Frederic Louis Billon.

Annals of St. Louis in its territorial days, from 1804 to 1821; being a continuation of the author's previous work, the Annals of the French and Spanish period online

. (page 22 of 24)
Online LibraryFrederic Louis BillonAnnals of St. Louis in its territorial days, from 1804 to 1821; being a continuation of the author's previous work, the Annals of the French and Spanish period → online text (page 22 of 24)
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the then President of the United States, and com-
menced the labor of clearing the land for the new

On the 17th September following they were
joined by the 3rd Eegiment of Infantry, Col.
Henry Leavenworth, from Green-Bay, who named
their temporary encampment " Camp Miller,^'' after
the then Governor of the State of Missouri, a
former Colonel in the United States service.

After the temporary log cabins for the men were
completed and the whole force established in winter
quarters about Christmas time, the place was very
appropriately named ^'^ Jefferson Barracks,''^ in
honor of the author of the declaration of our
Independence, whose death had occurred on that


same July 4, 1826, that the establishment had its

On the completion of their winter quarters and
the garrison comfortably housed therein, the
Officers gave the elite of St. Louis Society a fine
ball in their temporary Mess-room, improvised for
the occasion, which is thus noticed in the Missouri
Hepublican of January 11th, 1827.

"A splendid ball was given in honor of the 8th
" January, to a large company of ladies and gen-
" tlemen from the City, by the officers of the U.
" S. Army stationed at the Military Post (Jeffer-
" son Barracks), ten miles south of the city."
In due time this was reciprocated, from the fol-
lowing in the Hepublican of Thursday, Feb'y 8,


" In return for a like civility, and in testimony
" of the high respect entertained for the gentleman-
" like and military bearing of the Officers at
" Jefferson Barracks, an entertainment was given
" them by the citizens of St. Louis on "Wednesday,
" the 31st January.

" The large Indian Council-room (General
" Clark's) was selected for the occasion and was
" decorated in a style reflecting much credit on
" those who superintended its arrangement.

" The company assembled about 8 o'clock to the
" number of 200. The beauty of the ladies was
" heightened by a taste and elegance of costume,
" and a grace in the dance, that might well draw an


' exclamation of surprise from those who judge of
' us merely by the remoteness of our situation, the
' gay uniforms of the gallant guests, the excellence
' of the music, the brilliancy of the lights, the good
' humor and politeness that everywhere prevailed,
' formed a toute ensemble that would have done
' honor to any City, and was a favorable evidence
' of the advance of society west of the Missis-
' sippi.

" At half past one, the company sat down to one
' of the most sumptuous suppers we have ever
' seen. Every luxury that could be procured was
' on the table^ and the ornaments were appropriate
' and surmounted with mottoes complimentary to
' the guests.

" The repast being ended, a toast was announced
' ' from the head of the table ; it was

" The Army of the United States,
" Glory to its Military capabilities,
" Honor to its Civic Virtues.

" The toast was received with enthusiasm, and
" the company soon after adjourned to the Ball
" room, where the dancing was kept up until the
" approach of morning."

1827. On the opening of navigation of the
Missouri river in the spring, the force at the Bar-
racks was considerably augmented by the arrival of
the 6th Regiment U. S. Infantry, from Fort At-
kinson, Council Bluffs, on the Missouri, which
they had established in the year 1820, and where


they had remained from that period until relieved
this year, 1827.

During this season a large force of Stone Masons,
Carpenters and others, were busily engaged in
erecting the permanent stone buildings of the
Barracks for the Quarters of the Officers and men,
clearing and preparing the Parade ground, out
buildings, &c., &c., under the supervision of
Brevet Brigadier General Atkinson, Senior Officer
in command of the Post.

From the JRepuiWcan, June 28, 1827.

" Major General Jacob Brown, accompanied by
" his Aid Lieut. Yinton, of the U. S. Artillery,
"■ arrived at Jefferson Barracks on June 20, 1827,
" on a tour of inspection of the Military posts of the
" United States.

