ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI.
The First Settlement at Blackstone Hills—Robidoux—Biographical Sketch—At the Bluffs-Then at Roy*9 Branch and Blacksnake Hills—1834-1836—Robidoux'a Home—Employes-Servant—Ferry—From 1837 to 1840—Rival Towns—Wolves.
The French element of the class of pioneers settled Canada and the northwestern part of the United States, as well as the country about the mouth of the Mississippi River. They came into the upper Mississippi and Missouri Valleys in 1764, under the lead of Pierre Laclede Liqueste (always called Laclede), who had a charter from the French government giving him the exclusive right to trade with the Indians in all the country as far north as St Peter's River. Laclede brought part of his colony from France, and received large accessions to it in New Orleans, mainly of hunters and trappers, who had had experience with the Indians. In the year 1764 this colony founded the present city of St. Louis. From this point they immediately began their trading and trapping incursions into the then unbroken wilderness in their front. Their method of proceeding seems to have been to penetrate into the interior and establish small local posts for trading with the Indians, whence the trappers and hunters were outfitted and sent oat into the adjacent woods.
In this way the country west and northwest of St. Louis was traversed and explored by these people, at a very early day, as far west as the Rocky Mountains. But of the extent of their operations but little has been recorded; hence but little is known of the posts established by them. It is known, however, that such posts were established at a very early day on the Ch&riton and Grand Rivers, in Missouri, and at Cote Sans Dessein, in Galloway county.
Being a shrewd business man and possessing great energy he accumulated a fortune. His wealth, his business qualifications, and his genial disposition, made him many friends among the leading merchants and influential men of that city. He occupied a large mansion, located between Walnut and Elm streets, surrounded with every comfort and convenience. Here he entertained his friends in a royal style, and so noted was his hospitality that the first general assembly of Missouri did him the honor of holding its first session at his house, on the 7th of December, 1812.
Four years after his marriage his wife died. After her death young Robidoux, then in the twenty-third year of his age, became an extensive traveler. He made a voyage up the Missouri River in company with one of the partners of the American Fur Company.
Blacksnake Hills had been seen by some of the men connected with the fur companies while enroute on one of the expeditions, their attention being attracted thither, not only by the topography of the country, bat by the presence of the congregated tribes of the Sac, Fox and Iowa Indians, who assembled here en masse at stated seasons of the year, preparatory to crossing the river, either on a visit to other tribes farther west, or for the purpose of hunting.
Seeing the Indians here in large numbers while on their journey at this time, the partners debarked, and after looking at its points and its advantages as a probable future trading-post, they proceeded on their way to Council Bluffs, Iowa, the original place of their destination.
Being favorably impressed with the ** Bluffs "as a trading-post, Mr. Robidoux" returned to St. Louis and purchased a stock of goods, which he transported up the Missouri by a keel-boat, arriving at the “Bluffs" in the fall of 1809.
Here he remained for thirteen years, and while residing at the "Bluffs," in 1813, he married Angelique Vandory, another lady of St. Louis, who died in the city of St. Joseph on the 17th of January, 1857. By this union they had six sons and one daughter.
Readily adapting himself to the habits, manners and customs of the Indians, and speaking with considerable fluency the dialects of the tribes by whom he was surrounded, Mr. Robidoux became an expert Indian trader.
The American Fur Company were also in business at the "Bluffs," and had a monopoly of the entire Indian trade for some time previous to the locating there of Mr. Robidoux. But a short time, however, passed after his arrival before he began to divide the trade, and finally became so popular with the Indians that he controlled a large portion of this trade, to the great detriment of the fur company.
The company, wishing no further opposition from Mr. Robidoux, finally purchased his stock of goods, giving him fifty per cent on the original cost, and in addition thereto the sum of one thousand dollars annually for a period of three years, conditioned that he would leave the "Bluffs."
He then returned to St. Louis, where he remained with his family, carrying on the business of a baker and confectioner, until the expiration of the three years, the time agreed upon between himself and the fur company. Having spent already many years of his life among the Indians as a fur trader, a business which, if not entirely congenial to his taste, had at least been a profitable one, he concluded to embark once more in the same pur- , suit. Not that he really wished—
—“for a lodge in some vast wilderness—
This proposition he accepted, and having been furnished with a stock of goods he landed at the mouth of "Roy's Branch," in the fall of 1826. Shortly afterward he removed to the mouth of "Blacksnake Creek," where he continued to work for the fur company until 1830, at which time he purchased their entire interest in the goods then in his possession, and became the sole proprietor of the post at "Blacksnake Hills."
