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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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Introduction.

IT is necessary to preface the History of St. Louis by a few preliminary remarks, so that the reader may have an intelligent conception of some things which, unexplained, would leave a doubtful impression upon his mind, and perhaps subject the authors to the imputations of neglect or error. The founder of St. Louis has always been known by the name of Laclede, and it is almost universally believed that it was his family name, when his full name was is Pierre Laclede Liguest. This error was a very natural one, as we shall proceed to explain, and it is most probable that all who landed at the contemplated trading post on the 15th of February, with but few exceptions, believed that his surname was Laclede.

At the time that a settlement was made upon the site of St. Louis, nearly the whole of the great Mississippi Valley was a wild, with the exception of the immediate neighborhoods of New Orleans, Natchez, Fort de Chartres, St. Genevieve, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and a few more military posts. From the sparseness of the inhabitants in the villages and even in New Orleans, the capital of the Province of Louisiana, there were no castes in society, and, with the exception of the commandants, and a few royal officers, there was a perfect equality among the others. They were almost all hunters and trappers, those being the leading pursuits at that period, and consequently rough, ignorant, and characterized by a freedom of manner always incident to the Caucasian race, when free from the refining influences of education and society. Hence, in their intercourse with each other, they were known by the first, middle, or last names, as accident

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prompted. The first, or Christian name, was the most frequently used, as it is now among school-boys, and among the pioneers of civilization to this day. Probably some companion of Liguest, who had known him from his infancy under the appellation of Laclede, and accompanied him from France to New Orleans, called him by that name, which became henceforward his title among his new friends and followers.

It has been said by some that it was the custom of the French at that early day to transpose their names at pleasure, and, to confirm this declaration, it is asserted that Louis St. Ange de Bellerive, the first commandant of St. Louis, in all his signatures to the grants he made, signed himself St. Ange. This is no support to the evidently erratic idea of such a custom prevailing. De Bellerive was evidently a titled name, and in his signatures he had a right exclusively to retain it, or link it with his first and family name, or even to drop it altogether. His signatures show that he did the latter; he signing himself simply St. Ange, which was his patronymic.

Some of them, having an honorable title appended to their family names, pursued an entirely contrary course. La Salle, whose untitled name was Robert Cavelier, always signed himself La Salle, dropping altogether his patronymic. But there is no instance on record where the titled name and family name are both dropped, and either the first or middle name signed. From conclusive recorded facts, we must henceforth reject the name of Laclede as the family name of the founder of St. Louis, and adopt the proper one of Liguest. We will now proceed to give some of the instruments to which Liguest has affixed his signature. There is a deed No. 9 in the armory of the French and Spanish Archives, in which there is a conveyance of a house and lot by Liguest to Madame Chouteau, for the benefit of her children. The grantor signs himself Laclede Liguest. The deed is dated May 12th, 1768. There are two more deeds among these ancient records, numbering 38 and 39, in which his name is signed in the same manner — one a conveyance to Jacques Noise, alias Labbe, dated December 10th, 1768, and the other, No. 201, a conveyance to Ignace Laroche, dated May 15th, 1768. In the Livre Terrein, Piernas confirms all the cessions of St. Ange de Bellerive, and among the other signatures to the instrument appears that of Lignest. We could give a dozen more instances; in some of which he signs his name Pierre Laclede Liguest. In all of his signatures, he claims Liguest as his family 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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