" On the 22nd he reviewed the troops now there.

" Of the 1st Reg't U. S. Infantry, six companies.
" " 3rd " " " six "

" " 6th " " " ten "

Twenty-two "

" On Saturday, the 23rd, accompanied by Gen-
^' eral Atkinson, he visited the old Mihtai-y station
" at Belief ontaine.

" On Sunday, the 24:th, he attended Divine
^' Service at the Presbyterian Church in St. Louis,
^' on the occasion of Missouri Lodge ISTo. 1 Free
" Masons, observing the Anniversary of St. John,
^' the Baptist.


" On Monday, the 25th, a dinner was given him
" by the Officers at the Barracks, and on Wednes-
" day, the 27th, he left on the Steamer Herald for
" Louisville, after a stay here of seven days."

General Brown died in "Washington City on Sun-
day, the 24th of February, 1828, just eight months
from the day he attended the Masonic services at the
Church in St. Louis on June 24, 1827. His funeral
took place on Thursday, the 28th, to the Congres-
sional Cemetery, attended by the largest concourse
that had ever been seen there on a similar occasion,
he pi'ocession being a mile and a half long.

The Secretary of War, James Barbour, in a Gen-
eral Order of Feb'y 28, 1828, " announces his' death
" to the Army, and directs the Officers to wear the
" usual badge of mourning, crape on the left arm
" and on the hilt of the sword, for six months, and
' ' guns to be fired at every Military Post at intervals
" of thirty minutes from the rising to the setting of
" the sun, and the IN^ational Flag to be suspended at
" half ma,st."


died at Jefferson Barracks, June 14, 1842, and was
buried there on June 16th.

Owing to the disposition of the United States
troops at that time, there were but few regular sol-
diers then at the Barracks. The St. Louis Greys
and Boone Infantry, two of our Volunteer Com-
panies, formed the Military escort. They went down
on the Steamer Lebanon, with a number of Ladies.


^nd Gentlemen of the City, others went down by
land. At 12 o'clock M. the procession moved from
the General's residence on the river bank to the
"Cemetery, where the last rites were performed by
Eev'd Mr. Hedges, Episcopal Chaplain at the

jRepublican, June 17, 1842.


-after his return from the Mexican "War, was in com-
mand at the Barracks in Oct., 1848. He died in St •
Louis on the 30th.

His funeral, the largest and most imposing that
rhad ever occurred in St. Louis to that time, took
place on Thursday, I^ov'r 2nd, the Military escort
-consisting of a Detachment of his Regiment, the first
Dragoons mounted, and the 7th and 8th Regiments
•of Regular Infantry from the Barracks, with the
Volunteer Companies of St. Louis, the Greys,
Puflileers, Yagers, Artillery and Dragoons, from
■St. George's Episcopal Church, northwest corner of
Locust and Seventh, Bishop Hawks officiating, to
the Episcopal Cemetery, where the remains were

feed'c l. billon


" Frederic L. Billon has recorded the fact that he
had no sooner arrived here in 1818 with his father
i;ban he began to 'think of getting materials together


for a portrait of the picturesque old town, and he-
has been employed upon that labor of love . ever
since, giving to it all the antiquarian's patient
research, until he is almost as familiar with the
ancient population as he w^'S with his own contem-
poraries, and far more so than with the present
generation. We look upon Mr. Billon's work as
almost unique of its kind, and it is so positively un-
American. Who else in all this land has done or
attempted to do such work except Peter Force, of
Washington, D. C? It must be in his blood — the
patient, careful ■ devotion to minute, microscopic-
detail of the hereditary Swiss watchmaker — f or-
while Mr. Billon's mother was French, and a refugee-
from insurgent San Domingo, his father was Swiss,
and a watchmaker, though born in Paris.

