OLD MINES, WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSOURI
In 1719 Sieur de Renaudiere conducted mining operations in the vicinity of the Meramec Valley, Big River and Washington County. He was sent here by the Company of the Indies but was unsuccessful in his mining efforts because he had no skilled workers.
Also in 1719 Philip Francois Renault left France for Upper Louisana (Missouri) bringing with him supplies and numerous skilled miners. On the way he stopped at San Domingo and purchased numerous slaves to work the mines. These were the first slaves to be brought to Missouri. Renault's expedition was near the site of the first Ft. De Chartres, Illinois and Kaskaskia in 1720. He came to the mineral area of Missouri where he began mining operations at Mine La Motte and in 1723 Renault received a grant for one and one-half leagues of land in the area which is now Washington County. (It is believed that the "Cabanage de Renaudiere" mentioned in this grant indicates an even earlier settlement at Old Mines.) Mining operations continued for years along Big River, Mineral Fork & Fourche Renault creeks. Then leaving behind some of his workmen Renault went back to Illinois for several years before he returned to France in 1742.
A trail was cut from the mines to the Mississippi River and at first lead was taken to the river on pack-animals. When carried by pack-horses, the lead, instead of being moulded into "pigs" was moulded into the shape of a collar & hung across the horses neck. Later the lead was transported on two-wheeled French carts called charrettes. The lead was then taken across the river to Ft. DeChartres where it was weighed, measured and prepared for shipping to New Orleans. Eventually the town of Ste. Genevieve was established on the Missouri side of the river for this purpose. Lead from the mines was now taken to this site & shipped down the river to New Orleans on keel or flatboats. From New Orleans it was shipped to France.
Old Mines Grant - This grant lies in townships 38 & 39 north & in ranges 2 & 3 east & contains 10, 548 acres. It was conceded to a number of individuals, jointly, on the 4th of Jan. 1803, by Spanish authority. Afterward 31 individuals, most of whom were settlers thereon, received a confirmation of the grant from Congress. Among the early settlers of this tract were: P.P. Boyer, Wm. C. Carr, John B. Portell, Pierce Martin, Jacob Boise, A. Diclos [Duclos], Charles P. Robert [Robart], Joseph Pratt, B. St. Gemme, Widow Coleman, Joseph Boyer, Charles Boyer, Nicholas Bouelvian, F.B. Valle, Jaque Gibbourd, Joseph Bequette, Bernard coleman & perhaps others. No doubt many of these men lived on their lands many years before they obtained concession rights from the Spanish government..........
MISSOURI TOWN STILL CLINGS TO FOLKLORE OF BOURBON FRANCE
Syracuse Herald ~ 29 October 1936
Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Oct. 29 (UP) – The customs, folklore & even the native tongue of France still exists in the little community of Old Mines near here, where the inhabitants have persisted in keeping their 17th Century ideals fresh.
Despite the flood-tide of over-energetic Americans around them, a score or more of families, descendants of early settlers, remain French in religion & in everyday life. They speak a sort of vieux Francais patoise, as a priest terms it.
Father Van Tourchbout, a __?__ born in St. Louis, continues to make journeys to Old Mines to hear French confessions. He encourages celebration of traditional feasts such as the Guignolee. He dons a biretta & __?__ for the occasion. The peasant women wear the blue kerchief of early France.
Each week these peasants drive to nearby Potosi – which they still insist on calling Mine a Breton – for provisions, herding their families into wagons. For entertainment they meet in the evening at homes of their neighbors for a singing party.
ST. JOACHIM CATHOLIC CHURCH
Hwy. 21north. Built in 1830 it is the oldest Catholic church (still standing) west of the Mississippi River. When the church was consecrated by Bishop Joseph Rosati sermons were preached in both English & in French. Photographed Jan. 1999
St. Joachim Church Sign
Log buildings on St. Joachim Church grounds are used mostly during festivals. Photographed: 27 June 1999
Front view of buildings on St. Joachim Church grounds. Note the four-a-pain (clay bread oven) in between the buildings. Photographed: 27 June 1999
RENDEZVOUS - Old Mines - 1986
Third Weekend in May
St. Joachim Church
Above: Bridge over Old Mines Creek
at Cruise School Hwy. 21
Photographed: 27 June 1999
Left: Old Mines Creek at CruiseSchool
Hwy. 21 Photographed: 27 June 1999
Frog Town Hill just south of the Star-Lite Drive-In Movie Theatre. Photographed: 1 June 2002
All pictures below were photographed 17 August 2003.
Coming down into Old Mines from Frog Town Hill. Note the Star Lite Drive-in Movie Theatre screen to the left.
I bumped a wrong button on my camera & it took the picture in Sepia Tone. Didn't know my camera could do that! lol
Brown's Store & Citgo
Lawson Vet Clinic next to Brown's.
Old Mines Ambulance
Old Mines Fire Dept. Potosi House #4
I call this the Old Mines Rocking Chair home for the
large rocking chair they keep in their front yard.
Old Mines home
Old Mines K C Hall
PICTURES OF ST. JOACHIM / OLD MINES CEMETERY
Background Music: Mamou Two-Step