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Commerce

Commerce of St. Louis.—A commercial motive founded St. Louis. That metropolis owes its origin to the far-reaching enterprise of New Orleans merchants. The early prosperity of the post which they established was due to the fur trade of Upper Louisiana. Indeed, the chase was the pioneer of Western colonization. In the valleys of the Mississippi and Missouri, many a village proudly boasts of a situation whose superiority the keen eye of a hunter was the first to observe. American civilization is largely indebted to the animals that once roamed the forests of the Western wilderness. The death of the wild beasts almost as actively promoted Western settlement as the life of wild men retarded it. The scantiness of authentic facts renders necessarily imperfect any account of the primitive commerce of St. Louis. The early traffic was almost exclusively restricted to barter for peltries. The fur trade of the Missouri Valley was the richest in the country.
The commodities destined for the Indian trade were mostly imported by way of the St. Lawrence and the Lakes. Quebec and Mackinaw were important distributing points. With the limited facilities for transportation that existed in those days, the importation of goods over vast ranges of country was slow, difficult and costly. The very small quantity of freight that could be carried at one time across the portages increased the delay and expense of transit. It sometimes took four years to forward an assortment of furs to Europe and procure a stock of goods in return.
The freight on foreign merchandise was not infrequently l00 per cent, but this enormous charge did not discourage importation, for even then the average profit of the Indian traffic was more than 50 per cent, and an occasional gain of 200 or 300 per cent inspired the trader with hopes of speedy wealth. St. Louis was the center of the fur trade of Upper Louisiana. The bulk of the peltries of this great region was brought to this mart. From 1789 to 1804 this fur trade amounted to more than $200,000 a year. The proportionate value of peltry which different animals contributed to this aggregate was as follows: Beavers, $66,820; deer, $63,200: otters, $37,100; bear, $12,200; fox, raccoon and wild-cat, $12,280; buffalo, $4,750; martins, $3,900; lynx, $1,500.
In the first years of St. Louis the wealth of private individuals, was very limited. Consequently associations of capital became necessary to conduct the extensive and costly operations of the fur trade. Companies were formed. The influence of these compact and energetic organizations was wide-spread. Their agents penetrated the passes of the Rocky Mountains, and extended their trade even to the Pacific Coast. The hundreds of men engaged in their service were scattered over all the Northwest. To the explorations undertaken in the prosecution of their business, most of our early knowledge of the physical geography of the far West is due.
In 1808 the Missouri Fur Company was organized. Its chief members were Pierre Chouteau, Sr., Manuel Lisa, William Clark, Sylvester Labadie. Pierre Menard, Auguste P. Chouteau, Bernard Pratte, J. P. Cabanne and B. Berthold. Its capital stock was $40,000. The expeditions of this company explored the Yellowstone, crossed the barriers of the Rocky Mountains, and established a trading-post on the banks of the Columbia River, in Oregon. This company was dissolved in 1812, but several of its members still continued in the fur trade. Berthold and Chouteau, M. Lisa, Bernard Pratte and J. P. Cabanne established peltry houses of their own. From 1813 to 1823 less activity prevailed in this branch of business. In 1819 John Jacob Astor founded in St. Louis a branch house, of which Samuel Abbott was the manager. It was called the Western Depot of the American Fur Company. Without mention of the year, Nicollet states that "this company once employed from 400 to 500 trappers and hunters, nearly 1.000 horses, from 2,000 to 3,000 traps, and bartered off annually from $15,000 to $20,000 worth of merchandise.'' These figures, which illustrate the trade of only one company, vividly suggest the magnitude of the Western fur trade. The operations of the Astor company extended over all the Northwest as far as the Rocky Mountains.