For many years the solitary log cabin of Joseph Robidoux was the only evidence of the presence of civilized man within a radius of fifty miles. With every puffing steamer which ascended the turbid waters of the Missouri came the emigrant and the adventurer, seeking homes in the western wilds. A few embryo settlements had been made along the banks of the great river in Jackson, Clay and other counties. The famous "Platte Purchase" became the new Eldorado, and the beauty of its rich, fertile valleys and prairies, fine timber, perennial springs and its numerous water courses, had been spread far and wide.
A few families from Franklin county, Missouri, consisting of Thomas and Henry Sollers, Elisba Gladden, Jaue Purget, and a few others, settled near the spot in 1834, '35 and '36.
So confident were some of the business men living in Clay and Clinton counties that some one of the last mentioned towns would be the future emporium of the "Platte Purchase," that they not only purchased laud, but in one or two instances laid off towns and opened business houses. John W. Samuels and Robert Elliott began business at White Cloud, or what was known as "Hackberry Ridge." G. W. Samuels, now of St. Joseph, built a warehouse at Elizabethtown, where he bought and sold hemp. Amazonia was expected to be the county-seat of Andrew County. Charles Caples, concluding that the quarter section east and adjoining Amazonia, would be a more eligible spot for the building of a great city, laid it off into lots and gave it the name of Boston. These places, excepting Savannah, are numbered with the things of the past, and live only in the memories of the men whose pluck and energy gave them a name and brief existence.
He owned an old colored servant, who not only possessed a French name (Poulite), but who could speak the French tongue, having been raised among that nationality in St. Louis. This old man attended to the culinary affairs at the post.
Mr. Robidoux operated a private- ferry just below Francis street for
crossing the Indians and those who were in his employ. The crossing
generally was done in canoes, and occasionally in Mackinaw boats. The road
leading from the ferry on the other side of the river led to Highland,
Kansas, or to the Indian Mission, which was established after the removal
of the Indians. The road from the ferry on this side passed below the
Patee House, and crossed at Agency Ford, where it divided, one branch of
which led to Liberty, Clay county, and the other in the direction of Grand
from 1837 to 1840.
The small colony at Blacksnake Hills was increased in number by the arrival of F. W. Smith, Joseph Gladden, Polly Dehard, Samuel Hull, John Freeman, Charles Zangenett, Father John Patchen, Captain James B. OToole, Judge Wm. C. Toole, William Fowler, Edwin Toole, and others.
A FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR BURGLARY.
Having no safe, Mr. Robidoux placed the boxes containing the money on one of the lowest shelves of his store, behind the counter, near a window. This window was secured at night by wooden shutters and fastened on the inside by a bolt.
On the east side of One Hundred and Two River lived at that time three families, bearing respectively the names of Spence, Scott and Davis. They were supposed to be counterfeiters, yet no one knew positively that they had ever passed any spurious money. The Spence boys, whose given names were John, George Monroe, Andy and James, were in the habit, in company with Scott and Davis, of visiting Blacksnake Hills almost daily, and while there would spend their time lounging about the solitary saloon, which stood upon the bottom, west of Blacksnake Creek, and at Mr. Robidoux's store.
For some days previous to the occurrence which followed, it was noticed that one of the Spence boys would often place himself in a recumbent position on the counter, with his face turned toward the shelf containing the boxes of money.
Two or three nights afterward an entrance was effected through the window above spoken of, and the boxes with their contents were removed. As soon as it was ascertained by Mr. Robidonx that his store had been burglarized and his money taken, immediate search was instituted by his clerk, Mr. Poulin, and others who volunteered their assistance. Suspecting that the Spence boys knew all about the burglary, as well as the whereabouts of the missing treasure, they went in the direction of their house.
While en route, and on crossing Blacksnake Creek, the party discovered a man's shoe which had evidently been worn but once, as it was entirely new. The day before three of the Spence boys had purchased shoes of Mr. Poulin at Robidoux's store. He remembered that the shoes were of different numbers, the smallest pair being sixes, and of cutting an unusual long buckskin shoe-string. The shoe found was a number six, and the buckskin string was "continuation strong as holy writ" that the Spence boys were of the party of thieves, or were in some manner connected with the burglary. That they had worn the new shoes on the previous night, and that in their flight through the soft clay had lost one, was clear enough.
