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St. Louis, Missouri 



MAY -91! 

®CI.A3 7409 7 

Published by Authority of the Book Committee 

of the 

St. Louis Pageant Drama Association, 

St. Louis, Mo. 


In the preparation of this volume, I am 
under obligation to Judge Walter B. Douglas and 
Mr. William Clark Breckenridge for invaluable 
aid in the way of information, suggestions and 
criticisms, without which I could not have com- 
pleted the work in the time allotted me. Their 
comprehensive libraries and their accurate 
scholarship have been cheerfully placed at my 





This volume is the result of an effort to present the 
interesting story of the adventurous lives led by the 
inhabitants of St. Louis in early times, in a form acces- 
sible to all, and in a book of size convenient for use. 
This story has been told before in bulky volumes that 
may be found upon the shelves of reference rooms in 
our libraries, but our people know little of the wonder- 
ful life of our early pioneers. Few of our children are 
acquainted with the heroic history of our forefathers 
in the Mississippi Valley. They can tell of the struggles 
and accomplishments of the colonists on the Atlantic 
seaboard, but they have heard little of the greater 
struggles by which our own section of the United States 
was wrested from the wilderness. 

The epic story of this life of our pioneers is about 
to be presented in dramatic form in the "Pageant and 
Masque of St. Louis," for the purpose of arousing our 
people to pride in the glorious past and to unison of 
effort in the early accomplishment of yet greater things 
in the future. This prose story of old days in St. 
Louis is issued in furtherance of that purpose. That 
the people may appreciate and enjoy the drama, it is 
necessary they should know the facts of our history, 
and something of the kind of people who made St. Louis, 
what manner of life they lived, how they appeared, what 
forces they encountered and overcame. To give such 
basis for the enjoyment of the "Pageant and Masque" 
is the purpose of this volume. 

No credit for original research is made by him who 
has prepared it. He has selected freely, from whatever 
source was found available, the narratives of events 
deemed suitable to the purpose. Attempt has been made 


to follow the plan adopted by the authors of the 
"Pageant and Masque," so far as it relates to the 
succession of episodes and their relative emphasis. 

The following- named publications have been cop- 
iously drawn upon for material out of which this story 
has been compiled : 

Brackenridge, H. M., 

Recollections of Persons and Places in the West. 
Views in Louisiana. 

Chouteau, Auguste, 

Fragment of Col. Auguste Chouteau's Narrative of the Settlement 
of St. Louis, in possession of the St. Louis Mercantile Library. 

Edwards & Hopewell, 
The Great West. 

Darby, John F., 

Personal Recollections. 

Dye, Eva Emery, 

The Conquest. 

Flint, Timothy, 

Travels in the Mississippi Valley. 

Hyde & Conard, 

Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis, 4 vols. 

Houck, Louis, 

Spanish Regime in Missouri, 2 vols. 
History of Missouri, 3 vols. 

Kargau, Ernest D., 

The German Emigration to Missouri. 

Missouri Historical Society Collections, 

Especially Articles and Notes by Judge Walter B. Douglas and 
Mr. William Clark Breckenridge. 

Nicollet, Jean Nicholas, 

Sketch of the Early History of St. Louis. 

Porter, Valentine Mott. 

History of Battery "A." 

Reavis, L. U., 

St. Louis, the Future Great City of the World. 

Scharf, J. Thomas, 

History of St. Louis City and County, 2 vols. 

Stoddard, Major Amos, 

Sketches, Historical and Descriptive, of Louisiana. 


The Mound Builders 7 

White Men Come Into the West 9 

The Settlement of St. Louis 14 

Growth and Decay of the Illinois Settlements 19 

Character of the French Settlers 22 

An American Boy in a French Village 29 

Acting Governor St. Ange de Bellerive 36 

Death of Pontiac 40 

Governor Pedro Piernas 42 

Governor Cruzat's First Administration 45 

Labuxiere, the Factotum 47 

Administration of Governor De Leyba 50 

Indian Attack on St. Louis 53 

Governor Cruzat's Second Administration 57 

Capture of Saint Joseph from the British 59 

Administration of Governor Perez 61 

Governor Zenon Trudeau's Administration 63 

Society of Sansculottes 63 

Administration of De Lassus 71 

Louisiana Transferred to the United States 73 

As St. Louis Appeared to Major Stoddard 78 

As Brackenridge Saw St. Louis in 1812 81 

The Primitive Ferry in 1818 84 

Return of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 88 

A Glimpse of St. Louis in 1816 98 

The Appearance of St. Louis in 1818 100 

St. Louis and the Fur Trade 105 

Elements of Success in the Fur Trade 112 

Strange Contrasts in Old St. Louis 116 

River Life in the Early Days 124 

Steamboats on the Western Rivers 129 

Lafayette's Visit to St. Louis 136 

Battery "A" in the Mexican War 148 

The Great Fire 158 

The Plague of Cholera 159 

The German Emigration to St. Louis 162 


The StorV 




HE crust of Mother Earth in the region about 
St. Louis is old, the geologists tell us. For 
eons the rivers have been coursing through 
the valley, and for ages mankind has found 
food and shelter and the joys of existence 
along the banks of these streams. The current of 
human life has flowed on like the waters of the 
rivers ; and, as the streams have remained though the 
drops have merged into the ocean, so the records of 
mankind remain though individual and even race have 
joined the invisible. Before civilized man came with 
his pen to write of this region, even back in the twilight 
preceding the Indian traditions, these valleys were peo- 
pled by thousands of the human race who had learned 
the lesson of co-operative effort, who worked together 
for a common purpose, who must have looked far into 
their future, and have labored arduously and faithfully 
for the common weal, as they conceived it. For only 
by such a people could the multitude of great earth 
works have been constructed. They were a home-loving 

— 8 — 

The Mystery people, for they dwelt in one spot. They were an indus- 
Mound trious people, as their huge mounds attest. They were 

Builders a religious people, for the remains of their altars give 

unmistakable evidence of their worship. They were 
a valiant people, for the story of their military skill 
is written in their defensive fortifications. They were 
skillful artisans, for we have recovered many beautiful 
objects they wrought from stone, and shell, and bone, 
and beaten metals. 

But they have vanished, and the cause of their dis- 
appearance remains one of the unsolved problems of 
archaeology. Did some cataclysm of nature overtake 
them? Or did they refuse to follow the teachings of 
their prophets who urged them to higher social aspira- 
tions? Did they abandon their social ideals to follow 
the allurements of nomadic existence? Did they thus 
degenerate with successive years into the wandering 
Indian tribes as the white man found them? Who shall 

In attempting to reach a solution of the problem, 
archaeologists have enrolled themselves in two oppos- 
ing schools; one affirming that these great earthworks 
are the production of a civilized people, millions in 
number, who, after erecting these monuments, passed 
mysteriously away; the other contending that they are 
the work of the American Indians, "who were driven 
from their former sedentary habits and agricultural pur- 
suits" by the encroachments of vast herds of buffalo 
that moved across the country in search of food, thus 
destroying the crops of the inhabitants. "Wherever," 
says Dr. Peterson, "the bison was found in abundance 
by the whites, the Indians had given up mound building 
and practiced agriculture but indifferently, while they 
were still mound builders and agriculturalists where the 
beast had not penetrated." 



HE first white man who saw the Mississippi 
river was Hernando De Soto, a Spaniard, 
who discovered it near the present site of 
Memphis, in 1541. De Soto had come from 
Cuba to Florida, accompanied by a force of 
nearly a thousand men, including- many cavaliers of rank. 
For three years he and his men wandered from Florida 
westward, searching for gold, and fighting the hostile 
Indians. He found no gold, but many of his followers 
were killed by the Indians or died of disease and 
exposure. He crossed the Mississippi into what is now 
Arkansas, at a point between the St. Francois and Arkan- 
sas Rivers, and some of his men penetrated northward 
far into southeast Missouri. De Soto died, and his fol- 
lowers buried him in the great river that he had dis- 

Another Spaniard, Don Francisco Vasquez de Cor- 
onado, set out from Mexico in 1540, in search of the 
fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, said to be rich in gold 
and silver. He reached what he believed to be Cibola, 

— 10 — 

white Men but found no wealth there. At that place he was spurred 
the west on D y some Indian romance of great riches to be found 
at Quivira, further eastward. His expedition passed 
through New Mexico, and continued northeastward to 
a point "in what is now central Missouri, or possibly to 
the Mississippi river below the mouth of the Missouri." 
There he found an Indian settlement that he believed 
to be Quivira. He erected a cross, at the foot of which 
these words were chiseled : "Francisco Vasquez de 
Coronado, General of the Army, arrived here." Only a 
small remnant of his followers returned with him to 
Mexico, where Coronado died in 1542. 

The Spaniards were undaunted explorers. It seems 
certain that Humana, in 1594, must have retraversed 
the same route which Coronado had taken. Subse- 
quently other expeditions, under Onate, Vaca and Pen- 
alosa, during the years from 1594 to 1664, fared forth 
from New Mexico towards the northeast, and penetrated 
into what is now the Missouri country. They came and 
went away, leaving no settlement as a result of their 

But during this time the French had been pushing 
farther and farther westward along the St. Lawrence 
river and the Great Lakes. Traders were seeking the 
valuable furs of the forest. Exploring parties were 
searching a waterway through the continent to the 
shores of the Pacific Ocean and the "Far East." And 
with both traders and explorers went the devoted mis- 
sionaries, seeking the conversion of the Indians to Chris- 

The history of Missouri began in 1673, when a fur 
trader, Joliet, and a Jesuit missionary, Father Marquette, 

— 11 — 

with five other men, crossed the portage from Lake Mich- white Men 

igan into Wisconsin, and found their way to the Mis- ^e"^^"* 

sissippi. They floated down the stream to the mouth 

of the Arkansas, and returned to the French settlements 

in Canada with the story of their adventures. Nearly 

ten years later, in 1682, another Frenchman, La Salle, 

and his lieutenant De Tonti, with a force of thirty men, 

and a band of Indians, leaving Fort Mackinac and 

crossing over by the Chicago portage and the Illinois 

river, reached the Mississippi and descended to its mouth, 

claiming the country for the French king. The zealous 

French missionaries set up stations in this wilderness, 

one at Cahokia in 1699, and another at Kaskaskia in 

1700, both on the Illinois side of the Mississippi. They 

were soon joined by fur traders from Canada, and soon 

afterwards French farmers from Canada came to settle 

on these fertile lands, and thus began the first permanent 

settlements in the region near what is now St. Louis. 

The fur traders with their hunters and boatmen soon 

explored the rivers flowing into the Mississippi from the 

west, penetrating the region far toward the headwaters 

of the Missouri. They learned from the Indians of rich 

deposits of lead on the St. Francois and Meramec rivers, 

and many Frenchmen crossed over to work at mining 

the lead ore that lay near the surface and was thus easily 

obtained. About 1735, some of these French hunters 

and miners formed a settlement at Ste. Genevieve, on 

the western bank of the Mississippi. 

Meanwhile French colonies had been formed at New 
Orleans, and at other points in lower Louisiana, and 
expeditions were sent up the Mississippi to explore and 
to make settlements. Fort de Chartres in Illinois was 
erected in 1720, to protect the neighboring settlements 

— 12 — 

white Men of Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, St. Philippe, and Caho- 
Mw'wert* kia. F rencn expeditions explored the Missouri river 
and its tributaries, and, in 1722, Fort Orleans was built 
by Captain de Bourgmont above the mouth of Grand 
river, near where Brunswick now stands. Fort Orleans 
has long since been washed away by the shifting chan- 
nel of the stream near whose banks it was erected, but 
the ruins of Fort Chartres may still be seen. 

News of the profitable trade in furs and lead reached 
New Orleans, where had lately arrived from France, 
a young man, Pierre Laclede Liguest, seeking oppor- 
tunity to engage in trade with the Indians. The young 
Liguest, or Laclede, as he came to be known, soon 
formed a company in which a rich merchant of New 
Orleans, Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent, was the 
leading partner, and Laclede was sent up the Mis- 
sissippi in charge of the expedition. He had under 
his command a large force, consisting of mechan- 
ics, trappers, hunters, and a few farmers. With great 
labor they made progress up stream in the rough, heavy 
boats that were then used, intending to found a settle- 
ment on the west bank of the Mississippi somewhere 
between Ste. Genevieve and the mouth of the Missouri. 
Laclede carried with him a large amount of merchandise 
suitable for trade with the Indians. In the company was 
a boy named Auguste Chouteau, thirteen years old, 
who soon became Laclede's most trusted aid and friend. 
After a fatiguing trip, the party reached Ste. Gene- 
vieve, the only French post on the west bank of the 
Mississippi that could furnish shelter or the comforts 
of frontier life. It was the intention of Laclede to 
leave his merchandise and most of his party at that 
post, until he could select a location higher up the 

— 13 — 

stream and nearer the mouth of the Missouri ; but he white Men 
was disappointed to find there no accommodation for the Weat 
his men nor sufficient shelter for his merchandise. At 
the invitation of the officer in charge of Fort de Chartres, 
Laclede ascended the river to that post, where he left 
his goods and most of his men, while he, in December, 
1763, in company with Chouteau and a few other attend- 
ants, examined the country on the western shore as far 
as the "Muddy Water." Returning down stream, he 
selected a spot where the shore rose in an abrupt wall 
of limestone, at places more than forty feet high, broken 
here and there by ravines through which flowed streams 
of fresh water fed by many gushing springs. 

Here Laclede and his companions went ashore and 
marked the spot by blazing the trees, the commander 
saying to Chouteau: "You will come here as soon as 
the river shall be free from ice, and you will cause this 
place to be cleared and form a settlement according to 
the plan which I shall give you." After thus marking 
the spot, Laclede set out for Fort de Chartres, and on 
arriving there, he said to Governor De Neyon and his 
officers : "I have found a situation where I intend estab- 
lishing a settlement, which, in the future, shall become 
one of the most beautiful cities in America." 



ARLY the following spring, Laclede selected 
a choice body of about thirty men, chiefly 
mechanics, and placed them under command 
of young Chouteau, to whom he gave instruc- 
tions : "You will go and disembark at the 
place where we marked the trees. You will make a 
clearing and build a large shed to contain the pro- 
visions and tools, and some small cabins to lodge the 
men." Without accident Chouteau reached the spot 
selected, and, on February 15, 1764, he took possession 
of the soil and set about building the houses for the 
settlement which has become a great city. 

In a few days the sheds and cabins were constructed ; 
and in the early part of March, Laclede Liguest having 
arrived, the plan of the village was laid out, and the 
site selected where he wished his house to be built. 
He named the place St. Louis in honor of Louis IX, 
who was the special protector of towns and cities from 
the encroachments of feudal lords, and who was can- 
nonized by the church for his many virtues. 

— 15 — 

The arrival of the French was soon known to the ^ t s o e f ttle ' 
Missouri Indians, one hundred and fifty warriors of S t. Louis 
whom, accompanied by their women and children, soon 
gathered about the new settlement. However, these 
Indians offered no personal violence ; but, being destitute 
of provisions, they had come to beg a supply of the 
necessaries of life. After receiving a gift of pro- 
visions, they became so well pleased with their new 
friends that they declared their intention of building 
a village near the French, so that they might always 
remain near them. They said they "were like ducks 
and bustards, who sought open water to rest, and they 
could not find a spot more suitable for their purpose 
than the place where they then were." They annoyed 
the French settlers by pilfering whenever opportunity 
was offered, and answered any suggestion of departure 
with obstinate refusal. Some Frenchmen who had come 
over from Cahokia to make their homes at Laclede's 
new settlement, became alarmed at the presence of the 
Indians and went back across the river. Laclede resolved 
to rid the settlement of the presence of these trouble- 
some neighbors. He finally threatened them with the 
vengeance of the Indians then encamped around Fort de 
Chartres, if they persisted in remaining, and so fright- 
ened them that they departed. When the Indians had 
gone, Laclede hurried back to Fort de Chartres to remove 
his goods before the country east of the Mississippi 
should be given over to the English, and soon his entire 
force and all of his merchandise were brought to St. 

The plan of the settlement as laid out by Laclede, at 
first provided for only one street parallel with the river 
and extending from Cherry (what is now Franklin 

— 16 — 

The Settle- avenue) on the north to Chouteau avenue on the south. 

SkLouts ^is street ( now First street) he named la Rue Royale, 
which name it retained for many years, until changed to 
la Rue Principale. What is now known as Second street 
extended from Franklin to Cedar street, but was not at 
first dignified with a name, being known in the early 
land grants as une autre Rue Principale. Later, when a 
church was built upon the block where the old Cathedral 
now stands, the street was given the name of la Rue 
de I'Bglise. Between 1766 and 1780, another street — 
what is now Third street — was laid out and named la 
Rue des Granges, or the "Street of the Barns." 

For the site of his own residence, Laclede selected 
a tract of ground three hundred feet square, now bounded 
by First and Second, and Market and Walnut streets, 
and on this square his house was built, the first story 
of which was built of stone. The dirt from the cellar 
of his house was removed by Missouri Indian squaws, 
who were paid for their work with beads and other 
trinkets, which they greatly prized. The founder of St. 
Louis doubtless intended that the neighborhood of his 
residence should always be the most attractive part of 
the town, for he designated the block adjoining his own 
on the east as a public square, and called it la Place 
d'Armes. Not far away was erected the large ware- 
house for merchandise, and near by the sheds and cabins 
for his men. When Laclede began his settlement, there 
was a narrow strip of wood which skirted the river 
along the low bluff's and extended as far westward as 
Broadway. The wood varied in breadth, and at some 
places the shore was entirely free from timber. Where 
the first buildings were erected, there was a beautiful 

meut of 
St. Louis 

— 17 — 

grove of walnut trees, without underbrush, and carpeted The settle- 
with a fine turf of blue grass. 

Pierre Laclede Liguest was born in Bedous, of the 
southern part of France, near the boundary between 
France and Spain. He was of a brave and adventurous 
disposition, and left France with the avowed purpose 
of establishing a trading post in the French possessions 
in America, bringing with him many followers. In per- 
sonal appearance he was little above medium height, 
of very dark complexion, with a large nose, expansive 
brow and piercing, expressive eyes. After founding 
St. Louis, Laclede was absent from the settlement much 
of the time on trading voyages to New Orleans and 
other points on the rivers, above and below his own 
village. While on one of these trips to New Orleans, 
Laclede died at the age of fifty-four, June 20th, 1778, on 
the Mississippi river, near the mouth of the Arkansas, 
and was hastily buried on the south bank of the Arkan- 
sas river, at its junction with the Mississippi. No stone 
or tomb was erected to mark his grave in the solitude, 
and the spot cannot now be identified. 

The early inhabitants of the settlement founded by 
Liguest called the place "Laclede's Village," and desired 
that it take the name of its founder ; but he would never 
consent to this. In all official documents he insisted 
upon the name St. Louis, which he had bestowed upon 
it in honor of Louis IX of France. 

Houck says : "That Laclede was a man of enterprise, 
of courage, of resolution and tenacity of purpose is 
certain ; that he was far-seeing and not devoid of imag- 
ination is shown in the selection he made of the site 
where is now located his great city, whose glory and 
magnificence he could even then see in the dim future. 

— 18 — 

The settle- That he was a man of liberal spirit is shown by the 
sTi. ' ^ act ^ iat ' w ^ tnout hesitation, he invited his countrymen 

to his own trading post, when they became agitated 
about the cession of the country east of Mississippi to 
England, thus bringing competitors to his own door. 
That he was wise is shown by the fact that he induced 
St. Ange to remove the seat of government from Fort 
de Chartres to his own trading post, St. Louis, rather 
than to Ste. Genevieve, the nearest, oldest and most 
important settlement on the west side of the river, and 
then caused St. Ange to expressly grant the lots assigned 
by him to the first settlers, opening a record of land 
grants, and in this way placing his work on a firm basis. 
Though the spot where he is buried is unknown, and no 
stone marks his grave, yet the great city which has 
grown up where he so wisely established his trading post 
is his monument." 



HE early inhabitants of Upper Louisiana 
were chiefly descendants of the settlers who 
were induced to remove thither from Canada. 
Later, in 1762, in consequence of the misfor- 
tunes of France, when that country was forced 
to cede her territory east of the Mississippi to England, 
and all west of the river to Spain, the flourishing settle- 
ments of Illinois experienced a sudden and rapid 
decay, which was hastened by the conquest of the 
country by General George Rogers Clark for the United 
States, in 1778. The importance of these settlements, 
as well as the sad fate that overtook them, is thus graph- 
ically told by Mr. Brackenridge, who visited Kaskaskia, 
Fort de Chartres and Cahokia in 1813 : 

"The French settlements in this valley had, in the 
course of sixty years, become very considerable. There 
were a number of large villages, a lucrative fur trade 
was carried on, and their agriculture was extensive. 
I find it stated by several writers that these settlements 
sent to New Orleans in one year (1746) eight hundred 

— 20 — 

Growth and thousand pounds of flour, while at this time there was 
Decay of the t t single settlement on the western side of the 

Illinois Settle- ■> ° ,,._... 

ments river. The principal villages were Kaskaskia, Prairie 

du Rocher, Cahokia, de Chartres and St. Philippe. The 
two last named have entirely disappeared. 

"Kaskaskia, which now (1813) contains little more 
than seven hundred souls, is said to have contained at 
least five thousand. The ruins of ancient buildings, 
the remains of splendid gardens, the dilapidated walls 
everywhere visible, furnish ample proof of its former 
consequence. It is situated about three or four miles 
from the Mississippi, on the bank of the beautiful little 
river Kaskaskia, which falls into the Mississippi nine 
miles below. There is no town in America which bears 
such appearance of antiquity ; the bank on this river is 
worn down by long use. We still see the remains of 
an immense building erected by the Jesuits, immediately 
on the bank, together with the traces of an elegant gar- 
den. On the other side of the Kaskaskia, a hill four or 
five hundred feet rises with a steep ascent, and near the 
top we still see the ruins of a fort. From the top of 
this hill I enjoyed a beautiful prospect. The sun was 
just going down behind the hills on the western side 
of the mighty river, leaving a golden tinge on the 
detached and solitary ravines in the plain below, and 
the tufts of trees which grew near them, while darkness 
seemed already to cover the narrow stream at my feet. 
A deep silence prevailed over the extensive scene, and 
no object seemed across it, excepting the domestic herds 
returning from their pastures and moving in great num- 
bers to the same point from every quarter. 

"Fort de Chartres is situated about fifteen miles above 
Kaskaskia. It is a noble ruin, and is visited by strangers 

— 21 

a party Of ladies Growth and 
Decay of the 
Illinois Settle- 

as a great curiosity. I was one of 
and gentlemen who ascended in a barge from Ste. 
Genevieve, nine miles below. The fort stands immedi- 
ately on the bank of the river, which has carried off a 
considerable part of it. The outward wall is still in 
good preservation, about twenty feet in height, and five 
or six feet in thickness. The walls of the barracks are 
still standing, but the inside is grown up with briars 
and trees of considerable size. The magazine is in a 
good state of preservation, and there are a number of 
cannon in various parts lying half buried in the earth, 
with their trunnions broken off. Nearly the whole area 
is overgrown with trees, and in some places with thickets 
almost impenetrable. In visiting the various parts we 
started a flock of wild turkeys, which had concealed 
themselves in this hiding place. I remarked a kind of 
enclosure near which, according to tradition, was fitted 
up by the officers a kind of arbor, where they could 
sit and converse during the heat of the day. It is said 
that this fort cost the French king upwards of a million 
of crowns, and was usually garrisoned by a full regiment. 
The village which grew up near it, and which was once 
a place of refinement and unusual gaiety, has disappeared 
without leaving a trace behind." 





HEN Illinois was surrendered to the English, 
about eighty of the inhabitants, and many 
who had come up with Laclede, descended the 
Mississippi with Governor de Neyon, and 
settled in New Orleans and the lower 
Many crossed the river and joined the settle- 
ments at St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve. Such is the 
origin of the early population of St. Louis. They were 
chiefly natives of the country; but few families were 
immediately from France, or even from New Orleans or 
Canada, and this fact serves to explain much in the sub- 
sequent history of the settlement founded by Laclede. 
Though essentially French, they lacked the frivolity of 
the Frenchmen of Louis XV or XVI, and still less 
exhibited the restlessness, and violence that characterized 
their European kinsmen who experienced the racking 
storm of the French Revolution. Though gay and fond 
of amusements, there was in their deportment something 
of the gravity of the Spaniards who were their govern- 


ors. Compelled to leave their homes in Illinois and to character «, 
crive up the fruits of their labors, their habits of thrift SettlerB 
and industry were much disturbed. The necessaries of 
life in this fertile country were easily procured, and 
beggary was unknown. Hospitality was practiced as m 
the primitive ages. Born and reared on the frontier, they 
had little schooling and small taste for learning; so their 
own schools afforded but slender instruction in reading 
writing, and a little arithmetic, and only the children of 
the better sort of people attended them. Most of the 
people did not know a letter of the alphabet. The people 
were not accustomed to reason on political matters, but 
were, in fact, ignorant of them and indifferent to them. 
Abandoned by their king, who had turned them over to 
-tETEiTglish when they dwelt in Canada or in Illinois 
and had again secretly transferred them to the rule of 
Spain after they had sought French soil west of the 
Mississippi, it is small wonder that they lost the feeling 
of patriotism, and accepted their Spanish governors 
without resistance, especially since the Soamards 
required of them no taxes and did not interfere with 
their manners and customs. These early French settlers 
of St. Louis were as remarkable for their tame and peace- 
ful submission to rule, as their countrymen of France 
during that period were for violence and anarchy. 

It is true that, in the estimation of the American set- 
tlers who came later, the French appeared lacking in 
public spirit, wanting in enterprise, seemed to display 
small ingenuity or taste, and were generally considered 
to be indolent and uninformed ; yet they possessed many 
virtues They were honest and punctual in their deal- 
ings Sterling friendship and sincere affection char- 
acterized their intercourse with neighbors and relatives, 

— 24 — 

character of and cordial hospitality was extended to all visiting 
settlers strangers. Indeed, the town of St. Louis was forty years 

old before it contained a tavern or public house for the 
entertainment of travelers. The women were faithful 
and affectionate wives, but they were never considered 
secondary in the management of family matters. The 
advice of the wife was taken on all important business, 
as well as on affairs of less weight, and her decision was 
generally followed. 

In religion, all were Catholics, and were strict observ- 
ers of the rules and discipline of their church, and of the 
different holy days of the calendar. The celebrations of 
these holy days, or fetes, as they were called, were most 
interesting events in the village life. Old and young 
engaged in them with the greatest delight. 

For many years, in the social life of St. Louis there 
was scarcely any distinction of classes. The wealthy 
and more intelligent were doubtless considered as more 
important personages, but there were no clearly marked 
or recognized differences. They all associated together. 
All dressed alike, and frequented the same ball room, 
and places of amusement. In fact, nearly the whole 
settlement soon became connected by ties of blood or 
marriage to such an extent, it is said, that, when a 
funeral procession was formed on the death of a common 
relation, the number of persons excluded was exceed- 
ingly small. 

The wealth of the village consisted principally in 
personal property. The highest species of real property 
owned was the slaves — both negro and Indian. The 
lands were valuable only when improved with dwellings 
and enclosed by fences. Peltry and lead were generally 
used as the money or circulating medium of the country. 

