and around it. When this is done, they set fire to it from
under; the logs burn up and partly melt the mineral. They
are sometimes obliged to repent the same operation three times
in order to extract all the matter.
This matter, falling into
the basin, forms a lump, which they afterwards melt over again
into bars weighing from sixty to eighty pounds, in order to
facilitate the transportation to Kaskaskia. This is done with
horses, who are quite vigorous in the country. One horse
carries generally four or five of these bars. It is worthy of
remark, gentlemen, that in spite of the bad system these men
have to work, there has been taken out of the La Motte mine
two thousand five hundred of these bars in 1741, two thousand
two hundred and twenty-eight in 1742, and these men work
only four or five months in the year at most."
HISTORY OF SAINT LOUIS.
Capt. Pittman, writing, in 1770, of Ste. Genevieve,
says, " A lead-mine about fifteen leagues distant sup-
plies the whole country with shot." Many curious
facts in regard to these Potosi lead-mines are to be
found incorporated in different parts of this work,
and we do not need to reproduce them in the present '
Lead soon became, next to peltries, the most im- j
portant and valuable export of the country, and, like j
pelts, it served in lieu of a currency. It was not, I
however, until St. Louis began to control the com- j
merce of the surrounding regions that much lead came
there. Before that it was nearly all shipped from
Ste. Genevieve. John Arthur, in 1811, offering to
sell a large line of cheap goods, gives notice that he
will take in pay furs, hides, whiskey, country-made
sugar, and beeswax, but says nothing about lead.
However, it was offered for sale by Wflliam Clark,
then Indian agent, afterwards Governor, in the fol-
lowing miscellaneous assortment :
" For sale by William Clark, the following articles, viz. : 113
pounds beaver, 103 otter-skins, 327 raccoon-skin?, 6 pechon, 20
muskrats and minks, 25 gray squirrels, 10 painted buffalo-
skins, dressed, 53 plain buffalo-skins, dressed, 436 deer-skins,
24 dressed -deer-skins, 1276 pounds lead, 400 pounds gunpow-
der, 70 pounds nails, 130 beaver traps, 1 box of glass, 10 x 12,
2 horse-pistols, 1 fusee, 2 rifles, 70 pounds tobacco in carrots,
14 hanks of worsted, assorted, 80 shawls, 4 pieces Irish linen,
2000 yards calico."
Among the largest dealers in this sort of merchan-
dise in the fur-trading days of St. Louis, was Joseph
A. Sire, one of the associates of Chouteau & Sarpy's
Joseph A. Sire was born at La Rochelle, France,
Feb. 19, 1799, and left home when fifteen years of age
to seek his fortune in the New World. His father, a
teacher of languages, had died, and his mother, a
woman of fine intelligence, encouraged him in his de-
termination to emigrate to America, in the belief that
the chances of success were greater there than in her
own country, then distracted by the daring schemes
and restless ambition of Napoleon Bonaparte. At
this time Europe was one vast camp, still heaving
from the struggle between Napoleon and the allied
powers to determine whether that great adventurer's
ambitious dream of the solidarity of nations should be
realized. Mr. Sire's mother, in view of the unsettled
condition of the country, overcame the natural im-
pulses which prompted her to keep her son at her
side, and urged upon him the advisability of seeking
a distant and more promising field of usefulness. Mr.
Sire, who fully appreciated her wisdom and maternal
courage, always maintained for her the deepest filial
reverence and love, and contributed most generously
of his fortune as long as she lived to minister to her
comfort and happiness.
The voyage to America might well have dismayed
one much older than the adventurous lad, for in those
days the facilities of travel did not exist which now
enable one to make the circuit of the world in less
time and with far less trouble and danger than were
then required to perform the journey between St.
Louis and New York. No steamships traversed the
ocean with almost the regularity of ferry-boats ; the
sailing-vessel was the only means of transportation,
and even the sailing-vessel had not acquired the
swiftness and regularity of movement attained by
modern ships. Often beating about for days in view
of a haven, awaiting a favorable wind, and frequently
driven out to sea by an off-shore storm, it seldom per-
formed a voyage of any length without encountering
many hardships and delays. On land the method* of
locomotion were similarly cumbrous and unreliable.
