Marthasville — Rich In History

One of Marthasville’s most treasured gems lived to be over 100 years old. Mr. Ralph Gregory not only knew our history inside-out, he lived it. Mr. Gregory was a historian who has written several books about our local history and has shared his knowledge extensively to help educate others. The brief history of early Marthasville on this page, as well as its title, is largely taken from his books

In 1799 Daniel Boone and his family came from Kentucky and settled a few miles away from present Marthasville near the Missouri River at Matson. At that time the area was Spanish owned and was known as ‘Upper Spanish Louisiana.’ One of those who came with Boone was his son-in-law, Flanders Callaway. Flanders was married to Boone’s daughter, Jemima, “the more famous of his daughters.” The Callaway family built a large 2-story log home in the rich bottom-land of the Missouri River near a tiny French trading village known as LaCharette. LaCharette was located in the immediate vicinity of Marthasville which was established 3 years before Daniel died. The Callaway house survives today, though it has been moved from the original site. If you stand at the spot where the house was originally located and look east, you are looking at our present town of Marthasville.

Daniel and Rebecca Boone were in their 60’s when they moved here and, like most “retirement-age” people of their period, they lived with their children, staying with each for extended periods. They spent most of their last years, living with their daughter, Jemima, and her family, thus Marthasville is rightfully called “the last home area of Daniel Boone.” The only portrait painted from life of Daniel Boone was painted by artist, Chester Harding, in the Callaway house at Marthasville in June 1820 while Daniel was living there. Rebecca (Bryan) Boone died at Jemima’s home in 1813 and hers became the first burial in the nearby family cemetery of the Bryans and Boones, located on a knoll above Tuque Creek. Seven years later, in September 1820, her husband, the much honored and legendary Colonel Daniel Boone, was buried there with her.

Marthasville also has the great honor of a place in one of the most historic events in our country’s history, the Lewis and Clark expedition. On 25 May 1804, LaCharrette was their last sight of civilization as they camped here on their way west. When they returned on 20 September 1806, they wrote of the joy they felt upon seeing the people of the small town come out to welcome them, knowing they were finally home again.

The plat of Marthasville was surveyed for Dr. John Young of Kentucky in June 1817. One hundred and twenty-six lots were staked off and three lots were marked for a “Publick Ground.” He named the new town Marthasville, after his wife, Martha. Later that year Dr. Young was selling lots in the town and built a tavern. He and Dr. John Jones, a grandson-in-law of Daniel Boone, set up a medical practice in the new town. Dr. Young also built water-powered mills on Tuque Creek and started the first general store. In March, 1818, Dr. Young sold four lots to Benjamin Sharp “in consideration of one stud horse called Black Prince.”

Montgomery County was formed in December 1818. Marthasville was then the only town in the county. In 1826 Dr. Young sold most of his property at Marthasville to Harvey Griswold. By 1831 Griswold owned all of the lots in town except one which belonged to Dr. John Jones. Other early owners of lots in town were J. Bryan, James Callaway, B. Callahan, John Wyatt, H. Smith, M. Finley, L. Church, O. Woodhouse, H. Lane, Wm. Harrison, Jackson, Everett, Trimble, Wm. Shovengerdt, Mrs. Lehmberg and A. Grabs. Many descendants of those early pioneers still live in the area today.

In 1833, Warren County was formed and since that time has been the parent county of Marthasville. By that time many German immigrants had come to Missouri as followers of Gottfried Duden and settled along Tuque and Lake Creeks. The area is largely populated today by the descendants of those same early German immigrants. The town of Marthasville, however, in the 1830’s remained an “American” town under the dominance of Harvey Griswold. Marthasville was the trade center and post office for the Charrette, Tuque and Lake Creek regions. In the 1840’s Marthasville was the main landing place on the Missouri River for all of Warren County.

In April 1850 a group of people left Marthasville for the gold fields of California, led by M. Jackson Lamme, a great-grandson of Daniel Boone, and by Thomas Maupin, Lamme’s father-in-law. Many of the group were descendants of Daniel Boone, or of the families who came with Boone to the territory in 1799 or followed him here soon after. Today those pioneer-descendants are the ancestors of many native Californians and people throughout the farthest western reaches of the United States.

We are very honored by our area’s history and proud to be living in this beautiful scenic little “speck” on the map which holds a great place in America’s history and participated, in no small way, in the making of a nation.

As compiled and written by Margie Ball Miles, April 2013