At the heart of the Sunday Drive is the spontaneity and whimsy of going out and not having a plan for where you’ll end up.
There is this sense of adventure that we don’t experience much in our modern lives. Everywhere we go, we have our phones, maybe a tablet. If the weather gets bad, we have the reports from the weather service and live radar so we can plot and plan every aspect of our day to avoid the weather or traffic. We do this so we can be safer, more productive and efficient. But I suggest what we are missing is worth much more than those things. And that became even more apparent when we discovered this old farmhouse outside of Marthasville, MO.
You history buffs out there may recognize Marthasville as the final resting place of Daniel Boone, and certainly that plays a vital role in putting Marthasville on The Map. But what you may not realize is that Marthasville was the camp of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on two separate occasions in 1803 and 1805 and the Charette Creek area played a vital role in the agricultural and transportation development of out state Missouri. This is largely due to early settlers and their families such as the man who built the house pictured above.
H.A. (Heinrich Adolf) Schoppenhorst (1840-1930) was his name and he was a second generation German American who grew up when that part of Missouri was still wild frontier. He knew what it it felt like to travel in a covered wagon over backwoods trails and private ferries. He served as a captain in the Missouri Guard and then lead his entire unit to join the Union forces in the Civil War. Upon returning from the Civil War he purchased some land and built a handsome two story brick house on Missouri river bottom land near Charette Creek.* It is likely where he lived with his wife and eleven children. Amazing to think that this dilapidated house was once booming with life!
He served as judge and later went on to serve as a representative of Warren County in the Missouri General Assembly. During his time in the legislature he was a prolific writer covering all matters from Oil prices to highway development and taxation. He recommended organizing local communities into 8 mile square highway districts so that the people of each town could develop the highways in a way that fit their economy. In large part due to his leadership roads were built in this county which now form the foundation of the two state highways which intersect in Marthasville: MO-94 and MO-47.
Unfortunately for Marthasville, it never became the sprawling Metropolis that the Schoppenhorst had envisioned and perhaps that is for the best. Because now it remains a historic stop over on the way out to Hermann Wine Country. If you ever visit Marthasville, consider stopping at the Boone Monument Village, learning about the history of Warren county from Cathie Schoppenhorst who is an expert historian and could go on for hours about all the fascinating tales. She even offered to take us on a tour if we ever went out to Marthasville. If you ever visit Boone Monument Village, be sure to ask her about the books that she has published about H.A. Schoppenhorst and the history of Warren County.
The one downside about these Sunday drives? You often only have time for a drive-by history lesson. But taking time to talk to the locals can help to build relationships to explore more in the future. We plan on taking Cathie up on her offer to find out more about her county and hopefully in a future post we can tell you more about the conflicts between North and South, the relationships between slave and free, and what it was like to live in that part of Missouri during its formative years.
Give it a try. Put away your google maps, pick a road, and stop whenever you get the urge. You might be surprised what you find.
*It is possible the pictured house was built by a different Schoppenhorst, but the two were nearly identical.