Remembering our ancestors is an important part of life

Boone Monument Farm is north of the Missouri River, just north of Highway 94 near the small towns of Defiance and Marthasville. Even hikers and bikers on the cross-state Katy trail can see a large, two-story brick house with a white fence around the yard and can bike down Boone Monument Road to the historic cemetery. The burial site was on the farm owned by Rebecca Bryan Boone’s nephew, Willis Bryan, and his wife, Corelia Logan Bryan.

Logans and Bryans are both blood relatives on Mother’s side of our family. Looking out toward the river, I felt a new closeness to my ancestors who farmed this land 200 years ago.

Jonathan, David and Willis Bryan, three generations, all lived in an old dirt-floor log cabin; the brick house was built by later owners. Daniel and Rebecca Boone lived in a similar log cabin, which was so close to her Bryan relatives they could see each other’s homes through the trees.

A large stone, with attached bronze plaque bearing Daniel Boone’s image in bas-relief, gave the road and the farm their names. There’s a regular marker for his wife, Rebecca, whom he called "Becky." Rebecca died in 1813 and was buried on this hilltop with her Bryan relatives — Jonathan, David and Willis. Daniel died seven years later, in September, 1820.

Three generations all lived in the one room cabin on this farm, beginning soon after they arrived in Missouri, near 1800.

The farm’s present owner invited five of us to see inside the old Bryan cabin home. She unlocked the door and we stepped inside a small, dark room where chicken feed and odds and ends of furniture were stored. The door had replaced a large fireplace, which went down long ago. The old entrance door at the opposite end was so small, an adult would need to bend down to pass through it without bumping his head.

My son Walt and his three sons — Cole, Peter and Oliver — located the sleeping "shelves" up high on each side of the longer walls. The mantel in the restored brick house was once a walnut ceiling joist from the Bryan cabin. I stroked the smooth old wood, a double link in our family history because Mrs. Willis Bryan was the former Corelia Logan, also in Mother’s lineage. The Logans, Bryans and Boones had moved together from Pennsylvania to Virginia, to Kentucky and Missouri, and there were several intermarriages between these families. Nathan Boone was the youngest son of Daniel and Rebecca.

Seventeen years ago I met Carol Bills, the author of "Nathan Boone, The Neglected Hero." She knew I was constructing a replica of that double-log home, in clay. Carol secured the keys to the gate and the cabin, from the private owners of that time. We went to Nathan’s 1830s home north of Ash Grove, walked the beautiful area and located the cellar and two of the five springs close by. We were fascinated by the good condition of those old walnut logs.

We climbed the stairs pictured in John Rogers’ Tribune article on Sept. 5 and waded through tall grass and weeds to locate the graves of Nathan and Olive — and the two grandchildren who died on the same day. The news of its future restoration is exciting.

It is important that this cabin be restored; Nathan’s first home is the three-story mansion near Defiance, which, as author Rogers points out, is mistakenly known as "Daniel Boone’s Home."

The annual Nathan Boone Rendezvous will be Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Ash Grove park. Information about group tours of the cabin is available by calling Grady Manus of the Department of Natural Resources at (417) 751-3266.

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