On March 4, 1826, Major General Jacob J. Brown, Commanding General of the Army, issued Special Order No. 13 which he instructed Bvt. General Henry Atkinson, Commanding Officer of the 6th Infantry Regiment , and Bvt. Major General Edmund P. Gaines, Commander of the Western Department of the Army,”…to select some position near the mouth of Missouri River [net exceeding a range of 20 miles] which in their judgement may be deamed [sic] the best for the establishment of an infantry school of instruction.”That was the inception of Jefferson Barracks Military Post. It was an important and active U.S. Army installation from 1826 through 1946. It is the oldest operating U.S. Military installation west of the Mississippi River. It is presently used as a base for the Army and Air National Guard.The first conflict that the soldiers of Jefferson Barracks were involved in happened in 1832 and it was known as the Black Hawk War. During the Civil War it was used as a military hospital for both sides as well as a recruitment center for the north. By the end of the war they had treated well over 18,000 soldiers.The Jefferson Barracks Military Post Cemetery was established in 1826. The first known burial was Elizabeth Ann Lash, the infant child of an officer stationed there. In 1866 it became a United States National Cemetery.July 31,2018, my daughter in law, grandson and myself visited the Missouri Civil War Museum located in Jefferson Barracks located in the old Jefferson Barracks 1905 Post Exchange Building. Since its opening in June 2013, it has become one of the largest Civil War Museums in the U.S. Its focus is entirely on Missouri’s role in the American Civil War..The 22,000 square foot museum is filled with over one thousand artifacts and several films are available for your viewing. Each gallery and exhibit tells a story of Missouri in the American Civil War, from guerrillas and jayhawkers to life on the home front. There are also galleries on Jefferson Barracks history and the post-war era.. Pics above are of some of the displays located inside the museum.Personally I think the museum is well worth the visit. Inside the gift shop is a fine collection of books written about the civil war along with souvenirs.My hat is off to the Missouri Civil War Museum group that was formed in 2002. They managed to raise 1.7 million dollars for the restoration of the building. When you see the before and after pics you will see what an enormous undertaking it was to restore the building. A big thank you to everyone that made this museum possible.The museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find out more at mcwm.org.
Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D Roosevelt
Memorial Day is upon us. I know some of you out there aren’t going to believe this but there is a real purpose and reason for Memorial Day other than going out and seeing how hard you can party for three days. It is a holiday with true meaning and really shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Memorial day was first observed on May 30, 1868 and in 1971 by an act of Congress it was declared a national holiday. The day of observance was also changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May. It is also referred to as “Decoration Day”. The practice of decorating soldiers graves has been a custom for some time even before the Civil War.
In 1868 Memorial Day ceremonies began at Gettysburg National Park but wasn’t known nationally until 1913. That year veterans of the United States Army and Confederate Army converged on Gettysburg to commemorate the most famous and bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
There will be a special ceremony at this Revolutionary Soldier’s grave tomorrow but I am sorry I don’t know the time.
“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” – James A. Garfield
As I sit here writing my mind is taken back many years ago when I was a child and we would go camping upon the banks of the St. Francois River at a place we dubbed “sandy banks” located just below the Lake Wappapello dam. There are a lot of great memories on those banks. It has been at least 45 years since I have been there but it just seems just like yesterday.
War brings so many casualties and adds to the populations of the cemeteries. This is the day that was designated by Congress to remember those that lost their lives while serving in the military. To all you party revelers out there, you have had two days to play and party hard. I ask that you take one minute of your time today and have a moment of silence for those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives.
I mow three cemeteries and know for a fact that a lot of graves never receive flowers or visitors. I would like to see a movement in this country where folks adopt one of those soldiers graves and decorate it with flowers. You don’t have to know them to place flowers on their graves.
Many areas of the country also decorate the graves of their family members regardless of them not being a vet.
In closing I want to wish everyone a safe holiday and if you are traveling be careful. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it.
“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activities in our yards seems light years away.” – Thalassa Cruso
The seasons will soon come full circle once again. In a few days winter the winter season will be over and spring will be the new sheriff in town. Mother Nature will begin a rebirth and the countryside will be filled with flowers, tender young plants and newborn forest critters.
