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Early St. Louis

Early St. Louis image
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1 (Complleil from the Work of Hnbert Howe Biincroft, the Pacific Coust Historian.) 1 Upon the icquisition of Louisiana in 180;i St. Louis becumo to tlie fur trader of the United Stutes whnt Michilimaekinac, the Oraiul Portag, and Kort William during their sevcrul respective cpochs wefe ' to that of Canuda - the fronticremporium, entrepot or post of supply, whither goods were shipped from se i port?, and whenee expedltions were fiüed tor the interior. I-ike any gold or far-nantlug metropolis, St. Louis at tliis time was the centre of riule bnstle and business ictivity. With the original Creóle populalion, the descendant! of tlie Frenen colonists, and stray reminders of Bjpanfab domination, were mixed keen, tiaüicking New Englanders; brawny back-woodsmcn, the uuwaslied, untatilit eorn-bread-and-baconfed of Tenncssee, Kentucky,' Illinois, and Missouri; wiili royageurs from Canada; aad half broeds from the prairies; followinu their several ben tg, trading, Kambliuf, ligliting, loafiiijf, gtruttlng, swagering, drinkinjr, swearing, rorkingand playing, laughing and lt([iag, üke otlicr filthy, foul-moutlied, and blasphelnous assemblages of God's motley mortal.-. These men dill'ered frora those of the fur huntinj; centres wheiethe French and Scotch element prevailed, though like thena tiicy powawed a ponulation with habits, dress, and jargon peculiarly its oivn, The fur trede lierc liein lcss lucrative and more divided tluiu in Canada after the Uonlreal naiatgamaUoD, tbera was liftte of that luiilaciousilash about it found at Ihe north. It was not only motley but mongrel in its character, lacklnjf nlmost eutirely that feudal element which, however opposed to seltleinent, gave to furhuntiug fraternlties at onoa better scivants and better masters. l'liii fact is, fur-trading was uot lmifr the chief oooupation iu St. Louis, and 8inco 1830 It was every year beoMBing lew prominent. The Mlssisslppi boatraen, those lavish. loud-jokinr, royal Amerlcaa pediere, were then beginning to praetite their pistoliujrs, knife exercises and caidwaxinu' for the forty ywn of commercial throat-cutting, liighway blackguardism, and unique boat rai'ng and hoiter-bun-tin wliich were to follnw, and were fast throwiny: into sliade the soiled linery of tbestttl g.iy and h ippy voyageur. Hustling slioiikeopers, cpeculatofs and sober inecliauics, so jostled the awkward blanketed nativa and tlie leatheriipfrockftd irontiei'Miian that they lougcd tor air umi clbowr ii. and baatened back n their forests and prairies, maklog rlfltl leM frequent, uniil ilicy c.Mscd altoclli.-r. Kvcn tbe architecture of tliis place abowed tlie transition it was uiKieroinjr, the open sbop Mud pretentioua buildings of brick and stone over-shadowiwg the low dinjsy iwellings of the Latin ruce.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News