Being thus encouraged, the party pursued their way to the cabin where the Spences lived, surrounded it, and captured the Spence boys as well as Davis and Scott. Davis and Scott, however, were released. The others were brought before Justice Mills, and upon a preliminary examination were discharged, there not being sufficient proof to hold them for trial.
Sixteen or eighteen citizens, some of whom are still living, confident that the Spence boys and Davis and Scott had committed the crime, met the next day and proceeded in a body on horseback to Davis's and Scott's residence, determined, if they could, to bring the offenders to justice and restore the stolen money. In the meantime, Mr. Robidoux had offered a reward of five hundred dollars for the capture and conviction of the thief or thieves and the recovery of the funds. Scott and Davis were taken prisoners and compelled to accompany the party of citizens, who, when about half way back to town, separated, the larger portion taking Davis on a hill and leaving Scott in the valley of the One Hundred and Two in charge of Elisha Gladden. They took Davis out of sight of Scott and just far enough away that Scott could hear the firing of a pistol. They then halted and told Davis that he must tell them where Robidoux's money was, or, if he refused, they would hang him. He strenuously denied all knowledge of the affair and told them to ''hang and be d—d." They put a rope around his neck and swung him up, only intending to frighten and make him confess to the whereabouts of the money. After he had remained suspended for some minutes they let him down, and asked him to confess the crime. Davis being as bold and defiant as ever, they hung him again, this time almost taking his life. They again asked him to tell where the money was, when he again refused in a fiendish, insolent manner, branding them with a profusion of the lowest epithets. Seeing that Davis would tell nothing, some one of the party shot off a pistol (as previously arranged, if Davis did not confess), so that Scott could hear it, and at the same time two or three of , them rushed down the hill where Scott was guarded, shouting that they had " killed Davis " and were now " going to kill Scott."
One of these men held up his hand which he had accidently braised coming down the hill, and which had some spots of blood on it, telling Scott, when Davis was shot, some of his blood had spurted on his hand. Gladden, who was guarding Scott, said, when the concussion of the pistol was heard, "that Scott's lace became as pallid as death," he supposing that his accomplice had been killed.
They gave him to understand that they had disposed of Davis, and that if he did not tell them all about the money and the parties implicated in taking it, they would also dispose of him in a very summary manner, but promised that if he would give them this information, they would not only spare his life, but would supply him with money enough to take him out of the country.
Believing what he had heard and seen to be true, and that the condition of things was such as had been represented, Scott asked some one present to give him a pencil and piece of paper. This being done, he wrote the names of all the parties concerned in the burglary (the Spence brothers, Davis and himself), and led the way to where one of the boxes had been buried, near the banks of the One Hundred and Two. So ingenious had been their plan, and so careful had they been to conceal all the traces of their villainy, that while digging a hole, in which to deposit the money, they placed every particle of dirt in a box and emptied it into the stream, excepting enough to refill the hole after the money was put in. Having four thousand dollars, they dug four holes. They then divided a blanket into four pieces, took the money out of the boxes, wrapped each thousand dollars separately, buried it by itself, and then refilled the hole, covering it over with the same sod that they had taken up, and then burned the boxes.
Scott could only show them where the first thousand dollars was. He did not see them when they buried the other three thousand. They, however, found the first thousand. How or where to obtain the balance of the money they did not know. Scott could not tell, and Davis, they supposed, would not. They had tried threats and hanging with him, but without avail.
In the meantime Davis was still in custody. They went to him, told hiin that Scott had confessed, and it would be better for him to confess, also. That Scott had not only given them the names of the persons who stole the money, but had shown them where the first thousand dollars was buried. He still refused to believe or say anything. To convince him of the truth of what they said, they took him to the spot from which they had taken the money, and showed him the piece of blanket in which it was wrapped. No longer doubting what he had seen and heard, he called for a drink of whisky, which was given him, and after drinking it told them he would show them where the balance of the money was buried.
To further show that Davis and his pals were accomplished villains, and possessed a cunning ingenuity which would have been creditable to the pirates and freebooters of a past century, and which in some respects is not unlike the narrative of "Arthur Gordon Pym," by the gifted Poe, it is only necessary to mention how he proceeded to show when and how to find the balance of the money stolen.
