Schakes - Part 1a


Bypass the early history of Charette Township and its environs and proceed immediately to the story of the SCHAKE family

1. Introduction

It is unlikely that Native Americans lived in the Charette bottoms of Warren County, Missouri before the retreat of the last North American glacier some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. In fact, it is even less likely that the Charette Creek existed in its present configuration until after the last of numerous glaciers melted and retreated. As the ancient Ozark Mountains were released from the icy cold, a new landscape emerged. To the north were the glacial plains covering the ancient Ozark Mountains, to the south the remaining Ozark Mountains. Etched between was the mighty Missouri River with its accompanying huge and fertile flood plain. Southwestern winds would deposit loess soil upwind on the foothills created by the forgotten glacier following the spring and summer floods. The streams draining the glacial prairie near the foothills formed a small creek which entered the Missouri River some fifty miles upstream from its mouth. Eventually this beautiful stream (1) would be variously known as Charette Creek, La Charrette or even as La Charette Creek.

During this same period, or perhaps initiated as early as 40,000 years ago, nomadic peoples from Eurasia were following large game animals wandering across the Bering Straits into North America to acquire food, materials for clothing and shelter and utensils of bone and antlers. First referred to as Indians, and later Native Americans, they rapidly populated most of the Americas. Accompanying these wandering families were their dogs that they gradually domesticated some 10 or 15 centuries before. These were the first people to see Missouri. The earliest date for man living in Missouri is given as 9,700 +/- 500 A. D. by R. A. Marshall of the University of Missouri as documented by radiocarbon dating of excavation remains of an archaic hearth at Graham Park near Mineola Hill in Montgomery County, which included Warren County until 1833. They hunted the now extinct mammoth and mastodons which also roamed the region (2). Native American tribes first acknowledged in the region of Charette Creek were the Sacs, Foxes, Kaskaskia and Osage. A presumed Osage campsite was nestled within a large bend of Charette Creek where it meandered southward to southeast, perhaps similar to that depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1. A Paleo-Indian Campsite protrayed near Meramec Spring-St. James area in Missouri (Marshall, 1966)

Sycamore, cottonwood, willow and catalpa were trees common to both the primary and upper Charette Creek bottoms. The hills of deep loess soil supported Burr Oaks, hickory and Hack Berry. Papaw, walnut, grapevines, blackberries and persimmon each provided fruit in season. Osage families selected this site for their home based upon the wisdom of past tribal experiences. It was a fertile region. Fertility was documented in many ways -- soil, streams, fresh water springs, aquatic life, birds, land animals, plant life -- all in abundance. Slightly to the east of this large bend of the yet unnamed Charette Creek, a smaller stream flowed from the northeast and entered the Charette Creek by cutting westward around a majestic limestone bluff formed eons before by Silurian-Devonian geological deposits of an ocean of yet an earlier time. This small stream eventually took the name of the Fallen Timber Branch and had to be crossed eastward of the Osage village before climbing the tall white limestone bluff. Looking to the south and west from atop this bluff they saw a similar yet larger cliff of limestone several miles across the expanse of the Missouri River where today are located the cities of Washington, New Haven and Herman. Upon these wooded bluffs and surrounding bottoms were elk, buffalo, deer, raccoon, skunk, woodchuck, squirrel, possum, black bear, panther and mink. And to the north beyond were larger hills adjacent to the glacial plains with buffalo grazing when not wintering on the Southern Great Plains of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. The region to the north, which later became the northern portion of Warren County, drained eastward into the Mississippi River via the Peruque, Indian Camp and other streams. A probable Osage tribal burial mound was just behind the bluff to the north. All this could be seen from the bluff at the confluence of the Charette and the Fallen Timber streams. Unseen were the carp, catfish, sturgeon, gar, muskrat and beaver of the Charette Creek while sucker, sunfish, freshwater clam and crayfish represented the bounty of the Fallen Timber Branch. Migratory water foul would join turkey, prairie hens, crows, eagles and song birds each fall. Small plots of corn, squash and beans were visible in the bottom clearings. These cropping skills, combined with hunting and other survival techniques were brought with these Native Americans as they wandered across western North America to find their home in the Charette Creek bottoms.

This was a unique site with many essential features desired by these Osage Indians for development of their "village-farmer" tradition (2). In recent times this village was evidenced by the presence of many stone axes, arrows and rock fragments documenting this stone age village-farm (Figure 2). The authors collected some of these artifacts as youths while living at this abandoned Osage Indian village.

Figure 2. Osage Indian tomahawk found by the senior author at The Schakes of La Charette Osage Village

This region of Missouri was represented by Chapman (1976) as one of the most concentrated sources of fluted points and tools of the Osage Indians. Today most of these artifacts remain in the personal collection of the authors representing the fluted forms used by these early village-farmers. This village site was well chosen (Figure 3). It was located on a southern exposure with the first tier of hills immediately to the north, fertile bottom land in all other directions within the large bend of Charette Creek. The sentinel limestone bluffs and the smaller Fallen Timber Branch were to the immediate east. Fresh water was in abundance from local hillside springs, one of which is enclosed and today provides water to a family living close by. This location truly was unique to include land, food, materials for clothing and shelter, water transportation by canoe from the branch or creek into the Missouri River plus the majestic vista from the limestone bluff for beauty, when desired, or security as necessary. This Osage Indian village-farm comes to us without a recorded name but until that secret is released from past times the name of the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE is offered in full respect, as we the Schakes (pronounced Scha..key) were not the first to live there.....but only some of the more recent.

