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Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
EVERY great centre of trade must possess or control a maximum of natural and acquired facilities for all the particular operations of PRODUCTION, CONVERSION, and EXCHANGE.
Production includes agriculture, mining, forestry, the ensemble of all those arts which supply men with food and the raw materials which he converts into food, fuel, shelter, clothing, light, conveniences, luxuries; conversion includes the processes and the instruments of manufacture in all its branches; exchange, or commerce, is the duplex process and machinery by which the producers are brought together and enabled to barter their products, by which the raw materials are gathered in and the converted products distributed and exchanged; it includes banking and transportation, capital and credit.
Every operation of production, conversion, and exchange depends upon the existence of facilities acquired from nature or created and bestowed by man. Without these facilities there would be no trade, and to be a centre of trade a city must not only possess them very largely, but possess also the means and the will to enlarge, develop, and increase them steadily and rapidly. Rivalry may be submitted to, superiority tolerated in other things, but no city determined upon success can tolerate rivalry, much less superiority, in the spirit of improvement.
The natural advantages of St. Louis as a centre of production are in part the result of the co-operation of soil and climate with intelligent labor; in part they are derived from the geological configuration of the earth, the distribution of its mineral strata and the superficial contour, determining the course and volume of streams. St. Louis could not occupy its present commanding position and maintain its lofty attitude as a trade centre if it were seated upon a bog, like those of Ireland, or amid the granite bowlders and masses of trap and sand which diversify the soil of New England, or upon the margin of a swamp, like New Orleans, or in the gateway of a great freshwater pond, like Chicago. As has been sufficiently
shown in other parts of this work, St. Louis combines more of the advantages of site and location which are necessary to the building up of a great city than any other interior city in the world. It is the focal point, the centre, the key to the greatest river system, the largest and most magnificent valley, the widest area of the richest and most productive soils, the finest juxtaposition of exhaustless mineral wealth, and the most comprehensive and far-reaching railroad system upon the face of the globe.
What nature bestows, man has seized upon and is improving to the utmost with energy and intelligence. "Science, whence foresight, foresight, whence action," excellent words of Auguste Comte, is the guiding rule of man's action upon nature for the development of the resources of St. Louis. "Man commands nature only by obeying her laws," the philosophers have declared, and the limitation is thoroughly well understood in St. Louis. Capital, labor, talent meaning by talent natural capacity developed and shaped by acquired skill are the three forces which have worked together in harmonious unison to promote the growth and expand the trade of this "the great city of the future." St. Louis is not so rich in money capital as many older and larger cities, but what she possesses is entirely in hand, absolutely active, and so thoroughly energized and vitalized by will, purpose, and intelligent co-operation, that somehow each dollar seems to do the work which it requires three to do elsewhere. In that capital which money does not always stand in place of and which often money cannot buy, business talents, business judgment, business pluck, business co-operation and association, St. Louis allows no rivalry, admits of no equal.
In different parts of this work we have spoken in detail and given the complete statistics of the resources of St. Louis in production and for conversion and exchange. It only remains to speak of these things in a group as the essential qualifications for producing a great and unrivaled centre of trade. The promise of the future can best be seen by comparing the results and accomplishments of the past and the present. St. Louis may reasonably expect to become the greatest market on the continent, because the tendencies of the city's development, ever since it began to grow, have been favorable to that expectation, and because the character of the improvements made and the facilities enjoyed are all in the direction of consummating and perfecting a great central mart for the conversion and exchange of the products of a very wide and very rich area. No city in the world has such an extent of back country convenient to it, and which is or can be made tributary to it.
Let us give an example of what we mean by a region which has or must become tributary to St. Louis. Take the cotton manufacture, which is as yet only a nascent industry in St. Louis, although nothing can prevent it from becoming a supreme and controlling one, if St. Louis will but make a proper use of its many and superb advantages in this respect. The cotton of Arkansas, Texas, West Tennessee, West Louisiana, and Middle and North Alabama an area in which more than half the entire cotton crop of the country is grown can be delivered by rail or river on the Levee at St. Louis as cheaply as it can at Atlanta, Mobile, New Orleans, Chattanooga, and any other distributing centre in the country, excepting only Memphis, and more cheaply than at Chicago, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah. To convert this cotton into fabrics there are needed capital, food, fuel, machinery, labor, and skill. Now how does the case stand? The cotton gathered at St. Louis is sent fifteen hundred miles farther east to New England, or four thousand miles farther east to England, to be manufactured. To aid in this distant manufacture, the finished products of which are returned to St. Louis to be distributed by her merchants in every region to which their trade extends, St. Louis further contributes food-supplies for the labor employed in it, and iron for the manufacture of the machinery used. Thus St. Louis, having the capital, having the raw material, having the cheap food and the cheaper fuel, sends all these things thousands of miles away, and fetches the finished products thousands of miles back again, instead of employing the means necessary to invite or compel the capitalists engaged in this industry to bring their plant and their skilled labor to the trade centre, where there is not only the newest and most complete conjunction of cheaper food and cheapest fuel, with cheap raw material, but where also there is the best market for the sale and distribution of the finished fabrics. This is an unnatural perversion of ways and means, an unnatural misuse of superior facilities, and it cannot last. The cotton manufacturer, other things being equal, will not pay for the transportation of his raw materials and his products over such long distances when he can produce and sell his fabrics on the spot where cheap raw materials meet cheaper food and cheapest motive power. Mohammed will go to the mountain, for the reason that it is cheaper than for the mountain to go to Mohammed. There can be but one settlement of this problem. It has been delayed by the rapid cheapening of transportation, the reluctance of capital and manufactures to change their sphere of operation,
and by other causes; but it is certain to come in the end, for St. Louis, whenever the right use is fully made of her facilities, is the place where cotton can be manufactured most cheaply. A hundred years hence, perhaps, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas may be competing with St. Louis, through their natural advantages, for the position of cheapest manufacturing point; but this will not be the case so long as St. Louis maintains her superiority as a centre for cheap food, cheap fuel, and cheap exchange. 146
The Cotton-Trade. The cotton manufacture will grow as the cotton-trade has grown. From a few bales in 1844, from twenty thousand bales in 1863, to five hundred thousand in 1880 looks like a considerable stride, but it is the work of a very few years, and it is only the beginning, for the cotton country properly tributary to St. Louis yields three million bales and upwards per annum. That trade trickled along like a feeble rivulet for some time, then suddenly it expanded into a great river. It must continue to expand with every mile added to the Southern railroad connections of St. Louis, which are already so extensive. So will it be with the cotton manufacture of St. Louis. That appears to be feeble and small, but it must expand and grow to greatness, because all the conditions are exceptionally favorable to it. The census of 1880 only shows three factories, with capital of $625,500, hands 444, $86,325 wages, $318,156 value of materials, and $453,295 value of products, an infant indeed; wages $192.40 per capita per annum for employés, of whom three-fourths were women and children, and profits inside of eight per cent. on the invested capital; but it is the beginning, the foundation of a controlling industry of the future.
The first indication we have of the establishment of a cotton-factory in St. Louis appears in the old Missouri Gazette of the 31st of January, 1811. The paragraph reads,
"An event, not viewed as of public importance in itself, may yet be highly interesting from the reflections to which it gives rise. An English gentleman (Mr. Bridge), of considerable capital, arrived here on Tuesday evening last, with his family, for the purpose of establishing himself in this place. We understand he has brought with him the machinery of a cotton-factory and two merino rams. Such an emigrant is an important acquisition to the country."
Whether Mr. Bridge ever carried his purpose into execution does not appear, but the probability is that the "two merino rams" may have diverted him into the wool business, as seven years afterwards "carding-machines and cotton-spinning machinery" were preparing to commence, in the spring of 1818, in St. Louis.
In 1844, Adolphus Meier & Co. started a cotton-factory at the corner of Main and Chestnut Streets. It had at first twelve spinning-machines and eight hundred spindles, which were soon increased to double the number. The business proved successful from the start, and the firm soon erected a new and commodious building at the corner of Eleventh and Soulard Streets, sixty feet wide by about one hundred and fifty in length and four stories high. They introduced new and improved machinery, and in 1854 it was the only factory west of the Mississippi River making yarn carpet warp and "bats" and lamp-wick. It is thus described in the account of that year's industries, under the head of the St. Louis Cotton-Factory:
"This is one of our earliest and most extensive manufacturing establishments; Adolphus Meier & Co. are the proprietors. The factory itself is built on a square of ground, three hundred by one hundred and fourteen feet, between Soulard and Lafayette Streets. One-half of the block is covered with substantial brick buildings, and full of machinery of the latest and most improved kinds. The factory employs about one hundred and ten hands, and runs over one thousand spindles. We learn that its annual capacity of production may be thus stated: 570,000 pounds of yarn, 90,000 pounds of cotton yarn, 90,000 pounds of white and colored carpet warp, 80,000 pounds of candle-wick, and 150,000 pounds of batting. The proprietors, we also learn, are now putting in power-looms to weave one-half of their yarns into brown sheetings. This will give employment to a largely increased number of operatives, and to St. Louis the credit of having the first cotton-factory west of the Mississippi. It will not be long, we trust, before the necessity of importing cotton yarns from the Ohio River will altogether cease to exist."
The factory did a successful business until 1857, when it was totally destroyed by fire. At the time of this disaster the factory contained 4500 spindles, and consumed thirty-five bales of cotton per week. It was making daily 2500 yards of sheeting, 2400 pounds of yarn, 500 pounds of batting, 150 pounds of twine, 150 pounds of wicking, besides a large quantity of carpet warp and bagging. The period of labor was twelve hours a day for five days in the week, and nine hours on Saturday, all the year round. Employment was given to 150 hands.
After the fire the company was reorganized and incorporated as the "St. Louis Cotton-Factory," Mr. Meier holding the largest amount of stock, and being elected president. The works were rebuilt, and the factory under Adolphus Meier's able management continued to do a lucrative business.
In 1865 the St. Louis Cotton-Factory Company was reorganized under a new charter, and its manufacturing capacity increased. At this time Col. Robert Campbell and other leading citizens became largely interested in the enterprise.
In 1854, when Mr. Meier's factory was in successful operation, the total receipts of cotton in St. Louis was 913 bales. Now it is the greatest cotton market of the interior, and, what is equally to the purpose in support of its destiny to become the centre of a great cotton manufacture, it is the centre of a dry-goods trade and distribution now valued at over forty million dollars, and rapidly increasing. The capital it this business is over ten million dollars. The business and capital have all grown up since 1849, and more than half the sales made are of cotton fabrics.
George H. Morgan, secretary of the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange, who is one of the most intelligent and best-informed business experts in the United States, has given it as his opinion that St. Louis must continue to increase rapidly in importance as a cotton market. He gives as the reasons for his faith the summary of superior facilities and advantages possessed by the city, as compiled and presented by C. W. Simmons, secretary of the St. Louis Cotton Exchange:
"1. St. Louis is in a direct line from Arkansas and Texas to the East and Liverpool.
"2. As the country merchants control the cotton, they save exchange by shipping to where they buy.
"3. St. Louis is the best point from which the planters and merchants can draw their supplies.
"4. St. Louis is above the yellow fever line, and the trade can be conducted the year round.
"5. The cotton produced by the above States is of the best quality, thus making our market desirable for spinners and buyers.
"6. Our market, under its system of warehousing, can and does handle cotton cheaper than other markets.
"7. Our railroad facilities are better than those of any other cotton market.
"8. Our purchasers are the North, East, Liverpool, and home."
In the same way, the advantages and facilities of St. Louis as a centre for cotton manufacture might be summed up:
a. Control of the best quality of the staple by means
of cheap transportation on short interior lines by the most direct routes to the Southwest. This area, the cotton produced in it and the connection of St. Louis with it, are rapidly and steadily increasing every year.
b. The planters sell to the country merchants from whom they buy their supplies. As plantations become smaller, the sales of the country merchants will become larger and tend more and more to include the entire line of goods consumed by the planting class. It might pay the planter of one hundred to five hundred bales to go to the city and buy at wholesale; but the planter of five to fifty bales cannot do this. Hence the country merchant's trade is increasing in volume and importance.
c. To the country merchant of the Southwest St. Louis is the best and cheapest market. It is better stocked, its goods are cheapest, its transportation facilities most extensive, most convenient, and cheapest. The country merchant of the Southwest, therefore, will buy in St. Louis his corn, flour, provisions, dry-goods, clothing, fertilizers, groceries, hardware, agricultural implements, and the furniture, vehicles, jewelry, liquors, and luxuries which the planter needs and the country merchant supplies, an enormous line of goods, all of which can be most cheaply paid for in live-stock and baled cotton. Thus St. Louis secures and is able to maintain control of unlimited supplies of the raw material of the cotton manufacture on the most favorable terms possible.
a. Manchester (England) and Fall River (Mass.), to compete with St. Louis in the cotton manufacture, must buy their raw cotton in St. Louis and carry it to their mills, a distance of fifteen hundred miles in one case, of four thousand miles in another. This is a freight advantage in favor of St. Louis which averages, under all circumstances, one-fourth of one cent per pound.
b. Fall River must pay for coal, the controlling motive-power in cotton manufacture, fifty per cent. more than it costs in St. Louis. In Manchester coal is not quite as cheap as in St. Louis, and while the price of fuel in the latter place tends to decrease as wider areas of coal are opened and the facilities for cheap transportation are increased, the tendencies of fuel in price in England are upward, in consequence of diminished supply and greater cost and difficulty of procuring it.
c. Fall River and Manchester equally must buy their breadstuff's and provisions in St. Louis, that is to say, they must pay for breadstuffs and provisions a price which is equal to the St. Louis price plus the cost of transportation from St. Louis and their delivery in those cities. This is equal to an enhancement of twenty-five per cent. upon the price of food in St. Louis. But the total labor employed in cotton manufacture is twenty-five per cent. of the cost, and in England and this country the cost of food represents about seven-twelfths of the total cost of labor. Thus St. Louis, through its cheaper food, has an advantage in the cost of labor in cotton manufacture equal to fourteen and one-half per cent.
d. The sum of the advantages of St. Louis for cotton manufacture, therefore, growing out of its position as a trade centre, would be seventeen per cent. over England and New England.
e. These advantages are increasing steadily from natural causes, and to them must be added a similar line of advantages in respect to the raw materials for machinery, and the cheapness of rents, sites for factories, etc.
f. The advantage of new plants and machinery of latest and most improved make, when St. Louis goes into cotton manufacture, must not be overlooked. In old establishments usually one-half the capital is locked up in old, inconvenient buildings and machinery, heating apparatus and the like, which do not produce the best results, and are costly out of proportion to their value.
St. Louis could distribute more cheaply than any competing city the products of looms capable of converting into fabrics every bale of staple annually received by her merchants. This cotton-goods market is extending rapidly through new connections with the far West and with Mexico, and it would be still more largely enhanced by the facilities of St. Louis for outstripping competition in the extensive manufacture of cotton.
The drawbacks are want of capital, want of machinery, want of skilled labor, and the opposition, of course, of the jobbers, who sell the goods manufactured in other places. These deficiencies St. Louis must remove. With her natural and acquired advantages she can well afford to do so. In corroboration of the facts and conclusions adduced above, it is proper to add the following statistics and figures: 149
"This presents a picture of trade aggrandizement which should at once inspire confidence in the future and stimulate the merchants of St. Louis to try what the same energy and enterprise will accomplish in other fields. To have built up in half a dozen years from unimportant proportions a trade running yearly over twenty million dollars proves that it is often only necessary to dare in order to do. I ask your attention especially to the fact that the cotton trade of St. Louis showed signs of healthy growth during the year just closed, in despite of the great falling off in the volume of its receipts, as you will see that only in 1879-80 did it receive so large a percentage of the whole cotton crop. The significance of this fact you will find still more strikingly illustrated by the following:
"This presents a comparison of gross receipts, of which alone could I find the statistics for comparison. St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Savannah are the only points which show receipts of a larger percentage of the crop than previous years, and of these Cincinnati, as heretofore stated, is only a point in transit and not a market. St. Louis, therefore, held its own in 1881-82 better than any other market in the country, and has every reason to count upon a large increase this year, if the crop realizes present anticipations."
In the same connection, Mr. Nimmo, in his recent report on the internal commerce of the United States, sums up the
"The receipts of cotton at St. Louis by river fell from 53,506 bales during the cotton year 1866 to 32,279 bales during the cotton year 1880, while the receipts by rail rose from 1921 bales to 464,291 bales. The total receipts increased from 55427 bales to 496,570 bales.
"The receipts of the cotton year ended Aug. 31, 1880, were principally by the rail lines west of the Mississippi River, the Iron Mountain Road alone bringing about 84 per cent. of the total receipts.
"The total receipts were as follows:
And George H. Morgan, secretary of the St. Louis Merchants' Exchange, in the report on which Mr. Nimmo based his conclusions, replied as follows to some of the interrogatories propounded to him:
"Question 18. Please to state such facts as will indicate the growth of the cotton traffic of St. Louis, giving both receipts and shipments, and presenting tables showing the growth of the cotton traffic over the various routes during the last five or six years. In this connection please also to give the States and localities in which the cotton received by the different routes is produced.
"Answer. The business of the cotton year ending Aug. 31, 1880, has more than realized the expectations of the trade. The gross receipts amounted to 496,570 bales, placing St. Louis at the head of the interior cotton markets of the country. The prevalence of yellow fever at Memphis during the fall of 1879 no doubt turned to St. Louis some cotton that otherwise would not have come to this market, but the amount so diverted could not have exceeded at the utmost 25,000 bales. The increase was by the railroads from Arkansas, Texas, and the Indian Territory, which trade legitimately belongs to St. Louis, and will doubtless increase with the production in those States.
"The value of the cotton business to our city is equal to at least $50,000,000 per annum. The value of the net receipts the past year, at $55 per bale, would be $17,835,620. It is safe to estimate that the greater portion say three-fourths to seven-eighths of the proceeds of the cotton sold here is expended in the purchase of goods and supplies. Add to this the trade that has naturally followed the channel opened by the cotton trade, and the amount named will not more than cover the amount of business that is the natural result of the diversion of cotton to this market. Of the gross receipts, 172,286 bales were on through bills of lading to Eastern and foreign markets, leaving 324,284 bales as the amount handled by our factors, against 218,716 bales the previous year. Of the shipments, 173,644 bales were exported direct to Europe, 7248 bales to Canada, 110,761 bales to the Atlantic seaboard cities, 432 bales to San Francisco, and 186,134 bales to interior manufacturing points. Of the receipts, the larger amount came from Arkansas, and the next from Texas, as will be seen by tables on following pages. As the business has increased the facilities for handling the same have been provided. The St. Louis Cotton Compress Company, the largest establishment of its kind in the world, has added to its former buildings, and has also erected a compress on the line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The capacity of the three companies is now as follows:
The tables below, derived from the same source, about complete this exhibit:
STATEMENT showing the sources of supply of cotton received at St. Louis for the year ending August 31, 1880.
The rate of freights on cotton from interior points in Texas to St. Louis is about the same as that to Galveston, and the transportation charges from interior points in Texas to Liverpool via St. Louis do not materially differ from those via Galveston to Liverpool, thus making St. Louis a strong competitor with Galveston for the cotton trade of interior Texas.
On the general subject of the mutual interaction of local advantages in production, conversion, and exchange, as affecting St. Louis and its competitors, C. H. Pope, an expert in transportation matters, observes, in regard to the territory south of the Ohio River and of the State boundary of Missouri, that
"at the opening of the era of railway transportation the commercial relations of Chicago with the territory considered were meagre and spasmodic. The city did not form a market for any of the products of the Southern soil; it did not possess organized railway facilities nor lines of non-competitive commodities, all of which, added to disadvantageous position, practically placed that city outside the commercial pale for the Southern Mississippi River basin.
"Her first traffic with the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, via the Illinois Central Railroad and connections, was rapidly improved and followed up, and trade relations were organized which, on some lines of merchandise, have remained permanent and prosperous. The influence of Chicago in the South at present is an important one. It is felt most largely along the line of the New Orleans, St. Louis and Chicago Railroad, and of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. In fact, during the era of railway transportation, the line of New Orleans, St. Louis and Chicago Railroad has formed as nearly a dividing boundary for the commerce of the interior cities as it is possible to establish.
"To the west of this road the city of St. Louis, since the completion of its Southern trunk connections, controls more of the commerce of the country than either Cincinnati or Louisville, and in this territory Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chicago each enters as a competitor, the aggregate value of the commerce in all commodities controlled by each therein being almost equal, although the trade seeking each city varies largely with the commodities moved, i.e. the aggregate trade of each city in particular commodities being widely different."
He adds that the trade specialties which Chicago advantageously offers to this territory are grain, hides, pork, and live-stock, besides a large list of manufactured goods, including clothing, implements and machinery, iron, etc. Those which St. Louis offers are furs, flour, grain, and manufactured articles.
J. D. Hayes, of Detroit, one of the experts best known in connection with trade and transportation, in a letter to Mr. Nimmo, dated April 7, 1881, remarks as follows upon the force of natural advantages in promoting manufactures:
"In reply to your valued favor of 23d ultimo, in regard to ‘the development of manufacturing interests in the chief cities of the West, viz., Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago,’ I would say the manufacturing interests of those cities, as well as all other cities, towns, and villages, depend very much upon natural advantages, aided by circumstances, controlled by business energy, and capital to bring out and develop those natural advantages.
"Take St. Louis for example. For hundreds or thousands of years before the present race of people were known the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers formed their junction near the place where St. Louis now stands, those rivers being navigable for so many hundred miles in each direction, draining a country rich in agricultural lands, as well as very abundantly supplied with iron, coal, and other minerals, together with the great variety of different kinds of valuable timber suitable for manufacturing, all of which could be brought to that point from the north by the natural flow of water, thence onward down to the Gulf of Mexico, to reach open and unobstructed ocean navigation all the year round to all parts of the world. This vast region of country along those rivers is capable of sustaining a population of three hundred millions of people, without having more inhabitants to the square mile than some parts of Europe. With such a country and such natural resources to and from, such a central point would not fail to attract the attention of the dullest mind to its future prospects long before the steamboats or the railroads had entered into competition in rates with the currents of the rivers in their onward course to the ocean. Therefore from the beginning to the present time, and for all coming time, railroads and steamboats must compete with the currents of those rivers for the traffic of St. Louis; therefore manufactories at that point enjoy benefits which are in some respects a protection as against interior towns or cities having to pay local or non-competing rates. The St. Louis rates affect the rates upon all productions far back into the country each side of that river, as far as to where the local rates into St. Louis and the through rate from St. Louis added together equal the eastbound rate by rail from the interior cities and towns.
"The public are educated to call this natural advantage ‘discrimination in rates in favor of St. Louis,’ which is true so far as the other places are concerned, but it is a ‘discrimination’ made by God himself in the formation of the world, therefore beyond the power of railroad managers to change. The manufacturer can with some degree of certainty put his money, energy, and material together at that point, looking to the future wants of the vast number of people that are now in the West and the millions upon millions more that will be there, and go forward with manufacturing enterprises without limit, feeling secure in the ability to compete with any other part of the world."
In different words and varying forms, all that has been said on this subject only serves to enforce and illustrate what was said long ago by the author of the "Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith, in that great work, the foundation, in fact, of all political economy, and in many respects the wisest and most healthy treatise upon that complicated science:
"The great commerce of every civilized society is that which is carried on between the inhabitants of the town and those of the country. It consists in the exchange of rude for manufactured produce, either immediately or by the intervention of money, or of some sort of paper which represents money. The country supplies the town with the means of subsistence and the materials of manufacture. The town repays this supply by sending back a part of the manufactured produce to the inhabitants of the country. The town, in which there neither is nor can be any reproduction of substances, may very properly be said to gain its whole wealth and subsistence from the country. We must not, however, upon this account imagine that the gain of the town is the loss of the country. The gains of both are mutual and reciprocal, and the division of labor is, in this as in all other cases, advantageous to all the different persons employed in the various occupations into which it is sub-divided. The inhabitants of the country purchase from the inhabitants of the town a greater quantity of manufactured goods with the produce of a much smaller quantity of labor than they must have employed had they attempted to prepare them themselves. The town affords a market for the surplus produce of the country, or what is over and above the maintenance of the cultivators, and it is there that the inhabitants of the country exchange it for something else which is in demand among them. The greater the number and the revenue of the inhabitants of the town, the more extensive is the market which it affords to those of the country; and the more extensive that market, it is always the more advantageous to a greater number. The corn which grows within a mile of the town sells there for the same price with that which comes twenty miles' distance. But the price of the latter must generally not only pay the expense of raising it and bringing it to market, but also afford the ordinary profits of agriculture to the farmer. The proprietors and cultivators of the country, therefore, which lies in the neighborhood of the town gain in the price of what they sell, over and above the ordinary profits of agriculture, the whole value of the carriage of the like produce that is brought from more distant parts, and they save, besides, the whole value of this carriage in the price of what they buy."
And this rule applies not only to cotton, but to every other manufacture in which St. Louis has embarked already or will embark in the future, and the extent and profits of these manufactures of St. Louis will be in exact proportion to the extent of tributary country, its need for supplies, and the advantages of transportation and conversion possessed by St. Louis over other competing trade centres. The extent of these natural and acquired facilities constitutes what may be termed the natural protection of St. Louis, as distinguished from the artificial protection which may be derived through the tariff. The percentage of that natural protection cannot exactly be determined, since so many various factors enter into its composition. We have shown that it is at least seventeen per cent. in the case of cotton. In the case of flour and provisions for the cotton sections tributary to St. Louis it is probably fully as great.
COTTON COMPRESS COMPANIES. What the elevators are to the handling of grain the compress companies are to the handling of cotton shipments, and in "terminal facilities" for the latter trade St. Louis is without an equal, one of the three establishments of the kind of which the city boasts being, as we have indicated, the largest, most complete, and most convenient of the kind in the world. There are three
compress companies in St. Louis, and a summary of their compressing facilities makes the following remarkable exhibit:
The Peper Cotton Compress was the first in St. Louis, being erected in 1871, at the old building corner of Twelfth and Market Streets. The press was of primitive character and capacity, but was used until 1878, when the company removed to its present spacious warehouse, bounded on the river-front by the Levee, and on its western length by the tracks of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. The warehouse is two hundred and fifty by three hundred feet, and two stories high. It contains two powerful hydraulic presses, with a maximum power of five million pounds pressure on the bale. The other appointments of the warehouse are also very complete. The officers of the company are Jerome Hill (of Hill, Fontaine & Co.), president; Christian Peper, vice-president; and E. D. Meier, secretary and treasurer.
The St. Louis Compress Company was organized July 20, 1873, and has since so increased its business as to employ one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars capital. The vast establishment covers a space of five entire blocks, with a total frontage of seventeen hundred and forty-eight feet, occupying fifteen acres of ground, and with its two stories occupying thirty acres of floor space. The company's warehouses are arranged in three divisions, two on the Levee and Park Avenue, and a third (new) on the Missouri Pacific and San Francisco Railways in the West End. There are in the first two nine buildings with heavy tack walls and iron doors. A network of railway tracks surrounds the platforms, and the arrangements for loading and unloading direct from cars and boats are most complete.
Cotton is received and delivered by the company fee of drayage. After a bale has been properly classed marked up for shipment it is compressed, and taken from the delivering platforms by the Cotton Transportation Company, which company was organized for the express purpose of transporting cotton in through car-load lots, without breaking seals, to the initial lines in East St. Louis, and from thence to the East and Europe. As the Compress Company insure all cotton in their hands, this organization of the Transportation Company in connection with them enables them to cover the cotton by one policy from the time they receive it until it is handed to the railroad companies in East St. Louis. The Transportation Company was organized and conducted under the able management of Col. J. W. Paramore, the first president of the Compress Company. As a greater security from fire, the buildings are divided into some twelve or fifteen compartments, and throughout the whole the arrangements for handling the cotton are of tile most elaborate character. The floors are all on an inclined plane from the receiving platforms to the compresses, and thence to the delivery platforms, and all of these platforms are well roofed in.
The company has four powerful presses, so combining steam and hydraulic power that they compress a bale of cotton to a density of nine inches, enabling twenty-five thousand pounds to be readily loaded on an ordinary freight-car. In 1879-80 two hundred and seventy-five thousand bales were compressed here. The new warehouse comprises six hundred feet front by a depth of four hundred, with thirty-seven and one-half acres of ground, and most complete machinery and other appointments. The company employs from three hundred to eight hundred men, according to the season, and paid for labor since its organization, and up to September, 1880, three hundred and ninety-four thousand two hundred and four dollars. The original officers remained up to 1881, when President J. W. Paramore was obliged, on account of his great railway operations in Arkansas and Texas, to resign. The officers of the company then chosen and still remaining as such are William M. Senter, president; C. M. Donaldson, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer; F. W. Paramore, assistant secretary; Directors, William M. Senter, James L. Sloss, M. C. Humphrey, J. D. Goldman, J. N. Stegall, Thomas H. West, I. M. Wiener, George D. Fisher, R. B. Wright, C. M. Donaldson, William F. Obear.
The board for the Texarkana Cotton Compress Company, which is also a St. Louis enterprise, is composed as follows: F. M. Martin, C. M. Donaldson, R. B. Wright, J. H. Reifsnyder, A. C. Stewart, J. W. Phillips, M. C. Humphrey, J. D. Goldman, James L. Sloss, William M. Senter. The Texarkana Company is organized under the laws of the State of Missouri; the stockholders are mainly the same as in the St. Louis Cotton Compress Company; the chief office is at St. Louis; the branch office and general agent at Texarkana.
The Factors' and Brokers' Compress Company, located on Columbus and Lafayette Streets, and covering an entire block of ground, commenced business in November, 1874, with a capital stock of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The mechanical advantages are such as to insure speedy and economical handling of the staple, and the warehouses are extensive and conveniently arranged. The capacity has been so increased from year to year that the company can now handle with its two powerful presses fifty-five thousand bales during a cotton year. The officers are R. B. Whittemore, president; C. T. Mitchell, secretary; and Messrs. Oliver Garrison, H. M. Mandeville, Richard H. Allen, and John G. Wells, directors.
There are as yet only two cotton-mills in St. Louis, those of Bemis & Marriott and of Theo. G. Meier, and both are doing so large a business that the erection of other manufactories on a still more extensive scale is in contemplation. The requisite capital is already assured.
Hemp, Bagging, and Tow. Hemp and tobacco are still great staples of Missouri and great materials for manufacture in St. Louis, but their importance relatively is not so transcendent as it used to be. Other products have outstripped them in the scale and give larger results. Hemp and tobacco will always be grown upon limestone land, because this, the only soil which will produce blue grass, is also the only one upon which those two products can be successfully cultivated and without exhausting the fertility of the soil. These products have been cultivated largely since the first settlements in Missouri. The French raised tobacco before St. Louis was founded, and it was an article of trade with the Indians in the days of Laclede. The first Kentucky immigrants brought with them the cultivation of hemp, while the Canadian habitant of Cahokia grew and hackled flax for linen and tow-cloth from the days of Charlevoix down. Under the old colonial system, however, so active was the competition of tobacco that the cultivation of flax and hemp and the manufacture of linen and cordage had to be enforced by penalties and encouraged by bounties, yet much of the domestic wear was of tow and linen and linsey-woolsey until fulling-mills were established and the use of cotton goods became universal. In St. Louis, in 1821, there was no linen made except a little spun and woven for domestic use, and there was no rope nor bagging manufactured. The consumption of rope had been comparatively large, as there was a demand for it for cordelles, but it was all imported from New Orleans or from the Eastern cities. In 1810 the cultivation of hemp sprang up largely in Kentucky on account of the blockade of the Baltic, and these Kentuckians and their children emigrating later to Missouri, carried the cultivation of hemp with them. But as in 1820 the total manufactures of Missouri only yielded one hundred and sixty thousand dollars and all the capital invested was only forty-six thousand dollars, it is not to be supposed that the hemp crop had led to the establishment of a co-ordinated industry. Still there was the crop, and the manufacture would follow.
In 1842 the tariff laid a duty of 25 per cent. on bagging, 5 cents per square yard on gunny-cloth, 25 per cent. on flax and hemp bags, 25 per cent. on linen tick, and the same on burlaps, canvas of linen, 30 per cent. on hemp and jute carpet, 4½ and 5 cents per pound on cordage of hemp and manilla, 25 per cent. on drillings and manufactures of flax, $20 per ton on raw flax, 5 per cent. on flaxseed, $40 per ton on raw hemp, with 20 per cent. on manufactures of hemp, 20 per cent. on hemp-seed, and the same on manilla, $25 per ton on jute, 25 per cent. on jute butts, and 25 per cent. on linen fabrics. With this the cultivation of hemp and the manufacture of the raw hemp and flax may be said to have begun in Missouri. In the course of about ten years rapid progress was made. The commercial statistics of St. Louis for 1853 show a receipt of 63,450 bales of hemp, against 49,124 the previous year, valued at $300,000, the price haying risen to $130 per ton in consequence of the Crimean war.
The cordage business was also prosperous, as the reports show. Receipts this year (1853) foot up 58,437 coils, against 41,674 in 1852, showing a difference of 16,763 coils. This difference, at the ruling market rates, gives the sum of $17,000, and when to this is added the advance on the whole receipts over the prices of the preceding year, the cash increase on operations, sums up $60,000. Sales during the year were unusually large. Many Southern orders previously sent to the Ohio River were filled at this point, the St. Louis market offering equal inducement as far as quality was concerned and superior claim to the consideration of buyers as regards cheaper transportation Sales ranged from 6 to 6¾, the larger portion at 6¼ to 6½; in 1852, 4¾ to 5½ were the ruling rates. The heavy advance in hemp, of course, led to this result. As far as can be ascertained, the quantity manufactured in St. Louis amounted to from 14,000 to 15,000 coils; of this the Lowell Factory, in the northern part of the city, turned out 11,000, the greater part of which found sale in the St. Louis market Missouri rope regained its standard during the season
for excellence of quality, and was eagerly sought by Southern buyers.
R. W. S. Allen, of Kentucky, and J. H. Alexander & Co., McClelland, Scruggs & Co., and Douglass & Bier, of St. Louis, purchased about this time of W. A. Richardson, of Louisville, the Perry & Slaughter patent for making bale-rope and hackling hemp. The right included the whole of Missouri and the western half of Illinois. Operations were commenced about the 1st of April, with machinery sufficient to turn out one hundred coils of rope and three tons hackled hemp per day. The annual consumption of hemp was from two to three thousand tons.
Hon. John Hogan, speaking of the hemp industry of this period, remarks,
"It would almost be unpardonable if, in such notices of manufactures as I take, I were to omit all notice of the productions of one of our own great staples, hemp. There are in St. Louis many rope-works, carried forward on the old principle of operation; these aggregately do a pretty extensive business, and although they are important, yet they do not exactly come within ray plan. There are here in successful operation two extensive steam-propelled hemp-works, and two more nearly ready for operation. The works of Mr. John L. Blaine are located above the shot-tower. They contain some twenty-five machines, which are soon to be increased. The building is a large stone and brick edifice, and the business is understood to be quite remunerative, although during the past year the price of the raw material has been relatively higher than the manufactured commodity. The Missouri Hemp Company, of which John T. Douglass is president, have their establishment located on Stoddard, just south of Chouteau Avenue. The buildings, all of brick, were erected purposely for this business, and are said to be fire-proof, certainly they are secure from any external hazard. The chief building is ninety by forty feet, three stories high, and contains thirty-two spinning-machines and four hackles, all made by Todd, McKay & Co., of Paterson, N. J. The machines are of the Perry & Slaughter patent, and the hackles are of the Arnold patent, besides cards, breaks, and picks, as usual. The engine-house, also of brick, is supplied with an engine of fifty horsepower, built by Gaty, McCune & Co., which propels all the machinery. The average consumption of hemp is seventy tons per week, and the product averages one hundred coils of rope and fifteen bales of hackled hemp per day.
"Johnsons, Bartley & Lytle are erecting on the corner of Decatur and Barry Streets, opposite the church of St. Vincent, another extensive rope manufactory. The principal building is to be one hundred and twenty by forty-four feet and four stories high, the engine and boiler house is to be ninety-six by twenty feet, the whole built of brick in the best manner. Mr. L. D. Baker, builder. As the buildings are not yet finished, there is of course no machinery erected, consequently I can give no description of it or its product; but I may say that the gentlemen who have it in hand are energetic business men, familiar with all the details of this species of manufacture, having lately been engaged in its prosecution in Louisville, Ky., and the machinery will be all new and of most approved character; and for the present they will confine themselves to making bale-rope and hackled hemp. There is another large establishment nearly ready for the machinery, which is situated on the corner of Austin and Twelfth Streets, got up by Mr. R. B. Bowler, lately a very extensive manufacturer of bagging and rope in Cincinnati, also a good business man, and every way qualified to push forward the enterprise. Here the chief commodity made will be bagging and bale-rope, to the production of which the machinery is perfectly adapted. I have understood that a company of heavy capitalists are associated with Mr. Bowler, and they have obtained a charter from the Legislature under the name of the ‘St. Louis Rope and Bagging Company.’"
In 1860 these industries in hemp and flax had attained the following respectable proportions:
The maximum was reached in 1855, which year also was that in which American ship-building culminated. Since the civil war the culture of hemp and flax in Missouri has not flourished. In 1870 there was manufactured in St. Louis 3,377,845 yards of bagging. In 1880 there were engaged in these manufactures: Bagging (flax, hemp, and jute), 3 establishments; capital, $370,000; hands, 551; wages, $150,216; materials, $545,900; product, $867,395. Awning and tents, 9 establishments; $127,200 capital; 259 hands; $54,850 wages; $249,185 materials; $388,940 products. Cordage and twine, 14 establishments; $12,875 capital; 89 hands; $16,423 wages; $33,250 materials; $67,664 products.
The Grain Trade. The history of the grain trade of St. Louis embraces a succession of mutations, all tending to the enlargement and expansion of this interest, and exhibiting a remarkable extension in respect to tributary commercial relations. A few years ago it was insisted, as indeed it had been for forty years, that the local mills made the St. Louis market, but large as the milling interest is, that demand bears a relation of only about fifty per cent. to the actual grain supply. To illustrate: The receipts of wheat from all sources in 1881 were 15,275,931 bushels, while the milling consumption was 7,407,536, less than one-half. The difference between these amounts represents the shipments. As to corn, the great staple
of Illinois and Iowa tributaries, the receipts aggregated 24,049,983 bushels, while the milling demand was only 4,576,963, a trifle more than one-fourth of the exportation of this cereal. The proportion as to rye is still more marked.
It was when St. Louis ceased to be a market of mere consumption demand and attracted to this centre the crops of Central and Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, and the great Northwest, the West, South, and Southwest, and when she began to supply other cities and other countries, it was when, in short, she became one of the distributing points for the world's breadstuffs that she came into prominence as a leading market. The growth of the speculative tendency doubtless aided St. Louis, and her callboards, like those of Chicago, were a great advertisement, but the transactions in actual grain also grew with the increase of rail- and water-route facilities for the movement of crops. Chicago had the lakes and more trunk lines, but the genius of Capt. James B. Eads opened a highway to the sea, and St. Louis began shipping grain via the jetties direct to Liverpool. River transportation companies were formed, and many bottoms built to carry the outward-bound grain from St. Louis to deep water. Meantime more railroads extended their lines to St. Louis, and in shipping facilities were greatly increased in the interest of new tributary points. Thus St. Louis acquired the key to the situation, and invited the investment of large foreign capital in the grain-trade of the Mississippi valley. Moneyed men were swift to appreciate the advantages St. Louis offered in this regard, and Jay Gould, among others, hastened to devote several million dollars to the extension of railroads centering here, and to the advancement also of the water-route transportation companies.
SOURCES OF SUPPLY. The following table exhibits the receipts in 1882 and the sources of the same. The shipments via New York, it will be observed, are trifling as compared with those by the St. Louis and Liverpool route via the jetties.
SHIPMENTS IN 1881. The following table exhibits the movement in grain at this market during 1881, and while compiled as of shipments, necessarily comprehends also the receipts during the same period:
COMPARATIVE STATEMENT. The following table exhibits the growth of the grain trade of St. Louis from 1851 to 1882, inclusive:
The season of 1880 was an exceptional one in respect to an immense crop, the largest by nearly thirty per cent. in the yield for many years.
EXPORTS BY TONS. A comparative compilation by tons of direct shipments from St. Louis to foreign countries for 1875 and 1878-81 makes this exhibit:
The foreign shipments by river and the jetties on through bills of lading in 1881 aggregated 564,839 bushels, and to this must be added 12,861,124 bushels of grain via New Orleans, but not on through bills, making the grand aggregate of 13,425,963 bushels. The bulk grain exports from New Orleans and the foreign destination of the same are thus compiled:
A comparison of the shipments of grain in bulk by river and for export during the twelve years of 1870-81 makes this interesting exhibit:
Thus has the grain trade of St. Louis grown from the proportions of a purely local market to those pertaining to one of the chief commercial centres of the world, situated in the heart of the greatest grain-producing section of the American continent.
All indications point to an immense increase in the grain trade of St. Louis. The superior facilities for transportation offered by the jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi, and by the improvements which the large appropriation made in the River and Harbor Act of 1882 will secure in the navigation of the river, must insure not only greater safety but a considerable reduction in the cost of shipment.
The position of St. Louis as a grain mart is indicated in the following table of shipments of grain and flour during 1880:
From the paper, by Charles W. Knapp, on "St. Louis: Past, Present, and Future," read before the "Round Table," Oct. 14, 1882, it appears that St. Louis, in 1881,
"led Chicago as a wheat market last year, receiving one and one-fourth million bushels more than Chicago handled. Nor can the fact he altered by counting the gross receipts of Chicago, which show it a million and a half bushels ahead in 1881, for, after all, the true basis of comparison is by crop and not calendar years, that is, from August 1st to July 31st. They know this at Chicago, the Board of Trade reports giving the receipts by crops for a number of years, and the gross receipts at Chicago from Aug. 1, 1881, to July 31, 1882, were only 13,116,580 bushels, or 3.45 per cent. of the whole crop, while St. Louis received 14,085,964 bushels, or 4.71 per cent. Is there any chance now to cavil at my statement that St. Louis was the greatest wheat market of the world last year? It got nearly a million bushels more than the gross receipts of Chicago, and at least 4,000,000 more than Chicago's net receipts, for in the first six months of the year in question a through movement of 2,000,000 bushels was included in Chicago's gross receipts, so it is no injustice to assume a total through movement of 3,000,000 bushels in the whole year. Chicago, therefore, got only about 71½ per cent. as much wheat as St. Louis, and, unless Minneapolis, which received 3,500,000 bushels more than St. Louis in 1881, is called a market, in despite of the fact that it receives for home consumption only, and shipped out but 500,000 bushels, the pre-eminence of St. Louis must rest undisputed.
"This enormous consumption at Minneapolis suggest, what more direct statistics confirm, that that city is the greatest flour manufacturing city of the country, yet St. Louis is a greater flour market. Counting in all the Minneapolis flour passing through Chicago, that city figures itself a greater market, but it has no just claim to the through movement, which it does not handle. Let it stand by its net receipts and manufacture, aggregating only 1,194,657 barrels, while the 1,718,429 barrels
manufactured in St. Louis and 261,264 barrels sold on its Exchange, but shipped direct from country mills without passing through St. Louis, in addition to 1,620,996 barrels received, make a total of 3,600,689 barrels. Minneapolis ranks second, with a manufacture of 2,890,474, and receipts of 262,500 barrels, yet it is half a million under the St. Louis figures."
ELEVATORS AND WAREHOUSES. The immensity of the grain-trade of St. Louis requires unusually extensive and complete terminal facilities; hence it is that the chain of elevators and warehouses in St. Louis and suburbs provides most amply for the handling of grain in bulk. The river-front of nearly sixteen miles is dotted here and there on both sides with elevators, having all the modern appliances and apparatus for storing, weighing, cleaning, receiving, and delivering grain into barges, which are towed alongside by tow-boats belonging to the elevator companies. Double tracks and sidings from the Levee also run into these for loading and unloading cars, and the additional chain of elevators on the lines running out from the Union Depot supply ample terminal facilities to the Western trunk lines.
There were warehouses of primitive build and limited capacity and conveniences in St. Louis nearly half a century ago, but it was not until about the year 1860 that the necessity of changing the plan of handling grain consigned to St. Louis began to be strongly felt by the commission houses and millers, and it was proposed that sacks should be dispensed with and the grain transported in bulk. The great difference between high- and low-water level some forty feet presented a difficulty, but not an insurmountable obstacle. In 1860 several meetings were held by influential dealers in grain, at which, while no definite results or plans were arrived at, the conviction was generally expressed that bulk grain transportation must supplant the sack before St. Louis could successfully compete with Chicago as a grain market. The proposition of Messrs. Henry and Edgar Ames and Albert Pearce to construct an elevator was vetoed by the mayor after ordinance empowering the construction of the until 1864 had passed the City Council, and it was not 1864 that an elevator was erected. This was the present building, save the additions since erected, of the St. Louis Elevator Company, on the Levee, between Biddle and Ashley Streets. The St. Louis Elevator Company, which now controls four elevators, when organized in 1864, was believed to be in advance of the then demands of trade. It did not prove profitable in its earlier management, nor indeed until its control was obtained by the present officers, John Jackson, president; and Capt. D. P. Slattery, secretary and general manager.
Only those who are aware of the almost incalculable impetus which the grain trade of St. Louis has received from the utilization of the river route to New Orleans for shipment to Europe and South America can appreciate the work that has been done by such far-seeing and ardent spirits as Eads and Jackson and their associates.
John Jackson was born in County Down, North Ireland, April 21, 1821, of Scotch-Irish parents. The father, a farmer, trained the boy to habits of industry, and gave him all the school privileges which the country then afforded. When nineteen years old young Jackson entered a wholesale grocery establishment at Belfast, and remained there twelve years. He then followed a younger brother's example and came to America, landing at New Orleans in 1852. For three years he was connected with the house of Dyas & Co., and then (in 1855) removed to St. Louis and established the branch house of McGill, Jackson & Co., of New Orleans, who dealt in salt, etc. The business was well managed, and Mr. Jackson made money. His energy, honesty, and ability attracted the attention of his fellow-merchants, and they sought
his advice and aid in matters involving the industrial development of the city.
Mr. Jackson early gave much thought to the opening and development of lines of traffic from St. Louis to outlying regions, and was a director in the Wabash system of railroads west of the Mississippi, reaching to Kansas City, Omaha, and the rich grain-fields of Iowa, etc. When it had been demonstrated that the grain trade of the Northwest was not henceforth to be completely monopolized by Chicago, and that shipments of grain to the Atlantic from the South and West could be made advantageously by way of St. Louis, he was an earnest and practical advocate of the introduction of improvements, such as elevators, steam-car transfers, etc., by which grain could be handled quickly and economically at St. Louis.
From the first he was an earnest advocate of the great bridge, and became prominently identified with its construction. In the many dark days of the enterprise, when the project seemed at a hopeless standstill, no man gave it more cheering or more energetic support.
When the bridge was finished, Mr. Jackson realized that the time had come to make a determined effort to improve the Mississippi River and establish its supremacy as the "water-way of the continent," and he became the president of the South Pass Jetty Company, and labored devotedly at the side of the heroic Eads in his audacious engineering feat at the mouth of the Mississippi.
Mr. Jackson gave liberally of his means to this vast work, which has taken its place as one of the great achievements of the nineteenth century, and he has now the satisfaction of knowing that the time and money of himself and his associates have been instrumental in solving the problem of cheap transportation for the West and Northwest. Their success entitles them to be classed as the preservers of the commerce of the Mississippi valley, and statistics justify their right to this proud title; for while during the past decade the shipments of grain from St. Louis have increased over one hundred per cent. and those by rail about fifty per cent., the shipments by way of river have increased within the same period five thousand per cent. (being only 312,077 bushels in 1871, and 15,762,664 bushels in 1880). In 1881 they were very nearly fifty per cent. of the whole grain shipments of the year.
While thus largely interested in questions affecting transportation, Mr. Jackson has necessarily been brought to face the important subject of the terminal handling and transfer of grain, and it is to a great extent due to his labors that the problem has been solved so satisfactorily for St. Louis. He was one of the first subscribers to the St. Louis elevator, and the company of which he is president also controls the East St. Louis and Venice elevators, and occupies the St. Louis salt warehouse.
These immense establishments are connected by wires with each other, and although the East St. Louis and Venice elevators are on the Illinois side of the river, the entire business is transacted with the utmost promptness and regularity from the general office, where Mr. Jackson is the directing mind. The grain handled by these three elevators has in some years reached as high as sixty per cent. of all the grain received at St. Louis, and this system of elevators is justly regarded as a most important agent in giving a permanent and healthy stimulus to the grain trade of St. Louis.
Early in 1880 it became apparent that the existing barge lines in operation between St. Louis and New Orleans were inadequate for the rapid and economical transportation of grain, and Mr. Jackson united with other capitalists in the establishment of the St. Louis and New Orleans Transportation Company, with a fleet of five tow-boats and thirty-five barges. Subsequently a consolidation of this company and the Mississippi Valley Transportation Company was effected, and the result of the union, the St. Louis and Mississippi Valley Transportation Company, employs thirteen tow steamers and nearly one hundred barges, with capacity for four million nine hundred thousand bushels of bulk grain, and the ability to move to New Orleans monthly three million bushels of grain.
Mr. Jackson's efforts to build up the grain trade of St. Louis by furnishing suitable terminal facilities for the handling of grain, and by providing cheap transportation to Europe, have not lacked recognition on the part of his fellow business men. He has been vice-president of the Merchants' Exchange, and is one of the most influential and honored members of that body. In 1880, when the jetty system at the mouth of the Mississippi had proved its utility, and ships of deep draught were loading at New Orleans with St. Louis grain, a party of Mr. Jackson's friends (some of whom had been his associates in the South Pass Jetty Company) visited him at his elegant home in St. Louis, and presented him, as a testimonial of their appreciation of his public-spirited labors in behalf of St. Louis, a handsome and costly watch, which bore the inscription, "The stockholders of the South Pass Jetty Company to their esteemed president, John Jackson; in grateful remembrance of his fidelity to these interests in the darkest hours of the enterprise." The esteem in which Mr. Jackson is held by those who
have been closely associated with him in these great works is shared by the public generally, among whom his name is a tower of strength, and a synonym of that strong faith in St. Louis and that patient and progressive energy which have made her the queen of the Mississippi valley.
Since Mr. Jackson has been president of the St. Louis Elevator Company the original elevator has been enlarged to its present capacity of two million bushels of bulk grain and two hundred thousand sacks, and is a marvel of conveniences, having double capacity and room for forty cars at a time to discharge or receive, besides meeting the demands of the barges along its river-front. The other elevators controlled by this corporation are:
The East St. Louis elevator, recently enlarged and now having a capacity of one million bushels. Seven tracks run through the building, capable of accommodating forty-six cars at a time, and discharging or loading thirty-two.
The Venice (Ill.) elevator, with ample rail and water conveniences, and a capacity of six hundred thousand bushels.
The North St. Louis elevator, formerly a salt warehouse only, but now arranged for elevator purposes, with a capacity of seven hundred and fifty thousand bushels. Thus this corporation supplies an aggregate storage capacity of nearly five million bushels, and employs a capital of one million five hundred thousand dollars.
The Central Elevator Company, of which N. G. Larimore is president and J. W. Larimore secretary and treasurer, was organized in 1873, and has two capacious elevators, Central A and Central B, located respectively at Eleventh and Austin Streets and on the Levee and Chouteau Avenue. In 1879 that on the Levee was burned, but speedily re-erected with increased capacity and added conveniences. The company also owns the St. Louis Warehouse, on Fifth Street and Chouteau Avenue, which has a capacity two hundred thousand bushels, and which, though one of the oldest, is one of the most complete in the city, and is used for "overflow" in bulk grain over the Missouri Pacific. The Missouri Pacific Elevator, just completed at Carondelet, has a capacity of one million five hundred thousand bushels, and is also managed by the Messrs. Larimore.
N. G. Larimore, president of the company, was born in Bourbon County, Ky., Aug. 29, 1835. His ancestors resided in Maryland and Virginia, and his were among the pioneers of Kentucky. He was reared in good circumstances. In 1844 his family settled on a farm in the northern part of St. Louis County, Mo., and were well-known and influential people. He enjoyed good educational advantages, attending Wayman Institute and a college in the interior of Missouri. Soon after leaving college in 1855 he married Miss Susan Ashbrook, youngest daughter of Levi Ashbrook, Sr., a well-known pork-packer, and bought a farm near Bellefontaine, on which he resided until 1865, when he, with his brother, J. W. Larimore, G. G. Schoolfield, and D. H. Silver, built the warehouse on Fifth Street and Chouteau Avenue, which was completed just in time to hold the Southern Relief Fair, at which over fifty thousand dollars was realized and distributed to the sufferers from the ravages caused by the civil war. This building was afterwards converted into a warehouse for the handling of grain in special bins. Millers at that time were unwilling to buy grain by grade, but insisted on having each car-load stored by itself, and the Larimore Brothers undertook to accommodate them. These beginnings were comparatively modest, and they could hardly have foreseen the development and present magnitude of their business. They handled the first bulk grain that was received in St. Louis from the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and were among the earliest to appreciate the stimulus that might be given to the grain trade of the city by the elevator system. Accordingly in 1873 they organized a company and built "Central Elevator A." At that time this was a great stride forward, and the friends of the brothers declared it to be a "great business mistake," and predicted failure; but the foresight of the Larimores was abundantly verified, the elevator was crowded, and their business increased to such a volume that in 1876 they were obliged to build another elevator ("Elevator B"), on the river at the foot of Chouteau Avenue, with a capacity of two hundred thousand bushels. As previously stated, this elevator was destroyed by fire in 1879, but the brothers immediately rebuilt it with a capacity of nine hundred thousand bushels. The capacity of Elevator A was originally five hundred thousand bushels, but increasing business has compelled its enlargement to seven hundred thousand bushels. In addition the company has leased and is now running the Missouri Pacific elevator at Carondelet, built in 1882, with a capacity of one million five hundred thousand bushels. The total storage capacity of the elevators controlled by the Larimore Brothers is over three million bushels.
Mr. Larimore has been identified with many other important enterprises, and he and his brother were the largest individual subscribers to the St. Louis and New Orleans Transportation Company, by which was
triumphantly demonstrated the great economy of a water-route to the sea. The brothers are also largely interested in the Elk Valley Farming Company, which controls fifteen thousand acres of farming land in Dakota, on which a prosperous town of two thousand inhabitants, only a year old and named "Larimore," has sprung up. The brothers regard this as one of the most important and promising of their ventures.
Mr. Larimore was also president of the Iron Mountain Bank, and has been for four years an efficient member of the City Council. He is also a member of the St. Louis Club and of the St. Louis Legion of Honor. Pie has long been a member of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church.
J. W. Larimore, brother of N. G. Larimore, was born July 16, 1837, in Bourbon County, Ky., and removed to Missouri with the family in 1844. The time occupied in making this journey was two weeks, the household goods being brought in wagons and the family in a carriage; now the trip would require only ten or twelve hours. His father, W. L. Larimore, had purchased a large tract of land in St. Louis County. Being a man of unusual foresight, he predicted a bright future for himself and family, as he looked upon St. Louis as the coming metropolis of the Mississippi valley, although the population at that time was only about thirty-four thousand. He at once set about opening up his large and magnificent farm, which in 1804 took the premium offered by the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association for the most highly improved and best cultivated large farm, there being nearly one thousand acres, most of which was meadow land. This farm was bought at from ten dollars to twelve dollars per acre, and was sold by him in 1865 in small farms for from one hundred and twenty-five dollars to two hundred dollars per acre, and was known as "The Model Farm." It was on this farm that J. W. Larimore considers he received the most valuable part of his education, having had the management of it for seven years, although his father gave him all the advantages of the best schools in the city. In 1865, with his brother, he removed to St. Louis, and his subsequent prosperous career is embraced in the sketch of that of N. G. Larimore.
