The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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Berthold Mansion

ca. 1859
MHM Photographs and Prints

This stately brick mansion was the home of Bartholomew Berthold, a prominent merchant and fur trader in St. Louis. Berthold passed away before this photograph was taken, but members of his family, including his wife and children, are shown standing in front of the house. Located on the northwest corner of Fifth and Pine streets, the home later served as the headquarters of the Minute Men, a secessionist paramilitary group established in St. Louis in January 1861. The formation of the Minute Men countered the Unionist, and predominantly German, Wide Awakes organized by Col. Frank Blair Jr., and provided support for a vocal minority advocating secession. A secessionist flag proudly flew from the mansion’s front porch. Various descriptions of the flag exist, but the Missouri Republican reported at the time that it was a black flag with a crescent in one corner, an upside down flag in the center, and a single star in the other corner. Basil Duke, one of the Minute Men’s founders, later recalled that the flag had “no definite method or meaning, but was intended to signify Southern assertion and defiance.”