Figure 3. Map of a portion of the Osage range from Pre-Columbian times to 1808 (Mathews, J. J. 1961. Cultural and Historical Beginnings. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman)

The actual plight of the Osage Indians that lived at the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE is not known but early fur traders and European settlers were the immediate reason for their demise. Remonville (4) documents that on August 6, 1702 fourteen very populous tribes lived along the Missouri River. Even though the Osage tribe was the largest in the State of Missouri, there were less than 6,000 living or hunting regularly in Missouri by 1820 (5). By 1836 they were all removed from Missouri [yet by 1980, 250,000 Missourians claimed some Indian heritage] and by 1870 they were all relocated on a federal reservation in Oklahoma (2). When the French first made contact with these Osage Indians Father Marest of the Kaskaskia Mission south of present day St Louis had observed horses which had been reintroduced to the Americas a few centuries earlier by the Spanish, thus at least suggesting a trading acquaintanceship with Indians of the Spanish Southwest (5). One of the first known to attempt development of trade routes and glimpse the wealth of the Upper Missouri was a colorful fur trader named Manuel Lisa who in 1806 tried unsuccessfully to trade with the Osage Indians and others in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Osage Indians, however, were considered largely sedentary, lived in permanent structures of wood, sometimes as much as 100 feet in length, but frequently ranged long distances to Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas to hunt for buffalo, deer and elk. Hunting was a central feature of Osage life. The buffalo was becoming an ever increasing element of their survival as they were pushed westward across North America as a consequence of European settlement (2). Children and the elderly stayed home in the permanent rectangular lodges of the village while others participated in the hunting expeditions, but only the men and their dogs actually hunted. Within a given year hunting took place in all months except April (planting), August (harvesting) and January (cold weather). Women were responsible for gathering of fruits, nuts and roots, tend the gardens, prepare food, bedding and clothing. Fires would always be evident at the campsite made possible by wood gathering activities of the tribe. It was tribal custom to burn the forest to remove undergrowth which then allowed for easier travel, hunting and farming. Near the lodges meat and corn dried on racks that elevated the food above dogs and predators. The dried meats were mixed with animals fats and berries to create a pemmican-like product which was a nutrient dense convenience food often consumed when on long journeys. This was the Osage way of life before European settlement. Later many tribes were forced to merge together suffering loss of land, freedom to hunt and their lives to disease or battle. They moved west........some perhaps progressing through Kansas and Oklahoma and onto the Llano Estacato returning to the oldest of Native American cities in Canon del Rescate of Lubbock County, Texas .

The SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm, located at the confluence of the majestic limestone bluffs, Charette Creek and the Fallen Timber Branch was formerly a stone age Missouri Osage Indian village-farm site. Today it carries the address of 401 Fallen Timber Road, Marthasville, Missouri 63357 and is owned by Mary and Al Jacob.

1)History of St. Charles, Montgomery and Warren Counties, Missouri. 1885. National Historical Company.
2)American Indian Ethnohistory. Horr, D. A. 1974. Vol. IV.,Garland Publishing, Inc.,New York.
3)Before Lewis and Clark. Nasatit, A. P. 1952. St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation.
4)Manuel Lisa and the Opening of the Missouri Fur Trade. Oglesby, R. E. 1963. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
5)A History of Missouri, Vol 1 & II. 1673-1860. McCandles, P. 1972. University Missouri Press, Columbia.

[Suggested readings: Marshall, R. A. 1966. Prehistoric Indians at Maramec Spring Park: A Sketch of the Prehistory of the Meramec Spring -- St. James Missouri Area. University of Missouri and Chapman, E. H. 1975. The Archaeology of Missouri, I. University of Missouri Press, Columbia].

[Authors note: The title given this document may alternatively be spelled the SCHACKES OF LA CHARRETTE as those spellings may represent the original rendition based upon some early documentation. Likewise, the authors chose to use the name La Charette in preference to Charette in the title since both the stream and the township carried that designation in some early reports.]

2. Early European Explorers

Among the first Europeans to observe Charette Creek were Spanish soldiers, French fur traders and settlers. The Spaniard Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River in 1541. Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de la Salle reached the Gulf of Mexico from up stream on the Mississippi in 1682 and claimed the territory for France (1). Frenchmen Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette opened up trade with Indians on the Mississippi River in 1673. Both de Soto and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado claimed to have reached Missouri territory, but today historians doubt those claims. Marquette and Jolliet apparently were the first Europeans to have set foot on Missouri soil in 1673 (2). In 1706 or 1707 Derbanne with a small party of men ascended the Missouri three to four hundred leagues or about 300 miles to credit himself as the first Frenchmen to penetrate the river that far.

Complete documentation of early European contact with Indians in this region of Missouri is inadequate at best. La Salle documents that two Frenchmen lived among some of these Missouri Indian tribes as early as 1683. One of La Salle´s deserters from his last voyage which ended in Texas apparently chose to live with some Missouri Indians. His name was Ruter who eventually became a Missouri Indian chief and taught them to sail boats (3). Another crew member of La Salle´s by the name of Jotel passed the Missouri River on September 1, 1687 on an overland trip from Texas according to Nasatit. Many others explored the area seeking trade routes, minerals and other forms of success to include religious indoctrination of the Indians, but adequate documentation of their journeys and experiences is lacking in most instances. As late as 1700 it is recorded that the land west of the Mississippi, at least beyond three or four leagues inland, was entirely unknown. The first known missionary in the area was father Gabriel Marest, a French Jesuit who lived with a band of Kaskaskia Indians just south of present day St Louis in 1700. The cession of the territory to Spain in 1762 and its retrocession to France in 1800 apparently had little influence upon many of these traders and settlers as they were an independent lot. The Louisiana Purchase, the largest real estate transaction in history, was signed in 1803, and in March of 1804 the United States took possession of Upper Louisiana, which in 1812 became the territory of Missouri. Missouri´s first permanent settlement was on the Mississippi at Ste Genevieve in about 1735 although other settlements were initiated. One such settlement was Fort d´Orleans on the Missouri River in Carroll County which was abandoned by 1728 or 1729 (2 & 5). By 1764 Pierre Laclede Liguest had established St Louis near the mouth of the Missouri River as a center for fur trade.

