St. Charles County, Missouri History (Chapter 10)

History of St. Charles County, Missouri

Chapter 10
Portage des Sioux Township

Area -- Portage des Sioux -- Early Settlers -- Point Prairie Presbyterian Church -- St. Francis Church -- Biographical

pages 261 - 281

This township, including the islands, contains about eighty square miles, and embraces the point of land lying between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It is about twenty-two miles in length, and a little more than six miles in width at its widest part. The township, however, between the two rivers, at Portage des Sioux, is not more than two miles across.

The surface of the land is almost entirely level, it being what is called "bottom" land, and is remarkably productive. The staple products are wheat and corn. The corn grown here is of a superior quality, and is known as the "St. Charles White," being excellent for grits and meal. It commands, in the St. Louis market, from one to one and a half cents more on the bushel thatn any other corn shipped to that city. The farmers are in good circumstances, many of them cultivating large tracts of land, from which they have annually gathered abundant crops which have made them wealthy. A portion of the township is subject to overflow in extreme high water.

The forest which originally covered these bottoms were dense and luxuriant; much of it has been cleared away for farms and firewood; much of it has been cut into cordwood, sold to steamboats and shipped to St. Louis, and still the timber is not only inexhaustible, but of an excellent quality. The township has no running streams, but contains a few small lakes, the largest of which is Marais Temps Clair.


Of the early settlements in the county, perhaps Portage des Sioux retains the traces of its peculiar more closely than any other. It is only of late years that the French population, which at one time composed the entire settlement, has been broken in upon by the representatives of other blood. In the latter part of the summer of 1799, Francis Leseuer, then a resident of St. Charles, in a hunting excursion to the lakes in the prairie bottoms, visited an Indian village a short distance from the Mississippi, and in company with some of the Indians came as far as the river, where there was another Indian settlement. The neighborhood pleased him so much as a site for a village, that on his return to St. Charles a colony was organized to settle the locality. Lieut.-Gov. Delassus, then at St. Louis, made a grant of land the same fall, and a number of families, principally from St. Charles and St. Louis, erected their tents on the site of Portage des Sioux. Francis Saucier was appointed commandant, a position which he continued to hold until the change of government.

The colony remained during the winter of 1799-1800, hewed timber, and in the spring built some houses. From a petition drawn in October, 1803, for a grant of "Commons," we gather the following names as the original settlers of Portage des Sioux: Francis Saucier, Francis Leseuer, Simon Lepage, Charles Hibert, Julian Roi, Augusta Clairmont, Etienne Pepin, Abraham Dumont, Louis Grand, Jaques Godefroi, Bapiste Lacroix, Brazil Picard, Patrice Roi, Joseph Guinard, Antoine Lepage, Pierre Clermont, David Eshbough, Charles Roi, Thomas Whitley, Matthew Saucier and Solomon Petit. The first white child born in the settlement was Bridget Saucier, a daughter of the commandant. She was born in March, 1800, and afterwards married Stephen De Lile and was living in the town in 1875.

Portage des Sioux was formerly a celebrated stopping place for the Indians on their voyages up and down the river. Frequently the Mississippi, in front of the town, would be covered with fleets of canoes, while the village would swarm with swarthy voyageurs. During the Indian troubles the inhabitants were not molested. About 1808, however, one of the residents was killed by a drunken Indian. The assassin was at once surrendered to the whites and was taken to St. Louis, where, however, he either escaped or was set at liberty.

The place was of some importance during the War of 1812. A force was stationed here to intercept the enemy on their way to St. Louis. Along the river below the town stood a fort, the site of which disappeared in one of the inundations of the Mississippi. There was also a block-house at the head of the island below the town.

An Indian village, belonging to the tribe of Kickapoos, stood about two and a half miles south-west of the town; and another called Lassowris, from the name of an Indian chief, was below on the Mississippi. The treaty of peace between the United States government and the confederate tribes, who had engaged in the war under Tecumseh, the Missouri and Illinois were present in large numbers. General Clark acted in behalf of the United States government. The flat below the town was the place for holding the council.

The name of Portage des Sioux had been given to the place bythe Indians, and was adopted by the French settlers. Here the distance between the Missouri and Mississippi is scarcely two miles. Bands of Indians on their journeys were accustomed to disembark, carry their canoes across the narrow neck from one river to the other, and thus save the long journey of twenty-five miles around the point of land, which runs up from the confluence of the two rivers. For many years after the settlement of the country the old trail could be distinctly traced. Perhaps an incident, which tradition still preserves, was of service in establishing the name, particularly in reference to the tribe of Sioux.

The Osage Indians occupied a village on the Missouri, at or near the mouth of the Kansas. The Sioux lived on the Mississippi, above the mouth of the Des Moines. A hunting party of the Osage wandered over towards the country of the Sioux, and fell in with some hunters of that tribe, and killed one or more of their number. This greatly incensed the Sioux, and they resolved on Indian revenge. They formed a war party, fitted out a fleet of bark canoes, descended the Mississippi to the mouth of the Missouri, and ascended the latter river to the neighborhood of the Osages. Here they secreted their canoes and made a night attack upon their unsuspecting enemies, of whom they massacred a large number. Their revenge was signal, terrific and complete.

