Frederick Bates

Thornhill Estate at Faust Park

Home of Missouri's Second Governor

The Thornhill farm includes the home and outbuildings of Frederick Bates and gives insight in how his family lived in the early 1800s. Frederick Bates was more than just a farmer; he played a pivotal role in the early governance of the Louisiana Territory. The site includes his early 1800s home, barn, reconstructed summer kitchen, ice and smoke house, orchard and herb garden, blacksmith shop and family cemetery. The home has been restored and furnished to look as it did when Governor Bates was elected as our second governor in 1824.

Frederick Bates

Frederick Bates

Frederick Bates' contributions to this growing area began when he came to St. Louis in 1807, just one year after the return of Lewis and Clark's "Tour of Discovery." He began as the Secretary of the Territory, Recorder of Land Titles and a member of the Board of Land Commissioners in what was known as Upper Louisiana. In these posts he helped determine whether Spanish, French or American claims and customs would predominate. As Secretary, he served as acting Territorial Governor for much of the time due to the absence of the Territorial Governor Meriwether Lewis. He was also responsible for codification of territorial laws and compiled the first book published in Missouri. On November 17, 1824, in St. Charles, Bates was sworn in as second governor of Missouri, succeeding Alexander McNair. On August 4 the following year, however, he died of pleurisy. He is buried in the family cemetery near his house with his wife, Nancy, one of his four children (there is also a cenotaph for another son) and several other family members.

Tours and Free Open Dates

On select weekend dates in the spring and summer, the Thornhill Estate offers free open houses. Period dress staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Please call 314 615-8328 or find us on Facebook for more information.

Guided tours are available by appointment during the week for groups up to 25 people. Cost is $4 per adult and $2 per child with a minimum fee of $30. Educational programs focusing on children’s life on the frontier are available in the fall and spring with hands-on activities. For more information about this programs please see our education brochure.

The site is partially wheelchair accessible and assist animals are permitted. No pets are allowed within the historic site.