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The Pioneering Zumwalts

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Pioneering Zumwalts

Daniel Boone came here in 1796, but not alone…in addition to his own family, scores of other adventurers with the Boone party, making it one of the largest single migrations into what is now Missouri in frontier times.

The Zumwalt brothers – Jacob, Adam and Christopher, Revolutionary War veterans – and their families made the trek, having claimed an area along Peruque Creek in what is now St. Charles County. The land was under French dominion, later passing to Spain, then back to France before the United States took possession in the Vente de la Louisiane of 1803.

Jacob and Queti (Catherine) Miller Zumwalt, my great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, built a home; the foundations of which can still be seen in Ft. Zumwalt Park in O’Fallon. Queti died not long after their arrival, in 1799.

The land was rich in resources, but offered many challenges and hostilities. Stories of attacks by Native Americans are counterbalanced with those of friendly natives. In one instance, attacking warriors killed an entire neighboring family. Jacob and his sons buried the family in the cellar under their house, in an effort to protect the graves. The warriors returned and burned the house to the ground. In another tale handed down, Jacob took a tribal chief into his home to care for his illness. The chief died, and Jacob ceremonially buried him with a loaf of bread in one hand, a knife in the other, and his dog at his feet.

Jacob sold the property in 1815 and moved farther west to what is now Howard County. When he died in 1820, his remains were returned to Ft. Zumwalt and laid to rest next to Queti. – Paul Jackson

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