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Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
1823. On the 30th of June, a hostile meeting took place on Bloody Island, between Joshua Barton, who was district-attorney of the United States for the district of which St. Louis was the capital, and Thomas C. Rector. It was nearly sunset when the parties met, and, at the first fire, Mr. Barton fell mortally wounded.
The cause of the unfortunate meeting was a publication in the Missouri Republican of an article accusing, in unmistakable terms, General Wm. Rector, the United States Surveyor of Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, of corruption in office. General Rector was at the time in Washington, and his brother, Thomas C. Rector, hearing that Mr. Barton was the author of that serious charge, challenged him, according to the code of honor, whose rules it was imperative at that time for all gentlemen to obey, with the result that we have mentioned. Both of the families were large and influential in St. Louis, with an extensive circle of friends, and this circumstance added fuel to the already political feud existing between them. Whether the charges were true, as alleged by Mr. Barton, we cannot satisfactorily determine, and, as legal proof is wanting, it would not be consistent with justice to give utterance to any hypothesis deducible from proximate evidence. It is probable that they were deducible much from political rancor and factional license. Joshua Barton stood in the front rank of his profession, and was brother to David Barton, then senator of the United States from Missouri. He died universally lamented.
We have before alluded to some of the members of the Missouri Fur Company and other enterprising individuals who, in quest of peltry, made their lone and far voyages up the wild Missouri, and for years pursuing their precarious pursuit, lived in wigwams like the Indians, thousands of miles from civilization, and amid the wildest and fiercest tribes on the American continent. Among the number of these daring spirits, whom no danger could daunt, no obstacles arrest, and no suffering could subdue, was General Wm. Ashley. He became the head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, pushed his enterprises in the wild fastnesses of those
mountains, discovered what is known now as the Great Southern Pass, and made known to the world those distant solitudes, which had been before unexplored. Joined with him was Major Henry, equally enterprising and intrepid.
As a great sensation was created at this time from disastrous news from the Rocky Mountains, it becomes our province now to report a bloody battle which took place between the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and the Rickaree Indians, and also of a bloody battle between the Blackfeet Indians and the followers of the Missouri Fur Company. Both of the fur companies were defeated by the savages. The two following letters will best explain the difficulty and the events of the battles.
"On board the Keelboat ‘Rocky Mountain,’
"On the morning of the 2d instant I was attacked by the Rickaree Indians, which terminated seriously on my part. The particulars of which I relate with feelings of the greatest sorrow and mortification. Previous to my arrival at their towns, from information I received from some gentlemen descending the river, I apprehended danger from them, and used as much precaution as the nature of my situation would admit. Not one of the Rickaree Indians did I see until I arrived at their towns on the 30th of May. My boats were anchored about the middle of the river, and I went on shore with two men, where I met some of the principal chiefs, who pretended to be very friendly disposed toward us, and expressed a wish that I should trade with them.
"Wishing to send a party through by land from that point to the Yellow Stone river, for which purpose forty or fifty horses were necessary, and having just received an express from Major Henry, sent for the purpose of desiring me to purchase all the horses I could on my way, I consented to send some goods on shore to exchange for horses, but proposed that the chiefs of the two towns would meet me on the sand beach, where a perfect understanding should take place before the barter commenced. After a long consultation among them, they appeared at the place proposed, to hold the talk. I made them a small present, which appeared to please them very much. I then told them that I had understood that a difference had taken place between a party of their men and some of the Missouri Fur Company, that in consequence of which they might feel disposed to do me an injury, and went on to state what I supposed would be the consequences should they attempt it. They answered that the affray alluded to had caused angry feelings among them, but that those angry feelings had vanished that they then considered the white people as their friends, and would treat them as such.
"A price for horses was proposed by me and agreed to by them. The exchange therefore commenced, and on the evening of the 15th instant I had completed my purchases, and all things prepared for an early start the next morning. Late in the afternoon the principal chief of one of the towns sent me an invitation to visit him at his lodge. I hesitated for a moment, but at length concluded to accept it, as I did not wish them to know that I apprehended the least danger from them. I took
with me my interpreter, and went to the lodge of the chief, where I was treated with every appearance of friendship by him, as well as by several other chiefs who were present. The next morning, just before daybreak, I was informed that the Indians had killed one of my men, Aaron Stephens, and in all probability would attack the boats in a few minutes. Arrangements were made to receive them. My party consisted of ninety men, forty of whom were selected to accompany me to the Yellowstone River by land, and were encamped on the sand-beach in charge of the horses.
"About sunrise, the Indians commenced a heavy and well-directed fire from a line extending along the picketing of one of their towns and some broken ground adjoining, a distance of about six hundred yards. Seeing that some of the horses were killed and others wounded, as well as two or three men, I attempted to have the horses crossed to a sandbar about the middle of the river, over which the water was about three feet deep, but before any thing to effect that object could be done the fire became very destructive, aimed principally at the men on shore. I ordered the anchor weighed and the boats put to shore, but the boatmen, with but very few exceptions, were so panic-struck that they could not be got to execute the order. Two skiffs which would carry thirty men were taken ashore for the embarkation of the men, but (I suppose), from a predetermination of the men on the beach not to give way to the Indians as long as there appeared the least probability of keeping their ground, not more than five of them made use of the large skiff, two of whom were wounded, the other skiff was taken to the opposite side of the river by two men, one of them mortally wounded.
"I started the large skiff immediately back, but unfortunately one of the men that worked it was shot down, and by some means the skiff set adrift; by this time the most of the horses were killed or wounded, and about half of the men. I continued to make every effort to get the boats to shore but all in vain; although anchored not more than ninety feet out in the stream the most of the men swam to the boats; some of them when shot immediately sprang into the river and sunk. It was about fifteen minutes from the time the firing commenced until the surviving part of the men had embarked. The anchor of one of the boats was weighed, the cable of the other cut, and the boats dropped down the stream. Finding it impossible to pass the towns in the then situation of the men and boats, I directed them to be landed at the first timber, for the purpose of placing them and the men in a better situation of defence, and to pass the towns, which would have been done without much risk; but, to my great surprise and mortification, when my intentions were made known to the men I was informed that (with but few exceptions) they would desert me if I attempted it, and that however well the boats might be fortified they would not make a second attempt to pass without a large reinforcement.
"The next morning they were drawn up, and a plan, which I had during the night thought of, by which I supposed we could safely pass the towns, made known to them, but the principal part of them refused to assist me in its execution, consequently I had to fall back to where we could get some game and wait the aid of Major Henry's party at the Yellowstone River, to whom I sent an express.
"My loss in killed and wounded is as follows:
"Killed John Matthews, John Collins, Aaron Stephens, James McDaniel, Westley Piper, George Flager, Benjamin F. Sneed, James Penn, jr., John Miller, John S. Gardner, Effis Ogle, David Howard Twelve.
"Wounded Reed Gibson (since dead), Joseph Monsa, John Larrison, Abraham Ricketts, Robert Tucker, Joseph Thompson, Jacob Miller, David McClane, Hugh Glass, Auguste Dufrain, Willis (black man) Eleven.
"There are but two of the wounded in the least danger of dying, and I think with care they will recover. Never did men, in my opinion, act with more coolness and bravery than the most of those exposed on the sand-beach. A constant fire was kept up by us, but from the advantageous situation of the Indians but little execution by it was done. Five or six Indians were seen to fall on the sand-beach; I suppose they lost six or eight killed. The situation of their towns, numbers, arms, etc., makes them a formidable enemy to traders ascending the river. Their two towns are situated immediately in front of a large sand-bar, around which boats are obliged to pass, forming nearly a quarter or one-third of a circle, with a diameter of a half mile, partly covered with willows near the water's edge; at the upper part of the bar they have a breastwork made of dry timber. The ground on the opposite side of the river, about half-way round the sand-beach, is from twelve to twenty feet above the surface of the water, the balance of the way high broken hills and the river very narrow. They are about six hundred warriors; I think about three-fourths of them are armed with London fusils that carry a ball with great accuracy and force, and which they use with as much expertness as any men I ever saw handle arms; those that have not guns use bows and arrows, war-axes, etc. Knowing that some of the trading companies intended passing the Ricarees this summer, and apprehending danger, will probably bring up one or more six-pounders, I expect and hope they will arrive about the time I receive aid from above."