The canal-boat, with its crowded, ill-ventilated " be-
tween-decks," and the stage-coach were practically the
only resources of the traveler. Young Sire, however,
endured the hardships of this novel experience with
that courage and fortitude which continued to char-
acterize him throughout his career, a career un-
dimmed up to the hour of his death by a single dis-
Arrived at Philadelphia, he sought the advice and
assistance of Vital M. Garesche, then in business in
that city as one of the firm of Garesche & Rasazies,
but who subsequently removed with bis family to St.
Louis, where he became an influential member of the
City Council and president of the Board of Public
Schools. Mr. Garesche's parents had been residents
of La Rochelle, and he extended a cordial welcome to
the young Frenchman, who brought letters of intro-
duction to him, and gave him employment. His in-
dustry, integrity, and thorough reliability soon created
a most favorable impression, and he continued to en-
joy the confidence of the firm of which Mr. Garesche
was the senior partner until, in 1826, he determined
to go West. Upon his arrival in St. Louis, whither
he directed his steps, he was promptly admitted to the
houses of the best families of Creoles, to whom he
was commended by valued correspondents, and ob-
tained a situation as clerk with Sylvestre Labadie.
St. Louis at that time was but little changed from
what it was when seen by Washington Irving, " a
motley population, composed of the original colonists,
the keen traders of the Atlantic, backwoodsmen of
Kentucky and Tennessee, the Indians and the half-
breeds, together with a singular aquatic race that had
grown up from the navigators of the river, the boat-
TRADE, COMMERCE, AND MANUFACTURES.
men of the Mississippi, who possessed habits, man-
ners, almost a language peculiarly their own and
strongly technical." Such a community, with the dis-
sipation ever incidental to frontier life, offered strong
temptations to a young man, an entire stranger, de-
void of means and deprived of the associations of
home and kindred, yet the energy and pure character
of Mr. Sire bore him safely through the ordeal. To
quote the words of one who met him just after his
arrival, he was then about twenty-five, stout in form,
florid in complexion, of commanding but not extra-
ordinary stature, very affable in his manner, and
earnest and energetic in his ways. Mr. Labadie, his
employer, was a Creole gentleman who had married
a Miss Gratiot, and he and his wife by their own
worth, as well as relationship to the Chouteaus, the
Prattes, the Papins, the Bertholds, and the Soulards,
ranked among the very first people of St. Louis. Mr.
Labadie was the owner of a grist-mill, to which was
attached the first saw-mill ever established west of the
Mississippi River. It was located on the bluff near
the foot of Ashley Street, rude and simple though
serviceable in its machinery, its motive-power being
an elevated circular tread-plane worked by oxen.
There was no metal connected with the machinery,
just as the " Vide Poche" carts, now unknown, but
then the only vehicle, had not a particle of metal,
even for the harness of the ponies by which they were
drawn. Mr. Sire became clerk of this establishment,
but by his amiability and excellent deportment ingra-
tiated himself in the favor of his employers, and in
the following year married the only child of Mr. and
Mrs. Labadie, a lady of sweet disposition and culti-
vated and engaging manners. The union was a happy
one while it lasted, but of short duration, for within
two years his wife and their only child died.
Having become associated in the fur trade with
Pierre Chouteau and John B. Sarpy, owners of the
American Fur Company, with whom he was con-
nected by his marriage, he took charge of their an-
nual expedition to the upper country, as the region in
the vicinity of the head-waters of the Missouri was
then denominated, a wild, unbroken waste, the home
of fierce and warlike tribes, the counterpart of which
is still to be found in the dark and bloody ground of
portions of Texas and New Mexico, where the
Apaches wage a desperate but futile struggle against
the advance of civilization. The company erected
at different points throughout this district stockade
forts for protection against the ruthless warriors of
the plains. The expedition would always leave in the
spring, with a cargo of trinkets, blankets, tobacco, guns,
and ammunition, and would remain at the forts, bar-
tering with the Indians, until the opening of navigation
in the following year enabled them to descend with
their boats to St. Louis to dispose of their product
and to replenish their stock. The navigation of the
Missouri, with its swift, turbid current, its snags, and
its shifting channels, was fraught with danger, aside
from the fact that the voyagers were necessarily always
on the alert against the wily Indians.
