Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Eight

The Saga continues. That poor family.  What nonsense that they had to put up with.  Keep in mind that even with as many posts as I have made of this event, there were many more articles that I am not posting.  So far I have only posted articles from two of the St. Louis papers – The Star and the Post-Dispatch.  This story was carried in newspapers all over the country.  The Clamorgans must have suffered through a nonstop barrage of reporters and who knows what other offenses for at least several months. In their Sunday edition on June 25th (nine days after the above article ran) the Post-Dispatch ran a full page which except for a small article in the lower right corner was entirely devoted to this story.  It is so chopped up with graphics I’m not sure how it will look on your device.  Bear with me and I’ll try to post the most important parts of it. Let’s hope that the baby Virginia Blanche did have a rosy path before her.  I wonder how much of this story did she know in adulthood.

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Seven

My first six posts of the regrettable troubles that Cora Clamorgan and her family endured all occurred within one week, June the 9th through June the 16th of 1911.  There were so many articles published on this story and they were of such length that I must act as an editor and try to present only the most interesting and important parts of these stories from hereon.  So if I only post parts of an article and you are interested in obtaining the full article, just let me know and I’ll email it to you. As we saw in the last post, rampant speculation that Cora was adopted created a sensational story that was revealed almost the next day to be false.  This Clamorgan family was not only a good family they were exemplary in many ways.  The father had been a highly regarded assistant to a mayor of St. Louis.  Several of the children had excelled in school or sports.  That they had to suffer through this sort of insanity is truly sad. Backing up a bit, the following was run on June 11 in the Post-Dispatch.  

This interface that we use has just malfunctioned.  Not sure what’s going on but I’ll let it rest a bit.

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Six

Just when you thought you had it all figured out. My apologies, I could not find the end of this article but it doesn’t matter much. Read on. Crazy, ain’t it?  But crazy as it seems, there is still more to come.  Stay tuned. Doug Houser         June 21, 2020

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Five

There is still a lot of nonsense going on in the world today.  At least we can be grateful that we have transcended the sort of nonsense described in this article.  What these folks had to go through is sad. There are still more Cora Clamorgan articles to come.  If you have missed one or all of them, here is the link to Cora Clamorgan – Part Four.  From there you can link to the first three. Stunning weather out there today.  Things are starting to reopen.  I truly believe we are not out of the woods yet. Please be careful and wear your mask when you go out in the world.  There is new evidence that shows that wearing a mask is the most effective way to avoid being infected. Doug Houser      June 15, 2020

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Four

The Clamorgan family was one of the oldest in St. Louis. The author Julie Winch has done a magnificent job of telling their tale in her book, The Clamorgans – One Family’s History of Race in America. I am very glad that I read this book. I would highly recommend it.

Maplewood History: An Early View of the Intersection of Manchester and McCausland

Perhaps this post should be titled something like Just Over the Border of Maplewood… History.  I think the intersection of Manchester and McCausland is where the Maplewood business district truly begins.  No matter that it is a block east of our actual border.  It was either within the survey of the farm of our pioneer settler, James Sutton, or right on the edge of it. This image I discovered while looking through the posts by Joe Sonderman on his Facebook page, Vintage St. Louis and Route 66.  It is a fascinating collection that he has assembled.  This is not the first time I’ve found an historic image related to Maplewood there. This particular image stopped me in my tracks.

Maplewood History: 4th of July Celebration – Grandpa Lemuel Price by Billy Jones

We lived in Maplewood and this was 1936. Our Observer (local paper) had a memo and mother read, “Maplewood Police will this year fine any and all Maplewood residents $5.00 for exploding any firecrackers in the city limits”  One of my Dad’s employees had sent me a box of “cannon crackers” as a gift.  My grandmother had a large house and my aunt and her family lived at 1800 Lafayette in St. Louis.  Dad drove us to Grandma Price’s on the holiday and we had lots of hot dogs, marshmallows and treats for little kids.  When sundown came, sky rockets and sparklers were all brought out. I gave the older kids my “cannon crackers”.  I picked up all unexploded cannon crackers and my cousin shared a warning too late.  My little hand was badly burned.  All of our family worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad so I was taken to their hospital by my dad.  My little hand had a big splint and big bandages.  When I was carried out of the doctor’s office in my Dad’s arms, the whole lobby was filled

with my family!  Daddy sat me down on a bench.  A pleasant young man sat beside me and said, “Sorry about your firecracker.”  I asked him, “Did all the relatives come out because of my accident?”  He put his hand on my “well” hand and said, “No, youngster.  My uncle Lemuel Price is having a serious heart attack.” I said, “Lemuel Price is my Grandpa.”  He shook my good little hand and said, “My name is Vinnie and I guess we are cousins.  Vinnie carried me around and introduced me to his family and Washington University classmates. I asked Vinnie, “Did Grandpa Price give you a $20 gold piece when he moved back from Colorado?  Vinnie replied, “He sure did!”  I said, “I think I lost mine.  Will the marshals put me in jail if I don’t find it?”  He laughed and told his friends about my concerns.  They all laughed.

