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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
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(1) page 240. There are a dozen instances in the Archives and Livre Terrein where the founder of St. Louis has signed his name Pierre Laclede Liguest. Why he was known by the name of Laclede by the old inhabitants, is very easily accounted for. In the first stages of society there is no caste, no ceremony; every person is on the most familiar footing, and it was rare that any one was called but by one name; and that is as seldom the patronymic. The Christian or middle names are generally used. The inhabitants called the founder of the village Laclede in their daily familiar intercourse, but when it was signed by himself in legal instruments, it was written Laclede Liguest, or Pierre Laclede Liguest.

(2) page 242. There is a statement made by Jean Baptiste Rivière dit Baccané, and recorded in Hunt's Minutes, that Laclede remained some time in Kaskaskia, previous to his visit to St. Louis, after he had sent Auguste Chouteau to take possession of the spot. In another portion of the same record it is related that the warehouse of the company was built on the public square — the block now occupied by the Merchants' Exchange, between Market and Walnut, and Main and Front streets.

(3) page 250. The hunters and traders of those days were a graceless set of scamps, take them as a whole. They were a jovial, ignorant, and immoral set, though possessing honesty, courage, and self-reliance. If a true history could be made of some of their adventures, it would present hair-breadth escapes, feats of daring intrepidity, and suffering in all its phases, more plentifully than adorn the works of Spanish romance.

(4) page 250. Third street was not opened until after 1800; for at the change of government it was only opened south of Market street.

(5) page 261. "In the year 1774, the 27th of December, I the undersigned have buried the body of Louis St. Ange de Bellerive, Captain of the Swiss Battalion of Louisiana, in the cemetery of this sacristy, and have administered the sacraments of the church.

From Register of Catholic Church.

(6) page 265. There was a female who became afterward the school-mistress of the village, who when the savage made the attack, put on a coat, and buttoning it well up to her chin, and armed with a pistol in one hand and with a knife in the other, took her station at one of the gates, encouraged the men to make a valiant defence, and fearlessly exposed her person to the fire of the savages. This feat of courage dubbed her as a female warrior, and ever after she had the reputation of a heroine.

(7) page 268.

(8) 273. It was during the administration of Perez, in the year 1792,

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that the honey-bee, that ever hums upon the track of civilization, appeared in the neighborhood of St. Louis. The first swarm settled in the garden of Madame Chouteau, and was a source of much interest to the inhabitants. Nine years after the advent of the honey-bee, the inhabitants of St. Louis were visited by that dreadful malady, the small-pox. It was brought from New-Orleans by some of the voyayeurs, and proved very fatal to the inhabitants, as its proper treatment was little understood. The year of the visitation was called l'année de la picoté (the year of the Small-pox).

(9) page 277. There were three men, commandants in Upper Louisiana at the time of the transfer, who were deputy commandants, Don Francis Vallé, commandant at St. Genevieve; Don Louis Lorimer, commandant at Cape Girardeau, and Don Juan Lavallée, commandant at New Madrid.

The governor-general of Louisiana was for many years vested with all the powers of intendant-general, until the appointment of Morales.

Delassus in 1803 received the following document from New Orleans, which rendered it illegal for him to grant lands after its reception. His not obeying strictly the order, opened the door to much dispute concerning land claims:

"On account of the death of the assessor of this intendancy, and there not being in the Province a learned man who can supply his place, I have closed the tribunal of affairs and causes relating to grants and compositions of royal lands, and the 81st article of the royal ordinance for the intendants of New Spain provides that, for conducting that tribunal and substantiating its acts, the concurrence of that officer shall be necessary. I make this communication to apprise you of this providence, and that you may not receive or transmit memorials for the grant of lands, until further orders. God preserve you, &c.

"NEW ORLEANS, December 1st, 1802."

(10) page 278. There were a great many inhabitants, it is true, who looked upon the transfer even at first with disfavor, but it was confined principally to that class whose possessions were meagre, and consequently who had but little to hope for in the rise of property. The couriers des bois and the voyageurs, doubtless regretted the change, as it gave possession of the country to a people who would throw some trammels over the wild liberties of their vagabondish life; and as we have in another part of this narrative given some description of the power of this half-civilized race, we will give some description of the latter.

The voyageurs were principally French Canadians, brought up from their infancy to follow the navigation of the watercourses for a livelihood. They were a hardy, reckless race of men, whose ambition consisted in braving danger, and performing feats of personal prowess. Those who plied the oar on the eddying currents of the Father of Waters had in a greater degree that hardihood, recklessness, courage, love of danger, and strife, which characterized these demi-savages of the Caucasian race.

