Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Manuel Lisa 1772-1820

Famous fur trader of Spanish descent who built the "Old Rock House" on the St. Louis riverfront.

Birth: Sep. 8, 1772
Death: Aug. 12, 1820

Manual Lisa, a bold St Louis merchant who spearheaded the opening of the northern and far-western fur trade following the Louisiana Purchase, was born on September 8, 1772, in New Orleans.
When Lisa arrived in St. Louis, Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Chouteau dominated fur trading operations along the lower Missouri with the benefit of a monopoly of the Osage trade awarded by Spanish authorities.

Lisa dramed of further exploring the great Northwest. To that end he established the t. Louis Missouri Fur Company in 1809. Despite his efforts, company profits declined and folded in 1814. In 1819 Lisa formed another Missouri fur Company. But this endeavor also failed.
While living among the Omaha Indians Lisa took an Indian wife, Mitain. Following her death in 1818 he married Mary Hempstead Keeney.

Despite his business failures, Lisa left his mark on the fur trade. In addition to opening the Northwest trade to the US, he promoted the connection between business success and good relations with the Indians. Through his successes and his travels, the highly respected and sometimes feared Lisa earned the title “the king of the Missouri”.

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