A little background about the house in honor of our first anniversary of home ownership.
Of all the fascinating people Meriwether Lewis met on the expedition, few intrigued him as much as Louis Lorimier—and his lovely daughter.
In 1793 Lorimier had established a military trading post called “Red House” at Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River, about 120 miles south of St. Louis. Lorimier was a French-Canadian who had been a Loyalist during the American Revolution and had fought against George Rogers Clark, the brother of William Clark. It seems that George Rogers Clark had burned down one of Lorimier’s establishments that was worth $20,000. “This broke him as a mercht,” wrote Lewis in his journal on Nov. 25, 1803. Because Lorimier was an ambitious frontiersman and entrepreneur, he was able to recover from this disaster. Lorimier was the recipient of Spanish land grant, which allowed him to build a trading post on the west bank of the river. From his Red House Lorimier served as the city’s first goodwill ambassador. He encouraged Americans to settle in the area, which caused the area to flourish.
From his vantage point in the trading post, Lorimier had the opportunity to welcome such adventurers as Lewis and Clark on their way to St. Louis, Davey Crockett as he traveled through the area seeking recruits for frontier service, and settlers making their way across the Mississippi River.
When the Corps of Discovery landed in Cape Girardeau, Lewis called upon Lorimier at his home, but Lorimier was at a horse race. So Lewis went to the course and recorded what he saw in his journal:
“The seane reminded me very much of their small raises in Kentucky among the uncivilized backwoodsmen, nor did the subquent rase at all lessen the resemblance…..it is not at all extraordinary that these people should be disorderly. They are almost entirely emegrant from the frontiers of Kentuckey & Tennessee, and are the most dissolute and abandoned even among these people; they are men of desperate fortunes, but little to loose either character or property.
Lewis was just as taken by Lorimier. Lewis wrote four pages in his journal about his meeting with Lorimier, Lorimier’s lovely daughter, and the events that took place during their one-day visit.
When he met Lewis, Lorimier was almost 60 years old and could not read or write. Lewis was amazed with his appearance and described Lorimier’s “remarkable suit of hair;….it touched the grond when he stood erect…when cewed it is kept close to his back by means of a leather gerdle.”
The photos are of my house when we bought it, November 2006.