DescriptionAuguste Chouteau, Founder of St. Louis, Document Signed. Also signed by Moses Austin (clerical), founder of Austin Colony in Texas. Four pages, measuring 7.75" x 12.5". Written at New Orleans, 1801. Fine but for one large stain.
Born Rene Auguste Chouteau in New Orleans, he was raised by his stepfather, Pierre Laclede, and his mother Marie Therese Chouteau, As Laclede's clerk and lieutenant, the 14-year-old Chouteau led the workers who began building St. Louis on February 15, 1764. He prospered as the village grew into a commercial hub, adapting to Spanish rule in 1770 and U.S. control in 1804. Diversifying into banking and real estate as the fur trade declined, Chouteau, the town's business and social leader, was the first board of trustees chairman upon its incorporation in 1809. As an early historian of the city wrote, "Laclede founded, and Auguste Chouteau built, St. Louis."
The document dated in 1801 is in French and Spanish. It reads in full: "Don Nicolas Marie Vidal, Lieutenant-Governor and auditor of war and case and case I inform Post Commandant of St Genevieve of the Illinois, of the mandate leading to this rocedure introduced as an original to take effect, and that Don Moiser Austin appeared in my tribunal with representation in order for Don Pascal Detchemindy to recognize the signature and attest it under oath. Petition made by Moiser Austin to the supreme tribunal at Orleans. [In English in the text]. Don Moiser Austin residing at St Genevieve district in parts of the Illinois [illegible] in this town, has the honor to represent before your Lordship that Don Pascal Detchemindy also residing at St Genevieve, while in Philadelphia on June 29, 1797 had drawn a bill of exchange in the said town in favor of my brother Don Esteran Austin for 391 Pes and 95 Sols at 90 days from the date by [illegible] Coppinger but since it was not satisfied it was presented for this motive the [illegible because of ink spot] year with all the formalities that appear to have been done by Pedro Piter Lohra, public notary in Philadelphia; my brother having to request reimbursement through Mr. Jones of Kaskaskia, settlement near St Genevieve, as well as loss and prejudice for non payment of the said bill of exchange that the drawer had agreed to satisfy as soon as the statutory original was presented to him as guaranteed by said Sr. Don Rice Jones before the Commandant for said St Genevieve district, what the said drawer has refused to accomplish since then using frivolous pretexts as a front, forcing the said Commandant to submit the present procedure to the supreme tribunal's decision. Taking in consideration the drawer tacit recognition of his signature which he has not contested at all but has wrongly affixed an illegal opposition to excuse his non payment saying that my brother had to appear judicially against the acceptor, when there is no trade law obligating a bill of exchange bearer to such thing, who in similar case has only to protest to have his appeal against the endorsers, if there are any and if not, against the drawers. And supposing that there would be provisions made during which one can appeal to the drawer in such a way that he is not obligated to pay when the bills of exchange are not sent by first courier from the place where they are contested to the one where they are drawn when there is no courier between Philadelphia and St Genevieve nor any direct mean to travel in as much for great distance as for little trade existing in these areas, which makes correspondence difficult and rare and has caused delay in being able to give the drawer his contested said bill of exchange by producing the original, finding sufficient to sent to himself its copy and the one contested for which he refuted the unfounded objections from Sr. Detchemindy in order to elude payment. This is why it will please his lordship to order a timely reimbursement including change and exchange and with interests according to trade practices that two experts will resolve, each of the four parties will name one in which terms herewith it will please his lordship to deliver to the Commandant within his jurisdiction to pay the debts according to justice rigor, all in virtue of the supporting documents and provision rights including costs since the said bill of exchange has not been paid. Signed Austin
In view of the exemplified copy requested by Mr, Austin be delivered to the Commandant of St Genevieve in order for Pascal Detchemindy ... to sign the bill of exchange subject of this procedure, and by recognizing it be notified to pay immediately to Don Austin the 391 Pes and 95 Sols stated in the said bill of exchange which he had drawn in favor of Estevan Austin on . . . Coppinger, that was contested within the terms because of non payment and that as such he pays the amount and costs according to usage and arbitrator ruling named by the parties, and in case of refusal from the said Detchemindy the Commandant will proceed against him and his assets according to justice rigor with formalities rights. Signed N. M. Vidal New Orleans, June 1st, 1801 Signed Federclair, Public Notary
I have informed Mr. Austin the same day as my notification.
And so that the named herewith fulfill the request, I order the payments be delivered in the city of New Orleans June 1st 1801. Signed Nicolas Me [abbreviation for Marie] Vidal
Per his lordship order
The undersigned certifies that the translation done herewith for a petition presented by Mr. Austin to the supreme tribunal of New Orleans because of his lordship Don Nicolas Vidal's decree dated June 1st 1801, against Sr. Pascal Detchemindy of St Genevieve, is as much conform to the original that my knowledge of the Spanish language have allowed me. St Louis, May 27, 1805
District of St Louis
Before us Auguste Chouteau one of the public defender judges of the afore mentioned district, appeared Sr. Jaque Clamoryan, merchant in this town who declared having confessed that the Certificate affixed herewith on which he has signed bellow at the bottom, is true and conform on the strength of which we have signed and affixed it the same day and year than herewith.
A few years before, in 1797, Moses Austin had just received a Spanish passport. Austin founded Austinville (Wythe County) at the lead mines in 1792 after he moved to the mines. When he encountered problems in roofing the capitol and in financing his enterprise, he looked for relief to the rumored lead deposits in Spanish Upper Louisiana. After visiting the mines during the winter of 1796-97, he sought and obtained a grant to part of Mine a Breton (at modern Potosi, Missouri), where in 1798 he established the first Anglo-American settlement west of and back from the Mississippi River. Austin sought to expand his holdings. Using the efficient reverberatory furnace, the design of which he had learned from the English smelterers, he gained control of virtually all smelting in the region and amassed a wealth of $190,000. The second period in the history of the American lead industry is known as the "Moses Austin Period." Austin's contributions influenced the lead industry until heavy machinery revolutionized mining and smelting after the Civil War . The document is in fine condition. The Moses Austin signature is clerical.
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