He was married Jan. 29, 1867, to Bettie R. Carlisle, of St. Louis, both being active members of the Centenary Methodist Church, and closely identified with the Methodist Orphans' Home, she being a manager and he secretary and a member of the board of trustees of that worthy and admirably managed institution. He is also one of the board of trustees of the Bethel Association, one of the most useful charities in the city. Here every Sunday are gathered together from five hundred to one thousand poor and their children who are deprived of the privileges of a regular church by reason of the long distance from their homes to that portion of the city where most of the churches are. They are provided with competent teachers, and the faithful and zealous chaplain, Capt. Kitwood, preaches to them two or three times every week.
J. W. Larimore is also a stockholder and director in the Continental Bank, which is one of the most prosperous financial institutions in the city. He is also secretary and director of the Central Elevator Company, a stockholder and director of several other elevator companies, and vice-president of the Elk Valley Farming Company, on whose farm in Dakota were raised in 1882 some sixty thousand bushels No. 1 hard spring wheat.
Only those familiar with the effect which the introduction of the elevator system has had upon the grain trade of St. Louis can appreciate what such men as N. G. and J. W. Larimore have done for the city. Not many years ago the grain trade of the West and Northwest was handled by Chicago, but the Larimores and others of similar courage addressed themselves to the great problem of handling grain economically and expeditiously, the solution of which, in connection with the rapid development of the grain-growing region lying west and south of St. Louis, has amounted to almost a revolution in that line of business. The Larimores have contributed their full share to accomplishing this result, and it is thought that, owing to their intimate relations with the Gould Southwestern railroad system, they handle much the greater portion of the grain that comes to St. Louis.
J. W. Larimore has taken a great interest in the improvement of Pine Street, west of Grand Avenue, where he purchased several large blocks of ground, on which he has erected six large, fine stone-front houses, two of which are double and elegantly finished in hard wood. One of them is occupied by Mr. Larimore as his family residence. His enterprise has given quite an impetus to the improvement of that part of the city, and the value of adjacent property has advanced from twenty-five to fifty per cent. during the past year. Nor is this all: together with his brother, N. G. Larimore, he has recently (January, 1883) secured a quarter of the block at the southwest corner of Fourth and Olive Streets, and they intend shortly to erect thereon a series of buildings worthy of the location and a credit to the city.
The Advance Elevator Company (Messrs. McCormick) is admirably equipped at East St. Louis, and
has two elevators, A and B, with a total capacity of 1,500,000 bushels.
The Union Elevator, East St. Louis, has been recently built on the line of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and enjoys unusual terminal facilities and a capacity of 1,500,000 bushels, which is to be still further increased. The proprietors, Messrs. Greer Brothers, of St. Louis and Peoria, Ill., have also an elevator at the latter point.
The Union Depot Elevator D is also new, and is most admirably arranged and located. It has a capacity of 750,000 bushels, and John R. Lionberger, the proprietor, has also Union Depot Warehouse, with a capacity of 250,000 bushels.
Central Elevator C has a capacity of 800,000 bushels.
The McPheeters Warehouse Company, so organized last year, but in existence as a firm since 1877, has built one of the largest and most complete warehouses in the West. It has rail and water connections, and occupies a large river-front, from Nos. 1104 to 1115 inclusive, North Levee. The directors are W. L. Wickham, T. T. Turner, and T. S. McPheeters, Mr. Wickham being president and Mr. McPheeters secretary and manager. The capital is one hundred thousand dollars. Besides the new building, two hundred and sixty-four by one hundred and two feet with a capacity for eight hundred car-loads, the company has another warehouse on North Main Street.
A recapitulation of the storage capacity of elevators and the larger warehouses makes the following exhibit, which no other Western city can boast:
Mills and Milling. The inauguration of the flour-milling interest in what is now St. Louis antedates the Revolutionary war and the declaration of independence by nearly a decade. During the period of Spanish subsidies, on Aug. 11, 1766, Laclede Liguest received a grant of land, "situate on La Petite Rivi&eagrave;re," afterwards known as Chouteau Pond, on which he caused to be built "two mills for grist purposes," one of them run by water, and the other termed a horse-mill. How long these primitive establishments existed is unknown, but up to about 1862 a very ancient looking lime-mill stood upon this old site, then fronting Chouteau Pond, which, since filled up, is now occupied by the Union Depot, railroad tracks, freight warehouses, and other evidences of commercial progress.
Precisely when merchant mills took the place of the rude structures of the last century is not disclosed by the early commercial records, and it seems uncertain whether the mill erected at the corner of Florida Street and the Levee in 1827 and afterwards operated by Edward Walsh was really the first of comparatively modern character. In 1836, Capt. Martin Thomas built a mill in the northern part of the city, which was burned on July 10, 1836, just after it had been put in complete order. Its re-erection was speedily followed by the building of numerous other flouring-mills, so that in 1847 fourteen were in active operation, the foundation being thus laid of the St. Louis flour market, since characterized by uniform excellence of brands and great business enterprise. Of these fourteen mills five remain, though greatly enlarged and improved. A majority of the others were destroyed by fire. The names and capacity of the mills of 1847 are thus recorded:
Those marked thus * are no longer in existence.
In 1850 we find that there were twenty-two mills in operation in St. Louis, whose capacity for manufacturing flour was about two thousand eight hundred barrels, and whose actual consumption of wheat was not far short of twelve thousand bushels daily. The mills were as follows:
The Laclede Mill, the largest at that period, was erected in 1856, at the corner of Soulard and Decatur Streets, with four run of stone and a manufacturing capacity of three hundred barrels a day. Sears & Co., the owners, expended forty thousand dollars in its erection. While there have necessarily been a variety of changes with time, yet a majority of the millers of 1850 are still among the "jolly millers of St. Louis," and participated in the annual excursion of the craft in May, 1882.
The millers of 1849-50 took a prominent part in the organization of the "Merchants' Exchange," and the Millers' Exchange of that period is said to have been the pioneer corn exchange of this country. Prior to that time wheat came to the St. Louis market solely by river and in sacks, and samples were hawked about from mill to mill for sale. The outfit or furnishing of this exchange consisted of two pine counters, and twenty-four tin pans for flour samples. The Millers' Association had already been organized, with Gabriel Chouteau, John Walsh, Joseph Powell, C. L. Tucker, Dennis Marks, Dr. Tibbets, James Waugh, and T. A. Buckland as directors. The prominence then assumed by this interest in the direction of the commercial affairs of St. Louis has since been maintained in the election of five millers as presidents of the Merchants' Exchange, viz.: E. O. Stanard, in 1866; C. L. Tucker, 1867; George P. Plant, 1869; George Bain, 1878; Alexander H. Smith, in 1880. 150
Among the most aggressive and enterprising of these was George P. Plant. Mr. Plant was born in Lancaster (now Clinton), Mass., March 23, 1814, the eldest son and the third in a family of six sons and six daughters. His boyhood was one of thrift and labor, and he was brought up in a practical atmosphere, his father being a cotton manufacturer, with an excellent library of mechanical and scientific works, which the boy, directed by a gifted sister, carefully studied. From these books he contracted a desire for the calling of a civil engineer. Opportunities for studying the science were in those days very meagre, and with little but self-instruction, he launched at once into the school of practice, and was employed as a subordinate under Maj. Whistler, who was engaged in building a railroad between Springfield and Worcester, Mass.
The West was then beginning to attract the attention of the young and venturesome, and the projected construction of railroads and canals in Illinois seemed to young Plant to offer a promising field for the exercise of his talents. Consequently in 1835 he went West, and after visiting an uncle who was living in Kentucky, located at Jacksonville, Ill., where he was employed as chief engineer in building the first railroad west of the Alleghenies.
This road was called the Northern Cross Railroad. The first rail was laid at Meredosia, May 9, 1838, and the first locomotive arrived by steamboat Sept. 6, 1838. It was put upon the track Nov. 8, 1838, for a trial-trip over the eight miles of the road that were finished. George P. Plant, the chief engineer, was master of ceremonies, and in the party were Governor Duncan, of Illinois, Murray McConnell, the State commissioner, James Dunlap and Thomas T. January, contractors, Charles Collins and Myron Leslie, of St. Louis, and Alexander Strother. There were then less than two thousand miles of railroad in the United States; but Mr. Plant, to whom belongs the unquestioned honor of having first harnessed the iron horse in the Mississippi valley, lived to see nearly seventy-five thousand miles of railroad in the country, and the valley gridironed with railroads, distributing the products of the Southwest through St. Louis in every direction, north, east, south, and west, with the city itself occupying a then undreamed-of prominence as the gateway to China and Japan.
At Jacksonville he met and married Matilda W. January, sister of D. A. and Thomas T. January, who soon removed to St. Louis and engaged in mercantile and other pursuits, in which they won an honorable name. In 1839, Mr. Plant followed them to St. Louis, and after a varied experience built the Franklin flour mills, on Franklin Avenue near Fifth Street, and founded the firm of George P. Plant & Co. Subsequently his brother Samuel became a partner, and when he died in 1866, Mr. Plant admitted his son George J. to membership in the firm, and still later George H. Plant, the son of Samuel Plant.
In 1859 his wife died, leaving two sons, and in 1863 he married Miss Martha G. Douthitt, a daughter of the late Robert H. Douthitt, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who still survives him.
While active and energetic in the prosecution of his own business, which he conducted with such success as to amass a large fortune, Mr. Plant was much interested in affairs about him, and among the many positions of trust which he held were the following: President of the Merchants' Exchange, president of the Millers' National Convention, president of the American Central Insurance Company, president of St. Luke's Hospital, etc.
Mr. Plant was of delicate constitution, but his strength of mind enabled him to do perhaps more
work than many stronger men accomplished. In February, 1875, he was seized by a cold that rapidly developed into typhoid pneumonia, and on the morning of February 24th he breathed his last.
His death and funeral were the occasion of such a display of respect and esteem as are accorded to no common man. All the bodies with which he had been connected adopted resolutions expressing their regret at the decease of Mr. Plant in words of the most tender and touching eulogy. The press, not only of St. Louis but of distant cities, joined in paying tribute to one whose name throughout the land was a synonym of business integrity, and who had come to be recognized as one of the representative men of the Southwest. "It was," wrote a friend soon after his death, "his long career in St. Louis as a strict and honorable business man, a successful manufacturer, the establishing of a name national in its reputation, his fidelity in places of trust and honor, his disinterestedness as a citizen, his charity and benevolence, his ready ear to the misfortunes of others, his sound judgment and advice, ever ready for those who sought it, his known conservatism, yet progressiveness of thought and ideas, that gave him the eminence he attained in the community, made his loss so widely felt, and called forth from all sides such widespread testimonials of genuine regard and respect."
In addition to the twenty-four flour mills within the city limits, several of the St. Louis mills have like establishments in Illinois and other tributary points, and the aggregate capital invested in this interest is estimated at thirty-five million dollars. The daily manufacturing capacity exceeds twelve thousand barrels. Only since 1871, however, has the home product exceeded the receipts from other marts. Flour made from the wheat grown in the Mississippi valley has the keeping or self-preservative quality to such an extent that it is much in request in Southern latitudes, and St. Louis millers export largely to Rio and the West Indies. George Bain, president of the Atlantic Milling Company and of the National Millers' Association, was the pioneer in the export trade. Ten years ago he went to England with a consignment of flour in sacks equal to thirty thousand barrels, and found ready sale for the product. Since then St. Louis has become a distributing-point to the markets of the world, and St. Louis flour has won first premiums at the World's Expositions in Paris, Vienna, and Philadelphia. In 1879 there was exported to European nations and to South America an aggregate of six hundred and nineteen thousand one hundred and three barrels of flour of St. Louis manufacture.
The flour shipments on through bills of lading to foreign countries during 1881 makes this exhibit:
The following table, compiled from the reports of millers to the Merchants' Exchange, exhibits the aggregate amount of flour handled by them during the last nine years:
"Previous to 1880," says Secretary George H. Morgan, of the Merchants' Exchange, in his valuable report on the trade and commerce of St. Louis for 1882, "St. Louis manufactured a greater number of barrels of flour than any other city, but owing to the fact that within the past three years several of our largest flouring-mills have been destroyed by fire, our enterprising Northwestern neighbor, Minneapolis, has outstripped us in the manufacture of flour. But with the new mills built in the past two years, and those now building and planned, St. Louis will soon regain its old pre-eminence as the largest manufacturer of flour in this country. The first section of the Atlantic Roller-Mill, with a capacity of thirteen hundred barrels per day, was completed in December, and further additions will doubtless be made during the coming year. J. B. Kehlor & Co. have commenced the erection of the Grand Pacific Mills, which, when fully completed, will have a daily capacity equal to, if not exceeding, that of any other mill in the world.
Messrs. Teideman & Co. are perfecting plans for the rebuilding of the Iron Mountain Mills, burned in August last. These mills, when completed, will increase the capacity of St. Louis mills to 17,500 barrels per day, over 5,000,000 barrels per annum. Notwithstanding the fact that our manufacturing capacity has decreased, St. Louis can justly claim to be the largest flour market in the United States. While New York shows receipts of 5,883,709 barrels, it must be borne in mind that in this amount is included all the flour shipped directly from interior cities to Europe and South America, and in which the New York merchant, whether receiver or exporter, has no interest whatever; and while some of our Western competitors show nominally very large receipts, a large proportion of such receipts pay no tribute to the city through which they pass on their way to the seaboard for export or to the New England States for consumption, while of the 4,845,625 barrels handled the past year by St. Louis millers and dealers, there was not one per cent. that did not actually change hands here, being bought and sold in this market.
"The amount of flour manufactured during 1882 was 1,850,215 barrels, an increase over 1881 of 131,786 barrels. The receipts reached 2,003,424 barrels, the largest in the history of the trade. The shipments aggregated 3,305,765 barrels, a greater amount than ever before, of which the equivalent of 623,211 barrels was shipped in sacks direct to foreign ports, 970,462 barrels went to Eastern consumers, and 1,661,481 barrels were taken by the Southern States. In addition to the amount exported from St. Louis, 344,984 barrels were reported by St. Louis dealers from points other than St. Louis, being shipped direct from the country mills to save expense, but all of which was sold in this market."
FLOUR MANUFACTURED during 1882 by mills outside of the city of St. Louis, but owned by citizens of St. Louis, members of the Merchants' Exchange.
The product for 1881 of those mills making a specialty of corn meal, rye flour, grits, hominy, and corn flour should be added to obtain a complete exhibit of the milling interest of St. Louis. It is as follows:
These figures show a steady increase in this particular, averaging over forty per cent. a year. The exports of corn meal in 1881 aggregated 599,016 barrels, and 1228 car-loads of bran and ship stuffs in bulk were shipped, and 560,115 sacks of the same. The growth of the flour trade of St. Louis will be seen in the following table of the receipts and manufacture of flour for thirty-two years and the exports for eighteen years:
The sources of supply and the direction of shipments of flour during 1881 and 1882 will be seen from the following table:
Bread, Crackers, etc. "At the time of the transfer of the province of Louisiana to the United States," says Edwards ("Great West," p. 288), "there was but one baker in the town, by the name of Le Clerc, who baked for the garrison, and who lived on Main Street, between what is now known as Elm and Walnut." Dec. 5, 1812, Toussaint Benoit had a baker-shop on North Church Street, in Block 64. On the 11th of November, 1815, Christian Smith informed
"the citizens of St. Louis, and those who attend the St. Louis market, that he has opened a bake-shop in Decatur Street, opposite Edward Hempstead's office, where household breads, cakes, biscuits, crackers, etc., will always be ready for customers. Tomorrow evening the first batch will be drawn, and the citizens are invited to send and make trial. For the accommodation of his friends of the north end of St. Louis, he will keep bread for sale at the house of Mr. Wallace, the place lately occupied by Mr. Jourdan Labrose."
April 20, 1816, the Missouri Gazette published the following ordinance:
"AN ORDINANCE to establish the tariff and regulate the inspection of bread for the town of St. Louis.
"Be it ordained by the board of trustees of the aforesaid town, that hereafter no loaf of bread shall be vended in said town at a price greater than twelve and one-half cents, and in order to fix the weight of said loaf of bread, the bakers of bread shall hereafter be regulated by the following tariff:
"Provided, however, That if the prices of flour should be different from the prices fixed in the above tariff, the weight of the loaf shall be regulated accordingly."
June 20, 1816, Abijah Hull & Co., bakers, were located on South Main Street, in block No. 6.
According to the census of 1880, the number of firms engaged in the bread and cracker business was 195, but in 1881 the number was estimated at 215, with a total business of $2,000,000; hands employed, 500; wages paid, $350,000.
One of the largest houses in the cracker trade is the Dozier-Weyl Cracker Company, of which the founder was Capt. James Dozier. Capt. Dozier was born in Nash County, N. C., Jan. 7, 1806, the son of Thomas Dozier, and descended from an old and well-known Virginia family. Of Capt. Dozier's boyhood little is recorded, but that he was of a stirring and adventurous spirit may be inferred from the fact that when but eighteen years old he migrated to the West, his only attendant being Peter, a negro boy, whom his father had given him. The journey, which was undertaken by land, was a toilsome one, there being no railroads then, and only a few primitive steamboats. He settled near Paris, Tenn., where, after a short season spent in farming, he commenced the mercantile business in a small way, and followed this pursuit several years with excellent success, having gained the confidence of all with whom he came in contact.
In 1826, Mr. Dozier married Miss Mary A. Dudgeon, the daughter of John Dudgeon, originally of Virginia, but later of near Lexington, Ky., where most of his family were born. In 1828, accompanied by his father-in-law and family and two other families of that neighborhood, he emigrated to Missouri, settling in the upper part of St. Louis County, near the Virginia settlement of the Tylers and Colemans, families whose descendants are among the leading people of that locality. Here Capt. Dozier and Mr. Dudgeon, his father-in-law, leased the old McAllister tan-yard, and operated it with success for some years, when Capt. Dozier retired and resumed the mercantile business. He continued in this employment for a few years, and finally removed to the north side of the Missouri River, into St. Charles County, where he lived for many years. Here he laid the foundation of his subsequent fortune, conducting a flourishing business as a merchant and farmer, and became one of the leading men of that region. By frugality and industry he accumulated a large estate, consisting of lands, stock, etc., and in doing so was greatly aided by the most estimable of wives, of whom it was justly said that "she was a bee that brought a great deal of honey to that hive."
In 1844, Mr. Dozier engaged in the steamboat business, and owned and operated successively the "Warsaw," "Lake of the Woods," "St. Louis Oak" "Cora," "Mary Blane," and "Elvira" (a boat of much reputation in her day, and named for his second daughter). Later he or his sons owned the "Rowena," "Thomas E. Tutt," "Mollie Dozier," etc. There are doubtless many old steamboatmen yet living in whom the mention of the names of these vessels will awaken the most interesting recollections. Those were the palmy days of steamboating on the Missouri River, and the vessels owned by Capt. Dozier made his name widely known along that stream and its tributaries, and everywhere respected as the synonym of all that was honest and straightforward. He was a contemporary and acquaintance of Capts. Roe, Throckmorton, La Barge, Eaton, Kaiser, and others, most of whom he survived.
In 1854, Capt. Dozier retired from the river to his country home, where he built a fine residence near the river-bank. A more beautiful place or a better improved farm, or rather set of farms, could, perhaps, not have been found on the Missouri River than that of Capt. Dozier, at "Dozier's Landing." His house was ever open to his friends and neighbors, and for the twenty years he lived in St. Charles County was seldom without some visitors. His charities to the poor and orphans were of the most generous character, and his house at times was the home of many unfortunates. In his numerous benefactions he was wholly free from ostentation, and the world never knew of most of his deeds of benevolence. Capt. Dozier was an owner of slaves, but a kind and thoughtful master.
Immediately after the war he removed to St. Louis, and in 1867 formed a partnership with the long-established and well-known baker, Joseph Garneau, in the bakery business. In 1872 this firm was dissolved, and Capt. Dozier then founded the present large baking establishment of the Dozier-Weyl Cracker Company,
than which perhaps no manufacturing establishment in America is better known, it being probably the largest cracker-factory in the world.
Capt. Dozier died July 15, 1878, after but a few hours' illness. For more than twenty years he had been a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and enjoyed the confidence and respect of the members of that communion, by whom his counsels were prized and his example is held in affectionate remembrance. As a citizen, he stood very high, yet his real worth was appreciated only by those who knew him intimately, for his nature was reserved, and while his friends embraced all with whom he was ever brought into business or social relations, comparatively few were privileged to thoroughly know and comprehend his character. As a business man, though reticent, he was quick to decide and equally quick to act, and his judgment was clear and seldom at fault. Consequently he left to his family a good heritage, the accumulation of a lifetime of economy and upright dealing, but he bequeathed also what they prize far more, the life record of a good citizen, a loving husband, and a wise and tender father.
Groceries. In early times the grocery trade was included under the general designation of "dry-goods," but as far back as May 2, 1812, we find J. F. Laveille advertising a new store, his stock consisting of groceries, queensware, and other goods. In 1853 the importations of groceries embraced 50,774 hogsheads, 13,993 barrels, and 40,257 boxes and tags of sugar, 53,554 barrels and hogsheads of molasses, 868 barrels of syrup, and 104,467 bags of coffee. This was largely in advance of the previous year's imports, given as follows: Sugars, 35,283 hogsheads, 27,672 barrels and boxes, 31,745 bags; coffee, 96,240 sacks; molasses, 54,933 barrels and hogsheads.
In 1855 there were fifty-six houses engaged in the wholesale grocery trade, with annual sales amounting to $22,783,505. Under the classification of groceries, dry-goods, boots and shoes there were five firms engaged, their annual sales aggregating $710,675.
The total number of wholesale grocery firms in St. Louis in 1881 was fifty-two; wholesale and retail groceries, nine; dealers in fancy groceries, three, making a total of sixty-four firms in the wholesale grocery business. The sales (exclusive of sugar, coffee, rice, etc.) are estimated at thirty millions of dollars per annum. During the same year (1881) there were one thousand and twenty-five retail groceries in St. Louis.
One of the largest grocery firms in the country, and probably in the world, the Greeley-Burnham Grocer Company, is located in St. Louis. Its founder was Carlos S. Greeley (a sketch of whose active and beneficent career is printed elsewhere in this work in the history of the operations of the Western Sanitary Commission), who in 1838 established a wholesale grocery-house in St. Louis, the firm being composed at first of Messrs. Greeley & Sanborn, and afterwards of Greeley & Gale. Business was commenced on the Levee on a very moderate scale, and one of the peculiarities of its management was that, contrary to the usual practice of the time and place, the firm sold no liquor. The enterprise prospered, and the partnership of Greeley & Gale continued in successful operation until 1858, in which year C. B. Burnham was admitted to partnership, and the house took the name of C. B. Burnham & Co.
Daniel B. Gale, who was associated with Mr. Greeley in the establishment of the original firm, was born in Salisbury, N. H., March 30, 1816. When he was but six years old his father, a prosperous farmer, died, but his mother, a woman of rare qualities of mind and heart, cheerfully assumed the added responsibilities, and, watching over his childhood and youth with unceasing love, laid the foundations of a singularly fine and noble character. The lad worked on the farm until he was about fourteen years of age, and his early education was mostly received from the common country school, taught six months in the year; but he afterwards enjoyed for a time the advantages of the academy in his native town, and then, with the intention of becoming a lawyer, entered Meriden Academy, in Plainfield, N. H., to prepare for college. Like many another New England student, he taught a country school during the winter, and at the same time prosecuted his studies; but a change having come over his mind as to his life-work, he abandoned the idea of entering the legal profession, and became a clerk in the store of Samuel C. Bartlett, a prominent and wealthy merchant of Salisbury.
A friend who knew him well at that period writes, "He was rather impulsive, very affectionate in his nature, and more delicate in his constitution than his brothers, and on that account was perhaps rather more the favorite of his mother. He was always, even in boyhood, perfectly correct in his deportment, was reliable in all that he said or did, and was never guilty of any of those boyish tricks and vices so common with young men, and by some considered almost necessary follies of youth. There was a small public library in Salisbury, from which he procured books, and he early acquired the habit of filling up his leisure time in reading. This habit continued
ever after, and made him a man of great general information."
Very soon after becoming of age, at the earnest solicitation of his brother, a lawyer in Peoria, Ill., who was anxious for him to settle at that point, he determined to try his fortune in the West, and having some money from his father's estate at his disposal, he purchased a stock of goods in Boston, shipped them by way of New Orleans to Peoria, and proceeded without delay via Pittsburgh to that town, where he intended to reside. But having chanced, in March, 1838, to meet at Peoria a native of his birthplace, Carlos S. Greeley, who was establishing himself in St. Louis, and who urged upon his young townsman the superior advantages which St. Louis as a business centre offered to a stirring young man, he visited St. Louis, where he found Mr. Greeley just opening business, and suggested the formation of a partnership, offering to put into the capital of the firm the two thousand dollars' worth of goods then on the way up the river. Mr. Greeley accepted the proposition, and the two, who were destined to be from this moment lifelong friends and associates, repaired to a room in the National Hotel, corner of Third and Market Streets, and there arranged the basis of partnership and the general principles on which the business should be conducted.
A noteworthy feature of their agreement was that it was wholly verbal. When one proposed to reduce it to writing, the other remarked that were it put on paper it would be no more binding, for if people would not keep a verbal contract, they would surely find some way to break a written one. And so, on the 28th of March, 1838, the firm of Greeley & Gale was organized, without any written articles of copartnership, and during the thirty-six years in which the principals were associated they never found it necessary to draw up any such articles, nor to commit to writing any agreement, either with each other or with those who were subsequently admitted to the firm.
The rapid rise and development of the firm has already been related. Of his associate in the years of toil that first ensued and of honorable and well-earned success that followed Mr. Greeley says, "Mr. Gale was a good, honest, working man, always ready to do his share of hard work, and there was plenty of it for many long years. A more conscientious or correct man I never had the pleasure of knowing. I never knew him to fail in any capacity. He was in every respect a good man, a thorough Christian."
Mr. Gale was pre-eminently a man of business, and attended strictly to details. He did not allow his time or capital to be squandered in outside investments and speculations, which allure from their legitimate callings so many merchants only to result in financial disaster, but to all public enterprises which promised good to St. Louis he gave hearty and material support. For many years he was a director in several of the banks, and was a liberal subscriber to the stock of the Kansas and Pacific Railroad. In company with Messrs. Greeley, John D. Perry, Joseph O'Neil, and others, he rendered to that great enterprise important financial aid at a most critical period of its history. For several years, too, he was the faithful and incorruptible representative of the Seventh Ward in the City Council, a service prompted not by love of applause or personal gain, for such motives were entirely foreign to his quiet and unselfish nature, but by a serious conviction of the duty he owed his fellow-citizens, whom he served in a strong and upright way, without compromise of their rights or loss of his own self-respect. Thus, though diligent in business, he found time and means to render substantial aid to the city of his residence and love, and his honorable, successful, and praiseworthy career as a merchant and citizen was truthfully eulogized on the occasion of his death by the Union Merchants' Exchange, of which he was a member, in these words: "A gentleman of universally modest deportment, yet widely known and beloved on account of the remarkable purity and benevolence of his character; a merchant of sterling integrity, about whose name the most pleasant memories will forever cluster."
Mr. Gale was a thoroughly benevolent man, and for years he was an efficient worker in that noble charity the Provident Association. He was also trustee and counselor in various charitable organizations, to the prosperity and usefulness of which his best energies were consecrated. He ever kept his heart fresh and warm by personal intercourse with the poor, listening patiently to tales of sorrow and want, and alleviating human suffering and wretchedness with all the means at his command. He gave freely to the cause of education, especially to the training of young men for the Christian ministry, and at his death, which occurred on the 23d of September, 1874, he left, among other liberal benefactions, a bequest of five thousand dollars to Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, Ill., and an equal sum to the Girls' Industrial Home in St. Louis. His modest nature shrank from publicity, and he literally did not let "his left hand know what his right hand" did.
On March 15, 1850, Mr. Gale was baptized by Rev. J. B. Jeter, D. D., into the fellowship of the Second Baptist Church of St. Louis. During those
times which tried men's souls, when the church, like every other institution of society, was passing through the shock of civil war, he accepted the responsible office of treasurer, and discharged its duties with fidelity and skill. The records of the church show that from four hundred dollars to two thousand four hundred dollars of his private funds were annually employed to preserve the credit of the church. Few men could have done this in the delicate and quiet way in which all now know that he did it. Until he was stricken down by ill health his service in the church was characterized by the most considerate wisdom and great generosity. He was one of the principal advocates of moving the location of the church edifice from Sixth and Locust to Locust and Beaumont Streets, and one of the largest contributors to the building fund of the present beautiful structure. Even after sickness prevented active participation in church work, he still rendered important aid to the church by his judicious counsels and liberal gifts.
On the 3d of February, 1842, Mr. Gale was married to Miss Caroline E. Pettengill, a native of his birthplace, and an acquaintance of his youth and early manhood. From this union were born five children Charles, Theodore F., Ella R., Arthur H., and George. Charles and George died in early childhood, and Theodore F. at the age of twenty-one. Ella R. is the wife of Charles W. Barstow, of St. Louis.
Into his home Mr. Gale brought his best thoughts and most sacred affections. Here, as nowhere else, were manifested the purity and sweetness of his gentle sod affectionate disposition, the fragrance of which still lingers in the hearts of those who knew him best and loved him most. The memorial organ placed by his wife in the choir gallery of the Second Baptist Church of St. Louis was a just tribute to his life and character, and a fitting expression of the affection in which his memory is held.
The firm of C. B. Burnham & Co. continued as such until 1876, when the title was changed to Greeley, Burnham & Co. In 1879 the firm was incorporated as the Greeley-Burnham Grocer Company, with C. S. Greeley, president; C. B. Burnham, vice-president; Dwight Tredway, secretary; C. B. Greeley, treasurer, and A. H. Gale, assistant secretary. These gentlemen still constitute the board of officers. The house has passed through many crises in the commercial affairs of the country, but its career has been one of great and uniform prosperity. It now occupies a large, convenient, and finely-equipped building at the corner of Christy Avenue and Second Street, and transacts an immense business, with ramifications covering a wide extent of territory.
Another leading grocery firm is that of Alkire & Co. Josiah Alkire, the senior member, has been identified with the business for thirty years, having founded the house in 1852. Associated with him as members of the present firm are Frederick H. Beimes and William D. Scott. Mr. Alkire was born at Williamsport, Ohio, in 1818. The early years of his life were spent in farming in that State and in Illinois, whither he removed with his father's family in 1840. In 1852 he arrived in St. Louis and engaged in the grocery business, in which he has continued without interruption ever since. He began in a moderate way, but the business grew rapidly, and the house now occupies five floors, 160 by 70 feet each, of the building embracing Nos. 514, 516, 518, and 520 North Second Street, St. Louis. The firm stands well in commercial circles, and its career has been one of uniform and constantly increasing success.
Mr. Alkire is a modest and unassuming business man, and his prosperity is due to prudent and careful management. His judgment is clear and accurate, and he can probably point to as good an average success as any of his contemporaries. In business matters he is watchful without being parsimonious, for he believes that, frequently, liberal expenditures bring the most liberal results. Perhaps his most distinguishing characteristic is the thoroughness with which he applies himself to every detail of his business. Personally, he is easily approached, and to his employés is kind-hearted and considerate to a remarkable degree. Such a nature readily responds to the appeals of the distressed, and Mr. Alkire is liberal almost to a fault.
In 1864, Mr. Alkire was married to Lydia Tomlin. They have two sons living, Francis Alkire, born Dec. 27, 1865, and George Alkire, born April 28, 1871. His tastes are domestic, and he has ample means to gratify them at his beautiful home on the West End Narrow-Gauge Railroad.
Among the men with whom Mr. Alkire has been closely connected in business was the late C. P. Shepard. He regards the partnership with Mr. Shepard as having been a most advantageous one for the house, and personally a most delightful one to himself, and he takes a sad pleasure now in paying this loving tribute to a good man's memory.
The firm of Brookmire & Ranken has long occupied a prominent position in the wholesale grocery trade of St. Louis. James H. Brookmire, the founder of the house, was born Jan. 8, 1837, in Hestonville, then one of the suburbs of Philadelphia, but now a portion of that city. He is of Irish lineage, the son
of a mechanic, from whom he inherited sturdy common sense and valuable mechanical gifts. The family were in moderate circumstances, and he enjoyed only the ordinary country school privileges of that period. His boyhood was passed uneventfully, and at the age of seventeen he found employment in a retail grocery in Philadelphia, an engagement which lasted about one year.
In February, 1855, he removed to St. Louis and took a position as shipping clerk in the wholesale grocery establishment of his uncles, S. & J. Hamill, then doing business on the Levee. The house was a leading one in its line of trade, and the engagement was an extremely beneficial one to young Brookmire. He served the establishment so faithfully that after successive promotions the young man, who landed in St. Louis with no capital but an indomitable will and faith in himself, was admitted in five years to an active partnership in the house, which then (in 1860) took the name of Joseph Hamill & Co. In 1868 the senior partner, Mr. Hamill, retired, and the firm-name then became Brookmire & Ranken, under which title it has continued to flourish until the present day. Of the career of this firm and of its present standing it is only necessary to remark that it is not only a leading house in its particular line, but may fairly be regarded as representative of the general trade of St. Louis in its stability and its capacity for expansion. The scene of its operations has been at the great distributing point for the mighty Mississippi valley, inviting operations on a large scale, and not only involving the use of large capital, but imperatively demanding the employment of decision, judgment, and nerve. The house has also had to pass through many stormy seasons of trade, when success depended upon close and accurate observation and clear and speedy judgment; but its uninterrupted progress through wars and panics and its present prosperity may be taken as conclusive evidence that its managers (at whose head has stood Mr. Brookmire for nearly fifteen years) possessed those necessary qualities in a marked degree.
The secrets of Mr. Brookmire's success have been thoroughness and system. Such were the qualities which led to his remarkably speedy promotion to a partnership, and they have proved to be the foundation stones of his subsequent fortune. Upon assuming the obligations of a partner, he aspired to be a leader among men of his particular line of business, not only in those routine matters which every grocer is supposed to master, but in those particulars which perhaps a majority neglect. In such matters as the chemistry of his trade, for instance, he is especially well informed, and his knowledge has greatly contributed to the judicious and successful management of the firm's large business. His mechanical tastes are strong, and he figures as the inventor of several patents of special ingenuity and in general use among the trade, by whom Mr. Brookmire's inventive genius is properly appreciated.
Mr. Brookmire has often been solicited to serve the public in various official capacities, but has always declined, having no taste for the excitements of such a life, although deeply appreciating the honor his fellow-citizens sought to pay him. He is, however, a close observer of public affairs, and his influence as a citizen has ever been exerted on the side of economy and honesty in the management of the city, State, and national governments.
Outside of his own business, Mr. Brookmire has not cared greatly to interest himself; his reputation (by which he hopes hereafter to be best remembered) is that of one of the most successful grocers of St. Louis. Nevertheless his name is associated with some enterprises of considerable importance. He is also a valued member of several boards and societies, including the popular St. Louis Legion of Honor; and the possession of considerable real estate in various parts of the city still further identifies him with St. Louis. Without a particle of pretense or affectation, he is one of the best representatives of the self-contained and aggressive class of business men who have made St. Louis known and respected throughout the great Mississippi valley.
In January, 1867, Mr. Brookmire married Miss Anna Forbes, daughter of Dr. Isaiah Forbes, an old and well-known citizen.
One of the important branches of the grocery business is the sugar trade. In 1881 the receipts were 58,535 hogsheads, 128,393 barrels, 320 boxes, and 15,108 sacks. The receipts of coffee during 1881 amounted to 243,239 sacks, and the annual value of this trade is set down at over $500,000. The pre-eminence of St. Louis as the largest interior coffee market in the world is still maintained. Her shipments of coffee are about twenty-five per cent. greater than those of Chicago, Cincinnati, or New Orleans. The receipts of butter during 1881 aggregated 8,247,401 pounds, and the receipts of cheese to 109,272 boxes, the total value of the trade being estimated at $1,500,000. Several firms are engaged in the direct importation of tea, their business aggregating over $500,000. The trade of St. Louis in oysters and fish is estimated at about the same amount, and the trade in fruits and nuts aggregated in 1881 the sum of $800,000.
The trade in molasses, coffee, rice, and tea is shown in the following tables:
The importation of sugar at St. Louis from 1865 to 1882 is presented in the following table, as well as the shipments to the interior:
David Nicholson, one of the representative men in the grocery trade of St. Louis, was born in the village of Fowlis Wester, in the county of Perth, Scotland, on Dec. 9, 1814. His parents were in only moderate circumstances, and he was reared in the sharp and rigorous school of comparative poverty. He received in early youth such education as the Scottish rural schools then afforded, but being fond of books and of ready intellect and more than ordinary aptness, he was a promising scholar. His parents were of the most rigid integrity, and instilled early into his mind and being the principles of the strictest uprightness and honesty.
After his school-days his first employment was the toilsome service of a grocer's apprentice in the city of Glasgow. An apprenticeship in Scotland in those days meant thorough instruction in all the details of the trade to be learned, and when young Nicholson had served his time he had an all but perfect knowledge of the business as then conducted. Afterwards he went to the town of Oban, in the West Highlands of Scotland, and there entered the service of a merchant who had been attracted by his activity and energy thus early developed in the store at Glasgow.
While yet in his eighteenth year he came to America, landing at Montreal, and afterwards proceeded to Ottawa, but finding no employment in the business to which he had been disciplined and educated, he engaged as tutor to the children of the postmaster, where he remained until learning that his employer had withheld his letters, apparently for fear of losing his services as a teacher, he gave up his position. He then learned the trade of a carpenter, and worked as such at Hamilton and other Canadian towns, also at Erie, Pa., and Chicago, and in 1838 removed to St. Louis, where he continued to follow that occupation. Physically strong and mentally quick, he was noted above many of his fellow-craftsmen for rapid and superior workmanship. Some of the finest ornamental woodwork in St. Xavier's Church, St. Louis, was done by him, and he often referred to it with pride in later years.
In 1843 he relinquished the trade of a carpenter to
embark in the grocery business, and formed a partnership with William Strachan, who was at that time a wine merchant of St. Louis. The title of the firm was Strachan & Nicholson. Mr. Strachan became surety for the obligations incurred in establishing the business, but no cash capital was invested. Mr. Nicholson was the sole manager and director of the new interest thus created, which was originally established at Fourth and Market Streets. His thorough business training now asserted itself, and under his direction the business prospered and soon attained large proportions. After a number of removals in the passing years, necessitated by the steady growth of its trade, the house finally in 1870 settled in the present commodious building, Nos. 13 and 15 North Sixth Street, between Market and Chestnut Streets, a structure erected by Mr. Nicholson himself to meet the modern requirements of a continually increasing business. The house contains five floors, each fifty by one hundred and thirty-five feet, and at the present time employs a force of fifty assistants.
Mr. Nicholson's remarkable success as a merchant may be attributed to his unremitting diligence, and the conducting of all his business transactions, small and large, on the basis of strictly honorable principles, to his promptness in payments, and the handling of only the best goods. In all his thirty-seven years of commercial life no one having a just claim was ever turned away from his counting-house without receiving his due, and the name of David Nicholson was never commercially dishonored at home or abroad.
He had great contempt for the "sharp practices" common in the trade, and despised those who were guilty of them. He was original in his business methods, having little respect for the stereotyped ways of others, and did not follow them.
The establishment always occupied its own distinct position in the grocery system of St. Louis. It was, however, thoroughly progressive and aggressive; its growth was co-extensive with that of the city, and it ultimately came to be recognized throughout the country as a leading house. It was also well known abroad, for Mr. Nicholson was the first, and also the largest, importer of foreign groceries in this market, at times chartering vessels and loading them with cargoes solely for his own account, and dealt directly with the merchants and producers of almost every foreign clime. He did more than any other man in the St. Louis trade to educate the community to the importance of purchasing superior goods, and to induce the consumption of commodities hitherto unknown in this market.
From the time of his coming to St. Louis, Mr. Nicholson took a very active and practical interest in the development and growth of the city, and gradually, as his means permitted, became a large real estate owner, and left many enduring tokens of his enterprise scattered throughout the city. He erected the beautiful "Temple Building," at Fifth and Walnut Streets, and had he built nothing more this handsome structure would have been a convincing evidence of his superior taste and spirit. But few men in St. Louis ever built more largely or after a better style than he did. A man of commerce by education and practice, he was nevertheless a mechanic by nature. As a lifelong friend happily remarked, "the spirit of a builder lived in him," and the bent of his genius took form in many stately edifices. One of his most tasteful improvements was "Nicholson Place," laid out and adorned by him, and which he stipulated should be occupied only by dwellings of "elegant design and substantial character."
During the civil war David Nicholson was a stanch and unswerving Unionist, an outspoken adherent of the loyal cause, and prominent in the counsels of its friends. Through the darkest days of civil strife, from 1861 to 1865, he never doubted the final triumph of the lawfully constituted powers, that of the government of the United States. In a career noted for its activity and industry his charities were many, his ever-open hand responded munificently to the generous impulses of his noble heart.
Mr. Nicholson possessed many traits which entitled him to be classed among the most remarkable business men of his time. He intensely loved his business, and his energy in the prosecution of it was almost unexampled. To this were added unswerving rectitude, intense hatred of dishonesty and dissimulation of every type, and an outspoken condemnation of wrong. There was also another side to his character less publicly known. In his nature, tender as that of woman, there was an element of poetry that always belongs to men of fervent feeling. Possessing a fine mind and an intimate knowledge of Bible history and teachings, and having read much historical and current literature of the highest order, he enjoyed the companionship of large and elevating thoughts, and in moments of relaxation was a most entertaining companion. In certain issues which at times sprang up, regarding his business, he was led into various newspaper controversies, and proved himself a racy master of the pen. In his early days he wrote numerous compositions in verse that were of a high order of merit, and during the civil war wrote several patriotic odes that were characterized by unusual poetic inspiration
and fervor. His love for the home of his boyhood and his native land, which he often visited, grew as his years were multiplied, and he never ceased to give evidence of his deep affection and warm friendship for his schoolmates and the companions of his early years. The scenes and surroundings of his youth, beautiful in nature and luxuriant in their adornment, were precious to him, and the thatch-roofed cottages of his birthplace were ever dear to his heart. A striking evidence of the tenderness of his nature was shown in the fact that, having learned that the roof of the cottage in which he was born needed rethatching, he promptly forwarded the money to have it done, and cared for its proper preservation ever afterwards.
He was frank and bluff in his manner, and courted no man's favor, but was also an humble, sincere, and faithful Christian, and the teachings of his pious home in Scotland inspired the activities of a long and honorable career. He was early schooled in the tenets of Presbyterianism, and for nearly forty years was an efficient, esteemed, and highly-respected member of the Second Church of St. Louis. He died on the 26th day of November, 1880, after a short illness, surrounded by his family, who mourned the departure of an affectionate, kind, and noble-hearted husband and father, while the community sorrowed over the loss of an upright and honored citizen.
BELCHERS SUGAR REFINING COMPANY. One of the most prominent features of the manufacturing and mercantile interests of St. Louis is the Belcher Sugar Refinery. The business of which it is the outgrowth was established in 1840 by William H. Belcher and Samuel McLean, and in August of that year the firm of McLean & Belcher invited the attention of the trade to the fact that they "had on hand a stock of refined sugars and sugar-house molasses, a pure article." The refinery was originally located on Cedar Street, between Main and Second Streets.
After it had been in operation a comparatively short time, Gay, Glasgow & Co., then importing island sugar, purchased Belcher's interest, and finally McLean's interest also. For nearly a year Edward J. Gay, one of the partners of the firm, gave his personal attention to the management of the refinery, and in 1843, William H. Belcher returned to St. Louis, and purchased from Gay, Glasgow & Co. the works in the old building, on which they held a lease. He gave his closest personal attention to the business, although it was then very small; secured the services of practical refiners, and was gradually gathering confidence, strength, and ability, when the "high water" of 1844
drowned out his establishment and caused him considerable loss.
In 1845 a site was purchased on the block between Main and Lewis and Bates and O'Fallon Streets, and the erection of new buildings was commenced. Although the building put up was of considerable extent, it was only the nucleus of the numerous buildings which afterwards constituted the immense establishment of the refining company. From this time the business, controlled by William H. Belcher and his brother Charles Belcher, received a new impetus and steadily increased in magnitude. Additional ground was purchased and new buildings were put up from year to year as the enlargement of operations rendered it necessary. For ten years the career of the establishment was steadily successful, and its operations rapidly assumed most important proportions. During the years 1854 and 1855 some rather extensive operations in Cuba resulted disastrously and heavy losses were incurred, and early in 1855 the business was transferred to a corporation now known as the Belchers' Sugar Refining Company, which was composed of the creditors of Belcher & Brother, the capital stock being fixed at one million dollars. The original incorporators were William H. Belcher, Rufus J. Lackland, George D. Humphreys, Charles W. Horn, Edward Walsh, Derick A. January, William M. Morrison, Edward Wyman, Joseph C. Cabot, Constance J. Peifers, Edward Y. Ware, and Charles Belcher. The charter, which was approved Jan. 25, 1855, fixes the capital stock at the amount above named, and authorizes its being increased to one million five hundred thousand dollars whenever the stockholders shall by vote so direct. Thus organized, and with energetic and experienced men at the head of affairs, the operations of the refinery were prosecuted successfully. In the general financial crash of 1857 the business suffered severely, there being a sudden drop in sugars of from four to five cents a pound. A loss of from four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand dollars was incurred, but the business went on without interruption. William H. Belcher remained at the head of the business until the close of 1859, when he removed to Chicago, where he died in 1866. He was succeeded by Charles Belcher, the junior partner of Belcher & Brother. Having weathered the storm of 1857, the career of the company since has been one of steady progress, and it has now reached a position of commercial influence national in point of view.
The premises occupied by the company consist of a number of buildings, covering nearly four of the squares in that part of the city, embracing the main structure of the refinery proper, bonded warehouses, cooperage-shops, bone-black houses, and various other buildings occupied by other departments.
"The sugar refinery proper," says a description of the establishment written in 1868, "where the different processes of refining are carried on, has a front on Lewis Street, between Bates and O'Fallon Streets, of two hundred and forty feet, with a depth of one hundred and twenty-five feet, and is six stories in height. The first part of this building was erected in 1845, but it has been added to constantly until it reached its present proportions. It is built with great solidity, as a great weight has to be supported in the stories. The processes of refining require that the building in which they are carried on should be of considerable height, so as to admit of the sugar in solution being let down from story to story in the various stages, and to gain the advantage of the pressure of a column of liquid which is required in the course of refining. The portion of this building erected in 1845 stands on the southern half of the square; the central portion was erected in 1856, and that covering the northern portion of the square was built in 1852. The central part is principally devoted to the clarifying process, the filtering of the liquid sugar, storing or drying hard sugars. In the lower part of the southern portion of the building the packing is done, while the northern and the upper floors generally are devoted to various operations in the work of refining, purging sugars in the moulds, etc. Here also are the crushing- and powdering-mills, shaving-mills, and other appliances used in the preparing of the sugar in the different forms for the market. The vacuum-pans, where the refined solution is reduced again to the form of sugar by boiling, are situated in a small building south of the main structure, and fronting on O'Fallon Street. The basement is used principally as a fill-house, where the melted sugar is run into the moulds and allowed to stand until it is well settled preparatory to drawing. In the rear of the refinery, and occupying the balance of the square to Main Street, is a bonded warehouse and other buildings. On the east side of Lewis Street the bone-black house is situated, with a front of one hundred and seventy feet on Lewis Street and a depth of eighty feet. This was built in 1867. On the square between O'Fallon and Ashley Streets, and covering half of the entire square, with a front of two hundred and forty feet on Lewis Street, is a line of warehouses four stories in height, built in 1852 and 1854. In the rear is the mechanics' shop, occupying the central portion of the square, and running back to Main Street. On the square on the opposite side of Main Street is an extensive cooperage-shop, with a front on Second Street of one hundred and seventy-five feet, which was built in 1852. On the northeast corner of the same square is the water reservoir, built in 1867. The company have water- and gas-works of their own, and supply all that is needed throughout the refinery premises. The total value of real estate owned and occupied at present by the company is not far from half a million dollars, and the total frontage is about fourteen hundred feet. In some instances the buildings on different squares communicate by bridges across the streets, stretching from the upper stories, and the bone-black house is connected with the refinery by a tunnel under the street. In various places tramways are laid for the easy transportation of the trucks containing bone-black."
The company, which still occupies the building at the corner of Lewis and O'Fallon Streets, is now erecting a new refinery and incidental buildings on Main and Ashley Streets. The building will be the highest in the city, having thirteen stories, including a spacious basement. The foundation on which this
gigantic structure rests is built of cut stone, the walls having a thickness of forty four inches. The refinery has a frontage of one hundred and thirty-eight feet on Main Street, and the filtering-house, including wash-house and warehouse, has a frontage of two hundred and eighty feet on Ashley Street. The boiler-house, fronting on an alley, measures two hundred and eighty feet. The floors in the refinery are each supported by twenty-four oak posts, having an average thickness of twenty-two inches. In the filtering-house, each floor is supported by twenty-four cast-iron columns, which are connected with wrought-iron beams. The height of the refinery is one hundred and thirty-two feet; height of the filtering-house, one hundred and ten feet; height of the tower, one hundred and twenty-seven feet. The average height of the floors is eleven feet. The material used in the building is principally pressed brick above the foundation. In appearance it is plain and substantial. Richard Berger was the architect.
The present officers of the company are W. L. Scott, president, and A. D. Cunningham, secretary.
William H. Belcher, founder of Belchers' Sugar Refinery, was born in Connecticut in 1811. From fifteen to twenty years of age he was clerk in his father's store in a country town in Massachusetts. When not quite twenty he went to New York, entering as clerk in a wholesale grocery store. After a year or two he took up the business of selling books at auction, traveling through the country for that purpose, and selling in the largest towns. At the close of 1834 he went through the Southern States, and continued in the business until 1840, selling books in most of the Southern cities and in some of those in the West. In 1840, as already stated, he embarked with Samuel McLean in the business of sugar refining in St. Louis. The business connection was dissolved next year, Mr. Belcher leaving it; but in 1843 he bought the whole establishment, and the enterprise that time went forward prosperously and expanded yearly. Mr. Belcher knew nothing of the business when first connected with it, but soon learned the old plan and system of sugar refining, and learned further that it was going out of date, and that new and improved methods must be adopted to secure success. These he introduced from time to time, and a very small beginning built up a sugar refinery that when he left it was one of the largest in the country, as well as being one of the most important manufacturing establishments in St. Louis or the West. The principal part of the present buildings of the sugar refinery were erected by him. He purchased the site after suffering severely at his old location from the flood of 1844, selecting a locality that was found water-proof that year. In 1859 he went to Chicago, and established a sugar refinery there with fair prospects of success, but the outbreak of the war ruined that enterprise, and the refinery was worked irregularly during the war with only partial success.
While in Chicago he introduced the culture of the sugar-beet into Illinois, and inaugurated other enterprises which promised more of benefit to the public than to himself. He died at Chicago in March, 1866, honored and esteemed by the mercantile community of that city for his rare business qualifications, his-public spirit, and his personal character.
SPICES. The sale of spices also forms an important factor in the grocery business of St. Louis. One of the largest firms engaged in this branch of the trade is that of William Schotten & Co. William Schotten, the founder of the house, was born in Neuess, near Düsseldorf, Germany, Sept. 26, 1819. His father was a man of limited means, and his boyhood passed without special incident. He received the usual parochial education, and was then employed by a prominent physician in his neighborhood, who had a very large practice. In this occupation young Schotten acquired a practical knowledge that could not be obtained in the schools. In 1847 he embarked for America, and repaired directly to St. Louis, having heard that a number of his countrymen had settled here. Soon after his arrival he established a spice-factory on Walnut Street, opposite the Cathedral. He began on a small scale, grinding his stock himself by hand, and then peddling it about town from a basket. He labored with remarkable energy and perseverance amid discouragements that would have appalled a less determined man. One by one, however, the obstacles yielded, and he finally secured a prosperous business, his goods not only obtaining a local reputation but being in demand in Chicago, Cincinnati, and other large cities in the West. Year by year the trade continued to expand until his death in September, 1874, when he left a comfortable fortune to his family, together with a large spice and coffee business. His sales aggregated yearly about two hundred thousand dollars, a very large amount for those days. As has been said, this result required hard and steady work and many sacrifices; but Mr. Schotten possessed in an uncommon degree the valuable German qualities of patience and perseverance. His genial disposition secured him hosts of friends, and added largely to his list of customers.
In addition to the spice trade, Mr. Schotten engaged in the milling business on North Market Street, opposite the old North Missouri Railroad depot. This
enterprise prospered for a time, but the mill was burned, and the insurance proving worthless, the investment was a total loss. Thenceforward he confined himself strictly to the business of manufacturing spices, etc., and handed over to his sons at his death the fine results of a quarter of a century of honest and diligent labor.
Mr. Schotten was twice married, and left three sons, Hubertus by his first wife, and Julius J. and Henry B. by his second. Upon his arrival in St. Louis, Mr. Schotten attended a night school in order to gain a knowledge of English and other branches essential for a business man, and thoroughly appreciating the importance of a good education, gave his three boys the advantages of a college course. His sons seem to have inherited much of their father's aptitude for business, for in the eight years since his death their trade has doubled, and is constantly increasing.
In 1870, Mr. Schotten visited Europe, remaining abroad over a year. Much of the time was spent in gaining additional knowledge of his business, and he brought back improved machinery.
Outside of his business, Mr. Schotten did not seek prominence, being naturally very unpretentious. He once, however, accepted a directorship in the Iron Mountain Bank.
In politics he was inclined to be independent, and never sought an office. In religion he was a Catholic, and was, successively, a member of the Cathedral and St. Mary's parishes, and was a faithful and generous adherent of the church.
Salt used to be in the past, and probably will be in the future, a valuable mineral resource of Missouri. As early as Jan. 25, 1810, William Christy & Co. advertised that they wished to employ fifteen hands to work at salt-making on the Missouri, to whom they would give liberal wages. "Our boat," added the advertisement, "will depart from this place for the salt-works about the 1st of March." Jan. 4, 1812, McKnight & Brady announced that they had just received "a quantity of salt from the Missouri saline." At the present time the cost of transportation bears such an inconsiderable relation to the cost of establishing improved modern salt-works, with the elaborate machinery, royalties, rentals, etc., that it is cheaper for St. Louis to buy its salt than to manufacture it. In former times, when the costs of transportation were excessive, the salines of Missouri and the adjacent counties of Illinois were a source of revenue and a stimulus to trade.
The salt springs and salines of Missouri are most abundant in the central part of the State, yielding excellent brine, especially in the counties of Cooper, Saline, Howard, and those adjoining them. They are adjacent to the Missouri, in a country full of cheap wood and coal, and the supply of saline is regarded by experts as inexhaustible.
Tobacco. According to the early advertisements of industries in St. Louis, the manufacture of tobacco was begun about the year 1817. On November 29th of that year, Richards & Quarles advertised a "tobacco manufactory on the cross street nearly opposite the post-office, northeast corner of block No. 36," and in 1836, H. Richards informed the citizens of Missouri and Illinois Territories that he carried on the tobacco manufactory "on the cross street nearly opposite the copper and tin manufactory of R. Neal." From that day the trade in tobacco in St. Louis has steadily grown and expanded into its present enormous dimensions. The absence of data prevents the tracing of their growth; commercial statistics were not regarded as of any importance at that day, and for many years afterwards there existed no reliable record of commercial facts and conditions. In 1841 the Republican regarded tobacco as "another item of our trade which is swelling every year into much greater importance."