The Sioux then returned to their canoes and fled, but in less time the Roderick Dhu could marshal his ready clansmen, a strong war party of Osages was formed, who, panting and thirsting for vengeance, launched their canoes upon the dark waters of the Missouri, and gave chase to their retreating foes. Both tribes were distinguished for their skill in water craft. The race was a contest for life and death. On they sped, the pursued and the pursuers. Each party employed all its skill and strength and cunning -- the fugitives prompted by the love of life and hope for escape -- the pursuers urged on by the desire for revenge and thirst for blood. The Sioux made great speed down the muddy river, but the Osages gained on them. The signs of the chase freshened; neither party stopped for rest, nor flagged; on, on they sped for days, the Osages still gaining, until, in one of the long stretches of the river, they came in sight of the Sioux. A loud, wild cry of exultation from the pursuers rang out upon the welkin, and was echoed back by a shout of defiance from the Sioux. The last trial of strength and skill was now made, and every nerve strained to its utmost capacity. On they sped until a certain bend of the river concealed the fugitives from their pursuers. Under this cover they soon reached a point on the Missouri, about twelve miles above its mouth and only a mile from the Mississippi, nearly opposite a point on the Mississippi where Portage des Sioux stands, and, taking advantage of this sudden turn of fortune, disembarked, withdrew their canoes from the water, and concealed themselves from their pursuers. Soon, however, the party of Osages came, noiselessly, yet swiftly as an arrow in its flight, gathering new life and fresh courage from the glimpse of a broken paddle, as it glided by them on the turbid waters, or some useless article of which the Sioux had disencumbered themselves in their flight.

A moment of breathless suspense, into which was crowded an age of hope and fear and anxiety, is now experienced by the fugitives as their pursuers near the place of their concealment -- another moment and their pursuers are passed and lost to view in the next curve of the river. Manitto has smiled on the Sioux -- the Osages are foiled.

Hastily gathering up their canoes they bear them on their shoulders across the narrow portage, relaunch them on the Mississippi and resume their flight up that river, while the Osages continue down the Missouri to its mouth and then up the Mississippi. This successful strategem enabled the Sioux to gain on their pursuers some 20 or 30 miles, and secured their escape. The point where they re-embarked is the sight of Portage des Sioux, the portage of the Sioux, by which name it has ever since been known.

The seal of the town is a circle with two bands encircling a field, with an extended view representing a portion of that plane of country immediately above the junction of the rivers. The "armorial chievement" is simple, yet highly suggestive, and commemorates the incident above related. It consists of a party of Sioux with canoes on their shoulders, courant, comme le diable, and is surrounded with the words "Seal of the town of Portage des Sioux."1

Ebenezer Ayers came from one of the Eastern States and settled on what is known as "the point" in St. Charles county at a very early date. He built the first horse-mill in that region of country. He was also a large fruit grower, and made a great deal of butter and cheese. He lived in a large, red house, in which the first Protestant sermon in "the point" was preached. In 1804 he and James Flaugherty and John Woods were appointed justices of the peace for St. Charles district, being the first under the American government. Mr. Ayers had four children, one son and three daughters. Two of the latter died before they were grown. The son, Ebenezer Davenport Ayers, married Louisiana Overall, and settled where Davenport, Iowa, now stands, the town being named for him. His surviving sister, Hester Ayers, married Anthony C. Palmer, who was a ranger in the company commanded by Capt. James Callaway. Mr. Palmer was afterward elected sheriff of the county, and served one term. He had a good education, was an excellent scribe, and taught school a number of years.

Samuel Griffith, of New York, settled on the point below St. Charles in 1795. He was therefore one of the very first American settlers in the present limits of the State of Missouri. Daniel M. Boone had been here previous to this arrival, and the rest of the Boone family must have come about the same time that Mr. Griffith did. They all came the same year at any rate. Mr. Griffith was married in North Carolina, and had four children: Daniel A., Asa, Mary and Sarah. Daniel A. married Matilda McKnight, and they had five children. Asa married Elizabeth Johnson; they had five children. Mary married Wilson Overall, and Sarah married Foster McKnight.

Alexander Garvin, of Pennsylvania, married Amy Mallerson, and settled in St. Charles county, Mo., in 1819. His cabin was built of poles, and was only 16x18 feet in size, covered with linden bark weighted down with poles. The chimney was composed of sticks and mud. The house was built in one day, and they moved into it the next. Mr. Garvin and his wife had seven children: Amy, Margaret, Permelia, Alexander, Jane R., Julia A. and Fannie D. Amy, Julia and Permilia all died single. Margaret was married first to Thomas Lindsay, and after his death she married Joles Dolby, and is now a widow again. Alexander married Elizabeth Boyd. Jane R. married Robert Bowles. Fannie D. married Robert Roberts.


situated in section 13, range 48, was organized July 13, 1873, a frame church building being erected the same year at a cost of about $4,000. Its original members were: Thomas H. Barwise and wife, Joseph H. Barwise and wife, Asa Barwise and wife, E. K. Barwise and wife, William B. Greene and wife, Alfred B. Payton and wife, George Henry and wife, Joshua Vincent and wife, Albert and Norman Barwise. The present membership is about 30. The following are the names of those who have served in the capacity of pastor: Rev. Dr. J. H. Nixon, S. S. Watson, B. A. Alderson, Dr. W. Ferguson, Herman Allen, J. G. Venable and H. L. Singleton. There is a thriving Sunday-school attached to the church, superintended by William B. Greene. This church was organized with members from St. Charles Presbyterian Church, T. H. Barwise now being its clerk.


The membership of this church is composed of 200 families, its rectors having been Fathers Schroeder, Mehring and Rensman. This is a brick church, and was built in 1879 at a cost of about $15,000. It is located in Portage des Sioux township.


