St. Louis County, Missouri History and Geography

My ancestral families I am researching in St. Louis County are:

Allied families of Patton and Smith in the St. Louis County area: McClure, O'Connell, Vaughan, Streett (aka Street), Patterson, Adams, Woods, Walton, Piant/Pyant, Latta, Cobb, Painter.

I am still trying to decipher the geography of exactly where the Smith, Patton and related families lived in Missouri both in historical as well as current context so my understanding and this description are tentative. Many records, such as census, specifically give the location where the Smith's lived in from about 1805-1880's as St. Ferdinand Township, St. Louis County, Missouri, apparently now referred to as "Old St. Ferdinand Township." Note that the City of St. Louis separated from St. Louis County in 1876; St. Louis now is an "independent city." All St. Louis County records prior to 1876 are still held by the City. Other names mentioned in various records are Bridgeton, St. Ann, Fee Fee, Pattonville and Florissant.

The Patton family was the namesake for the community of Pattonville, lived in that area and a number buried in the Fee Fee Church Cemetery (which was shared at the time by the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians.) Some references indicate that what was formerly the community of Fee Fee, became Pattonville, while others seem to show the two as separate and distinct.

For the present, this page will be more of a working document, added to as I find more information, but not polished or organized into a final form.

St. Ferdinand was an early (at least pre-1793) settlement that became the City Florissant, also alternately known as "St. Ferdinand of Florissant." St. Ferdinand Township was one of the five early townships of St. Louis County and includes the settlement of St. Ferdinand/Florissant but spans a larger area with the City of Florissant as a northern point and Bridgeton/Pattonville as a southern point on a north-south axis on what is today Lindbergh Blvd. The area(s) where these family(ies) lived was (were) roughly where the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is today in the northwest part of the county. The actual historical boundaries can be seen on a black/white 1883 St. Louis Township Map published in the "History of St. Louis City and County", by J. Thomas Scharf. Current townships: 1995 St. Louis Township Map (PDF) Another version: St. Louis Townships Overall and Detail Maps Modern (2006) Townships are reasonably drawn, but some odd shapes, slices and segments do hint at some gerrymandering. The Fee Fee Cemetery, on the south side of Old St. Charles Road is in Airport Township, as is the St. Louis Lambert Airport itself. The old location of Pattonville, north of Old St. Charles Road is in Northwest Township. See Airport Township and Northwest Township

The history of Pattonville has been written in Overland trails and trials and your country today (Parkin, 1956), page 54 and is embedded in this page later. The History of St. Louis County, Missouri (Thomas, 1911) describes the histories of the early townships, including St. Ferdinand, as well as the early churches, including Fee Fee Baptist, and cemeteries, including Fee Fee Cemetery. (TBA).

Pattonville, Bridgeton and St. Ann are distinct entities that are adjacent (Pattonville and Bridgeton historical Post Offices 1883); Florissant is about 4 miles directly north; and Fee Fee (settlement/GNIS "Populated Place") was an alternate/historical name for Pattonville. Maryland Heights is also adjacent, but I have not seen it mentioned in historical records. (It sounds like a contemporary name for a suburban subdivision.)

"Pattonville" apparently no longer exists as a legal jurisdiction (muncipality, etc.) although it is shown on the Yahoo map (as a small dot). It was shown in the 1800's as a Post Office and is on the list of Forgotten Places of St. Louis, Missouri. This website describes Pattonville: "P.O. 1876-1958. In northwest St. Louis County (SW part of old St. Ferdinand township.) The USPS does not show a Zip Code although GNIS shows Pattonville as a "Populated Place" and not "Historical." The area school district is called the "Pattonville School District" that consists of seven elementary, two middle and one high school, but the actual addresses of the physical locations are Bridgeton, St. Ann and Maryland Heights. It is listed in various historical documents (i.e. History of St. Louis County, Missouri) as a current town/community, as least as late as 1911. It was probably one of those many early Missouri communities that consisted of a few stores (probably never "incorporated"), but disappeared as a separate entity or legal jurisdiction.

One excellent site that describes some of these names and links to maps is Forgotten Places of St. Louis, Missouri.

This site has the following note regarding Townships of St. Louis County:

One description I have found, albiet brief, is from the website of "The Beginning" of the Fee Fee Baptist Church which is located at 11330 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, Missouri 63044. In part, the history says:

"Two hundred years ago Bridgeton was a land of rolling hills, forests, prairies, springs and rivers. A swamp was where Lambert - St. Louis International Airport is today. ...

"The first white people who came here were French. One of them was Nicholas Beaugenou, Jr. Nicholas was known to his friends as Fifi. Americans spelled his nickname the way it was pronounced, "Fee Fee".

"St. Ferdinand was the nearest settlement at the time. Today it is part of the city of Florissant. One Sunday in August 1793 seven people left St. Ferdinand to pick wild plums. Two Indians named Red Cedar and Turkey Foot attacked them. Mrs. Riviere a nd 10 year old Elizabeth Creely escaped by hiding in bushes but the others were killed.

"The next year William Owen built a fort for protection from the Indians. Because of nearby cottonwood trees and swamps his settlement was called Marais de Liards. The name was later changed to Bridgeton. ...

"The United States purchased the land west of the Mississippi River in 1803. People here could now worship as they pleased. Thomas Musick, a pastor in Illinois, moved here when he heard about the purchase. In 1807, he and several families formed a Baptist church on the banks of Fee Fee's creek. [Music served from 1807 to 1842.] ...

"The church met in the homes of members until 1815. That year they built a log house to meet in. ... In 1830, the log building was replaced by a brick building located on the road from St. Louis to St. Charles. If you go to the Fee Fee Cemetery, you can see this building. This building was shared with Presbyterian and Methodist churches who, with the Baptists, took turns leading the services.

"During the 1860s, when most roads were made of dirt, a portion of the road to St. Charles was relocated and paved with rock . This road is still called the St. Charles Rock Road. The intersection of this road with Fee Fee Road became the center of a growing community later know[n] as Pattonville. [Connection with our Patton's?]

"The church needed a new meeting house, and they decided to build it on the new road. [St. Charles Rock Road] Erastus Post, one of the church's deacons, donated land for the building. The new building, which today is called the Chapel, was completed in 1870."

Another brief description of the beginning of the Fee Fee Baptist Church comes from the History of Lincoln County, Missouri; 1888; Goodspeed; page 474:

Fee Fee Creek Baptist Church was organized with about seventeen members in 1807, by Elder Thomas R. Musick. It is located in a beautiful country, about fifteen miles northwest of St. Louis, and was the second Baptist Church organized in what is now the State of Missouri. Soon thereafter followed the organizations of Coldwater, Boeuf, Negro Fork, Upper Cuivre and Femme Osage Baptist Churches. These churches were organized, in 1817, into the "Missouri Association," which is now the "St. Louis Association." Fee Fee Creek Church, having stood from the beginning, is now the oldest Baptist Church in the State. Of the Upper Cuivre, Rev. R. S. Duncan, author of the "History of the Baptists in Missouri," says: "This pioneer community was located several miles southwest of Troy, the county seat of Lincoln County; was gathered and formed by we know not whom, in about the year 1815 or 1816, and after an existence of some twenty years, dissolved." It was probably located near the present line of Lincoln and Warren Counties.
[Continues with descriptions of early Lincoln County, Missouri Baptist Churches.]

Pattonville (was Fee Fee)

In 1876, the name of the post office and, consequently, by default the settlement was changed from Fee Fee to Pattonville with the appointment of one of the Patton brothers as postmaster.


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