Archer Alexander was born enslaved in Virginia, and in 1863 was the property of Richard Pitman, a slaveowner in Saint Charles County Missouri. Said to be the last fugitive slave, he had bravely risked his life to break his chains and gain his freedom. After overhearing a plot by area men who were Confederates sympathizers, Alexander, also known as Archey, informed the nearby Union troops of the events that were about to happen. Archey, was chased, shot, attacked and imprisoned in the St. Louis prison for his actions. Managing to survive he became “an emancipated slave by virtue of the Proclamation of the President of the United States made 1st January 1863, under the provisions of the Act of Congress of July 17, 1862 and for important services to the United States Military forces and for disloyalty of master” as announced in a St. Louis newspaper in September of 1863.

It would be nearly two more years until all of the enslaved people of this country would also be emancipated. Juneteenth is now a National holiday that acknowledges the emancipation of all of our country’s enslaved people. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was an Executive Order signed on September 22, 1862, which took effect on January 1st, 1863. With it Lincoln would declare that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were free! Missouri was one of four states with laws abiding slavery that were not included by Lincoln’s Proclamation and wouldn’t emancipate their enslaved until a Constitutional Amendment was signed on January 11, 1865.

It would not be until June 19, 1865 that those enslaved in Texas would even learn of Lincoln’s “Proclamation”. When Governor Granger read aloud the contents of “General Order No. 3”, announcing “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

It would not be until December 6, 1865 that the 13th Amendment would be ratified by Congress. On June 19, 1866 those formerly enslaved in Texas would be our Nation’s first to celebrate Lincoln’s proclamation. Ten years later, in 1876, with the help of the Western Sanitary Commission in St. Louis, Missouri, a memorial dedicated to President Lincoln, emblazoned with the word Emancipation, known as the Emancipation Monument, that was totally funded by the formerly enslaved in America would recall that moment. There, in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. Archer can be seen breaking his own chains, and rising before the man who issued that proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln. Over 600,000 heroic lives, both black and white, would be lost before bringing this country to that moment, a moment that should never to be forgotten.

The Fever

It started in New Orleans and crept upriver to St. Louis. Then spilled out along the Missouri River until it flowed up the Dardenne. In 1833, Cholera fever took Nancy Alexander, who left behind four small children, two girls and two boys, between the ages of five and eleven. The following spring her big brother Robert McCluer, who had been the first doctor on the Dardenne Creek prairie, would also pass away from the fever. He had come from Lexington, Virginia with his brother-law William Campbell in 1829, along with the Alexanders, Wilsons and Icenhowers. McCluer’s widow, Sophie, who was Campbell’s sister would write their mother…

My dear mother, My circumstances are at present so distressing that I hardly know how to write you. God, in His providence, has seen fit to take from me my dear husband and my poor little Mo. They both died of fever, the Doctor lay seven days, and Mo, twenty-four days. The Doctor died last Monday morning at two o’clock, Mo this morning at daylight. This has been sad beyond all description…” They would each be buried in the Dardenne Presbyterian Church burying ground, land that had been given to the church by Andrew and Margaret Zumwalt back in 1829.

The following year, Sophie’s brother-in-law James Alexander would join his wife and her brother, and leave behind four orphaned children, John, William, Agnes Jane and Sarah Elizabeth. His will would state “that my farm be rented out by my executors, and that my negroes be hired out from year to year to such persons as my executors shall think prudent to entrust them to the care of, and that the profits of my farm, and the hire of the slaves be used by my Executors in the support and education of my children, and it is my desire that the slaves be not removed out of this state on any consideration unless they desire it themselves.”

Archer had been enslaved property of the Alexander family his entire life. His wife Louisa, had been given to Nancy when her father John McCluer had passed. They would not be removed from Missouri. The four orphaned Alexander children would be taken back to Lexington, Virginia in Rockbridge County. From that point forward the enslaved people would be leased out, year to year, January 1 till December 31st, as property of the estate. The funds from their labor would be sent to the children’s guardian, James Alexander’s brother-in-law in Lexington, Virginia; for the care, clothing and schoolbooks of those children.