(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

For nearly forty years Judge Barwise has been a resident of St. Charles county. From time to time he has acquired different official positions from that of county judge to local township offices. He is a man who has had a successful career as a farmer and in material affairs and at one time was one of the leading land-owners in the county. He has given off his lands, however, to his children, as they grew up and married and desired to settle down in life, so that of 1,760 acres he once owned he has now reserved to himself only a comfortable homestead with about 160 acres. He is well and favorably known to the people of the county as one of its useful and highly respected citizens. Though a man who has been active and industrious all his life and done a great deal of hard work, he is still well preserved mentally and in physical strength at the advanced age of 83. He is quite active considering his age and bright of mind and clear of memory. His conversation is animating, entertaining and instructrive. All things considered Judge Barwise is one of the remarkable men of the county as well as one of its old and valued citizens. He is a native of New York, born in Brooklyn October 4, 1801. His father was Thomas Barwise, originally from London, England, who became after coming to this country a prominent stage line owner and manager, and successful dealer in horses, etc. He married after he came over Miss Mary Elsworth, of Long Island, New York, and they reared a family of seven children, of whom Judge Thomas H. Barwise was the second. When he was about 13 years of age the family removed to Cincinnati, O., away back in 1814. The father died there four years afterwards. Judge Thomas H. had attended school before leaving New York, but had little or no school advantages after the family came West. At the age of 16 he commenced learning the carpenter's trade and worked at it some years. He then engaged in the grain business at Cincinnati. He continued to reside there until he was about 32 years old, and in the meantime held several local city offices. In 1822 he was married in Cincinnati to Miss Julia, a daughter of Prof. Norman Collins, formerly of Connecticut. In the year after his marriage (1833) he removed to Franklin county, Indiana, where he engaged in farming. He continued farming in that county and with good success for about 10 years, and then returned to Cincinnati, and in 1847 removed to Missouri. Here he settled in St. Charles county, where he bought a large body of land and resumed farming. His farming career here has also been successful. At an early date Judge Barwise was appointed justice of the peace and subsequently he was elected to that office, and continued in the office by re-election for many years. In 1861 he was appointed a judge of the county court by Gov. Gamble. At the election of 1876 he was elected to that office. Judge Barwise's first wife died in this county in 1863. She left him six children: E. K., Joseph H., Thomas H. John E., Asa T. and Laura, his daughter, and now the widow of Alfred B. Peyton, deceased, who left her three chilren at his death: Henry, Edward and William. To his present wife Judge Barwise was married in January, 1865. She was a Mrs. Anna McCormack of Cincinnati, O. Judge Barwise's second son, Joseph H. Barwise, is now judge of the county court of Wichita Falls, Tex. Edward is a farmer in St. Charles county, and Asa S. is a merchant of Wichita, Kas.

(Farmer, Post-office, Portage des Sioux).

The subject of this sketch is a grandson of Judge Thomas H. Barwise, one of the old and highly respected citizens of this county, whose sketch appears on a preceding page, and is a son of Judge Joseph H. Barwise, now a judge of the county court of Wichita Falls, in Wichita county, Tex. Judge Joseph H. Barwise removed from this county to Texas in 1877. He has since been twice elected to the office of county judge in Wichita county, that State, and is one of the prominent citizens of the county. He was principally reared in Indiana, but came to St. Charles county with his father's family before reaching majority, in 1847. Here he was afterwards married to Miss Lucy A. Hansel, also formerly of Indiana. He became a substantial and well-to-do farmer of this county, and his removal from the county was greatly regretted. He and his good wife have reared a family of five children: Thomas H., Jr., the subject of this sketch, Frances, Joseph H., Jr., Lula and Marshall. Thomas H., eldest of the family of children, was born on his father's farm in this township, January 9, 1856. His father being a man in well-to-do circumstances and intelligently appreciating the advantages of education, had the liberality to give his children good opportunities for mental culture. Thomas H., Jr., attended the district and intermediate schools available in the county and was then sent to Blackburn University at Carlinville, Ill., where he took a somewhat advanced course in the higher branches, continuing for two years. After quitting the university, he resumed farming in this county, to which he had been brought up, and which he has ever since followed, but not without substantial success. He has a neat, well improved place on a tract of 100 acres of land, which is largely devoted to fruit growing. About 65 acres of the place are set with a good bearing orchard of apple trees, the annual yield of which is very large. Mr. Barwise owns about 40 acres of the place in his own right, the balance being still in his father's name. He also owns a good tract of land in Texas. He is not yet married, but there is no insurance company that would be willing to take a risk against his marrying at an early age, or that he, too, will not be a judge of the county court when age and industry shall have given him the appearance of wisdom and dignity and made him a substantial property holder and representative citizen and taxpayer of the county.

(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

Mr. Barwise is a son of Judge Thomas H. Barwise, whose sketch appears on a preceding page, and an uncle to Thomas H. Barwise, Jr., the subject of the sketch preceding this. Mr. Barwise is a worthy representative of the old and respected family of this county whose name he bears. He was born while his parents were yet residents of Cincinnati, March 27, 1825, and was the eldest of their family of children. As they removed to Indiana a few years afterwards, and remained there until after he had grown to majority, he was principally reared in the latter State. He received an education in the ordinary schools of Trenton, Indiana. In 1848 he returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, and was there married to Miss Matilda E. Wilson, a daughter of William Wilson, of that city, and a large commercial trader in Cincinnati and New Orleans by the river route. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Barwise came to Missouri with his father's family and located in St. Charles county. Here he was favored by his father with a quarter of a section of land, which he improved and where he engaged actively in farming. For many years his farming experience was highly successful, and from time to time he added to his landed estate, until at one time he was one of the leading landholders of the county, having about 1,700 acres of choice land. Through kindness of friends, however, in becoming sponsor of their liabilities which he was compelled to answer to for in several instances out of his own means, and through other misfortunes, he lost the bulk of his property. He still has, however, an excellent homestead of 360 acres, which is well improved and one of the choice farms of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Barwise have five children: Albert, Emma T., Norman C., Ella, the wife of J. A. Vincent, now a farmer of Arizona Territory, and Laura B. During the war Mr. Barwise served for a time in the State militia, and held the position of orderly sergeant. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he holds the office of elder in the church.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Best's father, Stephe Best, Sr., died in county October 18, 1874, in the sixty-first year of his age. He was a Missourian by nativity, one of the respected citizens of this county. In young manhood he was married to a young lady, formerly of Virginia. They had a family of seven children, of whom Stephen W., Jr., was the seventh. One other is now living in this county. Stephen W. Best was born December 1, 1858, and was reared to a farm life. In January, 1881, he was married to Miss Maria, a daughter of John and Ellen Dwiggins, formerly of Indiana. Her father died June 5, 1883, but her mother still resides in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Best have one child, Mary E. They have lost one, Stephen. Mr. Best has a neat small farm, well improved, and for a young man has a good start in life. With his industry and good management, he can hardly fail of taking an enviable position among the substantial farmers of the community.