The first to explore and document the interior of what was to become Missouri Territory was a Frenchmen who was sent to North America when but 19 years of age in 1706 to avoid punishment for poaching in his native France (4). Soon Commandant Etienne Veniard de Bourgmonte (Bourgmont) was in charge of a French outpost of Fort Detroit on Lake Michigan. Accused of misconduct there he deserted in 1708 traveling near Lake Erie with Madame Tichenet. They eloped and were later joined by a few other deserters. Apparently the winter was severe as those surviving ate the remains of the less fortunate. By 1712 he met Missouri Indians traveling to Fort Detroit and became infatuated with a lovely Missouri Indian maiden. He married the Missouri Indian girl, traveled with her tribe and lived with them in Saline County, Missouri and fathered a son with the Missouri Chieftain´s daughter in 1714. Their son became known as "Petit Missouri." Apparently Bourgmonte ascended the Missouri River eight hundred leagues as related by his friend le Page du Pratz, perhaps as far as present day Nebraska or even Montana. Somehow he was later commissioned by the French crown to map and describe the Missouri River (Figure 4). The description of the river as rendered from his journal on the seventh and eighth days from St Louis undoubtedly includes the passing (unrecorded ?) of Charette Creek. The dates of these journal entries were April 6th and 7th, 1714.

"Friday, 6. West-southwest three-quarters of a league; to the east, a chain of islands about one league in length. --- northwest a quarter of a league.--- West- southwest half a league ; to the east,some hills; to the west, an island".

"Saturday , 7. West an eighth of a league.--- West-northwest three-quarters of a league;to the east, an island of half a league; the channel from west to northwest.--- Northwest half a league;to the east, rocky escarpments, at the end is a little island,concealing the river which we call the Fourchure [L´Outre River]".

Figure 4. The lower Missouri River as recorded by Bourgmonte in 1714 and drawn by French cartographer C. Delisle in 1716. Service Historique de la Marine, Vincennes, France.

L´Outre River (creek) is close to the former community of Bridgeport where it then emptied into L´Outre Slough. L´Outre Slough enters the Missouri River at Bridgeport Landing about 12 miles northwest of the mouth of Charette Creek. Bourgmonte then was to become the first European to see and attempt to record the confluence of Charette Creek and the Missouri River. Bourgmonte then returned to France and subsequently was commissioned to establish the first French fort on the Missouri River on November 9, 1723 in Carroll County.

The first major settlement on the Missouri River was St Charles established in 1769. Sixty-nine miles up river from St Louis the French settlement of La Charette was founded in 1797 (2) or perhaps much earlier. Later Sergeant Ordway would record in his journal. . . . .

"Friday May 25th 1804. Came 3 miles passed a creek called Wood River on s side land handsome the soil rich &c. High banks, encamped at a French village n.s., Called St. Johns this is the last settlements of whites on this river"

. . . . . as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition (5). St Johns and Wood River were both more commonly known as La Charette (see Figure 5). The village consisted of seven houses and as many families according to Ordway. Its site has long since been consumed by the Missouri River but was directly south of the present day town of Marthasville, Warren County, Missouri, and about two miles east of the Schakes of La Charette farm. Meriwether Lewis indicated in his journal that Charette Creek was 20 yards wide at its mouth and watered a tolerable country which was well covered with timber, but of no great extent. The Lewis and Clark party returned to St. Johns to spend the night on Saturday September 20, 1806, three days prior to their arrival in St Louis. While there they purchased two gallons of whiskey, some pork, beef and flour for $8.00. The French villagers gave them some milk!

Figure 5. Part of Louisiana, 1763-1802 from Atlas of American History (1971). Note La Charette village near right of top-center on the map.

The expedition of Lewis and Clark was very much a multicultural one. York, a black servant of Lewis was an official member of the expedition and served in many exceptional capacities. As one of the very first, if not the first black to travel and observe this region, he was a novelty to all the Indians who met him because of the color of his skin and nature of his hair. Likewise, at least two Indian women also contributed mightily to the success of the expedition (6). Sacajawea, a Shoshoni by birth who traveled with the expedition to the Pacific, served as the intertribal interpreter, helped guide the the expedition across the Rocky Mountains and assisted in drawing a map of the continent. An elderly Nez Perce woman, known as Watkuweis, was credited to have told her people, "Do them no hurt" as her recommendation regarding the reception of the expedition to her village. Previously she had been befriended by Europeans in Canada. York also eventually benefited from his role with Lewis when he became a free man five years after the conclusion of the expedition.

Clark would oversee a second expedition of 26 days in August and September of 1808. This overland trek followed close to present day U.S. Interstate 70 from St Louis to establish Fort Osage near today´s town of Henrietta, Missouri. Clark also was to establish good will, trading and treaties with the members of the little and great Osage Nation. These treaties promised merchandise and money to the Osage in exchange for land and acceptance of settled lifestyles.