He stood at the edge of the hole from which the first thousand dollars bad been taken, and stepping fifteen paces to the south, pointed to his feet and said: "Here you will find a thousand dollars." He then led the way to a small log, with a single knot on it, and said, "Under that knot, in the ground, you will find another thousand dollars." Going to the bank of the One Hundred and Two, in the sand, 'neath a willow tree, under a broken branch that bent downward, said, "You will find the last thousand dollars here."
It was as he said, and the money was all recovered, excepting twenty-seven dollars, and returned to Mr. Robidoux.
Scott and Davis were held in custody, but during the night Davis escaped, and Scott was finally discharged on the ground of his having made confession, and giving the names of the persons who had committed the burglary. The Spence boys left the country.
ST. JOSEPH LAID OUT.
This map was taken to St. Louis, where Mr. Robidoux acknowledged it in the office of the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas (Nathaniel Paschall, who has since been one of the editors of the St. Louis Republican, being the clerk at the time), and after having it lithographed, returned to St. Joseph.
His declaration and acknowledgment are as follows:
BLOCKS AND LOTS DONATED.
These lots were immediately put upon the market, even before the title to them was complete. This was perfected in 1844, at which time a United, States land-office was located at Plattsburg, Missouri.
The uniform price of corner lots was one hundred and fifty dollars, and
inside lots one hundred dollars. As rapidly as sale could be made the
money was applied in payment of a mortgage, held by Pierre Chouteau, Jr.,
of St. Louis, upon the land embracing the town site, amounting to six
thousand three hundred and seventy-two dollars and fifty-seven cents.
The streets are governed by the cardinal points of the compass; those running back from the river in the "Original Town," extending north and south, are Water, Levee, Main (or First), Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth; and those running at right angles, commencing on the parallel of the north line, are Isadore, Robidoux, Faraon, Jules, Francis, Felix, Edmond, Charles, Sylvanie, Angelique, Messanie. These names are derived from members of Mr. Robidonx's family.
Since the laying out of the original town, covering a period of thirty-eight years, there have been added about 6eventy-two additions.
Soon after this church building was completed and occupied an incident occurred in it which is worth relating:
In the fall of 1845, on a sabbath-day evening, while religious services were being held, a loud, rough knock was heard upon the door. Without waiting for a response, the door was thrust wide open, when in stalked a large, burly-looking individual from Grand River.
With hat on and hand raised, he advanced toward the pulpit and motioned to the minister to stop. The man of God (Rev. T. S. Reeve) being thus rudely and inopportunely accosted, left off preaching, when the stranger said:
"Is Bob Donnell in this house? I've got a bar'l of honey for him."
Mr. Donnell being present, and taking in the situation at a glance, immediately left his seat and went out of the house with the enterprising and redoubtable honey vender. Whether he purchased the "bar'l" we cannot say. The man, however, who, nothing daunted, had so persistently hunted him up, braving the parson and the astonished gaze of the congregation, certainly deserved some consideration at the hands of Mr. Donnell. We hope, therefore, a bargain was made, and that his Grand River friend returned home a happier, if not a wiser man.
The log church was first permanently occupied in the winter of 1844-5. In the fall of the year 1844 the first Union sabbath-school was organized, and a committee of ladies sent out for the purpose of making collections for the school. Joseph Robidoux, the founder of the city, made the first donation of ten dollars in money tor the school. This was the first time a subscription paper had ever been carried around, and it elicited some practical] jokes from its novelty among those who subscribed, and who are now among the oldest citizens.
The log church was also occupied once a month by the Methodist denomination for some time, and twice a month, until their own church was built, in 1846. In August, of that year, trustees were appointed by the First Presbyterian Church, under the care of the Lexington Presbytery, in connection with the "Constitutional General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church." During the same year a building committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements for the erection of a new house of worship. Money was raised by subscription, and in 1847 was erected the brick building on the northeast corner of Fourth and Francis streets, in dimensions fifty feet front by sixty feet. The first services were held in the church in the winter of 1849-50.
This building was used without interruption till the closing of the church and dispersion of the congregation in 1861, at the breaking out of the civil war. It then passed through various hands, till it finally became, by purchase, the property of the German congregation now occupying it.
