1. Keating, Narrative of an Expedition, 75.

2. Throughout this book the term “Creole” will refer to French-speaking individuals in the region from St. Louis to New Orleans, their culture and their society. To be sure, the term is problematic. It was not a word the Creoles themselves used with great frequency until the 1820s, but it is still the term of self-description used by the descendants of the first French settlers in these cities today. Only in Louisiana did the term seem to take on a highly charged sociopolitical meaning in the process of community formation — although political, social, and cultural battles were fought throughout this region between French-speakers and English-speakers. Why not use the term “French-speakers" or “Francophones?” “Creole” is shorter; moreover, it conveys accurately, I believe, the sensibility of a people — individuals, families, social groups—who could not identify themselves as “Americans,” “Canadians,” or “Europeans.” As the struggle over the elaboration of a definitive linguistic and political order is gradually decided in favor of the Anglo-American, “Creole” becomes more and more a label of ethnicity, bound to ancestry. Race then becomes a new battleground. For an intriguing and enlightening history and analysis of Creole identity in Louisiana, see Domin-guez, White by Definition. Dominguez argues that ethnicity and racial classification are shaped by legal and social forces — in short, are creatures of history. She shows that the application of the term “Creole” was broadest when the struggle over the elaboration of community in Louisiana was at its height.

3. A number of books and articles have been written on “la survivance,” the survival of French culture in Louisiana. See Roland Breton, Géographie du français et de la fran-cité en Louisiane (Quebec: Centre International de Recherche sur le Bilinguisme, 1979); Jerah Johnson, “The Louisiana French,” Contemporary French Civilization, I (Fall 1976); Larbi Oukada, “The Territory and Population of French-speaking Louisiana,” Revue de Louisiane/Louisiana Review, 7 (Summer 1978); Baker, “Les Acadiens en Louisiane avant la Guerre de Sécession; and Lachance, “Intermarriage.” Tinker, Bibliography of the French Newspapers and Periodicals of Louisiana, provides information on French-language journalism, which flourished in the 1840s in Louisiana. Nineteenth-century short stories from French Louisiana were collected recently in St. Martin and Voorhies, eds., Ecrits Louisianais du Dix-Neuvieme Siecle. For a general picture of Creole society in Louisiana during the antebellum period, see Crete, Daily Life in Louisiana.For the establishment of Acadian communities in Louisiana, see Brasseaux, The Founding of New Acadia. Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana; Haas, ed., Louisiana’s Legal Heritage; Tregle, “Political Reinforcement”; and Kmen, Music in New Orleans,all discuss the struggle for cultural dominance in Louisiana during the first few decades of the American regime. The literature on the survival of French language and culture in the other centers of the Creole corridor is not nearly as rich. For Missouri, see Dorrance, “The Survival of French”; Smelser, “Folkways in Creole St. Louis”; and Hoffhaus, Chez les Canses. For Michigan, see the somewhat suspect reminiscences of Hubbard, Memorials of a Half-Century. My general estimate of the gradual decline of the use of the French language is based on an acquaintance with the correspondence of French men, women, and children during the 1830s and 1840s.

4. James Axtell, “Europeans, Indians, and the Age of Discovery in American History Textbooks,” American Historical Review, 92:3 (June 1987), 627.

5. Francis Jennings, “Francis Parkman: A Brahmin among Untouchables,” William and Mary Quarterly, 42:3 (July 1985), 328.

6. Francis Parkman, The Old Regime in Canada (Boston: Little, Brown, 1874), 464465.

7. Pierre Chouteau and Co. also arranged for Chatillon to be Parkman’s guide. The passport and line of credit issued by John Clapp, an employee of P. Chouteau and Co. is reproduced in Wade, ed., The Journals of Francis Parkman, II, facing page 438. See also pp. 494-495 in vol. 2. For a fresh and brilliant analysis of the representations of French frontier or colonial culture in the American literary discourse of the nineteenth century, see Watts, In This Remote Country.

8. Francis Parkman, The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada (Boston, 1882), 251.

9. Nelson Vance Russell, “The French and British at Play in the Old Northwest, 17601796” (1938), reprinted in Clyde C. Walton, ed., An Illinois Reader (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1970), 62.

10. This is the last line of Maurice Thompson’s classic Hoosier novel Alice of Old Vincennes (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bowen-Merrill, 1900). Another wonderful example of a romantic historical novel with quaint midwestern Creoles as its central characters is Mary Hartwell Catherwood, Old Kaskaskia (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1893). Louisiana Creoles have, of course, “inspired” a large number of “moonlight and magnolia” novels. Ross Phares, Cavalier in the Wilderness: The Story of the Explorer and Trader Louis Juchereau de St. Denis (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952) is a good example of a very romantic work of nonfiction. A more scholarly and still useful work, J. H. Schlarman’s From Quebec to New Orleans (Belleville, Ill.: Buechler, 1929), exhibits the power exerted by Parkman’s narrative.

11. Turner, “The Character and Influence.” The dissertation was reprinted by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1977. My discussion of Turner has benefited greatly from William Cronon, “Revisiting the Vanishing Frontier: The Legacy of Frederick Jackson Turner,” Western Historical Quarterly, 18:2 (April 1987).

12. For an elegant refutation of this aspect of Turner’s thinking see Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis, esp. ch. 1, “Dreaming the Metropolis.”

13. Turner, “The Rise and Fall of New France,” reprinted in Minnesota History, 18:4 (December 1937), 384.

14. Ibid., 392.

15. Ibid., 393.

16. Peterson, “Prelude to Red River,” 51-53. See also Peterson, “The People In Between.”

17. Augustin Grignon, “Seventy-Two Years’ Recollections of Wisconsin,” 284.

18. Peterson, “‘Wild’ Chicago,” 64-71.

19. Snyder, “Antoine LeClaire”; Matson, Pioneers of Illinois, 262-272; see also “Antoine Le Clair’s Statement,” in Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 11 (Madison, 1888). LeClaire’s house in Davenport is presently being restored. To raise money for the project, a pamphlet/coloring book reprinting several items of interest has been produced by grade school students and published by the school system. LeClaire deserves a biography.

20. Anson, The Miami Indians. See also Anson’s richly detailed dissertation, “The Fur Traders,” and Robertson and Riker, eds., The John Tipton Papers.

21. John E. Foster, “Some Questions and Perspectives on the Problem of Métis Roots,” in Peterson and Brown, eds., The New Peoples.

22. R. David Edmunds, “‘Unacquainted with the laws of the civilized world': American Attitudes toward the Métis Communities in the Old Northwest,” in Peterson and Brown, eds., The New Peoples, 190.

23Collections of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Michigan (Lansing, 1886), VIII:587-592.

24. For Lucas, see Letters of J. B. C. Lucas from 1815 to 1836 (St. Louis, 1905); Gates, History of Public Land Law Development, ch. 6; and Primm, Lion of the Velley, ch. 4. For Cass, see Woodford, Lewis Cass; and Haeger, The Investment Frontier.

25. Keating, Narrative of an Expedition, 76.

26. For more on the diversity of origins in early St. Louis, see Chapter 2. The numbers come from Jay Gitlin, “Trading Posts and Suburbs: The Urban Context of Creole Society and Commercial Expansion on the Missouri Frontier,” paper read at the Western History Association annual meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, 1980. Sources: O. W. Collet, “Index to St. Louis Register, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1766-1781,” manuscript in Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis; Billon, Annals of St. Louis; Houck, A History of Missouri; Beckwith, Creoles of St. Louis; Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family. For Detroit, see genealogy compiled by Father Christian Denissen in the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.

27. Very little has been done on this topic. See Ekberg, Colonial Ste. Genevieve, ch. 7. Many excellent books have appeared in the past decade or so on Afro-Creole culture and life in Lower Louisiana. See Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992); Thomas N. Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans: The First Slave Society in the Deep South, 1718-1819 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1999); Kimberly S. Hanger, Bounded Lives, Bounded Places: Free Black Society in Colonial New Orleans, 1769-1803 (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997); and Bell, Revolution, Romanticism. Carl J. Ek-berg, Stealing Indian Women: Native Slavery in the Illinois Country (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), explores native slavery in French Illinois in greater depth, and a forthcoming book by Brett Rushforth, Savage Bonds: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France, promises to completely revise our understanding of race and slavery in francophone North America.

28. For examples of this, see Thomas James’s account of the Missouri Fur Company expedition of 1809 led by Manuel Lisa, Pierre Menard, and Pierre Chouteau, Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans (1846), and Charles Larpenteur’s description of life at Fort Union, Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri, 2 vols. (1898).

29. John Francis McDermott’s essay “Cultural Conditions on the Confines of a Wilderness,” in his Private Libraries in Creole St. Louis (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press for the Institut Frangais de Washington, 1938), is still the essential starting point for understanding the lives of these French merchants. With a wonderful command of the sources, McDermott finally dispelled previous notions of the unambitious, isolated Creole trader.

30. For a preliminary investigation of this phenomenon, see Kenneth Haltman, “Sober and Obedient: Preliminary Notes to a Biographical Index of Interpreters in the American West,” unpublished paper, Yale University, 1984.

31. Quoted in John Francis McDermott, “The Frontier Re-examined,” in McDermott, ed., The Frontier Re-examined (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967), 6.

32. White, The Middle Ground, x.

33. Ibid., 316.

34. Faribault-Beauregard, ed., La vie aux Illinois, 15.


1. Most of the information about the founding of St. Louis is taken from John Francis McDermott, “Myths and Realities Concerning the Founding of St. Louis,” in Mc-Dermott, ed., The French in the Mississippi Velley. John Francis McDermott, ed., The Early Histories of St. Louis (St. Louis: St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation, 1952) contains Chouteau’s narrative and other important early writings about the town.

2. For more on Maxent and the affairs of the partnership, see James Julian Coleman Jr., Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent: The Spanish-Frenchman of New Orleans (Gretna, La.: Pelican, 1980).

3. My thanks to colleague and friend Fred Fausz (associate professor of history, University of Missouri-St. Louis) for graciously sharing his intimate knowledge of the manu script with me. A new edition of the manuscript is in preparation: J. Frederick Fausz, ed.,First City of the West: Auguste Chouteau and the Founding of St. Louis (St. Louis: St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010). According to Fausz, the Chouteau manuscript was most likely written in the winter of 1804—be-tween Meriwether Lewis’s arrival in early December 1803 and before he and Clark departed on their expedition in May 1804. Captain (later Major) Amos Stoddard, who took possession of the city for the United States after the Louisiana Purchase, had already copied key portions of the manuscript by the time he left St. Louis in October 1804.

4. McDermott, ed., Early Histories of St. Louis, 48.

5. For more on this earliest phase of St. Louis’s history, see Primm, Lion of the Velley; and Peterson, Colonial St. Louis. Another very useful book for this period that should not be overlooked is Musick, St. Louis as a Fortified Town. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis,provides an invaluable anecdotal history in a well-illustrated volume. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, is the definitive study of the first generation of this family, placing their activities in their local, regional, and national contexts.

6. W. J. Eccles, The Canadian Frontier, 1534-1760 (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969), 3.

7. J. Frederick Fausz, “Becoming ‘A Nation of Quakers': The Removal of the Osage Indians from Missouri,” Gateway Heritage, 21:1 (Summer 2000), 30.

8. Quoted in McDermott, “Myths and Realities,” 14.

9. Journal of Captain Harry Gordon, August 1766, in Alvord and Carter, eds., The New Regime, 300.

10. McDermott, “Myths and Realities,” 15.

11. Coleman, Maxent, 50.

12. McDermott, “Myths and Realities,” 11-13.

13. John Francis McDermott, “Auguste Chouteau: First Citizen of Upper Louisiana,” in McDermott, ed., Frenchmen and French Ways, 10-11; and Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 101.

14. Tanis Chapman Thorne, “People of the River: Mixed-Blood Families on the Lower Missouri” (PhD diss., University of California-Los Angeles, 1987), 85-86.

15. For more on these satellite communities and the population distribution of early St. Louis, see Primm, Lion of the Velley, 65-68; and Thorne, “People of the River,” ch. 2.

16. Coeur qui Brule to Delassus, 1800, Box 3, Chouteau Collections, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, hereafter cited as CCMO.

17. Billon, “Annals of St. Louis,” 158.

18. Darby, Personal Recollections, 13.

19. For more on this attack, see John Francis McDermott, “The Myth of the ‘Imbecile Governor'—Captain Fernando de Leyba and the Defense of St. Louis in 1780,” in McDermott, ed., The Spanish in the Mississippi Velley; Hodes, Beyond the Frontier, ch. 6; and Musick, St. Louis as a Fortified Town, ch. 6.

20. Corbett, “Veuve Chouteau,” provides the most complete portrait of the founding mother. See also, Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, ch. 1 (“Monsieur Laclède and Madame Chouteau”) and ch. 6 (“The Royal Family of the Wilderness”).

21. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 23.

22. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 22.

23. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 25. The descendant was Alexander DeMenil.

24. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 24.

25. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 35.

26. For more on the interplay between family and business, see Chapter 6.

27. Timothy Flint, Recollections of the Last Ten Years (Boston, 1826), 110; quoted in George R. Brooks, “St. Louis in 1818,” in Harriet Lane Cates Hardaway and Dorothy Garesche Holland, eds., Philippine Duchesne and Her Times (St. Louis: Maryville College, 1968), 1.

28. One might think of Chouteau’s American Fur Company, in its heyday, as a kind of decentralized Bon Marché in Indian country. Not surprisingly, the Hudson’s Bay Company ultimately became exactly that, a department store chain. Of course, the fur trade also had a dark side—game depletion, alcoholism, and dispossession.

29. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 95.

30. Corbett, “Veuve Chouteau.”


1. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 16.

2. Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen, 112.

3. J. F. Bosher, “Government and Private Interests in New France,” Canadian Public Administration/Administration publique du Canada, X (1967), 257.

