Members of the Meramec Valley Genealogical and Historical Society were on hand at the Aug. 7 board of aldermen meeting to celebrate the release of their Civil War in Pacific CD.
The city tourism commission funded the video and aldermen each received a free copy.
The one-hour video focuses on the role the Pacific railroad played in the Civil War and elements of the war that the railroad brought to the city. The CD features eight local speakers.
Maggie Brundick Koetting, Newburg, Ind., who emceed the video, was present at the meeting.
Koetting is a descendant of the legendary Grandma Kennedy who, lore tells us, persuaded Union officers from removing the stones of the recently started new St. Bridget Church for a fort.
That snippet did not make it into the one-hour video, however stories of the legendary southern Gen. Sterling Price, known as “Old Pap,” were told by several speakers.
For Billy Murphy, great-grandson of Riverboat Dan McAuley, the general struck a terrible blow to his family in Catawissa. Price’s troops looted the town of Pacific and burned all the railroad property before Union troops rousted them.
Murphy had another great-grandfather, John Fremeyer, a member of the Union forces, who survived the war and was Pacific’s first marshal.
New information also was revealed about the location of the mysterious Camp Herron.
In a video within a video, the late Ed Phelan tells his romantic story about two soldiers assigned to guard the railroad, who attended a Catawissa wedding, were later sent south, captured and sentenced to be shot. But the soldier who was assigned to do the shooting realized he had attended the same wedding and allowed the captives to escape.
Except for the lead by Koetting and the introduction of the Civil War in Missouri by local Odyssey teacher Nancy Thater, the CD is a mixture of local family history and family records.
Henry Alt still has his great-uncle’s discharge paper, which is in excellent condition, and Bryan Buchanan shared the diary that his great-great-grandfather Robert Denny kept throughout the war.
On the evening the video was shown, which was a repeat of an earlier showing of the program, the Pacific High School auditorium was filled with family members, supporters and curious residents.
The two-hour presentation was edited down to a one-hour video program and the Grandma Kennedy story was somehow omitted.
“We’re very excited about the CD,” Patricia Sewell, MVGHS president, told aldermen. “We never thought that the result of our little organization’s history talks would end up on a CD of this quality.”
The cost of the CD is $15 and can be purchased at the Scenic Regional Library on Tuesday mornings between 9:30 a.m. and noon when society members are there working.