— 25 — 

But the natural resources of the rich country were at character 
their command. Vast herds of buffalo, elk and deer Se «iers 
roamed the prairies. Water fowl were so abundant that 
as many as fifty could be caught in a single net. Wild 
turkeys were so plentiful and so gentle that the boys 
threw stones at them for recreation, and prodigious 
flocks of pigeons often darkened the heavens in their 


There was but little variety in their employments. 
The most enterprising and wealthy men were traders, 
and had articles for traffic with the Indians, and kept, 
at the same time, trifling assortments of merchandise 
for the accommodation of the inhabitants; but there 
were no open shops or stores, as in other parts of the 
United States. What is strange, there were no domestic 
manufactures among the early French settlers of St. 
Louis; the spinning wheel and the loom were alike 
unknown. So deficient were the women in this respect 
that, although possessed of numerous herds, they were 
not even acquainted with the use of the churn, but they 
made their butter by beating the cream in a bowl, or 
by shaking it in a bottle. A few men followed ^occupa- 
tions as carpenters and smiths, but they **££*& 
The Spanish government gave employment o but few 
and those principally in St. Louis. The ead mines 
"gaged a considerable number, where the mining could 
be done near the surface. Agriculture was carried on 
in the common fields, and since the surplus of produce 
for sale in the country was small, each family was 
compelled to raise a supply of grain and vegetables suffi- 
cient for their own use. A number of the young men 
accepted employment as boatmen for the traders, since 


— 26 — 

Character of these expeditions afforded opportunity for adventure, 
and a means of learning the business. In dexterity in 
handling river craft, and in physical endurance to undergo 
the privations and hardships of the fur trader's 
life, these young Frenchmen were not surpassed by any 
people. Their knowledge of Indian character and their 
adaptability to the Indian mode of life won the friend- 
ship and regard of the red men, and secured for the 
French the rich peltry of the forests. 

The early settlers of St. Louis amused themselves 
with -cards, billiards and dancing, this last amusement 
then, as now, being the favorite. Their dances were 
cotillions, reels and sometimes the minuet. During the 
carnival season, the balls followed each other in rapid 
succession, and many pleasing customs were connected 
with this amusement. Children, also, had their balls, 
and they were carefully taught decorum and propriety 
of behavior which persevered through life. They early 
acquired an ease and freedom of address, and were care- 
fully trained in the practice of self-denial, which is the 
secret of real politeness. 

The dress of the early settlers was extremely simple. 
The men wore a blanket coat of coarse cloth or coating, 
with a cape behind, which could be drawn over the head ; 
from which circumstance it was called a "capote." Both 
sexes wore blue handkerchiefs on their heads, but they 
wore no hats nor shoes nor stockings; moccasins, or 
the Indian sandals, and buckskin leggins were used. The 
dress of the women and girls was generally simple, and 
there were few variations of fashion. Very soon after 
the American occupation of the country in 1804, the 
costumes of the Americans were adopted by the wealth- 

— 27 — 

ier French families, and quickly were worn generally character of 
by the young girls and young men. Many of the older Settlera 
people continued for a time to wear their old style of 
garments, but these gradually disappeared, so that a 
traveler, visiting St. Louis in 1812, writes: "I never 
saw anywhere greater elegance of dress than at the balls 
in St. Louis." 

The early settlers of St. Louis gave up their mode of 
dress much more quickly than their mode of speech. 
For many years French continued to be the only language 
spoken in the town. Even so late as 1818, when John 
F. Darby, as a boy, came to live in St. Louis, he found 
the town still French. He says : 

"The town of St. Louis at that time contained about 
two thousand inhabitants, two-thirds of whom were 
French and one-third Americans. The prevailing lan- 
guage of the white persons on the streets was French ; the 
negroes of the town all spoke French. All the inhabit- 
ants used French to the negroes, their horses, and their 
dogs, and used the same tongue in driving their ox-teams. 
They used no ox-yokes and bows, as the Americans did, 
in hitching their oxen to wagons and carts ; but instead 
had a light piece of wood about two or three inches thick 
and about five feet long, laid on the necks of the oxen, 
close up to the horns of the animals, and this piece of 
wood was fastened to the horns by leather straps, mak- 
ing them pull by the head instead of the neck and 
shoulders. In driving their horses and cattle they used 
the words, chuck and see, march deau, which the animals 
all perfectly understood. 

The harness on their little Canadian horses was of 
the most primitive character, and patched together in 

— 28 — 

Character of the most rude and unworkmanlike manner with leather 
settlers straps and buckskin thongs. Their carts were the rudest 

specimens of workmanship ; large shafts fastened to a 
heavy axle on which were placed two solid wooden 
wheels sawed from a cross-section of a large tree, about 
four feet in diameter and four inches thick. One great 
objection to the innovation of the Americans, some years 
afterwards, when the Americans began to pave the 
streets, was that "the Americans put rocks in the streets 
and broke their wooden cart-wheels." 

Painting by Stoddard, property of Missouri Historical Societj 



ENRY M. BRACKENRIDGE, as a child of 
seven years, was sent from his Pittsburg 
home to live among strangers in the French 
village of Ste. Genevieve. Life as he found 
it there was much the same as could then be 
seen in St. Louis. 

"Our path lay through an Indian village of Shaw- 
anese, who treated us well ; but I trembled at the sight of 
them, having learned to look upon these people as 
demons. Being on Spanish ground, they would not 
have molested us, even if they had known that we were 
not Spaniards. After a week or ten days, we arrived, 
without any material incident, at the village of Ste. 
Genevieve, situated on the Mississippi, although not 
immediately on its bank. 

"My guardian carried me directly to the house of M. 
Beauvais, a respectable and comparatively wealthy inhab- 
itant of the village, and then took his departure the 
same evening. Not a soul in the village except the curate 
understood a word of English, and I was possessed of 

—30 — 

An American 
Boy in a 

but two French words, oui and non. I sallied into the 
street, or rather highway, for the houses were far apart, 
a large space being occupied for yards and gardens by 
each. I soon found a crowd of boys at play ; curiosity 
drew them around me, and many questions were put by 
them, which I answered alternately with the aid of the 
before-mentioned monosyllables. "Where have you 
come from?" "Yes." "What is your name?" "No." 
To the honor of these boys be it spoken, or rather to 
the honor of their parents, who had taught them true 
politeness, instead of turning me into ridicule as soon 
as they discovered I was a strange boy, they vied with 
each other in showing me every act of kindness. 

"M. Beauvais was a tall, dry, old French-Canadian, 
dressed in the costume of the place ; that is, with a blue 
cotton handkerchief on his head, one corner thereof 
descending behind and partly covering the eelskin which 
bound his hair, a check shirt, coarse linen pantaloons 
on his hips, and the Indian sandal or moccasin, the only 
covering to the feet worn here by both sexes. He was 
a man of a grave and serious aspect, entirely unlike the 
gay Frenchman we are accustomed to see ; and this ser- 
iousness was not a little heightened by the fixed rigidity 
of the maxillary muscles, occasioned by having his pipe 
continually in his mouth, except while in bed, or at 
mass or during meals. Let it not be supposed that I 
mean to speak disrespectfully or with levity, of a most 
estimable man, my object in describing him is to give 
an idea of many other fathers of families of the village. 
Madame Beauvais was a large fat lady, with an open 
cheerful countenance, and an expression of kindness and 
affection to her numerous offspring, and to all others, 

— 31 — 

excepting her colored domestics toward whom she was An American 
rigid and severe. She was, notwithstanding, a most r°J n( !£ a 
pious and excellent woman, and, as a French wife ought Village 
to be, completely mistress of the family. Her eldest 
daughter was an interesting young woman ; two others 
were nearly grown, and all were handsome. I will tres- 
pass a little on the patience of the reader to give some 
account of the place where I was domiciliated ; that is, 
of the house in which I lived, and of the village in which 
it was situated. 

"The house of M. Beauvais was a long, low building, 
with a porch or shed in front and another in the rear ; 
the chimney occupied the center, dividing the house into 
two parts, with each a fireplace. One of these served 
for dining room, parlor and principal bed chamber, the 
other was the kitchen ; and each had a small room taken 
off at the end for private chambers or cabinets. There 
was no loft or garret, a pair of stairs being a rare thing 
in the village. The furniture, excepting the beds and the 
looking glass, was of the most common kind, consisting 
of an armoire, a rough table or two, and some coarse 
chairs. The yard was inclosed with cedar pickets, eight 
or ten inches in diameter and seven feet high, placed 
upright, sharpened at the top, in the manner of a stock- 
ade fort. In front the yard was narrow, but in the rear 
quite spacious, and containing the barn and stables, the 
negro quarters, and all the necessary offices of a farm- 
yard. Beyond this there was a spacious garden inclosed 
with pickets in the same manner with the yard. It was, 
indeed, a garden — in which the greatest variety and the 
finest vegetables were cultivated, intermingled with flow- 
ers and shrubs ; on one side of it there was a small 
orchard containing a variety of the choicest fruits. The 

— 32 

An American 
Boy in a 

substantial and permanent character of these inclosures 
is in singular contrast with the slight and temporary 
fences and palings of the Americans. The house was a 
ponderous wooden frame, which, instead of being weath- 
erboarded, was filled in with clay, and then whitewashed. 
As to the living, the table was provided in a very dif- 
ferent manner from that of the generality of Americans. 
With the poorest French peasant, cookery is an art well 
understood. They make great use of vegetables, and 
prepared in a manner to be wholesome and palatable. 
Instead of roast and fried, they had soups and fricassees, 
and gumbos (a dish supposed to be derived from the 
Africans), and a variety of other dishes. Tea was not 
used at meals, and coffee for breakfast was the privilege 
of M. Beauvais only. 

"From the description of this house, some idea may 
be formed of the rest of the village. The pursuits of 
the inhabitants were chiefly agricultural, although all 
were more or less engaged in traffic for peltries with the 
Indians, or in working the lead mines in the interior. 
But few of them were mechanics, and there were but 
two or three small shops, which retailed a few groceries. 
Peltry, beaver skins and lead constituted almost the only 
circulating medium. All politics or discussions of the 
affairs of government were entirely unknown ; the com- 
mandant took care of all that sort of thing. But instead 
of them, the processions and ceremonies of the church, 
and the public balls furnished ample matter for occupa- 
tion and amusement. Their agriculture was carried on 
in a field of several thousand acres, in the fertile river 
bottom of the Mississippi, inclosed at the common 
expense, and divided into lots separated by some natural 

— 33 — 

or permanent boundary. Horses or cattle, depastured, An American 
were tethered with long ropes, or the grass was cut and *°* n ^ a 
carried to them in their stalls. It was a pleasing sight, village 
to mark the rural population going and returning, morn- 
ing and evening, to and from the field, with their work- 
ing cattle, carts, old-fashioned wheel-plows, and other 
implements of husbandry. Whatever they may have 
gained in some respects, I question very much whether 
the change of government has contributed to increase 
their happiness. 

"About a quarter of a mile off, there was a village of 
Kickapoo Indians, who lived on the most friendly terms 
with the white people. The boys often intermingled 
with those of the white village, and practiced shooting 
with the bow and arrow ; here I got a little smattering 
of the Indian language, which I forgot on leaving the 

"Such was the place, and the kind of people, among 
whom I was about to pass some of the most important 
years of my life, and which would naturally extend a 
lasting influence over me. A little difficulty occurred 
very soon after my arrival, which gave some uneasiness 
to Madame Beauvais. She felt some repugnance at put- 
ting a little heretic into the same bed with her own 
children. This was soon set right by the good curate, 
Pere St. Pierre, who made a Christian of me, Monsieur 
and Madame Beauvais becoming my sponsors, by which a 
relationship was established almost as strong as that 
formed by the ties of consanguinity. Ever after this, 
they permitted me to address them by the endearing 
names of father and mother ; and more affectionate, care- 
ful, and anxious parents I could not have had. It was 

— 34 

An American 
Boy in a 

such as even to excite a kind of jealousy among some of 
their own children. They were strict and exemplary 
Catholics ; so indeed were all the inhabitants of the 
village. Madame Beauvais caused me every night to 
kneel by her side, to say my Pater Noster and Credo, and 
then whispered those gentle admonitions which sink deep 
into the heart. To the good seed thus early sown I may 
ascribe any growth of virtue in a soil that might other- 
wise have produced only noxious weeds. 

"But a few days elapsed after my arrival before I was 
sent to the village school, where I began to spell and 
read French before I understood the language. My 
progress was such that, in a few weeks, I learned to read 
and speak the language; and it is singular enough that 
half a year had scarcely elapsed before I had entirely 
forgotten my native tongue, a consequence which had 
not, most certainly, been foreseen by my father, who 
expected that I should be possessed of two languages 
instead of one, and who could not have supposed that I 
should be sent home a French boy to learn English. So 
completely had every trace disappeared from my mem- 
ory, with the exception of the words "yes" and "no," 
that when sent for occasionally to act as interpreter to 
some stray Anglo-American, the little English boy, "le 
petit Anglais," as they called me, could not comprehend 
a single word beyond the two monosyllables. 

"During the remainder of my sojourn at Ste. Gene- 
vieve, very little else occurred than the ordinary incidents 
of boyhood. At school, on a public examination, I was 
declared the best reader, and the prize consisting of min- 
iature teacups and saucers, awarded me. From the 
nature of the prize, the presumption is it was intended 

— 35 — 

for the other sex. No displeasure was manifested by An American 
the parents who were present; on the contrary, they T °^ n ^ a 
caressed me in the most affectionate manner. In spite village 
of my outlandish origin, I had become a general favorite 
or pet. The priest had chosen me as one of the boys 
appointed to serve at the altar, which was no small honor, 
and besides, entitled me to a larger share of the Pain 
Beni, or blessed bread. I carried my prize home and 
gave it to little Zouzou, a child in the cradle. 

"After the afternoon mass, I sometimes went with other 
children to the ball, which was by no means a place of 
frivolity, but rather a school of manners. The children of 
the rich and poor were placed on a footing of perfect 
equality, and the only difference was a more costly, but 
not a cleaner or neater, dress. The strictest decorum 
and propriety were preserved by the parents who were 
present. There was as much solemnity and seriousness 
at these assemblies as at our Sunday schools; the chil- 
dren were required to be seated, and no confusion or 
disorder was permitted. The minuet was the principal 
dance. I think it is in some measure owing to this 
practice that the awkward, clownish manners of other 
nations are scarcely known among the French. The 
secret of true politeness, self-denial, or the giving the 
better place to others, was taught me at these little balls ; 
but which I have not always found practically useful, 
when it has not been met by a corresponding self-denial 
in others. I do not hesitate to give the preference to our 
Sunday schools, which are justly ranked among the 
greatest improvements of the age. The Sunday balls at 
Ste. Genevieve were, however, comparatively innocent; 
and, in other respects, the people of the village, and 
particularly Monsieur and Madame Beauvais, were rigid 



N OCTOBER, 1765, the settlement founded by 
Laclede received the addition of about forty 
French soldiers and officers under the com- 
mand of St. Ange de Bellerive. This officer 
and garrison had formerly been stationed at 
Fort de Chartres, but when St. Ange, with due formality, 
had given up the fort to Captain Stirling, the English 
officer appointed to take possession in conformity with 
the terms of the recent treaty, the French commander 
and his men crossed over to the Illinois territory west 
of the Mississippi, to maintain the authority of France 
until the representative of Spain should arrive. The 
French settlement west of the river nearest to Fort de 
Chartres was Ste. Genevieve, the oldest and most popu- 
lous ; but, at the invitation of Laclede, St. Ange brought 
his garrison to St. Louis. Thus "Laclede's Village" 
became the capitol of Upper Louisiana. In all his 
official proceedings, St. Ange followed substantially the 
same plan of procedure that had obtained in Fort de 
Chartres, having associated with him the same council 
that had administered civil affairs at his former post 

— 37 — 

east of the river. He confirmed allotments of land that J^T^' 
had been made by Laclede to the settlers who had come Ange De 
from Cahokia and other points east of the river. Under BeUerive 
his government, the affairs of the settlement became 
orderly, and several merchants, seeing the village under 
lawful restraints, became residents of the place and built 
substantial houses. The early records of this period 
contain the names of families, many of which have 
become prominently identified with the growth of St. 
Louis; such names as Chouteau, Cerre, Labbadie, Sarpy, 
Ortes,' Menard, Papin, Hebert, Conde, Gratiot, Guion, 
Pratte, and others. 

St. Ange de Bellerive was most popular. He was a 
favorite not only with his countrymen, but his name was 
a talisman in securing the respect and friendship of the ( 
Indians. They knew him as the inveterate foe of the 
English, and that itself was virtue sufficient in their 
eyes. Moreover, he was the friend of Pontiac, the great 
chief of the Ottawas. When all Pontiac's allies had 
forsaken him, and it became evident that success against 
the English was impossible, St. Ange persuaded him to 
abandon a forlorn hope and consent to peace. Pontiac 
yielded to this advice, because he knew that St. Ange 
was no triend of the English, and would not advise 
peace if there were any hope of success in a hostile 
policy. Thus his influence with the Indians, together 
with his weight of character, would have made St. Ange 
the most prominent man in St. Louis, even though he had , 
lacked the official authority with which he was vested. \ 

On August 11, 1767, the news was brought to St. 
Louis from New Orleans that the Spanish government 
was preparing to take possession of the country that had 

— 38 — 

The Period of been ceded to it by the secret treaty of 1762. It was 
adTdo S *' rumore d tnat a lar S e force would accompany the Spanish 
Beiierive commandant-general to New Orleans, and that his 

authority would be enforced by resort to arms, if found 
necessary. This was sad news to the French settlers, 
who had come to believe that the flag of France would 
continue to wave over St. Louis. 

When Ulloa, the representative of Spain, arrived in 
New Orleans, he dispatched Don Francisco Rui, his 
lieutenant, to St. Louis, with a letter of instructions cau- 
tioning him to use tact in dealing with the French inhab- 
itants, and directing him to build two forts on the 
Missouri river, one on either side, near its junction with 
the Mississippi, to prevent the English from entering 
the stream to trade with the Indians. The instructions 
to Rui did not authorize him to supersede St. Ange as 
commandant of the country. It seems to have been 
Ulloa's purpose to establish a new and independent 
district of the Missouri north of the river. Rui, there- 
fore, attempted no exercise of authority in St. Louis and 
never came in collision with the people. Rui erected 
a fort on the south side of the Missouri near the present 
site of Old Fort Bellefontaine ; but he built only a 
temporary block-house on the northern side, because 
the land there is subject to overflow. 

Rui proved to be an incompetent commander. His 
officers soon engaged in disputes with him and with 
each other. Some twenty of his soldiers and his store- 
keeper deserted, and one man was killed in the fray. 
The workmen under Rui were so enraged against him 
that they would not permit him to enter the fort. Upon 
learning of such insubordination, Ulloa relieved Rui of 

— 39 — 

command and ordered him and his lieutenant, Gomez, The Period of 

__ ... , Governor St. 

to return to New Orleans. Ange De 

Piernas was appointed the successor of Rui by Ulloa, 
on August 5, 1768. He was delayed in his journey 
up the river with his barge, and on the 26th of November 
was stopped by a frozen river below Ste. Genevieve. 
After many hardships he reached the fort at the mouth 
of the Missouri (El Principe de Asturias) on the 6th of 
March, 1769. Almost before he had time to take an inven- 
tory, he received a letter dated October 30, 1768, con- 
taining an order to evacuate the fort, and to turn over 
the property to St. Ange at St. Louis. 

After Piernas had reached St. Louis, with the gar- 
rison, workmen and property withdrawn from the 
abandoned fort, a singular thing happened. The prop- 
erty in his possession belonging to His Catholic Majesty, 
the King of Spain, was attached on a suit instituted 
before the local council by some three or four traders 
of St. Louis, for a debt which had been contracted by 
the Spanish storekeeper, who had received the goods 
for the fort and had afterwards deserted and fled. St. 
Ange was president of this council. Execution was 
about to be levied, when Piernas notified St. Ange that 
he, as president of the council and military superior, 
would be held responsible for the protection of the royal 
interests, whereupon the proceedings were halted. How- 
ever, before leaving St. Louis to return to New Orleans, 
Piernas settled from the royal treasury all indebtedness 
that had been contracted by Rui and himself in building 
the forts on the Missouri. This left everybody sat- 
isfied, and strengthened the respect for the government 
in the estimation of the residents of St. Louis. 




N THE year 1769, Pontiac came to St. Louis to 
visit his former acquaintance and friend, St. 
Ange de Bellerive. His fame was known 
far and wide, and his arrival in their 
midst was an event of no small interest 
to the inhabitants of the town. St. Ange, at that time, 
resided at the house of Madame Chouteau, then standing 
upon Chestnut near First street. 

St. Ange gave a most cordial reception to Pontiac, 
who became his guest for some days and was feted by 
the principal residents of the village. But the former 
chieftain was not his former self. Defeated in his 
ambitious plans, deserted and betrayed by men of his 
own race, he had sought solace in drink and had sunk low 
in the scale of manhood. But, however morally he had 
degenerated, his fame yet lived, and he was a hero in 
the eyes of the French. 

Shortly after his arrival in St. Louis, he expressed 
a desire to visit Cahokia, across the river, where many of 
the old French settlers had invited him to a merry- 

— 41 — 

making. St. Ange attempted to dissuade him from Death of 
going across the river, where the English laws were in 
force, and where lived an English trader of wealth and 
influence who had sworn vengeance upon the life of 
Pontiac for some real or imaginary wrong. Pontiac 
gave no heed to the dissuasions of his friends. He 
dressed himself in a complete uniform, which he is said 
to have received years before from the unfortunate 
Montcalm, and, attended by a few followers, he crossed 
over to Cahokia. His friends in St. Louis saw him no 
more alive ; for, when wandering in the woods about 
Cahokia, drunk and unable to defend himself, he was 
tomahawked by a Kaskaskia Indian, who, it is said, was 
hired to kill the chieftain. 

When St. Ange de Bellerive was informed that Pontiac 
was slain, he ordered the body to be brought to St. 
Louis, where, amid the general mourning of the inhab- 
itants, he had it buried, with all the honors of war, near 
the only fortification of the village, then standing near 
where is now the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets. 
A bronze tablet to the memory of Pontiac may be seen 
upon the walls of the Southern Hotel, placed there by 
the "Daughters of the Revolution." It bears the follow- 
ing inscription: 




ITH the coming of Don Alexander O'Reilly, 
the new Spanish Commandant-General of 
Louisiana, to New Orleans in August, 1769, 
a vigorous enforcement of the authority of 
Spain soon brought the inhabitants to sub- 
mission. It was to O'Reilly that Piernas reported the 
condition of affairs in the "Illinois country," when he 
had returned to New Orleans by order of the former 
governor, Ulloa. Thereupon Piernas was appointed 
commandant by O'Reilly, and set out for his post the 
following spring, arriving at St. Louis, May 20, 1770, 
and the possession of the territory was then formally 
surrendered by St. Ange to Piernas, the first Spanish 
representative authorized to receive it. For nearly five 
years St. Ange had exercised authority over the terri- 
tory by virtue of his French commission, while awaiting 
the arrival of an officer of Spain commissioned to relieve 
him. His authority had been recognized by Ulloa, who 
had sent both Rui and Piernas into the territory, but 
had given neither officer authority to supersede St. Ange, 
nor to take formal possession of Upper Louisiana. 

— 43 — 

Don Pedro Piernas, then, was the first Spanish gov- st. Louia 
ernor to assume authority in St. Louis, and, acting under gp^^ 
instructions from O'Reilly, he immediately set about Rule 
conciliating the people. He made little change in the 
existing mode of government that had been observed 
under St. Ange. He confirmed all the land grants that 
St. Ange had made, which before had been of doubtful 
validity. He appointed Martin Duralde, a Frenchman, 
surveyor to properly determine the lines of all land 
grants, whose seal should be evidence of their bound- 
aries. In his former reports to O'Reilly on the condition 
of affairs in upper Louisiana, Piernas had expressed an 
unfavorable opinion of the local council which, under 
the French colonial law, managed the civil affairs of 
the community. He had referred to this council as 
"composed of four useless habitants, and one attorney, 
La Bussiere, a notorious drunkard, who is a substitute 
of the one who was attorney-general in the Superior 
Council in this colony," and had added that "the good- 
for-nothing Monsieur St. Ange is the one who, as first 
judge, presides, and whatever is determined by the fancy 
of those counselors is authorized and executed through 
the good intention of the latter's respectable old age." 
Even after assuming authority as governor at St. Louis, 
Piernas saw little to praise in the conduct or character of 
the French subjects of Spain. In an official report to 
O'Reilly, he says that no one obeys the local council, or 
recognizes its orders, "every one lives as he pleases and 
does what he premeditates." He complains that license, 
laxity of conduct and vice are characteristics of the 
inhabitants, that religion is given but scant respect, or 
is totally neglected, and the people form "a small rabble 
which is in nowise different from the very savages." 

— 44 — 

St. Louis 




He complains that some of the principal inhabitants 
are associated with some of the residents of the 
English district across the river in a smuggling trade, to 
the prejudice of legitimate native traders, and that they 
even sell salt to the English residents at less cost than 
it is furnished people on the Spanish side of the river 
where the salt is produced. The condition of affairs 
at Ste. Genevieve he reports "without any difference at 
all" in "the abandonment of life, the dissoluteness and 
license." The commandant at Ste. Genevieve, a 
French retired officer, Piernas described as "but little 
affected toward the Spanish nation, none at all to the 
French, and hates the English for their ungovernable 
and turbulent nature." 

It is greatly to the credit of Piernas that, although 
governing a people so uncongenial to his tastes, he yet 
faithfully endeavored to carry out the instructions of 
his superior officer, in the government of the colony with 
tact and conciliation. He preserved the most friendly 
relations with St. Ange, and even appointed him captain 
of infantry in the Spanish service, which office St. Ange 
held until his death four years later. The administration 
of Piernas soon won the confidence of his French sub- 
jects, and made him a favorite with the people. He had 
married a French lady, Felicite Robineau de Portneuf, 
which still further contributed to his popularity, and 
may have assisted him in rys official relations with the 

Painting by Stoddard, owned by Missouri Historical Society. 



UT the administration of Piernas in St. Louis 
was of short duration, for, on May 20, 1775, 
he was succeeded by Francisco Cruzat, who 
was appointed governor by General Don 
Luis de Unzaga. Cruzat was a mild and 
amiable governor, and he and his family were popular 
with the people. He lived in the same house that had 
been occupied by the former governor, at what is now 
First and Walnut streets, one of the first houses built 
in St. Louis by Laclede Liguest, and afterwards rented 
to the Spanish governors. 

The English North American Colonies soon declared 
their independence of Great Britain, and were given 
secret assistance by Spain. Money, gunpowder and 
clothing secretly reached the Americans through the 
Spanish possessions, and, in 1778, the invasion and con- 
quest of the English territory in Illinois by General 
George Rogers Clark gave undisguised satisfaction to 
the Spanish commandants on the Mississippi. 

