Pursuant to notice, previously published, a large meeting of
the citizens of the counties of St. Genevieve, Madison,
St. Francois and Perry, was held at New
Tennessee, in Ste. Genevieve County, on the 5th day of April 1851,
for the purpose of taking into consideration the advantages and practicability of constructing a plank
road from St. Mary, on the Mississippi River, to the Iron Mountain and Pilot
The meeting was organized by calling Col. Josera Coffman to
the Chair, Charles Gregoin was appointed Vice President, and George Griffith
Miles A. Gilbert, by request, in a clear and impressive
manner addressed the meeting, in explanation of the objects which had called
the people together.
H. Blackledge also addressed the meeting, and, in a very
happy and lucid manner, gave his reasons why St. Mary was the most suitable
terminus for such road and proved, to the satisfaction of every unprejudiced
mind, that this point embraced advantages over every other to which public
attention has been directed.
On motion the Chair appointed F. Roxier, Jr., of Perry, D.
M. Fox, of Madison, H. Blackledge, of St.
Genevieve, and E. C. Sebastian, of St. Francois,
a Committee to draft and report resolutions expressive of the sense of the
Whereas, We, the citizens of St. Genevieve, St. Francois,
Madison and Perry Counties, in mass meeting assembled, being deeply impressed
with the advantages and importance of construction a plank road from some
suitable point on the Mississippi River to the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob, to
run as near as possible to Min e la Motte, and at the same time to traverse the
fine agricultural region that would be embraced within its route, and having
duly weighted and considered the advantages presented by the different points
to which public attention has been called as the probable terminus of such
road, have been led irresistibly to the conclusion that the town of St. Mary
does present advantages for such terminus possessed by no other point, some of
which we will here enumerate.
possesses a landing equal, if not superior, to any other point from St. Louis
to the mouth of the Ohio River, no sand bars forming gin from of it, not caving
in of banks or changing of currents, but all seasons and under all
circumstances, high water or low water, vessels of all classes, from the skiff
to the mammoth steamer, have free ingress and egress.
2nd . The
road leading from the point would secure almost the entire trade of Perry County,
and would pass through the splendid agricultural regions known as New
Tennessee and Cook’s Settlement, in the counties of Ste. Genevieve and St.
Francois, and near Mine la Motte, and Fredericktown, in Madison County,
securing to itself not only the trade of these regions but the whole country of
Madison and of the fertile regions in the valley of the St. Francois as far
down as Greenville, in Wayne County, thus enabling the Company to do a
profitable business, independent of the patronage which my reasonable be
expected from the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob Companies, as soon as the road
shall be completed.
distance from St. Mary to the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob, over a practicably
and easy route, is much nearer, and the lumber for constructing the road more
easily procured than from any other point on the river, thus enabling the
Company to build the road cheaper than any other can be constructed.
proprietors of the town of St. Mary have made liberal donations of property, at
that point, to the stock holders, making them interested in building up and
making that a flourishing city, whereby the stock holders will realize and
share all the advantages which the construction of the road may be to that
1. That we
are satisfied that said plank road ought to be, can be, and will be constructed
without delay, that the subscriptions of stock already taken in the St. Mary’s
Plank Road Company, have more than resulted our most sanguine expectations, and
we entertain no doubt that with a little exertion the whole stock will be
speedily taken and the road constructed.
2. That, in our
opinion, nature never does her work by piece meals, and as nature has made St.
Mary the true terminus of the road, it only remains for us to avail ourselves
to the advantages she as to liberally bestowed upon us.
3. That as the
patronage and influence of the Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob Companies would
expedite the construction of the road and materially increase her dividends,
the President of this meeting appoint five Delegates to meet the Directors of
the Iron Mountain Company at their annual meeting, on Monday next. To consult
with said Directors upon this subject.
4. That the means for
construction said road are within our reach, that we will put our shoulders to
the wheel with the full determination to use every means in our power to push
the said road forward to an early completion.
Which resolutions were adopted by
The Chair appointed, under the third resolution, Charles
Gresgoin, of Madison
County, Messers. Miles A.
Gilbert and H. Blackledge, of Ste Genevieve County,
Francis Clark and E. C. Sebastian, of St. Francois County.
On motion the Chair appointed Dr. R. Shelby and Fernand
Roxier, Jr., of Perry; Caleb Cox and D.
M. Fox, of Madison, B. S. Pratte, Thomas Buran and John Coffman, of Ste.
Genevieve, E. C. Sebastian, Francis Clark and Joseph F. Harris, of St.
Francois, to solicet subscriptions of stock from the citizens.
The Chairman then addressed the meeting upon the advantages
of the contemplated road, in a forcible and earnest manner, impressing all with
the necessity of pushing forward the enterprise and of taking stock in the
road, and from his knowledge of road making, assured them of the feasibility of
constructing it, and to show that he was in earnest, proposed to double the
amount of his subscription. Whereupon, a
call was made for the books, which, being produced, a very large additional
number of shares were taken.
Resolved, That the Missouri
Republican, St. Louis Union,
and Creole at Ste. Genevieve, be requested to publish the proceeding of this
Thereupon the meeting adjourned.
Joseph Coffman, Chairman
George Griffith, Secretary
The Republican – St.
Louis – Tuesday Morning, April 15, 1851
plank road or puncheon is a dirt path or road covered
with a series of planks.
roads were widely popular in the first half of the 19th
century. They were often built by turnpike companies.
and explanation from: Widipedia