Join the Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol each month on the Third Thursday as we bring you St. Charles History “Talks”. The evening discussion with a historian with topics ranging from the German Heritage to the Civil War to the First Four Governors. At 7 pm in the rear residence of Chauncey Shepard, at the State Historic Site which is 200 S. Main, we enjoy a look at the history that shaped St. Charles. Please join us! A $10 donation will provide you with a membership in the Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol so that you can enjoy a quarterly newsletter and other membership perks! The evenings are sponsored by the Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol, a Friends group whose purpose is to educate, promote and help preserve Missouri First State Capitol State Historic Site, and currently working on obtaining their 501C.3 status.
Upcoming programs in 2018:
April 19, 2018 – Dr. Jeff Smith, Rural Cemetery Movement Dr. Jeffrey Smith of Lindenwood University talks about the Rural Cemetery Movement and how St. Charles fits into this paradigm. “Rural” cemeteries broke conventional notions of burials and graveyards and showed a new way for people to mourn surrounded by the beauty of a landscaped cemetery.
May 17, 2018 – Dr. Thomas Gubbels, “Lifting Missouri Out of the Mud” Join Dr. Thomas Gubbels, Associate Professor of History at Lincoln University, for a presentation on the Missouri Highway System in the 20th century. Topics of this program include the creation of the Missouri State Highway Department and political resistance to road construction, as well as discussions of Missouri’s Centennial Road Law and the state’s role in the creation of Route 66 and the interstate highway system.
June 21, 2018 – Theresa Graff, Rose Philippine Duchesne The Shrine of Saint Phi IIi pine Duchesne in St. Charles, Missouri is a lasting tribute to the French missionary who brought formalized education and a zeal for sharing the Catholic religion to the Missouri Frontier. Canonized in 1988, this incredible woman is memorialized at the shrine here in St. Charles. Join the site’s archivist, Theresa Grass in exploring the fascinating work of St. Phillipine Duchesne
July 19, 2018 – Sarah Cato – 56″ United States Colored Infantry (Union) Join historian, Sarah Cato, JD to explore St. Charles’ role in the famous 56″ United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War. Ms. Cato will also share the process she went through to get the troop properly memorialized in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
August 16, 2018 – Justin Watkins, American Car and Foundry Have you ever wondered why Main Street dead ends at Clark Street? Justin Watkins will present the history of the American Car and Foundry. Along the way, we will meet some of the most famous employees and learn about ACF’s role in the St. Charles economy from its days as St. Charles Car Company up to World War II.
September 20, 2018 – Slave Dwelling Project Join members of the Slave Dwelling Project and the African American Genealogical Society to learn about their work in restoring, preserving and studying extant slave dwellings in the United States. Learn about identifying these properties and what you can do in your community to save them.
October 18, 2018 – Victoria Cosner, St. Charles County’s own Serial Killer In 1940, Wentzville housewife, Emma Hepperman, was arrested for killing her husband, Tony Hepperman. Her husband of just over a month ingested arsenic. The investigation that resulted showed that Emma had killed at least five of her seven husbands, plus some more family members, mostly from eating her “famous” potato soup. Join Victoria Cosner to learn more about this fascinating and frightening piece of St. Charles history.
On Saturday, May 19, 2018 at Missouri’s First State Capitol State Historic Site, from 10 am – 3 pm everyone is invited to the greatest “Family Friendly” event in the region. Children of all ages enjoy a day of history, crafts and fun. Interactive demonstrations, Music, Dancing and food provide for a great family day. Greater St. Charles Visitors and Convention Bureau, Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol help bring you the Annual Historic Children’s Festival. Come live and play as children in the 1820s did. Hear interesting stories about life in St. Charles when our first legislators were struggling to organize Missouri into statehood. Children can pick up a passport and journey through the 1820s while participating in period hands-on activities.
This is a wonderful family event that everyone can enjoy! Perfect for “children” of any age! There will be demonstrations for the children of Rope Making, Old fashioned laundry on the washboard, cooking and churning butter, candle dipping, fur traders, writing with a quill pen, the old fashioned one room school house and games. Also, demonstrations by a hide tanner, a basket weaver, blacksmith, gunsmith, wood worker, flint knapper and frontier medicine man. A storyteller sharing stories of her German emigrant family. Visit the goats, sheep and chickens too. Learn period dancing from Dance Discovery, or meet members of the Spanish Militia or the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. Hear the Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps and the Buchanon Brothers
The Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol support the functions of Missouri’s most important State Historic Site. We encourage the preservation and the history of this important landmark in the City of St. Charles. We sponsor History Talks on the Third Thursday of the months March through October at the First State Capitol, where local history comes alive with a lively discussion. This event is free and the public is welcome.