Six or eight years after its dissolution, the old Missouri Fur Company was reorganized. The most prominent men in this partnership were Captain Perkins, Manuel Lisa, Joshua Pilcher and Thomas Hempstead. This company was unfortunate. The disaster in which several of its expeditions terminated exhausted its resources. Under its auspices, Immel and Jones, in 1823, led a party, equipped with a costly outfit and laden with rich goods, to the valley of the Yellowstone. Defeated in an attack by the Blackfeet Indians, the leaders themselves and several of their men were slain, and all their valuable stores fell into the hands of the savages. The company survived this catastrophe but a short time. Its brief life was a succession of misfortunes. In 1823 General William H. Ashley led a force of hunters beyond the Rocky Mountains to revive a trade that had been languishing for ten years.
Assailed by the Indians, fourteen of his men were killed and ten wounded. Undismayed by this calamity, General Ashley still prosecuted his enterprise. In his explorations he discovered Green River and traced the Sweetwater to its sources. His energy was richly rewarded. Large profits on the extensive stock of peltries which he secured repaid him for his hardships. The next year General Ashley increased still further the range of his commercial transactions. In command of a second expedition, he penetrated to Salt Lake, and built a fort on the borders of another lake, which, by right of discovery, he named Ashley. In 1826 a six pound cannon, brought from Missouri, was mounted in this fort. It had been drawn by oxen 1,200 miles.
The route then opened was never afterward closed. In 1828 many teams heavily loaded with merchandise traversed the plains to this remote destination. From 1824 to 1827 the value of the peltries brought to St. Louis by the agents of General Ashley was more than $180,000. At length the wealth amassed by General Ashley enabled him to retire from business, and his interest was sold to the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. William L. Sublette, J. S. Smith and David E. Jackson were members of this partnership, and Robert Campbell was clerk. The aggressive activity of these men invaded new fields and rendered California and Oregon tributary to their mercantile enterprise. The commercial influence of the early fur companies is incalculable. The trade of the Northwest was chiefly in their hands.
The transaction of their business peopled the wilderness, founded posts and villages, and gave employment and competence to a pioneer population. The prosperity of St. Louis owes its first powerful impulse to the energy of these companies. But the life of the agents who so effectively promoted the early commerce of the West was full of peril. The hunters and fur traders were never exempt from hardships or safe from the stealthy attack of murderous savages. It is stated that two-fifths of the wood-rangers, even as late as 1825, were either killed by the Indians or perished from the exposures incident to the life of a hunter. It must not be supposed that there was no fur trade in Upper Louisiana prior to the establishment of St. Louis. Even before this event, Canadian hunters had extended their search for peltries to the headwaters of the Yellowstone. The French at Fort de Chartres carried on an active trade with the Osage Indians. They conveyed goods to this tribe in canoes by the Mississippi, Missouri and Osage Rivers. But when the Indians visited the fort they took the shortest overland route, and crossed the Mississippi at Wood Island, just above Ste. Genevieve. In those days Ste. Genevieve was a point of commercial importance. It was the center of the lead traxle of Upper Louisiana.
In 1810 it had twenty large stores, and was still the source from which St. Louis derived a portion of its supplies. But prior to 1764 Fort de Chartres controlled the trade in oil and peltries, and secured the profits of a large Indian patronage. At first, supplies for the St. Louis market were obtained chiefly at Mackinaw and New Orleans. Exchanges between places so remote from each other, with means of communication so imperfect, were limited to a few trips a year. The route to Mackinaw was by way of the Illinois River and a portage to Lake Michigan. The foreign goods intended for the Indian trade were bought at Mackinaw, and groceries and heavy merchandise were purchased at New Orleans. Coffee was then worth about two dollars a pound, and tea was a rare luxury until after the transfer. Salt was six dollars a bushel, but after the cession the erection of new salt works reduced the cost to one-half of this price. In the course of a few years the trade of St. Louis had extended to Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Quebec. Merchants usually went to Philadelphia by way of the Ohio River and Pittsburg. They carried their peltries with them and brought home the merchandise which they purchased. The round trip commonly occupied about four months. The vast wilderness that lay between the Atlantic cities and the settlements on the Mississippi precluded frequent intercourse. During the Colonial period the traders of St. Louis dealt but little with New York. Philadelphia, being the seat of the government, was then far better known than its commercial rival, and possessing the only good road that crossed the Alleghenies, enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the Western trade which sought an Eastern market. Many of the early commercial houses of St. Louis were established by Philadelphia merchants. It was not much before 1830 that the patronage of St. Louis traders was largely diverted from Philadelphia to New York.
