Built in 1819, Thornhill is the oldest governor’s home still standing in Missouri. It was the home of Frederick Bates, Missouri’s second governor (1824), and his family. The site includes: the home; the original barn; a second barn which was built around 1860; a distillery; a smokehouse; an icehouse; a granary; and the blacksmith’s shop. The family cemetery holds the graves of Frederick Bates, his wife, Nancy, two of their four children and three family friends.
Prior to becoming governor, Bates was the territorial secretary for the Louisiana Territory under Territorial Governor William Clark. Frederick Bates was the brother of Edward Bates, who was Attorney General under Abraham Lincoln, and James Bates, the Territorial Senator to the Arkansas Territory. Thornhill is the trailhead of the 1.4-mile Governor Frederick Bates Trail, which winds down the Missouri River bluffs, then up through Faust Park.