4. Phillips, Fur Trade, I:604.

5. I use this term in part because I rather like the sound of it. The term “Creole” to describe Francophones born in the New World became more popular in Louisiana during the late eighteenth century and the antebellum period as Creoles sought to distinguish themselves from the Foreign French (francophone Louisianians born in France) and Acadians or Cajuns. The term seems to have become popular in St. Louis during the Spanish regime as well. It remains the term of choice to describe those of French ancestry in the St. Louis region. It was not used as a self-identifying term in places like Detroit, where “French” or “French Canadian” remained the norm. (Francophone John R. Williams of Detroit tellingly scratched out the word “Canadiens” in a letter dated July 6, 1808, and replaced it with “natives of this country.” My thanks to Mara Harwel for bringing this to my attention.) That said, I think this francophone zone as it emerged after 1763, being anchored by St. Louis, fits the term “Creole Corridor,” if a bit uncomfortably. See Carl A. Brasseaux, French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005). Several groups such as Les Amis in the St. Louis region are now promoting the establishment of a national heritage district using the terms “Creole Colonial District” and “Creole Colonial Corridor” in their literature.

6. Norman Gelb, ed., Jonathan Carver’s Travels through America, 1766-1768 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993), 76.

7. For Pond’s full description, see “Memoir of Peter Pond [1773],” in Charles M. Gates, ed., Five Fur Traders of the Northwest (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1965). See also Scanlan, Prairie du Chien, and Mary Antoine de Julio, “Prairie du Chien and the Rediscovery of Its French Log Houses,” in Michael Roark, ed., French and Germans in the Mississippi Velley: Landscape and Cultural Traditions (Cape Girardeau, Mo.: Center for Regional History and Cultural Heritage, Southeast Missouri State University, 1988), 98-110.

8. Murphy, A Gathering of Rivers, 50. See also, Peterson, “The People In Between.”

9. Quoted in Phillips, Fur Trade, L589.

10. Quoted in Keith R. Widder, “The French Connection: The Interior French and Their Role in French-British Relations in the Western Great Lakes Region, 1760-1775,” in David Curtis Skaggs and Larry L. Nelson, eds., The Sixty Years’ War for the Great Lakes, 1754-1814 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2001), 137.

11. Archibald, “From ‘La Louisiane’ to ‘Luisiana,’” 30-32; Nasatir, “Government Employees”; Bannon, “The Spaniards and the Illinois Country,” 113-114.

12. Banner, Legal Systems in Conflict, 17-22. For more on the constructive role of Spanish government in Lower Louisiana, see Gilbert C. Din and John E. Harkins, The New Orleans Cabildo: Colonial Louisiana’s First City Government, 1769-1803 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996). On the role of the Chouteaus in maintaining Indian relations during the Spanish regime, see Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, ch. 3.

13. Quoted in Rea, Major Robert Farmar, 37.

14. Morris, Journal of Captain Thomas Morris.

15. My rather condensed analysis draws heavily upon the considerable number of brilliant overviews of this period: White, The Middle Ground; Hinderaker, Elusive Empires; Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen; Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2000); Michael N. McConnell, A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Velley and Its Peoples, 1724-1774 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992); Jane T. Mer-ritt, At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); Merrell, Into the American Woods; and Gregory E. Dowd, War under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002).

16. Hinderaker, Elusive Empires, 160, 162.

17. Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen, 168. As Calloway notes, to finish the quotation: “They [then—after the American Revolution] turned to the kind of empire they did best— an ocean-based commercial empire.” At that point, their position in the fur trade increased considerably.

18. Quoted in Susan Sleeper-Smith, “‘Ignorant bigots and busy rebels': The American Revolution in the Western Great Lakes,” in Skaggs and Nelson, eds., The Sixty Years’ War, 159.

19. There was some truth to this. For a neglected aspect of this story, see Carl A. Bras-seaux and Michael J. Leblanc, “Franco-Indian Diplomacy in the Mississippi Velley, 1754-1763: Prelude to Pontiac’s Uprising?,” Journal de la Société des Américanistes,LXVIII (1982), 59-71. See also David Dixon, Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac’s Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005).

20. Sosin, “The French Settlements in British Policy,” summarizes with great clarity the attitudes and policies of British officials vis-à-vis the French during this period. Documentation can be found in Carter, ed., Correspondence of General Thomas Gage;Clarence W. Alvord and Clarence E. Carter, eds., The Critical Period, 1763-1765 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1915); Alvord and Carter, eds., The New Regime; Alvord and Carter, eds., Trade and Politics. These volumes constitute vols. 10, 11, and 16 of the Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, British Series, vols. 1-3. Tousignant, “The Integration of the Province of Quebec,” provides a wonderful overview of the period, and Lawson, The Imperial Challenge, throws a whole new light on British imperial philosophy and policy during this period, reexamining the issues that governing Quebec engendered. In the process, Lawson not only clarifies the discourse that surrounded the Quebec Act of 1774, he also broadens our understanding of minor issues affecting western policy. On the curious absence of civil jurisdiction in the British portion of the Creole Corridor in the West, see Neatby, The Administration of Justice.

21. Quoted in Widder, “The French Connection,” 128.

22. For the clearest history of British fur-trade policy during this period, see Phillips, Fur Trade, I, chs. 27 and 28.

23. Quoted in Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen, 127.

24. Ibid., 125.

25. Quoted in Phillips, Fur Trade, L598.

26. For the story of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan’s efforts in the Illinois country and their role in the larger contexts of British policy and the imperial economy, see Marjorie G. Reid, “The Quebec Fur-Traders and Western Policy, 1763-1774,” Canadian Historical Review, 6:1 (March 1925), 15-32; Charles M. Thomas, “Successful and Unsuccessful Merchants in the Illinois Country,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 30:4 (January 1938), 429-440; Dunn, The New Imperial Economy; and Hinderaker, Elusive Empires, 163-170.

27. Widder, “The French Connection,” 133.

28. Quoted in Cayton, Frontier Indiana, 62-63.

29. Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme. It is interesting to note that one officer, Captain George Turnbull, described the French as people who “have adopted the very Principles and Ideas of Indians, and Differ from them only a Little in Colour.” Quoted in Widder, “The French Connection,” 134.

30. Ibid., 63-64.

31. Reid, “Quebec Fur-Traders and Western Policy,” 30-31.

32. Alvord and Carter, eds., Invitation Serieuse.

33. The best overview of British-Indian relations during this period is Calloway, Crown and Calumet. Calloway’s article “Foundations of Sand: The Fur Trade and British-Indian Relations, 1783-1815" and Peter Marshall, “The Government of the Quebec Fur Trade: An Imperial Dilemma, 1761-1775,” in Trigger et al., eds., Le Castor Fait Tout, offer convenient summaries of the politics of British fur trade policy. Stevens, The Northwest Fur Trade, written as a doctoral dissertation under Clarence Alvord, remains the most complete study of the fur trade in this region during this period.

34. Shelburne to Board of Trade, October 5, 1767, quoted in Phillips, Fur Trade, L583.

35. On this point, see Nicolas de Finiels, An Account of Upper Louisiana, 53.

36. Hinderaker, Elusive Empires, 172.

37. Ibid., 184, 175.

38. Sosin, The Revolutionary Frontier, 60.

39. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 37.

40. Great Britain had entertained the notion of seizing New Orleans in 1771 when war with Spain over the Falkland Islands seemed imminent. See Alvord, The Mississippi Velley in British Politics, 50. On British war aims and efforts in the West during the American Revolution, see, in addition to Alvord, Horsman, “Great Britain and the Illinois Country; Armour and Widder, At the Crossroads; Stevens, Northwest Fur Trade. On the contraband trade, see Carter, Great Britain and the Illinois Country; and Phillips,Fur Trade. Documents concerned with this trade can be found throughout the three volumes edited by Alvord and Carter (see esp. the Gage-Shelburne, Gage-Hillsborough correspondences in Trade and Politics) cited above and in Kinnaird, ed., Spain in the Mississippi Velley. For Spanish policy, see Nasatir, “The Anglo-Spanish Frontier; Nasatir, Borderland in Retreat; and Nasatir, Spanish War Vessels.

41. For a much more accurate and believable local reading of the event, see Brown, History as They Lived It, 170-172. On the British situation in Illinois at that time, see Paul L. Stevens, “‘To Keep the Indians of the Wabache in His Majesty’s Interest': The Indian Diplomacy of Edward Abbott, British Lieutenant Governor of Vincennes, 1776-1778,” Indiana Magazine of History, 83:2 (June 1987), 141-172.

42. Evans, ed., Detroit to Fort Sackville, 108-111. See also James, ed., George Rogers Clark Papers; Barnhart, Henry Hamilton; and Seineke, ed., The George Rogers Clark Adventure.

43. Paul L. Stevens, ed., Louis Lorimier in the American Revolution, 1777-1782: A Me-moire by an Ohio Indian Trader and British Partisan (Naperville, Ill.: Center for French Colonial Studies, Extended Publications Series, No. 2, 1997), 5.

44. Lernoult to Haldimand, March 26, 1779, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, X (Lansing, Mich., 1888), 328, quoted in Philip P. Mason, Detroit, Fort Ler-noult, and the American Revolution (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964), and Sleeper-Smith, “‘Ignorant bigots and busy rebels,’” 155.

45. Wyman, The Wisconsin Frontier, 94.

46. White, The Middle Ground, 377.

47. Ibid., 375.

48. Ibid., 371.

49. Quoted in Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen, 125.

50. Barnhart, ed., “The Letterbooks,” 75, 250.

51. John Francis McDermott, “The Myth of the ‘Imbecile Governor': Captain Fernando de Leyba and the Defense of St. Louis in 1780,” in McDermott, ed., The Spanish in the Mississippi Velley, 339; Hodes, Beyond the Frontier, 185.

52. Sleeper-Smith, “‘Ignorant bigots and busy rebels’”; Musick, St. Louis as a Fortified Town, ch. 9. There is an interesting and significant complication regarding the second attack on St. Joseph led by Pourre in February 1781. The Milwaukee band of Potawatomis led by a chief named Siggenauk or Blackbird (known as Le Tourneau to the French, El Heturno to the Spanish) most probably instigated this attack, which — from a native perspective—was an assault on a rival Potawatomi band led by Le Petit Bled or Little Corn. Siggenauk had supported the Americans and the Spanish during the British attack on St. Louis in 1780. He apparently proposed the second St. Joseph attack to Francisco Cruzat, the Spanish lieutenant governor at St. Louis. Cruzat felt obligated to honor the request and organized the expedition. In short, the events in this region at this time were shaped by tribal rivalries as well as by the competing interests of French traders, nations, and empires. I am indebted to Carolyn Gilman, special projects historian at the Missouri History Museum of St. Louis, for pointing this out and sharing her research with me.

53. Quaife, ed., The Siege of Detroit, 96.

54. Widder, “The French Connection,” 127.

55. For more on both men, see Ekberg, Colonial Ste. Genevieve.

56. For more on Cerré, see Faribault-Beauregard, ed., La vie aux Illinois, and Douglas, “Jean Gabriel Cerré.” On Papin, see Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, and Admyrauld and Sons to Joseph Marie Papin, February 3, 1792, CCMO. On Menard, see Seineke, ed., Guide to the Microfilm Edition, 1-17.

57. See Miquelon, ed., Society and Conquest, and Igartua, “The Merchants of Montreal.” The list of merchants of Montreal that Igartua profiles reads like a Who’s Who of the American fur trade during the first half of the nineteenth century: Charles Re-aume, Louis Blondeau, François Berthelet, Nicholas Marchesseau, Antoine Reihle, Simon Sanguinet, Pierre Hurtebise, Antoine Janisse, Hyacinthe Lasselle, etc. These merchants and their descendants settled all over the French Midwest—in Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and the like. Because of a variety of factors, some of their descendants wound up in Indian country in a marginal economic situation; others prospered and became town founders and/or privileged bourgeois. Their relationships with Indian women do not seem to offer a reliable basis for predicting their success as businessmen and American citizens.

58. See footnote 26 in the introduction for sources.

59. See Stevens, Northwest Fur Trade, and Anson, “The Fur Traders.”

60. See Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, ch. 3.

61. Clark, New Orleans, 356-357.

62. Bradley J. Birzer, “French Imperial Remnants on the Middle Ground: The Strange Case of August de la Balme and Charles Beaubien,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Summer 2000).

63. Barnhart, ed. “The Letterbooks,” 67-70.

64. Hinderaker, Elusive Empires, 186.

65. White, The Middle Ground, 421-433.

66. Stevens, Lorimier, 6. As Stevens points out, some of the French supported the British regime. They often did so for personal reasons—and not only economic ones. In addition to having Shawnee connections and being dependent on British trade, Lorimier had three brothers who took commissions in His Majesty’s service back in Quebec. In Detroit in 1777, Lieutenant Governor Hamilton commissioned a dozen Canadien gentry as departmental officers, including Fontenoy de Quindre. These Frenchmen may well have been following a time-honored tradition of the Canadien noblesse. See Stevens, Lorimier, 10.

67. White, The Middle Ground, 431.

68. Quoted in Bald, Detroit’s First American Decade, 12.

69. Ibid., 11.

70. Ibid., 11-15.

71. Barnhart, ed., “The Letterbooks,” 106.

72. P.-L. Panet to Auguste Chouteau, May 18, 1804, CCMO.


1. Auguste Chouteau to Baron de Carondelet, December 8, 1796, CCMO.

2. Chouteau to Gayoso, June 24, 1797, CCMO.

3. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 53.

4. Ibid., 198; Billon, Annals of St. Louis, 72.

5. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 46.

6. Trudeau to Vallé, December 1792, Vallé Papers, Ste. Genevieve Archives, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis. The French in Upper Louisiana had ample opportunity to observe Anglo-Americans. A generous Spanish land policy attracted immigrants from the states. By 1804, three-fifths of the ten thousand inhabitants of Upper Louisiana were Americans. The French still occupied most leadership positions and dominated the fur trade and commerce of the region.

7. Tardiveau to Gratiot, March 21, 1799, CCMO.


Welcome here, dear son of sodomy

Welcome man of Romish habits

And you detestable whore whose cunt disgusts us

Go to the homes of the Americans,

There you will find people who will fuck you.

