FEBRUARY 15: Teenager co-founds St. Louis

st_louis_night_expblend-1ON THIS DATE in 1764, fourteen-year-old Rene Auguste Chouteau directed 30 men to begin clearing land for a location that would become the city of St. Louis. Choteau’s stepfather, Pierre Laclède, had scouted the place, located 677 miles north of New Orleans on the Mississippi River, and pronounced it an ideal spot for a fur trading post. He placed Chouteau in charge of a crew that cut timber and built cabins on the site.

augustechouteauChouteau (left) and Laclède are considered the co-founders of St. Louis.

Initially a French holding named for the patron saint of King Louis XV, St. Louis became U.S. property with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. By 1900, it was the most populous city west of Chicago.

Chouteau’s business savvy fueled the rapid growth of St. Louis. He became a full fur-trading partner with his stepfather in 1768, and took full control of the business when Laclède died in 1778. Chouteau established friendly relations with the Osage and other Indian tribes and negotiated effectively with French, British, and American interests, which aided in the city’s growth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s