This same region was soon to be known as Boonslick Country. Daniel Morgan Boone first visited the region on a hunting and exploring trip in the fall of 1797 (2). At his father´s request he conferred with Lieutenant Governor Trudeau about his family securing a land grant. Daniel Boone was granted 1,000 arpents (840 acres) near Femme Osage, approximately 10 miles northeast of La Charette Village. Daniel and Rebecca Boone settled there in 1799. Daniel Boone, restless as always for the frontier, relocated on a farm just east of Marthasville before his death in 1820. Boone was buried near his Marthasville farm by Tuque Creek but on July 17, 1845 the remains of Rebecca and Daniel Boone were exhumed and returned to Kentucky. He was a hero at the time of his death and was a major influence upon many from Kentucky and elsewhere settling in this fertile region, even though Manuel Lisa reported as late a 1814 that Boonslick settlers were barricaded in forts to protect themselves from rampaging Indians. Today the Ancestors and Descendants of The Boone Family and related activities may be visited at Likewise some German settlers were influenced by written reports of Gottfried Duden, Boone and others. The continuing influx of people coupled with the opening of public land sales prompted the Missouri legislators to approve creation of eight new counties in 1818. St Charles and Howard counties represented all of Missouri north of the Missouri River. No additional counties were formed until Missouri´s first general assembly added 10 more counties in November of 1820. On January 5, 1833 Warren County would be carved from what was at that time Montgomery County. Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise, which was repealed by 1854.

These Europeans, as others yet to come, were to join Africans and Indians in shaping the future of Missouri. The cultural diversities of these peoples would undergo considerable stress, anxiety, conflict and accommodation before melding together into a unique and new American culture could emerge in its place. Never before would such a ambitious experiment in the development of a state and national heritage be undertaken on such a magnitude as in the United States of America.

1)Encyclopedia Britannic. 1973. Vol. 15, p.590B. Encyclopedia Britannic, Inc. Chicago.
2)The Genesis of Missouri. 1989. Foley, W. E.. Chpt. 1 & 2. University of Missouri Press,Columbia.
3)A History of Missouri. Houck, L. 1908. Donnelley & Sons Company, Chicago.
4)Bourgmonte, Explorer of the Missouri, 1695 -1725. 1988. Norall, F. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
5) The Journals of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Sergeant John Ordway. 1916. W. S. Hall & Co., Inc. New York.
6)The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest. 1997. A. L. Josephy, Jr. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.

[Suggested readings: A History of Pioneer Families of Missouri, 1876. Wm.S. Bryan and Robert Rose. Bryan, Brand & Co., St. Louis; Missouri-A History of the Crossroads State, 1954. Edwin C. McReynolds. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman and Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804 -- 1806, 1969. R. G. Thwaites, Editor. Arno Press, New York].

[Authors note: An arpent is an old French unit of land measurement equal to .84 acre while a league equals about 7 kilometers or 4.1 miles].

3. Three Cultures Collide

On May 2, 1803 U.S. Officials in Paris formally purchased the Territory of Louisiana for $15 million. Word of the purchase did not reach the U.S. until July; later in the territories. Formal Spanish authority in the Upper Louisiana would continue until March 9, 1804. Soon to follow was the arrival of more Europeans and Africans. Numerous disputes over ownership of land were yet to be resolved -- especially the land granted by the Spanish. Missouri was destined to have more discord, evolution and growth intertwining the three primary cultural origins of its people from three continents -- North American, Africa and Europe. Forced together under circumstances of their times were once free Native Americans, Free Africans, African and Native American slaves and the presumptuous and somewhat innocent Europeans attempting to force the destiny of all.

A. Europeans

From the 1830´s to 1930 52 million Europeans emigrated to North America and beyond (1). A great number of Europeans immigrated to the Booneslick region seeking economic security and freedom of various descriptions. Settlers of German origin provided the greatest foreign born population, followed in prominence by those from Ireland and Great Britain (2). Africans were the next largest foreign born population brought to Missouri, mostly as slaves to work the land owned by white settlers. Land was selling for $10 an acre to settlers from land speculators who purchased it at one-tenth that price a short while before. Typhoid fever, cholera, pneumonia and congestive chills plagued many, often resulting in the heartbreak of death of their children and premature deaths of many adults as well. Impure water in the Missouri bottoms was a constant threat. Most settlers were farmers producing hemp, tobacco and pork. Others were more incline to hunt and trap for furs. Farmers sold their hogs on the hoof, as salted pork packed in kegs, or as smoked hams and bacon. With a short supply of specie in circulation, pork quickly became a form of currency (2). Bartering was the most common form for exchange of goods and services. Driving hogs 50 miles to market, from Marthasville to St Louis in an attempt to obtain better prices and specie, was a common practice of Fritz and Adolph Schake and other farmers of the 1800´s (as related by Martin C. Schake in the 1960´s telling of his father, Adolphs´ experiences). Pork quality was a constant problem, thus the Missouri legislature passed a law in 1841 to assure pork quality. These and other commodities were sold to the east, to southern slave holders or exported to the Caribbean Islands and beyond. Economic development, however crude, was prospering and would serve as a compelling force to further the advancement of Missouri.

Culturally Missouri was typical of much of the frontier. The cooperative spirit of helping one´s neighbors, a tradition of fiscal conservatism, low-tax mentality and a cautionary approach to resolving community problems were typical of the territory. Citizens protested the laxity of local law enforcement. Silas Bent reported from St. Louis in 1812 that murder was openly committed in the streets of St. Louis and that the murderers went at large. While the report of Bents was an over extension of reality, others were sincerely concerned. In 1818, John M. Peck, a baptist minister and a native of Connecticut, traveled the Missouri Booneslick area to spread the gospel and found families to be "wretchedly ignorant and filthy" as well as "wholly destitute of skill and family government," the children with "dirty faces" and "squalid dress" but also "countless" in number as related by Foley (1989). Peck apparently established one of the first churches in Warren County. The Friendship Church of Baptist persuasion held services in the home of Colonel Flanders Calaway, son-in-law of Daniel Boone, near Marthasville starting in 1818. For the most part life in Upper Louisiana tended to be easy going and uncomplicated. The greatest asset then as now was the diversities of natural resources and its population. Washington Irving described his impressions in St Louis in 1810......

