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Southeast Missouri had a key role in the road to Missouri statehood in 1817-1821. The events leading to statehood, and some of the events, people, and lifeways in the area may be unfamiliar to many modern-day Missourians. Currently, Missouri is celebrating its Bicentennial, and this program aims to summarize the events leading to statehood, some of the factors affecting Missouri’s entry into the Union, and how people lived and worked during that time 200 years ago.Every Friday morning at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m. and Saturday morning at 8:18 a.m., Bill Eddleman highlights the people, places, ways of life, and local events in Southeast Missouri in 1821.The theme music for the show ("The Missouri Waltz") is provided by Old-Time Missouri Fiddler Charlie Walden, host of the podcast "Possum’s Big Fiddle Show."

Missouri Bicentennial Minutes: Additional Post Roads Established in 1821

Missouri Intelligencer, issue of June 11, 1821, page 1, column 4.
Public announcement of Post Road law.

Postal service in 1821 was problematic in most of Missouri. Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution gave Congress power, “To establish post offices and post roads.” While established post roads were among the best roads in the U. S., and many remain unchanged to this day, few were in Missouri at statehood.

Post roads in southeastern Missouri in 1820 ranged from well-established to little more than bridal paths. Consequently, the mails were irregular. The editor of the Missouri Gazette and other newspapers complained that subscribers often failed to receive them, and eastern papers took a month or two to arrive. Officials suspected deputy postmasters stole some public documents in route. The Ste. Genevieve Correspondent complained it took 14-21 days to get mail from St. Charles – a distance of 80 miles.

The mail routes in 1819 included weekly routes: Shawneetown to St. Louis; Smithland, Kentucky to Cape Girardeau; Harrisonville, Illinois by Herculaneum, Mine a Breton, Ste. Genevieve to Kaskaskia; and Kaskaskia by Ste. Genevieve, Tuckers, Hughes, Cape Girardeau and Winchester (Sikeston) to New Madrid.

Other routes visited every two weeks included Harrisonville, Illinois by Herculaneum, Potosi, St. Michaels, Greenville, into Arkansas; Jackson to Greenville; Ste. Genevieve by Potosi to Franklin Courthouse; Ste. Genevieve to Fredericktown; and Potosi by Bellevue to Murphy Settlement (Farmington). Routes added by Congress March 3, 1821 led from Shawneetown by Jonesborough, Illinois and Bainbridge, Cape Girardeau County, to Jackson; and from Ste. Genevieve, by the Saline, Amos Byrd’s, John F. Henry’s, and Bainbridge, to Cape Girardeau.

Bill Eddleman was born in Cape Girardeau, and is an 8th-generation Cape Countian. His first Missouri ancestor came to the state in 1802. He attended SEMO for two years before transferring to the University of Missouri to study Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. He stayed at Mizzou to earn a master of science in Fisheries and Wildlife, and continued studies in Wildlife Ecology at Oklahoma State University.
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