But, while hating and fearing the English more, the 
Spanish authorities were not without apprehension of 

— 46 — 

crazat'B First the growing strength of the Americans in the territory 
tion east of the Mississippi, which all thinking men even 

then saw would soon threaten Spanish colonial dominion 
west of the river. Cruzat was instructed to make effort 
toward increasing the population by inducing French 
families, "living among the English," to remove west 
of the river. Cruzat was authorized to grant lands to 
such settlers, and even to supply them with tools when 
necessary. Invitations were extended to French Catho- 
lics, Italians and Germans, and to Spaniards from Spain, 
and forty thousand pesos were set aside by the Spanish 
government to increase population, promote commerce, 
and secure the friendship of the Indians. A very 
radical departure from the usual Spanish colonial policy 
seems to have been adopted in this decree of Governor- 
General Galvez, then in authority in New Orleans. 



O NARRATION of events of early St. Louis 
history should omit mention of that official 
factotum of the time, Labuxiere, to whom 
Piernas referred in uncomplimentary terms 
under the name of "La Bussiere." The spell- 
ings of his name, which historians have employed, are 
various ; for we find him mentioned as La Bussiere, La 
Busciere, Labousciere, Labussiere, Laboussiere, Labus- 
ciere, and, correctly, as Labuxiere. The official titles 
he claimed were no less numerous than those affected by 
Poo-Bah of comic opera fame. He appears as a signa- 
tory party to nearly all official documents of the first 
sixteen years of St. Louis history, signing himself as 
"Scribe," "Notary," "Acting Secretary," "Secretary," 
"Royal Attorney," and in one official paper dated August, 
1768, styling himself "Civil Judge and Deputy of the 
Commander of Louisiana and Proxy of the King's 
Attorney-General of Illinois." 

All the early land grants of St. Louis made by St. 
Ange are in Labuxiere's handwriting, and, with com- 
mendable foresight, he arranged that the very first land 

— 48 — 

Labuxiere, grant issued should be one in his own favor compris- 
the Factotum mg the j an( j nQW k nown ag h \ QC ^ ^ Q £ tne City of St. 


Labuxiere came to St. Louis with St. Ange from Fort 
de Chartres, and he succeeded Joseph Lefebvre des 
Bruisseau as civil judge, upon the death of the latter 
in 1767. He continued to reside in St. Louis for sixteen 
years, and his hold upon official relations with the 
government was so tenacious that he continued to serve 
in some capacity under the Spanish governors until 1781, 
when he removed to Kaskaskia. There Labuxiere seems 
to have been appointed States-Attorney under the gov- 
ernment of the United States. He appears not to have 
been appreciated in Kaskaskia ; for, within a year, he 
removed with his family to more congenial surroundings 
at Cahokia, where he died, April 29, 1792. 

The "Illinois Historical Records" have preserved a 
letter which Labuxiere addressed to the Congress of the 
United States — a letter which clearly brings out the 
interesting personality of its writer : 

"To the Gentlemen of the Congress, Sirs: Since I 
have the honor of being named States-Attorney at the 
Illinois five years ago in the place of M. Girault, who 
held this office, I have taken the liberty of writing to 
you four times, and of rendering account to you of what 
there was of most interest in the Illinois. Either my 
letters have not reached you, or your answers have not 
been delivered to me ; and I have not been able to know 
whether I ought to continue to perform my functions in 
this office. 

"The misunderstanding of the magistrates of Kas- 
kaskia and the extreme disorder of the business of the 
. individuals, occasioned by some persons greedy for 

— 49 — 

money, have compelled me to withdraw with my family Labuxiere, 
to Cahokia, where I have found inhabitants filled with the Factotum 
unit\- of peace and fidelity to the States, and a court 
of justice which they are careful to administer with 
equity to those who ask its help. 

"If you judge it fitting, sirs, that I continue to exercise 
this duty, I beg you to send me your commission, with 
the instructions which I should follow, so that I may 
conform thereto and merit the applause and protection 
of my sovereigns, for whom I will die with fidelity. 

"I have the honor of being, with profound respect, 

"Your humble and faithful servant. 

"At Cahokia of the Illinois, the 17th of July, 1786. 



^U RUZAT was succeeded in office by Don Fern- 
ando de Leyba, who made the trip up from 
New Orleans in ninety-three days, and arrived 
at St. Louis July 10, 1778. He reported to 
Galvez that he was received by "all the 
inhabitants with extraordinary signs of rejoicing," which 
he ascribed to the fact that the people believe, "since 
this district is commanded by a person chosen by your 
lordship, they have whatever is necessary for their 
progress and happiness." 

In regard to the character of De Leyba and the facts 
of his administration as governor of Upper Louisiana, 
historians of that period are not in agreement. So far 
as records preserved in the archives may be taken as a 
basis for judgment, De Leyba appears to have been a 
good governor, who met unusual difficulties with decision 
and skill. Additional evidence of this is found in the 
fact that the King of Spain, "in proof of his sovereign 
gratitude" to Captain de Leyba for his vigorous defense 

— 51 — 

of the village, conferred upon him the rank of lieutenant- Admirdstra- 

COlonel. De I-eyba 

Shortly after his arrival at St. Louis, De Leyba made 
request of Governor Galvez for an additional force of 
two hundred soldiers, to properly garrison the forts of 
the province and to prevent the encroachments of the 
English and the depredations of the Osage Indians, who 
were very troublesome. His request was not granted, 
but he was advised by Galvez to request the respective 
Indian chiefs to punish the malefactors, and if they 
refused to do this, to cut off all relations with the Indians, 
and to prevent traders from taking any merchandise to 
their villages. De Leyba realized that this would be 
an ineffectual method of securing the respect of the 
Indians, but would only result in dissatisfaction among 
the traders and still greater outrages. 

Threatened danger from another quarter gave De 
Leyba grave cause for apprehension. Rumors of 
English preparations to invade the Spanish country pre- 
vailed in all the settlements on both sides of the river. 
In retaliation for the sympathy and aid which Spain had 
extended to the American colonies in their war for inde- 
pendence,' the English in Canada were inducing the 
Indians to join them in a movement against the Spanish 
posts of the Mississippi Valley. French hunters and 
traders, whose pursuits carried them northward, learned 
of the threatened operations, and warned their kinsmen 
at St. Louis, Cahokia and Kaskaskia. De Leyba, antici- 
pating the attack, in 1779, fortified St. Louis so far as 
the open situation of the place and the means at his 
command permitted. At one end of the town he built 
a wooden tower at the expense of the people, and in 

— 52 — 

Administra- addition he threw up two lines of entrenchments defended 
!i on ° f ,. by a wall of brush and clav some five feet high, encircling 

De Leyba J . 

the town. During this year the inhabitants were greatly 
alarmed, keeping close within town, cultivating no crops 
for fear of ambush by the Indians. 

By the spring of the following year, the inhabitants 
of St. Louis had lost faith in the reports of danger, and 
went forth to their common fields and planted large 
crops to supply the deficiency of the former year. Then 
the blow fell on May 26. 1780. Governor De Leyba 
was ill of a fatal malady, of which he died within a month 
after the attack. His wife had died a few months before, 
and had been buried on September 7, 1779, in the 
Catholic church of the village, and grief for her loss 
had continued to depress him. His warnings of the 
coming attack and his request for reinforcements for 
his garrison had produced no favorable response from 
his superior at New Orleans. Yet in spite of discourage- 
ments, De Leyba seems to have conducted himself with 
credit. When the attack was made, he successfully 
repelled the enemy, with twenty-nine veteran soldiers and 
two hundred and eighty-one militia. According to the 
report made by the intendant, Martin Navarro, to the 
Minister of the Indies, the attacking force consisted 
of three hundred English troops under Captain Hesse, 
and nine hundred Indians ; but there is evidently an exag- 
geration of the number of English troops engaged. 
When the official report of this defense reached Spain, 
the king showed his great pleasure by conferring upon 
De Leyba the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and by pro- 
moting De Cartabona, the officer second in command, to 
the rank of captain, the Spanish commission explicitly 

— 53 — 

stating that this was done as a reward for meritorious Administra- 
service in the defense of "San Luis de Ylinesse." De ™ ° eyba 
Leyba died, June 28, 1780, before he was informed of 
his promotion, and was buried in the Catholic church 
in St. Louis. 

Thus appears De Leyba's character and acts from 
the official records ; but historians who have received 
their information from certain inhabitants of the vil- 
lage have a different story to tell. They describe De 
Leyba as a drunken, feeble-minded, avaricious man, 
possessing not a single quality to fit him for the impor- 
tant office which he held. It is alleged by some that 
De Leyba sold to traders the powder that should have 
been kept for the defense of the fort. By some he is 
even charged with having been bribed by the English 
across the river to leave the village open to attack by 
the Indians. 


The point of view of those who rely upon such sources 
of information for the facts of history touching this 
event may be learned from reading the account given 
by Edwards, in "The Great West," where he says : 

"In the meantime the British commandant at Fort 
Michilimackinac used every effort to rouse into action 
the savage instincts of the Indian tribes of the Upper 
Mississippi, and at length more than a thousand war- 
riors were ready for the war-path. They were placed 
under the guidance of white men, who were principally 
French Canadians in the employment of the British, 
who, from long residence among the savages, knew how 
to operate upon their excitable temperaments. The names 

54 — 

tion of 
De Leyba 

of the principal renegade white men were Langlade, 
Calve, Ducharme and Quesnel. 

"The 26th of May was appointed for the attack, and 
on the 25th the savages had assembled on the eastern 
side of the Mississippi, and carefully concealing them- 
selves during the day, awaited the morrow, when they 
fondly hoped to destroy and pillage the town. Quesnel, 
one of the unprincipled French traders who were in 
league with the Indians, feeling certain of the destruc- 
tion of the village, and wishing to save the life of his 
brother who resided in it, on the evening of the 25th 
of May, crossed the Mississippi and endeavored to per- 
suade his brother to accompany him to the east side of 
the river, giving him to understand that the people of 
the town would be massacred the following day. This 
the brother refused to do, and communicated the pur- 
port of the interview to the governor and the inhabitants ; 
but no one believed the truth of his statement, and no 
alarm was created. 

"The 25th of May, 1780, was the "Feast of Corpus 
Christi," a day consecrated by the Catholics with all the 
religious observances of their church. The little log 
church was decorated for the occasion, and on the morn- 
ing of that day it was crowded by the happy villagers, 
in their best attire, to hear Father Bernard, the officiat- 
ing priest. In the afternoon, they went in crowds to 
the prairie to gather strawberries, which had just com- 
menced to ripen; and after the day had closed in the 
social enjoyment to which they were so much predis- 
posed, they lay down to sleep, unconscious of their fate 
on the morrow, and the contiguity of their murderous 

— 55 

"On the 26th, when the morning star was still bright Administra- 
tion of 
De Leyba 

in the firmament, the Indians silently glided across the * 

Mississippi, and landed where Bremen avenue now joins 
the river. They then took a circuitous course back of 
the town, so as to surprise the inhabitants, whom they 
expected to find working their common fields. Near 
where now are the Fair Grounds, they came to what was 
called Cardinal's Spring, and surprised two Frenchmen, 
one from whom the spring took its name, and the other 
named Baptiste Rivere ; the former they killed and the 
latter was taken prisoner to Canada. The savages then 
continued their course back of the village, and came 
suddenly upon some of the inhabitants who were work- 
ing their crops, and commenced the attack with horrid 
yells, which could be heard over the whole village. Some 
forty of the inhabitants were killed before they could 
reach the village, and the cannon, which had been kept 
charged, was fired upon the savage warriors, who were 
in hot pursuit of the fugitives, by some of the inhabit- 
ants. The tremendous noise of the piece of ordnance, 
together with the fact of the ball striking near them and 
tearing up the earth in its course, arrested the progress 
of the savages, and caused them again to scamper back 
in their tracks. They had expected to surprise the town 
and pillage it without resistance, and the unexpected 
salute of the cannon led them to think that every pre- 
paration was made for their coming; and in the quick 
time of Indian retreat, they again got in their canoes, 
crossed the Mississippi, carrying with them some twelve 
or fourteen prisoners. 

"There is no question, but had the Indians shown even 
an ordinary amount of courage, that St. Louis could 
easily have been taken. That some of the inhabitants 

— 56 

tion of 
De Leyba 

evinced courage it is true, but it is also true that there 
were but little more than a hundred fighting men in the 
whole village, and with the exception of a few choice 
spirits, the villagers were nearly frightened out of their 
wits. Don Fernando de Leyba, the governor, had locked 
himself in his house, and his lieutenant, Silvio Francisco 
Cartabona, and his soldiers, had, like frightened sheep, 
placed themselves in the upper part of the tower. So 
greatly frightened were the villagers, that it was many 
days before they dared to venture out of their enclosures ; 
and, indeed, for some time they deserted their cabins, 
and assembled in the houses of the Spanish commandant, 
of Madame Chouteau, and in the other stone houses of 
the village, as affording more security in case of another 

"The heroine of the defense was Madame Marie 
Josepha Rigauche, afterwards a schoolmistress of the 
village, who, when the savages made the attack, put on 
a coat, and buttoning it well up to her chin, and armed 
with a pistol in one hand and with a knife in the other, 
took her station at one of the gates, encouraged the men 
to make gallant defense, and fearlessly exposed her per- 
son to the fire of the savages. This feat of courage 
stamped her as a female warrior, and ever after she had 
the reputation of a heroine." 



PON the death of De Leyba, his lieutenant, 
Silvo Francisco Cartabona, remained in 
command of the post until the arrival of 
Cruzat, who was reappointed by Galvez, July 
25, 1780. In a letter to Cartabona, Galvez 
thanks the inhabitants of St. Louis for defending the 
town from the English attack, commending the "valor 
and noble intrepidity with which they have been enabled 
to restrain the impetuous pride of the enemy in the midst 
of greatest want." 

The second administration of Cruzat resembled his 
first in efforts for the welfare of the people whom he 
governed." The fortifications of the city were strength- 
ened, under the direction of Auguste Chouteau, who was 
selected, as Cruzat reports, "because of his capacity, zeal, 
and love of the royal service." The town was no more 
attacked by Indians, although rumors of a second exped- 
ition by the English gave the inhabitants much uneasi- 
ness. The commerce of St. Louis, however, was much 
damaged by a band of river pirates, under the command 
of Jaime Colbert, who had entrenched themselves at a 

— 58 — 

cnizat's point on the Mississippi about half way between St. 

ministration Louis and the mouth of the Ohio. At this point the 
river was narrow and swift. Voyagers, coming up 
stream with keel boats loaded with merchandise, were 
compelled to go in advance of their boats and draw them 
by ropes close along the banks of the stream. The pir- 
ates, lurking near,- would suddenly attack and kill them, 
and make off with their goods. This band was composed 
of lawless white men, runaway negroes and half-breed 
Indians. The stream at that time flowed through vast 
solitudes, with but few forts on its banks between New 
Orleans and St. Louis, so there was little protection 
afforded. The band was well organized, kept spies and 
runners stationed at points on the river to give informa- 
tion of approaching barges, and even maintained emis- 
saries in New Orleans who secured and forwarded infor- 
mation of the cargoes and the probable time of their 
arrival at the pirates' rendevous. 

Their boldness may be judged by their capture, May 
2, 1782, of a large barge owned by Silvester Labbadie, 
which, with its owner and crew, was proceeding up the 
river, having a "heavy cargo of goods for the Indians, 
clothing for the troops, and 4,500 pesos for the main- 
tainance of the garrison," and carrying as passengers, 
Madame Cruzat, the wife of the governor, and her four 
sons. Upon payment of a ransom of 400 pesos, Labbadie, 
Madame Cruzat and her sons were placed in a boat and 
sent back to New Orleans, with a letter from Colbert to 
Governor Galvez, requesting him to send the sum of 100 
pesos in payment for the boat furnished the captives 
for their return to New Orleans, for which payment 
Madame Cruzat had been required to give her personal 

— 59 — 


. Second Ad- 

It was during Cruzat's second administration, in Jan- ministration 

uary, 1781, that a military expedition was organized in 
St. Louis by him to invade the British possessions east 
of the river, under orders from Havana. Of this expedi- 
tion, the leader was Don Eugene Pouree, nicknamed 
"Beausoliel" (sunflower), Don Carlos Tayon being 
appointed second in command, and Don Luis Chevalier, 
sub-lieutenant and interpreter. The force consisted of 
sixty-six Spaniards and Frenchmen, and sixty Indians. 
With this small force, Captain Pouree, in mid-winter, 
marched through the wilderness a distance of six hun- 
dred miles, his soldiers carrying their supplies on their 
backs, through snow and ice, through forests and prair- 
ies, environed by unknown perils and hostile Indian 
tribes, and successfully accomplished the object of the 
expedition by capturing the little British fort, St. Joseph, 
located within the present State of Michigan. Here 
Pouree hauled down the flag of England, and raised the 
standard of His Catholic Majesty of Spain. The fort 
was plundered, and the supplies found there were divided 
among the Indian allies of the Spaniards. After remain- 
ing at the fort for a short time, the expedition returned 
to St. Louis, bringing back the captured British flag, 
and delivering it to lieutenant-governor Cruzat at St. 
Louis. For his services in this expedition, Pouree 
received the rank of lieutenant in the army with half 
pay. Tayon was appointed sub-lieutenant, with half 
pay, and the governor of Louisiana was authorized 
to assign Chevalier an appropriate "gratification." 

Afterwards, when the terms of the treaty of peace 
between France, Spain, England and the United States 
were discussed, the conquest of the small fort at St. 

— 60 — 

Second Ad- 

Joseph by this expedition from St. Louis was made the 
basis of a claim by Spain to all the territory along the 
Illinois river to Lake Michigan, and caused the com- 
missioners of the United States, who arranged the terms 
of the treaty, no little anxiety. So important was this 
military exploit considered that a translation of the 
detailed account of this expedition, as published in the 
Madrid Gazette, was promptly transmitted to Philadel- 
phia by the representative of the United States. 

^V'-HW- *^ 

Painting by Stoddard, owned by Missouri Historical Society 



|N 1788, the authority of Cruzat ceased, and 
Manuel Perez succeeded him. During his 
administration the Spanish government laid 
claim to the exclusive navigation of the 
Mississippi, and the pleasant relations, that 
had existed between the American and Spanish authori- 
ties since the Revolution, were for a time disturbed. But 
the French, who dwelt in the vicinity of St. Louis, were 
but little affected by the quarrel between the two nations. 
They continued to visit each other on both sides of the 
stream. St. Louis had grown to near a thousand inhab- 
itants, and the trappers and traders penetrated far up 
the waters of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The 
Americans had not yet begun to settle west of the river, 
and all business was still carried on by Frenchmen. The 
administration of Perez was a prosperous one. Like 
Cruzat, he was frank and sociable in his intercourse with 
the people. 

The Osage Indians had long been troublesome neigh- 
bors. They frequently attacked the inhabitants upon the 

— 62 — 

tion of 
Manuel" Perez 

outskirts of St. Louis and in adjoining villages, drove off 
their cattle and horses, and even murdered the people or 
carried them away as prisoners. Perez determined to 
employ another savage tribe as a defense against the 
Osages. He sent emissaries to the Shawnees and Dela- 
wares, two strong tribes east of the Mississippi, and 
offered them a large grant of land in the neighborhood 
of Cape Girardeau. Many of both tribes accepted, and 
took up their abode on the new grant, and successfully 
resisted the incursions of the Osages, affording much 
protection to the infant settlements. 



N 1792, Perez was succeeded by Don Zenon 
Trudeau, a member of a distinguished 
French family of Louisiana, whose American 
origin is traced to Canada. He continued the 
pleasant relations of the former Spanish gov- 
ernors with the inhabitants. St. Louis was now the place 
of residence of many prosperous merchants. Communi- 
cation between St. Louis and New Orleans became much 
more frequent, and trade with the Indians to the north 
and west proved extensive and profitable. The log huts 
of the early settlers were giving place to neat, one-story 
cottages, with piazzas in front and rear, and everywhere 
were indications of thrift and prosperity. 


It was during Trudeau's administration that echoes 
of the French Revolution aroused some patriotic 
response in the hearts of certain inhabitants of the little 
French village on the banks of the remote Mississippi. 

When Citizen Genet, notwithstanding the refusal of 
Washington to assent, was endeavoring to arouse the ' 

— 64 — 

Tmdeau's Ad- Americans to an alliance with France, he sent emissaries 
ministration - miQ a u p^rts of the country. Even after he ceased to 
be the representative of France in the United States, 
Genet continued his seditious efforts. In 1796, he sent 
Gen. George Victor Collot from Philadelphia to St. Louis 
to spy out the land in furtherance of some design. Collot 
studied the situation in Upper Louisiana from a military 
point of view, and secured drawings in detail of the river 
and plans of most of the forts of the province. Some of 
Collot's papers were soon confiscated by the Spanish 
authorities at New Orleans. Baron de Carondelet, writ- 
ing to Aranza, under date December 1, 1796, says that 
shortly after Collot's departure from St. Louis, "A 
society has been formed under the name of Sansculottes 
at the head of which is a Frenchman by the name of 
Coignard; that it gives frequent meetings and public 
balls, to which invitations are sent out without dissimu- 
lation under said name of Sansculottes, and that, dur- 
ing these entertainments, turbulent and revolutionary 
songs are sung which are capable of inducing the most 
loyal vassals to rebellion ; that that same societv had the 
boldness to march through the houses of the most nota- 
able inhabitants of the town, and especially that of the 
cure, with music, to wish a Happy New Year on the 22nd 
day of September last, or rather on the eve of the 23rd, 
on which the year begins, according to the new French 

"It is all the more important to crush out without 
delay the beginning of so dangerous a sedition, which, 
if extended to the other towns of which St. Louis is the 
capitol, their suppression would be extremely difficult 
and costly; first, because those settlements from New 
Madrid up can withdraw themselves totally from Lower 

— 65 — 

Louisiana whenever they wish, and sell fruits and goods, Trudeau's Ad- 
which consist principally of skins, to the English of mimstratl0n 
Canada, who trade upon the Missouri, as well as from 
the democratic Americans and French, who would come 
in numbers to establish themselves in these fertile and 
beautiful countries." 

Much more Baron Carondelet wrote to Aranza. But 
he wrote also a letter of instructions to Lieutenant- 
Colonel Don Carlos Howard, an Irish gentleman in the 
service of the Spanish king, and then military command- 
ant of Upper Louisiana, directing him to proceed with 
secrecy and dispatch upon an expedition to St. Louis. 
Colonel Howard left New Orleans in the armed galley 
"Phelipa" with twenty picked men. At Natchez he 
secured an addition to his force and another galley, the 
"Activa." As he proceeded up the Mississippi, acting 
under instructions from Carondelet, "in order that the 
restless spirits in St. Louis shall not be surprised at the 
coming of the expedition," Colonel Howard spread the 
news that the object of his trip was to protect St. Louis 
from any possible invasion of the British. 

Upon his arrival in St. Louis in the early spring of 
1797, Howard began inquiry into the seditious actions 
of the "Sansculottes," under orders to arrest the lead- 
ers and send them as prisoners to New Orleans. His 
instructions cautioned him to place every confidence in 
"Zenon Trudeau, the two brothers Chouteau, Don 
Luziere, Don Soulard, Cerre, Pratte, and Roubidou," as 
his advisors in apprehending the leaders of the seditious 

But there is no historical record of any arrests, and 
what, by the "thunder in the index" of Governor Caron- 
delet's letter of instructions, appears to have been a 

— 66 — 

Trudeau's Ad- dangerous blow aimed at the people of St. Louis, seems 
ministration tQ haye been warded off by the pru dence of Trudeau 

and the others whom Carondelet had named, as trust- 
worthy advisors. The Coignard, whom Carondelet's 
letter to Aranza named as the head of the "Sanscu- 
lottes," was married in St. Louis, April 26, 1797, about 
the time of Howard's arrival, to Julie Vasquez, daughter 
of Benito Vasquez, one of the leading Spanish citizens. 

Whether the ebullitions of patriotism had -subsided 
before the arrival of Colonel Howard, or whether the 
strengthened Spanish garrison added weight to the advice 
of the leaders among the villages who had not joined 
in the revolutionary singing, we probably shall never 
know; but the members of the "Sansculottes" seem to 
have become clothed again in their usual habiliments 
and to have resumed their old habits of indifference to 
governmental affairs. 

The traders of the Hudson Bay Company and the 
v - Northwest Company constantly invaded Spanish terri- 
tory on the upper Missouri, established forts and con- 
trolled the fur trade. To protect Spanish interests in 
that region, Trudeau organized the Spanish Commercial 
Company. It was agreed that the company should 
establish and garrison forts along the Missouri, and 
for such service was to receive a subsidy of $10,000 
annually. But the Spanish never won the friendship of 
the Indians. The voyages proved unprofitable, and mis- 
management caused heavy losses. The company did not 
\ succeed either in making business profitable or in dis- 
lodging the British traders, and the subsidy was ne^er 
•>' paid. 

The most significant event during Trudeau's adminis- 
tration was the arrival of Pedro Vial dit Manitou over- 

— 67 — 

land from Santa Fc He was commissioned by the ™- sAd- 
Spanish authorities of Mexico to trace out a route to 
St Louis, and this task he successfully accomplished. 
He reported that, but for Indian hostility, he could have 
made the trip in twenty-five days. Vial's journey may 
well be considered the first march overland on sub- 
stantially the route which afterwards became celebrated 
as the "Santa Fe Trail," over which the important trade 
of St. Louis to that region passed at a later date. 

- During Trudeau's gpvernorship, many Americans had 
crossed over to settle west of the river in Spanish terri- 
tory. The requirement that all settlers should accept the i 
Catholic religion had been tactfully handled by Tru- | 
deau for he realized that the Spanish country west of 
the Mississippi must draw its settlers from the United 
States In a report to his superior officers, shortly 
before he was superseded, Trudeau pointed out that the ♦ 
only possible source for increasing the colony was to 
be found in the United States, which "alone can supply 
a great number of families. The voyage from Nueva 
Orleans is too great and costly— Canada also needs pop- 
ulation." Liberal grants of land were offered Amen : 
cans if they would come west of the Mississippi to settle. 
In response to an invitation by Trudeau, the famous 
frontiersman, Daniel Boone, with his family, came over,, 
and was given a large tract of land in what is now St. 
Charles County, Mo., and DeLassus appointed Boone 
commandant of the Femme Osage district. Boone's 
fame as a pioneer and his removal beyond the Missis-^ 
sippi attracted the attention of thousands of people 
• dwelling in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and other 
eastern sections to the new country in which Boone had 
now taken up his residence. The wilderness roads 

— 68 — 

Trudeau's Ad- leading westward were soon thronged with Americans 
imms ra ion f n owm g- the trail over which Boone had passed to 
Upper Louisiana. At time of the cession of the 
province to the United States in 1803, Upper Louisiana 
contained 5,090 Americans, 3,760 French, 1,270 blacks, 
and only a few Spanish families. 

