Notes: III. Franklin and Boone’s Lick

Notes for William Becknell: III. Franklin and Boone’s Lick

Note 1. Although it is unlikely that William Becknell had married Jane Trusler for the reasons described in Part I, it is conceivable that Mary Jane Becknell was a child of that marriage instead of Mary Chribbs. The fact that Mary Jane bore the names of both women is intriguing.

In her October 7, 1862 will, Mary Chribbs Becknell stated that her son, William A. Becknell, was born in Howard County, Missouri, and died at age 41 on February 7, 1858. Therefore he was most likely born in the second half of 1816. A transcription of the will, which is included on the page “1862 – Will of Mary Becknell,” is in the Mary Becknell Estate Papers, Typescript Collection (C995) (microfilm), Vol. 17, No. 477, The State Historical Society of Missouri.

Following is a list of the Becknell children and grandchildren who are identified in her will ( W ), the probate of her husband’s or elder son’s estate ( P ), or a U.S. Federal Census ( YEAR ).

  • Mary Jane Becknell P 1850 (born about 1815 in Missouri, died about 1852 in Texas). She married John Kirtey Rogers about 1830 in Missouri with the following children listed on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census in Red River County, Tex.: Edward P. Rogers P 1850 (19), William B. Rogers P 1850 (17), Sarah Elizabeth Rogers P 1850 (14), Clarissa Jane Rogers P 1850 (12), Mary Adaline Rogers P 1850 1860 (10), John S. Rogers, P 1850 1860 (7), Zachery Taylor Rogers P 1850 1860 (5), and Samuel Rogers 1850 (1). Her widower remarried to Lorena or Serena Bullard. The 1860 U.S. Federal Census in Red River County, Tex., lists their children as Martha A. Rogers (5) and Laura F. Rogers (2). The 1870 census for Red River County lists John Rogers (64) with Sarah (25) [sic], Martha (16), Laura (12), and Malinda (10).
  • William Alexander Becknell P W (born 1816 or 1817 in Missouri, died Feb. 7, 1858 in Texas). After emigrating to Texas in 1835, he married Malinda Elizabeth Click, who is listed on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census in Red River County, Tex., with the following children: George S. Becknell 1860 (18), Malissa [Malinda Elizabeth] Becknell P W 1860 1870 (6), and Margaret Frances Becknell P W 1860 (3). An additional child listed in probate records was Mary Jane Becknell P (who was also named as William A. Becknell’s daughter in an 1860 deed with her husband Frank J. Hopkins in Red River County, Tex., Deed Book N, pp. 184-85).
  • John Calhoun Becknell P W 1830 1870 1880 (born 1817 or 1818 in Missouri, died 1893 in California). He married Mary Elizabeth Guest about 1840 in Texas, then left for California about 1853, leaving the following children listed with their mother on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census in Red River County, Tex.: Mary Elizabeth Becknell 1860 (18), John Kirtey Becknell 1860 (17), William J. Becknell 1860 (14), Madora Cornelia Becknell 1860 (11), and Marshall Mayfield Becknell 1860 (9). He later married Electa Stowell Morris and is listed with her and the following children in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census in Mariposa County, Cal.: John K. [Carrell] Becknell 1870 (12) and Bedora Morris (14), who was apparently her daughter by a previous marriage to Joseph Morris in Lamar County, Tex.
  • Lucy Becknell P 1830 (born about 1819 in Missouri, died by 1850). It is believed that she married Francis Jackson Carter (F.J.C.) Smiley in Missouri shortly before emigrating to Texas in 1835. She had the following children: Lucy Jane Smiley P W and Ann Elizabeth “Eliza” Smiley. P W
  • Cornelia “Amelia” Becknell P W 1830 1850 1860 (born about 1828 in Missouri, died about 1868 in Texas). About 1843, she married William Evans who apparently died before the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, which lists the following children with her (incorrectly listed as Mary Evans”) in Red River County, Tex.: Mary Adeline “Hannah” Evans P W 1850 1860 (7), William Evans P 1850 1860 (5), and Sarah “Sallie” Evans P W 1850 1860 (3). (Also listed in this household is 17-year-old Amanda Smiley, apparently one of the daughters of Lucy Becknell Smiley; Sarah Evans was also listed on the same census in the household of her grandmother, Mary Becknell.) Cornelia later married James Collins, and the family is listed on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census in Titus County, Tex., with the three Evans children and John Collins 1860 1870 (7), James Collins 1860 1870 (6), Ann E. Collins 1860 1870 (3), and Washington Collins 1860 1870 (1). Descendants believe that Cornelia died in 1868 in Titus County, Tex. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census in Hopkins County, Tex., lists James Collins with the four children above along with the additional children Rutha Collins 1870 (5), Dora Collins 1870 (2), and Robert Collins (8 months), and a 24-year-old woman named Elizabeth Collins.