Archer Alexander is the former enslaved man, that has broken his own shackles and is seen rising with President Abraham Lincoln, on the Emancipation Monument, in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. The monument was paid for and dedicated in 1876 by former enslaved people and U.S. Colored Troops.


A community is knitted together by many things, sometimes something as simple as a road. In 1832 the “Booneslick” road threaded its’ way westward from old Saint Charles to the old salt lick owned by James Morrison and Daniel Boone’s sons Nathan and Daniel Morgan in Howard County. As it winds its way past the village named Cottleville it rises up and crosses a beautiful prairie named Dardenne, after the stream that flows through that area. Smaller streams with names like Hickory Creek branch off from the Dardenne making it a great place to settle.

Along the Dardenne, several prominent families from Virginia, and then Kentucky would establish themselves. First were the Zumwalts, Audrains and the Keithleys. Closer to the Dardenne were the Pitmans, Bates, McCluers, Campbells, and the Alexanders. Naylor would establish a Post Office. Gill would establish a mill. Watson was the minister at the Presbyterian church, where many of the area families belonged. Farms were large and often hundreds of acres. These families had brought their enslaved. Missouri was a slave state that the great orator Henry Clay had compromised with over 10,000 enslaved people when it reached statehood.

There was the home of James Alexander on the north side of ‘the road’ along what was then called Hickory Creek. Alexander owned Archer, his wife Louisa, and her sister Mary. Over at the McCluer’s place was Louisa’s brother Sam. Their role in this communtiy was to cook, and care for the children. Men like Sam would work the fields, while Archer’s skills were carpentry and building. All necessary and essential skills needed by any community.

Archer Alexander is the former enslaved man rising beneath President Lincoln on the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C.. Hickory Creek is today named Archer Alexander Creek as it crosses the Boone’s Lick Road (Today’s Mo State Hwy N) in St. Charles County Missouri.

Sunday visits

The Dardenne Presbyterian Church was begun in 1819, by families who had come from Ireland to Virginia prior to the Revolutionary War. In 1829, the McCluer, Wilson, Alexander and Icenhower families settled there and joined the church.

In 1831, Archer Alexander, was an enslaved person who was the property of James Alexander in Dardenne Prairie. Because his owner had no need for his services, he was sent to nearby St. Louis to work in the brickyards. He was generating income for his owner.

Archer’s wife was Louisa, property of Nancy McCluer, James Alexander’s wife. James and Nancy Alexander lived together with their four children in their cabin which was on the Boone’s Lick Road. Louisa was a nurse to the Alexander children, and mother to her own. On Sundays, Archer had a pass to leave the brickyards and visit his family on Dardenne Prairie.


In 1829, a young enslaved man named Archer Alexander was brought to Missouri by his owner. His father had been sold south for being too uppity, and his mother was left behind in Virginia. Property of the Alexander family, there were twenty-five other enslaved persons, who were owned by the McCluer, Alexander, and Wilson families. They settled on land along the Dardenne Creek and the Boone’s Lick Road. Today this where Missouri’s State Hwy K crosses Missouri’s State Hwy N.

Archer Alexander is the ‘face of freedom’ on the Emancipation Monument, dedicated as the Freedom Memorial, a National Monument which is located directly east of the United States Capitol Building in Lincoln Park. The monument was paid for and placed there by formerly enslaved African American people as a memorial to President Abraham Lincoln in appreciation for their freedom. Emblazoned with the word Emancipation, Archer Alexander has broken his own shackles and is rising next Lincoln.

