The Revolutionary War involved those living in Illinois and Missouri to such an extent that George Rodgers Clark came into the area to prevent the British and their Indian allies from taking over the upper Mississippi Valley. Clark interviewed Gabriel Cerre in Kaskaskia, Illinois and declared him loyal to the American cause. Cerre was to be a help to Clark in enlisting the aid of Indian tribes and settlers. Although there is no record of Gabriel Cerre living on the land he owned in Sunset Hills, we do know that he ran the big spring at Weber Hill Road and Watson Road from 1781. At this date, we have no other records of anyone else who owned property at that time serving in the war. You will find 3 Revolutionary War heroes buried in Sappington Cemetery on Highway 366 – John Sappington, Captain John Long, and Joseph Wells, but none of these men lived here at their time of service.
Indians Fighting Back
The British continued to stir up Indian Tribes along the Mississippi, still trying to take over the settlements around St. Louis. By the time the War of 1812, was officially declared, it was necessary for regiments to be organized to protect lives and property. Alexander McNair was named Adjutant General of the Militia for St. Louis County. The 4th Regiment represented our area: Captain Zephaniah Sappington, Lt. Thomas Sappington, and Ensign William L. Long. John Long, Jr. lost his life at Cap Au Gris. The Indians living east of the river were much more hostile but Governor William Clark wrote in 1813, that undoubtedly all the Indians were secretly hostile. Blackhawk was the leader of the Saukees and Renards. His main village was at Rock River, IL Under his able leadership he soon had tribes of Winnebagos, Miami, and others united to drive the settlers from the territory. Indian fighting continued after the Treaty of Ghent was signed but it was centered along the Missouri River instead of the more settled section of the Meramec.
Colonel Sterling Price
By the time of the Civil War the area of Sunset Hills, once all French-Canadian, was now about equally divided between the Scotch-Irish, English from Kentucky who were slave owners and the Germans, opposed to slavery. The Wohlschlaeger family tells the story of the time Colonel Sterling Price and his Missouri Militia, pro-south, were camped down by Gravois Creek on Gravois. Mr. Wohlschlaeger owned a general store, about where Johnny's Market is now. He had his entire family and friends stay up all night making a Union flag. By opening time the next morning the Union flag flew proudly from the top of Wohlschlaeger's store. From that time on, the pro-northerners stopped at his store and the pro-southerners elsewhere.
Jefferson Barracks was the important Military outpost of the area. Nicholas Waterhout reported he was 9 years old when soldiers stationed at Jefferson Barracks paraded by on Denny Road. They marched in Numbers of Cavalry and Infantry which took several days to pass his home on Denny and Eddie and Park. Andy Bowman, Half-brother of Nicholas Waterhout, lived at this home too. He served 3 years in the Northern Army of the Republic, fought in 360 battles and skirmishes without being wounded. During the war the threat of St. Louis being invaded was highest in 1864 when the now General Sterling Price and his Confederate Army (formerly Missouri Militia) were reportedly marching on St. Louis from the south. Since the only bridge across the Meramec was the 1 at Fenton, a large group of militiamen gathered to protect the bridge or destroy it if necessary. Captain Coons organized a Home Guard. Huge amounts of ammunition were stored in a cave or caves in Powder Valley (Orchard Lane, Wilton and Marco Lane, Balmagoun Lane). The battle of Pilot Knob turned General Price from St. Louis and the bridge remained intact. The tavern across from Grant's Farm was 1 of the main gathering places for soldiers. When the war was over the men left their rifles here by Grant Road and Gravois and went home. The fence around Grant's Cabin is made from the Barrels of these guns.
World War I
World War I is the next engagement militarily, for which we have incomplete records. Martin Weber, son of Peter Weber of Weber Hill Road, Mark Weber and Emil Zeiss, workers for W.A. Rowe Floral Company, Joe Laux, Ed Reistick, Walter Longhenry, and Bud Valentine are the names given us in 1976, as having been in service of the United States sometime in the teens.
World War II
World War II called many more men. Wayne Shellnutt had joined the Navy in 1934, and stayed in service until 1954. Those known to have served in the armed forces that were living in Sunset Hills at their time of entrance into service are: Elwood Brock, Floyd Brock, Robert Bullard, Bud Bullard, Joseph Hartman, Byron Hornemann, Clarence Ruder Sr., Art Kempf, Florenz Kempf, John L. Kerr, Robert LaRose, Roy Mullins, Edward Platt, 3 Rouhac brothers, Vernon Rowe, Paul Spalding, Robert Spalding, Donald Steiger, Alvin Schulz, Ed Vogelsang. Orval Waterhout, Walter Wiesehan, Jr. Andrew Martin, and Nick and William Tichy; Killed In Action were Virgil Neller and Leonard Spalding.
Police Action in Korea
Soon after World War II came the Police Action in Korea. Men in the Reserves were called back to active duty; out young men were drafted or volunteered. Those names we have for the 1950s are John Francis Doonoe, Henry Frederick, Val Frederick, Lother Krumm, Richard Krumm, Robert Maret, William Maret, Robert Wahlig, Frank Ruder Jr., Clarence Ruder Jr., and Charles Benz.
Men Served in the 1960s
The 1960s had a large group of men from Sunset Hills serving their country as well. Edward Anthony Rawlins was a Navy Helicopter pilot who had the privilege of being 1 of the pilots on stand-by for rescue of a set of astronauts. Men were sent all over the world as part of our peace force and then later the action in Viet Nam had our men fighting once more. Gary Beesley, son of Mr. and Mrs. S.B. Beesley, 3 Roosevelt Drive, was killed in action in Viet Nam. These men served at 1 time during the 1960's: Randall Bessinger, Robert Dieckmeyer, Lawrence David Govera, Joseph Edward Hartman, James Hentschell, Teddy J. Hammer, Terry K.Hammer. Allen Johner, Wayne Johner, Ronald Kunzelman, Charles Lanham, Charles W. Machalek, Jack Marks, Allen Paul Molly, Tullis Spears, Frank Stockell, Charles Sturdy, Lawrence Vogt, William Vogt and Jim Wilson. Kathleen Finch has the honor of being the only woman from Sunset Hills on our list.
Men Served in the 1970s
Bringing us up to the present we have those young men serving or having served in the 1970's: Robert Michael Ferguson, Patrick Edward Finch, John Herr, Jerold Herr, Robert Knoll and Brian Louis Molly.