"Here was to be seen about the river banks, the hectoring, extravagant, bragging boatman of the Mississippi, with the gay, grimacing, singing, good-humored Canadian voyageurs. Vagrant Indians, of various tribes, loitered about the streets. Now and then, a stark Kentucky hunter, in leathered hunting-dress, with rifle on shoulder and a knife in belt, strode along. Here and there were new brick houses and shops, just set up by bustling, driving, and eager men of traffic from the Atlantic States; while, on the other hand, the old French mansions, with open casements, still retained the easy, indolent air of the original colonist; and now and then the scraping of a fiddle, a strain of an ancient French song, or the sound of billiard balls, showed that the happy Gaelic turn for gayety and amusement still lingered about the place," (Mcandles, 1972).

Apparently Mr. Irving failed to observe the fifteen percent of society managed as slaves -- both Negro and Indian. The entire institution of slavery invited maltreatment of those held and did little to lift the virtues of those referred to as masters. The impact of this aspect of society and culture was to greatly influence our lives for many generations yet to come.

B. Native Americans

Bailey studied Osage Indian culture from 1673 into the early 1900´s and established that they lived in highly organized clans or tribes (3). There were 24 patrilineal clans located within the greater Ozark regions of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas (Figure 1). Each clan had a cross linkage to both larger clans as well as to smaller sub-clans adding strength and stability to their nation. The tribal council provided religious leadership, not political leadership, for the clan and had representation in the greater Osage Council. Clan chieftains were not autonomous rulers but rather village spokespersons and arbitrators, a concept foreign and confusing to Europeans desirous to do business only on their own terms. The physical design of villages was highly structured in a circular pattern. Lands were assigned annually to tribal members for cropping, however, no domestic animals except the dog were present until the horse was reintroduced to the Americas by the Spanish.

Men were considered marriageable as they approached 20 years of age while women were considered eligible soon after puberty. Marriages were arranged by the parents of the often unsuspecting couples. All of the children born to a couple belonged to the father while the naming of children was a serious clan event for these families. Names were selected based upon significant events and signs to favor the life of each individual. The status of the children in Osage society was perhaps similar to that experienced in other tribes. Apache mothers were considerate and tender to their children, although a limited sense of responsibility was assumed as indicated by abandonment or giving the child away according to de Mause (1975). Occasionally slaves were captured from other clans and assimilated into these tribal customs. Various forms of sign language were developed and used by Osage clan members in their daily lives. Their spoken language continues today and has been developed into written prose which did not exist in previous times. Their religious doctrine was centered around an exceptional respect for Mother Earth, or nature, which is retained by a few American churches of today. A basic belief underlying Osage ceremonies was that tribal harmony with nature must be achieved (4). As a result of Osage Indian displacement from Missouri and elsewhere onto U.S. Reservations in Oklahoma, they were forced to accept cultural modifications. One such adaptation resulting from these wanderings was the I´n-lon-schka dance of the Pawhuska, Oklahoma and Grayhorse tribes. This ceremonial dance was largely performed in the month of June to honor the "playground of the eldest son, daughter or tribal member." Schka is the root word for sport or play while I´n-lon refers to the elders. Osage Indians adapted this new dance into their culture, perhaps because of their pride of family, especially their sons. These people were portrayed as being highly disciplined, adaptive and capable as they conducted their daily lives in intimate concert with nature.

Native Americans, obviously the first present, were often the last to be considered by the new Missouri residents. Trading in Indian slaves and their horses was common. Indian raiding parties of one tribe would capture members of another tribe with or without their horses and trade them to dealers who sold them down river even though the French officially considered the practice illegal. Other Indians were assimilated into society by marriage, some served as guides or participated in other activities of the frontier. The lands of the Indians were "technically" not theirs as they were not recognized as citizens by those in power -- Spanish, French, Missouri Territory or the U.S. Government officals. This concept was so deeply indoctrinated into society that Flora O. Schake expressed the observation in 1962 when asked why we took these lands, she replied...."They did not have deeds to their lands." Treaties were negotiated to establish a truce or for purposes of establishing lasting peace, generally on the white mans terms to allow for additional settlement of land with subsequent losses to the Indians. Chief Joseph, a Lacota Indian from Oregon, perhaps expressed the situation best, "By what authority do white leaders take our land and restrict our movement to allow for settlers to wander in and take over ?" The difficulty and complexity of this aspect of our heritage was not easy to administer as frontiersmen varied from those interested in personal wealth by way of trading, mining or exploration to squatters who desired to be left alone and only making up rules as necessary.

Bourgmonte, as others, lived with the Indians and fully gained their respect as well as that of the French Crown. He was asked by the French to negotiate a peace treaty with the Indians to improve relations and establish trade with Mexico. He traveled by way of the Osage trace which went from eastern Missouri through the Texas panhandle with over 800 Indians from Fort d´Orleans on the Missouri River to somewhere close to Scott County, Kansas, or perhaps even further west. Missouri, Osage, Oto, Kansa, Skiri Pawnee and Plains Apaches tribes were all represented. Bourgmonte skillfully brought them all into accord, gave them gifts and trinkets but soon returned to France in 1725 to exhibit a few of his "savage" Indians and become reunited with his French wife of some years previous. For his efforts, which were monumental, he was awarded royalty but the Indians were yet to experience more in a long line of broken treaties with numerous governments after they were returned to Missouri.

