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History of Prairie du Rocher

On a certain day in January, 1799, (the exact date cannot now be ascertained) the little village of Prairie du Rocher was all aglow with excitement. A party of soldiers had arrived. It was a detachment under the command of Col. George Rogers Clark, and they decided to spend the evening at the hospitable home of Captain Jean Baptiste Barbeau, (Barber). Col. Clark tells of this hospitable reception and the “ball” that followed: “We went cheerfully to Prara De Ruch,’ 12 miles from Kaskaskia, war I intended to spend the Eavening at Capt Barbers.” “The Gentlemen & Ladies immediately assembled at a Ball for our Entertainment; we spent the fore part of the night very agreeably; but about 12 o’clock there was a very sudden change by an Express arriving, informing us that Governor Hammilton was within three miles of Kaskaskia with eight hundred Men, and was determined to attack the Fort that night . . . .” Col. Clark at once ordered his horses saddled in order, if possible, to get into the Fort before the attack could be made Clark‘s brave conduct inspired a number of young men of Prairie du Rocher to saddle their horses and accompany their intrepid leader. But the great attack never occurred. The fact, however, remains, that Col. George Rogers Clark danced with some of the belles and mesdames of old Prairie du Rocher on the night of a certain day in January, 1799. The early French settlers of Prairie du Rocher were neither all good nor all bad, nor were they all intermarried with savage women, nor were they all “coureurs...

The Barbeau Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

The name of Barbeau, so well-known in all Randolph County, was never more honorably borne than by the present head of the family. His ancestors have lived near Prairie du Rocher for generations. His father Henry Barbeau, who died in 1902, was born in the vicinity of the Commons. Both this gentleman and his wife, who lived until 1915, were well known through the length and breadth of the county. Henry I. Barbeau was born on the farm where he now resides, on February 1, 1863. He attended the parochial and public schools, and after this studied the science of farming under the effective tuition of his father. He remained on his father’s farm and succeeded to the management of it when his father retired. This was in 1882. In the same year Mr. Barbeau was married. Mrs. Barbeau was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 22. 1861. Her father, whose name was McCaron, died soon after, when she came under the care of relatives in Prairie du Rocher. She received a good education, after which she taught school for three years near Ruma. Here she made the acquaintance of Mr. Barbeau, which resulted in their marriage. Seven children were born to them; Harry J., Frank W., Edward, Louis J., Leo A., George A., and Ella J. Barbeau. Besides the care of his large farm, which comprises 450 acres, Mr. Barbeau has been deeply interested in public matters. As superintendent of highways of Randolph County he earned the gratitude of all citizens. He is prominent in the affairs of the Democratic Party and a member of the Knights...

The Langlois Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

It has been difficult to trace the line of descendants of this founder of Prairie du Rocher. In a document of December 30, 1740, we learn that the late Ettienne Langlois married Catherine Beaudrau, a widow, and had the following children; Marie Louise, who married Pierre Messenger; Marie Josefine, m. Louis Populus sieur de St. Photes; Toinette, m. Pierre Boucher de Monbrum sieur de Soudray; Francois, Louis, Girard, Perine and Auguste. These last five were minors. From other sources it is learned that Ettienne had two brothers, August who lived at Kaskaskia, and Louis. What relation the notary Pierre Langlois was to these is not apparent. He was married to Catherine Normand Labriere, and had two children, Pierre and Marie Louise. The latter signed a marriage contract with Pierre Lefebhve of Vincennes, October 9, 1785. Pierre Langlois died in 1789, and his widow took oath to the inventory of the property December 14, of that...

The Moskop Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Every community contains a few men of remarkable business ability, men who have risen to enviable success in some branch of trade. They deserve the public gratitude for their contribution to its prosperity no less than they win general admiration for the manner in which they have risen into eminence and won the hard struggle of life. Such a character is Mr. Moskop, the well-known manager of the Nanson Commission Company. He was born January 28. 1866, in Monroe City. Monroe County, being the son of a prominent farmer. After finishing the parochial and public schools he worked for a time for his father, being employed in operating a threshing machine. In 1895 he took employment in a flour mill at Harrisonville, Illinois. as engineer. Then, in 1900, he became the salesman for Southern Illinois of a Chicago firm that manufactured harvesting implements, a position which he held for three years. Then he removed to Prairie du Rocher. On January 1, 1903 he became connected with the Nanson Commission Company, with which he has been affiliated to this day. His marriage with Miss Elizabeth Stiegler occurred February 3, 1891. She was the daughter of a well-known farmer of Madonnaville, Illinois; was born September 27, 1868, and lived at home until shortly before her marriage, when she lived with the Austin James family for nine years. She is a member of the Altar Society. Mr. and Mrs. Moskop have four children – Charles P., Armin J., Louise M. and Cecelia M. The company of which Mr. Moskop is manager has grain elevators in Valmeyer, Mayes, Fults, Renault, Riley Lake, Jones...

