The History of Rocheport, Missouri


 

Now this is the Old West..

Community Hall  Photographed above left is the Rocheport Community Hall, originally built as a Baptist church in 1861.

Miriam Green Craft Shop  Above right is the likeness of the Miriam Green Craft Shop, which was erected in 1904 and restored by Friends of Rocheport in 1968. 

 Boone's Lick Road  The Marker is located on Second Street and commemorates the 1825 road.

 

 Tucked about halfway between the City of Columbia and historic Boonville, Rocheport stands much as it once did nearly 140 years ago. Remnants of times past abound in the historic village.  There are stories of Native-Americans, the Lousiana Territory and of Lewis and Clark.  Riverboats navigated the Missouri, and a grand political convention was held.  Vicious "Confederate guerillas" seized the town, and scandalous goings-on surrounded the construction of the Rocheport Tunnel.  Citizens enjoyed "moonlight excursions" on the river, and spectators watched as locomotives roared on the MKT line.

 

 Rocheport was once known as The Mouth of the Moniteau.

 

B. F. Dimmitt Drugstore is an early 20th century brick structure which now houses the Rocheport General Store. Left is a likeness of a woman making a purchase at the store in the early 1900's.  www.RocheportGeneralStore.com

 

Icehouse Below is the Ridgeway-Young-Friends of Rocheport Icehouse on Lewis Street.  The Icehouse is an 1870's rare survival structure.  Ice blocks were cut from bodies of water during the freezing months.  The blocks were lowered deep into the house underground and then covered with straw or sawdust.  The ice was then used in iceboxes to preserve foods during warmer months. 

Chapman-Hollon House Pictured above  is the Chapman-Hollon House erected in the 1830's. Unfortunately, the photo above taken this morning, September 3, 2009, may be the last time this house will stand, as it appears the historic structure is being dismantled due to its severe instability.

 

 

Moniteau Creek is also known as The Creek of The Great Spirit.

 

 Throughout the late 17th century until the early 19th century, many indigenous peoples inhabited the middle section of what is now the State of Missouri. Some of these Native tribes included the Osage, the Kansa, the Iowa and the Sac and Fox.  These nomadic groups were hunter-gatherers, and many found agriculture as a useful tool in survival. In fact, the Osage were seasoned farmers, growing maize, beans, squash and pumpkins.  The Native-Americans had an interesting and economical way of arranging crops; pumpkins, squash and beans were sown between the corn plants.

As Thomas Jefferson purchased the Lousiana Territory in 1803 from Napoleon of France, his idea was to set aside the Missouri land as "Indian Territory".  However, earlier settlers to the region did not easily relinquish their holdings.  In 1808 and in 1825, the Osage signed treaties to cede their lands which included all of Missouri.

After the New Madrid quakes in 1811-1812, the United States government relocated many residents of that county to Mid-Missouri near present day Rocheport.  One of those relocated was Mr. Gray, who eventually sold his holdings to William Gaw, John Ward, Lemon Parker and Abraham Barnes.  These gentlemen founded the town of Rocheport on the second of March, 1825. 

By the 1830's, Rocheport had become a regular port for shipping goods to and fro, and in time the village began to grow into a proper town. It was an unruly place where citizens and vistors alike enjoyed distilled spirits and got themselves into drunken rows.

 

Huntington-Wiswall- Wyatt House pictured below is an 1830's building with extemely rare windows in the second story.  The structure was being dismantled due to instability at the time of this photo on Septmber 3, 2009. According to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form, this house was rumored to have been a private school.  It seems this conspicuous edifice holds substantial historical signifincance. 

Crump-Price-Haines House pictured above is an antebellum structure with Gothic revival windows at gable ends.  The ornate building is located on the corner of Third and Lewis Streets.

 

 In 1840, the Whig Party gathered, with upwards of 10,000 interested persons, on a Rocheport hill to hear speeches for three days in support of William Henry Harrison and running mate John Tyler, who eventually became president after the death of Harrison.  Those assembled heard speeches from Fletcher Webster, son of Daniel Webster, James S. Rollins of Columbia, and George Caleb Bingham of Arrow Rock.

By the 1850's with the advent of the train in Boone County, river commerce slowed in the area, and it had an unwelcomed effect on the Rocheport economy.

During the Civil War, Rocheport favored the South and was often under control of Northern troops. One character know as "Bloody" Bill Anderson and his barbaric gang of "Bushwhackers" frequently raided the town and robbed citizens.  But the Confederate sympathizers were not alone, as Federal soldiers did the same.

 

 

 

MKT Tunnel  The Famous Rocheport Tunnel, constructed in 1892, is the only tunnel on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (MKT) railroad. A scene from Stephen King's  Sometimes They Come Back was filmed at the tunnel.

 

 Grossman-Pipes-Hollon House  Pictured above is the front room and side exterior of the Grossman-Pipes-Hollon House, which now houses Bauernhof Siebeneck Books and Art Gallery on the Corner of Central and Third Streets. The original structure was erected in the 1860's with later frame addition in the spirit of the architectural style known as the Queen Anne Farmhouse. The preparer of the National Register Nomination form has curiously listed this structure as 1890.  It is interesting to note that Leopold Grossman was officially granted the house on October 13, 1890.  www.ComeFindYourStory.com

 

 Byers-Peeler House Pictured above is a two-story frame house.  The preparer of the National Register Nomination form has curiously listed this structure as 1910.