Membership in the Friends of Missouri’s First State Capitol is $10 annually and provides the member with a quarterly newsletter, a behind the scenes tour of the historic site plus an annual Membership event in the fall.
Please contact us for more information:
Missouri became a State on August 10, 1821. Its birth was not easy though. The land was purchased by the United States in 1804, and organized into a Territory in 1812, with the first Legislative session held in Pierre Choteau Senior’s home. For the second session they were at the home of Madame Dubrevill on Second Street, also in St. Louis.
Residents wanted to discuss Statehood, so they gathered at E. Maury’s Hotel on October 26, 1818. There they began to draft a Constitution, which was completed when the Convention met at the Mansion House on June 12, 1820. This was a large 3 story brick on the corner of Third and Vine Streets, that had been built in 1816. At this session, the Convention also drafted a resolution that the seat of government would remain at St. Louis until 1826, when it would be moved to a point on the Missouri River within 40 miles of the Osage River. The rivers were the highways of their day.
The first session of the Missouri General Assembly was convened in St. Louis, and the election returns counted, with Alexander McNair becoming the first Governor. This was followed by high drama at the Missouri Hotel, at Main and Morgan Streets. U.S. Senators were elected by a caucus of a joint General Assembly, and the first seat went to David Barton by a unanimous decision. However, a bitter fight broke out between Judge John B. Lucas and Thomas Hart Benton. For days the 14 State Senators and the 43 members of the House debated and remained in a deadlock. It grew acrimonious and bitter. Then someone remembered that Representative Daniel Ralls had not come down from his room because he was ill. Needing the stalemate to end, a group of Benton supporters, carried his bed down to the Dining Room, where he feebly announced his vote for Benton. He died within a few days.
Before it adjourned, and after yet another long fight, they named Saint Charles the temporary Seat of Justice. McNair convened a special session on June 4, 1821 to discuss the objections raised by the U.S. Congress, on the second floor of a brick building on Main Street. That summer the heated debate over slavery floated down to listeners in front of the Peck Brothers Mercantile. A great compromise suggested by Henry Clay, ended the debate. Missouri was a slave state with the institution part of its history from its very beginning. With 11 free states, and 11 states in the Union, it would take the free state of Maine to balance Missouri’s entry as the 24th State.
“Whereas the Congress of the United States, by a joint resolution of the 2d day of March last, entitled “Resolution providing for the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union on a certain condition,” did determine and declare “that Missouri should be admitted into this Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever upon the fundamental condition that the fourth clause of the twenty-sixth section of the third article of the constitution submitted on the part of said State to Congress shall never be construed to authorize the passage of any law, and that no law shall be passed in conformity thereto, by which any citizen of either of the States of this Union shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That the legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of the said State to the said fundamental condition, and shall transmit to the President of the United States on or before the first Monday in November next an authentic copy of said act, upon the receipt whereof the President, by proclamation, shall announce the fact, whereupon, and without any further proceeding on the part of Congress, the admission of the said State into this Union shall be considered as complete;” and
Whereas by a solemn public act of the assembly of said State of Missouri, passed on the 26th of June, in the present year, entitled “A solemn public act declaring the assent of this State to the fundamental condition contained in a resolution passed by the Congress of the United States providing for the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union on a certain condition,” an authentic copy whereof has been communicated to me, it is solemnly and publicly enacted and declared that that State has assented, and does assent, that the fourth clause of the twenty-sixth section of the third article of the constitution of said State “shall never be construed to authorize the passage of any law, and that no law shall be passed in conformity thereto, by which any citizen of either of the United States shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizens are entitled under the Constitution of the United States:”
Now, therefore, I, James Monroe, President of the United States, in pursuance of the resolution of Congress aforesaid, have issued this my proclamation, announcing the fact that the said State of Missouri has assented to the fundamental condition required by the resolution of Congress aforesaid, whereupon the admission of the said State of Missouri into this Union is declared to be complete.”