Known to many as St. Joe, the town of St. Joseph along the Missouri River got its start in 1826 when Joseph Robidoux, known to the locals as “Uncle Joe,” a local fur trader, started his Blacksnake Hills Trading Post catering to the local tribes. Before long, he developed a trading empire that stretched as far west as the Rocky Mountains.
The first post office in the area was housed in Robidoux’s trading post in 1840. When the Platte Purchase made his land part of the state of Missouri in 1837, the trading post developed into a settlement that was incorporated as St. Joseph, named after Joseph Robidoux’s patron saint, on November 20,1843.
|St. Joseph, Missouri in 1840|
The main east-west downtown streets were named for Robidoux's eight children: Faraon, Jules, Francois (Francis), Felix, Edmond, Charles, Sylvanie, and Messanie. The street between Sylvanie and Messanie was named for his second wife, Angelique.
St. Joseph stayed relatively small until the gold discovery in California, but grew rapidly with westward migration. Along with Independence, Missouri, the city quickly became the last supply and “jumping-off point” before the many pioneers headed towards California on the Oregon Trail that had been traveled for the first time by wagon train in 1843.
|Oregon Trail Map|
In 1850 Silas Newcomb wrote:
"This place contains some two thousand five hundred inhabitants and at present is a very busy place on account of the California emigrations which seems to center here; hills and dales are white with their camps. Many have crossed the river and encamped on the west side in the Indian Territory. Place contains four good sized Hotels, about twenty Stores and the residue is made up of groceries, bakeries, etc."
You will be hearing more about St. Joseph, Missouri from me in the next few months. I am publishing two books--a prequel and a full novel--in a multi-author series, Lockets & Lace. To stay informed about our upcoming cover reveal events, publication of the prequel, publication dates of the novels, and opportunities to win gifts and prizes, please CLICK HERE and "Like" and "Follow" the Lockets & Lace Facebook page.
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