Baseball spring training camps will become a hive of activity. Farmers will begin preparing their fields for planting. The hillsides will come alive as Mother Nature paints them with the colors of the wild plum, redbud and dogwood trees.
Mother Earth will once again renew herself and the circle will begin anew and once again end with winter. Here in the Midwest I can remember when spring lasted for awhile. However in the last 5 or 6 years it seems like we go straight from winter to summer with just a smidgen of spring in between.
“Behold, my friends ,the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull
With the spring comes the spring rains and the flooding. Man has done a real good job of causing historical floods by building their levees. The floods use to clean out and remodel the riparian area of the river which was good for the river. With the levees the water backs up and stays put for a longer period of time and I think this makes the flooding less effective at clearing out some of the debris. Oh well that is my story and I am sticking to it.
We have had some big snows in March. I remember when I was a youngster, one Easter we woke up to 6 inches of snow on the ground. We have a couple of sayings here in Missouri though about the weather.
“Don’t like the weather you say. Stick around for it is sure to change in a couple of hours.’
“Here in Missouri you can experience all 4 seasons in one day.”
Here they are calling for high of 50, low of 36 and Sunday high of 39 and low of 37 with a chance of rain or snow. Winter is still holding on.
“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” – Gary Zukav
I don’t know if we will have a lengthy spring or the scaled down version but I hope it takes a while to give in to summer. Time will tell and we will have to take whatever Mother Nature deals us. That is part of what makes life interesting.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Hope you enjoyed it. Remember to share the love.
“The teaching of politics is that the Government, which was set for protection and comfort of all good citizens, becomes the principal obstruction and nuisance with which we have to contend… The cheat and bully and malefactor we meet everywhere is the Government.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson writes in his essay on politics that an ideal government, advocated for the growth of the individual and would be able to protect one’s individual rights. Once an individual became completely independent and self-reliant they would be ready for democracy and the government could be abolished. The richest asset one could have is the mind and the intelligence needed from each individual would triumph over politics and business interests. He also valued personal rights over property rights.
He tells us that “The law is only a memorandum.” and his most popular quote was “The less government we have the better.” Emerson had complete faith in the individual but he does a turn about on his views toward nations. He goes as far to write, “Every actual state is corrupt.” Political parties are “made out of necessity” out of the time period and not of any underlying theory. He was not satisfied with either party at the time and hinted to the natural inequality the system adhered to and its effects. Even back then he didn’t trust the pulpit and the press. This is from Essays: Second Series published in 1844.
Now fast forward to 2017 and hold on to your arse. Less government is certainly out of the question and there is very little trust for the press and the pulpit. Our government has become enormous. The thing that fascinates me is that we Americans put our trust in a group of people who steal from us (i.e. Social Security) and unless you have a rather large sum of money to invest in a campaign you aren’t going to get elected. The majority of most of these elections are won by the person who had the most money to spend. No, I didn’t say always I said most. The average John Q Public has no way to be successful in a bid for a US Senate seat or House of Representatives. The qualifications are easy enough.
Senate: 1) at least 30 years old 2) a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years at the time of election to the Senate 3) a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate.
House of Representatives: 1) be at least 25 years old 2) have been a resident of the United States for the last 7 years 3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.
Wow! We trust these people to do what is best for us? Not even a high school diploma or GED required. The real kicker, why would someone spend a million dollars to procure a job that pays one hundred seventy four thousand to two hundred thousand dollars a year?
“Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t know what the future holds but I personally think trouble is on its way. We are a country that instead of taking a problem head on we just pass another useless law. Representatives that make promises and never follow through. Both parties promise the moon and deliver nothing. Both sides still refuse to acknowledge why the election of 2016 went the way it did. Fact is that Americans are fed up with the whole mess and demonstrated that in the voting booth and democrats and republicans still refuse to acknowledge it.
In my heart I truly believe the framers of the constitution tried their best to protect us from the greed of politicians. Greed however is hard for humans to overcome and very hard to defeat. The corruption within our government and political system iseventually going to be the death of a once great nation. It is been there a long time but it seems the new politicians are bolder than those before them or maybe they aren’t as smart as their predecessors, because they aren’t doing a very good job of hiding it.
