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Philibert, Joseph - General Biography transcribed from the History of Stone Co.

Philibert, Joseph - General Biography transcribed from the History of Stone Co.. Transcribed by Wanda L. Gines.

General Biography transcribed from the History of Stone Co.

From an article in the History of Stone County, Missouri Volume II:

Transcribed by Wanda Lee (Brink) Gines

Joseph reportedly had an Indian wife (Delaware) and one source says they had three children, another that he had a son. When the Indians moved to lands in Kansas, she left and took the child or children with he

Records show that Joseph Philibert applied in St. Louis in 1812 for a license for a tavern.

He engaged in the fur trade for a while. In 1814 he led a group of men on a trapping expedition to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. They were quite successful, as he and some of the men returned to St. Louis to obtain goods to trade for horses to pack the furs out. In September 1815 he set out with Auguste Pierre Choteau and Jules de Munnto return to the mountains but wound up selling out to them and returning to Missouri.

According to one of his descendants, when Joseph was 15 years of age, his father attempted to get him to become a Roman Catholic priest. He objected so strongly, however, that his father bound him out until he was 21 years old. When he was 16, he ran away from the man he was bound to and the next account we have of him, he is living at Kaskaskia, Illinois, a small hamlet located a few miles down the Mississippi River from Sainte Genevieve, Missouri

He lived there for a long time among the Delaware Indians, and then, in either 1819 or 1820, Joseph met an Indian trader named William Gilliss at Sainte Genevieve. It was his acquaintance with Gilliss that brought him to southwest Missouri. It is said that Gilliss followed the Delaware Indians to their new home on the banks of the James River. Gilliss was operation a trading post on the "James Fork," about 14 miles south of what is now Springfield, Missouri.

For a few weeks after his arrival he worked as a gunsmith, but soon was employed by Gilliss in the trading post as a clerk and thereafter engaged in selling goods as clerk at Delaware House. The post was also known variously as the "Trading House", "Delaware Trading Post", "The James Fork Trading Post" and "Delaware Town." He described his duties as having "laid in the goods and sold the goods of furs and peltry."

He also recalled visiting the Pincinneceau Trading House on the Osage River three or four times. It was some 90 to 100 miles north and east of Delaware Town - a two-day ride by horseback. The first visit was by accident when he became lost while traveling. In 1823 Joseph visited the Black Swamp which was apparently on the Black River. At other times he made trips to Sugar Creek, some 70 miles southwest of Delaware Town, and he also went into Arkansas where he purchased furs and collected peltry. About July 20, 1830, Joseph was sent to Grand River near the Missouri and Oklahoma line to collect $1,000 from a Piankeshaw tribe who owed that amount to Gilliss. He also went on to the Kaw River in Jackson County, then to St. Louis and finally to Sainte Genevieve.

Joseph learned to speak the Delaware language adn also had a limited ability to speak with the Piankeshaws.

The exact location of the James Fork Trading House and the two-room log house where Joseph lived are lost in antiquity, although it is known that it was located on the east side of the James River almost due west of the present-day town of Nixa.

In 1830 the Delawares, with other tribes, were removed to reservations in Kansas. Legendc has it that Joseph had an Indian wife and son, possibly three children. They moved on with the other Indians.

On February 26, 1833, Joseph was married to Peninah Yoachum. The ceremoney was performed by Elder Thomas Henson, a circuit-riding minister of the Baptist Church of Christ. Their marriage was one of the first performed in Greene county, Missouri. Greene County at that time embraced all of Christian, Taney, Stone, Lawrence and part of Barry County.

Peninah was born in Arkansas in 1818 and some reports give her father as Solomon Yoachum and others that her father was James (Jim) Yoachum. They were brothers, and both came to James River close to the time of Joseph's arrival. James Yoachum was the legendary "Silver Dollar" Yoachum who mined and made a silver dollar which was in use for a time in the area. As of this time, I have not been able to determine which Yoachum was her father. (Note: According to information handed down through the family, the Gines family has always said her father was Solomon.)

Joseph and Peninah made their home at the junction of James and White rivers, a spot now marked by an island in Table Rock Lake across from the Joe Bald (which was a hill named for Joseph) recreational area west of Kimberling City. There is no evidence that he had an Indian trading post at this site, but he may have operated a similar post for the white people moving into the area.

In commenting on the Civil War, Joseph said he was "very much disturbed by the late rebellion while living at the mouth of the James Fork of White River. I was disturbed some of course by Secesh adn Union men both. The Revels came to kill me and the Union men took my corn, flour, bacon, hay and everything. The Secesh took upwards of $900 in gold."

Joseph was active in the social and political life of Greene, Taney and later Stone County. On April 7, 1851, in the first meeting of the Stone County Court, he was appointed a judge.

Joseph was described as medium sized with black hair and black eyes, with a very generous personality. During adverse conditions, he is said to have killed 30-40 head of hogs and a beef to help feed his neighbors. He owned property in St. Louis and St. Charles.

Joseph and Peninah raised seven children, four sons and three daughters.

Peninah died in August 1852 and was buried in the Philibert Cemetery. Joseph died February 4, 1884, at his home at the junction of the James and White Rivers. He was buried in the Philibert Cemetery there. In 1958 their bodies, along with the others buried in the cemetery, were moved to a new cemetery on the hill above Kimberling City, Missouri, when Table Rock Lake was formed, and the waters covered their home and resting place.

(Sources: Philibert Family Revcords, Missouri Marriage and Census Records, McCullough Church and Cemetery Records, Moore Family Records, White River Valley Historical Society, Cemetery Markers, Personal Accounts.)

Submitted by Barbara Moore Deakins.

Date28 Aug 2013

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