Within the fort peril also lurked, and sleepless vig-
ilance was maintained lest some hostile band should
invade its precincts and murder every white man.
These forts were oases in the trackless wilderness, far
more isolated than those of the general government
at the present day. The latter are united by tele-
graph, have regular mails, and are always within sup-
porting distance of each other, but the trading-post
had no other communication with the outer world
than by the courrier du bois, who traveled from one
fort to the other, or perhaps was sent to the settlement
thousands of miles away with dispatches. These
courriers were white men who had lived so long among
the Indians that, like them, they had acquired their
skill in guiding themselves through trackless wilder-
nesses by night by the light of the stars, and by day
by the bark of trees. Six years of Mr. Sire's life were
passed in these distant forts, yet on his return 'to St.
Louis, so little had he been spoiled by his contact with
barbarism, that he was welcomed in the most exclusive
circles. After this Mr. Sire settled down in the office
of the company at St. Louis, to guide and organize
the expeditions he had formerly commanded, an occu-
pation in which he was still engaged at the time of
his death, July 15, 1854. His business-like and meth-
odical habits, fortified by his personal experience,
proved of great importance and value to his associates,
and contributed materially to the development of their
business. All three have now passed away, each leav-
ing a fortune honestly earned, which is the best evi-
dence of their thrift and foresight.
In 1852, Mr. Sire was married for the second time,
the lady of his choice being Mrs. Rebecca W. Chou-
teau, widow of one who belonged to a family honored
then, as now, not only as of historic interest in respect
to St. Louis, but of great public importance, having
ever shown itself ready to embark capital in enter-
prises which were likely to promote the development
of St. Louis. Mrs. Sire is still living, a woman of
marked characteristics, beloved, not for herself alone,
but also for her feminine virtues of true sympathy
Although a consistent and earnest Democrat, Mr.
Sire had no taste for politics nor any aspirations for
public office. He was frequently requested to become
HISTORY OF SAINT LOUIS.
a candidate, but invariably declined. He was a man
of warm and affectionate temperament, generous yet
prudent, unobtrusive in dress and manners, a public-
spirited citizen, and an ardent and loyal friend. A
notable illustration of the latter fact was afforded in
the devoted affection he ever entertained for his first
employer, Mr. Garesche, who also possessed great kind-
ness of heart. Between the two there always existed
an attachment which time could not diminish nor ab-
sence impair, and when Mr. Garesche, with his family,
reached St. Louis in 1839 the intimacy was renewed.
Upon the death of Mr. Garesche, April 4, 1844, Mr.
Sire became the protector of his children, and one to
whom they never appealed in vain. Generous in his
instincts, constant in his friendships, honorable in all
his transactions, genial in his intercourse with his
fellow-men, the friendless boy-adventurer died the
wealthy merchant and lamented citizen, leaving be-
hind him a record without stain or blemish.
In 1854 the statistics of the lead product were as
TRADE OF THE UPPER MIS-
PricelOOO Price 100
1, til 3,047. 88
SHIPMENTS OF LKAD/rom the upper mines during the season of 1853, from
March 21f to December 1st.
Ports from whence Shipped.
Shipped via the River.
tl 8 543 !
Shipped via the lake
Total 425,814 29,806,980 $1,639,383.90
The receipts at St. Louis aggregated 441,889 pigs
in 1854, against 409,314 in 1853. Of this 5315
came from the Missouri, and the balance from the
upper and lower Mississippi. The Galena table gives
the quantity shipped per river at 402,343; deduct
from this the Missouri receipts, and the balance, it is
fair to suppose, came from the lower mines, say 34,231
pigs. A pig of lead has the average weight of eighty
Hon. John Hogan, in one of his lucid pamphlets
about the past, present, and future of St. Louis, always
in his thoughts, had the following in regard to the
city's lead business :
"Some sixteen months ago one establishment commenced the
making of lead pipe and sheet-lead here. They, like all similar
untried experiments, had to feel their way along. The machi-
nery was costly; workmen at first difficult to be obtained: the
field of sale preoccupied by those longer engaged, more expe-
rienced, possessed of ample capital.