In spite of these hardships Indians contributed much to society, then and now. Their profound appreciation of nature [a trait perhaps accentuated while coming to the Americas as suggested by Michener in his novel Alaska, 1988], their traces served as the earliest of pioneer trails and roads, their worldwide introduction of crops such as corn, potatos, beans and squash and the obvious contribution of their terms -- Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Connecticut plus many, many other words. The translation of the word ´Missouri´ means "people of big canoes" who were among the first to see and live on the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm. The mother of Franklin Schake, our adopted cousin was one-eighth Indian and Wendy Schake herself has Indian heritage from her paternal grandmother Grinnell. She, like her father, possesses some of the physical features of high cheek bones and highly oval shaped eyes common to many Indians.

C. Africans

Blacks were in higher demand as slaves than Indians for several reasons. White slave holders could not control the entire Indian population. Indians were known for raids upon white settlers, Indian slaves who escaped could return to their own people since they knew the land and could eventually cause further unrest and violence. In general, the Indian slave was considered far too risky by slave holders. Blacks on the other hand were less knowledgeable of the routes of escape and were easily identified by their color. To further control the blacks, Missouri slave holders were active politically to assure the continuation of slavery and to ´legally´ control slaves.

Historians indicate that all cultures have developed slavery at one time or another. Missouri would not become an exception to this observation. African blacks were first brought to Missouri in 1719 from Haiti(2). These 500 black slaves were to work in lead mines in southeast Missouri. Originally from West Africa, these people came to the Americas from the continent recognized as the ancestral home of all mankind. Twenty year old Walter Helman, a laborer living with the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE, was of this heritage as documented by the 1880 Charette Township census. Helman was more fortunate than most, as he was probably born into slavery at the start of the Civil War but freed as a child. By the start of the Civil War Missouri had grown to 1.2 million of which 115,000 were slaves plus 3,572 free blacks. Slavery was a profitable business closely linked to agriculture, the industrial revolution and economic growth in general. Since slavery was not uniformly accepted, special laws were enacted to control the black slave. These laws were often called "Black Codes." Preeminent in this system was the definition of a black person. "Any person who shall have one-fourth part or more of negro blood" was bound to obey the black codes. Black slaves could not own property, bear arms, hold meetings, participate in an educational process or attend the church of their choice. They were chattel property subject to inventory for purposes of taxation. Black slaves could not marry. Sometimes black man and women just "took up" with each other, in other cases there was slave breeding. Punishment of slaves was at the discretion of the owner although the black codes specified type and intensity of punishment for specific offenses. The authors recall the second basement in the old Hall home in Marthasville where a whipping post to punish slaves remained. The floor of dirt was concave about the post as a result of the slaves attempting to avoid punishment from their masters. The fine for instructing blacks or mulattos to read or write was $500 and 6 months in jail. The so called ´free´ blacks in Missouri were little better off since whites were not obligated to respect their rights (5).

New York City was the center of slave trade in the 1850´s with 10 ships sold for trafficking African slaves to North America in 1858 and 12 more in 1859 (6). Since New York harbors had many legitimate sailings to Africa the opportunity to mask unlawful voyages was provided. Such was the opportunity pursued by William C. Corrie of Charleston, South Carolina and two other members of the New York Yacht Club. Their plan was to refit the $25,000 schooner named ´Wanderer´ into a speedy slave ship. According to these yachtsmen, the Wanderer was capable of remaining at sea for 30 days with 500 slaves, 12 crew and 8 passengers while traveling faster than all of the competition, all under the guise of yachting. The Wanderer´s log documents that it left for the Congo on September 26, 1858, embarked over 400 slaves offshore between the Congo and Benguela and 6 weeks later was a few miles off the Georgia shore near Jekyll Island (Figure 6). There Polydore and Jack, two slaves belonging to Christophe Dubignon, a French royalist, were placed in charge of bring these new African slaves to shore and distribute them for sale. Squatted around a campfire the slaves appeared listless and emaciated but showed no signs of maltreatment or restraint. Most of these Africans were boys between 12 and 18 years of age displaying tribal tattoos on their foreheads or chest, some had filed teeth and several had peculiarly shaped heads or jaws, nearly all were naked. Only a few grown men and women were among the cargo. They had endured temporary decks in the ship´s hold too close together to permit them to stand. Provisions were all but exhausted and the decks were alive with cockroaches and filth emitting an unbearable stench. This style of wandering from Africa to America was the plight of the black slave. At least in this case they were the benefactor of a shorter than usual voyage. One may be assured that no ship manifest was declared to indicate names, ages, origin or destinations for these passengers at their ´port-of-call.´ They were simply illegal cargo. The journey of the ancestors of Africans like Walter Helman who lived in the Kurt Schake home, the mulatto slave named Jefferson of the John C. King family and a close friend and companion of M. C. Schake at the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm, Ervin Price, are obscured in the past for obvious reasons. One may assume that they traveled against their will and endured many hardships while coming to and living in America. Likewise, we may never know which slaves used the underground railroad ´station´ near Holstein in Charette Township, Warren County, Missouri as they continued their struggle for freedom.

Figure 6. Group of Negroes just landed to be sold for slaves, 1796 engraving in Stedman´s Narrative of an Expedition to Surinam, London.

