The legacy of Dalhousie began in the late 1700’s when Rebecca Ramsey left her home in Scotland, a land of stunning geography with its lochs, glens and highlands. Rebecca Ramsey was a sister to The Earl of Dalhousie and was raised in the Dalhousie Castle in Scotland, belonging to the Ramsey clan since 1280.
Rebecca married Alexander Giboney in the “new world” and traveled to the Cape Girardeau, Missouri area because of her relative Andrew Ramsey who was one of the first settlers to the district. Although there are historical traces of Native American encampments on the 1000+ acres of land now called “Dalhousie,” the lasting settlers of this land were Alexander and Rebecca Giboney and their descendants. Their family received a Spanish Land Grant in 1798, signed by Louis Lorimier, Spain’s trusted agent for the region. Thus, ownership of the land preceded the Louisiana Purchase arranged by President Jefferson with Napoleon in 1803.
Adjacent to the Dalhousie Community is an antebellum mansion designed by Rebecca and her son, Andrew, in 1812 with the intent of replicating the architectural features of the original Dalhousie Castle. The home was called Elmwood due to the large number of elm trees on the land and is now occupied by the Evans Family, the 6th generation of direct descendants of Rebecca Ramsey.
An important resident of Elmwood was Louis Houck, a prominent figure in Cape Girardeau in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and husband to Mary Hunter Giboney. As a railroad entrepreneur, Houck laid the first railroad line into Cape Girardeau. In his 25-years of railroad construction, he laid 500 miles of track in southeast Missouri, thereby significantly affecting the economic development of the region. Houck was very instrumental in the development of the Normal School (now Southeast Missouri State University) and locating it in Cape Girardeau. He served as President of the Board of Regents for 36 years.