Black History, Get involved, Missouri State Historical Society

Political name calling circa 1862

Sometimes it’s interesting to know whatever is going on today has happened before including the namecalling of today’s politics.

Here’s an image of a Sept. 15, 1862 document, General Order No. 1, signed by Odon Guitar of Columbia.

Government Document General Order dated Sept. 15, 1862, requiring people to report for military duty.
Government Document General Order dated Sept. 15, 1862, requiring people to report for military duty.

In this document, Guitar states that anyone who does not report to military duty “will be regarded and treated as in active rebellion against the Government and in sympathy with the marauders and robbers who now infest the country.”

Marauder and robbers? Strong words for strong times.

Sometimes the Civil War seems so long ago how could it have anything to do with today.

But if you’ve ever noticed the inequity of graduation rates, unemployment, health outcomes, you’ve seen the results of the cause of the Civil War. And just as our country acknowledges the losses in battles with memorials so we never forget, we need to know our history in order to understand what’s going on today in our society.

Want to learn more about the Civil War in Missouri?

The State Historical Society of Missouri recent publicized a new resource on its website, American Civil War in Missouri: It offers links and a search engine to resources about Missouri during the Civil War. For example, here is a link to Regions in Missouri, then the Central counties, including Boone County. Under Boone County, you can learn when the county was founded, Nov. 16, 1820, and how many slaves were part of our population in 1850 and 1860. (About a third of the population.)

I know I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a history of ownership or being owned in my history. All of my family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1910s, yet I know this history of my country affects me every day

If you want to explore local history in the Civil War, this online resource includes a list of manuscript collections, including those of Odon Guitar of Columbia. By the end of the war, he was a colonel.

Yet, most of those who served were more like James L. Matthews, a name most of us don’t know. You can read a letter James L. Matthews wrote to his wife Fannie on Dec. 1, 1862, here in another manuscript collection, the Matthews Family Papers. In the letter, he writes about how much he misses her and how he’s sure she is anxious for him. He seems like an ordinary person, yet he’s living in extraordinary times.

Perhaps that’s how we’ll look back on the politics of today.



CoMo200, Events, Get involved, Uncategorized

Six ways to get involved in Missouri’s bicentennial

This article published Feb. 13 in the California Democrat outlines six ways to get involved in helping Missouri mark its 200th anniversary in 2021.

Get quilting! — One quilt block per county will be put together to create a Missouri Bicentennial Quilt. Learn more here. The deadline is Sept. 2.

Got pictures? — I know you have a shoebox full of great photos of Missouri. Time to sort them out. The Missouri State Historical Society is looking for 200 good photos. Learn more here.

A penny for history — School kids are being asked to collect pennies to help fund conservation efforts to of founding documents. This is a project of the Missouri Humanities Council. Learn more here. So far, there are only schools in Cape Girardeau and Kansas City list.

What makes a community a community? — If you’ve got ideas about what makes your Missouri community unique, this is the project for you. Groups and individuals are being asked to “document local traditions, creative expressions, meaningful place and organizations and institutions of significance, the article explains. Learn more here.

Missouri Encyclopedia — What bothers me the most about living in Missouri is how cool our state is and how few people seem to know that. This project is a step in the right direction. This is a project to create a Missouri encyclopedia. There are guidelines for writers and here’s an example of an article. This project really needs our local historians. For gosh sakes, Annie Fisher isn’t even listed … yet. Here’s your chance to touch the future and show people the Show-Me State.



Boone County Bicentennial, Events, Get involved, Uncategorized

Help Boone County celebrate 200 years

Here’s an easy way to get involved in the celebration of Boone County’s 200th anniversary. On Saturday, Feb. 16,  local artist Stacy Self will be visiting Ashland to gather information for a mural to highlight the communities in the county.

Several sessions throughout Boone County will be held in the next six months, starting with this one at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Southern Boone County Public Library, according to this Boone County news release  and this Feb. 12, 2019, Columbia Missourian article.

Once completed, the mural will be displayed in the Boone County History and Culture Center.

For more information about the mural or other Boone County bicentennial plans, contact: Janet Thompson at or 573-886-4309.

2010 photograph of 10 N. Fourth St. by Deanna Dikeman. Use on this website granted by Deanna Dikeman.
Black History, Events, Historical Homes, National Register of Historic Places, Notable Properties List

An exhibit, the Boone home and black history events

I love the Beatles. It’s hard for me to believe that it might be possible someday for people to not know the names of John, Paul, Ringo and George.

But that could happen and that’s what might have happened to the musician J.W. “Blind” Boone  (1864-1927) if the residents of Columbia and the city hadn’t saved the house at 10 N. Fourth St.

And you can take a peek at the inside of the home that took six long years to bring back from near demolition. From 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12 and Thursday, Feb. 14, you can view copies of portraits of 19 portrait reproductions of members of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Those portrayed include Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Maxine Moore Waters, a U.S. Representative, and Jesse Louis Jackson Jr.

The works were painted by John F. Dyess, who has created works for national firms such as the National Geographic Museum and the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals.

Frankly, the exhibit is a two-fer — an opportunity to see portraits of family civil rights celebrities and an opportunity to see the Boone house that has been meticulously restored to literally reflect the wealth of one of the richest men in Columbia at the time.