"To show the importance of this item," added that journal, "we here incorporate a letter addressed to us by a house in the city who are extensively engaged in the trade, and the extent of their connection with it will be appreciated by the fact that they this year took out an open policy of insurance on tobacco to the amount of $500,000. From the interest and attention they have devoted to the subject their statement may be relied upon as very near the actual amount:
"‘A. B. CHAMBERS, Esq.:
"DEAR SIR, In answer to your inquiries in relation to the tobacco crop of Missouri, we reply that the shipments this season do not vary materially from 9000 hogsheads, of which number at least 8500 pass St. Louis. The relative quality and value will be found nearly as follows:
"From the best estimate that can be formed of the growing crop, it will range from 12,000 to 15,000 hogsheads, but prices will not be equal to last year.’"
John W. Wimer and Hiram Shaw, in recommending the City Council of St. Louis to establish tobacco inspection, said,
"The crop of Missouri tobacco in 1841, although the business of growing that staple is yet in its infancy, is estimated by gentlemen well versed in this matter at not less than twelve thousand hogsheads; the crop of 1842 is estimated at twenty thousand hogsheads, and should one-third only of this quantity be inspected here, the storage on the same, at seventy-five cents a hogshead, the price fixed by an act of the Legislature, will amount to five thousand dollars, to say nothing of the quantity which will be brought from the other States and Territories. If viewed only in the light of revenue, with reason it might be urged upon the City Council to adopt this measure, but it presents itself in another form more enlarged and benevolent, that of benefiting the entire population of the great valley of the upper Mississippi, more particularly our own State. The planter, if we act wisely, will find here a market for his tobacco, can attend in person and dispose of it to his own satisfaction, and return home convinced that the citizens of St. Louis feel an interest in his welfare, and are willing to lend a helping hand in advancing not only her own prosperity, but that of the entire State, that she knows no difference between honorable and valuable customers on her frontier and her own immediate citizens."
The increasing crops of tobacco in Missouri and adjacent States induced the City Council to establish regulated inspections of tobacco, and Messrs. Wimer and Shaw, as a select committee of the City Council, reported an ordinance to that effect. 156
From 1853 to 1868, inclusive, the following were the receipts of tobacco at the warehouses of St. Louis:
Since and including 1870 the receipts, shipments, and offerings have been:
About 1850, Missouri possessed the largest tobacco manufacturing establishment in the West, the house of Swinney & Lewis, Lewis Brothers, Lewis Company, of Glasgow, afterwards of St. Louis. This house was founded in 1837 in Glasgow, and removed to St. Louis in 1847, the Glasgow branch being still maintained. In 1860 the house employed five hundred hands, manufactured between three and four million pounds of plug and fine-cut, and exported large quantities of leaf and strips to Great Britain and the Continent of Europe. Of its operatives, one hundred and twenty-five were negro slaves owned by the firm. This firm, before it closed operations to go into other occupations, sold tobacco in every State and Territory.
In the production of manufactured tobacco, St. Louis now ranks second among the cities of the United States, being surpassed only by Jersey City, and is also becoming quite a market for leaf tobacco. The trade has increased of late years to about four million five hundred thousand dollars, and the capacity of all
the factories together is over twenty million pounds a year. Some of these establishments have erected magnificent buildings and other improvements of this nature within the last two years. The revenue paid by St. Louis manufacturers and its excess over that paid in Chicago establishes the pre-eminence of the St. Louis market; indeed, the monthly tax of one St. Louis factory in excess of one hundred thousand dollars (including the cigar duties) is frequently larger than that of all the Chicago dealers. St. Louis manufactured tobacco is found in every part of the United States, and the volume of product has steadily increased since the reduction of the government tax in 1879. Among the largest manufacturers of tobacco in St. Louis are the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company, Catlin Tobacco Company, Dausman Tobacco Company, and Price & Austin Tobacco Company, together with a large number of individual firms.
The cigar trade has grown scarcely less in proportion, and the dealers in leaf tobacco express themselves as well satisfied with the ratio of increase in their branch of the trade.
The receipts of leaf in 1882 were seventeen thousand four hundred and fifty-five hogsheads, and the shipments seven thousand nine hundred and forty-six.
In St. Louis, as elsewhere, the manufacture of cigarettes has developed within a year or two, and the present season already shows a marked increase in this branch of the trade. Including this, the following tabular statement covers the local manufacture in all lines:
In 1880 the census return was, for the whole trade:
Tobacco. Establishments, 222; capital, $1,419,125; hands, 2627; wages, $668,926; material, $4,262,681; product, $5,702,762; net profit, $629,243, equal to 44 per cent., which will do very well. This is divided up thus:
Cigars. Establishments, 201; capital, $272,925; hands, 825; wages, $265,967; material, $312,725; products, $888,993.
Tobacco (chewing, smoking, snuff). Establishments, 21; capital, $1,146,200; hands, 1802; wages, $402,959; material, $3,950,956; products, $4,813,769.
The leading Southern factories keep agencies and an extensive stock in St. Louis for sale and convenience of distribution, and the Havana and Key West cigar manufacturers have also large dealings here.
The following tables will show the extent of the business done in St. Louis during 1882 and for the nine years previous, though half of the period is counted by the fiscal year, the method of keeping the record previous to 1877.
The manufactures of 1882 can be classified as follows:
Lead. The earliest mineral of value to St. Louis in point of time, was lead. In fact, it may almost be said that St. Louis owes its existence to lead. The Hon. E. B. Washburne, of Illinois, ex-minister to France from the United States, in a letter to A. D. Hagen, Librarian of the Chicago Historical Society, dated Dec. 13, 1880, after speaking of the researches of M. Margry in the archives of the French Ministry of Marine, and his important and valuable contributions to the early history of the United States, in which he takes an enthusiastic interest, says,
"I took the opportunity to talk with him touching the early discoveries of lead-mines in what is now Illinois and Missouri, and received a letter in reply, which I also inclose herewith. He was kind enough to send me a transcript of certain documents which are to he published by Congress, and which I have not yet seen. By these documents I am more convinced than ever that the Galena and Dubuque lead-mines were the earliest ever discovered by the French explorers, either in Illinois, Iowa, or Missouri. The accounts of the discovery, about the year 1719, of the mine of M. de la Motte and the Maramec mines of Missouri are very interesting, but I cannot here refer to them particularly. What interested me very much is an extract from a letter written from Fort de Chartres on the 21st day of July, 1722, by one Le Grardeur de Lisle, which I copy herewith, and which is in relation to the discovery of minerals on the Illinois River:
"‘I have the honor to inform you, gentlemen, that I have been sent in command of a detachment of twelve soldiers to accompany M. Renaud to the Illinois River, where the Indians had found some lumps of copper, which they brought to M. de Boisbriant, and more particularly to a coal-mine, said to be very rich.
"When we reached the place of our destination, M. Renaud commenced the search for the copper-mine, but without success, no sign of that metal being visible anywhere. However, in looking for the coal-mine, which we had been told was near the spot we had examined before, we discovered a silver and copper mine, of which M. Renaud made an assay, and which upon the surface of the ground is much richer than M. de la Motte's.
"I have kept a little diary of that journey. I take the liberty of sending it to you; it will enable you to locate the spot where this mine is situated. It is a most beautiful site; the mine is easy to work and close to a magnificent country for settlers. I am delighted with my trip and with the success which has attended it, for the assay made by M. Renaud was upon ore found on the surface, and it has proved to be much better than that of M. de la Motte's mine.’
"M. Le Guis gives an account of the manner in which these miners smelted their ore in 1743, and it is almost precisely the same method which was followed in the Galena up to within three or four years before I located there in 1840. There were then the remains of many old log furnaces throughout the mines. It was about in 1836, I think, that the log furnaces were supplanted by the Drummond blast furnace. The amount of waste or scoria by the old log method of smelting was very great. This waste was in a great measure avoided by the blast furnace, of which the inventor was Robert A. Drummond, of Jo Daviess County, the uncle of the Hon. Willis Drummond, of Iowa, late commissioner of the general land office at Washington.
"The following is the description of the log furnace one hundred and thirty-seven years ago:
"They cut down two or three big trees and divide them in logs five feet long; then they dig a small basin in the ground and pile three or four of these logs on top of each other over this basin; then they cover it with the same wood, and put three more logs, shorter than the first, on top, and one at each end crossways. This makes a kind of a box, in which they put the mineral; then they pile as much wood as they can on top and around it. When this is done, they set fire to it from under; the logs burn up and partly melt the mineral. They are sometimes obliged to repeat the same operation three times in order to extract all the matter. This matter, falling into the basin, forms a lump, which they afterwards melt over again into bars weighing from sixty to eighty pounds, in order to facilitate the transportation to Kaskaskia. This is done with horses, who are quite vigorous in the country. One horse carries generally four or five of these bars. It is worthy of remark, gentlemen, that in spite of the bad system these men have to work, there has been taken out of the La Motte mine two thousand five hundred of these bars in 1741, two thousand two hundred and twenty-eight in 1742, and these men work only four or five months in the year at most."
Capt. Pittman, writing, in 1770, of Ste. Genevieve, says, "A lead-mine about fifteen leagues distant supplies the whole country with shot." Many curious facts in regard to these Potosi lead-mines are to be found incorporated in different parts of this work, and we do not need to reproduce them in the present chapter.
Lead soon became, next to peltries, the most important and valuable export of the country, and, like pelts, it served in lieu of a currency. It was not, however, until St. Louis began to control the commerce of the surrounding regions that much lead came there. Before that it was nearly all shipped from Ste. Genevieve. John Arthur, in 1811, offering to sell a large line of cheap goods, gives notice that he will take in pay furs, hides, whiskey, country-made sugar, and beeswax, but says nothing about lead. However, it was offered for sale by William Clark, then Indian agent, afterwards Governor, in the following miscellaneous assortment:
"For sale by William Clark, the following articles, viz.: 113 pounds beaver, 103 otter-skins, 327 raccoon-skins, 6 pechon, 20 muskrats and minks, 25 gray squirrels, 10 painted buffalo-skins, dressed, 53 plain buffalo-skins, dressed, 436 deer-skins, 24 dressed deer-skins, 1276 pounds lead, 400 pounds gunpowder, 70 pounds nails, 130 beaver traps, 1 box of glass, 10 x 12, 2 horse-pistols, 1 fusee, 2 rifles, 70 pounds tobacco in carrots, 14 hanks of worsted, assorted, 80 shawls, 4 pieces Irish linen, 2000 yards calico."
Among the largest dealers in this sort of merchandise in the fur-trading days of St. Louis, was Joseph A. Sire, one of the associates of Chouteau & Sarpy's fur company.
Joseph A. Sire was born at La Rochelle, France, Feb. 19, 1799, and left home when fifteen years of age to seek his fortune in the New World. His father, a teacher of languages, had died, and his mother, a woman of fine intelligence, encouraged him in his determination to emigrate to America, in the belief that the chances of success were greater there than in her own country, then distracted by the daring schemes and restless ambition of Napoleon Bonaparte. At this time Europe was one vast camp, still heaving from the struggle between Napoleon and the allied powers to determine whether that great adventurer's ambitious dream of the solidarity of nations should be realized. Mr. Sire's mother, in view of the unsettled condition of the country, overcame the natural impulses which prompted her to keep her son at her side, and urged upon him the advisability of seeking a distant and more promising field of usefulness. Mr. Sire, who fully appreciated her wisdom and maternal courage, always maintained for her the deepest filial reverence and love, and contributed most generously of his fortune as long as she lived to minister to her comfort and happiness.
The voyage to America might well have dismayed one much older than the adventurous lad, for in those days the facilities of travel did not exist which now enable one to make the circuit of the world in less time and with far less trouble and danger than were then required to perform the journey between St. Louis and New York. No steamships traversed the ocean with almost the regularity of ferry-boats; the sailing-vessel was the only means of transportation, and even the sailing-vessel had not acquired the swiftness and regularity of movement attained by modern ships. Often beating about for days in view of a haven, awaiting a favorable wind, and frequently driven out to sea by an off-shore storm, it seldom performed a voyage of any length without encountering many hardships and delays. On land the methods of locomotion were similarly cumbrous and unreliable. The canal-boat, with its crowded, ill-ventilated "between-decks," and the stage-coach were practically the only resources of the traveler. Young Sire, however, endured the hardships of this novel experience with that courage and fortitude which continued to characterize him throughout his career, a career undimmed up to the hour of his death by a single dishonorable act.
Arrived at Philadelphia, he sought the advice and assistance of Vital M. Garesch&eagrave;, then in business in that city as one of the firm of Garesch&eagrave; & Rasazies, but who subsequently removed with his family to St. Louis, where he became an influential member of the City Council and president of the Board of Public Schools. Mr. Garesch&eagrave;'s parents had been residents of La Rochelle, and he extended a cordial welcome to the young Frenchman, who brought letters of introduction to him, and gave him employment. His industry, integrity, and thorough reliability soon created a most favorable impression, and he continued to enjoy the confidence of the firm of which Mr. Garesch&eagrave; was the senior partner until, in 1826, he determined to go West. Upon his arrival in St. Louis, whither he directed his steps, he was promptly admitted to the houses of the best families of Creoles, to whom he was commended by valued correspondents, and obtained a situation as clerk with Sylvestre Labadie.
St. Louis at that time was but little changed from what it was when seen by Washington Irving, "a motley population, composed of the original colonists, the keen traders of the Atlantic, backwoodsmen of Kentucky and Tennessee, the Indians and the half-breeds, together with a singular aquatic race that had grown up from the navigators of the river, the boatmen
of the Mississippi, who possessed habits, manners, almost a language peculiarly their own and strongly technical." Such a community, with the dissipation ever incidental to frontier life, offered strong temptations to a young man, an entire stranger, devoid of means and deprived of the associations of home and kindred, yet the energy and pure character of Mr. Sire bore him safely through the ordeal. To quote the words of one who met him just after his arrival, he was then about twenty-five, stout in form, florid in complexion, of commanding but not extraordinary stature, very affable in his manner, and earnest and energetic in his ways. Mr. Labadie, his employer, was a Creole gentleman who had married a Miss Gratiot, and he and his wife by their own worth, as well as relationship to the Chouteaus, the Prattes, the Papins, the Bertholds, and the Soulards, ranked among the very first people of St. Louis. Mr. Labadie was the owner of a grist-mill, to which was attached the first saw-mill ever established west of the Mississippi River. It was located on the bluff near the foot of Ashley Street, rude and simple though serviceable in its machinery, its motive-power being an elevated circular tread-plane worked by oxen.
There was no metal connected with the machinery, just as the "Vide Poche" carts, now unknown, but then the only vehicle, had not a particle of metal, even for the harness of the ponies by which they were drawn. Mr. Sire became clerk of this establishment, but by his amiability and excellent deportment ingratiated himself in the favor of his employers, and in the following year married the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Labadie, a lady of sweet disposition and cultivated and engaging manners. The union was a happy one while it lasted, but of short duration, for within two years his wife and their only child died.
Having become associated in the fur trade with Pierre Chouteau and John B. Sarpy, owners of the American Fur Company, with whom he was connected by his marriage, he took charge of their annual expedition to the upper country, as the region in the vicinity of the head-waters of the Missouri was then denominated, a wild, unbroken waste, the home of fierce and warlike tribes, the counterpart of which is still to be found in the dark and bloody ground of portions of Texas and New Mexico, where the Apaches wage a desperate but futile struggle against the advance of civilization. The company erected at different points throughout this district stockade forts for protection against the ruthless warriors of the plains. The expedition would always leave in the spring, with a cargo of trinkets, blankets, tobacco, guns, and ammunition, and would remain at the forts, bartering with the Indians, until the opening of navigation in the following year enabled them to descend with their boats to St. Louis to dispose of their product and to replenish their stock. The navigation of the Missouri, with its swift, turbid current, its snags, and its shifting channels, was fraught with danger, aside from the fact that the voyagers were necessarily always on the alert against the wily Indians.
Within the fort peril also lurked, and sleepless vigilance was maintained lest some hostile band should invade its precincts and murder every white man. These forts were oases in the trackless wilderness, far more isolated than those of the general government at the present day. The latter are united by telegraph, have regular mails, and are always within supporting distance of each other, but the trading-post had no other communication with the outer world than by the courrier du bois, who traveled from one fort to the other, or perhaps was sent to the settlement thousands of miles away with dispatches. These courriers were white men who had lived so long among the Indians that, like them, they had acquired their skill in guiding themselves through trackless wildernesses by night by the light of the stars, and by day by the bark of trees. Six years of Mr. Sire's life were passed in these distant forts, yet on his return to St. Louis, so little had he been spoiled by his contact with barbarism, that he was welcomed in the most exclusive circles. After this Mr. Sire settled down in the office of the company at St. Louis, to guide and organize the expeditions he had formerly commanded, an occupation in which he was still engaged at the time of his death, July 15, 1854. His business-like and methodical habits, fortified by his personal experience, proved of great importance and value to his associates, and contributed materially to the development of their business. All three have now passed away, each leaving a fortune honestly earned, which is the best evidence of their thrift and foresight.
In 1852, Mr. Sire was married for the second time, the lady of his choice being Mrs. Rebecca W. Chouteau, widow of one who belonged to a family honored then, as now, not only as of historic interest in respect to St. Louis, but of great public importance, having ever shown itself ready to embark capital in enterprises which were likely to promote the development of St. Louis. Mrs. Sire is still living, a woman of marked characteristics, beloved, not for herself alone, but also for her feminine virtues of true sympathy and charity.
Although a consistent and earnest Democrat, Mr. Sire had no taste for politics nor any aspirations for public office. He was frequently requested to become
a candidate, but invariably declined. He was a man of warm and affectionate temperament, generous yet prudent, unobtrusive in dress and manners, a public-spirited citizen, and an ardent and loyal friend. A notable illustration of the latter fact was afforded in the devoted affection he ever entertained for his first employer, Mr. Garesch&eagrave;, who also possessed great kindness of heart. Between the two there always existed an attachment which time could not diminish nor absence impair, and when Mr. Garesch&eagrave;, with his family, reached St. Louis in 1839 the intimacy was renewed. Upon the death of Mr. Garesch&eagrave;, April 4, 1844, Mr. Sire became the protector of his children, and one to whom they never appealed in vain. Generous in his instincts, constant in his friendships, honorable in all his transactions, genial in his intercourse with his fellow-men, the friendless boy-adventurer died the wealthy merchant and lamented citizen, leaving behind him a record without stain or blemish.
In 1854 the statistics of the lead product were as follows:
The receipts at St. Louis aggregated 441,889 pigs in 1854, against 409,314 in 1853. Of this 5315 came from the Missouri, and the balance from the upper and lower Mississippi. The Galena table gives the quantity shipped per river at 402,343; deduct from this the Missouri receipts, and the balance, it is fair to suppose, came from the lower mines, say 34,231 pigs. A pig of lead has the average weight of eighty pounds.
Hon. John Hogan, in one of his lucid pamphlets about the past, present, and future of St. Louis, always in his thoughts, had the following in regard to the city's lead business:
"Some sixteen months ago one establishment commenced the making of lead pipe and sheet-lead here. They, like all similar untried experiments, had to feel their way along. The machinery was costly; workmen at first difficult to be obtained: the field of sale preoccupied by those longer engaged, more experienced, possessed of ample capital.
"But these young men possessed the energy, the probity, felt the field was vast, and were content with small profits on large sales.
"They pushed their battle to the gate, and now what is the result? they supply with these articles the entire valley of the Mississippi. South they include the trade of New Orleans; east, all the region to Pittsburgh; north, the whole region of the upper lakes. Within the last twelve months they have manufactured of lead pipe alone over two million pounds. This has been shipped in immense casks and on large reels to supply the demands of the great West and South; while of sheet-lead they have made one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds in the same period, besides bar-lead.
"Now, these articles were not included in our exports of 1851, before presented, for the works were not in existence then, and these figures are now given to show that St. Louis is a suitable place for manufactures, and also what may be done by industry and intelligence.
"In the said government returns no mention is made of shot, although that article was then manufactured here, but, like everything else, has grown considerably in that period.
"There is but one ‘shot-tower’ here, but it is fully qualified to supply the vast extent of country dependent on us, or which our skill or ability may bring within the reach of our operations. The region supplied from here with shot embraces nearly all the valley of the Mississippi.
"I deem the operations of this concern to be important, and was anxious to furnish in this place some indication of its extent, which I am enabled to do by the kind courtesy of Capt. Simonds, one of the enterprising proprietors.
"I take an aggregate statement, furnished me by him, of its business during the five months commencing January 1st and ending June 1, 1854, as made up from their books, viz.:
"During that period of five months the works were run but one hundred and four days, thus the amount of pig-lead consumed each day averages twenty-three thousand two hundred and forty pounds."
The manufacture of shot near St. Louis dates back to 1809, when it was announced in the Missouri Gazette of March 1st that "at Herculaneum a shot manufactory is now erecting by an active and enterprising citizen of our Territory; the situation is peculiarly adapted for the purpose, having a natural tower, or rather stupendous rock, forming a precipice of about one hundred and sixty feet, having the lead-mines in the neighborhood, and one of the finest harbors for vessels. We presume the proprietor will be enabled to supply the Atlantic States on such terms as will defeat competition." The proprietor referred to was J. Macklot, who on the 16th of November, 1809, "commenced casting shot equal to the best
English patent." In 1810, also at Herculaneum, "a new and flourishing little town on the Joachim, about thirty miles from this (St. Louis) place," Mr. Austen erected a shot-tower, and then Herculaneum "boasted of two towers capable of supplying the Union with shot of all sizes." 157
The shot-tower of Ferdinand Kennett was opened in February, 1847. The tower was built by Messrs. Kayser & Carlisle, and was thirty-one feet in diameter at the base, seventeen feet at the top, and one hundred and seventy-five feet high. Previous to the erection of this tower, Mr. Kennett had been engaged in the same business, having a tower on Elm Street, which tumbled down, wounding several persons. In 1858, Mr. Kennett's shot-tower passed into the hands of an incorporated company, since which time it has been regarded as a most successful enterprise. During the war the shot-tower company suffered severely in a pecuniary sense, much of its work being declared contraband.
The tower is one hundred and eighty-six feet in height, twenty-one feet above the tallest steeple in the city. At the base it is thirty-one feet in diameter, at the pinnacle seventeen feet. It is built of hard burnt brick, cemented, and is regarded as thoroughly substantial in every particular. The wall at the base is four feet through; at the summit of the tower it is twenty-two inches.
In 1850 the capital invested was forty thousand dollars, employing ten hands, with an annual product of sis thousand dollars.
Of the receipts during 1881, 300,000 pigs (equal to 24,000,000 pounds) were received for conversion and manufacture. In the conversion of lead to carbonate the metal of Missouri is peculiarly easy and profitable to work, yielding one hundred pounds of ceruse for every hundred pounds of metal, besides a proportion of red lead and litharge made from the refuse. This manufacture, moreover, produces linseed-oil, cotton-seed- and castor-oil, and oil-cake for exportation and fattening stock, and it encourages the manufacture of vitriol. Thus one industry, by utilizing a product which is among the donations of nature to St. Louis, provides employment for capital and labor in a dozen other industries which grow out of or are allied to it. The control of almost inexhaustible supplies of cheap lead by St. Louis makes it one of the leading manufacturing centres in the country for paints.
White Lead and Oils. The manufacture of white lead, and of its kindred interest paints, and oils is most extensively carried on in St. Louis. The materials required by this large trade are collected almost entirely within the State of Missouri, while the adjoining States also afford a large supply, enabling its indefinite extension. The manufacture of white lead (carbonate of lead) was inaugurated in St. Louis in the year 1837 by Drs. Hoffman and Reed in a very primitive manner. From a very small beginning, say one hundred tons per annum, the manufacture of that pigment has kept pace with the growth of the city and surrounding country, until it now ranks as one among the important branches of its manufacturing industries. The annual production and consumption of white lead throughout the entire country is computed to be from sixty-five to seventy thousand tons. Of this amount there is manufactured west of the Allegheny Mountains say forty thousand tons, of which St. Louis manufacturers produce at least forty per cent., thus giving to St. Louis a larger production of that article than any other city in the Union. There are at present in successful operation in St. Louis four of the best appointed and equipped factories in the country, with a capacity sufficient to supply the white lead demand of the entire Mississippi valley for many years to come.
The Collier White Lead and Oil Company is one of the largest to be found anywhere in the United States. It was founded by Dr. Reed, and went into operation in the year 1837. It is located on the north side of Clark Avenue, beginning at Ninth Street on the east and extending nearly to Eleventh Street. In 1842 it passed into the hands of H. T. Blow and Joseph Charless. It has three separate departments, the factory, the cooper shop, and the corroding stacks. All of these are on a large scale and provided with every facility for manufacturing cheaply and extensively. In 1850 the present company became proprietors, under the presidency of Henry T. Blow. The annual productions are four thousand tons of white lead ground in oil, two hundred thousand pounds of red lead, two hundred thousand pounds of litharge, one hundred thousand gallons of linseed-oil, and one hundred thousand gallons of castor-oil.
It is not too much to say that among the men whose sagacity grasped and whose energy fulfilled the conditions of the prosperity of St. Louis, none occupied a higher rank or contributed by his individual success more largely to the general welfare than the eminent and honored merchant, George Collier, after whom the Collier White-Lead Works are named.
George Collier, younger son of Peter and Catherine Collier, was born on the 17th of March, 1790, on his father's homestead in Worcester County, Md. His father, who died while he was yet a child, besides carrying on with success the farm upon which he resided, was largely engaged in the Atlantic coasting trade, and at his death, which occurred before 1810, left what was in those days a handsome property to his family. His mother was a woman of great force of character, revered as well as loved by all who knew her. After her husband's death she continued to reside at the homestead in Maryland until both her sons, John and George, arrived at manhood, giving to each of them the best education for mercantile pursuits which that part of the country at that time afforded, and for this purpose sending them to Mr. Wylie's academy in Philadelphia, then of the highest repute.
About the year 1816, John Collier, who had just arrived at manhood, came to Missouri, then still a Territory, and settled at first in St. Charles, where he began business as a merchant. His success was such that before long he opened a branch house in St. Louis, which within a few years became the principal establishment. During this time George Collier was completing his education in Philadelphia, where he formed friendships subsequently of great service to him in his business career.
About the year 1818, having completed his education, George Collier joined his brother in Missouri and engaged with him in business, before long becoming his partner. According to the custom of those times, their business was of a general nature, including an assortment of the staple articles most in demand among those who traded with St. Louis. It was at first carried on at retail, but soon expanded into a wholesale business, and extended rapidly throughout the settled portions of Missouri and Illinois.
In 1821 the partnership was dissolved by the death of the elder brother, who had already made his mark as a business man of ability and energy, as well as of high personal character. The younger continued the business alone for several years.
About the year 1825, his business continuing to increase, Mr. Collier took into partnership with him Peter Powell, like himself a native of Maryland, and who had been for several years in his employ. The firm of Collier & Powell, thus formed, continued to carry on a general merchandise business until the year 1830, when Mr. Collier retired from the firm, having acquired what was for those days a considerable fortune.
From this time he entered upon pursuits characteristic at once of his energy and his far-sighted views as a business man. Realizing that the river trade of St. Louis, north, south, east, and west, was to be the secret of her prosperity, he began to invest his means largely in the building of steamboats. But a few years had passed since the first steamer came up from New Orleans to St. Louis (1817), making the weary voyage in twenty-seven days, but demonstrating by the fact of making it that the days of the "broad-horn," the flat-boat, and the keel-boat were at an end. Pittsburgh had become the navy-yard of Western commerce, at which then and for years afterwards the greatest facilities for such work existed.
It has been said that the faculty of judging men and selecting fit agents for important enterprises is characteristic of high ability. The method pursued by Mr. Collier in entering upon this new field demonstrated his possession of that faculty. It was his habit, year after year, to select men already experienced in the river navigation and to send them to Pittsburgh to make contracts for the building of steamers which they were to command, and in which he often gave them an interest. Instructing them as to the character and purposes of the vessel, he furnished them with credits sufficient to meet whatever cost might be incurred, and stationed them at Pittsburgh in active superintendence of the work while it progressed, thus securing the most watchful personal
supervision and assistance from men at once competent for their duties and whose interests coincided with his own. In this way during the twelve or fourteen years following he became largely interested in steamboats, constantly building new ones of size and capacity suited to the trade either of the upper or the lower Mississippi or the Missouri Rivers, according to their destination. It was one of his maxims to hold no property which brought no return; and in respect of steamboats it was observed that he rarely held one longer than was necessary to establish its character in the trade, selling those which did not prove profitable in order to cut off further loss, while those which earned a good name he often sold when at their highest repute, thus realizing their highest value and escaping further risks. The limits of this sketch forbid more than a cursory mention of this part of his mercantile history. Suffice it to say that during the years in question he was the owner of a large number of steamers plying on all the waters communicating with St. Louis, and most of which had been built under his directions, often having afloat at one time eight or ten large vessels. The men to whose fidelity, ability, and skill he intrusted the management of these large interests rarely disappointed him. Sharing with him the profits of these ventures, some of them thus laid the foundations of their own success. Such men were Sullivan Blood, afterwards president of the Boatmen's Savings Institution, long a highly-respected citizen of St. Louis; John Simonds, afterwards of the banking-house of Lucas & Simonds; and N. J. Eaton, who, after resigning a commission in the United States army, had come to St. Louis, and whose executive ability was early recognized by Mr. Collier, more than one of whose boats he commanded. To these names, long and well known in St. Louis, might be added others, notably that of Rufus J. Lackland, afterwards one of its most prominent and successful merchants, now (1883) president of the Boatmen's Savings-Bank and the St. Louis Gas-Light Company, and who is himself authority for the statement that to his early acquaintance and connection with Mr. Collier, and to the assistance rendered him, unsought, by the latter in his early business life, his subsequent success is largely due.
An important element in these enterprises was the high reputation for probity, as well as for large resources and exemplary business habits, which Mr. Collier had established not only in St. Louis, but throughout all parts of the country where the business men of that city were known. It was proverbial that his credit was practically unlimited, and that whoever he sent to Pittsburgh with authority and credit for building a steamboat, or northward to purchase lead, or to New Orleans for the purchase of return cargoes of groceries on his boat, or to Philadelphia, then the financial centre of the United States, was sufficiently backed by George Collier's name.
It goes without saying that the navigation of the Western rivers was attended in those early days with not less, perhaps with greater risks and dangers than now. But so constant was the good fortune, and so high the reputation of his steamers, that George Collier's "luck" became proverbial. Nor is it any disparagement to others to claim for him the first rank among those whose far-sighted energy and bold and successful management built up the vast river trade of St. Louis, along whose Levee, before 1860, often lay at one time a fleet of nearly two hundred magnificent steamers, busily loading and unloading side by side the rich and varied products of every zone.
During these years, however, the steamboat interest was by no means the only one which engaged his attention. The rich deposits of lead at and near Galena, Ill., as well as those to the southward in Missouri, were at that time the great source of supply for that metal. Partly as an independent investment, and partly by way of utilizing his steamboat property, Mr. Collier engaged largely in the purchase and shipment of lead, especially from the north, forming for that purpose a business connection with the house of Thomas Fassit in Philadelphia, in which direction, as well as via New Orleans, great quantities of lead were shipped. Besides purchasing lead from others, he became a large owner in the Galena mines, and the metal from those regions at that time was the chief source of supply, not only for the white-lead factories in Pennsylvania and other Eastern States, but was also shipped in large quantities to France and other parts of Europe. This traffic in lead, since distributed over regions farther west, formed for many years, as we have seen, an important part of the trade of St. Louis, and to its development no man in that city contributed more actively or more sagaciously than George Collier.
Operations so large as these, and requiring the constant use of so much capital and credit, naturally suggested to his active mind the combination with them of a banking business. About 1835-36 he formed a partnership with William G. Pettus, whose wife was the sister of Mr. Collier's first wife. For several years thereafter the firm of Collier & Pettus conducted a large business in the way of banking and exchange, deriving an independent source of profit
from the dealings in Eastern exchange resulting from the shipments of lead, already mentioned, as well as from large collections which rapidly flowed into their hands from Mr. Collier's Eastern acquaintances, who sold to the merchants of St. Louis their general supplies.
In still another direction the interests already mentioned were utilized. Some of the steamers wholly or in part owned by Mr. Collier were in the Southern river trade, and were constantly engaged in carrying to New Orleans lead shipped by him and his associates, as well as other staple articles, including flour, in the manufacture of which at St. Charles he was early interested. The proceeds of such cargoes were invested under his direction in profitable return cargoes of heavy groceries, sugar, coffee, salt, and molasses, for which New Orleans was up to the outbreak of the civil war the principal point of supply to St. Louis and thence to the far West and Northwest.
In 1840 the banking firm of Collier & Pettus was dissolved by Mr. Collier's retirement therefrom, though Mr. Pettus for some time longer continued the business. In 1842 Mr. Collier formed the firm of Collier & Morrison, taking into partnership his brother-in-law, the late William M. Morrison, then a young man, for whom this introduction to business life also proved the first step in a highly successful mercantile career. The business of this firm was chiefly commission, but they also dealt largely in lead, for which during so many years St. Louis was the great entrepôt of the West.
In 1840, Mr. Collier, whose health was never robust and had become delicate, determined to withdraw from active business, and gradually sold out all his interest in steamboats. In 1847 he retired from the firm of Collier & Morrison, which was succeeded by William M. Morrison & Co., the new partners being Rufus J. Lackland and Alfred Chadwick, whose office during the remainder of his life Mr. Collier made his headquarters, and to whose very successful career his advice and assistance largely contributed. From this time he gradually withdrew from business cares other than the management of his valuable landed estate and other investments in the city of St. Louis.
It is possible in the brief space at command only to allude to other features of a business life whose thirty years of activity included and so largely influenced the early commercial history and subsequent growth of his adopted city.
His calm and sagacious judgment, united with singularly clear and quick preceptions, both as to men and as to the contingencies of business, peculiarly qualified him for financial success, and for many years before his death Mr. Collier was by common consent regarded as the highest financial authority in St. Louis, and was often consulted as such by those in whose affairs he was not personally interested. For several years prior to its failure in 1837 he was one of the directors in the Branch Bank of the United States at St. Louis. In February, 1837, the Bank of the State of Missouri was chartered, in which the State was a large stockholder, appointing a majority of the directors. In December, 1840, Mr. Collier was elected one of the directors who represented the private stockholders, and continued to fill that position for six years, having been twice re-elected, but declined a third re-election in 1846.
By an act approved Jan. 12, 1831, was incorporated the first insurance company in St. Louis, under the name of the Missouri Insurance Company, the name of George Collier heading the list of incorporators, and for many years of its successful career he was one of its most important members. It was characteristic, however, both of his self-reliance and his customary good fortune if the result of wise and watchful management is to be called good fortune that he rarely insured his own property at all, though he not unfrequently underwrote risks for others as a private person.
As already stated, the shipment of lead from St. Louis southward and eastward was a very important part of its early commerce. Part of the lead thus shipped was for many years returned to the West in the shape of white lead from Eastern factories, but between 1837 and 1850 the manufacture of white lead and of oil from the castor-bean was established in St. Louis. The well-known firm of Charless & Blow were among the pioneers of this industry. In 1850 their factory was destroyed by fire, and the heavy loss thus sustained threatened the business with ruin. But it was re-established by the incorporation, in September, 1851, of the Collier White Lead and Oil Company, to the capital of which Mr. Collier was the largest single contributor, the active management remaining in the hands of the Hon. Henry T. Blow. The prosperous career of this important industry has more than verified the anticipations of those who, like Mr. Collier, believed that the future prosperity of St. Louis would depend largely upon her manufactures.
In 1845 was held at Memphis the first Inter-State River and Harbor Convention, an assemblage made famous by the presidency of John C. Calhoun. It was Mr. Calhoun himself who in reference to the question of constitutional power on the part of the Federal government to make such improvements
there first applied to the great rivers of the West a designation which instantly became famous, that of "inland seas." It was more than a picturesque phrase: it was an argument in a word, it was the solution of a grave constitutional question. At this convention the commercial interests of St. Louis were represented by a delegation of twenty-five of her most prominent citizens, of whom George Collier was one.
He was also a member of the first board of directors of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, having been one of those who first met for the purpose of organizing and procuring its incorporation.
In February, 1851, the Mercantile Library Hall Association of St. Louis was incorporated by special act for the express purpose of erecting, and soon after did erect, for the use of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association, the large building at the southwest corner of Fifth and Locust Streets, still occupied by the latter. In this public enterprise Mr. Collier took great interest, not only subscribing liberally, but giving still more important advice and assistance in planning and prosecuting the work.
He was for many years a trustee of the Second Presbyterian Church, of which the Rev. Dr. William A. Potts was the eminent and beloved pastor.
It is not within the purpose of this sketch, even did its limits permit, to dwell upon the personal qualities which not only commanded the highest respect and confidence of his associates and of the community at large, but won the tender affection of those who knew him best. Always gentle and courteous in manner and of few words, his demeanor even under trying circumstances was singularly calm and self-possessed, while his conduct indicated great promptness and decision of character. His accurate judgment of men has already been mentioned. To this was united a cordial and sympathetic interest in young men who proved themselves worthy of confidence, which in many instances, long held in grateful remembrance, showed itself by timely and generous aid in money and credit. No trait of his was recalled more warmly by those from whom these reminiscences have been obtained than the frequent and liberal assistance afforded by him, often unsought, to those whose character was his only security.
Mr. Collier's political affiliations were always with the Whig party. If he had ever indulged any aspirations for public life, the uniform and overwhelming preponderance in Missouri of the Democratic party would have rendered them hopeless. He was always averse, however, to notoriety of any sort, and uniformly declined or avoided even the temptation to leave the quiet walks of private life.
Early in 1852 his health, which had long been delicate, began to fail steadily, and a lingering illness terminated in his death at his house in St. Louis on the 18th of July, 1852, at the comparatively early age of fifty-six.
Mr. Collier was twice married. His first wife, Miss Francoise E. Morrison, whom he married on Jan. 1, 1826, at St. Charles, Mo., died Aug. 30, 1835, leaving a daughter and an infant son. In 1838 he married Miss Sarah A. Bell, eldest daughter of the late William Bell, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who still survives him. Of this marriage five sons and one daughter survived him. Both daughters are still living in St. Louis. The elder in 1857 became the wife of Henry Hitchcock, a leading member of the St. Louis bar. The younger in 1866 married Ethan A. Hitchcock, then a partner in the American house of Olyphant & Co. in China, where he continued to reside till his retirement from that firm in 1872. Since 1875 he has resided in St. Louis, holding high positions of business trust.
Five sons of Mr. Collier attained manhood, only two of whom now survive. One of these, William B. Collier, is a resident of California. The other, Maurice Dwight Collier, was admitted to the bar in St. Louis in 1869, and has since pursued his profession with diligence and promise of success. During part of this time he was a diligent and influential member of the City Council, and in 1876 was elected a member of the board of freeholders, thirteen in number, who framed the present city charter of St. Louis.
The works of the St. Louis Lead and Oil Company were erected in the spring of 1865, and are located on North Second Street at the corner of Cass Avenue. In addition to the manufacture of white lead, the company gives a large share of attention to producing litharge, red lead, linseed-oil, castor-oil, and cotton-seed oil. The works consume annually the enormous amount of one thousand tons of pig-lead, in addition to fifty thousand bushels of castor-beans, one hundred thousand bushels of flaxseed, and forty-five thousand bushels of cotton-seed. The works of the company alone cost nearly two hundred thousand dollars, and have a frontage of nearly six hundred feet on Second Street. They have eighteen stacks, holding each five thousand pots and forty thousand pounds of metal. As many as eighty-five men are given employment at these works, to whom the company pay about sixty thousand dollars annually.
The Southern White Lead and Color Company erected its works in the fall of 1865. They are situated at the corner of Main and Lombard Streets. The company devotes its attention almost wholly to the
production of white lead, and its brands, like those of all other St. Louis works, have already gained an enviable reputation, especially throughout the Southern and Southwestern States. Its lot has a frontage of two hundred and fifteen feet on Main Street and one hundred feet on Lombard Street. The works have twenty stacks of a capacity of five thousand pots each, ten pounds of lead to a pot. The consumption of pig-lead is twelve hundred tons yearly, the supply being obtained from Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and also Germany. The product of the Granby mines in Missouri is as highly esteemed as that of any other State in this country or of Europe, but good metal is not always to be had in large enough quantities at home, and hence the company is compelled to go abroad.
Iron. "Here is the centre of the world's trade, here is the future metropolis of the world's empire, in the favored child of the mighty valley of the Mississippi, the City of the Iron Crown." 158 This declaration ceases to be hyperbole when St. Louis is regarded as the centre of that iron region "where they have enough ore (iron) to run one hundred furnaces for one thousand years." With Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob, Shepherd Mountain, Simmons' Mountain, and thousands of other deposits to glut the forges of the future, St. Louis cannot fail to become the grandest iron work-shop in the world. "Concentrated in a limited area, surrounded on all sides by the grandest agricultural district of the globe, with unlimited supplies of coal, with timber and water-power unsurpassed upon the continent, with a genial climate and healthy homes for the operatives, and their food cheaply produced almost at their doors, with the world for a market, and transportation facilities for reaching its most distant point, it is not difficult to see a prosperous future for a section so happily situated and so richly endowed," and even exaggeration seems impossible in forecasting the future prospects of a city which is the centre and the commercial and manufacturing metropolis of a country so favored with natural advantages.
As early as September, 1814, D. Stewart, on Main Street, adjoining the store of T. Hunt & Co. and opposite the dwelling of William C. Carr, "manufactured all kinds of cut nails, brads, sprigs," and sold them at the following prices: 6d., 7d., 8d., 10d., 12d., and 20d. at twenty cents per pound; 4d. at twenty-five cents per pound. He sold the best quantity of bar-iron at fourteen cents per pound, or twelve and a half cents by the ton. The establishment of iron foundries in St. Louis, it is believed, "antedates the mining of the ores, and may be regarded as having been begun in 1817, when Lewis Newell landed in the then thriving village and commenced the business of blacksmithing, giving special attention to the making of edge tools. His fame soon spread abroad as a great axe-maker. At this time St. Louis was an important centre of the fur trade of the West; the demand for wolf-traps, beaver-traps, and squaw-axes was very considerable, and Newell soon made a specialty of the manufacture of these implements, the production of a good quality of which brought him at once wealth and a wider fame. About that time, too, the old French cart began to be superseded by the Yankee wagon, all the cast-iron hub-boxes for which had to be brought from Pittsburgh, as indeed all other iron castings. Then it was that the idea of founding first entered the brain of the first St. Louis founder. Newell saw that if he could make the hub-boxes he could make a wagon out and out, thus saving a heavy expense in their manufacture and adding greater facility to their production, an improvement much to be desired by the farmers and settlers around St. Louis. Newell racked his brain for a plan to overcome the inconvenience of having to import wagon-boxes. He was not a practical iron founder, but his genius and indomitable courage made up for the want. Having completed a pattern, he went to work with a common blacksmith's forge to make wagon-boxes, and melted his iron and moulded them with perfect success. This was the first melting of iron west of the Mississippi River. For four years Newell proceeded with this slow process to turn out boxes for the wagons he made.
In October, 1828, Samuel Gaty arrived in St. Louis, in company with John A. Morton, Jr., and a young Welshman named Richards. When they arrived in St. Louis there was no foundry in the city. There was, however, a frame building which parties from Cincinnati had erected with the intention of starting a foundry, but not being able to work the coal, had abandoned the project. In this building, near Second and Cherry Streets, Gaty and his friends started a small foundry; but the partnership (for which Gaty furnished the cash capital) was not fortunate, and in a few months Gaty and Morton were induced to sell out to Col. Martin Thomas, who subsequently leased the works to Peter McQueen, of New York. Gaty was out of work for a while, for McQueen had a poor idea of Western mechanics, and preferred (as he said) skilled men from the East, yet on two occasions Gaty showed his aptness and skill in a remarkable way. McQueen was asked to make a new
shaft for the steamer "Jubilee." He said his men could make the pattern and mould one, but, having been used only to a cupola, could not well melt the iron in an air-furnace. Gaty, however, undertook the job of melting the iron, and got a fine casting. But it was then found that there was not a geared lathe in the city to turn the shaft with. Gaty was again appealed to, and with two cog-wheels he very soon rigged up sufficient power to turn the shaft by hand.
In the spring of 1830, Scott & Rule, then the largest merchants in St. Louis, and also among the largest property-holders, proposed building a foundry for Lewis Newell, they to hold the concern in their name, Newell having failed in business and being at the time insolvent. After completing his agreement with Scott & Rule, Newell wrote to Samuel Gaty, who had gone to Louisville, Ky., to return to St. Louis and enter into business with him, Gaty accepted, and in November, 1830, came back to St. Louis, and superintended the building of the foundry, the money for which was furnished by Scott & Rule. A site for the foundry was selected on the west side of Main Street, between Cherry and Morgan, and during the winter Gaty prepared the foundation for the intended building, and in the spring he, with his own hands, dug up the fire-clay for the bricks for the furnace, moulded them himself, and built the furnace, which was finished in the spring of 1831. On July 4th he took the first heat, and the first castings were for Capt. John C. Swon, of the steamer "Carrollton," and were of excellent quality. Gaty & Newell worked the furnace for a while with great success, but it was destined to a short life, for in the winter of 1831-32, Scott & Rule became involved, and made an assignment to James Woods, of Pittsburgh. This swept everything from Gaty & Newell. But young Gaty, undismayed by misfortune, and with a determination that could not fail of any reasonable undertaking, rented the foundry from Woods and went to work; and from that time fortune smiled on him, as it always does on brave, industrious men who are determined to succeed. Newell had an interest in the concern. The business prospered and the foundry was increased in capacity, making all kinds of engines and machinery.
In 1832, Felix Coonce became a partner in the foundry, and the firm was known as Gaty, Coonce & Co. In 1838, Newell sold his interest to Capt. Beltzhoover, and in 1840, Beltzhoover sold again to A. H. Glasby. In 1841, Coonce sold his interest to John S. McCune, who came from Pike County, Mo., where he had just sold out a mill and country store, which he bought with money the proceeds of the sale of a vein of lead ore that he had recently struck at Galena. The firm was then styled Gaty, McCune & Co.
In 1849, Gerard B. Allen was admitted to the firm, which then became Gaty, McCune & Co. Later, James Collins, William H. Stone, and Amos Howe were admitted, and this firm continued until July, 1862, when it dissolved, and Gaty and McCune retired from the foundry business.
In all these changes Mr. Gaty, although surrounded by very capable men, was at the head of the establishment and was its controlling mind. He started with a little air-furnace of four tons' capacity, and presided over the development of a business which in a few years grew to enormous proportions, the foundry being in its day one of the most extensive manufacturing establishments of its class in the whole valley of the Mississippi, and occupying a whole square, bounded by Main, Second, Cherry, and Morgan Streets. Much of this block of land Mr. Gaty still owns, and it is covered with large and costly buildings.
After the retirement of Mr. Gaty in 1862, James Collins, who had been connected with the establishment since 1833, with the exception of a brief retirement in 1860, became one of the principal proprietors and manager of the works.
Mr. Collins had been employed in the capacity of foreman and superintendent until 1853, when he bought the remaining interest of Mr. Glasby, and the success that attended this foundry is in no small measure the result of Mr. Collins' unwearying labors in its superintendence.
James Collins was so thoroughly identified with the iron interests of St. Louis that a brief sketch of his career will not be out of place. He was born in Canada West in the year 1818, and at nine years of age was left an orphan, without friends, means, or education. He was apprenticed to the firm of Sheldon & Dutcher, iron founders, of Toronto, where he soon mastered the business of founding and engine-building. At the age of sixteen he came to the United States, and soon after started a small foundry in Buffalo for Judge Williamson, and superintended it for about four months, when he was taken with the Western fever, came to St. Louis in 1833, and commenced work for Gaty, Coonce & Co. in their foundry, with which firm he was identified for twenty-eight years, in 1853 (as stated) becoming a part owner. Under this partnership the foundry was run until 1860, when Mr. Collins retired, and in July, 1862, the copartnership of the firm expired by limitation, when its affairs were wound up and the fixtures
and machinery sold, Mr. Collins becoming one of the chief purchasers, eventually putting the machinery, patterns, etc., into the Broadway Foundry, with which he afterwards became connected.
In 1837, Hudson E. Bridge arrived in St. Louis, and in company with Messrs. Hale and Samuel S. Rayburn began the manufacture of plows. Mr. Hale dying soon after, the business was continued by Bridge & Rayburn, and the department of stoves and hollow-ware was added. In a short time French Rayburn, a younger brother of Samuel S. Rayburn, came to St. Louis and was admitted into partnership with Bridge & Rayburn, which caused a marked increase in their business.
French Rayburn was born in Montgomery County, Va., Jan. 5, 1815. His ancestors, who were of Scottish origin, settled in the north of Ireland several centuries ago. His grandfather on the paternal side emigrated from Ireland and settled in Virginia in the latter part of the seventeenth century. James Rayburn, the father of French Rayburn, was a prominent citizen of Montgomery County. He was for many years judge of Probate Court, was sheriff of the county, and held other positions of public trust. He died in December, 1814, some two or three weeks before the birth of his son French. His wife, Nancy Watterson (née Shanklin), at the time of her second marriage was mother by her first husband of one child, William S. Watterson, who was the father of Harvey M. Watterson, who represented Tennessee for many years in the lower house of Congress, and the grandfather of the brilliant Henry Watterson, of the Louisville Courier-Journal. She died in the month of July, 1835, venerable in years and the mother of twelve children, only one of whom, the youngest, French Rayburn, is still living. Mr. Rayburn acquired the best education the times afforded in the excellent schools of Bedford County, Tenn. His business life began at Nashville, Tenn., under the care and direction of his brother Samuel, who was of the firm of Mitchell & Rayburn, and after the dissolution of that firm, and when he was seventeen years of age, Robert and James Woods (who were near relatives), of the firm of James Woods & Co., took him into their house, and manifested a father's interest in him. They were engaged in the banking business at Nashville, and also owned and operated the extensive Cumberland Iron-Works, under the firm-name of Joseph Woods & Co. In 1833 they opened an iron house in St. Louis for the sale of the products of their iron-works, and placed Samuel S. Rayburn, an elder brother of French Rayburn, in charge. French, however, won their esteem and confidence to such an extent that in 1834 they sent him to St. Louis and associated him with his brother in the management of the iron house.
Samuel S. Rayburn was one of the most prominent and successful business men of St. Louis. He was a director for many years, vice-president, and during the absence of its president, John B. Smith, in Europe acting president of the famous old State Bank of Missouri, of which Robert A. Barnes was afterwards president. He founded the house of Bridge, Rayburn & Co. (associating with him Hudson E. Bridge and Titus Hale), for the manufacturing of stoves, etc. He died in Bedford County, Tenn., in 1849. His daughter Victoria, an only child, was reared and educated by Mr. and Mrs. French Rayburn, and was married to Lieut. George R. Bissell, a son of the late Capt. Lewis Bissell, of St. Louis, who now resides in Oakland, Cal.
French Rayburn married in May, 1841, Catherine, eldest daughter of Samuel and Margaret (née Beltzhoover) Stacker. Samuel Stacker was born in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and was of German parentage. He removed to Pittsburgh, where he married Miss Margaret Beltzhoover, whose parents, also of German extraction, belonged to one of the prominent families of Pennsylvania. He built the first bridge over the Cumberland River at Nashville, and afterwards, in connection with his brother John, erected and operated the Lafayette Furnace, on the Cumberland River, in which business he amassed a fortune. He and his brother sold their furnace property in 1834, and purchased of Joseph Woods & Co. an interest in the Cumberland Iron-Works, near Fort Donelson, the firm becoming Woods, Stacker & Co. Samuel Stacker had entire charge of the rolling-mill and furnaces, and by his practical and careful management brought the works to a higher state of efficiency and prosperity than they had ever attained before.
He died Dec. 28, 1859, at the close of a successful and honorable life, and lies buried beside his wife at old Lafayette Furnace, Tenn.
In 1842, Mr. Rayburn retired from the management of the iron house in St. Louis, and in the following year moved to the farm where he now resides, which he had purchased in 1842. He has resided continuously on this farm, with the exception of two years (from 1845 to 1847), during which he built the Stacker Company Furnace, on the Cumberland River, Tennessee, and manufactured pig-iron.
Mr. Rayburn had four children, Samuel S., born Dec. 14, 1842; Cora Rebecca, born Dec. 10, 1844; Mary Elsie, born Oct. 30, 1854; and Catherine French, born Aug. 17, 1860. Cora died Dec. 30, 1859, at
the age of fifteen, and Mary Elsie Jan. 7, 1869, aged fourteen. Their loss, just as they were budding into beautiful womanhood, was a severe blow to their parents. Mrs. Rayburn died April 26, 1881, after a lingering illness of over a year, and is buried in the family lot in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Her character was both strong and gentle, and her retired disposition made her home life remarkable for wifely and motherly virtues. In society she exhibited the culture of a refined lady and the virtues of a Christian woman.
Mr. Rayburn has always been a pronounced Democrat, but never a politician, only once consenting to hold elective office, when, in 1858, he served as a member of the Missouri Legislature, which was notable for its frequent adjournments and extra sessions, during the incumbency of Governor Robert Stewart. He held the position of chairman of two committees, Banks and Corporations and Committee on Accounts. During the war he was elected a director of the State Bank, which position he declined.
For twenty-five years he has been a member of the Southern Methodist Church of Bellefontaine, holding many positions of trust, and contributing liberally towards its maintenance.
He is sixty-eight years of age, and a fine representative of the pioneers to whose honor and keeping was confided the destiny of St. Louis City and County.
In 1837 all manufactures of iron were brought from the Ohio River. Hudson E. Bridge, however, conceived that the cost might be lessened by having the plates manufactured on the Tennessee River and put together in his own shop, and this was the first innovation. But this did not satisfy him. With only the experience in iron manufacture acquired in Springfield, he determined to make the plates in St. Louis, and in 1838 a little foundry was established in connection with his store. Old stove dealers warned the young man, then only twenty-eight years of age, of his folly in endeavoring to compete with the older manufactures of Cincinnati, and of the failure that must inevitably follow. But Mr. Bridge soon found that by careful economy the cost of manufacture was less than the cost of bringing from the East. At this time he was his own foreman and salesman by day, and his own book-keeper at night, and though of very humble pretensions in comparison with the establishment of to-day, the foundation was thus laid of the Empire Stove-Works, which was destined to become one of the largest and best-known manufacturing enterprises of the Mississippi valley.
In the year 1842, Mr. Bridge associated with him his younger brother, Harrison Bridge, and the firm of Bridge & Brother was established. His brother's death in 1850 left him again alone for several years. In 1857, John H. Beach, who had been for several years connected with the house, was admitted as an associate, and the firm of Bridge, Beach & Co. has continued to the present time.
The foundry of Hudson E. and Harrison Bridge was located in the northern part of the city, but in 1847 it was removed to the corner of Main and Almond Streets.
About the time of the establishment of the stove-works of Hudson E. Bridge, Philip Kingsland removed to St. Louis, and in 1844 built the Phoenix Foundry and Machine-Shop at the corner of Second and Cherry Streets, for the manufacture of cooking-, coal-, and parlor-stoves, tin-plate, etc. From this small beginning has grown one of the largest manufacturing establishments in the United States.
