Bartholomew Cousin House Razed

Oct 18, 2012

It seems like Almost Yesterday that Bartholomew Cousin moved into the district of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Born on March 28, 1767 near Cherbourg, France, Cousin emigrated to North American in 1791 and within a few years settled in Cape Girardeau where he was soon one of the most prosperous and important residents of the region.

The town’s founder and commandant, Louis Lorimier, could not read nor write. Cousin was fluent in Latin, French, English, Spanish and several Indian languages, and soon became his vital assistant. He emerged as a significant figure in this small frontier village, serving as a notary public, surveyor, land commissioner, translator, civil engineer, and general secretary to Lorimier.

Bartholomew Cousin drew the first street plan for the town of Cape Girardeau, and although drawn in 1806 it is the streetscape that residents currently drive in the downtown region.

Cousin eventually accumulated large land holdings west of Cape Girardeau, notably along Whitewater and Byrd Creeks. Until his death in 1824, Cousin lived most of his time in Cape Girardeau in a two-story log home on the east side of Spanish Street, just south of  Independence.

In the aftermath of World War II, a growing economy prompted the razing of several older structures in the downtown area, and in July of 1946 the historic Cousin House, approximately 150 years old, gave way to a modern structure.

The removal of the wooden siding revealed a house built of huge poplar logs, held together by wooden pins, each log about twelve inches wide and eight inches thick.

As the logs came down, most were hauled off and burned. But one of the logs was claimed by Professor Duckworth, curator of the college museum, who took it to the campus where it was placed on display.

It seems like Almost Yesterday.