Did They Open the Time Capsule?

It was a pretty, if chilly, day in Cape, so Missourian reporter Melissa Miller and I decided to walk from the paper downtown to lunch by cutting through the Common Pleas Courthouse grounds and walking down (and up) 55 steps (plus landings). I won the honor by being the 100th person to “Like” her Facebook page. (Here’s how I know it was 55 steps.)

It was a pleasure meeting her after exchanging email and FB messages. It was a bit of a downer, though, when the cashier asked if I was her dad, but I suppose that’s better than being asked if I was her grandfather.

On the way back to the office, I looked around at all of the markers and memorials that I had never paid attention to before.

Research or nap?

This one is a marks a time capsule right next to the west foundation of the courthouse:

AUG. 19 – 25, 1956

My interest was piqued. What was in the time capsule from 1956? Did they open it in 2006? I did a cursory search of Cape Bicentennial events in 2006 and saw no mention of it. As the afternoon went on, I had to make a choice: continue my research or take a nap. Nap won out. I’ll let someone else tell me if it was opened.

Cardinals to name Mother MVP

You’ll read about the other courthouse markers and memorials later. I couldn’t edit photos, do research and write copy with the Cardinals playing like they did in Game 6. I decided to call it a night after that last homer.

I’m waiting to open the door any minute though, and be visited by a plague of sportswriters carrying a big trophy naming Mother Most Valuable Player. When I took a break, I found her dead asleep with the TV blaring basefall. She and the Cardinals were taking the same approach to the game.

Fortunately, she woke up in the bottom of the ninth, and so did The Birds. I made sure to go upstairs and give her a poke every time the Cards came up to bat after that. I hope I can keep her awake for Game 7.



Red House Interpretive Center

The 1934 Central High School Girardot had wood block-style illustrations of Cape Girardeau landmarks in it. This is an artist’s depiction of The Red House, Louis Lorimier’s home. It, and the first St. Vincent’s Church, were destroyed by a tornado.

Red House in 2010

This is a photo of the Red House taken March 22, 2010.

The Red House’s website says, “After much discussion and debate it was decided that a reconstruction or replica of Lorimier’s original Red House was just not possible. No one actually knew for sure what the original trading post looked like. All the group had was a drawing of a house taken from the recollections of a local resident, Sara Bollinger Daughtery. What the board decided to do was construct a house of the French colonial architectural style – a style that would have been used by a French Canadian in this area at that time; and to construct this house following the design of Daughterty’s recollection. Rather than call the house a “replica” or reconstruction it would be an interpretation of the style of house that Lorimier may have built and lived in.”

Other Red House photos and stories

Louis Lorimier and Indian Park

I really didn’t have many memories of Indian park. It always felt a a little rundown and neglected, although it has a few more amenities these days. It’s bounded on the east by Lorimier, the south by William (and, at one time, Happy Hollow, the town dump). Louis Houck’s railroad ran past the west end of the park. There was a little BBQ stand just up the street from it.

I figured this would be an easy posting: a couple shots of the granite memorial (dedicated Oct. 7, 1946) and I’d get to bed early. Darned history got in the way of that.

Friend and leader of Indian tribes

The inscription on the marker reads, “Indian Park. Indian tribes often came here 1793 – 1812 to meet Don Louis Lorimier their friend and leader.”

I took THAT with a big grain of salt. When you’ve got Trail of Tears just north of Cape, I wondered just how much of a friend any white man was to the Shawnees who used to camp on this ground because there was a good spring nearby.

Lorimier captured Dan’l Boone?!?

A Jan. 31, 1948, Missourian clip quoted the Houck histories as saying that Lorimier and Indians, opposing the Americans, made a raid into Kentucky, captured Daniel Boone and took him and others to the principal Shawnee Indian village in Ohio on Feb. 7, 1778. Boone escaped June 16.

I guess it IS possible that he could be considered a leader.

He established Cape Girardeau in 1793. Before coming to this (Spanish) territory, he had favored the English in the war (1775) against the American colonies.

Was he married or not?

The light was really ugly on Lorimier’s grave when I strolled through the cemetery, so I blew it off with a perfunctory shot. I wish I had paid more attention.

A Missourian story – 140 Years Ago – 1809 – said that on March 23, Charlotte Pemanpieh Bougainville, consort of Lorimier, died, aged 50 years, 2 months, leaving 4 sons and 2 daughters. She was laid to rest in Old Lorimier Cemetery in the first marked grave. Lorimier speaks of his consort as  “the Shawnee woman, Pemanpieh, with whom I have lived these 4 and 20 years and upward, and whom I consider, love and regard as my wife.”

The tombstone reads, in part, To the memory of Charlotte P.B Lorimier consort of Maj. L. Lorimier…

That would indicate that she took his name, at least in stone.

“Married by the Great Spirit”

Another Missourian story says that Lorimier, prior to his coming to Cape Girardeau, had taken for his wife a half-breed Shawnee woman, named Charlotte Pemanpieh Bougainville, supposed to have been the daughter of a French-Canadian officer of that name. Tradition has it that he was married to his spouse according to tribal ritual, by standing on a mountain top at sunrise, with uplifted arms, imploring the Great Spirit to guide their every footstep on their journey through life.

My friend Shari and I noticed a fair number of graves in the old cemetery that had a wife on one side and a much younger “consort” on the other. We thought that maybe “consort” was just another word for wife in those days. Looks like that might not be exactly true.

I sure don’t remember hearing much about this in history class. I’d have paid closer attention if that kind of stuff had been part of the curriculum.

We’ll see if I can come up with more info before I do a piece on Old Lorimier Cemetery.