The Coerver Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Killian Coerver, the well-known miller, was born in Monroe County, near Waterloo, Illinois, on April 10, 1861. He attended the parochial and public schools and also St. Vincent’s College at Cape Girardeau, Mo. After leaving school he learned the printing trade, and then clerked in a dry goods business a short time, and at the age of 18 he started to work in the circuit clerk’s office. From December, 1882, to 1886, he served as deputy county treasurer, when he was elected on the Democratic ticket as county treasurer of Monroe County and served from 1886 to 1890. On October 1, 1890, he went to work at the office of Koenigsmark Milling Company, Waterloo, Illinois, and remained there until 1906, when the Schoening-Koenigsmark Milling Company, Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. was incorporated and Mr. Coerver became a stockholder in this new company and was elected secretary-treasurer and general manager. In 1911 another company was incorporated, known as the Salt Lick Milling Company, Valmeyer, Illinois, of which Mr. Coerver was made general manager, and in 1913 he was elected secretary and treasurer of this corporation also. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus of the East St. Louis, Illinois. Council. Mr. Coerver was married September 10, 1885, to Miss Mary Schuell of Waterloo, Illinois. Three children were born to this union: Fred H. Coerver, who at present is assistant secretary of the Prairie du Rocher corporation; Walter H. Coerver, who holds a similar position with the Valmeyer corporation; Amanda M. Coerver if the only daughter at home. Mr. Coerver is president of the Fort Chartres Association of Prairie du...

The Hauck Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Charles Hauck, the well-known dealer in horses, mules and cattle, was born May 31, 1864, in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. He attended the parochial and public schools, and after leaving school became an apprentice of Louis Naumann, learning the butcher trade. He followed this trade in Ste. Genevieve until 1889, when he came to Prairie du Rocher with strong arms and a willing heart and started a meat market in this place. He bought cattle and did his own work slaughtering. Later he began dealing in horses and mules. He assisted in organizing the bank in 1906 and has been director since. On August 8, 1888, he married Miss Mary Sucher. One son, Archibald N., came to bless the home. Mr. Hauck is a Democrat, a trustee of the village for twenty-two years; director of the State Bank of Prairie du Rocher, and trustee and treasurer of the Commons, and is rated as one of the substantial citizens of Prairie du Rocher. Illinois. He built a large home. In 1899 he bought 190 acres of fertile soil and built three big barns. Mr. Hauck, buying stock for a radius of over 30 miles, is well and favorably known. He is a member of Fort Chartres Association, and is also known to be a good supporter of the Catholic Church. Mrs. Hauck (nee Mary Sucher) was born on a farm near Ste. Genevieve September 19, 1866, and is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Sucher of near Ste. Genevieve, Mo. Chas. Hauck’s Live Stock Barn, Prairie du Rocher Charles Hauck Mrs. Charles Hauck Residence of Chas. Hauck, Prairie du...

The Hoef Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Mr. Hoef is one of those citizens who have come to our shores, leaving their native country, and seeking a new home in a new world. In early times all of our people crossed the seas, “but their hardihood and enterprise has all but been forgotten. Those who emigrated in more recent times serve to remind us of the dangers and privations attending the long voyage from another continent. Mr. Hoef was born in Cobenz, Germany, on March 16, 1851. He came to America with his parents in 1865 and settled in Madonnaville. Here he attended the parochial and public schools, and after finishing his schooling helped on the farm of his parents. The father died in 1878, the mother in 1892, on August 17th. But previous to this Mr. Hoef had taken a farm for himself. In 1883 he rented 54 acres of fertile bottom land near Prairie du Rocher. This soil, with the careful management which he gave it, yielded abundantly and brought him such prosperity that he purchased it in a short time. In 1889 he bought land adjoining to his and became the possessor of 240 acres. The large farm, situated on Rural Route #3, has been his home to the present time and has become a perfect farm in every sense as a result of his industry and prudence. Mr. Hoef was married in 1884, on October 28, to Miss Elizabeth Crewet. His wife was a daughter of Nicholaus Crewet, the organist and school teacher of Saint Viett. She was educated in the public school and academy in Buechlein, Germany, and after her father’s...