Misc. manuscripts, recorded in Ste. Genevieve in the 1790s, attributed to the Bolduc family, Music Collection, Box 3, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis. According to David Barry, professor of modern languages at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the use of the plural les in the first line may be an oblique reference to “money or goods”—a nod to the church practice of selling dispensations, which was a Jacobin target. Milieux in the second line can also be translated as “from the middle of”— another possible reference to sodomy. Carl Brasseaux, professor of history at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, suspects the poem might have been written by Henri Peyroux de la Coudreniere. I thank them both for their help with this unusual and rare glimpse into the feelings of the French in this region at this time.

9. Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana, 10.

10. See chs. 2 and 3 in Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus; also McDermott, ed., The Spanish in the Mississippi Velley; Kinnaird, ed., Spain in the Mississippi Velley, 176594; Nasatir, ed., Before Lewis and Clark.

11. Kmen, Music in New Orleans, 27-29.

12. Quoted in Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana, 82.

13. Kettner, The Development of American Citizenship, 251.

14. One could add, of course, that the French seemed too closely allied to the many Indian groups in the region.

15. Frederick Bates to Richard Bates, December 17, 1807, in Marshall, ed., The Life and Papers of Frederick Bates, L237-247.

16. Gallatin to Jefferson, August 20, 1804, in Henry Adams, ed., Writings of Albert Gal-latin, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, 1870), I:202.

17. Quoted in Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana, 182.

18. Ibid., 182, and Fossier, New Orleans, 94. Ironically, Eustis’s nephew George moved to New Orleans and ultimately became the attorney general of Louisiana. George’s son—also George Eustis—went to Harvard Law School, was elected to Congress from Louisiana, went to France as secretary of the Confederate legation, and died there in 1872. The New Englanders had been transformed.

19. Berthold, Glimpses of Creole Life.

20. Gallatin to Jefferson, August 20, 1804, in Adams, ed., Writings of Albert Gallatin, I:202-203.

21. See Hammes, “Land Transactions,” 110-111.

22. Much of this information comes from Paul F. Lachance, “The Foreign French,” in Hirsch and Logsdon, eds., Creole New Orleans, 101-130.

23. Tregle, Louisiana in the Age of Jackson, 100.

24. See Holli, “French Detroit,” 81-90. For more on Campau and this characterization, see Chapter 7. Campau died in 1863, and his estate was valued at three million dollars.

25. Bald, Detroit’s First American Decade, 205.

26. See Bell, Revolution, Romanticism, ch. 5, “French Freemasonry and the Republican Heritage.”

27. Meneray, ed., The Rebellion of 1768, 103.

28. Quoted in de Lagrave, Voltaire’s Man in America, 55-56.

29. Ibid.

30. Quoted in Houck, A History of Missouri, II:391.

31 Collections of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Michigan, vol. VIII (Lansing, Mich., 1886), 587-592.

32. John R. Williams to François Navarre, August 31, 1819, Navarre Family Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan. The French reads: “Je vous exhorte mon cher colonel, ainçi que tous nos amis & concitoyens, de tenir ferme—soyez assuré que la conteste est veritablement entre nous, les natifs du pays, & les Etrangers qui voudroient deja insolémment nous ravir nos droits & nos privileges naturels.”

33. “Memoire of Bernard Marigny Resident of Louisiana addressed to His Fellow-Citizens,” (Paris, 1822), trans. Olivia Blanchard, in New Orleans Municipal Papers, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, 20-21.

34. Fossier, New Orleans, 95.

35. Primm, Lion of the Valley, 80.

36. Louis Nicholas Fortin to Antoine Marechal, July 25, 1803, Lasselle Papers, Indiana State Library, Indiana Division, Indianapolis; hereafter cited as LIND.

37. Banner, Legal Systems in Conflict, 94.

38. Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana, 13-17; see also Arnold, Unequal Laws.

39. For more on this and the pro-francophone state constitution of 1812, see Chapter 8. On the legal history of Louisiana and Canada, see Billings and Fernandez, eds., A Law unto Itself?; Fernandez, From Chaos to Continuity; Greenwood, Legacies of Fear;Dargo,Jefferson’s Louisiana; Haas, ed., Louisiana’s Legal Heritage; and Young, The Politics of Codification. In Missouri, as Stuart Banner points out, the unwritten legal norms of the French were replaced by imported Anglo-American written law that served the needs of an increasingly diverse public. See Banner, Legal Systems in Conflict, ch. 7.

40. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 80.

41. See Alvord, ed., Kaskaskia Records; also McDermott, ed., Old Cahokia. For a good recent discussion of the slavery problem, see Finkelman, “Slavery and the Northwest Ordinance; also J. P. Dunn Jr., Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery (Boston, 1888).

42. Myer, “Charles Gratiot’s Land Claim Problems.”

43. See, for example, Documents 26, 300, 410, 426, and 511, Vigo Papers, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis.

44. Foley, “The Lewis and Clark Expedition’s Silent Partners”; Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 89-93.

45. Houck, A History of Missouri, 11.381; on Lorimier, see Usner, “An American Indian Gateway.”

46. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 91. The Spanish official, Charles Dehault Delassus (the uncle of Ceran St. Vrain), finally returned to St. Louis in 1836 on a visit to see old friends and arrange for the sale of lands that had recently been confirmed to him by a decision of the Supreme Court. See Gates, History of Public Land Law Development, ch. 6, on private land claims; and McDermott, ed., “Diary of Charles Dehault Delassus.”

47. This grant was the subject of much controversy. After a long history of attempts to have this huge claim confirmed, it was finally rejected by the Supreme Court in 1853. Dubuque had sold the claim to satisfy his debts to Auguste Chouteau and John Mullanphy. Mullanphy, an occasional business associate of the Chouteaus, was born in Ireland in 1758, served in the Irish Brigade of the French Army until 1789, and sailed for America in 1792. He spent six years in Philadelphia and Baltimore where he became a fast friend Bishop John Carroll. According to Carroll, Mullanphy was disturbed by the “profaness [sic] of the numerous French democrats.” Nevertheless, Mul-lanphy maintained good relations with the St. Louis Creoles, most of whom were at least lukewarm supporters of Catholic institutions. Mullanphy was the second largest taxpayer in St. Louis in 1820 after Auguste Chouteau. His wealth was assured when he cornered the cotton market in Louisiana right before the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. See Alice L. Cochran, “The Mullanphys at Mid-Century: The First and Second Generations,” in Russell M. Magnaghi, ed., From the Mississippi to the Pacific: Essays in Honor of John Francis Bannon, SJ (Marquette: Northern Michigan University Press, 1982).

48. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 80; Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 100-101; Houck, A History of Missouri, 11.400-401.

49. For more on this story, see Gates, History of Public Land Law, ch. 6; Primm, Lion of the Velley, 80-88; Billon, Annals; and Missouri Land Claims. For more on Bates, see Gitlin, “Avec bien du regret”: The Americanization of Creole St. Louis,” Gateway Heritage, 9:4 (Spring 1989), 2-11, and Marshall, ed., The Life and Papers of Frederick Bates.

50. Davis, “Community and Conflict,” 341.

51. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 112-126.

52. Edward Hempstead to Stephen Hempstead, March 11, 1805, Hempstead Papers, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

53. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 126.

54. Gratiot and his family often took the lead in making alliances with the Americans. Gratiot, married to Victoire Chouteau, was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. His ancestors were Huguenots, and he learned the mercantile trade by serving apprenticeships with two uncles, one in London and one in Montreal. He supported the American Revolution while a resident in the Illinois country and was one of the few Frenchmen to welcome with enthusiasm the new regime at the time of the transfer.

55. Charless to P. Chouteau, October 7, 1810, CCMO.

56. David Diggs to Auguste Chouteau, October 25, 1822; August 25, 1823; September 8, 1826, CCMO.

57. Mullanphy to A. Chouteau, November, 25, 1807, CCMO.

58. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 26-27.

59. Gracy, Moses Austin, 126.

60. For more on the Gratiots’ activities, see Mahoney, Provincial Lives, ch. 2, and Susan Burdick Davis, Old Forts and Real Folks, 184-198.

61. Boilvin to Julien Dubuque, May 22, 1809; Saucier to P. Chouteau, June 19, 1811, CCMO.

62. Ray H. Mattison, “John Pierre Cabanné, Sr.,” in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Fur Traders, Trappers, and Mountain Men of the Upper Missouri (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 16.

63. Bent to A. Chouteau, February 21, 1813, CCMO.

64. Owens to Gratiot, December 11, 1814, CCMO.

65. See Kastor, The Nation’s Crucible, 160-163. He points out that the constitution writers in Louisiana (in 1811-1812) and in Philadelphia (in 1787) had paid little attention to the “relation between state and federal citizenship.” See also Kettner, The Development of American Citizenship, 252-253.

66. Reports, December 23, 1812, and December 20, 1813, Forsyth Papers, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis. See also Matson, Pioneers of Illinois, 239-273.

67. Collections of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Michigan, vol. 8, 642-652; see also, Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War, 225; C. Glenn Clift, Remember the Raisin (Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1961); and Fabre-Surveyer, “From Montreal to Michigan and Indiana,” 72-73. The situation in Detroit was complicated by the fire of 1805, which dictated that the entire town be rebuilt. Despite some animosity, the French seemed to have adjusted quite well to American rule during its first decade. The second decade opened less auspiciously with the great fire and the arrival soon thereafter of the first governor of the newly created Territory of Michigan, General William Hull. Hull quickly alienated the French majority. They grew so exasperated by 1809 that they sent a petition to President Madison requesting that Hull be removed. Among their many complaints were the following: that Hull encouraged runaway slaves — indeed, had formed them into a military company and appointed a black man to be their commander; that Hull seemed deficient in military judgment, an opinion that was to be confirmed in only three years; that Hull did not bother to translate his proclamations or the laws of the territory into French; and finally, that Hull was essentially a pompous ass. The outbreak of hostilities in the Old Northwest in 1811 found the French citizens of Michigan in a less-than-patriotic mood.

68. Grignon, “Seventy-two Years’ Recollections of Wisconsin.” For more on the War of 1812 in Wisconsin, see Wyman, The Wisconsin Frontier, 120-126.

69. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, ch. 8.

70. William Burnett in 1791, quoted in Anson, “The Fur Traders,” 29.

71. James L. Clayton, “The Growth and Economic Significance of the American Fur Trade, 1790-1890,” in Morgan et al., eds., Aspects of the Fur Trade, 68. More on this practice in footnote 1 of Chapter 4.

72. Anson, “The Fur Traders,” 170.


1. James L. Clayton, “The Impact of Traders’ Claims in the American Fur Trade,” in Ellis, ed., The Frontier in American Development, 301-302. Clayton credits William Clark and Auguste Chouteau as being the innovators, but it seems that the practice had begun earlier in treaties signed with the Choctaws and Chickasaws in 1805. In both of these cases, the Indians were heavily indebted to Panton, Leslie and Company, the trading powerhouse of the Southeast (actually operating as John Forbes and Company at this point). See Prucha, American Indian Treaties, 105-110; and Coker and Watson, Indian Traders, ch. 12. However, Prucha himself, on page 140, credits the 1825 Osage treaty as initiating the practice of paying “specific debts owed by the tribe.” Whatever the distinctions, it is fair to claim that the Chouteaus became the masters of this practice and that the 1825 treaty led directly to an expansion of this aspect of treaty-making.

2. For a detailed account of Benton’s first years, see Primm, Lion of the Velley, 114-117. Edward Hempstead died suddenly in 1817 at the age of thirty-eight. Benton quickly became the most prominent public face of “the Little Junto.” That same year, he killed Charles Lucas, son of Judge Lucas, in a duel.

3. See Gates, History of Public Land Law Development, ch. 6, “Private Land Claims.”

4. Thomas Hart Benton to Bernard Pratte, January 23, 1824, CCMO.

5. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 46.

6. See Steffen, William Clark; Beers, The Western Military Frontier, 107-108; and Tren-nert, Alternative to Extinction, 18.

7. See Sunder, Joshua Pilcher, 151.

8. Still the best accounts of the American Fur Company and Astor are Porter, John Jacob Astor, and Lavender, The Fist in the Wilderness. Haeger, John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance in the Early Republic, provides excellent coverage of Astor’s financial and real estate dealings.

9. For more details, see Wishart, The Fur Trade; Sunder, The Fur Trade; Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.”; and Michel, “The St. Louis Fur Trade.” The details of this company expansion are overwhelming, as anyone who has looked at the Chouteau Collections will agree. A definitive monograph, not surprisingly, has not been written.

10. See CCMO, November 19, 1850, and February 27, 1851 (Chouteau-Maffitt Papers).

11. See, for examples, December 29 and 31, 1830, and October 14, 1831, CCMO; also, James L. Clayton, “The Growth and Economic Significance of the American Fur Trade, 1790-1890,” in Morgan et al., eds., Aspects of the Fur Trade, 65.

12. Trennert, Indian Traders, 99.

13. For the hotel receipt, see CCMO (Chouteau-Maffitt Papers), May 25, 1837; for the itemized claim, see the same collection, September 1837.

14. Trennert, Indian Traders, 110-111.

15. For some representative documents, see April 9, 1831; July 1838; September 10, 1839; February 1840; November 15, 1840; December 21, 1840; June 17, 1846; January 28, 1847; May 8, 1847; January 1, 1848; and December 5, 1849, CCMO.

16. For the Traverse des Sioux Treaty, see Trennert, Indian Traders, ch. 7, and Gilman, Henry Hastings Sibley, ch. 9. Gilman’s account and figures differ somewhat from Tren-nert’s. For the transportation contract, see Lass, A History of Steamboating, 24-25.

17. For a fuller look at Richardville and the process of treaty-making in Indiana, see Jay Gitlin, “Private Diplomacy to Private Property: States, Tribes, and Nations in the Early National Period,” Diplomatic History, 22:1 (Winter 1998), 85-99.

18. Isabel F. Dolch, “Calendar of Pierre Chouteau-Maffitt Papers regarding the Fur Trade” (1922), in Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, 192.

