In honor of our county’s 200th birthday, The Gasconade County Historical Society will be publishing an article each month about the history, events and/or stories of our county. We hope you enjoy them.
Digging Up Bones*
About 12,000 years ago several Paleo-Indians lay motionless in the tall grass along a river bottom in an area that centuries later would be known as the Bourbeuse River in Gasconade County, Missouri. The hunters, armed with spears and throwing sticks, rose quickly as the giant beast-- 10 feet tall and weighing 7 tons-- approached. The element of surprise was successful, and after an arduous battle, the beast fell.
Fast forward to 1838. A central Gasconade County farmer working his land near Mint Springs found spear heads and large bones unlike any he had ever seen. This find was the first evidence that prehistoric man and giant mastodons coexisted in North America. A St. Louis museum owner named Albrech Koch examined the discovery, but he could not convince anyone of its importance, and the Gasconade County find was not officially documented. Koch took the artifacts to London, where they remain to this day in a British museum.
One hundred years later a similar discovery was unearthed in Clovis, New Mexico. This time the points and bones were authenticated and documented, thus proving Koch’s theory of man and beast in North America at the same time.
One of archeology’s most significant discoveries was unearthed in our fair county. However, due to lack of verification, Gasconade County was never recognized for its contribution to history.
Happy Birthday, Gasconade County!!
*Information for this article supplied by Jerry Poppenhous.