(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

Judge Beumer was born in the city of St. Louis June 12, 1840, and was the fifth of ten children (only three now living) of Casper H. Beumer, a native of Prussia, who came to America in 1838, and located in St. Charles two years afterwards. The father was a carpenter by trade and followed that occupation for many years. He is still living, a respected citizen of this county, at the age of 76. The mother died in 1882. The other two of their family of chiildren living are Louisa, the wife of John Wilke, and Caroline, the wife of William Willbrandt, all living in this county. Judge John F. Beumer was reared in this county, being brought up on a farm, his father having engaged in farming as well as the carpenter's trade. At the age of about 21, he went to work at the wagon maker's trade at Wentzville, which he followed for some two years at that point and then moved to St. Charles township. While in St. Charles township, at Boschertown he was engaged in buying and shipping grain, principally wheat and corn, in which he did not meet with good success. In 1882 he was elected a judge of the county court, a position he filled with credit to himself and to the general satisfaction of the county. In 1863 Judge Beumer was married to Miss Anna Willbrandt, of this county. Her father die in Prussia and her mother is now the wife of Fritz Nole, of Saline county. Judge Beumer's first wife died in 1865. His present wife was a Miss Minnie Eggerman, a daughter of Frederick Eggerman, who died in St. Louis in 1849. Her mother died there in 1848. Mr. and Mrs. Beumer have eight children: Herman H., Maggie, Louisa, John H., Ernst W., Henry F., Minnie A. and Adah. They lost one, John H., the eldest. Mr. B. had one child by his first wife, Anna C. He has resided on the place where he now lives, a farm of 140 acres, for the last fifteen years.

(Farmer and Fruit Grower, Post-Office, St. Charles).

March 5, 1837, was the date, and his father's homestead, in Fayette county, Tenn., was the place that the subject of the present sketch was born. Seven children of the family preceded him in the order of birth, and eight followed, making in all, including himself, 16 children in the family. His father was Caleb T. Blankenship, and his mother was a Miss Rachel H. Hunter before her marriage. Both were originally from Virginia. The family came to Missouri in 1853 and settled in Montgomery county. The father died there in 1856, but the mother survived him until 1882. Francis H. remained at home until he was 21 years of age, and was then married to Miss Lacita Tanner, a daughter of John Tanner, deceased, formerly of Virginia. After his marriage he engaged in the saw mill business at High Hill, and his wife died there the following year, leaving a son, Marcellus. He then went to work at the painter's trade, and in 1862 was married to Miss Sallie, a daughter of John Jennings, of Montgomery county. Two years after his marriage he removed to St. Charles, where he ran the American house for about a year. He then resumed the painter's trade. Subsequently he was also in the hotel business again. In 1869 he returned to Montgomery county, where he followed carpentering, but came back to St. Charles in 1879. For three years prior to 1869, or rather following 1865, he followed the painter's trade in Kentucky. After locating in St. Charles, in 1879, he worked at his trade there until 1882, when he took charge of G. H. Clark's fruit farm. His tract of land contains 1,100 acres, 340 acres of which are set with apple-bearing trees. They yield an average of about 8,000 barrels of apples a year. From 10 to 60 men are employed in caring for the fruit. The apples are mainly shipped to Northern markets. Damaged fruit is made up on the place, when not too badly injure, for cider, vinegar, or other products. Mr. Blankenship has two children by his last marriage, Samuel and Susan. He and wife are members of the M. E. Church, and he is a member of the A.O.U.W. and the Knights of Columbus.

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, St. Charles).

