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.


Independent Patriot, December 8, 1821, page 4.

Welcome to the Missouri Bicentennial Minute from the State Historical Society of Missouri. Missourians could choose a wide array of medicines from stores in 1821. Many were types of patent medicines. Most were probably of limited effectiveness, but at least some of the ones classified as “bitters,” when mixed with liquor, made a variety of mixed drinks.

Independent Patriot, April 7, 1821, page 3.

We can learn about how people lived in Missouri in 1821 by examining items sold in mercantile stores. Most such stores were combinations of modern-day hardware, grocery, pharmaceutical, fabric, and convenience stores. Goods arrived by steamboat in 1821, mostly via New Orleans. Proprietors advertised newly-arrived goods in local newspapers.

(Houghton, in Henry R. Schoolcraft, “A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri,” New York: Charles Wiley and Co., 1819

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

Missouri had poor roads at statehood. Territorial authorities maintained some roads, and counties oversaw petitions for new local roads. County-level courts ordered those living along the routes of local roads to establish, then maintain them or face fines. Today’s gravel roads would have been super highways to early Missourians. Even state roads were two-track paths, requiring detours around rutted portions. Travelers crossed streams at shallow fords, or on ferries at larger streams.

(Wikipedia Commons, public domain)

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