CITY OF CAPE GIRARDEAU HISTORY

Cape Girardeau County Missouri Genealogy Trails


CITY HISTORY

POLICE OFFICERS DYING IN LINE OF DUTY



CITY HISTORY
Cape Girardeau.—A city of the third class, the largest in southeastern Missouri, located in Cape Girardeau County, on the Mississippi River, one hundred and fifty-nine miles by river and one hundred and thirty-six miles by rail from St. Louis. It is a terminal point of the Southern Missouri & Arkansas Railway. The town derives its name from one De Ciirardot, who was an officer in the. French Army at Kaskaskia, and later an Indian trader, who had a post at Big Bend, about three miles above the present town. The city was first settled in 1793 by Louis Lorimier, was laid out as a town in 1805, incorporated in 1808 and reincorporated in 1824 and 1843, and in 1892 was incorporated as a city by act of the State Legislature, and incorporated as a city of the third class in 1892. The location is beautiful, being elevated above the Mississippi River and overlooking the same, and the opposite shore in Illinois, for many miles. The original survey and plat of the town were made by Bartholomew Cousins under the direction of Lorimier. Its limits were placed at North Street, north; Williams Street, south, and Middle Street, west. The cross streets were the same in width and number as at present. Lots were sold at private sale at the uniform price of $100 each.

Among the first purchasers were John Risher, John Randol, Solomon Ellis, William Ogle, Ezekiel Able, John C. Harbison, William White and Charles G. Ellis. Besides these at this time there were residing in the town Daniel F. Steinbach, Robert Blair, Dr. Erasmus Ellis, Anthony Haden, James Evans, Frederick Gibler, Levi Wolverton, Robert Worthington, Frederick Reinecke, Joseph McFerron and George Henderson. The first store was conducted by Lorimier, and the second one was opened by D. F. Steinbach, a son-in-law of Lorimier, and Frederick Reinecke. This was on the corner now occupied by the Sturdivant Bank, and was also the residence of Steinbach. In 1806 Garah Davis and William Ogle opened a store. Ogle was also collector of internal revenue. He was killed in a duel by Joseph McFerron, an account of which is given elsewhere. An account book of Davis & Ogle gives the prices of commodities prevailing at that time. Among other things the price of calico was $1.00 per yard; linen, 75 cents per yard; pins, 3 ½ cents per paper, and sugar 25 cents per pound.

The house where Louis Lorimier lived was on the lot now occupied by St. Vincent's Academy. It was a low, long frame building, and after his death was called the "Red House," and by many of the superstitious was supposed to be haunted. Charles G. Ellis built a two-story log house on the lot now the site of Turner Hall, which was the leading hostelry, and which he ran in connection with a store until his death in 1831. Ellis was an active man and in 1826 was one of the promoters of the Cape Girardeau Mill Company, which built a mill in the upper end of the town. The power employed to run this mill was a screw, similar to the ones on large steamers now, which was placed in the river and turned by the current. Some years earlier Bartholomew Cousins supplied power to the first mill in Cape Girardeau by a like method.

Among the other enterprises of which the town could boast, were two tanneries, one started in 1810 by William Scripps and his son, John, the other started in 1819 by Moses McLean, and a still house, operated by Levi L. Lightner. The legal fraternity was represented by Robert Blair, who was judge of the Court of Quarter Sessions; John Evans, John C. Harbison, Anthony Haden and George Henderson. In 1811 the first brick house in the town was built by Ezekiel Able. He was a contractor and was awarded the building of the courthouse and jail. The latter he completed, but became insolvent and could not build the courthouse. Afterward he was successful in business and died a wealthy man. He had four sons, William, John, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and two daughters, Mary, who became the wife of General W. H. Ashley, and Elizabeth, who became the wife of J. Stephenson.

The first commissioners of the town, when it was incorporated, in 1808, were Joseph McFerron, Anthony Haden, Robert Blair, Daniel F. Steinbach and Isaac M. Bledsoe. The failure of Able to build the courthouse and the subsequent removal of the seat of justice to Jackson, in 1813, gave Cape Girardeau a setback, and for some twenty years there was little improvement. In 1818 a writer described the town as having two stores and fifty houses. That year the sale of the Lorimier estate caused an extension of the town.