Mr. Boschert may be justly termed one of the self-made men of St. Charles county, as he is well known to be one of its most highly respected citizens, a true gentleman in every best sense of the word. He commenced for himself a poor young man and, notwithstanding he has sustained some heavy losses, he has succeeded in making himself one of the substantial men of the community. He was born in Germany in October, 1821, and when about ten years of age was brought over to America by his parents, David and Josephene Boschert, who immigrated to this country in 1831, landing at New Orleans, and came thence directly to St. Charles county. The father died here in 1846 and the mother in 1849. Francis was the third youngest of nine children, and grew to manhood in this county. He remained at home with his parents until his marriage which was January 31, 1843, when Miss Barbara Leible, a daughter of Raymond and Frances Leible, formerly of Baden, became his wife. he then settled on a farm in Cul De Sac, where he improved a place and was getting along well until the flood of '44 came, when everything he had was swept away by that mighty cataclysm of waters. He got out with his family and settled in this township, where he has ever sinced resided. Here his industry and good management soon prospered him again. His home farm contains 350 acres, which he has finely improved and well stocked. In easy circumstances, he is an open, hospitable, generous man and is kind and accommodating as a neighbor and friend, and is gentlemanly and hospitable about his place. Mr. and Mrs. Boschert have seven children: Mary, the wife of Anton Saale, a farmer of this county; Frank D., William J., Raymond I., Barbara E., now in convent in Milwaukee; John A. and Martha N. They have lost eight children. Daniel died at the age of 35 years in Carroll county, Mo., in 1833, leaving a wife and five children. The others died in childhood. He and wife are members of the German Catholic Church of St. Charles, Mo.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Byram was born in Vermillion county, Ill., November 13, 1840, and was the fifth in a family of eleven children, six of whom are living, of Adam C. and Sarah (Hand) Byram of that county; but the father was formerly of Virginia, a farmer by occupation, and the mother a native of Ohio. She died in 1866 and he in 1867, being at the time residents of Hancock county, Ill., to which they removed in 1849. Both were members of the M. E. Church, and the father served in the Union army. George H. was reared on the farm in Hancock county and received a fair common-school education. In 1862 he enlisted in Co. I, Thirtieth Iowa volunteer infantry, and served until the close of the was. He participated in some twenty engagements, including those of Lookout Mountain, Vicksburg and Atlanta. Returning to Illinois after the war, he resumed farming, and in 1868 was married to Miss Ellen Gallon, a daughter of John Gallon, of St. Louis. He came to St. Charles county in 1869, where he has ever since resided. Mr. Byram is a farmer of energy and is well respected in the community.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Davis was born in Washington county, Maryland, February 11, 1837, and was a son of James and Mary (Eckleberger) Davis, the former of whom died in 1847, but the latter is still living, a resident of Indiana. They had eleven children, of whom eight lived to be grown and six are still living. David H. was reared with farming experience and ordinary school advantages, and in 1859 he came to Missouri and located in St. Charles county. In 1866 he was married to Miss Amanda F. Best, a sister of Stephen W. Best, whose sketch appears elsewhere. After his marriage he located in Portage township, where he still resides, engaged in farming. He has been on the same place for the last fifteen years. Mr. and Mrs. Davis have five children: Laura E., Nettie I., Blanche E., Elonete E. and David M. They lost two in infancy. He and wife are members of the M. E. Church South, and he is a member of the Knights of Honor, the A.O.U.W. and the Chosen Friends. Mrs. Davis is a lady of superior mental culture, having been educated at Fairview College under Prof. Pitman.

(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

Mr. Gerdts bought the farm where he now resides in 1882. It is a handsome place of 165 acres, and has an excellent, commodious and neatly built brick house. He has risen to his present comfortable situation by his own energy and industry in the last 12 or 14 years. A native of Hanover, Germany, born in Varstadt county, February 28, 1844, he came to this country at the age of 24, in 1868, and a year later came to Ohio. When he located in Ohio he had but five cents in the world and not much of anything else to speak of, except his good name and good sense, and his ability and determination to work. Three months later he came to St. Charles county and worked on a farm here for a time and then engaged in farming for himself. In 1872 he went to St. Louis and worked there for four years, returning to St. Charles county in 1876. Here he resumed farming, and in 1882 bought his present place. May 9, 1877, Mr. Gerdts was married to Mrs. Anna M., the relict of Ernest Nolle, her maiden name having been Becker. She had five children by her first husband: Herbert, Herman, Minnie, Ernest and John. She has two by Mr. Gerdts: August G. and Ida. Mr. and Mrs. G. are members of the Lutheran Church.

(Postmaster, Dealer in General Merchandise, and Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Among the leading citizens of Portage township the subject of the present sketch occupies a prominent and enviable position. He is a son of Jesse Haigler, mentioned elsewhere, and was born in Huttonville, W. Va., January 19, 1836. Reared on his father's farm, he received a good common-school education as he grew up, and when about 21 years of age, in 1857, went to California, where he remained, principally engaged in mining, for some 10 years. Returning in 1866, he located in St. Charles county and the following year was married to Miss Margaret Costello, a daughter of John Costello, formerly of Ireland. After his marriage Mr. Haigler continued farming in Portage township, in which he had previously engaged, until 1877, when he came to Black Walnut post-office. A post-office having been established at this place in 1875 through his efforts, Mr. Haigler was appointed postmaster to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of William Kleasner. Mr. H. has continued to hold the office ever since. He also established a general store at this place, which he conducts, and in which he has built up a good trade. He also owns 100 acres of improved land, where he carries on farming with success. He has taken a great interest in the prosperity and growth of Black Walnut and has done a great deal for the place. It is rapidly becoming a local trading point of considerable importance. He has also warmly interested himself in the cause of education and was largely instrumental in building up the excellent school with which Black Walnut is now favored. He has been a school officer for the last 14 years, including the offices of treasurer, director, district clerk, etc. Mr. Haigler was one of the pioneers in teh Grange movement in St. Charles county. He helped to organize the second Farmer's club ever organized in the county, which was in 1872. In 1873 he was elected master of the first Grange in this township, a position he held until 1880. Three times he represented the county Grange in the State Grange as delegate, and was master of the county Grange for four years. In 1875 he was appointed lecturer of the Grange by authority of the State Grange, and lectured through St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln, Pike, Ralls, Monroe, Audrain and Randolph counties. Mr. and Mrs. H. have six children: Mary V., Loman H., Jr., Ida C., Jesse J., William F. and George M. He is a member in good standing of the A.F. and A.M., Knights of Honor, A.O.U.W. and American Legion of Honor. He was one of a number who have organized a protective association for the prevention of crime, and the arrest and punishment of horse thieves and criminals generally.

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, St. Charles).

A Virginian by nativity, having been born in Wood county, of the Old Dominion, June 20, 1825, Mr. Keen was reared, however in Kentucky, where his family removed in 1832. His father was Ely Keen and his mother's maiden name Sarah Keen. She died in Kentucky in 1848, and the same year the father removed to Missouri with his family of children, where he died in 1850. Francis Keen did not come to this county until a year after his father. He has resided here ever since, and been engaged in farming. He has a good farm of 300 acres, and is comfortably situated.