Philip Kingsland, now the head of the great Kingsland & Ferguson Manufacturing Company, was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., March 31, 1809. His father was a well-known manufacturer in the iron business, and conducted the largest establishment there. Philip was sent to the village school, for Pittsburgh then was not much more than a village, and at the age of fifteen the boy's education, such as it was, was completed. His father then placed him in his shop, where he learned the business, beginning at the very bottom. Mr. Kingsland says he was "put through" the trade without being shown any favor as the son of the proprietor, but, on the contrary, was treated with the utmost strictness. The discipline, if harsh, was very useful, and so well did the boy profit by it that at eighteen he had the whole charge of the shop, embracing the supervision of over one hundred and fifty men. Although a mere stripling, he managed affairs so well that he was continued as superintendent for several years. Meanwhile he had visited St. Louis two or three times, and finally, in 1835, no longer able to resist his pioneer spirit, he removed to St. Louis and built a large iron foundry and machine-shop on Broadway, which he managed for several years. The first firm was Kingsland, Lithner & Cuddy, but this partnership was of brief duration, Mr. Cuddy withdrawing and Kingsland & Lithner continuing for perhaps twenty years. Their business grew to immense proportions, and became one of the most prominent and important industries of St. Louis. At last Kingsland & Lithner sold their establishment, good will, etc., and soon after the works burned down.
Mr. Kingsland next engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements at the corner of Second and
Cherry Streets. The firm was Kingslands & Ferguson, the partners being himself, his brother George (now dead), and David K. Ferguson. Here, too, signal prosperity rewarded his efforts.
Mr. Kingsland finally withdrew from the active management of these works, and removed to Carondelet in 1869, where he organized the Kingsland Iron-Works, being president of the company, and built the two blast furnaces which now comprise a part of the famous Vulcan Steel-Works. These were put into successful operation, but a change of management occurring, Mr. Kingsland returned to St. Louis in 1871 or 1872, and resumed his place as a member of the firm of Kingsland & Ferguson. He subsequently effected a reorganization of the concern under the title of the Kingsland & Ferguson Manufacturing Company, under which name the establishment is still known, its present officers being Philip Kingsland, president; D. K. Ferguson, vice-president; Elliot Douglas, secretary; L. D. Kingsland (a nephew of Mr. Kingsland), treasurer.
Nearly fifty years have elapsed since Philip Kingsland arrived in St. Louis and established himself in business, and they have proved to be years of steady and astonishing success. It is gratifying to be able to state that Mr. Kingsland's prosperity is the result of watchful devotion to business, and of honest and straightforward dealings. Half a century spent in a career in which there is no flaw or stain is something certainly to be proud of, and Mr. Kingsland may not only enjoy the abundant fruits of a business wisely planned and honestly conducted, but may be happy in the consciousness that his integrity has earned him a high place in the regard of the community. He is now at the head of one of the largest manufactories in the West. It occupies nearly a whole block in North St. Louis, embraces expensive buildings, complete and costly machinery, immense stocks, etc., and requires the use of vast capital and the employment of hundreds of hands, a monument of no ordinary character to the energy, ability, and skill of its founder.
In 1846, John T. Dowdall started the Washington Foundry, on Second Street, between Morgan and Green. The firm was at one time styled Dowdall, Carr & Co., and afterwards Dowdall, Page & Co.
In 1846, Palm & Robinson started the pipe foundry on Soulard and Second Streets, and in 1852, it is said, constructed the first locomotive ever made in the West, but, unfortunately for St. Louis, William Palm was too honest to compete with the foundries of the East, and the construction of locomotives was not encouraged here. It is conceded though that Mr. Palm built a good, serviceable locomotive.
In 1846 the Garrison Brothers started the Eagle Foundry, on Main Street, between Carr and Biddle, conducted it several years, and sold it to Renfrew & Crozier. Mr. Renfrew died in 1861, and the establishment passed into the hands of the surviving partner, Alexander Crozier.
The extensive works of Buck & Wright were established in 1849, but did not commence manufacturing until April or May, 1850, when they began to operate with thirty-five men, moulders, laborers, etc., included. Their operations were then confined to a small establishment, but they gradually increased their facilities and capacities, by the extension and enlargement of the area of their works, until they covered an entire block and gave employment to one hundred and thirty men, comprising sixty-six moulders and sixty-four other mechanics and laborers. To this firm, it is said, belongs the credit of inventing and making glass doors to their Buck cook-stoves, of which they also claim to be the inventors. It was the leading cook-stove manufactured at their establishment, and attained a wide-spread popularity. They also made twenty-nine other kinds of cook-stoves, the leading wood-stove being the "Brilliant," of which alone they made fifteen different varieties, and of the "Peerless" nine different varieties. Their leading coal cook-stove was the "Paragon," of which they manufactured thirteen different varieties, and of other stoves they made twenty-five different varieties.
In 1849, Giles F. Filley started the Excelsior Stove-Works. A writer, speaking of the works in 1869, says,
"These works, now ranking among the first in the country, were commenced in the early part of the year 1849, and the manufacture of stoves commenced in September of that year. For four years the business was confined to a small establishment, and necessarily compelled to meet many perplexing difficulties; but in 1853 the increase of the business was so great that an addition and extension of the shops became necessary, and a moulding-room, eighty by one hundred and twenty, and a four-story warehouse were erected, much to the surprise of many people, who thought it a rash and foolish venture, arguing that it was impossible to make stove manufacturing a successful or profitable business in St. Louis. But time and experience, the great arbiters of all earthly affairs, have clearly demonstrated the fact that it was not a rash venture, but a most successful financial enterprise, and one which has done as much to develop the practical importance of St. Louis as a manufacturing point as any other enterprise ever undertaken. And now, instead of being confined to narrow quarters, it extends over an area of 37,000 square feet, gives employment to 255 operatives in its various departments, and involves a weekly cash outlay of $4916, or, reckoning a month at four and one-third weeks, $21,303 a month, or $255,636 annually, and is perhaps among the largest, if not itself the largest, in the United States. It now melts from 27 to 30 tons of iron per day, or a weekly aggregate of 175 tons. But just here it will be proper to remark that only about two-thirds of the iron melted is turned out in
perfect castings. The other third results in scraps or ‘grates,’ to use moulders' parlance, and is remelted and recast from day to day. It is estimated that since starting in September, 1849, up to Nov. 1, 1869, it has consumed a little over 50,000 tons of iron. From the time the foundry commenced operations in 1849 to Jan. 1, 1850, there were made 644 stoves of all kinds. In 1852, the first year of the run of the Charter Oak stove, its leading cooking-stove, their manufactures amounted to 12,680, of which 2619 were Charter Oaks, and as the popularity of these stoves increased so increased their manufacture of them, and the whole may be summed up in the following tabular statement to the present time. It will be noticed, however, that in 1857, when there was a financial panic, and during the war, there was a slight falling off in this as in all other kinds of manufactures:
"During the years 1864-66, while the government law imposing a tax of three dollars per ton on melted iron remained in force, the Excelsior Manufactory paid a yearly average of the one-twenty-second part of all revenue derived from that source, as follows:
"Until the present year nearly all the iron used at the Excelsior Works was brought from points outside of the State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, but the establishment of furnace in our own State and city has worked a very desirable change, as it tends to keep all the outlays for iron, except for the Scotch pig, at home among our own people. This outlay for iron was no inconsiderable item, as last year the works of which we write paid out over eighty thousand dollars to the iron manufacturers of Ohio alone, to say nothing of the amount the manufacturers in other localities. This year they have not purchased or used a single ton of American iron produced outside of Missouri, and after giving it a fair test, pronounced it superior to any other iron ever used fur stove manufacturing purposes. The only foreign purchases are of Scotch iron, which, as heretofore remarked, is of a softer, more fluid nature, and when mixed with the Missouri iron, which is very strong and, to use a foundryman's words, ‘does not run sharp enough to bring out the nice designs and ornaments,’ obtains the quality desired.
"The stoves manufactured at the Excelsior Works find a market in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and other adjoining States, in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and wherever else St. Louis commerce extends.
"From the 1st of January to the 30th of November of the present year their sales of stoves and the necessary materials to put on the fixtures reached within a small fraction of $1,250,000, while it is supposed that in the five stove foundries in operation in St. Louis there is invested no less than $1,500,000.
"The power that drives the machinery to carry on the manufacturing department of the Excelsior Works is supplied by an engine of eighty-five horse-power, with sixteen and a half inch cylinder of four-feet stroke. The machinery which it propels may be enumerated as follows: Two cylinder-blowers, one burr millstone, one sand-mill, three coal-mills, seven drills, one iron-turning lathe, one wood-turning lathe, three circular saws, one planing-machine, ten cleaning mills, seven emery-wheels, two hoisting-machines, and four grindstones. Besides this it furnishes the power for moving the iron cars used for hauling coal and iron up to the cupola. There are two furnaces, the blast for which is carried from the cylinder-blower, one of them an eighteen-inch pipe three hundred feet long, and the other one a sixteen and a half inch pipe two hundred and forty feet long.
"We have stated that the Excelsior Stove-Works give employment to two hundred and fifty-five persons, and on further inquiry we learn that these two hundred and fifty-five employés are classified and paid an average of weekly wages as follows:
The start of Giles P. Filley was made in rather a small way, the employés numbering twenty-five moulders and about twenty men in other departments. These works have been extended and enlarged from time to time until they now (1883) employ two hundred and thirty moulders and about three hundred and twenty men in other departments, five hundred and fifty in all at the works proper, which cover two large blocks in North St. Louis. In 1865 the works were incorporated into what is known as the "Excelsior Manufacturing Company," and the business now includes the furnishing of tinners' supplies as well as the making of stoves, and the whole number of employés is about six hundred and fifty.
The Missouri Stove-Works were established in 1865, but did not fairly commence business until January, 1866. During the four years succeeding their manufactures made the following exhibit:
or 5032 annually. The Missouri Stove Foundry is now located on Second Street, northeast corner of Palm.
The Western Stove Manufacturing Company was organized and a charter obtained in 1868, and manufacturing operations commenced in October of that year. The stock was owned and the labor principally performed by mechanics and laborers. It combined the manufacture of iron railings and castings for agricultural implements with that of stoves. The works are still in successful operation.
In this sketch of the St. Louis stove manufacturing interest and its extent we have dealt altogether with the leading establishments, but from them sufficient information has been obtained to show the importance and magnitude of the business as well as its influence upon the commercial interests and population of the city. The amount of capital invested in this one branch of trade exceeds $1,650,000. In 1882 there were nine establishments engaged in this branch of manufacture, employing 1555 hands, whose products were valued at $2,695,000.
The first bar of iron made out of pig-metal in Missouri was made on Cedar Creek (Washington County) in May, 1825, and the first blooms were made in 1832. Though ore was abundant and easily smelted, the great expense of transportation in a new and thinly-settled country soon induced the abandonment of the enterprise; and Dr. Litton states that "the next blast furnace was probably erected in 1828, by Mr. Massey, in Crawford, which has been in successful operation up to the present time." 159
In 1850, Messrs. James Harrison & Co. purchased from Capt. James Bissell a large tract of land in the northern section of the city, a short distance above Bremen, and began the erection of an extensive rolling-mill and nail-factory. The building was about two hundred and thirty-four feet long and one hundred and thirty feet wide.
James Harrison, one of the pioneers in the development of the iron trade of St. Louis, was born in Bourbon County, Ky., in October, 1803, and was the son of John Harrison, a farmer of that region. John Harrison's family came to this country from the north of Ireland at an early day, and his wife was of English lineage. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison had ten children, James being the second of several sons, all of whom became wealthy. Capt. William M. Harrison is now one of the most successful merchants and bankers of Texas.
James Harrison spent his early years on a farm, and enjoyed such moderate school advantages as his section afforded. In 1822 he removed to Missouri and settled in Fayette, Howard Co., where for several years he engaged successfully in mercantile pursuits with James Glasgow. He early showed uncommon aptitude for business. Among his successful ventures of this period was the shipping of stock to St. Louis, and several times he went with a flat-boat of stock from St. Louis to New Orleans. In 1830 he married Maria Louisa, daughter of Joel Prewitt, of Howard County, Mo., and sister of Mrs. William N. Switzer and Dr. Prewitt, of St. Louis. This excellent lady died in St. Louis in 1847.
During 1831 and 1832 he visited Chihuahua, Mexico, for trading purposes, and led a busy and stirring life, not unfraught with personal danger. On one occasion his party was pursued, and eleven out of the thirteen were caught and scalped.
From 1833 to 1840 he was a merchant in Arkansas, and conducted business in several towns simultaneously, meeting with the most flattering success. He was still in partnership with Mr. Glasgow, under the style of Glasgow & Harrison.
In 1840 he removed to St. Louis, which city he henceforth made his home. He had "prospected" over a large portion of Missouri, and the immense mineral wealth of the State was earlier and better known to him than to most others. His knowledge on this subject convinced him that the development of these treasures would inure immensely to the advantage of St. Louis, and would prove a source of fortune to the individuals who engaged therein. He therefore formed connections with men of great wealth and business capacity, and began active operations in this new field. In 1845 he became a partner in the firm of Chouteau, Harrison & Vallé, a house which eventually took the very highest rank in the business circles of the West, and contributed largely not only to establish the iron interests of St. Louis, but also to enhance the general reputation of its entire manufacturing and mercantile community.
The immense wealth of the Iron Mountain had for generations excited the cupidity of men, but it was reserved for Mr. Harrison to develop its treasures. In 1843 he became a third-owner of the Iron Mountain property, and in 1845 organized the "Iron Mountain Company," consisting of James Harrison, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and F. Valle, of St. Louis; C. C. Zeigler and John Scott, of Ste. Genevieve; F. Pratt, of Fredericktown; and August Belmont, S. Ward, and Charles Mersch, of New York. The development of this industry was attended by numerous and costly experiments, but eventually the unwearying faith and
energy of Mr. Harrison and his associates overcame every obstacle, and their business has grown until they have come to be reckoned among the largest producers of iron in the world.
James Harrison was a stanch defender of home interests, and gave a ready ear to every enterprise that promised to be of public utility. He was an earnest friend of railroads, and not long after the formation of the company to work the Iron Mountain property inspired the organization of the Iron Mountain Railroad Company, and was one of its directing minds for several years. He was a director in the Missouri Pacific, and when that road was bought from the State he was one of the principal parties who negotiated the seven-million-dollar loan.
In all these large transactions there never attached the slightest suspicion to Mr. Harrison's name, and such was the confidence placed in his honor and judgment that he readily secured the co-operation of the most eminent men of the city in his undertakings. On the other hand, he was always ready to assist others in their meritorious projects. He possessed a rare knowledge of men, as was evinced by the conspicuous success of most of those whom he chose as partners, friends, associates, and even employés, men of great talent and unsullied honesty, who became noted in his enterprises for largeness of views, fertility of resources, and persevering energy.
Mr. Harrison toiled not for wealth alone, but also for the great and noble object of assisting to build up the city and State. He was a man of large heart and generous impulses, and the welfare of his employáes ensured much of his time and attention. He caused to be built a handsome church for his tenants at Iron Mountain, and established schools for their benefit. An open-handed citizen, he figured in various charitable and other undertakings for the public good, such as the organization of the Bellefontaine Cemetery Association, etc., and seemed to realize fully that he was responsible to God and society for a good use of his riches.
In person Mr. Harrison was tall and stately, and his manner was grave and dignified, never tolerating a rude familiarity, but courteously inviting to known friends or those who had legitimate claims upon his attention. His habits were remarkably temperate, and enabled him to labor with unflagging industry under burdens which would have broken others completely down. The most conspicuous trait of his character was a "marvelous serenity under misfortune and absence of elation in periods of special prosperity."
Mr. Harrison died on the 3d of August, 1870, after but two or three days' illness. His sudden decease shocked the community, and was mourned as a public affliction. He did not die before his time, and had lived to see many of his predictions regarding St. Louis more than fulfilled. He saw his favorite city double her population within the last decade of his life, while the increase was thirtyfold during his citizenship. As an observant man, he must have been conscious that some share of this wonderful progress was due to his labors.
Well has it been said of him, "The imperishable evidences of his labors and enterprises are stamped in unmistakable characters upon works more enduring than bronze or marble, and the ability with which he grappled the great commercial and manufacturing problems of his adopted State adds a lustre to a name that Missourians will always be proud to honor."
Edwin H., son of James Harrison, was born in 1836 in the town of Washington, Hempstead County, Ark., where his father was then conducting one of several mercantile establishments located at widely separated points in that State. In 1840, as we have seen, James Harrison sold out his Arkansas enterprises and removed to St. Louis with his family, of which Edwin, the subject of this sketch, was the first born.
In 1846, Edwin was sent to Ste. Genevieve, Mo., to a French school, in order that he might be better prepared for the training that was to follow. The next year, at the suggestion of Father De Smet, he was sent to the Jesuit College of Notre Dame de la Paix, at Namur, Belgium, where he remained until 1851, acquiring a good education and as thorough a knowledge of French as could be obtained by daily and uninterrupted practice.
Upon returning to St. Louis in 1851, young Harrison spent a part of the two succeeding years at Wyman's school, and in 1853 entered the Lawrence Scientific School, a department of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Here for the first two years he made a specialty of mechanics and engineering, in which branches he graduated in 1855. Meanwhile he had attended the lectures of Professor Asa Gray on botany, and of the great Agassiz on zoology and geology. To use his own expression, he was "infatuated" with Agassiz, and after obtaining his diploma as engineer he went into Agassiz's laboratory as a special student, remaining for one and a half years. Of his intercourse with that wonderful man he never speaks except with emotion. One of his summer vacations was spent with Agassiz about Eastport, Me., and Grand Menan Island, studying the beauties and unraveling the mysteries of marine animal nature.
One of the interesting reminiscences of his student life with Agassiz may not improperly be given here. It was in the summer of 1855 or 1856, while spending his vacation at the private laboratory which was attached to Agassiz's summer residence at Nahant, that one day, after dinner, the professor appeared in the laboratory, holding a letter in his hand which he had just received, and exhibiting evidence of some pleasurable excitement in his countenance. The letter was an autograph note from Louis Napoleon, which, beginning with "You are a Frenchman," tendered him the chair of paleontology in the Jardin des Plantes, the highest scientific position in the gift of France; also a seat in the French Senate. It was a pardonable pride which lit up his countenance, but he did not hesitate a moment to reject such extraordinary honors, and his reply was immediately transmitted to the emperor. He declined the offer in such terms as were duo to so distinguished a patron of science, and begged to assure the emperor that while it was true his ancestors were Frenchmen, he was a native of Switzerland, and still remained a citizen of that republic, and that he had come to America to spend the remainder of his days, pursuant to a resolution immutably decided on years before.
During some months in 1859, Sir. Harrison was engaged under the State geologist, Professor Swallow, in the geological survey of Missouri, and in 1871 he was appointed by Governor B. Gratz Brown a member of the board of managers of the Missouri Geological Survey, and continued to be reappointed and to hold the office until the end of the survey, under the incumbency of Governor Hardin.
From 1860 to 1862, Mr. Harrison lived in New Mexico as a Santa Fe merchant. Since 1865 he has been the president of various manufacturing and mining companies and other institutions, including the Iron Mountain Company, Laclede Rolling-Mills (Chouteau, Harrison & Valle Iron Company), St. Louis Smelting and Refining Company, the Manufacturers' and Miners' Association, Mercantile Library Association, St. Luke's Hospital Association, Missouri Historical Society, and others. He is also a director and actively interested in the Carbondale Coal and Coke Company and its associated lines of railroad in Southern Illinois, in the Harrison Wire-Works, the St. Louis Fair Association, and the Hope and Granite Mining Companies, whose valuable mines are located in Montana.
In 1867, before the founding of the city of Leadville, he, in the interest of the St. Louis Smelting and Refining Company, visited the famous California Gulch (on which the city is now located), and determined to erect smelting-works there. This conclusion becoming known produced a rush of fortune-hunters, who located around the site he had selected for the furnaces, and before the Harrison Reduction-Works (whose erection he superintended in person) were completed, which was during the summer of that year, a population of several thousand adventurous souls had concentrated and named the town Leadville, because of the extensive discoveries of lead-bearing silver ores made in the neighborhood.
Mr. Harrison was made a Freemason in Montezuma Lodge, Santa Fe, in 1861. He is now a member of the Benevolent Order of Elks, and of the St. Louis Legion of Honor. He has been a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the St. Louis Academy of Sciences for twenty-five years, and is also a member of the American Association of Mining Engineers, and other societies of that character, and various clubs.
Having enjoyed educational advantages of large extent and variety, it is proper to add that Mr. Harrison has proved one of the most intelligent and public-spirited citizens of St. Louis. Most of his enterprises have involved the employment of large bodies of men, and have embraced the solution of some interesting problems of transportation, particularly during the early days of Leadville. In this direction he has done much to advance the interests of this city, and has assisted others in doing much. Philanthropic and educational enterprises have found him a sympathetic and generous patron. For some years he has been a director of Washington University; and in 1878-79, his attention having been called to the desirability of incorporating the manual feature in education, he is said to have built and given to the university the building now occupied by the "Manual Training-School," and has been intrusted with the chairmanship of the board of managers of the school.
Mr. Harrison was married Nov. 13, 187.3, to Miss Laura E. Sterne, of Glasgow, Mo. Two children, James and Louise, make up the family.
Mr. Harrison is a gentleman of tall physique and affable manners, and of a benevolent and enterprising disposition. He is unassuming and undemonstrative in his daily life, and is a modest recipient of the honors bestowed upon him so freely by his fellow-citizens. In social life he is esteemed by a very large circle of friends, who have learned to appreciate and esteem the sterling qualities which have caused him not only to be loved at his own fireside, but also admired and respected among his business associates as one of the most worthy citizens of St. Louis.
The Republican of Feb. 19, 1845, announced that
"the company who now own this important mass of iron ore (Iron Mountain) have commenced operations in the erection of furnaces, and will in the course of the present year be fully under way," and on the 30th of October, 1846, the same paper added that "the first shipment of pig-iron from the Iron Mountain Company's works in this State, about four and a half tons, was received here Wednesday per steamer ‘Mendota.’ It was taken by Messrs. Gaty, McCune & Glasby, at whose foundry its quality will be tested. The works now in progress will, when fully completed, as we are informed, run from sixteen to twenty tons of pig-iron per day, and the supply of ore is inexhaustible."
On the 14th of the following November it was stated that "on Wednesday some pig-iron from the Iron Mountain in this State was for the second time tested, and that very thoroughly, at the foundry of Messrs. Kingsland & Lithner, of this city. It was found to be very malleable and easily filed, and was pronounced equal in all respects to the best Tennessee iron."
In 1853 the total consumption of coal was put down at two million eight hundred and thirty-seven thousand eight hundred and eighteen bushels, one hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred tons, of which only twelve thousand tons was used in the iron manufacture. But Mr. Hogan, writing at this time, was strenuously urging his fellow-citizens to press forward the iron industry and make the profit out of it which other communities were reaping the benefit of with resources not near so great.
"No country in the world," he showed, "of the same extent has so abundant and accessible supply of iron as Missouri....
"I say that our State and city should have the most extensive iron manufactures in the United States, and as evidence thereof it is only necessary to instance some of the vast formations of this metal in our State. And first of these formations I notice the Iron Mountain, situated in St. Francis County, about eighty miles south of St. Louis. This is one of the most wonderful metalliferous formations in the world, and, with the other vast bodies in its immediate vicinity, is worthy of the investigation of all lovers of science, all students of nature. The ore of the Iron Mountain covers an area of some five hundred acres, and is in the centre of a possession of twenty thousand arpens belonging to the same parties. It rises to a height of some two hundred and sixty feet above the general level of the country, and is estimated to contain above the surface over two hundred million tons of ore. Here is an object for laborers that is capable of supplying the demands even of English furnaces for generations without going below the general surface of the country. The ore is found in lumps from the size of pebbles of a few ounces to those of two or three hundred pounds in weight, and is gathered from the surface from base to summit to the extent of thousands of tons without any difficulty. The ore of this mountain, and, indeed, of those contiguous, is known as the specular oxide, and usually yields some sixty-eight to seventy per cent. of pure iron, and it is so free from injurious substances as to present no obstacle to working it directly into blooms. The metal is so excellent that much of it, and also that from the Pilot Knob, is now used by the manufacturers on the Ohio for mixing with the ores found there, and is especially esteemed for making nails. There are now in operation at the mountain two blast furnaces, producing from one hundred to one hundred and twenty tons per month; a third one is building, and will soon be working, estimated to be capable of making sixty to seventy tons per week, which, when all completed, will produce from seven thousand to seven thousand five hundred tons of metal annually.
"These furnaces, as also the mountain and its complement of timber land, belong to Messrs. Chouteau, Harrison & Vallé, the owners also of the extensive rolling-mill in the upper part of the city. They do not contemplate the erection of any more furnaces at the mountain, but they expect to have in the southern part of the city both furnaces and forges on the completion of the Iron Mountain Railroad, and will bring up the ore, where they can have an abundant supply of coal with which to manufacture it. The amount of ore above the surface would seem to preclude the necessity of looking any deeper, nor, indeed, except as a matter of geological investigation, will it probably ever be necessary; yet the enterprising proprietors have been making some experiments in order to test the nature of the foundation on which their superstructure stands. And as the public may have some curiosity on this subject, and with a view of exemplifying the greatness of our mineral wealth, I have obtained the result of the borings made by their order alongside the base of the mountain. The shaft has already been sunk to the depth of one hundred and forty-four feet. In that distance they have fifteen feet of clay and ore, thirty feet of white sandstone, thirty-three feet of blue porphyry, and fifty-three feet of pure iron ore, in which they are still at work. How much thicker this vein is, of course, can only be known in the progressive investigation, but this is sufficient; the balance of the distance is composed of narrow layers of rock and gravel. Thus we see partly what is below the surface to the depth of only one hundred and forty-four feet; and this bed of iron ore would itself be immensely valuable, even if there was none above.
"Next to the ‘Iron Mountain,’ and only some six or eight miles farther from St. Louis, is another very remarkable formation known as the ‘Pilot Knob,’ which is also of iron. The Knob covers about the same area as the Mountain, but is more elevated; it is conical, and rises some seven hundred feet above the general surface, and is visible for many miles in every direction.
"The Pilot Knob is the property of Mr. Lewis V. Bogy and others, incorporated as the ‘Madison Iron-Mining Company.’ They own some twenty-five thousand acres of land, including the Knob, the Shepherd Mountain, and some eight other valuable iron deposits, all in the same vicinity in Madison County, some eighty-five or ninety miles south of St. Louis, on the line of the Iron Mountain Railroad.
"These several deposits, although in the immediate vicinity of each other, materially differ in their characteristics, and produce iron adapted to various purposes, and each of them dissimilar in some particulars from the metal at the Iron Mountain, so that very good quality of iron may be easily produced in Missouri by such admixtures as may be found desirable.
"The Madison Company have now at work four steam-engines; one of those is used to operate a saw-mill, the others are connected with the iron-works. They have now in operation one blast furnace, and are building another on a more extended scale. When this is completed they will make some twenty tons of metal per day. They have also a forge working eight fires, and making blooms direct from the ore, about twenty-five
tons per week, and also making some bar-iron. The ore is quarried out of the side of the hill some three hundred feet above the surface, and now presents the remarkable appearance of an iron wall, some fifty feet high by about two hundred feet long, and the ore of same richness rises as high as the top, and doubtless sinks deep beneath the foundation of the Knob."
Professor Swallow, State geologist of Missouri, says of the iron-fields of this State that
"if Missouri will work up her iron and coal she may become as powerful and rich as England. She has more territory and better soil, more and better iron, and quite as much coal.
"People who work iron partake of its strong and hardy nature. They move the world and shape its destinies. The region tributary to St. Louis has far more of the very best varieties of iron ore than can be found available for any other locality in the known world, and the facilities for working these vast deposits are unsurpassed. The country is well watered, timber is abundant, and all is surrounded by inexhaustible coal-beds. These facts alone will make St. Louis the great iron mart of the country."
In commenting upon the various ores and oxides of this metal accessible to Missouri, he says of the specular oxide of iron that it is one of the most abundant and valuable ores in the State. Iron Mountain is the largest mass observed. It is two hundred feet high and covers an area of five hundred acres, and is made up almost entirely of this ore in its purest form. The quantity above the surface of the valley is estimated at two hundred million tons. But this is only a fraction of the ore here, as it descends to unknown depths, and every foot of the descent will yield some three million tons. Veins of this ore cut the porphyry at the shut-in, the location of the first iron furnace erected in this region. Fine beds of this ore were also found at the Buford ore-bed at the Big Bogy Mountains, at Russell Mountain, at the James Iron-Works, and other localities in Phelps County, and in sections two, three, ten, and eleven of township thirty-five, range four, west in Dent County, on the Southwest Pacific Railroad, and in several other localities in that county. There are several important deposits in Crawford, Phelps, and Pulaski Counties.
The silicious specular oxide exists in vast quantity and very pure in Pilot Knob, interstratified with slates and porphyry. The Shepherd Mountain abounds in magnetic and specular oxide. Pilot Knob and Iron Mountain, it is estimated, could furnish a million tons of manufactured iron per annum for two hundred years, all suitable for casting, for Catalan blooms, and Bessemer steel.
Bog-iron abounds in the swamps of Southeast Missouri.
Hematite ores are generally distributed over the southern part of the State, enough to supply many generations.
Spathic ore, very pure, is found in numerous large beds among the tertiary deposits.
Adjoining States possess large iron deposits immediately available for the industries of St. Louis.
But the most extensive iron-bed yet observed is on the Missouri River, cropping out in the bluffs on both banks of the river for a distance of more than twenty-five miles. These beds are on the river, and many million tons could be mined and put on boats for less than one dollar per ton, and the expense of carrying to St. Louis down stream would be very small.
Other localities might be mentioned, but we have shown the position of enough of the various varieties of iron ore to supply any possible demand of any possible manufacturing city for the next thousand years, and all is so located as to be tributary to St. Louis.
"The simple fact that such quantities of iron ore do exist," says Professor Swallow, "so near, and in places so accessible, will compel this young and vigorous city to become the iron mart. The iron furnaces at Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob, Iron-dale, Moselle Works, James Works, St. Louis, and Carondelet, fifteen in all, with a capacity of one hundred and thirty thousand tons, and two rolling-mills with a capacity of forty thousand tons, and the numerous foundries and machine-shops, are the growth of a few years, a mere beginning of the great work of utilizing our iron ores. These will increase in a rapid ratio until a hundred furnaces pour forth the molten metal, a score of mills roll it into rails and bars and plates, and a hundred foundries mould it into the ten thousand shapes and forms demanded by human industry. Then shall we see the millennium of iron men, and our people be prepared to appreciate the value of our iron-beds."
This was written in 1870, since which date the prediction has in part been realized.
One of the most active and energetic spirits in the development of the Iron Mountain property was the late distinguished merchant and valued citizen Jules Vallé. Mr. Vallé was the grandson of Col. Jean Baptiste Vallé, Sr., the last Spanish and French commandant of the port of Ste. Genevieve, in Upper Louisiana, and was the son of John B. Vallé, Jr., of the firm of Menard & Vallé, the oldest house in the Mississippi valley. He was born in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Jan. 15, 1819, and graduated in 1840 or 1841 at the Catholic Theological Seminary called the "Barrens," located near Perryville, Mo. Shortly afterwards he was, despite his youth, appointed superintendent of Vallé's mines, in St. Francois County, Mo., which position he filled about two years. He then became associated with his uncle, Felix Janis, in the dry-goods business at Ste. Genevieve, the firm bearing the name of Janis & Vallé, successors to the old house of Menard & Vallé. On the 17th of January, 1843, he
was married to Miss Isabella Sargent, of Ste. Genevieve. In 1852, having become one of the owners of the Iron Mountain Company, he removed to St. Louis to take the position of secretary of the company, and shortly afterwards was elected vice-president. He was also a partner in the firm of Chouteau, Harrison & Vallé, and at the death of James Harrison in 1870 became president of the Iron Mountain and Chouteau, Harrison & Vallé Companies. He also originated the scheme for the organization of what became the Vulcan Steel-Works, in Carondelet. When he became connected with the Iron Mountain Company the annual product was only three thousand tons of iron, and when he died it was three hundred and fifty thousand tons. As one of the pioneers in developing the mineral resources of the Iron Mountain region, he performed inestimable services to Southeastern Missouri, and his labors naturally tended to the immediate advantage of St. Louis, in whose prosperity he took a deep interest, as was shown on numerous occasions when her interests seemed at stake. He was a director in the Mechanics' Bank and the St. Louis Mutual Insurance Company.
Mr. Vallé was a gentleman of generous impulses and social disposition. He died March 3, 1872, leaving a wife and seven children.
In 1856, Henry Cobb 160 estimated the yearly products of the iron manufactures of St. Louis as averaging $5,000,000, and stated that there were thirty iron-works in St. Louis; that the five oldest works, viz.: Mississippi Foundry of Gaty, McCune & Co., Broadway Foundry of Kingslaud & Cuddy, Eagle Foundry of Clark, Renfrew & Co., Empire Stove-Works of Bridge & Brother, and Excelsior Stove-Works of Giles F. Filley, together employed 870 men, and paid for wages $450,000; that the value of their products was $1,900,000, and that the thirty iron-works of St. Louis employed 2266 men, and paid wages amounting to $1,000,000.
Notwithstanding the vast coal and iron deposits contiguous to the city of St. Louis, the development of the iron interest is of comparatively recent date. The great difficulty that impeded the iron furnace business was in the character of the coal. The history of the Carondelet Furnace will illustrate the embarrassments and disappointments which attended the smelting business. This furnace was erected in 1864, near the first station in Carondelet. When finished it was leased in November, 1864, to A. M. Brown, of Pennsylvania, who ran it for three months, using a coal got out at Dry Hill, St. Louis Co. The iron produced was poor and meagre in quantity; the enterprise did not pay and was abandoned, and the furnace lay idle till some time in 1866, when it was leased by J. H. McKernan, of Indianapolis, who commenced running it with a coal taken up at a place called Brazil, in Indiana. It was operated for six months with indifferent success by McKernan, and in January, 1867, Mr. Lilly, of Pennsylvania, bought an interest, and the furnace was kept going by them till July, 1868. Then Lilly sold out to T. A. McNair and William Speer, who took hold of it with an energy that showed a determination to work out the problem of its capacity to make iron. McNair caused several changes to be made in the furnace, which, although Mr. McNair was not what would be termed "an iron man," turned out to be very valuable improvements to the furnace, increasing its yield and the quality of the iron produced.
The year 1868, when Mr. McNair took charge of the furnace, was the year in which the Board of Trade of St. Louis aided in developing the Illinois coal from near Springfield, in Sangamon County, to Big Muddy, in Jackson County, by furnishing nine thousand dollars to secure an experiment in the manufacture of iron at the furnace in Carondelet, "which experiment has resulted in complete success and given a new impulse to the iron business of Missouri, and has already directed additional hundreds of thousands of dollars to the investment in furnaces and iron-works in Jefferson and St. Louis Counties."[ERROR: no link 161 ref=:161]
Prior to the experiments on Big Muddy coal the mining of iron had reached important figures.
Up to 1850 the total production of pig-metal in the State was estimated to have been nearly 40,000 tons, and the amount of iron mined about 100,000 tons. From 1850 to 1860 the amount of pig-metal is estimated to have been 110,000 tons, and the amount of ore mined to have been about 310,000 tons. From 1860, and including 1869, the amount of pig-metal made was about 210,000 tons, and the amount of ore mined 615,000 tons (more than double the amount of the previous decade), of which about 300,000 tons were shipped out of the State, principally to the Ohio River, the yield and strength of fibre rendering it desirable to mix with the ores "raised" in Pennsylvania. In two years of the last decade 1870-71 the amount of pig-metal produced was about 150,000 tons, or only 60,000 tons less than in the whole of the previous decade, and the amount of ore mined about 550,000 tons (only 75,000 tons less than the entire product of the preceding ten years), of which about
290,000 tons were shipped outside of the State, the shipments including lots to Indiana and Tennessee, as well as to the Ohio River, one small consignment having even gone to Scotland.
Considerable additions were made in 1869-70 to the iron-works in South St. Louis, and the Lewis Iron-Works were completed, as well as the South St. Louis Works. The different establishments in operation in 1870, with their capacities, were:
The Kingsland Works, 2 furnaces; capacity, 68 tons per day.
The Lewis Iron Company, 2 furnaces; capacity, 68 tons per day.
The South St. Louis Company, 2 furnaces; capacity, 68 tons per day.
The Carondelet Iron Company, 1 furnace; capacity, 16 tons per day.
The amount of metal produced was about twenty-eight thousand tons, of which one-half was sold in St. Louis, and the balance taken at Chicago, Evansville, and other points.
Establishments embraced under the head of machine-shops and foundries are not only numerous but do a large business, and the operations of 1882 were on the whole quite successful. The manufacture of heavy machinery is increasing greatly, and the work turned out here is as fine and satisfactory as that of any city in the country. Most of the powerful snag-machines now being made use of by the United States government in removing obstructions from Western rivers were built in this city, as well as the vessels on which they are operated. The heavy cotton-compressing machinery used here and all through the South is the product of St. Louis shops, as well as cotton-seed oil and hydraulic presses. Much of the machinery of the Crystal Plate-Glass Company's works was made in St. Louis. The finest engines, and in fact every variety of iron products, are turned out. All of the leading shops also operate foundries of their own. As yet the manufacture of mining machinery is in its infancy at this point, and, in view of the fact that St. Louis is so well situated for supplying the camps, there is a good opening here for capitalists who may wish to invest money in mining-machinery works. Immense quantities of this machinery are sold here, but the dealers buy elsewhere. The number of machine-shops and foundries in St. Louis in 1882 was 27; number of hands employed, 2067; capital invested, $994,000; value of product, $3,855,000.
About 1849, Joseph W. Branch purchased the St. Louis Saw-Works from the firm of Messrs. Childs, Pratt & Co., by whom that branch of saw manufacturing had been recently introduced in St. Louis, and in 1853 he finally settled in the city, where he has lived continuously for a period of thirty years. His firm was originally organized under the style of Branch, Crookes & Frost, but on Mr. Frost's retirement in 1857 the business remained in the hands of Mr. Branch and his brother-in-law, Joseph Crookes, under the firm-name of Branch, Crookes & Co. This latter name it has continued to bear, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Branch in 1872 purchased the interest of Mr. Crookes, and has been sole proprietor ever since that time. From the moderate beginning which prudence required to be made, the special industry in which Mr. Branch engaged has been steadily developed until it has attained to very large proportions, and the acknowledged excellence of its manufactures has won for the firm an enviable reputation throughout the country.
Joseph W. Branch was born in that portion of Yorkshire, England, described in the first chapter of "Ivanhoe." His birthplace, Rotherham (to use the language of Sir Walter Scott), lies "in that pleasant district of Merry England which is watered by the River Don, where existed in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the noble seats of Wentworth, of Wharncliffe Park, and around Rotherham. Here haunted of yore the fabulous Dragon of Wantley; here were fought many of the most desperate battles during the civil wars of the Roses; and here also flourished in ancient times those bands of gallant outlaws whose deeds have been rendered so popular in English song."
Born of the purest stock of the old Saxon Franklins, Mr. Branch inherited the qualities of his race in singular distinctness, as the spirit of adventure in his earlier years, and the energy, tenacity, and indomitable steadiness of his maturer life have proved; but the best successes which he has achieved are partly due to a circumstance which seemed at first to be a great misfortune. In his early childhood he gave no promise of the robust physical development which he subsequently reached; indeed, he was so delicate in health that he was deprived of the privileges of school education, and thus it happened that an accomplished mother was his only teacher. From her he learned the elements of a thorough English education, and the abundant legends and ballad stories of the North country in which they lived. From her also he learned the infinitely more important lessons of honor, veracity, fidelity, and simple but practical religion by which his life has been directed.
Mr. Branch's father had established a manufactory in Rotherham, and the delicate child naturally became interested in mechanical pursuits. While yet a mere lad he was permitted to enter the counting-house of the Globe Works, at Sheffield, rather as an experiment than with any serious expectation of his learning the business; but from that time he began to outgrow the feebleness of his childhood, and speedily exhibited so uncommon a capacity for affairs that when he was only seventeen years of age he was in actual charge of several departments of the large and intricate business of the Globe Works. In 1844, when he was only eighteen, he received a striking proof of the confidence of his employers. They had a large trade with America, which they had conducted through their American correspondents, until the volume of their business in this country had required them to establish a branch house and a factory in New York City. These were already in existence, but they were not working satisfactorily, and young Branch was sent to take charge of them. Unfortunately, however, he found them in the hands of men who were greatly his seniors, and who were not disposed to carry out the views of so young a chief, and after two years, failing to secure the co-operation to which he was entitled, the lad resigned his position.
Then began the adventurous part of Mr. Branch's life. By advice of his father, he spent several years in traveling through various parts of the United States, and in 1848 made quite a remarkable journey through Mexico, which might readily furnish material for a writer of romance. That country was in a fearfully disturbed condition when Mr. Branch, who was then only twenty-two years of age, undertook to explore it. He organized a company of sixteen resolute men, and with this small force, well mounted and well armed, rode from Vera Cruz to Mazatlan, on the Pacific; thence he went to San Francisco, and spent the greater part of 1849 in that city and in occasional visits to the mines which had been opened in California. Returning to the East in 1849, Mr. Branch engaged in business in St. Louis, as heretofore stated.
In view of his own success in business and his standing in the community, it was impossible that Mr. Branch should escape a multiplicity of duties, in which his labor and influence were needed by his friends and fellow-citizens. Hence, besides the important positions of president of the Illinois and St. Louis Railroad and of the Madison County Ferry Company, and vice-president of the Mechanics' Bank, which he now occupies, he has been called upon to hold many trusts, and to fill many positions of the greatest importance and responsibility. Nothing, however, has been permitted to interfere with his devotion to the interests of the innumerable benevolent institutions and enterprises to which he has given his aid, with hand, purse, and influence, to an extent which is hardly credible. Nothing which had any claim to his support as a man or citizen has been refused the best service he could render it. As president of the St. George's Society, he has lent timely aid to hundreds of poor emigrants; to the various orders of the Masonic fraternity he has rendered yeoman's service; to St. Luke's Hospital he has been munificent in gifts and earnest in every form of support, and in the co-operative societies which have for their object the relief of the widows and orphans of their members he has worked with all the enthusiasm and tireless energy of his nature.
At a time when the society known as the Knights of Honor was comparatively weak in the State of Missouri, Mr. Branch threw himself into it with results that were at once apparent. He was for two years called to preside over it as its chief officer in the State of Missouri, and its progress while under his administration was such as to astonish its most sanguine adherents. In the St. Louis Legion of Honor, which is an order of similar plan and purpose to the Knights of Honor, he holds an influential position; and in all the charities of St. George's Church, of which he is the senior warden, Mr. Branch is looked to as a hearty sympathizer, an earnest worker, and a munificent contributor. It is an open secret that when the new and beautiful edifice of St. George's had been advertised some years ago for sale by the sheriff to pay a heavy debt of the parish, amounting to some sixty thousand dollars, more than half the sum required was contributed by two individuals, one of whom was Edwin Harrison, and the other was Mr. Branch. Grace Church is also under obligations to him for gifts amounting to thousands of dollars. In his religious views Mr. Branch is an Episcopalian of the old-fashioned High Church sort, with a strong leaning towards the Broad Church school. His religion, however, is of a practical rather than a theoretical kind. As the senior warden of his parish, he is the valued adviser of his rector, in the council of the diocese he exerts a great influence, and in every diocesan enterprise he is one of those to whom his bishop looks for strong and wise co-operation.
In his political views Mr. Branch's position is thoroughly independent. During the civil war he felt it to be his duty to give an unequivocal and undivided support to the Union cause, but he could never bring himself to regard the Southern people in the light of enemies. In the miseries which the war
occasioned his "charity recognized no uniform," and when the flag of the Confederacy was furled, one of his first thoughts was to send relief to suffering districts of the conquered South. Owing to his course in this respect, in a border State and in a more than semi-Southern city, Mr. Branch's pronounced Unionism never caused the least breach between him and his Southern neighbors. Since the war he has been repeatedly urged by representative men of both political parties to permit them to nominate him for high public office, but to these solicitations he has steadily refused to listen. He is content, and has good reason to be content, with the private station which he has made for himself, and in which, while still in the full vigor of manhood, he enjoys the comforts of an ample fortune and the blessings which attend a well-regulated life.
It would hardly be right to close this sketch, for which the materials have been gathered from many sources, without referring to Mr. Branch's exceptionally happy domestic life. It was in 1857 that he contracted a marriage, from which the element of romance was not absent, with Annie Clark, second daughter of Matthew Clark, of Cusworth, Yorkshire, England. Mr. Clark was a gentleman farmer of ancient family, farming his own land as well as land rented from one of his neighbors. His estate was not far from Rotherham, where Mr. Branch was born, and was quite near to "the pleasant town of Doncaster," where some of Mr. Branch's relatives resided. An attachment, of which the young people were hardly conscious at the time, for Miss Clark was then a very young girl at school, was followed several years later by a correspondence, which at length led to their marriage. Mr. Branch's most partial friends consider it no derogation from his merits to say that the noblest and most generous features of his honorable life have had their inspiration at the fireside of a happy home. In her own sphere Mrs. Branch is as well known for her charities and personal service to good works of all sorts as her husband is in his. Their family consists of three sons and four daughters. Their oldest son, Joseph Clark Branch, has reached his majority, and is actively engaged in the business of his father's firm.
According to the census of 1870, the mining industry of St. Louis County showed the following statistics:
In 1880, St. Louis City received 1,800,000 tons of coal, four and one-half times as much as the county consumed in 1870; the receipts of iron ore were 173,307 tons; of pig-iron, 116,240 tons. The number of establishments in the iron industry was 41; number of hands, 4444; capital, $8,733,500; wages, $1,751,107; material, $4,744,630; product, $8,101,915. The future value of this industry may be inferred from the following facts: St. Louis has as much capital in the iron manufacture as Philadelphia, thirty-three per cent. more than Chicago, and double as much as Cleveland, while the profits at all three of these cities were nearly double those at St. Louis, showing that the latter city is chiefly working to expand and develop a great industry and not to realize an immediate large profit upon it. Ex-Mayor Overstolz, in his address before the State Immigration Convention in April, 1880, thus spoke of the growth and the prospect of this industry,
"That the inexhaustible deposits of iron ore in the State of Missouri, and the abundance of our coal supply should have led to extensive furnaces, rolling-mills, foundries, and iron- and steel-works of all kinds in the city of St. Louis is not surprising. An immense industry has been developed within a period of ten or fifteen years, and notwithstanding the general depression of the iron trade during the last few years, it is to-day one of our most important departments of manufacture. The iron business includes so many branches, viz.: the manufacture of pig-iron and its conversion into bar-iron, to steel, to castings, and the making of articles of iron, such as engines, machinery, stoves, etc., all made from the original pig-iron or bars, that it is difficult, in the absence of official statistics, to calculate the amount invested in the industry. The result of inquiries instituted by myself into the operation of the trade seems to show that the amount of capital at present invested in the business in this city is nearly $8,700,000, and the value of production, in view of the recent advance in prices, about $11,745,000. This includes boiler-making, furnaces, rolling-mills, machine-shops, mill machinery, nuts and bolts, wire and wire-goods, etc., and I have no doubt the aggregate stated is below the real volume of the trade. The present revival in iron manufacture and profitable prices will soon greatly increase the business in this city, owing to our favorable situation for supplying all parts of the city and our boundless supplies of ore and coal. This one industry in itself possesses wonderful possibilities of development and of increasing our municipal wealth, because it is one that must expand with the increasing population and settlement of the country. It is a business that rests upon the basis of a great staple article of human use, one that is absolutely necessary in every step of commercial progress, and this unquestioned truth renders its extension in this city a matter of certainty. Within a distance of less than one hundred miles, and connected by railroads, exists abundance of the best kind of ore; on all sides of us and within a radius of thirty miles are immeasurable coal deposits, and these facts, in connection with the capital and the manufacturing and shipping facilities by river and rail available here, make it evident that the future extension of the trade must be felt most immediately and powerfully at St. Louis."
The charcoal-iron furnaces in 1874 were as follows:
The annual value of the products of these works was about $7,300,000.
According to the reports made to the Merchants' Exchange, the receipts of pig-iron at St. Louis from all sources during 1882 amounted to 105,432 tons. From the most reliable information obtainable the production of pig-iron in the furnaces of the city during the year, and not included in the above, was 114,930 tons, or a total of 220,362 tons. The shipments for the year were 53,951 tons, leaving about 166,411 tons for local consumption, supposing the stocks on hand at the close of 1881 and 1882 were equal. The following statement shows the consumption of pig-iron in the different iron-melting establishments in the city last year, the information having been obtained from the several proprietors:
The blast furnaces which are operated by St. Louis capital are not all located in the city, but as the business is all or chiefly done here, and so much of the product comes to this market, they can, by rights, be classed as St. Louis enterprises. There are eight stacks of coke- and coal-blast furnaces in Missouri, and four stacks of charcoal furnaces. Of the former, all are located in this city and Carondelet, and there are two stacks of the Meier Furnace near East Carondelet, in Illinois, immediately opposite the city. The St. Louis Ore- and Steel-Works at Carondelet are mammoth concerns, and in the same suburban town are located the works of the South St. Louis Iron Company. The Missouri Furnaces, the South St. Louis Furnaces, and the Meier Furnaces are all operated by the Missouri Furnace Company. The Midland Furnace, in Crawford County; the Nova Scotia Furnace, in Dent County; the Pilot Knob Furnace, in Iron County; and the Sligo Furnace, in Dent County, are all operated by St. Louis companies. They all produce Bessemer pig, the most of which is converted into steel in St. Louis.
To recapitulate: Bituminous coal or coke furnaces, ten stacks; annual capacity, 224,000 net tons. Charcoal furnaces, four stacks; annual capacity, 57,500 net tons. Total number of furnaces, fourteen stacks; total annual capacity, 281,500 net tons. Total product for 1882: coke-iron, 114,930 tons; charcoal-iron, 45,123 tons.
There are six rolling-mills and steel-works in St. Louis. The Vulcan was built in 1872 as an iron-mill, but was changed to steel-works in 1876. During 1882 the Vulcan consumed 100,000 tons of pig-iron, producing 90,000 tons of steel rails. The other works include the Granite Iron-Rolling Mills, the Laclede Rolling-Mills, the Helmbacher Forge and Rolling-Mills, the St. Louis Steam Forge and Iron-Works, and the St. Louis Bolt- and Iron-Works. In addition to these, the Harrison Steel Company are erecting mammoth steel-works at Harrison, Ill., which will be included in the industries of St. Louis as the capital is supplied. From the best estimates the number of hands employed by the seven mills last year was 3475; capital invested, $5,825,000; value of product, $10,730,000.
The following statistics show the development of the iron and kindred trades from 1877 to 1881, inclusive:
Owing to the great diversity of iron manufactures it is impossible to give the exact figures of this vast industry in St. Louis, but a general idea of its magnitude may be obtained from the statement that in the manufacture of iron and steel castings, bolts, nuts, washers, rivets, and wrought railing thirty-seven firms are engaged, which have a capital invested, in buildings, grounds, machinery, etc., of over $8,000,000, and provide employment for 4370 persons. The business transacted annually amounts in value to $8,424,000, and the wages to $1,900,251. Besides the above, four firms are engaged in the manufacture of architectural and ornamental iron-work, employing forty-four hands, and transacting a business of over $80,000 per annum, and there are a number of firms engaged in the sale of iron and steel products, whose transactions are estimated at over $6,000,000 per annum.
Few people in St. Louis have an adequate idea of the magnitude of the railroad interests which have centred at this point within the past twenty years, and of the immensity of those kindred interests which depend upon the development of this kind of transportation. When a new road is built, everybody knows that it must be ironed with rails from some mill, but few are aware that a vast amount of other material besides iron or steel rails enters into the construction of a railroad, or that when built it takes a great variety of costly things to fit up the engines, equip its cars, and keep them running; yet such is the case, and now the business of furnishing railway supplies is one of the leading ones of the country. It follows that, as St. Louis is a great railway centre, the business here is very great; and yet many readers of this work will no doubt be surprised to learn that one of the largest concerns of this kind in the world is located here, that of M. M. Buck & Co.
Myron M. Buck, the founder of this colossal establishment, was born in Manchester, N. Y. He came of a well-known and influential family. His grandfather was one of the pioneers in that region, being a member of the "Holland Land Purchase," a company which bought the whole of Western New York, a section aptly denominated the "Garden of the State," where their descendants still live, enjoying in wealth and elegant comfort the results of the labors of their far-seeing and sagacious ancestors. The grandfather settled at Canandaigua Lake, and here his son succeeded him, and became owner of a cotton- and woolen-mill, which he managed successfully, and here M. M. Buck was born and reared. In the practical atmosphere of a mill-owner's life he gained, it may be supposed, the practical bias which has distinguished his career and has made it so successful.
Young Buck received a common-school education, but the school privileges of that period were very meagre, and he soon exhausted them. At the age of eighteen he left his father's house to make a living for himself. After visiting several towns in Western New York, and paying a visit to Toronto and other Canadian places, he drifted to New York City, where he was employed in a manufacturing establishment, but soon determined to go into business for himself, and in pursuance of that object went West. He spent three years in Chicago, and in 1858 removed to St. Louis, where he opened a modest establishment for the manufacture of car trimmings, etc. He labored amid many and great disadvantages, such as want of capital and influential friends, but, undismayed, he plodded steadily along, honestly and faithfully giving his business his personal attention, and pushing it in every quarter, until he soon obtained a recognized footing, and was enabled to establish a depot for the sale of all kinds of railway supplies. This was the pioneer establishment of the kind in the Mississippi valley, and only the second one in the West. It has not only been the first in point of time, but it has been foremost, also, in the magnitude, variety, and boldness of its operations, and it is stated that it is the largest house but one in this field in the country.
The headquarters of the railway supply house of M. M. Buck & Co. are at 209 and 211 North Third Street, St. Louis, where it occupies two six-story buildings, each embracing an area of thirty-five by one hundred and fifty-six feet. It uses, also, two other large buildings for manufacturing and storage purposes. In the manufacture and handling of goods about two hundred hands are employed, and it supplies most of the leading Eastern houses with articles of its own make, while, on the other hand, it is the
sole Western representative of some of the most extensive manufacturing establishments in this country. More than one hundred railways are its constant customers, and its operations cover literally the whole western hemisphere, from Canada to South America.
Mr. Buck attributes this marvelous success solely to his close and careful attention to business, which has been of a character and magnitude to engross his time, and he has declined numerous solicitations to engage in other enterprises and to permit the use of his name as a candidate. But in matters affecting the progress and prosperity of St. Louis he has always been wide awake and public-spirited, and has ever been found one of the most generous supporters of worthy public enterprises. In church affairs and in social circles, as among his business associates, he enjoys the esteem of all who know him, and is regarded as one of the representative men of St. Louis.
The number of establishments engaged in the business of furnishing railroad supplies in St. Louis in 1882 was 11; number of hands employed, 1560; capital invested, $981,000; value of products, $1,925,000.
The trade in stoves, tinware, and house-furnishing goods has long given St. Louis especial prominence throughout the Western and Southern States. In 1881 there were nine firms engaged in the wholesale trade, with a business aggregating five million five hundred thousand dollars per annum, and ninety-five engaged in the retail trade.