" Mr. Billon was born in the city of Philadelphia,,
at the southeast corner of Third and Chestnut:
Streets, on Thursday, April 23, 1801. He lived in
and about that locality, then the business center of"
the city, for more than seventeen years. During
his youth he went to school for some seven or eight
years to Peter Widdows, an Irish gentleman of^
thorough education, a Free Quaker, who taught his-
school in Church Alley, adjoining Christ's Episcopal
Chui'ch, and just opposite to another School, under
the charge of Talbot Hamilton, formerly of the
British navy, who had served with Nelson in the
Mediterranean. At that day there were but few
schools in the large cities of the United States taught;
by Americans, the popular belief then prevalent:


among all classes being that thorough information
could only be ol)tained from those of foreign

" "When a school boy he cared little for such sports
as tops, marbles, kites, balls, &c., but delighted in
athletic recreations, such as running and jumping,
swimming, skating, rowing or any amusement that
required activity of body or limbs, long walks, &c.
During his boyhood he was frequently indulged in
holidays and made many excursions into the country
adjacent to the city in all directions, even to the
adjoining counties, from which he became familiar
with the surroundings of Philadelphia in almost
every direction, to the distance of some thirty or
forty miles from the City.

' ' During the progress of the war with England in
1812-15, he spent many evenings at home, reading
to his father, an indifferent English scholar, from
the papers of the passing occurrences of the day.
When in 1814 the British took Washington and
attempted the capture of Baltimore by their attacks
on l^orth Point and Fort McHenry, and ascended
Chesapeake Bay to. its head, although but a lad of
fourteen years, he was one of those detailed to work
on the fortifications erected southwest of the City,
below Gray's Ferry, on the Baltimore turnpike-
road, and was on several occasions a visitor at the
encampments of Yolunteers at Kennett's Square,
Chester County ; at Camp Dupont, on the Brandy-
wine ; and at Marcus Hook, Delaware Co., where
some ten thousand men were concentrated.


" Leaving school, upon the conclusion of the war
in 1815, at the age of fourteen years, he assisted in
his father's business, that of an importer of watches
and clocks from his native country, Switzerland,
and on the occasion of his father's last visit to his
native place, in the summer of 1815, following the
battle of Waterloo and the second abdication of the
&8t ISJ'apoleon, he was left in sole charge of his
father's business during his absence of some six or
eight months in Europe, as also during his father's
frequent business trips to ISTew York and South as
far as Charleston, South Carolina.

"In the summer of the year 1818, business being
completely prostrated in all the principal cities at
the East, and many turning their attention to the
' Far West,' beyond the Mississippi, his father
with nine children to set afloat in the world,
falling in with the popular sentiment of the day,
concluded to abandon the City with which he had
been identified for nearly a quarter of a century and
seek a new home for his infant colony in the West
beyond the '■Father of Waters.'

"Accordingly, on the morning of Sunday, August
30, 1818, accompanied by his oldest son, the subject
of this sketch, then a young man in his eighteenth
year, they left Philadelphia in the mail stage for
Pittsburgh, three hundred miles, which place they
reached on Friday, Sept. 4th, in six days. From
this point they descended the Ohio in a keel-boat,
reaching Shawneetown, one thousand miles from
Pittsburgh, about the middle of October. Thence


they proceeded by land through Illinois to Kaskas-
kia, crossing the Mississippi to Ste. Genevieve in a
canoe and thence to St. Louis, vi^hich point they
reached on Wednesday, Oct. 28th, having consumed
just sixty days on the route, about the usual time
required for the trip at that day.

' ' After spending the winter of 1818-19 in the place
selected for their future domicile, and purchased the
old stone mansion of the Labbadies, at the northeast
corner of Main and Chestnut Streets, for the recep-
tion of his family when he should arrive with them
in the ensuing fall, his father set out on his return
to Philadelphia on horseback in April, 1819, leav-
ing Frederic in charge of his business, and to attend
to the alterations and improvements necessary to
make his purchase habitable. He reached Philadel-
phia in May, remained there a couple of months,
and left with his family in July, arriving in St.
Louis in September, 1819. The family was domi-
ciled in their new home at the close of the month.

