by Donald K. Muschany





     What did the villages of Howell and Hamburg in St. Charles County, Missouri have in common with Germany, Italy and Japan? All were defeated by the United States of America.
     What is the extreme dissimilarity? Germany, Italy and Japan were given immediate financial aid in rebuilding their countries and their lives. The communities of Howell and Hamburg disappeared from the face of the earth and the people therein became displaced persons without receiving the contractual monies which had been approved by the United States Government.
     Italy came under the Marshall Plan for reviving the country and for restoring its priceless artifacts and treasures. Japan and Germany became first-rate financial powers through aid provided by the United States and became prosperous in a manner that was never seen before in those countries. In fact both are in serious competition in the universal market place with their benefactor, the United States of America.
     The towns of Howell and Hamburg are merely a memory since 1940 for many American citizens. The memory is pleasant up to the date of the Government “takeover” but properly bitter after that time. In the pages to follow I will reveal the whole debacle in a chronological, concise, and well-documented order. I will produce copies of letters, telegrams, writs and opinions which are included for the reader’s scrutiny.
     A series of letters written by me to Dr. Norman K. Muschany is included, as is some correspondence of a much earlier time, which indicates that Howell and Hamburg existed very happily before the federal axe fell. The names of the early settlers will surprise the non-Hamburg and Howellite inasmuch as they are part and parcel of the history of our country, which fact was totally ignored in the happenings of 1940.
     In a democracy you would believe that the Government’s word would be its bond and, still better, legal contracts that were signed by and accepted in behalf of the United States Government would be most valid. At least that is what the people of two small communities thought. To their surprise they found this to be false.
     “To rape” is to seize and take away by force. I have documented such a seizure and rightfully titled this book accordingly. Government that cannot stand on its commitments becomes a bad show with a story line that goes from disappointment to dissent to repression. The citizens of these Communities were very mature and I assure you they accepted reality and responsibility, and fought for what they believed in. After four years they won the fight but, after suffering great hardships, they found themselves in the irretrievable position of having lost their homes and farms.
     It was bad then and is even worse looking at it in retrospect. We all know of the charitable reputation our country enjoys throughout the Free World, and yet this whole travesty occurred within the shadows of metropolitan St. Louis, the jumping-off place for the Westward Movement just a handful of decades before.
     A satirical movie, “The Mouse That Roared,” dealt with the advantages of a little country fighting a war with the U.S.A. knowing that it would be lost, and the country would be made immensely wealthy by so doing. It is not by chance that in some foreign State Departments our country is called “Uncle Sugar” and “Uncle Sap.”
     On December 7, 1941 Japan struck and bombed Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt called it a dastardly act. The American people were infuriated at the Japanese people, but within a few days some Americans were horrified when the Nisei (Japanese-Americans) were interned for security reasons. These internees were fed well, housed well, and treated courteously. This was not true for the citizens of Howell and Hamburg, Missouri and for the people who lived on some 18,000 acres surrounding these towns. The Government dispossessed many families from their homes and properties without payment nor appropriate consideration for their well-being.
     In the following pages, you will find the verbatim minutes of a meeting on Saturday, April 12, 1940, at the Weldon Springs Church Hall. The meeting was held at the invitation of concerned landowners and the principal speaker was the Hon. Clarence Cannon, U.S. Representative for the district involved in the land controversy. This bona fide report describes the whole problem, with the apparent emotions of the crowd in attendance.