The saws produced in St. Louis have a very high reputation; in fact, there are none enjoying a higher one. Most of the mammoth saw-mills in the Wisconsin pineries and other portions of the Northwest provided with St. Louis saws, and the same may be said of the South and Southwest; and it is claimed that St. Louis would not stand at the head of cities possessing the largest number of saw-mills, as she does, if it were not for the excellence of the cutting tools used. There are few wood-working establishments west of the Mississippi River that do not use St. Louis made saws. In connection with the manufacture of saws these establishments also make all of the machinery, both iron- and wood-work, for sawmills, and complete outfits are furnished, including boilers, engines, etc., ready to put the saws at work cutting lumber. There are but two establishments in the city that manufacture saws, but there are several that manufacture saw-mill outfits. The number of establishments last year was five; number of hands employed, 1,175; capital invested, $350,000; value of product, $500,000.
There are half a dozen or more concerns in the city which make boilers exclusively, and the business of 1882 was much better than it was even during the previous year. The excellence of the work done in the boiler-works of St. Louis has established a good trade, and employment is given to nearly five hundred hands at good wages. There is no part of the Western country where St. Louis boilers are not in use, and there is no river or navigable stream in the West where the steamboats are not driven by power generated in St. Louis made boilers. These boilers are also used in thousands of industrial establishments in all parts of the country, in breweries, mills, coalmines, sugar refineries, factories, etc. The year's operations showed that there were eight boiler-factories running; number of hands employed, 435; capital invested, $140,000; value of product, $565,000.
There are seven establishments in the city engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements, giving employment to four hundred and seventy-five hands last year, and producing articles that are well known all over the country, besides reflecting the greatest credit on the manufacturers. St. Louis manufactures more agricultural implements than Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, or Cleveland, and owing to the vast territory to be supplied in future from this market and the splendid facilities afforded here, this industry is destined to become a great one. The number of establishments operated in 1882 was five; capital invested, $420,000; value of product, $700,000.
The volume of business done in those establishments in St. Louis making a specialty of manufacturing architectural and ornamental iron-work has been gratifyingly large, though, considering the possibilities of the trade, it would seem that it ought to have been larger. The erection of more than five million dollars' worth of buildings in the city during 1882 of itself should have called for very large quantities of architectural and ornamental iron-work, and there is a large extent of country tributary to St. Louis, to which other large quantities might have been supplied. Number of establishments in the city last year, seven; number of hands employed, 315; capital invested, $250,000; value of product, $435,000.
Hardware.There is no line of business in St. Louis in which more enterprise is displayed than in the hardware trade. The men engaged in it are energetic and possessed of ample capital, and as a result their business extends east as far as Ohio, north as far as Minnesota, west as far as the Pacific coast, and south as far as the Gulf of Mexico. No class of business men have done so much, perhaps, in exploring new territory and in widening the
field of St. Louis trade. It would astonish one to look into the order-books of some of the St. Louis hardware establishments. He would see that St. Louis supplies hardware to over one-half the territory embraced in the United States and Territories, and that her houses send goods to Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Arkansas, Dakota, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, Indian Territory, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington Territory. There is a single house in St. Louis that sells half the sporting goods sold in Oregon, and about all that is sold in Nevada. With such a wide territory and so diversified, it is not surprising that the hardware trade of St. Louis should be in a most prosperous condition.
St. Louis trade, in general, is not dependent upon any single section of country, and there are tributary to St. Louis a vast agricultural region, a vast cotton region, and a vast mineral region. Attention has already been called to the grain trade and the cotton trade, and it has been shown that in both there has been a wonderful increase in the last few years. While the mineral trade does not as yet amount to as much as the other two mentioned, it is most important and is rapidly increasing.
The agricultural region, the cotton region, and the mining region contiguous to St. Louis are each capable of supporting a great city, so that with them all St. Louis is secure. If the cotton fails the grain may not, but if both fail the mineral remains. It is hardly possible, however, that any misfortune will ever occur to deprive St. Louis of the benefits of more than one of these sources of trade at a time. There is no line of business that derives greater or more substantial advantages from this happy combination of resources than the hardware trade. It supplies the agriculturist, the cotton-planter, and the miner, and hence it may be set down as a practical certainty that the enterprising hardware men of St. Louis will be amply rewarded in the future. With the above facts in view it is not surprising that St. Louis should be the best hardware market in the United States. It is not meant by this that it is the largest, for New
York and Boston are not to be ignored, but St. Louis is a better market to purchase in than New York or Boston. The St. Louis houses carry more varied stocks than they do in either of the above cities, and hence the jobbing trade is better represented. It is more difficult for a dealer to obtain a stock of hardware in New York than in St. Louis, for the reason that the New York houses confine themselves largely to special lines of goods, while the houses in St. Louis carry full lines of all the varieties of goods that come under the head of hardware. It is no uncommon thing for a merchant from Texas to go to New York to lay in a stock and come back to St. Louis to purchase his hardware, nor is it unusual for a merchant from Kansas or Nebraska to go to Chicago to get a stock of goods and send to St. Louis for his hardware. There is at least one house in St. Louis that has received numbers of orders of that kind. But this is not only the most convenient hardware market in the United States, it is also the cheapest. Six houses in St. Louis do an immense business and have an abundance of capital, and a single establishment sells more nails 162 than any other two houses in America. This is because it has the capital with which to make cash purchases. For the amount of business done, the hardware men of St. Louis use more capital than any other class.
There has been but one failure in the hardware trade of St. Louis in a quarter of a century, and that was long before the war. Some of the larger establishments occupy an astonishing area of store-room; indeed, two of the principal houses alone utilize over four acres of flooring each, in display of their wares. Including importers, jobbers, two manufacturers, dealers in the heavier class of goods only, and the numerous retailers, there are upwards of sixty houses engaged in the various branches of the hardware trade in St. Louis, although there may have been small dealers in this line prior to that time. Henry Shaw, of Shaw's Garden fame, is believed to have been the first dealer in this ware exclusively. His establishment on Main Street, fifty years ago, had for rivals only general stores incidentally carrying some hardware. The trade has now so increased as to justify the carrying of stocks valued at fifteen million dollars. Fourteen establishments employed, in 1882, 1140 hands; capital invested, $550,000; value of product, $1,296,000.
One of the earliest hardware merchants of St. Louis was James C. Sutton. Mr. Sutton removed to St. Louis in 1819 from New Jersey, having followed the tide of Western emigration which set in towards Missouri about that period, and settling in Missouri, was identified for many years with its pioneer history and progress. Mr. Sutton, soon after his arrival, erected a blacksmith-shop on the northwest corner of Second and Spruce Streets, and, in company with his brother Joseph, carried on the business many years. The old frame shop has long since disappeared, and the site was occupied in recent years by Haase's grocery, No. 323 Second Street.
There was at that time not much competition existing in the business, there being one other smith's shop on the corner of Main and Olive, carried on by Charles Basroe. The city was then bounded on the west by Third Street, all beyond being fields and ponds. It was not until about 1824 that, through the persistent efforts of the Suttons, iron tires on wagons came into general use, and not until ten years later that carts, which before had not a particle of iron about the whole framework, were ironed, and partook of other improvements in their make-up. Plows, which up to this period were made of the roots of trees, also changed their form by the substitution of iron points and shares.
Mr. Sutton introduced a greatly-improved plow, which became widely known as the "Sutton Plow," and which was used for many years by farmers in breaking up prairie and bottom lands. Of course this plow, which was an immense improvement on the wooden machines in previous use, has long since been superseded by others of improved patents. Mr. Sutton's shop, about the year 1820, occupied a location nearly in the business centre of the city. On Main Street, east side, about the third house north from Spruce Street, there was still standing in 1877 the old two-story frame building occupied in 1820 by Mr. Sutton as his dwelling-house. The front was once painted white and the sides red, but the white had disappeared, and a few blotches of the red remained. In 1835 he moved out to the "League Square" on the Manchester road, where he set up his blacksmith-shop, and bought a farm from Mr. Gratiot, which under his management became one of the finest in the county.
Mr. Sutton married Ann Wells, whose parents lived in the Gravois settlement, and survived her about two years. He died July 19, 1877, leaving five sons and four daughters.
The Simmons Hardware Company, which is one of the most extensive corporations of its kind in the West, was established by E. C. Simmons, who has long been a prominent member of the hardware trade
of St. Louis. Edward Campbell Simmons was born in Frederick County, Md., Sept. 21, 1839, and in 1845, when Edward was seven years of age, his father removed from Maryland, where he had pursued the occupation of a merchant, to St. Louis. In 1856 young Simmons entered the hardware establishment of Child, Pratt & Co. in a minor capacity, at a salary of twelve dollars and fifty cents per month. After remaining with the firm for three years he obtained a position as clerk in the house of Wilson, Leavering & Waters, at a salary of fifty dollars per month. Three years later he was admitted to the firm as junior partner, and at the end of six months, Mr. Leavering having died, the name of the firm was changed to Waters, Simmons & Co. It continued thus through nine years of great prosperity until Jan. 1, 1872, when Mr. Waters retired, and Mr. Simmons associated with him J. W. Morton, and the firm became E. C. Simmons & Co. Two years later a corporation was formed under the name and style of the Simmons Hardware Company, which purchased the interests of Simmons & Co., and has since conducted the business with signal energy and success. As president of the company, Mr. Simmons is still the controlling mind of the vast concern, and to the liberality, promptness, sagacity, and untiring energy of his business methods is chiefly due the uninterrupted prosperity which it has enjoyed. In 1866 Mr. Simmons was married to Miss Carrie Welsh.
Augustus F. Shapleigh, founder and head of the great hardware house of the A. F. Shapleigh & Cantwell Hardware Company, was born in Portsmouth, N. H., Jan. 9, 1810, of a family who trace their lineage to English stock that settled in Maine in 1663-65, and who during the early history of the country held many important trusts under the British crown. Mr. Shapleigh's father was a well-known seafaring man of that region, the owner and captain of the ship "Granville," who was lost, together with the vessel and a valuable cargo, off Rye Beach. This disaster left his wife and five children in much reduced circumstances financially, but the noble spirit and energy of Mrs. Shapleigh enabled her to raise her children comfortably and give them such education as was common in those days.
When a mere lad of fourteen years of age, Augustus entered a hardware store in the town of Portsmouth, N. H., and worked there about one year, from daylight until dark, for fifty dollars a year, and boarded himself.
The associations of Portsmouth, situated so near the ocean, were largely connected with sea, and most of the young men at some time or other naturally desired to embark in a sailor's life. Young Shapleigh was not an exception to the rule, and leaving the hardware store, he shipped as a light hand before the mast, and made several European voyages, which consumed three years of his time. Then, at the earnest solicitation of his mother and sisters, he was induced to leave the sea and re-enter the store in which he first served.
An important clerkship having been offered him by the old and well-established hardware house of Rogers Brothers & Co., in Philadelphia, he concluded to accept it, and remained with that firm many years, obtaining therein a junior partner's interest and a promising start in business. Desiring to enlarge their operations, the firm determined to open a branch establishment in the West, and St. Louis was selected for the venture. Mr. Shapleigh was sent there to superintend it, and arriving in 1843, opened the hardware establishment under the firm-name of Rogers, Shapleigh & Co. Eventually Mr. Rogers, who was the capitalist of the concern, died, and Mr. Shapleigh formed a connection with Thomas D. Day, under the firm-name of Shapleigh, Day & Co. This partnership continued for sixteen years, or until 1863, when Mr. Day retired, and the house was known as A. F. Shapleigh & Co., which continued until July, 1880, when the concern was changed and incorporated under the name of the A. F. Shapleigh & Cantwell Hardware Company, the owners and officers therein being A. F. Shapleigh, president; John Cantwell, vice-president; Francis Shapleigh, second vice-president; and Alfred Lee, secretary and treasurer.
The history of the house has been one of steady and continuous growth, a result due mainly to the personal labors of Mr. Shapleigh himself. From a small and modest start in 1843, it now occupies arched and connected floors from Nos. 414 to 422 North Main Street, extending from Main to Commercial Street, seven stories high, and heavily stocked with merchandise pertaining to their business, such as cutlery, guns, building material, chains, anvils, mining machinery, etc.
It is well to note here the wonderful progress made in the manufacture of hardware on this side of the Atlantic during the past forty years. When Mr. Shapleigh first commenced business in St. Louis, ninety per cent. of the stock was imported from England and Germany via New Orleans. At the present time exactly the reverse is the case: ninety per cent. of all general hardware so\d is manufactured in our own country, and a large amount of heavy iron and other goods is made in St. Louis of a superior quality and at less cost than from other sources.
Mr. Shapleigh has never held political office, being a man of business, and regarding his business as worthy of his entire attention. Still he has figured somewhat prominently in other enterprises besides his own, having been a director for many years in some of the leading banking and insurance companies of the city, in which capacity his judgment has been highly prized, and his name has lent additional strength to the companies in which he is interested.
In 1838, while at Philadelphia, Mr. Shapleigh married Miss Elizabeth Ann Umstead; eight children were the fruit of this marriage, six of whom are living, five sons and one daughter (now Mrs. J. W. Boyd). The sons are all thriving young men of character and good business capacity, and John is a promising physician of St. Louis.
Mr. Shapleigh was brought up amid Unitarian influences, but is not a member of any church. He, however, gives liberally to religious enterprises, and regards churches as the bond that holds society together. Every enterprise calculated to advance the interests of the city has received his hearty support.
Personally, Mr. Shapleigh is a quiet and unassuming man, being content to pursue his business without ostentation, and leaving others to plunge into the mad vortex of speculation. Now, toward the close of a career that is remarkable for its uniform success, he derives a just pride from the fact that his prosperity has been won by close attention and strict adherence to sound principles of business. His house has passed through years of war and panics, and yet his establishment has pursued the even tenor of its way, unshaken by any of those agitations. Mr. Shapleigh makes the honorable boast that during all this period he never asked an extension, and never let a just bill be presented a second time for payment. It is gratifying to note that such punctilious regard for their obligations has brought Mr. Shapleigh and his associates an ample reward, and that their house is generally recognized as being one of the most substantial in the Mississippi valley.
Another leading hardware merchant in St. Louis is George A. Rubelmann. He was born in Tuttlingen, Würtemberg, Feb. 27, 1841. In 1847 the family came to America, settling at Muscatine, Iowa. In 1854 the family was dispersed, and George A., who was next to the youngest of the children, was taken by his father to St. Louis with a view of putting him in a hardware store. The boy, it appears, had cherished a desire to engage in that business ever since he was ten years old, and his subsequent success fully justified his predilection.
His father placed him in a small hardware store kept by William Siever, at what is now 1907 Broadway. His salary the first year was four dollars a month and board. Mr. Siever was not successful, and in 1857 the store was turned over to Adolphus Meier & Co., who were the largest creditors. Rubelmann, although but a boy of seventeen, was solicited by Meier & Co. to take charge of the store; and at the same time he received the offer from a hardware house at Leavenworth, Kan., of a situation at one thousand dollars a year. He consummated a bargain with Meier & Co., and managed the store until 1860, when, with his brother John G., he purchased the business for six thousand five hundred dollars, giving notes for the entire amount. In those days sales were universally made on six months' time, and the brothers followed the general custom; but the war came on, and on July 1, 1861, the young firm found nearly all their accounts worthless, their balance-sheet showing fifteen hundred dollars on the wrong side. They had but three creditors, from each of whom they procured time on their liabilities. Thenceforward they managed so well as to be able, Jan. 1, 1863, to pay all claims up to that date, including December's bills.
Subsequently they devoted their attention specially to cabinet hardware, and after a hard struggle built up a large and flourishing business.
In 1875, George A. Rubelmann sold out to John G. Rubelmann and opened a small store at 627 North Sixth Street; but business developed so rapidly that in 1877 he doubled the size of the store, and in 1879 the increase of trade compelled him to remove to a large three-story building at 821 North Sixth Street. These quarters also soon proved inadequate, and he began the erection of a large four-story store at 907 and 909 North Sixth Street.
The boy who at seventeen years of age was placed in charge of a store and who could command a salary of one thousand dollars a year is now at the head of one of the largest establishments in his line of trade in the West, and at the age of forty-one, in the prime of a careful and well-ordered life, enjoys a handsome and growing competence. Mr. Rubelmann, who started in life with none of the advantage of station and little of the teaching of the schools, is literally the architect of his own fortunes. His education was mainly acquired by study after the day's work was done. On March 14, 1865, he married Miss Sarah A. Guthrie, an estimable young lady of St. Louis.
In 1879, Mr. Rubelmann was instrumental in inducing the furniture manufacturers of St. Louis to organize for mutual protection, and the St. Louis Furniture Exchange was established. He was not a furniture
man himself, but dealt in furniture hardware, and the readiness with which the furniture men acted upon his suggestions to form a union demonstrates his influence among his business associates and the respect entertained for his judgment.
Mr. Rubelmann's life has been that of a quiet, modest citizen, thoroughly devoted to business, and enjoying the utmost respect and esteem of all who have come to know him intimately.
Blacksmithing. There were three blacksmiths in St. Louis at the time of the transfer from the Spanish to the United States authorities, "Delosier, who resided in Main Street, near Morgan; Rencontre, who lived in Main, near Carr; and Valois, who resided in Main, near Elm, and did the work for the government." 163 In February, 1811, James Baird had a blacksmith-shop in J. B. Becquet's old shop on South Main Street, Block 36, but removed, November 30th, to John Coon's old house on Third Street, Block 80. On Nov. 6, 1812, George Casner removed his blacksmith-shop to "the large shop lately occupied by Beard," and on Nov. 12, 1814, James Barlow advertised his blacksmith-shop as located in Beard's large shop on Third Street. In December, 1819, George Casner's new livery-stable and blacksmith-shop were located on the east side of Sixth Street, adjoining Mount's carriage-shop.
The number of blacksmithing establishments in St. Louis in 1881 was 168, giving employment to 400 hands, who received wages amounting to $200,000. The capital employed was $250,000, and the business transacted annually amounted to $700,000.
Manufactures of Fire-Brick, Glassware, Pottery, China, etc. The soils of Missouri supply nearly all the mineral constituents of the various pigments. Zinc is produced in great quantities, tin likewise, and there is an abundance, far beyond any probable demand, of ochres, barytes, uranium, manganese, cobalt, red chalk, china clay, and terra di siena. The sulphuret of zinc is abundant in Southwest Missouri, cobalt exists in quantity at Mine la Motte and other places, peroxide of manganese in Ste. Genevieve, large beds of purple shales in the coal measures, making an admirable cheap pigment for outside work, beds of red and yellow ochre exist on the Missouri River, sulphate of baryta is found in large quantities in a very pure white form, and with the ferruginous clays forms the best possible ground for mixture with lead and zinc in the composition of shaded pigments which are at once both cheap and durable. The manufacture of paints in St. Louis, by the tenth census, employs 13 establishments and 608 hands, and a capital of $1,688,350. The wages paid amount to $250,532, and the value of material used is $2,196,480.
Fire-clay rivaling the best deposits of Europe is found within four miles of the St. Louis court-house. The bed is fifteen feet thick, and very extensive. An analysis shows the following elements:
Fire-brick made of this clay is capable of resisting very high temperatures. The excellence of the material recommends it for retorts, alembics, crucibles, and furnaces. The kilns of this manufacture ought to be far more numerous.
Formerly fire-rock was brought from remote States for the bloomeries at Ironton. This fire-rock, imported at a very heavy expense, seldom lasted more than five months. But a few years ago a geological examination discovered a superior quality in the immediate vicinity of Ironton. This fire-rock is very refractory, and often resists the heat of the furnaces for seventeen months.
Adepts consider the plastic clay which is found at Commerce fully equal to that of Devonshire. It is as fine and almost as white as flour. The best potter's clay and kaolin exist in quantities that preclude the idea of exhaustion. All that Missouri needs to become famous for its crockery and queensware is skillful labor from the potteries of Europe. The materials and capital for the manufacture of earthenware and porcelain are abundant; art alone is requisite.
Near Ste. Genevieve there is a bank of saccharoidal sand which is twenty feet in height and miles in extent. The mass is inexhaustible. Two analyses give the following result:
The sand is very friable and nearly as white as snow. It is not oxidized or discolored by heat, and the glass made from it is clear and unstained. One firm in St. Louis has annually exported more than three thousand five hundred tons of this sand to the glass manufactories of Wheeling, Steubenville, and Pittsburgh.
A large portion of the silica used in the glass-factories of Pittsburgh is carried from Missouri. Instead of incurring the expense of two transportations and paying to distant establishments the cost of production, local factories ought to meet all the domestic wants and supply the markets of the West.
In evidence that the industries built upon such natural products are not neglected or misunderstood in St. Louis, the tenth census returns among the city's manufactures:
Bricks. Establishments, 45; capital, $727,250; hands, 1235; wages, $307,581; materials, $196,588; products, $700,942.
Glass. Establishments, 5; capital, $280,000; hands, 615; wages, $261,098; materials, $238,996; products, $597,277.
Lime. Establishments, 4; capital, $64,500; hands, 49; wages, $13,800; materials, $32,925; products, $63,200.
Marble- and Stone- Work. Establishments, 56; capital, $237,825; hands, 725; wages, $237,207; materials, 245,707; products, $707,721.
Stone and Earthenware. Establishments, 5; capital, $34,500; hands, 58; wages, $16,090; materials, $19,985; products, $46,430.
GLASS-WORKS. The mineral resources for manufacturing possessed by St. Louis have long had their superiority recognized and admitted. They only waited for transportation and capital to develop them. The iron-beds of Pilot Knob and Iron Mountain, for instance, have been familiar to every school-boy who studied his geography for the past two generations, and some of the other valuable products have been known in similar ways quite as long.
In 1854, Hon. John Hogan, in his excellent and suggestive "Thoughts about St. Louis," insisted that the city must become a centre for the manufacture of glass, for the reason that it possessed every product and material necessary to that manufacture in its cheapest and purest form. In his own words,
"The purest and whitest sand, for the manufacture of flint glass, is found in inexhaustible quantities but a short distance from the city, on the Mississippi River, both above and below. Here is the best lead market, both for the mines of Illinois and Missouri, and by the extension of our railroads to the West and South this latter supply is to be immensely increased, while pot and pearl ash can be obtained either from the Ohio, the lakes, or the upper Mississippi, from the asheries of Iowa and Wisconsin. These are the principal elements of the manufacture of glass, but there is still one most important matter in the expense of the establishment, viz., the pots in which the metal is melted, and which, as they are subjected to a most intense and long-continued heat, require to be made of the very best, of peculiar clay, which the best establishments have to obtain from Europe. But it would almost seem as if nature intended St. Louis for her great glass-work shop: not only is the sand here, and the lead and the ashes easily obtained, but she has underlaid a section of St. Louis County with the very best clay of which to make the pots, equal, I am assured, to the very best European clay, and generally superior to any heretofore found in the United States, for this purpose.
"Like many other valuable discoveries, this was accidentally made in digging a well on the farm of Charles Semple, Esq., on the Natural Bridge plank-road, some four miles from St. Louis. And while it is so accessible to our city, it is also inexhaustible. Messrs. Scully & Co. have already subjected it to the severest tests; they have had pots made of it which have been in use constantly for the last six months, and they have proved themselves by the trial; they are found to be as durable as those made of the best imported clay. The single article of coal is the only thing in which the upper Ohio has any advantage of us, but this is being rapidly overcome; our railroads penetrating, as they all do, vast coal-beds will soon equalize this, and furnish ample supplies at fair rates for carrying on our numerous manufactories."
In fact, Mr. Hogan, in this last sentence, refers to one of the very few instances in which St. Louis did not know or failed to appreciate her own resources and their extent.
As early as 1846, James B. Eads, of bridge and jetty fame, Mr. Nelson, of the Union Iron-Works at Carondelet, and Col. Case, formerly of the Broadway line of omnibuses, associated themselves together for the purpose of establishing a glass manufactory in St. Louis. The enterprise at that time, as all other new enterprises always are, was looked upon with a good deal of doubt and misgiving as to its success, it being regarded more in the light of an experimental adventure than of a promising enterprise. In this instance the unfavorable anticipations were realized; the expenses and outlays attending the enterprise were much greater than its projectors anticipated, and Messrs. Nelson and Case soon withdrew from the firm, leaving Mr. Eads to manage its affairs. With an energy and spirit undaunted by the discouragements that presented themselves, Mr. Eads prosecuted the business until he involved himself in a heavy pecuniary responsibility, and was compelled to abandon the undertaking. Subsequently, however, by enterprise in other directions, he liquidated every dollar of the indebtedness he had incurred in attempting to establish and develop this branch of manufacturing in St. Louis. The enterprise was known as the flint-glass works. On the failure of Mr. Eads, the works passed into the hands of Messrs. Hale and Sell, who transformed them into green-glass works, and by that firm they were conducted for some years. After passing through different hands and different stages of litigation, it being supposed that Col. Case had some claim upon the works, an arrangement was made by which James Holmes and Dr. Taylor, in 1853 or 1854, succeeded to Case's interest, and re-started them as flint-glass works. This firm was attended by the same bad fortune as its predecessors, and finally sold them to Dr. George W. Scully. Dr. Scully was possessed of large means and good credit, and sunk in the enterprise about eighty-five thousand dollars cash, and made debts to the extent
of over one hundred thousand dollars. On his failure the enterprise was continued by his principal creditors, under the name of the St. Louis Glass Company. Bonested & Co. ran the works as green-glass and flint-glass works up to 1860 and 1861, when they leased the establishment to Joseph Bagot and J. K. Cummings, who conducted it altogether as flint-glass works.
The ground on which the works were built had never been owned by any of the different firms, but was leased of the Chambers, Christy, and Wright estates, but in 1864, Messrs. Bagot and Cummings bought the ground and works at partition sale by the sheriff. The back rents and taxes on the works and ground not having been paid up for several years, the whole concern was involved in debt. They then bought all the movable property from the parties interested, and became sole owners in fee-simple of the entire establishment.
From this time better fortune attended the enterprise, and Messrs. Bagot and Cummings continued together in the prosecution of the business until the death of Mr. Bagot in May, 1868. Mr. Cummings then gave bond in the Probate Court in the sum of forty thousand dollars, and as surviving partner of the firm of Bagot & Cummings has continued the business successfully on his individual responsibility up to the present time. This, in brief, is a history of the glass manufactory now conducted and known as the St. Louis Glass-Works, at the corner of Broadway and Monroe Streets, and to John K. Cummings is due the honor of having established the first successful glass manufactory in St. Louis.
Mr. Cummings was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland, and was raised in Belfast. His mother died when he was thirteen, and his father a year later. The boy had received the rudiments of an education in the schools of the neighborhood, but when left an orphan was obliged to provide for himself, and led a varying and rather precarious life. He was apprenticed to a tailor, but soon gave that up; worked in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a soda-water factory; acted as clerk in a grocery store; and worked in a wall-paper factory and in a ginger-ale factory in Belfast, but remained in none of these occupations long, or with any particular encouragement. His career was that of thousands of homeless and friendless boys. There seems to have been nobody to recognize his capabilities, or to offer him the cheering hand and give him the helpful word.
In 1854 he emigrated to America, landing at New Orleans and passing up the river to St. Louis. He first obtained a situation in one of the packing-houses of the Ameses, and remained there about a year. He then secured a situation in the factory of the St. Louis Glass-Works, and remained there many years, entering as an apprentice to the glass-cutting trade, which he soon left to learn the glass-mould making trade employer, however, thought it best to transfer him from the "bench" to positions of greater responsibility, showing the estimation in which he was held, and allowing him to obtain a thorough knowledge of the business, such as could hardly have been acquired in any other way.
When, on the breaking out of the war, President Lincoln made the first call for troops, Mr. Cummings enlisted as a private soldier. He had served in the "Sarsfield Guards," and had marched to the Kansas border on the Southwestern expedition under Gen. Frost, when he thought his State was threatened, but had soon resigned on realizing that it was the Union of the States which was threatened by the South. He joined the Fifth Regiment United Slates Reserve Corps as a private, but the colonel (Stifel) soon appointed him adjutant and instructor, or drill-master. This command participated in the early military operations along the Missouri River, joining Gen. Lyon immediately after the battle of Boonville, assisted in the construction of the works about Lexington, patroled the river, and had several engagements with the enemy. Subsequently Mr. Cummings was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Twentieth Enrolled Missouri Militia by Governor Gamble.
Notwithstanding the history of glass-making in St. Louis had been that of an unbroken line of disastrous failures, as has been shown, Mr. Cummings, ever since his first experience in the business, although merely a subordinate, entertained a firm belief that the industry could be made to pay, and in 1861 formed a partnership with Joseph Bagot, leased the St. Louis Glass-Works from the receiver (afterwards buying them at sheriff's sale), and resumed business at the old place, where a few years previously the friendless boy had worked his way up from his position of an apprentice.
Mr. Bagot was a practical man from the East. He had managed the works some years before, and was experienced and careful. He took charge of the manufacturing department, and in addition to the customary duties of the position made the vats with his own hands. Mr. Cummings managed the books and financial part of the business, attended to buying and selling, and spent no inconsiderable part of his time going about town and drumming up trade. Such energy as he and Bagot exhibited could not fail of its reward; and while they had great difficulties to surmount,
it soon became apparent that they had mastered the secret and were on the road to success. The business grew apace, and when Mr. Bagot died in 1868 the value of the establishment was rated at thirty-five thousand dollars, and it was one of the recognized institutions of the city. The joint capital of the two upon starting was less than two thousand dollars.
Mr. Cummings then became sole proprietor, and as such has since remained in charge of the works, which have grown from the scanty two thousand dollars' capital of 1861 to a capital of one hundred thousand dollars in 1882, with yearly sales of from seventy-five thousand dollars to one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and employing one hundred and twenty hands, with a pay-roll of forty thousand dollars annually.
To John K. Cummings, therefore, unquestionably belongs the honor of having demonstrated the fact that the manufacture of glass could be made profitable in St. Louis. It was he who showed that the raw material found near St. Louis in limitless quantities was second to none in the world, and put upon a sure footing an industry that perhaps above any other demands skillful and careful management.
Mr. Cummings is a man of liberal and unselfish views, and there has been no jealous hoarding of his secret. His experiences in his business have been at the disposal of any who chose to avail themselves of them, and he has cheerfully offered advice and given pecuniary assistance to others who have been desirous of starting new works. So, also, he has been a foremost advocate of every measure that has promised to benefit St. Louis, and has been a liberal supporter even when the financial results were not promising. Among the numerous enterprises which he has assisted are the Illinois and St. Louis Railroad and Coal Company, Cahokia Ferry Company, Grain Association, St. Louis French Window-Glass Company, Merchants' Exchange, Butchers' and Drovers' Bank, etc. For many years he has been a leading member of the Citizens' Committee, whose efforts in behalf of municipal and legislative reform have resulted in so much permanent good to St. Louis.
Mr. Cummings' excellent business qualities, sound judgment, and exceptional skill have won the respect of all who have come in contact with him, but he also possesses engaging personal qualities that have obtained for him the affection of all who know him intimately. He is especially beloved by his employés, and is an open-handed dispenser of charity. In private life he is the quiet and unassuming gentleman.
About 1850, Messrs. Henry T. Blow, Barksdale, and others commenced in St. Louis the manufacture of window-glass. Their works were erected on the Barksdale grounds, due west of the arsenal, and adjoining the Concordia Park, and in them was made the best window-glass ever manufactured in the United States. The works, however, were short-lived, and the public-spirited citizens who started them soon lost all their investments. Their failure was in part owing to the incompetency of the workmen they had of necessity to bring from the glass-works of Pittsburgh, Pa., and other glass-manufacturing points. About the year 1854-55 these works were leased by James Wallace and associates and converted into flint-glass works. They afterwards formed a joint-stock company under the name of the Missouri Glass Company, the stock being mostly held by such public-spirited citizens as James H. Lucas, Col. John O'Fallon, Archibald Gamble, and Edward Bredell, who was all the time president of the company. Edward Dailey was secretary, and James W. Wallace factory superintendent and manager. This company carried on an extensive but unprofitable business, and, about 1859-60, suspended operations entirely. The company, for a part of the time, manufactured green glassware as well as flint. After this suspension the works remained idle up to 1863, when they were leased by James W. Wallace & Brother. Shortly afterward a gentleman named Cate, with some capital, succeeded to the business, and associated with him a gentleman named Lasalle, from some one of the numerous glass-works in the New England States, and the firm became Cate, Lasalle & Co. In a short time Mr. Cate sold his interest to a man named Barry, and the firm became Barry, Lasalle & Co., who continued the business until their means were exhausted and they were compelled to suspend operations. They were public-spirited, energetic men, but had to yield to the apparent fatality that attended all the glass-works attempted in the city, and in about 1865 or 1866 the works were sold to the St. Louis Plow Manufacturing Company, composed of Messrs. Barnum, Markham, and others, who dismantled the works, selling part of the material to Messrs. Bagot & Cummings, but the greater bulk to Messrs. Ford & Co., who were starting glass-works at New Albany, Ind., and to which place it was removed, occupying nearly an entire steamboat with its bulk.
The Western Glass-Works were started as a green-glass bottle manufactory, on the corner of Emmet and Columbus Streets, in South St. Louis, and were commenced in 1855 or 1856, by Messrs. Lewis and Harcum, and other practical glass-blowers from
Pittsburgh. After the establishment had been continued a short time under the management of Harcum & Co., Felix Bobe and Emil Marks joined the firm, and subsequently Justus Snyder. These parties met with the same poor success that attended all their predecessors, and the works were sold to J. B. Goodhue, who carried them on with some degree of success until he took them down and removed them to the hill north of Yaeger's Garden. Shortly afterwards he failed, and leased them to a party of glass-blowers from Pittsburgh, and the works soon after burned down. Mr. Goodhue for some time had a small concern on the ground, in which he tried to demonstrate the feasibility of a new style of glass furnace, on which he had obtained letters patent. There was also another small establishment started by William Gillender, once a manager for Dr. G. W. Scully, of the St. Louis Works. This establishment was located in an old saw-mill at the foot of Jefferson Street, but meeting with poor success, it was dismantled and torn down a short time after its erection. Still another establishment was commenced at the corner of Chambers and Main Streets, by Messrs. Pickup, Collins & Walter, practical glass-makers, in 1865 or 1866. A limited degree of success attended this firm for a few months, when they sold out to Messrs. Bagot & Cummings, who removed the works to the establishment conducted by them.
The Mississippi Glass Company, of which George D. Humphreys is the principal proprietor, has works on Angelica Street near Second. The chief products are green glassware, such as pickle-jars, fruit-jars, sauce-bottles, etc., the demand for which is very large in the city. The company have enlarged the works to enable them to meet the demands for the wares which are produced. There are about one hundred and twenty persons employed in the establishment. The sand used comes from Franklin, and the soda ash is imported from England. The lead used is obtained in St. Louis. This company does not attempt to make clear glassware. The demand for the products of the factory is very large. It was established about 1872.
The Union Glass Manufactory, Nicholas Schaeffer president, located on the corner of Anna and De Kalb Streets, is a French establishment; that is to say, the superintendent, foreman, and workmen are all French, and the products of the factory are equal in every respect to the best French wares. The window glass manufactured at this establishment is equal to that made anywhere. This company is doing a large business, receiving orders from distant places. The works have only been in operation about ten years, and have been successful from the beginning. Employment is afforded for several hundred persons in consequence of the erection of these works, and some hundreds of thousands of dollars are annually added to the wealth of the city.
The most important enterprise of the kind in the West, perhaps in America, is the Crystal City Plate-Glass Works at Platin Rock, about thirty miles south of St. Louis. This is an enterprise of great magnitude, requiring an outlay of several hundred thousand dollars to complete the works alone. They were finished in 1875, by their then principal owner, Eben Ward, of Detroit, Mich. Experiments made with the sand of Platin show that it has all the requisite qualities for a plate-glass element, and all the materials necessary except soda are obtainable in St. Louis. The Crystal City Works have attracted the attention of glass-makers not only in this country but in Europe also.
FIRE-BRICK AND POTTERY. Tradition places the discovery of fire-clay at a period far antedating the incorporation of St. Louis, and the existence of vast beds of fire-clay, underlying almost the entire city and surrounding country, has always been popularly believed. The first record we have of the manufacture of pottery in St. Louis is dated April 20, 1816. At this time George W. Ferguson gave notice through the columns of the Missouri Gazette "that he has commenced the manufacture of earthenware in St. Louis," and "pledges himself that it shall be as durable as any brought on here, and sold on more moderate terms." He also informed the public that he kept on hand "a large assortment of vessels of every description," which he sold "by wholesale or retail."
We have no means of ascertaining whether this new enterprise succeeded at this early period in St. Louis, but in the next year, on August 23d, "Christian Smith, near Mr. Neal's tin and copper manufactory, on the street leading from Matthew Kerr's store to Shope's tavern, informed the citizens of St. Louis and surrounding counties that he had on hand, and would always "be supplied from his kiln, the best milk-pots, dishes, crocks," etc.
The successful manufacture of fire-brick and pottery in St. Louis is perhaps due to the French community that, thirty-five years ago and more, peopled Cheltenham, now a thriving suburban manufacturing settlement. The discovery and development of these fire-clay mines were reserved, however, for the period immediately prior to the civil war.
After the cessation of strife the interest rapidly developed until now there are six very large establishments in the suburbs, with extensive commercial
connections, and the manufacturers and dealers number twelve, representing large capital and a considerable export demand. Drain and other tiling, gas retorts, blast-furnace and cupola linings, fire-brick, Bessemer tuy&eagrave;res, and other articles form the chief manufacturing product of these establishments, one of which also supplies the glass manufactories extensively with "washed clay," or purified clay. Indeed, St. Louis supplies America with this through a Pittsburgh house.
In the spring of 1873, however, the fact that a peculiar character of fire-clay could be so burned as to be utilized for street pavements was discovered by George Sattler, the owner of some mining property on the Columbia Bottom road, ten miles north of the bridge, but still within the city limits. For some years his assertion was ridiculed, but ultimately, encouraged by President Flad, of the Board of Public Improvements, Professors Smith and Potter, of Washington University, William Glasgow, Jr., and other experts, some experiments were made under official authority, and pavements of this material were laid where street traffic was heaviest. This has resulted in the establishment of a company by a hundred leading capitalists, and the whole extent of the mine sixty-three acres of river bluffs is to be utilized in the production of this new pavement material, which after long use shows wear scarcely more than granite, and is much cheaper. The development of this new industry upon so extensive a scale will add largely to the fire-clay interest of St. Louis.
The larger working potteries of St. Louis number six in all, and their ware is everywhere accorded the character of artistic form and substantial manufacture. This interest, too, has very largely developed from its comparatively insignificant beginning as such in 1834. At that time moulds and vessels were of very primitive design, and workmanship scarcely rivaling in finish the efforts of the mound-builders. Indeed, some of the discoveries of work of this character attributed to this early race excel in form and finish the samples represented as the product of the manufacturers of half a century ago. The export of St. Louis manufactured pottery is constantly on the increase.
CHINA, QUEENSWARE, ETC. There are over twenty houses in St. Louis engaged in the wholesale china, glass, and queensware trade, and the total sales in 1881 amounted to two million seven hundred and ninety thousand dollars. The importations of china during the same year aggregated in value two hundred thousand dollars. Among the most active and enterprising men in this line of business in St. Louis is Henry Westermann. Mr. Westermann was born near the historic town of Minden, Prussia, July 2, 1832. His family was in very moderate circumstances, and in 1839 his father came to America to better his condition, and settled in St. Louis. In 1842 his family followed him, and Henry attended the school of the Lutheran Church, and later Munday's Academy, an institute of some repute in those days. When he had acquired sufficient knowledge of English and his age permitted, he worked during the daytime and spent the evenings in study. The needs of the family rendered it desirable that he should labor at an early age, and about 1845 he was employed to set up type in the St. Louis Type Foundry, then operated by Ladew & Co., at Locust and Second Streets, continuing, however, to attend school whenever opportunity permitted. He was next employed at Barnum's Hotel, located at Third and Vine Streets, which was then the largest hotel in the city. Barnum & Moreland were the proprietors, and among those connected with the establishment was the well-known Josiah Fogg. Young Westermann worked here in several capacities for a year or two, and was finally made assistant barkeeper.
In 1849 he obtained a position in the crockery establishment of R. H. Miller & Co., on Main Street near Pine, beginning as a store-boy and working his
way up to the position of salesman. He was apt at learning the business, and being a German, was very useful in the firm's dealings with customers of that nationality.
Having saved a little money he, at the age of twenty or twenty-one, established a retail grocery store on Biddle Street, between Ninth and Tenth, but soon returned to the crockery business, and was employed for a few years by the firmof Heinecke & Estell. Then, in February, 1855, he opened for himself a retail queensware and china store on Franklin Avenue near Sixth Street. In the latter part of that year a fire, originating in a neighboring building, destroyed his establishment, and in January, 1856, he resumed the same business on Franklin Avenue near Fourth Street, where he prospered to such an extent that he was enabled to establish an additional store on Broadway. In 1857 he admitted E. F. W. Meier as a partner, who assumed charge of the Broadway store, while Mr. Westermann managed the Franklin Avenue concern. In the following year (1858) the Broadway store was removed to Main Street, where the firm of Westermann & Meier transacted business for twenty-three years. The Franklin Avenue store was eventually sold, and the firm concentrated their energies on the Main Street establishment, and built up a business probably second to none in their line in St. Louis. Meanwhile the firm had become interested in a branch establishment at 500 North Main Street, and when, in July, 1880, the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Westermann retained the latter business, and continued to manage it under the style of Henry Westermann & Co. until Jan. 1, 1883, when he removed to the large and commodious building at 608 Washington Avenue, opposite the Lindell Hotel, the whole of which he occupies. The firm is a heavy importer of earthenware, china and glassware, etc., most of its invoices coming by way of New Orleans up the great river route, and its trade extends to the West, Northwest, South, and Southwest. It is now the oldest wholesale china, glass, and queensware house in St. Louis, and has maintained its leading position through several panics, owing, no doubt, to the eminent conservatism and integrity of its founder, Henry Westermann.
On the 8th of January, 1857, Mr. Westermann married Caroline Augusta Wenkel, a German lady of St. Louis, who has proved herself a useful assistant in the domestic sphere. Several children have blessed the union, of whom William H. and Alfred Oscar are associated with their father in business, for which they have displayed a special aptitude. From childhood Mr. Westermann has been a member of the Lutheran Church, and for many years has been trustee of the church of that denomination at Sixteenth and Morgan Streets. He also served as treasurer of the congregation while the present edifice was being built. Mr. Westermann is a member of no secret or other societies, regarding home and church as sufficient to satisfy the reasonable aspirations of any man. In every relation of life he is the unobtrusive and esteemed citizen, and enjoys the unbounded respect of all who know him.
BRICK- AND TILE-WORKS. The first bricklayer who regularly followed his vocation in St. Louis is said to have been John Lee. Pierre Berthold, Sr., says Edwards' "Great West," 164 "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 on Main Street, between Chestnut 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." On the 12th of October, 1811, Samuel Bridge advertised that he would "sell very low a quantity of brick, viz., at three dollars per thousand as they came to hand, or six dollars if picked," which might be seen "at the margin of the creek at the south end of the town." For further particulars persons were referred to Mr. Charless, who was authorized to sell. April 17, 1818, John Dobbs and Samuel I. Carman announced that they had entered into partnership in the bricklaying business, and were "ready to make contracts for the building of houses in a workmanlike manner and of the best material that St. Louis affords." On the 4th of September of this year the Missouri Gazette, speaking of the building operations in the town, remarked,
"A gentleman informs us that before the winter sets in there will be near 3,000,000 of brick laid in this town since the 1st of April last, and he believes, from a general acquaintance with the citizens, that double that quantity would be laid this season if materials and workmen could be obtained on moderate
terms. Common laborers are much wanted; none can be had for less than $1.50 per day for the season through. A few laborers from the eastward have been enabled to secure to themselves 160 acres of land each by their labor this season." 165
In 1830 "numerous brick-yards had been established in the lower part of the city, and brick buildings had become the fashion of the day." 166 In 1881 the business had grown to such proportions that forty-five establishments were engaged in the manufacture of fire-brick, building brick, and tile, giving employment to over one thousand men and boys, and transacting a business of over seven hundred thousand dollars.
Coal. With the exception of Pittsburgh, there is no large city in the country which has better facilities for procuring cheap coal than St. Louis. The coal measures of Missouri and Illinois, from which the city draws part of her supply, are extensive and peculiarly rich. 167
Those of Missouri outcrop from the mouth of the Des Moines to the Indian Territory, while those of Illinois underlie nearly the whole State. From these sources as well as from Pittsburgh comes the immense quantity of coal annually consumed in the city. 168
In the early days of the city's history the inhabitants of St. Louis did not know or failed to appreciate their own resources and their extent. The coal-fields accessible to the city were underestimated and disguised. For many years it was thought that their products were not suited to the manufacture of iron, and metal, and coal also, were brought from Pittsburgh and Johnstown, and iron from Lake Michigan, to supply the foundries and forges of the city. All this has been changed. Not that the extent and value of tire coal and iron deposits were not known, but their cheapness and adaptability to one another were not understood, and thus there was a retardation of development. The value of the coal convenient to St. Louis and the extent of the deposits have been greatly enhanced during the past few years by further explorations. In 1855, Professor Swallow estimated the good available coal of Missouri at 134,000,000,000 tons. He now finds his estimate very far within the mark. Professor Hitchcock, in 1870-71, estimated the coal measures of Missouri at 27,000 square miles, Kansas 17,000 square miles, Arkansas 12,000 square miles, 2000 feet thick, twenty beds from six inches to six feet in thickness. The Illinois basin has 51,700 square miles, from 600 to 2500 feet thick, ten beds, aggregate thickness thirty-five feet. The Indian Territory basin is 13,600 square miles, and the Texas basin 104,600 square miles.
The coal-mines of Missouri are usually easily worked, and require no deep shafts or expensive machinery for hoisting or drainage. They underlie the greater portion of the finest agricultural sections, not only of the State, but of as productive a region as is on the continent. Coal of good quality can be purchased at the mines so cheaply that even where farmers have timber in abundance near at hand they prefer to burn coal rather than cut and haul wood a short distance. The coal area covers considerably more than one-half of the State, and active and systematic mining has opened the beds in more than a thousand places along the railroads and near the towns. There need never be any fear of a scarcity of fuel in Missouri, and the condition of the farmer here may in this respect be considered blessed far above that of those located in many portions of the Northwest and farther West, where buffalo chips, cornstalks, and twisted hay are all they can afford to temper the cold of more rigorous winters than are ever experienced near St. Louis.
According to the census of 1870, the following were the statistics of the coal industry of St. Louis at that time: 9 establishments; 1183 hands; $1,790,000 capital; $904,000 wages; $302,180 materials; 444,642 tons of products, valued at $1,473,000, equal to $3.31 per ton. The receipts of coal in 1881 aggregated 44,720,175 bushels, and of coke 12,860,700 bushels.
Drugs and Chemicals. The establishment of the drug business as distinct from the practice of medicine dates back to an early period in the history of St. Louis. Originally the only "apothecary-shop" known to the frontier settlements was the saddle-bags of the traveling practitioner, but in January, 1812,
Farrar & Charless conducted a drug-store "adjoining the printing-office," and on the 18th of the month announced that they would have "a fresh supply in the spring." 169
Prior to this Dr. B. G. Farrar's card had appeared in the Gazette (May 24, 1809), announcing that he might be found at Robidoux's house on Second Street, and in the same issue of the paper it was stated that Dr. Saugrain had the first vaccine matter used in St. Louis. On the 10th of May, 1812, Farrar & Charless gave notice that they had dissolved partnership, Mr. Charless continuing alone at the old stand, and on the 18th of July following it was announced that Dr. B. Farrar had established a drug store below Major Christy's tavern, next to Daugin's silversmith-shop. During the same month (July 26th) appeared the professional card of Dr. R. Simpson, whose office was located on Second Street, "adjoining Manuel Lisa." Dr. Simpson also engaged in the drug business, and about this time there is frequent mention of "Simpson's store." Oct. 1, 1812, Drs. Farrar and Walker associated themselves in the practice of medicine and established a drug store, which on the 10th of April, 1813, was removed to Mrs. Chouteau's house, "opposite Lisa's new brick." September 11th of the same year Dr. Simpson removed his drug store to the former stand of Farrar & Walker, Block 5, and Sept. 16, 1815, Farrar & Walker "removed their medicine-shop to Main Street, opposite B. Paul's," Block 30.
On the 1st of October, 1815, it was announced that Simpson & Quarles had formed a copartnership for conducting the drug and medicine business "in Simpson's old stand," and on the 4th of January that they had removed to Block 36. June 19, 1818, notice was given that Dr. A. Nelson had purchased the drug business of Simpson & Quarles, and Feb. 10, 1819, that Nelson & Hoffman had established a drug store "in Simpson's new brick, opposite the post-office." At the same time (February 10th) Tuttle & Teller were conducting the drug and medicine business at the "new brick at the lower end of Main Street, below the Collet double-brick." April 7, 1819, the removal was announced of Renshaw & Hoffman to "next door north, lately Dent & Rearick, large warehouse in rear," and on the 21st of the same month the removal of the drug and medicine store of Nelson & Hoffman to the "late stand of Renshaw & Hoffman."
The pioneer house in the wholesale drug trade was that of Joseph Charless & Son, which afterwards became Charless & Blow. Their business expanded to large proportions, and in course of time a number of firms established themselves in the trade, which is now one of the most important industries in St. Louis. In 1881 there were fifteen firms engaged in the manufacture of drugs and chemicals, with a capital of $969,000 invested, giving employment to three hundred hands, to whom they paid annually $124,000 in wages, and transacting a business of $1,200,000. During the same year there were seven wholesale druggists in St. Louis, and their combined sales aggregated nearly $7,000,000. There were also two hundred and eight retail druggists, whose sales amounted to between $9,000,000 and $10,000,000.
One of the best-known firms engaged in the wholesale drug business west of the Mississippi is that of Richardson & Co., the senior member of which is James Richardson, a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this work in the history of the Public School Library.
Of the druggists of St. Louis, none is more widely or more favorably known than Jacob Spencer Merrell. Mr. Merrell was born at Westmoreland, Oneida Co., N. Y., Feb. 5, 1827. His father, Jacob Merrell, was a direct descendant of the Jacob Merrell who came from England to New England with the original Hartford colony. His mother (the father's second wife), Sylvia Spencer, was also of English extraction, and was a descendant of an early New England family.
Being the eldest son, Jacob S. was required from his earliest recollection to assist on the farm during the summer, but in winter was sent to the district school. In early boyhood he manifested the habits of industry and economy that have since characterized his life, and have given him a front rank among the merchants and manufacturers of the West.
In the spring of 1842, when but fifteen years old, young Merrell concluded that a farm of one hundred acres, with a large family to share its products, did not afford a sufficiently promising field for his labors, yet he freely recognized the claims of his father upon
him, and not wishing to deprive him of services that legally and properly belonged to him, he "bought his time" of his father for one hundred and fifty dollars, and the clothes he then had for thirty dollars more. Of this amount he paid sixty dollars in cash, the fruits of his own economy and industry.
His first employment after consummating this arrangement was driving upon the Erie Canal, his wages being nine dollars per month. When the canal closed in the fall, he returned home and worked for his board during the winter, enjoying for the last time the only school advantages he ever received.
In the following April he obtained employment in a country store at Oneida Lake, but in July his employer failed, and he again returned home and worked for his father during haying and harvesting, after which he started with ten dollars in his pocket, worked his passage on the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and from thence took deck passage to Toledo, where, having failed to obtain employment that had been promised him, he engaged to cut cordwood in the oak forests at a point where for many years past the Toledo High School has been located.
During the following spring he went to Lexington, Ky., where he was employed by his uncle in the grocery business, at ten dollars per month. This occupation, however, did not satisfy his restless energies, and in the following January he hired a horse and went into the mountains of Kentucky to buy furs. For several months he traversed the head-waters of the Kentucky, Cumberland, and Licking Rivers. In May, while in Cincinnati, whither he had gone to market his furs, he noticed an advertisement of a little drug-mill on "Western Row" for sale or for rent. He purchased the establishment, chiefly on credit, and at the age of eighteen commenced his business career.
In spite of many difficulties the enterprise prospered under his vigorous and judicious management, and five years later, as we learn from a volume entitled "Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati," he employed ten hands, had a thirty horse-power engine, and manufactured thirty thousand dollars' worth of goods yearly, with a business rapidly growing and certain ultimately of becoming one of extensive operations.
In 1848, Mr. Merrell returned to his native place, and on the 20th of September was married to Kate Jeannette Kellogg, daughter of Deacon Warren Kellogg, of Westmoreland. The success which has ever attended Mr. Merrell must in no small degree be attributed to the assistance of his faithful wife.
Early in 1853, Mr. Merrell concluded that St. Louis offered a more promising field for his business than Cincinnati, and having purchased property on St. Charles Street, between Fifth and Sixth Streets, he sold his Cincinnati business, and on the same day established himself in St. Louis.
The progress of his business has been uninterrupted to the present day, except in 1857, when by a disastrous fire he lost twenty-eight thousand dollars, his insurance being only four thousand dollars. Though the oldest wholesale druggist in St. Louis, he has never failed in business and has never compromised with his creditors. Upon the occasion of the loss by fire, some friendly creditors urged him to make a settlement at fifty cents on the dollar, but he steadfastly refused, preferring to make the attempt to pay in full, in which he succeeded.
The employment of his spare time in reading, added to a quick perception, a retentive memory, and carefully-acquired habits of practical thought, have enabled Mr. Merrell to greatly remedy the want of early education, and have secured him a fund of knowledge such as few business men possess. He is not only a merchant, but is a pharmaceutist, a chemist, and a physician, and his knowledge of these sciences has enabled him to devise many new remedies previously unknown, but now deemed almost indispensable by the medical profession. His knowledge of medicine has induced many to seek his advice, and for many years he has had quite an extensive office practice among friends and others, many of whom had failed to obtain relief from regular practitioners. To multitudes of such he has rendered gratuitous service.
Dr. Merrell is the president and one of the founders of the American Medical College, in St. Louis.
Though an active member of the Whig and Republican parties, he has always refused remunerative offices until the spring of 1881, when he was induced to accept the nomination for treasurer of the city of St. Louis, and was elected for a term of four years by a handsome majority.
During the war his active and outspoken devotion to the Union raised about him bitter enemies and steadfast friends, but, unheeding praise or blame, he quietly pursued the course he had marked out for himself and labored zealously in the work of recruiting soldiers for the front.
Dr. Merrell has always taken an active part in religious matters, and ever since his arrival in St. Louis has been a member of the First Congregational Church (Rev. Dr. Post's), and for ten years past the president of its board of trustees.
As the owner of a number of farms in the "American Bottom," he has done much to improve that section,
and particularly by putting in operation the drainage laws of Illinois. He is a director in the St. Louis Stoneware Company.
Dr. Merrell is emphatically a "self-made man," whose success has been won by steadfastness of purpose, honorable dealing, untiring industry, and careful economy. Beneath an exterior which a casual observer might deem cold and unsympathetic is a warm and cordial nature. His sympathies are manifested by deeds rather than words, and he gives freely to every deserving charity, public and private.
The farmer lad who "bought his time" of his father and began life as a canal-boy is now a prominent citizen of St. Louis, rich and respected by all. Such a career speaks volumes for Dr. Merrell's strength of character, sound judgment, and indomitable energy and industry.
Within the comparatively brief period of fifteen years has been achieved one of the most noteworthy successes, from a business point of view, which even the aggressive and enterprising mercantile world of St. Louis can exhibit, in the establishment of the wholesale drug firm of Meyer Brothers & Co, Christian F. G. Meyer, the head of the house, was born at Haldern, Westphalia, Dec. 9, 1830. His family was in moderate circumstances, being engaged in sheep-raising and bee-culture. His father died when he was four years old, and his mother when he was sixteen. After the latter occurrence he emigrated with his brother, J. F. W. Meyer (six years his senior), to America, the objective-point being Fort Wayne, Ind., near which place a relative resided. They sailed from Bremen in September, 1847, and the ocean trip consumed seven weeks. From New Orleans, where they landed, to Fort Wayne was a long and tedious journey, being performed by steamboat, canal-boat, and on foot, and it was not until February, 1848, that the Meyers reached Fort Wayne.