Under French and Spanish domination the Indian traffic embraced a vast area. Hunters had visited the St. Francis, White, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Osage and Yellowstone Rivers, and the rich furs from this boundless territory had become partially tributary to St. Louis. The Mandan villages were more than 1,600 miles from the market to which they sent their peltries. The traders who visited the valley of the Yellowstone generally started from St. Louis in April, but seldom reached their destination before September or October. To insure success in the Indian trade, a perfect knowledge of the habits, tastes and caprices of the different tribes was necessary. The Indians of those days were blind adherents to traditional usages. The example set by their fathers was followed with a Chinese fidelity. If a blanket differed from the conventional pattern in size, color, quality, number of stripes, or length of fringe, an Indian would sooner freeze than wear it. If a knife varied from the prescribed form in length of blade or fashion of handle, it would not be accepted as a gift. If a rifle deviated from the favorite style, the savage would resort to his primitive bow and arrow sooner than use it. Consequently caution and expertness in selecting commodities to suit the peculiar tastes of the various tribes were essential to success in the Indian trade. In the infancy of St. Louis, a "store" was a room of very humble pretensions. In some instances it was scarcely
larger than a modern closet. The goods were generally kept in a box and were only taken out at the request of a customer. Specie was rare. The skins of wild animals were legal tender. As a medium of exchange, the standard value of shaved deer skin was twenty cents a pound, and of otter and beaver skins forty cents a pound. In the absence of specific agreement, notes were payable in peltries. The law enforced a literal observance of the terms of a contract. When money was mentioned as the consideration in a commercial transaction, the Spanish milled dollar was meant. Its value was $1.50 in peltries. Remittances were ordinarily made in salt, lead, provisions and furs. In exchange for these things, whisky, iron, steel and dry goods were brought down the Ohio River to St. Louis. The bills which were drawn on the treasury at New Orleans to pay the civil and military officers of St. Louis were frequently exchanged for foreign merchandise. "Peltry bonds," based on the personal responsibility of the merchants who issued them, were in active circulation. The measure of value was a given number of pounds of shaved deer skins. This currency was good not only for local uses, but also for remittances from business men whose credit was well established. In the early times hundreds of hunters, fur traders, Indian agents and military officers were scattered through the boundless region lying west of the Mississippi. Most of these pioneers purchased their outfit at St. Louis. The sale of these supplies materially increased the traffic and resources of the young settlement. From its humble beginning the commerce of St. Louis rapidly expanded to important proportions. In 1821 the proximate value of the fur trade of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers was $600,000 a year, and the annual imports of St. Louis were estimated at more than $2,000,000. Even as early as 1821 sagacious minds had already predicted the construction of a highway to the Pacific which would bear across the continent the rich freights of Oriental
commerce- Prof. S. Waterhouse.
