Early St. Louis


The Journey of the Augustin Kennerly Journal

Common Thread Between Clark & Pilcher

William Clark and Joshua Pilcher had much in common. Not only were they both Virginians, Freemasons, and Superintendents of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, they were both associated with the Missouri Fur Company. Clark joined Manuel Lisa and others in its earliest formation when it was formed as the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company in the winter of 1808-1809, and Joshua Pilcher coming ten years later after it was re-organized, and later taking charge of the company after Lisa's death.

These facts are common knowledge among many researchers of the fur trade. It is the small, unknown tidbits that I've gleaned while researching the life of Joshua Pilcher that most fascinate me. One example known to few, is the diary of Augustin Kennerly who was sub-agent to the Senecas while General William Clark was Superintendent of Indian Affairs. His journal, documenting the years of 1832-1833, came into the possession of my 2nd great grandfather Thomas Anderson Moore.  In 1918, a few years after Moore's death, the journal was sent to the Missouri Historical Society by his daughter and studied with great interest by Stella M. Drumm and John Francis McDermott, both who later edited and authored many books and articles relative to Missouri and the Mississippi Valley.

But how did the journal of Kennerly end up with Moore? This question remains unanswered, but I have begun to speculate over the years how the journal may have made its journey to find a home at the Missouri Historical Society in the Thomas Anderson Moore Collection. First, we must be reminded that Augustin Kennerly was also a Freemason in Missouri Lodge No. 1 and a sub-agent to the Senecas (as was Pilcher). In addition, Augustin's sister Harriet was Clark's 2nd wife. Their father, Samuel Kennerly, was born in Culpeper Co., Virginia as was Joshua and his father, so it seems very likely that the two families knew each other prior to their moves to Louisville and Lexington, thence to St. Louis.

Since Joshua was the youngest of Shadrach Pilcher's eight children, he was closer in age to his oldest brother's son, Ezekiel, who was just ten years his junior. Born in Springfield in 1800, Ezekiel was married at the age of twenty-eight to Louisa (Ballard) whose 2nd great grandmother was Elizabeth (Clark) ; and Elizabeth's 3rd great grandparents were Mourning (Lewis) and Robert Adams – all Virginia natives who are believed by many to be related to the famed explorers' ancestors.

After Louisa's husband Ezekiel Pilcher died, she moved with her minor children to St. Louis where their youngest daughter Clarissa met Thomas Moore. Married in 1862, the couple spent a very short time together before he enlisted with the 33rd Missouri Volunteers. On July 4, 1863 he was shot in the head with a MiniĆ© ball at the Battle of Helena and presumed dead until a passing soldier found him.  After he recovered from his surgery in Memphis, he returned to St. Louis in need of much care. It is at this time, I believe, that Clarissa probably began to take a great interest in medicine. Perhaps she remembered her father telling her stories of how Joshua had helped vaccinate the Indians from the smallpox. Perhaps she feared Thomas would not recover enough to work. Whatever prompted her desire is not known, but she graduated from the Physician and Surgeon's College in St. Louis in 1886 under the direction of James A Campbell and became a homeopathic doctor. Sadly, she died in 1890 at the age of forty-four.

Following the lives of these men, and noting the smallest of connections, I strongly suspect the Kennerly journal was passed to Clarissa from her father, and after her death, remained in the possession of her husband until his death in 1915. Their daugther Mabel (Moore) Jones, finding it among other personal items (including the Civil War letters exchanged between her parents), brought it to the attention of the Missouri Historical Society. After several years of correspondence between Mabel and the society, and after careful transcription, Mabel officially donated it to the society and is archived along with other family memorabilia.  The typed carbon copy transcription she received from the society remains in my possession, nicely bundled in a cardboard carrier - and fittingly addressed to her home on Clark Avenue.

As always, your comments, questions, suggestions and emails are always welcome.

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