Young Meyer, realizing that a knowledge of English was essential to success in this country, attended a private school for the purpose of learning the language, but his means being limited he was obliged to leave school and make his own way in the world. During the same year (1848) he entered Reed's drug store at Fort Wayne as an apprentice. His progress was rapid, and by close attention to his duties during the day, and by employing his nights in studies pertaining to the business, he soon won the confidence of his employer. In the following year the cholera was prevalent, and owing either to the sickness of the proprietor and clerks or their absence from town, he was left in sole charge of the store for several weeks, and in this arduous crisis acquitted himself with great skill and credit. In August, 1852, having saved four hundred or five hundred dollars, he, in company with an acquaintance, opened a retail drug store in the same place. The venture proved very successful.
What Mr. Meyer is accustomed to call the most fortunate event of his life occurred in July, 1854, his marriage with Miss Frances F. Schmidt, a lady who some years previous had come to this country from Alsace, then a French province. To this alliance Mr. Meyer attributes a great share of his success in life, she having proved a helpmeet for him in every sense of the word. Their domestic relations have been of the happiest character, and their union has been blessed with nine children, seven boys and two girls, of whom eight are living.
Meanwhile the business at Fort Wayne continued to prosper, and with increasing success and confidence Mr. Meyer became imbued with the desire to conduct operations on a larger scale. Accordingly he visited St. Louis in May, 1865, and made arrangements to establish a wholesale business. In September he purchased the stock of J. Mathews & Sons, then in business at the corner of Second and Locust Streets. The stock amounted to about seventy thousand dollars, but although considered quite large in those days, when nearly everything was about one hundred per cent. more costly than at present, it would now be comparatively small.
The rapid shrinkage in values which set in after the war subjected all who were then in business to a severe ordeal, and many succumbed, but by assiduous labor and extraordinarily good management the firm was enabled to weather the storm, and its present standing is a proud monument to Mr. Meyer's early labors,
Mr. Meyer is a prominent member of the German Lutheran Church, and at present is one of the trustees of the Concordia Theological Seminary (Lutheran), on Jefferson Avenue, as also of the congregation where he worships.
While necessarily devoting the greater portion of his time to his extensive business, he has yet been able to indulge to some extent a taste for literature, At Fort Wayne, besides attending to his drug business, he for some time owned and edited a paper, and since then has written more or less for the press. He has also traveled much in this country and abroad, principally on account of his health, which on several occasions has been impaired by overwork.
Although Mr. Meyer's associations outside of his business have been chiefly with Germans, he speaks the English language with the ease and fluency of his mother-tongue. He has also acquired a fair knowledge of French.
Mr. Meyer has been uniformly successful in business. The building he first occupied, at the corner of Second and Locust Streets, soon proved too contracted for his rapidly increasing trade, and accordingly in January, 1867, the house removed to the building Nos. 6 and 8 North Second Street, occupying the four floors and the cellar. A few years later additional space was demanded, and Nos. 10 and 12 were added, and about four years since the cry for "more room" forced them to occupy the adjoining structure, Nos. 14 and 16. This gave them the entire building, one hundred and eight feet front by one hundred and fifty feet deep, four stories high, in addition to the cellars, in all nearly two acres of floor space. They also have an extensive store in Kansas City, the largest drug establishment west of St. Louis, while they still maintain the one in Fort Wayne, which is in reality the parent house. C. F. G. Meyer is the controlling mind in the firm, which, perhaps, conducts the largest jobbing drug business in the world, the annual sales amounting to millions of dollars.
Oils. In 1843, Dr. Hoffman exhibited in St. Louis a sample of steam-refined lard-oil, manufactured at his establishment on Market Street, corner of Thirteenth, which was "as pure and clear as the best sperm, and burns as brightly." The oil was manufactured from "inferior qualities of lard," and furnished to purchasers "at very low prices." The chandlers and lard-oil factories in St. Louis numbered in 1850 ten factories, with invested capital of ninety-nine thousand three hundred dollars, employing two hundred and twenty-six hands, and producing annually four hundred and ninety-eight thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars.
In 1857 the Patent Press Oil-Works, Latourette, Wyman & Grant, proprietors, were erected for the manufacture of oil from flaxseed, castor-beans, and cotton-seed. The great scarcity of the two former led the proprietors to turn their attention to cotton-seed, upon which they had experimented successfully. Though originally designed for the exclusive manufacture of linseed- and castor-oil, these works were early employed in making cotton-seed oil, which was found so far profitable as to induce the proprietors to push their efforts in that direction. The proprietors were among the first parties in the world who succeeded in making oil from cotton-seed so as to make it pay. After experimenting with thirty thousand bushels of the seed, they found so fine a margin in it as to induce them to extend their operations.
The oil was shipped to New Orleans, to the East, and Europe, and the cake was found to be highly valuable as food for cattle.
In 1877 the business of manufacturing cotton-seed oil was further extended by the opening of "The Future City Oil-Works," J. J. Powers, proprietor, at 607 South Levee, where buildings occupying the whole block had been secured, and power, presses, and sieves, with cleaning apparatus, erected. The capital invested (one hundred thousand dollars) has been increased, and the yearly value of the products amounts to more than three hundred thousand dollars, the factory employing one hundred and fifty hands, and manufacturing five thousand barrels of oil and five thousand tons of cake. A ready market is found in Europe, where the oil is manipulated into salad- and olive-oil.
The receipts of petroleum at St. Louis during the years from 1877 to 1881 were:
Lard-oil was made by three firms in 1881, who employed twenty-five hands, whose wages were thirteen thousand one hundred dollars annually. They transacted a yearly business of five hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and the capital invested was ninety-six thousand two hundred dollars.
Dry-Goods. The dry-goods trade of St. Louis has gradually expanded from the humble transactions of 1808 until at this writing the city offers a market to buyers surpassed by none in the country for variety, extent, and cheapness. 170
On the 23d of July, 1808, the following announcement was made in the Missouri Gazette:
"I will sell to the highest bidder for cash, on Tuesday, the 3d of August next, at ten o'clock A. M., at the house of Mrs. Labadie, in the town of St. Louis, an invoice of goods amounting to between seven and eight hundred dollars, viz.: Best Cognac brandy, that has been more than three years in cedar at this town; dry-goods, consisting of cloths, strouds, chintzes, calicoes, muslins, Irish linen; saddlery, chewing tobacco, etc., and a large quantity of well-assorted castings and hardware.
"As the sole object of the safe is to raise the aforesaid sum of money, the goods must be sold, fetch what they will; therefore great bargains will be given.
"JERE. CONNOR, Auctioneer."
Wilkinson & Price were transacting business August 2d at Papin's old store. September 14th, St. Louis furnishes the first big advertisement to the Gazette, viz.: "Hunt & Hankinson have received, in addition to their former stock, and are now opening a general assortment of merchandise, which they will sell at the most reduced prices for cash, viz.: Tin and hardware, medicines, stationery, saddlery of all kinds, wrought nails, cut do. of all sizes, men's hats, women's do., wool do., boots and shoes, ladies sprig'd kid and morocco shoes, plain do., Jefferson do., children's do., Lisbon wine, claret do., Cognac brandy, Imperial tea, Young Hyson do., Hyson skin do., loaf sugar, lump do., Muscovado do., coffee, chocolate, mustard, box raisins, best Spanish cigars, dry-goods," etc.
Jacob Philipson announced in the Gazette of Nov. 9, 1808, that he was "opening at his new store, opposite post-office, a seasonable supply of dry-goods and a general assortment of groceries, among which are blankets, shoes, madder, and turkey red, linseed oil, tanners' do., fresh teas, coffee, chocolate, and sugar, shad, mackerel, a few German and English Bibles, Testaments, hymn-books, etc., all of which he intends selling for cash at reasonable prices."
As indicated by the advertisements given above, the dry-goods store of the olden time was a variety-shop, such, for instance, as that of "Z. Mussina, just arrived from Philadelphia via Pittsburgh, with a large assortment of dry-goods, groceries, queensware, ironmongery, tin-ware, paints," which he offered "for sale at the old stand of Madame Labadie (lately occupied by A. C. Dunn) and opposite to Mr. Jacob Philipson." About this time also H. Austin & Co., of Ste. Genevieve, have a displayed advertisement. They offer to sell "brown, drab, and mixed broadcloths at from $2 to $6 per yard; 1000 yards of calicoes from 50 to 75 cents per yard; cotton laces from $1.25 to $2.50; best green coffee at 62½ cents per pound; loaf and lump sugar at 50 cents per pound. Goods purchased in New York for cash, and will be sold as low as any in the Territory for cash, or lead at $6 per 100 pounds, delivered at Ste. Genevieve or Herculaneum."
The following advertisements indicate the character of the trade and give the names of the merchants who conducted it during this year (1809):
April 26. "Falconer & Comegys have just received and offer for sale at reasonable prices, at St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve, merchandise suitable for the approaching season."
May 24. "For sale, 300 yards fine country linen, 3400 yards tow linen, 1500 pounds nails, 2000 gallons old whiskey, also a quantity of white rope. The above-mentioned articles will be sold by the quantity for cash, as low as first cost and carriage from Lexington, Ky., to this place. Those who wish to purchase will please call at the house formerly occupied by Mr. P. Ledue, opposite Alexander McNair's. GEORGE DALE."
July 26. "The subscriber has opened in the store formerly occupied by Messrs. Hunt & Hankinson an assortment of dry-goods, groceries, and hardware, which he is determined to sell at reasonable terms. MATTHEW KERR."
September 13. "Merchant tailor. Bernard Lalende, lately arrived from Bordeaux, takes the liberty to inform the public that he intends to follow the tailoring business in all its branches. He also takes this method of informing the ladies and gentlemen that he will sell at his shop cloth and other stuff, handkerchiefs, thread, wine, coffee, and Imperial tea, also an assortment of the best fiddle-strings."
September 13. "P. Berthold and Paul, lately arrived from Baltimore and Philadelphia, offer for sale a very elegant assortment of dry-goods and groceries at very moderate prices for cash. They keep their store at Mr. Valois', Main Street."
December 21. Bernard Pratte and John P. Cabanné announced that they had fresh goods on hand at "Pratte's old corner, Main and Market Streets."
December 26. "William Shannon is now opening at the house of Francis Benoit a complete assortment of goods suitable to the present and approaching season."
During this year (June 7th) the dissolution of the firm of Hunt & Hankinson (Wilson P. Hunt and John Hankinson) was announced, and Henry M. Shreve & Co. (Fergus Moorehead) advertised a stock of goods next to Robidoux's residence, Block 6. On the 27th of September, Jacob Philipson announced the removal of his store to next above Gratiot's; and Falconer & Comegys advertised their store "in Labadie' store-house."
In 1810 the Gazette contained the following announcements:
January 11th. "Just received an assortment of dry-goods and groceries, for sale at reasonable terms, also a keel-boat seventy feet in length. SAMUEL PERRY."
February 20th. "F. Menard has the honor of informing the public that he is now opening, at the house of Mr. Pierre Chouteau, the following articles, which he will sell at wholesale or retail on very low terms: Sugar per one hundred pounds, $20; coffee per one hundred pounds, $40; Marseilles soap, dry-goods, Russia sheeting, brown linen, blankets, French brandy, rum, claret, etc."
April 19th. "George Peseay, just from Philadelphia, with fresh goods, opened in the house of the late Mr. Robidoux."
April 23d. "H. M. Shrevo and Fergus Moorhead's store in Robidoux's log store, in block No. 6."
April 26th. "Thomas Hickey, tailor and ladies' habit-maker, has commenced business on the Public Square, nearly opposite Col. Chouteau's."
April 26th. "H. M. Shreve & Co. hare brought from Philadelphia and opened at St. Louis a complete and general assortment of dry-goods, groceries, hardware, china, and queensware, iron, steel, castings, and stationery, at the most reduced
prices. They have opened at Ste. Genevieve an assortment of the above-mentioned goods, which shall be sold at reduced profit."
April 26th. "Wood & Dunn have just arrived from Philadelphia, and have opened in St. Louis a general assortment of dry-goods suitable to the season, also groceries, queens and hardware, etc. They have also opened in Ste. Genevieve an assortment of dry-goods, groceries, hardware, etc."
May 10th. "J. Gr. Comegys & Co. just returned from Philadelphia with a large stock of fresh goods, opposite Charles Gratiot."
July 12th. "Patrick Lee, auctioneer, broker, and commission merchant, informs the public that his store near the post-office is well provided with dry-goods and groceries, which he will sell at a moderate price. He has commenced the business of a broker and auctioneer in the town of St. Louis, and will execute with the greatest punctuality the orders of such persons as may address themselves to him in that line."
September 20th. "Horace Austin is opening at the old stand of Messrs. Falconer & Comegys a handsome assortment of dry-goods."
About this time the terms of sale were barter and exchange rather than cash. When "a heap of whiskey and peach brandy" were offered by Frederick Yeiger (1811) for "beef hides," with the remark, "no credit, as he can't write," it is not surprising that "Joseph Bouju, clock- and watch-maker, silversmith and jeweler," should offer for sale "cherry bounce, ratifia de Grenoble, whiskey, a gig and harness, with his keel-boat and apparatus."
On Jan. 12, 1811, Jacob Philipson offered his goods "low to close out."
February 14th, Moses Scott advertised his store, "next above Baird's shop," and on May 22d McKnight & Brady informed the public that they had on hand a large stock of fresh goods opposite the residence of Gen. William Clark (Papin's old store).
Christian Wilt, from Philadelphia, advertised his goods July 25th, in Mussina's stand, and Depestre, De Mun & Co. announced September 11th that they were just from Philadelphia and Baltimore with an assortment of new goods.
In May, 1812, it was announced that McNair, Thompson & Co. had just opened a handsome assortment of merchandise from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Madame Robidoux's house (Block 5), and that J. F. Laveille, just from New Orleans, had opened a new store in Madame Chouteau's house (Block 33). On the 6th of June the dissolution of the firm of Berthold & Paul was announced, and on the 17th of September the closing out of the business of Depestre & De Mun. On October 10th it was stated that Smith, Von Phul & Co., of Lexington, Ky., had dissolved, and that Smith & Von Phul would continue; and on November 6th that Veuve Pescay and Michael Tesson had dissolved the partnership existing since February, 1811, and that M. Tesson would continue alone.
During 1813 the following advertisements among others appeared:
January 9th. "To the Ladies. Shawls, fine muslins, bonnets, laces, etc., for sale at a moderate price. M. TESSON."
June 19th. "Berthold & Chouteau have on sale a general assortment of dry-goods, groceries, hardware and crockery, etc."
November 13th. "McKnight & Brady have just received from Baltimore an additional supply of woolens; will be sold for cash at their store on Main Street, opposite Governor Clark's."
On the 31st of December, 1814, McKnight & Brady gave notice that they had sold their stock and desired their accounts settled up.
Peter Lindell & Co. announced Nov. 26, 1814, that they would close their business on the 1st of January, 1815.
About the close of the war of 1812, say in 1816, there was quite an influx of men of business and capital to St. Louis. Some who, doubtless, during the war had studied its advantages decided that it was equally adapted for trade in peace, and the close of the war having given a great impetus to settlement in Illinois and Missouri, all these new settlements, as well as the old ones, began to look more and more to St. Louis as their place of obtaining supplies. Among those who came here at or about that time as merchants or engaging in mercantile pursuits were Col. John O'Fallon, Peter and Jesse Lindell, and Henry Von Phul. Others came after them, among them George Collier and James Clemens, Jr. Among the other merchants of St. Louis about this time were Thomas and John Cromwell, Charles W. Hunter, Isaac Bennett, Theodore Hunt, James Kennerly, Smith & Spicer, Thomas Hanly, Rene Paul & Co. ("new goods from Philadelphia and Baltimore in his new store-house," Block 4), John B. Herpin & Son ("new store from Philadelphia in Patrick Lee's former stand," Block 37), Stephen R. Wiggins, Patrick M. Dillon (at the house of Maj. P. Chouteau, Main Street, Block 28), John Little, Porter, Glasgow & Nivin, Maddock & Duval, and Charles Wahrendorff, who advertised German goods at Perkins & Drip's store, opposite the post-office. One of the leading business men and influential citizens of St. Louis about this time was Thomas Porsyth, who was a prominent figure in the early history of Illinois and Missouri. His father, William Forsyth, was a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, who came to America in 1757. After a short stay in Philadelphia he went to Canada, and was wounded in the battle of Quebec, where both Wolfe and Montcalm fell. He married in Canada and settled in Detroit (then a British town), where, Dec. 5, 1771, Thomas Forsyth was born. The boy received a plain but practical education, which qualified him for both the public and private business in which he afterwards engaged.
In 1793, Thomas Forsyth left Detroit, in company with his half-brother, John Kenzie, the founder of Chicago, and for several years engaged in trade with the Illinois Indians. In one of his Eastern trips he met and married a lady named De Maillot, of Hagers-town, Md., and in 1809 settled at Peoria, Ill. During the subsequent Indian troubles he exercised a great influence over the savages, especially the Pottawatomies, years of dealing with them having given him a perfect knowledge of their language and disposition.
To the Governors of both Missouri and Illinois he repeatedly, conveyed intimations of threatened hostilities, and while he could not always avert war, he was able to do much to mitigate its horrors.
In recognition of his services he was appointed Indian agent at Peoria, with full power to act in case of an emergency, but the appointment was kept secret lest he should lose his influence over the tribes. After the massacre at the site of Chicago, in August, 1812, Mr. Forsyth, at the risk of his life, went directly to the Indians and secured the ransom of some of their captives. This was a most dangerous service, for had the Indians been aware of the fact that he was a government agent, he would no doubt have been burnt at the stake. It required the utmost sagacity and the greatest tact and skill to conduct these negotiations so as to retain the confidence of suspicious Indians; but his uniform kindness towards them and, above all, his unvarying candor and truthfulness in dealing with them gave him great influence and caused them to trust him implicitly. More than once his life was imperiled by the machinations of enemies who sought to compass his death at the hands of the savages, but his tact and good fortune always enabled him to escape.
Mr. Forsyth acted as agent for the Illinois Indians during the war, and when peace was declared he was intrusted with a still more responsible duty, that of agent for the Sac and Fox Indians. He made treaties with these nations, which were always ratified by the government, and was charged with the distribution of large sums of money and great amounts of merchandise, which duty he performed with the strictest honesty and with marked ability. He retained this agency for many years, and it is thought that had he continued to hold the office the Black Hawk war would not have occurred.
He finally removed to St. Louis, and resided in the little village for several years, at the same time performing the duties of Indian agent and visiting Peoria as often as was necessary. He bought eight hundred acres of land owned by Jean Marie Papin (the progenitor of the Papin family), and forming a large part of what is now Forest Park, where he resided for the rest of his life, dying in 1832.
Nature bestowed upon Thomas Forsyth a sound and well-balanced mind in a sound and athletic body. He was a gifted talker and a most pleasant and entertaining companion. Benevolence and kindness of heart were his predominant traits. He occupied a prominent position in the community, as was due to one who had performed important public services. His private life was amiable and blameless, and he died universally esteemed and regretted. He left four children, John, who died at the age of twenty-one, while studying medicine with Dr. Farrar; Thomas, who was a rover, and died away from home; Mary, who married a French gentleman named Bouis and died within a year thereafter; and Robert, who was born in 1808 and died Nov. 1, 1872.
Robert Forsyth was a farmer, leading a quiet life of ease on his estate in St. Louis County, and was a respected citizen. He married Miss Anna M. Culver, of Pensacola, Fla., and left three children, all of whom are yet living, William Forsyth, a resident of Kirkwood, near St. Louis; Mary, who married Dr. G. H. Morrill, and lives in St. Louis; and Laura, who married E. M. Tesson.
On Oct. 18, 1817, it was announced that Berthold & Chouteau's partnership had expired, and that A. P. Chouteau, De Mun, and John B. Sarpy would open there. November 29th it was stated that "Thomas Estes' one hundred thousand dollar" stock of goods had just been opened "in the store lately occupied by R. Collet, lower end." December 6th notice was given of "Gabriel and Rene Paul's large stock opening in R. Paul's stone house, North Main Street." Sanguinet & Bright advertised their store, December 13th, on Block 6, nearly opposite the post-office, and Bernard Pratte gave notice, December 13th, of his removal to his new brick house between Clemens' and Smith's stores. About this time Thomas McGuire & Co. transacted business "opposite Governor Clark's, lately M. Scott."
On the 23d of January, 1818, James Brand announced "a new stock from Philadelphia in the house formerly Sergt. Hall's printing-office;" on the 30th it was stated that "Thomas Estes has removed to the house formerly Peebles' tavern and since S. R. Wiggins' store;" February 13th, L. W. Boggs and Thomas Hanly gave notice that they had dissolved partnership, Boggs having purchased Hanly's interest. March 12th, Renshaw & Hoffman gave notice that they were just from Baltimore, "with all new goods, at the store formerly Collet & Daily's;" May 1st, J. Macklot & Co. advertised their goods in the store "lately M. Scott's, opposite the Indian office;" June 12th, Thomas P. Williams & Co., in the store recently occupied by Perkins & Drips; July 1st, Renshaw & Hoffman "removed to the centre frame store of the three recently put up by F. Dent, on Smith's lot, opposite Von Phul & Co., ‘Sign of the Plow;’" July 24th, James Clemens & Co., third door above the market on Main Street (Smith's store); July 31st, Samuel R. Ober, large stock new goods next below Collet & Daily, Block 37; August 19th, William Prout & Son,
"new goods just opened in Clark's old Indian office, opposite Porter, Glasgow & Nivin;" September 4th, Edward Tracy, just from New York, with new goods at the store of Dent & Rearick; September 4th, Jonathan Guest "has just opened his new goods in Maj. Douglass' new brick house," Elm Street; September 11th, Charles Wahrendorff & Co. "removed to next below the new banking-house, opposite to James Clemens';" September 25th, Jonathan Guest removed to Pratte's warehouse, at the lower corner of Market Street; December 1st, Thomas Hanly removed "to his new brick on the river;" December 4th, Réné and Gabriel Paul dissolved partnership, R. Paul retiring; December 11th, Gabriel Paul advertised an "auction and commission house, in R. Paul's stone house."
About 1819 business began to be classified, and there were separate dealers in groceries, in dry-goods, in hardware, although many houses still continued to deal in mixed merchandise; but Scott & Rule (Capt. Scott and William K. Rule) established a house in St. Louis almost exclusively for the sale of groceries, chiefly brought from New Orleans. Then there were Shackford & Ranney, then Gay & Estes, doing each a law business in the grocery line; James Clemens, John Smith, the Powels, Warburton, and several others almost exclusively dealers in dry-goods. On the 15th of January of this year James and George H. Kennerly advertised their business as being conducted in Clark's brick house, Block 10; January 22d, Dent & Rearick, Main Street, opposite H. Von Phul & Co., Block 33; February 3d, Chouteau & Sarpy removed to the store between Moses Scott and the old Indian council-house; February 10th, Christian and Andrew Wilt's new firm was advertised, and on the same day G. Paul's auction-room, "in his new brick house, opposite the theatre, Main Street," Block 11; April 7th, Renshaw & Hoffman "have removed next door north, lately Dent & Rearick, large warehouse in the rear;" April 28th, Charles W. Hunter "has removed from M. Kerr's old stand diagonally opposite his former place;" June 2d, Michael and Francis Tesson, copartnership; June 9th, partnership of Thomas Collet and Michael Daily dissolved, and a copartnership formed between Michael Daily and Madame Pescay; June 23d, Joseph Wiggins "removed to No. 2 in Chouteau's new brick row, nearly opposite Bank of Missouri;" June 30th, Julius de Mun, "new stock in M. Lisa's new house, opposite the Enquirer office;" July 24th, David W. Tuttle removed to No. 3 in Chouteau's new brick row, nearly opposite the Bank of Missouri; August 4th, James Timon & Son, new store next above Riddick's auction-house, late Low & Trask; August 11th, David E. Cuyler "has a lot of goods for sale in Mr. Dillon's new brick store, opposite the Farmers' and Mechanics' Hotel;" December 8th, Theodore Papin and Joseph Amoreaux "have purchased the stock of Macklot & Co., and will continue the business in Gratiot's stone store;" December 23d, Charles Billon removed to his new establishment, North Main, at the corner opposite the old Gratiot residence; December 29th, Thomas Estes removed to No. 2 of Col. A. Chouteau's new brick row, South Main Street.
In 1820 the following firms advertised: January 5th, Castillo & Gilhuly, store in Moses Scott's former stand, South Main Street; January 19th, Joseph Hertzog, from Philadelphia, "will continue the business of C. & A. Wilt at the same place;" January 26th, William H. Savage; March 8th, Gilhuly & Cummins' store, in McKnight & Brady's brick house, north of the corner store; March 29th, Hastings & Simpson's store, South Main Street, in Collet's brick building; Samuel R. Ober, next below Hastings & Simpson; April 8th, Joseph and Francis Robidoux removed their store from old stand to Papin's brick house, Block 32; April 10th, "Charles Wahrendorff & Co. have dissolved;" April 19th, John Shackford & Co., third in Chouteau's brick row; May 3d, the new firm of Tracy & Wahrendorff formed "in old stand;" May 30th, Nathaniel D. Payne's new store, North Main Street, in Auguste P. Chouteau's new brick house; August 9th, George Burchmore, new goods; August 17th, Paul & Ingram, from Philadelphia, dry-goods, etc., in No. 1 in Auguste Chouteau's new brick row, Block 7; August 23d, Giles and John Samuel, merchants, in R. Paul's stone corner house, North Main Street.
From this mixed beginning the dry-goods trade of St. Louis sprang, just as the present magnificent city rose from the humble abodes which preceded the palaces and warehouses that now attract the admiration of every visitor.
The well-known wholesale and retail dry-goods house of William Barr & Co. was established in 1849, the original location being at the corner of Third and Market Streets; but after a few months the establishment was removed to the corner of Fourth and Olive Streets, where it remained until 1857. In that year the firm removed to a building which was afterwards enlarged until it occupied the entire block bounded by Third, Fourth, Vine, and St. Charles Streets. The present quarters of the firm, which is known as the William Barr Dry-Goods Company, and composed of William Barr, Charles H. Berking, and Joseph Franklin, are a handsome and imposing
structure located on Sixth Street, extending from Olive to Locust.
The failure of the Illinois banks in 1842, the low price of produce, and the stagnation of business in the West contributed to bring on a crisis in St. Louis. Many business men found themselves, after years of toil, left without a dollar; and the most fortunate were content if, by the sacrifice of all their past profits in trade, they could preserve their credit, and be prepared to commence business anew when the storm passed over. It required some two years to relieve the country of its embarrassments, to restore confidence and give a healthy tone to trade, especially in a city like St. Louis, where men had to rely mainly upon their own capital, being limited to one bank, with a capital of only six hundred thousand dollars.
From 1845 business maintained a steady and healthy growth, and "we have endeavored," says a local journal, "to gather some statistics illustrative of this fact. We have found difficulty in attaining our object, which was to give the business of the same houses in 1845 and 1853. Some of our business men have died, others have retired, changes have taken place in various firms, some lost their books by the great fire of 1849, and others again declined giving any statement, although assured that it should be strictly confidential."
The statements of the business of six dry-goods houses were obtained, which sum up us follows:
There were over twenty wholesale dry-goods houses, besides those situated near the North Market and Carondelet Avenue, nearly the same number, that transacted a large jobbing and retail business.
The above statement embraced two of the largest houses, and it also embraced two that were considered among the small houses in amount of business.
Another long-established firm in the dry-goods trade is that of Samuel C. Davis & Co., whose name is one of the business landmarks of St. Louis. The founder of the house, Samuel C. Davis, first came to St. Louis from Brookline, Mass., and began business in a little store at Market and Commercial Streets, then the business centre of the town. His partner was
J. E. Standford. In addition to the dry-goods business the firm conducted a flourishing trade in boots and shoes and groceries. Mr. Standford finally retired, and John Tilden and Eben Richards were admitted into partnership. In 1849 the house escaped the great fire, and in 1851 the business was removed to Nos. 8 and 10 North Main Street. In 1867, Mr. Tilden and Mr. Richards retired, and the house was then composed of Samuel C. Davis, Andrew W. Sproule, and John T. Davis, who still remain the partners in the firm. In 1872 the grocery department, and in 1873 the shoe department, both of which had been removed to No. 12 Main Street, were sold, and the house thenceforward restricted itself to the dry-goods trade. In August, 1871, was commenced the erection of the present magnificent building at the northwest corner of Fifth Street and Washington Avenue, which was completed and occupied in March, 1873. This structure, which is in the Italian style of architecture, and of spacious and imposing appearance, has a frontal of one hundred and seventy-five feet on Fifth Street by one hundred and twenty-five feet on Washington Avenue, and contains, including the basement, six floors. In the rear of the immense building there is a broad, paved area, left open to insure sufficient light and to facilitate the reception and delivery of goods. The basement extends under the sidewalk of the streets, and is lighted by thick glass set in iron-work overhead. The building is amply provided with conveniences for the prompt and speedy handling of goods, and the establishment is altogether one of the most complete, as it is one of the most extensive, in the West.
About 1850 the leading dry-goods house of St. Louis was that of Rutherford & Day. Franklin O. Day, the junior member of the firm, and afterwards one of the most prominent merchants of the city, was born in Burlington, Vt., Oct. 31, 1816, both of his parents being natives of that State. His ancestor, Robert Day, came to America from England with his wife, Mary, in 1634. It is a family tradition that the Days originally came from Wales, the name having been Dee, but in time it came to be written Daye or Day, to agree with the pronunciation.
Mr. Day received a common-school education, but at a very early age evinced a desire to obtain a knowledge of business in order that he might earn his own livelihood, and when a mere boy was employed in his father's dry-goods house. At the age of seventeen he left home and went to New York, where he obtained a situation in the same business. Two years later (when nineteen) his father's sudden death called
him home, and being the eldest son he settled his father's estate, and proved himself already to possess excellent business qualifications.
At the age of twenty-two he formed a partnership for the sale of dry-goods at Northfield, Vt. The business does not appear to have been a very large or paying one, for in three years he abandoned it and removed to St. Louis with only two hundred dollars. It is believed that this money was the fruit of his own industry and thrift, for he appears to have always taken care of himself after leaving home, and there is no record of his having received anything from his father's estate.
Upon arriving at St. Louis (in 1842 or 1843) he was employed by T. S. Rutherford in the wholesale dry-goods business, and so distinguished himself for efficiency that about January, 1845, he was admitted as a partner by Mr. Rutherford, the firm being T. S. Rutherford & Co. Four years later a second partnership was formed under the title of Rutherford & Day. Mr. Rutherford, who is still living (1882), continues to speak in the highest terms of the qualities shown by Mr. Day thus early in his business career.
During the latter years of his partnership with Mr. Rutherford the California excitement prevailed throughout the West, and St. Louis was the starting-point of numerous expeditions overland. A favorite speculation which brought fortunes to many was the shipping of live-stock across the plains to the Western El Dorado. After dissolving his partnership with Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Day engaged in a venture of this kind, accompanying a herd to California in 1853, but was too late to reap the expected profits, although the scheme was far from being a failure. His partner in the speculation was Mortimer Kennett, and the wearisome overland journey consumed six months.
In 1854, Mr. Day returned to St. Louis, and in the following year established himself in the wholesale liquor business with Charles Derby, the firm being Derby & Day. This enterprise, like everything undertaken by Mr. Day, prospered, and from quite a moderate beginning grew to be one of the largest interests of the kind in the city, its name being a synonym for careful, judicious management and honorable dealing. Mr. Day continued in this business until his death, Feb. 16, 1882. For some years he had been in declining health, but up to within a week of his death was able to visit the office and keep himself informed as to the general condition of affairs.
The leading characteristics of Mr. Day's business life were the exercise of unusual tact and foresight and the avoidance of all hazardous enterprises. As a result of his steady application to business he amassed a fortune, at one time very large, consisting of valuable real estate in various portions of the city. Its value afterwards shrank somewhat, but he still left his family an estate estimated at perhaps half a million. He was a public-spirited property-owner, and but a short time before his death erected several very handsome five-story buildings on Locust Street, near the Equitable building, corner of Sixth Street.
On the 2d of October, 1849, Mr. Day married Lavinia M. Aull, who was born in Lexington, Mo. At his death he left a wife and four children, three sons and a daughter, the latter married to J. R. Truesdale, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pa., and now a leading business man of St. Louis. Of the sons, Frank P. Day and Lawrence W. Day were associated with their father in the establishment, and have practically succeeded to the management, in which capacity they have shown the possession of excellent business qualifications.
Mr. Day was associated in many important public enterprises, such as the St. Louis Bridge, the Merchants' Exchange, etc., and was a director in the Merchants' National Bank, the Franklin Savings-Bank, and the Boatmen's Insurance Company.
In one respect Mr. Day will long be held in grateful remembrance by all lovers of the beautiful. He was a man of fine taste, and was among the first in St. Louis to exhibit the desire to collect works of art. Among the famous pictures which he owned from time to time was "Paying the Rent," by Erskine Nicol, which took the second prize at the Paris Exposition of 1867. Mr. Day paid ten thousand dollars for this picture, and subsequently sold it to William H. Vanderbilt, whose gallery it adorns. Mr. Day also extended hearty encouragement to the establishment of art societies, etc.
Mr. Day was not a member of any church, but attended the Holy Communion (Episcopal), to which members of his family belonged. He was one of the most liberal contributors in the parish, and had a high appreciation of the worth of religion in matters of every-day life.
Among the business men of St. Louis who have been prominent within the past thirty or forty years few achieved a more substantial and meritorious success than did Mr. Day, and among those who have passed away none were more generally or deeply regretted than he. Many have lived and died who made a much more pretentious figure, but none possessed in richer store the essentials of true manhood, as exemplified both in business and in private life. Franklin O. Day and the class to which he belonged were worthy successors to the remarkable men who founded
St. Louis and set upon it the seal and signature of future greatness.
One of Mr. Day's most active and successful contemporaries in building up the dry-goods trade of St. Louis was Daniel W. Bell. Mr. Bell was born Feb. 27, 1831, at Salisbury, Md., and was the oldest son of Henry Bell, for many years a leading wholesale merchant of Lexington, Ky. Daniel W. Bell received his business training in the wholesale and retail store of his father in Lexington, and his scholastic education was obtained at Transylvania University. He began as salesman, but developing great commercial ability, he was after a few years admitted as a partner. He had a thorough knowledge of the trade, and was favorably known for his industry and integrity.
In 1857, Henry Bell & Son opened a wholesale dry-goods house in St. Louis, the management of the business being intrusted entirely to D. W. Bell, under whose personal supervision the house grew to be one of the most important west of the Alleghenies. At the beginning of the war it was merged into that of Henry Bell & Son, and continued until 1875, when Henry Bell withdrew from the business, which was carried on by D. W. Bell, who died Sept. 4, 1877.
Another house which has contributed immensely to the development of the dry-goods trade of St. Louis is that of Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney, the members: being Richard M. Scruggs, Charles E. Barney, Gustavus A. Scruggs, and William L. Vandervoort. The firm has long been one of the commercial institutions of the city, and occupies a fine warehouse, 421 to 425 North Fourth Street.
Richard M. Scruggs was born in Bedford County, Va., Feb. 10, 1822, of a well-known and prominent family. The only educational advantages he enjoyed were obtained at the "old field school," taught, as was common in those days, for a few months in the year by the most competent person living in the neighborhood. At the age of fifteen he entered a dry-goods store at Lynchburg, Va., where he remained for eight years. He was repeatedly promoted until he became the confidential clerk and book-keeper of the concern, which was the leading one of its class in the place. One of the partners having sold his interest, Mr. Scruggs accompanied him to Richmond, Va., where he held the same confidential position in his establishment for two years. He then started out to seek a new field in the South. He intended to settle at New Orleans, but passing through Huntsville, Ala., the beauty of the place and the attractions of its society induced him to remain there, and he entered the branch office of a large New Orleans cotton house as confidential clerk.
In May, 1849, he visited St. Louis, where he determined to settle, and in March, 1850, became a resident of the city, engaging in the retail dry-goods business in the firm of McClelland, Scruggs & Co. From modest beginnings the business grew rapidly, and the firm ultimately became one of the leading houses of its class in St. Louis. In 1860, Mr. Scruggs withdrew from the establishment, which passed into the hands of W. L. Vandervoort & Co., and in 1861 he assisted in organizing the wholesale dry-goods firm of McClelland, Pye & Co. In 1862, however, the derangements occasioned by the war rendered the discontinuance of the enterprise advisable. In 1865 he re-entered the retail business, the firm being Vandervoort, McClelland & Co. In 1868, Mr. McClelland retired, and the present firm of Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney was organized, Mr. Barney having been a valued employé of the establishment since 1860, and for several years junior partner in the company.
The career of the house of Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney has been characterized by an uninterrupted and generally increasing prosperity, and it may justly be ranked with the most prominent concerns of the kind in the country. As head of the firm, and as manager to a certain extent, Mr. Scruggs may be held (without detracting from the credit due to his efficient partners) to have prominently contributed to this result. His characteristics as a business man are unswerving integrity, careful attention to the financial details of the establishment, keen perceptive faculties, a ready and sound judgment, and a hearty enthusiasm in all he undertakes. His energy and aggressiveness have made him a popular and useful citizen, and his services are constantly in demand to push forward works of a public nature. Personally, he is sympathetic to a high degree, and gives freely but systematically and judiciously. Not only his means but his time have been largely given for the public benefit. For many years he has been a director in the Mercantile Library, and in 1870-71 was president of that corporation. He has long been a member of the board of commissioners to administer the Mullanphy Emigrant Relief Fund, and was unanimously elected president, serving from July, 1879, to October, 1881. For many years also he has been connected with the Missouri School for the Blind, and for two years has been, and is still, president of the board of directors. He has been often solicited to accept offices of a political nature, but shuns publicity and has invariably declined.
For several years Mr. Scruggs has been a member of St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church (South).
Beginning his church experience somewhat late in life, he quickly developed a remarkable fitness for religious work, and became a leader in all the church enterprises, religious as well as material. For seven years he has been superintendent of the church Sunday-school, and in this capacity has been remarkably successful. For about four years he has also been superintendent of the afternoon Sunday-school of the Page Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a trustee and steward in St. John's Church, and as a member of the official board has sought to infuse into church management as much of business-like principles and methods as possible. His counsels in church matters are always large-hearted and generous, and he infuses as much life and spirit into his religious undertakings as he does into his secular concerns. Though zealous in the cause of Methodism, Mr. Scruggs is free from narrow sectarianism, and gladly extends a hand to those of other denominations as co-workers in religious effort.
The firm of J. H. Wear, Boogher & Co. is one of the representative houses of the Mississippi valley. J. H. Wear associated with him John W. Hickman, under the firm-name of Wear & Hickman, in the wholesale fancy dry-goods business in 1863. The original location was at the corner of Main and Chestnut Streets, where they remained until 1865, when they removed to 319 North Main Street. In 1867, Mr. Hickman withdrew, and the firm-name was changed to J. H. Wear & Co. His quarters having become too circumscribed for the business, Mr. Wear removed in the spring of 1871 to No. 508 North Main Street. Another removal soon became necessary, and on the 1st of January, 1875, the firm occupied the six-story building at the corner of Fifth Street and Washington Avenue. The present quarters are at the southwest corner of Sixth and St. Charles Streets. The firm is composed of J. H. Wear and Jesse L. and John P. Boogher.
One of the earliest dry-goods merchants of St. Louis was Wayman Crow. Mr. Crow removed to St. Louis from Kentucky in 1835, and opened a dry-goods
jobbing-house under the firm-name of Crow & Tevis, his associate, Terhune Tevis, residing in Philadelphia. Then all, or nearly all, the business was confined to the Levee (Water Street then) and Main Street, and the new firm located themselves temporarily at the corner of Water and Oak Streets (the latter now known as Cherry), removing in the next spring to the stone house at the corner of Main and Olive Streets, which had been the residence of Col. Rene Paul. Of all the merchants engaged in business at the time the firm of Crow & Tevis began operations, none now remain actively engaged in trade. At that date the lines of communication between St. Louis and the East were by river to New Orleans, and thence by sea and by river to Pittsburgh, and thence by wagons to Philadelphia. Sixty days was then quick time between New York and St. Louis, and purchases of goods for the spring sales of March and April were made in the preceding September; those for the fall sales were made in June and July, and the arrivals of boats from New Orleans and Pittsburgh with the season's stock of goods for the different merchants of the town formed marked events. The communication with the interior was even less convenient, and sales were made always upon six months' time, with an indefinite period for collection. Commencing thus with a business of less than one hundred thousand dollars, Mr. Crow has remained at the head of the firm, increasing its business to millions of dollars per annum, and passing through the financial revulsions that have marked the history of the West, in some of which as high as thirty per cent. interest was paid for the use of money that was even then obtainable only upon pledges of personal property, and not once did his house suspend or fail to meet all obligations promptly at the date of maturity. In 1837 the firm removed to a three-story brick house on the west side of Main Street, at the corner of Locust, belonging to Gen. Ashley, and in 1839 or 1840 to the O'Fallon block, nearly opposite that location. In this last building the firm continued in business until burned out by the fire of 1849, changing its style from Crow & Tevis to that of Crow, & McCreery, and afterwards, upon the retirement of Mr. Tevis, to that of Crow, McCreery & Barksdale. Up to this time the house had met and successfully passed through two panics, and when their stock of goods was destroyed by the "great fire," the members of the firm instead of faltering, as others of their associates did, were only spurred to greater enterprise. In the fall of 1849, Mr. Crow built a fine four-story brick warehouse at No. 216 Main Street, to which the business was removed. Shortly after that date Mr. Barksdale retired to engage in the banking business, and the firm-name was changed to that of Crow, McCreery & Co. P. R. McCreery died in November, 1861, and George D. Appleton retired in the succeeding year. The members of the firm then were Wayman Crow, Wm. H. Hargadine, Hugh McKittrick, David D. Walker, and Francis Ely.
In 1871 the firm removed to the new Chouteau buildings, 523 North Main Street (near Washington Avenue), and occupied a handsome warehouse twenty-eight feet front by one hundred and forty feet deep, employing four stories for the storage of goods. The building was provided with all the modern appliances for transacting business with facility, including two elevators, one for the passage of customers from floor to floor, and the other for raising and lowering goods.
A newspaper, in its notice of the removal, remarked at the time, "The contrast between the small building on Water and Oak Streets, where the firm first began business, and the palatial house now occupied by them is scarcely less than that between the St. Louis of 1835 and the St. Louis of 1871, and not more marked than the changes that have been made in the mode and extent of business, the character of and terms upon which sales are made, and the facilities for handling and time of transit of goods from the foreign and domestic looms to the warehouse here and their distribution to interior merchants. The sales of one hundred thousand dollars per annum have increased to two million dollars, while credits have shrunk from six months to thirty and sixty days, with collections as prompt now as they then were dilatory. The country merchants visited the city once in six months, and the business of the year was crowded into two periods of thirty days each, and dullness intervened for four or five months, while now each day brings its quota of purchasers, and upon any day in the winter as much business is done, relatively to the trade of the year, as was then transacted in the three months of December, January, and February. Then the population of the Mississippi valley was confined to a narrow belt skirting the river and its tributaries, and the whistle of the locomotive was an unknown sound. Now, with increased population in all the great States of the valley, and with new regions daily being opened up to our commerce, Mr. Crow seems in his energy and enterprise to emulate his youth and still strive to place St. Louis in the front rank of commercial cities."
The present firm, under the style of Crow, Hargadine & Co., is composed of Wayman Crow, William
A. Hargadine, Hugh McKittrick, and Edward J. Glasgow, Jr. The warehouse, a handsome and imposing structure, is situated at the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Washington Avenue.
The great firm of Dodd, Brown & Co. was established in January, 1866, by Samuel M. Dodd and James G. Brown, who located on the corner of Main and Locust Streets, in a four-story building twenty-five feet by one hundred and twenty feet, and filled it with what was then considered a very large stock. Their sales during the first year aggregated one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, giving them a front rank in the trade. The firm continued business at the original store until 1869, when it removed to 217 North Main Street. In 1871 it erected the present warehouse at the northeast corner of Fifth and St. Charles Streets. It is an immense building, five stories in height with a basement, covering about sixty thousand square feet, and provided with all the conveniences necessary to facilitate the vast business of the firm. The house as at present constituted is composed of Samuel M. and Marcus D. Dodd, James G. Brown, and Hamilton Daughaday.
The firm of D. Crawford & Co. was established in 1866 by Dugald Crawford and Alexander Russell, who commenced the dry-goods business at No. 418 Franklin Avenue, with a cash capital of two thousand three hundred dollars. From this small beginning they have gradually built up one of the largest dry-goods houses in the country, and having made no less than six large additions to the original building, now occupy an imposing structure at the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Franklin Avenue.
In addition to the above there are a large number of flourishing dry-goods firms in St. Louis, and the trade is of vast proportions. The amount of capital employed in the business was estimated by Joseph Franklin, of the William Barr Dry-Goods Company, in 1880, at $10,000,000, and the amount of business annually at $35,000,000. From 1870 to 1880 the trade had doubled in the aggregate.
In 1881 twelve exclusively wholesale and importing houses were engaged in the trade, besides seven dry-goods commission houses and one wholesale and retail house, making a total of twenty houses engaged in wholesaling dry-goods. The business transacted during the year amounted in value to over $28,000,000. In addition to the wholesale houses there were 207 retail establishments in St. Louis.
Closely allied with the dry-goods trade are the
wholesale fancy goods and notions and the wholesale millinery and straw goods trades. In the fancy goods and notions trade twenty-four wholesale houses were engaged in 1881, their business annually amounting to about $8,000,000. The number of wholesale and retail houses engaged in the same trade, in addition to the twenty-four houses referred to, was 183. In the wholesale millinery and straw goods business eleven large concerns were engaged, with a business amounting to more than three million dollars per annum, besides which there were eighty-eight millinery firms.
The extensive carpet and curtain house of John Kennard & Sons, long eminent in enterprise and business standing, is the oldest house in the special line of goods dealt in the whole West, and the largest house in its trade west of New York. It has occupied the same locality for twenty-seven years, during time its business connections and volume of trade have steadily and continually increased, and its reputation for taste and judgment, like its commercial standing and mercantile repute, has never ceased to rise higher and higher.
The founder of this house, John Kennard, even before he came to St. Louis, had made himself known in the East and the West as one of the most energetic and enterprising men of business of his day. His knowledge of goods and of the trade was remarkably extensive; his reputation in the East as a buyer was only excelled by his standing in the West as a salesman and judge of the market. He had the closet and most intimate familiarity with the processes of manufacture and the tendencies and drift of custom; one glance at a fabric enabled him to discover at once how and of what it was made, and what prospects to please the taste or satisfy the notions of customers.
John Kennard was a Marylander by birth, and descended of ancient and honorable stock, English in ancestry, on both the male and female sides of the house. His father, John Kennard, was the grandson of the Kennard (John also) who immigrated from England in the early part of the eighteenth century. John Kennard of the existing firm is the fifth John Kennard, son of John, the fifth in direct line from the settler in "Old Kent." John Kennard the first patented estate of considerable proportions in Kent County, Md., the property being about Worton. Some of his descendants still hold land in that neighborhood about Rock Hall. John the second, unlike several other of his father's children, who settled elsewhere in the peninsula of Maryland and Delaware (one went to Philadelphia, another to South Carolina and made a fortune), remained at the paternal homestead, his by right of birth as the oldest born, and here his son, John the third, was born March 28, 1778. John, the third, when he grew up left the home place and settled in Talbot County, where, Jan. 15, 1807, he married Mary Spencer. John Kennard the third was a man of remarkable and stately presence, and his manners had something of the grand air. He lived in different parts of Maryland and the West, dying eventually in Lexington, Ky., on Jan. 8, 1840. His wife, Mary Spencer, who survived to the age of eighty-seven years, a hale and hearty nonagenarian, was a daughter of Hon. Perry Spencer, one of the most considerable men of his day and section, a ship-builder of prominence when the ship-yards of the Chesapeake were famous all over the world, a leading politician and representative, and three times in immediate succession (1800-8) elector for his State on the Presidential ticket. His homestead, "Spencer Hall," on Miles River, had been continuously in the family from the arrival of the founder of the family, James Spencer, in 1670.
John Kennard the fourth, the subject of this sketch, son of John the third and Mary Spencer, was born in the town of Easton, Talbot Co., Md., Aug. 14, 1809. His parents had other children, Perry S. Kennard, of St. Louis; Robert O., of Vicksburg; Mary, married to Dr. Newman, of St. Louis; and Elizabeth, wife of Whittington King, of Lexington, Ky.
A few years after the birth of John Kennard fourth his parents removed to Baltimore and took up their residence in that city. Mr. Kennard, Sr., had nearly impoverished himself by undertaking the guardianship of his father's minor children and acting the part of a father to them, and he was consequently not able to give his son John any great educational advantages. Indeed, he received but little schooling, and it was only by giving the same assiduous attention to books, reading, and study which he applied to business that the young man was able to repair the defects of so meagre an academic training as had been at his command. He was still only a lad when he entered the wholesale dry-goods house of Thomas Mummey (afterwards Mummey & Meredith, Mummey, Meredith & Spencer, and Meredith & Spencer), one of the largest establishments in Baltimore, and having control especially of an extensive Western and Southern trade.
Here Mr. Kennard was able to learn the rudiments of commerce and merchandise under exceptionally favorable auspices, and he made such good use of his opportunities that he speedily became known as one of the best young business men in the city, and in a
few years had such confidence in his own energy and capacity as to go into business for himself. In 1832 the Asiatic cholera desolated Baltimore, and in a few days Mr. Mummey, his wife, his brother and his wife were all borne to the grave, none of them surviving more than a few hours' illness. It was in this first encounter with the dreaded pestilence in its most fatal form (for then no one knew anything about the disease and its treatment) that Mr. Kennard acquired that familiar knowledge of nursing in epidemics and of the way to combat diseases of the kind which he afterwards put to such exemplary and heroic use during the visits of the cholera plague to Lexington and St. Louis. In the former city his services in these seasons of affliction will not soon be forgotten, though most of the generation in which they were rendered has already passed away. In 1833, Wednesday evening, August 21st, by Rev. Eli Henkle, pastor of St. John's Methodist Protestant Church, Baltimore, Mr. Kennard was married to Rebecca Goings Mummey, daughter of his former employer, lately deceased.
Mrs. Kennard's family was good old Maryland stock all round. There are no better people in ancient Baltimore County than those who bear the names of Cockey, Deye, and Owings. Thomas Mummey's grandfather was Joshua, son of Richard Owings, an extensive owner of mill-seats: his grandmother was Mary Cockey, daughter of John and Eliza Cockey. The names of Cockey, Deye, Owings, and their kinsfolk the Gists are familiar enough all through the West, where they were pioneers; but before that they were pioneers also in Maryland. Joshua Owings was one of the members of the first vestry of the first Episcopal Church in Maryland west of Baltimore, and in his house (it is still standing, though greatly altered) the first Methodist converts in Maryland assembled, and Asbury preached his first sermons. Mary Cockey (Owings) was born Dec. 10, 1716, and died Feb. 6, 1768, the mother of ten children. One of these children, Marcella, born July 5, 1748, married Thomas Worthington, and lived to be ninety-six years old. Another, Rebecca, born Jan. 27, 1751, was married to Samuel Mummey, and died Dec. 24, 1806.
Samuel Mummey (it has been conjectured that the name was originally Munnings, but it is undoubtedly the same name now so familiar in Washington County, Md., as Mumma, and the original of which, Mumme, meaning "masker," "mummer," is of very frequent occurrence in and around Bremen) was one of three brothers who came when very young from Germany and settled in Baltimore County, tradesmen, with no fortune but their craft and their industry. The other two brothers were John and Christopher. John married Margaretta Beam, one of a milling family, and Christopher, after doing service in the army of Washington during the Revolution, went West and settled in Kentucky.
Samuel Mummey and Rebecca, his wife, were the parents of six children, of whom Thomas, the eldest, was born Oct. 26, 1774, in Baltimore County. He had but scant schooling, but was a well-read man before he died. He came to Baltimore very early to seek his fortune, his estate at that time consisting chiefly of a new suit of clothes and seven or eight silver dollars, the products of the sale of the skins of rabbits caught in his traps during the winter. Ten years later he was in business for himself, and pushing his way toward that fortune with a most untiring energy. His associates on Market Street habitually called him par excellence "the minute-man." On July 13, 1797, Thomas Mummey was married to Catharine Fishburne, of Frederick County, Md., born May 14, 1778, the daughter of Philip Fishburne and Elizabeth, his wife. Philip Fishburne was English by birth, a man of studious turn, with a bent for astronomy. He had been educated in Germany with the intention of becoming a clergyman. This plan had been abandoned and emigration to America substituted for it; but the studious man still retained his piety and his fondness for the venerable old tomes, vellum-bound quartos, and pig-skin folios which were in his library. He was a member of the Committee of Safety in Frederick County during the Revolutionary war, and was greatly esteemed.
Thomas and Catharine Mummey had thirteen children, of whom Rebecca, the wife of John Kennard, was the eighth. "Sister" Mummey, as all her contemporaries used to call her, was in every way a most beautiful character, lovely in her person, flawless in her soul, and brilliant of mind, a woman whom all looked up to, and to whom leadership was natural. Sister Mummey's house was the resort of the whole Methodist Conference; Sister Mummey's "class" and prayer-meeting and missionary society were the most esteemed of all their kind in the community. The "sainted woman" was what the Catholic ladies and priests who encountered her in her errands of charity and of consolation used to call her. Sister Mummey had energy to match her zeal and decision to balance the sweet serenity of her character. She led the secession in 1829 out of which the Methodist Protestant Church grew, and once, when her husband's business became involved through indorsing for others, she went into business herself, and not only supported
the family, but always had a thousand dollars or so to lend her husband to take up a note maturing at an ill time. As for Thomas Mummey, the minute-man, it is enough to say that he was worthy to be husband of this Sister Catharine, the sainted woman. He lost two or three fortunes by the default of those whom he helped in business, yet when he died in 1832 each of his children got a clean little fortune out of his estate. He was a man of affairs, helpful and public-spirited; was a defender of Baltimore at the battle of North Point, member of the City Council, director in the State Penitentiary, and prominent in fire companies, insurance companies, and banks.
Not long after his marriage with Rebecca Mummey, John Kennard went to the West in search of a business location. He had determined to cross the Alleghenies into the West and plant himself at some place where he might grow up with the country. He landed at St. Louis the day of the dedication of the Cathedral, and visited Cincinnati and other places, but without coming to a decision. After an experiment with Madison, Ind., Mr. Kennard at length established himself in the "Athens of the West," Lexington, Ky., the heart and pride of the Blue Grass region. Here John and his father went into the dry-goods business, but the old gentleman only lived to 1840, and his son established other business connections. It was a bad time for business in the West, after the terrible panic, collapse, and depression of 1837, when that section, the centre of the gigantic land speculations, suffered most, because all values were locked up in land, and sunk together in the common vortex of one universal depreciation. Mr. Kennard had a young and growing family, and there a good many people besides, more or less helpless themselves, whom it was the instinctive need of his heart, rather than the demand of reason or practical judgment, to help on and prop up somehow, though he made himself their staff. But he had the energy, the vitality, the industry of a dozen men. Nothing could keep such a man down. He could not fetter himself so tightly that his own forces were unable to break the bonds. And he had much to give away, because he was so simple in his habits, knowing nothing beyond the pale of his church, his family, and his business. Not many years before his death he told the writer of this that he could not recollect that in all his life he had spent five dollars altogether upon himself. A more unselfish man never lived, nor a better and more devoted husband and father, a more consistent, humble-minded Christian, nor better man of business.
