Missouri State Genealogy Trails

Missouri State First's


First Settler's in Missouri
The Source: Switzer's History of Missouri, St. Louis, 1879
Transcribed by Donna Walton

While all historians agree, we believe, as to the place of the first permanent settlements in the territory now known as the State of Missouri—to-wit:  that they were made at Ste. Genevieve and New Bourbon,--there is an embarrassing conflict of authority as to the date of them.  Mr. Lewis C. Beck fixes them in his Gazetteer, published in 1823, page 214, in the autumn of 1763, while others believe them to have occurred at an earlier period. 

 For example: 
A letter from Hon. Gustavus St. Gem, dated Ste. Genevieve, Mo., September 18th, 1873, and addressed to the writer of this “Sketch,” says:

   “I find, in looking over the old papers of my grandfather, in possession of my sister, Mrs. Menard, and carefully preserved by her as precious family relics, that my great-grandfather purchased of Mr. Gabouri a house with lot of two arpents of land, in the ‘Post of Ste. Genevieve of the Illinois, on the 20th day of December, 1751, thus showing that the town had evidently been settled several, nay, many years before the date of his purchase.   There is in my opinion no correct data written or of record, fixing the exact time when the place was settled;  but we have it here by tradition that the first white inhabitants came over here from Kasakia about the year 1735.  Kasakia was then the metropolis of the West, with a population estimated at 6,000 souls.  It was from Kaskakia that Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Kahokia, St Charles, Portage des Sioux and over early settlements, for many years obtained their goods and merchandise, and it was the opulent and proud inhabitants of Kaskakia, who gave derisive names of  Misere  to Ste. Genevieve,  Pain Court (short of bread) to St. Louis, Vide Poche (empty pockets), to Carondelet, Pouilleux (lousy) to the people of Kahokia, etc.  the town or “post” of Ste. Genevieve was located by its first settlers in the river bottom three miles south or south-east of its present site.  It was completely Inundated in 1785,   l’annee dea grandez ea*r, when the inhabitants were driven for safety to the elevations, and founded the present town.  So the town now dates from the year 1735.  New bourbon was settled only after the French revolution of 1789, by Royalists,  who fled from France and exiled themselves at this place two miles south of Ste. Genevieve and called their settlement New Bourbon, after that detestable dynasty which kept France under an iron rule and crushing tyranny for so many long centuries.  But the place never thrived, and like the Bourbons, there is nothing left of it except a few landmarks.  The settlers of New Bourbon were Camille Delassus and Mr. Demunn, of the ancienne noblease.”

Whether the first settlement at Ste. Genevieve be fixed at the traditional period of 1735 or at a later date, it is unquestionably true that it was made in the interest of gold and silver mining, and long before the purchase of Louisiana.  As early as 1720, Renault, a son of a celebrated iron founder of France, established himself at Fort Chartres, about ten or fifteen miles above Ste. Genevieve, on the opposite bank of the Mississippi.  He left France in 1719, with two hundred artificers and miners provided with tools and whatever else was necessary to accomplish his object.  In his passage he touched at the Island of St. Domingo and purchased five hundred slaves for working in the mines; and, entering the Mississippi, pursued his voyage up that river t New Orleans, which he reached some time in 1720, and soon afterward proceeded on his way to Fort Chartres.  From this point he dispatched parties of miners to ‘prospect’ for the precious metals and they crossed the river to the west bank and explored what is now Ste. Genevieve County.  These expeditions were prosecuted with great diligence, as is proven by the fact that many of Renaults’s old mines, overgrown with trees and covered with moss, have been since discovered.  Failing to find either gold or silver, as all previous explorers had failed, but discovering lead ore in abundance, he established rude furnaces for smelting it, and conveyed it on pack horses to Fort Chartres, thence to France via New Orleans in boats.

 In 1785, about twenty years after the founding of St. Louis, the great flood destroyed the old town or “post” of Ste. Genevieve, and the site of the present town was established.  After this was done, the new town experienced a large influx of population from the east side of the Mississippi, and it became a very important village. 

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Some First Things In Missouri
Source: 32nd Annual Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics State of Missouri, 1910 - C. Horton 2009

The first great mastodon found in the world, and probably the largest one, now in the British Museum, was reconstructed from bones found near Kimmswick, Mo,

The first commission as general received by Ulysses S. Grant from Abraham Lincoln was delivered to him under an oak tree still standing In Ironton. Mo.

The first general name for Missourians was "Pikers." They were so called from Pike county, the one county in Missouri known to dwellers outside the State.

The first nickname of St. Louis was "The Mound City." It was so called on account of the number and sizes of the ancient work of the mound builders which stood upon the present site of the city.

The first Ions; boat race on the Missouri river was In 1811. Two rival fur traders in keelboats raced from St. Louis to a fur trading station at the mouth of the Yellowstone river, a distance of 1,790 miles.

The first pension granted by Missouri was of $8 1-3 a month to Samuel Tarwater of Ray county for Injuries received in the Mormon war.