"FORT ATKINSON, July 3, 1823.
"DEAR SIR. How painful for me to tell, and you to hear, of the barbarity of the Indians. They continue to deceive and murder the most enterprising of our people, and if we continue to forbear, if we do not soon discover a greater spirit of resentment, this river will be discolored with our blood.
"The defeat of General Ashley by the A'Ricarees, and departure of the troops to his relief, had scarcely gone to you when an express arrived announcing the defeat of the Blackfoot Indians, near the Yellowstone River, of the Missouri Fur-Company's Yellowstone or mountain expedition, commanded by Messrs. Jones & Immell, both of whom, with five of the men, are among the slain. All of their property, to the amount of $15,000, fell into the hands of the enemy.
"To add to General Ashley's catalogue of misfortunes, the Blackfoot Indians have recently defeated a party of eleven and killed four of Major Henry's men, near his establishment at the mouth of the Yellowstone River. The express goes on to state, ‘that many circumstances (of which I will be apprised in a few days) have transpired to induce the belief that the British traders (Hudson's Bay Company) are exciting the Indians against us, cither to drive us from that quarter, or reap, with the Indians, the fruits of our labor.’
"I was in hopes that the British traders had some bounds to their rapacity; I was in hopes that during the late Indian war, in which they were so instrumental in the indiscriminate massacre of our people, that they had become completely satiated with our blood, but it appears not to have been the case. Like the greedy wolf, not yet gorged with the flesh, they guard over the bones; they ravage our fields, and are unwilling that we should glean them, although barred by the treaty of Ghent from participating in our Indian trade, they presumed and are not satisfied to do so; but, being alarmed at the individual enterprise of our people, they are exciting the Indians against them. They furnish them with the instruments of hell and a passport to heaven the instruments of death and a passport to our bosoms.
"Immell had great experience of the Indian character, but, poor fellow, with a British passport, they at last deceived him, and he fell a victim to his own credulity, and his scalp, with those of his murdered comrades, is now bleeding on its way to some of the Hudson establishments.
"Another of General Ashley's wounded men is dead, making fifteen men killed by the A'Ricarees and eleven by the Blackfoot in all, known to have been killed by the Indians within the last two or three months, twenty-six effective men; and I estimate the amount of property actually lost in the conflicts, at $20,000, besides a great number of horses, etc.
"The Ottoes, Missouris, Omahas, and Panis have been to see me already, and, as usual, profess great friendship, etc., but, with the rest of the neighboring tribes, are anxiously looking and listening to know how we (the Americans) are going to get out of this scrape.
"I am still in bad health, and almost despair of recovering during my stay here.
"I am at this moment interrupted by the arrival of an express from the military expedition, with a letter from Dr. Pilcher, whom you know is at the head of the Missouri Fur-Company on this river, in which he says, ‘I have but a moment to write. I met an express from the Mandans, bringing me very unpleasant news the flower of my business is gone. My mountaineers have been defeated, and the chiefs of the party both slain; the party were attacked by three or four hundred Blackfoot Indians, in a position on the Yellowstone River, where nothing but defeat could be expected. Jones & Immell and five men were killed. The former, it is said, fought most desperately. Jones killed two Indians, and in drawing his pistol to kill a third, he received two spears in his breast. Immell was in front; he killed one Indian and was cut to pieces. I think we lose at least $15,000. I will write you more fully between this and the Sioux.’
"Jones was a gentleman of cleverness. He was for several years a resident of St. Louis, where he has numerous friends to deplore his loss. Immell has been a long time on this river, first an officer in the United States army, since an Indian trader of some distinction; in some respects he was an extraordinary man; he was brave, uncommonly large, and of great muscular strength; when timely apprised of his danger, a host within himself. The express left the military expedition on the 1st instant, when all was well. With great respect, your most obedient servant,
"GENERAL WILLIAM CLARK,
While speaking of men whose daring instincts carried them amid the savages and their wilds, and who acted as the pioneers of civilization, and to whose hardihood their country was indebted for effectual aid in making treaties with the distant tribes of Indians, and the strong power which many of them exercised over their savage nature, we should not pass over the name of Benjamin O'Fallon without paying some deserved tribute to his many virtues and services. He was many years Indian agent of government, and in all his transactions with the various tribes his conduct was conciliatory though firm, and in his long term of public service there was no room even for envy to asperse his character.
1824. In the summer of this year the city of St. Louis was the theatre of considerable excitement. The term of Governor Alexander McNair being about to transpire, two candidates, each urging powerful claims upon the public, and each champion of their respective parties, was nominated for the executive office. They were Frederick Bates and General William Ashley. The former had already filled many high positions under both the territorial, state and the municipal authorities, among which was that of lieutenant-governor, and consequently all of the duties of the executive were familiar to him; besides, he had been long a resident in St. Louis, and was known to all classes of society and justly had their confidence. The other, by his daring intrepidity in pushing trade into the unknown wilds of the Rocky Mountains, had carried the knowledge of the United States into regions unexplored, and by his ability awed the savage denizens, and opened new fields of profitable labor to courage and enterprise. These services had invested his character with some of the rays of heroic and romantic splendor which his friends fondly hoped would attach favor and outweigh the influence which, from long residence and deserved popularity, his rival possessed. At this election for governor was also that of lieutenant-governor, members of Congress, of state Senate, House of Delegates, sheriff, and constable.
After due returns from the different parts of the state, Frederick Bates was declared duly elected, John K. Walker, sheriff, and Sullivan Blood, constable. With the other elections it is not our province in this work to meddle.
Frederick Bates enjoyed but a short time his political victory. The following year, after a few months being invested with his official dignity, he was attacked by pleurisy and died, August 1st, of the following year.
1825. It was the 28th of April of this year, that the news of the arrival of the Marquis de Lafayette at Carondelet reached St. Louis. He stayed at that village during the night, and early the next morning embarked for St. Louis, only four miles distant. Half of the city was turned out on the occasion, and as the gallant French nobleman stepped ashore from the boat, which landed opposite the old Market House, he received the applauding greeting of gratified thousands, to whom his name had been endeared by the instructive pages of history, and still more by the early reminiscences gleaned from the fireside. The name of Lafayette for many years a household word, and familiar to the lips of infancy.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when the marquis arrived in St. Louis, and he was immediately ushered into a carriage, into which he was followed by his honor the mayor, William Carr Lane, Stephen Hempstead,
an officer of the Revolution, and Colonel Auguste Chouteau, the chief in command of the pioneer band who laid the foundation of the city.
General Lafayette was at this time sixty-eight years of age, yet his step betrayed no feebleness, and his eye was still vivid with the fire of youth. He was accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, and that name, so dear to the American people, gave new warmth to the reception of the French hero, and invested him with a species of idolatry. He had likewise a small private suite accompanying him, and was attended by an escort of distinguished gentlemen who had accompanied him from the South. He was the guest of the city, and just before dinner paid a visit to General William Clark, the superintendent of Indian affairs, and was much pleased with the curiosities of an Indian museum which that gentleman had collected during his constant communication with the tribes of the Missouri and the Mississippi. In the evening there was a splendid ball given him at the Mansion House, followed by a supper.  There was a universal turnout of the élite of the city, and every social requisition called into being that might serve as auxiliary in giving evidence of grateful respect to this distinguished guest.
On the next morning the marquis left for Kaskaskia, being escorted to the boat by crowds of citizens, who cheered him again and again as the boat left the shore, and lingered a long time watching its progress as it cleaved its way on the downward course of the "Father of Waters."
In this year the first move was commenced to survey a road across the plains, that a direct trade should spring up with Mexico. In June, Major Sibley, who was one of the commissioners appointed by government, set out from St. Louis, accompanied by the surveyor, Mr. Joseph C. Brown, the secretary, Captain Gamble, with seven wagons, for the purpose of trading with the tribes of Indians on the route, and fully to survey the most direct road to Santa Fé; and this route afterward became the great highway of the Santa Fé trade.
