Robert Owen and the Citizens of Marais des Liards
Born in Maryland, Robert Owen died in 1829 in Jefferson County, Missouri. Owen first settled in 1785 in what is now Missouri along the Meramec River; however, Robert’s neighbor, Adam House, and son were found decapitated while working in the fields in an area now called House Springs. Robert moved north due to issues with the Indians. Robert Owen became the guardian for the three remaining House children. Soon after Robert moved to the area, he named the area Owen’s Station. After twenty years in Owen’s Station, Robert and his wife moved to property along the Big River, currently in Jefferson County.
Owen’s Station was also known as Marais des Liards [cottonwood swamp]; records show both names interchangeably. The area grew to approximately 375 residents, at one point, more than the adjoining St. Ferdinand. Using today’s landmarks, the community covered land west of Cypress Road and south of Natural Bridge. It extended west to approximately Fee Fee Church and Cemetery. The area changed names a few more times. It is known today as Bridgeton, and Pattonville was a previous name, now used by the local school district. A diagram showing the town lots is available in the book, Bridgeton Since 1794.
Many families lived in Owen’s Station but farmed their land in the common fields of Marais des Liards, as named on maps of that day. Other residents obtained land grants in the Owen’s Station area, outside the common fields; however, they too lived at the station for safety. An overlay map of the area identifies the location of the land grants and each is identified with the name of the grantee. A few grantees, such as Pierre and Auguste Chouteau, who obtained land grants, most likely never lived on their property,
A small nearby community of St. Andre, located on the eastern shore of the Missouri River south of Owen’s Station, was part of the current community of Chesterfield. The early citizens became refugees when their community was washed away due to spring flooding. St. Andre citizens moving to Owen’s Station included Robert Bay, Jacob Coontz, Joshua and William Massey, Abraham and Ephraim Musick, Edward Young, and Captain James Mackay.
The area south of St. Charles Road was called Creve Coeur and included the lakes and nearby property.
Today, some of the property included in the Spanish land grants and common fields is part of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
(Sources include History of Missouri, Draper Papers, Overland Trails, Bridgeton Since 1794, and more.)
Ann Carter Fleming
© 2018, St. Louis Genealogical Society
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Last Modified: 23-Feb-2019 12:17