Muhammad Ali’s Ancestor was once in St. Louis Slave Pen

In March of 1863, a fugitive slave named Archer Alexander, perhaps the last fugitive slave in St. Louis, had fled a lynch mob in Saint Charles County after exposing his owner’s sabotage of the local railroad bridge. Local Confederates had sawn the timbers, and were waiting for the next train to pass on this vital link for the Union Army.  Using the underground railroad, he fled to St. Louis and had been taken in by St. Louis’ Unitarian minister, William Greenleaf Eliot,  founder of Washington University. Eliot had attempted to purchase Alexander from his owner Richard Pitman, in order to emancipate him, using Judge Barton Bates as an intermediary. Pitman’s reply was to send two slave catchers to Eliot’s home, and in front of Eliot’s children and their nanny, viciously beat Alexander senseless and take him to the slave pen where he was to be sold. Eliot would let the local authorities know that the temporary Order of Protection that he had obtained for the enslaved man, had not been obeyed. The Provost Marshall would send officers to retrieve Alexander and return him to the care of Eliot.

Archer Alexander had been born in 1806, in Rockbridge County Virginia, had been taken west to Missouri in 1829, and became the slave that would join President Abraham Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park. He is buried in St. Peters United Church of Christ Cemetery on Lucas & Hunt in an unmarked grave.  In 2019, Muhammad Ali’s brother, and his cousin Keith Winstead would visit St. Louis to learn their family history from writer and historian Dorris Keeven-Franke. See https://news.stlpublicradio.org/arts/2019-03-19/a-louisville-family-learns-about-their-ties-to-a-st-louis-slave-who-saved-lives#stream/0

Dorris Keeven-Franke is an award-winning writer, public historian, educator, and professional genealogist. A lifelong resident of Missouri, she resides in Saint Charles County and writes about the history of Missouri, its’ German American immigrants and African Americans. Her forthcoming book is the biography of Archer Alexander (see https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/) being written with the Alexander family.

Dorris Keeven-Franke and Keith Winstead at the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C.

The Emancipation Monument

I warmly congratulate you upon the highly interesting object which has caused you to assemble in such numbers and spirit as you have today. This occasion is in some respects remarkable…Wise and thoughtful men of our race, who shall come after us…will make a note of this occasion, they will think of it. And speak of it. With a sense of manly pride and complacency…Few facts could better illustrate the vast and wonderful change which has taken place in our condition as a people than the fact of our assembling here for the purpose we have today. An act which is to go into history.” Frederick Douglass at the dedication of “Freedom’s Memorial” also known as the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. on the eleventh anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

When the formerly enslaved Charlotte Scott heard the news of President Lincoln’s death, she was horrified and took the first five dollars in money she had earned as a free woman, and gave them to her former master Mr. William P. Rucker.  She asked him “to make a monument to Massa Lincoln, the best friend the colored people ever had”. Rucker would take those funds to Gen. T.H.C. Smith, and he would make sure that they were given to Mr. James Yeatman, Head of the Western Sanitary Commission, of whom he asked “Would it not be well to take up this suggestion and make it known to the freedmen?”

And with that the Western Sanitary Commission, a non-governmental non-profit, organized at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, solely to assist the Union Army, would work to see Charlotte Scott’s dream happen. Organized for the Union troops, both black and white, the WSC worked with the Union Army’s U.S. Colored Troops, contraband camps, fugitive slaves and the Freedmans Bureau. Yeatman would put the Commission’s William G. Eliot at the helm of the project. Fundraising efforts were known throughout the country and all of the funds came from everyone from formerly enslaved individuals to the Union Army’s United States Colored Troops. The entire project was “with funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens declared free by his proclamation”.These funds were given in grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln.” This President had worked to keep our country united and see that its’ Declaration of Independence which had proclaimed “all men are created equal” and endowed with “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” was upheld and that all slaves were declared free and slavery was ended. This man had given his life because of his work to emancipate all blacks.

