Valle was one of the founders of Missouri’s first settlement, St. Genevieve.
The Valles from France immigrated to Quebec and then to Kaskaskia, Illinois.
They then crossed the river to what became St. Genevieve which was commonly
known as “Papa Valle.” There Francois Valle replaced the aging Deguire as
Militia Captain. Some say that he was the last of the Spanish El Commandants.
the Spanish arrived in 1767, four years after officially winning the Louisiana
Territory from Spain, in the Seven Years War, Valle was quick to make his mark.
It has been written that he fed and housed Francois Riu, commander of the
Spanish force. He did the same for Don Pedro Piernas, the new Governor of the
Louisiana Territory, when he passed thru the state.
1749, Francois Valle and his new bride, Marie Billeron, left the settlement of
St. Genevieve to go and live in an outpost in the new Northwest Territory. They
were given a log cabin from Marie’s father as a wedding gift. Today, that
cabin is a part of the building that houses The “Lost History Museum.” The
Valle’s came to this part of the country to trade furs and to buy lead from
local Indians. Mine LaMonte and Old Mines were also outposts where the Valle’s
were among the first settlers.
the early 1800s, Francois’ son Jean Babptiste was operating a successful lead
mine in the area. It is thought that The Valle Mining Company was formed in 1819
and was incorporated in 1821, when the Louisiana Purchase was consummated and
Missouri became a state. In 1823 The “Valle Big Lode” mine was discovered
and the area and then appropriately named Valle’s Mines. In a few years these
mines were to become the number one lead producer in North America and the town
of Valles Mines grew fast.
first U.S. Port Office at Valles Mines was established in July of 1826. Thomas
Tarpley, a miner and storekeeper was the first postmaster. Tarpley’s post
office was a log structure with a one room and stone cellar beneath.
more shafts being sunk regularly in the area of the “Big Lode”, the mining
industry was soon in full operation. Between the years of 1829 and 1859, some
101 mines were open and operating. Each mine employed anywhere from two to four
men per shaft. Many others were employed in related jobs, such as hauling,
smelting, cutting mine props, cribbing, blacksmithing, carpentry, agriculture
and son on.
two more stores sprung up, a hotel, (in those days called a boarding house)
three schools, offices, churches and mills. Several other small villages sprang
up adjacent to and even on Valle Mining property. Among them were Halifax, (a
few homes plus Heaton’s store and Post Office) Avoca, (farms, store, saloon,
Post Office and a stagecoach stop) Bisch Town (later became known as Silver
Springs) Knorpp, Fletcher Springs, Prospect, Coonville and others. One
community, just west of the “Big Lode” later became known as Tunnel Town.
This area adopted that name around 1890 when the M.R. & B.T. Railroad
blasted and dug a 240 foot long tunnel thru solid rock in the middle of the
town. The tunnel was referred to as Tunnel Bill, named for the Bill family who
lived and had a mine in that area and a German immigrant named William Heinrich.
top of the tunnel was Homer Carter’s general store. The village also had a
depot, siding, several residences, a zinc furnace, 2 offices, equipment shed,
charcoal works and a cemetery. Even the post office was once moved to Tunnel
Town, but only for about a year. Unfortunately, it was just another “Boom
Town” as it was abandoned when the price of ore went down along with the
demand. In the early 1900s, Valle Mining Company workers dismantled the town’s
buildings. Some were reconstructed in Valles Mines proper and Carter moved his
store. All that remains today is a couple of foundations, the cemetery and the
LaVallee family has been traced back to Hon Charles LaVallee, born in Rouen
France in 1584. Francois Valle was born in Beauport, Quebec in 1716 and founded
Valles Mines in 1749. He died in St. Genevieve, where he called home. Due to
women of the Valle Family marrying men of the Rozier family, Valles Mines fell
largely in control of the Roziers, another prominent French family of St.
History of Valles Mines to the Lost History Museum.)
the Civil War, it is said that a minor skirmish took place between combatants of
the Union and Confederate armies.
Located at: 14115 Valles Mines School Road, Valles, Missouri 63087
8636-586-3680 or 636-586-5573
Bill (William Heinrich) who was somewhat disabled was employed there and his
main chore was to keep kids and people away from the tunnels. Tunnel Bill
remained when everyone left and lived out the rest of his life here with his
wife. His wife would do laundry for those working in Silver Springs, which was a
mile down the railroad tracks. Since sometimes she would come back home after
dark and it was a bit dangerous to attempt to walk down the tracks, her husband
Bill, would hang a lantern for her to see. To this day, numerous people have
claimed to have seen a strange lantern light or ghost light many times.
old slave cemetery is just beyond the tunnel and many of those who died were
buried there, many without any markers of any kind. Others had simple stone
markers and later both flat and upright markers were placed there. Some believe
that the restless spirits still wander around looking for their homes.
strange and unusual events have occurred over the years. It’s said that in the
Lost History Museum some see distorted faces in the upstairs window and pictures
have been found upside down or have fallen off the walls.
“A History of Hauntings in
Valles Mines” by Renee Bronaugh, a reporter for the Daily Journal.)
are other reports of people having their hair tugged by unseen forces and
several strange inexplicable photographs have been taken on the property in the
setup: No equipment was set up either at
the Lost History Museum or at the cemetery; only handheld devices were employed.
performed: EVP, Ovilus X and
Mini-Portal sessions were conducted at both the Lost History Museum and at the
Para: GRS spent the day at Valle’s Mines, Missouri visiting the slave’s
cemetery and the historic settlement. Our
group consisted of Dale Kaczmarek, Stan Suho, Mike Rosario and me. We were
joined by Dean Thompson and Cliff Gaither from El Quatro Paranormal of Alton, IL
and Jeanne Chilton from PRIOM of St. Louis, Mo. area.