It was June 26th, 1825, that the first Presbyterian church was consecrated by the Rev. Salmon Giddings, of St. Louis. It was the first temple which the Presbyterians had erected in the city for the purposes of worship, and it was a jubilee for the followers of that creed, when they witnessed the dedication of their church, in which they could assemble according to their religious observances. Previous to this time the meetings were held in the Circuit Court room.
After the demise of Governor Bates before his term of office had expired, there were several candidates for the executive office, among the most prominent of whom were General John Miller, Judge David Todd, William C. Carr, and Colonel Rufus Easton. The two former had some military renown, and did their country service in the war of 1812. After an exciting political campaign, in which the antecedents of all three of the candidates were thoroughly brought before the public, and were garbled, misrepresented, eulogized or idolized, as friends or enemies discoursed upon them, General Miller was elected governor, and Colonel B. H. Reeves lieutenant-governor.
1826. There was an ordinance passed by the city authorities for the
building of a court-house, which was immediately commenced; an act was also passed by Congress for the erection of an arsenal somewhere near St. Louis. Some time in 1827, the arsenal was commenced, but it was many years after before the buildings connected with it were completed. The arsenal was situated a few blocks from the river, in the southern part of the city the spot it still occupies. There was also an ordinance passed by the mayor and aldermen for the naming of the streets, and those streets were at that time baptized with the appellations by which we now know them. All their names were changed, with the exception of Market street, of those running westwardly. 
In September of this year, the jail of the town was broken open by the prisoners who were confined therein, and among the number John Brewer, who was to have been hung the day following, escaped. He had been convicted of perjury, in a capital case, and the punishment for that offence, at that period, was death; most of the other prisoners were captured, but, with the gallows as a phantom before him, he made good his escape. In that year was also organized the Missouri and Illinois Tract Society.
1827. Ordinances were passed by the mayor and aldermen for borrowing money for the erection of a market and town-house on the public square, between Market and Walnut streets, and fronting the river, which under the Spanish domination was called Place d'armes. The first market which had been erected had become entirely too small for the wants of the city. An ordinance was also passed for the grading and paving of Chestnut and Olive streets from Front street to the river, and also paving those streets from Main to Fourth; and also Vine street from Main to Front. It was during this year that the Missouri Hibernia Relief Society was organized by the enterprising and benevolent resident Irishmen of the city. The purpose of this society was "to relieve those distressed by want in their native land, and to assist those who wished to emigrate to our shores." James C. Lynch was the first president of the society, and William Pigott secretary. 
1828. The St. Louis Auxiliary American Colonization Society was formed, and the following gentlemen were its first efficient officers: President, Hon. William C. Carr; Vice-Presidents, Colonel John O'Fallon, Hon. James H. Peck, Dr. William Carr Lane, Edward Bates, Esq.; Managers, Theodore Hunt, Edward Charless, Henry S. Geyer, Charles S. Hempstead, Thomas Cohen, Robert Wash, H. L. Hoffman, John Smith, Joseph C. Laveille, Salmon Giddings, John H. Gay, John M. Peck; Corresponding Secretary, Josiah Spalding; Recording Secretary, D. Hough; Treasurer, H. Von Phul. During this year, Hugh King, a soldier in the United States army, was executed for killing the sergeant of his company.
1829. Daniel D. Page was elected mayor, and the work of grading and paving the streets progressed rapidly. Seventh street was extended to the northern boundary of the city; Fourth street was ordered to be surveyed from Market to Lombard street, and Second street was graded and paved between Olive and Vine streets. Locust street was also graded and paved, from the western side of Main street to the western side of Fourth street. In August of that year, General John Miller was again elected governor of the state, and so popular was he, even in the adverse political party, that there was no opposing candidate. Samuel Perry was elected at the same time lieutenant-governor, and achieved his political victory over his opponent by only four votes. Dr. Robert Simpson was again elected sheriff of the city, largely beating his opponent, Frederick Hyatt.
The Branch Bank of the United States was also established during this year, in St. Louis. The officers appointed to preside over the institution were Colonel John O'Fallon, president, Henry S. Coxe, cashier, George K. McGunnegle, clerk, and Thomas O. Duncan, teller. The first board of directors were William Clark, Thomas Biddle, Peter Lindell, William H. Ashley, John Mullanphy, George Collier, James Clemens, Jr., Matthew Kerr, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Edward Tracey, Samuel Perry of Potosi, and Peter Bass of Boone county. During the number of years which this institution was in existence, it had the entire confidence of the community, and was of manifest advantage to the business of the place. During the time of its being, its directors were business men and men of honor, and, unlike the banks which had previously an existence in St. Louis, it closed its career in great credit, nor were there any maledictions attached to its memory. So efficiently and correctly was it carried on, that its entire loss to the government at its winding up was only one hundred and twenty-five dollars.
1830. A bridge was erected across Mill Creek, at the intersection of Fourth and Fifth streets, and St. Louis at that time gave indications of a city fast advancing in wealth, beauty, business, and all the municipal attributes. Numerous brick-yards had been established in the lower part of the city, and brick buildings had become the fashion of the day. (See Errata 15) The frame or stone one-story cottage-houses, with their piazzas and large yards, significant of the French and Spanish time, were fast disappearing. Most of the extensive gardens, frequently occupying a whole square, in which grew delicious fruit, and on which were raised abundance of vegetables, had either lost their original owners by death, and the property become divided; or else, tempted by cupidity, some old Frenchman or Spaniard sold his habitation and his block of land, which had been granted to him gratuitously by another government, and had risen to such value that he was tempted to part with it for the fabulous price it brought. Many of the old inhabitants possessing acres in the very heart of the city, as their taxes increased, were compelled, from inability to pay, either to sell them or see them sold publicly under legal attachment. There were many cases of this nature; for many of the old French families, after the advent of the Americans, still preserved their simple mode of life, nor seemed sensible of changing with the changing circumstances around them. They gathered the fruit from the trees, and raised their vegetables, until taxes and other wants so accumulated that they were
forced every few years to lop off a slice from their grants; and their simplicity and unbusiness-like habits were ofttimes taken advantage of by the enterprising race who had settled among them, and who unscrupulously and frequently accomplished their avaricious ends.
In 1830, there was much excitement in St. Louis relative to the decisions of Judge James H. Peck, of the United States District Court, regarding some extensive land claims which some of the old French inhabitants contended had been granted to them under the Spanish domination. Judge Peck was a jurist who could only be convinced by a chain of reasoning, and very properly viewed with prejudice and suspicion all claims which were not supported by proper legal proof. The cases in question were, Auguste Chouteau and others vs. United States, and the heirs of Mackey Wherry vs. the United States. The judge, suspecting from the remoteness of the legal links that the claims were not properly supported, and that there was too much room for fraud to creep in the chasms, decided adversely to the claimants. His decisions, which were published, were models of close legal arguments, though he did not give that wide latitude to the evidence which the claims of that nature seemed in justice to require. He required something more than the face of the concession, and a proof of its genuineness. He went behind the record and inquired into the right of the lieutenant-governors in some cases to make the grants. The suspicions with which he regarded these Spanish concessions, called forth a public legal criticism from the pen of Judge Luke E. Lawless, the senior counsel for the claimants, which appeared anonymously in one of the public prints. The publisher of the sheet was immediately arrested for contempt of judicial dignity; and Judge Lawless immediately avowed his authorship in open court, contending that the publication in question was only an examination of a judicial decision, without any attempt to reflect upon official dignity. However, Judge Peck contended that the ermine had been touched by sacrilegious hands, and Judge Lawless was ordered to prison and suspended for a time from practising in that court.
In obedience to that edict, Judge Lawless went to prison accompanied by a troop of his friends, but was released after a few hours confinement by a habeas corpus. He then, in retaliation for what he considered an outrage upon his feelings and a tyrannical display of authority, went to Washington and made charges against Judge Peck before the House of Representatives. After a careful investigation of the case the impeachment was dismissed.
