NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

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


Previous section

Next section

Preface.

IN commencing this preface, the authors readily yield to the emotions which animate them. They are emotions of gratitude to those who, with a good heart and a desire for the complete success of this work, have imparted most essential information, and have furnished some of the chief materials that are woven in this history.

To Madam Elizabeth Ortes, the only one now living who recollects the founder of St. Louis, Pierre Laclede Liguest, we are under lasting obligations. She is the only living record of the early time of this city, and on every occasion was happy to answer our inquiries, and furnish us, from the ample storehouse of a memory garnering incidents for nearly a century, interesting narratives and anecdotes. To Madame Yament, James G. Soulard, Dr. Robert Simpson, Henry Von Phul, Jean Baptiste Hortez, some of them born in St. Louis, and all of them, with but one exception, past the threescore and ten years allotted to human existence, we likewise tender our thanks, for contributing much that was necessary for our purpose; and to Nathaniel Paschall, Colonel Charles Keemle, Augustus Kerr, and others, whose names are legion, we cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness for invaluable facts.

It is now meet and proper, in giving this work to the public, to state the great difficulties which encompassed the undertaking. We do this, not to crave indulgence for imperfections, but to elicit a just and dispassionate examination with the light of surrounding circumstances. All that was known of the early history of St. Louis, previous to our undertaking, consisted in some few isolated facts and traditionary narratives, which, from time to time, had been published, and, if woven together, would have been meagre indeed — mere disjointed fragments, and not a centime of the material required for an historical fabric. Some of these narratives were also wrong in historical fact, and this coming to our knowledge, made us suspicious of the whole; and it was only after a cautious examination of their authenticity that we adopted any of them as history; and, consequently, the few pioneer marks left by others, have not assisted our search, or subtracted from our labors. It has been over three years since this work was conceived, and for the last eighteen months we have been sedulously and absorbingly employed in collecting the necessary information. All of the French and Spanish archives have been consulted in the original manuscript, for fear of errors creeping in the translated copies;

-- 54 --

the Livre Terrein, [1] and other papers contained in the United States Recorder's office, carefully examined; and private papers, which have been committed to our care by some of the old settlers, have been exhausted of whatever was essential to our purpose. The records of the Catholic Church, which throw so much light upon the early history of St. Louis, were cheerfully submitted to our inspection by the Very Rev. Edmund Saulnier, the chancellor of the diocese of St. Louis, and from them we gathered most useful information. We have sedulously sought the acquaintance of the few that were left of the early inhabitants, and in the mass of information that has been acquired, have carefully weighed conflicting declarations, and have rejected all that wore an appearance of doubt and strong incredibility. Such have been the sources from which we have drawn our information in forming the portion of the work which comprises the early history of St. Louis; and if it can lay claim to no other merit, it has that of reliability.

From 1808, the chief events of St. Louis were preserved from the oblivious influences of time by the establishment of a journal, now The Missouri Republican, and to its present proprietors we are under infinite obligations, for cheerfully consigning to our possession its files, that preserved in their columns so much of narrative incident which would otherwise have inevitably perished; and our progress from this date was much easier. However, it was constantly necessary still to advise with those of the inhabitants who lived at the time, and had a perfect knowledge of concurrent events. As the city enlarged, the materials for history constantly increased, and we had to select those portions that were most fraught with interest and utility. It was impossible to embody all, and there may be some who would have been most interested in the rejected portions. For the disappointment of those we cannot justly be accountable, and hope we have alleged a sufficient explanation.

The getting up of a work of this magnitude, and in such style, has been attended with an immense outlay of capital, all of which has been borne and risked, in this enterprise, by one of the authors; nor has state or municipal aid been received or solicited.

We have been compelled to change the design of this work, contemplated at its commencement. Then we intended to embrace in it the business of St. Louis. Had we done so, the history of St. Louis would have been but a meagre sketch, unworthy of the name of history; for we could not have given to it more than one-third of its present space, as it would not do to make a book of this nature too voluminous; and, from the same cause, so as to give a greater latitude to the history of St. Louis, we have omitted the sketch of the Mississippi Valley and the state of Missouri. However, at a near day, in a series of publications, we will embrace what was then omitted; the "Gazetteer of the State" being in incipient progress. Had this volume been larger, it would have been out of taste and unattractive.

-- 55 --

The biographies, which make a portion of this work, are replete with interest, and serve more fully to illustrate the history of our great metropolis — for they have for their subjects those who have become prominent in their respective spheres of life, and have materially served to develop the elements which have given to the city its business importance and honorable position. We will here give the names of many other prominent persons, whose biographies are not found in this work. They were all written to; some declined, from too fastidious a delicacy, from appearing in the work, while the rest unfortunately did not receive the letters addressed to them, and their miscarriage was not discovered until too late to rectify it. There were also some photographs and biographies received too late for insertion. The names of these gentlemen are as follows, viz.: Hon. Daniel D. Page, Hon. George Maguire, Hon. John M. Wimer, Hon. James G. Barry, Hon. John How, Hudson E. Bridge, Judge Peter Ferguson, Hon. Wayman Crow, Right Rev. Archbishop Kendrick, Rev. Dr. Elliot, James Clemens, Jr., William Renshaw, Sen., Asa Wilgus, William G. Pettus, Colonel Robert Campbell, James Harrison, William M. McPherson, Amadee Vallé, Wilson Primm, Captain J. C. Swon, Daniel Hough, M. J. Swarmger, D. A. January, H. R. Gamble, Dr. J. N. McDowell, David Rankin, Judge R. J. Lackland, Judge Alexander Hamilton, D. R. Garrison, J. T. Dowdall, J. Finney, S. D. Barlow, Gabriel S. Chouteau, Francis Saler, John B. Carson, Dr. J. W. Hall, Rev. E. C. Hutchinson, John G. Priest, Henry Clay Hart, Captain Andrew Harper, Frederick Dings, Dr. Robert Simpson, [2] and some others.

In conclusion, we tender our heartfelt thanks to the journals of St. Louis. We thank them cordially for the many encomiums whilst in progress, and as we read their articles so flattering to our prospects, so fraught with predictions of certain success, we felt encouraged and sustained in our labors, and hurried up our lagging Pegasus, that their friendly and liberal promises to the public might, at all events, be measurably fulfilled. They wove the bay wreath for the book before it was finished, and before its merits had been tested. It now goes forth to the world under the happiest auspices, and if it meet with disfavor, it must be because unworthy.

RICHARD EDWARDS.
M. HOPEWELL.

It is but an act of duty and justice for me to say that this work was first commenced over three years ago by Mr. Richard Edwards, and all the pecuniary risk attending it is at his hazard.

M. HOPEWELL.

-- 57 --

Previous section

Next section


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
Powered by PhiloLogic