Saturday, May 8, 2010

Maybe-Maybe Not

This one is true.

Several times a year Mrs. T and I visit the family farm in eastern Missouri. We try not to make much effort, in hopes of discouraging family members who may wish to gift us this heirloom, but things need doing, and the old folks interest has fallen to zero. That's where we come in.

To reach the farm we drive through the town of Bourbon. Surprisingly, the community is named for the drink, not the French monarchs. It is believed to be the only town in America so named.

The town, laid out during the construction of the Frisco railway, in the early 1850's, was originally called St. Cloud. As a service to the Irish immigrants working on the line, Richard Turner, the keeper of the general store kept a whiskey barrel on the front porch of his store, and would deliver the barrel to nearby worker's camp sites as conditions (paydays) warranted.

The post office opened in 1853 and was named "Bourbon in the village of St. Cloud". Over time the name was shortened. Today some 1000 people live there and there is no compelling reason to stop.

Along the highway are 2 newer water towers. Naturally, one is labeled Bourbon, the other Water.



Martha said...

What an interesting fact --

I live in BOURBON county!!!! Alas, counties don't have water towers (or if they do they say RWD # something!) -- And ours is named for the drink not for the French!

I'll have to visit Bourbon, Missouri the next time I get east.

M.Lane said...

I'm moving there.


James said...

I enjoy little history footnotes like this, thanks Toad.