I hope Americans remain awake and keep sending a message to politicians that we have had enough. They work for and represent us and it is time we quit keeping them in office when they don’t have our best interests in mind. Ok I will shut up now. I know I am beating a dead horse.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I really don’t like to write about this particular subject however I just needed to get it off my chest. I am tired of seeing my friends and family arguing over a bunch of thugs, yeah I called them thugs, that don’t give a rat’s patootie about them. Be sure to spread the love.
“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I think one reason that I find the work of Thoreau so magical is because of the many things I feel we have in common, I too love to be alone. Is it indicative of a selfish person? I would hope not. I personally don’t consider myself a selfish person. I would like to think of it as a trait of someone that is independent and a survivor. I am not what I would call a very materialistic person. I am just a simple man who isn’t fond of drama and keeps negativity at a great distance.
In 1845 Thoreau built a cabin upon the shores of Walden Pond, a lake in Concord Massachusetts. For the next two years, two months, and two days he would record his experiences as he learned to eliminate the material and spiritual details that trespass upon our happiness. I can’t help but think what conclusion he would have come to today in a world dependent on modern technology? Would he have been able to pull it off? Yes I think he could have.
Walden: Life In the Woods was published in 1854. It was a reflection upon the two years he spent living the simple life as a way of declaring self-reliance and independence. Some folks have even referred to it as a manual for self-reliance. During this time he wrote his first book, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”.
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.” Henry David Thoreau
I can’t emphasis enough, how envious of Thoreau I am. In a situation such as he created, I would think that one would learn to love themselves. I am a firm believer that if one wants to succeed in life they must learn to love themselves. I have spent two weeks by myself in the woods living the “simple life” and learned a lot about myself during that time. I can only imagine what one would learn in two years.
I suppose though that this “alone time” could be detrimental to some folks suffering from depression. It is hard for those folks to be alone and some definitely don’t need all that time to think. If those people could train themselves to live this time alone and at the same time deal with depression I think it would be very beneficial to them. Maybe, just maybe it would be a good avenue to use to defeat their demons and learn how to keep them away.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it and the pics I shot. The pictures are of Monsanto Lake located in the St. Joe Park located in St. Francois county near Park Hills, MO. I could just see myself living in a cabin on the shores of the lake for two years. Don’t forget to spread the love.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Life in the Woods
I defy the annals of chivalry to furnish the record of a life more wild and perilous than that of a Rocky Mountain trapper.” – Francis Parkman
Have you ever wished you were born in another time? I have on more than one occasion. If I could have chose when I was going to start my journey on Mother Earth, it would have been during the era of the Mountain Men.
Mountain men were most common in the Rocky Mountains from around 1810 to 1880. They were male trappers and explorers who lived in the wilderness and were instrumental in opening various Emigrant Trails. Most mountain men worked for a major fur company however a large amount of them chose to be free trappers.
Fur trading companies implemented a system for the mountain men to sell their furs. It was called the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, founded by William Henry Ashley, and was around from 1825 to 1840. James Beckwourth once described the Rendezvous as “Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent.” The Rendezvous is still celebrated yearly throughout the United States in honor of the mountain man. There are black powder rifle shooting contests, knife throwing, tomahawk throwing and primitive archery contests. Folks dress the part of the era and participate in primitive camping and cooking.
“A mountain man tries to live with the country instead of against it.” Louis L’Amour
The life of a mountain man wasn’t easy. It was hard and many didn’t last very long. They had to be knowledgeable about medicinal plants and be able to treat themselves when they got sick or hurt. They had to contend with bear, wolves and mountain lions to name a few. They also had clashes with the Native Americans in the area. They had to know how to trap, hunt, fish, tan hides, make their own clothes, and build sound shelter. They had to be survivors.
A few notable mountain men were:
Jim Beckwourth – (1798-1866) African American who lived with the Crow and attained the position, “war chief”.
Jim Bridger – (1804-1881) Was among the first non-natives to see geysers and the wonders of the Yellowstone Region.
John Colter – (1774-1812) One of the first mountain men and was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
A few others were, George Drouillard, Sylvan “Buckskin Bill” Hart, John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, Joseph Lafyette “Joe” Meek, Jedediah Smith and William Lewis Sublette.
