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Did You Know? Little known facts about St. Louis history

Host Don Marsh talked to authors Sharon Person and Carl Ekberg.
Credit Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Public Radio
Host Don Marsh talked to authors Sharon Person and Carl Ekberg.

It is often told that St. Louis was founded by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau. However, little is known about how one man, Louis St. Ange de Bellerive, may be the original historical figure responsible for the early origins of the city.

Carl Ekberg and Sharon Person, authors of “St. Louis Rising: The French Regime of Louis St. Ange De Bellerive,” stopped by St. Louis on the Air to provide historical insight that challenges the often told story about the discovery of St. Louis.

Here are some interesting facts Ekberg and Person told host Don Marsh about the history of St. Louis:

  • French influence on the St. Louis area dates back to the early 18th century.
  • At that time, Louis St. Ange de Bellerive had been in the St. Louis area since the 1720s.
  • St. Ange de Bellerive created the first census for St. Louis in 1766. The population count exceeded 300 people!
  • The Bellerive Country Club in Ladue, Bellerive Park in St. Louis city, and the Bellerive Garden Cemetery in Creve Coeur are allegedly named after St. Ange de Bellerive.
  • St. Ange de Bellerive was not married and had no children, thus no one could pass on the story of his legacy.
  • St. Ange de Bellerive was not fond of the Spanish colonials and allegedly hated the British.
  • As a consequence of the French and Indian war, the west side of the Mississippi, including St. Louis, became Spanish Territory.
  • St. Ange de Bellerive died in St. Louis in 1774.
  • Many of the documents about St. Ange de Bellerive can be found at the Missouri History Museum’s library.

Related events

Carl Ekberg and Sharon Person Discuss "St. Louis Rising"

  • When: Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m.
  • Where: St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
  • More information
  • When: Sunday, May 3, 1 p.m.
  • Where: Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park
  • More information

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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