Bill Eddleman

Host, Missouri Bicentennial Minutes

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. 

Bill’s professional interests were in ornithology (the study of birds) and wildlife management. Upon earning his Ph.D., he worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation, did postdoctoral research at the University of Wyoming, and then joined the Natural Resource Sciences faculty at the University of Rhode Island in 1988. He moved back to Cape Girardeau to take a similar position in the Department of Biology at SEMO in 1995. He continued in the Biology Department and several administrative positions until retiring in 2016.

Bill has always had an interest in local history and genealogy. His familiarity with Southeast Missouri history was the primary reason he became Associate Director for the State Historical Society at its Cape Girardeau Research Center in 2017. At the center, he promotes donations to their manuscript collections, provides history-themed programs for groups in their 15-county coverage area, and assists patrons with research. His own historical research interests include mainly 19th-century Southeast Missouri history, especially the Civil War era and early settlement period. 

In his spare time, he serves as president of both the Missouri Birding Society and the Missouri State Genealogical Association. He and his wife Hope also reenact Civil War era history, and are active members of the Friends of Fort D in Cape.


Public Domain

The Louisiana Purchase marked unrestricted American settlement of Missouri. Emigrants followed the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers and the few overland routes, and most came from the upper South and lower Middle West. Many Scots-Irish were among this wave of settlement, coming mainly from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Fewer came from other southern states, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

(Victor Collet "Voyage dans I'Amerique du Nord-1826)

Welcome to the Missouri Bicentennial Minute from the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Public Domain

January 6 not only marked the first week of Missouri’s bicentennial year, but also the 200th anniversary of the first issue of the Jackson, Missouri, Independent Patriot.

Collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri.

January 1, 1821 marked the effective date for the creation of Perry County. The General Assembly organized the county on November 16, 1820 from Ste. Genevieve County. The name commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry, naval hero of the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The approximate boundaries were the Mississippi River, Apple Creek, Madison County, and Saline Creek to the mouth of St. Laurent Creek.

While Missourians remember 1820 for the path to statehood, a callous crime in December occupied state news through May 1821.