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OHP presents at Lake St. Louis


The Ozark Heritage Project presented the monthly program at the Lake St. Louis’ Historical Society this July 18. Along with their better-known river and stream clean-ups, OHP frequently presents in character to groups and audiences around the state. This past week OHP president Rick Mansfield was 19th century explorer Henry R. Schoolcraft. Schoolcraft entered the Ozarks in the winter of 1818 and spent the next three months traversing nearly a thousand miles in search of lead deposits.

What the young Schoolcraft did discover, and record in detail, was the abundance of wildlife, timber and clear spring-fed streams in the largely still unsettled area. Schoolcraft was joined on this journey by Levi Pettibone, also originally from New York. Wednesday, Mansfield was joined by his own Pettibone character.

Young Cynthia Dea, who works at Webb Creek Park on Clearwater Lake as the Activities Director, donned top hat and waistcoat and became the companion who shared seventy-five days of the ninety-day journey.   They presented circa 1863, reflecting back on several of the more memorable trials of the adventure. At the end of a thirty-minute presentation, Mansfield answered questions both in character and as the historian he has become. As with his other presentation, Rick had his books available and signed those he sold.

Mansfield has presented to more than 5,000 people this year and has portrayed more than fourteen different characters so far to date. At the Eminence 150th celebration, Mansfield portrayed five different characters in five different costumes the same day. He first did the Schoolcraft character at the Gigs and Ghost activity at Round Springs, this under the inspiration and supervision of Round Springs NPS/ONSR Interpreter Dave Tobey.

Mansfield will be on the stage at Echo Bluff’s amphitheater this coming July 28, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The event is free to the public and will feature his doing several different characters telling several of his favorite stories, with musical accompaniment being supplied by local musicians. That evening, Dea will be featured in one of the stories, “The Last Elk.” Anyone interested in the services of this entertaining pair may call (573) 663-2269.

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