The politic Spanish commandants gave a liberal inter- 
pretation to the ordinances affecting the religious affilia- 
tions of the American immigrants, and large toleration 
actually existed. In the examination of them, a few 
general and rather equivocal questions were asked ; such 
as, "Do you believe in Almighty God? In the Holy 
Trinity ? In the true, apostolic church ? In Jesus Christ 
our Savior? In the holy evangelists?" An affirmative 
answer being given to these and other questions of 
a general character, the pronouncement, "Un bon Catho- 
lique" (a good catholic) closed the ceremony. Many 
Baptists, Methodists, and other Protestant families, 
settled in the province, and remained undisturbed in 
their religious principles. Much the largest proportion 
of American Protestants came into the country after 
1794. They held no religious meetings publicly, and 
had no minister of the Gospel residing among them. 

Into this Spanish dominion at Spanish Lake near St. 
Louis came Rev. John Clark, a pioneer Baptist preacher, 
in 1798. The liberal-minded Zenon Trudeau was then 
Lieutenant-Governor of the province. Abraham Musick, 
Jr., who was on friendly terms with Governor Trudeau, 
made application for liberty to hold meetings at his own 
home to hear Father Clark preach. John Mason Peck 
thus reports the interview that took place : 

Musick said : "My friend, John Clark, is in the coun- 
try on a visit to his friends. He is a good man, peaceably 


— 69 — 


disposed, and will behave as a good citizen. Should the Trudeau's Ad- 
American people desire to hear him preach at my house 
occasionally, will the commandant please give permis- 
sion, that he may not be molested? We will hold our 
meetings quietly, make no disturbance, and say nothing 
against the King of Spain, or the Catholic religion." 

The commandant was inclined to favor the American 
settlers, but he was obliged to reject all such petitions 
officially, and replied, with seeming determination : 

"No, Monsieur Musick. I can not permit no such 
thing ; 'tis against de law. You must all be bon Catho- 
lique in dis contree. Very sorry, Monsieur Musick, I 
can not oblige you, but I must follow de regulacion." 

Discouraged at this decision, given in a tone so magis- 
terial, Mr. Musick regarded any further effort as hope- 
less, and arose to depart from the office ; when, with a 
gracious countenance, the commandant said : 

"Sit down, Monsieur Musick ; please sit down. I 
soon get dis paper fix for dese gentlehomme who wait. 
Den we talk". You must eat my dinner, and drink glass 
of my bon vin. You and I are good friend, though I 
can not let you make a church house." 

After dispatching the business in hand, Governor 
Trudeau insisted on the company of Mr. Musick to 
dinner. While discoursing with volubility in his imper- 
fect English, the wily commandant adverted to the peti- 
tion, so unceremoniously rejected in the office. 

"You understand me, Monsieur Musick, I presume. 
You must not put — what do you call him — un colcher (a 
steeple) on your house and call him a church. Dat is 
all wrong. You must make no bell ring. And now hear 
me, Monsieur Musick, you must let no man baptize your 
enfant but de parish priest. Eut — if your friend come 

— 70 — 

Trudeau's Ad- to see you — your neighbor come there — you say prayer 

ministration — you read J$fo\ e — you s J n g son g — dat is all right. You 
all bon Catholique." 

"This interdiction of spire and bell being no incon- 
venience to their simple form of worship, the people 
came out to meeting. In fact, Father Clark repeated his 
visits nearly every month, which fact did not escape the 
notice of Governor Trudeau. The governor soon learned 
the period of these visits, and some two or three days 
before Clark's contemplated return to Illinois, Tru- 
deau never failed to send a threatening message that, 'If 
Monsieur Clark did not leave the Spanish country in 
three days, he would be put in the calabozo.' So regu- 
larly came this message that it became a standing jest 
with his friends to inquire, 'Well, brother Clark, when 
do you go to the calabozo? ' 'In three days,' would be 
the reply, which all understood to mean crossing the 
river to the Illinois side." 



N 1799, Trucleau was followed by a governor 
who also was a Frenchman by birth, and who 
had long been in the Spanish service. His 
name was Charles Dehault De Lassus, and 
he had formerly been commandant of 
the post at New Madrid, in which office he had given 
such satisfaction that he was promoted to the position 
of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Louisiana. DeLassus 
was the most popular of the Spanish governors. He 
was unmarried at the time, and he mingled freely in 
the gay, social life of the town. 

But the Spanish dominion in Louisiana was now 
rapidly drawing to a close. In the forty years of 
Spanish rule in Upper Louisiana, practically no changes 
had been made in the forms of government. Only about 
twenty Spanish families had come to St. Louis as set- 
tlers. The settlement remained essentially French, and 
the inhabitants still cherished the hope that the French 
flag would again be raised above their village. In 1801, 
rumors of the cession of the country back to France 

— 72 — 

Administra- began to circulate in the province. These rumors evi- 
tion of De dentlv reached St. Louis, and DeLassus, in anticipation 

Lassus J 

of the transfer of the country, which he doubtless knew 
was about to take place, made numerous and large grants 
of land, many of which were afterwards questioned and 

By the provincial laws of both France and Spain, in 
the government of Louisiana province, a grant of land 
by the lieutenant-governor did not give title until the 
grant was confirmed by the supreme authority at New 
Orleans. In the speculations in land that followed the 
liberal grants made by DeLassus, often the sanction of 
the New Orleans official was not sought and not given. 
Thus came about the defective titles to land that gave 
the early American settlers in Missouri so much loss 
and trouble. 



HEN, in 1803, the Province of Louisiana was 
ceded to the United States, Major Amos 
Stoddard, an officer in the American service, 
was appointed governor of Upper Louisiana, 
with all the power and authority of a 
Spanish commandant, and he was instructed to proceed 
to St. Louis and take formal possession of his new post. 
Since the United States had received title from France, 
while a Spanish commandant, serving under the Spanish 
crown, was still in command of Upper Louisiana, it was 
decided first to transfer the government at St. Louis from 
Spain back to France, and then from France to the 
United States. Accordingly, Major Stoddard was 
appointed a commissioner of the French government to 
receive the command from the Spanish representative at 
St. Louis, and afterwards to transfer it to the United 
States government. In "The Conquest," by Eva Emery 
Dye, the story is thus told : — 

Early in the morning of March 9, American troops 
crossed the river from Cahokia, and Clark's men from 

74 — 

Louisiana Is 
to United 

the camp formed in line with fife and drum, and colors 
flying. At their head Major Amos Stoddard of Boston 
and Captain Meriwether Lewis of Virginia led up to the 
Government House. 

Black Hawk was there to see his Spanish Father. He 
looked out. 

"Here comes your American Father," said the Com- 
mandant de Lassus. 

"I do not want two Fathers !" responded Black Hawk. 

Dubiously shaking his head as the Americans 
approached, Black Hawk and his retinue flapped their 
blankets out of one door as Stoddard and Captain Lewis 
Entered the other. 

Away to his boats Black Hawk sped, pulling for dear 
life up stream to his village at Rock Island. And with 
him went Singing Bird, the bride of Black Hawk. 

"Strange people have taken St. Louis," said the Hawk 
to his Sacs. "We shall never see our Spanish Father 

A flotilla of Frenchmen came up from Kaskaskia — 
Menard, Edgar, Francis Vigo, and their friends. Vil- 
lagers left their work in the fields ; all St. Louis flocked 
to La Place d'Armes in front of the Government House 
to see the transfer. 

In splendid, showy 'uniforms, every officer of the 
Spanish garris6n stood at arms, intently watching the 
parade winding up the limestone footway from the boats 

With its public archives and the property of a vast 

demesne, Don Carlos De Hault De Lassus handed over 

_' to Major Stoddard the keys of the Government House in 

behalf of France. A salvo of cannonry shook St. Louis. 

— 75 — 

"People of Upper Louisiana," began De Lassus in a Louisiana is 
choked and broken voice, "by order of the king, I am t ^ a n ^ 
now about to surrender this post and its dependencies, states 
The flag which has protected you during nearly thirty- 
six years will no longer be seen. The oath you took now 
ceases to bind. Your faithfulness and courage in uphold- 
ing it will be remembered forever. From the bottom 
of my heart I wish you all prosperity." 

De Lassus, Stoddard, Lewis, Clark and the soldiers 
filed up the yellow path, past the log church, to the fort 
on the hill. The Spanish flag was lowered; De Lassus 
wept as he took the fallen banner in his hand, but as 
the Lilies of France flashed in the sun the Creoles burst 
into tumultuous cheers. Not for forty years had they 
seen that flag, the emblem of their native land. Cannon 
roared, swords waved, and shouts were heard, but not 
in combat. 

The gates were thrown open ; out came the Spanish 
troops with knapsacks on their backs, ready to sail away 
to New Orleans. The old brass cannon and munitions 
of war were transported down the hill, while the Ameri- 
can soldiers in sombre uniforms filed into the dingy old 
fort of 'Spain. 

Major Stoddard sent for the French flag to be taken 
down at sunset. , 

"No, no, let it fly! Let it fly all night!" begged the 
Creoles, and a guard of honor went up to watch the 
flickering emblem of their country's brief possession. 

All night long that French flag kissed the sky, all 
night the guard of honor watched, and the little log 
church of St. Louis was filled with worshippers. All the 
romance of Brittany and Normandy rose to memory. 

76 — 

Louisiana Is 
to United 

Rene Kiercereau the singer led in ballads of La Belle 
France, and the glories of fields where their fathers 
fought were rehearsed with swelling hearts. Not the 
real France but an ideal was in their hearts, the tradi- 
tion of Louis XIV. 

That was the last day of France in North America. 
As the beloved banner sank, the drums gave a long fun- 
eral roll, but when, instead, the red, white and blue burst 
on the breeze, the fifes struck into lively music and the 
drums rained a cataract. 

"Three cheers for the American flag!" cried Charles 
Gratiot, in the spirit of the Swiss republic, but there were 
no cheers. The Creoles were weeping. Sobs, lamenta- 
tions arose, but the grief was mostly from old French- 
men and their wives who so long had prayed that the 
Fleur de Lis might wave above San Loui'. Their sons 
and daughters, truly, as Lucien Bonaparte had warned 
Napoleon, "went to bed good Frenchmen, to awake and 
find themselves Americans." 

The huge iron weather cock in the belfry of the old 
log church spun round and round, as if it knew not which 
way the wind was blowing. In three days three flags 
flew over St. Louis ! No wonder the iron cock lost its 
head and spun and spun like any fickle weather vane. 

In the same square with the Government House stood 
one of the Chouteau mansions. Auguste Chouteau had 
been there from the beginning, when as a fearless youth 
with Laclede he had penetrated to the site of the future 
San Loui' in 1764. He was a diplomat who met Indians 
and made alliances. He had seen the territory pass 
under Spain's flag, and in spite of that had made it more 
and more a place of Gallic refuge for his scattered coun- 

From Painting by Stoddard, owned by Missouri Historical Society. 

to United 

— 77 — 

trymen. He had welcomed Saugrain, Cerre, Gratiot ; in Louisiana is 
fact, he and his brother Pierre remembered the day 
when there was no San Loui'. states 

A band of Osage chiefs had come in to see their great 
Spanish Father. With wondering eyes they watched the 
cession, and were handed over to Captain Lewis to deal 
with in behalf of the United States." 



T THE time of the cession to the United States. 
St. Louis," according to Major Stoddard, 
"contained one hundred and eighty houses, 
which were nearly all built of hewn logs, 
set up on end, and on the square a roof was 
formed and covered with shingles ; on some houses the 
shingles were fastened to the scantling with wooden pegs, 
owing to the scarcity of nails. Some of the houses of 
the more wealthy and tasteful inhabitants were built of 
stone, with a large stone wall encompassing them and 
the gardens with which they were connected. These 
houses were of but one story, low pitched, with a porch 
the full length of the building, and frequently a piazza 
in the rear. Most of the town was situated on what are 
now known as First and Second streets, and the main 
buildings were the Government House, situated on First 
street, corner of Walnut, extending toward the river, and 
south of the public square known as La Place d' Armes ; 
the house of Madame Chouteau, on the square between 
First and Second and Chestnut and Market streets ; the 

— 79 — 

"Old Chouteau Mansion," being a part of the first house As st. Louis 
built in St. Louis, and situated on the block between M ^" e 
First and Second and Market and Walnut streets; and Stoddard 
the fort which was called 'St. Charles,' situated between 
Fourth and Fifth streets, and Walnut and Elm. In this 
fort the Spanish garrison had their quarters, and it was 
commenced in the early part of the spring of 1780, as the 
register in the Catholic church contains an account of the 
ceremony of 'blessing the first stone.' The nucleus of 
the fort was the Tower — a stone fortress reared in the 
shape of a tower — which had numerous port-holes and 
was probably built during the administration of Louis 
St. Ange de Bellerive, and for many years was used as a 
prison by the American government — the debtors being 
confined in the apartment above and the criminals below. 

"As the time of the transfer of the province of Upper 
Louisiana to the United States, there was but one baker 
in the town, by the name of Le Clere, who baked for the 
garrison, and who lived in First street, between what is 
now known as Elm and Walnut. There were three black- 
smiths : Delosier, who resided in First street, near Mor- 
gan ; Rencontre, who lived in First, near Carr ; and Valois, 
who resided in First, near Elm, and did the work for the 
government. There was but one physician, who was Dr. 
Saugrain, who practiced many years after the possession 
of the American government, and who lived on Second 
street and owned property once occupied as the 'People's 
Garden,' at Second and Lombard streets. 

"There were but two little French taverns in the town, 
one kept by Yostic and the other by Landreville, chiefly 
to accommodate the coureurs des bois (hunters) and the 
voyageurs (boatmen) of the Mississippi. These little 
taverns, visited by the brave, daring and reckless men 

— 80 — 

As St. Louis 
Appeared to 

who lived three-fourths of the time remote from civiliza- 
tion, in the wild solitude of the forests and rivers, and in 
constant intercourse with the savages, were the very 
nurseries of legendary narratives, where the hunters, the 
trappers and the boatmen, all mingling together under 
the genial excitement of convivial influences, would 
relate perilous adventures, hair-breadth escapes ; death of 
comrades and families by the tomahawk, starvation and 
at the fire-stake; murder by the pirates of the Grand 
Tower and Cottonwood Creek; captivity in the wilder- 
ness and the cave, and protracted sufferings in the most 
agonizing forms incident to humanity. There is no 
record of these wild narratives, which could have been 
preserved for future times had there been an historian, 
who, by the embalming power of genius, would have 
preserved them in an imperishable shape for posterity. 
Both of these taverns stood upon the corners of First and 
Locust streets. 

"The principal merchants and traders, at the time of 
the cession to the United States, were Auguste Chouteau, 
who resided in First street, between Market and Walnut ; 
Pierre Chouteau, who resided on the corner of First and 
Washington avenue, and had the whole square encircled 
with a stone wall. He had an orchard of choice fruit 
and his house and store were in one building — the store 
being the first story and the family residence the second. 
Manuel de Lisa lived on Second street, corner of Spruce ; 
Labbadie and Sarpy, on First between Pine and Chestnut ; 
Roubidou lived at the corner of Elm and First, and 
Jacques Clamorgan, corner of Lucas and First. The 
Debreuil family occupied a whole square on Second street 
between Pine and Chestnut, in front of where is now the 
Merchants Exchange building." 


ST. LOUIS IN 1812 

HE ground on which St. Louis stands is not 
much higher than the ordinary banks, but the 
floods are repelled by a bold shore of lime- 
stone rocks. The town is built between the 
river and the second bank, three streets run- 
ning parallel with the river, and a number of other 
crossing those at right angles. It is to be lamented that 
no space has been left between the town and the river ; 
for the sake of the pleasure of the promenade, as well 
as for business and health, there should have been no 
encroachment on the margin of the noble stream. The 
principal place of business ought to have been on the 
bank. From the opposite side, nothing is visible of the 
busy bustle of a populous town; it appears closed up. 
The site of St. Louis is not unlike that of Cincinnati. 
How different would have been its appearance, if built in 
the same elegant manner ; its bosom opened to the breezes 
of the river, the streams enlivened by scenes of business 
and pleasure, and rows of elegant and tasteful dwellings, 
looking with pride on the broad wave that passes. 

— 82 — 

As Braxjken- From the opposite bank, St. Louis, notwithstanding, 

s^LoSTin a PP ears to §" reat advantage. In a disjoined and scattered 
ma manner it extends along the river a mile and a half, and 

we form the idea of a large and elegant town. Two or 
three large and costly buildings (though not in modern 
taste) contribute in producing this effect. On closer 
examination, the town seems to be composed of an equal 
proportion of stone walls, houses, and fruit trees; but 
the illusion still continues. 

On ascending the second bank, which is about forty 
feet above the level of the plain, we have the town below 
us, and a view of the Mississippi in each direction, and 
of the fine country through which it passes. When the 
curtain of wood which conceals the American bottom 
shall have been withdrawn, or a vista formed by opening 
farms to the river, there will be a delightful prospect into 
that rich and elegant tract. The bottom at this place is 
not less than eight miles wide, and finely diversified with 
prairie and woodland. 

There is a line of works on this second bank, erected 
for defense against the Indians, consisting of several cir- 
cular towers, twenty feet in diameter, and fifteen feet in 
height, a small stockaded fort, and a stone breast-work. 
These are at present unoccupied and waste, excepting the 
fort, in one of the buildings of which, the courts are 
held, while the other is used as a prison. Some distance 
from the termination of this line, up the river, there are 
a number of Indian mounds, and remains of antiquity, 
which, while they are ornamental to the town, prove, that 
in former times, those places had also been chosen as the 
site, perhaps, of a populous city. 

Looking to the west, a most charming country spreads 
itself before us. It is neither very level nor hilly, but 

— 83 — 

of an agreeable waving surface, and rising for several As Bracken- 
miles with an ascent almost imperceptible. Except a s t g L OU *7in 
small belt to the north, there are no trees; the rest is isi2 
covered with shrubby oak, intermixed with hazels, and 
a few trifling thickets, of thorn, crab apple, or plumb 
trees. At the first glance, we are reminded of the envi- 
rons of a great city ; but there are no country seats, or 
even plain farm houses. It is a vast waste, yet by no 
means a barren soil. Such is the appearance, until turn- 
ing to the left, the eye again catches the Mississippi. A 
number of fine springs take their rise here, and contribute 
to the uneven appearance. The greater part fall to the 
Southwest and aid in forming a beautiful rivulet, which 
a short distance below the town gives itself to the river. 
I have been often delighted in my solitary walks, to 
trace the rivulet to its sources. Three miles from town, 
but within view, amongst a few tall oaks, it rises in 
four or five silver fountains, within short distances of 
each other; presenting a picture to the fancy of the 
poet, or the pencil of the painter. I have fancied myself 
for a moment on classic ground, and beheld the Naiads 
pouring the stream from their urns. 

Close to the town, there is a fine mill erected by Mr. 
Chouteau on this streamlet; the dam forms a beautiful 
sheet of water, and affords much amusement in fishing 
and fowling, to the people of the town. The "common 
field" of St. Louis was formerly close on this bank, 
consisting of several thousand acres ; at present there 
are not more than two hundred under cultivation ; the 
rest of the ground looks like the worn common in the 
neighborhood of a large town ; the grass kept down 
and short, and the loose soil in several places cut open 
into gaping ravines. 



NDER the administration of the United States 
government, the population of St. Louis 
rapidly increased. Immigration poured 
across the borders of Missouri, and enterpris- 
ing traders and mechanics from eastern cities 
took up their abode in the town and commenced success- 
ful business. The new buildings erected were more taste- 
ful in structure, and upon all sides a more vigorous life 
appeared, giving indications of thrift and prosperity. The 
continual line of emigrants with their wagons and ani- 
mals soon brought about the establishment of a ferry 
across the Mississippi at St. Louis, although the need of 
such convenience had not been felt before in the forty 
years of its existence. The ferry business proved so 
lucrative that, in a few months, a second ferry was put in 
operation. Even then emigrants were kept for days on 
the east side of the river awaiting their turn to be ferried 

But these ferries were a primitive means of transpor- 
tation even as late as 1818, when John F. Darby, as a 

— 85 — 

boy of ten years, came to St. Louis. In his "Personal t^ Prim- 

,, . M -rv i ltive Ferr y in 

Recollections, Darby says : W u 

"The first thing to be done by the movers was to cross 
the great river; the current was strong and the waters 
seemed boiling up from the bottom and in places turbid 
and muddy. The ferry consisted of a small keel-boat, 
which was managed entirely by Frenchmen. Their 
strange habiliments, manner and jabbering in the French 
language had a new and striking effect upon myself and 
the other children, coming as we did from the planta- 
tion in the Southern country. 

"The cattle and stock were driven into pens in Illinois- 
town, which had few inhabitants. The next thing to be 
done was to get the big wagon across the river. All the 
horses were loosened and unhitched from the wagon. 
The keel-boat was laid close to the bank, the bow up- 
stream, and then the stern and bow of the boat were 
tied to trees and stakes driven in the bank. A couple 
of strong planks about eighteen inches wide and ten feet 
long were laid directly across the sides of the keel-boat ; 
then some ten or twelve men, our own hands assisting, 
took hold of the big, heavy wagon and ran it down the 
sandy bank to these planks, placed cross-wise on the 
keel-boat, the wheels of the wagon resting on the planks 
and extending over the sides of the boat for about a foot 
and a half or two feet on each side. Some blocks of 
wood were then prepared and driven under the wheels, 
both before and behind, so that they could not move. 
Then some ropes were brought and the fore and hind 
wagon-wheels were tied and lashed together with all 
the strength and power that the men had, in order to 
make the wagon secure and immovable. 


— 86 — 

The Prim- "Everything being ready for a start, I jumped into 

itive Ferry in ^ ^ oat an( j determined to be one of the first to cross the 
river; my mother objected, but my father consented, and 
I came. The lines were cast off from the bow and the 
stern of the keel boat; as the bow of the vessel was 
pushed out into the stream, the current of the mighty 
river struck the prow with great force and power, the 
Frenchmen laboring at their oars with an activity and 
nimbleness impossible to describe, and which could only 
be fully understood by being seen ; every portion of the 
body — every muscle, in fact — was brought into play ; 
each oarsman seemed to throw his whole soul into the 
work. The vessel rocked so that the trace chains at the 
end of the tongue often dipped into the river, the large 
wagon, with its white sheet on, towered up in the air in 
the middle of the Mississippi ; the Frenchmen the mean- 
while with great vivacity and animation talked, cursed 
and swore in French, prenegard, sacre, etc. — so that 
the enterprise seemed a dangerous and hazardous under- 
taking. Nevertheless these trusty oarsmen brought us 
safely to the shore, and landed us on a sand beach about 
one hundred feet south of Market street. At that time 
the beach extended from the foot of Market street for 
about four or five hundred feet eastwardly before strik- 
ing the water in the river. It took these primitive ferry- 
men three days to ferry my father with his family and 
effects across the river, at a cost to him of about fifty 
dollars for ferriage." 

A post office was established in St. Louis soon after 
the transfer to the United States, and Col. Rufus Easton 
was appointed postmaster by President Jefferson. On 
July 12, 1808, the first newspaper west of the Mississippi 

— 87 — 

river was printed by Joseph Charless and was called The Pnm- 
"The Missouri Gazette ;" the paper now known as "The ^ e erry 
St. Louis Republic." On November 27, 1809, the 
municipal government of St. Louis was placed under 
control of a board of trustees, who enacted laws for 
the government of the inhabitants, and the chairman 
of the board was Auguste Chouteau, who as a boy, had 
directed the building of the first houses in the settle- 
ment. Even as late as 1810, the post office arrangements 
for St. Louis and some of the chief villages of the terri- 
tory were very inferior. The mail started from St. 
Louis to Cahokia once a week; and from St. Louis to 
Herculaneum, and Mine a'Burton to Ste. Genevieve, once 
in two weeks. Notwithstanding the large emigration to 
Missouri, the town of St. Louis contained only about 
1,400 inhabitants in the year 1811, the settlers having 
passed through to occupy the fertile lands beyond in 
what is now the counties of St. Louis, Franklin, St. 
Charles, Lincoln and the fertile valleys along the Mis- 
souri river far toward the center of the present State. 



N September, 1806, the little town of St. Louis 
was excited by the return of Lewis and 
Clark, who had traced the Missouri river 
to its source, passed with difficulty through a 
defile of the Rocky Mountains, and pushed on 
down the Columbia river to the Pacific Ocean. After an 
absence of two years and a half, they had returned to 
tell of their successful expedition. Their arrival in St. 
Louis is thus described by Eva Emery Dye in "The Con- 
quest :" — 

It was noon when Lewis and Clark sighted the old 
stone forts of the Spanish time. Never had that front- 
ier site appeared so noble, rising on a vast terrace from 
the rock-bound river. 

As the white walls burst on their view, with simul- 
taneous movement every man levelled his rifle. The 
captains smiled and gave the signal — the roar of thirty 
rifles awoke the echoes from the rocks. 

Running down the stony path to the river came the 
whole of St. Louis — eager, meager, little Frenchmen, 

— 89 — 

tanned and sallow and quick of gait, smaller than the The Return of 
Americans, but graceful and gay, with a heartfelt wel- Clark Ex p edi . 
come ; black-eyed French women in camasaks and ker- won 
chiefs, dropping their trowels in their neat little gardens 
where they had been delving among the hollyhocks, gay 
little French children in red petticoats; and here and 
there a Kentuckian, lank and lean, eager — all tripping 
and skipping down to the water's edge. 

Elbowing his way among them came Monsieur Aug- 
uste Chouteau, the most noted man in St. Louis. Pierre, 
his brother, courtly, well-dressed, eminently social, came 
also; and even Madame, their mother, did not disdain 
to come down to welcome her friends, Les Americains. 

It was like the return of a fur brigade, with shouts of 
laughter and genuine rejoicing. 

"Mon Dieul Mon Dieul eet ess Leewes an' Clark 
whom ve haf mournt as det in dose Rock Mountain. 
What good word mought dey bring from te fur coun- 

With characteristic abandon the emotional little 
Frenchmen flung their arms around the stately forms of 
Lewis and Clark, and more than one pretty girl that day 
printed a kiss on their bearded lips. 

"Major Christy — well, I declare!" An old Wayne's 
army comrade grasped Captain Clark by the hand. What 
memories that grasp aroused! William Christy, one 
of his brother officers, ready not more than a dozen years 
ago to aid in capturing this same San Luis de Ilinoa ! 

"I have moved to this town. I have a tavern. Send 
your baggage right up." And forthwith a creaking 
charette came lumbering down the rocky way. 

-90 — 

The Eetum of "Take a room at my house." Pierre Chouteau grasped 
ciLk C Expedi- ^ e hands of both Captains at once. And to Chouteau's 
tion they went. 

"But first we must send word of our safe arrival to the 
President," said Lewis, feeling- unconsciously for cer- 
tain papers that had slept next his heart for many a day. 

"Te post haf departed from San Lou," remarked a 

"Departed? It must be delayed. Here, Drouillard, 
hurry with this note to Mr. Hay at Cahokia and bid him 
hold the mail until tomorrow noon." 

Drouillard, with his old friend Pascal Cerre, the son 
of Gabriel, set off at once across the Mississippi. The 
wharf was lined with flatboats loaded with salt for 
'Kasky and furs for New Orleans. 

Once a month a one-horse mail arrived at Cahokia. 
Formerly St. Louis went over there for mail — St. Louis 
was only a village near Cahokia then ; but already Les 
Americains were turning things upside down. 

"We haf a post office now. San Loui' haf grown." 

