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The City of St. Louis, site of the Gateway Arch, the symbol of America's westward expansion, is known throughout the world as the "Gateway to the West." However, the City of St. Charles - a thriving community on the banks of the Missouri River just twenty miles west of St. Louis, could easily lay claim to that title.
The History of St. Charles County, Missouri (1765-1885) tells the story of those who first came to the early frontier from east of the Mississippi and from their homes across the sea. Many of those families settled in St. Charles County and remain there to this day, while others stayed for a while and then moved on.
The book was first published in 1885 as part of a historical narrative of St. Charles, Montgomery, and Warren Counties in Missouri. This privately published reprint of the St. Charles portion of the original has an index, not found in the earlier book, including references to some 1,886 family surnames, and biographical sketches of 298 prominent citizens of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In all, 4,197 individual names appear in the index. This volume is an invaluable resource to historians and to genealogists whose families lived in St. Charles County during that period. You can check for your family's surnames using the alphabet links at the top of this page where you will also find a link to a mail-in order form. The cost of the book is only $19.95 plus shipping.
The District of St. Charles was first established on October 1, 1812 by Governor William Clark of the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition. The district extended from the Missouri River on the south to the Canadian border on the north, and from the Mississippi River on the east to the Pacific Ocean. It comprised all of what is now Minnesota and Iowa and major portions of the states of Idaho, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Oregon.
The famed pioneer, Daniel Boone, was one of the early settlers in St. Charles County, migrating from Kentucky in 1795 and residing in the county until his death in September 1820. On May 20, 1804, the Lewis & Clark Expedition departed from St. Charles on their historic overland journey to the Pacific. Following Missouri's admission to the Union in August 1821, St. Charles served as the first capital of the new state. And for much of the era of the westward expansion the city served as the eastern terminus for the stagecoach lines and supply trains that transported settlers and their supplies to the trailheads for the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails at Kansas City and St. Joseph. It is clearly one of the most historically significant places on the North American continent.