It was the custom, for one who had been victor in many contests, and was considered a champion, on going ashore to place in his cap a scarlet feather, or a piece of red flannel representing a kind of flag, as a challenge to any one who dared dispute his title of precedence to personal strength

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and prowess. The banks of the Mississippi were the scene of many a bloody encounter between the desperate set of men who lived upon its waters.

The voyageurs among the people in those early days, were looked upon with much respect, and especially by the young girls were viewed with special favor; and those who, still young, could boast of making the most trips to New Orleans, and victorious in the most encounters, received the most significant attention. These hardy men had to pass a term of probation, before they received the appellation of voyageurs. During the first year of their plying the oar they were in derision termed mangeurs à lard (pork eaters), and were the subjects of many jests until their term of probation had expired, and they were dubbed with the degree of voyageurs.

These voyageurs were the precursors of what were afterward known on the Ohio, Mississippi and other Western rivers as flat-boatmen, who had all their characteristics. These flatboat-men in great numbers, some years after the change of government, plied between St. Louis and New Orleans, and were as desperate a set of vagabonds as ever bore the seal of humanity. Among the number was Mike Fink, who has been made the hero of a popular novel. This dare-devil had his home in St. Louis, and there are still living some few old citizens who have seen and known him. We will relate one of his atrocious deeds, which was ultimately the cause of death.

One of the feats of Mike Fink was to shoot an apple with his rifle from the hand of a man by the name of Carpenter, which he had done over and over again for a gallon of whiskey, halving it on all occasions with Carpenter, who jeoparded his life so fearfully on these occasions.

The friendship which had so long subsisted between these brave and lawless men, was interrupted by a quarrel, and before the rancor had entirely passed, some one offered Carpenter a gallon of whiskey if he would let some one shoot an apple from his hand. The temptation was irresistible to Carpenter, and he was unwilling that any one perform the feat but Mike Fink. Mike Fink was sent for, and, arrived at the spot, professed his willingness to do what he had so frequently done before successfully. Carpenter took his station at eighty yards, and as Mike Fink raised his rifle, his countenance changed to a demon's hue, black and fearful. In an instant his experienced eye ranged the lead with the sights, and then when every muscle was still and unmoved as a rock, the rifle was fired, and, to the horror of all, Carpenter fell dead upon the spot, the ball having perforated his forehead. Mike Fink pretended that the rifle hung fire, and the death was entirely accidental. However, in one of his drunken orgies he confessed to have done it designedly, and being threatened with arrest went far up the Missouri to escape from the meshes of the law. Pirate vengeance is more searching for life than public justice, and one of the boon companions of Carpenter followed the murderer to his wild haunts and stabbed him to the heart.

While we are giving a sketch of some of the desperate men who lived in early times, we will give a short space in placing upon record, as illustrations of an epoch that was remarkable for the lowness of its morality, some of the achievements of Dick or Ned Pierce. This man was powerfully built, an idle, loafing fellow, but brave as a lion and the bully of the

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place. He had numberless contests in the rough and tumble manner, and had always been the victor. He had fought with the strongest and most experienced fighters in the country, and their sledge-like blows had no more effect upon the head of Pierce than on an anvil. Pierce began to have great faith in the hardness of his skull, and offered on one occasion to fight a ram which was running in the common, and was remarkable for his viciousness. The fight was to be à la mode the ram butting. If successful he was to have a gallon of whiskey.

The announcement created quite a sensation in the village, and numbers went to see the contest between Pierce and the ram. Pierce teased and aggravated the ram to the fighting point, and the animal, frenzied by rage, ran backward, according to his fashion of combat, and, with all his speed, his tremendous bound, he ran toward Pierce, who, upon his hands and knees, awaited him, and as the animal, with a terrible dash, aimed at his head, Pierce escaped the shock by lowering his head, and raising it with all of his force, in time to strike the lower jaw of the ram, when the animal fell lifeless — his neck was broken. He obtained two or three victories in this way, and was at last killed by a large ram owned by Colonel Chouteau. When the ram made a dash at him, Pierce, according to custom, suddenly attempted to lower his head, but a stubble sticking in his nostril, caused him, from the pain, quickly to elevate it, and he received upon his forehead the full blow of the ram, and his brains were spattered upon the soil.

(11) page 279. Some of the old inhabitants contend that the origin of the name was in this wise. Frequently the inhabitants of St. Louis would go to Carondelet upon excursions of pleasure, and it was remarked that they always returned with an empty pocket — their money being generally lost in gaming, to which some of the inhabitants were addicted. Hence all returning from the village with an empty pocket (vide poche), it became afterward known by that name.