Every one said that. To eyes that had seen nothing 
more stately than Fort Mandan or Clatsop, St. Louis had 
taken on metropolitan airs. In the old fort where lately 
lounged the Spanish governor, peering anxiously across 
the dividing waters, and whence had lately marched the 
Spanish garrison, American courts of justice were in 
session. Out of the old Spanish martello tower on the 
hill, a few Indian prisoners looked down on the animated 
street below. 

With the post office and the court house had come 
the American school, and already vivacious French chil- 
dren were claiming as their own, Patrick Henry, Thomas 
Jefferson and George Washington. 

— 91 — 

Just opposite the Chouteau mansion was the old The Betumof 
Spanish Government House, the house where George curk'^ped* 
Rogers Clark had met and loved the dazzling Donna. «oa 

Aaron Burr had lately been there, feted by the people, 
plotting treason with Wilkinson in the Government 
House itself ; and now his disorganized followers, young 
men of birth and education from Atlantic cities, stranded 
in St. Louis, were to become the pioneer schoolmasters of 
Upper Louisiana. 

New houses were rising on every hand. In the good 
old French days, goods at fabulous prices were kept in 
boxes. Did Madame or Mademoiselle wish anything, it 
must be unpacked as from a trunk. Once a year goods 
arrived. Sugar, gunpowder, blankets, spices, knives, 
hatchets and kitchenware, pell-mell, all together, were 
coming out now onto shelves erected by the thrifty 
Americans. Already new stores stood side by side with 
the old French mansions. 

"Alas ! te good old quiet times are gone," sighed the 
French habitants, wiping a tear with the blue bandana. 

And while they looked askance at the tall Americans, 
elephantine horses, and Conestoga wagons, that kept 
crossing the river, the prices of the little two-acre farms 
of the Frenchmen went up, until in a few years the old 
French settlers were the nabobs of the land. 

Already two ferry lines were transporting a never- 
ending line through this new gateway to the wider West. 
Land-mad settlers were flocking into "Jefferson's Pur- 
chase," grubbing out hazel roots, splitting rails, making 
fences, building barns and bridges. Men whose sole 
wealth consisted in an auger, a handsaw, and a gun, 
were pushing into the prairies and the forests. Long- 


— 92 — 

Tte Beturnof bearded, dressed in buckskin, with a knife at his belt and 
SL?Sp5i! a r ^ e at h * s Dac k> tne forest-ranging backwoodsman was 
won over-running Louisiana. 

"Why do you live so isolated?" the stranger would 

"I never wish to hear the bark of a neighbor's dog. 
When you hear the sound of a neighbor's gun it is time 
to move away." 

Thus, solitary and apart, the American frontiersman 
took up Missouri. 

Strolling along the Rue Royale, followed by admir- 
ing crowds, Lewis and Clark found themselves already 
at the Pierre Chouteau mansion, rising like an old-world 
chateau amid the lesser St. Louis. Up the stone steps, 
within the demi-fortress, there were glimpses of fur 
warehouses, stables, slaves' quarters, occupying a block, 
practically a fort within the city. 

Other guests were there before them — Charles Gratiot, 
who had visited the Clarks in Virginia and John P. 
Cabanne, who was to wed Gratiot's daughter, Julia. On 
one of those flatboats crowding the wharf that morning 
came happy Pierre Menard, the most illustrious citizen 
of Kaskaskia, with his bride of a day, Angelique Saucier. 
Pierre Menard's nephew, Michael Menard, was shortly 
to leave for Texas, to become an Indian trader and 
founder of the city of Galveston. 

At the board, too, sat Pierre Chouteau, the younger, 
just returned from a trip up the Mississippi with Julien 
Dubuque, where he had helped to start Dubuque and 
open the lead mines. 

Out of the wild summer grape the old inhabitants of 
St. Louis had long fabricated their choicest Burgundy. 






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— 93 — 

But of late the Chouteau's had begun to import their T*e Return of 
wine from France, along with ebony chairs, claw-footed Clark Expedi . 
tables, and other luxuries, the first in this Mississippi tioa 
wild. For never had the fur trade been so prosperous. 

There was laughter and clinking of glasses, and ques- 
tions of lands beyond the Yellowstone. Out of that hour 
arose schemes for a trapper's conquest along the trail 
on which ten future States were strung. 

"The mouth of the Yellowstone commands the rich 
fur trade of the Rocky Mountains," said Captain Clark. 
Captain Lewis dwelt on the Three Forks as a strategic 
point for a fort. No one there listened with more breath- 
less intent than the dark-haired boy, the young Chouteau, 
who was destined to become the greatest financier of the 
West, a king of the fur trade, first rival and then partner 
of John Jacob Astor. 

No wonder the home-coming of Lewis and Clark was 
the signal for enterprises such as this country had never 
yet seen. They had penetrated a realm whose monarch 
was the grizzly bear, whose queen was the beaver, whose 
armies were Indian tribes and the buffalo. 

Gallic love of gaiety and amusement found in this 
return ample opportunity for the indulgence of hospita- 
ble dancing and feasting. Every door was open. Every 
house from Chouteau's down had its guest out of the gal- 
lant thirty-one. 

Hero-worship was at its height. Hero-worship is 
characteristic of youthful, progressive people. Whole 
nations strive to emulate ideals. The moment that ceases 
ossification begins. 

Here the ideals were Lewis and Clark. They had 
been West; their men had been West. They, who had 

— 94 — 

The Eetum of traced the Missouri to its cradle in the mountains, who 
ciark 6 Expedi- na< ^ smoked the calumet with remotest tribes, who had 
ti0I » carried the flag to the distant Pacific, became the lions 

of St. Louis. 

Such spontaneous welcome made a delightful impres- 
sion upon the hearts of the young captains, and they 
felt a strong inclination to make the city their permanent 

The galleries of the little inns of St. Louis were filled 
with Frenchmen, smoking and telling stories all day 
long. Nothing hurried, nothing worried them ; the rise 
of the river, the return of a brigade, alone broke the long 
summer day of content. 

But here was something new. 

Even York, addicted to romance, told Munchausen 
tales of thrilling incidents that never failed of an appre- 
ciative audience. Trappers, flat-boatmen, frontiermen, 
and Frenchmen loved to spin long yarns at the Green 
Tree Inn, but York could outdo them all. He had been 
to the ocean, had seen the great whale and sturgeon 
that put all inland fish stories far into the shade. 

Petrie, Auguste Chouteau's old negro, who came with 
him as a boy and grew old and thought he owned 
Auguste Chouteau — Petrie, who always said, "Me and 
the Colonel," met in York for the first time one greater 
than himself. 

Immediately upon their return Lewis and Clark had 
repaired to the barber and tailor, and soon bore little 
resemblance to the tawny frontiersmen in fringed hunt- 
ing shirts and beards that had so lately issued from the 

— 95 — 

In the upper story of the Chouteau mansion, the cap- The Return of 
tains regarded with awe the high four-poster with its ciark ^xpedi- 
cushiony, billowy feather-bed. ti°n 

"This is too luxurious! York, bring my robe and 
bear skin." 

Lewis and Clark could not sleep in beds that night. 
They heard the watch call and saw the glimmer of camp- 
fires in their dreams. The grandeur of the mountains 
was upon them, cold and white and crowned with stars, 
the vastness of the prairie and the dashing of ocean, the 
roar of waterfalls, the hum of insects, and the bellow- 
ing of buffalo. 

They knew now the Missouri like the face of a friend ; 
they had stemmed its muddy mouth, had evaded its 
shifting sandbanks, had watched its impetuous falls that 
should one day whirl a thousand wheels. Up windings 
green as paradise, they had drunk of its crystal sources 
in the mountains. 

They had seen it when the mountains cast their shad- 
ows around the campfires, and in the blaze of noon when 
the quick tempest beat it into ink. They had seen it 
white in Mandan winter, the icy trail of brave and buf- 
falo ; and they had seen it crimson, when far-off peaks 
were tipped with amethystine gold. 

In the vast and populous solitude of nature they had 
followed the same Missouri spreading away into the 
beaver-meadows of the Madison, the Jefferson, and the 
Gallatin, and had written their journals on hillsides 
where the windflower and the larkspur grew wild on 
Montana hills. 

An instinct, a relic, an inheritance of long ago was 
upon them, when their ancestors roved the earth untram- 

— 96 — 

me Return of melled by citiec and civilization, when the rock was 

ctork^xpedt man ' s pillow and the cave his home, when the arrow in 

tion his strong hand brought the fruits of the chase, when 

garments of skin clad his limbs, and God spoke to 

the white savage under the old Phoenician stars. 

In their dreams they felt the rain and wind beat on 
their leather tent. Sacajawea's baby cried, Spring 
nodded with the rosy clarkia, screamed with Clark's 
crow, and tapped with Lewis's woodpecker. 

"Rat-tat-tat!" Was that the woodpecker? No, some 
one was knocking at the door of their bed chamber. 
And no one else than Pierre Chouteau himself. 

"Drouillard is back from Cahokia ready to carry your 
post. The rider awaits." 

This was the world again. It was morning. Throw- 
ing off robes and bear skins and rising from the hard- 
wood floor where they had voluntarily camped that 
night, both captains looked at the tables strewn with 
letters, where until past midnight they had sat the night 

There lay Clark's letter to his brother, George Rogers, 
and there, also, was the first rough draft of Lewis' 
letter to the President, in a hand as fine and even as 
copperplate, but interlined and blotted with erasures. 

In the soft, warm St. Louis morning, with Mississippi 
breezes rustling the curtain, after a hurried breakfast 
both set to work to complete the letters. 

For a time nothing was heard but the scratching of 
quill pens, as each made clean copies of their letters for 
transmission to the far off centuries. But no centuries 
troubled them; today — today, was uppermost. 

— 97 — 

York stuck in his head, hat in hand. "Massah Clark, The Return of 

_ , , . , . . „ the Lewis and 

Drewyer say he hab jus time, sah. Clark Expedi . 

"Well, sir, tell Drouillard the whole United States h<» 
mail service can wait on us today. We are writing to 
the President." 

Before ten o'clock Drouillard was off to Cahokia with 
messages that gave to the nation at large its first intima- 
tion that the Pacific expedition was a consummated fact." 



HARLES J. LATROBE, traveling over the 
West came to St. Louis in 1816, and set 
down his impressions of the town. In "The 
Rambler in North America," he writes : 
"Since this part of the continent became 
subject to the flag of the United States, the city of St. 
Louis, overrun by the speculative New Englanders, has 
begun to spread over a large extent of ground on the 
bank of the river, and promises to become one of the 
most flourishing cities of the West. A new town has, 
in fact, sprung up by the side of the old one, with long, 
well-built streets and handsome rows of warehouses, 
constructed of excellent gray limestone, quarried on the 
spot. The inhabitants of French extraction are, how- 
ever, still numerous, both in their part of the town and 
in the neighboring villages. It is amusing to a Euro- 
pean to step aside from the hurry and bustle of the 
upper streets, full of pale, scheming faces, depressed 
brows, and busy fingers, to the quiet quarters of the 
lower division, where many a characteristic sight and 
sound may be observed. Who can peep into the odd 

— 99 — 

little coffee houses with their homely billiard tables — a Glimpse of 
see those cosy balconies and settees— mark the prominent ^ Louis m 
nose, rosy cheek, and the contented air and civil 
demeanor of the males, and the intelligent eye and the 
gossiping tongues of the females — listen to the sound 
of the fiddle, and perchance the jingle of a harpsicord, or 
spinnet, from the window of the wealthier habitant, crisp 
and sharp like a box of the crickets — without thinking 
of scenes in the provinces of the northern country." 

James Stuart, writing his Three Years in North 
America tells his English readers of his experience at 
St. Louis, in April, 1830: 

"We arrived at St. Louis on Sunday the 25th of April, 
on so cold a morning that the first request I made on 
reaching the City Hotel in the upper part of the town — 
was for a fire, which was immediately granted. The 
hotel turned out a very comfortable one. It contains a 
great deal of accommodation. The only inconvenience 
I felt arose from the people not being accustomed, as 
seems generally the case in the western country, to place 
water-basins and a towel in every bedroom. The system 
of washing at some place near the well is general, but 
the waiters or chamber maids never refuse to bring 
every thing to the bedroom that is desired. It is, how- 
ever, so little the practice to bring washing apparatus 
to the bed rooms, that they are very apt to forget a 
general direction regularly to do so." 


IN 1818 

(From John F. Darby's "Personal Recollections.") 

HE original boundary of the ancient town of 
St. Louis began on the Mississippi river near 
the mouth of Mill Creek, called by the French 
"Petite Riviere," and ran nearly due west 
to a point in the neighborhood of where 
Heitkamp's buildings are now located on Fourth street. 
From thence the line ran northwardly to a point near 
where the northeast corner of the Southern Hotel is 
located, on what is now the corner of Walnut and Fourth 
streets, where there was a fortification and round tower. 
In Spanish times it was the jail or prison-house of the 
government and it was continued as a jail by the Ameri- 
can authorities till the year 1818, when the new jail was 
built on the site where the Laclede-Bircher Hotel now 
stands. The old jail, or round tower, was about forty 
or fifty feet high, and standing as it did on the brow of 

— 101 — 

the hill, with no building to obstruct, was a prominent ^ Appear- 
object easily seen from a distance. The west line of the L ouis in wis 
town then ran northwardly from this point, striking 
Market street about ten or twelve feet east of the present 
eastern intersection of Market and Fourth streets, and 
continuing in a direct line in the same direction nearly 
to the southwest corner of Third street and where Wash- 
ington avenue is now located, and where there was 
another stone fort or fortification erected ; thence north- 
wardly by a direct line to about or near where the eastern 
line of Third intersects Cherry street. At this point 
was a large fortification called "The Old Bastion." It 
occupied more ground and was by far the best of the 
forts, most: substantially and strongly built of solid 
stone; it looked solid and formidable, and was located 
on the east side of Third street. From this point the 
line of the town ran nearly due east, a little north, to 
Roy's Tower, on the bank of the Mississippi river; a 
large round tower, built of stone, at that point about 
forty or fifty feet high. The eastern boundary of the 
town was the Mississippi river. The southern, western 
and northern boundaries of the town, as here marked 
out, had some few years before that been enclosed by 
pickets ten or twelve feet high, firmly planted in the 
ground, and at different point were gates, admitting of 
egress and ingress to the town ; at night these gates were 
secured and guarded. In the year 1818 the pickets were 
gone but all the fortifications remained. 

"There was no wharf or front street, and there were 
only two ways of getting from Main street to the river : 
one was at the foot of Market street and the other at 
the foot of what is now called Morgan street. 

— 102 — 

The Appear- "From the foot of Market street was a sand-bank 
Loul ° f in St i8i8 extending some five or six hundred feet eastwardly 
before it reached the waters of the Mississippi river. 
This extended southwardly to the lower end of town, 
where there was then being formed what is called a 
"tow-head," a few cottonwood bushes and willows grow- 
ing up on a high point in the sand, and from this grew 
what was known afterwards as "Duncan's Island," 
Robert Duncan taking possession and putting a house 
upon it. 

"At the base of this perpendicular cliff was, when the 
river was low, a large, flat rock extending one hundred 
feet or more from the base of the cliff to the water in 
the river; and persons could walk from Market street 
up to Morgan in front of the cliff on the flat rock. 

"There were springs gushing out of this flat rock 
below the steep wall, where many of the inhabitants 
got water. Another strange sight was the carrying of 
buckets suspended to a sort of a yoke fitting around the 
neck, and attached to long strips of wood hooked to the 
buckets from the shoulders. 

"Main street was pretty compactly built, mostly with 
stone, though some frame and log houses still existed, 
the log houses of the French being, however, different 
from those built by the Americans. The French built by 
hewing the logs and then planting them in the ground 
perpendicularly, while the Americans laid the logs hori- 
zontally and notched them together at the corners. 

"All the rich people lived on Main street ; all the fine 
houses were there. All the stores were on Main street; 
all the business of the town was transacted there. In 
the upper part of Second, or Church street, there were 

— 103 — 

few houses; in the lower part there were more. The ^ Appear- 
houses occupied by families then were generally small ; Louis in wis 
there were a few brick houses in the town, perhaps not 
more than five or six. 

"Col. Auguste Chouteau had an elegant domicile front- 
ing Main street. His dwelling and houses for his ser- 
vants occupied the whole square bounded north by 
Market street, east by Main street, south by what is now 
known as Walnut street, and on the west by Second 
street. The whole square was enclosed by a solid stone 
wall two feet thick and ten feet high, with port-holes 
about every ten feet apart, through which to shoot 
Indians in case of an attack. The walls of Col. Chou- 
teau's mansion were two and a half feet thick, of solid 
stone-work, two stories high, and surrounded by a large 
piazza or portico about fourteen feet wide, supported 
by pillars in front and at the two ends. The house was 
elegantly furnished, but at that time not one of the rooms 
was carpeted. In fact, no carpets were then used in 
St. Louis. The floors of the house were made of black 
walnut and were polished so finely that they reflected 
like a mirror. He had a train of servants, and every 
morning after breakfast some of these inmates of his 
household were down on their knees for hours with 
brushes and wax keeping the floors polished. The 
splendid abode, with its surroundings, had indeed the 
appearance of a castle. 

"Major Pierre Chouteau also had an elegant domicile, 
built after the same manner and of the same material. 
He, too, occupied a whole square with his mansion, 
bounded on the east by Main street, on the south by 
what is known as Vine street, on the west by Second 

— 104 — 

The Appear- street and on the north by what is now known as Wash- 
Suls^in^is i n g ton avenue, the whole square being enclosed with 
high, solid stone walls and having port-holes in like 
manner as his brother's. 

"When Gen. Lafayette came to St. Louis, in the year 
1825, the city authorities furnished as his quarters the 
mansion of Major Chouteau, as the finest building and 
the most splendidly furnished house in the town. Many 
a time has it been my good fortune to dance all night 
long in that noble old edifice, and to share the noble and 
generous hospitality there dispensed. 

"At the time we speak of there was not a single paved 
street in the town. Chouteau's water-mill and Brazeau's 
horse-mill did the grinding for the town. There was 
little commerce; a few peltries and a few pigs of lead 
were all that was shipped. 

"But the inhabitants were, beyond doubt, the most 
happy and contented people that ever lived. They 
believed in enjoying life. There was a fiddle in every 
house and a dance somewhere every night. They were 
honest, hospitable, confiding and generous. No man 
locked his door at night, and the inhabitant slept in 
security and soundly, giving himself no concern for the 
safety of the horse in his stable or of the household 
goods and effects in his habitation." 



T. LOUIS was an offspring of the fur trade, 
and her growth for three-quarters of a century- 
depended almost entirely upon it. Her prin- 
cipal merchants were all more or less con- 
cerned in it, and most of them were familiar 
by actual experience with life on the frontier. Pierre 
Chouteau, Jr., the leading mercantile genius of St. Louis 
and one of the greatest in the country, made several trips 
up the Missouri River, at one time going so far as the 
mouth of the Yellowstone. Manuel de Lisa spent a large 
part of his life in the wilderness. General W. H. Ashley, 
passed much time on the upper Missouri and beyond the 
mountains on Green River and in the Salt Lake Basin. 
Sublette and Campbell and McKenzie were all trained 
mountain men. It was in these remote fields that the 
foundation of great fortunes were laid, and that the sub- 
stantial business character of St. Louis began its develop- 
ment. In fact, the supremacy which St. Louis early won 
and maintained in the fur market of the early days, she 

— 106 — 

st. Louis and still holds in an even greater degree today. The annual 
ur £ ur tra( j e f g t> l ou j s j s now even i ar g er than it was 

when the great rival fur companies were exploiting the 
virgin forests of the upper Missouri. The character of 
the fur trade has changed; but its volume is as great 
as ever it was, and St. Louis remains today the greatest 
primary fur market of the world. 

That the reader may correctly estimate the great labor 
and hardships incident to the fur trade, as well as 
adequately appreciate the marvelous courage and endur- 
ance of the men engaged in it, a detailed description of 
the boats they used and of their manner of navigating 
them, seems advisable. Mr. Phil. E. Chappell has given 
an interesting description of these boats and of their 
crews in his "History of the Missouri River." Chitten- 
den's "History of the Fur Trade" contains a most com- 
plete account of the origin and development of this 
great industry. 

In travel and in commerce upon the Missouri and the 
Mississippi Rivers, several kinds of river craft were at 
the service of the voyagers. Marquette, La Salle and 
those who early followed them down the stream, used the 
birch bark canoe of the northern Indians; but they 
found the red men of the lower river using a more sub- 
stantial canoe made from the trunk of the cottonwood 
tree. Indeed, the birch bark canoe was found to lack the 
necessary strength for withstanding the buffetings of 
the swift currents of the Missouri. 

The piroque was another craft used later by the 
French at the beginning of their fur trade, to which it 
was well adapted. As used on the Missouri river, it 
was really a double canoe, built in the shape of a flat- 

— 107 — 

iron, with a sharp bow and a square stern. Two canoes st. Louis and 

were securely fastened together a short distance apart, the FurTrade 

the whole being decked over with plank or puncheons. 

On the floor was placed the cargo, which was protected 

from the weather by skins. The boat was propelled up 

stream by oars or by a line, and steered by an oarsman, 

who stood on the stern. A square sail was also resorted 

to in going up-stream, when the wind was in the right 

quarter. Under favorable circumstances, a distance of 

from twelve to fifteen miles per day could be made. 

Such boats were usually from thirty to forty feet long, 

and from six to eight feet beam, and, being of light 

draft, were good carriers. They were much safer than 

the canoe, since their breadth of beam prevented them 

from being upset. When Lewis and Clark ascended 

the Missouri river in 1804, their fleet consisted of one 

keel boat and two piroques. 

The keel boat was a long, sharp vessel, drawing but 
little water. When loaded, the hull was nearly immersed, 
but there was a deck or roof about six feet high, cov- 
ered on all sides so as to exclude the weather, and leav- 
ing only a passage way of about a foot wide, called the 
running board, along the gunwale, and a small space at 
the bow and the stern. This deck, or roof, afforded an 
admirable lounging place in pleasant weather, but at 
other times, the passenger was limited to very narrow 
accommodation. The oars, which were placed at the 
bow, were from eight to twelve in number and were 
used only in descending the river. By means of these, 
the boat was propelled at the rate of two or three miles 
an hour faster than the current. The oars were plied 
during the day, and at night the boat was suffered to 

— 108 — 

st. Louis and float with a man at the helm and one at the bow, to 

Lttp T*nr Tr3.dc 

lookout, except in those parts of the river where the 
navigation was difficult, when they always tied up for 
the night. A hundred to one hundred and thirty miles 
in twenty-four hours was accomplished with ease. In 
ascending the stream, these boats were propelled by 
men with poles walking to and fro on the running boards, 
assisted often by a sail, when the wind was favorable. 
But the main reliance for up-stream navigation was 
the cordelle. It was a line, sometimes three hundred 
yards long, which was fastened to the top of a mast pro- 
jecting from the center of the boat, and with another 
line, called the bridle, tied to a loop in the bow and to a 
ring through which the cordelle was passed, to prevent 
the boat from being swung around by the force of the 
current or the wind. By this line the boat was pulled 
along by a force of from twenty to thirty men, who 
walked along the shore. When an obstacle was encount- 
ered, which prevented the men from walking along the 
bank, the line was made fast to a tree or to some other 
object on shore, and the boat was drawn up by the men 
on board pulling on the line. This process was called 
"warping." Again, there were shallow places where it 
became necessary to use the poles. 

The boat pole was a turned piece of ash wood, reg- 
ularly manufactured in St. Louis and at other points 
where a chantier (French for boat-yard) was main- 
tained. At one end of the pole there was a ball or knob 
to rest in the hollow of the shoulder for the voyageur 
to push against, and on the other end a wooden shoe or 
socket. In propelling the boat with these poles, eight 
or ten voyageurs ranged themselves along each side near 

From Portrait in possession of Missouri Historical Society. 

— 109 — 

the bow, facing aft, pole in hand, one in front of the st. Louis and 

other as close together as they could walk. The whole 

movement was under direction of the patron. At his 

command, "Down with the poles," the boatmen thrust 

the lower ends of the poles into the river close to the 

sides of the boat, and placed the ball ends against their 

shoulders so that the poles would be well inclined down 

stream. Then all pushed together, forcing the boat 

ahead as they walked along the running board toward 

the stern, until the foremost man had gone as far as 

he could. The patron then gave the command, "Raise 

the poles," upon which they would be withdrawn from 

the mud, as the men walked quickly back toward the bow 

to repeat the operation. All steering was done while the 

poles were up, for the boat could not change direction 

while the men were pushing. It was always essential to 

give the boat sufficient momentum at each push to keep 

her going while the men were changing position. The 

running boards had cleats nailed to them to keep the 

feet of the boatmen from slipping; and the men, when 

pushing hard, sometimes leaned far enough to touch the 

cleats with their hands, thus fairly crawling on all fours. 

The oars were brought into use in making crossings, 

when it became necessary to cross from one side of the 

river to the other. The sail was seldom used, except on 

the upper river where the absence of timber along the 

shore permitted the wind to be available. 

The crew of the keel-boat in the fur trade was called 
a "brigade," and frequently consisted of as many as a 
hundred men, although this number included many hunt- 
ers and trappers en route to the mountains, who were 
not regular boatmen. They went well armed, and every 

— Ho- 
st. Louis and boat carried on her bow a small cannon called a "swivel." 
the Fur Trade /-p^g ca pt a in of the boat, called the patron, did the steer- 
ing - , and his assistant, called the banossem, stood on the 
bow, pole in hand, and shouted directions to the men 
on the cordelle. It was necessary that these officers 
should be men of great energy, physical strength and 
personal courage. 

The trip to the Yellowstone required nearly the entire 
boating season, and the labor was most arduous. From 
daylight to dark, through blazing sun or pelting storm, 
half bent, in water, over rocks, through brambles and 
brush, they pulled_ against the strong current for six 
long months. At this day men could not be hired at 
any price to perform such laborious work. The rations 
furnished them consisted of pork and beans and lye 
hominy, and from this allowance the pork was cut off 
when the hunters could procure sufficient game. There 
was no coffee and no bread. The boatmen employed 
were the descendants of the old coureurs des bois and 
voyageurs, French Canadians, or Creoles, but differing 
from their progenitors in some respects, for they were 
a hard-working, obedient, cheerful class, contented and 
happy under most discouraging circumstances. 

The batteau, as the French named it, or the flat- 
bottom boat, or flat-boat, as it came to be called by the 
Americans, was a mere raft with sides and a roof; but 
it was more roomy and convenient than the keel-boat, 
if well-built and tight, as they usually were. An immense 
oar was placed on each side of the roof near the bow, 
which gave such boats the nick-name of "broad-horns," 
and another large oar at the stern. These oars were used 
only to direct the course of the flat-boat, which was 

— Ill — 

allowed to float with the current. These boats were used *• ^ oui ^ a ° d 

the Fur Trade 

only in down-stream voyages to a bourne from which a 
traveler of that species never returned, being useless 
after reaching its destination, except as so much lumber. 

