Anyone interested in learning more about the history of Franklin County will want to sign up for the 12th annual Local History Class at East Central College.

The class will be held on eight Thursday evenings in March and April from 7 to 9 p.m. in the one-story Regional Training Center on the Union campus. Tuition is $50 for the course or $10 per evening at the door, space permitting. There will be two presentations each evening.

To enroll, contact the continuing education department at 636-584-6529. For more information, contact Sue Blesi at 573-739-9201 or email

Following is a schedule to classes and topics:

March 5

March 5 — 7 p.m. Nancy Thater will discuss “Origins of Early Settlers in Boles Township.” Have you ever wondered who the early settlers were in the Pacific and Gray Summit communities? Thater retired after 31 years of teaching at Pacific and is an adjunct professor at Missouri Baptist University.

8 p.m. — Cathie Schoppenhorst’s presentation is “Bill Consolidation by Title Loan: The Demise of the Pinckney Ferry in 1838.”

George Rogers had a profitable business transporting people and goods across the Missouri River. When he was unable to pay numerous small loans, he mortgaged his property to pay his creditors. Learn about the impact this had on the entire community.

Schoppenhorst is a historic interpreter with Boone Monument Village in Marthasville and volunteers for the State Archives’ Local Records Preservation Project in Warren County.

March 12

March 12 — 7 p.m. Dave Atzenweiler has a strong interest in local history, especially as it relates to Native Americans, and frequently makes presentations at area schools. He will discuss the “Indian Paint Mine, also known as the Remmert Iron Mine, at Leslie,” and show how the mining and production of paint was an important cultural and economic part of Native American life.

Rev. Atzenweiler is pastor of the Antioch Christian Church at Leslie.

8 p.m. — Marc Houseman will explain “Proper Techniques to Be Used in Cleaning Headstones” that have been darkened by the elements such as mold, lichen, moss, grass clippings, etc. Part of the Franklin County Cemetery Association’s mission is to teach others how to properly work in cemeteries without causing further damage. Houseman is director of Washington Historical Museum.

March 19

March 19 — 7 p.m. Dr. James Erwin will discuss the “Homefront in Civil War Missouri.” Women who were left behind when their husbands and sons went to war had to cope with marauders from both sides. Children watched as their fathers and brothers were beaten, hanged or shot. Black men were able to serve in the army, but that left their families vulnerable to retaliation.

Dr. Erwin has earned a B.A. in mathematics, an M.A. in history, and a J.D. He has authored three books and will have them available.

8 p.m. — Jim Tayon, Judge Larry Davis and Dave Hall will introduce several area veterans who will share “Stories From Area Veterans.” Tayon and Judge Davis are founders of Franklin County Honor Flight.

April 2

April 2 — 7 p.m. Sue Blesi will present “Two Views on a Civil War Topic” and “The Civil War Trials and Tribulations of John Hamblock and His Family.”

Hamblock was taken from his home at South Point by the Confederates and was made a prisoner of war.

Blesi recently put together an exhibit on the Civil War in Franklin County for the Harney Mansion and is active in several area historical societies. She writes a weekly column for The Missourian and has written several books on local history. Her latest title, “Civil War Comes to the Homefront,” should be available as well as other titles.

8 p.m. — Frank Jenny will talk about his grandfather, “From Prosecuting Bertha Gifford to Defending J. Frank Dalton (or Jesse James): The Career of Country Lawyer Frank W. Jenny.”

His grandfather served several terms as prosecuting attorney in Franklin County. Albeit a strange twist, Frank, the grandson, is prosecuting attorney in Franklin County, Washington state, and is traveling to Missouri to make this presentation and visit with friends and family.

Apri 9

April 9 —7 p.m. Sue Blesi will present the “Life of A. J. ‘Jeff’ Seay.” He was an important figure in Franklin County in the 1800s and went on to become the Territorial Governor of Oklahoma.

Seay was responsible for curtailing a railroad strike at Pacific and hosted the wedding of George and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, founded the Bank of Union, and overcame many personal challenges and tragedies on his road to success. Blesi is an area historian and founder of the Franklin County History Fair.

8 p.m. — David Menke, as John Colter, will appear in period dress and share the exciting “Adventures and Exploits of John Colter, Who Was Part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

Menke is a retired school principal and serves as president of both the New Haven Preservation Society and the New Haven German-American Club, as well as a member of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce. He has written several books on area history and will have them available.

April 17

April 17 — 7 p.m. Dr. Kenneth Johnson will present “Moonlight Serenade to City Lights: Rare Images of Bands and Orchestras from the Dance Hall Era in Missouri.” Actually, that is the title of his recently published book chronicling the musicians and bands that entertained a generation of Americans during the 1940s and 1950s, an era when local dance halls provided an important social outlet for many rural families.

Dr. Johnson is professor of education at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. During his formative years, he lived in one of the old dance halls, which inspired a lifelong interest in music.

8 p.m. — Seth Purschke will discuss “Native American Artifacts from the Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, Mississipian and the More Recent Historical Periods.” Bring your artifacts to this class if you have questions about them.

Purschke is an avid collector and hunter of artifacts and is affiliated with Purschke Tire and Oil of Union.

April 23

April 23 — 7 p.m. Suzanne Connelly Pautler will talk about life experiences, pastimes and historical influences pertaining to the “Jeffriesburg Community” where her ancestors settled in the mid-1800s. She will share stories and photographs relative to the topic. Her interest in genealogy, technology, and teaching are evident in her presentations. Her interests in family history and area history were developed when she lived in Jeffriesburg as a youth. Pautler is a retired teacher and an avid researcher.

8 p.m. — Carol Radford will present her research on the “Churches of Franklin County in the 1850s.” The number of churches in Franklin County nearly doubled in the 1850s, due in part to the influx of German immigrants and the coming of the railroads. Tensions also developed between pro- and anti-slavery factions within some congregations.

Radford is president of the St. Clair Historical Museum. She is retired from a 20-year career on the faculty of Maryville University, where she taught and managed the science lab. Her interests in science are coupled with a long-standing fascination with history.

April 30

April 30 — 7 p.m. Steve Clagett will discuss the “Challenges Faced by Pre-Civil War German Immigrants, Beginning with Issues in the Homeland and Hardships of the Journey.” He will detail some of the issues confronting the new arrivals, such as swindles, disease, language challenges, discrimination, travel, and customs.

Clagett is president of Four Rivers Genealogical Society, member of the Board of the Washington Historical Society, and genealogist for Sons of American Revolution, Spirit of St. Louis chapter. In addition, he has written several books, which will be available.

8 p.m. — Ben Brown will present “The Colonist and the German Immigrants.” He will discuss the leading individuals, the victim, the inquisitors, the pawns, the executioner, the Judas, and the avenger, in the death of James Henry Barnes Sr., of Franklin in 1863.