St Louis FANHS 2004 Conference. An
invitation by Filipino-American National
The timing and location of the FANHS 2004
have not been better. It is the St Louis Expo centennial (1904)
and the Louisiana Purchase
bicentennial (1803). The later change
the anatomy of the US
St Louis the US
heartland. The path to the Columbia River
ignited the coast-to-coast dream of the immerging republic. Earlier,
Mississippi River was the west coast
new nation as the French control of the river from French Canadian
Meandered along the river, St Louis, Louisville,
to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Legacies left by King Louis XIV in American geography. In the year of
exploration, the European in the difficult search of Passage to the
beyond that prompted Magellan to go by southern passage, the edge of
that brought him to the Philippines.
St Malo is an isolated bayou with French name.
river water and the Gulf Stream meet
marshland and barangay. The real St Malo is located in northern
Probably the most famous sailor from Saint-Malo,
France is Jacques
Cartier. His journey between the gulf and valley of the Saint
what we knew of New France. The
Arcadians of Louisiana were exiled in this part of France
before they settled in the
In 1784 Jean Saint Malo and his colony of runaway
invade the dense swamps east of the city and across Lake
Borgne. They obtain weapons
blacks and fight for their freedom. Saint Malo thrust an ax into a tree
"Woe to the White who would pass this boundary".
After a series of battles, Spanish troops capture
Malo. On June 19, 1784, he was hanged in front of St. Louis Cathedral
is now Jackson Square.
Today, in the southern part of Lake
you can boat on a waterway named Bayou
du Saint Malo.
What happens between the period Lewis and
coast expedition and St Louis
exposition was the beginning of the first Filipino-American settlement
strangest place. Lafcadio Hearn was commissioned by New Orleans to
write about the existence of an
amphibian community of Filipino-American. The companion
the dozen houses sticking out of the water on stick. Houses with
front balcony and rear open-air garden almost revealing the Badjao
the southern Philippines.
The weather proof style that they brought with them to combat the harsh
of rising tide and wind of the gulf coast. Killer hurricanes
wept the settlement as the people were eventually assimilated in the
Bernard and adjoining community.
published the Saint
Malo article on March 1883 the same year Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi
was came out of the
press. His novel, Huckleberry
about boy river journey would come out year later. Had the characters
I am sure his friend Jim would find peace with the Manila
men. I am not sure if Lafcadio Hearn
ever meet Mark Twain in New
but the later would became the greatest American novelist and political
advocate. He would became the strongest critic of the Philippine
the beginning of the 20th century
. Alex Fabros related to me once about Agustin
Bikol who landed in New Orleans and later
served in the American
Navy in the war of 1812. Saint Louis
in 1904 showcased the indigenous people of the Philippines
and the houses they
lived were also transplanted in an almost like carnival
the fair held earlier and the river flow reversed, the Saint Malo could
floated up in the heartland of America.
It was rumored that the early Filipino
alongside the French Pirate, Jean Lafitte in the battle of New Orleans.
This might just simply
romantic that seduces our historical mind as the life of a pirate. Jean
is also a native of Saint Malo, famous for being the corsair seaport of
Civil war almost broke the union. The
participation is just bleep on the screen. Most of the Filipinos
joined the conflict were just sailors onboard the Union Ships.
battles were engaged mostly on open sea but like most civil war inland
encounters brought riverboats into action. USS Conemauh, side-wheel union
ship took part in blockading the
Mississippi river and onboard this vessel was Joseph Bernardo who
enlisted in Philadelphia
from New Jersey.
Another Philippine born civil veteran, Felix Cornelius Balderry, from
A, 11th MI Vols. Employed by seafarer Joseph Foster of Leonidas,
aboard his vessel before the war, Balderry moved to Michigan and worked
farmhand before enlisting December 7, 1863 at Kalamazoo for 3 years. He
in the western theater, and was sent to hospital at Nashville in June 1864. Discharged in
September of that year, he returned to Michigan,
where he worked as a tailor. On September 1, 1885 he married
May Barns at Constantine, Michigan.
Balderry passed away less than ten years before the St Louis
tuberculosis, at the age of 49. He was the only veteran with
maybe Dr Virgilio Pilapil has more research as to what happen to his
Like the Saint Louis
exposition this will be a great time for the Filipino American
present the Filipino-American experience in mid land America.
The 2006 National
Conference in Hawaii is also
celebration as in was in 1906 when the first wave of farm workers
landed in Hawaii.
me in St. Louis,
Meet me at the fair.
Don't tell me the lights are shining
any place but there.
I will be your tootsie wootsie
If you will meet me in St.
Meet me at the fair.
Kerry Mills and Andrew B. Sterling (1904)
In 1944 the movie musical, Judy Garland sang,
The Filipino American Experience,
"A Century Hence,
From The St. Louis World's Fair"
Conference will be on July 21-25, 2004
TO: FANHS Midwest Chapter; FANHS Wisconsin
Chapter; FANHS St.
Louis Chapter; Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago (FAHSC);
Springfield, IL-Based Filipino American Historical Society (FilAmHisSo)