The Kingdoms of the Congo were the tribal homes for blacks brought to America. Their native home was virtually unknown to others until the late 1400´s when the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao arrived at the mouth of the Congo River (7). Gold, ivory, religion and slaves were the primary motivation for his exploits but he was also interested in learning more about these people and their society. The blacks came on board his ship and attempted to communicate but witout success. Cao attempted to make contact with their ruler but to no avail. Weeks (8) was able to document that these people ate palm kernels, sweet potatoes, peanuts, banannas, maize, and cassava plus meat from wild animals. Only the dog was domesticated. While living with the Bakongo tribe for thirty years he observed them preparing manioc (cassava) flour into bread and stewing, steaming, boiling, grilling and roasting other foods of a wide variety. The men and women ate separately. The women were responsible for gathering firewood, working in the fields, preparing all meals and providing foods of plant origin while men hunted game animals, fished and wove baskets. Men and women were assigned separate sleeping quarters with the men claiming the children as their own. Shelter consisted of thatch huts, dugouts and caves. By the 1600´s these people were living in clans of 150 to 300 individuals, almost four-fifths in rural villages (9). Commerce was in the form of barter. Slavery was reported as was rituilized cannibalism (10). Both men and women wore body ornamentation such as tattoos applied most routinely at puberty. Imported rings were worn in their noses or on the major toe of men while both sexes wore beads and dipped snuff. A favorite beverage was palm wine. Religion was based upon a belief in super natural powers from the sky with an anticipated after-life for the deceased. Reincarnation and transmigration of souls were thought to occur after death (11). This life style was to rapidly change when these people were captured, entrapped on slave ships bound for North America, forced into slavery and eventually allowed to fight for their freedom.

The Civil War was a unique time in Missouri black history. In 1860 the 144,000 Missouri slaves had 29,000 masters who were assessed $44,000,000 in taxes for their property held as slaves. At first blacks could not serve in the military. Later Lincoln realized that without them the war may well be lost so he promised them their freedom if they fought, as 180,000 of them did for the Union. They did their best to serve the Union to this end, including the last battle of the war in May, 1864 at White´s Ranch in Texas (5). Many served in non-combat roles, including black women aiding the injured. Slavery was drawing to a conclusion -- the price of male slaves dropped from an average of $1,300 in 1860 to $100 each in 1864. However, racial discrimination and oppression was to take its place.

Abraham Lincoln was a politician. In August of 1861 he said "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps save the Union." Missouri slaves were freed on January 11, 1865. Soon thereafter 23 year old Adolph Schake would wave to wagon loads of newly freed slaves in a jubilant mood as they passed by the Schake-Ridder farm on Old Highway 47. Previously Adolph Schake had joined several of his neighbors on their way to the Missouri River to fight in a single battle of the Civil War, this as related by Martin C. Schake. Only a few volleys were claimed to have been fired across the Missouri River at Confederate Soldiers, but neither the National Archives, the military records of volunteers nor the Missouri State Archives document that Adolph Schake, nor any Charette Township Ritters, Rocklages, Hillebrands or Ahmanns were among them. The Civil War was over, but the struggle for equality had only begun. Slaves openly rejoiced over their newly granted freedom. Many left Missouri for "free" states and cities, although Missouri was officially a divided state with the Missouri River serving as the line of demarcation. Most had few skills to offer in an already overcrowded marketplace. Mr. Walter Helman was able to find employment as a laborer while living in the home of Kurt, Fritz and Adolph Schake during the 1880´s. In 1876 Daniel Price of Pinckney Bottoms was not so fortunate as he was accused and arrested for being "criminally involved" with the wife of Samuel Taylor, a white (4). Price, a Negro, escaped jail after which a $150 reward was posted for his arrest. Later Price killed Taylor with a knife and threw him in the Missouri River. On January 18, 1877 Price was hanged. If Ervin Price, close friend of Martin C. Schake from boyhood through the 1960´s was a member of this Price family is unknown. Some black soldiers had found the war itself to be an uplifting experience since they were able to `prove´ their worth. One black slave spoke his feelings----

"I jump up an´ scream. `glory, glory, hallelujah to Jesus ! I´s free ! Glory to god, you come down an´ free us: no big man could do it,´ an´ I got sort o´ scared, a feared somebody hear me, an´ I takes another good look an´ fall on de groun,´ an´ roll over, an´ kiss de groun´ - - - de soul buyers can neber take my two chillens lef´me; no, neber can take ´em from me now" (4).
The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified, yet separate but equal laws, harassment, sharecropping, lynching and racism would each need to be dealt with.

Most felt that education held the key for black advancement. Numerous initiatives followed. The Black Board of Education was formed in St Louis, the federal government established the Freedman´s Bureau and the American Missionary Association was to sponsor a christian education. Enrollments were small, teachers were sometimes labeled "nigger" teachers and subjected to ridicule and threats, some schools were burned and harassment was widespread. Even so, blacks benefited themselves by learning skills and gaining in self-confidence, some attended colleges, joined the professional ranks and participated in the political processes. In the end, their participation in education and involvement in the political process were to prove most important to them and rest of society in addressing equality. By 1871 the Lincoln Institute of Jefferson City, Missouri was provided state support, later known as Lincoln University, which became one of the best all black institutions in the country.

Black people have actively contributed much to the development of Missouri culture and society under very difficult circumstances. At the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm slaves were maintained when the farm was owned by the John C., Betty and Harrison King family and the Wyatt family slaves helped with the construction of the old Schake-Ridder home. No doubt they cultivated the land which previously the Osage Indians had assigned for the growing of their crops. The Kings maintained a family cemetery about 150 yards southeast of the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE home with the slaves buried in that plot. Here it is documented by tombstone inscriptions that the slaves took the surname of their master. Even in death the social class distinctions were maintained. Members of the John C. King family were all located in the southern portion of the cemetery inside a iron fence and slaves to the north without a fence (free at last). The size of tombstones and the inscriptions upon them also were distinctively different as most slaves were designated with little more than the word ´slave´ and a name while members of the King family would include essential details of the deceased plus epitaphs. One such inscription is especially poignant, "A child with exceptional promise" indicating the interruption by death of parental dreams. Following the Civil War in Warren County, Missouri Jonathan Kuntze taught one of his former slaves to produce chairs in the German style. Today blacks not only have the opportunity to overcome distinctions of class and contribute to agriculture and commerce, but they contribute to all professions and vocations as active leaders in the entire spectra of our society which has benefited as a result of their presence.

