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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
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


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William L. Ewing.

WILLIAM L. EWING was born January 31st, 1809, near the town of Vincennes, Indiana. When the whole of that portion of country where Vincennes is situated was called the Illinois Territory, Nathaniel C. Ewing, the father of William L. Ewing, received the appointment from the government as receiver of public money, and removed at an early day to the old French settlement to enter upon the duties of his office. He was likewise a member of the territorial legislature, where he was known as a hard worker in every measure that concerned the advancement of the Illinois Territory. He left his influence upon the times in which he lived, and was well known for his strong advocacy in making the state of his adoption a non-slaveholding state. He died at the advanced age of seventy-five, in the year 1848.

The very circumstance of William L. Ewing being born in the neighborhood of Vincennes as early as 1809, shows at once that he did not enjoy very excellent advantages of education in his youth. He had the instruction in the limited degree which the country schools at that period imparted; but his thirst for knowledge overcame the barrier of adventitious circumstances and by continual self-culture he garnered much useful information.

Believing that Vincennes, like most of the old towns settled by the French, would never be a place of great magnitude, William L. Ewing determined on removing to St. Louis, and landed on August 17th, 1821. His first business effort was with Dr. William Carr Lane, his brother-in-law, with whom he came to St. Louis, and engaged with him in the capacity of clerk, and remained in that position for more than three years. (His employer was the first mayor of the city of St. Louis, and was afterward governor of New Mexico.) After leaving the employment of Dr. William Carr Lane, Mr. Ewing went some time to the St. Louis University to complete his education, and then engaged as clerk in the Missouri Republican office, and served in that capacity in sundry other places until 1833, when he returned to his native town in Indiana, and started a store, which he successfully conducted for three years and a half. Having thus achieved a start in Vincennes, Mr. Ewing again came to St. Louis, determining to build up a fortune and commercial reputation in a city which he knew would soon occupy a position of primary importance in the commercial world.

The second advent of William L. Ewing in the Mound City was attended with the most auspicious circumstances. He opened a grocery and commission house, and at once commenced a most prosperous career. The firm was known as Berthhold & Ewing.

The year 1849 will ever be remembered as a marked year in the annals of St. Louis. A destructive fire broke out in the lower part of the city, and, despite the exertions of the citizens and firemen, raged with a fury that threatened to wrap the whole town in the conflagration. Amid

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the thousands of sufferers was the firm of Berthhold & Ewing, after a prosperous existence of ten years — the loss was $18,000.

Nothing daunted by the unexpected calamity, Mr. Ewing, with the confidence and energy for which he is remarkable, again commenced business under the firm of William L. Ewing & Company, which is still in existence, and it has the confidence and respect of the whole business community. He was married February 8th, 1838, to Miss Clara Berthhold, who was the granddaughter of Pierre Chouteau, senior, who was the companion of Pierre Laclede Ligueste, the founder of St. Louis.

William L. Ewing has accomplished all that he wished for. It was his aim to excel in the avocation he chose, and he has succeeded. He is known as one of the leading merchants of St. Louis, and his integrity and cordial deportment have won the respect and love of its citizens. He is liberal in his views, and a great advocate of internal improvements. Public spirit and enterprise are elements of his character, and he is liberal in his assistance to any public measure that tends to advance the interest of the city or the state. He has acquired his wealth not by practising a miser parsimony, but by the expansive views which he took of business relations, accompanied by energy, perseverance, and industry. In his charities there are few more liberal, and what he gives is to relieve suffering, and not from any spirit of ostentation. He is a director of the Agricultural and Mechanical Association, is a director in the Merchants' Bank and Union Insurance Company; and to the various public institutions, eleemosynary and literary, he has subscribed munificently. He was a great encourager of the steamboat interest, and owned largely in many of the finest that land on the levee. One of the handsomest boats on the Mississippi bears his name.

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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
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
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