By 1866 Gen. J. W. Davidson’s troops had helped raise $12,150, of the $16,242.  (Today that would be equal to over $385,000). In 1869, Eliot would visit his friend Thomas Ball’s studio and share how the funds were coming entirely from the formerly enslaved for this memorial and that it was to be “their monument.” Ball quickly agreed that the amount of funds already collected were sufficient. The WSC asked Ball to make changes  because it was felt that the monument was “too passive”. The original plan had called for a black man kneeling wearing a soldier’s cap before Lincoln. The cap was removed and the slave was to be seen rising, having broken his own chains and taking an active part in gaining his freedom. That slave that is immortalized and represents those formerly enslaved is Archer Alexander. William Greenleaf Eliot, was a Unitarian minister who had founded Washington University in St. Louis was his benefactor. In 1863, Eliot had seen that Archer received his freedom, calling him “the last fugitive slave.” “In the Capitol grounds at Washington, DC there is a bronze group known as Freedoms Memorial. It represents President Lincoln in the act of emancipating a negro slave, who kneels at his feet to receive his benediction, but whose hand has grasped the chain as if in the act of breaking it, indicating the historical fact that the slaves took active part in their own deliverance.” William Greenleaf Eliot, From Slavery to Freedom – Archer Alexander.

The Emancipation Monument "Freedom's Memorial" was paid for entirely by funds from the formerly enslaved. It sits in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. today. It was dedicated by Frederick Douglass on April 14, 1876.
The Emancipation Monument “Freedom’s Memorial” was paid for entirely by funds from the formerly enslaved. It sits in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. today. It was dedicated by Frederick Douglass on April 14, 1876 as a memorial to President Abraham Lincoln.

October 8, 1829 – the final entry

The final entry of William M. Campbell’s journal* simply reads…

Reached home*


When Archer arrived in Dardenne Prairie in Saint Charles County on October 8th in 1829, he was 23 years old. Born in 1806, his parents Aleck and Chloe were the property of the Alexander family. He was owned by James Alexander of Rockbridge County, near Lexington, in Virginia. His wife Louisa, born as property of the McCluer family, was part of the dowry of James’ wife Nancy. Together Archer and Louisa would have ten children, Ralph, Nellie, Wesley, Eliza, Mary Ann, Archer, Jim, Aleck, Lucinda, and John. By 1835 their owners James and his wife Nancy had succumbed to the cholera epidemic. James Alexander’s final Will expressly demands that absolutely none of his slaves are to be sold, but to be rented out for the support and to pay for the education of his four small remaining children that were now orphans. The Alexander children, John, William, Agnes and Sarah would return to Rockbridge County Virginia, where they were raised by their relatives Alexander B. and Elizabeth (Alexander) Stuart. The orphans’ property, including Archer and Louisa, would be under the control of the Estate’s Executor and Administrator, William Campbell, the author of this journal. James’ youngest son William would return to Missouri when he was grown, sell all of his property including his slaves, and become a law partner with his cousin William Campbell.

The Boone’s Lick Road traverses the counties of St. Charles, Warren, Montgomery, Callaway, Boone and Howard in Missouri. Established by 1820 it was the route used by many of Missouri’s early settlers.**

The Alexander, Campbell and McCluer family were all cousins and had purchased their property in Dardenne Prairie, along the Boone’s Lick road prior to their arrival in 1829. At first log cabins would serve as shelter for both the black and white families. But as the families prospered, and their land ownership grew, so did their residence. In 1835, work continued on a house, that William Campbell would be the first to reside in. Under the direction of two stonemasons, Archer and the blacks would erect a beautiful home reminiscent of the family residence in Ireland. After the stone house was completed in 1836, the log buildings would become the dwellings of Archer and the other enslaved people.

Archer, who had worked in the brickyards of St. Louis prior to his owner James Alexander’s  death, had been brought by William Campbell to Dardenne Prairie to be in charge of the other enslaved property. An excellent carpenter, Archer’s skills would be useful in building not only this house, but several other local residences, including that of his future owners, the Pitman family. Campbell, who was editor of a St. Charles County newspaper, and had been elected to serve in Missouri’s House of Representatives, turned to Archer because he had proved himself trustworthy in the position of manager. This relationship also helped establish Archer Alexander among the other owners in the neighborhood, including the Bates and Naylor families, as someone they could depend upon.

The Campbell house on the Boone’s Lick Road in St. Charles County in Missouri was built by slaves in 1836.