"The summer of 1819 was a noted one in the
annals of St. Louis, for notwithstanding the great
sickness and mortality of that particular year, in the
shape of bilious and intermittent fevers, which
prevailed to a great extent throughout the settle-
ments on the western waters, it was the year of
extensive Military operations on the pa^-t of the
United States, in extending their out posts far
beyond their former limits, the old frontier post
at Bellefontaine, on the Missouri. Major Stephen
H. Long's scientific expedition to the Yellowstone



in the ' Western Engineer ; ' Colonel Henry
Atkinson's ascent of the Missouri with the Sixth
Regiment, United States Infantry, to establish
Fort Atkinson, Council Bluffs ; Col. Josiah Snel-
ling's expedition with the Fifth Regiment to estab-
lish Fort Snelling at St. Peters, on the Mississippi,
and other movements of minor importance, requir-
ing the use of numerous boats and paddle-wheel
barges, of which a number were lost in the Mis-
souri, are vividly impressed upon the memory of
Mr. Billon, that being his first summer in the then
remote west.

"Late in the year 1819 the first '^ uniformed''
company of . Volunteer Infantry west of the Missis-
sippi, styled the ' St. Louis Guards,' was raised
in St. Louis, of which Mr. Billon became a member
in the following year, and in 1824 received his
commission as ensign of the same from Gen. Wm.
H. Ashley, Lieut. Governor.

"In 1820 he witnessed the excitements attending
the adoption of the State Constitution and the
establishment of the State government.

" In September, 1822, his father, Charles F. Billon,
Sr., died, leaving the charge of his widow and
children to his oldest son, F. L. Billon, who had
just attained his majority.

' ' His first vote was cast for the acceptance of
the city charter in February, 1823, from which date
he has been a voter at every City and State elec-
tion down to the present day, as also at every
Presidential election in the State from the first in


1824, and was an eye-witness and participant in
many interesting events and occurrences connected
with the Town, City and State governments in
that early period of St. Louis' history.

"In the year 1827, while absent on business in
Philadelphia, he was elected an alderman from the
Central ward of the three into which the city was
then divided, and in 1828 was re-elected to the same

" On May 20, 1829, his brothers and sisters being
mostly grown to maturity and disposed of, he him-
self entered the married state with Miss E. L.
Generelly, like himself a native of Philadelphia, of
French parentage. "With this lady he passed thirty-
six years of wedded life until her death, Feb. 11,
1865. He was the father of twelve children, but
three of whom survive.

" In the year 1834, his health being materially
impaired by his constant devotion to business, he,
by the advice of his physician, the late Doct. Will-
iam Carr Lane, made a trip to Sante Fe and the
Rocky Mountains, then not a trifling undertaking,
requiring some ninety to one hundred days in cross-
ing the plains with wagons and ox- teams, and
returned in the fall much improved in health.

" In 1851-52 he was twice nominated by Mayor
Luther M. Kennett to the position of City comp-
troller, and on each occasion unanimously confirmed
by the board of Aldermen.

" In 1853 he was appointed the first Auditor and
general Book-keeper of the Missouri Pacific Railroad,


jBUing the position for five years, and then suc-
.ceeded, in 1858, to that of Secretary and Treasurer
of the same company, resigning the office at the
close of the year 1863, after some eleven years in
the service of the company. Since that period he
has devoted much time to literary matters, more
particularly to the task of gathering up the data
and materials for an early history of the country
bordering the Mississippi in its entire course, in
the pursuit of which he is still occupied at the age
of eighty-two years." J. T. S.





