History Profiles

A “View” of Oliver Parker’s Lot #216 in Columbia in 1830

By David Sapp Oliver Parker came to central Missouri soon after the the War of 1812 concluded and established what may have been the first store in Boone County on Thrall’s Prairie a few miles northeast of later Rocheport in 1818 or 1819. He gained a postmastership about the same time and named it Lexington. Read More »

An 1830s Columbia Tavern: Peter Wright, Proprietor

An 1830s Columbia Tavern: Peter Wright, Proprietor By David Sapp Columbia in 1830 had only 59 families and 453 total citizens—324 whites, 128 slaves, and one free black. But it seems there were three taverns. Captain Samuel Wall, Edward Camplin and Elisha McClelland all had taverns in Columbia about this time (Boone County Record Book Read More »

Tom Bass

1859 – 1934 Before Jackie Robinson ever donned a Dodger uniform – there was Tom Bass. Before Rosa Parks ever demanded a seat in the front of the bus – there was Tom Bass. Before Martin Luther King ever had a dream – there was Tom Bass. Born a slave, the friend of Presidents, the most famous Black Read More »

Second Missionary Baptist Church

By Dianna Borsi O’Brien Second Missionary Baptist Church at 407 E. Broadway dates back to 1894, but the congregation of the church dates back to 1866. In 1865, former slaves and free people of color who had been allowed to attend services at the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal churches in Columbia gathered to raise money Read More »

Harry Satterlee Bill

     Harry Satterlee Bill By Linda Keown 1876 – 1946 Harry Satterlee Bill was born 22 May 1876 to Hibbard Dennison Bill and Charlotte Elizabeth Marshall Bill in Easthampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts.  Hibbard Bill was born in Connecticut and Charlotte Elizabeth was born in England. (US census report 1880, 1900 and MO Death Certificate Read More »

Richard Brown Gans

1819 – 1905 Few people know today that in the late 1800s Boone county was home to an experienced and successful manufacturer of telescopes.  Richard Brown Gans (born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, 1819) moved to Boone County in 1868 where he purchased a farm near Stephens Station and served as an optician and manufacturer of Read More »

The Lynching of George Bush and James T. Scott

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, two black men were lynched in Columbia, Missouri. They were 19-year-old George Bush (or Burke) and James T. Scott.  In September 1889, Bush was accused of molesting a five-year-old girl on the farm where he worked as a hired hand. Shortly after Read More »

Luella Wilcox St. Clair Moss

1865 – 1947 Educator & Civic Leader Luella (Wilcox) St. Clair was born in Virden, Illinois.  She was named a valedictorian of her class and went on to attend Hamilton College in Kentucky.  She would graduate from Hamilton in only one years’ time.   Her husband, Frank St. Clair, was selected as president of Christian (now Read More »

John Batiste Lang, Sr.

John Batiste Lang, Sr. 1802 – 1879 John Batiste Lang, Sr. was a free French Creole from Louisiana who was married to Louisa, a slave belonging to the wife of James Shannon. He moved to Columbia in 1850 when Shannon became the president of the University of Missouri. Lang opened a successful butcher shop at Read More »

John Lange, Jr.

1840 – 1916 The son of Louisa Lang, a slave, and John Lang, Sr., Lange was born in Kentucky on October 4, 1840. He moved to Missouri with his family in 1850 when the husband of the woman who owned his mother, James Shannon, became the president of the University of Missouri. Lange worked in Read More »