Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visited St. Charles County in late June to issue a proclamation regarding a formerly unnamed stream that has been officially designated Archer Alexander Creek.
The name recognizes Archer Alexander, who during the Civil War informed Union troops about an incident of local railroad sabotage.
“It’s an honor to help commemorate Archer Alexander with this public memorial. He lived in St. Charles County from 1830 until his death in 1879,” Ashcroft said.
“Alexander’s story is a fascinating and heroic one, and I’m grateful to St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann for proposing the designation honoring him.”
The Missouri Board on Geographic Names (MOBGN) recommended the proposal, submitted by Ehlmann, to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names at their May meeting.
Final approval of the proposal by the U.S. board occurred on June 21.
“We are honored that Secretary of State Ashcroft can be with us in St. Charles County as the story of Archer Alexander continues,” Ehlmann said. “We thank him for his interest in our county and its history.
“Naming this creek after Mr. Alexander reminds us of the rich, diverse history of our county and of the brave men and women who fought on many levels during the Civil War to reunite our nation and make all men free.”
Archer Alexander Creek is 2.5 miles long with its head in the City of O’Fallon. It flows generally south through the City of Cottleville to enter Dardenne Creek 3.9 miles north-northwest of Weldon Spring.
The name recognizes Archer Alexander, a slave who lived in the area in the mid-19th century. Alexander informed Union troops about an incident of local railroad sabotage and weapons hidden on a farm along the creek that now bears his name.
Although suspected by Confederate sympathizers, he escaped to St. Louis and successfully petitioned the Provost Marshal of Missouri for his freedom.
A photo of Alexander — taken later in his life by abolitionist William Greenleaf Eliot — was used by artist Thomas Ball to sculpt the face of Alexander alongside President Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Memorial found in Washington, D.C.’s, Lincoln Park.
The MOBGN is responsible for the coordination of place-naming activity between local, state and federal agencies.
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The MOBGN governs procedures for naming and renaming geographic features within Missouri, provides uniformity in geographic nomenclature throughout the state and retains the expressed historic and cultural significance of Missouri’s place-names.
The secretary of state chairs the board, with assistance from the staff of the Missouri State Archives.
State health officials are again reminding everyone to take precautions to prevent tick bites.
According to the CDC, tick and mosquito-borne illnesses increased three-fold between 2004 and 2016. Nine new diseases spread by ticks and mosquitos have been discovered since 2004, including Zika in mosquitos and Heartland and Bourbon viruses in ticks.
It is very important to seek medical attention if you are bit by a tick and develop flu-like symptoms.
Symptoms of tick-borne diseases typically begin within two weeks of a bite by an infected tick and for most people include a sudden fever, body aches and headache.
If you find an attached tick, remove it promptly. The longer it is attached the greater the risk of infection.
Despite the variety of ticks throughout Missouri, everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors by taking two minutes to prevent tick bites:
• Use an insect repellent with a minimum of 20 percent DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing.
Choose a product that lasts several hours whenever you spend time outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age.
• If you are also using sunscreen, apply it first, let it dry, and then apply repellent. Products that contain both sunscreen and repellent are not recommended.
(Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (417) 451-3798, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)