(Steamboat Pilots, Post-office, Portage).

John King, the father of Frank King, was a son of John King, Sr., and wife, who was Cecilia Tesson, the father a native of Ireland, but the mother born and reared in St. Louis county. The father came to St. Charles county in a very early day. He was a brick mason by trade and built the first brick house ever erected in St. Charles. He died here October 20, 1838, but his wife survived for many years, or until 1882. John King, Jr., ws born in Portage, February 7, 1826, and was the second of a family of eight children. At the age of 13 he went to a boat as cabin boy, and has been on the river continuously ever since, for a period of forty-five years. He gradually worked his way up to the position of pilot, and has been a pilot on the Mississippi ever since. He is perhaps the oldest pilot, in point of continuous service on the river. The current of the upper Mississippi and all the point and peculiarities of the river are as familiar to him and even more so than the route of a school boy to his school. There is probably not a safer, more competent pilot in the country than the senior subject of this sketch. Though giving all his time and attention to his river work, Mr. King is a considerable extent interested in farming, and has two good farms of fine river bottom land. His homestead contains 160 acres and is well improved. He has another good place of 120 acres. Mr. King was married, January 31, 1853, to Miss Louisa Novall, a daughter of Frank Novall, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. King have six children: Francis, John, Louisa, Celia, Irene and mary. They have lost three, one of whom, James, was 13 years of age at his death. Mr. and Mrs. K. are members of the Catholic Church.

FRANK KING, the eldest of his father's family of children, was born July 27, 1858, in St. Charles county. When he was eight years of age his father removed the family to Portage, where Frank grew up and attended the schools in Portage. At the age of 19 he began to learn piloting under his father and went with him on the river for that purpose. As soon as he became qualified to run a boat he obtained a situation on one of the Northern line steamboats and has been engaged in piloting ever since. In 1879 he was married to Miss Maggie R. Delille, of this county. Her mother is still living, but her father died in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. K. have three children: Mary Celia, Mike Kelley and Francis Noel. Mr. and Mrs. K. are members of the Catholic Church. Mr. King, like his father, is also interested in farming, and has a farm of 200 acres well improved. He is now piloting on the Diamond Jo Line, between St. Louis and St. Paul.

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Klesener is one of the substantial, self-made and highly respected farmers of the county. He commenced a poor young man and worked for several years as a farm laborer, and then in the mines of California to get a start. As soon as he was able be bought land of his own in this county, which he improved, and afterwards bought other lands from time to time until be became one of the large land owners in the county. He owned at one time over 700 acres. Having given off some of his children, he still has about 400 acres, and a handsome homestead where he resides. Mr. Klesener was born in Westphalia, Prussia, November 15, 1824, and he was the third in a family of 13 children. His parents were Ferdinand and Elizabeth (Meyer) Klesener, both of whom are now deceased. The father died in 1847 and the mother in 1880. William A. came to America in 1846 and located in St. Charles county, where he obtained employment as a farm hand. In 1850 he went to California and for two years was engaged in mining. Returning to St. Charles county, he then bought a tract of unimproved land and made a farm. In 1854 he was married to Miss Minnie Windmeuller. Her parents came from Germany in 1851. They have four children: Ferdinand H., William R., Herman H. and Minnie C. They lost three in childhood. Mr. Klesener was postmaster for two years at Walnut Grove, and has repeatedly held the office of school director. He and family are members of the German Lutheran Church.

(Farmer, Post-office, Portage).

Among the substantial and energetic young farmers of Portage township the subject of the present sketch occupies a justly worthy and enviable position. A young man just past 26 years of age, he has an excellent start in life, and is carrying on his farming operations with an energy and intelligence that can hardly fail of placing him at no distant day among the more substantial and leading farmers of the county. He was born in this county in March, 1858, and is the older of two living children of the family of seven of Barney and Alice (Vennor) Linenan, both originally from Germany. The father died of cholera in this county in 1872, when two of his sons, Anton and Frank, died the same year of that disease. The mother died in 1883, Elizabeth, who is now the wife of Frederick Paling, a mercantile clerk of St. Louis, is the only other of the family living. Frederick Linenan was reared on the farm in the county, where he still resides, and on which he is actively engaged in farming. The farm was bequeathed to him by his father, and contains 240 acres, an excellent, well improved place.

(Physician and Surgeon, Portage).

