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Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus, the French Dynasty…
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374110050, Hardcover)
Shortly after Meriweather Lewis reached St. Louis in 1803 to plan for his voyage to the Pacific with William Clark, he prepared his first packet of flora and fauna from west of the Mississippi and dispatched it to President Jefferson. The cuttings, which were later planted in Philadelphia and Virginia, were supplied by Lewis's new French friend, Pierre Chouteau, who took them from a tree growing in the garden of his mansion.
One of the best-known families in French America, the Chouteaus had guarded the gates to the West for generations and had built fortunes from fur trading, land speculation, finance, and railroads, and by supplying anything needed to survive in the region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Patrician in their origins, they nevertheless won the respect and allegiance of dozens of Indian tribes. From their St. Louis base, the Chouteaus conquered the more-than-two-thousand-mile length of the Missouri River, put down the first European roots at the future site of Kansas City and in present-day Oklahoma, and left their names and imprints on lands stretching to the Canadian border.
Before Lewis and Clark: The French Dynasty that Ruled America's Frontier is the extraordinary story of a wealthy, powerful, charming, and manipulative family, who dominated business and politics in the Louisiana Purchase territory before the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, and for decades afterward.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:21 -0400)
"The year was 1804. In the little French Creole village of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, where the brothers Auguste Pierre and Pierre (Cadet) Chouteau were the leading figures, there was great uncertainty about the future. Nevertheless, the Chouteaus and all of St. Louis welcomed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as the two men prepared for their spring voyage up the Missouri River to explore the new lands and search for a route to the Pacific Ocean." "Before Lewis and Clark is the saga of the Chouteaus, the dynasty that guarded the gates to the West for three generations. From St. Louis, founded by the family four decades before the arrival of Lewis and Clark, the Chouteaus built fortunes as land speculators, financiers, Indian agents, and, above all, fur traders. The Chouteaus conquered the more-than-two-thousand-mile length of the Missouri River, put down the first European roots at the future site of Kansas City and in present-day Oklahoma, and left their names and imprints on lands stretching to the Canadian border."--BOOK JACKET.
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