“The mountains have rules, they are harsh rules, but they are there, and if you keep to them you are safe. A mountain is not like men. A mountain is sincere. The weapons to conquer it exist inside you, inside your soul.” – Walter Bonatti
There have been times that I was floating down the river and would imagine myself as a mountain man and try to imagine what it was like to look upon sites that no white man had ever saw. They had to be blown away by some of the breath taking scenes they saw. How they must have felt when they came face to face with a blizzard and endured a Rocky Mountain winter. They had to feel great accomplishment and jump with joy when spring fell upon the mountains and melted the winter snows. Pardon my “French” but they had to have “gonads” the size of Texas. They had no idea what they would face. No doctors to run to when they got hurt or sick and if something happened to your supply of coffee your were out for a long time and it was a long way to a store to get more.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir
It would have been a tough life and quite a challenge but I would have loved to try it. Failure during that time usually meant a loss of life. Definitely the “ultimate challenge” that would separate men from the boys or should I say real men from the men?
Hope you enjoyed and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Spread the love.
Some believe that Halloween originated from ancient harvest festivals such as the Gaelic festival Samhain and may have had pagan roots. Then there are some that think it began as a Christian holiday. Throughout Ireland and Britain, festivities consisted of rituals and games intended to foretell one’s future.
Special bonfires were lit because their flames, smoke, and ashes were thought to have protective and cleansing powers. In Wales bonfires were lit to prevent the souls of the dead from falling to earth and later they were used to keep the devil away. In Scotland, elders in some parishes banned bonfires.
Halloween is a favorite of mine. Haunted hayride, chili, bonfire and good friends makes for a good time. In the country Halloween was a good time of year to go “outhouse tipping”. Then there is that dreaded fear of waking up and finding your house and trees covered in toilet paper. Sometimes windows got “soaped” if you didn’t hand out candy. I remember getting a lot of home made treats like popcorn balls but some very sick individual came up with the idea of putting razor blades in them.
In the 50s and 60s when I went “trick or treating” things were so much different than it is today. One thing it was much safer. We didn’t worry about razor blades in our candy. I can remember getting apples and those Rice Krispie/marshmallow treats. You always remembered the houses that passed out the good candy like Reeses Peanut Cups. It wasn’t all store bought costumes either. A lot of folks made costumes for their little goblins.
I don’t remember what year the first razor blades showed up but it changed the way one went “trick or treating” and it was necessary to start checking all ones goodies. I may be dreaming it but I thought there was one time that a hospital offered to x-ray candy for folks and it was free! It was a sad day in “goblinville” when some fool had to mess with Halloween. That my friends is the rest of the story.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, it is deeply appreciated. Wishing you a happy Halloween and may your “treat bag” be filled to the brim. Be safe and be sure to spread the love.
In Memory of
Thomas Robert Burnette
January 31, 1915 – November 14, 1992
“Mining is a dangerous profession. There’s no way to make a mine completely safe: These are the words owners have always used to excuse needless deaths and the words miners use to prepare for them.” – Tawni O’Dell
Mr Burnette was a resident of Flat River, MO and he worked in the lead mines. He worked at the St. Joe Lead Number 9 mine in Farmington, MO and at the Pea Ridge Mine. He dug ore for nearly 30 years. When he worked in the mines they didn’t do blood tests to check for lead poisoning. During his time in the mines he cut a finger off and got caught between two ore cars and suffered a broken hip that had to be pinned. After he healed up, back in the mines he went and worked there until he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire at the age of fifty-eight. His daughter remembered seeing his checks and said he cleared fifty dollars a week. He was married and reared five children. He is just one of many who worked in the mines and his family is just one of many that have all the memories of their families working in the mines.
The Old Lead Belt is located deep within the eastern Ozarks of Missouri. The Southeast Missouri lead district is a major part of the lead belt and has been a major player in Missouri’s economic and social fabric for more than 280 years. In early 1700 a European by the name of Pierre Charles LeSeur led the first mineralogical expedition into the Mississippi Valley. Missouri’s ore deposits have made it the nation’s major source of ore for over 90 years. The abundant ore deposits brought thousands of workers to Missouri, where over the years they created 1,000 miles of abandoned multilevel mine tunnels, 300 miles of underground mainline railroad tracks and a legacy of 108 years of mining operations in the area.