19. Trennert, Indian Traders, 202-203.

20. Clayton, “Growth and Economic Significance,” 68.

21. Quoted in Hagan, American Indians, 121.

22. Adler, British Investment, 176.

23. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 210.

24. For information on the activities of Pierre Chouteau Jr. and John F. A. Sanford, see CCMO for the years 1834-1890. A convenient summary is Lecompte, “Pierre Chou-teau, Jr.,” and “John F. A. Sanford.”

25. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 52.

26. Sunder, The Fur Trade, 169.

27. Ibid.

28. John Mullan to Charles P. Chouteau, March 11, 1861, CCMO.

29. Sunder, The Fur Trade, 261.

30. For information on the Ewings, see Trennert, Indian Traders.

31. Miami chief Richardville was also reported, at the time of his death, to be the richest man in Indiana—though one historian has suggested that his people expected him “to be generous.” Richardville’s son-in-law, Francis Lafontaine, succeeded him and later helped found the town of Kokomo, Indiana. See Gitlin, “Private Diplomacy to Private Property.”

32. The best summary of these relations and schemes is Anson, “The Fur Traders.” For more on kinship ties, see Fabre-Surveyer, “From Montreal to Michigan and Indiana.”

33. Anson, “The Fur Traders,” 143.

34. McKee, ed., The Trail of Death, 102-103.

35. Quoted in Mahoney, Provincial Lives, 57.

36. See Anson, “The Fur Traders,” 170-200.

37. See McKee, The Trail of Death.

38. Until the rush of settlement became overwhelming, not only French traders, but also Anglo-American settlers might enjoy cooperative and neighborly relations with local native communities. We should also observe that the removal process in states such as Michigan and Indiana was complex and did not replicate the experience of tribal groups in the South. See, for example, Gray, The Yankee West, ch. 3; and John Mack Faragher, “‘More Motley than Mackinaw': From Ethnic Mixing to Ethnic Cleansing on the Frontier of the Lower Missouri, 1783-1833,” in Cayton and Teute, eds., Contact Points, 304-326; and Bethel Saler, A Settlers’ Empire: State Formation and Colonialism in America’s Old Northwest, 1783-1854 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming).

39. Frederick Buhl to Antoine Campau, June 4, 1867, Campau Family Collection, Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Center, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

40. John H. Thompson (on behalf of Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Company) to Antoine Campau, September 8, 1858, and Frederick Buhl to Antoine Campau, September 10, 1858, Campau Family Collection, Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Center, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The collection also includes a variety of newspaper clippings relating to Louis Campau. One clipping from 1964 describes Campau as “A Friend of the Indians.” A later article describes him as “the man who sold the firewater to the Indians.” Both articles use the same photograph of Louis and his wife, Sophie de Marsac Campau. The emphasis clearly changed with the times, but the historical reality undoubtedly justified both conclusions. It is not clear from the records exactly why Chouteau felt compelled to present Antoine Cam-pau with a gold watch, but I suspect from the timing that it had to do with the windfall profits generated by the cash payments allowed in the treaty of 1855 with the Ottawas and Chippewas.

41. This was less true in Indiana than in St. Louis and New Orleans. See Lachance, “Intermarriage.”

42. Fabre-Surveyer, “From Montreal to Michigan and Indiana,” 74.

43. Lasselle and Pierre St. Germain, agreement to manage distillery, November 21, 1810, LIND; Peter Jones to Lasselle, account, 1810-1813, LIND.

44. See invitation of February, 10, 1824, LIND.

45. Bullitt to Lasselle, May 29, 1817; deed transfer from Louizon to Lasselle, October 28, 1832; Coquillard to Lasselle, June 16, 1835, LIND; see also Fabre-Surveyer, “From Montreal to Michigan and Indiana.”

46. For more on Tipton, see Gitlin, “Private Diplomacy to Private Property.”

47. See correspondence for April 1820, LIND.

48. See Finkelman, “Slavery and the Northwest Ordinance”; Lasselle v. Polly, negress, July 27, 1820, LIND.

49. Fraser to Lasselle, October 14, 1823, and Chambers to Lasselle, July 23, 1831, LIND.

50. Subscription notice, August 26, 1830, LIND.

51. See, for example, Brute to Lasselle, March 13, 1835, LIND.

52. One might also observe that in Montana, as in other frontier areas, native individuals and communities also participated in a whole range of economic activities, sometimes in connection with French and métis neighbors. The success of such activities may have spurred the establishment of reservation boundaries and restrictions on native endeavors to benefit incoming entrepreneurs. The economic history of tribal communities has yet to be fully explored and may well reveal some interesting revisions to our standard accounts.


1. For an excellent discussion of the somewhat anomalous nature of this vast, unincorporated, and complex company—capitalized in 1839 at five hundred thousand dollars yet operating as a family business—see Sunder, The Fur Trade, ch. 1. As Sunder observes: “The Company reorganized almost yearly during the forties. The bookkeepers, harassed and overworked, simply numbered each reorganization as if it were a new French Republic! ‘Company 3’ followed ‘Company 2’ and was, in turn, succeeded by ‘Company 4’” (p. 7).

2. Ronda, Finding the West, 79.

3. For Lisa’s activities, see Oglesby, Manuel Lisa. For the Chouteau activities during this period, see Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, and Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 25. The Lecompte entry is from the Bison Book reprint edition.

4. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 135.

5. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 137-140. Thorne’s book traces the incredibly complex history of French and Indian relations and métis families and communities in this region from the founding of St. Louis until the 1880s. Though the story I tell is a different one, it should be read along with the one in Thorne’s book. For Cote Sans Dessein, also see Bell, Cote Sans Dessein, and Schake, La Charrette.

6. Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings, 68, 121.

7. As Tanis Thorne points out, the move away from St. Charles was also due to a variety of “push” factors, including indebtedness, taxes, and the rise in land values caused by the influx of Anglo-American farmers. Add alcoholism to this, and the result was an increase in properties being sold for back taxes and acquired through merchants’ liens. See Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 124-125.

8. Stephen Warren points out that French was the “most commonly spoken European language” among the Shawnees. See Warren, The Shawnees and Their Neighbors, 76.

9. Ibid., 89. See also Aron, American Confluence, 203-216, and Prucha, American Indian Policy, 229-273.

10. Sunder, The Fur Trade, 19.

11. William B. Astor to Pierre Chouteau Jr., May 18, 1833, CCMO.

12. Frederick Jackson Turner, The Character and Influence of the Indian Trade in Wisconsin: A Study of the Trading Post as an Institution, ed. David Harry Miller and William W. Savage, Jr. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977), 75-79.

13. Franklin G. Adams, compiler, “Reminiscences of Frederick Chouteau,” Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society, vol. 8 (1903-1904), 425, 431.

14. Ibid., 423.

15. McDermott, ed., Tixiers Travels, 87.

16. For more on A. P. Chouteau’s life and career, see Janet Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” in French Fur Traders and Voyageurs in the American West, ed. LeRoy R. Hafen (Spokane, Wash.: Arthur H. Clark, 1995), 96-123, and the famous description of A. P. Chouteau’s home in McDermott, ed., The Western Journals of Washington Irving, 108-112.

17. Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” 105.

18. Pierre Chouteau Jr. to Gabriel Sylvestre Chouteau, July 19, 1822, CCMO.

19. McDermott, ed., “Diary of Charles Dehault Delassus,” 379.

20. Berthold & Chouteau had added Bernard Pratte as a partner. For more on the organization of the St. Louis firm, see Chapter 6.

21. For more on the exact timing and location of the first post, see David Boutros, “Confluence of People and Place: The Chouteau Posts on the Missouri and Kansas Rivers,” in Marra, Pal, and Boutros, Cher Oncle, Cher Papa.

22. Marra, Pal, and Boutros, Cher Oncle, Cher Papa, 228.

23. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 150.

24. François Chouteau to Pierre Chouteau Jr., August 25, 1829, CCMO, and Marra, Pal, and Boutros, Cher Oncle, Cher Papa, 61.

25. McDermott, ed., Tixiers Travels, 130.

26. Thorne, The Marry Hands of My Relations, 148.

27. McDermott, ed., Tixiers Travels, 148.

28. Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” 107. According to historian J. Frederick Fausz, “Clermont’s group was a faction of the Grand Osages that moved to the Three Forks region. After a 1794 Chickasaw ambush killed three important Osage chiefs at one time, the Chouteaus manipulated the succession by installing a compliant Paw-Hiu-Skah (Pawhuska/'Cheveux Blanc'/'White Hair’) as the principal chief of the Grand Osages in Missouri, despite his lack of essential hereditary qualifications. In apparent protest, the rightful claimant, the young Gra-to-moh-se (Clermont II/'Iron Hawk’), led a large band of supporters south to the Verdigris River near present-day Clare-more, Oklahoma, joining, and giving legitimacy to, an earlier breakaway band under Cash-e-se-gra (‘La Grande Piste'/'Makes Tracks Far Away’). There they found other Osages—Cheniers or ‘Shainers'—who had long exploited the Arkansas territory to the south, which provided abundant game; huge salt deposits for fur preparation and food preservation; protection from raiding northern tribes; and the freedom for young men to pursue war honors with minimal scrutiny by Spanish officials and less interference from St. Louis merchants” (correspondence with the author, March 2, 2009). See also Thorne, Many Hands of My Relations, 105-106.

29. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, ch. 2, and Tanis C. Thorne, “The Chouteau Family and the Osage Trade: A Generational Study,” in Thomas C. Buckley, ed., Rendezvous: Selected Papers of the Fourth North American Fur Trade Conference, 1981(St. Paul: n.p., 1984).

30. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 125.

31. Ibid., n. 42.

32. Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” 116-117.

33. Ibid., 107-122.

34. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 56, and Pierre Chouteau Jr. Will, Wills Collection, Missouri Historical Society Archives, St. Louis.

35. The child’s uncle, Pierre Louis Panet of Montreal, sent many frustrated letters to the elder Chouteau. A.A. lived with his aunt and uncle for four years and was dismissed from all the best schools in the city before returning home to St. Louis. See Foley and Rice,The First Chouteaus, 187-188.

36. Auguste A. Chouteau to Auguste Chouteau, August 19, 1828, CCMO.

37. McDermott, ed., “Diary of Charles Dehault Delassus,” 385.

38. On the issue of polygyny, a standard practice among leading men of the Osage, see Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 146.

39. McDermott, ed., Tixiers Travels, 151-152.

40. Theodore Papin to P. M. Papin, September 2, 1833, CCMO.

41. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 162, 167, 169.

42. Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, 202.

43. Theodore Papin to P. M. Papin, September 2, 1833, CCMO.

44. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 163.

45. Ibid., 139, and Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, 60-65.

46. Rodabaugh, Frenchtown, 18-21.

47. Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” 118.

48. Copy of 1835 treaty, dated March 14, 1835, in CCMO; also see Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,"122.

49. Thorne, “The Chouteau Family,"113, 118-119.

50. Marra, Pal, and Boutros, Cher Oncle, Cher Papa, 77-78.

51. Ibid., 15.

52. Ibid., 226.

53. Ibid., 100, 102, 104, 221.

54. Ibid., 123.

55. Ibid., 232-233.

56. Ibid., 128.

57. Ibid., 183.

58. Ibid., 185, 232.

59. Westport, a jumping-off place for the various overland trails, was four miles south of the settlements at Kawsmouth or Chouteau’s Town and was annexed by Kansas City in 1897.

60. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 163, and McDermott, ed., Tixiers Travels, 98.

61. This interview was apparently retyped from the original article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. No date was given. It is one of a collection of notes and articles collected by Sophie’s granddaughter, Sophie Little Bear Dahlberg, Those Illustrious Frenchmen: The Chouteaus and the Osage Indians (n.p., 2000), 21.

62. Lecompte, “Auguste Pierre Chouteau,” 123.

63. Shelby M. Fly, The Saga of the Chouteaus of Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.: Levite of Apache, 1988), 27.

64. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 44.

65. For more on Cabanné, see Ray H. Mattison, “John Pierre Cabanné Sr.,” in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Fur Traders, Trappers, and Mountain Men of the Upper Missouri (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), n. 2.

66. Adele Cabanné Sarpy to Jean Pierre Cabanné, September 1, 1823, Peugnet Collection, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

67. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., April 28, 1825, CCMO.

68. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., February 2, 1831, CCMO.

69. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., February 21, 1831, CCMO.

70. See, for example, the letters of April 28, 1825, and February 21, 1831, CCMO.

71. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 31-37.

72. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., April 28, 1825, CCMO.

73. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., October 23, 1827, CCMO. See also Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 189-193.

74. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., January 6, 1828, CCMO.

75. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., June 5, 1828, CCMO. See also Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 45-49.

76. For a more complete account of these conditions, see Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 182-205.

77. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 40-41, and Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 196-197.

78. J. P. Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., April 28, 1825, CCMO.

79. J. A. MacMurphy, “Some Frenchmen of Early Days on the Missouri River,” Transactions and Reports of the Nebraska State Historical Society, vol. V (Lincoln, 1893), 52.

80. P. A. Sarpy to Mimi Sarpy, March 8, 1847, Peugnet Collection, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

81. Peter A. Sarpy, Last Will and Testament, April 7, 1845, Peugnet Collection, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

82. John E. Wickman, “Peter A. Sarpy,” in Hafen, ed., French Fur Traders and Voyageurs, 291-297.

83. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 204.

84. Sunder, The Fur Trade, 11-14.

85. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 194-195.

86. U.S. Indian Department account with Peter A. Sarpy, Council Bluffs, April 22, 1851; copy of Sac and Foxes Indian obligation, certified statement of the agent, October 18, 1851; copy of national obligation of Pottowattamies, November, 3, 1851, CCMO.

87. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 203-204.

88. Settlers found Decatur, located at the southern boundary of the new Omaha reservation, to be quite an attractive site. Sarpy had a branch store there as well. See Wishart, An Unspeakable Sadness, 118.