Boone’s accomplishments stand out because he succeeded against the odds. Boone was the offspring of a former slave and a Union bugler. His eyes were removed at six months old to save him from “brain fever.” Then as a youth, he was sent to a school for the blind, but at one point the headmaster decided that instead of providing the blind with a fair, equitable education, the students would be taught to make brooms.

Yet, Boone’s natural talents and hard work helped him overcome the many obstacles he faced. He learned to play and compose music, touring throughout the U.S. and Canada for much of the year from the 1900s until about 1924, only three years before his death.

And it’s home that saves Boone’s story. But his isn’t the only story we need to hear about our black history. For more information on our history, see this notice from the Columbia Missourian.  It includes events such as a documentary on historically black colleges and universities, a lecture on how the enslaved undermined slavery and a local leadership panel discussion with Inclusive Impact Institute Director Nikki McGruder, First Ward City Councilman Clyde Ruffin and Stephens trustee Anita K. Parran.



Historical Homes, University of Missouri, Women

Romance, mistakes and hidden history

Watch out guys! If you think getting your beloved flowers is going to cut it after this, you might be mistaken.

The house at 206 Bingham Road is going to put you to shame. Built in 1928, the Tudor Revival features the intertwined initials of architect Harry Satterlee Bill and his wife Florence Harrison Bill. Yeah, their love is literally built into the house. Chocolates ain’t gonna compare to that.

But this is also a blog post about another kind of mistake — mine.

When I listed the historic homes on this page, I mistakenly listed the owners as Harry Satterlee Bill and his wife Florence Henderson Bill. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader, I was alerted to the mistake and corrected it today. But the great news about making mistakes is you get to learn from them and I did. According to this website Find a Grave, Bill wasn’t even Bill’s name. The document on Find a Grave states that Bill’s original surname was De’Bill. Further, the website includes the information that he was born  “Harrie Satterlee De’Bill, according to the census records of 1880-1900 and his 31 May 1900 passport application.”

And that is what I love about research. Just when you think you’ve found the truth, more information is uncovered which puts things into perspective.

That brings us to some hidden history. It probably wasn’t just romance that made the Bills put their initials into their home, it was reality.

While Harry Satterlee Bill’s accomplishments are documented in, well, documents, and buildings, his wife’s contributions are less well known. In some cases, even her first name gets lost when she’s referred to as Mrs. Bill, as was traditional at that time. Note Harry Satterlee Bill lived from 1876-1946, and Florence Harrison Bill lived from 1879-1958.

As for Mr. Bill’s accomplishments, he was one of the city’s most prominent architects. His work includes his home at 206 Bingham as well as the home at 211 Bingham and the addition to the Central Dairy building at 1104 Broadway. He was also a professor of architecture at the University of Missouri for 17 years and helped to found the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Yet, his wife did more than keep the home fires burning. According this 2017 document created for Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission, Florence Bill took care of the construction details for their home. If you’ve ever even done a kitchen renovation (yes, this is the voice of experience), you know how many details there are in any construction project, so this was no little task.

But there’s more. According to information found on the Missouri Historical Society website, the collection of the Harrison Family Papers includes nine manuscripts for publications in the Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society.

So as we head into the Valentine’s Day season, along with appreciating the people you love in your life, you might give some thought to the women who went before and didn’t get the gratitude they deserved. And maybe you want to keep it to yourself that Harry Satterlee Bill went way beyond candy hearts in proclaiming his love for his wife Florence Harrison Bill.

No way any of us can beat that.

Events, Missouri Preservation

Skip Valentine flowers, book history instead

What about some history and a getaway for Valentine’s Day instead of flowers and the usual? That’s what I’ll be doing with my sweetie. (And we’re even getting a deal on it!)

We’ll be starting with a fundraiser 5:30 – 9 p.m. on Feb. 15 in St. Louis for Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit that advocates and works toward historical preservation. It’s a day after the big heart holiday, but I don’t care. The tickets are $35 each and that will include drinks and snacks — and a chance to get inside the restored 1893 eye-popping building at 705 Olive St.

The Louis Sullivan designed building has undergone a $55 million renovation by Restoration St. Louis, according to this Sept. 22, 2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

Now it’s a Marriott Hotel Saint Louis, only four blocks from the Gateway Arch.

And we’re getting to stay in this $250-$300 a night hotel for $149 that night. Missouri Preservation has obtained a room block so you can sign up for the fundraiser, get a Valentine’s date event and a overnight-get-away history trip all rolled into one. (Yeah, that’s how I sold it to my husband.)

The building was referred to as “lavishly adorned” and “largely unchanged on the outside,” in this Jan. 8, 2016 article in The article includes current and historic photographs including a view of the second story round windows.

We’ll be staying overnight and taking in the Gateway Museum, only four blocks away, which underwent a $176.4 million renovation, according to this July 1, 2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

Seriously, for Valentine’s Day, you can spend on a $100 bouquet for your beloved, eat out in a crowded noisy restaurant for another $50 — or you can stay overnight in St. Louis, contribute to an organization working toward saving our history and get away overnight for somewhat more money but a whole lot more fun. (At least for history nuts like me … )

And bonus! You can pat yourself on the back for a unique approach to the whole hearts and flowers holiday.

See you there.