Neff Tavern Smokehouse

The Neff tavern smokehouse was used to cure meat, sourced through hunting and farming in the region, as mostly venison and pork meat was processed.[^NPSForm]

The Neff tavern smokehouse was used to cure meat, sourced through hunting and farming in the region, as mostly venison and pork meat was processed.[^NPSForm]

The Neff Tavern Smokehouse was part of the Neff tavern complex, that offered shelter to travellers on the northern Santa Fe Trail close to Arrow Rock, Missouri in the late 18th century. 1 Throughout the history of the greater building as the Neff family residence, its inhabitants lived through many important stages of national American history: European immigration, westward migration and the Civil War. These events impacted the ongoing live and form of the tavern and its annex the smokehouse.

The tavern’s setting

The tavern was set at one of the trailheads of the Santa Fe Trail in central Missouri. 2 This region was experiencing a very wealthy period, as the Santa Fe Trail traders and travellers brought many goods to the central US, which established tight trading and economic relations.3

Wealth through the trail

Especially, when the founder, Isaac Neff (1798 – early 19th century)4 moved to the area, these trading relations were strengthened, as Missouri became a state and part of the United States and Mexico reached independency of Spain.5 Both trading partners were now in the position to sovereignly follow their own interests.Especially, the traders from Mexico brought very valuable things, such as silver to the region, which contributed to the material wealth of region, as they spent this money on goods produced in Missouri. The emergence of high traffic made a tavern be a place of high demand. Furthermore, as will be shown later, the tavern was located on a big land possession, that was crossed by the Santa Fe Trail.6 The tavern was therefore set right on the pulse of trade and travel on the trail. As there is evidence on many reformations on the house, the Neff family earned much money from the travellers and expanded their buisness.7

This picture was taken of a tavern in Illinois, which was built about the time as the Neff tavern smokehouse. Although smokehouses were inferior in their importance for the tavern building complex, it was built as massive as the main building.[^Number2]

This picture was taken of a tavern in Illinois, which was built about the time as the Neff tavern smokehouse. Although smokehouses were inferior in their importance for the tavern building complex, it was built as massive as the main building.[^Number2]

Isaac’s history

Isaac Neff was a descendent of German immigrants, who most probably came to the US in the beginning of the 18th century and settled in Tennessee.8 According to the historical events (decline of the Holy Roman Empirewars, revolutions, etc.), that were occurring during the 1700’s in Europe, the Neff family as many other German immigrants at the time were escaping violent conflicts in their home communities or had to leave because of industrialization and the consequent job losses.9 This is especially important to have in mind, when looking at the further development in Isaac’s life as he was able to accumulate a big possession.10 His brothers were the first ones of the family to go to present day Missouri, which after known visits at his brother’s houses, led Isaac to finally settle in the Arrow Rock area in 1836.11 As many migrants12, he was able to establish a big possession (on the peak 2.000 acres of land) right after his settlement and freely establish a profitable business.13

The Neffs and the Civil War

The Neff family incorporated many facets of American history, on one hand that is Isaac Neff going with westward migration movement and building up a new, successful living in Missouri. On the other hand, the following generation of the Neff family, most importantly, Isaac’s son Abram (1839 – 1924, 14), took part in yet another very important chapter of American history: The Civil War.15

Although, Missouri was very diverse in the distribution of Confederates and Unionists, the greater trend was rather conservative but anti-slavery based.16 Nevertheless, Abram was fighting on the Confederate side 17 and although he owned the tavern, didn’t pursue a gastronomic career and finished his medical degree and practiced as a physician in the house of the former tavern.18 Everything, except for the smoke house was torn down by Abram in the 1890’s, in order to build a modern frame house on the land.19 Therefore, the smokehouse is the only remaining part of the previous tavern, which served as a meeting point to the travellers that established a blossoming economy in Missouri, through their trade with Mexico. It is also a remain of a family residence, that incorporates many stages of American history, as is the European immigration, the west ward migration and the Civil War.

Location

The Neff tavern is located on an unmarked street, west from the Missouri highway number 41 (half a mile) and Arrow Rock (6 miles).

The location of the former tavern can be found through the orange circle. The map shows how related the Neff property was to the Santa Fe Trail is, as it goes through the posession [^NPSFormI].

The location of the former tavern can be found through the orange circle. The map shows how related the Neff property was to the Santa Fe Trail is, as it goes through the posession [^NPSFormI].


Bibliography

Web sources:

  1. NPS Form, 1963, p.1 

  2. NPS Form, 1963, p.1 

  3. J. Gregg, 1845: p. 19 and K. Gregg, 1933 

  4. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  5. O’Brien, 2013: p.22 

  6. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  7. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p. 2 

  8. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  9. Parker, 2002: p. 6 

  10. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  11. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  12. Turner, 1894: p. 214 

  13. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p.1 

  14. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19379718/abram-neff , accessed 14.11.2018, 17:15 h 

  15. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p. 2 

  16. Gerteis, 2012: p. IX 

  17. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p. 2 

  18. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p. 2 

  19. NPS Form, 1963, statement of significance p. 2