Updated: Jun 10, 2022
Boone/Matson/Koenig and Cast of Thousands – Episode 2
“At the Femme Osage settlement, there was a neighborhood fort at Daniel M. Boone’s, four miles from my house. The fort and picketing enclosed my brother’s house. In time of alarm the neighbors would retreat to this fort. Twice my father, mother, and my family fled there in the dead of the night. There were Indian alarms from 1811 until into 1815.” Nathan Boone, as interviewed by Lyman Draper, and edited by Neal O. Hammon in My Father, Daniel Boone. The only thing missing is the dramatic cinematic soundtrack. Of course, if I had lived anywhere near the future Augusta, MO, I wouldn’t be treating this so lightly.
In a conversation with Kimberly Koenig Beer, I told her that Augustans are my target audience. Hence, I must ask myself why anyone from Augusta should care about this fort. And her reply was something like, “Paul??…what became Augusta was part of the Femme Osage Township. Anyone there would have appreciated the presence of a nearby fort in dangerous times.” Me, “duh…good point.”
Here we go. I’ve started episode 2 and getting started is always the hardest part for me. Even though I knew I was getting ahead of myself, I did it anyway. I couldn’t resist the dramatic opening. Now let’s back up.
A few days after I hit send on Episode 1, Dave and I hit the pavement in Marthasville for a change of scenery. We parked in the gravel lot by the old MKT train station, which is the original depot just moved several hundred feet. Immediately we ran into Pam Jensen, who among many occupations, still works at the Nathan Boone Home sometimes. I told her about my latest article, and she asked if I knew Ken Kamper. I said I wish. She said here’s his phone number.
Ken is the Boone historian that I quoted several times in my latest Matson story. I have since spoken by phone with him, emailed back and forth with him, and I’ve subscribed to his free newsletter on his favorite subject, Daniel Boone. You, too, can subscribe and say hello to Ken with a friendly email to email@example.com.
Ken was kind enough to read my part 1 and offered me his input on some points. I think it’s worthwhile to insert some of it here.
When I spoke of the former possible residents of the Koenigs’ land, I overlooked the Missouris. Present St. Charles County “had been controlled for centuries by the Missouri Indian tribe, as was all the territory in present Missouri north of the Missouri River, until the Sauk and Fox nearly annihilated the tribe around 1790. The territory “immediately was claimed by the Sauk, Fox, and Pottawatomie, with their enemies the Osage, who controlled all of the lands in Missouri south of the Missouri River…” said Kamper.
It also seems I glossed over the DAR monument which illustrates the, in Kamper’s words, “Boone Trace, the first white American trail that was opened by the Boones in 1805 and ran 140 miles into the interior to the Boone Salt Lick. The trail had originally been an ancient trail of the Missouri Indians.” Ken also pointed out to me, “to go to St. Charles from Matson, people simply would have taken the relatively short path east to the river through the bottoms…but much more likely would have gone by horse along that same path east, to where Boone’s 1799 trail (part of the ancient Missouri Indian trail) branched off to the north through Darst Bottom, to Old Colony Road, to the existing Colony Road (as referred to by the Spanish) that later was the route from St. Charles mentioned and used by Gen. William Clark in 1808 when Nathan Boone was his guide to go overland to the site of Fort Osage.”
What is left of the salt lick can be seen at Boone’s Lick State Historic Site near Arrow Rock, MO. Dave Klaas’ friend from Springfield, MO, Loring Bullard, wrote in his book, Living Waters - The Springs of Missouri, a chapter on the Boone Salt Lick. It contains an interesting history of the spring. The book, published in 2020 by the Ozarks Studies Institute, Missouri State University, is beautifully written and lushly illustrated with many photos. (The previous was an unpaid advertisement. Any friend of Dave is a friend of mine. But it really is a great book.)
Here’s a paragraph about Boone’s Lick from Loring’s book: When I visited Boone’s Lick in December 2017, the tired old spring wasn’t even flowing. It’s hard to believe that this little seep could ever have supported a major commercial enterprise; or that it could’ve played such a significant role in opening up western Missouri to settlement; or that men would’ve risked their lives to work here. It’s hard to believe because the commodity once produced here is now so mundane and cheap that we throw it by the bucketful on our walks, steps, and driveways just to melt the ice – it is common salt.
Kamper also related to me that his research after 1991 causes him to believe Daniel Morgan Boone did, indeed, build the stone home in which Glenda Drier’s father, Glennon Stelzer was born. According to Kamper, “no other explanation could be found for its existence other than having been moved from the Missouriton town site to get it out of the way as the Missouri River channel gradually moved west… A survey error that has continued through the years, makes it appear as though neither DB nor DMB ever owned that exact parcel of land. However, during the Boone’s time their land most probably included the land where the stone house was setting.”