Dr. Mehring, who is a regularly educated and qualified physician, as well as a skillful and experienced practitioner, is at the same time a man of advanced general culture, and probably one of the most accomplished linguists in the State. After completing his education in Europe, he was regularly employed for eight years in Paris, France, as an interpreter of the French, Italian and German languages by personages of the highest consideration from abroad. He also studied medicine while in Paris, and had the benefit of instruction of one of the best medical institutions of that city. From Paris he came to America in 1876, and proceeded directly to St. Louis. It being his purpose to engage in the practice of medicine in this country, he took a course in the St. Louis Medical College, in order to familiarize himself with the theories and methods in vogue in this country. He graduated at St. Louis in 1878. In the meantime, he had fixed upon Portage as his location for the practice, and ever since his graduation has been actively engaged in the practice at his place. Dr. Mehring has not only been very successful in the treatment of cases and in building up a large practice, but has accumulated some property, considering the time he has been here. He has a comfortable residence property at Portage and 80 acres of good improved land in the vicinity. In 1876 he was married to Miss Mary Mehring, a daughter of John and Magdaline Mehring, of Echternach, Luxenburg, the place of his own nativity, and relatives of his. The Doctor and Mrs. Mehring have two children: Henry and Mary E. They have lost two, Peter and Mary, both at tender ages. He and wife are members of the Catholic Church, and he is a member of the Catholic Knights of America. Dr. Mehring was the youngest of a family of five children, his parents both being of old and respected Luxenburg families; his father was an intelligent and successful farmer. Dr. Mehring was born in Echternach, Luxenburg, in Holland, April 10, 1842. He and his brother, Rev. Father Henry Mehring, are the only ones of the family who are residents of the United States.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Mittelberger is of German antecedents, though the family has long been settled in this country. The founder of the family in America first settled in Pennsylvania, from which State branches have spread out into other States. Mr. Mittelberger's father was John C. Mittelberger, who settled in Virginia from Pennsylvania, and finally came to St. Charles county, where he resided until his death. The mother was a Miss Maria Longe, who died when James S. was in infancy, having been the mother of four children. They father subsequently married Miss Catherine Reonar, by whom he had six children. The family all belonged to the Presbyterian Church. James S. was born in Loudoun county, Va., April 4, 1826, and was about 10 years of age when the family settled in St. Charles county. He was reared here, but had no school advantages to speak of. He managed to secure, however, a thorough common-school education. Remaining at home util he was about 24 years of age, he then rented land and engaged in farming for himself. Finally he was able to buy a tract of land which he improved, about 112 acres, and he received some 66 acres from his father's estate. In 1865 he was married to Miss Margaret Stake, formerly of Maryland. She was taken from him by death in 1869, leaving him one child, Elizabeth. In 1875 he was married to Mrs. Charlotte Schumann, widow of Fredrick Schumann, deceased, and a daughter of William Ballner, formerly of Hanover. She had two children by her first husband: Julia and William. There is one child by her present marriage, James S. Mr. and Mrs. M. are members of the M. E. Church. His farm now consists of 82 acres, having sold off a part of his land heretofore.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Moslander was principally reared in St. Louis county, and was brought up on a farm. He had little or no school advantages, but to a certain extent made up for this by private study. When he was about 14 years of age he had the misfortune to have his left leg broken, which resulted in making him a cripple for life. A man of energy and intelligence, however, he has overcome this disadvantage so far as success in life is concerned, and has become one of the substantial men, in a property point of view, of his community, and a citizen of consideration and influence. Mr. Moslander has a handsome farm of nearly 200 acres adjacent to Black Walnut, one of the choice farms of the vicinity, well set off by a commodious, tastily built, two-story fram residence. He has taken much interest in education toward building up good schools, and seeing that his children and others of the neighborhood are favored with good school advantages. Mr. Moslander was born in New Jersey, January 3, 1830, and was a son of William Moslander, a miller by trade, but a sailor in early life. From New Jersey the family removed to Verginia, and from there, in 1839, they removed to Missouri. The father died, however, on the way, in 1839, and the mother with her children came on and settled in St. Louis county. She died in 1844. In young manhood Mr. Moslander followed teaming for several years. In 1856 he was married to Miss Martha Hill, of St. Louis county, and two years later he came to St. Charles county, where he has ever since resided. Here he has followed farming, and has achieved good success. His first wife died in 1875, leaving him four children: Lydia, James A., Charles B. and Caroline G. To his present wife Mr. Moslander was married in 1878. She was formerly Mrs. Mary J. best, widow of the late Stephen Best, and mother Stephen W. Best, whose sketch appears on a former page of this work. By her first husband she has five children: Ann, the wife of James B. Ferguson; Stephen, Udora, wife of William M. Gray; Lucy and Edna. There are no children by her last marriage. Mr. Moslander is a member of the Knights of Honor.

(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

Mr. Peyton is a granson of Judge Thomas H. Barwise, whose sketch appears on a former page of this volume. Henry T., born in this county August 15, 1854, was reared on his father's homestead. He was the eldest of the three children of his parents, mentioned in the sketch of his grandfather, Judge Barwise. The other two are Edward and William. The father died May 18, 1876. He was from Virginia, and came here in 1850. HE left a good farm of 160 acres, the fruit of his own industry and good management, for he commenced for himself a poor man and without a dollar. Henry T. grew up in this county and received a common school education in the neighborhood schools. Subsequently he took a course at college at Carlinville, Ill. In 1881 young Mr. Peyton was married to Miss Marinda Dougherty, a daughter of James P. and Carrie Dougherty, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. Peyton have two children, Alfred and James. Mr. Peyton lives on his father's homestead where he is successfully engaged in farming. He is a young man of industry and intelligence, and has excellent promise of a successful career as a farmer.

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, Portage).

Mr. Pujal is a descendent, on his father's side, of one of the early Spanish families of the Upper Louisiana country. On his mother's side is of French lineage and the representative of an early French family, the Veliers. Both came to the upper trans-Mississippi region more than a generation before there were any English settlements in this part of the country, and long before the flag fo meteor stripes and gleaming stars had been given to the breeze in the great valley of the Mississippi. Mr. Pujal's father was Louis Pujal, who, throughout the principal part of his life, was a successful farmer of this county. The mother was a Miss Cecile Veliers. They reared their family in St. Charles county. The father died at Montrose while on a river voyage, in 1853, and the mother survived two years afterwards. They had a family of twelve children, only two of whom, however, are living. Henry, the youngest of the family, was born in this county, November 13, 1839, and was reared on this father's farm. He attended the ordinary schools of the county, and then attended school in St. Louis for about a year and a half. After quitting school he engaged in farming, but two years later went to Columbus, Ky., where he obtained a situation as clerk in a store. He subsequently clerked at Carondelet and St. Louis. He then came to Portage and engaged in merchandising on his own account, forming a partnership in business with Peter St. Cin. Two years later this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Pujal retired from business. He then engaged in farming in the vicinity of Portage, which he carried on with success until 1869, when he became a commission merchant in the grain business at Portage. This was continued until 1883. He then sold out to good advantage to John Steiner, and retired to his farm, near Portage. Mr. Pujal has a place of 350 acres, an excellent farm and a comfortable homestead, where he is carrying on farming and stock raising with energy and success. In 1868 Mr. Pujal was married to Miss Corinne Lafaivre, a daughter of Charles and Priscilla (Lepage) Lefaivre. Both her parents were of French origin. Her father died in 1862, but her mother is living, at the age of seventy-six, and resides with her children. Mr. and Mrs. Pujal have four children: Lee, Charles, Paul and Mary. Four others died at tender ages. He and wife are members of the Catholic Church and he is a member of the Catholic Knights of America. Mr. P.'s sister, Adele, is the wife of August Ano, a farmer of the vicinity of Portage.