Thus is an history of the merging of three vastly differing cultures coming from three continents by land, sea and in bondage to the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE. If only the majestic limestone bluffs, known locally as "Schakes Bluff," could speak the truth of such events we would have a more accurate rendition of unrecorded and forgotten details of many uniquely interesting men and women working, playing and making decisions in good faith which were to have unimaginable consequences for future generations. Yet the building of America´s Missouri progressed. Perhaps the single major obstacle for continued progress, today and into the future, is for all to recognize the immense power of our diversities, and to continue to learn how to successfully live, work and play together. The sharing of our past experiences to better understand our heritage is an essential step in achieving these goals as we continue our individual and collective auswanderungs across our world.

1) Clashes of Cultures. 1984. Fagan, B. M. W. H. Freeman & Company, New York.
2) Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri´s Little Dixie. 1992. Hurt, R. D.,University of Missouri Press, Columbia.
3) Changes in Osage Social Organization:1673-1906. 1973. Bailey, A. B. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers No. 5.
4) The Osage Ceremonial Dance I´n-Lon-Schka. 1986. A. C. Callahan. University of Oklahoma Press,Norman.
5) Missouri´s Black Heritage. 1980. Greene, J. L., G. R. Kremer and A. F.Holland. Forum Press, St. Louis.
6) The Slave Ship Wanderer. 1967. Wells, T. H. University of Georgia Press, Athens.
7) The Dark Kingdoms. 1975. A. Scholefield. Heinemann, London.
8) Primitive Bakongo. 1969. J. H. Weeks. Negro University Press, New York.
9) The Kingdom of Kongo. 1983. J. K. Thornton. University of Wisconsin Press,Madison.
10) Camp and Tramp in African Wilds. 1913. E. Torday. Lippincott Company,Philadelphia.
11) George Grenfell and the Congo. 1908. Sir Harry Johnston. Hutchinson & Co.,London.

4. Families, Settlements, Farms and Villages (Teutoburger Forest, Germany)

A. Coming to Nord Amerika - a long journey

Martin and Flora Schake considered themselves of German heritage. Indeed they were correct. They were both educated in German speaking classes, lived in a largely German community, attended German church services, married in the German Methodist Church in Marthasville,spoke German fluently and have exclusively German ancestry from the historic region of the Teutoburger Forest. They both were reared in the Charette Township community of Marthasville, Missouri - married, reared their family of four and lived together at the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE farm for almost 50 years. Their choices in marriage were highly typical of their rather clannish German parents and other Missouri Germans as only 4 percent married outside of their ethnic group by the 1860´s as reported by Kamphoefner (1987). Why their families came to Marthasville from Northwest Germany is a curious question which is deeply rooted in German history and culture as much as in their desire to share in the American dream. Equally curious is the fact that all of the parental families of Martin and Flora Schake have their roots within a 30 mile radius of one another in the present day Nordrhein-Westfalen portion of the Teutoburger Forest of Germany - the Rockalges from Oesterweg in the parish of Versmold, the Ahmanns from the Lienen parish and the Hillebrands from the village of Lengerich both in the neighborhood of Meckelwege, the Ritters from Luerdissen in the Lemgo area of Lippe and the Schakes from the village of Humfeld in Lippe - all settled near Marthasville in Charette Township (see Figures 7 and 8).

Figure 7. Home villages of Schake ancestors in the Teutoburger Wald of present day Nordrhein-Westfalin, Germany. The villages are Lengerich, Lienen, Versmold, Lemgo and Humfeld.

In fact, 43 percent of the 343 Germans who settled in Warren County, Missouri during the mid-1800´s, came to Charette Township. Eventually this region of Missouri would be known as the "German Belt". The exact reason for this outcome, if any, can only yield to speculation. However, three-fourths of the German immigrations to Warren and St Charles counties came from this northwestern region of Germany. It is well documented that those first to arrive in Marthasville corresponded with their friends and relatives back home. One such letter was hand carried by Friedrich Ahmann from Marthasville to an acquaintance in Lienen, Meckelwege in 1836 as Friedrich returned to fetch his bride. This letter survives today in a booklet by Kamphoefner et al. (1993). Added to these contacts were the letters and books written by Gottfried Duden between 1824 to 1829 to further influence their decision to leave Germany for America.

But what do we know of our root ancestral stock? What is a German? And what routes did our German ancestors follow into recorded history? Studies of genealogy per se can only trace our ancestors as far as recorded history allows. In our case most records become either obsecure or non-existent around the late 1600´s. Previous to then we must rely solely upon published data and other evidence regarding the people who lived in the region of the Teutoburger Forest who may represent our ancestorial stock. While this represents a less precise approach than the usual family tree, it has the potential to be revealing, if not sobering. This process of ethnological and ethnohistorical research holds potential to enlighten us of the cultural, historical and biological heritages of our ancestors. Today it is technically possible to use mitochondrial DNA as a means of establishing maternal linkage to ones ancestors. While accurate and useful for purposes of science, it probably will be some time before this technique is routinely applied to family genealogical studies.

Figure 8. Pre-1877 map of major portion of Charette Township, Warren County, Missouri where the SCHAKES OF LA CHARETTE ancestors settled. River designates the Missouri River to the south. Note North Washington Landing & Ferry and towns of Dutzow, Marthasville, Holstein and the Hopewell Academy.

The Schakes of La Charette is copyrighted; any commercial reproduction or usage is prohibited.
Private non-commercial use such as this compilation is encouraged.