The Mudd Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

The influential farmer, James Duncan Mudd of Prairie du Rocher, is a member of the oldest family of settlers in Randolph County. Indeed, his family has been in America since the very earliest days, having come over to Maryland in the time of Lord Baltimore. This band of stout-hearted Englishmen set out from their native shores in 1633 and sought religious freedom in the new world. They established the Church in North America and guaranteed religious liberty, where until then there had been only Puritan fanaticism. The Mudd family were original settlers of this colony. After the Revolution, when the tide of westward emigration set in, Thomas Mudd and his wife Johanna Carrick Mudd, proceeded to Kentucky, where they were among the earliest settlers. They settled in Spencer County. This Thomas Mudd had seven sons and two daughters, the third son being Francis. Francis Mudd was born in 1795 in Maryland, emigrated from there to Kentucky with his parents, and there grew to manhood, with such slight educational advantages as the wilderness afforded. In the War of 1812 he volunteered, and served throughout the war. He was with Jackson at New Orleans when that great general with his regiments of stalwart pioneers won one of the most brilliant victories that we ever achieved over the British. On his return he was married in 1819 to Louisa Dough, and three years later moved to Randolph County. Thus the family had been among the very first settlers of three states, Maryland, Kentucky and Illinois. Francis Mudd claimed a farm in Section 29, Township 5, Range 8, and lived here the peaceful...

The Ker Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

The father of Henry Ker, a leading farmer in the neighborhood of Prairie du Rocher, was a man than whom few have seen more varied vicissitudes or left lives of more remarkable adventure. His name, like that of the subject of our biography, was Henry Ker, and he was born at Boston, Massachusetts, the son of English parents, who were temporarily residing at that place. He lived but a short time in Massachusetts. The family moved back to London where Henry received his education. He seems to have been born with an adventurous disposition, and habits of personal courage and daring. He left London in April, 1808, for Charleston, South Carolina, and thus began a series of travels which extended over eight years. He traveled through the Carolinas westward to the sources of the French Broad river, and followed its current down to the Holston to the Tennessee, and then by the waters of that river and the Ohio and Mississippi, stopping at various places along the banks to learn something of the nature of the localities and the habits of the people, he at last reached New Orleans. In the summer of 1809 a visit was made to some of the West Indian Islands, particularly Jamaica. Leaving the West Indies, the vessel on which he took passage to Savannah was shipwrecked, and he was compelled to return to Kingston. He next found his way to New Orleans, from which he ascended to the sources of the Red river, and spent some time among the different Indian tribes. Among his other adventures he killed a snake thirty-eight feet in...

Indians about Prairie du Rocher Illinois

By the time the early French arrived, the Mississippi had laid layer upon layer of rich silt on the land for decades. They copied the Indian way of planting corn in the spring, forgetting about it, and harvesting it in the fall. Since there was no need to till the soil, the populace had leisure time. Why the Indians did not build a great culture can be explained partially through the humid climate. The American Bottom is humid and moist which produces a lassitude and inertia that hangs heavy over the valley. Consequently, creative work is to a large extent inhibited. Visitors to Prairie du Rocher who sleep in the bottoms often comment how difficult they find it to rise in the morning, and how this sluggishness increases with the heat of noon. Exhaustion from this languor is soon dispersed with as the visitor returns homeward. The climate is partially responsible for the preservation of many old interesting buildings; moreover, for the calmness, and peacefulness which is characteristic of its inhabitants. Strangely enough the French settled at Prairie du Rocher before the Metchigamias Indians with whom we associate this area. Illinois consisted of at this time five basic Indian tribes known as the “Illinois Confederacy”: The habitat of the Metchigamis was originally west of the Mississippi and they really became a part of the confederacy by adoption when they migrated to Prairie du Rocher between the years 1718—1723. They have impressed their name on the lake and state of Michigan. The habitat of the Kaskaskias was the region between Lake Michigan and Lake Peoria. They have impressed their name...
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