Until the year I860, no attempt at any system of public schools had been made in St. Joseph. Occasionally a free school would be taught for a month or two, or for a sufficient length of time to absorb what was not wasted or lost of the city's share of the public school-fund. But there wiuj no public school-system, and St. Joseph had merely the organization of r. country school-district. In that year a few of the most enterprising of her citizens determined to make an effort to establish a system of public schools. They sought and obtained from the legislature of the State a good and liberal charter.
This charter has been twice amended by the legislature, at the request of the board of public schools; once in 1866 and once in 1872. Edward Everett said: “To read the English language well, to write a neat, legible hand, and to be master of the four rules of arithmetic, I call this a good education." Any pupil completing a course in the St. Joseph schools should have an education far above that standard, and be well prepared to enter upon any of the ordinary business avocations of life. But that the system of public instruction may be as complete and thorough in St Joseph as in any Eastern city, a high school, with a liberal course of study, was organized in 1806, which has graduated 208 young ladies and gentlemen who are filling useful and honorable positions in society. Of the above number, forty-four are either teaching now or have been teachers in the public schools of St. Joseph.
“Again, the spirit of internal improvement is abroad, our people are determined not only to improve the transporting facilities now had, but to aid others, which will place us on terms more nearly equal with other parts of the world. Then all the advantages we have in soil and climate will become available; then a new impetus will have been given to the industrians farmer; then the call upon the merchant for the necessaries and comforts of life will have been vastly increased; then health and prosperity will everywhere greet the eye of the beholder; then ours shall be a town and county in which the wealthy, industrious and educated of the other and older States will love to settle, and the situation of our town and surrounding scenery, which are now surpassingly lovely, will be enhanced by the touch of art, and the citizen or visitor of cultivated or refined taste will love to contemplate their beauty."
The above article was written in the spring of 1847, and is doubtless a
faithful and correct representation of St. Joseph and her business
~Our country is destined to suffer much and is now suffering from the difficulty of navigation and the extremely high rates the boats now charge. Our farmers may calculate that they will get much less for produce and will be compelled to pay much more for their goods than heretofore, and this will certainly always be the case when the Missouri River shall be as low as it now is. The chances are fearfully against having any considerable work bestowed in improving the river, and until it is improved by artificial means the navigation of it to this point must always be dangerous and very uncertain.
" The prospects for this fall and winter are well calculated to make the people look about to see if there is no way to remedy this inconvenience, if there can be any plan suggested whereby our people can be placed more nearly upon terms of equality with the good citizens of other parts of our land.
“We suggest the propriety of a railroad from St. Joseph to some point on the Mississippi, either St. Louis, Hannibal or Quincy. For ourselves we like the idea of a railroad to one of the latter places suggested, for this course would place us nearer the Eastern cities, and make our road thither a direct one; we like this road, too, because it would so much relieve the intermediate country which is now suffering and must always suffer so much for transporting facilities in the absence of such an enterprise.
"If this be the favorite route we must expect opposition from the southern portion of the State, as well as all the river counties below this. For the present we mean merely to throw out the suggestion, with the view of awakening public opinion, and eliciting a discussion of the subject. In some future number we propose presenting more advantages of such a road, and will likewise propose and enforce by argument the ways and means of accomplishing the object."
The charter for the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was secured mainly by the exertions of Robert M. Stewart, afterward governor of the State, and, at the time of its issuance, a member of the State senate, and of General James Craig, and Judge J. S. Gardeuhire.
About the spring of 1857 work was begun on the west end, and by March of that year the track extended out from St. Joseph a distance of seven miles. The first fire under the first engine that started out of St. Joseph on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was kindled by M. Jeff. Thompson. This was several years before the arrival of the first through train in February, 1859. (Sometime in the early part of 1857.)
The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was completed February 13,1859. On Monday, February 14, 1859, the first through passenger train ran out of St. Joseph. Of this train E. Sleppy, now (1881) master mechanic of the St. Joseph and Western Machine Shops, in Elwood, was engineer, and Benjamin H. Colt, conductor.
The first to run a train into St. Joseph was George Thompson, who ran first a construction train and then a freight train.
The first master mechanic of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad shops in St Joseph was C. F. Shivel. These shops were established in 1857. In the following year Mr. Shivel put up the first car ever built in the city.
On the 22d of February, 1859, occurred in St. Joseph the celebration of the completion of the Hannibal and St. Joseph road. This was, beyond doubt, the grandest display ever witnessed in the city, np to that period.