Above is pictured a 20th century cabin on Howard Street. 

 

 Above and below are samples of tombstones and gravesites in the Rocheport Cemetery.

Rocheport Cemetery. Above is pictured the unusual cemetery set upon a hill.  The graveyard was the site for a scene in Stephen King's Pet Sematary. (citation needed) 

Look at this lovely yet spooky family grave plot.  The Rocheport Cemetery is filled with unique and interesting memorial vignettes. Unfortunately, many of the stones have fallen and are in disrepair.  Many more are half buried in the ground.  Additionally, the epitaphs on some stones are all but worn away.  It is hoped that help for the markers of those historic souls will soon come. 

 

Almost Buried Alive...Rocheport had it bouts with cholera to be sure.  In fact, in 1849, there was a powerful outbreak, and Mr. Alexander Graver (no pun intended), who was a stagecoach driver between Rocheport and Columbia, was stricken with the wretched malady.  Mr. Graver, by all accounts and appearances, had met his unfortunate demise and was laid out in preparation for burial.  Truly, a coffin had been fashioned for his funeral. Just in time, a Dr. Buster perceived signs of life in Mr. Graver and by brisk massage, he encouraged the poor soul's body back into animation.

   

 

Waddell-Rucker-Burroughs-Rapp House  This is an 1840's structure with wide floor boards located on the corner of Third and Clark Streets.  The house was restored in the 1970's and is now the Whitehorse Antique Shop.  Whitehorseone@aol.com

 

 

Jones-Dodson-Corbin House  To the left, one finds a fine, late 19th century, one-story frame structure located at the corner of Clark and Fourth Streets.

 

 

Little Green House on Gaw      To the right is probably a mid-to-late-nineteenth century house located on the corner of Gaw and Third Streets.  It stands across Gaw street from what is believed to be the Old African Cemetery.

 

 

 Mount Nebo Baptist Church On the left is the likeness of the 1860's local African church.  This beautiful piece of architecture is situated on Ward Street near the Katy Trail. Today the structure is used for commercial purposes. 

 

 

Grossman-Barth-Caldwell House  Pictured to the right is an 1850's dwelling which was restored in the 1960's.

Bentley-Campbell-Kotiw House To the left is an 1840's Greek Revival dwelling which has retained a great deal of its original structure.

 

 Smith-Moreau House  Pictured below is a mid-19th century structure located on the corner of Clark and Fourth Streets.

 The Rocheport School  Above is the likeness of the old school, which was erected in 1914.  It is situated at the corner of Third and Clark Streets and now houses the Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast. 

 

 Chinn-Gentry-Hourigan House  Next to the red-brick 1850's reproduction of a roadside inn, one finds the Chinn-Gentry-Hourigan House, an 1840's structure with lovely woodwork and orignial fireplaces.  Both buildings now house the Yateshouse Bed & Breakfast. 

Chambers-Rapp House  Pictured above is an 1878 dwelling with five-bay frame and a central gable. 

 

 Wilcox-Barth-Dew House  This was the first brick home in Rocheport.  Dr. Wilcox commissioned Stone mason Reuben Elliot to build the house in 1837.  The structure now houses Richard Saunders, Inc.  Saunders.Richard@att.net  Notice the lovely garden above and to the right, which can be accessed from inside the shop.

 

 

 If you are interested in advertising your Rocheport area business or you would like to add a link to your business email or website,  please contact the administrator of this site at bauernhofsiebeneck@gmail.com

 

References:

     Abstract of Title to Lots numbered twelve (12) and thirty-three (33) in the Town of Rocheport, Boone County, Missouri. Prepared 1954.

     Dufur, Brett. The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook. Rocheport: Pebble Publishing, 2007.

     History of Boone County, Missouri.  St. Louis, Missouri: Western Historical Company, 1882.

     Hurt, Douglas R. Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992.

     King, Stephen (1991). "Sometimes They Come Back." (Movie) The Internet Database. Retrieved September 23, 2009 on the World Wide Web:  http://www.imdb.com/List?endings=on&&locations=Rocheport,%20Missouri,%20USA&&heading=18;with+locations+including;Rocheport,%20Missouri,%20USA  

     Plat Book of Boone County, Missouri: Complied from County Records and Actual Surveys. Northwest Publishing Co. 1898.

     Potts Alfred Booth. Hand Drawn Map as Mr. Potts remembered Rocheport in 1900. Friends of Rocheport Historical Museum. 1977.

     Smith, Billie Nickell et al. Rocheport Memories: Those Were the Days. Columbia: Inkworks Publishing, 1992.

     United States Department of  the Interior National Park Service. National Register of Historic Places Inventory--  Nomination form. Rocheport, Missouri. 1976.

 

Photo Credits:

     The modified page header image of the Rocheport Ferry as well as the modified image of the B. F. Dimmit Drugstore were retrieved in 2007 and may be attributed to the Friends of Rocheport Historical Museum.

     All other images on this page are attributed to the author.

    

 This site was authored and arranged by Timm Siebeneck. 

© 2012 Bauernhof Siebeneck. All rights reserved.  This is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced, transmitted or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic, photographic or mechanical without permission from the owner.

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