Monday, February 2, 2009

Auguste Chouteau 1740-1829


Sep. 26, 1740 New Orleans, Orleans ParishLouisiana, USA


Feb. 24, 1829 St. Louis city Missouri, USA

Co-founder of the city of St. Louis. Born in New Orleans, Rene Auguste Chouteau was the son of Marie Chouteau and the step-son of Pierre Laclede. In 1763, Laclede received a contract to trade with the Native Americans on the west side of the Mississippi River. Chouteau, and his younger brother Pierre, accompanied Laclede to the area.

They selected a spot on the western bank for their trading station and named it St. Louis. After Laclede's death in 1778, August continued Laclede's fur-trading business and expanded it. By 1794, Chouteau enjoyed a monopoly on the trade with the Osage tribe. He also helped finance most of the other individuals and companies involved in the fur traffic of the Louisiana Territory.

After the Louisiana Territory was sold to the United States in 1803, Chouteau was appointed one of the three justices of the first territorial court. Lewis and Clark reported meeting the Chouteaus and stayed for a time with Pierre. Chouteau was the political patron of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, who built his early career championing the legal interests--especially land claims--of well-to-do conservative French St. Louisans. During the remainder of his life, Chouteau held a number of public offices, but his primary interest always was his business, which continued to prosper.

At his death Chouteau was the wealthiest citizen in St. Louis and the town's largest landowner. Chouteau was originally buried in downtown St. Louis. His body was later moved to Calvary Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. Several members of the Chouteau family, considered the founding family of St. Louis. There was already confusion over Auguste Chouteau's birthday-believed to be either September 7, 1749 or Sept. 26, 1750-when he died in 1829 and was buried in a Catholic cemetery on Walnut Street in what is now downtown St. Louis. But almost 100 years later, a Chouteau descendant moved his grave to Calvary and inexplicably changed his birthday on the tombstone to 1740. That date is widely believed to be inaccurate. Chouteau's brother Jean Pierre and several other family members are also buried in Calvary.