89. For more on Sarpy, see Edward F. Sterba, “Peter Sarpy, 1805-1865,” in Jerold L. Simmons, ed., “La Belle Vue”: Studies in the History of Bellevue, Nebraska (Marceline, Mo.: Walsworth, for the Mayor’s Advisory Committee [of Bellevue, Nebraska] on the Bicentennial, 1976), 87-106. See also Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 155164.

90. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 229-230.

91. Unrau, The Kansa Indians, 148-161.

92. Gabriel Franchere to Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Company, January 28, 1847, Cherokee Nation Beaties Prairie, CCMO.

93. Wickman, “Peter A. Sarpy,” 300.

94. One story about the founding of St. Joseph contained the following anecdote: “Mr. Robidoux was now in a quandary as to the names to be given the streets. He had determined on the names of the streets running parallel with the river, and when he intimated that he was undecided as to the streets running back from the river, [an] old gentleman suggested that it was an easy matter, and said, ‘Why not name them after your children. You have about seventy, and that number is quite sufficient for the present.’” This story comes from W. A. Goulder, Reminiscences of a Pioneer (Boise, Idaho: Timothy Regan, 1909), 87-88. It is given in full in Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 236, n. 170.

95. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 155-156.

96. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 229; Jh. Robidoux to Pierre Chouteau Jr., December 28, 1833, CCMO.

97. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 127. Thorne suggests that Robidoux had been operating in this vicinity as early as 1803.

98. Angelique was his second wife. His first wife, Eugenie Delisle dit Bienvenue, had died after giving birth to a son in 1810.

99. Joseph and Angelique mortgaged more of their property to Chouteau in 1841 to build a water gristmill. They took out another substantial loan from Chouteau in 1847. See Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 53-58, n. 154 and n. 172.

100. Aron, American Confluence, 230-232.

101. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 54.

102. Ibid., 232-233, n. 157.

103. Ibid., 56, and Sheridan A. Logan, Old Saint Jo: Gateway to the West, 1799-1932 (n.p.: John Sublett Logan Foundation, 1979), 24.

104. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 58.

105. Ibid., 56.

106. Logan, Old Saint Jo, 18-44. For a look at some of Joseph Robidoux’s other activities, see Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 155-156.

107. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 223, n. 118.

108. Ibid., 130.

109. Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, 206; Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 238, n. 178.

110. Joshua Pilcher to Pierre Chouteau Jr., June 16, 1833, CCMO.

111. John D. Unruh Jr., The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 229, 242, 247.

112. Ibid., chs. 7 and 8 passim.

113. Ibid., 198.

114. For more on this incident, see Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” 29-30.

115. Pekka Hamalainen, “The Western Comanche Trade Center: Rethinking the Plains Indian Trade System,” Western Historical Quarterly, 29 (Winter 1998), 485-513. For more on the early French role in this borderlands region, see John, Storms Brewed, and Folmer, Franco-Spanish Rivalry.

116. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, 61.

117. Hamalainen, “The Western Comanche Trade Center.”

118. Ibid., 506.

119. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, chs. 2 and 3.

120. Ibid., 117.

121. Ibid., 114-121, and see David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), 11.

122. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, 120.

123. Rebecca McDowell Craver, The Impact of Intimacy: Mexican-Anglo Intermarriage in New Mexico, 1821-1846, University of Texas at El Paso, Southwestern Studies: Monograph No. 66 (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1982).

124. This includes some whose ethnicity is hard to know at first glance. For example, the Leitensdorfer brothers, Eugene and Thomas, were important American merchants in New Mexico for many years. Their father was an Italian soldier who changed his name, came to the United States, and married a French Creole woman named Gamache in Carondelet, just south of St. Louis. One brother married a Creole woman named Michaud; the other married Solidad Abreu, daughter of a governor of New Mexico. See Stella M. Drumm, ed., Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846-1847 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1926), 62, n. 23.

125. Weber, Taos Trappers, ch. 7. This book remains by far the best book on the subject. See also ch. 6 on the French.

126. Weber, Taos Trappers, ch. 11.

127. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 67.

128. See Weber, Taos Trappers, 88.

129. Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles, 74, and Devine, The People Who Own Themselves, 71, 258.

130. Devine, The People Who Own Themselves, 71.

131. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, 127-128.

132. Sunder, ed., Matt Field, 213. See also David J. Weber, “Louis Robidoux,” in LeRoy R. Hafen, ed., Trappers of the Far West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983), 40. The information about the Robidoux family’s activities in the Far West comes from Weber; Lewis, Robidoux Chronicles; Orral M. Robidoux, Memorial to the Robidoux Brothers (Kansas City: Smith-Greaves, 1924); and Wallace, Antoine Robidoux.

133. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, 132.

134. Weber, “Louis Robidoux,” 48.

135. The information on St. Vrain comes from a variety of sources, including Lavender, Bent’s Fort; Harold H. Dunham, “Ceran St. Vrain,” in Hafen, ed., Mountain Men and Fur Traders; Samuel P. Arnold, “William W. Bent,” in Hafen, ed., Trappers of the Far West; Seineke, ed., Guide to the Microfilm Edition; and Ranie Hotis, “Ceran St. Vrain and the Santa Fe Trade: Forging the St. Louis Connection” (senior essay, Yale College, 1996).

136. The most complete account and description of the company can be found in Lavender, Bent’s Fort. I have also benefited from the encyclopedic knowledge of the late Sam Arnold.

137. Wishart, The Fur Trade, 59; Lecompte, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, 23. Chapter 2 of Lecompte’s book contains an excellent summary of the company’s activities and Bent’s Fort.

138. Lecompte, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, 23.

139. Hamalainen, “The Western Comanche Trade Center,” 512.

140. Pekka Hämäläinen, “The Rise and Fall of Plains Indian Horse Cultures,” Journal of American History, 90:3 (December 2003), 9 (electronic version).

141. The insights and information about the relationship between the two companies come from Hotis, “Ceran St. Vrain,” who conducted exhaustive research at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis. Her work on this subject is by far the most thorough, careful, and perceptive that I have seen. I am grateful for her efforts. On the farm in Kansas City, see Hotis, 33.

142. The phrase is taken from the title of David Lavender’s book on the fur trade, first published in 1964 by Doubleday.

143. Lecompte, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, 72, 288.

144. George E. Hyde, Life of George Bent Written from His Letters, ed. Savoie Lottinville (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968), 94.

145. Lecompte, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, 72.

146. The information on Beaubien comes primarily from Lawrence R. Murphy, “Charles H. Beaubien,” in Hafen, ed., French Fur Traders and Voyageurs, 29-41.

147. Lecompte, Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, 17.

148. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 66.

149. Reséndez, Changing National Identities, 248-249. See also David Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest under Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), chs. 2, 7, 10, 12. Resendez, building upon the insights of Weber’s foundational work, fully acknowledges the gravitational pull and “transformative power” of the “expanding American economy” on New Mexico, but he also gives us a fuller picture of the complexities of Mexican politics during this period and the countervailing force of Mexican nationalism upon nuevomexicanos. Shortly after reentering New Mexican politics for a third term as governor, Armijo learned that a coup had occurred in Mexico City, bringing to power a man from a rival political party. To make matters worse, Armijo had to deal with a variety of political factions within New Mexico itself, a full spectrum of divided opinions over issues of localism versus centralization, foreign trade, and national identity. With religious monarchists and liberal free-traders barking at his heels and no help in sight from Mexico City, it is small wonder that Armijo threw up his hands at the sight of Kearny’s army. Painting a far different picture than that of passive New Mexican peasants welcoming the conquering heroes, Resendez quotes the acting governor Vigil y Alarid who sadly turned over control to Kearny and observed that “internal strife had been the ‘damned venom’ that had brought down one of the greatest nations ever created on the face of the earth” (referring to Mexico), 247-248.

150. Stephen G. Hyslop, Bound for Santa Fe: The Road to New Mexico and the American Conquest, 1806-1848 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002), 368.

151. Alvin R. Sunseri, “Revolt in Taos, 1846-47: Resistance to U.S. Occupation,” El Pala-cio, 96 (Fall 1990), 42.

152. Ibid., 45. See also Cheetham, “The First Term of the American Court in Taos, New Mexico,” New Mexico Historical Review, 1:1 (January 1926), 23-41.

153. The information on Maxwell comes from the biography written by Murphy, Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell.

154. See Montoya, Translating Property, ch. 2, and Murphy, Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell, ch. 8.

155. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 276.

156. This brief summary was compiled from various materials in the Wade biography of Michel B. Menard Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, Texas.

157. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 46, 90.

158. Ibid., 277.

159. Kennerly, Persimmon Hill, 185, 191.

160. This brings up the intriguing issue of marriage and social status. Partnerships with Indian and métis women were often the main source of cultural knowledge and social and political connection in Indian country for French traders. The permanence of such relationships varied, but many Frenchmen also had nonnative wives in places such as St. Louis. The ultimate goal for many—though certainly not all — French traders, it seems to me, was literally the building of one’s “house” in town. In the end, that depended on wives who could provide the required socialization and education for the next generation. Catholicism, inheritance practices, and connections to capital of all kinds also mattered. In short, such homes were built, not in Indian villages, but in Euro-American towns that privileged such values and practices and rules of property. Hispanic women in New Mexican towns satisfied such needs. For more on this complicated issue, see Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations, passim. Needless to say, as more Anglo-Americans entered a region, racial categorization also became an issue.

161. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 48, and Kennerly, Persimmon Hill, 172.

162. Frederick Jackson Turner, The Character and Influence of the Indian Trade in Wisconsin: A Study of the Trading Post as an Institution, ed. David Harry Miller and William W. Savage, Jr. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977), 2.

163. Blackhawk, Violence over the Land, 186-188.

164. Resendez, Changing National Identities, 116; see also Hyslop, Bound for Santa Fe, 382-386.

165. Resendez, Changing National Identities, 265-266.

166. See Lynn Bridgers, Death’s Deceiver: The Life of Joseph P. Machebeuf (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997), 138; E. A. Mares, ed., Padre Martinez: New Perspectives from Taos (Taos, N.Mex.: Millicent Rogers Museum, 1988); and David J. Weber, On the Edge of Empire: The Taos Hacienda of Los Martinez (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 1996), ch. 7.

167. For a very readable version of the story, see Paul Horgan, Lamy of Santa Fe (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975).

168. See LeRoy R. Hafen, “Etienne Provost,” in Hafen, ed., Trappers of the Far West, and Jack B. Tykal, Etienne Provost: Man of the Mountains (Liberty, Utah: Eagle’s View, 1989).

169. Janet Lecompte, “Pierre Lesperance,” in Hafen, ed., French Fur Traders and Voya-geurs in the American West, 194.


1. Mahoney, Provincial Lives, 13. See chs. 2 and 4 for a discussion of the Gratiot-Hempstead clan and the evolving genteel practices of this region.

2. Lecompte, “John F. A. Sanford.”

3. Carter and Spencer, “Stereotypes of the Mountain Man.”

4. E. E. Rich, Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1870, 3 vols. (London: Hudson’s Bay Record Society, 1958-1960); L. R. Masson, Les Bourgeois de la compagnie du Nord-Ouest, 2 vols. (1889-1890; reprint, New York: Antiquarian Press, 1960); M. W. Campbell,The North West Company (Toronto: Macmillan, 1957).

5. Dale L. Morgan, “The Fur Trade and Its Historians,” in Gilman, ed., Aspects of the Fur Trade, 7.

6. This task may be easier now that the ledgers of the various companies are available on microfilm from the Missouri Historical Society.

7. Clark, La Rochelle, 68; E. E. Rich, The Fur Trade and the Northwest to 1857 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1967), 173. See also Rich, Montreal and the Fur Trade, ch. 3.

8. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 20.

9. McDermott, Private Libraries in Creole St. Louis.

10. Admyrauld and Sons to Joseph Marie Papin, February 3, 1792, Box 1, CCMO. See Clark, La Rochelle, 50, 98-99.

11. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 54. Also see Barnhart, ed., “The Letterbooks.”

12. For Cerré see Faribault-Beauregard, ed., La vie aux Illinois; Douglas, “Jean Gabriel Cerré”; Primm, Lion of the Velley, 50-51. On Orillat, see Igartua, “The Merchants of Montreal.”

13. Marriage contract of Auguste Chouteau and Marie Thérèse Cerré, September 21, 1786, CCMO.

14. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 45.

15. See Boxes 3-10, CCMO.

16. For examples of Auguste’s land dealings, see October 29, 1817; July 6, 1818; and August 25, 1823, CCMO. Also see Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 82, 176-177.

17. See land survey of Antoine Soulard for Pierre Chouteau, March 20, 1804, CCMO; list of unconfirmed lands, October 20, 1824, CCMO; Foley and Rice, The First Chou-teaus, 44.

18. It is hard to know why this is the case. Pierre may have simply assumed the traditional role of the younger son, seeking opportunity beyond the home circle. He may also have enjoyed his native clients. Whatever the reason, it was Pierre Sr. who had the closest relations with native communities, and several of his sons followed in his footsteps. See Chapter 5.

19. See, for example, the letter from Saucier to Chouteau, June 19, 1811, CCMO.

20. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 167.

21. Ibid., ch. 4.

22. Clark, La Rochelle, 66.

23. Marriage contract of Gabriel Paul and Marie Louise Chouteau, March 28, 1818, Soulard Papers, Box 1, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

24. Pierre Chouteau and Sauciér Chouteau to Bartholomew Berthold and Pierre Chou-teau Jr., June 19, 1818, CCMO; Pierre Chouteau letterbook, expenses incurred, Indian Department, Drafts 141 and 142, May 21, 1813, CCMO; Veuve Chouteau to Bartholomew Berthold, April 4, 1811, CCMO.

25. Herlihy, Medieval Households, 91.

26. In 1794, Pratte married Emilie, the oldest daughter of Sylvestre Labbadie. Sarpy, born in the Gascony region of France in 1764, married the next oldest Labbadie daughter, Pelagie, in 1797.