1831. A writer in one of the public journals of this year thus speaks of St. Louis: "Our city is improving with great rapidity. Many good houses are building, in a style worthy the most flourishing seaport towns. The arts and useful manufactures are multiplying and improving. Mills, breweries, mechanical establishments, all seem to be advancing successfully, for the good of the country, and we hope for the great profit of our enterprising and industrious fellow-citizens. The trade and navigation of this port are becoming immense. Steamboats are daily arriving and departing, from east, west, north, and south; and as this place has some decided advantages over all the ports of the Ohio River, for laying up and repairing, we have no doubt that in a few years the building and repairing of steam-engines and boats will become one of the most important
branches of St. Louis business. We have all the materials, wood and metal, in abundance, and of the best quality. Already we have a foundry which, it is hoped, will soon rival the best in Cincinnati and Pittsburg and many skilful and enterprising mechanics. A bright prospect is before us, and we look confidently to the day, and that not a distant one, when no town on the western waters will rank above St. Louis for industry, wealth, and enterprise. We hear that our worthy and active townsman, Paul Anderson, has chosen this port to lay up his splendid boat, the Uncle Sam, for the approaching season. She is a six hundred ton boat, and is said not to have a superior on the western waters."
Political excitement ran high in the city. It was the time when the fame of Jackson was at its culminating point, and his name was the political battle-cry of his friends and a target for his enemies. The following was the ticket of city candidates for that year, in St. Louis: Sheriff John K. Walker,  James C. Musick, David E. Cuyler, George M. Moore. Coroner John Bobb,  Jesse Colburn, Thomas Hobbs.
The first idea that St. Louis ever had of a railroad was from an exhibition during this year, in the old Baptist church, situated at the corner of Market and Third streets, of a miniature railroad. It consisted of a small circular track attached to a stage, on which was a small car with its miniature engine, which drove it around at the rate of seven miles per hour. The citizens regarded this as the great wonder of the day, and as the ultima thule of scientific perfection.
St. Louis underwent considerable improvements during the year. The upper part of Third street was widened, a portion of it ordered to be graded and paved, and an ordinance passed for building the Broadway market. The immigration to the city was considerable, and the population was 5,963. The Missouri Insurance Company was also incorporated, with a capital of $100,000. George Collier was its president, and the following gentlemen, directors: John Mullanphy, Peter Lindell, H. Von Phul, Wm. Hill, Thomas Biddle, Bernard Pratte, and James Clemens, Jr. John Ford was secretary of the company.
In August of this year, Bloody Island was again steeped in human blood, from a fatal duel between two citizens of high political and moral standing. Spencer Pettis was a young and promising lawyer, and the candidate for Congress of the Jackson party. He was opposed by David Barton, Esq., but unsuccessfully. Major Biddle, in a journal controversy, assailed the young political aspirant in terms so personally reflective, that Mr. Pettis, as a man of honor, felt bound to call him to an account in the manner prescribed by the bloody creed, which at that time was almost in universal observance. He challenged Major Biddle, who accepted it; and on Friday evening, August 26th, the parties met on Bloody Island.
Major Biddle was near-sighted, and, so as to neutralize the advantage which his opponent would have in consequence of his infirmity, he demanded that the distance should be but five paces. This demand was acceded to, and the two rivals took their stations at that distance. At the first fire they both fell mortally wounded. Mr. Pettis survived but
twenty-four hours, and Major Biddle but a few days. Both feeling that they had received their death-wounds, with a magnanimity which was truly chivalrous, exchanged forgiveness upon the battle-field.
On the day following the death of Mr. Spencer Pettis, a large portion of the members of the St. Louis bar assembled at the residence of Mr. Andrew Burt, to express complimentary resolutions in honor of the deceased. The committee of arrangement was Messrs. Joseph C. Laveille, Edward Dobyns, T. Andrews, John Shade, Charles Keemle, Captain J. Ruland, R. H. M'Gill, and Daniel Miller. The chairman of the meeting was Thomas H. Bentop, and Auguste Kennerly, secretary.
A few days after the fatal termination of the wound of Major Biddle, the officers stationed at Jefferson Barracks assembled to give a proper expression of their esteem for a brother officer. General Atkinson was called to the chair, and Captain H. Smith appointed secretary. A committee, consisting of Brigadier-General Leavenworth, Major Riley, Captain Palmer, Captain Harrison, and Captain Rogers, was selected, to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. The resolutions adopted were in keeping with the high-toned honor and chivalric merit of the deceased.
In consequence of the death of Mr. Pettis, there had to be another election for Congressman, and General William H. Ashley was elected.
1832. It was in the spring that a large detachment of United States troops left Jefferson Barracks under the command of Brigadier-General Atkinson, to chastise the Sauks and Foxes, who, under Black Hawk and the Prophet, had violated their treaty with the United States, by removing east of the Mississippi, and had invaded, with fire and scalping-knife, the unprotected frontier settlements of Illinois. The horrible butcheries alarmed the whole of the pioneer settlers, and they deserted their homes and removed into the thickly settled country, where they could be in safety from their barbarous foe. Thus leaving their homes and property unprotected, many of them in a distressing state from disease; and many families were in want of the common necessaries of life. In the cold, shivering hour of their distress, the inhabitants of St. Louis rallied to their rescue, and furnished assistance to comfort them in their sufferings.
A meeting of the most respectable citizens was held at the City Hall, at which Archibald Gamble, Esq., presided, and G. K. Gunnegle was appointed secretary. On motion of Henry S. Geyer, Esq., a committee of thirteen was constituted to solicit donations in money and provisions for the relief of the suffering inhabitants of the frontiers of Illinois. The gentlemen constituting the committee were D. D. Page, John Kerr, H. King, P. Powell, A. L. Mills, George Sproule, William Finney, Thomas Cohen, John Smith, J. B. Brant, A. L. Johnson, J. W. Reel, and John H. Gay.
Fortunately the Indian war was not of long duration, and the efficient generals of the United States army, aided by the energy of Governor Reynolds of Illinois, soon subdued the savages. Black Hawk and the Prophet were taken captives, and peace permanently established.
We cannot dwell longer on the difficulties with the Indians and the conditions of the peace made with them, as that portion of history is somewhat extrinsic of our narration, and should not have been touched upon had it not been somewhat connected with the history of St. Louis, by the participation of the United States troops from Jefferson Barracks,
with the current events, and generous philanthropy of its inhabitants, which prompted them to take efficient measures to relieve their suffering neighbors.
The inhabitants of St. Louis have never exhibited that apathy in politics which is often evinced in other cities of greater magnitude. The moment that the city became transferred to the United States and became peopled with Anglo-Americans, it became emphatically a political city. The cause of this was obvious. The immigration that came to the new town and settled in its precincts, was principally made up of persons of intelligence and ambitious hopes, who had forsaken their household gods, and had come to a new country to make for themselves a fortune and a name. They were persons of intelligence, ready to take whatever current would best serve to lead them on to fortune. They plunged into politics, and agitated as much as possible those waters, which were the natural reservoir of all men's opinions, and on which all eyes were fastened. They wished to be seen and known to the multitude, and launched into the element which would be more conducive to the aims and ends of their existence. The natural advantages of the city for all kinds of business pursuits and professions have been developing year by year, and have never been exhausted by the demands of immigration, as great as it has been. There has always been an opening for the enterprising and ambitious, who continued to rush to the favored locality, and knowing that politics were in many instances the open Sesame to the strongholds of national preferment and greatness, they have ever kept it in agitation, nor suffered political subjects to become stale or oblivious to the people.
Amid the seasons of political excitement which have swept over St. Louis and ruffled popular feeling, there was no time at which there was more interest manifested than when the news came from the Capitol that General Jackson had vetoed the recharter of the United States Bank. To recharter the United States Bank was the darling wish of the speculators and commercial men of the country, and even the solid, sterling business men of the Union were deluded to give it their support and countenance, from the apparent prosperity of all ramifications of business, which for a while is the natural consequence of flooding the country with a great amount of paper currency. They did not reflect that this paper currency, if thrown upon the country in such abundance that precluded the idea of redemption, gave an unhealthy expansion and deceptive appearance of thrift to every pursuit, and, like the dropsy, though enlarging the appearance, is at the same time feeding upon the vitals.
