Historic William B. Sappington House in Saline County, Missouri

CJ Coombs

Home of William B. Sappington (2007).Photo byJERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The William B. Sappington House (also known as Prairie Park) located about three miles southwest of Arrow Rock, Missouri (Saline County) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1970.

This historic two-and-a-half-stories home was built in 1843. The architectural style is Greek Revival. In the front is a two-story portico containing Doric and Ionic order columns. There is a cupola on the roof containing a lookout area. The house has a limestone foundation and red brick walls. There was some extensive restoration of the house performed from 1948 to 1955.

There are old large cedar trees in the front. Original structures of barns or sheds are replacements. Interestingly, an account book of the original owner and builder of the house survived. This book was in the hands of a descendant.

Another important piece of history associated with the house relates to the discovery of quinine by Dr. John S. Sappington. Quinine is a cure for malaria fever. Dr. Sappington was the father of William B. Sappington and a frontier physician who practiced along the Missouri River.

In 1832, John Sappington began manufacturing quinine pills as a cure for typhoid, typhus and malarial fevers All of these diseases were common to the people living near the Missouri River during the early settlement period. (Source.)
VIEW SHOWING LOWER HALLWAY (1934) - William B. Sappington House, Arrow Rock, Saline County, MO. Photos from Survey HABS MO-223.Photo byHistoric American Buildings Survey, creator/Library of Congress.

William Sappington helped sell his father's anti-fever pills. He also built the Sappington house in 1843-1845. Sappington married Mary Mildred Breathitt in 1844. She was the daughter of Kentucky Governor, John Breathitt. She was also Sappington's first cousin.

Dr. Sappington didn't live in the historic home. He had a log residence nearby which is where he also died in 1856. When he died, his property went to his son-in-law, Claiborne Fox Jackson, who was also a Missouri Governor from 1860-1861

The local prominence attained by the Sappington family can be measured by the record of their political associations. In 1844, William was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention which nominated James K. Polk for the presidency. William didn't want to run for office. His brother-in-law, Meredith Miles Marmaduke was the Governor of Missouri in the 1840s.

Governor Jackson was married to three of Dr. Sappington's daughters.

John S. Marmaduke, a grandson of Dr. Sappington, also served as Governor of Missouri from 1884 to 1887.

FRONT FACADE (1934) - William B. Sappington House, Arrow Rock, Saline County, MO Photos from Survey HABS MO-223.Photo byHistoric American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress).

William Sappington was also the Bank of Missouri president at Arrow Rock from 1866 to 1881. The house was occupied continuously by William Sappington and his family until 1910. After he died, the house began to decline. After 1910, the property was sold several times. The Sappington family furniture was stored in the attic and over time, was dispersed by different homeowners.

According to the nomination form for inclusion in the National Register, in 1948, Dr. John R. Lawrence, a physician in Marshall, Missouri, and his wife purchased and extensively restored the house. There is a lot of history in Arrow Rock and the surrounding region.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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