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A trio of members of the Sarah Barton Murphy Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution were invited by Program Chair Sharon Gifford to present a program for the Terre Du Lac Country Club’s monthly dinner. Gifford is also a member of the country club.

Members of the Sarah Barton Murphy NSDAR are direct descendants of Revolutionary War Patriots.

The Plank Road was constructed from 1851-53 at a cost of $200,000. The road was 42 miles long, constructed of virgin oak planks eight feet wide by two-and-one-half inches thick. The road is remembered as the first man-made road in the state of Missouri.

A copy of the original company seal featured a Conestoga wagon pulled by four horses, surrounded by “State of the StG., I.M. & P.K Co.” The road was designed to transport pig iron and bloom iron ore – mined in Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob in Iron County – through Doe Run, Delassus and Farmington in St. Francois County to the Mississippi River port of Ste. Genevieve in Ste. Genevieve County.

The overland route eliminated the delays caused by wet weather bogging down the ore carts and oxen teams. Payment was received at the river port.

On the water route, barges transported the ore via the Mississippi River to smelters, where the iron was separated from the rocks.

Creating the road not only shortened transport time, but also allowed for the placement of five toll booths. Money collected helped maintain the road. Two booths were located at the entrance and exit out of Farmington, collecting tolls in either direction.

Citizens also traveled the Plank Road at the cost of 10 cents for a man and horse and 25 cents for a wagon. John Hunt, a prosperous farmer, worked out a payment system of paying at the end of the month while utilizing the road for transporting agriculture crops. Other travelers – hearing him call out, “John Hunt” – would soon do so as well to avoid the toll fee. Hunt caught on and returned to paying cash with each usage.

This Missouri history was told by Nancy Jacob, Lana Wampler and Pat Colyer working together, utilizing a display table of memorabilia and Lana’s storyboard of photos. An oxen yolk was not brought along due to its weight.

Reading 26 Certificates of Appreciation earned from the State DAR Society and National DAR Society, DAR, Pat expounded on the significance of each. The chapter received a first place in Missouri for the submission of “Missouri’s First Road, The Plank Road” and second place among the six states in the South Central Division in the division of Historic Preservation.

Under Patriotism, veterans were honored with a Camp Hope Fund Trivia Night fundraiser for wounded service members from Afghanistan and Iraq; supporting Honor Flights for all-expenses paid trips to Washington, DC to view monuments for World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans; Wheeling for Healing on the Katy Trail; and generous donations to veterans at Christmas.

Under the topic of Education, school supplies were collected and distributed; students in 13 high schools invited to write an essay for “The Good Citizen” contest; and a Bronze Medal awarded to an Air Force JRTOC student.

Conservation activities include planting four dogwood trees to honor the state regent; 17 members participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count and adding a geocache site in the Sarah Barton Murphy Forest.

The organization also received a Level 1 in Yearbook Contents and Level 1 for Chapter Achievement.


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