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Three

As the reader may or may not recall my first two posts about this unfortunate but important tale of the Clamorgan family were copies of the articles carried in two St. Louis newspapers the day the story broke, June 9, 1911. This post is a copy of the article that appeared the next day in the St. Louis Star. It contains one of the only rays of light I’ve found in this dark tale.

Maplewood History – Volume Two Is Now For Sale

Maplewood History – Volume Two. Selections From the Popular Blog was begun in 2014 and finished about a year ago. For better or worse, this book is the product of one person.  I had some strong ideas about how I wanted the book to be.  I liked the idea of having no one to clear anything with.  I wanted to produce a book with strong visual appeal and not be too light on the text either.  This book will be part of my legacy.  For that reason I wanted it to be as high quality as possible. Both the soft and hardcover versions are designed to be collector’s quality.  I intend them to hopefully last many lifetimes.  The book is full color throughout and printed on high quality paper.  The soft cover is laminated for extra durability.  The hardbound version is constructed the way a lot of books used to be.  The cover is green linen with the name of the book stamped in gold on the spine.  In addition, the hardcover has a commemorative Scheidt Hardware dust jacket.  With an eye towards the highest image quality both versions are printed on the same paper, 80 # (pound) glossy.  This is a paper that many printers do not offer. My 2008 book, The First 100 Years –  Maplewood MO, greatly increased in value on the internet when it was no longer in print.  Enough that last year I encouraged the Maplewood Community Betterment Foundation to print another 140 copies.  They did and these are now sold out as well.  I can’t predict how long it will take but Volume Two may increase in value as well.

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part Two

Included in my previous post, Cora Clamorgan – Part One, was a copy of one of the earliest articles I was able to find on this unfortunate subject which is the Clamorgan family having been found to have some negro blood and the repercussions thereafter.  That article appeared in the Seventh Edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 9, 1911. This post is a copy of an article that appeared in the Night Edition of the St. Louis Star on that same day. I have much more information yet to post on this particular incident from the Clamorgan family history.  Again, I would encourage everyone interested to read Julie Winch’s well-researched and well-written book, The Clamorgans – One Family’s History of Race in America.  It truly is a great book.

Maplewood History: Cora Clamorgan – Part One

Those of you who were in the audience for one of the performances of the Maplewood-themed, Shakespearean mashup, “Remember Me”, experienced a rare and delightful event.  If you haven’t heard anything about this play, let me say, my wife and I were stunned by the very high quality of the production.  It was wonderful…everything from the 10 foot high puppets to the live music.  Put together by the very talented theater department of St. Louis U, it was a three-of-a-kind event that took place over three nights of one weekend in September 2016 and is unlikely to be repeated ever. The playwright, Nancy Bell, and I met several times while she was assembling her material.  A couple of times she asked me what did I know about the Clamorgan family and their connection to Maplewood.  Easy question for me to answer.  Nothing. The large puppets represented Maplewood “ghosts”. One was Charles Rannells who you’ve read about here.  Another of the ghosts told the story of Cora Clamorgan (Called Clara in the play).

Maplewood History: Stuff I Found While Looking For Something Else is packed full of interesting information.  It is very easy to get sidetracked while using it as a source for your research. Often I discover something very interesting but completely unrelated to Maplewood.  For quite awhile I’ve had the idea of doing a blog post about some of these unrelated items.  This post features an advertisement I stumbled across that nearly caused me to do a backflip. This advertisement gave a solid reality to an event that I had always considered was probably just a legend.  I was very pleased to find that it was almost exactly as I had been told sometime in the distant past.  I have known of this event for so long that I no longer know if someone told me about it or perhaps I heard about it on the radio. I don’t know.  I’m nearly certain I didn’t read about it. This is the first black and white evidence I’ve found.  I’m pretty sure of that.  Anyhow here it is.

Maplewood History: Charlie Bartold – One Tough Hombre

Charlie Bartold might not have considered himself to be one tough hombre.  But if he didn’t it was only because the spaghetti westerns wouldn’t be invented for another 60 something years. That he was pretty confident of his capabilities will be apparent to you after you read the following article.  But one detail we can’t be sure of is if anyone ever called him Charlie.  

Searching for an image from a spaghetti western to use to illustrate my story made me realize it has been a long time since I actually watched one of them.  Like about 50 years.  I found one site that looked particularly appealing.  10 Great Spaghetti Westerns.  I think I may have to take a look at a couple of these. Being quarantined is a bummer.  Social distancing – no fun.  No swimming pool.  No gym.  No restaurants.  These are trying times.  At least it’s getting warmer. Doug Houser     April 19, 2020




Maplewood History: The Exact Location of Bartold’s Inn

Reader Michelle emailed a couple of interesting images to me that I felt warranted a post of their own.  From the information available online she has figured out a way to show us almost exactly where Bartold’s Inn was once located. Enough people have questioned me about this that I thought if I put it in the title of this post it may help folks who are searching for this information to find it. I’ll start off with a couple of images some of you have seen before just so you’ll have them handy.  