In business Mr. Kennard conjoined to a consumate tact and a delicate and perfectly educated taste a fiery energy in action, the closest scrutiny and supervision in management, and a knowledge and intimate familiarity with all the details which could not be surpassed. He knew every part of every department himself, and looked after it himself. His quickness and dispatch were almost marvelous, and in every case they rested upon a perfect and thorough acquaintance with his subject in all its bearings.
After Mr. Kennard had established himself at last in the carpet trade in Lexington, had taken his sons in with him, and thoroughly grasped the business and all its possibilities, he found that the field in Lexington was too small for such a trade as he sought for J. Kennard & Sons. The town was rich, but it was old, conservative, off the line of travel. The maximum of sales was easy to reach, but it was not easy for one to get above and beyond that; in fact, it could not be transcended. Mr. Kennard made up his mind. He wanted to build up a large business, which, put in the hands of his sons, trained in his methods and brought up under his eye, might be expanded by them to indefinitely great proportions. He removed to St. Louis, established himself there, on Fourth Street, in the carpet and curtain trade in 1857, and that is the beginning of the present house.
With such a foundation the house might be expected to prosper, and so it did from the very first. Mr. Kennard was always successful in St. Louis; he made money rapidly from the start, and might have accumulated largely. But he had set out in life with the determination never to be worth more than fifty thousand dollars, and when his earnings rose above that self-imposed limit he quietly gave the surplus away.
Mr. Kennard died Nov. 18, 1872, aged sixty-three years, the cause of his death being typhoid pneumonia. A shaft marks the place of his interment in Bellefontaine Cemetery. His widow survives him. Mr. and Mrs. Kennard were the parents of eight children. Of these, three are living, Mary Rebecca, John, and Samuel M., comprising the existing firm of J. Kennard & Sons.
The house and the business are a hundredfold larger in every way than the J. Kennard & Sons of Lexington in 1857, yet it is conducted upon identically the same principles, and owes its success, its prosperity, and its capacity for safe and unchecked expansion to the fact that it has retained the methods and the groundwork of the elder John Kennard. His insight, tact, discrimination, good taste, prompt methods, close scrutiny, square and upright dealings, and safe and sound financiering are part of the capital and the stock in trade of the house to-day. It is not only
as a reminiscence, but as a symbol also that the firm and the sign remain to-day as originally constituted John Kennard & Sons. He is still, in spirit, influence, and example, the head of the house he established.
The late William Henry Haggerty was at one time among the largest retail dry-goods merchants of the city. Mr. Haggerty was horn in County Cork, Ireland, Sept. 6, 1829, of parents who were widely known and highly respected. His mother having been left a widow and thrown upon her own resources, engaged in mercantile business, in which she achieved remarkable success. Her sons inherited her talents for trade, and when William Henry left Ireland for America, being then but eighteen years old, he found employment in a large dry-goods house, successfully conducted by three brothers, in New Orleans.
Young Haggerty spent some five years in that business and then removed to St. Louis, having just two dollars and fifteen cents in his pocket when he landed. He went to the house of Murdoch & Dickson (yet well remembered), explained his condition and the plan he had formed to go into business, showed the two dollars and fifteen cents, and asked for a little credit. Murdoch scrutinized the young man, and remarking that he "seemed like a nice, honest Irishman," granted the request, and young Haggerty started out with a lot of whips which he peddled about town. He soon returned and paid the little indebtedness, a matter of but two or three dollars. From this transaction there resulted a friendship that lasted until Mr. Murdoch's death, many years later.
Having saved money enough to buy a horse and wagon, his next venture was to purchase a stock of tea, which he sold by the pound to the French cottagers on the Gravois road and other parts of the town far from retail stores. In this also he succeeded, and soon realized a sum sufficient to justify the thought of marriage and of engaging regularly in business.
In 1854 he returned to New Orleans, and was married to Anna M. Boylan, daughter of Commodore Boylan, who was interested in a steamship line from New Orleans to Liverpool.
During the same year he embarked in the retail dry-goods trade, and prospered to such an extent that he ventured to open a more pretentious business in what was then known as the "red store," on Seventh Street, opposite the Centre Market, between Spruce and Poplar Streets. Many of the oldest families in the city were his customers, and he made money rapidly. He was ever on the alert for advantageous bargains, and made a practice of frequenting auction sales of fire and bankrupt stocks, and while he bought boldly, his judgment was seldom at fault, and he soon came to be regarded as one of the best business men in the city in that particular line.
In 1862 he disposed of his retail business and engaged in the wholesale jobbing trade on Main Street Then for some years he conducted a wholesale auction house, and finally once more engaged in the jobbing business. In January, 1880, he admitted his son Thomas J. as partner, and placed the business in his charge. He next became a member of the auction firm of Haggerty & Dewes, and finally, having been incapacitated for work by an accident, he merged his jobbing business into a stock company under the corporate name of Haggerty & Son Auction Goods Company, in which shape the business was being conducted when he died, March 11, 1882, leaving a handsome fortune to his widow and a family of nine children
Mr. Haggerty was a zealous member of the Catholic Church, and for sixteen years of St. John's parish His life was marked by many deeds of unostentatious charity, and he was deeply interested in all the benevolent enterprises of the church, especially those involving the care of orphans. He was also a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and was one of the five charter members of the Knights of St. Patrick. In all these relations he shunned publicity, but his advice was always sought, and generally proved judicious.
When a boy Mr. Haggerty enjoyed but scanty school privileges, and it is said that, realizing his deficiencies, he used to spend his evenings, after the day's hard work was over, in the store at New Orleans, under the direction of one of the older brothers, in learning to write, "cipher," and keep books. From this point onward his success was steady and uniform, and in his particular line of business he deserves to be classed among the representative men of St. Louis.
Silk. The Morus multicaulis fever reached Missouri in 1838-39, and forthwith spread like a prairie on fire. "The theory was a beautiful one: one acre planted in mulberry-trees would feed worms sufficient to produce thousands of dollars of silk, wealth could not be garnered sooner from a Potosi mine." 171 in the Republican of March 17, 1839, "the stockholders in the Missouri Silk Company" were advised that,
"The undersigned, being the persons named in the act incorporating the Missouri Silk Company to call a meeting of the members of said association for the acceptance of and organization under said act, do hereby give notice that a meeting will be held on Monday evening, March 18, 1839, at 7 P. M.
"William O. Anderson, John J. Anderson, Andrew J. Davis, Charles P. Billon, Joseph Settinius, N. Paschall, H. Perrin."
The visions of home-made silk, however, were rapidly dissipated, and the Missouri Silk Company quietly accepted the inevitable and "closed its little being without light."
Clothing, Hats, Caps, and Furs. The manufacture and sale of ready-made clothing is one of the leading industries of St. Louis, 172 the business also embracing hosiery, gloves, handkerchiefs, neck-wear, etc. Sixteen firms were engaged in the wholesale clothing trade in 1881, the business aggregating four million dollars. The number of wholesale and retail firms was seventy-six. In the wholesale hat, cap, and fur trade seven firms, besides thirty-eight retail firms, were engaged, the business aggregating two million five hundred thousand dollars.
One of the prominent clothing firms is that of Fdot; W. Humphrey & Co. (F. W. Humphrey and Henry S. Ferguson), who occupy a building at the northeast corner of Fifth and Pine Streets.
Edward Martin, one of the leading manufacturers of clothing and prominent business men of St. Louis, was born June 9, 1830, in Parish Fintona, County Tyrone, Ireland, where his father and uncle owned freehold estates and were considered wealthy. Edward was employed upon his father's farm until 1852, when, desiring to better his condition, he relinquished his claim as oldest son to the paternal estate and came to the United States, settling in Cincinnati, where he found employment in the dry-goods house of James & John Slevin. In this occupation he succeeded finely, exhibiting superior business qualifications. His habits of economy enabled him to save some money, and in 1858 he was prepared to establish himself in business. He engaged in the manufacture and sale of clothing by wholesale, and soon built up a large and substantial business, and the house, although not claimed to be the largest in Cincinnati, was recognized as one of the most flourishing there. It employed at one time three hundred hands, and its yearly sales were not far from half a million dollars. Its trade was largely with the West and South, and desiring to be nearer the actual field of its operations, Mr. Martin, in 1867, established a branch house in St. Louis, and placed it in charge of his two brothers, Claude and John Martin. In 1873, Mr. Martin consolidated the two houses and removed to St. Louis, where he has since resided.
Under the name and style of Edward Martin & Co., his clothing establishment is known to the trade as well as to the general public as one of the solid institutions of the city. Its yearly transactions amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it employs a large number of hands. If it is not in the very front rank of houses in its special line of trade, it is through no lack of ability on the part of Mr. Martin; but he is accustomed to say that he is making money fast enough and does not want to burden himself with the care of a large business. As a clothing manufacturer, Mr. Martin has been uniformly successful. He has never met with any mishaps, and has always been able to pay his obligations as they matured. The same
reason that has induced him to keep his business within moderate limits has prevented him from going outside to indulge in speculation. His only venture, therefore, outside of his business has been a little "deal" in real estate, and he owns a few pieces of valuable property in some of the choicest business quarters of St. Louis. Mr. Martin, in other words, is a quiet, observant business man, and his career shows that signal success may be won from small beginnings, simply by careful, close, and honest dealings, a thrifty attention to details, and an avoidance of speculation.
The Provision Trade. No interest in St. Louis has developed more largely in recent years than the provision trade in all its branches. The live-stock interest, taken as a whole, places St. Louis in the second rank of all American cities, and this satisfactory showing is largely contributed to by the packers and other dealers, whose business since 1861 has been dignified as a special interest.
As early as 1832 there appears to have been meatpacking, purely for local consumption, in St. Louis, but of course in a small way, scarcely larger in extent, perhaps, than the more primitive practice of a decade earlier of drying meat in the sun.
The number of hogs packed in St. Louis in 1843-44 was above 16,000 head; 1844-45, 13,000 head; 1845-46, 31,000 head; and 1846-47, to January 6th, 20,053 head.
In 1861 the local product first began to assume proportions capable of comparison with the importations, and for a few years thereafter the demand for supplies to fill the calls of the commissary department of the United States army greatly enhanced the value of the product and improved the trade.
It is, of course, understood that the packing season includes less than a calendar year.
There are thirty-five packing firms in St. Louis, some of them very extensive and of national reputation in the trade for their large product and the excellence of their wares. St. Louis cured hams of favorite brands and canned beef of the St. Louis Beef-Canning Company have an extensive foreign as well as American reputation. Indeed, the export trade in this line has in recent years grown to mammoth proportions.
The provision trade of St. Louis in all its ramifications probably represents, including buildings, public and private, a capital of $12,000,000, and a product in excess of that amount in value. It is therefore a very large interest, both in its home and foreign character.
The sources of supply during 1880 and 1881 were:
The exports during the same period, and the direction of the same, were:
The growing popularity of American side-meat and in Europe largely accounts for this change in of foreign shipments to the bulk form, and a similar change of form is proportionately true of beef, for while only 9000 barrels and tierces were shipped, the enormous quantity of 4,037,164 pounds of canned beef was sent abroad from this market in 1881.
Charles W. Knapp, in his able paper on "St. Louis: Present, and Future," read before the "Round Table" as late as Oct. 14, 1882, presents the following review of her produce, provision, and live-stock trades:
We can see as a general fact that a large majority of the 8050 purely mercantile concerns in St. Louis conduct some species of retail or merchandise jobbing business, but there is no sort of statistical information respecting these departments of trade; so we can only survey intelligently the operations of the limited class who conduct the produce, provision, and live-stock trades, of which the exchanges compile full and interesting reports. There are, however, not alone the direct sources of great wealth, but largely the mainspring of all other trade, and it is the first striking evidence of the commercial importance of St. Louis that the value of the produce, provisions, and livestock handled here is exceeded in no other city in the world except Chicago. I estimate the value of the commodities of this kind which St. Louis handled in 1881, including lumber, as $200,000,000, while the secretary of the Chicago Board of Trade puts down $300,000,000 for that city, and the superintendent of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce $130,000,000 for that city. Exhibit No. 7 will show you the receipts of all important products of the farm, forest, and mine at both Chicago and St. Louis.
"I direct your attention especially to the difference between the gross and net receipts of Chicago, for in the usual statements of Chicago's trade the gross receipts are given in utter disregard of the fact that they include everything that passes through Chicago, as well as what stops at that city and is handled there, although Chicago has no more interest in this through movement than any ordinary railway station on the lines of transit. Its Board of Trade reports give the through movement of grain, so it is feasible to make out the net receipts,
as I have done, but of everything else the gross receipts alone are attainable, although thirty-four per cent. of the gross receipts of grain being through movement, the proportion in other lines must also be considerable. At St. Louis, on the other hand, there is practically no through movement, except of cotton, so that if the net receipts of that commodity be made the basis of calculation, the fair method of comparison with Chicago is with the net figures of that city as far as obtainable. Now look at the exhibit and you will see that in the produce trade, at least, St. Louis makes no mean showing beside Chicago.
"It has, doubtless, not struck you, however, that St. Louis led Chicago in 1881 as a produce market, but if you will figure on the value of the receipts at each city, I mean the produce actually handled, you will find that the aggregate value of what came to St. Louis exceeded what was handled at Chicago nearly three and a half million dollars. Exhibit No. 8 will make this plain to you and recall one of the most important results St. Louis owes to its natural advantages of situation, that it is eligibly located for handling largely the products of both the Northern and Southern States, so that its receipts of cotton and tobacco more than overbalance the greater receipts of grain at Chicago.
Retail Butchers. Necessarily in a city of the size of St. Louis the home consumption of meats is large and the dealers numerous. The butchers number nearly eight hundred, and there are fifteen market-houses, the largest being the Union, on the block between Fifth, Sixth, Christy Avenue, and Morgan Streets.
One of the earliest butchers in St. Louis was Benjamin Estill, who on the 17th of September, 1814, published the following advertisement:
"The subscriber respectfully informs the citizens of St. Louis that he will commence the butchering business on Monday nest. With deference he requests the heads of families and masters of shops to meet him on that morning at market-house and partake of his first essay, as a free will offered at the commencement of his business.
"The farmers who make St. Louis a market for their beef are invited to call on the subscriber at the Sign of the Cross-Keys, at the south end of St. Louis, and make positive contracts for their cattle, as the subscriber wishes to destroy the prevailing idea of advantages being taken of them in bringing their beef to this market. Those who will favor him with their custom shall always have their money on the delivery of their beef.
Public markets are, however, less popular than formerly, and most of the butchers have their own shops, a majority belonging to the Meat Shopmen's Association organized in 1879 to protect the dealers against excessive license fees. In this they have succeeded, after much litigation carried to the court of last resort in the State.
A Butchers' Association, however, was formed as early as 1859.
"The butchers of St. Louis to the number of about eighty," says a contemporary account, "held a meeting yesterday afternoon [Aug. 25, 1859], at Washington Hall, for the purpose of forming an association ‘for the more effectual protection of their interests.’ If we understand the case clearly, the association is designed to make arrangements by which the butchers will be able themselves to render the tallow and tan the hides which I they now sell to the dealers in those articles.
"On motion, Capt. James C. Denny was called to the chair, and C. L. Kraft appointed secretary. The following preamble and resolutions were offered and unanimously adopted:
"WHEREAS, The butchers of St. Louis, for their mutual benefit the further advancement of their own interests, and to put a stop to unfair oppression, have seen fit to form themselves into an association;
"Resolved, That we form ourselves into an association to be known as the Butchers' Rendering Association of St. Louis.
"Resolved, That a finance committee be appointed, whose duty it shall be to wait upon the butchers and collect whatever installments shall be adjudged necessary.
"Resolved, That a committee of ways and means be appointed to ascertain the most practical way of commencing operations.
"The following financial committee was then appointed: Andrew Hochmuth, Hampton Woodruff, George Hughes, Daniel Frewoyd, Robert Dickey, Edward Heitzberg, Vincent & Block, Eckert Gotschamer, John Krutse, J. Stuart, Christ. Zimmer, George Schrader, N. Christian, T. McNamara, Charles Zoller, E. Hague, John Shall, Capt. Denny.
On motion, a building committee of six was appointed as follows: William Mulhall, Thomas Kidney, James Cooney, H. Springer, J. McNamara, Sebastian Winters." 173
Cattle Trade, Live-Stock Yards, etc. The geographical as well as commercial position of St. Louis makes her the natural receiving and distributing point for cattle, sheep, and hogs from Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. About 1848 the packing of beef and pork had already grown to be an important industry, and as many as thirteen establishments were engaged in the business in St. Louis and vicinity. From the 1st of November, 1848, to Jan. 31, 1849, the number of beeves packed by the firms of William Risley & Son, G. & C. Bayha, John Sigerson, Joseph J. Bates, and Henry Ames & Co. was 2148. In 1870 the Texas cattle trade began to seek a market in St. Louis, the receipts of cattle for that year showing a gain of 77,857 head, mostly credited to Texan cattle. In 1871 the receipts of Texan cattle amounted to 87,210 head. The total receipts and shipments of cattle at St. Louis during the seven years from 1865 to 1871 were:
Prior to 1873, the natural advantages offered by St. Louis for this trade not being availed of, Chicago derived nearly all the benefit of the cattle trade of these States. It was in that year that a few Eastern gentlemen who thoroughly realized the great possibilities of the situation formed the St. Louis National Stock-Yards Company and established the St. Louis National Stock-Yards. This was no ordinary venture; the amount of money required was very large, and the opposition from the interest of other cities that would be antagonized had to be met with sufficient power to overcome it. All this was accomplished, and to-day St. Louis possesses the largest and most complete and perfect live-stock yards in the United States. At the same time the city secured an interest that distributes many millions of dollars every year among her manufacturers and merchants.
The original stockholders of the National Company were Wm. H. Vanderbilt, Horace F. Clark, Augustus Schell, James H. Banker, A. Boody, A. B. Baylis, Samuel F. Barger, Allerton, Butcher & Moore, T. C. Eastman, Alexander M. White, Isaac H. Knox, John L. Macaulay, John B. Bowman, and Levi Parsons, of the Land Grant and Trust Company. Most of the stockholders were New York capitalists. The terminal facilities thus acquired for handling cattle consigned to the St. Louis market are extensive, and include all the appliances of yardage, tracks, exchanges, pens, hotel accommodation for stockmen, and other conveniences now demanded by this rapidly growing interest.
The tract of land of which the stock-yards proper form a part was purchased by the St. Louis National Stock-Yards Company on the 1st of March, 1871, from John B. Bowman and J. L. Griswold, of East St. Louis. This tract, containing four hundred acres, is situated on both sides of the Cahokia Creek, about one mile north of the city of East St. Louis, in St. Clair County, Ill. On the east the track of the St. Louis, Vandalia and Terre Haute Railway affords communication, while the tract is bisected near its western limits by the track of the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway. Between these two roads there is a connecting link which passes through the paved and improved yards, thus giving superior advantages for the reception and shipment of stock. An addition to the original purchase was made subsequently by a negotiation with E. Matthews for a tract of two hundred and fifty-two acres. The price paid for the first four hundred acres purchased was $145,000. The purchase from Mr. Matthews cost the company $50,000. The National Stock-Yards Company is therefore the owner of six hundred and fifty-two acres of land, for which it paid $195,000.
The original capital of the incorporated company
was one million dollars, but the charter confers the special privilege of increasing the capital stock as circumstances may demand.
This important enterprise was originated by the great New York and Chicago stock firm of Allerton, Dutcher & Moore, who are entitled to the credit of having successfully enlisted the attention of moneyed men and brought about a combination of some of the greatest capitalists of the nation to carry forward the great work. That these yards were located in Illinois instead of Missouri is due solely to the fact that the company found it impossible to purchase at any reasonable price a suitable tract of sufficient extent equally convenient to business on the Missouri side. Though situated in Illinois, the National Stock-Yards are essentially a St. Louis institution. The ground having been secured, work was at once commenced. A. M. Allerton, a gentleman of tact and energy, gave his personal attention to the work. About one hundred and fifty acres of the four-hundred-acre tract were surveyed, and the work of grading commenced. This was a vast undertaking, as mounds were to be leveled down and ponds filled up, but an immense amount of work was performed in a very short time. The whole ground was bisected by sewers placed six feet below the surface. Water-pipes were laid, and regular streets or avenues were laid out. All this was done before the work of constructing sheds, barns, and inclosures was commenced. But this work once completed a large force of men was at once employed in building above ground. Vast quantities of lumber were used in this work. The posts are all of red-cedar; the fencing, roofs, etc., are of yellow-pine. The offices, hotel, and exchange hall are lighted by gas manufactured at the company's own works, and two powerful engines supply the yards with an abundance of water.
The ground was platted, with avenues running north and south, east and west, crossing at right angles. Those running from the south are three hundred and ninety-two feet apart. The first one, called Avenue A, is one hundred and ninety-six feet from the east line of the yard. Avenue F is one hundred and ninety-six feet from the south line. The avenues are divided into yards or sheds for cattle. The original plan calls for two hundred and eighty-nine yards. These yards accommodate fifteen thousand horned cattle, and outside space with good arrangements for feeding and shelter is furnished for twenty thousand more. The yards and avenues are paved with the Belgian pavement.
On the west side of the yard, and near to the northwest corner, the eye rests upon an immense frame structure, painted white, which is eleven hundred and twenty-two feet long and one hundred feet wide. Extending directly through the middle of the building, for its entire length, is a broad passageway, on either side of which are located the hog-pens, seventy in number, with a total capacity of holding twenty thousand hogs.
In the centre of the immense yard for herding stock are situated the offices of the company. The building is in the centre of a square, which has been laid off with avenues extending towards the cardinal points of the compass. The structure is of brick, two stories, besides the basement, with sleeping accommodations for clerks, watchmen, and laborers.
The chief attraction in the neighborhood of the St. Louis National Stock-Yards is the Allerton House, a five-story brick structure, containing over one hundred and thirty chambers, besides a dining-hall, billiard-room, wide halls, a large office, and parlors and sitting-rooms. The architectural appearance of the building is very imposing, and it is supplied with water and gas throughout, heated by steam, and furnished with all the comfortable appendages of a first-class hotel. Thomas Walsh was the architect, and Milburn & Sons contractors. The cost of the building was about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The structure is one hundred and fifty feet front, and extends back two hundred and forty-eight feet. A portion of the back extension is only three stories high.
The yards were formally opened on the 20th of November, 1873, on which occasion addresses were delivered by Hon. S. M. Kase, Hon. E. O. Stanard, Mayor Bowman, of East St. Louis, N. M. Bell, of St. Louis, Hon. John Hinchcliffe, Hon. L. H. Hite, and Judge William G. Case.
The National Yards are located about a mile beyond East St. Louis, in a district known in early times as "the Great American Bottom," and have a worldwide reputation for their completeness. Railway magnates have fostered the interest, and Jay Gould has become a large stockholder in the National Company.
The Union Stock-Yards at Bremen are wholly a St. Louis enterprise, and utilize about fifty acres in terminal facilities for the handling of cattle, hogs, and sheep. The Venice and Madison County Ferry chiefly transports this stock over the river from Venice, and the delay of passing through East St. Louis is thereby avoided. A capital of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars is employed by this establishment.
The St. Louis Union Stock-Yard Company was
organized in March, 1874, and grounds, consisting of twenty-three and a half acres, were purchased in April for one hundred thousand dollars. No time was lost in pushing on the work, as the exchange was commenced in May, and the yards and pens in June. There are 127 hog-pens, capable of containing 25,000 and 65 cattle-pens, able to accommodate 2000 head of cattle.
There are also a number of private stock-yards in the suburbs on both sides of the river, but the bulk of the import and export trade necessarily gravitates toward the public yards, where dealing is only in large round lots or car-loads. During the last eighteen years the receipts of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and the exports of the same, have been as follows:
How many million dollars annually are invested in live-stock dealings in this market is readily calculable, but the local consumption demand is not more readily ascertainable than the actual exports, for the latter are largely contingent upon the extent of the demand of the beef-canning companies, the proportion of stock exported alive being still comparatively inconsiderable in this valley.
In his paper on "St. Louis: Past, Present, and Future," Charles W. Knapp does not find the live-trade as encouraging as he thinks it ought to be.
"Though it has increased," he says, "during the last dozen the comparison with Chicago was more favorable in the matter of cattle ten years ago than to-day, while such gain upon Chicago as has been made in the matter of hogs is more counterbalanced by the failure of our packers to take advantage of the increased receipts, as will be made plain by Exhibit No. 32. Connected with this most unsatisfactory record is the further fact that the receipts of packed meats at St. Louis have fallen off considerably in recent years, the receipts of barreled pork in 1861 having been about eighty-four per cent. greater than in 1881, and of mess-pork sixty per cent. greater, while of lard we only got twelve per cent. more in 1881.
St. Louis Beef-Canning Company. A prominent factor in the enlargement of the provision trade of St. Louis is the St. Louis Beef-Canning Company, whose base of operations is the National Stock-Yards, East St. Louis. This establishment which in its European exports has with its cooked meats superseded the "roast beef of Old England," according to a consular report was organized in 1876, with a capital stock of four hundred thousand dollars, and occupied its present packing and warehouses, covering four acres, in 1879. Its successive presidents have been R. D. Hunter, H. L. Newman, Isaac H. Knox, and G. L. Joy, the latter being the present executive, with the following board of directors: Messrs. Knox, Joy, J. B. Butcher, A. M. White, T. C. Eastman, S. W. Allerton, and E. W. Donnell.
Beginning with packing twenty-five beeves a day, the company has now a capacity to handle one thousand head, and employs from eight hundred to one thousand hands daily, according to the season. For two years it did not intermit a single day, although it is unusual for packers to operate continuously through the year. The aggregate packing during the three years ending May, 1882, was two hundred and one thousand one hundred and thirty-seven head, about one-half of which product was exported.
The cash value of the daily product is over fifty thousand dollars, and the establishment is the second largest of its kind in the world.
The company buys the choicest cattle at the adjacent National Stock-Yards, where they are cooled and rested before slaughtering. After this the sides of beef are perfectly chilled by an improved process; they are then "cut down," the ribs and loins shipped all over the country, supplying dealers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and the remainder prepared for curing. The curing cellars of the company extend under the main buildings, and cover about three acres. The bulk of the meat is cured, cooked, and packed in cases in due time; the hams are smoked and turned out under the "Star of the West" brand, and the balance packed in barrels as "rolled" and "plate beef." The tin can department as an illustration of the magnitude of the business employs, in addition to numerous labor-saving machines for stamping, soldering, etc., from one hundred to one hundred and fifty hands, and manufactures daily tin cans enough, when filled, to load from six to ten cars, according to the size of the cans. The company imports its own tin and manufactures its own solder. Another interesting feature is the "fertilizing department," which is located at some distance from the main works, and utilizes all the refuse, converting it into valuable fertilizers, azotine, dried blood, bone-meal, etc. The horns and large bones are sorted, treated, and sold to manufacturers of buttons, combs, fancy toilet articles, etc. This department employs about twenty-five hands, and produces about six carloads of material per day. The chief business of the company is the packing and sale of canned cooked meats, and the correspondents of the company are in all countries. The first operations were the packing of corned beef, but rapid extension has been made, until the list now comprises corned, roast, and boiled beef, whole and compressed beef tongue, lunch tongue, ham, ox-kidney, ox-tail, pigs' feet, and English brawn, or head cheese. These are all packed in tins ranging from one to twenty-eight pounds in weight, and are ready for instant use. The company also packs a beef or lunch sausage cooked. The goods of the company have been exhibited and tested in the fairs of the world, and have gathered trophies at Paris, London, the American Institute of New York, and elsewhere.
Horse and Mule Marts. Long antedating the history of the army mule the patient beast "without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity" had contributed largely to the commercial growth and importance of St. Louis. In 1856 the firm of A. Shulerr & Co., predecessors of Reilly & Wolfort, commenced the establishment of sale-stables which now outrival in number and capital employed the sales-yards of London, and give to Broadway for many blocks a national reputation as the location of the largest horse and mule market in the United States, and with respect to dealings in mules, the largest in the world. The extent of the trade in the supply of these animals for the Southern plantations and the Western plains, as well as for use by local carrying companies, had been generally known, and there was some knowledge too of the fact that the United States government was a large purchaser of horses and mules in this market; but it remained for the accredited representatives of a foreign government to demonstrate a few years ago, and beyond cavil, that St. Louis leads the world in the number, quality, and monetary value of its mules. Large purchases were made here by both combatants in the Franco-Prussian war. The British found the Mississippi valley mule best adapted by hardihood to service in India; the Turks discovered the same quality of adaptation for the Orient; and the French government, after purchasing here large
numbers of fine horses for its cavalry, added still larger orders for mules for service in the Tunisian campaign.
But while the attainable statistics show a trade of nearly ten millions of dollars annually, it is doubtful whether this sum really represents the actual transactions in horses and mules within forty per cent., for the reason that the larger portion of the stock imported from the vicinage, or within perhaps a hundred miles, is driven direct to the sale-stables, and does not therefore appear upon the tabulated returns of the railroads and transportation companies. For example, a compilation of the returns to the Merchants' Exchange for 1881 shows the receipts of horses and mules to have been forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty-five, and the shipments to exceed that number largely. The same anomaly is exhibited in the reports of former years. Indeed, a single one of the ten larger houses engaged in the business shipped in 1881 upwards of half the number thus recorded, and in the first four months of 1882 the shipments exceeded seven thousand, a large portion of the stock being exported to England, Scotland the West Indies. A fact not generally known in this connection is that fine mules bring a higher price than fine horses for exportation, although the home demand keeps the prices of inferior or second-class animals about even. Foreign buyers will pay for choice mules from two hundred and fifty to three hundred and fifty dollars a head, in round lots, and even more, while they would expect to pay for the same grade of horses not more than from two hundred to two hundred and fifty dollars. The longevity and hardihood of the mule is rated a third higher by foreign purchasers. The United States government is the most exacting of American buyers, and the French are the most particular of the purchasers from abroad.
The receipts and shipments of horses and mules at St. Louis from 1874 to 1882, inclusive, were:
Hides and Leather. There are more domestic hides shipped from St. Louis than from any market in the United States, the aggregate value of the transactions in this commodity approximating four million dollars. The hide product is not only extensively employed in the manufacture of boots and shoes, but is necessarily an important factor in the making of saddles, harness, belting, and a variety of other articles of commerce. In St. Louis there is not only a large product of hides from the cattle slaughtered for local consumption, but the receipts from the cattle-growing regions are immense, this being the natural centre of that interest, which includes in extent of territory Illinois, Missouri, the Indian Territory, Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, Colorado, Dakota, Montana, Utah, and Arizona. The establishment of extensive slaughtering houses, such as that of the Beef-Canning Company, producing 4000 hides a week, and the butchers' yield, about the same figure, greatly increases the product derived from imports, which in 1881 aggregated 20,079,814 pounds. The exports were 28,082,036 pounds, and the amount utilized in local manufacture was nearly as large as both sums together, or upwards of 40,000,000 pounds. In 1834 and earlier there were also large receipts of bison hides from the plains, and this formed an important element in the freightage of the "overland route;" but of late years the extermination of the American buffalo has been so nearly completed that few are now received, or even desired, for bison hide makes very inferior leather as compared with the product of the domestic cattle.
Of the two methods of preparing hides for the St. Louis market, the salting is preferred above drying, although not always practicable, as nearly all the hides coming from the Southwest and West are already cured by drying, after the primitive manner in vogue on the plains. Texas hides rank, in excellence of quality, second only to those of South America.
Up to a very few years ago nearly all the hides received in the St. Louis market were shipped hence to Eastern tanneries, but now St. Louis boasts of several tanners and curriers with establishments possessing the requisites of capital and capacity and doing a thriving business. Indeed, these already outnumber the dealers in hides and pelts, one of them having a capacity of over five hundred hides a week. 174
The hide dealers, however, are among the most solid and prosperous business men of St. Louis, and represent an aggregate capital of nearly two million dollars. In earlier times the custom begun perhaps almost as early as the settlement of St. Louis of buying hides directly from the butchers and selling to the tanners was in vogue, but in 1864, B. H. Newell, one of the
largest buyers in the St. Louis market, originated the brokerage system, by which the brokers act as agents for the tanners, and now nearly all the business between dealers and tanners is thus conducted, and, it is claimed, with great advantage to all parties concerned. With the growth of the St. Louis saddlery trade to pre-eminence over that of any other market in the world, the dealings in hides and leather have necessarily increased in proportion, and the establishment of numerous boot and shoe factories has contributed to swell the total dealings in leather for all purposes to the sum of nearly ten million dollars.
The following statistics exhibit the growth of the trade:
Saddlery Trade. St. Louis leads the world in saddlery, although the fact is not known outside of strictly commercial circles. 175 The market is usually most active, but there is no exchange or central depot for the compilation of statistics. As an exclusive business, saddlery and saddlery hardware date back only to 1859, and not much was done in that line until 1866. Prior to that time the general stores that abounded in St. Louis, as elsewhere throughout the Southwest, dealt in saddlery to some degree in connection with other wares. The territory then supplied by St. Louis was very limited, but now saddlery of St. Louis manufacture is supplied to Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado, the Indian Territory, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Dakota, and New Mexico, most of which States and Territories use this ware to so large an extent that the St. Louis export trade in this line in 1881 aggregated in value over three million five hundred thousand dollars. Upwards of fifteen hundred hands are employed in the trade here, and the wholesale firms alone number twelve, while the retailers and the exclusively "tree" manufacturers aggregate twenty-two more.
In 1882 the total number of establishments engaged in the trade was ninety-six. It is also a remarkable fact that the failures in this line have been fewer than, in any other trade of similar extent. Since the war the process of manufacture has been greatly changed by the introduction of sewing-machines and other machinery, and the speed in the process of manufacture has so greatly increased that at least a dozen saddles can now be turned out in the time it formerly took to make one. Much of the manufacturing, in so far as elm "trees" is concerned, is done at the State Penitentiary at Jefferson City, and then the appendages of leather, in various styles of artistic finish, are added, giving to the "tree" a neat appearance. Prices of saddlery have been greatly reduced, so that a saddle formerly costing say fifteen dollars can now be purchased for five dollars, and the average price of the finest scarcely goes above ten dollars. The facilities for manufacturing and the large tributary territory give St. Louis great advantages over other markets, and the trade is constantly increasing in extent as well as in the reputation which is accorded the market for the uniform excellence of its saddlery goods.
Boots and Shoes. The wholesale boot and shoe business is an important factor in the commercial prosperity of St. Louis. 176
Nineteen wholesale houses were engaged in the trade in 1881, which aggregated about ten millions of dollars. The manufacture of boots and shoes is also carried on to a considerable extent in St. Louis, the number of firms in 1881 being one hundred and eighty-four with an annual business of one million eight hundred thousand dollars.
Of the wholesale firms engaged in the sale of boots and shoes the house of Hamilton, Brown & Co. is among the most prominent. One of the founders of this great firm, and at present the general manager of its affairs is Alanson D. Brown. Mr. Brown was born in Granville, Washington Co., N. Y., March 21, 1847. His parents are yet living, and his father, who is a prosperous farmer of that section, has been supervisor for several terms, although his party has been decidedly in the minority, and is otherwise prominent in town affairs.
Young Brown's boyhood was that of most farmer lads, working in the farm in summer and attending the district school in winter; he also attended a commercial college at Rutland, Vt. In 1864 he obtained a position as clerk in a store at Granville, where he remained two years, and then removed to Columbus, Miss., where two uncles had lived for several years, and where he was engaged for three years as clerk in a general merchandise store. He then engaged in business with one of his uncles with such success that in two years he was enabled to dispose of his interest for thirteen thousand dollars. In the spring of 1872 he removed to St. Louis, and engaged in the wholesale boot and shoe business with James M. Hamilton, a gentleman of great experience in the business, who had long been a valued employé of the well-known house of Appleton, Noyes & Co. The firm started under the name of Hamilton & Brown, and it is interesting, in view of the present dimensions of the business, to recall the circumstance that the joint capital of the two partners was but twenty-three thousand dollars, Mr. Hamilton contributing ten thousand dollars and Mr. Brown the thirteen thousand dollars he brought with him from Mississippi. The business grew rapidly, and its subsequent development has been without precedent and far beyond the most sanguine expectations of its founders. In 1876 two additional partners were admitted, William H. Carroll and E. F. Williams, who had been salesmen in the house, and the style of the firm became Hamilton, Brown & Co., which is the present designation. The house, although
comparatively a young one, was then transacting a business of many hundreds of thousands of dollars annually; but the firm resolved to attempt what their contemporaries declared to be a dangerous experiment, the selling of goods only for cash instead of the usual four and six months' time, a method that seemed to Hamilton, Brown & Co. to be at variance with sound business principles, and therefore in 1877 they instituted the reform indicated, believing it not only safer for themselves in the avoidance of bad debts and the risks involved in the sale of goods on credit, but equally to the advantage of their customers in affording them better bargains for their money. The result proved the thorough soundness of their reasoning, for in 1877, the first year of the experiment, the sales of the establishment were larger than ever before, and amounted to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
The subsequent development of the business of Hamilton, Brown & Co. has been one of the commercial marvels of St. Louis. For five years past the annual sales have not fallen below one and a half millions of dollars, and for 1880 they footed up the princely sum of one million nine hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars. The company occupies a six-story building, with basement, at Washington Avenue and Fifth Street, St. Louis, and here it conducts perhaps the largest wholesale boot and shoe establishment in the city. When asked regarding the secret of his success, Mr. Brown is accustomed to say that there is none, except constant application, a minute looking after details, and incessant watchfulness to prevent leakage and waste. It is no reflection upon the gentlemen associated with him, and who have contributed much to bring about this splendid success, to say that as the active business manager of the firm of Hamilton, Brown & Co., the brilliant reputation of the house is largely due to Alanson D. Brown's energy, enterprise, and assiduity.
In one of his business trips to Boston Mr. Brown became acquainted with Miss Ella Gertrude, daughter of Charles C. Bills, a prominent shoe manufacturer of that city, and they were subsequently married. Three children are the result of the union. Mr. Brown is a member of the Third Baptist Church of St. Louis, and endeavors to contribute his share towards all the worthy enterprises, religious, charitable, and philanthropic, that appeal for aid. He regards it as a pleasurable duty to support, as far as he can, all projects reasonably calculated to advance the prosperity of the city of his adoption, and may justly be ranked among its most active and progressive young business men.
Jewelry. The manufacture and sale of jewelry, which is now one of the important industries of St. Louis, was established at an early period in the history of the town. As far back as April, 1812, Joseph Bouju, "clock and watchmaker, silversmith and jeweler," in Madame Papin's house, opposite Gen. Clark's office, advertised a variety of wares. Mr. Bouju's establishment was not the only one in the town, as we find that Dr. Farrar's store was advertised in the same year as being situated below Maj. Christy's tavern, next to Dangin's silversmith's shop In July, 1817, Charles E. Jeauneret pursued the trade of watchmaker at P. Chouteau's house, and in September, 1817, Israel B. Grant opened a shop next door below Mr. Wilts' store, on Main Street, where he manufactured silver-work and jewelry, keeping also "a constant supply of soup, table, dessert, and teaspoons, gold watch-chains, seals and keys, ear- and finger-rings, bracelets, gold and silver sleeve-buttons, thimbles, hooks and eyes, etc. Engraving and hair-work neatly executed." During the same year Joseph Bouju had his shop opposite the store of Mr. Wilt. On the 13th of November, 1818, Charles Billon, clock and watch maker and jeweler, informed "the inhabitants of St. Louis and its vicinity that he has commenced business in the house occupied by Mr. Dangin, on Main Street, where he has for sale an assortment of gold and silver repeaters, plain gold and silver watches, with an assortment of jewelry, consisting of fine gold chains, seals and keys, breastpins, ear-rings, etc., which he will sell on the most accommodating terms.
"N. B. Watches of every description carefully repaired, and engraving executed with neatness and dispatch."
Mr. Billon had removed to St. Louis from Philadelphia, and his location is further described as "Dangin's old stone house." At the same time Henry Gulager carried on the trade of a clock and watch maker "next to the old Indian office in Clark's stone row." On the 11th of August, 1819, Robert Logan, clock and watch maker, advertised his establishment as being located "in Bouju's old place," and on the 18th, Joseph Bouju announced his removal to "his new house" opposite Paul's auction-room. Dec. 23, 1819, Charles Billon gave notice that he had removed to his new establishment on North Main Street, at the corner, opposite the old Gratiot residence.
The trade in jewelry has gone on expanding until now St. Louis surpasses every other city in the West as a market for this branch of business. In 1881 seventeen firms were engaged in the jewelry trade, whose sales aggregated four million dollars per annum.
In the manufacture of jewelry and silver-plated ware eight firms were engaged, employing sixty hands, and transacting a business of two hundred thousand dollars per annum.
The oldest jewelry firm in the city, and one of the oldest in the West, is that of the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company. It was established in 1829 by Louis Jaccard, who emigrated to America from Switzerland, and who was followed by his nephew Eugene in 1837. The house of Louis Jaccard & Co., as it was originally called, was dissolved Dec. 31, 1848, by the withdrawal of Louis Jaccard, who was succeeded by his nephew Eugene, who in 1852 associated A. S. Mermod with him, and in 1855 D. C. Jaccard, the firm then becoming E. Jaccard & Co. In 1864 the partnership was dissolved, Messrs. Mermod and D. C. Jaccard withdrawing and establishing another house. Eugene Jaccard continued the original business until his death, which occurred on the 4th of September, 1871. Mr. Jaccard, who was fifty-seven old, was born in Ste. Croix, Switzerland, and, as previously stated, emigrated to this country about 1834. Commencing life in St. Louis as a journeyman jeweler at nine dollars a week, he worked his way to fortune, gaining for himself at the same time the marked respect of his fellow-citizens. He was liberal but unostentatious in his charities, a devout member of the Pine Presbyterian Church, in which organization he was a deacon, president of Missouri Loan Bank, and director in the Third National Bank, Continental Life Insurance Company of New York, and Excelsior Insurance Company of St. Louis. He left a wife, but no children.
Mr. Jaccard was succeeded in the business in 1871 by his nephew, Eugene J. Cuendet, and the firm is now known as the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company, of
which Mr. Cuendet is president. It occupies the handsome building at the northeast corner of Fifth and Olive Streets, fronting one hundred feet on Olive Street and fifty feet on Fifth Street. It is built of Athens marble, five stories in height, and its architecture is graceful and imposing. The cost of the building and ground exceeded three hundred thousand dollars. The stock comprises, in addition to the ordinary wares of an extensive jewelry establishment, choice importations of pottery, porcelain, rare and valuable gems, bronzes, gilt goods, statuary, French clocks, etc., and the firm makes a specialty of watches and music-boxes, which are manufactured especially for it in Switzerland.
The firm of Mermod, Jaccard & Co. has attained great celebrity in the jewelry trade of the West, and transacts an extensive business. Its founder, D. Constant Jaccard, was born in Ste. Croix, Switzerland, Aug. 22, 1826. He received the usual instruction at the public schools, and when eleven years old began his apprenticeship as a jeweler, being first employed on music-boxes, and afterwards on watches, and dividing his time between his studies and his work at the bench. He remained with his parents until 1845, and then attended the Normal School at Lausanne, where he went through the three-years' course with eighteen months' study, and graduated first in a class of thirty-five. In order to defray his expenses at this institution, he gave two hours' lessons each day, and during the vacation worked at his bench.
After leaving school he taught one year, and then the political disturbances in France and Switzerland in 1847-48 induced him to accept an invitation from Louis and Eugene Jaccard, his cousins, to come to St. Louis and work with them.
Mr. Jaccard left Ste. Croix April 24, 1848, and arrived in St. Louis on the 15th of July. The trip consumed over eighty days, whereas it takes now less than twenty days.
He went to work immediately upon his arrival, and has resided in St. Louis ever since. During the gold fever of 1849-51 he was often urged by friends to go to California, and though frequently solicited to change his business, he has remained steadfast to his first choice, and his perseverance has been richly rewarded.
His ancestors were French Huguenots, who fled to Switzerland after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and settled in Ste. Croix, on the very first ground after crossing the frontier. The rest of the family remained in Picardy, France, and spell their name Jacquard, which seems to have been its original spelling Jaccard. From the Jacquard family came the inventor of the Jacquard loom.
Having from a child suffered from sick headache and facial neuralgia, Mr. Jaccard has been prevented from going much into society or joining social organizations. His habits, therefore, have been quiet and retired, but he has nevertheless given, unostentatiously, much time and labor to works of beneficence and trust. As treasurer of the Société du sou par semaine, he distributed during the war, in connection with the Sanitary Commission, over twenty thousand dollars to relieve the wants of persons on both sides. In 1868 he was appointed vice-consul of Switzerland at St. Louis, and acted alone as consul for two years, having only lately been relieved, at his own request, on account of ill health.
In politics, Mr. Jaccard is independent and an earnest advocate of civil service reform. He thinks both parties made up of good and bad, and in voting has always selected his candidates with a view of the real fitness of the man for the place, and regardless of the ticket to which he may belong.
In religion, Mr. Jaccard is a Presbyterian. He was formerly an elder in Dr. Brooks' church, and is now a member of Dr. Marquis' Lafayette Park Presbyterian Church.
In 1855 he was married to a daughter of J. G. Chipron, brother-in-law to Rev. Dr. Grandpierre, of Paris, France, where Mrs. Jaccard was born. Her family settled in Highland, Ill., in 1848.
On Dec. 31, 1848, as previously stated, the house of Louis Jaccard & Co. was dissolved, Louis selling his half-interest to his nephew Eugene, who carried on the business alone, under the name of E. Jaccard, until 1852, when he took A. S. Mermod as partner, and then in 1855, D. C. Jaccard as a third partner, forming the firm of E. Jaccard & Co. This continued until May 1, 1864, when the partnership was dissolved under the following circumstances:
In 1863, Eugene Jaccard had formed a partnership with the two Captains La Barge and Harkness (under the name of La Barge, Harkness & Co.), for the purpose of trading and steamboating on the river. This being outside of the regular jewelry business, produced a disagreement among the members of the firm of E. Jaccard & Co. Mr. Mermod and D. C. Jaccard being apprehensive that their interests would suffer, on May 1, 1864, sold their interest to Eugene Jaccard.
Immediately after their withdrawal Messrs. Mermod and Jaccard purchased an establishment under Odd-Fellows' Hall, corner of Fourth and Locust Streets,
and taking as partner C. F. Mathey, founded, May 1, 1864, the firm of D. C. Jaccard & Co., who have done business at this place (Odd-Fellows' Block) ever since. The firm soon obtained a good business, and throughout the whole of the subsequent period its progress has been steady and uninterrupted. Even during the period of general commercial depression, from 1873 to 1879, the development of its business was unchecked. In 1873 the firm added to its double store on Fourth Street the large building on Locust Street.
In 1873 the name of the firm was changed from D. C. Jaccard & Co. to Mermod, Jaccard & Co., under Odd-Fellows' Hall, Fourth and Locust Streets. This was done in order to prevent mistakes arising from the similarity of the two firm-names, although Eugene Jaccard had then been dead two years, and D. C. Jaccard was the only one of that name personally engaged in the jewelry business in St. Louis. Goodman King had been admitted as a partner some years before, and contributed no small amount of energy and activity to the establishment. When D. C. Jaccard and his partners separated from the house of Eugene Jaccard, they agreed to establish their business on a definite basis, and all signed a written agreement stipulating that they would never speculate in anything; they would never buy more goods than they could pay cash for; they would not sign any notes or have any drafts drawn on them; that at the end of every month they would carefully examine the condition of their affairs, in order to act intelligently in the purchase of goods. The faithfulness with which they adhered to these regulations was soon discovered by manufacturers, all of whom became anxious to deal with such a house, and consequently the very best offers have always been at their disposal.
Mermod, Jaccard & Co. have their own manufactory for watches (particularly for ladies' watches) at Ste. Croix, Switzerland, Mr. Jaccard's brother Justin being at its head. His cousins are large manufacturers of music-boxes also at Ste. Croix.
Mermod, Jaccard & Co. have also a house in Paris. No. 32 Faubourg Poissonni&eagrave;re, where Mr. V. Versepuy, a most expert connoisseur, watches the diamond market for them, and selects all their clocks and objets d'art. Two of the members also visit Europe regularly twice a year for the purchase of new articles in their line. The house has also representatives in Vienna, Bohemia, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, etc., and is so well known in Europe that it can buy whatever it needs quite as well as in New York, such is its standing among manufacturers and those who supply it with its goods. This high reputation, it is needless to say, it enjoys as well in the United States and Mexico as in more distant lands.
Mr. Mermod and D. C. Jaccard have each a son, Arthur Mermod and Eugene Jaccard, both of whom have for some years been employed in the store, and will soon be ready to take up the business and carry it on in accordance with the principles adopted by their fathers when they commenced.
Type Foundries. The first type foundry in St. Louis was established by A. P. Ladew. Mr. Ladew was born in Albany, N. Y., Sept. 13, 1811, and was the son of Stephen Ladew, a prominent merchant, and at one time private secretary of De Witt Clinton. At the age of thirteen A. P. Ladew was placed in an establishment to learn the trade of type-making and stereotyping, and subsequently worked in the well-known foundry of James Conner in New York. After serving his apprenticeship he formed the acquaintance of L. Johnson, of Philadelphia, a leading type founder of that day, and under his patronage and that of George Charles he removed to St. Louis in 1838 and established the St. Louis Type Foundry, the firm being George Charles & Co. In its issue of Dec. 1, 1840, one of the St. Louis newspapers said, "We received yesterday a specimen of pica type from the foundry of Mr. Charles, who is just opening on Market Street. The specimen before us assures us that this will prove a most valuable acquisition to the printers of the West."
On the 1st of July, 1843, it was announced that A. P. Ladew had become the sole proprietor of the foundry, and on the 12th of February, 1852, A. P. Ladew & Co. informed the public that they had established a stereotype foundry, at which they were prepared to execute all kinds of work usually performed in such establishments. "These gentlemen," added the paper announcing the fact, "are well known to the people of the West as type founders, etc." In 1850 the capital invested in the type foundry was fifty-one thousand eight hundred dollars, employing ten males and ten females, with an annual product of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Subsequently the firm became known as Ladew, Peers & Co., and its business developed to very large proportions, the foundry supplying the demand for its products throughout the West. Mr. Ladew was prominently associated with various newspapers and other business enterprises in St. Louis, and was one of the most substantial and influential members of the community. 177 He was a director of the St. Louis
Building and Savings Association, member of the City Council, vice-president of the Commercial Insurance Company, and a director in the Bank of St. Louis, besides holding other positions of trust and honor.
There are now (1882) two type foundries in St. Louis, the St. Louis Type Foundry, conducted by a stock company, of which William Bright is secretary, at the northeast corner of Third and Vine Streets, and the Central Type Foundry, 15 North Third Street.
Lumber. With a soil so deep and such an abundant supply of water, the forests of Missouri must needs teem with trees and shrubs and vines useful in industry or as fruit-producers; and in fact the timber supply of Missouri is enormous, although, as experience has taught, unhappily not inexhaustible. The gigantic sylvan wildernesses both of Brazil and Guiana are not protected against the indiscriminate rapacity of man, who always seems to attack the forest with the ferocity of an assault upon a hereditary enemy. In the great forests of Missouri a very wide variety of the useful woods are represented, oak, hickory, maple, ash, mulberry, locust, linden, poplar, elm, walnut, and pine for carriages, wagons, and agricultural implements; pine, linden, poplar, cotton-wood, walnut, cypress, cedar, oak, and gum for houses and other buildings; walnut, poplar, linden, maple, cherry, coffee-tree, locust, gum, mulberry, tupelo, pine, cypress, cedar, birch, hickory, and oak for cabinetwork; cedar, locust, oak, hickory, mulberry, and pine for fences; and Osage orange, thorns, buckthorn, and cedar for hedges. Millions of these varieties of lumber are destroyed every year in opening farms, and meanwhile the people of Missouri are importing millions in furniture and agricultural implements and lumber for the various kinds of carpentry. There is poor economy in importing walnut, pine, cherry, poplar, birch, maple, oak, linden, and cedar manufactured into furniture from the Ohio and its tributaries when Missourians are destroying upon their farms more and better lumber of the same variety every year.
In spite of all the grandeur of growth of the forests, it has only been of recent years that the people of St. Louis have begun to supply themselves with the articles manufactured from the wood products of the country, much less to produce any for export. The absorption of industry in other channels, the scarcity of capital and skilled labor, and the cheap goods supplied by competing communities elsewhere prevented these essentially home manufactures from establishing themselves in the city upon anything like a large scale or one commensurate with the community's needs.
The ancient French habitans did indeed contrive to manufacture their canoes and bateaux, their rude charrettes, and their equally rude houses of posts from native timber, joining their roofs and floors, and framing them, and making their cedar-picket inclosures with a good deal of simple, compact skill. But they did not admire the forest, nor choose to grapple with it; they got their firewood from the debris brought down by the floods of the Mississippi and Missouri, and the old town either bought its sawed and squared and planed lumber or else did without. The Missouri Gazette of March 1, 1809, has the following advertisement:
"The subscriber will receive and execute orders for any quantity of plank at the following prices per hundred feet, viz:
"To those who may forward their bills and receive their plank at any of the landing-places at St. Louis a deduction of twenty-five cents per hundred feet will be made.
"A quantity of the above kinds of plank is deposited for sale at Mr. Stedman's tan-yard at the above prices.
"N. B. Orders for plank will be received at the printing-office and forwarded to the mill.
"GOSHEN TOWNSHIP, INDIAN TERRITORY."
The following is probably the first notice of an attempt to manufacture furniture in St. Louis. It is from the same journal, 26th of July, 1810:
"Heslep & Taylor, Windsor and fancy chair-makers, at their shop, adjoining Mr. J. Coons', St. Louis, inform the public that they have just arrived from Pennsylvania with an extensive assortment of materials necessary for elegant and plain chairs. They will gild, varnish, japan, and paint their work agreeable to the fancy of those who wish to encourage the business in this place."
Feb. 13, 1813, we find the following:
"Philip Matile, wheelwright, carriage- and chair-maker (from Switzerland), informs the public that he has for the last two years carried on business in this neighborhood. He has now established a shop six miles from St. Louis, on the road that leads to Camp Bellefontaine."
In 1818, 3d of January, we read,
"Pine boards sell here now at the enormous price of eight dollars per hundred feet. Ash, oak, walnut, and every other description of boards rate in the same proportion."
In the year 1819, Messrs. Laveille and Morton arrived in St. Louis from Pittsburgh on flat-bottomed boats loaded with lumber, on the tops of which were stowed the effects of the emigrants. This is believed to have been the first importation of Eastern lumber into St. Louis. On their arrival they engaged carpenters, and subsequently became extensive building contractors. With the increase in their business came an increased demand for lumber, and for a good many years the principal supply was drawn from the yellow-pine districts of the Gasconade River and its
tributaries, in what was then Gasconade County, but now Gasconade, Texas, and a half-dozen or more other counties. The principal mills were located on the Big Piney, and were owned by Messrs. Fort & Lynch, Ormsby, Truesdale, Addison, Bates, and Joseph Walton, there being some eight or ten in all. After the lumber was manufactured it was brought down the Gasconade and Missouri Rivers in rafts, and it was lumber that the St. Louis arsenal and Jefferson Barracks were built. Every winter the builders or dealers in lumber had to make a trip by horseback to that district, the time occupied in going being six days, and the route by way of Manchester, thirty miles from St. Louis; Union, sixty miles from Manchester, crossing the Burbois, and taking the Shawneetown trail to Strong's, on Little Prairie, thirty miles from Union; then to Clayton's, forty miles from Strong's; then to Bradford's, on Spring Creek, thirty-five miles from Clayton's; and then to the mills on Big Piney, about twenty miles from Spring Creek. The country was sparsely settled, and the points named the only ones where accommodation for either man or beast could be had.
