THE FIRST ARRIVALS.
The Muegge family is one of the earliest to settle long term in the newly developed area of Chelthenham. In 1854 three brothers of the Muegge family, August, Fritz and Karl arrived in the area and built a home.
Brothers Fritz and Karl had no children, though Fritz was married. August had 9 children and at least one, Louise, who married Arnold Kock, was a long time Dogtown resident.
This is an old photo called 'The old Muegge home' on which the following persons can be seen:
Albert Muegge, Frederick (Fritz?) Muegge, Anna Muegge, Johanna Muegge (wife of August?), August Muegge, Louisa Muegge, Arnold Koch.
See family tree.
The Muegge family Grocery Store played a part during the Civil war (1862-1865) when one evening about suppertime several men wearing long grey dusters, thus covering up the uniform of Southern soldiers, entered the Muegge store. The Muegge family were having their evening meal in aroom just in back of the store. There son, than a half grown youth, was looking after the store in the meanwhile for those were dangerous times … for it had been reported that General Lee with his army was approaching Camp Jackson near St. Louis. As the young son busied himself about the store, the front door opened and in stepped three men, as described above. They approached closer and asked "Where do you keep your money?" Their entering and their loud voices could had been heard by the elderly mother. She took notice. She thought of her son. What could she do?
In the meantime the men bent over the counter to look for the cash box but found none. Worried, the mother now left the table and went to the store entering from the back. the men now stopped searching and addressed the mother. Turning towards her they addressed her by saying "Where is the money"? Quick to answer Mrs. Muegge replied "We keep no money around in these dangerous times. It went on the six o'clock train to St. Louis". Then she turned to her small daughter Louise of eight and said to her in German "Get the money out of the cash box and take it upstairs". Louise did as she was told and those tall strapping soldiers did not even notice her. She told later what a hard time she had to unknot the bag in which the money was kept. It never did see the bank at the end of each day, but it sidetracked the Bushwackers.
(Bushwhackers waren zuidelijke milities die tijdens de Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog als guerrilla's actief waren. Ze kwamen vooral voor in gebieden waar de burgerbevolking scherp verdeeld was tussen beide strijdende partijen, waardoor het soms voorkwam dat buren elkaar bevochten. Van de Bushwhackers was de bende van William Quantrill het het meest effectief en het meest bekend. Gebruik van de term tijdens de Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog was wijdverspreid, maar hij wordt tegenwoordig vooral geassocieerd met de guerrilla's die in en rond Missouri actief waren. Berucht daarbij is het bloedbad in Lawrence, op 21 augustus 1863.)
They not turned to Mrs. Muegge just as her husband entered in from the backdoor. "Madame won't you retire for we have business with your husband". Mrs. Muegge now realising the danger she was exposing het husband to she took the matter in her own hands. "What you have to say to my husband, you will say to me as well". And Mrs. Muegge held the for, but when they drew a pistol, having previously asked for his hunting gun … in the back doorway, which let to the living quarters. That I made an immediate impression on these men. The older brother had already retired, but when he had heard the shot he knew instantly someone was up as he rushed into the store shouting loudly "What is the matter here?" This sudden appearance of what the Bushwhackers probably thought was the first of these seven soldiers. Pulling up his trousers probably indicated to them that he was pulling out a revolver , thought better than to press the matter any further they began to back out towards the store door. As they left, still facing their danger that appeared to threaten them to … out as fast as they could, then the members of the Muegge family jumped and barricaded the door with potato barrels. Then came a sound of tramping horses from Manchester road as the Bushwhackers were on their way. From the noise made by the horses hoofs, it was felt that those three men who had entered were heavily reinforced by a strong body guard on the outside.
In the meanwhile my grandfather had followed his wife's request he had start running over fields and byeways to go to Camp Jackson to sound the alarm of the attack. the next morning there was sent out a … Union soldiers prepared to make a thorough search of this company of Bushwhackers for they had been eldert of General Price's armies movement coming up from Arkansas they were moving north into Missouri. The entire district was searched for many southern sympathisers held large estates in the vicinity. My mother who was old enough to remember, would tell the story to her children over and over again that it almost seemed as if we had been part of this adventure which happened to our grandparents in that large brick house on Manchester Road (later it had the Post Office number of 6429 Manchester Avenue) and the district became Clifton Height instead of Cheltenham.
