Tag Archives: Boone’s Lick Road

Location, Location, Location

By the time the ink was finally dry on the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1804, Saint Charles was a boom town.  Its’ location on the Missouri River as the oldest settlement on the north side of the Missouri River and west of the Mississippi River made it prime real estate. Major investors in east recognized the advantage quickly. “The Bryan and Morrison Company in Philadelphia was among the very first to invest in the western trade, influencing the waterfront world of business from Pittsburg to New Orleans to Kaskaskia during the 1790s, then the Missouri River settlements after the Louisiana Purchase[1]

In the late 1700s, Guy Bryan (1754-1829) in Philadelphia, would set up his nephew William Morrison in Kaskaskia to advance the western market. Salt was a necessary commodity for frontier garrisons, Indian trade and farmer’s river trade, and saline ownership and management was their specialty. Morrison, and two of his brothers controlled the market of salt at the “Boone’s Lick” from 1804 until 1834. William would bring his 13-year old brother, Jesse into the business in 1798. In 1803, 36-year old brother James would open a store in St. Charles, on Main Street, where Berthold Park is today. The brothers traded with the Osage Indians and outfitted the expeditions of Lewis and Clark and Lt. Zebulon Pike from this location as well. “On June 18, 1804, James transferred $4,900 in merchandise, such as, coffee, gunpowder, hats, textiles, and whiskey, to Robert Spencer for sales and distribution. A month later, July 12, 1804, James Morrison (1767-1848) addressed White Hair, Son of the Chief of the Osage Nation of Indians at Osage Village, that low water had prevented his delivery of goods and that Pierre Roy would deliver them soon.” Robert Spencer was the Chairman of the Town’s Board of Trustees that would later see that Saint Charles was incorporated in 1809. Pierre Roy had built the round stone tower that served the town during the War of 1812. The Morrison brothers had cemented their relationship with the Osage with James’ marriage to Emilie Saucier, and Jesse with Eleanor Saucier, both sisters to Pierre Chouteau’s wife, and daughters of Portage des Sioux founder Francois Saucier.

” By 1807, James and Jesse paid St. Charles taxes on twelve acres and four houses (likely includes warehouses) and all three Morrison brothers were already plaintiffs in St. Charles district court seeking commercial debts. From St. Louis, U.S. Indian agent, William Clark, dispatched a variety of administrative orders to contractor James Morrison, who implemented them for several tribes. Morrison performed such minor work as delivering flour “to the negro man of General Clark,” and major transactions in sending beef, candles, flour, pork, and salt on a barge to the Osage Indians.”[2] Their operations were a hub of primary importance for the town of Saint Charles’ commerce as the salt manufactured at the lick (near today’s Arrow Rock) was packed and shipped downriver and unloaded at the foot of what would become Clay Street (and today’s First Capitol). James Morrison’s partnership in the salt lick with Daniel Boone’s sons Nathan and Daniel Morgan, would essentially dissolve by 1811, however the attachment of the Boone name would remain forever. However, it was the business acumen of the Morrison family that would mark Saint Charles’ Main Street as the true beginning of the Boone’s Lick Road. As the eastern terminus for the road lay at Morrison’s mercantile, where the salt was sold, the location is definitely one of the most historic sites on Main Street. As the western terminus of the Boone’s Lick Road is the beginning of the Sante Fe Trail the location is just as important to our nation’s history as well. You know what they say “Its all in the location.”

Suggested reading: The website for the Boone’s Lick Road Association maintains a research library with a wealth of resources for the researcher or avid readers of the Boone family. See the Booneslick Historical Society Periodical, Vol. 13, Nos.3&4 – Fall -Winter 2014, Morrow, Lynn; Boone’s Lick in Westward Epansion: James Mackay, the Boones, and the Morrisons found under the link on  the left hand side that is Research Library [https://booneslickroad.org/detail/libraryRecordDetail.php?id=54] on the website https://booneslickroad.org/

[1] Booneslick Historical Society Periodical, Vol. 13, Nos.3&4 – Fall -Winter 2014, Morrow, Lynn; Boone’s Lick in Westward Epansion: James Mackay, the Boones, and the Morrisons