The flat-boat was usually fifty to seventy-five feet long 
and ten to twelve feet beam. The gunwales were hewn 
from cottonwood logs and the bottom was spiked onto 
stringers, running lengthwise the boat. The bow and 
stern were square, with a sufficient rake to prevent 
impeding the headway. The oar, the pole, the line and 
the sail were appliances relied upon for motive power in 
ascending the stream, but, in going down, the boat was 
allowed to float with the current, being kept in the chan- 
nel by the steersman. 

For many years, even after the application of steam 
to river craft, these flat-boats and keel-boats continued 
in use upon the Missouri river, for the steamboat could 
run only when the water was high. "In the spring of 
1845, as a bare-footed boy," says Mr. Chappell, "I 
stood on the bank of the Missouri river, opposite Jeffer- 
son City, and saw what was probably the last Mackinac 
boat pass down and out the river. There were ten or 
twelve boats in the fleet, and as they passed at intervals 
of half an hour or more, they were all morning in view. 
It was the last of this primitive mode of navigation." 



^HERE were many elements to be considered in 
the successful prosecution of the fur trade 
upon the American frontier. Good judgment 
was necessary in the selection of articles 
of trade. If blankets were of a different 
color, or a fraction larger or smaller, or of a different 
shape, from those to which they had been previously 
accustomed, and which they had adopted as the standard 
of taste, the fastidious savages would reject them, and 
they would remain unsalable in the hands of the traders. 
This was true also of the tomahawks and rifles, and of all 
other articles of trade. The swarthy sons of the forest 
were extravagant in their offers for anything that suited 
their fancy ; but they refused to accept, even as a gift, 
anything in way of a substitute for articles which their 
custom had accepted as suited to their taste. Different 
tribes had characteristic peculiarities of taste and cus- 
tom, and it was of great importance that these peculiari- 
ties should be known to traders intending to trade with 

— 113 — 

Trading- companies soon learned that they could not Elements of 

Success in 
Fur Trade 

rely upon the red men for supplies of furs and peltries £ 

sufficient to make the trade profitable. The savage 
hunted simply to supply his necessities ; hence the quan- 
tity of skins and furs available from the Indian was 
always inadequate for the wants of the company. It 
was, therefore, necessary to employ a number of skillful 
hunters and trappers upon whose efforts the success of 
the expedition depended. These hunters and trappers 
were chiefly men who, from continual mingling in savage 
life, had grown to love the forest and prairie solitude, 
the wild excitements of the chase and the independence 
of Indian existence, more than the restraints necessary 
to the proper regulation of civilized society. Much of 
the population of St. Louis in 1812 were men of this sort. 
Their lives were a series of dangers. With the rifle and 
the knife they could supply all the riches they required 
or desired, and these were a protection which, in their 
habits of self-reliance, they valued more than forts or 
stockades. They were remarkable for their physical 
strength and endurance. With muscles and sinews 
which no fatigue could weaken or extremes of climate 
affect, they roamed undaunted over vast regions in their 
hazardous pursuit. 

Their mode of dress was in keeping with their mon- 
grel origin and character. Short leather breeches with 
moccasins covered their feet and legs. A leather flap 
dropped from the waist to the thighs. A shirt, some- 
times of thick flannel or cloth, and sometimes of deer- 
skin, protected the upper part of the body, while on the 
head was worn a cap made from the fur of some animal, 
or perhaps a coarse blue cloth was wrapped about the 

— 114 — 

Elements of head, or mayhap the head was bare to the elements. These 

the C Fur Sade coureurs des bois ' as tlie y were significantly called, 
formed a picturesque element in the population of early 
St. Louis. Some of them had wives in the village, whom 
they visited annually for a short time, or maybe once in 
several years, and whom they left unprovided for while 
they were away in the forest wild. These hunters and 
trappers were, nevertheless, an important portion of the 
population of St. Louis, for their services were always in 
demand by the rival fur companies and by the many 
enterprising traders who individually carried on the fur 
trade with the savages. 

An important personage connected with these expedi- 
tions was the interpreter. He was usually the son of 
some Frenchman who had married an Indian wife and 
adopted the Indian mode of life. The son thus grew 
to be familiar with both the French and the Indian 
languages, and could serve as a medium of communica- 
tion between the traders and the savages. 

But the success of a trading expedition depended 
finally upon the character of the leader placed in charge. 
He must have knowledge of the quality and fitness of 
his articles of trade, must be a good judge of all the 
varieties of furs and skins, must have had experience 
with Indian character and keen insight into their habits 
and customs, and must himself be alert, fearless and 
resourceful. A trader with those qualifications could 
command a fabulous sum for his services. 

The three principal fur trading companies that oper- 
ated from St. Louis toward the west were the Missouri 
Fur Trading Company, which owed its success to the 
great ability and energy of Manuel de Lisa, who man- 

— 115 — 

aged its affairs from 1812 to 1820 ; the Rocky Mountain Elements of 
Fur Company, whose guiding spirit was the brilliant and th u e C p^. i n rade 
enterprising General W. H. Ashley; and the American 
Fur Company, whose operations were directed by the 
genius of John Jacob Astor through his capable partner 
in St. Louis, Pierre Chouteau, Jr. Besides, there were 
many individuals who engaged in the profitable trade. 
All these opened the wilderness to the advance of civ- 
ilization, and brought back riches to the coffers of the 



WONDERFUL pageant of human life it was 
that sought the capitol of Upper Louisiana 
and moved through the narrow streets of old 
St. Louis, during the first twenty years of the 
nineteenth century. Nowhere could one have 
met more varied aspects of human life, or sharper con- 
trasts of individual and national character. In appearance 
it must have been a very carnival of nations. 

Frenchmen and Spaniards were there from every prov- 
ince of France and Spain; French and Spanish Creoles 
from Canada, New Orleans, Mexico, Cuba, and Pensa- 
cola; negroes of different dusky hues, some lately 
snatched from the kraals of the Guinea and the Congo 
coasts, some, from long association with the whites, 
chattering the French or Spanish patois, or a dialect of 
the speech of their American masters. Indian delega- 
tions from all the scattered tribes came to confer with 
the Spanish governors or with the Americans who suc- 
ceeded to their authority. There came the wild, naked, 
low-browed Sioux; the tall, lordly Osage; the fair and 

— in- 
ornate Mandan of the upper Missouri ; the fierce Iroquois, strange con- 

, . . ot trasts in Old 

and the brave Wyandotte; the wandering bhawanese, st Louis 
that panther of the canebrakes ; the sensual and volatile 
Illinois meeting the gaily-clad, dark-skinned Creek and 
Seminole; the Chickasaw, the last remnant of those 
southern, sun-worshipping tribes who are supposed to be 
the descendants of the semi-civilized Mound Builders. 

Along the Rue Royale there came the French coureurs, 
wild as' Pawnees, and the voyageurs, light-hearted but 
patient beasts of burden of the fur trade ; Saxon hunters 
and trappers from the Appalachian slopes bound west- 
ward, and American flatboatmen, red-necked, unkempt, 
singing and dancing on the wharf, swaggering and riot- 
ous in the streets. Touching elbows with all these came 
Puritan and Quaker and Virginia Cavalier, the high- 
bred gentleman and lady of Europe, the cultivated army 
officer, and the pliant and pushing politician— a phantas- 
magoria of human life, where civilization and barbarism 
confronted each other upon the western border. 

New England sent representatives of her best blood 
and brain— men like Stephen and Edward Hempstead, 
Rufus Easton, Silas Bent, and John Simonds, Jr. Penn- 
sylvania and other middle Atlantic States contributed 
men of fine ability in the persons of Clement B. Penrose, 
Major Thomas Biddle, Wm. Christy, and Henry S. 
Geyer, and others. Virginia gave generously of her 
distinguished sons in such men as Captain Merriwether 
Lewis, Captain Wm. Clark, John Scott, Col. Thomas F. 
Riddick, Captain John Conway. Wm. H. Ashley, Alex- 
ander McNair, Dr. William Carr Lane, Dr. David Waldo. 
North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky sent notable 

— 118 — 

Strange Con- 
trasts in Old 
St. Louis 

representatives in David Barton, Thomas H. Benton, 
Joseph J. Monroe, Col. John O'Fallon, and Edward 
Bates. France gave us John B. C. Lucas and his brilliant 
and lamented son, Charles. Ireland — where have Irish- 
men not gone? — was ably represented in the person of 
John Mullanphy, and many others. 

The fusing of these diverse elements in the melting 
pot of this frontier town was not accomplished in a 
year or in a decade. The spirit of business and profes- 
sional rivalry was keen. There were clashings of inter- 
est. There were disputes and enmities ; there was blood- 
shed. The code duello was in favor in settlement of 
disputes among gentlemen, and encounters on Bloody 
Island have left a dark page upon the history of St. 
Louis — a page which the purpose of this story does not 
require us to peruse. 

With this rapid growth of population, the desire of 
the people for a separate and independent State govern- 
ment became almost universal. The feeling found 
expression in a memorial to Congress, which was cir- 
culated in the territory in 1817, in which the petitioners 
prayed that the territory within certain specified limits 
might be erected into a State. This memorial was pre- 
sented to Congress in January, 1818, by the Honorable 
John Scott, the delegate from the territory. No report 
was made during that session of Congress by the com- 
mittee to whom the memorial had been referred. In 
December, 1818, the territorial legislature of Missouri 
took up the subject, and also adopted a memorial pray- 
ing for the establishment of a State government, asking 
for more extended boundaries than those which had 
been set out in the former petition of the citizens. This 
memorial from Missouri was reported by Hon. John 

— 119 — 

Scott to Congress in the form of a bill to "authorize the strange 

° „ e * ... i Contrasts in 

people of Missouri Territory to form a Constitution and 01d st Louis 
State Government on an equal footing with the other 
States." Now to this bill, Mr. Tallmadge of New York 
offered an amendment, making it a condition "that the 
further introduction of slavery or involuntary servitude 
shall be prohibited, except for the punishment for crime 
whereof the party shall have been fully convicted, and 
that all children born within the state after the admission 
thereof, shall be free at the age of twenty-five years. 
This amendment, Jefferson said, "was like a fire bell in 
the night." It brought into the arena of public debate 
the opposing opinions long privately cherished but not 
publicly avowed. 

After an acrimonious discussion, the bill with Tall- 
madge's amendment passed the house by a vote of 97 
to 56, and was sent to the Senate for concurrence. The 
Senate struck out the Tallmadge amendment, and the 
House refused to concur with the Senate's action. 

When the Sixteenth Congress met in December, 1819, 
the question came up again. Finally a series of meas- 
ures, usually called the "Missouri Compromise," were 
adopted. An act was passed just before the adjournment 
of Congress in March, 1820, which left the people of 
Missouri nominally free to organize the State with or 
without slavery, but without any expressed guarantee 
as to admission into the Union. The excitement these 
congressional debates had produced in this territory was 

The election of members of the Constitutional Conven- 
tion, provided for under this act, was held May, 1820, 
and "the delegates thus elected met in convention in St. 
Louis in June, 1820, at what was then known as the 

— 120 — 

Strange Con- 
trasts in Old 
St. Louis 

Mansion House, corner of Third and Vine streets. 
David Barton was elected president of the convention, 
and the Constitution there adopted was principally Bar- 
ton's work. Another conspicuous member of the con- 
vention was Alexander McNair, a delegate from St. 
Louis county. At the first election for governor under 
this Constitution, McNair was elected, defeating William 
Clark, who had been territorial governor since 1812. 
Clark, in attendance at the bedside of his sick wife, had 
been compelled to be absent during the campaign, and 
he was beaten by a few votes. 

The first session of the General Assembly of the State 
of Missouri, under this Constitution, met in the Missouri 
Hotel (at that time situated on Main Street in the town 
of St. Louis) on Monday, the eighteenth day of Septem- 
ber, 1820. At that session two senators to represent the 
State of Missouri in the Senate of the United States, 
were to be chosen. John F. Darby thus described the 
events of their election : — 

"David Barton was, without opposition, chosen sena- 
tor by that body. For the place of the second senator 
there were five applicants, viz. : Thomas H. Benton, 
John B. C. Lucas, Henry Elliott, John Rice Jones, and 
Nathaniel Cook. After many efforts, it was found to be 
impossible to elect any of these gentlemen. 

"Such was the unbounded popularity of David Barton 
at that time that he only needed to intimate whom he 
desired to be made senator in Congress, to have him 
elected. After the ineffectual effort had been made to 
elect a second senator, the members of the Legislature 
gave to him the privilege of selecting and naming his 
colleague, and Barton chose Thomas H. Benton. 

— 121 

'Benton's unpopularity was so great, however, that strange con- 
trasts in 
St. Louis 

with all of Barton's acknowledged strength, power, and * 

influence in his behalf, it seemed to be almost impossible 
to elect him. Various plans, caucuses, schemes, and 
councils were projected and held to effect his election to 
the Senate, and consummate the wishes of David Barton. 

"There was a member of the Legislature from St. 
Louis County named Marie Philip Leduc. He was a 
Frenchman, and had been secretary of Don Carlos 
Dehault Delassus, the last lieutenant-governor of Upper 
Louisiana under the Spanish government. He had 
asservated over and over again that he would lose his 
right arm before he would vote for Thomas H. Benton 
as senator. Judge John B. C. Lucas, the strongest and 
most formidable opponent of Thomas H. Benton for a 
seat in the United States Senate, was the father of 
Charles Lucas, a prominent lawyer who had been killed 
in a duel by Benton about three years before. There 
was, thereafter, a most bitter and violent feeling, grow- 
ing out of this duel, between the friends of Judge Lucas 
and of Thomas H. Benton. The friends of Thomas H. 
Benton found, upon canvassing the members of the 
Legislature, that they could elect him by one majority 
if they could win over to their side a single supporter 
of Judge Lucas or of one of the other candidates. 

"The friends of the Benton party in the Legislature 
therefore determined to make a "dead set" at Marie 
Philip Leduc. They combined, united, and brought to 
bear upon him the personal and powerful influence of 
Col. Auguste Chouteau, John P. Cabanne, Gen. Bernard 
Pratte, Maj. Pierre Chouteau, Sylvester Labbadie, and 
Gregoire Sarpy — all personal friends of Marie Philip 
Leduc, all Frenchmen, all men of wealth, of distinction, 
of great influence and personal popularity. 


Strange Con- 
trasts in Old 
St. Louis 

"Col. Auguste Chouteau, with Laclede the founder of 
the town, a man of the greatest wealth and distinction, 
was the principal speaker. They all met in a room where 
they had assembled to talk over and discuss the matter, 
and to determine and declare who should be Barton's 
colleague, and take the steps to elect him. Col. Chouteau 
urged upon Leduc to vote for Benton, and to give up 
his support of Judge Lucas ; because, he said, if Judge 
Lucas was elected senator, the French inhabitants would 
never have their French and Spanish grants to their 
lands confirmed ; that Judge Lucas, as a member of the 
board of commissioners for adjusting the titles under 
these grants to the inhabitants of Upper Louisiana, had 
been inimical to and had warred against the confirma- 
tion of their claims for nearly twenty years ; that Benton 
was friendly to and would take an active part in passing 
the laws confirming them in their titles to their lands. 

"After arguing, pleading, and reasoning with Marie 
Philip Leduc all night long, Leduc yielded about the 
break of day to the influences brought to bear upon 
him, and agreed to vote for Benton. It had been a 
desperate struggle throughout that sleepless night. This 
was on Saturday night, the thirtieth day of September, 
1820. The election was to come off on Monday morning, 
the second of October, 1820. It was all-important to 
the Benton men that the election should be held as soon 
as possible, for Daniel Ralls, one of their voters, was sick 
and might die. 

"Early in the morning, therefore, directly after nine 
o'clock, the two houses met in joint session, in the large 
dining room in the hotel, to vote for United States 
senator. Daniel Ralls, the sick member, was upstairs in 
his bed, unable to sit up so that he could be lifted into a 

— 123 — 

chair and brought down to vote. He was sinking- fast ; strange con- 
and if he died, as it was feared he would, before the ^ st l ^ is 01d 
election, the Benton men would not have a majority, and 
would fail in electing their man. 

"Accordingly, so soon as the two houses had met in 
joint session to elect another senator as the colleague of 
David Barton, four large, stout negro men were taken 
up stairs into the sick member's room, and by direction 
they seized hold of the bed— one at each corner— on 
which the prostrate member lay, and brought it down 
stairs and laid Ralls down in the middle of the hall 
wherein the two houses of the General Assembly had 
met. Ralls was too sick even to raise his head, but when 
his name was called, voted for Thomas H. Benton ; which 
being done, the four negro men took him up stairs to his 
room, where he died. For this last act of his life, the 
Legislature, at the same session did Mr. Ralls the honor 
to name a county after him — Ralls County — one of the 
oldest counties in the State. 

"Through such death-struggles as this it was that 
Thomas H. Benton, with the powerful aid of David 
Barton, first reached the floor of the American Senate, 
where afterwards he used to boast that he had served 
six Roman lustrums." 



[EFORE the coming of the American pioneers 
west of the Mississippi river, the fur trade 
and lead mining had been the chief commer- 
cial interests of St. Louis and the adjacent 
territory. But after the cession, emigrants 
from the States came west by thousands, in Conestoga 
wagons, on foot and horseback, with packhorses, with 
handcarts, even with wheelbarrows. With blankets on 
their backs, and with children by the hand, the people 
came in a continuous stream. Temporarily checked by 
the war of 1812, the flood of emigration increased when 
peace had come. These American pioneers did not 
settle in villages as the French had done. They sought 
land — land for themselves and their children. They 
scattered over the rich prairies and hillsides of what 
is now St. Louis and St. Charles counties. They sought 
the rich valleys far up the Missouri to the Boon's Lick 
country, and beyond. To the northward they went into 
Lincoln, and Ralls, and Marion. They took up home- 

2 c 

o ° 

:: ^ 

5 fl 

3 o 

5 DC 


S W 

2- > 

3 C 

— 125 — 

steads in Franklin, and on the beautiful uplands around River Life in 
Farmington. They crossed the Mississippi below St. D a ys 
Louis into the rich alluvial plains of southeast Mis- 
souri, from which many were driven by the disastrous 
earthquake of 1811. They came over still lower down 
from Tennessee by way of the White river, into the 
region about Springfield. Within a dozen years after 
the cession of Louisiana to the United States, connected 
settlements of American pioneers extended southwest 
from St. Louis for two hundred miles to the branches of 
White river, westward upwards of two hundred miles 
to Boon's Lick and Old Chariton, northward two hun- 
dred miles to Prairie du Chien, and southward along 
the Mississippi in a scattering way to the Gulf of 
Mexico. Clearings were made, and soon abundant crops 
blessed their labors. Villages and towns were laid out 
along the stream, and grew as the population continued 
to increase. 

The rivers were still the great highways of travel, 
but they transported more than the peltries of the forest 
and the merchandise coveted by the Indian tribes. The 
wharf at old St. Louis was thronged with water craft, 
brought together from all points of the compass. Life 
on the rivers as Timothy Flint saw it, soon after Mis- 
souri became a state, was most interesting. In his 
"Travels in the West," Flint says : 

"I have strolled to the point on a spring evening, and 
seen them arriving in fleets. The boisterous gaiety of 
the hands, the congratulations, the moving picture of 
life on board the boats, in the numerous animals, large 
and small, which they carry, their different loads, the 
evidence of the increasing agriculture of the country 

— 126 — 

River Life in above, and more than all, the immense distances which 
the Early ^ n already come, and those which they have still 

Days •> J . ■ . - T 

to go, afforded to me copious sources of meditation. You 
can name no point on the numerous rivers of the Ohio 
and the Mississippi, from which some of these boats have 
not come. In one place there are boats loaded with 
planks, from the pine forests of the southwest of New 
York. In another quarter there are the Yankee notions 
of Ohio. From Kentucky, pork, flour, whiskey, hemp, 
tobacco, bagging and bale rope. From Tennessee there 
are the same articles, together with great quantities of 
cotton. From Missouri and Illinois, cattle and horses, 
the same articles generally as from Ohio, together with 
peltry and lead from Missouri. Some boats are loaded 
with corn in the ear and in bulk ; others with barrels of 
apples and potatoes. Some have loads of cider, and 
what they call 'cider royal,' or cider that has been 
strengthened by boiling or freezing. There are dried 
fruits, every kind of spirits manufactured in these 
regions, and in short, the products of the ingenuity and 
agriculture of the whole upper country of the west. 
They have come from regions thousands of miles apart. 
They have floated to a common point of union. The 
surfaces of the boats cover some acres. Domestic fowls 
are fluttering over the roofs, as an invariable appendage. 
The chanticleer raises his piercing note. The swine 
utter their cries. The cattle low. The horses trample, 
as in their stables. There are boats fitted on purpose, 
and loaded entirely with turkeys, that, having little to 
do, gobble most furiously. The hands travel about from 
boat to boat, make inquiries, and acquaintances, and form 
alliances to yield mutual assistance to each other on 

— 127 — 

their descent from this to New Orleans. After an hour River Life in 
or two passed in this way, they spring on shore to raise Days^ 17 
the wind in town. It is well for the people of the village, 
if they do not become riotous in the course of the even- 
ing ; in which case I have often seen the most summary 
and strong measures taken. About midnight the uproar 
is all hushed. 

"The fleet unites once more at Natchez, or New 
Orleans, and, although they live on the same river, they 
may, perhaps, never meet each other again on earth. 

"Next morning at the first dawn, the bugles sound. 
Everything in and about the boats, that has life, is in 
motion. The boats, in half an hour are all under way. 
In a little while they have all disappeared, and nothing 
is seen, as before they came, but the regular current of 
the river. In passing down the Mississippi, we often see 
a number of boats lashed and floating together. I was 
once on board a fleet of eight, that were in this way 
moving on together. It was a considerable walk, to 
travel over the roofs of this floating town. On board 
of one boat, they were killing swine. In another, they had 
apples, nuts and dried fruit. One of the boats was a 
retail or dramshop. It seems that the object in lashing 
so many boats had been to barter and obtain supplies. 
These confederacies often commence in a frolic and 
end in a quarrel, in which case the aggrieved party dis- 
solves the partnership by unlashing and managing his 
own boat in his own way. While this fleet of boats is 
floating separately, but each carried by the same current 
nearly at the same rate, visits take place from boat to 
boat in skiffs. 

— 128 — 

River Life in "While I was in New Madrid, a large tinner's estab- 
the Early Hshment floated there in a boat. In it all the different 


articles of tinware were manufactured and sold by 
wholesale and retail. There were three large apartments, 
where the different branches of the art were carried on in 
this floating manufactory. When they had mended all the 
tin, and vended all that they could sell in one place, they 
floated on to another. A still more extraordinary man- 
ufactory, we were told, was floating down the Ohio, and 
shortly expected at New Madrid. Aboard this were 
manufactured axes, scythes and all other iron tools of 
this description, and in it horses were shod. In short it 
was a complete blacksmith's shop of a higher order, and, 
it is said, jestingly talked of having a trip-hammer 
worked by a horse power on board. I have frequently 
seen in this region a dry goods shop in a boat, with its 
articles very handsomely arranged on shelves, nor 
would the delicate hands of the vender have disgraced 
the spruce clerk behind our city counters. It is now 
common to see flatboats worked by a bucket wheel, and 
a horse power, after the fashion of a steamboat move- 
ment. Indeed, every Spring brings forth new contriv- 
ances of this sort, the result of the farmer's meditations 
over his winter's fire." 



UT this picturesque river life of the old days 
of the keel boat and the "broad horns," 
when up-stream was a continuous struggle 
and down-stream a round of pleasure, was 
soon to disappear. 
The invention of the steamboat by Robert Fulton, 
in 1807, was destined to revolutionize the traffic upon the 
rivers, both East and West. Within four years after the 
Clermont steamed up the Hudson, a steamboat, the 
"New Orleans," was built at Pittsburg, and launched on 
the Ohio river, in March, 1811. The "New Orleans" 
left Pittsburg, south bound, in October of the same 
year; but, on account of low water, could not get over 
the Falls at Louisville. By December the river had risen 
sufficient to permit her to pass the Falls and continue 
down stream. When she entered the Mississippi, she 
encountered the great earthquake that played such havoc 
with that region, and even forced the current of the 

— 130 — 

steamboats on Mississippi up-stream for a short time. Bradbury, the 
Rivers 6616 ™ distinguished English naturalist, was a passenger aboard 
the "New Orleans" during this trip, and he wrote an 
interesting account of his experiences during the earth- 
quake. Following the successful voyage of the "New 
Orleans," other steamboats were built, and regular lines 
of steamboat travel were put in operation between New 
Orleans and points on the Ohio river. 

The first steamboat to reach St. Louis was the "Zeb- 
ulon M. Pike," which landed at the foot of Market street, 
on August 2, 1817. All the inhabitants gathered at the 
wharf to welcome the strange visitor, among them a 
group of Indians. As the boat approached, the glare 
of the furnaces and the volume of smoke filled the 
Indians with terror, and they fled to the high ground in 
the rear of the town. They thought it some supernatural, 
flame-breathing monster, because it could make head- 
way against the current of the river, without aid of 
oar or sail. 

In May, 1819, the first steamboat entered the Mis- 
souri river. It was the "Independence," and she reached 
Franklin after steaming for thirteen days. She extended 
the trip to Old Chariton, and then returned to St. Louis. 
As the "Independence" came out of the Missouri river, 
on her return trip, she passed a fleet of four steamboats 
under command of Major S. H. Long, bound up the 
Missouri on a scientific expedition for the United States 
government. These boats were the "Western Engineer," 
the "Thomas Jefferson," "R. M. Johnson," and the 
"Expedition." The steam escape pipe of the "Western 
Engineer" was shaped like a huge serpent coiled on the 
bow of the boat in an attitude of springing, and the 

— 131 

steam, hissing from its fiery mouth, filled the Indian 
beholders with consternation, as the boat proceeded 
up-stream. They thought the Great Spirit was angry, 
and had sent this monster to chastise them. 

These steamboats were the forerunners of the great 
fleet of vessels that soon sped up and down the Mis- 
sissippi and the Missouri rivers, transporting freight and 
passengers throughout the region that a few years 
before had been a wilderness. Timothy Flint, the mis- 
sionary, still traveling throughout the West, has well 
described the effects of the change : 

"St. Louis is a kind of central point in this immense 
valley. From this port, outfits are constantly setting out 
for the military posts, and to the remotest regions 
to trade for furs. Boats are also constantly ascend- 
ing to the lead mine districts on the upper Mississippi. 
From our boat, as we lay in the harbor of St. Louis, we 
could see "The Mandan," as the name of a boat bound far 
up the Missouri. Another was upward bound for Prairie 
du Chien, and the Falls of St. Anthony ; another for the 
highest points of the Illinois ; another for the Arkansas ; 
and "The Gumbo" for Natchez and New Orleans. 

Consider that the Lakes are wedded to the ocean by 
the New York canal. The Illinois will shortly be with 
Chicago and Michigan; for it is, during a little while in 
the Spring, partially so by nature. The union of the 
Ohio with the Lakes, on the one hand, and with the tide 
waters of Virginia, on the other, is not only contemplated, 
but the labor to effect it is commenced. When these 
contemplated canals are completed, certainly no country 
in the world can equal ours in the number, convenience, 
and extent of its internal water communications. 