Note 2. Howard County, Mo., Deed Book B, pp. 103-05 (Howard County Commissioners to William Becknell on Aug. 12, 1817, and Becknell’s assignment to Thomas Golby on April 25, 1818).

Note 3. Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Vol. 1816-1818, p. 98.

Note 4. Larry M. Beachum, William Becknell: Father of the Santa Fe Trade, El Paso, Tex.: Texas Western Press (1982), p. 13 & n.74.

Note 5. Beachum’s information is based on notes taken by researcher Homer De Golyer about June 1818 Howard County court proceedings. Howard County Circuit Court order books are no longer available for the period between March 1818 and July 1819, however, and the matter does not appear elsewhere in the court’s order books. The only surviving document in the case file is a witness summons in a civil case filed by Riggs against Becknell in which Ira Emmons, James Alexander, James Martin, and Thomas Gray were required to appear during the November 1818 court term. See James Riggs v. William Becknell, Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Case Files, Box 3, Folder 44 (Microfilm C32814), Missouri State Archives. According to Beachum:

On June 6 [1818], [Becknell] was involved in a brawl with James Riggs at Franklin. Becknell soon found himself in Howard County Circuit Court facing charges that he “upon the plaintiff made an assault, and him then and there beat, bruised, wounded, and evil entreated, and other enormities to the plaintiff the said William then and there did, against the peace and dignity of the United States and to the damage of the plaintiff five (?) hundred dollars . . . .” The cause of this donnybrook is uncertain, but Becknell seems to have given Riggs a sound thrashing. The defendant pleaded not guilty through his attorney, a Mr. Tompkins. Becknell was subsequently fined five dollars, no doubt to Riggs’ further mortification.

Note 6. A complete photostatic copy of the 1817 St. Charles County census is in the collection of the St. Charles County Historical Society. According to notes accompanying the document, the original is in private hands. The entry for the Prichard family lists the following:

  • Free white males 18 to 45: 2
  • Free white males under 18: 2
  • White females 14 or older: 1
  • White females under 14: 1
  • Slaves 45 or older: 1

Whether Drury and Elizabeth Prichard had any children together after their 1809 marriage isn’t known, nor is the identity known of the various individuals listed by the 1817 census in the Prichard household. They could include Elizabeth’s children John Chribbs and Eliza Chribbs, about whom almost nothing is known after Elizabeth divorced William Chribbs in 1806.

Note 7. The oldest child of George and Hannah Evans, Jesse Chribbs Evans, was born in 1816 or 1817. His age was stated in various federal census lists as: 32 in 1850, 44 in 1860, 53 in 1870, and 63 in 1880. See 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Osage County (Benton Township), Mo., Dwelling No. 515; 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Osage County (Washington Township), Mo., Dwelling No. 415; 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Osage County (Washington Township), Mo., Dwelling No. 263; 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Osage County (Washington Township), Mo., Dwelling No. 134.