Some lumber was also brought from the neighborhood of Ste. Genevieve, and poplar from the vicinity of a stream south of the city, known as the Big Muddy, and Cape Girardeau, and it was not until somewhere about the years 1825-27 that Messrs. Laveille & Morton commenced making a regular business of bringing lumber from Pittsburgh and vicinity to supply the St. Louis market. July 2, 1836, we find the following, showing a rapid progress:
"Our readers are referred to an advertisement in column of a steam planing-machine, recently put into operation in this city by Mr. James Kipp. The machinery is in all respects perfect, and we understood that it was capable of turning out six hundred planks per day completely finished. The whole operation is performed with wonderful velocity."
In 1844 lumber began more regularly to be brought from Allegheny regions, and about the same time St. Louis lumbermen turned their attention to the pine regions of the upper Mississippi and the northern lakes, the erection of mills there, and the manufacture and shipment of lumber direct by river. During that time, and even yet with some exceptions, the lumber in the St. Louis market was brought in rafts floated down by its manufacturers, or from Chicago yards, the business all the while increasing.
For several years the larger portion of white-pine was brought via Chicago, but the cost of transportation operated against Chicago.
The manufacture of pine lumber in St. Louis, that has proved a fortune to some of its citizens, was partially the result of a misfortune to some of the log or lumbermen of the St. Croix region. In 1843, in consequence of the heavy rains in the upper country and the vast accumulation of logs in the Lake St. Croix "boom," the "boom" gave way, and thousands of logs escaped to the river. They were gathered up at different points along the Mississippi, made into rafts and brought down to St. Louis, and some of them sold to Daniel Page, who had a mill on the river-bank, a short distance above what is now known as Mound Street. On the 1st of November, 1841, Messrs. West, Field & Vandeventer started what was known at the time, and as long as it was conducted, as the Pine Mill, which was confined exclusively to the sawing of pine lumber. So successful was this enterprise, and so great the demand, that the supply of logs became inadequate, and they were forced to hire men and send, them to the pineries to cut logs for their mill, so that this firm may be set down as inaugurating that branch of business in St. Louis."
In this connection it may not be amiss to say that among other orders they filled was one in 1849-50 for the spars, decking, etc., of the ship "Matilda," built at St. Louis, and designed for the St. Louis and San Francisco trade. This was about the time of the breaking out of the California gold fever, but before the ship was finished Mr. French, for whom she was building, failed, and West, Field & Vandeventer and Gordon & Brotherton, who had a hard lumber mill, and had furnished the oak lumber for the outside and inside siding, ribs, etc., closed their lien, and with some other interested parties caused her to be sold at sheriff's sale and bid her in. After the sale they had her taken down to New Orleans, where she was rigged out, a cargo taken on board, and started for New York, but on entering the gulf she sprang a leak, and was forced to put back and go on to the dock for repairs. The insurance on the hull and cargo did not cover the loss, and her owners put her on the market and sold her at a great sacrifice. She was subsequently sold in New York for twenty-seven thousand dollars.
The firm of Schulenburg & Boeckeler in 1848 purchased their first raft of pine logs, which were brought from the Wisconsin pineries, and hence became the second firm to commence the manufacture of pine lumber in the city. That mill continued the manufacture of native and pine lumber from that time, although a part of the intervening time the mill was mainly run by other parties, Schulenburg & Boeckeler retaining an interest all the time. It finally passed under the entire control and management of A. Boeckeler & Co.,
and since then the bulk of its manufactures has been of pine to fill home orders for bridge material and other heavy work. In 1850 the firm became owners of the now large planing-mill on Mullanphy Street, between Tenth and Eleventh. In 1853, Schulenburg & Boeckeler conceived the idea of establishing mills of their own in the pineries of Minnesota, from which they might supply their yards direct, and the success that attended the enterprise has abundantly proved its wisdom. The site selected was at the town of Stillwater, on the St. Croix River, and in 1854 the mills were completed and put in motion. These mills were propelled by steam, generated by five large boilers, and the machinery driven by two good-sized engines. The saws were run in "gangs," there being three "gangs," in one of which there were twenty-eight saws, in another one twenty-two, and in the other one eighteen, so that the cutting of the largest log was a matter of but small moment. Besides these gang-saws there was one large rotary- or circular-saw, and a number of smaller circulars for manufacturing lath, shingles, palings, etc., the whole machinery giving employment to about one hundred and seventy-five men. From the starting of the mills in 1854 to 1857 the most of their manufactures were sold to different points on the river, only a part being brought to St. Louis, and it was not until the summer of that year that they began "piling" in their yards.
The time occupied in bringing a hand-raft from Stillwater to St. Louis varied according to the stage of the water and the rapidity of the current, but generally was from twenty-five to thirty days. The management of the raft required about twenty-four men and a pilot, each string having two oars and requiring two oarsmen. The time necessary for a tow-boat raft to make the trip was about twelve to fifteen days, and required only one man to each string, besides the regular boat's crew. Laths, shingles, and palings were manufactured at the mills in the pineries, and brought down on the top of the lumber-rafts, a single raft often bringing 150,000 shingles, 300,000 laths, and 25,000 palings, making in all a very valuable cargo, and worth, at a reasonable estimate, about $25,000.
From Michigan and Canada large numbers of logs were, even at that early day, brought to St. Louis Yellow-pine from the Gasconade, poplar from South western Indiana, Southern Illinois, and Tennessee, and cedar from the cedar-rifts of Tennessee were early imported to St. Louis.
Richard Schulenburg, the senior member of the lumber firm of Schulenburg & Boeckeler, and one of the pioneers in the lumber trade of St. Louis, was born in Westphalia, Prussia, in 1837. His father was an attorney, and gave his son an education suitable for entering on the study of a profession, for which he designed him. At the age of nineteen it was found that his taste inclined toward industrial and commercial pursuits, and, with the approbation of his father, he went to Manchester, in England where he passed two years in the acquisition of a knowledge of business. He then returned and passed two years in Germany, one of which was devoted to the discharge of his military duty.
In 1861 he came to America and located at St. Louis. Soon after his arrival he engaged in the lumber business in a small way, and this business he has ever since followed. His trade steadily enlarged and in 1874 he became a stockholder in the Eau Claire Lumber Company.
After the death of Nelson C. Chapman, which occurred in that year, Mr. Schulenburg succeeded him as vice-president and general business manager of the company. Under his management the business of the company in St. Louis has largely increased and it now reaches the amount of 65,000,000 feet of lumber annually sold here.
Mr. Schulenburg was married in 1864 to Miss Eliza, daughter of Frederick Schulenburg, an old citizen of St. Louis. They have five children, three sons and two daughters. He has devoted his entire time and energies to his business, and has bestowed very little attention on other matters.
It was many years before St. Louis began to supply her own wants in the lumber and timber line, and to manufacture the various wares of wood which occupy so large and important a place in business and domestic service. In 1850 the census statistics showed but two planing-mills, with 35 hands and an annual product valued at no more than $96,000. There were 55 cooper establishments, having 248 hands, and making $288,822 of annual products; 9 saw-mills, with $115,000 capital, 103 hands, and $248,000 annual product; 1 bucket-factory with 10 hands, turning out $6000 a year; 8 carriage-makers, $56,000 capital, 138 hands, and $130,000 products; 50 cabinet-makers, $72,700 capital, 195 hands, $182,800 products; 3 plane-makers, $5300 capital, 15 hands, $48,000 products; 1 chair-factory, $1500 capital, 5 hands, $3500 output; 1 basket-maker, $400 capital, 2 hands, $2160 product; 32 wagon-makers, $27,275 capital, 121 hands, $146,585 products; 1 yawl-boat builder, $150 capital, 1 hand, $750 product; 1 block-and pump-maker, $8000 capital, 17 hands, $9000 product; and 1 ship-yard, $125,000 capital, 85 hands, $150,000 products in steamboats.
This, however, was but the beginning. As the
annual trade review of one of the city newspapers for 1854 puts it,
"In many articles of manufacture, both of wood and metals, we are dependent upon the industry, enterprise, and ingenuity of other States for nearly the whole supply which our demand requires; this, too, while this section has ample stores of the raw material, superior in texture, and capable of being procured in the cheapest possible manner. With the most inexhaustible quantities of iron and copper ore, we import nearly all the articles manufactured out of these metals, such as nails and castings of every description. Sand is taken from the State, to be returned from Pittsburgh in the shape of glass. Our forests are filled with timber suitable for the finest furniture, and we import bureaus, sofas, chairs, bedsteads, buckets, and a hundred other articles of like character."
There were, to be sure, many factories, as shown above, but they were on a small scale, and did not meet the city's requirements. During the year 1853, for which this journal's statistics were compiled, for example, there were received from other places 20,063 dozen brooms, 1018 nests of baskets, 98,141 pieces of cooper stuff, 8474 packages of furniture, 771 chicken-coops, 1091 saddle-trees, and about 10,000 packages of woodware, such as washboards, buckets, pails, etc., besides hub-stuff and hoop-poles and blocks by railroad. The exhibit of lumber from all sources was as follows:
During the year there were purchased by the city mills the following:
The above shows, in the receipt and consumption of sawed lumber, 60,786,332 feet.
A comparative statement of the lumber trade for 1868 and 1869 makes the following exhibit:
The Chippewa, Black River, Wisconsin River, Wolf River, the Green Bay district, and Southeast Missouri were in time made tributaries to the lumber trade of St. Louis.
The receipts of lumber at St. Louis in 1875 were:
The shipments aggregated 56,643,000 feet.
The receipts of lumber for the calendar year 1881 were 434,043,094 feet, nearly twelve times as much as in 1853; shingles, 56,578,785. In carpentering, in 1880, the business done by St. Louis was as follows: Establishments, 185; hands, 2228; wages, $667,900 ($300 per capita); capital, $361,840; material, $1,585,094; products, $3,005,411, leaving a net profit of $716,233 (200 per cent. on capital).
Baskets (rattan and willow-ware). Establishments, 7; capital, $9015; hands, 14; wages, $6140; materials, $3960; products, $18,020.
Boxes (cigar). Establishments, 6; capital, $57,550; hands, 97; wages, $34,100; material, $47,700; products, $105,600.
Boxes (packing). Establishments, 11; capital, $40,000; hands, 98; wages, $23,601; material, $75,430; products, $140,400.
Brooms and Brushes. Establishments, 25; capital, $95,175; hands, 328; wages, $83,349; material, $140,770; products, $281,280.
Carriages and Wagons (materials). Establishments, 3; capital, $126,000; hands, 203; wages, $91,638; material, $134,440; products, $264,600.
Carriages and Wagons (finishing). Establishments, 39; capital, $740,050; hands, 1300; wages, $447,831; material, $811,865; products, $1,614,236.
Cars (railroad, street, and repairs). Establishments, 7; capital, $314,200; hands, 704; wages, $293,384; material, $732,460; products, $1,100,809.
Coffins (undertakers' goods). Establishments, 5; capital, $30,500; hands, 33; wages, $12,530; material, $109,200; products, $157,396.
Cooperage. Establishments, 78; capital, $493,295; hands, 1217; wages, $377,056; material, $798,262; products, $1,431,405.
Furniture. Establishments, 54; capital, $920,702; hands, 1315; wages, $511,915; material, $1,082,825; products, $1,979,683.
Looking-Glass and Picture Frames. Establishments, 19; capital, $323,900; hands, 280; wages, $80,251; material, $102,825; products, $268,682.
Lumber (planed) Establishments, 9; capital, $272,350; hands, 418; wages, $152,609; material, $502,742; products, $756,936.
Lumber (sawed). Establishments, 3; capital, $620,000; hands, 194; wages, $72,086; material, $251,600; products, $412,000.
Sash (doors and blinds). Establishments, 12; capital, $586,195; hands, 804; wages, $275,321; material, $669,871; products, $1,191,670.
Wheelwrighting. Establishments, 52; capital, $51,950; hands, 148; wages, $47,598; material, $42,632; products, $140,121.
Wood (turned and carved). Establishments, 18; capital, $28,725; hands, 51; wages, $19,183; material, $20,045; products, $84,207.
These statistics do not include many industries in which wood and lumber play a collateral or subordinate part, such as models and patterns, organs and pianos, pumps, refrigerators, roofing and roofing material, saddlery, show cases, trunks, umbrellas and canes, whips, billiard-tables, bridges, children's carriages and sleds, casks, chairs, washing-machines, wooden-ware, agricultural implements, etc.
Among the lumber merchants of St. Louis few, if any, have enjoyed a larger measure of success and influence than William G. Clark, who for nearly fifty years has been one of the prominent business men of the city. Mr. Clark was born in Baltimore, Md., Nov. 4, 1818. His great-grandparents emigrated from Argyleshire, Scotland, to York County, Pa., in 1750. His grandfather, Matthew Clark, was in 1802 a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, representing the county of York. His father (who was also named Matthew) married Miss Tempie Glenn the granddaughter of Maj. Robert Glenn, an officer under Gen. Washington in the Revolutionary war. Col. Matthew Clark (father of William G. Clark) was one of the defenders of Baltimore in the war of 1812, being a volunteer from the county of York. Subsequently, in 1816, he removed to Baltimore to live. Matthew Clark's mother was a sister of Judge Hugh Breckenridge, of Pennsylvania, one of the most distinguished men of his day.
William G. Clark was educated in the public schools of Baltimore until he was seventeen years of age, when he entered as clerk the dry-goods house of John Taylor, where he remained for one year. In 1836 he accompanied Daniel Trowbridge to St. Louis, to enter into business, and served him as clerk for a period of three years. In 1839, Mr. Clark commenced business for himself as a wholesale clothing merchant, the firm being Jones, Clark & Gill, one of the largest establishments of its kind at that day in the city, and still remembered by the old inhabitants as one of the leading houses on Main Street. Although success crowned his career as a wholesale clothing merchant, he retired from the business in 1842, being convinced that the lumber business presented a wider field for the exercise of his enterprise and ability. Accordingly he entered upon this new occupation with an energy and industry which soon caused him to become one of the most extensive and successful lumber merchants in the city. Having erected a large steam saw-mill on the river-bank in the northern part of the city, he continued in the lumber business until 1874, when he retired with an ample fortune, and a reputation for integrity and uprightness of which any one might be proud.
Mr. Clark's sagacity and forecast as a practical business man are seen in the investments in real estate which he made from time to time while actively engaged in other pursuits. One of these is worth, mention. In 1850, when as yet there was but little business done on Fourth Street, he purchased the old Methodist Church property on the corner of Fourth Street and Washington Avenue, on which, in 1856, he erected a block of substantial and handsome five-story buildings, which he still owns, and which at the
present time occupy one of the most prominent business centres of the city.
As a citizen, Mr. Clark has been identified with many of the leading enterprises of the day. He was a director of the Southern Bank, a trustee of the City University, and a director and leading spirit in the building of the first Lindell Hotel. During the cholera epidemic in 1849, Mr. Clark was selected as one of the "Committee of Safety," to which was committed the management of sanitary affairs during the three months in which the terrible plague rested like a pall over the city. This "Committee of Safety," composed of such other leading men as Hon. Luther M. Kennett, Hon. Trusten Polk, Judge T. T. Gantt, and A. B. Chambers, discharged the important trust confided to it with marked fidelity, and to its action the city is indebted for the first establishment of quarantine.
Through life Mr. Clark has been a pronounced and active Christian man. He has long been a ruling elder in the Pine Street (now Grand Avenue) Presbyterian Church, and is chairman of the building committee charged with the erection of the handsome church edifice on the corner of Grand and Washington Avenues, and is identified with other departments of church work.
Mr. Clark has been twice happily married, first to Miss Julia Miller, of Baltimore, Md., who bore him six children. His second wife is Miss Mary Bell Parks, daughter of Joseph Parks, of St. Charles, Mo., by whom he has had four children, all of whom are still living.
No citizen of St. Louis stands higher as a man of sterling integrity and high-toned Christian character than does William G. Clark.
Wood- and Willow-Ware. Included under this trade nomenclature is a vast range of articles and utensils, such as buckets, casks, tubs, ladles, bread-bowls, and other household appliances or furnishings in wood, while willow-ware includes baskets, chairs, and the like constructed of this light material. But with the sale of these have become associated in the trade cordage, rope, brooms, wrapping-paper, paper stove polish, axle grease, and, in the case of one of the largest firms, playing cards also. Indeed, the trade now comprises probably a greater number of articles in daily use than any other business. Precisely when dealing in wooden-ware became separated from the hardware trade proper, of which it may be said to be the counterpart, cannot now be ascertained. From the reminiscences of old inhabitants of the city, however, it appears that the wooden-ware trade existed as early as 1835, but it was in connection with the hardware trade. As a separate industry, the branch is of comparatively modern origin here as elsewhere. In St. Louis, however, the wood- and willow-ware trade has obtained the ascendency over that of any other city in America or Europe. St. Louis, in fact, is the ruling market, and prices for every other city on the continent are fixed here. In the manufacture of these wares, of themselves apparently insignificant, a capital approaching, in the aggregate, three million dollars is utilized, and upwards of a thousand hands are employed in the conduct of a vast system of machinery. Dealers in wood- and willow-ware transact a business often exceeding in value two million dollars a year; and as to the general volume of the trade, it is officially established that one St. Louis firm sells more annually than the combined trade of any other four houses in the same line in the world, and more than the aggregate sales of all the houses in this line of business west of the Alleghenies. Thus St. Louis is absolutely beyond competition in this line, having also the largest manufactory of this character in the world. Not only are these goods, chiefly derived from home manufactories, shipped to every considerable city and town in America, but there is considerable export to Cuba, South and Central America, and to Australia. The great excess of shipments over imports is thus explained, as well as in the utilization of the supply of raw material found convenient to the market.
In the manufacture of wooden-ware proper, pine and oak are chiefly used. One of the larger establishments supplies the West with water buckets and the like, and there are three oakware manufactories whose product is larger than that of any other establishment in existence. Axe handles, hoe handles, shovel, pick, and other varieties of hard-wood handles are supplied by a manufacturing company having the largest establishment of the kind in the world. An element entering largely into this peculiar trade is axle grease, all of which is manufactured in St. Louis, the product of four lubricating companies aggregating nearly half a million dollars annually.
The paper bags entering into the wood- and willow-ware trade are also manufactured in St. Louis, one factory, sixty by one hundred and seventy-five feet and five stories high, thus utilizing ten tons of paper daily, and giving employment to over a hundred hands, as appears from the labor commissioner's statistics.
A still more wonderful feature of the trade, however, is the manufacture of brooms by machinery. The only establishment of the kind in the world was put in operation in St. Louis about the year 1876, and it consumes or utilizes more broom-corn than all
other broom-factories (hand) in the West. It turns out six hundred dozen complete brooms daily, uses seven thousand two hundred handles, and works up six tons of the raw material. The product thus aggregates about three hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, or over twelve hundred dollars each working day. This extensive trade is constantly increasing.
Furniture. In a review of the manufactures of St. Louis at that time, a local journal of Sept. 7, 1854, said, with reference to the furniture industry, "There are many residents of St. Louis, probably the majority of the inhabitants, who are not aware of the progress and already advanced state of St. Louis manufactories. The time was when we looked to Cincinnati and the Eastern cities for almost everything we wanted in the line of manufactures, either because the article we wished was not to be had here, or if it was the Eastern manufacture could be had at a cheaper rate. As in any other growing, struggling city, our mechanics were not able to compete with Eastern work, and it always requires a vast deal of enterprise, determination, and hard labor to break up a trade that has once been established, no matter in what line of business. Many really enterprising mechanics have failed in producing this result and have become bankrupt, almost martyrs to the cause of home manufactures." 178
Prior to that date, Paris H. Mason, in 1847, associated himself with Russell Scarrett, at 214 Washington Avenue; Conrades & Logeman established their business in 1853; Joseph Peters was making, in 1854, a specialty of bureaus and cabinet-work; John H. Crane commenced the furniture business in 1855; William Mitchell opened his shop in the same year, and in 1871 the establishment was incorporated as the "Mitchell Furniture Company," and in 1860, Martin Lammert began business. From this year the business rapidly increased, until now it is one of the most important industries in St. Louis. In 1881 there were seventy-two houses engaged in the furniture-trade, whose sales aggregated three million dollars per annum.
Joseph Peters, who, as we have seen, was one of the early furniture manufacturers of St. Louis, was born in Prussia, May 9, 1832. He learned the trade of a cabinet-maker, and at the age of twenty-two, desiring to better his condition, emigrated to America, settling in St. Louis in 1854. For nine years he worked at his trade, and in 1863 established a manufactory. Having little or no capital, he employed at first a few hand-workers, but with hard labor and economy the business prospered, and in the lapse of time horse-power was introduced, and finally steam. Mr. Peters managed the business personally and under his own name until 1880, when the "Joseph Peters' Furniture Company" was organized, he becoming its president. It is one of the largest concerns of the kind in St. Louis, but is distinguished not so much, perhaps, for the extent of its operations as for the fine quality of its manufactures. Hitherto St. Louis has been obliged to look elsewhere for its fine furniture, but there is a prospect, under the enterprising lead of such men as Joseph Peters, that the demand for elegant and expensive goods will be met by the home manufacturer.
Distilleries. In former years St. Louis had distilleries operating in her midst, but the product of the two remaining the St. Louis and the Teuscher Companies is greater, according to the testimony of the Internal Revenue Department, than that of their more numerous predecessors. In 1854 the production was seventeen thousand five, hundred barrels, and during the five years from 1877 to 1881 the production, estimated on the basis of the stamp-tax pin ninety cents a gallon), was, in value, as follows:
The product of 1881 aggregated upwards of twenty-four thousand gallons, a trifling quantity as compare with the large imports. St. Louis, however, has ownership in several Kentucky distilleries, the product of which is handled in the St. Louis market, and there are also a large number of distilleries, agents, and rectifiers doing business in St. Louis, so that the entire movement of the whiskey interest represents perhaps two million five hundred thousand dollars a year.
The following table shows the condition of the distillery business:
The following is a statement of the amount of grain used, product of spirits, and tax paid, etc. of the two distilleries which have operated during the years 1880, 1881, and 1882 in this district:
Remaining on hand in distillery warehouse
Wines. Fifteen or twenty years ago it was thought that Missouri would become a great wine-growing State and St. Louis a wine market of consequence. These expectations have not been fully realized, owing, in part, to the rapidly-developed vineyard interests of California, and in part to the preference given in St. Louis to the beer market. But the wine-making trade is still productive, and promises to become a very substantial manufacture when the vine-plantings are more extensive and the plant for fermenting and ripening the grape-juice is larger.
Great intelligence and thought have recently been to grape-culture and wine-making in Missouri, with the result of eliminating much error and many absurdly false expectations of yield and profit, at the time getting the industry closer down to a business-like basis. Missouri wines have an admitted excellence in flavor and keeping qualities, and the soil and climate of the State are suitable to the production of grapes yielding a "must" full of body and having saccharine enough in it to prevent the acetic fermentation. On this point Rev. Mr. Peabody, an admitted expert, says, "The two important natural conditions demanded by the grape are climate and soil. Given these two, all the rest will eventually follow from the application of the skilled industry of the vine-dresser. In this portion of the valley of the Mississippi we find these two elementary conditions, climate and soil, existing together. That the soil and climate of Missouri and the adjacent parts of other States, especially those on its eastern and western boundaries (Illinois and Kansas), are eminently adapted to the growth of the grape is a point too well established to need discussion here. The fact is well known and universally acknowledged throughout the entire district, and perhaps, I may venture to add, throughout the United States. Compared with other sections of the United States (at least all those east of the Rocky Mountains), so far as their capabilities have been tested, our advantages for the production of wine are certainly superior." 179
All the experiments at Hermann have been satisfactory and remunerative, and there are said to be fifteen million acres of land in Missouri suitable for vineyards.
In 1853 the native wine received in St. Louis was contained in nine casks, seven barrels, and eight boxes, less than the product of Kaskaskia and Cahokia a hundred years before that. The census of 1870 returned four wine-makers and an annual product exceeding $800,000. The census of 1880 gives three establishments, $380,000 capital, thirty-one hands, $18,830 wages, $52,000 material, and $131,000 product. These figures are not encouraging, and yet the grape-growing interest is not disheartened. On the contrary, it rests confident that Missouri must be the centre of wine-making in this country, because it has six varieties of grapes native to the soil, and which, unlike the California grapes, are claimed to be phylloxera-proof.
The native wine interest has largely exceeded the whiskey manufacture and trade in volume of late years
in St. Louis, although a much more recently-established branch of trade. One St. Louis brand of champagne alone exceeds in volume and value of trade the purely spirit interest, and the growth of the trade in Missouri, California, and other native wines has exceeded the anticipations of those engaged in it. The bottled wine export last year reached nearly twenty thousand cases. The value of foreign wines and liquors which passed through the St. Louis custom-house in 1881 was $60,639, on which a duty of $26,990.39 was paid. Of the forty firms engaged in the wholesale whiskey trade in 1881, many deal in wines and other liquors, and the sales aggregate probably over $2,000,000 per annum.
Breweries. The period when lager-beer brewing, which has become an industry of immense proportions, was established in St. Louis is more readily ascertainable than the precise time when brewing generally was inaugurated. The early files of the Missouri Gazette, however, fix the date of the beginning of beer-brewing in St. Louis in the month of May, 1810, when that paper "congratulated" its readers
"on the acquisition of a new establishment for making porter and strong beer. Mr. St. Vrain, of Bellefontaine," it added, "has erected a manufactory and taken into partnership an experienced European brewer, and has commenced business in a handsome style. The lovers of malt will now have an opportunity to foster an undertaking so much wanted in this Territory."
Subsequently the same paper published the following advertisement:
"Table beer and porter, manufactured by St. Vrain & Habb, at Bellefontaine, near St. Louis. Those who wish to be supplied will please direct their orders to the brewery, or to Edward Hempstead, Esq., St. Louis, who will always have a quantity in his cellar ready for sale. Customers who may want a large supply will please to give timely notice."
The following from the same source fixes the price at which beer was sold to the early inhabitants of St. Louis:
"Strong and table beer, manufactured by St. Vrain & Habb, at Bellefontaine, near St. Louis. The price of strong beer will be ten dollars in cash or twelve in produce, five dollars in cash for table beer or six in produce, delivered at the brewery at the following prices:
"Cattle and pork at the market price will also be taken, and three months' credit shall be given to purchasers, provided they give an indorsed note to the satisfaction of the brewers. Those who wish to be supplied will please direct their orders to the brewery, or to Edward Hempstead, Esq., St. Louis."
In May, 1810, the St. Louis brewery of Jacob Philipson went into operation, and he was "ready to sell beer at the price of eleven dollars for the barrel and six dollars for the half-barrel, one dollar of each to be returned to the purchaser on his redelivering within a reasonable time the empty barrel in good condition, and bearing the stamp of the brewery." Mr. Philipson also agreed that the above price should "be reduced whenever grain can be obtained in this country in quantities sufficient to give the brewery a continued employment, and whenever our farmers, by attending to the cultivation of hops, will do away with the necessity of procuring this article from a great distance and at considerable expense. The brewery will keep no books, and will deliver beer only for immediate payment. This invariable rule is imposed on the proprietor by the necessity of his paying cash (frequently in advance) for every ingredient and every part of labor. Beer will be retailed at the rate of twelve and a half cents per quart at the stores of Messrs. Sylvestre Labadie and Michel Tesson, and at various other convenient situations in this place, and at Ste. Genevieve a constant supply will be kept up at the store of Jacob Philipson."
In 1826 the "new brewery" of Lynch & Co. was advertised, and in 1827, John Mullanphy had "St. Louis ale at his brewery in whole or half-barrels."
Descendants of the old French residents prior to 1800 speak of a fermented liquor made in St. Louis at that early period, and of the existence of at least one primitive place of brewing. The venerable Ezra English manufactured a malt liquor better known as ale than beer half a century or more ago, and upon an extensive scale, judged by the storage capacity of the "English Cave," not far from the present site of Benton Park, and which was then used, as subsequently, for the storing of beer. The cave itself has a romantic history, and while it is believed to lead to the river, has never been thoroughly explored in its inmost recesses, nor further than sufficient to afford capacity for storing three thousand five hundred barrels. English & McHose were the firm subsequently engaged in the manufacture of beer in this connection. The St. Louis Ale Brewery is the only one of that character yet existing.
Probably the first lager-beer brewery established it St. Louis district was put in operation in 1841 by the father of William J. Lemp, who succeeded to the business ness, after being engaged in malting for a while, upon the death of the elder Lemp. This brewery was in rear of the site of the present Lemp sample-rooms on Walnut Street near Second. With the immigration of German citizens familiar with brewing, the erection of breweries and malt-houses increased in number, until there are now twenty-three of the former and thirteen of the latter, six independent of the breweries, and in all producing yearly about one million bushels. Many of the brewing establishments are very extensive, and represent an aggregate value of over nine million dollars. St. Louis has become, with the growth of the American taste for lager, the third city in its production in this country, and in excellence of the product rivals Bohemia, hitherto
conceded to be the headquarters of the best beer in the world.
The growth of the industry, in respect to its contribution of revenue to the general government, at the rate of ninety-two and a half cents per barrel, makes the official exhibit for five years:
The following exhibit, although differing somewhat from that collected by the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, is of later date, and believed to be more comprehensive:
The political influence exerted by German immigration has not been more potential than that exercised by the same element in modifying popular habits. The Republican of June 21, 1857, commenting upon the influence of lager beer upon the habits and customs of the people of St. Louis, remarks that about 1840,
"When our city was in its infancy, and the German infusion had not poured in, no one spoke seriously of a German vote, and the papers never entertained such a subject as a German element; no aspirant for congressional honors ever then modeled his opinion by the German standard or courted German favor. There was no German paper, because there were none to read beer gardens, because there were none to frequent them. We do not remember having seen in those days such a thing as a sausage-shop, a gasthaus, or a handlung. There was one apotheke and a deutscher arzt, and, if we mistake not, the sign of a hebamme swung at that period over the door somewhere in the region known then as Frenchtown. There was nothing that indicated that there was a German population requiring more than one doctor, a drug-store, and midwife.
"The only garden which had any pretensions as a place of was known at that time to the very limited number of ladies and gentlemen who took summer-evening strolls as the ‘Broadway Garden,’ and was, as well as we can recollect, dimly lighted by variegated oil-lamps, and solely devoted to ice cream and ‘mead.’ The Broadway Garden went out just about the time that beer gardens came in. And when they did come in it was tumultuously; a sudden and almost unexpected wave of emigration swept over us, and we found the town inundated with breweries, beer-houses, sausage-shops, Apollo gardens, Sunday concerts, Swiss cheese, and Holland herrings. We found it almost necessary to learn the German language before we could ride in an omnibus or buy a pair of breeches, and absolutely necessary to drink beer at a Sunday concert.
"In nothing, perhaps, has the German influence been more sensibly and, we will add, more beneficially felt than in the introduction of beer as a common beverage. It is not only used by the Germans, but it has been wellnigh universally adopted by the English-speaking population, and the spacious beer halls and extensive gardens nightly show that the Americans are as fond of the Gambrinian liquid as are those who have introduced it...."
In 1854 the Republican of September 20th said,
"St. Louis has about twenty-four breweries, and every one of them has stored nearly twice the quantity of ‘ale’ for this summer that has been made in any preceding one. As we are informed by one of the largest dealers of this article, the quantity may be safely reckoned at 40,000 barrels of lager beer, and perhaps 20,000 barrels of common beer. By an average count, one barrel of thirty gallons gives about 300 glasses. Thus we have about 12,000,000 glasses of lager beer, and about 6,000,000 of common beer; in all, 18,000,000 glasses of beer drank in St. Louis from the 1st of March last up to the 17th of September, the time the lager beer gave out. Common beer is sold at five dollars per barrel, and lager beer at seven dollars, that is at wholesale. This will make the amount received by the brewers for lager beer $290,000, and for common $100,000; together, say $380,000. The retailers, at five cents a glass, took in $600,000 for lager beer and $300,000 for the common article. Just think of it, nearly a million of dollars ($900,000) spent in St. Louis during one summer for beer, and that chiefly among the Germans themselves!"
In 1810 the table beer of St. Vrain & Habb, brewed in St. Louis, sold at ten dollars cash, or twelve dollars in produce, per barrel, and that of the St. Louis brewery at about the same. In 1854 the price of common beer was five dollars per barrel, and seven dollars for lager. In 1860 the average price of lager was eight dollars per barrel. The beer garden followed quickly upon the general introduction of lager as a beverage. In 1857, Lemp's saloon is mentioned as "oneofthelargestoftheclass," and "about nine o'clock at night a perfect beer babel," where around a number of tables excited coteries were assembled, "quaffing incredible quantities of beer and uttering almost impossible successions of vocal sounds, and boys rushing enthusiastically from the bar to the tables with more glasses of beer than it would seem within the power of two human hands to carry."
Since 1857 the consumption of beer has increased enormously. It was estimated by Henry H. Rueter, president of the United States Brewers' Association, that the beer production of the whole country for 1879 reached 10,000,000 barrels, and that of Missouri 507,963 barrels, which, according to the tax paid, had increased to 877,663 barrels in 1881. We have seen that in 1854 the Republican ascertained
that "one barrel of thirty gallons gives about three hundred glasses," and that then St. Louis consumed eighteen millions of glasses in a single spring and summer. Applying the same calculation to the production for 1881, we find that the $816,226.51 paid for stamps, at ninety-three cents per barrel, gives a production of 877,663 barrels, which, at three hundred glasses per barrel, would allow 263,298,900 glasses. This would give a consumption, assuming the population to be 400,000, of 658 glasses for every person during the year. In addition to this 1,252,344 packages of ale and beer were shipped from the city. The following table of statistics is translated from the Mississippi Handels-Zeitung, a German commercial newspaper published in St. Louis. It exhibits the names of the breweries existing in that city in 1860, the names of their several proprietors, and the amount and value of the beer manufactured by each:
"Now, reckoning the working capital of each brewery represented at an average of $15,000, we get the further sum of $600,000 invested in beer, making a grand total of $2,124,400.
"It may then be taken for granted that a capital of at least $2,000,000 is annually expended in the production of beer in this city."
We have spoken of the people of St. Louis and their calm composure in adversity, their steadfast assurance that every cloud had its silver lining. We have shown in part how capital and energy have rallied to the support of struggling industries, and how every trade, and every encouragement to trade, has been at once worked up to its full capacity and utmost tension. The history of her manufactures shows how continual this power has been of utilizing every resource; how the cotton trade sprung up out of Southern railroad extensions, bringing in its train an immense expansion of the general business in merchandise. In the same way the manufacture of hog and beef products has grown up about the Texas cattle trade and the livestock and distillery business, and the development of the brewing business and the export of malted liquors have sprung up from the grain trade. This brewing business and its correlated industries of bottling and exporting beer are, as we have shown, enormous, and so extensive an industry as beer-brewing necessarily requires the products of many trades and manufactures to supply its wants. Boilers, engines, pumps, ice-machines, mashing-tubs, tanks, and mills, and other copper, iron, and brass works are necessary in the first instance, and need repairs and renewal, thus giving employment to hundreds of workmen.
Again, cooperage is daily required, and the extent of the demand may be inferred from the simple statement that the Missouri breweries have 267,800 packages in constant use.
They also require the services of bricklayers, cement- and asphalt-workers, wagon- and harness-makers, bung and cork manufacturers, painters and label-printers.
As nearly as can be ascertained, the capital invested in the several trades and manufactures comprised in the above enumeration over and above what would be required were it not for the wants of the brewing business amounts to $500,000, and making and constructing what the breweries require gives constant occupation to 1000 skilled workmen.
If, then, all the facts be brought together in one comprehensive view, it will be found that the lager-beer brewing industry of Missouri supports 16,210 persons (without taking at all into account the retail venders), and directly sets in motion annually, in purchase and sale, over $20,000,000. It seems to be the most important industry in the State. 180
Among the brewers of St. Louis one of the most
prominent and successful was Joseph Schnaider. Mr. Schnaider was born at Zell am Hammersbach, Baden, Feb. 2, 1832. At the age of fifteen he went to Rastadt, where he was apprenticed to a brewer, and at the age of eighteen removed to Strasburg, where he became the foreman of a large brewery. He remained but a short time in that position, and being desirous of seeing more of the world, he made a tour through France, working at his business in various places.
In 1854 he embarked for America, settling in the city of St. Louis, where he soon became foreman of the Philadelphia Brewery, then located on Morgan Street. In 1856 he erected the Green Tree Brewery, on Second Street, associating himself with Max Feuerbacher. In 1863 the firm built a new and larger brewery on Sidney Street. In 1865, Mr. Schnaider sold his interest in this establishment to his partner, and erected a brewery on Chouteau Avenue, between Mississippi and Armstrong Avenues. In 1865 he established, adjacent to the brewery, a large beer garden, which, together with the brewery, was subsequently enlarged until they both reached their present dimensions.
In 1879 the Joseph Schnaider Brewing Company was organized, mainly in order that, in case of death (Mr. Schnaider then not enjoying good health), the business should continue without the disturbance or hindrances frequently consequent upon the sudden death of the head of a large concern. Unfortunately the apprehensions then entertained by him found a speedy realization. While seeking health in the congenial climate of the Fatherland he succumbed, in October, 1881, to the ravages of an ailment of protracted standing, closing his in many respects remarkable career in the prime of his life, at the city of Heidelberg, Germany, far away from the scenes of his earthly usefulness and success. He was nursed by a loving wife until all human aid proved in vain and death ensued, and his remains were carried across the ocean to his once happy home, from where they were interred with honors bordering on a public demonstration. In him St. Louis lost one of her most enterprising citizens, and a man who, by his kind and humane impulses, had won for himself the affection and sympathy of his fellow-citizens and the name of public benefactor.
Mr. Schnaider was married in 1856 to Elizabeth Sedler, and leaves seven children, three sons and four daughters, the oldest son, Joseph M. Schnaider, being of the managing stockholders in the brewing company.
Another representative brewer of St. Louis was Eberhard Anheuser. Mr. Anheuser was born in Germany in 1805, and came to the United States in 1843, locating first in Cincinnati. Two years later he removed to St. Louis, and engaged in soap manufacturing with Nicholas Schaeffer and others. He continued in this business fifteen years, and about 1860 established himself in the brewing business with William D'Oench. Out of this alliance grew the immense business subsequently carried on by Mr. Anheuser and his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, under the corporate name of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association. Mr. Anheuser was known far and wide throughout the country, and in the summer of 1879, when it was announced in the National Brewers' Convention that sickness would prevent him from attending the session, a resolution of regret was unanimously adopted. His business gave employment to many hundred men, and made St. Louis enterprise known in all quarters of the globe. Mr. Anheuser, who died May 2, 1880, left five adult children, three daughters and two sons, the daughters being Mrs. Ulrich Busch, of Chicago; Mrs. Adolphus Busch, of St. Louis; and Mrs. Peter Shoettler, of Chicago; and the sons William and Adolph Anheuser.
Beer Bottling. Beer bottling has lately become entitled to recognition as a business almost distinct from brewing. The industry is of comparatively recent origin, but already St. Louis is the largest bottling point in the United States, and probably in the world. The "Budweiser" beer of C. Conrad & Co. is not only shipped to all parts of the United States (including the Territories), but exported to Canada, Mexico, South America, and large quantities to Europe, Asia, and to the Cape. Indeed, one St. Louis establishment has more than a score of agents on the Continent, and boasts an annual product of nearly five million bottles. The total bottling product of the brewers and others engaged in this industry is 20,000,000 a year, and the sales in 1881 aggregated $2,598,783. The number of hands employed is 700. The exports during the same period aggregated 1,252,344 packages.
Ice Company. The St. Louis Ice Company was organized in September, 1854, with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars, in shares of twenty-five dollars each, "and no one person to be allowed more than eight shares." This, we are told, was the original proposition, and it was thought that if this could be done the scheme would be practicable. The gentleman proposing it accordingly started out to see what could be done in the way of subscriptions. The plan was universally applauded, and in the space of six days from the time the subscription-list was open the whole proposed stock of twenty-five thousand dollars was taken.
A meeting of stockholders was then called at the Merchants' Exchange, on Main Street. William M. McPheeters was called to the chair, whereupon he stated the object of the meeting, which then proceeded to the appointment of trustees, and the following were elected:
Asa Wilgus, Kenneth Mackenzie, William M. McPherson, John J. Anderson, William W. Green, W. Patrick, Edward Brooks, John McNeil, T. E. Courtenay, S. Dorsheimer, John B. Carson, George Knapp, and B. F. Stout.
The board subsequently elected Asa Wilgus president, and B. F. Stout secretary and treasurer of the company. At a subsequent meeting of the board a resolution was passed to increase the capital to fifty thousand dollars, and the books were opened for that amount. Subscriptions were promptly made, and forty thousand dollars was taken, leaving the amount of ten thousand dollars to be subscribed.
The company "leased Mr. Finney's large ice-house on Fifth Street, and also leased a lot of ground from the public schools on the Levee, between Plum and Cedar Streets," on which they erected a spacious building for the purpose of storing ice.
In 1881 there were eight wholesale and thirty-three retail ice dealers in St. Louis, and the volume of business, both wholesale and retail, is estimated at between four million and five million dollars.
Engraving, Photographing, etc. Seventeen firms were engaged in 1881 in the business of engraving, die-sinking, etc., in St. Louis, with a capital of eighty thousand dollars, giving employment to sixty-five hands, and paying wages annually amounting to seventy-three thousand dollars. The business transacted was estimated at about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. In wood-engraving St. Louis has long enjoyed a special pre-eminence. In 1881 there were three large establishments in active operation, whose products realized the sum of forty thousand dollars, the industry employing twenty-four skilled workmen. There are also a number of photographers, some of whom enjoy a wide celebrity for the superiority and nicety of their work. Among the latter the well-known establishment of John A. Scholten is specially worthy of mention. Mr. Scholten was born in Rees, a town on the Rhine, in Prussia, and attended the schools of his native place until fourteen years old, when he emigrated with his parents to America, settling at Hermann, Mo. Here he remained for three years, and then removed to St. Louis, where he spent some time in the dry-goods store of Trueworthy Hoyt, a respected and highly successful merchant. In 1857, however, he abandoned commercial pursuits and turned his attention to his present calling, in which he soon won an extensive local reputation for the correctness and artistic beauty of the likenesses which he produced. His success prompted him to choose a more central location, and he removed to Fourth Street, between Olive and Locust, and subsequently to the northwest corner of Olive and Fifth Streets. His rooms at the latter location were models of elegance and good taste.
In 1874 he removed to his present location, near Olive and Tenth Streets, which he had fitted up especially for the delicate requirements of his profession. On New Year's night, 1878, his establishment was burned, but in May, 1879, he resumed business at the same location, in a studio erected specially for him, and combining all the approved features of the most celebrated Eastern galleries, modified in such particulars as Mr. Scholten's long and varied experience had shown to be desirable. He not only built a structure suitable in every way to his art, but procured the most costly and perfect apparatus yet invented.
Mr. Scholten has applied himself to his calling with unreserved devotion, and hag been an enthusiastic laborer, constantly experimenting and perfecting. Instead of being content with the accepted methods of others, he has investigated for himself, and in so doing has been the introducer of improvements having a permanent value. He was the first to introduce into St. Louis the popular carte de visite, and by liberal yet judicious expenditure has contributed materially to the development of the photographic art in St. Louis. The estimation in which he is held by leading citizens appears in the following testimonial:
"MERCHANTS' EXCHANGE OF ST. LOUIS.
"John Wahl, Prest. George H. Morgan, Sec.
"ST. LOUIS, May 3, 1879.
"MR. JOHN A. SCHOLTEN:
"Dear Sir, The undersigned, president and ex-presidents of the Merchants' Exchange, desiring to express to you their appreciation of your kindness in contributing to the ‘records’ of the Exchange the handsomely framed portraits of the ‘presidents,’ have had prepared the accompanying medal, which they beg you to accept as a token of the esteem in which you are held by them individually, and as a recognition on the part of the Exchange of your liberality and courtesy. They desire also to congratulate you on the opening of your new rooms, and trust you may receive the generous patronage which you so richly deserve as an artist and a gentleman.
"D. P. ROWLAND. WEB M. SAMUEL.
"GEORGE BAIN. JOHN A. SCUDDER.
"WILLIAM J. LEWIS. NATHAN COLE.
"THOMAS RICHESON. R. R. TANSEY.
"W. H. SCUDDER. E. O. STANARD.
"Attest: "JOHN WAHL, Prest. GEORGE H. MORGAN, Sec."
Copper and Tin. In 1816, John Dowling commenced the business of a copper and tin manufacturer in St. Louis, in a shop "in the rear of Mr. Robidoux's store and near Matthew Kerr's store." Copper and tinware were made and repaired. In 1817, Reuben Neal "commenced the manufacturing of copper and tinware in the house lately owned and occupied by Mr. Joseph Brazeau, opposite Mr. Hempstead's, in Church Street, St. Louis," where he made stills, fullers', hatters', wash-, stew-, and tea-kettles, and copper, tin, and sheet-iron ware of all descriptions. In 1820, Neal & Liggett carried on a copper- and tin-shop on South Main Street, opposite Antoine Dangin, Block 36. According to the census of 1880, the number of manufactories engaged in the production of tin, copper, and sheet-iron ware was one hundred and twenty, but it is probable that there are over two hundred establishments in the city where tinware is manufactured. The value of the business has been estimated at one million two hundred thousand dollars per annum.
Lithographers. There were eleven firms engaged in the lithographing business in 1882, and St. Louis enjoys facilities in this respect possessed by few other cities in the country. One of the pioneer firms engaged in this industry is that of August Gast & Co. Its founder, August Gast, was born in Belle, a village in the princedom of Lippe-Detmold, Germany, March 10, 1819. He was educated at the Gymnasium at Detmold, and with his brother Leopold learned the trade of lithography, and worked at this business in Germany for several years. The disturbances of 1848 prostrated business in that country, and the brothers determined to emigrate to America. They had very little money, their chief possession being a press and a small lithographic outfit which belonged to Leopold. They spent some months in New York, and about one and a half years in Pittsburgh, and finally, in 1852, arrived in St. Louis, and commenced business as lithographers in a little shop on Fourth Street, between Walnut and Elm Streets, where the "Southern Hotel" now stands. They started with the small outfit above mentioned, and the name of the firm was Leopold Gast & Brother.
Up to that time there had been but one lithographer in St. Louis, Julius Hutawa, who confined himself chiefly to the production of maps. His trade was small, and he soon went out of business, leaving Gast & Brother in sole possession of the field.
The brothers began on a very modest scale, but they did good work and soon began to prosper. In 1866, August Gast purchased his brother Leopold's interest, and from 1866 to 1877 he had two partners. In the latter year he purchased their interest also, and admitted E. F. Wittler to this firm. Wittler had been for some years traveling agent, and had distinguished himself by his industry and efficiency. In January, 1878, the firm was further enlarged by the admission of Louis Wall. Since that time the business has expanded rapidly, and the house now employs four color artists, fifteen engravers, fifteen transferes, ten steam-presses, several compositors, and hand-press printers, bookbinders, etc., and in May, 1882, the business of steel-engraving was added, the whole requiring a force of about one hundred and ten hands. It is one of the largest establishments of the kind in the West. It has devoted itself to the higher class of work, and enjoys, a wide-spread reputation for the beauty and elegance of its manufactures.
Mr. Gast landed in St. Louis without a penny in his pocket, and when he started in business he did no small share of the work with his own hands. What thirty years of industry have accomplished may be seen by going through his mammoth establishment in St. Louis and viewing the army of workmen employed there.
In March, 1853, Mr. Gast was married to Sophie Von Laer, a native of Schleswig. She died in 1864, and in November, 1865, Mr. Gast again married, his wife being Marie Barthel, a native of Leipsic, Saxony. Both are members of the Evangelical Lutheran congregation.
Early Trade Notes. From the advertising columns of the newspapers, from pamphlets, and other sources not directly in the line of historical data many interesting facts are to be learned. On Aug. 24, 1808, C. Burns advertised for two or three journeyman tailors, "to whom constant employment and good wages will be given." On September 14th of the same year F. Hinkle "wanted to hire a negro woman, one without children will be preferred," and on September 17th, William Harris, hatter, respectfully informed "his friends and the public in general that he has commenced the hatting business in all its different branches on Main Street, next door below Dr. Saugrain's, where any person may be supplied on the shortest notice and on moderate terms." On the 14th of the following month a house was to be rented on application to M. P. Leduc, and the same day Samuel Solomon had twelve hundred gallons of good old whiskey for sale for cash. On Jan. 11, 1809, we find that "Joseph Coppinger proposes setting off for New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington on the 1st of February, to return in May. He takes this method of offering his agency to his friends and the public, and expects reasonable compensation
for any trust undertaken." Aaron Elliott & Son, of Ste. Genevieve, on the 7th of June, advertised in the St. Louis papers to the effect that "all those who have open accounts with Aaron Elliott, or Aaron Elliott & Son, are requested to call and close the same prior to the 1st August, 1809. Those who neglect this call will have their accounts to settle with an attorney," with a postscript stating that they had constantly on hand a complete assortment of drugs and medicines, "which they will sell either wholesale or retail on as good terms as can be purchased in this country." On July 5th, Michael Dolan, "tailor and habit-maker," Main Street, announced that he had opened a shop at the house then occupied by Mr. Hampton, "breeches-maker." Cornelius Burns, also a tailor, begged leave, on November 2d, to acquaint his friends and the public that he had commenced business on his own account at the house formerly occupied by Wilson & Price. On the 16th of the same month, Bernard Lalende made it known that he manufactured gentlemen's coats for $4.50, and pantaloons at $1.75, "well made and in the newest fashion." In 1811, Norman McKenzie wanted a few carpenters, and Robert Wash announced himself as administrator of James A. Graham, and offered a reward of $20 for a fine cloak that had been stolen. J. Septlivres, on the 2d of June, 1812, published his card as house and sign painter. In an advertisement dated Aug. 5, 1813, we find that there "arrived a few days ago from the mouth of the Columbia River, Robert Steuart, Ramsey Crooks, Joseph Miller, and Robert McClellan, and three hunters," whose narrative would appear the following week. In 1815, William Sullivan kept a livery-stable in St. Louis, and his terms were ten dollars per month, with no deduction for any horse taken out unless he remained out a week or more, $3 per week, 75 cents for twenty-four hours. Auguste Chouteau advertised at private sale, May 18, 1816, his lots lately laid out on the hill west of town, a plot of which might be seen at the printing-office. On the 8th of June of the same year, John Keesacker informed the "gentlemen of St. Louis that he has opened a barber-shop in Front Street, near Mr. Paul's store building, and pledges himself he will give satisfaction in his line of business. Price of shaving per month, $1." On the 18th of June, Mrs. Baker started the millinery business in the brick building opposite Mr. Savage's auction-room. In 1829 the announcement was made that "the new bathing establishment of Mr. J. Sparks & Co. has about thirty-five visitors, and of that number not one has experienced an hour's sickness since the bathing commenced; we should, for the benefit of the health of the city, be glad there were more encouragement, and as the season is partly over, tickets have been reduced to one dollar the season."
Miscellaneous Trades and Industries. In addition to the foregoing there is an immense variety of trades and industries in St. Louis, of which it is impossible to give a particular account within the limits of this work. Among the more important may be mentioned the trade in wall-paper, carpets, etc., in which thirty-one houses were engaged in 1881, their business aggregating one million nine hundred thousand dollars; books and stationery, in which five wholesale and seventy-five retail houses were employed in 1881, the aggregate business being estimated at six million nine hundred thousand dollars; news and book paper, etc., represented in 1881 by nine wholesale dealers, transacting a business of three million nine hundred thousand dollars; music and musical instruments, transacted by eleven houses, whose business was estimated in 1881 at one million six hundred thousand dollars; 181 produce, seventy-nine houses, with annual sales estimated in 1881 of two million dollars, besides four firms engaged in the sale of seeds of various kinds; powder, guns, and sporting goods, five wholesale firms, who confine their business to gun, rifle, and blasting powder and similar goods, and three firms who deal in guns, pistols, fishing-tackle, and sporting goods; aggregate value of business in 1881, six hundred thousand dollars.
In addition to the manufactures already described there were in 1881 the following among other industries in active and successful operation: Agricultural implements, seven firms, 500 hands employed, $900,000 value of annual product; artificial feathers and flowers, three firms, 79 hands, $150,000 annual sales; awnings and tents, ten firms, 250 hands employed, $400,000 annual sales; bags, paper, flax, hemp, and jute, seven firms, 500 hands employed, $1,100,000 annual sales; box manufactures, twelve firms, 250 hands employed, $400,000 annual sales; brass foundries, fourteen firms, 157 hands employed, $580,000
annual sales; carnages and wagons, forty farms, 1100 men and boys employed, nearly $2,000,000 annual sales; confectionery, three hundred dealers, value of business $1,200,000 per annum; cooperage, eighty establishments, 900 hands employed, $500,000 capital invested, total annual sales $1,500,000; cordage and twine, fourteen firms, 77 hands employed, $75,000 estimated value of business; corsets, three firms, $10,000 annual sales; cutlery and tools, four firms, 20 hands employed, $24,000 annual sales; engraving, die-sinking, etc., seventeen firms, 65 hands employed, $151,000 annual sales; wood-engraving, three firms, 24 hands employed, $40,000 annual sales; files, six firms, 35 hands employed, $42,000 annual sales; glass, six firms, 400 hands employed, $600,000 annual sales; glue, five firms, 30 hands employed, $75,000 annual sales; machinery, forty-six firms, 1600 hands employed, $2,500,000 annual sales; marble- and stone-work, fifty-six firms, 475 hands employed, $800,000 annual sales; mattresses and spring-beds, nine firms, 55 hands employed, $150,000 annual sales; mineral and soda waters, ten firms, 100 hands employed, $175,000 annual sales; paints and varnishes, total capital invested $2,000,000, 532 hands employed, 12,700,000 annual sales; refrigerators, three firms, 101 hands employed, $309,000 annual sales; roofing and roofing materials, five firms, 75 hands employed, $177,000 annual sales; showcases, four firms, 79 hands employed, $90,000 annual sales; shirts, seventeen firms, 274 women and 52 men employed, $280,000 annual sales; stone and earthenware, five firms, forty-one hands employed, $50,000 annual sales; tin, copper, and sheet-iron, about 200 firms, with an estimated business of $1,200,000 per annum; vinegar, fourteen firms, 120 hands employed, $575,000 value of annual product; wheelwrighting, fifty-two firms, 130 hands employed, $155,000 annual sales; whips, four firms, annual business $20,000; wire-work, 600 hands employed, $1,300,000 annual sales.
In 1871 a carefully prepared statement by William A. Johnson showed the increase in manufactures in twenty of the leading articles to have been nineteen per cent. in the capital employed, and thirty per cent. in the value of the products.
Mr. Charles W. Knapp, from whose very able paper on St. Louis, read before the "Round Table" in October, 1882, we have frequently had occasion to quote, thus groups the manufacturing cities, according to the census of 1860, 1870, and 1880:
Information derived from the United States Census Bureau as late as December, 1882, gives the following as the proper figures in regard to the manufactures of St. Louis:
Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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