Evidence indicates ruins may be those of apostle's cabin

After additional intensive archaelogical investigation, enthusiasts are more convinced than ever that ruins near here in the area of Far West, an 1830s LDS settlement, are of a cabin that originally belonged to Church apostle Charles C. Rich.

Regular weekend digs scheduled until mid-October have followed a week-long archaelogical reconnaissance June 22-27, sponsored by the non-denominational Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation, Northwest Chapter. An advance article in the May 30 Church News announced the excavation.Elder Rich was among the Church members who lived in Missouri before they were driven out in 1839. He later served in the Quorum of the Twelve under President Brigham Young.

He is known to have been the original purchaser of the property on which the ruins stand.

"Following the expulsion of the Mormons from Caldwell County and the state of Missouri, this same land became the home of the James Wallace family of Wallace State Park fame," explained Ronald E. Romig, archivist for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and foundation vice president. Current landowners Junior and Judy Gardner have supported the effort to reclaim and identify the log home ruins.

"Upon its discovery three years ago, the log house had been extensively changed from its original form," he explained. "Though found in deteriorating condition, the standing log walls were still covered with clapboard siding added by Wallace in the 1840s. The early, single-room house faced south. When James Wallace added north and south wings and a wood floor, significantly increasing living space, the orientation of the house was shifted to face west."

He added that during the recent investigation, two major project objectives were realized:

Sufficient materials were found under the floor of the house and surrounding sectors - such as pot schards and glass consistent with those found earlier at Far West - that site archaeologist Paul DeBarthe feels reasonably sure this is a Mormon-period site and structure.

Mr. Romig quoted Mr. DeBarthe as saying, "I am convinced by artifacts, structure and the convergence of historical documentation that the house appropriately can be interpreted as the Rich-Wallace home. It therefore merits our best effort to preserve it as a historic site."

The structure was found to be still standing at its original construction site.

"During our first season [of investigation], we observed that the original structure had been raised about 12 inches to allow the addition of a more recent wood floor structure, and the presence of a fireplace foundation was noted, located about half the length of the structure from the original fireplace opening in the hewn logs," Mr. Romig explained. "These observations left us unsure whether at some point after construction, the building was simply raised or had been moved half a house length to the south."

But on the last day of this year's dig, excavators unearthed the foundation of the original fireplace and found it aligned with the log fireplace opening.

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