" But these young men possessed the energy, the probity,
felt the field was vast, and were content with small profits on
" They pushed their battle to the gate, and now what is the
result? they supply with these articles the entire valley of the
Minsissippi. South they include the trade of New Orleans ; east,
all the region to Pittsburgh ; north, the whole region of the up-
per lakes. Within the last twelve months they have manufac-
tured of lead pipe alone over two million pounds. This has
been shipped in immense casks and on large reels to supply the
demands of the great West and South ; while of sheet-lead they
have made one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds
in the same period, besides bar-lead.
"Now, these articles were not included in our exports of 1851,
before presented, for the works were not in existence then, and
these figures are now given to show that St. Louis is a suitable
place for manufactures, and also what may be done by industry
" In the said government returns no mention is made of shot,
although that article was then manufactured here, but, like
everything else, has grown considerably in that period.
"There is but one 'shot-tower' here, but it is fully qualified
to supply the vast extent of country dependent on us, or which
our skill or ability may bring within the reach of our openitions.
The region supplied from here with shot embraces nearly all the
valley of the Mississippi.
"I deem the operations of this concern to be important, and
was anxious to furnish in this place some indication of its ex-
tent, which I am enabled to do by the kind courtesy of Capt.
Simonds, one of the enterprising proprietors.
"I take an aggregate statement, furnished me by him, of its
business during the five months commencing January 1st and
ending June 1, 1854, as made up from their books, viz. :
Total amount of shot of all sizes manufac-
tured and sold during said five months,
79,775 bags, or 1,994,375 pounds.
Bar-lead for same period, 1714 kegs, or 428,460 "
Total shot and lead in five months 2,422,835 "
"During that period of five months the works were run but
one hundred and four days, thus the amount of pig-lead con-
sumed each day averages twenty-three thousand two hundred
and forty pounds."
The manufacture of shot near St. Louis dates
back to 1809, when it was announced in the Mis-
souri Gazette of March 1st that " at Herculaneum
a shot manufactory is now erecting by an active and
enterprising citizen of our Territory ; the situation is
peculiarly adapted for the purpose, having a natural
tower, or rather stupendous rock, forming a precipice
of about one hundred and sixty feet, having the lead-
mines in the neighborhood, and one of the finest har-
bors for vessels. We presume the proprietor will be
enabled to supply the Atlantic States on such terms
as will defeat competition." The proprietor referred
to was J. Macklot, who on the 16th of November,
1809, " commenced casting shot equal to the best
TRADE, COMMERCE, AND MANUFACTURES.
English patent." In 1810, also at Herculaneum, "a
new and flourishing little town on the Joachim, about
thirty miles from this (St. Louis) place," Mr. Austen
erected a shot-tower, and then Herculaneum " boasted
of two towers capable of supplying the Union with
shot of all sizes." l
The shot-tower of Ferdinand Kennett was opened
in February, 1847. The tower was built by Messrs.
Kayser & Carlisle, and was thirty-one feet in di-
ameter at the base, seventeen feet at the top, and
one hundred and seventy-five feet high. Previous to
the erection of this tower, Mr. Kennett had been en-
gaged in the same business, having a tower on Elm
Street, which tumbled down, wounding several persons.
In 1858, Mr. Kennett's shot-tower passed into the
hands of an incorporated company, since which time
it has been regarded as a most successful enterprise.
During the war the shot-tower company suffered se-
verely in a pecuniary sense, much of its work being
The tower is one hundred and eighty-six feet in
height, twenty-one feet above the tallest steeple in the
city. At the base it is thirty-one feet in diameter,
at the pinnacle seventeen feet. It is built of hard
burnt brick, cemented, and is regarded as thoroughly
substantial in every particular. The wall at the base
is four feet through ; at the summit of the tower it is
In 1850 the capital invested was forty thousand
dollars, employing ten hands, with an annual product
of six thousand dollars.