HABS was the brainchild of Charles Peterson of the National Park Service who said at the time, “The plan I propose is to enlist a qualified group of architects and draftsmen to study, measure and draw up the plans, elevations and details of the important antique buildings of the United States. Our architectural heritage of buildings from the last four centuries diminishes daily at an alarming rate.

Maplewood History: Maplewood Baptist Church – 1943 Memories by Bill Jones

John Boone Hardy and I were invited to the pastor’s office.  Pastor turned to John and me and said, “I spoke to your dads before calling this meeting.  You may have noticed our country is at war. The US Secretary of State has ordered all American missionaries and their families back to the United States for their safety and to avoid any major incidents. 

The staff of our Ridgecrest Assembly was to be comprised primarily of missionaries’ sons and daughters. None have US driving permits. Billy is 16 and John turns 16 in June. The Assembly has accepted each of you to work all summer and your fathers both agree this will be your decisions.  I know Billy works for the railroad some evenings but his dad said the job would be open at the end of the season.

Maplewood History: Fear of Puberty by Bill Jones

I was 12 years old and a student in Maplewood schools.  I worked as an apprentice soda fountain jerk and cashier at Harper’s Drug Store. I always dressed neatly. On weekends, I am sorry to say, many teenagers came in barefooted and shirtless with their belly buttons showing. This truly embarrassed me. My grades went up to A+ in school because I had a lot of time at work to read and study when customers were scarce.

Maplewood History: What Became of Bartold’s Painting of Erastus Wells?

William Lyman Thomas’ The History of St. Louis County contains an unknown but large number of very interesting details about this area we live in.  By accident I discovered another one while looking for something else. Interesting that this article should pop up right after the last post about the painting of the Bartold Inn that Larry Giles has been kind enough to give us. Wow.  How about that?  A very old oil painting of a two-and-a-half story house on Broadway with clothing in the south end, groceries in the north end, a barbershop and a saloon kept by Frederick Bartold.  Sounds like a commercial building with maybe four storefronts.  The painting also depicts a newspaper carrier and a two horse omnibus driven by Erastus Wells.  What a cool painting.  My first thought was to wonder if the History Museum has this painting in their collection?  I would love to see it.  Wouldn’t you? Often when you read of something like this, the object of interest has completely disappeared.  No one has any idea of where it might be or what could have happened to it.

Maplewood History: From Bartold’s Grove, A Rare Artifact Returns

Stories of events and happenings at the once very popular Bartold’s Grove could easily furnish enough material for a few books if we could only recover them somehow. I have made a few blog posts about this historic inn in the past.  The most recent two were posted in 2016.  If you care to refresh your memory, here are the links. Bartold’s Grove

Bartold’s Grove continued

Recently Clark Hickman, a former Maplewoodian whose name many of you may recognize, found an interesting article while scrolling through copies of The News-Champion newspaper that are on microfilm at the Headquarters Branch of the St. Louis County Library.  He kindly passed it along.  The News-Champion was published in Maplewood. The article originally appeared in the May 3, 1931 edition of the Globe Democrat which had allowed the Champion to reprint it.  It is a very interesting article.  I encourage you to read it.  I’m going to attempt to reproduce the original article here.  This is always an iffy proposition so bear with me.

Maplewood History: First Grade – Deer Creek Adventure by Bill Jones

First day in the 1st Grade, Valley School, Maplewood.  Our teacher asked a simple question, “What do you know that qualifies you to be a 1st Grade student instead of in Kindergarten? 
The little girl sitting next to me said, “I know my colors.”  The teacher said, “Take the pointer and tell me the colors you’re pointing to.”  She got all but one right. The teacher said, “Now, Billy, I want you to tell me what you know that qualifies you to be a 1st grader.”  I said, “I know 9×9 is 81.”  She wrote It on the blackboard.  The teacher asked, “How do you know that, Billy?”  “My mother is a bookkeeper. A year ago she said ‘I’m teaching you the multiplication tables.’  I had never heard this word before. Mother made a game out of it. Every day I learned a little more.  My mother showed great pride in my memory from day to day.

Maplewood History: Depression – 1930s by Bill Jones


We moved to Maplewood from St. Louis city for clean air.  The county offices put a big yellow sign beside our door on Zephyr Place.  The sign said “Caution. Resident is a TB patient.” My mother lived in her own bedroom at our house and we had  5-days-a-week home visits from our doctor that cost $3.00 per visit. In 1932, my daddy woke me up.  “You don’t have to get dressed for kindergarten.  Just put on your knickers and your shirt.” I got dressed and daddy said “You’re going with me today to work.”  Suddenly my mother was getting dressed and drove daddy and me to the Maplewood train station. (Mother was still allowed to drive.)  The conductor lifted me up and sat me on the walkway to the seats.