American Fur Companj', Copartnership formed . . .33
Amusements 77

_ Bank of St. Louis 85,86,87,88

Bates, Fredk., Acting Governor, Proclamation . . .45
Bellefontaine, Cantonment of Troops at . . . .24

Account of the Post 92

Col. Wm. Russell in Command . . . .94

Early History of . . . 390, 391, 392, 393, 394
Benton, Thomas H., Duel with Charles Lucas . 82, 83, 84

Account of diflaculty with Gen'l Jackson . 409, 410, 411
Berry, Major, Editorial from Jos. Charless . . . .61
Boone, Daniel, Act of Congress for Relief of . . .58
Brackenridge, H. M., Letter to Joseph Charless . . 36, 37

■Carondelet, Population of 35

Carroll, Archbishop, Death of 63

Clark, Wm., Governor, Proclamation apportioning Represent-
ation in Territorial Assembly 42

Announces result of Election for Delegates . . 43

Convenes Special Session Legislature . . .51

Crane, A. T. , Postmaster at St. Louis . . . .54

Census of 1818 51

Census St. Louis 1^2




Christ Church Congregation ...... 68

Location of Church 69"

Chouteau, August P. and Companions return from Imprison-
ment at Santa Fe 64

Resolutions of House of Representatives relative to . 65-

Cooper County Organized 31

Columbia River, Return of R. Stewart, R. Crooks, J. Miller,

and Robt. McClelland from 55

Counties, Divided into Circuits .31

Duff, Jno. M., Funeral Ceremonies . . . . 92, 9*

Eagle Tavern Ill

Early Newspapers ....... 104, IDS'

Early Schools and Teachers . . . . 78, 79, 80

Easton, Rufus, elected Delegate to Congress . . .27

Report on his Election .28-

Appointed Postmaster .53

England, "War with 37

Erin Benevolent Society 67

Enquirer, St. Louis 105-

Farrar, Doct., and Graham, Duel 81

Franklin County Organized 31

Florisant, Population of . . . . . . . SS'

Fort Osage Commenced 33

Treaty with Osages held there by Gen. Clark . . 33

Gazette Statistics 65'

Grand Concert, St. Louis . . . ■ . . . .77

Graham, Jas. A. and Farrar, Duel 81

Geyer, Capt. and G. H. Kennerly, Duel . . .82
Grove Tavern 114




Harrisonville, Celebration of 4th July at . . . .70-
Hempstead, Edward, elected Delegate to Congress . . 42

Herculaneum, Population of 35

Shot Tower II5,

Howard County Established 30

Howard, Gov., Public Dinners to . . . 55, 56

Leaves Portage des Sioux 93

History of 402, 403

Hunt, "Wilson P., Leaves St. Louis on Expedition to the


Illinois Town, Account of .
Indians, Census of, in Territory .

False Report of Attack by

Butchery of Inhabitants at Wood River
loway Indians, Depredations of .



Jefferson Barracks, Sketch of in Early Days,

424, 425, 426, 427, 428

Jefferson County Organized 31

duly Fourth, Early Celebrations of . . . . 69, 71

Kennedy, G. H. and Capt. Geyer, Duel . . . .82

Lawrence County Established 30-

Abolished 31

Lear, Tobias, Death of 63-

Lewis, M., OflScial Correspondence of ... 384-5

Lockhart's Free Ferry 128

Louisiana, Big Swamp of (so entitled) Prediction of Joseph

Charless as to . . . . . . 33, 34

Louisiana, Treaty Ceding to United States,

366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371




Louisiana District, Laws Enacted at Vincennes ... 1

First Grand Jury .9

Acts of Congress relating to Public Lands . .31

Commissioners of Public Lands . ' . . . * 31

-Louisiana Territory, Laws Enacted at St. Louis ... 2

Law Appointing Att'y-Gen'l ..... 2

Relating to Arkansas District .... 2

Appointing Clerk of General Court . . 2

Establishing Courts ..... 3

Incorporation of Villages .... 3

St. Louis & Ste. Genevieve Road ... 4

Summary of Facts Relative to Organization,

4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Acts of Congress Changing to Missouri . 26