The people of St. Louis were rampant in their disappointment. They had suffered from the first Missouri Bank, the St. Louis Bank, and the Loan Office, though the latter was an institution guaranteed by the state; but the Branch Bank of the United States, since its establishment at St. Louis, had possessed the confidence of the citizens, had given them a healthful, unfluctuating currency, and they felt indignant at the act of the chief magistrate, which would produce the dissolution of an institution which, judging from their own experience, they thought had existed only for the welfare of the Union.
Immediately on the reception of the veto, there was a howl of indignation; and a meeting of the citizens of the county and city of St. Louis was called at the court-house, in July, 1832, to give public expression to
their disapprobation. Dr. William Carr Lane presided at the meeting, and James L. Murray was appointed its secretary. Resolutions were drafted strongly expressive of indignation, by a committee chosen for that purpose, and consisting of the following gentlemen: Messrs. Edward Bates, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., George Collier, Thornton Grimsley, Henry S. Geyer, and Nathan Ranney. Dr. George W. Call, and Messrs. Frederick Hyatt, Matthew Kerr, Asa Wilgus, Thomas Cohen and R. H. McGill also took an active part in the meeting.
General Jackson, however, had in St. Louis, as he had in every section of the Union, a large number of friends and admirers, who followed him with a blind confidence, and upheld with faithful diligence all his decrees; and, in order to neutralize the effect of the whig indignation meeting, they called a meeting of their partisans at the town-house, that they might publicly declare their approbation of the veto, which would be the death fiat of an institution which, from its enormous capital, would have such a controlling influence as not only to crush, at pleasure, every other moneyed institution, but would insinuate its corrupting tendencies in our congressional halls and sway the councils of the republic. Dr. Samuel Merry and Absalom Link presided at this meeting, and William Milburn was appointed secretary. The committee to draft resolutions was appointed by the chair, and consisted of the following gentlemen: Messrs. E. Dobyns, John Shade, James C. Lynch, L. Brown, B. W. Ayres, I. H. Baldwin and P. Taylor. Colonel George F. Strother made a spirited address to the meeting.
It is nearly twenty-eight years since these events took place, and the hero of New Orleans is "pillowed in his sarcophagus." Those who conscientiously opposed him at that day, although they may not have justified the dangerous precedent of differing on a constitutional question with the Supreme Court of the United States, which is the appointed guardian of the constitution yet, when a few years after the veto, they saw the rottenness of the favored institution, must acknowledge the benefits that accrued to the country by the president refusing to sign the bill for its recharter.
In August of the present year, there were three candidates for governor John Bull, Samuel C. Davis, and Daniel Dunklin. The latter, who was the Jackson candidate, was elected, and L. W. Boggs as lieutenant-governor.
During the summer, that dreadful scourge of the human race, the Asiatic cholera, visited St. Louis, swelling the number of interments in the church-yards, and carrying desolation to many a fireside, whose members would long have withstood the slow elements of corporeal decay, and would have lived long in the tender relations subsisting in the family circle.
The pestilence did not come upon St. Louis suddenly: it gave warning of its approach by invading New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the southern cities. The most efficient measures were taken to remove all unhealthful matter from the streets and to cleanse them from impurities. All was of little avail; for the direful malady nestled on the wings of the breeze, and first visited the outskirts of the city. A soldier at Jefferson Barracks was first attacked with the virulent symptoms, of the disease, and the attendant physician pronounced the case, though unwillingly, one of Asiatic cholera.
All intercourse with the military post was at once cut off, and it was fondly hoped that the pestilence might be kept from the city by careful sanitary measures. The hope was vain. In a few days it was in the heart of the city and raging with the utmost malignity. All who could leave the city, at once fled, and by this means the number of deaths was much abridged.
The population of St. Louis at that time was 6,918, including those who had left the town, and the number of deaths averaged for several days more than thirty per day; and for two weeks more, there were about twenty victims to the disease daily. It continued its ravages for a month, and then disappeared.
1833. In February an effort was made to impeach William C. Carr, one of the circuit judges, and one of the oldest inhabitants, who had come to St. Louis one month after the transfer from Spain to the United States. There is no doubt that the effort owed its origin principally to political prejudices, and the main features of the charge had no foundation in truth.
The alleged charge was that "William C. Carr is wholly unqualified for the judicial station, and ought not to hold the office of judge in the third judicial circuit court in the state of Missouri."
Such was the nature of the general charge, which consisted of fourteen specifications, all of them alleging something which disqualified him for his responsible position. The charge and the specifications were carefully examined by both houses of the legislature, and the pioneer jurist of St. Louis was acquitted.
In 1833, St. Louis first commenced the era of that prosperity which has since continued, and which has been so remarkable in the annals of city prosperity. From its foundation in 1764 to this period, its advance had been one of quiet and constant progression; but the elements of prosperity for some years had been gradually collecting in force, and gave a momentum to every department in business. It was in 1817 that the first steamboat (the General Pike) first touched its levee, and then a new era in navigation commenced. The barges and Mackinaw boats gradually disappeared, and the class of hardy boatmen termed the voyageurs began to lose their pre-eminence. The rough boats and rough boatmen had had their day, and a new order of things brought about by the magical wand of science, came at once into being. Since the first arrival of a steamboat, year by year they had increased in number, and at this time there was not a day but numbers of steamers landed at the levee, or departed for Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and the Upper and Lower Mississippi. There was also a line of stages for Vincennes, and Louisville. The time of performing the journey by coach, between St. Louis and Louisville, was three and a half days. There was also a stage line between St. Louis and Galena, and Peoria, via Springfield. There was as yet no railway to destroy the impediments of distance, and a journey through the interior of the western country, that could not be assisted by river navigation, if performed in early spring, was associated with every idea of discomfort; the horses floundering in mud-holes and probably not being able to extricate the vehicle, and then the traveler had to step out ofttimes in the very middle of the sink, which held to his legs with such quicksand pertinacity that it frequently required considerable effort to disengage
himself. Then often the rivulets had become so swollen that the horses had to ford them by swimming. The drivers of these vehicles were made of other stuff than their descendants of the present day. If they encountered a large stream of water, which, from a freshet, had swept away the bridge, or which had become so increased from frequent rains that the horses in making the passage could not reach terra firma, they immediately unloosed the harness, and mounting the passengers on the horses, in this manner gained the opposite side not regarding the soaking habiliments of the traveller with any kind of disquietude or uneasiness; they would then return for the coach and drag it through the water, after getting it half filled or more with that element, and then baling out the water pursue their journey without thinking they had encountered any obstacle outside of the ordinary routine.
There was an ordinance established in the spring of this year, appointing a weigher for the city, so that hay and stone-coal coming into the town for sale, might be weighed. The office and scales were established adjoining Market square.
In the election of this year for mayor, Dr. Samuel Merry was elected; but his election was contested upon the ground of unconstitutionality, Dr. Merry being a receiver of public moneys, which office he held under appointment of the president.
In one of the articles in the amendment of the constitution of the state, it is laid down that "no person holding an office of profit under the United States, and commissioned by the president, shall, during his continuance in said office, be eligible, appointed to, hold, or exercise any office of profit under this state."
The only question to be settled was, whether the office of mayor was an office under the state. Dr. Merry, the elected candidate, contended that it was exclusively a municipal appointment, and therefore did not come under the prohibition. However, the board of aldermen took a different view of the matter, and declared in conclave that the office of mayor, though a municipal appointment, was still an office of the state, and had many of his duties laid down in the statute enactments; and that the former incumbent, Daniel D. Page, should continue as mayor until after another election.
The case finally went to the Supreme Court, and the decision of the aldermen was sustained. It was then agreed that the president of the board of aldermen should officiate as chief executive officer until the election took place in the following autumn, when Colonel John W. Johnson was elected.
