|Collier and the Powells had
informally worked out the details of a second Santa Fe trading mission,
and on 14 Apr.1834, together with a mutually acceptable lawyer, wrote
out a formal contract, which had such an important effect on the plan
of B.F. Massey's major adventures, that I include the entire formal
contract as written in Massey
|The Second Trail Trip:
1834 The trip West was no doubt made in standard fashion
trail, but because of subsequent events, it appears likely that Massey
started west in the Spring, later than usual.
|The return trip east was highly
unusual; he made the trip, "on horseback and alone," over the Spanish
Trail from Santa Fe to Vera Cruz. Apparently he had completed his
trading in Santa Fe too late in the Fall to permit him to take a wagon
train back East over the Trail. Such a trip, with wagons
heavily laden with buffalo hides, beaver skins and other bulky
Spanish goods, plus a herd of horses, cattle and mules was impossible
|He could have exercised the
option of remaining in Santa Fe over the Winter, returning with a wagon
train in the Spring.
|However, he elected to travel
overland, over the long established Spanish Trail, 1,500 miles to Vera
Cruz; thence by steamer to New Orleans; then up-river, back to St.
Louis. Although long-established, this Spanish trail led through
mountainous and desert country; the Indians were largely hostile; and
the trip was very long.
|As he is recorded as having made
this long return trip, "on horseback and alone," he no doubt returned
with the profits of the venture in gold and silver specie, loaded on
his pack horse. Although this option seems excessively risky, it
was apparently not considered then as dangerous as we moderns would
have it; it has been noted that it was not unusual for traders to
travel with specie valued upwards of $100,000 without requiring special
precautions or guards.(5)
|A mission as this seemingly
required a rough, tough John Wayne type, but to quote his son:
|"My father was never a
vigorous, robust man; he was small of stature,
only about five feet seven inches in height, and never weighing over
|He successfully completed the
rugged trip to Vera Cruz, took a steamer to New Orleans, then a boat
up-river, back to St. Louis.
|He returned home to Kent County
in 1835, but while there was stricken with rheumatism and remained
there for about two years. Rheumatism was a recurrent affliction
that plagued him all his life.
|He came back to Missouri in
1837. The Powells, appreciative of his ability, offered to set
him up in the mercantile business in a location of his own
choosing. He chose Fayette, Howard County, Missouri; a town about
15 miles North of Boonville, then the head of Missouri River
traffic. So, at age 26, with a stock of goods provided by the
Powells, he commenced trading south and west of Fayette, as far
as the site of Sarcoxie, Missouri.
|On these trading trips, he met
William Tingle, who had traded in this Sarcoxie area before him.
In 1837-1838, with Tingle as senior partner, they became Tingle &
Massey, Merchant Traders.
|About 1838, Massey established
himself on a farm site in the Spring River Valley, a few miles north
and east of the site of Sarcoxie.
|On his periodic trips between
Fayette and Boonville, Massey had met Maria Hawkins Withers and courted
her. On 11 Jun.1839, they were married at Boonville, setting up
housekeeping on the Spring River Valley farm. He was age 28, she
|Tingle & Massey had
prospered as Merchant Traders. Energetic and experienced in the
Merchandising field, they saw an opportunity to use their talents to
rapidly attain financial security engaging in activities in a new
field; Tingle was age 29, Massey a year younger.
|Missouri was opening up State
land for purchase at $1.25 an acre. Tingle & Massey commenced
to acquire land in the attractive Sarcoxie area, where they were
already established as traders.
|During the 1839-1840 period they
put together about 600 acres in the Land Entry method. They also
bought a mill from its original builder, Thacker Vivian. Vivian
had laid out a town he called Centerville and had sold several building
lots. Tingle & Massey took over this platted town, re-platted
it, re-named to Sarcoxie, and continued to sell building lots.
They increased the capacity of their mill and sold it.
|So, in August 1840, they not
only had assembled a substantial land empire, they had set up a
mercantile establishment in the town of Sarcoxie itself, stocked, as
usual, by the brothers Powell. Came trouble.
|The combined Tingle & Massey
real estate venture and merchandising venture had stretched their
financial capabilities too far; the cash flow was inadequate to support
both. They had run up a debt for goods supplied by the Powells
totalling $5,147, and they were unable to pay.
|This debt dragged on for two
years. Tingle and Massey had failed to work out a payment
arrangement, and the Powells felt that they had to act to collect it.
|In mid-1842, the Powells filed
suit against Tingle and Massey to collect their money. There is
no evidence of any rancor on the part of the Powells against Massey and
Tingle; they simply did what they felt they had to do to protect their