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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kansas City in Jackson County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Old Chouteau Trading Post / Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau

 
 
The Old Chouteau Trading Marker (Side A) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
1. The Old Chouteau Trading Marker (Side A)
Inscription.

(Side A)
In 1821, Francois and Berenice Chouteau arrived from St. Louis to establish Kansas City's first commercial emporium, the "Chouteau Trading Post", and in effect to found Kansas City. Francois was the grandson of Pierre Laclede, founder of St. Louis, and his wife Berenice was the daughter of Pierre Menard, a prominent man of French descent. French traders and soldiers had gone upriver as far as the Platte, starting as early as 1680. In its earliest years, the location of the Post was called "Chez les Canses" -- meaning "at the village of the Kansa" -- and later it was referred to simply as "Chouteau's." The first Chouteau personnel, including Francois' assistant, Louis (GrandLouis) Bertholet, who arrived in 1820, located on the North bank of the Missouri River. Some remained there after the Post was erected on the South bank.

Chouteau descendants say the first religious services here were held at the Post, and the first burials were made nearby. The first Chouteau Post was located near the South end of the Chouteau Bridge considerably down river. It was soon swept away by a flood, and after each ruinous flood the Post was relocated further up the river bank, and to the West. Berenice Chouteau, the "mother and Grand Dame of Kansas City," was a woman of great courage and compassion. When young Francois
Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau Marker (Side B) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
2. Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau Marker (Side B)
was killed by a stampeding horse in 1838, Berenice continued on at the Post. An 1841 map drawn by Fr. Point, priest of the French-speaking Church of St. Francis Regis, founded by Berenice, shows the home of "Madame Chouteau" at the eastern tip of the settlement (nearby, at Third and Grand). During a severe cholera epidemic, she nursed the severely ill and dying children - black, white, and Indian, and made shrouds for those who died, including two of her own children, from her linens and her silk wedding gown! She outlived her nine children, and died in 1888 at the age of eighty seven, having gained the love and respect of all Kansas Citians.

(Side B)
En 1821, François et Bérénice Chouteau arrivèrent de St. Louis, afin de créer le premier établissement commercial, "la Maison Chouteau" et par là même pour fonder Kansas City. François était le petit fils de Pierre Laclede, le fondateur, de St. Louis, et son èpouse Bérénice était le fille de Pierre Menard, un homme important de souche française. Dès 1680, commerçants, et soldats français avait déjà remonté la rivière jusqu'à ce qui est aujourd'hui la rivière Platte. Durant les premières années de sa création, l'établissement s'est appelé "Chez les Canses" ce qui signifíe "le village des Kansa" - plus tard on l'appela simplement "Chez Chouteau." Les premiers employés de la Maison Chouteau, y compris l'adjoint de
The Old Chouteau Trading Post / Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
3. The Old Chouteau Trading Post / Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau Marker
François, Louis Bertholet (dit Grand Louis) qui arriva en 1820, s'installèrent sur la rive nord du Missouri. Quelques uns restèrent sur place même après que l'établissement commercial fut construit sur la rive Sud.

Les descendants des Chouteau ont rapporté que les premiers services religieux ont été célébrés dans l'établissement et que les premiers enterrements ont été faits non loin. Le premier établissement Chouteau fut construit près de l'extrémité Sud de l'actuel pont Chouteau, très en aval de la rivière. La première construction fut rapidement emportée par une inondation, et après chaque crue dévastatrice l'établissement fut reconstruit plus haut sur la rive et vers l'ouest. Bérénice Chouteau "la mère et la Grand Dame de Kansas City" fut une femme pleine de courage et de compassion. Lorsque son mari François, encore jeune, fut tué par la ruade d'un cheval en 1838, Bérénice continua à tenir l'établissement. Une carte de 1841, établie par le révérend Point, prêtre à la paroisse St. Francis Regis fondée par Bérénice (où l'on parlait français), montre la maison de "Madame Chouteau" à l'extrémité Est des installations (près du carrefour de la 3ème rue et da l'avenue Grand). Durant une grave épidémie de choléra, elle soigna les enfants mourants et les plus sévèrement atteints - noirs, blancs ou Indiens et confectionna des linceuls pour les morts y compris deux de ses enfants avec ses vêtements et même avec sa robe de mariée en soie! Elle survécut à ses neuf enfants et mourut en 1888 à l'âge de 87 ans, en ayant acquis l'estime et le respect de tour les habitants de Kansas City.
 
Erected by The Chouteau Society and The City of Kansas City.
 
Location. 39° 6.581′ N, 94° 34.873′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Jackson County. Marker is on Grand Boulevard south of 4th Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City MO 64106, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kansas City's Old Square / Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City (within shouting distance of this marker); Oldham Hotel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); City Market (about 600 feet away); J. P. Campbell & Company Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Pacific House (approx. 0.2 miles away); W. H. Morgan & Company (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Orders No. 11 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tootle, Hanna & Leach Dry Goods (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kansas City.
 
Also see . . .
1. A Tour of Old French Kansas City. (Submitted on November 21, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Chouteau References at Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. (Submitted on November 21, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Overview of Cher Onde, Cher Papa: The Letters of Francois and Berenice Chouteau. (Submitted on November 21, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 20, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 457 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 21, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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