The St. Louis circuit clerk's office has unlocked never-before told stories of looting, betrayal and slavery in the years following the Civil War. Now these rare documents, unearthed during a 10-year preservation project, will be available to anyone who wants to read about how Missourians attempted to bring law and order after the chaos of war. If you had ancestors living in the area after the Civil War, you may be able to find information about them that was never available before.
More than 11,200 court cases, from 1866 to 1868, were preserved and archived with the help of a $330,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Experts with the Missouri State Archives spent the last decade sorting, cleaning and indexing the cases found in the vaults of the city's courts.
Most of the lawsuits were filed by people who were trying to recover money or property lost during the fighting. The suits include a slave owner who sued a steamboat that transported his slave from Cape Girardeau to freedom in St. Louis. In another, general store owners sued Confederate officials after their shop in Iron County was looted.
One property owner, whose farm was confiscated by Union troops to use as a camp, also filed a lawsuit, claiming he didn't owe property tax for the four years it was in government hands.
You can read more in the stltoday web site at http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/6B38A7DB75712ABD862575C300817E2E?OpenDocument.