Old Mines | KBIA

Old Mines

Frank Vess Portell family. The woman with the guitar is Nellie Hopkins Portell. She is wearing button shoes, and has the Gibson Girl hairstyle. The man with the fiddle is Francis "Brazz" Politte. His descendants are known as the Brazz Polittes.
Courtesy of Kent Bone.

French settlers colonized southeast Missouri over 200 years ago. And with them came the French language and culture.

They mined the lead belt region and created an insular community in Old Mines revolving around house parties, music and church.

Over time they developed their very own dialect called “Paw Paw” French that was used well into the 20th century. But then it started to disappear.