit (b. 1952) = German-American Artist. Best known for cherries, checks, cottage roses, dots, hearts, Scotties, and Ann Estelle, whose namesake is Mary's maternal grandmother and wears glasses like Mary (second grade).
Once upon a time, a little girl was born on June 5 to "Papa" (d. 1990) & Mary Lois Engelbreit and she grew up in St. Louis, Missouri along with her younger sisters, Alexa and Peggy. She loved to draw and her first studio was in a linen closet. Some of her childhood memories are the shopping trips downtown with her mother for new straw bonnets for her and her sisters to wear to church on Easter Sunday and rambling together through flea markets.
When her high school guidance counselor at Visitation Academy recommended an university educator degree, Mary ignored the advice, skipping both university and art design school and immediately began her career in the arts at various jobs such as a free-lancer, after school at an art supply store, then at an advertising agency, as an editorial cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and for greeting card companies. Early on she made it a policy to associate with supportive people.
Like one of her illustrated fairy-tales, Mary began dating Phil Delano, an administrator in the county juvenile court system, in 1974 and married producing two sons, Evan in 1980 and Will, 1983. Eventually a granddaughter, Mikayla and a storybook cottage came along.
Mary's dearest dream was illustrating children's books, like the vintage ones her mother read to her growing up and in 1993, she finally realized it with the first of many, Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen. Many of her nostalgic and charming designs are translated into other products and today, her "Empire of Cuteness," is a multi-million-dollar company. Yes, she bloomed where she planted.

Quote: "She creates things that touch your heart. Her drawings have that nice quality. Crudeness and vulgarity hit us in the face everyday. Mary's pictures capture something we love and are losing fast." (Mary Lois Engelbreit.)

More to Read:
1. Mary Engelbreit, INK. See especially "About Me."
2. Mary Engelbreit: The Art and the Artist. By Patrick Regan with Mary Engelbreit. Andrews & McMeel, Kansas City, MO., 1996.
3. Home Sweet Home: A Journey Through Mary's Dream Home. By Patrick Regan. Andrews McMeel, KCMO, 2004.
4. Mary Engelbreit: Cross Stitch For All Seasons. Meredith Press, 1997.
5. Missouri Legends: Famous People from the Show-Me State. By John W. Brown, Reedy Press, St. Louis, Mo; 2008.
6. Mary Engelbreit Presents Her History at Andover Fabrics Meeting in Kansas City, May 2012
7. Mary's Channel

Read biographies of Mary's Favorite Artists: Joan Walsh Auglund, Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Johnny Gruelle, Peter Max, Maxfield Parrish, and Jessie Wilcox Smith

Places to Visit:
Mary's Studio, 4814 Washington Blvd., Ste. 230, St. Louis (visit by appointment only)
Andrews McMeel Publishing Co, Kansas City

Extras for (Home) Educators:
1. Many classroom and teaching aids can be found such as bulletin board displays, calendars, charts, coloring, and children's books  at Mary's website. Click on the link to her website above.
2. In the $1.50  bins at Michaels, I have found packets of Mary's paper dolls, scrapbook paper, and stationary.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Obadiah Smith

Obadiah Smith (1805-1863) = Pioneer farmer & preacher. Soldier in Black Hawk War. Born in Kentucky, he emigrated with his family to Missouri when he was a young man. His wife, Lucinda, born in North Carolina, also emigrated with her parents to Missouri some years previous to their marriage in 1832 and when they arrived in Cedar County, MO in 1837, they had two small children with them -- Ruben (4 yrs) and John (2 yrs), named for Obadiah's brother, John M. Smith. John M. became known in Cedar Creek for his agility and strength. He loved to demonstrate it by lifting two ordinary men at the same time without apparent effort.

Obadiah had very little schooling, but had an interest in reading and understanding the teachings of the Bible. He also had a passion for holy living. Even before he completed his own home [Sec. 3; Twp. 35; R 27], he began promoting the idea of establishing a Baptist church in the area with his neighbors which they did the following summer. Elders Hiram Savage and Elijah Williams and Deacon William Savage organized the new Cedar Creek Baptist church on July 1st, 1838. In August, the small congregation elected Obadiah as moderator for the new church. Later he felt called to preach and preach he did, but didn't receive ordination until September 1841.