The period from 1830 to 1865 may be regarded as marking the transition from the early primitive trade of St. Louis to its modern commerce. What existed before this period was barter, traffic and trade, and that which followed was the development into the marvelous phenomenon of commerce. The old state of things had little to do with transportation and distribution, for these features can not be said to have had an existence; the present state of things has everything to do with them—for internal commerce has come to mean not only exchanging, but carrying, collecting and distributing. In the old era freight rates were hardly thought of, except to make them as high as possible; but in the new era, they are computed and considered down to a fraction of a cent on the hundredweight. St. Louis prospered when it had little less to thrive on except the fur trade, for the fur trade was a source of great wealth, and it supported a considerable local force of persons engaged in conducting it— keel-boatmen, cordeliers, hunters, trappers and wood-rangers; and the going and coming of its expeditions imparted an animation and excitement which were lacking in the other Western towns of that day. But pulling and poling loaded boats and barges up stream, and floating with the mere force of the current downstream on our great rivers, was slow locomotion, even at the best, and it is no wonder that the advent of steamboats should make the prodigious change that it did make, and prepare the way for that transformation of business which took place in the last three score years of the nineteenth century in St. Louis. Before the appearance of steamboats the regular charge for bringing freight up the river from New Orleans was fifty cents a pound, and when, twenty years after the landing of the first steamboat at the St. Louis wharf, in 1817, these river carriers had so multiplied and the competition between them became so great as to reduce the rate to one twenty-fifth of this figure, some idea may be formed of the wonderful effect which the introduction of steam in navigation had, not only in St. Louis, but in the entire Mississippi Valley. In the year 1897 a citizen of St. Louis was still living who was a clerk in the Citizens' Insurance Company in 1837, and remembered a conversation in the office of the company between Captain Aleck Scott and other steam boat men, in which the decline of freight rates between St. Louis and New Orleans to $2 a hundred was sadly lamented as presaging the doom of the river business: boats could not do the work at such a rate and live, and unless it could be brought back to what it was ten years before, the good times of steam boating might be considered as gone forever. It was some years after this—from 1845 to 1860—that the steamboat era may be considered to have reached its climax, and it was a time in which a fierce rush of business and an unaccustomed prosperity disregarded all such things as commissions, costs and rates, provided only the articles needed were supplied—when the increasing volume of trade pressed so strongly upon the means of accommodating it that recklessness and extravagance were the order of the day.
There was profit in anything and everything, for immigration was pouring into Missouri, Illinois, and the adjacent States, both from Europe and the Atlantic region; the gold mines of California and Nevada were yielding their stream of treasure; and that vast overland trade and travel which preceded the building of the first railway to the Pacific Coast was at its height. It was the steamboat era, and it was the transition era between the primitive age of keelboats, which ended about 1830, and the railroad era, which began about 1865. In 1827, only ten years after the appearance of the first steamboat at St. Louis, there were six steamboats, besides a number of keels, engaged in the trade between St. Louis and Ferre River, Illinois, at that time the seat of an active lead business, and the "Republican" of April eight, of that year, speaks of a show of business at the wharf the past week, greater than had ever been witnessed before, and of an "unprecedented" number of arrivals. Five years later there were eight steamboat arrivals reported for the year 1832, and the whole number of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was given at two hundred and thirty. A merchant of Portland, in Callaway County, who kept a record of steamboats that passed that place in 1852, had the names of one hundred and five different boats that had gone up and down the Missouri River in that year.
One day in April, 1837, it was proudly announced that there were thirty-three steamboats receiving and discharging at the St. Louis levee. In the following year—1838— there were one hundred and fifty-four steamboats entered at the port of St. Louis. In 1842 there were four hundred and fifty steamboats employed on the Mississippi and its tributaries—nearly double the number reported ten years before; and in 1843 there were six hundred and seventy-two, among them the "J. M. White," whose famous trip from New Orleans to St. Louis that year, in three days twenty-three hours and nine minutes, remained the climax of steamboat achievement for nearly thirty years afterward. That this steamboat era which bridged over the period between 1830 and 1865, or between the primitive trade and the modern railroad era of commerce, was amazingly prosperous, is demonstrated by the enormous growth of population in St. Louis. In 1830 it was less than 5,000: in 1840 it was over 16,000, an increase of 230 per cent in ten years. But the next decade showed a still more marvelous growth—from 16,469 to 77,860—an increase of over 372 per cent. And in the following decade, from 1850 to 1860, there was an increase from 77,860 to 185,587, or more than a doubling. In the thirty years from 1830 to 1860 the increase was thirty-six fold. St. Louis has been the center of a prosperous business of exchange in all its conditions—in the keel boating days, from 1780 to 1820, when the freight rate was fifty cents a pound; in the steamboat age which followed, from 1830 to 1865, when the bulk of its annual commerce was one million tons; and in the railroad age in which we are now—1898—living, when its annual commerce is estimated at $600,000,000. But while its colossal proportions as a great manufacturing and commercial city are due, in a great measure, to the vast railroad systems that converge within its limits, history will always point to the transition period, or steamboat age, as the days of its most exuberant growth.
