Treasure Hunt seeks to uncover interesting Missouri history

Lisa Fox, an archivist with the Missouri State Archives, shows an oversized map of a topographical survey of the swamp lands of southeast Missouri.

Lisa Fox, an archivist with the Missouri State Archives, shows an oversized map of a topographical survey of the swamp lands of southeast Missouri.

Doodling during tedious or exhaustive processes is not new. But discovering the 150-year-old pencil sketches in official government documents was curious.

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Research analyst Erika Woehlk found the line drawings of men in 1840s-style suits on the front and back of hand-written census transcriptions held by the Missouri State Archive.

That was a neat “treasure” of Missouri history.

An even more impressive finding, Woehlk said, was that the state of Missouri kept its own census every four years in the 19th century — meaning the archive holds two census for 1840 — one from the state, with the conspicuous doodles, and the federal government.

Woehlk’s discoveries will be posted later this summer on The Great Missouri Treasure Hunt’s Facebook page.

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