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The Bourgeois FrontierFrench Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion$
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Jay Gitlin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300101188

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300101188.001.0001

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Constructing the House of Chouteau: St. Louis

Constructing the House of Chouteau: St. Louis

(p.13) 1 Constructing the House of Chouteau: St. Louis
The Bourgeois Frontier

Jay Gitlin

Yale University Press

France's imperial officials and two ambitious merchants, Gilbert Antoine Maxent and Pierre de Laclède Liguest, were responsible for the creation of the city of St. Louis in Missouri. In 1763, Maxent was granted by Jean Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie, the last governor of French Louisiana, an exclusive privilege to trade with the Indian tribes west of the Upper Mississippi, and along the Missouri, for six years. Maxent, long involved with this Illinois Country commerce, formed a venture with Laclède, who had come to New Orleans in 1755. Laclède directed his clerk and stepson, Auguste Chouteau, and thirty workers, to clear the land and build cabins and a large shed. Thus arose a new city, which they named St. Louis, after King Louis XV's patron saint, Louis IX. Many economic activities would fill the landscape, but the driving force of this frontier was commerce, particularly the fur trade. St. Louis prospered immediately, and many families would soon move to the new settlement, including the Chouteau family, led by Marie Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau, the city's founding mother.

Keywords:   commerce, France, Gilbert Antoine Maxent, Laclède Liguest, St. Louis, Missouri, Auguste Chouteau, fur trade, Chouteau family, Bourgeois Chouteau

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