Missouri has always been cursed with a lottery system, dating from almost her early territorial existence to the present time. So as to increase the revenue of the state, and for the purpose of making certain improvements, the legislature licenses lotteries, which, though answering the purpose of revenue, yet by a plausible temptation allure the credulous to invest, in the hopes of a speedy fortune; and in many instances, and in a short time, by their nefarious system bring poverty and discord to many a hearthstone where once reigned plenty and happiness.
In 1833, there was a newspaper controversy between two well-known lottery dealers, James S. Thomas and James R. McDonald, who carried on two different lotteries. The difficulty arose from the fact that at the
preceding session of the legislature a bill had been passed, authorizing the drawing of a lottery for the purpose of creating a sum of ten thousand dollars for building a hospital for the Sisters of Charity, where they could efficiently exercise their mission of mercy prescribed by their creed, in soothing the invalid during the hours of sickness and suffering by ministering to the physical and mental wants. The commissioners appointed by the legislature had sold this lottery to James S. Thomas. In this newspaper controversy it was made to appear that the gains arising from the scheme would be immense for Mr. Thomas, and by his system of lottery-drawing untold gains would flow into his coffers by the contract.
The publication excited much interest at the time, and the suspicions of the community becoming aroused, a committee was selected to examine into the mysteries of the lottery drawing which had received the patronage of the state authorities.
The committee consisted of the following gentlemen: N. H. Ridgely, David H. Hill, George K. McGunnegle, D. Hough, Augustus Kerr, John F. Darby, and Bernard Pratte, Sr. After examining if the scheme were fraudulent, as fruit of their diligent labor they gave to the public a long and favorable statement concerning the honesty of the drawing. The following is the clause of acquittal on the ground of fraud: "Your committee then, after an attentive review of the subject, are of opinion that the charge made against this scheme, that it affords the manager an opportunity of fraudulently realizing a great and unusual proportion of profit, is not sustained." After this explanation, the public looked with additional favor upon the lottery; and the object being for the erection of a hospital to be under the charge of the Sisters of Charity, the gambling scheme thus ministering to the cause of religion, became popular, and a large portion of the tickets were quickly sold.
While thus speaking of the Sisters of Charity, we will give a little sketch of their order as the order is so well known in St. Louis, and identified with religion and philanthropy as given by an eminent divine of Baltimore:
"The society known by the name of the Sisters of Charity, was founded in Paris about the year 1646, by St. Vincent of Paul. The intention of this illustrious benefactor of mankind in establishing this society was to procure relief to humanity in its most suffering stages. Accordingly, attendance on the sick in hospitals and infirmaries, visiting prisoners, the education of the poor, and the performance of every work of mercy, engage the attention and solicitude of the pious daughters of St. Vincent. This society is certainly one of the most useful that has ever been established, and has never failed to command universal admiration in the countries in which it has been known. Even Voltaire, opposed as he was to every thing that bore the appearance of Christianity, could not withhold from it his measure of praise. ‘Perhaps,’ says he, in his Essai sur L'Hist. Général, ‘there is nothing more sublime on earth, than the sacrifice of beauty, of youth, and frequently of high birth, which is made by a tender sex, to assuage, in our hospitals, the assemblage of every human misery, the very sight of which is so humiliating to our pride, and so shocking to our delicacy.’ The order was soon spread through the different kingdoms of Europe. France, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, yet feel the
advantage of having the members of this community to attend their hospitals.
"In 1709, the sphere of usefulness of these truly pious ladies was extended to the United States, through the means of Mrs. Seaton, of New York, a lady of distinguished birth and education, whose name is yet venerated by all who knew her, and whose memory will be blessed by children yet unborn, who will feel the beneficial influence of her disinterested piety and self-devotion.
"In Baltimore, her designs were encouraged by the Most Rev. Dr. Carroll, then archbishop of Baltimore. By his directions, the original constitutions of St. Vincent were modified, so as to suit the manners and customs of our country. The modifications received his sanction, and Mrs. Seaton was exhorted to proceed. A few ladies joined her in her arduous and heroic undertaking, and she established her little community about fifty miles from Baltimore, in the Valley of St. Joseph, near the town of Emmettsburg, in Frederick county, Maryland. This is the principal establishment, and is called by them the mother house. Here they have an academy for the instruction of young ladies, on a very extensive plan.
"The community is governed by a superior, called mother, an assistant mother, and two counsellors. The officers are elected every three years by a majority of votes. No one can hold the place of mother for more than two terms consecutively. The sisters make their engagements for one year only. At the end of this time they are at liberty to leave the society, if they think proper. Their vow of poverty is strict in the extreme. They receive no remuneration for their services; a small sum is paid to the community, barely sufficient for their apparel, and to provide for the contingency of sickness.
"The Catholic orphan asylums and charity schools in most of the large cities in the United States have been placed under their direction. They have an establishment in Boston, one in Albany, two in New York, one in Brooklyn, three in Philadelphia, one in Wilmington, Delaware, one in Baltimore, two in Washington City, one in Alexandria, one in Frederick City, one in Cincinnati, one in St. Louis, and one in New Orleans. It is impossible to recount the good which is performed by them in these institutions, or to tell how many hundreds they have saved from ignorance, and perhaps from infamy. In Baltimore, they have the charge of the infirmary winch is connected with the medical college, and in St. Louis an hospital is placed under their care. It is in such haunts of suffering that their usefulness is more feelingly known. With what tender sympathy do they not receive the patient, who is to be the object of their future care! He meets with hearts which are melted at the recital of his sufferings; and the true compassion which he witnesses gives him the assurance that in them he will find affectionate mothers. With what weaned patience do they not watch every accidental change in the disease! With what tender solicitude do they not give every relief! They are ingenious in inventions to save him from pain, and procure him the least momentary comfort. With soothing and consoling words they revive his drooping spirits; with religious zeal they alleviate the agonies of death, and by seasonable exhortations, prepare his soul to appear before a sovereign Judge. These are the helps, spiritual and corporeal,
which religion suggests to the feeling heart of a pious woman, and in which religion alone can give her the courage to persevere.
"When the dreadful scourge which has depopulated our cities visited Philadelphia, the civil authorities of that city expressed a wish to have the assistance of the Sisters of Charity. The wish was made known to the community by the Right Rev. Dr. Kenrick, and by return of the mail thirteen of the heroines were landed in Philadelphia, ready to rush with joy to the assistance of those from whom the rest of tbe world seemed to fly with horror. The scene at the mother's house, when the request was made known, was related to me by an eye-witness, and is characteristic of the devotedness of this pious community. The council was assembled, a favorable determination immediately taken, and a selection made of those who were to start. Joy beamed upon the countenances of those who were selected, and preparations were soon made, while those who remained behind, with sorrow upon their brow, looked with pious envy on those upon whom the happy lot had fallen.
"In Baltimore the same request was made, and was met with equal heroism. It was here that was immolated the first victim of charity, in the person of sister Mary Frances, the daughter of the late Benedict Boarman, of Charles county, Maryland, once admired in the extensive circle in which she moved. On the morning of the day in which she died, she fainted from weakness occasioned by the premonitory symptoms of cholera.
"While preparing to take the remedies which had been prescribed for her, a patient, a colored woman, was brought into the hospital. The case seemed desperate, and to require immediate assistance; and the heroic sister forgot herself to give relief to the patient. But her delicate frame was too weak, and the disease too strong, and in a few hours the cherished, accomplished, and pious Mary Frances, was a lifeless corpse. The death of this sister did not deter the others. There was no panic, no alarm, not even concern; but with a devotedness which can scarcely be conceived or credited, her place was sought with emulation, and the catastrophe only increased their courage.
"The feelings with which the news of the immolation of this first victim was received at the mother house, it would be difficult to express; she was loved, she was cherished as a sister, but could her fate be regretted? They cannot be better pictured than in the words of the honorable mayor of the city of Baltimore, in the letter he wrote to the community on the occasion: ‘To behold,’ says he, ‘life thus immolated in so sacred a cause, produces rather a sensation of awe than of sorrow; a sentiment of resignation to the Almighty fiat, rather than a useless regret at the afflicting event.’