Steamboats on 
tlie Western 

— 132 — 

steamboats on The advantage of steamboats, great as it is every- 

tae Western , , , • , , • ,, • 

Rivers where, can nowhere be appreciated as in this country. 

The distant points of the Ohio and Mississippi used to 
be separated from New Orleans by an internal obstruc- 
tion, far more formidable in the passing than the 
Atlantic. If I may use a hard word, they are now 
brought into juxtaposition. To feel what an invention 
this is for these regions, one must have seen and felt, as 
I have seen and felt, the difficulty and danger of forcing 
a boat against the current of these mighty rivers, on 
which a progress of ten miles in a day is a good one. 
Indeed, those huge and unwieldy boats, the barges in 
which a great proportion of the articles from New 
Orleans used to be transported to the upper country, 
required twenty or thirty hands to work them. I have 
seen them, day after day, on the lower portions of the 
Mississippi, where there was no other way of working 
them up than carrying out a cable half a mile in length, 
in advance of the barge, and fastening it to a tree. The 
hands on board then draw it up to the tree. While this 
is transacting, another yawl, still in advance of that, 
has ascended to a higher tree, and made another cable 
fast to it, to be ready to be drawn upon, as soon as the 
first is coiled. This is the most dangerous and fatiguing 
way of all, and six miles advance in a day is good 

It is now refreshing, and imparts a feeling of energy 
and power to the beholder, to see a large and beautiful 
steamboat scudding up the eddies, as though on the 
wing; and when she has run out the eddy, strike the 
current. The foam bursts in a sheet quite over the 
deck. She quivers for a moment with the concussion; 

— 133 — 

and then, as though she had collected her energy, and steamboats on 

• , , , t , ,, i tlie Western 

vanquished her enemy, she resumes her stately march, Rivers 
and mounts against the current, five or six miles an 
hour. I have traveled in this way for days together, 
more than a hundred miles in a day, against the current 
of the Mississippi. The difficulty of ascending used 
to be the only circumstance of a voyage that was dreaded 
in the anticipation. This difficulty now disappears. A 
family in Pittsburg wishes to make a social visit to a 
kindred family of Red River. The trip is but two thou- 
sand miles. They all go together, servants, baggage or 
"plunder," as the phrase is, to any amount. In twelve 
days they reach the point proposed. Even the return is 
but a short voyage. Surely the people of this country 
will have to resist strong temptations, if they do not 
become a social people. You are invited to a breakfast 
at seventy miles distance. You go on board the passing 
steamboat, and awake in the morning in season for your 
appointment. The day will probably come when the 
inhabitants of the warm and sickly regions of the lower 
points of the Mississippi will take their periodical migra- 
tions to the north, with the geese and swans of the Gulf, 
and with them return in the winter. 

A sea voyage, after all that can be said in its favor, 
is a very different thing from this. The barren and 
boundless expanse of waters soon tires upon every eye 
but a seaman's. I say nothing of fastening tables, and 
holding fast to beds, or inability to write or to cook. I 
leave out of sight sea-sickness, and the danger of 
descending to those sea-green caves of which poetry has 
so much to say. Here you are always near the shore, 
always see the green earth, can always eat, write, and 

— 134 — 

steamboats on sleep undisturbed. You can always obtain cream, fowls, 
^ e ^ estern vegetables, fruit, wild game, and to my mind there is no 
kind of comparison between the comforts and discom- 
forts of a sea and a river voyage. 

A stranger to this mode of traveling would find it 
difficult to describe his impressions upon first descend- 
ing the Mississippi in one of the better steamboats. He 
contemplates the prodigious establishment, with all its 
fittings of deck, common, and ladies' cabin apartments. 
Over head, about him and below him, all is life and 
movement. He sees its splendid cabin, richly carpeted ; 
its finishings of mahogany ; its mirrors and fine furni- 
ture ; its bar room, and sliding tables, to which eighty 
passengers can sit down with comfort. The fare is 
sumptuous, and every thing is in a style of splendor, 
order, quiet, and regularity, far exceeding that of taverns 
in general. You read, you converse, you walk, you sleep, 
as you choose ; for custom has prescribed that every 
thing shall be sans ceremony. The varied and verdant 
scenery shifts around you. The trees, the green islands, 
have an appearance, as by enchantment, of moving by 
you. The river fowl, with their white and extended lines, 
are wheeling their flight above you. The sky is bright. 
The river is dotted with boats above you, beside, and 
below you. You hear the echo of their bugles reverberat- 
ing from the woods. Behind the wooded point, you see 
the ascending column of smoke, rising above the trees, 
which announces that another steamboat is approaching 
you. This moving pageant glides through a narrow 
passage between the main shore and an island, thick set 
with young cottonwoods, so even, so regular and beauti- 
ful that they seem to have been planted for a pleasure 

the Western 

— 135 — 

ground. As you shoot out again into the broad steamboats on 
stream, you come in view of a plantation, with all its 
busy and cheerful accompaniments. At other times you 
are sweeping along for many leagues together, where 
either shore is a boundless and pathless wilderness. And 
the contrast, which is thus so strongly forced upon the 
mind, of the highest improvements and the latest inven- 
tion of art, with the most lonely aspect of a grand but 
desolate nature — the most striking and complete assem- 
blage of splendor and comfort, the cheerfulness of a 
floating hotel, which carries, perhaps, two hundred 
guests, through a wild and uninhabited forest, one hun- 
dred miles in width, the abode only of owls, bears, and 
noxious animals — this strong contrast produces, to me at 
least, something of the same pleasant sensation that is 
produced by lying down to sleep with the rain pouring 
on the roof, immediately over head. 



MEMORABLE event in the history of old 
St. Louis was the visit of Marquis de 
Lafayette, in 1825. No better account of this 
visit, or of life in St. Louis as Lafayette 
must have seen it, can be found than the 
following, taken from the "Personal Recollections" of 
John F. Darby : 

"In order to understand the subject properly, it is but 
right to give a short statement of the condition of the 
town and affairs at that time. There was no wharf in 
front of the city. At the foot of Market street, and 
again at the foot of what was then called Oak street, 
now Morgan street, were the only two landings in the 
city. From a short distance north of Market street all 
the way up to Morgan street the primitive bluffs of the 
Mississippi rose up in a state of nature, to the height 
of twenty feet, and in some places more; as the French 
called it, les ecores du Mississippy,' the abrupt wall or 
perpendicular bank of the Mississippi River. Seventh 
street was the western limit of the city, beyond which 
were the fences of Judge John B. Lucas, Major Christy, 

— 137 — 

and others, enclosing pastures, meadows, etc. The Court- Lafayette's 

House square was entirely vacant, except a pillory and L ^ t0 ' 

whipping post in the center, on which malefactors, 

rogues and evil doers, not sentenced to be hanged, were 

whipped with a raw cowhide on their bare backs by the 

sheriff of the county, who in each particular case was 

sworn by the clerk of the court 'to lay on the lashes to 

the best of his skill and ability, so help him God.' Market 

street only extended to Eighth street ; all beyond that to 

the west was Chouteau's pond, woods, hazel brush, etc. 

All the space between Market street and Washington 

avenue and Fourth and Fifth streets was unimproved; 

no houses, no enclosures ; all in a state of nature ; no 

grading, no paving. 

"At that time the city of St. Louis had only been 
incorporated a little more than a year. Dr. William Carr 
Lane was mayor. He was a man of fine personal appear- 
ance, indeed ; and was, besides, an accomplished scholar, 
of the most noble and generous impulses, and of pleas- 
ing and winning manners and address. 

"The seat of government of the State of Missouri was 
then located at St. Charles, and Frederick Bates was 
governor. As there was no executive mansion at St. 
Charles, when the Legislature was not in session, Gov- 
ernor Bates stayed mostly at home on his farm, up in 
Bonhomme, on the bluffs of the Missouri river, in St. 
Louis County, about five miles above St. Charles. Dur- 
ing his absence from the seat of government, Governor 
Bates would leave the executive department of the State 
in the hands of his secretary of state, Hamilton Rowan 
Gamble. Governor Bates would go over to St. Charles 
every week, and stay a day or so, as business required. 

— 138 — 

Lafayette's When the city authorities found that General Lafayette 

Louis t0 St was aD0Ut t0 V1S1 ^ St. Louis, they, in those primitive days 

of honest municipal governments, began to doubt their 

authority to appropriate money from the treasury to 

entertain their visitor. 

"Dr. William Carr Lane, the mayor, in this emergency 
took his horse and rode all the way out to Gov. Bates's 
farm, more than twenty miles from St. Louis, to beg 
the governor to come into town and receive Gen. 
Lafayette, the expectation being that some of the mon- 
eyed men would advance the funds with which to enter- 
tain the general, and that, if the governor would take 
part, they would afterwards get the state to make an 
appropriation to cover the expense of the entertainment. 

"Gov. Frederick Bates refused to have anything to 
do with the matter. He said the state had made no 
appropriation to entertain Gen. Lafayette, and that he 
would take no part in any proceeding of any kind unless 
there had been money enough provided to entertain 
him in a manner becoming the dignity and character of 
the State. 

"Dr. William Carr Lane told the writer hereof that 
he returned from the visit to Gov. Bates despondent, 
disheartened and almost discouraged. But something 
must be done, and that quickly. His Honor, the mayor, 
went around and saw the aldermen, Joseph Charless, 
Archibald Gamble, Henry Von Phul, Marie P. Leduc, 
William H. Savage, and others. These gentlemen 
decided that they would take from the city treasury so 
much money as was necessary to entertain Gen. 
Lafayette, and, if there was any objection made, they 
would join together and refund the same. That worthy 


— 139 — 

and good man, Dr. William Carr Lane, informed me Lafayette's 
afterwards — for we talked upon the subject of Gen. L *"* s t0 
Lafayette's visit hundreds of times afterwards — that the 
whole expense of entertaining the distinguished guest 
to the city was exactly thirty-seven dollars. The people 
all seemed to acquiesce in the expenditure, although 
there was no authority in the charter. Indeed, these 
worthy officials of the city government economized and 
managed to the best advantage, the efficient, active and 
energetic mayor taking the lead. They went to Major 
Pierre Chouteau and engaged his house as the quarters 
of Gen. Lafayette. Major Chouteau was a man of great 
wealth, and as generous as he was rich, and granted the 
use of his house, costly, elegantly and richly furnished 
as it was, as the headquarters of Gen. Lafayette. Here 
apartments were prepared for the general, free of 
expense. At that early day there were no hacks or 
carriages in St. Louis, and the next move was to get a 
conveyance to take the expected guest from the steam- 
boat to the quarters thus provided for him. Major 
Thomas Biddle, paymaster in the United States Army, 
brother of Nicholas Biddle, at that time president of the 
United States Bank, had a barouche and two white 
horses ; and Judge James H. Peck, of the United States 
District Court, had a barouche and two white horses. 
Major Biddle was kind enough to lend his barouche and 
horses for the occasion, and Judge Peck was so obliging 
as to lend his two white horses to the city authorities 
to convey the great man from the steamboat to his 
quarters. The proper committee of reception had been 
appointed on the part of the Board of Aldermen, desig- 
nated by ribbons worn through the buttonholes in the 
lapels of their coats. Sullivan Blood, then town con- 

— 140 — 

Lafayette's stable, had been appointed grand marshal of the day, 
Louis *° St ' w ^ J onn Simonds, Jr., and John K. Walker, assistant 
marshals. The arrangements were now all complete to 
receive and welcome Gen. Lafayette. 

The people of the whole city began to assemble at the 
foot of Market street on the 29th day of April, 1825, and 
shortly after nine o'clock in the morning the steamboat 
Natchez was seen down the river, in the Cahokia Bend, 
with colors flying. It took but a few minutes for the boat 
to reach the foot of Market street. The crowd was great ; 
old and young, men, women and children, white and 
black, had assembled together, and when the boat touched 
the shore there was considerable cheering. As soon as 
the planks had been run out from the boat to the shore, 
Gen. Lafayette came on shore, where he was met by and 
introduced to the mayor, William Carr Lane. The 
mayor had his address of welcome written out, and com- 
menced to read it to the distinguished visitor. The 
mayor's voice was low ; and, although it was a fine piece 
of composition, the noise and confusion were so great 
that very few persons could hear it. To this address 
the eminent visitor replied in appropriate terms. The 
mayor was surrounded with his aldermen and committee 
of reception. There was no military party or power 
present at the reception, and it was almost impossible 
for the marshal to keep order in the crowd. 

"Amongst the outskirts of the multitude was a butcher 
by the name of Roth — Jacob Roth; he rode a sorrel 
horse with a long tail, the hair of which had been cut 
square off at the end. At that period most of the people 
of the town kept their own cows, and the cattle ranged 
out on the prairie and came home at night to the domicile 

— 141 — 

of the respective owners. This man Roth had been Lafayette's 

indicted in the Circuit Court for stealing the people's Lo ^ ia 

cows and making beef of them, which in many instances 

he would sell to the real owners. On the occasion of 

the reception of Lafayette, Roth was very greasy from 

the handling of meats, and he held in his hand a greasy 

whip, with which he was accustomed to drive cattle. 

So soon as Gen. Lafayette had replied to the address of 

welcome made by Mayor William Carr Lane, Jacob Roth 

jumped off his horse and ran up to Lafayette, saying, as 

loud as he could shout, 'Whooraw for liberty ! Old fellow, 

just give us your hand. Whooraw for liberty ! Hand 

out your paw, old fellow ; just give us your hand. How 

are you?' — and seizing Lafayette by the hand he shook 

it violently. 

"Just at that moment one of the committeemen, who 
had imbibed considerable, seeing the butcher Roth, in 
his greasy plight, shaking hands with Lafayette so 
violently, called out to him, and said : 'Go 'way from 
there, I tell you! You stole a cow.' To this Roth 
replied, 'I'm as good as you are, you old rascal, 
if I did steal a cow.' The same inebriated committee- 
man was afraid Lafayette would fall into bad company ; 
so he went up to the distinguished visitor and took 
him by the arm, and pointing to Jacob Roth, said, 'Don't 
you associate with that fellow ! He stole a cow !' 

"The barouche with the four white horses was now 
brought into requisition. Gen. Lafayette was assisted 
into the carriage; the mayor, William Carr Lane, was 
seated by his side on the back seat, and Col. Auguste 
Chouteau and Stephen Hempstead, an old Revolutionary 
soldier, originally from Connecticut, who had fought with 

— 142 — 

Visit to St. 

Lafayette in the War of the Revolution, took the front 
seat. These four filled the carriage. The horses were 
balky and at first would not pull, never having been 
worked together before. After some delay, the vehicle 
was driven up to the quarters prepared for Gen. Lafayette 
at Major Pierre Chouteau's elegant mansion, where the 
distinguished guest was to receive company. The great 
body of the people followed on foot behind the carriage. 
The horse troop of Capt. Archibald Gamble, which, in the 
meantime, had formed and taken position on Main street 
in front of Col. Auguste Chouteau's residence, more than 
a square from the reception at the foot of Market street, 
now joined in the procession in the rear of the great 
body of people walking behind the carriage, and pro- 
ceeded up Main street to Major Chouteau's mansion. 
All the men from Capt. Gamble's company dismounted 
from their horses, getting some boys to hold them, 
formed into line on foot, and with drawn swords marched 
on to the piazza of the building, where they formed into 
single line, when Gen. Lafayette was brought, on the 
arm of the mayor, and introduced to them. After the 
military reception, Gen. Lafayette took some gentleman 
by the arm and marched along in front of the line, and 
was introduced to each member of the troop separately 
by name, and when so introduced shook hands with every 
individual. The members of the company then with- 

"There was then living in St. Louis an old Frenchman 
by the name of Alexander Bellissime. He was com- 
monly called 'Old Eleckzan.' He was a very old man, 
and had lived in St. Louis many years, keeping a tavern 
on Second street, on the west side, between Mvrtle and 

— 143 — 

Spruce streets. He had been one of Lafayette's soldiers Lafayette's 
in the Revolutionary War, had come with him from Louis 
France, and had helped to fight for American liberty. 
He had been shot through the shoulder and had been left 
for dead upon the battle field at Yorktown. But he had 
recovered, and had crawled out from the dead and 
wounded upon that historic field of human gore, and had, 
with limping gait and shattered frame, many years 
before, made his way from the East to St. Louis, where 
he met a French population, and where he could frater- 
nize with a people who were consonant in feeling, in 
notions of life, in sympathy, in social intercourse, and 
religion. As soon as General Lafayette had withdrawn 
from his presentation to the military troop of Captain 
Gamble, Alexander Bellissime presented himself before 
him, and asked the general if he knew him. Lafayette 
paused, looked at him, and scrutinized him closely, and 
then replied that he did not. Mr. Bellissime then told 
the general who he was, and related some incident which 
happened on board the ship as they were coming from 
France, which Lafayette remembered, and thus brought 
him to mind. At this the two old soldiers rushed into 
each other's arms, embraced and hugged each other 
warmly, and shed tears of joy most profusely. The man 
of world-wide fame and renown pressing to his bosom 
the war-worn veteran who had contributed so much to 
his greatness and glory, had a most touching effect upon 
all present, and there was not a dry eye in the room. 

"After the distinguished visitor had received a great 
many calls, he was taken in the barouche, now drawn by 
two horses only, and with some of the gentlemen in 
attendance driven upon the hill and around the town to 

— 144 — 

Lafayette's see the city. It so happened that Captain David B. Hill, 
Louis t0 ' w ^° was comman der of a militia company, had his 

men out on parade on the green Court House square, 

then unimproved. 

"Captain David B. Hill was a carpenter and builder. 
He was a man of singular peculiarities. He died in St. 
Louis about the year 1873, at the advanced age of eighty- 
four years. He wore colored spectacles with side glasses, 
was addicted to the habit of taking snuff in immoderate 
quantities. He spoke with a whining accent through his 
nose. As soon as Captain Hill saw General Lafayette 
approaching in the barouche, he became very much 
excited, and began to take snuff. 'Gentlemen,' said he, 
'General Lafayette, the great apostle of liberty, is coming. 
You must prepare to salute General Lafayette, the great 
apostle of liberty (taking more snuff). Attention com- 
pany ! All you in roundabouts, or short-tailed coats, take 
the rear rank. All you with long-tailed coats take the 
front rank.' The captain paused to take a fresh supply 
of snuff into his nasal organ. 'Now,' said the com- 
mander of the company, 'all those having sticks, laths, 
and umbrellas in the front rank, exchange them with 
those who have guns in the rear rank.' Just then 
Robert N. Moore, commonly called 'Big Bob Moore,' a 
noted individual about town, called out to Captain Hill, 
and said, 'Capting ! Capting ! I say, Cooney Fox is prim- 
ing his gun with brandy.' 'I'll be consarned,' said Cap- 
tain Hill, 'if it isn't a scandalous shame, to be guilty of 
such conduct right in the presence of General Lafayette, 
at the most important period of a man's whole life, when 
about to salute General Lafayette. If it warn't for the 

— 145 — 

presence of General Lafayette, the great apostle of lib- Lafayette's 
erty, I'd put you under arrest immediately. Louis 

"By this time the general had alighted from the carri- 
age, and walked up in front of Captain David B. Hill's 
company, when the captain ordered the company to 
'present arms ;' after which the visitor withdrew and 
entered his carriage. It may be supposed that in all the 
wars in which General Lafayette had been engaged, he 
had never met or encountered a more Falstaffian military 
organization. This much is due to Captain David B. 
Hill's military genius, as showing his ready resource of 
mind in case of an emergency. It is proper to state that 
Capt. David B. Hill had military taste, and that he after- 
wards organized a fine military company of volunteers, 
elegantly uniformed, which he called the 'Marions,' in 
honor of the distinguished revolutionary patriot, which 
he took great pride in commanding, and which he paraded 
on the Fourth of July and other public occasions. This 
independent company of Captain Hill's some mischievous 
persons nicknamed Captain Davy Hill's 'Mary Anns,' by 
which name they were generally known and called. 

"General Lafayette got into the carriage and was 
driven to the Freemason's lodge, where he was duly 
received as an honorary member. From thence he was 
driven back to his quarters where he received calls and 
visits until four o'clock, when he was most sumptuously 
and elegantly entertained with a fine dinner at which 
were all the officials and prominent citizens of the town. 

"In the evening a splendid ball was given in honor 
of the man of world-wide fame, glory and distinction, at 
the City Hotel, on the corner of Vine and Third streets, 

— 146 — 

Lafayette's where all of the most elegant and accomplished people 

Louis t0 St " °f ^ ie C1 ty were assembled. 

"Gen. Lafayette, after supper at the ball, was taken 
by the committee from the ballroom to the steamboat, at 
the foot of Market street, where he slept. His baggage 
had not been removed from the boat. He was under 
engagement to meet a committee of citizens of the State 
of Illinois at the Kaskaskia landing on the Mississippi 
river, the next day at twelve o'clock, and be escorted to 
that ancient and time-honored town, at that time the cap- 
itol of that great State, and therefore could not delay. 

"The next morning, when all the inhabitants of the 
city slumbered after the exciting and festive scenes of 
the day and night before, just at the dawn of the day, the 
steamboat Natchez raised steam, pushed off into the 
current and glided down the Mississippi river, with the 
great man on board. He was not disturbed in his 
slumbers till the steamer was in the vicinity of the dilap- 
idated town of Herculaneum, almost half-way to the 
Kaskaskia landing, when he was summoned to break- 

Another incident of General Lafayette's visit is 
worth recording. Among the populace assembled to 
greet the distinguished guest was a little French boy, 
who afterwards became a famous pilot on the western 
rivers, and who recently died in St. Louis at an advanced 
age. His name was Joseph LaBarge. When Lafayette 
was being driven to the residence of M. Chouteau, hun- 
dreds of the people paid him homage by following on 
foot the route taken by his carriage. But to follow was 
not enough for little Joseph LaBarge. He broke from 
the crowd and ran to the carriage in which Lafayette 

— 147 — 

was riding. Jumping- upon the rear axle, he remained Lafayette's 
there for some time. The crowd was horrified at such Louis ° 
disrespect, but Lafayette was too great a man to be 
thus offended. Gently stroking the lad on the head he 
inquired his name. The boy replied, 'LaBarge.' 'Ah,' 
said the general, 'then we are both Frenchmen, and the 
only difference is the ending of our names.' 

"An interesting sequel to Lafayette's visit and of 
LaBarge's meeting with him occurred in St. Louis in 
1881, on the occasion of the visit of Lafayette's grandson, 
who had come to America to attend the Centennial Cele- 
bration of the Surrender of Yorktown. Captain LaBarge 
was sent for, to meet the distinguished visitor at the 
Merchants Exchange. When he was introduced, the 
grandson of Lafayette came forward, and taking 
LaBarge by both hands, looked at him a moment and 
said : 'You have seen one whom I wish it were my lot 
to have seen, and that is my revered grandfather.' He 
cordially urged the captain to come to his home, if he 
should ever visit France, and in other ways showed an 
almost affectionate interest in this individual who had 
once, though a boy, beheld the face of his distinguished 



i LJRC fG the Id Wai 

ander EL ] a reg t of 1 tis- 

roog of - arfn] 

2d in the < - I 


a- three 1 - - ind traveled more 

than : : - - ber Un ier : - I srs : 

- start from the mouth of the 
I in set oat from Santa Fe 

gh the enemy's 
He fought I titles :r. the mar:': 

: m . size ::" his 

i . mri id at ( urn that | - • 

id not set 
to mc Donip;. sted his me: 

in the bundre is : - : 

supporting force. He then marched rd tc the 

- d of the American 
TJie of Doniphan's regiment 

sed of citizens :: 5: Louis 

— 149 — 

The interesting story of their part in the carr.;. a 

told - Mott Porter, in a paper contri ^ r2eaa 

to the Missouri Historical from 

which the following is compile - 

"After the Tex'_ re army imdet 

Sam Houston., had driven the Mexicans the Rio 

Grande, it found its hands full in resisting fresh incur- 

Erom Mexico. The northern ai 
the State of Texas., through which ran the 

I ift mq rote rte I I the great distress of I rs, 

many of them St. Louisans, whose great c t 
mule wagons were journeying in oc ing 

nurr. er the plains to Santa Fe. To protect the 

traders and to follow out a plan of campaign determined 
Polk ordered General Kearny I raise not 
er three t'. mteers itl I & reg- 

ulars then stationed at Fort Leavenworth, would form a 
column to be k: the "Army ; 

small force was to cross the plains and take pos 
ta re. as a center of operations 

'. the governcr : Miss \ nri to furnish 
one thousand men. A ba two corn- 

par. V- and the re -". : 

levy as mounted riflemei governcr 

uis County (which included the city) to fun. 
art: ad the northern river counties t: farnif 


jt Meriwether L irk, a graduate of T " 

Point, and a veteran of both the War of 1812 and 
Black Hawk War, undertook to raise the two bal 

a call publi- 
the first young men of the town volunteere 


— 150 — 

Battery "A" being influenced in some degree by the traders' stories 
:ican Q £ f a k u i ous we alth to be gained in the Mexican country. 
The meeting of the recruits was held on May 28, 1846, 
in the office of a justice of the peace over a blacksmith's 
shop on Third street, between Pine and Olive. Here was 
organized "Battery 'A,' Missouri Light Artillery," which 
became the corps d' 'elite of the expedition. 

On June 13, 1846, a crowd of citizens assembled on 
the Levee to see the men of Battery "A," one hundred and 
fifty strong, embark with their horses and baggage 
on the steamboat for the trip up the Missouri river. 
At Fort Leavenworth the artillerymen were mustered 
into the United States service, but they could not con- 
tinue their journey until the arrival of their guns from 
Pittsburg. Meanwhile the departure, every day or so, 
of long trains of transport wagons loaded with pro- 
visions, and under orders to push on as rapidly as pos- 
sible, made the warriors impatient and despondent. 
Another distressing circumstances was the illness of Cap- 
tain Weightman, who, it was feared, would have to be 
left at the fort. 

The long overland journey began on June 30. The 
St. Louis Flying Horse Artillery rode out of Fort Leav- 
enworth into the Great West. To each of the eight long 
brass guns, the two twelve-pound howitzers, and to the 
caissons were hitched four fine dragoon horses. As 
is usual with horses first put to artillery harness, many 
mishaps arose. On the second day out, while fording 
a stream in a narrow belt of woods, the drivers quickly 
tangled up their plunging and kicking animals, and might 
have stopped there forever, had not the cannoneers dis- 
mounted and dragged the guns by hand up the muddy 

— 151 — 

bank. It is sad to picture the condition of' those bright, Battery "A* 

in M g si cpii 

gay uniforms by this time. Then came the prairies, War 
with the grass so high and rank that it reached to the 
backs of the horses, making progress very slow. On 
the Fourth of July, they struck the Santa Fe trail, which 
was the real beginning of the monotonous march over 
the great plains. After each day's hot ride, the "city's 
pets," as the St. Louis artillerymen were dubbed by the 
country volunteers, sank quietly to sleep under the open 
sky, acquiring new vigor from the soft, healthful air of 
the prairie. Just as in every war, the city men soon 
showed that they could endure the hardships better than 
the countrymen, who were dependent on regular habits. 