(12) page 291. General William Harrison was governor at that time of the Territory of Indiana, and visited St. Louis so as to see the condition of the District of Louisiana, and perform properly the responsible duties vesting in him. After examining into the condition of things, he returned to Indiana, and, in connection with the judges of that territory, passed some laws relative to the government of the new district. They were passed October 1st, 1804, and the acts were as follows: concerning crimes and punishments, justices' courts, slaves, taxes, militia, recorders office, attorneys, constables, boatmen, defalcation, court rules, establishment of probate court, courts of judicature, oath of office, appointment of sheriffs, and regulation of marriages. The last act is dated April 24th, 1805, which was after the passage of the act of Congress changing the name of the District of Louisiana to that of "The Territory of Louisiana, but before the news of the act by the general government had reached Indiana.

General Wilkinson was appointed governor at the passage of the act, March 3d, 1805, but was ordered in 1806 by the general government to watch and report the suspected movements of Burr, and Merrywether Lewis was appointed in his place; who remained governor till 1809, when, committing suicide, Benjamin Howard was appointed, and served till the appointment of General William Clark in 1813; and General Clark remained

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governor until Missouri became a state, in 1820, when Alexander McNair was elected to the executive office. Mrs. Alexander McNair is still living, at a very advanced age, in St. Louis.

(13) page 292. The first postmaster in St. Louis was Rufus Easton, who came at the close of 1804 to St. Louis, and as a member of the bar, directed his energies to the investigation of real estate titles, and became a high authority in that channel of legal business. He was a gentleman of known integrity, and had the confidence of the community.

(14) page 308. Colonel Leistendorfer settled in Carondelet, and raised a large family. Some of his sons became extensive traders, and were most respectable citizens. The general government recognized the services of Colonel Leistendorfer in Africa, by ordering him a pension.

There is an anecdote told of the Colonel's expertness in sleight-of-hand necromancy, which would do honor to a professed Indian juggler, and, as it is somewhat illustrative of the history of the city, we will give it, as it smacks of interest and amusement.

One evening, Colonel Leistendorfer was performing in the house of old Joseph Robidoux, an Indian trader, living at the corner of Main and Elm streets, and a large attendance of the villagers were present. He announced to the company that he would raise a chicken from an egg, and, after it was full-grown, would cook and serve it up to the company. The audience were highly pleased with the announcement of this favorite trick, and watched the proceedings with much interest. The egg was first shown to the company, placed in a little box that was emptied, then the box was closed, and straightway was heard the complaining notes of a young chicken; and, on opening the box, lo! a young chicken was found. It was transferred to another box, closed up, and immediately reopened, and the chicken had become enough to make a good broil for breakfast. It underwent quite a number of changes, growing larger each time, until it had reached the size of a full-grown chicken. Then the head was cut off before the company, and the body, head and all placed on a dish, and, after being transferred to a box, from which it was taken a few minutes afterward, cooked to a beautiful brown, and swimming in gravy, from which a most inviting flavor emanated. The magician invited one of the company to carve the chicken, as he intended that the audience should partake of the fowl, and judge of the merits of the cooking. Judge Wm. C. Carr, then a young attorney, took the knife and fork that was handed to him, and was on the point of using the latter in transfixing the breast of the chicken, when, to the utter astonishment of all, there was a convulsive movement in the dish, and a live chicken flew from it on the sort of a stage that had been erected, causing the gravy to splash considerably over the young lawyer.

(14) page 309. Before the establishment of a bank in St. Louis, there was but little money afloat, the business being carried on through trade in lead, and all kinds of peltry were given in exchange for groceries and dry goods.

(15) page 340. The first bricklayer who lived and followed his vocation in St. Louis was named John Lee. Mr. Pierre Berthold, Sen., saw him in Marietta, in Ohio, and persuaded him to accompany him to St. Louis, and carry on his business. Lee consented; and the first brick house that was erected was of the brick he manufactured. The house was built

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on Main street, between Chesnut and Market streets, and was built for Berthold & Chouteau. There have been many disputes concerning who owned the first brick house in St. Louis; and, as we have given much attention to the matter, we are prepared to give authentic information Christian Wilt owned the second, Judge Carr the third, Manuel Lisa the fourth, and John Smith the fifth.

Mr. John Lee, the first bricklayer who came to St. Louis, for some years had a monopoly in his business. He raised a large family, and some of his grandchildren have intermarried with some of the princely merchants of St. Louis.

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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
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