The advent of steamboats on the Mississippi gave the town renewed vigor, and it became one of the most important shipping points along the river, and retained its prestige for many years. The building of the Iron Mountain Railroad cut off much of its territory and decreased its trade and shipping. In 1867 there were in the town twenty-seven dry goods stores, three hardware stores, twelve grocery, five drug and five furniture stores, twelve shoe shops, seven tailor shops, eleven blacksmith shops, three flour mills, five breweries, a distillery, two tanneries and two cotton gins, besides a bank, the Sturdivant, which was formerly the third branch of the State Bank, moved from Jackson in 1853, and purchased by Mr. Robert Sturdivant in 1866.

The inroads into the trade of the town by the building of the Iron Mountain caused the projection of the Cape Girardeau & State Line Railroad. Toward this line $150,000 was subscribed by the city and as much more by the township. The failure of the road resulted disastrously for the city, which made little progress until the building of the Cape Girardeau & Southwestern Railway in 1880, when the growth of the city was given fresh impetus.

The first school in the town was in a small log house that stood upon the site of the St. Charles Hotel. The early schools were of an elementary character and many of the children attended the school at Mount Tabor, some ten miles west. The first schoolhouse of any pretensions was built in 1830. on a lot purchased for the purpose on the corner of Fountain and Meriwether Streets. It was of brick. The Cape Girardeau Academy was incorporated in 1843, and six years later the Washington Female Seminary was chartered. Both schools, in 1867, were superseded by public schools and the State Normal. In 1843 St. Vincent's College was founded, formed out of the Catholic Academy established years before at Perryville.

The first newspaper published in the town was the "Patriot," established in 1836 by Edwin H. White. It was a Whig paper and was succeeded in 1843 by another of the same politics, "The South Missourian,'' edited by John W. Morris. Other papers that were published in the town and the years of the first issue are: "Western Eagle," "Marble City News," 1866; "Democracy,"' 1870, by Wallace Gruelle; "Censor," in the forties, by James Lindsey; "Argus," 1869; "Westliche Post" (German), 1871; "Courier," 1878; "Expositor," 1852; "Mississippi Valley Globe," 1872; "Cape Talk," 1886, and the "Baptist Headlight," monthly, 1896. The press of the town at present is represented by the "Democrat," published both daily and weekly. The weekly was established in 1876 and the daily edition in 1888. Benjamin H. Adams is its publisher and editor. The "Southeast Gazette," weekly, was established in 1890 by Joseph Flynn, and now edited by Mr. Genung.

Cape Girardeau at the present time is a growing and beautiful city. Its commercial interests are represented by more than two hundred business concerns, including two banks, four hotels, opera house, four flouring mills, paint, cement and chalk works, foundry, several marble yards, stave and heading factory, two packing houses, one brewery, large lime works, ice factory and well stocked stores in every branch of trade.

The city has a street railway, electric lights. waterworks, well paved streets, a sewerage system and all improvements generally found in a progressive city. There are nine churches for white, and four for colored people. The population in 1900 was 4,815.

[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Volume 1: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]




POLICE OFFICERS DYING IN LINE OF DUTY


1.  Patrolman Albert Demortiers
Cape Girardeau Police Department, MO
Saturday, Oct. 27, 1917
Cause of Death:  Gunfire

2.  Officer Willis Martin
Cape Girardeau Police Department, MO
Sunday, February 27, 1921
Cause of Death:  Gunfire

3.  Chief of Police Nathaniel Jefferson Hutson
Cape Girardeau Police Department, MO
Saturday, October 7, 1922
Cause of Death:  Gunfire.

4.  Auxiliary Sergeant Herbert L. Goss
Cape Girardeau Police Department, MO
Friday, March 10, 1961
Cause of Death:  Gunfire.

5.  Patrolman Donald Harold Crittendon
Cape Girardeau Police Department
Tuesday, March 21, 1961
Cause of Death:  Gunfire.

Source:  The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.  

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