Note 8. St. Charles County, Mo., Deed Book E, pp. 306-07 (Bateast Grayson to Drury R. Prichard and George Evans on Aug. 18, 1818). The property measured 246 feet by 120 feet and was on the bank of the Missouri River adjacent to property of George’s father, Jesse Evans, Sr.

Note 9. William Becknell, et al., v. Joseph Robidoux, Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Case Files, Box 2, Folder 7 (Microfilm C32813), Missouri State Archives.

Note 10. Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Vol. 1816-1818, pp. 119-20.

Note 11. Sheriff’s notice, Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser, St. Louis, Mo. (Dec. 4, 1818), p. 3.

Note 12. See, e.g., Larry Beachum, William Becknell: Father of the Santa Fe Trade, El Paso, Tex.: Texas Western Press (1983), p. 14 & n. 79. The documents referenced in Beachum’s footnote 79 that relate to a ferry operation can no longer be found in the location cited, i.e., Abiel Leonard Collection, Folder 57, State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

Note 13. Howard County, Mo., Deed Book Z, pp. 192-93 (William and Mary Becknell to Burton Lawless, Jan. 29, 1834, NE fractional quarter of Section 1, Township 50, Range 19 in Saline County and SW fractional quarter of Section 10, Township 50, Range 18 in Howard County). The U.S. federal land patent for the latter parcel was issued on January 10, 1828, although when Becknell began acquisition of either property is not known. The 1834 sale to Lawless was also recorded in Saline County, Mo., Deed Book G, pp. 220-21.

Note 14. The land west of the Missouri River at this location was in Howard County until 1819, when it became part of Cooper County, then, in 1821, part of Saline County.

Note 15. Plate IX, 1894 Missouri River Commission map series, USGS-Biological Resources Division, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Columbia, Mo. (available at http://aa179.cr.usgs.gov/1894maps/mrc.html).

Note 16. Letter to editors from “Truth,” Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser, Franklin, Mo. (Aug. 27, 1819), p. 2.

Note 17. For a similar account also published by the same state agency, see Michael Dickey, “Boone’s Lick State Historic Site,” Missouri Resources, Vol. 7, No. 2, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (Summer 2000) (available online at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/magazine/2000-summer.pdf ). The author is the historic site administrator at Arrow Rock State Historic Site.

Note 18. Floyd Shoemaker, ed., “Missouriana,” Missouri Historical Review, Vol. 27, Columbia, Mo.: State Historical Society of Missouri (April 1933), p. 271.

Note 19. The 1817 census described in Note 6 above lists one slave in the Prichard household. The scattered parcels of land owned by Prichard after leaving the town of St. Charles appear to have remained undeveloped and never a foundation for family wealth.

Note 20. Howard County, Mo., Deed Book D, pp. 61-62. The deed describes the Morrison brothers as residents of St. Charles County.

Note 21. Patent to William Becknell, Nov. 15, 1823, Document 225, Accession CV-0098-418, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, U.S. Department of the Interior (165.93 acres, NW quarter of Section 6, Township 49N, Range 17W); Patent to William Becknell, Nov. 15, 1823, Document 226, Accession CV-0098-419, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, U.S. Department of the Interior (171.92 acres, SW quarter of Section 6, Township 49N, Range 17W); Patent to William Becknell, Nov. 15, 1823, Document 227, Accession CV-0098-420, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, U.S. Department of the Interior (91.70 acres, E half of SW quarter of Section 31, Township 50N, Range 17W). These document are available online at www.glorecords.blm.gov.

Note 22. Howard County, Mo., Deed Book G, p. 377.

Note 23. Howard County, Mo., Deed Book K, pp. 76-78.

Note 24. According to DNR exhibits at the historic site, Jesse Morrison sold his interest to his brother James in 1827. In 1833, a son of James Morrison died there, perhaps after falling into a kettle of boiling water. The same year, the U.S. government confirmed the rights of James Mackay’s heirs to his original grant.