A glance at the map of the United States shows St. Louis located near the center, about midway between the British American line on the north and the Gulf of Mexico on the south, and about midway, also, between the two oceans on the east and west. And when to this central geographical location is added its commanding position at the center of the fluvial system of the great Mississippi Valley, on the middle section of the mighty stream which, with its tributaries, presents over ten thousand miles of navigable water line, its importance as a collecting and distributing point for the products of this vast territory becomes apparent. And even this does not exhaust the natural advantages of St. Louis. It possesses the additional one of being situated within twenty miles of the point where the two greatest rivers of the valley flow together, and only a short distance from the mouth of the Ohio, the next largest river of the valley. It is true that river transportation has lost much of its importance since that prodigious development of railroad construction in the country which was witnessed between 1850 and 1890; but it maintained its value long enough to decide the location of all the large cities in the central west, for we find them all situated on navigable rivers and lakes, and this arrangement itself helps to fortify the commanding natural position of St. Louis. With New Orleans, the largest city in the South, controlling the mouth of the Mississippi, and the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis at the head of the great river, and its river connection with them carefully maintained, it is not possible that the supremacy of St. Louis as the chief commercial center and distributing point of the Mississippi Valley shall ever be lost. Before steamboats were thought of, St. Louis was an important trading post, and before they came into use as reliable means of transportation, it was the largest town in the Central West, with a population of ten thousand souls; and this pre-eminence has been maintained through its natural advantages of position, reinforced by an intelligent and enterprising community. In 1890 it had a population of 451,770, and in 1900 a population of 575,238, marking it as one of the great cities of the earth. And it possesses an importance beyond that of mere numbers.
Its commerce and manufactures exceed even its population in a reckoning of its greatness, for statistics show that the increase of its manufactures between 1880 and 1890 was three times as great as the increase of its population and the record of its receipts and shipments of produce and merchandise exhibit a corresponding growth of its commerce. In the twenty-nine years of 1870 to 1899 the population did not double. But in the same period the amount of freight received in the city from all sources, by river and rail, more than quadrupled, increasing from 3,182,722 tons to 15,272,482 tons. In the first twenty years of this period, from 1870 to 1890, the United States census shows that the capital employed in manufactures in the city increased more than fourfold—from $29,977,292 to $140,775,392; and the value of the _gross product turned out more than trebled —increasing from $62,832,570 to $228,714,317. The reasonable estimated figures of the product of 1896, as given in the Merchants' Exchange annual statement of the trade and -commerce of the city for that year, are $300,-000,000. While, therefore, the city's population was not doubled, in the period between 1870 and 1899, its receipts of freight were more than quadrupled, and its manufactures more than quadrupled in value. While there was 15,272.482 tons of freight received in the city in the year 1897, there was 8,469,598 tons shipped from it. Of course the shipments embraced a large proportion of the receipts—raw material, such as lumber, timber, iron, lead and ore coming in as receipts and going as shipments in the form of finished manufactures.