The Union Army built this blockhouse at the Peruque Creek Railroad Bridge in 1862

By 1863, this area was a mixture of not only Confederate sympathizers from the south, but German immigrants who had begun arriving in the 1830s. Germans were pro Union, and strong abolitionists, and sympathetic to the plight of Archer and other blacks. In February, Archer had overheard some of the area’s Confederate men discussing how they had undermined the local railroad bridge.  The men who were southern sympathizers, had stored guns and ammunition in the Campbell icehouse for an attack when the bridge, which was a vital link for the Union Army, collapsed. Archer would risk his life to warn the Union troops stationed at the bridge five miles away. Almost immediately suspicion fell upon Archer as being the informer, and a lynch mob set out after him.

Archer Alexander

Archer, availed himself of the area’s established underground railroad to make his way to St. Louis, where he would be taken in by a Unitarian minister who was also a member of the Western Sanitary Commission, William Greenleaf Eliot. Eliot would secure an Order of Protection from the local Provost Marshall. Archer’s bravery would secure him a place in Eliot’s home, and on the Emancipation Monument with President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C.. Archer would die December 8, 1880 and was buried near his second wife Julia, in the St. Peter’s German Evangelical Cemetery, in a common lot grave. Eliot would write the story of Archer’s life From Slavery to Freedom, in 1885, using pseudonyms for many of the characters.

Author Dorris Keeven-Franke and Archer Alexander’s descendant Keith Winstead.

*This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families, the Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhauer families with their 25 slaves, from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829. This journal is located in the collections of the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and for which we are deeply indebted to Lisa McCown. Editor is Dorris Keeven-Franke. This is the final entry in William Campbell’s journal and is written on Thursday, October 8, 1829. If you wish to read the entire journal from the beginning, it begins with the post 20 August 1829 https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2020/08/20/20-august-1829-first-entry/


Learn the Hidden History of the Emancipation Monument from historians, researchers and authors. Marcia E. Cole tells the story of the former slave, Charlotte Scott, who conceived the idea of a memorial to President Lincoln paid for solely by former slaves and Black soldiers. Candace O’Connor explains the important work of the often overlooked Rev. William Greenleaf Eliot and the Western Sanitary Commission. Dorris Keeven-Franke shares details of the real-life Archer Alexander portrayed rising in the monument alongside President Lincoln. Carl Adams tells a little known story revealing Lincoln’s early thoughts and actions on slavery. And Jonathan White explores the powerful oratory delivered at the monument’s dedication by Frederick Douglass and a recently discovered Douglass letter shedding light on his views on the monument. The Emancipation Monument, also known as Freedom’s Memorial or the Lincoln Statue was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1876. It was paid for solely by donations from emancipated citizens and Black Union soldiers. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton has introduced legislation requiring the National Park Service to remove the statue from its place in Lincoln Park and place it indoors in a museum. This educational video introduces the remarkable people who were part of this monument’s creation and hopes to convince viewers of the need to keep the Emancipation Monument standing, as it has for 144 years, as a testament to those who turned five dollars and a dream into a reality.

** Boone’s Lick Road Association

1 & 2 October 1829 – Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh entry

The Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements by David Cole 2007

William Campbell’s journal of his move to Missouri, written in 1829, tells us the story of fifty people both black and white. They left Rockbridge County, Virginia on August 20th, and travelled across today’s West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, for a trip of over seven-hundred miles. They are still one-hundred miles from their destination on this day.

With Campbell are the Alexander, McCluer, Wilson and Icenhauer families, their children, and their enslaved… including Archer Alexander. Many of them had left their families behind. William Campbell’s family had served in the Revolutionary War fifty years earlier. His grandfather Charles Campbell, grandson of Robert, who with his brothers Dougal and John, all sons of of Duncan, removed from Scotland (where Duncan Campbell died) to Ireland in 1700, and all later removed to Pennsylvania in 1730, then to Virginia Commonwealth in 1740. All Presbyterian ministers, Charles Campbell’s son Samuel L. Campbell, M.D. who is William Campbell’s father, was a trustee and President of Washington College, (now Washington and Lee University) who married Sally Reid Alexander, whose father was also a slave owner in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Her father, was the Rev. William Parks Alexander, a Presbyterian Minister that also served in the Revolutionary War. Sally had also been born in Rockbridge County, and was the granddaughter of Archibald Alexander. The Alexander’s family’s slave called Aleck, was said to have come from Africa, or so the family story said. His son was called Archey, for Archer, by the Alexander family.

The Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements by David Cole 2007

1st of October 1829 – Entered Marion County. Land fine, roads excellent. Came through Salem the county town of Marion. It consists of a court house, two taverns, a grocery and horse mill. Saw a glorious sight, the Militia officers of Marion training. This day saw five deer running on the prairie.*

2nd of October 1829 Encamped three miles in Grand Prairie, at a skirt of wood projecting into the prairie.*

The enslaved person called Archey, was named for William Campbell’s maternal grandfather, Archibald Alexander, who was also an ancestor of the Alexander and McCluer families also in the caravan. All Presbyterian elders, and farmers in Virginia, they had served in the Revolutionary War and all owned slaves. Archer, who was born in 1806, also had a son named Archer Alexander who may have born as early as 1828. Archer’s father Aleck, was said to have been born in Africa, and brought to America. He had heard the Declaration of Independence read many times, by his owner’s sons and grandsons who had fought in the War with Great Britain. He knew the words well, as he had often witnessed little boys pretending at soldier, who marched and drilled as their ancestors had before them. Aleck would share often, how all men are created equal, which created a stir within the neighborhood. When Archer was still young, his father Aleck had been sold, for being too “uppity” a term used to describe trouble makers. This must have made quite an impact on the young man. His grandparents were never known. He was left behind with only his mother. When the caravan departed on August 20, his last memory was of her standing on her porch. Archer would never see his mother again.

This has been the road to Missouri for Archer Alexander as well as William Campbell. But the road to his desired freedom for Archer, would not be opened for another thirty years, on the Dardenne Prairie. This caravan is over 100 miles from there. They will pass through the city of St. Louis, founded in 1764, and then the city of St. Charles, Missouri, founded in 1769. They will begin the final leg of their journey on what was known as the Boone’s Lick Road and reach home on October 8, 1829.

Missouri had petitioned for Statehood in 1820, by Representative James Tallmadge, who proposed as a condition of Missouri’s statehood that no further slaves could be imported into the state and all children born after Missouri’s admission to the Union shall be born free. This condition, known as the Tallmadge amendment, set out a plan for gradual emancipation in Missouri. This began a debate that would only end with the Union’s win of the Civil War. The great orator, and Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, would propose a “Compromise” which would defeat that petition and allow Missouri to enter as a slave state instead in 1821.

2019 photograph by Dorris Keeven-Franke


Today the Boone’s Lick Road still exists, is known as Missouri’s first “road” and really begins in St. Charles. St. Louis, was a great city which had grown to several thousands by 1829, and there were several ways of reaching St. Charles, including the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Designated the site for the first Capitol in 1821, until the City of Jefferson and a Capitol building could be completed in 1826, it was a frontier outpost, and part of the way America was moving westward. While only a few thousand souls in 1829, who resided on the hillsides formerly called Les Petite Cotes (the Little Hills) by the French-Canadians like Louis Blanchett(e) who had founded the settlement.

The trailblazer Daniel Boone had brought his family and slaves to St. Charles in September of 1799, where they settled west of St. Charles along the Missouri River. Daniel’s son Nathan would build his first home and eventually his father would come to live with him. Nathan was also a surveyor like his father, who would own property and survey St. Charles. He and his brother Daniel Morgan, had formed regiments for the Territorial Governor General Benjamin Howard before the beginning of the War of 1812 from men in St. Charles County whose father’s and grandfather’s had fought in the first War with Great Britain. After the war, by 1815, they had gone into business with James Morrison who had arrived from the east in 1804. Morrison would supply General Montgomery Pike’s expedition in 1806, and would co-partner with the Boone sons, Nathan and Daniel Morgan, in a salt foundry in Howard County. The road between Morrison’s mercantile on Main Street in St. Charles to the Salt Lick became known as the road to the Boone’s Lick. Salt was a extremely necessary and valuable commodity on the frontier in the 1820s, and the region that developed around it was referred to by the settlers as the Boone’s Lick Road.

