Almost Yesterday: Bollinger Leads North Carolina Migrants To Missouri

Oct 29, 2019

It seems like almost yesterday that George Frederick Bollinger led a contingent of North Carolinians across the Mississippi River into Missouri.  The young Mr. Bollinger had visited the small community of Cape Girardeau in 1797, established a friendship with Louis Lorimier who encouraged him to return to North Carolina and bring more settlers to the area.

Bollinger did so and after the autumn harvest of 1799 a group of eager adventurers set out from their farmsteads in North Carolina for the Missouri frontier.  With George Frederick were his four brothers, John, Daniel, Philip, and Mathias; two nephews William and Henry Bollinger, and such friends and neighbors as:  Joseph Nyswonger, John and Isaac Miller, Leonard Welker, Frederick Slinkard, Peter and Conrad Statler, Peter Crytes, John and Jacob Cotner, George and Peter Grount, and Frederick Limbaugh and a large number of family members.

Their belongings were pulled west in covered wagons and carts by a variety of horse, oxen and human strength.

In late December this hardened group reached the east bank of the Mississippi directly across from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, where they set up camp to wait the opportunity to cross the formidable river.They were fortunate that winter came early in 1800 and ice was forming on the surface of the river.  For over two weeks the camp site was maintained while the participants waited until the ice was thick enough to support the teams and loaded wagons.

Finally, on December 31 the leaders of the expedition and experienced river men from Ste. Genevieve agreed that the ice was safe for a crossing and on the morning of January 1, 1800, the Bollinger contingent initiated a new era in the history of southeast Missouri.