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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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The Soulard Family.

THE name of Soulard, so identified with the early annals of St. Louis, belongs to that part of France where the city of Rochefort is situated. We will commence with Antoine Soulard, the second surveyor under the Spanish domination in Upper Louisiana, he having succeeded Martin Duralde, the first surveyor who had been appointed by Piernas, the first Spanish commandant. His father figured conspicuously in the martial exploits of his country, and was a captain in the French Royal Navy. While holding this rank, in some engagement with the English, his left arm was shot off by a cannon-ball.

Antoine Soulard, born at a time when France for many years presented the features of a recruiting camp, and born, too, of ancestors who had been bred to arms, gave early indications of a preference to a martial sphere, and, after being properly qualified by an education at a military academy, was in due time appointed a lieutenant in the royal army. A little while after his appointment, the lowering clouds which produced the storm of the Revolution, began to gather over the political firmament of France with portentous gloom. It soon burst with all its fury. The royal crown was rolled in the dust, and the king, queen, and whole hosts of their followers were swept from existence. To belong to the royal faction was to be a foredoomed victim to the bloody shrine of wild and barbarous anarchy; and Antoine Soulard and many others, to escape the busy axe of the guillotine, resolved on expatriating themselves, and sailed for the United States in the year 1794. He landed at Marblehead, Massachusetts, with but a small quantity of livres in his possession; and knowing that St. Louis was peopled principally by the French, he at once started for the distant town. He took his route through Pittsburgh, which journey ho performed on horseback, and from thence he proceeded down the Ohio, in a keel-boat which was bound for St. Louis.

When he arrived at St. Louis, Antoine Soulard was a perfect stranger, but, self-reliant and determined to enter promptly on some sphere of active life, he at once introduced himself to Zenon Trudeau, the Spanish commandant, but a Frenchman, and so favorable was the impression which he created, that the lieutenant-governor took him to his house, and there domiciled him. He did more. Finding how superior was his education, he appointed him surveyor-general of the whole province of Upper Louisiana, which office had then been vacant, and remained his true and staunch friend during the term of his administration, which expired in 1798.

Antoine Soulard was continued in office by Delassus de Daluziere, the last Spanish commandant, during whose term, from the profusion of grants, his duties were very onerous. When the Province of Louisiana was transferred to the United States, he was continued in office by Major Pierre Chouteau is connected with two business houses in New York, one in the fur-trade, the other in the iron business; his name is known from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains, and from St. Louis to the little lake from which flows the Mississippi, and wherever it is known it is loved and honored.

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Stoddard, the first governor of the province when it came in possession of the United States; and when the province came under the jurisdiction of the Territory of Indiana, he was continued in his office by General Harrison, and held it until he resigned.

After his resignation, Antoine Soulard devoted himself to the care of his farm, situated on what was then known as the Vide Poche road, now Carondelet avenue. What was then his farm is now comprised in the very centre of the southern portion of the city of St. Louis. It extended from what is known as Park avenue to Lesperance street, and, commencing at the Mississippi on the east, was bounded on the west by Carondelet avenue. He had the finest orchard of fruits known in St. Louis or its vicinity.

Soon after his advent in St. Louis, Antoine Soulard was married to Julia Cerré, daughter of Gabriel Cerré, one of those who came from Kaskaskia to St. Louis a few months after its foundation, after the eastern portion of the Province of Louisiana fell into the hands of the English. He was consequently the brother-in-law of Colonel Auguste Chouteau, who married Therese Cerré, and likewise brother-in-law of Pascal Cerré, all children of Gabriel Cerré, who was engaged at one time extensively in trade with the Indians, and owned large landed possessions near St. Louis.

Antoine Soulard died in 1825, and left three sons — James G. Soulard, Henry G. Soulard, and Benjamin A. Soulard, all of whom are still living.

Antoine Soulard had one brother and two sisters, the latter living and dying in France. The brother, whose name was Benjamin Soulard, had a predilection for military life, and was fitted for it by graduation at a military academy. He was lieutenant in the navy, and was at St. Domingo (now Hayti) when the negro insurrection occurred, and the whites were nearly all inhumanly massacred. Ho then went to Cadiz, Spain, and for a short time engaged in mercantile pursuits; but when the French legions marched into the country, he joined their ranks, and served in that eventful war, fortunate at first for the French, but disastrous in its termination.

After the giant strength of Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to yield to the tremendous coalition against him, and he was inhumanly cast upon a barren and rocky isle in the wild waste of ocean, Benjamin Soulard, with many other French officers, was restored to his rank in the navy, and soon after retired — his pension being the half-pay of captain. He carried with him in his retirement the most honorable insignia of his profession as emblematic of his worth. He was invested with the order of "The Legion of Honor," and also with that of "Knight of St. Louis." He died at Rochefort.

We have in this work a portrait of a member of this ancient family, and will now proceed to give his biography.

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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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