When Katie Bernstetter was selected to do a Missouri Bicentennial program at the Montgomery City Public Library on Aug. 10, she didn’t have trouble finding any wardrobe.
The MCPL clerk put on a pioneer dress she wore during her 9½-year tenure as an employee of the Historic Daniel Boone Home in St. Charles County.
“I kept all of my old pioneer dresses,” Bernstetter said.
Bernstetter held her program at the MCPL’s Community Room. She spent 25 minutes talking about the 200-year history of Missouri, which was admitted to the Union on Aug. 10, 1821 as a slave state under the Missouri Compromise.
“I enjoyed it,” Bernstetter said. “I haven’t talked in that kind of facet in a long time. It’s been over a year. I did it for so long that it just felt natural to kind of be teaching people about history again. It’s always something I enjoy doing.”
After the presentation, Bernstetter spent five minutes talking to the audience about Daniel Boone, an American pioneer who spent his last 20 years living in Missouri. Missouri became a state a year after he died in 1820.
The 29-year-old Bernstetter said she learned a lot about Boone while working at the Historic Daniel Boone Home. She gave tours and worked in special events that allowed employees to dress like they were living in the 1800s.
“I started working there as a summer job,” Bernstetter said. “I loved history and it was close to my house at the time. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed the stories of him and the simple life of living on the frontier. I never really knew a whole lot about Daniel Boone. But once you get hooked into the story, I really enjoyed him as a person. He was an amazing historical figure.”
Bernstetter lived in Missouri all of her life. Originally from St. Charles County, Bernstetter moved to Montgomery County in July 2020.
“I love living in this area,” Bernstetter said. “I think (Missouri) gets a lot of bad credit. People don’t really like Missouri if they really have never been to Missouri. I think it’s beautiful and it has a lot of nature. History is pretty important to love somebody’s state that you live in.”
Bernstetter said it’s important for Montgomery County residents to know about the history of Missouri. Montgomery County was founded three years before Missouri became a state.
“There was a book of historic families in Missouri (at the library),” Bernstetter said. “I went through it and I flipped to Montgomery County. It has stories of families who lived in this area and a list of all of them. Even though I’m not from this area, I enjoyed reading and seeing the names and the different places that they lived and what they were going through.”
Bernstetter said she was approved by MCPL interim director Gaylee Harris of giving a Missouri Bicentennial program at the library earlier this year.
“Gaylee and the rest of the ladies were figuring out different programs and things to kind of get the community involved with the library,” said Bernstetter, who also works at Montgomery City Eye Consultants. “So she asked us all to write down things that we would love, we know about or we teach people. So I put history because I know a lot about history. I enjoyed sharing that with people. Gaylee was asking me if I would be willing to do it. Considering the Bicentennial was coming up, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity. We kind of came up with this idea of working on early frontier time and she just said, ‘Do what you want.’”