"The next victim was sister Mary George, the daughter of Jacob Smith, a wealthy farmer in Adams county, Pennsylvania. She dedicated herself at an early age to the service of her neighbors, and was soon called to receive the crown which her devoted charity deserved. She died in Baltimore, of the epidemic, in the nineteenth year of her age.
"Several other members of this heroic band were attacked, either in the cholera hospitals or in the county and city alms-house, where the epidemic was most fatal, but they have escaped death, only to be ready, at some future call, to administer relief and comfort to the suffering."
The Eagle powder mills were erected this year, by Major Phillips and Dr. Lane, in the southern part of the city, and their powder became justly celebrated. They were soon afterward blown to pieces by an accidental explosion.
That the reader may form an estimate of the value of articles in St. Louis at this time, we will give the prices current of its market:
In 1834-37, St. Louis continued rapidly to increase. Its prosperity was a solid prosperity, not a pampered state of things brought about by the inflated tendencies of a plethoric paper currency, but a healthy increase of all departments of business springing from natural and salutary causes. There was scarcely any paper money afloat, the currency being in gold and silver, as there was no bank in the city and state.
A hard currency was always a hobby with Colonel Benton, who had been United States senator since Missouri was made a state in 1820. After the disgraceful failures of the Bank of St. Louis and Bank of Missouri, and the short and equally degraded existence of the Loan-Office, the people for some years were content to be without any banking institutions, which appeared to keep the financial currents in a state of continual agitation. The establishment of the branch bank of the United States, which during its existence was managed with judgment and conducted honorably, gave them a better opinion of banking; and after the winding up of that institution, there was a desire manifested by the business part of the community to create a moneyed institution to supply its place. Application was made at sundry times during the sessions of the legislature in 1835-36, without success; and as a last resort, banks of other states were invited to establish branch banks in the city, so that money might become more plentiful by having a fountain which would flood the country with a paper currency.
In March, 1835, the legislature passed an act allowing the city authorities to make sale of the "Commons," if it were the wish of the inhabitants who were property holders in the town as it was bounded in 1812.
At this time the city was much in want of a sufficient fund for municipal improvement; for its inducements for business had caused dwellings to multiply, and also new streets to be opened, before the funds of the city were sufficient to grade them. The inhabitants quickly consented to the sale, and one-tenth of the proceeds was devoted to the support of public schools.
Just at this time the immigration to St. Louis was immense, and the city realized more from the sale of the "Commons" than the most sanguine expectations had hoped for. One single fact will convey to the reader an idea of the increasing commerce of the city, when we state that on the night of the 11th November, 1835, there were eight steamboats which arrived at the wharf. The following extract from the steamboat register will furnish some idea of the trade of the city in some of its material departments:
A writer in one of the popular journals of the day thus speaks of the increasing business of the city:
"We cannot refrain from drawing the attention of the reader to the
number of arrivals of steamboats during the past year, which show an increase on the former, as does the amount of revenue secured, which is commensurate with the activity and enterprise of our citizens. Every successive year, for the last ten, has shown a like increase. In referring to the statement furnished for 1831, we find that in that year sixty different boats arrived in our harbor, and the number of entries was 532; the aggregate amount of tonnage, 7,769 tons, and the amount of revenue accruing from the same, was $2,167,45. Thus it will be seen, that in this comparatively short period, our commerce has more than doubled. Our advancement has not been stimulated by a feverish excitement, nor can it be said to have increased in the same ratio as many other places, but it has been firm and steady, and nothing is permanent which is not gradual. The prosperity of our city is laid deep and broad. Much as we repudiate the lavish praises which teem from the press, and little as we have heretofore said, we cannot suffer this occasion to pass, without a few remarks on the changes which are going on around us. Whether we turn to the right or to the left, we see workmen busy in laying the foundation, or finishing some costly edifice. The dilapidated and antique structure of the original settler, is fast giving way to the spacious and lofty blocks of bricks, or stone. But comparatively a few years ago even within the remembrance of our young men our town was confined to one or two streets, running parallel with the river the ‘half-moon’ fortifications; the bastion, the tower, the rampart were then known as the utmost limits. What was then termed the ‘hill,’ now forming the most beautiful part of the town covered with elegant mansions but a few years ago was overrun with shrubbery. A tract of land was purchased by a gentleman now living, as we have understood, for two barrels of whiskey, which is now worth half a million of dollars. Here and there we meet a few of the early pioneers, men who, like those who possessed the land before them, are fast fading away, and their places are taken by another generation. But we cannot do justice to those ‘who have gone before us.’ Prolific as the subject is, our object is to speak of the present. No one who consults the map, can fail to perceive the foresight which induced the selection of the site on which this city is founded. She already commands the trade of a larger section of territory, with a few exceptions, than any other city in the union. With a steamboat navigation more than equal to the whole Atlantic sea-board with internal improvements, projected and in progress with thousands of emigrants spreading their habitations over the fertile plains which everywhere meet the eye who can deny that we are fast verging to the time, when it will be admitted that this city is the ‘LION OF THE WEST.’  We do not speak from any sectional bias, nor would we knowingly deceive any, but we firmly believe that any one who will candidly weigh the advantages we possess, will admit that our deductions are correct. We have no desire to see our citizens making improvements beyond the means they possess. As we have before remarked, nothing is permanent which is not gradual. We take pleasure in bearing testimony to the
prudence and foresight which have characterized our citizens. They have avoided, in a commendable manner, the mania which has too fatally prevailed in many places. It has a deleterious influence on the ultimate success of a community.
"The improvements which are contemplated in the spring, will have a decided effect on the appearance of the city. Many of the buildings will be of a superior order of architecture. Among the latter will be a theatre, a church, and hotel.
"We fear that the scarcity of competent workmen will deter many of the improvements contemplated, from being completed.
"Intimately connected with the prosperity of the city, is the fate of the petition pending in Congress, for the removal of the sand-bar now forming in front of our steamboat landing. It is a source of no inconsiderable importance to every one, and connected as it is with the commerce of the western section of the valley of the Mississippi, we cannot but hope that Congress will give a speedy ear to the petition, and grant an appropriation which will effectually remove this growing obstacle. There can be but one opinion in regard to its justice. Relying, as we do, on the good faith of the government, we cannot harbor the idea that we shall be defeated."
Amid the heterogeneous population which flocked to the city at this time, were many gamblers and persons of suspicious character, who followed their nefarious operations and took every opportunity to prey upon the unwary. The whole of the southern country appeared to have swarmed with persons of this description, to the great injury of society and the prosperity of business. Without the canopy of attempted concealment, they pursued their unlawful business and scoffed at interference, until the citizens of Vicksburgh, at a public meeting of the most respectable citizens, declared that every gambler should leave the city in twenty-four hours. The gamblers laughed at this edict, which they thought was only a pretended demonstration and would not be enforced; and if attempted to be enforced, they thought their numbers and their known desperate character could offer sufficient protection. They disobeyed the commands of the citizens, which had been duly served upon them, and when they found that the resolutions of the meeting were being enforced, they armed themselves, and killed a young physician of promise and popularity. This murder turned hatred into vengeance; and having seized upon all who had not escaped, the citizens resolved upon a speedy retributive punishment. The gamblers were bound and taken to the outskirts of the city, and, without shrift or trial, summarily executed upon the gallows.
This act of the citizens of Vicksburgh arising from extremity, and which can only be palliated upon that ground and never justified, received the cordial endorsement of many cities in the Union. Public meetings were held in Cincinnati, Louisville, Charlestown, and other towns, approving of the mode, and counselling similar measures. The law was not sufficient to arrest this evil; and when the people of Vicksburgh, in attempting to get themselves rid of it by high-handed measures, lost one of their number by the hands of the gamblers, and then hung them sine jure, sine gratia, the people of the Union sustained them.
