We went from Kansas City to Independence then over to Richmond where we got on MO10 and stayed on that road until we got to Carrollton, where we got on Hwy 24 and followed it over to Keytesville. We stopped in Keytesville and took some pictures of the historical marker and the county boundary sign, because my good friend Malia's, mother-in-law had ancestors, Houston Moore and Thursa Ann Miller that were married there on 18 September 1838. Here are the county boundary sign, city limit sign, and the historical markers from Keytesville.
The Clemens home, that has been preserved.
Some of Mark Twain's famous sayings.
Mark Twain Lake from the Visitor Center.
The town of Florida, Missouri.
Roy's ancestor, Nathaniel Riggs who was with Zion's Camp owned almost 400 acres of land in Monroe County, Missouri and this property was located approximately 4 miles south and east of Florida, Missouri. Nathaniel probably even got supplies from Mark Twain's father as Mark's father owned the mercantile store there in Florida when Mark was born and until the family left and went up to Hannibal, Missouri.
There was also one of the earliest branches of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons, at the Allred Settlement just a couple of miles south of Florida, Missouri and we believe this is probably where Nathaniel meet with Joseph Smith and decided to join up with Zion's Camp and go over to Independence, since his property was only a couple of miles from the Allred's. This area is about 130 miles northwest of St. Louis.
I had found on the BLM site the land grants that Nathaniel had and so we were able to go very close to where his property was located. Most of it is now under water as there was a dam built back in the 1960's or 70's I believe it was, that now covers a lot of his property, I found maps that showed the modern roads and then we were able to drive almost right up to the property lines in some places. We did take quite a few pictures and got really close, if not right on some of the land and it was so cool to be able to feel the presence of this family, the struggles, the hardships, the love that was probably felt while they lived in this area. Following are just a few pictures of where Nathaniel's property was.
After leaving Monroe County, Missouri we headed southeast to Lincoln County, Missouri and the area that Nathaniel Riggs, parents and some of his siblings lived. Nathaniel's father, Bethuel Riggs was a Baptist Minister and started a church in his home just north of Troy, Missouri in either 1813 or 1823, depends on which history what the year was, but nevertheless he did start a church which was called the Sulphur Lick Baptist Church. I personally believe the year was really 1823 as I don't find him in the state of Missouri for the first time until 1809 when he came to Missouri and first settled on Dardenne Creek, in St. Charles County, where he lived for the next eight years. He then left St. Charles County and settled north of Troy, Missouri by the Sulphur Lick Spring. If he indeed lived for eight years on Dardenne Creek then that would put the year he first moved into Lincoln County at around 1817. However, I have found him listed on a state territorial census record in 1817, living in Upper Cuivre Twp, St. Charles County, Missouri Territory so he could have moved up to Lincoln County shortly after that time.
According to one history I found, Bethuel started the church in his own home and then around 1827 or 1828 they built a meetinghouse approximately four miles west of his home. That church was replaced in the 1850's with a new building and when we went to the church, which is one of the oldest continuous Baptist Churches in the state of Missouri, the date on this newer brick building said it was built in 1977 and it is on the same spot as the original church which was built in 1827/1828, how cool is that????
Bethuel Riggs was born in Mendon Twp, Morris County, New Jersey on December 13, 1757 and died on July 25, 1835 in Lincoln County, Missouri. He was married to Nancy Lee on February 15, 1778 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Nancy was born in about 1758 and died sometime after Bethuel, but before 1840 it is believed. They became the parents of nine children with Roy's ancestor, Nathaniel being their youngest. The other eight children were the following: Jane Riggs, 1781-1959, married Clayton Webb; Elizabeth Riggs, 1783-1851, married Andrew F, Smith; Mary Riggs, 1785-1855, married James Shaw II; Jonathan Riggs, 1788-1834, married Jane Shaw; Margaret Riggs, 1790-????, married ? Durham; Sarah Bell Riggs, 1792-before May 1869, married Statia Webb Sr.; Rebecca Riggs, 1794-1871, married Leonard Armstrong; and Samuel Riggs, 1796-1835, married Elizabeth Sutton.
Bethuel Riggs was also a Revolutionary War soldier and served at the battles of Ramsour's Mills, Catawba River, Guilford Courthouse and Kings Mountain. He had enlisted as a private, but was at the rank of captain when he was discharged after the war. His son, Jonathan Riggs also served during the War of 1812 and in the Indian Wars as a Lieutenant under Captain Callaway and because of his bravery his was made a general of the militia and was known as General, Jonathan Riggs until the day he died.
Here are some pictures of the church and the cemetery by the same name which is just a couple miles further west from the church as well as a video I did at both places, the Sulphur Lick Baptist Church and Sulphur Lick Cemetery.
The following is the video I did at the church.
The following is the video I did at the cemetery.
It was such a neat experience to be able to walk on the same ground some of our ancestors walked. They felt so alive while we were there and we could feel their spirits and almost hear them talking to us, asking us to never forget the hardships, the things they did to help make this country a free place for us as their descendants to live. If you get the chance, walk in the footsteps of your ancestors, you won't regret it.