Morrison’s Trading Post on Main Street in St. Charles
Missouri’s First State Capitol on Main Street in St. Charles, in St. Charles County.

The next entry is the final entry in William Campbell’s journal and is written on Thursday, October 8, 1829. https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/october-8-1829-the-final-entry/

If you wish to read the entire journal from the beginning, it begins with the post 20 August 1829 https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2020/08/20/20-august-1829-first-entry/

*This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829. This journal is located in the collections of the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and for which we are deeply indebted to Lisa McCown. Editor is Dorris Keeven-Franke.

Library of Congress

30 September 1829 – Thirty-fifth entry

Forty one days ago, on August 20, 1829 William Campbell first wrote: I started from Lexington, Virginia on a journey to the state of Missouri. My own object in going to that remote section of the Union was to seek a place where I might obtain an honest livelihood by the practice of law. I travel in company with four families containing about 50 individuals, white and black.

On this date, these four families: James and Nancy (McCluer) Alexander; Nancy’s brother Dr. Robert McCluer, and his wife Sophie who is William Campbell’s sister; newlyweds James and Mary (Borden) Wilson, who owned twenty-five enslaved individuals; and the German family of Jacob and Anna (Robinson) Icenhower who owned no slaves are in Illinois. Among the enslaved was a strong young 23-year-old man named Archer Alexander and his young wife Louisa. They will all settle together in the frontier settlement of Dardenne Prairie, in Saint Charles County, Missouri.

Next day rode over miles of very bad roads between Muddy Fork and Little Wabash, said to overflow in winter. Passed through Maysville, the county town of Clay county. It consists of a small wooden court house and jail, two houses and three cabins. Crossed one prairie 10 miles wide, through which passed a small stream called Elm River. The rising and setting of the sun on the prairie is a glorious sight. Encamped in a prairie near a skirt of wood.*

In 1810 John McCawley and Seth Evans were traveling west from Fort Vincennes along the old Buffalo Trace when one of their horses died. McCawley sent his companion back for another horse. McCawley stayed behind in a cabin built on the west bank of the Little Wabash River. This made McCawley the first white man to settle in this area. McCawley later decided to build a stagecoach stop and trading center on the location which was known as McCawley’s Tavern. It provided a place for travelers to stop, eat, and spend the night.

Clay County was created by an act of the legislature on December 23, 1824. On Tuesday, March 8, 1825, at John McCawley’s place, the first county commissioners’ court assembled for the new county of Clay. In 1825 Daniel May donated 20 acres of land, just over 2 miles west of McCawley’s Tavern, to the county for the purpose of constructing a courthouse. This area had previously been known as Hubbardsville but was renamed Maysville. A two-room courthouse was constructed in 1825, and court was held at Maysville until 1841 when it was moved to the new and present county seat, Louisville.


Today’s Clay County Courthouse

In 1855, after the Ohio &Mississippi (O&M) Railroad was located about 1 mile north of Maysville, Clay City was established by Mr. J.D. Perkey on the north side of the tracks and mostly to the east of the present North Main Street. The business district soon developed to the south of the tracks where it is presently located. Maysville was made a part of the Village of Clay City in 1862. Clay City served as a trading center for the surrounding countryside. Clay City was named for the Kentucky statesman Henry Clay, author of the ‘Missouri Compromise’.

In Louisville, the retired county jail has the distinction of hosting the Clay County museum with the building listed on the National Registry of Historic places. Restoration efforts are also underway in the village of Sailor Springs, once a resort area in the early 1900s featuring natural springs.

The journal continues on 1 October 1829 https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/1-2-october-1829-thirty-sixth-and-thirty-seventh-entry/

*This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829. This journal is located in the collections of the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and for which we are deeply indebted to Lisa McCown. Editor is Dorris Keeven-Franke.

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