Yesterday I, and a handful of others, attended the lectures on recent discoveries in Randolph County history, held at the Old Imperial Theater downtown beside the Lesmeister Guesthouse. I’ll post below a couple of highlights.
- Steve Saunders, director of nearby Powhatan Courthouse State Park, reported that in Mill Creek, at the edge of Pocahontas, they’ve found the 200-year-old hand-hewn beams, with mortises still in them, that were part of the dam built here by Louis De Mun and his brothers 200 years ago! Local people who vote here in Demun Township probably don’t know where our township got its name, but De Mun was MUCH more than a frontiersman building a mill in the wilderness. A Frenchman born in what is now known as Haiti, De Mun was educated in France and he was the principal assistant to the architect who built the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Later De Mun was secretary to Aaron Burr, who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and later was arrested (Burr, not De Mun) for plotting to overthrow the US government in lands west of the Atlantic coast states. It’s thought that the years De Mun spent here in the Pocahontas area were a time of “laying low” after the Aaron Burr controversy. There’s MUCH more to study on this very interesting subject!
- Lynn Morrow of the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, Missouri, spoke about a Randolph County connection related to the life of Daniel Boone and his sons after they settled in Missouri in Boone’s later years. Daniel Boone’s granddaughter, the daughter of Boone’s son Nathaniel (right), married a man named Van Bibber. It was Van Bibber who did the survey to create the town of Pocahontas, and Van Bibber Street is just one block west of Lesmeister Guesthouse. Van Bibber and his wife (Daniel Boone’s granddaughter) died during their time here, and Nathaniel Boone traveled here from his home near St. Charles, Missouri, to take the Van Bibber’s children back home to Missouri. (Who knows…that St. Charles connection may have led to the name of Pocahontas’ largest hotel, the St. Charles, built just a few years later.)Yet to be determined: where were the Van Bibbers buried. They may have been buried on Bettis Street by the home of Pocahontas founder Ranson Bettis, because there’s where Bettis himself was buried two years later, when he died. The remains of the Bettis family were moved from Bettis Street to Masonic Cemetery years ago so a bank could be built on the old Bettis home site, so who knows, Daniel Boone’s granddaughter may still be there under that bank today!