The Three Benefits Of Traveling Through Time – Imagination

Photo by Swapnil Sharma from Pexels

You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again. – Bonnie Prudden

Traveling through time is a learned skill.  I was not a history enthusiast in my younger years.  Becoming a lover of history has been a long slow courtship.  Now, when I come across a point in history that piques my interest, I think, “What else was going on at that same time?”.  The same is true of a geographical name that catches my eye and I wonder where or why the name came from.

The latter occurred at 2:30 in the morning as I was driving past St. Louis, MO on our trip home from Michigan to pick up the engine for my biplane.  I saw a sign for the Bellefontaine Road exit toward Bellefontaine, MO.

Traveling Through Time

My mind immediately went to Thomas Hunt and Daniel Bissell, two Revolutionary War veterans whose final resting place we visited at Jefferson Barracks, nearby.  These men and their wives were originally interred at Fort Bellefontaine.  In 1904, they were reinterred at nearby Jefferson Barracks.

Traveling through time with further research into Fort Bellefontaine revealed a bee hive of activity.  The family connections with several significant historical figures continue to emerge:

  1.  Colonel Thomas Hunt, a Revolutionary War veteran whose final resting place I wrote about visiting, was assigned here as commandant.  It was his last posting as commandant of six military outposts before he died.  Col. Hunt died at Fort Bellefontaine in August 1808.  His wife, Eunice Wellington followed in 1809.
  2. Major Russell Bissell, a cousin by marriage, followed as commandant for a short period,
  3. Upon the death of his brother, Russell, General Daniel Bissell assumed command.  He rebuilt the deteriorating cantonment.

Traveling Through Time With Notable Figures

We know the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through during the command of Colonial Hunt on their return trip.  Clark mentions this meeting in a September 22, 1806 entry.  Then, Meriwether Lewis wrote in a letter dated June 2, 1808, to Colonial Hunt to arrange for the preparation of horses on behalf of the expedition.

Major Zebulon Pike, of Pike’s Peak notability, served under Col. Hunt at Bellefontaine in 1806.  It appears that Major Pike used Fort Bellefontaine as a starting point for his expeditions.

The American novelist, Winston Churchill (Ancestor of Prime Minister Winston Churchill) often referred to Bellefontaine Road in his historical novel “The Crisis”.

As the first military outpost west of the Mississippi River, Fort Bellefontaine was important to our nation’s westward expansion.

So as I passed by…

Traveling Through Timethis exit in the wee hours of the morning traveling through time, three things went through my imagination:

  1.  It is likely that my husband’s ancestors also crossed this location.
  2.  The exit was no longer just a construction-laden spot on I-270, but a significant place in personal history affecting anyone living west of the Mississippi then or now.
  3. I imagined the conversation these men might have had when they met.  After introductions and attending to lodging arrangements;
    1. How often did they have dinner and drinks to discuss the expedition?  Did my husband’s ancestors get a sneak peek at the drawing and notes?
    2. Did they talk about provision and arrangement for horses over cigars?
    3. Was there a formal briefing of their findings?  Discussion of how their findings would be received back east?
    4. Did they have any idea of the impact this expedition would have?

Traveling Through Time With Geography

Bellefontaine Road meant nothing to me a few weeks ago.  I had no clue of the personal history tied up in this place.  Rescuing lost stories can uncover the most astounding connections.  What story will you uncover this week?

Note: The primary source for much of the information was taken from an Article From Apr 10, 1904, page 41 – The St Louis Republic at

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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