Nevertheless, the receiving and the shipping constituted two separate carriages, and each carriage was a contribution to the commerce of the city. The receipts (15,272,482 tons) and the shipments (8,469,598 tons) added together make the aggregate of 23,742,080 tons, and this enormous freight tonnage represents the bulk of St. Louis commerce. In 1866 the receipts of wheat at St. Louis were $4,410,305 bushels; corn, 7,233,671 bushels; oats, 3,568,253 bushels; rye, 375,417 bushels, and barley, 548,797 bushels, making a total of grain receipts for that year of 16,114,000 bushels. In 1892 the receipts were, of wheat, 27,483,855 bushels; corn, 32,030,030 bushels; oats, 10,004,810 bushels; rye, 1,189,153 bushels; barley, 2,691,249 bushels, making a total of grain receipts of 72,998,000 bushels.
In the period of twenty-six years, the receipts had more than trebled. But commerce means shipping as well as receiving, and the statistics show that the shipments of grain from St. Louis increased from 10,033,000 bushels, in 1866, to 43,131,000 bushels, in 1892; and the grain trade, receipts and shipments, increased in the period referred to from 26,445,000bushels to 117,128,000 bushels. The receipts of coal in the year 1870 were 23,931,475 bushels; in 1899 they were 109,067,875 bushels. In 1875 the receipts of lumber were 474,099,000 feet; in 1899 they were 1,148,124,000 feet. In 1865 the receipts of live stock were: Cattle, 94,307 head: sheep, 52,133 head; hogs, 99,663 head —total, 246,103 head. In 1899 they were: Cattle, 766,932 head; sheep, 432.566 head; hogs, 2,147,144 head; horses and mules, 130, 236 head—total, 3.475,948 head.
In 1868 the receipts of hams and meats were 46,753,360 pounds, and of lard 5,941,650 pounds. In 1899 they were, of hams and meats, 269,510,100 pounds, and of lard 52,792,420 pounds. In 1875 the receipts of wool were 4,249,307 pounds; of hides, 7,310 bundles; and of furs and peltries, 16,588 bundles. In 1899 the receipts were, of wool, 28,491,625 pounds; of hides, 68,933,720 pounds; and of furs and peltries, 259,256 bundles. In 1870 the receipts of lead were 237,039 pigs; in 1899 they were 1,611,112 pigs. In 1885 the shipments of white lead were 29,161,275 pounds; in 1899 they were 48,460,250 pounds. In 1883 the receipts of boots and shoes were 301,385 cases; in 189*9 they were 1,305,679 cases. In 1866-7 the receipts of cotton were 19,838 bales; in 1894-5 they were 249,264 bales.
The foreign commerce of the country consists of its exports and imports, and the commerce of a city may likewise be taken to mean its receipts and shipments, the difference between these being what is consumed by its own population. A great commercial city is a distributing point, continually gathering and continually giving out—receiving and distributing. Through the complex agencies of accumulated capital, railways, steamers, warehouses, elevators, tugs, barges, depots, stationhouses, switches, machinery for economical handling, and also through the agency of persons expert in judging, inspecting, grading, selling and buying, it attracts commodities from the surrounding regions and even from distant parts of the whole world to be sold and bought, making it a saving both to buyers to buy and to sellers to sell in its markets, rather than for buyers to order direct from sellers, or for sellers to send direct to buyers. It is this commercial property and power, acquired through centuries of patient, skillful management, backed by enormous capital, that has made England, in a higher degree than any other country, the mart of the world—a place where it is cheaper to purchase many products than in the very countries where they are produced—a place where it is more advantageous to sell certain products than in the very country where they are most wanted. The merchants of Kansas do not buy Louisiana sugar, molasses and rice in Louisiana, but in St. Louis, because it is cheaper and more convenient to do so; and the Louisiana planter does not order his corn and pork from Kansas, but from St. Louis, for the same reason.