The house was build in 1854, this drawing of it is from about 1905.
A Daring Exploit of Rebels
THE AFFAIR AT CHELTENHAM
Attempt to Murder the Postmaster
HE ESCAPES TO THE CITY
The Missouri Republican
October 1, 1864 (The raid itself was September 28, 1864)
We have information of a most daring proceeding on the part of rebel guerillas Wednesday evening at Cheltenham, on the Pacific railroad, only four miles from the city.
Mr. Augustus Muegge, Postmaster at Cheltenham, arrived at the militia camp at eight o’clock Wednesday evening, and as soon as possible was sent into the city and reported at Post Headquarters the following facts:
Between five and six o’clock Thursday, evening four men rode up to his door, two of whom discounted and went in, the other two remaining outside and holding the horses. They were all splendidly mounted and finely dressed with ‘duster’ over their fine clothes. When the two men entered they asked Mr. Muegge “which side he was on?” Mr. Muegge replied he did not know what they meant. “What’s your position?” asked the intruders. “I am a Union man,” replied Mr. M. They then asked if he had ever held office under the Lincoln Government. Mr. M. replied “Yes - I hold office now. I am Postmaster here.” “Then,” said the stranger, “it’s just such men as you that we went to kill,” and one of them drew a revolver, cocked it, and was pointing it at Muegge when the latter’s wife rushed between them and declared they must first kill her. The assailant point the pistol over the shoulder of the woman, but she threw it up and Muegge dodged out his back door and made his escape.
The Post Office is situated some half mile from the depot of Cheltenham station. As soon as Mr. Muegge could procure a horse, he came to the city and reported at the militia camp on the Olive Street road, the above facts; but owing to the great delay on account of the incredibility of the story , the statement was not reported at headquarters until Friday morning. Mr. Muegge reported also that he heard of a similar party being at a house two miles from Cheltenham on the Manchester road.
A scout was sent out immediately, but nothing had been heard from it up to a late hour last night.
The affair is enveloped in some mystery, it being the presumption that the fellow were regular officers from the invading army now menacing the Pacific railroad. They displayed the regular Confederate uniform, and were evidently old soldiers. Every bridge and ford on the Meramec is well guarded and it is impossible that those men could have crossed at any of these. Such is the official statement. The most plausible explanation is, that the fright of the Postmaster induced him to imagine a great deal more than he saw, and in his statement drew largely on his fancy.
CIVIL WAR DAYS
What life was life at that time
During the early days the Muegge property was surrounded by Southern planters who were slave holders, The Muegge brothers were identified with the Lincoln Government for they had the Cheltenham Post Office in their store. He was treated with the utmost respect by his neighbors although slaves would run to him when they were beaten. Mrs. Muegge always said if the Civil War had been lost by the North she would have bought a slave in order to free her. As it turned out she always employed colored help. During that episode when the BushWackers entered the store as they threatened August Muegge’s life, her colored servant stood behind the door leading to the back of the house. She later told how she trembled for "they would have shot me down like a door had they known I was hiding behind that door". Later she gave birth to a child and when one day a lady with her young daughter came on a visit from St.Louis, to visit the Muegges and she asked the colored baby was her first and she thought it too cute. She asked permission to kiss it and then remarked naively, "Am I now black?"
Mrs. Muegge had just returned from Germany with her three children -- Albert, Louis and Anne where her husband had sent her just before the war had threatened. This had been in 1862, the family had remained there for a entire year but shortly after the return in 1864 the fighting and the disturbances only had begun. That was when her husband’s life had been threatened and the brave woman through her courage in all probability saved his life. The Southern gentleman always held a woman in highest regard. Mrs. Muegge organized women of the neighborhood to make bandages my mother often told how she sacrificed all he beautiful linen sheets and table clothes to tear into strips and roll them, also made lint for at that time cotton could not be obtained and there was great need for bandages, and the faithful woman carried on as they do today only in a primitive way. My grandmother took charge of this work never counting the sacrifice of her precious trousseau linen cost her.
