Linda Nash publishes book about Cape Girardeau's founder

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Linda Nash at the Red House. (ADAM VOGLER)

Linda Clark Nash's interest in Pierre de Lorimier, the founder of Cape Girardeau, started early in her life.

"When I was a sixth-grade baby boomer student, I was bussed from Alma Schrader school to Lorimier school (which is now city hall) because of overcrowding," says Nash. "That's where my interest in Lorimier really began."

Nash continued to study and learn about Lorimier while she was a history major in college. "The problem is, there is almost nothing written about him," she says. "There are just bits and pieces, and most of it is in French. And some of what is written is totally inaccurate.

Nash researched archives in St. Louis, New Orleans and Alexandria, La., in person. She did research via phone and email in Berkley, Calif., Seville, Spain, and with the British Archives in London.

"Many of the journals that I came across were a little sketchy, so I had to do a lot of extra research to sort of fill in the blanks," says Nash.

It took Nash a little over a year to write the book about Lorimier's life titled "The Journals of Pierre Louis de Lorimier."

"The book is a compilation of his journals that I have edited," says Nash.

Getting the book published was a combination of luck and good timing.

"I was at a Lewis and Clark conference in St. Louis," says Nash. "We were on a bus and I was talking to a friend on the bus about the book, and a gentleman with a very thick French accent overheard me. It turns out he is a book publisher in Montreal for the publishing company Septenprion. He was interested in publishing my book."

The book, which is Nash's first to author, includes the original French words on the left and the English translation on the right. "Since the Lorimier family is from Quebec, we expect there to be interest in the book not only in the United States but also in Canada and France," she says.

Nash says the book will give readers new insight about Lorimier. "Many people don't realize Lorimier's importance in Spanish government," she says. "Although his main livelihood throughout his life was fur trading, Lorimier was an Indian agent for the Spanish government. He dealt with many, many Indian tribes."

"The Journals of Pierre Louis de Lorimier" comes out in limited copies this month and should be available in bookstores by Oct. 1. Book signings are scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 15 and 29 at the Red House Interpretive Center in Cape Girardeau.

Nash is unsure whether she will write another book, but admits that she probably will. In addition to being a published author, Nash has been executive director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), which provides training for volunteers to advocate in the courts for children of abuse and neglect, for the past three years. She is also heavily involved with the Red House Interpretive Center, where she has written grants and done various sorts of volunteer work. She is married to Phillip Nash and has two grown children.

"This book on Louis Lorimier has been in negotiations for 10 years," says Nash. "It's unbelievable that it is finally going to be published 200 years after he died."

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