Now we can take a look at the fort. Again, I must lean on Ken Kamper’s research. Here’s what William Harvey Matson (one of several later owners) said about it in the St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor in 1908: “Double log house, many of the logs faced two feet. Two-story double stone chimney – one story porch all along the main building… The premises were surrounded by wooden fort built for protection in times of struggles with Indians.”
You might want to look now at my photo of Frank Koenig Jr.’s house, the stately (yellow-painted) brick house with 4 white columns. The perimeter of the fort easily encompasses that house.
Kimberly Beer walked Dave and me around its boundaries. She showed us where the 4 stone blockade houses were, one in each corner of the rectangular fort. Each blockade stored a different commodity. Ammunition was stored cater-corner from grain to increase the distance between food and a potential explosion. Running from blockade to blockade were vertical logs implanted in the ground palisade style. Here’s a link for examples of palisades.)
Kimberly knows the site well because she moved into this house in 1958 with her parents Barbara and Stanley Koenig. She knows how in the heat and dryness of August one can see a lack of green in the grass where the fort stood, especially the stone blockades. While I had Ken Kamper’s ear I related to him Beer’s description of the fort’s layout. He told me he had never investigated the fort site in depth, but it all rang true to him.
You may wonder where all that stone came from. Some of you quick thinkers are wondering where it all went. According to Kimberly, the stone was quarried nearby on DMB’s land grant. What remains of the quarry is on her side of the Koenig land, and she reluctantly allowed Dave and I to sniff it out. But I’m embarrassed to say we couldn’t find it after a couple hours. Then I relistened to an early interview and I heard her say that it was like walking through a small canyon that was totally overgrown by trees and vines. No doubt I was there, but I couldn’t see the quarry for the trees.
The stones and some of the logs from the fort were recycled around the property. With so many previous owners of the Koenig property, it’s hard to say exactly what went where. I’m not going to burden you, my patient readers, with every detail, but here’s a quick look at the transfer of properties. According to Ken Kamper, Daniel and son Daniel Morgan Boone sold to Abraham Shobe in 1819. Shobe died in 1835, and when his estate was settled in 1836, Enoch and Jane (Shobe) Matson inherited the fort and DMB’s home. In 1844, Abraham Matson bought the farm from his parents, Enoch and Jane.
Now don’t go to sleep on me. Abraham is the owner who split the property in half for sons Richard C. Matson and William Harvey Matson. If you are climbing Matson Hill Road, on the right is Richard’s land, the fort site. Harvey lived on the left side where he built a beautiful brick home which can be seen from the road. The left also includes the elusive Boone quarry. According to Kim Beer, the division of the land was based on an equal number of springs, 7 per side.
Subsequent owners include Edgar Blackwell, Missouri Senator George Williams, Mr. Blanton, Mr. Plough, Stanley and Barbara Koenig, and currently Frank Koenig on the right side of Matson Hill Road and Kimberly Beer on the left. And according to Edith (Knoernschild) Morgan, the Dunards fit in there somewhere.
Now a look at various accounts of how the DMB home and fort were recycled: when Dave and I first visited the land of Koenig to see the Katy Reservoir, Chris Koenig immediately pointed out that their smokehouse and another outbuilding, were constructed from Boone logs. (I have attached a photo of both.) Chris’ aunt, Kimberly, says much of the stone went into foundations for her’s and her brother Frank’s home. Incidentally, she also said the brick for both homes were made on site from clay on the property. I might add that slave labor was used on the Matsons’ properties.
Thanks to Ken Kamper I have a quote from Richard Matson’s wife, Mary (Murdock) Matson, from a letter she wrote to a Warrenton newspaper in 1924. She says DMB built a “log house at Boone’s Spring, also a rock fort. The double log house… was taken down by Abraham S. Matson in 1854, and the old logs were again put up in a blacksmith shop and carpenter shop…Richard C. Matson took it down and with what logs were sound, built a small smoke house on his farm.” (See photo.)
Did you notice Mary Matson mentioned Boone’s Spring? It would be mean spirited of me to not include a few photos of it, so feast your eyes!
I should mention here that Kim also pointed out that the underground stream which emerges in the springhouse, ran right under the fort and DMB tapped into it to have an available source of water for when the fort was under siege.
According to Ken Kamper, “It had been said that the rocks from the fort were used to make a stone house over the Boone Spring. However, Mrs. Koenig said that Mary Alice Matson, who visited her some years ago said that these stones did not come from the fort.”
But Kimberly Beer asserted that regardless of what stones were used where, or moved by whom, they all probably came from the same quarry which I, unfortunately, couldn’t find.
Like Pink Floyd put it, I thought I’d something more to say, but this seems like a good enough stopping point. In the next installment I’ll share what I know about a few other inhabitants of the Boone/Matson/Koenig settlement including some residents who were forced to live there – slaves.
Be good and be curious.