Drum roll……………., I am stepping onto my soap box. Here is my beef. In 1923 St. Joe Lead CO. purchased the Federal Mill No. 3 lead-concentrating complex. They all ready owned nearly 950 acres in Bonne Terre that was bought in 1864. In late 1975 they donated the Federal mine mill complex and its adjoining lands to Missouri for the purpose of creating a state park. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession of the 8,244 acre tract in 1976 and named it St. Joe Park and in 1980 the 25 acre mine mill was designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.
I just visited the site along with Mr Burnette’s daughter and step son. I am appalled by the way the state is letting the old mill fall into ruination. I know money is tight but they could do more. This site holds a lot of memories for the miner families in Bonne Terre, Desloge, Park Hills and the surrounding areas. People died in these mines. Why let it die off? This could be an amazing tourist attraction for these towns. This site has so many possibilities. There is so much history here. PLEASE don’t let it fall down and disappear into the past.
The 16,00 square-foot mine-mill powerhouse is being developed into a large museum providing information and the history of the mining business in Missouri with displays and old mining machinery and a huge collection of minerals. It is a start but the site has the potential for so much more.
In 1981 Doug and Cathy Georgens bought the rights to the Bonne Terre Mine and invested their money in the mine and have built it into a diving mecca. They have daily tours also. I have took the tour myself and it is fascinating. The state of Missouri could save the history of mines in St. Joe and should do just that. I urge them to set up a fund that people can give to the mine exclusively. I also urge them to start funding the mine and start rehabbing the buildings. Please for the sake of those that worked in and died in the mines save the mine.
In closing I ask for anyone’s help in saving this mine. Please write your representatives and if you haven’t, take the tour. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Help save the history of Missouri’s mines.
“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
I have had some people ask me what it is that attracts me so much to Big River so for this blog I thought I would share why this river has mesmerized me with its beauty and mystique I cherish so much.
Big River begins near the summit of Johnson Mountain near the ghost town of Enough. It flows through the Missouri counties of Washington, Saint Francois and Jefferson then it empties into the Meramec River near Eureka, MO. It flows through Washington State Park, St. Francois State Park and through the Lead Belt mining district. It meanders 145 miles through the Missouri countryside. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, longear sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish and red horse suckers are some of the fish that can be found in the Big River.
“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the river words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” – Norman Maclean A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
I seem to always be drawn to big the Lead Belt area of the Big River. The 108 years of mining in that area took a toll on the Big River in the form of contamination by lead. There is a contamination warning on certain kinds of fish caught in the Big River. There are pipes that go into the old mines that are still in the river. I am not sure what they were used for. I was told that they were old test holes, used to pump water out of the mines and numerous other things but do not know for a fact what exactly they were used for.
I spend a lot of time camped out at night in this area. It seems to hold so much mystery within the banks of the river. Sometimes there seems to be a presence with me as I go about my night of running limb lines and sitting by the camp fire. Not an evil presence but like another presence in another dimension. Sometimes when I am running limb lines and the fog is lifting it looks like spirits rising from the mines out of the water on their way to somewhere else. Some nights it even makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Oddly enough it is a pleasant feeling. At times I have even thought that maybe they are wanting to share their secrets with me. Maybe it is the past inhabitants of the ghost town Enough wanting to converse with me. The mystery stirs my soul deep inside hoping that one day they will share those secrets with me. One night while I was sitting by the fire I smelled cigarette smoke like someone was sitting right next to me smoking a cigarette. Am I crazy? Maybe, maybe not.
A couple other things that attract me to the Big River is the beautiful scenery and last but not least the fishing. My photos will never do the beauty of the river justice. The tall bluffs and rock formations and the lined banks of beautiful trees make the Big River a great place to float and enjoy life. If the river could talk I wonder what it would say. Would it tell me about the people that came before me, tell me about how it was before they started mining. Oh the things it could share with me.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog. I hope you find it interesting. Maybe some night you will get to camp along the banks of the Big River and you can tell me if I am crazy or not. Be kind to one another, spread the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.