Mr. Jeff. Thompson, at that time mayor of the city, presided over the ceremonies and festivities of this brilliant occasion. The city was wild with enthusiasm, and the most profuse and unbounded hospitality prevailed.
A grand banquet was held in the spacious apartments of the Odd Fellows' Hall, which then stood on the corner of Fifth and Felix streets. Not less than six hundred invited guests were feasted here; and it was estimated that several thousand ate during the day at this hospitable board.
Broaddus Thompson, Esq., a brother of General M. Jeff. Thompson, made the grand speech of the occasion, and performed the ceremony of mingling the waters of the two mighty streams thus linked by a double band of iron.
The completion of the road constitutes an era in the history of St. Joseph, and from that period dawned the light of a new prosperity. In the five succeeding years the population of the city was quadrupled, and her name heralded to the remotest East as the rising emporium of the West.
In the summer of 1872 this road commenced the building of a branch southward from St. Joseph, twenty-one miles, to the city of Atchison. This was completed in October of the same year.
The St Joseph and Western is one of the most valuable roads that leads into St. Joseph, and has been the source of a large trade from the neighboring State of Kansas.
The Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs road is not so important, having parallel roads in opposition, and until it came under the control of the ft, B. & Q. it lacked comprehensive business views and enlightened management. It is, however, a good, local road, all the way from Sioux City to Kansas City, but as a northern and southern road, with competing lines, will not be of very great value as an investment.
The Missouri Pacific is another road that has run to the city, but found it far from profitable, and are now building from Atchison north, into Nebraska. This road, like the K. C. & C. B.; is of great local convenience to the people and St. Joseph.
The Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific, as its southeastern route to St. Louis, the St Joseph and Western, and the Hannibal and St. Joseph, will always be the leading roads. The first mentioned running a branch to St. Joseph, giving them a route to St. Louis over what was called the Kansas City, St. Louis and Northern, now all known as the Wabash system.
The St. Joseph and Des Moines is another new road of local importance, although giving another Chicago route to the city of "pools and corners."
There are now (1881) three lines of street railway in St. Joseph. The
Board of Trade was organized October 19, 1878.
In 1878 this new company came to the front under the name of the Mutual
Gas Light Company, the present owners of the works, and made proposals to
the authorities, through their president, C. H. Nash, to supply present
consumers with gas at $2.50 per thousand feet, and the street lamps at $25
per annum. The old company bad charged $1 per thousand feet and $30 for
lighting the street lamps per year. They were granted the franchise and
awarded the city contract, and this resulted in the sale of the entire
works and franchise of the old company to the Mutual Gas Light
The company have now placed in position over twenty miles of main pipe, supplying over eight hundred consumers and nearly five hundred street lamps.
But it was not until the 10th day of December, 1879, that anything was actually accomplished in that direction, at which date the mayor approved an ordinance passed by the city council authorizing the construction of water-works upon the "gravity system," the supply to be obtained from the Missouri River above the city limits.
On December 23, 1879, the contract was let to the St. Joseph Water Company, under bond to complete the works and furnish a full supply of pure, wholesome water within twelve months from that date. This company commenced work on the 4th day of January, 1880, and upon the 12th day of January, 188J, the works were accepted by the city authorities as perfectly satisfactory.
The great basins are supplied with water by the engines below, the water first being forced into a well west of the elevation, and after that it runs through pipes into the reservoirs, of which there are three. The settling basin is 380 feet long by 85 feet wide, and its capacity is three million gallons. Its depth is twenty feet, and its water level is two feet higher than the reservoir on the south.
The north basin, which is intended for the filtered water, is 150 feet
wide and 300 feet long, and has a capacity of six million of gallons.
Reservoir Hill is 330 feet above high water mark, and it is 122 feet higher than any point in St. Joseph. In the business portion of the city the pressure has been, since the works were in operation, 120 pounds to the square inch.
In testing the capacity of the street hydrants it has been demonstrated that in the business portion of the city a stream can be thrown through hose, with a proper nozzle attached, to the height of about 110 feet, while at the corner of Nineteenth and Francis streets, one of the highest points within the eastern corporate limits, a distance of sixty-five feet has been shown to be the extreme limit of the elevation.
At the present writing something over twenty miles of main pipe have been laid in place and one hundred and eighty-two hydrants placed at proper locations and in working order.