27. Unrau, The Kansa Indians, 78.

28. Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family; Beckwith, Creoles of St. Louis; Billon, Annals of St. Louis in Its Territorial Days; Pratte, “Reminiscences of General Bernard Pratte, Jr.”; and Ray H. Mattison, “John Pierre Cabanné, Sr.,” in Hafen, ed.,Mountain Men.

29. Berthold had come to the United States in 1798 as secretary to General Willet. He settled first in Philadelphia and then Baltimore, forming a partnership with several French émigrés in those cities: F. A. Junel, Gabriel and René Paul, and Theotime Ge-nerelly. The Paul brothers were born in St. Domingue and had fled to Philadelphia. René moved to St. Louis in 1808 and married Eulalie Chouteau, daughter of Auguste, in 1812. Gabriel came to St. Louis in 1817 and married Eulalie’s sister Louise in 1818, as previously noted. Generelly had married the Pauls’ sister Sophie and established himself in New Orleans. The partnership between the various emigres was dissolved with some rancor in 1812. Junel, the Baltimore connection, wrote an angry letter to Berthold that year which chided the latter for not using his Chouteau connections to further the interests of the firm and pitied Berthold for having to deal with Paul, a “man of easy temper.” Berthold responded by dissolving his connection with the Pauls and forming a partnership with Pierre Chouteau Jr., his brother-in-law. See F. A. Junel to Berthold, June 12, 1812, CCMO. Also see Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, and Beckwith, Creoles of St. Louis, for biographical information. For more on the French emigres to Baltimore and Philadelphia, see Frances Sergeant Childs, French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1940).

30. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” and references in Nute, Calendar.

31. Cabanné went to Council Bluffs; Berthold traded in opposition to Manuel Lisa, whom he referred to as “l’escargot,” on the Upper Missouri. Berthold thought Lisa was “very boastful” and “the least able of all the traders.” Lisa has always been celebrated as one of the great entrepreneurs in the fur trade. It is interesting to read this assessment by a fellow merchant, who obviously did not share the opinion of later historians. Perhaps the historians have been more interested in adventure and risk-taking; Lisa’s fellow traders may have judged him more on the basis of financial acumen. Berthold to Chouteau, August 20, 1819, CCMO.

32. The two companies, which were and remained separate companies, agreed to become equal partners in the Western Department of the American Fur Company. Astor’s corporation would furnish all supplies for the trade for a fee. Astor would also market all the furs, robes, and skins that accrued to his account and those belonging to Pratte and Company, the latter at a commission of 2.5 percent if Astor did not choose to buy them on the corporation’s account. In essence, Astor and Pratte and Company jointly owned this division or franchise. Chouteau received a salary of two thousand dollars as the agent of the American Fur Company. Cabanné and Berthold remained in the field at salaries of twelve hundred dollars each. After salaries, expenses, and fees, the profits were to be divided between the two companies.

33. Porter, John Jacob Astor, 11.692-693.

34. Quoted in ibid., 11.764.

35. In the reorganization of 1834, two new partners were added, Jean-Baptiste (Jean Berald) Sarpy and the firm of Menard and Vallé. Sarpy, the son of Cabanné's original partner, Gregoire, had married Cabanné's daughter Adele, his second cousin, in 1820. Sarpy had handled the books for the family business since dissolving his first partnership with A. P. Chouteau. Menard and Vallé, a family firm operating out of Kaskaskia and Ste. Genevieve, had been started by Pierre Menard and Jean-Baptiste Vallé. Their sons, Edmond and Felix, respectively, were running the business by the late 1830s. Needless to say, there were various family connections. The Vallés were related to the Prattes, and the Menards to the Chouteaus.

36. Bernard Pratte died in 1836; Berthold had died in 1831. Pratte’s son withdrew from the company in 1838 to serve in the Missouri legislature. His place in the firm was taken by Joseph Sire. Sire, born in 1799 in La Rochelle, came to St. Louis in 1821 by way of Philadelphia. Cabanné, whose letters from Council Bluffs to the partners in St. Louis were always full of gossip, had noted Sire’s abilities as early as 1825. Sire became a master of various company steamboats and a partner in 1838. He had ensured himself a position of importance by marrying Virginia Labbadie, Bernard Pratte’s niece, in 1827. The other new partner in 1838 was John F. A. Sanford, a native of Virginia. In 1832, Sanford had married Pierre Chouteau Jr.'s daughter, Emilie. He began working for the firm in 1835 and moved to New York in 1841 to manage the company’s new import-export office. Even in this third generation of family partners, in-laws played a most important role. It is also worth noting that the great majority of in-laws who became partners over three generations were born in southwestern France or St. Domingue. It was clear by 1839 that the old consortium was a thing of the past. That year the company was reorganized once more and renamed Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Company. Cabanné, whose lack of discretion had become an irritant to Chouteau, withdrew with some hard feelings. He formed a partnership the following year with Bernard Pratte Jr. but died in 1841.

37. Railroad construction and mining had by now replaced the fur trade as the focal point of Chouteau’s investments.

38. Lecompte, “Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,” and “John F. A. Sanford”; and Michel, “The St. Louis Fur Trade.” Even the St. Louis office during these later years served primarily as an investment brokerage, often dealing in railroads and mining property. See Pierre Chouteau Jr. to Charles P. Chouteau, April 11, 1855; April 13, 1855; August 22, 1857; August 26, 1857; September 5, 1857; January 12, 1860; and January 16, 1860; John H. Thompson to Charles Chouteau, December 29, 1859, CCMO.

39. Berthold, Chouteau, and Pratte to G. S. Chouteau, July 19, 1822, CCMO; Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, 7.

40. He married Clemence Coursault, a niece of Henri’s brothers-in-law, René and Gabriel Paul. Henri, his cousins Antoine and Gustave Soulard, and René Paul, who was the city surveyor until 1838, spent most of their careers dealing in real estate. Rodabaugh,Frenchtown, 12-13.

41. Inventory of Auguste Chouteau estate, May, 13, 1829, CCMO; Henri Chouteau becomes administrator of estate, September 22, 1842, CCMO; see Boxes 40-42, CCMO, for Henri’s real estate transactions. Henri also ran interference for his cousin Pierre’s real estate interests. See Crooks to Pierre Chouteau Jr., January 24, 1836, CCMO.

42. Azby Chouteau to J. Gilman Chouteau, October 2, 1871; February 15, 1881; December 21, 1887, CCMO.

43. Auguste Chouteau to P.-L. Panet, October 5, 1800, CCMO.

44. Henri Chouteau to Guilmain Chouteau, December 8, 1847, CCMO.

45. Crooks to Chouteau, January 24, 1836, CCMO.

46. Panet to Chouteau, February 2, 1797; May 18, 1804; December 7, 1804; May 18, 1805; December 28, 1805; A. A. Chouteau to Auguste Chouteau, April 3, 1816, August 19, 1828, CCMO.

47. Cabanné to Chouteau, September 16, 1825, CCMO, quoted in David J. Weber, “Sylvestre S. Pratte,” in Hafen, ed., Mountain Men.

48. Cabanné to Chouteau, April 28, 1825; November 6, 1825, CCMO.

49. “Journals of Jules DeMun,” Collections, Missouri Historical Society, 5:2 (February 1928).

50. Lecompte, “August Pierre Chouteau.”

51. Receipts, May 25, 1837, CCMO.

52. Jules to Isabelle de Mun, July 24, 1816, quoted in Janet Lecompte, “Jules and Isabelle DeMun,” Bulletin, Missouri Historical Society (October 1969).

53. For more on French Creole family life and codes of behavior in St. Louis, see Saxton, Being Good.

54. Pierre Chouteau Jr. to Emilie Chouteau, July 25, 1854, CCMO.

55. George M. Platt, “Thomas L. Sarpy,” in Hafen, ed., Mountain Men.

56. Theodore Papin to Pierre Melicourt Papin, September 2, 1833, CCMO.

57. Segalen, Historical Anthropology, 223.

58. Berthold, Glimpses of Creole Life.

59. Bartholomew Berthold to Bernard Pratte, October 17, 1823; Jean Pierre Cabanné to Pierre Chouteau Jr., August 2, 1824; Pierre Chouteau to Pierre Chouteau Jr., September 21, 1824; Ramsay Crooks to Pierre Chouteau Jr., March 23, 1836, CCMO.

60. Hall, “Family Structure.”

61. Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings, 117, and see Marra, Pal, and Boutros, Cher Oncle, Cher Papa.

62. Crooks to Pierre Chouteau Jr., April 21, 1825, CCMO.

63. Azby Chouteau to Gilman Chouteau, May 26, 1896, CCMO.

64. Michael B. Miller, The Bon Marche: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869-1920 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), 15. See esp. the introduction and chs. 1 and 6.


1. It is also fair to suggest that the size of the francophone population in such cities might have been greater if the social economy of the fur trade had not siphoned off substantial numbers of métis employees and their families over the years. Both the St. Louisand Detroit metropolitan areas contained outlying villages populated in part by such families.

2. That story will be explored in greater depth in Chapter 8.

3. Smelser, “Housing in Creole St. Louis.” This article is rather strange. It contains a brief description of Creole material culture, followed by what can only be described as an unrelated interpretation having to do with the rise of class consciousness in St. Louis in the early years of American rule. He seems to be arguing that Creole St. Louis was a classless society and that the emergence of a bourgeois class and an incipient consumer culture marked the end of Creole “folkways.” Such an argument, such as it is, ignores the dominant role that the Creole merchant elite played from the very beginning of St. Louis’s history.

4. Timothy Mahoney notes that the Creole elite in St. Louis were showing a marked preference for “Federal or Greek Revival houses built in the ‘French manner’” by the 1830s. See Mahoney, Provincial Lives, 131.

5. See Johnson, The Michigan Fur Trade, 129, 135; and Kappler, ed., Indian Affairs, 11:185-187.

6. The information on the Campau landholdings comes from Denis J. Campau, Rent Book, 1863-1880, and Denis J. Campau, Cash Book Commencing June 9th, 1863 of Denis J. Campau, Receiver of the Estate of Joseph Campau, Esq., Campau Family Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan; Robert B. Ross, “Detroit in 1837: Reminiscences of Joseph and Daniel J. Campau,” Detroit Sunday News Tribune, November 4, 1894; Farmer, The History of Detroit and Michigan, 977-982; Donald W. Voelker, “Joseph Campau: Detroit’s ‘Big Shot,’” Michigan History, 75:4 (July/August 1991); and S. Heath Ackley, “Understanding Joseph Campau” (senior essay, Yale University, 1997). I am especially indebted to Mr. Ackley, who gathered many of the documents I have used for this chapter.

7. For a fuller account, see Kilfoil, C. C. Trowbridge; and Formisano, The Birth of Mass Political Parties, 42.

8. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 108-110; Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 178-179.

9. For some representative documents on Henri’s activities, see March, 26, 1836; June 28, 1837; and April 16, 1846, CCMO.

10. Moran, The Moran Family, 56.

11. Foley and Rice, The First Chouteaus, 176.

12. Sandweiss, St Louis, 35-36. This book not only covers the activities of various developers in St. Louis, it provides a unique model for historians of how to describe and analyze the patterns of urban growth.

13. Ibid., 45-46.

14. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 306.

15. John R. Williams to François Navarre, August 31, 1819, Navarre Family Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan.

16. John R. Williams to Jacques Campau, August 30, 1800, trans. Max Lehucher, John R. Williams Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan. Thanks to Mara Harwel for bringing this letter to my attention.

17. The French and other Catholics felt that Protestants, many of them New Englanders, wanted to use Bible reading in public schools to proselytize. They were not wrong about this. The second Michigan superintendent of public instruction, Franklin Sawyer, edited the anti-Catholic Detroit Daily Advertiser. The superintendent in 1845—with the telling name Oliver Cromwell Comstock—recommended daily readings from the Bible. Four women from important French families in Detroit, Elizabeth Williams (sister of John R.), Elizabeth Lyons (a Chene on her mother’s side), Angelique Campau, and Monique Labadie Beaubien, took the lead in providing education for young women. They established the Academy of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart and later the French Female Charity School for girls from families without means. For a full discussion of these issues, see Vinyard, For Faith and Fortune, ch. 1.

18. For two representative documents, see Daniel J. Campau, Letter to the Delegates of the Detroit City Democratic Convention, February 19, 1853, Campau Family Papers; and John R. Williams, “To the Free and Independent Electors of Michigan,” August 30, 1823, Williams Family Papers; both in the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan. The best overview of politics in Michigan during this period is Formisano, The Birth of Mass Political Parties.

19. Munius Kenney to William Woodbridge, William Woodbridge Correspondence and Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan.

20. Formisano, The Birth of Mass Political Parties, 200.

21. For more on this, see Primm, Lion of the Velley, and Davis, “Community and Conflict.”

22. See Primm, Lion of the Velley, 165, 183.

23. Darby, Personal Recollections, 8-9.

24. Wilson Jr., ed., Southern Travels, 45.

25. Ibid., 43.

26. Corporation of the Town of Detroit, Act of Incorporation, 40-41.

27. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 102.

28. Babcock, ed., Forty Years of Pioneer Life, 87.

29. Rodgers, “Recollections of St. Louis,” 112.

30. Frederick Bates to Sally Bates, May 5, 1799, in Marshall, ed., The Life and Papers of Frederick Bates, L17; Frederick Bates to Richard Bates, December 17, 1807, in ibid., I:237-247.

31. A study of Creole marriage contracts, wills, and probate files during the American period would shed much light on the continuity of legal traditions and the economic role of French women. (See the various papers relating to the estates of Auguste Chou-teau and Henri Chouteau in CCMO and the marriage contract between Gabriel Paul and Marie Louise Chouteau, March 28, 1818, Soulard Papers, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis; also McDermott, ed., Old Cahokia, and Snyder, “The Old French Towns.” Useful studies of the “clash of legal traditions” on this frontier and others are Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana; David J. Langum, Law and Community on the Mexican California Frontier (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987); and Arnold, Unequal Laws.On the legal rights and economic maneuverability of women in Creole communities, see Winstanley Briggs, “The Enhanced Economic Position of Women in French Colonial Illinois,” in Glasrud, ed., L’Heritage Tranquille, and Boyle, “Did She Generally Decide?”

