Award-winning author, speaker, public historian, professional genealogist and archivist.

I’ve been researching and writing local history, both black and white for nearly forty years.

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Outline Map of St. Charles County

Thomas Lindsay

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Today I had the opportunity to do some local history research. A huge Thanks to Keith and Linda Hickman who invited my friend Cleta and I into their beautiful historic home. It was built by a member of the Lindsay family prior to the Civil War by their enslaved. The same enslaved that are said to have built “Stone Row” on St Charles’ Main Street. The style of stone masonry of the Thomas Lindsay home and Stone Row are identical.

Stone Row on St. Charles Main Street

Thomas Lindsay (9/29/1771-12/26/1843) who came from Scotland to the US in 1800 and to St Charles in 1816. His brother James would come in through New York and join him in 1817. They would help Rev Salmon Giddings who had organized the St Louis Presbyterian Church on Pine Street to begin the 1st St Charles Presbyterian Church on Aug 30, 1818. Thomas’ wife Margaret Becket was the sister of Jane Becket, who had married the first Pastor, the Rev S. Charles Robinson, who quickly became the first minister for the Dardenne Presbyterian Church in 1819. Margaret was a close friend of Mary Easton Sibley, who founded Lindenwood, but that’s a story I will let Cleta share.

In reviewing the records at St Charles County Historical Society next (thanks to the help of volunteer Jim Peine) I found the names of Lindsay’s slaves in his will. Will Book 2, pp 176-184, Article VII (page 181)

“Dick, commonly called Old Dick, his sons Dick, Bill, Stephen, Joe and Ben. His daughters Sophy and her infant son Stephen and Maria. John Bunyan, his wife Jane, and their three small children Mary, Sarah and Emily, and her sister Jenny and her five children Orrilla, George, Betsey, Charles and Susanna, and his other sister Milly. Altogether in the two families twenty one souls. “

St. Charles County Will Book 2, pp 176-184, Article VII (page 181)

Thomas Lindsay’s will then goes on to state “My wish and intention is to emancipate all my slaves” by causing them to be removed to Africa their fatherland where only they can be really free.” They were to be sent to Liberia, those willing, under the patronage of the American Colonization Society. According to the St Charles Presbyterian church records, they did go to Liberia in 1844. The photos of the bricks are of the fireplace hearths made by hand (Prints) by the enslaved.

IHickman Home Fireplace

For more information From the Library of Congress website: The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. By 1867, the society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam002.html

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