The works were to cost at first $300,000, but the company kept adding to the original estimate until the works complete have cost $700,000 instead of the amount first estimated.
THE UNION DEPOT.
After various conferences of the union depot projectors, the erection of the building was finally determined upon in April, 18S0, when the St Joseph Union Depot Company was organized, with the following companies as incorporators and stockholders: Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company, Missouri Pacific Railway Company, St. Joseph and Western Railroad Company, which is a part of the Union Pacific; Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railroad Company, which is a part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad; Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad Company; St. Joseph and Des Moines Railroad Company.
The ground which was selected and legally condemned for thi6 enterprise is situated on the ea6t side of Sixth Street, near the corner of Mitchell Avenue, that having been found to be the most suitable location for a common point of meeting for the different railroads operating their lines through this city. It embraces a tract of six acres, all of which will be required for its buildings, sheds, platforms, tracks, etc.
The style of the building is Eastlake domestic gothic, and contemplates a building 400 feet in length and fifty feet in width, set back from Sixth Street thirty-six feet, so as to give room for carriage-way between present street line and front of building.
There were about 4,000 horses and mules sold in this market in 1880, of a total value of $350,000. A great portion of this number were shipped out to Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana and South Carolina.
There were 140,000 head of hogs sold in this city in 1880, of a value of $2,000,000, making the total sales of live stock $2,650,000.
Hax & Brother were established in 1868. Their packing-house and office are on the corner of Fourth and Mary streets. They employ in the winter season between sixty and eighty hands, and also pack to a limited extent in summer.
The packing-house of H. Krug & Co. was established in the winter of 1877-8, H. Krug, president; James McCord, vice-president and treasurer; George C. Hax, secretary. The capital stock of the company is $72,000. In the winter of 1879-80 this house packed between 60,000 and 65,000 hogs. In the summer about 24,000 head were packed. In August, 1881, they slaughtered 1,800 hogs per week.
Connett Brothers, who packed in 1880 about 6,000 hogs, on their farm in
the county, are now (1881) erecting a spacious brick structure south of
the city limits, which will cost, when completed, about $25,000 or
$30,000. Its packing capacity will be from 1,000 to
1,500 per day.
The past winter has afforded the best ice harvest ever before known in
this city. The following statement shows the number of tons taken from the
Missouri River and Lake Contrary and stored for use:
The building was erected by Mr. Milton Tootle, in 1873, at a cost of
$150,000. It is regarded by nil as the finest theater
west of Chicago.
The St. Joseph glucose company was formed in June, 1880. The name of the company is The St. Joseph Refining Company. It has all of the latest improved machinery, and a capacity for making up 3,000 bushels of corn daily. The building is situated in South St. Joseph, and covers over an acre of ground.
Situated on South Fourth Street, in the premises formerly occupied by the Evans, Day & Co. Canning Factory, are the Star Preserving Works, owned and operated by Albert Fischer t$? Co. They have recently enlarged the premises with additional buildings until they cover nearly an entire square.
The capacity of the works are 40,000 cans, or 1,800 bushels of tomatoes per day, or from 1,000 to 1,200 bushels of peas. During the preserving season these works have about 250 employes upon their pay-roll.
The military force of the city consists of two battalions, composed of five companies of infantry, all superbly equipped and exceedingly well drilled.
THE FIRST TELEGRAPH LINE
POST-OFFICE AND FINANCES.
St. Joseph is the third city in size in the State, and its population, by the census of 1880, is 32,484. It is gaining moderately, but the spirit of enterprise has never been very highly developed by her people. Her wholesale merchants are opposed to further opposition in their line, and, as a rule, they do little to advertise their business; some of the heaviest never putting a line of advertisements in the papers year in and year out, while many do it grudgingly, as a sort of tax which they are compelled to pay. It is like St Louis, slow to move, and like the latter city, it has some live, energetic men, but not enough to leaven the mass.
In scope of country tributary to her growth and prosperity St. Joseph
has little to complain of, and if an energetic spirit possessed her people
she would have a surprising growth the next ten years. As it is, she is
likely to retain her present position as the third city in the State. She
has a refined and cultivated people, hospitable and generous, but her
business interests are carried on to the extreme upon the basis of self.
With an increase of population and more extended and broader views St.
Joseph's future is one of promise.