[2] ibid



Requiem for William Eckert

William Eckert was born the 13th of August 1797, in Virginia[i], spent some time in Ohio, before coming down to Jackson, Missouri[ii] where the young man opened the first Mercantile. He served in the War of 1812[iii] and then arrived in the young village of St. Charles, where he married Francina “Fannie” Smith in the old Borremeo Church [Saint Charles Borromeo Parish] in 1818[iv]. This enterprising young man opened a tavern calling it the Sign of the Buffalo [Bradden’s Restaurant, 515 South Main Street][v] that then vied for being the location of the temporary State Capitol [Missouri’s First State Capitol, 200 S. Main] with the Peck brothers, Charles and Ruloff, when it was coming to St. Charles in 1821. Despite proving that he had a better location, Eckert lost out, most probably ­due to the politics at the time.

This promising young businessman went on to become a trustee[vi], and the treasurer for the village of St. Charles[vii], and run the postal route between St. Charles and Bowling Green[viii]. He was also one of four owners in the Steam Ferry Boat Company that ran on the Missouri River with their boat the James Morrison.[ix] His partner Francis Yosti was a son-in-law of the James Morrison who lived down at the corner of Clay [today First Capitol] and Main [today’s Berthold Park].

Eckert’s own son-in-law was the 21 year-old Franklin Newbill who owned the woolen mill at the corner of Main and today’s Boone’s Lick Road [Trailhead Brewing Company, 921 S. Riverside Drive], who had married his 16 year-old daughter Marian “Polly” on the 3rd of December 1835[x]. They would later live in a two-story brick house on Main Street [Newbill-McElhiney house, 625 South Main] which was built on a lot Eckert had bought from John Yarnell on the 4th of February 1824.[xi] Over the years, Eckert and Newbill were in business together, but by October of 1845, they had had a falling out and Newbill was totally out of the picture. William Eckert and his family were living there when Eckert died on April 2, 1846.

When Eckert died, his widow Fannie ordered two caskets, one lined and one unlined from Stephen Werremeier, who charged her $18.00 that April 3rd. Eckert was then buried on the hillside overlooking the village he loved so much. Many years later, the St. Charles Banner-News, on the 26th of August in 1909 carried the following article “Ancient History” written by its Editor:

“The reminiscences and recollections of Mrs. Louisa Heye which are being printed in the Cosmos are full of interest, and for the most part fairly correct… If we are correctly informed the mortal remains of William Eckert sleep up on the “River Side” Cemetery, which the town of St. Charles purchased and used as a “city of the dead” many years ago, but now abandoned. If this information is correct, we could not have a more peaceful resting place. The ripple of the river sings constantly his requiem and around the forest trees the stillness of nature is broken only by the sighing winds and the songs of the bids. In his life he was alert, active, and full of energy, contributing to the growth and progress of the town his might and after life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.”[xii]

Eckert’s probate, was administered by his close and best friend William G. Pettus, Missouri’s first Secretary of State, was known for crossing all of his Ts and dotting all his i. In that estate, we find Lot 3 of Block 1, which on August 28,1848, Pettus is selling some of Eckert’s numerous properties to settle the estate. The property description states “saving and excepting out of Lot. No. 3 in Block No. 1, one half acre of land laid off in a square form in such manner that the grave of said William Eckert shall lie in center of said one half acre….”[xiii]

Today, that small 147 foot by 147 foot half-acre plot lies somewhere along the hillside on the south end of St. Charles near the Crestview Apartments. It is hard to imagine a cemetery there today. Nearby the Western House [1001 South Main], where his widow, Fannie, it is said, ran the inn for travelers leaving St. Charles on the Boone’s Lick Road. Funny the things you find when you’re not looking for them.  When I found this mention of Eckert’s grave,  I was researching the Boone’s Lick Road.




[i] Family papers

[ii] Houck’s History

[iii] Arkansas Land Warrant

[iv] Borremeo Records

[v] SCCHS, Eckert Family File

[vi] City of St. Charles Minutes, Book A

[vii] City of St. Charles Minutes, Book A

[viii]Wm. Eckert Probate

[ix] Wm. Eckert Probate

[x] Borremeo Records

[xi] Wm. Eckert Probate

[xii] Supplied by Justin Watkins

[xiii] Abstract for Block 1, also known as Hall’s Addition