32. See Banner, Legal Systems in Conflict, 96-97.

33. Neatby, The Administration of Justice, 292-293, 328-329.

34. On this and various other bones of contention between the French and the incoming Anglos in Detroit and its hinterland, see Bidlack, The Yankee Meets the Frenchman; Bald, Detroit’s First American Decade; and Kadler, “The French in Detroit.”

35. This topic will be covered in Chapter 8. The pattern in Michigan can also be seen in Minnesota, where by the end of the nineteenth century the older francophone population had merged with newer arrivals from Quebec and could sustain newspapers in the Twin Cities such as Echo de l’Ouest and Le Canadien. Political clubs included the Club Democratie Franco-Americaine and the Lafayette-Papineau Republican League. For more, see Rubinstein, “The French Canadians and the French,” and Scholberg, The French Pioneers.

36. Farmer, The History of Detroit, 672-680; and D. Aidan McQuillan, “French-Canadian Communities in the Upper Midwest during the Nineteenth Century,” in Louder and Waddell, eds., French America.

37. Moran, The Moran Family, xxi.

38. Mara Harwel, “La Justice Mon Devoir” (unpublished paper, December 2007), 4.

39. Virginia L. Sarpy to “ma chere tante” [Emilie Gratiot Chouteau], n.d. [but sometime in the late 1830s], CCMO.

40. Barret, “Recollections of Mary Finney Barret,” 122-123.

41. Rodabaugh, Frenchtown, 9-21.

42. It is interesting to note that Sophie Chouteau’s husband was A. P. Chouteau, the same “Col. Choteau” described by Washington Irving in A Tour of the Prairies. This Chouteau spent most of his time in Indian country at his agency, which resembled a frontier plantation (see Chapter 5). A.P. rarely returned home—certainly in part to avoid his creditors. The high-society predilections of his wife and daughters may have been an additional reason. See Irving, A Tour of the Prairies, 21.

43. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 375.

44. Charles Dickens, American Notes (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1968), 201.

45. Thomas M. Easterly captured the devastation caused by this fire in his daguerreotypes. Easterly also recorded, thankfully, some of the last remaining Creole homes in St. Louis. See Dolores A. Kilgo, Likeness and Landscape: Thomas M. Easterly and the Art of the Daguerreotype (St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1994), 162167.

46. de Finiels, An Account of Upper Louisiana, 67.

47. Count Francesco Arese, A Trip to the Prairies and in the Interior of North America (1837-1838), trans. Andrew Evans, reprint edition (New York: Cooper Square, 1975), 58-59.

48. Richard C. Wade, The Urban Frontier: The Rise of Western Cities, 1790-1830 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), 248, and Primm, Lion of the Velley, 90.

49. These and other wonderful quotations are collected in Jeffrey S. Adler, Yankee Merchants and the Making of the Urban West: The Rise and Fall of Antebellum St. Louis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 52.

50. Van Ravenswaay, St. Louis, 300-301, 355-356, 364-365.

51. Pare, The Catholic Church in Detroit, 302, 485.

52. Hall and Farmer, Grosse Pointe, 35.

53. Fowler, Reminiscences, 17-18.

54. Morrison, Memoirs, 3.

55. For more information on the Jaccards, Joseph Bouju, and other craftsmen, see Ruth H. Roach’s delightful little book, St. Louis Silversmiths; a brief description of M. Massot’s confectionary shop can be found in Kennerly, Persimmon Hill, 29-30; Fremont,Souvenirs of My Time also contains several descriptive chapters on Creole St. Louis during this early American period; the letters of Christian Wilt, excerpted in Jennings, A Pioneer Merchant, contain interesting comments on the preferences in shoes and soap of Creole customers (163, 176).

56. Quoted in Faribault-Beauregard, ed., La vie aux Illinois, 119.


1. Rodabaugh, Frenchtown, 20.

2. For a fuller understanding of the confusion and conflict in war-torn Missouri, see William E. Parrish, A History of Missouri, Volume III, 1860 to 1875 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1973). For the situation in St. Louis, see Primm, Lion of the Velley,ch. 7, esp. 260-263. Gabriel Paul (1813-1886) graduated from West Point in 1834. He fought in the Seminole War in 1842 and in the Mexican War. As a Union general, he led a brigade at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. During this last campaign, he was wounded and ultimately lost his sight as a result. He held the rank of brigadier general at his death. His son, Auguste Chouteau Paul, named after his great-grandfather, enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 and fought in the Battle of the Wilderness. He was confined in a southern prison for almost a year during the war and later served in the regular army with General Crooks in various Indian campaigns. See Beckwith, Creoles of St. Louis, 26-31, and Cunningham and Blythe, The Founding Family, 10-18. For more on Tullia Paul, see Rodabaugh, French-town, 14-20. Tullia Paul, the “Queen of St. Louis Society,” undoubtedly had little use for parvenus like Mayor O. D. Filley, a Free-Soiler and stove manufacturer. Nevertheless, the family had personal and economic reasons to support the Union cause. Of course, it was certainly possible for family members to be divided on the issues of slavery and allegiance. Such was the case for the Garesche family of St. Louis; see William B. Faherty, SJ,Dream by the River: Two Centuries of Saint Louis Catholicism, 1766-1980, rev. ed. (St. Louis: River City, 1981).

3. Beckwith, Creoles of St. Louis, 39.

4. Primm, Lion of the Velley, 248.

5. Ibid., 263. President Lincoln later ordered an end to the assessment and the collections. See also Sunder, The Fur Trade, 235.

6. Sunder, The Fur Trade, 262-264.

7. Van Ravenswaay, Saint Louis, 409.

8. George Reinecke, “Alfred Mercier, French Novelist of New Orleans,” in Kenneth W. Holditch, ed., In Old New Orleans (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983), 161.

9. Roger, The American Enemy, 88-89.

10. Joseph G. Tregle Jr., “Creoles and Americans,” in Hirsch and Logsdon, eds., Creole New Orleans, 168.

11. Réglements de la Légion Française Formée a la Nouvelle-Orléans le 26 Avril 1861 (Nouvelle-Orleans: J. Lamarre, 1861) in Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

12. Stephen Butler, “The St. Albans Raid of 1864: A Confederate Attack on Vermont and Its Impact on the Confederation Debate in Canada” (senior thesis, Yale College, 2006). Several years after the St. Albans Raid of October 1864, a French Canadian delegation expressed its sympathy with the slaves, visiting Mrs. Lincoln and declaring, “You, Madam, mourn your noble husband; we mourn the liberator!” (New York Times, 10 May 1867). I am grateful to Ryan Brasseaux for bringing this article to my attention.

13. Tregle, “Creoles and Americans,” 131-185. Tregle’s more recent book, Louisiana in the Age of Jackson, repeats the same argument and focuses on the 1820s and 1830s (see chs. 2 and 12). See also Tregle’s influential essay “Early New Orleans Society: A Reappraisal,” Journal of Southern History, 18 (1952), 21-36. A final note on the term “Creole.” Virginia R. Domínguez in her book White by Definition demonstrates clearly that the meaning of the term has shifted over time in response to changing conditions in Louisiana. As Tregle and Domínguez both show, the use of the term became more widespread after 1803 “to establish a primacy of native identity against the newcomer,” that is, “incoming Americans” (Tregle, “Creoles and Americans,” 138). That the term, used primarily in the sense of “native-born,” took so long to become popular does, indeed, as Tregle notes, “[reveal] much about the area’s colonial relationship to both France and Spain” (134). Tregle also makes it clear that “Creole” could simply mean any thing or person “native” to Louisiana during the antebellum period or could be used, especially as “the Creoles,” to refer to that ancienne population — “the indigenous Latin inhabitants” (141). The term would not necessarily be applied to francophone individuals born outside the state, and Dominguez has been rightly criticized for not making enough of the distinction between the so-called Foreign French and the ancienne population. On the other hand, the term became increasingly politicized during the antebellum period, and Paul F. Lachance—in his review of the Dominguez book (Louisiana History, 29 [1988], 190-192) — noted that “language became the crucial criterion distinguishing the ancienne population from the non-French and non-Creole immigrants, mainly Anglo-Americans.” Therefore, while I have tried in this chapter to use the clearer term—“Francophone”—I think it is safe to say that in the context of antebellum Louisiana cultural politics, “Creoles” more often than not implies Francophones.

14. Tregle, “Creoles and Americans,” 157. By the legislative act of incorporation, the First Municipality—the French Quarter or vieux carré —covered the area between Esplanade and Canal; the Second Municipality or American District—also known as Faubourg St. Mary or Ste. Marie—covered the area above Canal; the Third Municipality—or Faubourg Marigny—covered the area below (downriver of) Esplanade. The first and third municipalities were primarily francophone. The city reunited in 1852.

15. Ibid., 168.

16. Ibid., 159.

17. See Tregle, “Political Reinforcement.”

18. This story is well told by Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana. More recently, Mark F. Fernandez has contributed a nuanced look at the legal system that emerged in antebellum Louisiana, a blend of civilian and common law traditions that, in the end, relied on a common law style of judicature. Nevertheless, the Code of 1825 provided a legal comfort zone for the ancienne population. See Fernandez, From Chaos to Continuity.

19. Paul F. Lachance, “The Foreign French,” in Hirsch and Logsdon, eds., Creole New Orleans, 117. See also Lachance, “The 1809 Immigration of Saint-Domingue Refugees to New Orleans: Reception, Integration and Impact,” Louisiana History, 29:2 (Spring 1988), 109-141.

20. Lachance, “Foreign French,” 112.

21. Ibid., 113-114, and S. Frederick Starr, Southern Comfort: The Garden District of New Orleans, 1800-1900 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989), 22.

22. Tinker, Bibliography.

23. Lachance, “Foreign French,” 123.

24. Reinders, End of an Era, 132.

25. Ibid., 149, n. 8.

26. Emile Hiriart, “Guerre aux Écoles Publiques,” La Renaissance Louisianaise, May 19, 1861, quoted in ibid., 137.

27. Reinders, End of an Era, 143; Tregle, “Creoles and Americans,” 160; and see Chapter 7 of this book. For a Detroit example, see Moran, The Moran Family, 60, 68. On the values and goals of higher education, the Creole elite and their Yankee counterparts were not in disagreement. On at least one occasion, the two streams met: Henry Barnard, a famous early educator from New England, married a woman from an old Detroit Creole family, Josephine DesNoyers. Barnard’s son married a young woman from another distinguished Detroit Creole family, Catherine Elizabeth Moran.

28. Reinders, End of an Era, 147.

29. Kmen, Music in New Orleans, 149-166.

30. Ibid., 200.

31. Ibid., 102.

32. Ibid., 234-236; Lester Sullivan, “Composers of Color of Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The History behind the Music,” Black Music Research Journal, 8:1 (1988), 51-82.

33. Roger G. Kennedy, Architecture, Men, Women and Money in America, 1600-1860 (New York: Random House, 1985), 402; and see Starr, Southern Comfort, chs. 1 and 2.

34. James Creecy, Scenes in the South and Other Miscellaneous Pieces (1860), quoted in Reinders, End of an Era, 11.

35. Reinders, End of an Era, 14.

36. Some of Marigny’s complaints can be found in Memoire de Bernard Marigny, Habitant de la Louisiane: Addressee à ses concitoyens (Paris: C. J. Trouve, 1822; trans. Olivia Blanchard, typescript, Special Collections Division, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans), 25-27. For the bickering on both sides—a tangle of ethnic hostility and competing demands for capital improvements — see Fos-sier, New Orleans, ch. 9.

37. Starr, Southern Comfort, 22-26.

38. Ibid., 21-26; Reinders, End of an Era, 62, n. 3.

39. Residents of the Third Municipality below Esplanade, home to many immigrants and Creoles, were opposed to the annexation of Lafayette, an Anglo-American suburb full of southern Democrats. They were afraid this addition would upset the city’s delicate balance of power. On this and the drive for reunification, see Reinders, End of an Era, ch. 4.

40. Letter of “Civius” to Louisiana Gazette, June 30, 1825, quoted in Fossier, New Orleans, 124; see also p. 292.

41. See Brasseaux, Acadian to Cajun, 90.

42. Audisio, “Crisis in Baton Rouge.”

43. Quoted in Fossier, New Orleans, 277; see also Reinders, End of an Era, 12-13.

44. Newton, “Creoles and Anglo-Americans,” 39.

45. Ibid.

46. James M. Crawford, The Mobilian Trade Language (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1978), 82.

47. Ripley, Social Life, 25-27.

48. Morrison, Memoirs.

49. Ibid.

50. Ripley, Social Life, 7-13, and Fremont, Souvenirs of My Time, 155-160.

51. Ripley, Social Life, 9-11.

52. Journal of the Proceedings of the Convention of the State of Louisiana (New Orleans: Besangon, Ferguson, 1845), Articles 104 and 132 (Articles 101 and 129 cover the same ground in the 1852 constitution); John Smith-Thibodeaux, Les Francophones de Louisiane (Paris: Editions Entente, 1977), 33; Hamel, La Louisiane créole, 1:126; see also, Kloss, Les droits linguistiques des Franco-Américains aux Etats-Unis (Quebec: Presses de l’Université Laval par le Centre International de Recherches sur le Bilinguisme, 1970).

53. Bell, Revolution, Romanticism, ch. 5.

54. See Reinders, End of an Era, chs. 2 and 4.

55. Quoted in editors’ introduction to “Part II, The American Challenge,” in Hirsch and Logsdon, eds., Creole New Orleans, 96.

56. On the Louisiana-Quebec comparison, see Eric Waddell, “French Louisiana: An Outpost of l’Amérique Frangaise or Another Country and Another Culture?,” in Louder and Waddell, eds., French America, 246-247; and Hero Jr., Louisiana and Quebec.

57. Joseph Logsdon and Caryn Cossé Bell, “The Americanization of Black New Orleans, 1850-1900,” in Hirsch and Logsdon, eds., Creole New Orleans, 242.