The citizens of St. Louis determined to rid themselves of the gamblers, idlers, and loafers who corrupted the morals and manners of society,
decoyed many a fair fame, blighted youthful hopes, and, like malarious exhalations infected every thing within their influence.
John F. Darby was mayor of the city; and immediately an ordinance was passed for trying those persons suspected of having no honorable means of obtaining a livelihood, and subjecting them to punishment. A man being at the head of municipal affairs, whom it was well-known would execute laws with the same spirit with which they were created, struck terror into the gambling fraternity, and all others who lived by preying upon society; and when the law was at once put into action, and several well-known characters were brought before the mayor's tribunal and sentenced to imprisonment, there was a general exodus of the bad class of individuals, and the city comparatively freed from their presence. 
St. Louis, so bountifully favored by nature in location, was materially assisted in its advance by the enterprise of its inhabitants. Most of the immigrants who had swelled her population were men of intelligence, ambition, and business qualifications, who were prompt to adopt any measures which could benefit the city and its inhabitants. A great national road was building across the Union, which would pass through the principal cities of the Western states; and in 1835, a meeting of the citizens of St. Louis was called, in pursuance of a proclamation by John F. Darby, the mayor, for the purpose of memorializing Congress to let the road cross the Mississippi at St. Louis, in its extension to Jefferson City. The mayor presided at the meeting, and George K. McGunnegle acted as secretary. A committee was appointed to draft the memorial, and much interest was felt in the great national road.
There was a sand-bar, which had collected in front of the city, and straightway the inhabitants instructed their representatives in Congress to make an appropriation for its removal. The sum appropriated was fifteen thousand dollars at that time, which was afterward much increased, to improve the harbor.
The railroad mania had commenced to seize upon some of the old states which bordered the Atlantic, and the journals of the whole country were teeming with the advantages which a successful trial of the new system of improvement had indicated in the sections of the country where it was carried into effect. The citizens of St. Louis immediately caught the enterprising contagion, and they determined that their own exertions should not be wanting. An Internal Improvement Convention was called in St. Louis, which the different counties of the state interested in the movement were invited to attend. The call was promptly attended to, and on the 20th of April, 1835, the convention met at the court-house, and was organized by calling Dr. Samuel Merry to the chair, and appointing G. K. McGunnegle secretary. The names of the gentlemen representing their respective counties who were present were as follows:
From St. Louis County Edward Tracy, Major J. B. Brant, Colonel John O'Fallon, Dr. Samuel Merry, Archibald Gamble, M. L. Clark, Colonel Joseph C. Laveille, Thornton Grimsley, H. S. Geyer, Colonel Henry Walton, Lewellyn Brown, Henry Von Phul, George H. McGunnegle, Colonel B. W. Ayres, Pierre Chouteau, jr., and Hamilton R. Gamble.
From Lincoln County Colonel David Bailey, Hans Smith, Emanuel Block, Benjamin W. Dudley, and Dr. Bailey.
From Washington County Dr. J. H. Relf, Philip Cole, John S. Brickey, Jesse H. McIlvaine, Myers H. Jones, James Evans, and W. C. Reed.
From Cooper County Benjamin E. Ferry, N. W. Mack, and William H. Trigg.
From Warren County Carty Wells, Nathaniel Pendleton, and Irvine S. Pitman.
From St. Charles County Edward Bates, Moses Bigelow, William M. Campbell, and W. L. Overall.
From Galloway County William H. McCullough, William H. Russell, D. R. Mullen, Dr. N. Kouns, C. Oxley, Jacob G. Lebo, R. B. Overton, and Moxley.
From Montgomery County Dr. M. M. Maughas, S. C. Ruby, and Nathaniel Dryden.
From Boone County Dr. James W. Moss, John B. Gordon, J. W. Keiser, D. M. Hickroan, J. S. Rollins, William Hunter, R. W. Morriss, and Granville Branham.
From Howard County Dr. John Bull, Major Alphonso Wetmore, Weston F. Birch, Joseph Davis, General J. B. Clark, T. Y. Stearns, and John Wilson.
From Jefferson County. James S. McCutchen.
It was particularly urged at that meeting that two railroads should especially be considered and recommended to the legislature one from St. Louis to Fayette, and the other from St. Louis to the iron and lead mines in the southern part of the state. It is foreign to the limits of this history to enter into any detailed account of the proceedings of the convention; we will only remark that the important object of the meeting was duly estimated, and the germ commenced to vegetate, which has been the prolific source of the numerous railroads which, like a network, are encompassing the whole state, and developing its resources.
After their deliberations and labors in conclave, the convention, so as to give a zest to social feeling, met at the National Hotel, which was situated on the corner of Third and Market streets, where a truly epicurean dinner was prepared for the festive occasion. John F. Darby, the mayor, presided, assisted by the vice-presidents, General John Ruland, Honorable H. O'Neil, Thomas Cohen, Major William Milburn, Beverly Allen, Colonel J. W. Johnson, W. G. Pettus, and by the secretary, Charles Keemle.
To support and further the enterprising objects of the convention, the County Court appropriated two thousand dollars to assist in liquidating the expenses connected with the survey of the two railroads specially recommended by the convention.
Immediately following the convention, the citizens of St. Louis were horrified by a dreadful murder perpetrated in their midst. A mulatto by the name of McIntosh, for interfering with officers in discharge of their duty, was arrested. He was being conducted to prison by George Hammond, deputy sheriff of the county, and William Mull, deputy constable. Suddenly breaking the hold of the officers, the negro drew a long knife, one of those formidable weapons frequently carried by sailors, to make an assault, or defend themselves in case of attack when on shore. He made a pass at Mull, but the officer, by a celerity of moment, avoided it. The next thrust was better aimed, and penetrated the left side, inflicting a terrible wound. Hammond, the deputy sheriff, during the attack upon Mull, grasped the negro by the back of the neck, but the latter, being an active, powerful fellow, wheeled suddenly round, aiming at the time his knife at the throat of the officer. It was a death-blow, severing all the large arteries, and, staggering a few paces, the worthy officer expired. The miscreant fled, but not to escape; for Mull, though
bleeding profusely, followed him, and citizens joining in the pursuit, he was soon arrested, and conducted to prison.
The news of the atrocious murder was soon bruited through the city, and the crowd numbering in a short time a thousand persons, gathered around the dead body of the officer, who was universally loved and respected. Soon the wife of the murdered man, accompanied by her children, came upon the spot, and the desolation of their anguish at the sight of the husband and father weltering in his blood, excited the sympathy of the crowd, and moved them to take summary vengeance upon the murderer. The exclamations of pity soon became changed into expressions of rage and fury. The cry of "Hang him! hang him!" sounded from the lips of the multitude, which soon changed, as they rushed to the jail, into the dreadful sentence of "Burn him! burn him! "
The final decree was carried into execution. The negro was dragged from the jail, carried to the suburbs of the town, and was soon bound to a scrubby tree, which was quickly surrounded with a pile of resinous dried wood. The torch was soon applied, and, amid the most piercing cries and contortions of the body as the flames licked his quivering flesh, the victim terribly expiated his crime. 
The proceeding was an unlawful one on the part of the people; but it was one of those occasions which has frequently arisen from some extreme enormity, driving the popular mind beyond the bounds of reason, and though always tolerated can never be defended, even by the wide license of that popular doctrine "vox populi, vox Dei."
The year 1836 was prolific of events in St. Louis. A new hotel was completed, a new church was erected, a city directory was published by Charles Keemle, and the first corner-stone of the St. Louis Theatre was laid on the afternoon of May 24th on the corner of Third and Olive streets, and on the site now occupied by the custom-house, and when it was completed and the scenery all arranged for dramatic performances, there was quite a furore among all classes of people to see the first performance on its boards. 
In August an exciting election took place in the city. It was an election for governor, and the candidates for executive office of Missouri were General William H. Ashley and Silburn W. Boggs. The last named gentleman, who belonged to the Jackson party, was elected, and James Brotherton was elected sheriff. The Central Fire Company of the City of St. Louis was also incorporated near the close of the year.
Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html