(Farmer, Post-office, Portage des Sioux).

Mr. Schaeffer is a native of France, born in January, 1831. He was the youngest of four children of Jacob and Florents (Morgantahler) Schaeffer, and was reared in his native country. His mother died in 1853 and his father about four years ago. In 1857 Mr. Schaeffer came to America landing in New Orleans, and shortly engaged in rafting on the river, which he followed for nearly a year. He then came to St. Charles county and commenced farming with tJudge Barwise. In 1861 he was married to Miss Kate Sale, a daughter of Anton and Johanna Sale, formerly of France. Mrs. Schaeffer's father died in 1880, but her mother is still living in St. Charles with her son, Louis Sale. After his marriage Mr. Schaeffer continued farming and he has ever since continued it up to the present time. He is now the owner of 79 1/2 acres of excellent land, which he has finely improved. He has a good two-story house on his place. Mr. and Mrs. Schaeffer have had twelve children, six of whom are living; Florentine, who is now the wife Heinrich Leisse, a carpenter of St. Charles; Katrina, Marie, Sophie, Louis and Anna. Mr. and Mrs. S. are members of the Holy Catholic Church. Mr. S. has held the office of road overseer, and deserves great credit for the excellent manner in which he had the roads worked during his administration of that office.

(Business-man and Hotel-Keeper, Portage).

The St. Cin family, a French-Canadian family, was one of the early families of St. Louis county. Mr. St. Cin's grandfather, A. St. Cin, came to that county when 20 years of age. He was married there and made his home within its borders until his death. Frank St. Cin, his son, was born and reared in St. Louis county and became a farmer and veterinary surgeon. Subsequently he removed to St. Charles county and lived there until his death, which occurred in 1873. He had been a member of the Masonic order for over 20 years, and was also a member of the Catholic Church. He was married twice. Of his first union, nine children were born, of whom Peter St. Cin was the second. He second wife was a Miss Mary Crealey, a daughter of Frank Crealey, formerly of Canada. She is still living on the farm in this county. Peter St. Cin was born in St. Louis county November 13, 1833, and was principally reared on a farm. At the age of 13 he went to work at farm labor, beginning at $8 a month, but his wages were afterwards raised to $15 a month. He then engaged in the fruit and vegetable business and in 1850 went to Montana. The following year he returned and engaged with his father in the stock business, driving to New Orleans. In 1853 he was married to Miss Mary Bradshaw, of St. Charles county. After this he engaged in farming in St. Louis county, which he followed for four years. While cradling in the field, he broke a blood vessel and on that account had to quit farming. He then set up in the saloon business at Portage, and later along added a stock of groceries and dry goods. He is now engaged in running a threshing machine and corn sheller, and also a portable saw and grist mill. He also has a butcher shop at Portage, which he is carrying on with success. Mr. St. Cin keeps a boarding-house at Portage in connection with his saloon, and also has about 80 acres of good improved land in this vicinity besides his town property. In 1859 he had the misfortune to lose his first wife, who died, leaving him one child, Charles D. January 7, 1862, he was married to Miss Margaret D. Saucier, a daughter of John D. Saucier, of this county. Mr. and Mrs. St. Cin are members of the Catholic Church. They have two children, Mora and Wilson.

(Farmer, Post-office, Black Walnut).

Mr. Timberlake's parents are Benjamin E. and Eliza M. (Overstreet) Timberlake, his mother from Virginia, but his father from Kentucky. They settled in St. Charles county from Kentucky in 1835. The father was a stone mason by trade, and died here in 1844. The mother died in 1881. They had a family of three children, of whom Joseph B. was the second. He was born in Femme Osage township February 17, 1840. He was reared to a farm life, and received a good common-school education. Mr. Timberlake remained at home with his mother and family until after his marriage. He was married in 1879, to Miss Ellen A. McKnight, a daughter of Capt. D. G. McKnight, of this county. Capt. McKnight died in 1867. Mr. Timberlake has been engaged in farming from boyhood, and is still following that occupation. He is a man of character and intelligence, and is well respected in the community. Mr. and Mrs. T. have but one child, Joseph W. B. Their other child, Eugenie, died at a tender age. Mr. Timberlake now resides in Portage township.

(Farmer, Post-office, St. Charles).

Benjamin Franklin Keen was born on his father's homestead in this county, July 13, 1859. He was the fifth in a family of ten children of Francis and Sarah Keen, who have long been residents of this county. He was reared on his father's farm, and educated at Lincoln Institute, in Jefferson City. After concluding his course at that institution he returned home to his father's farm, and continued to make his home with his parents until after his marriage. He was married in 1882 to Minnie Allen, of Wright City. They have one child, Benjamin F., Jr. After his marriage he settled on the place where he now resides, and land belonging to his father, a tract of about 150 acres. He is a member of the Knights of Wisemen's order.

1 Atlas Map of St. Charles County.

Transcribed June 2003 by Deborah Heimann -- Co-ordinator for the St. Charles County, Missouri USGenWeb pages.