The first name of New Madrid was La Nouvelle Madrid. It was so named by  Col. George Morgan, an officer in the American army, who attempted to there found a city laid off on the plan of Madrid In Spain.

The first Governor of the State of Missouri was Alexander McNair, a native of Pennsylvania.

The first white man who set foot on the territory which afterwards became Missouri was Hernandez De Soto In 1541.

The first French explorers of Missouri came from Canada In 1673, led by Jacques Marquette.

The first assumption of ownership of Missouri by a European nation was on April 9, 1682. when Robert Cavalier, better known as La Salle, took possession of the whole Mississippi valley in the name of the King of France.

The first settlement by white men in Missouri was at Ste. Genevieve in 1736, about three miles distant from the present town of the same name.

The first Indian tribes known to have resided In Missouri were the Missouris, Iowas, Osages and Poncas.

The first owners of the Mississippi valley territory after the Indians were the French.

The first Spanish governor of Missouri was Don Pedro Piernas.

The first commandment of the first territory of Missouri, then known as Upper Louisiana, was good St. Ange de Bellerive.

The first settlers of Missouri held much in common. There were no farmhouses or separate farms. In a large field were cattle, hogs and horses, the property of all the village.

The first Governor of the new territory of Louisiana under the American flag was Gen. James Wilkerson.

The first division of the territory of Missouri, then called Louisiana, was into the military commands of St. Louis. St. Charles. Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau.

The first English-speaking immigration to Missouri was from Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The first petition to Congress by Missourians, made September 29. 1805,  asked  "that funds be appropriated for the support and land set apart for the building
and maintaining of a French and English school in each county, and for the building of a seminary (or university) of learning, where not only the French and
English languages, but likewise the dead languages, mathematics, material and moral philosophies and the principles of the Constitution of the United States
should be taught."

The first stone house built In Missouri was by Maj. Nathan Boone in St. Charles county. Maj. Boone's father, Daniel Boone, died In this house, September 26, 1820.

The first time residents of Missouri territory had direct voice In the affairs of government was In 1812, when a delegate to Congress was elected from the newly
organized territory. He could speak in Congress, but had no voice.

The first delegate to Congress from Missouri was Edward Hempstead.

The first and only Governor of the territory of Missouri was Capt. William Clark.

The first counties In the Territory of Missouri were five in number -St. Charles. St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau and New Madrid. The number had grown
to fifteen when the State came into the Union. It is now 114, and the city of St. Louis.

The first legislature or Missouri passed laws regulating weights and measures, creating county officers, establishing courts and county seats, providing for the
punishment of criminals, regulating elections, forbidding Sabbath desecration, and encouraging the killing of wolves, panthers and wildcats.

The first bank chartered by the legislature of Missouri was the Bank of St. Louis.

The first large, permanent English settlement was made in the Boon's Lick country in Howard county in 1810. Here came Capt. Benjamin Cooper, with 100
families from Madison county. Ky., and founded Franklin and other villages.

The first steamboat to ascend the Mississippi river above the mouth of the Ohio was the General Pike, an ungainly craft, which landed at St. Louis In 1815.

The first steamboat to ascend the Missouri river was the Independence, which In twelve days made the Journey from St. Louis to Old Franklin in 1819.

The first newspaper west of the Mississippi river was the Missouri Gazette, now the St. Louis Republic, in 1808.

The first Protestant church in Missouri was the Bethel Baptist church, near Jackson. Cape Girardeau county, organized in 1806.

The first serious division in Congress upon sectional lines was over the admission of Missouri to the Union as a state.

The first Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri was William H. Ashley, chief officer of the Missouri Fur Company, afterwards representative in Congress.
He was twice defeated for governor by a narrow majority of less then 1,000 votes.

The first governor of Missouri. Alexander McNair, in a message to the legislature, urged the "proper employment of the lead mines and salt springs, with which
the State abounds." and "the cultivation of tobacco as a means to increase the resources of the State."

The first Constitution of the State fixed the "seat of government" within forty miles of the mouth of the Osage river.

The first United States Senator from Missouri was David Barton, the most popular man in the State at the time of the election.

The first capitol building at Jefferson City was a brick structure, costing $25,000. It was accidentally burned November 17,1837.

The first member of Congress from Missouri was John Scott of Ste. Genevieve. After serving six years as delegate and congressman, he retired from politics,
and for forty years successfully practiced law.

The first Supreme Judges were Mathias McGirk, John D. Cook, and John Rice Jones. They were chosen without regard to politics.

The first Attorney-General of Missouri was Rufus Laston,  a native of Connecticut, who had previously served as postmaster of St. Louis.

The first woman to hold office of post- mistress in the United States was a widow of Col. Richard Gentry of Columbia.

The first subscription to locate the University of Missouri at Columbia was by Edward Camplin, who could neither read nor write.
He gave $3,000 heading the subscription list.

Missouri State genealogy Trails
Genealogy Trails History Group is a Volunteer Organization Dedicated to providing FREE access to Historical and Genealogical Data.
© 2006 - 2008 by Genealogy Trails -  All Rights Reserved - With full rights reserved for original submitters.