Lucas, Charles, Account of Duel with Thomas H. Benton,

82, 83, 84

Sketch of his Life 84

Xucaa, J. B. C, Addition to St Louis . . . . .62

-McNair, Alex., Register of Lands 63

Mechanics' Benevolent Society, Organization of . , .67

-Meramec Shawnees burn three Indians near Cape Girardeau 34

Missouri, Act changing Name from Louisiana . . .41

Bank of, incorporated . . . . . .30

Fur Company 68, 123

Gazette 99, 100

JMissouri Territory, List of Justices, Clerks, Sheriffs, etc. . 19

First meeting House Representatives

Arrival of Gen. Wm. Clark

Act regulating Weights and Measures

Old Courts Abolished

Office of Attorney-General Abolished

Third U. S. Census ....




Monks of La Trappe, Notice relating to
Montgomery County Organized ....

New Orleans, Battle of

OflScial Correspondence

Prairie Du Chien, Governor Clark's Expedition to

Pinckney, Chas. C.

Pike County Organized

Pittsburgh, Early History

Post-offlce, St. Louis .

Public Lands

Hector, Elias, Col., Postmaster at St. Louis
Eed Lead, Manufacture of ....

Rock Spring

Sacs, Foxes, and lowas. Council with at St. Louis


. 55
. 31

. 60

386, 390






31, 32





St. Charles, Celebration of Fourth July at . .70

St. Louis County, Act for Jail in . . . .30

St. Patrick's Day, First Observance of in St. Louis . 68

Scott, John, Report of his election to Congress . . 28

Elected to Congress (1816) . . . . 43

Shawneetown, Complaint Against Postmaster . . 57

Simpson, Eob't., Postmaster at St. Louis . . . .53
State Constitution, Account of proceedings in relation to 106, 108

Steamboats, Early 72, 78

St. Louis, First Book printed in 4

First Grand Jury meet at house of E. Yousti . 9

Grand Jurors fined 10

House rented for Prison 10

Merrimac Ferry Licensed 10


St. Louis — Continued.

Rufus Easton Attorney General
Ferry Licensed at St. Charles .
Taxes and Licenses .
Taverns Licensed
Sheriff fined ....

Jos. Browne Appointed Justice Court Common Pleas
Andrew Steele Appointed Prothonary
Military Guard House used as Prison
Inquest on Body of Gauch6 Becquet.
Additional Guard furnished at Jail . .
Wm. Christy Appointed Clerk of Court of Quarter
Sessions ....

Silas Bent Appointed First Justice of the Common
Pleas ......

District Divided into Townships
Population of Townships ....

Change of Sessions Court of Common Pleas
New Road to Ste. Genevieve Approved
First Execution .....

Contumacy of Nancy West .... 16-17
Alex^ McNair Appointed Sheriff . . . .18

Election of Trustees (1808) 20-

Petition of Inhabitants for Incorporation . . .21
Commisioners appointed to Superintend Election

of Trustees 21

Ferry Rates to East Shore 22^

Election of Town Trustees 22

Treasurer's Statement ...... 22

Market House Completed 22

First Survey of Town 22, 25

Appearance of Town in 1804 23-







St. Louis — Continued.

Principal Roads

. 23

Description of Streets

. 23

Original Streets

. 24

Lucas and Cliouteau's Addition .

. 25

First Market House

. 25

Bank of, Incorporated

. 29

County Court Established . . . .

. 29

Act for Survey and Plat

. 30

Eesolutions at Town Meeting (1812) as to War




Post-Offlce Established

. 53

Location of

. 53

Dinners to Gov. Howard. . . . .

55, 56

Juvenile Company

. 69

Te Deum on account of Jackson's Victory

. 59

Judge Lucas' Addition to .

. 62

Baird's Blacksmith Shop used as a Theater

. 64

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 24

Online LibraryFrederic Louis BillonAnnals of St. Louis in its territorial days, from 1804 to 1821; being a continuation of the author's previous work, the Annals of the French and Spanish period → online text (page 22 of 24)