58. Debates in the Convention for the Revision and Amendment of the Constitution of the State of Louisiana, Assembled at Liberty Hall, New Orleans, April 6, 1864 (New Orleans: W. R. Fish, 1864), 47.

59. Ibid., 49.

60. Ibid., 478, 642.

61. Official Journal of the Proceedings of the Convention, for Framing a Constitution for the State of Louisiana (New Orleans: J. B. Roudanez, 1867-1868), 305.

62. Caulfield, French Literature, 63.

63. Hamel, La Louisiane créole, 1:44.

64. Brasseaux, Acadian to Cajun; Caryn Cossé Bell and Joseph Logsdon, “The Impact of Revolutionary Upheaval in France and the French Caribbean on Nineteenth-Century Black Leadership in New Orleans,” in Patricia Galloway and Philip P. Boucher, eds.,Proceedings of the Fifteenth Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society Martinique and Guadeloupe, May 1989 (Lantham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992), 130-141; Logsdon and Bell, “The Americanization of Black New Orleans,” 201-261; and Bell, Revolution, Romanticism.

65. See Logsdon and Bell, “The Americanization of Black New Orleans,” esp. 232-251.

66. Jean-Charles Houzeau, My Passage at the New Orleans Tribune, ed. David C. Rankin (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984), 48.

67. Ibid., 51-52.

68. Logsdon and Bell, “The Americanization of Black New Orleans,” 245.

69. For more on the Caribbean context of this struggle, see Rebecca J. Scott, “The Atlantic World and the Road to Plessy v. Ferguson,” Journal of American History, 94 (December 2007).

70. Arnold R. Hirsch, “Fade to Black: Hurricane Katrina and the Disappearance of Creole New Orleans,” Journal of American History, 94 (December 2007), 758.

71. Louise Augustin Fortier, “Chronique du vieux temps: Un Incident de la Guerre Con-fédérée,” in Gerard Labarre St. Martin and Jacqueline K. Voorhies, eds., Ecrits Louisianais du Dix-Neuviéme Siécle (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1979), 7181. The story was originally published in the magazine Comptes-Rendus de l’Athénée Louisianais in April 1905. See Caulfield, French Literature.

72. Caulfield, French Literature, 63-64.

73. Alfred Mercier, LHabitation Saint-Ybars, ou, Maitres et Esclaves en Louisiane: Récit Social, ed. Réginald Hamel, trans. Richard Lanoie (Montreal: Guerin, 1989), 29. I am grateful to James (Beau) Babst for this reference and translation.

74. Tregle, “Creoles and Americans,” 171.

75. Carl A. Brasseaux, French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005), 100. Indeed, very little work has been done on the white Creole community after the Civil War. By way of contrast, the study of the black community, francophone and anglophone, has blossomed. For a sampling of recent work, see Sybil Kein, ed., Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana’s Free People of Color (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000). The only book on the former remains the anecdotal and rather nostalgic compendium by Leonard V. Huber, Creole Collage: Reflections on the Colorful Customs of Latter-Day New Orleans Creoles (Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1980).

76. The entire poem can be found in Shapiro, trans., and Weiss, ed., Creole Echoes, 55. Shapiro’s translation of this passage is:

But others, too, passed by—pathetic, mute—

Family-less, unloved, poor, destitute

Exiles among the strollers gay: and, though

Tattered their dress and worn, still do they show

The dignity of far-off, fairer days.

I thought of this poem after Hurricane Katrina, but it is here to convey the sense of loss and exile some Francophones clearly felt in the postbellum world of Louisiana. It might be read with the deeply engaging essay by Hubert Aquin, which explores, among other things, the theme of exile: “The Cultural Fatigue of French Canada” (1962), in Anthony Purdy, ed., Writing Quebec: Selected Essays by Hubert Aquin (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1988).

77. Elliott West, “Reconstructing Race,” Western Historical Quarterly, 34:1 (Spring 2003), 1, 35.

78. A fuller story of racial prejudice and even violence directed against the French could be told. Such a history would find much evidence throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, and we are not far removed from an era when the words “Cajun” and “coonass” were hurled at Francophones in Louisiana as racial epithets. I have also met ethnically French residents of the Old Mines and Ste. Genevieve area in Missouri who confirmed that the terms “coonass,” “frog,” and the more local “pawpaw” were commonly used to insult members of their communities and were meant to have a racial dimension. In Canada, where Francophones constitute a significant segment of the population, the struggle over economic and cultural place remains fresh and combustible. A mere forty years ago, Pierre Vallieres (1968) wrote his famous manifesto for the independence of Quebec, describing French Canadians, significantly, as “the white niggers of Canada.”

79. Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998).

80. The literature on the authors themselves and the creation of the modern French Quarter has been growing. See for example S. Frederick Starr, ed., Inventing New Orleans: Writings of Lafcadio Hearn (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001); Thomas J. Richardson, ed., The Grandissimes: Centennial Essays (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1981); Anthony J. Stanonis, Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006); Alecia P. Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004); and J. Mark Souther, New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006).

81. March, Shoepac Recollections, 11.

82. The words are almost impossible to read, and apparently French is nothing more than English with some extra vowels. Hall and Farmer, Grosse Pointe, 99.

83. Raymond C. Miller, “Detroit—Old and New,” American Heritage, 2:4 (Summer 1951).

84. Holli, “French Detroit,” 95; and Holli, Detroit, 5.

85. Parkins, The Historical Geography of Detroit, 146.

86. Philip J. Deloria, Playing Indian (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998).

87. Richard Edwards and Menra Hopewell, The Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis (St. Louis, 1860), 278.

88. Ernest Kirschten, Catfish and Crystal (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960), 79-80.

89. Lamarre, French Canadians of Michigan, 19, 25. See also D. Aidan McQuillan, “French-Canadian Communities in the Upper Midwest during the Nineteenth Century,” in Louder and Waddell, eds., French America, and DuLong, French Canadians in Michigan.

90. Roby, The Franco-Americans, 11-12.

91. DuLong, French Canadians in Michigan, 23.

92. Lamarre, The French Canadians of Michigan, 88-94.

93. DuLong, French Canadians in Michigan, 3.

94. Ibid., 27.

95. François-Edme Rameau de Saint-Père, Notes historiques sur la colonie canadienne de Detroit: Lecture prononcée par Mr. Rameau à Windsor sur le Détroit Comté d’Essex, C. W. le lundi Ier avril 1861 (Montreal: J. B. Rolland, 1861), 41. I am indebted to Mara Harwel for finding and translating this quotation in her seminar paper, “‘La Justice Mon Devoir': John R. Williams’ Path from Clerk to Mayor of Detroit” (December 2007).

96. Williams, A History of the City of Saint Paul, 271.

97. Scholberg, French Pioneers, 40-41.

98. Ibid.; White, “The Power of Whiteness.” For evidence of the Rolette family’s musical education, see March 30, 1824, CCMO.

99. This information has been compiled from three sources: Scholberg, French Pioneers; Williams, A History of the City of St. Paul; and Rubinstein, “The French Canadians and the French.”

100. Jean Morisset, “An America That Knows No Name: Postscript to a Quincentenary Celebration,” in Louder and Waddell, eds., French America, 342.

101. Flandrau, The History of Minnesota, 400-401.

102. Ibid.

103. Sibley had been a member of the American Fur Company since 1829 when he moved to Mackinac as a company clerk at the age of eighteen. He had been a partner in the trade in Minnesota since 1834. Sibley had a daughter named Helen, or Muzzahwakonwin, by a Wahpekute woman. Although little is known about this daughter, we do know that Sibley assumed financial responsibility for her. At the age of twelve, Helen received one thousand dollars in the Mendota Treaty of 1851 that Sibley had facilitated. Sibley invested the money in an Iron Mountain Railroad bond. This rail road was a Chouteau company. (Sibley Papers, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Roll 29, Volume 89.) As we might expect, the biography of Sibley published in 1889 by Nathaniel West never mentions his métis daughter. The author, of course, does spend almost fifty pages on Sibley’s English ancestry and the accomplishments of his Massachusetts forebears. Sibley’s political and military accomplishments are lauded and his place of honor in Minnesota history secured. (Nathaniel West, “The Ancestry, Life, and Times of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley, LL.D.” [St. Paul, 1889].) The dated and rather worthless accounts of Sibley have finally been replaced by a biography that captures beautifully a complex man in a context much more complicated than we have imagined: Rhoda R. Gilman, Henry Hastings Sibley: Divided Heart (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2004).

104. Pamphlet, Henry Hastings Sibley Papers, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

105. Williams, A History of the City of St. Paul, 47-56.

106. Flandrau, History of Minnesota, 382.

107. Although the Catholic Church helped define and perpetuate the French heritage of Minnesota, ultimately it proved to be more a francophone bequest to other Catholics, not an effective tool of survivance, or cultural survival. In St. Paul, as in St. Louis and New Orleans, the strong presence of the church was a factor in attracting Catholic settlers, especially the Irish, whose numbers quickly overwhelmed the francophone character of the early church. By 1868, the Francophones of St. Paul had abandoned the cathedral parish and were ready to establish their own national parish, the Church of St. Louis. A parish school, the École St. Louis, provided instruction in French from its founding in 1873 until the 1960s. In Minneapolis a French national parish, Notre Dame de Lourdes, was established in 1877 with a parish school operating from 1888 to 1959. Although the Catholic Church has long been involved in the struggle for French Canadian cultural survival and the evolution of Quebecois nationalism, outside Quebec the church has not always been seen as an ally in that struggle. The French Creoles of New Orleans labeled English-speaking Irish immigrants “ultramontanists” during the 1850s and threatened to join the Know-Nothing Party in an effort to maintain “gallican” privileges. Four decades later in 1893, the French-language newspaper of Minneapolis, Echo de l’Ouest, complained bitterly of the influence of Irish Catholics in Minnesota, urging their readers to stem the tide of linguistic assimilation. See Rubinstein, “The French Canadians and the French,” 45-50.

108. Williams, A History of the City of St. Paul, 108-116, 311-313.

109. Part 1, Reel 34; Part 2, Reel 16, Volumes TT-WW, CCMO.

110. William L. Ames to Charles Chouteau, May 25, 1872, CCMO.

111. Reel 16, March 1857, CCMO.

112. These details have been compiled from Rubinstein, “The French Canadians and the French,” and Scholberg, French Pioneers.

113. The work of Gerhard Ens on the Red River métis also concludes that many métis people made a successful transition to market capitalism and that the Riel Rebellion of 1869-1870 was as much a class struggle as a “national” or ethnic uprising. See Ens,Homeland to Hinterland.

114. Indeed, Minnesota offers an interesting case study of the fate of the métis. When the Lake Pepin half-breed tract was opened up in 1854 in exchange for certificates or scrip, how many of the métis were defrauded of their property? Was Bottineau’s success an isolated case? We should also take a closer look at the influence of party politics, as Howard Lamar did many years ago in his study of Dakota Territory. In Dakota, Republican governor William Jayne urged the passage of a bill that would abolish slavery in the territory. The Democratic Assembly instead passed a bill prohibiting negroes from living in Dakota. The Republicans, on the other hand, fearful that the mixed-blood residents of the territory would keep the so-called Moccasin Democrats in power, killed a bill that would grant the métis any political rights. (See Lamar, Dakota Territory, 86-88.) In Minnesota, however, the Democrats in control of the convention to frame the state constitution in 1857 managed to extend the franchise to the métis. It was a wise move as historians and contemporaries alike attributed the election of Henry H. Sibley as the state’s first governor to the late returns from the Pembina region. See Shortridge, The Transition of a Typical Frontier, 129-130.

115. Shortridge, The Transition of a Typical Frontier, passim.

116. Williams, A History of the City of St. Paul, 64-84.

117. The erasure of this important francophone world of mid-America from memory and history has had a number of consequences. It has reinforced the notion that French America resembles an archipelago (see Louder and Waddell, eds., French America). It has reinforced the dominant position of Quebec as the arbiter of francophone culture and historical production. Above all, it has allowed the American general public to assume that francophone culture occupies only a quaint space of no real significance in Louisiana and an occasionally troublesome space in the Canadian periphery. Without the connecting link of a francophone world in mid-America, the textbooks that shape our East-to-West national narrative can proceed without ascribing a meaningful role to the French.

118. For a more complete telling of Pierre Chouteau’s story, see Jay Gitlin, “From Private Stories to Public Memory: The Chouteau Descendants of St. Louis and the Production of History,” St. Louis Mercantile Library, forthcoming.

119. The notes from this lecture were collected and published by another French descendant, Chouteau’s brother-in-law, Edward Villeré Papin, as “The Village under the Hill: A Sketch of Early St. Louis,” in Missouri Historical Society Collections (October 1927), V:1. For a nice summary of the Anglo-Saxonism of this period, see Edward P. Kohn, This Kindred People: Canadian-American Relations and the Anglo-Saxon Idea, 1895-1903 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004), ch. 3.

120. Hiram M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West, 3 vols. (New York: Francis P. Harper, 1902). For Chouteau’s contribution, see the preface, xxxiv-xxxv.


1. Josette Vieau Juneau to daughters, September 12, 1838, Solomon Juneau Papers, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2. Barbara Whalen, “The Lawyer and the Fur Trader: Morgan Martin and Solomon Juneau,” Milwaukee History, 11:1 (Spring-Summer 1988), 31. See also Anderson, “Solomon Juneau,” 109-112.

3. William Brewer to Solomon Juneau, March 22, 1851, Solomon Juneau Papers, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

4. Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, “From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, Nation-States, and the Peoples in Between in North American History,” American Historical Review, 104:3 (June 1999). See also the responses to this article in the following issue (October 1999).

5. For more on this midwestern story of removal, see for example Jay Gitlin, “Private Diplomacy to Private Property: States, Tribes, and Nations in the Early National Period,” Diplomatic History, 22:1 (Winter 1998), 85-99.

6. Kastor, The Nation’s Crucible.

7. Eugenia Berthold, “Notes on the Early French Families of St. Louis” manuscript for talk given in February 1953, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

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