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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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John S. McCune, President of Pilot Knob Iron Company.

JOHN S. McCUNE was born, June 21st, 1809, in Bourbon Co., Kentucky. His parents, John and Mary McCune, were natives of Pennsylvania, and emigrated to Kentucky when much of the primitive forest of that fertile state towered in its native grandeur, untouched by the axe of the sturdy pioneer. They appeared to have had a partiality for the excitement of pioneer life, for when civilization commenced to supply the luxuries of life, and the settlements commenced to thicken with an industrious population, they left their habitation for a newer country, and moved near Bowling Green, Pike county, Missouri, in 1817. John McCune, the elder, was remarkable for his innate strength of mind, which always made him a leader in the commonwealth in which he lived. He was a skilful agriculturist, and took great delight in possessing fine stock, and spared no pains and expense in procuring the choicest strains. He had a large family of eight children, four of whom are still living.

Young John McCune, directly his size admitted of labor, assisted his father in the working of the farm, and soon became acquainted with the healthful and useful pursuit of agriculture. In 1839 he went to Galena, Illinois, and supplied government provisions at St. Peter's, Dunleith, and Rock Island, and continued to do, for five years, that extensive and lucrative business. He then went to Pike county, Louisiana, where he erected a large flouring mill, and became engaged also in merchandizing, which continued for several years, when Mr. McCune, feeling that the field of operations was too circumscribed in the town of Louisiana, resolved on moving to St. Louis, where he could extend his business to the magnitude he wished. He disposed of his concern, and came to St. Louis in 1841. He purchased an interest in the large foundry establishment of Samuel Gaty, and still continues connected with that gentleman, the firm being well known to every business man in St. Louis, and indeed throughout the Union.

Enterprise has been one of the dominant traits in Mr. McCune's character. In 1843, believing that a lucrative trade could be established between St. Louis and the intervening river towns to Keokuck, he conceived and organized the Keokuck Packet Company, and the gigantic enterprise startled even some of the most enterprising and venturesome natures in St. Louis. Most men predicted a failure, and even the friends of the enterprise distrusted the feasibility of the scheme and feared the result. Despite of all these gloomy predictions, which appeared sufficient to smother the enterprise in its incipiency, Mr. McCune soon had his line of packets

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plying between Keokuck and the various cities between it and St. Louis on the Mississippi river. The trade proved a most profitable one to all engaged, and the company have reaped a golden harvest. That line of packets has not only proved the "philosopher's stone" to their owners but has developed the resources of some of the most flourishing towns on the Mississippi river, which had remained unknown before the company's creation. There are six boats of superior elegance, appearing like palaces on the water, which are now running between Keokuck and St. Louis, and to John S. McCune belongs the credit of their existence.

There are some minds of such capacity, that no magnitude of business appears sufficient to fill up its dimensions, and exhaust its ability. Though Mr. McCune was connected with an extensive foundry business, and the Keokuck Packet Company, he accepted the nomination of the Presidency of the Pilot Knob Iron Company in 1857, at the very time that the great financial tornado was sweeping through the country, and was ruining and laying prostrate every variety of business. The Pilot Knob Iron Company felt the pressure upon it, and its affairs were in a tottering condition. To save themselves from a total wreck, they were on the eve of sacrificing an immense amount of their stock to raise the sum of $300,000, from eastern capitalists, when McCune assumed the largo liability, and relieved the company from its embarrassment. Since that time its affairs have been in a most healthful condition, and the business is extensive and lucrative.

Mr. McCune was married May 21st, 1839, to Miss Ruthora Galesby, daughter of William Galesby, of Westchester, Pa., and has five children. His son is now engaged in the tour of some of the foreign countries, so as to perfect his education by travel. There is no one in St. Louis, who holds more positions of trust. He is a director in the Real Estate Savings Institution, State Mutual Insurance Company, and was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of a district school; he is also a director in the Globe Insurance Company, President of the Pilot Knob Iron Company, besides his connection with the foundry business and packet company.

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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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