A CIVIL WAR TIME MONUMENT: THE MUEGGE HOUSE
I would like to call your attention to an old landmark; which stood on the outskirt of St. Louis just about six miles out on the Manchester Road or now Avenue. It is the. Muegge Family Store. It was -- for I speak of the past as only very recently - it was removed to make wav for new buildings I understand.
This old Muegge house was also once a place of business which not alone served a large area of neighborly settlers but also the people who were on the way to the West. These included largely two types -- the Indians which were being moved from their Eastern reservations to the just opened Indian Territory and the Hoosiers who were passing westward from Indiana to take up new government land claims. These would stop at the Muegge store for provisions.
This is its story
The Muegge Grocery Store was built in 1854. It was built of red brick. It had a hip roof with a single dormer window to the south which lighted a large attic. The full front length of the house had a wooden balcony . There were green shutters on all the windows and one large double door with panes of glass in the upper half, which was the entrance to the store. This took up one fourth of the first floor and its fixtures were all made on the spot of hand hewn boards. In this store was one long counter the full length of one long side and which extended alongside one other wall. There was a place for everything in this store which carried all the necessary merchandise to supply its customers. There were in the first place all the stable groceries, then the necessary hardware, especially an assortment of nails, pop etc. lamp chimneys an important requirement in those days, and also kerosene for lamps, the only means of lighting the home and an endless assortment of household mds. All that need be said that it served its purpose to supply the needs of the people who traded at the Muegge store.
THE MUEGGE STORE
The Muegges moved to Cheltenham in the early 1850’s. Augustus entered the grocery business in 1850, according to the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin. This was on the N/W corner of Dale and Manchester.
By 1852, Cheltenham had enough people to establish a Post Office in the store. The old two story brick building still stood in 1937. As a side note: General Grant, when coming to St. Louis from Grants Farm, often wassailed in Muegge’s store.
Johanna Muegge also had a small corner. (.5acre) on the south side of Manchester. This piece of land would fall in line with the Glades. Johanna was the wife of Augustus, who must have died in the 1870’s. I read somewhere this small piece of land was used as a small park or picnic ground.
The store and Post Office were on the ground floor of their home. I have a copy of a picture (Figure 20), of the Muegge family which includes their son Albert the artist.
He painted several good pictures of Cheltenham, (Some painted, by memory in 1877 of 1856 scenes). See http://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/dogtown/people/muegge-paintings.html
Some of the paintings are in the Missouri Historical Society Library, and there are some pictures printed in the Mo. Hist. Bulletin. For some reason, earlier (while writing these chapters) we could not copy these into our web page. It was not as though we are going to make money on them. This was a set of eight pictures, or so stated in the bulletin. Have not found numbers 3, 5, and 7. Early on, I got permission to photograph a few of them. But it seems the door was shut for some reason. I took the pictures without flash, because they didn’t want too much light on them which seems reasonable. It would be great to have them on the web. I also have taken a rough panoramic view of the area. This was from the south side of I44 at the turn-around of Tamm. You can reach this spot by way of Southwest Avenue.
There is another picture (painting) by Alfred Muegge, drawn from a position east of Tamm. It shows a small factory with a fence line behind it, which would be Tamm in the future. In the background was the Muegge home. This seems to be a painting. The location of this Factory seems to be on the N/E CORNER OF Manchester and Tamm. The name being “The Cheltenham Oil-Cloth and Window Shade Factory” as it appeared in 1854.It could have been a forerunner of the intense industrialization of the area.
Later, I found an advertisement of “F. & A.MUEGGE’S Oil Cloth and Window Blind Manufactory”
They also made waterproof cloaks, coats and wagon covers. The address being No.173 N. Second Street. Could it be they had their factory in Cheltenham? This is the same corner where, in later days, the Cheltenham Fire Brick Co was located.
In 1934, the Tamm-Dale Market was operated by Frank Baretich at 6413 Manchester. This must have been a little closer to Tamm. Muegges was 6429.
TECH Electronics is on both the N/E and N/W corners of Dale and Manchester now, with a shady grass lot on the N/E corner.