Lucinda died shortly after the family settled in Cedar County and Obadiah married her younger sister Elizabeth Hartman. They had six children -- Andrew, Henry, Peter, Campbell, Samuel W. and Catherine (b. 1849).

During the Civil War, he put aside church work and entered politics, being appointed to the State Legislature (1862-63). He was killed with his own weapon, a rifle, while standing next to his wife by deceptive Confederate soldiers who came to visit them.

More to Read:
1. History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri. Goodspeed, Chicago, 1889.
2. Historical Sketches of Cedar County Missouri. By Clayton Abbott. Stockton, MO. 1967.

Places to Visit:
1. Hackleman Cemetery, Cedar County, MO.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rev. Alexander M. Sullens

Rev. Alexander M. & Martha Ritter Sullens
Rev. Alexander M. Sullens* (1830-1905)  = Christian (Campbellite; Disciples of Christ) Minister. Union Soldier in Civil War.
Alexander, born in Mill Springs, Wayne county, Kentucky on Oct 15, the third of thirteen, to John (1804-1883) and Malinda Thompson Sullens (1805-1867), emigrated from Kentucky to Miller county, Missouri where his brother was born the following year. Alexander's grandparents were Peter & Mary Carson Sullens, Sr. Alexander's first cousin, Judge John H. Sullens of Adrian, Bates County, MO.,  born in Kentucky the year before he was, was elected to both circuit court and as a Missouri state legislator. As a victim of the Burnt District, John, along with other representatives, asked the editor of the St. Louis Republican paper to publish George Caleb Bingham's letter concerning General Thomas Ewing's Order No. 11.
Alexander married Martha (1831-1914), daughter of Abraham and Nancy Ritter on May 19, 1849 in Cole County, MO and to this union six children were born -- William. Jasper  (1850-1829); John Thomas (1852-1935); Mary E. (b.1857); George Washington (1859-1896); Ezra L. (1861-1930); and Lewis Pinkney "Pink" Sullens (1867-1945). Their son, William, played a fiddle and it is said that he could play all night and not play the same song twice. William's son, Loyd Carl would accompany his father on his banjo.
Alexander pastored the Spring Garden Christian Church, the mother church of all the Disciples of Christ churches in Miller County. The church was organized in 1840 and two church houses were built in the northwest corner of the present day cemetery in 1845 and 1870. When his granddaughter, Cora Lee (1875-1955), daughter of William Jasper and Nannie C. Scrivner (1857-1901) Sullens, married William Thornton Rush (1874-1954), son of James M. (1826-1892) & Theresa Jane Loveall Rush (1835-1909), on March 30, 1902,  he officiated at their wedding ceremony.

 * my husband's third-great grandfather

 More to Read:
1. Bingham: Fighting Artist. By Lew Larkin. School of the Ozarks Press, Point Lookout, MO. 1971. P. 293.
2. The History of Cass and Bates Counties, Missouri. St. Joseph, Mo. National Historical Company, 1883. p. 1299-1300. Repository: Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO,
3. Miller County, MO. Marriages, Bk. E. P. 137 By A. M. Sullins.
4. The Rush Report. Compiled by Gaynelle Jenkins Moore with research assistance by David W. Rush. Historical Data Services, Glens Falls, NY; 2003.
5. Peter Sullens and Mary Carson and Two Hundred Years of Descendants. By Maude Sullens Hoffman. Printed by J.W. Brown. 1971.
6. Miller County, Missouri Communities: Spring Garden

Places to Visit:
1. Spring Garden Cemetery, AA Hwy & Binkley Road (north of 54 Hwy), Spring Garden, Miller County, MO.  Findagrave Memorial  # 61286760 and Find A Grave Memorial # 60413035

Alexander Sullen's Civil War Tombstone
Spring Garden, MO. cemetery
Certificate that came with Civil War tombstone
signed by US President