KECEIPTS AND EXPORTS OF LEAD, IN PIGS OP
80 POUNDS EACH.
Year. Keceipts. Exports.
1882 1,107.395 687,219
1881 925,406 625,L'i',t>
1880 7154. 8S7 45)5, o:;r,
1871) SI 7,5514 408,12:5
~ 704, 307 .C':;, '.Hit
1877 7510,028 47:!.28l
1876 605,557 40-1,300
1875 579,202 3L'i .
1^74 479,448 21S,538
1873 356,037 216,040
1 The manufacture and sale of powder were also established
in St. Louis at an early date. On the 15th of October, 1814,
William Sullivan published the following advertisement :
" Owners of powder, take notice that I, the subscriber, have
rented the powder magazine from its proprietor, and that from
the date of the present advertisement I will charge twenty-five
cents per month for storage on every keg, provided it does not
contain more than one hundred pounds, and on every keg or
barrel that contains more than one hundred pounds to pay at
the rate of one dollar per hundred."
Maj. James Barry commenced the manufacture of powder
in the neighborhood of St. Louis in 1823 (ItejmWi'cnn, March
5,1823), and in 1833 "Maj. Philips 1 Eagle Powder-Mills had
just been put in operation" (Republican, July 9, 1833).
The latter mills were soon after destroyed by an explosion.
Of the receipts during 1881, 300,000 pigs (equal
to 24,000,000 pounds) were received for conversion
and manufacture. In the conversion of lead to car-
bonate the metal of Missouri is peculiarly easy and
profitable to work, yielding one hundred pounds of
ceruse for every hundred pounds of metal, besides a
proportion of red lead and litharge made from the
refuse. This manufacture, moreover, produces lin-
seed-oil, cotton-seed- and castor-oil, and oil-cake for
exportation and fattening stock, and it encourages
the manufacture of vitriol. Thus one industry, by
utilizing a product which is among the donations of
nature to St. Louis, provides employment for capital
and labor in a dozen other industries which grow out
of or are allied to it. The control of almost inex-
haustible supplies of cheap lead by St. Louis makes
it one of the leading manufacturing centres in the
country for paints.
White Lead and Oils. The manufacture of white
lead, and of its kindred interest paints, and oils is
most extensively carried on in St. Louis. The ma-
terials required by this large trade are collected almost
entirely within the State of Missouri, while the ad-
joining States also afford a large supply, enabling its
indefinite extension. The manufacture of white lead
(carbonate of lead) was inaugurated in St. Louis in
the year 1837 by Drs. Hoffman and Reed in a very
primitive manner. From a very small beginning, -say
one hundred tons per annum, the manufacture of that
pigment has kept pace with the growth of the city
and surrounding country, until it now ranks as one
among the important branches of its manufacturing
industries. The annual production *and consumption
of white lead throughout the entire country is com-
puted to be from sixty-five to seventy thousand tons.
Of this amount there is manufactured west of the
Allegheny Mountains say forty thousand tons, of
which St. Louis manufacturers produce at least forty
per cent., thus giving to St. Louis a larger pro-
duction of that article than any other city in the
Union. There are at present in successful operation
in St. Louis four of the best appointed and equipped
factories in the country, with a capacity sufficient to
supply the white-lead demand of the entire Missis-
sippi valley for many years to come.
HISTORY OF SAINT LOUIS.
The Collier White Lead and Oil Company is one
of the largest to be found anywhere in the United
States. It was founded by Dr. Reed, and went into
operation in the year 1837. It is located on the
north side of Clark Avenue, beginning at Ninth
Street on the east and extending nearly to Eleventh
Street. In 1 842 it passed into the hands of H. T.
Blow and Joseph Charless. It has three separate
departments, the factory, the cooper shop, and the
corroding stacks. All of these are on a large scale
and provided with every facility for manufacturing
cheaply and extensively. In 1850 the present company
became proprietors, under the presidency of Henry T.
Blow. The annual productions are four thousand