The column took a route that led within sight of Pike's 
Peak ; then across the Arkansas river and over the Raton 
Range of the Rocky Mountains into New Mexico. At 
Moro Pass, the scouts, or "spies," as they were then 
termed, brought in news of a large Mexican force that 
had retreated to the Pecos Pass, where they were 
entrenching to receive the Americans. To the call of 
"boots and saddles." the men responded with alacrity ; 
and at the same time, they beheld riding into camp, Cap- 
tain Weightman, their commanding officer, who had been 
left behind at Leavenworth on account of illness. The 
men of Battery "A" greeted him with a round of cheers. 
Now they were keen for the fray. As no enemy was 
found at the defile, the troops marched unmolested into 
the town of Santa Fe, arriving on August 18. They 
covered the distance of nearly nine hundred miles across 
the plains in a month and a half. 

On Christmas Day, Colonel Doniphan, with five hun- 
dred men, including thirty artillerymen, was well on his 

— 152 — 

Battery "A" way to El Paso, escorting a large wagon train. While 
War making camp at Bracito, the spies reported that the 

enemy in large numbers was advancing for an attack. 
A Mexican lieutenant carried a black flag into the 
American lines and defiantly demanded that the com- 
manding officer go back with him. "Come and take 
him," was the reply. "A curse on you. Prepare for a 
charge !" cried the Mexican, waving the black flag and 
galloping off. Five hundred Mexican lancers began a 
charge against the left flank of the Americans, followed 
by an advance of an equal number of infantry with one 
howitzer on the right. The Americans, formed in a 
single line, coolly reserved their fire till the Mexicans 
were distant not over a hundred paces. Then they let 
them have it. The enemy's dragoons wheeled to the 
left, and in their flight made an attack on the provision 
train, but, receiving from the traders an equally warm 
reception, they scattered in all directions. The Mexican 
infantry also being driven off, our batterymen, who had 
been mourning the absence of their own guns, made a 
successful rush upon the single Mexican howitzer, and 
turned it upon the retreating "greasers." In the battle, 
thirty Mexicans were killed, but no Americans, although 
our forces were outnumbered two to one — a pretty good 
showing for a first engagement. Among the spoils were 
several kegs of rare wine, for which the soldiers found 
use ; also a quantity of ammunition and surgical instru- 
ments. The field was strewn with bodies of men and 
horses, lances, helmets, trumpets, carbines and other par- 
aphernalia. The Mexicans, on reaching El Paso, reported 
that they had been defeated by infantry, but that a large 
force of cavalry had been seen coming up to reinforce the 

— 153 — 

Americans. It appears that they mistook for horsemen Battery "A' 

rJ , ... in Mexican 

a flock of two thousand sheep in a cloud of dust behind War 
the wagon train. At El Paso, which was taken without 
opposition, the column awaited the arrival of the artillery 
which was hurrying on from Santa Fe. The soldiers 
had begun to feel the privations of the campaign. There 
was a scarcity of food, and the rags worn by the men 
would have shamed even the tattered cadets of Gascogny. 
Those beautiful uniforms, provided by the generous citi- 
zens of St. Louis, and the red flannel check shirts were 
now hanging in ribbons or were lying beside the Santa 
Fe trail, waiting to be picked by Navajos and woven into 
blankets. The man who boasted a pair of shoes was to 
be envied. A few fortunate ones had secured suits of 
buckskin from the Indians. The soldiers had received 
no pay, and they had spent all their brass buttons. 

On February 1, 1847, Battery "A," its strength * 
increased to one hundred and fifty by drafts on Fisher's 
Battery, reached El Paso with four brass six-pounders 
and two twelve-pound howitzers. With the column now 
swelled to a thousand men Colonel Doniphan crossed the 
Rio Grande. Intelligence arriving that General Wool, 
whom he had expected to join in Chihuahua, had changed 
his route, the question confronting Doniphan was whether , 
to return to Santa Fe or proceed alone into the heart of 
the enemy's country. After consulting with his officers 
he decided to proceed. On the advance there was con- 
stant danger of attack. Although the foe was retreating 
toward Sacramento, it was thought he would make a 
stand at the first good position. As a precaution against 
surprise, the wagons were used as a buffer for the advanc- 
ing troops. Just as anticipated, the spies discovered the 

— 154 — 

Battery "A" Mexicans in large force, waiting in an intrenched place. 

war exican Colonel Doniphan resolved to attack. In the words of 
an artilleryman who recorded his experiences soon after- 
ward : * * * "The trumpets sounded the trot, all of our 
troops move out from the cover of the wagons, and take 
up a position. * * * Nothing can exceed the enthusiasm 
of our men. * * * Our little battery occupies the center. 
On the right and left of it are two companies of cavalry. 
* * * As we form, the enemy's artillery opens upon us, 
and at that instant Weightman's clear voice is heard — 
'Form battery, action front, load and fire at will !' and 
our pieces ring out the death-knell of the enemy. * * * 
And here we are * * * sitting on our horses dodging 
Mexican balls as they come humming through our ranks, 
first striking the ground about midway and soon becom- 
ing visible. It was surprising the skill which we soon 
obtained in this employment." 

Turning from that account let us see what the gunners 
were doing. The pieces had been posted in separate 
positions. One section, in charge of Sergeant Kennedy, 
as he himself has recently recounted to me, and acting 
under orders of Lieutenant La Beaume, crept up the side 
of a ravine and poked the nose of the gun over the brow 
of a hill, training it upon the Mexican cavalry which 
was waiting with lances poised ready for a charge. The 
gunner applied the port-fire, and, following the crash, 
the young cannoneers saw the Mexican horsemen liter- 
ally melt from their saddles. The single charge of 
canister left not a solitary lancer. Colonel Mitchell, on 
his white steed, waving his saber, led forth the Missouri 
Rangers, while just behind him followed Weightman 
with the howitzers, which, separating to the right and 

— 155 — 

left, came into action on the flanks, raking the enemy's Battery "A* 
infantry with shot and canister. The Mexican artillery ^ ar Me ' 
tried to "snake" a gun with their lassos, but they were 
overtaken and captured with the gun. The main posi- 
tion of the enemy having been taken, the remainder of 
the battery came galloping up to occupy it. The battle 
seemed over, when a masked gun of the enemy on a 
distant mountain let fall a solid shot among the Battery 
"A" drivers, knocking a saddle blanket from one of the 
mules. Two of the sixpounders were at once placed 
upon the deserted intrenchments, and by a well-directed 
fire dismounted the enemy's piece. Then followed the 
pursuit. Weightman, the gallant battery commander, 
dashed on with the cavalry toward the city. Looking 
over his shoulders, he saw his guns were not following 
him. Galloping back he shouted, "On with that battery. 
If I knew who had halted you, I'd cut him down!" The 
flying artillery thereupon lifted its wings and swooped 
onward toward the city. The Mexicans, however, or 
what was left of them, made good their escape. From 
the official account of the Battle of Sacramento, we learn 
that twelve pieces of artillery were taken. Of the troops 
engaged, the Americans had 924 and the Mexicans 4,224, 
about one to four. The enemy lost 320 killed, 560 
wounded and 72 prisoners. The Americans lost 
but one man, Major Owens, a civilian, who was in 
charge of the wagons. Among the trophies picked up 
on the field was the black flag that had been shaken by 
the impetuous Mexican in the faces of the Americans 
at Bracito." This flag is now in possession of the Mis 
souri Historical Society and may be seen on the walls of 
the Jefferson Memorial. 

— 156 — 

Battery "A" The troops of the St. Louis Legion returned by way 
in Mexican f j„j ew Orleans, and thence by river to St. Louis. A 

War ' J 

public reception of the volunteers was planned by the 
citizens of the city, and the City Council endeavored to 
appropriate money to defray the expenses of the enter- 
tainment ; but the ordinance was vetoed by Mayor Bryan 
Mullanphy, and the Council was unable to pass the 
measure over his veto. Thereupon, the enthusiastic citi- 
zens subscribed the necessary funds from their own 
purses, substituted James B. Bowlin as orator to extend 
the city's welcome to the returning heroes, the committee 
in charge even rebuked the mayor by sending him notice 
that his "presence at the reception had been dispensed 

The returning volunteers were aboard the steamboat, 
"Pride of the West," and a delegation was sent down 
the river to meet them and to time their arrival for eight 
o'clock of the morning of July 4, 1847. And we are 
assured by The Reveille that there never was a more 
glorious Fourth of July in St. Louis — glorious in its 
atmospheric splendor, and in the return from the field of 
those sons of Missouri whose deeds awakened every- 
where gratitude and admiration. Bells made joyous 
music throughout the morning. Cannons thundered vol- 
leys of applause upon the air. Citizens were abroad in 
crowds. Military organization and fire companies made 
the streets gay with bands of music and bright uniforms. 
As the heroes disembarked and marched to the Planters 
Hotel, the shouts of the citizens acclaimed their welcome, 
even before it was officially pronounced by Judge Bowlin. 
The address of welcome finished, the procession was 
reformed and proceeded to Lucas' Grove where the ora- 
tor of the day, the great Colonel Thomas H. Benton, 

— 157 — 

addressed the troops in terms of high praise of their Battery "A' 
exploit, interspersed with high praise of Benton himself. iu Mexican 
In characteristic Bentonian style, the address closed with 
this peroration : 

"I have said you have made your long expedition 
without government orders, and so, indeed, you did. 
You received no orders from your government; but, 
without knowing it, you were fulfilling its orders — orders 
which never reached you. Happy the soldier who exe- 
cutes the command of his government; happier still he 
who anticipates command, and does what is wanted 
before he is bid. 

"As far back as June, 1846, when a separate expedi- 
tion to Chihuahua was first projected, I told the Presi- 
dent that it was unnecessary, that the Missouri troops 
under General Kearny would take that place, in addition 
to the conquest of New Mexico — and that he might order 
the column under General Wool to deflect to the left 
and join General Taylor, as soon as he pleased. Again ; 
when I received a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel 
Mitchell, dated in November last, and informing me 
that he was leaving Santa Fe with one hundred men to 
open communication with General Wool, I read the letter 
to the President, and told him that they would do it. 
And again : when we heard that Colonel Doniphan, with 
a thousand men, after curbing the Navajos, was turning 
down towards the south and threatening the ancient 
capitol, I told him they would take it. In short my 
confidence in Missouri enterprise, courage and skill was 
boundless. My promises were boundless. Your perform- 
ance has been boundless. And now let boundless honor 
and joy salute, as it does, your return to the soil of your 
State and to the bosoms of your families." 

* dJWr ""\>i*S5fJ.».=4S 




HE year 1849 was a period of disaster to the 
growing city that Laclede had founded, for 
in that year it was visited by both fire and 

The historic. "Great Fire" of St. Louis 
began at 10 o'clock on the night of May 17, 1849, and 
burned fiercely until morning. When at last it had spent 
its fury, twenty-three steamboats and three barges, with 
their cargoes had been destroyed, and, in addition, the 
flames had consumed the buildings and other property 
situated upon fifteen business blocks extending from 
Locust to Elm street along the river front. The property 
loss was great, variously estimated at from three to six 
million dollars. The fire originated on the steamboat 
"White Cloud," which was tied to the wharf between 
Wash and Cherry streets. On either side of the "White 
Cloud" were the "Endors" and the "Edward Bates." All 
three boats were soon in flames. In an effort to stop 
the conflagration, some one cut the moorings of the 
"Bates," and set her adrift. As the current carried 


— 159 — 

her down stream, a strong- wind from the northeast a Year of 
drove her close in shore, and in her course she spread Disaster3 
the conflagration along the whole levee. As the boats 
burned, their hemp cables parted, and within half an 
hour the river presented the terrifying spectacle of a 
fleet of burning vessels drifting slowly along shore, with 
a furious gale driving sparks and flames into the build- 
ings adjacent to the river. Early next morning the 
heroic efforts of the citizens had subdued the conflagra- 
tion. But the property loss seriously crippled the busi- 
ness of the city for years. When the work of recon- 
struction began, the property owners along Main street 
(now First street), by petition/widened that thoroughfare, 
which before was as narrow as Commercial Alley now is. 


The disaster of the fire was closely followed by 
the scourge of cholera that descended upon the city 
in the same year. In the late autumn of 1848, the 
plague that had devastated Europe was brought to New 
Orleans, and soon made its appearance in St. Louis. 
There were many deaths among her citizens, caused by 
the dreaded disease which baffled the skill of her physi- 
cians ; but, at the coming of winter, the plague subsided. 
On the approach of the spring of 1849, the cholera broke 
out in the cities along the seaboard. Emigrants and 
refugees crowded the boats bound upstream, fleeing 
from the epidemic that was sweeping over the States 
to the southward, and thus was brought the plague 
again to St. Louis. Day by day, and week by week, the 
death rate increased alarmingly. The doctors disagreed 
as to the proper methods of treatment. Most of the muni- 

— 160 — 

a Year of cipal officials fled from the city, and left the desolating 
pestilence to attack its victims unopposed by any meas- 
ure of sanitation. In the hours of anguish and desola- 
tion, when death was claiming its daily victims by the 
hundreds, brave and generous-hearted citizens assembled 
in mass meeting, and a Committee of Public Health was 
chosen to take measures for arresting the epidemic. 
School houses were converted into hospitals. Active and 
J stringent measures of sanitation were enforced, and by 
> the coming of August the plague was stamped out. 
During the months of May, June and July of that year, 
out of a population of 64,000, nearly 6,000 persons had 
died, and of that number more than 4,000 had died of 
cholera. The business of the city, crippled by the fire, 
, was for the time completely paralyzed by the plague. 

Following close upon the disastrous effects of fire 
and pestilence came the great overland movement of 
- people from the East, seeking fortunes on the Pacific 
Coast. The discovery of gold in California, in January, 
1848, soon brought about one of the greatest, most 
wonderful migrations recorded in history. Beginning 
in 3*849, it ran in full tide for many years, and St. Louis 
became a center for outfitting the caravans bound west- 
ward. The demand for means of transportation caused 
the building of many steamboats, that plied between 
St. Louis and points up the Missouri at Westport, 
I Leavenworth, Fort Kearny, and Omaha. 

The United States government sent large bodies of 
troops to distant points in the interior and to the Pacific 
coast, to protect the emigrants from the Indians, and 
to explore the entire western country in search of the 

— 161 — 

most practical railroad routes across the mountains, a Year of 
St. Louis was the chief center for the equipment of Disasters 
troops with military supplies. But this migratory move- 
ment, though beneficial to St. Louis in some degree, 
was not an unmixed blessing. Thousands of her young 
and enterprising citizens joined the throng pressing west- 
ward, and settled in the States of the West, giving 
their talents to the developments of the new common- 
wealths of their adoption, The destinies of the new 
States erected on the Pacific slope and in the Rocky 
Mountain region were for years guided by the men who 
had once claimed St. Louis and Missouri as their home. 



rijE HAVE seen that, in the early days, St. Louis 
was distinctly a French village. After 
the cession to the United States, the emi- 
gration from the East changed the language 
and customs of the community. St. Louis 
became an American city,^speaking the English tongue. 
But the great German immigration, following the revolu- 
tionary movements in Western Europe during 1848 and 
1849, brought thousands of Germans to Missouri, with 
the result that the population of St. Louis, later for a 
time, assumed distinctly German characteristics. 

The following narrative, showing the high character 
and attainments of many of those German immigrants, is 
compiled from an article contributed to the Missouri 
Historical Collections, by Mr. E. D. Kargau. 

"The first representative of this nationality in St. 
Louis, of whom we know with certainty, was Gottfried 
Duden, who arrived in St. Louis in 1824, with intention 
to become a farmer, He was a highly intelligent man 

migration to 
St. Louis 

— 163 — 

with a classical education, had occupied several import- German im- 
ant positions under the Prussian government, and had 
left his native land with the firm belief to find, under 
the western sky of the New World, the paradise he longed 
for. He purchased some land north of the Missouri 
river in Montgomery (now Warren) County, and made 
his home there. The glowing description in letters, 
pamphlets and books written by him, did not fail to 
make a deep impression in Germany, where he was well 
known and where his statements were received with 
fullest confidence. Men, women and children, who had 
never thought of leaving their fatherland, resolved to 
emigrate, and Duden's accounts became the direct cause 
of the formation of what is now known as the "Giessner 
Emigration Society," organized in 1833, in Giessen, grand- 
duchy of Hessen. Frederick Muench and Paul Follenius 
were the prime movers, and the original plan proposed 
by the latter was the foundation of a German colony 
in Arkansas, with an administration similar to that 
of the German system. This intention was abandoned, 
we may say luckily for those interested, and Missouri 
was substituted for Arkansas. The Giessner emigrants 
arrived here in 1834, in two divisions; one under the 
leadership of Muench, the other headed by Follenius. 
Among those who came with Muench was David Goebel, 
a professor of mathematics in the City of Coburg; and 
these three may be considered the nucleus of a small 
coterie of men of letters and other attainment, who have 
done much for the improvement of this State in many 

They had wielded the pen, but had never handled the 
hoe. They had stood in the pulpit, but never behind a 

— 164 — 

German im- plow. They had lectured from the cathedral and pleaded 
st. g Louis C m c o ul "t, but had never driven an ox team. They were but 
little prepared for the hardships that were in store 
for them, but they brought with them sufficient energy 
and perseverance, diligence and frugality, to overcome 
most of the obstacles they had to encounter. They 
changed barren land into green meadows, stony acres 
into grain-growing fields and fruit-bearing orchards. 
They cultivated the soil, and did much towards making 
Missouri an agricultural, horticultural, and even a wine- 
producing State. 

Duden was an idealist, all theory and little practice, 
and when his expectations did not materialize, he 
returned to Germany; but he did not cease to praise 
the great West, especially Missouri, and to promote 
immigration into this State. Paul Follenius relinquished 
a lucrative law practice to make a home for himself and 
his descendants under a republican government ; he also 
chose the present Warren county for his domicile. The 
difference between his former vocation and mode of life, 
and that in his new surroundings would have made many 
others shrink back; but not so with him. Like his 
friend Muench, working from morning until night, he 
made his farm profitable and his home attractive; but 
the hardships of this sort of life made such an inroad 
upon his health that his friends advised him to quit the 
farm and to seek another field of action. He leased his 
property and came to St. Louis to take editorial charge 
of a German paper; but this arrangement fell through, 
so that he returned to his farm, where he afterwards 
died. Goebel found it still more difficult to accustom 
himself to the life on his farm, which he had bought in 

— 165 — 

Franklin county near the town of Washington. The German bo- 
professor of astronomy, mathematics, and geography st Loui3 
made a poor agriculturist, and soon returned to St. Louis, 
leaving his wife and children to take care of the farm. 
He found employment in the United States Land Survey 
Office in this city, as chief geometer, which place he 
occupied for many years, giving from time to time lec- 
tures in the aforesaid branches of science. 

Following Duden's advice, others settled near his 
former possessions, where the town of Dutzow was 
founded by Mr. von Bock. E. K. Angelrodt made his 
home on the south side of the Missouri in the Bonhomme 
Bottom, but came to St. Louis within a short time, pre- 
ferring city life to that in the country. He had been a 
prominent merchant, a member of the Chamber of Dep- 
uties, and as such in opposition to the government. His 
coming to America was the result of difficulties with the 
reigning powers; but strange to say, soon after his 
arrival in St. Louis he was appointed Consul for Prus- 
sia, Saxony, and other German States. Close to Angel- 
rodt's farm was that of the brothers, Henry and Alex- 
ander Kayser, who came in 1833. Henry, the older, was 
an architect and civil engineer by profession. Neither 
he nor his brother could make the farm a success. They 
sold it at a great sacrifice, and moved to St. Louis, 
where Henry opened a drawing school; later on he 
assisted in the survey of the Mississippi river, and was 
appointed City Engineer, when that office was created 
in 1839. He held the same office for fifteen years, and the 
present sewer and drainage system of St. Louis is his 

— 166 — 

German im- In William Palm, who came to St. Louis in 1835, this 

stf'iiouis ° community acquired a citizen of superior qualifications. 
A man of the finest attainments, clear judgment and 
staunch principles, he was a graduate of the Berlin 
School of Engineering, and he established in St. Louis 
the machine shops known as Palm's foundry, where were 
built the first locomotives for the Ohio and Mississippi 
and the Iron Mountain railroads. Palm organized the 
German Savings Institution, and served his fellow citi- 
zens during a number of years as presiding officer of the 
City Council. He founded the chair of mechanical engi- 
neering at Washington University with a sufficient 
endowment, and willed a legacy of thirty thousand dol- 
lars to the same institution. The commercial community 
gained a very valuable addition in Adolphus Meier, 
whose arrival dates back to 1835. Born in Bremen, next 
to Hamburg the most important German seaport, where 
he received not only a brilliant education, but a thorough 
mercantile training, he was but twenty-two years of age 
when he came to St. Louis, fully equipped for mercantile 
enterprise. He first established a hardware store, and 
soon thereafter embarked in the export business, making 
leaf tobacco and cotton a specialty, adding to this in 
course of time a cotton factory, a cotton compress plant, 
and Bessemer steel works. He planned and built, in 1848, 
a substantial road from East St. Louis (at that time 
called Illinoistown) to Belleville, for the better transpor- 
tation of coal ; and he became the chief promotor of the 
Missouri Pacific and Kansas Pacific railroads, the con- 
struction bonds of the latter of which roads he success- 
fully sold in Europe. 

— 167 — 

To the same period of immigration belong two men, German im- 
whose names have become famous in the world of ^Louis 
science, Dr. George Engelmann and Dr. Adolph Wisliz- 
enus. Both were excellent physicians, but they were 
still more celebrated for their achievements in other 
fields of science. They traveled extensively, and partici- 
pated in several expeditions for the exploration of the 
western and southwestern territories. Engelmann's 
botanical and geological work received the highest 
encomium from the savants of both hemispheres. Scien- 
tific bodies at home and abroad elected him to corres- 
ponding membership. Wislizenus was an acknowledged 
authority through his observations and writings in refer- 
ence to the meteorological, geological, and physical con- 
ditions of this country. A number of his writings were 
published by the United States Government. 

The revolutionary movements of 1848 and 1849 in 
France, Germany and Austria, resulted in a vast emigra- 
tion to the United States, the overwhelming majority 
from the different German countries. Missouri, and 
especially St. Louis, received a large share ; so that it is 
in order, therefore, to speak of it as the second period of 
German immigration into Missouri. The first period 
brought us exclusively men of learning and standing, 
which cannot be said in reference to all the later comers, 
who were divided, so to speak, into two classes, men of 
the higher culture and others with but little education. 
Physicians, lawyers, clergymen, teachers, artists, profess- 
ional men of all branches in one class ; mechanics, pea- 
sants, journeymen, and laborers of all classes formed 
the mass of the other, But all came with the intention 
to live henceforth under the 'Stars and Stripes,' to make 

— 168 — 

German im- this country their home, and become citizens of this, the 
struts t0 g reatest Republic on earth. It is significant that those 
belonging to the earlier period had, with few exceptions, 
preferred to settle in the interior of the State, and that 
those of the second period showed a decided preference 
for the city. St. Louis, as we know, bore originally an 
outspoken French character even during the first quarter 
of the century. The emigration from Ireland, Germany 
and Bohemia made the city more or less cosmopolitan. 
v The German element was in great preponderance among 
the new-comers of 1850, so that at least a part of the city 
became in a measure Germanized. The proverbial indus- 
try, patience and frugality of the German mechanic and 
laborer was the basis of their success in a foreign coun- 
try. These qualities made them well liked. They found 
employment, and gave satisfaction to their employers. 
Those of mercantile pursuits were very welcome as clerks 
in 'American business houses, and not a few of them 
became, in course of time, partners in some of the largest 
firms. Others who came here with sufficient means 
established at once a business of their own, met with suc- 
cess, and many of our most prominent firms originated 
from that period. This was particularly the case in the 
wholesale grocery, the flour and milling, the grain, 
produce and commission branches. The industrial field 
was by no means neglected. The beginning was, x in the 
most cases, very modest and small, but perseverance and 
integrity found sooner or later the deserved reward ; and 
it may be said that almost every industrial pursuit has 
these many years been well represented by German firms. 
The nationality has furnished many presidents, vice- 
presidents and directors of the Merchants Exchange, and 

— 169 — 

the Cotton Exchange, and numerous bank presidents German im- 
and cashiers of the highest ability. Likewise in the stilus t0 
insurance line, and in the commercial community at 
large are found a large number of prominent German 
names. The medical profession of St. Louis gained 
some of its most distinguished representatives from the 
ranks of German physicians. The foundation of our 
Academy of Science was the meritorious work of Dr. 
Engelman, senior, and of his lifelong friend and col- 
league, Wislizenus ; and several other organizations of 
similar character owe their existence to German citizens 
of St. Louis. 

The "Forty-eighters," which name was given to those 
whose participation in the revolution of '48 and j!9 had 
compelled them to place the Atlantic between themselves 
and German prisons and, in some instances, the execution 
of a death sentence, included in their ranks a class of 
men who were particularly instrumental in the develop- 
ment of the German-American press. It was but natural 
that the German element commenced to take an active 
part in politics at an early day, but more so after the 
organization of the Republican party, though many have 
not severed their affiliations with the Democracy. The 
musical life in St. Louis was for a long time rather a 
primitive one," and hardly worth the name. A remarkable 
change in this respect came with the third quarter of 
the century, when German musicians and music teachers 
made this city their home, arousing a warm interest in 
musical matters in the home circles, as well as publicly. 
The organization of good church choirs, musical and 
singing societies, amateur and professional orchestras in 
our midst, must, with but few exceptions, be attributed 

— 170 — 

German im- to our German fellow-citizens ; and their achievements 
migration to j n ^[ s field of art are certainly entitled to recognition 

St. LOUIS , . ATM-n r /~v • ri 

and praise, i he influx of German immigrants, after the 
great exodus from Europe during- the first half of the 
fifties, continued in that and the next decade ; but it was 
more sporadic than before, and has become rather insig- 
nificant in the last twenty years. 

That Missouri, a slave and a border State, did remain 
in the Union instead of joining the Confederacy, was in 
a great measure due to the firm stand which its German 
population took at the outbreak of the Civil War. The 
first four regiments that went into the field from this 
State to fight for the preservation of the Union, were 
composed entirely of Germans. From the drummer boy 
in his teens to the gray-bearded veteran who had served 
in the Prussian or other German armies ; from shop, 
store, counting-room and office, rushed these adopted 
citizens to arms, to prevent the destruction of the repub- 
lic. They were unfaltering in their loyalty. In St. Louis 
and in the entire State, they sacrificed not only their 
personal interests, but also blood and life itself, as in- 
numerable gravestones in our national and other ceme- 
teries bear witness. And when the war had come to an 
end, those who had not become its victims returned to 
their firesides and to their peaceful occupations. They 
are law-abiding, orderly, industrious, and, as a class, 
duly devoted to the welfare of the community in which 
they live, and of the country at large. They have iden- 
tified, and are still identifying, themselves with all the 
interests of the Commonwealth, and the process of amal- 
gamation is so visibly progressing that the reproach of 
being clannish, not always made without some degree 
of justification, will in due time be heard no more. The 
'Stars and Stripes' float over and for us all. Our interests 
are mutual, our aims one and the same, whatever our 
nationality or that of our ancestors may be." 

H 74 9 


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