The original settlement house was built in 1749. We
spent quite a bit of time in there but due to all the noise contamination I
didn’t feel we were able to conduct a proper investigation. There were also a
lot of mud wasps in the building and, being allergic, I was happy to spend much
of my time in the general store building listening to the history of the area
from the owner, who is a fifth (I believe) generation mine manager. There were a
few other out buildings we had access to, including a tiny slave’s cabin.
We were taken to the black slave’s cemetery by a
guide. These slaves worked the mineral mines when they were in operation. It was
about a thirty minute, 5 mph drive through the woods on a narrow, winding road.
That in itself was a real adventure! Expecting to come upon a clearing, I was
surprised when we just stopped in the middle of the woods and were told we now
had to hike ¼ to ½ mile in the woods to the cemetery.
It was sad to see how overgrown the old cemetery
was. You could hardly tell it was a graveyard until you started looking for
grave markers and head stones. Apparently there are apparitions to be seen
there. It was a somber and sad place, but one like I’d never encountered
before. We spent a good amount of time there, some of the group trying to
connect with spirits of those laid to rest there. I personally had no paranormal
experience. Luckily we came across no bears, which are common to the area.
It was a very interesting day full of history. One
of the perks of ghost hunting!
was my first trip to the Historic Valles Mines with the GRS. Located completely
off the map, the Valles Mines are situated in nearly three miles of forest from
the main road, and with very rugged terrain, to say the least! I wouldn’t
recommend taking an ordinary car deep inside that area, as you can bottom-out or
get flat tires very easily. I risked taking the GRS group inside my Ford Crown
Victoria (retired police cruiser), because it was durable enough to handle such
conditions due to its heavy duty police package. Thankfully, it was a successful
ride to and from the site of the mines, and even the abandoned cemetery located
even further into the woods.
The investigation took off with a very nice lead guide telling us the full
history of the entire area. I was using my Sony HandyCam HDR-XR160 AVCHD 42xEZ,
attached it to my tri-pod, and started recording audio/video near the abandoned
cemetery location. There, while filming at the same time, I started taking
pictures of the area with my disposable Kodak and Studio 35mm single-use
cameras. I also used my K-II Meter to get some base readings of the cemetery as
well. All ranged between 1.5-1.7mG. Nothing too active.
I figured I’d investigate over by the exhumed graves where hidden treasure
was buried. I took several photographs of this section, and was getting small
spikes on the K-II from 1.9-2.3mG every now and then.
We then packed up and headed back to the main site to investigate the old cottages that were built back in the mid-1740’s! Quite an amazing site for me! So far, the cottages are the oldest abodes I’ve ever set foot in, so, it was definitely a record! There, I unpacked and set up the camcorder, and did a base sweep of the main house with the K-II. Readings were slightly spiking at 2.0-2.3mG at times. We used Dean’s Mini-Portal device for a good EVP session. We did get some interesting words here and there, but nothing really distinct or major.
I didn’t pick up anything audio/video-wise on my recorder. However, only some spikes on my K-II Meter instead.
Conclusion: It was such an interesting adventure, the Valles Mines! I truly
enjoyed my time at this location! There might be something here in this area, as
we did pick up some minor EVPs, and felt some cold spots. However, I wouldn’t
mind coming down here again to visit and possibly collect more evidence of this
haunted land that was once a very thriving community back then.
Overall: A very productive and interesting investigation completely filled
with history. It was definitely worthwhile!
Suho: We crossed the Big Muddy to a
point south of St Louis. It was nice to see Jeannie again. We visited an old
mining museum followed by a tour of a very old cemetery. To get there we
traveled down a very rugged spring busting road, through an old railroad
tunnel, and then a trek up through some woods. Photos and EVP sessions were
conducted, then back to a very old haunted house that dates back to the early
1800s. No setup was attempted but several EVP sessions were conducted which I
recorded. After dinner we headed north and were treated to a UFO sighting. No
missing time to report but Dale thinks he now has an implant. An interesting day
to say the least.
Kaczmarek: An interesting day
indeed! Not only were we able to investigate an original mining camp building
but went a trek down an almost impassable boulder-strewn road, thru a haunted
railroad tunnel to finally arrive at an old slave cemetery which was also
rumored to be haunted! I must admit that even though Mikey’s Crown Vic handled
the road quite well for being a “beast”, I found myself in almost a panic
attack as it took forever to arrive at the graveyard. It was worth the trip and,
of course, it took a lot less time going back than traveling to the boneyard.
few graves were dug up and our guide told us a story about some bank robbers
that apparently had buried their stash in the cemetery. The money wasn’t
recovered after their arrest and when they were finally released, they might
have come back to retrieve their loot.
inside of the original building was a haven for wasps, especially upstairs where
we avoided. It was indeed an adventure!
The Ghost Research Society investigated Valles Mines June 25, 2017. Team members included: Stan Suho, Kathie Para, Mikey Rosario and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Jeannie Chilton from PRIOM and Dean Thompson & Matt Smith from El Quatro Paranormal
collected: Believe it or not, no
EVPs, pictures or videos were recorded at either location. Just goes to show
that you don’t always get something all the time.
Conclusions: Anytime I get the chance to work with Jeannie Chilton, Dean Thompson or any of my fellow colleagues from Missouri, it’s a real pleasure and always look forward to it. The mine was an amazing place. We got to meet some amazing people including Steve Frazier who autographed a book he wrote entitled, “Ghosts, Spooks and Spirits and Other Unexplained Phenomenon; Stories from Valles Mines and Surrounding Areas.” They were both a wealth of information and the museum had a vast array of old mining implements, pictures, books and other memorabilia from the old mines. Talk about natural trigger objects. I would recommend this location and the cemetery to anyone for a good investigation and lots of history!
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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