New Orleans buys the products of Nebraska in St. Louis, and Omaha buys Georgia watermelons in St. Louis. And not only does the situation of St. Louis near the center of the Mississippi Valley, half way between the North and the South, and on the middle section of the Mississippi River, indicate it as the proper distributing point for a wide region, but it possesses artificial appliances and instrumentalities for distribution whose value and efficiency can hardly be estimated—twenty-three great railroads, whose tracks run into the same vast train shed, and whose trains deliver their passengers at the common Union Station; two bridges across the Mississippi river; one hundred and fifty miles of street railway, affording cheap and rapid transit to all parts of the city; twenty-eight elevators for handling and storing grain; over a hundred steam craft engaged in river service; twenty-three banks and trust companies, with an aggregate capital, surplus and deposits of $127,000,000; a spacious Merchants' Exchange and a Cotton Exchange, where buyers and sellers meet daily for the transaction of business; numerous hotels for the accommodation of visitors who come on business or pleasure ; ample libraries and reading rooms; spacious parks; and an annual fair for the exhibition of domestic animals, farm, garden, orchard and vineyard products, machinery, implements and works of art.
These accessories and adjuncts attract buyers and sellers from all parts of the world, and invite the shipment of commodities to its markets by guaranteeing the prompt sale of them at the prevailing prices and at the smallest cost. It is not strange, therefore, to learn from the annual reports of its Merchants' Exchange, and its various boards and associations, that St. Louis is the mart and supply center for a very large area of the fertile and productive valley of the Mississippi, and that its prosperity and wealth are founded on this relation. Its receipts of grain, flour, hay and potatoes in the year 1899 were valued at $25,000,000; its receipts of dairy products, staple vegetables, fruits and salt were valued at $10,500,000 more; its receipts of groceries at $50,000,000; of dry goods at $40.000.000: of drugs, chemicals and medicines at $20.000,ooo; of hardware at $10,000,000; of boots and shoes at $32,000,000; of wool, hides, furs and peltries and leather at $9,000,000; of lead, zinc, iron and steel at $10,000,000; of cattle, hogs, sheep, horses and mules at $35,000,000; of hog products and beef at $11,000,000; of coal and lumber at $14,000,000—the aggregate of these being $246,000,000. But St. Louis is an industrial city, as well as a commercial city, if, indeed, in a fair reckoning its industries would not outrank its commerce.
It is the seat of thriving manufactures of flour, white lead, oils, boots and shoes, clothing, chewing and smoking tobacco, architectural iron, stoves and wire, and it is certain that a large portion of the wheat, pig lead, pig iron, steel, seeds, hides, leather, dry goods, lumber, coal and leaf tobacco was used tip as raw material in its mills, factories and shops and made into finished and more valuable products to be shipped off for consumption elsewhere. It had, in 1896, 6,500 manufacturing establishments, with an aggregate capital of $150,000,000, employing 95,000 persons, paying out in wages $57,000.ooo a year and consuming raw materials valued at $130,000,000 a year. Only one half of the $260,000,000 worth of commodities which made up its receipts, brought by rail and river to its warehouses, in 1896, therefore, was reshipped in their crude form; the other half was used to feed the city's industrial establishments. But they were not lost to its commerce. On the contrary, they were returned to the channels of trade in a doubly valuable form, for the product of the city's manufactures in 1896 was valued at $300,000,000. In other words the $130,000,ooo worth of grain, lead, cloth, hides, leather, iron, steel, lumber and leaf tobacco, which the city used, not only furnished a living to 95,000 work people, but came out of their hands doubled in value. Making a reasonable allowance for the portion of these manufactures consumed by its own population, it may be assumed that $260,000.000 worth of St. Louis manufactures were shipped away in 1896. And the statistics show that, in addition to this shipment of manufactures, there was shipped also $60,000,000 worth of grain, cotton, lead, hay, meats, cattle, hogs, horses and mules, eggs, fruit, vegetables, hides and wool. Adding together these three sums— $260,000,000, representing the total receipts; $60,000,000, representing that portion of these receipts sent off in a crude form; and $260,000,000, representing the value of the manufactures snipped away, and we have $580,000,000 as the value of the commerce of St. Louis in 1806. -D. M. Grissom.
Source:  Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901;  Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack 2011~

 



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