Home of Missouri's Second Governor
Relive St. Louis County's pioneer history at the Thornhill farm of Missouri's second governor at Faust Park. The Thornhill farm includes the home and utility buildings of Frederick Bates, his wife Nancy and their children, and shows how this family lived on the frontier in the early 1800s. But Frederick Bates was more than just a farmer; he played a pivotal role in bringing the Louisiana Territory under the control of the United States government. The site includes his 1820s home, barn, reconstructed summer kitchen, ice and smoke house, orchard and herb garden, and family cemetery. The home has been restored and partially furnished to look as it did when Governor Bates would set off on a one to two-day trek to St. Charles, Missouri, then the first capital of the state.
Frederick Bates' contributions to this growing area began when he came to St. Louis in 1807, just one year after the return of Lewis and Clark's "Tour of Discovery" opened the west. He began as the Secretary, Recorder of Land Titles and a member of the Board of Land Commissioners in the new territory. In these posts he helped determine whether Spanish, French or American claims and customs would predominate. As Secretary, he served as acting Territorial Governor for much of the time. He was also responsible for codification of territorial laws and compiled the first book published in Missouri. On November 17, 1824, in St. Charles, Bates was sworn in as second governor of Missouri, succeeding Alexander NcNair. On August 4 the following year, however, he died of pleurisy. He is buried in the family cemetery near his house with his wife and two of his children.
Tours and Free Open Dates
On select weekend dates this summer, the Thornhill Estate will offer free living history days from 1 to 5 pm. The house will be staffed by the interpretive group “In Good Company” who will be costumed and interacting in first person character from the year 1825, offering a rare glimpse of life in the days of Frederick and Nancy Bates.
Guided tours are available by appointment during the week. Cost is $30 for up to 25 people. Field trips and educational programs are available with hands-on activities to present history from the period including the Louisiana Purchase and Missouri becoming a state. For more information, see our education brochure.
No pets allowed