Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bereniece Therese Chouteau

Bereniece Therese Chouteau (1801-1888) = French – Catholic. Daughter of Col. Pierre Menard, first Lt. Governor of Illinois.
Having just celebrated her 20th birthday, she was a convent-educated young bride when she married Francois Gesseau Chouteau (1797-1838), a 24 year old. They emigrated up the Missouri River to the future Kansas City area, a wilderness. Francois was the son of Pierre Chouteau and a nephew of Auguste Chouteau, the founder of St. Louis. They were sent upriver to build a warehouse for their family’s fur trading business. Francois built their first home on the river, but it was flooded, along with the warehouse in 1826. They built another home up on the river bluff near the foot of Troost and Forest avenues and settled there to raise their ten children, nine sons and one daughter. Five died young.
There was no priest in that area for some time. Once, during the Christmas season, Berenice told some young Indian boys the story of man’s redemption when she showed them her statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding her Divine son. Another time, during a cholera epidemic in 1827, she baptized seventy-five Indian children. But eventually, a 26 year old missionary priest came, Father Joseph Anthony Lutz. He stayed there for nearly two months to administer to the spiritual needs of the early Catholic community in the winter of 1828.
In 1833, Bishop Rosati of St. Louis sent Father Benedict Roux to the little community at the mouth of the Kaw River. They celebrated mass in a rented log cabin. Later Father Roux baptised one of Bereniece and Francis’ sons as well as Elizabeth and Eulalia Boone, Daniel Boone’s great-granddaughters.
When Mrs. Chouteau died on November 21, 1888, she had outlived her husband, all her children and most of her friends.

More to Read:
1. Light in the Early West: Berenice Chouteau. By Rev. James J. Schlafly, M.A., Benziger Brothers, 1959.
2. Jackson County Pioneers. By Pearl Wilcox. 1975.
3. Chez Les Canses: Three Centuries at Kawsmouth. By Charles E. Hoffhaus. 1984.
4. Here Lies Kansas City: A Collection of Our City’s Notables and Their Final Resting Places. By Wilda and Hal Sandy. 1984.
5. Journal of the House of Representatives of the Twelfth General Assembly of the State of Illinois (information about her Father).
6. Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler’s Guide. Daniel Fitzgerald. University Press of Kansas, 1988.
7. A Condensed History of the Kansas City Area: Its Mayors and Some V.I.P.s 1850-1950 ” Assembled by George Fuller Green. City Historian. The Lowell Press; Kansas City, MO. 1968.
8. Missouri: Day by Day. By Floyd C. Shoemaker, Editor. Mo State Historical Society, 1942.
9. The Chouteau Family. By Beatrice Clark Turner.
10. Chouteau Genealogy 
11. Creoles of St. Louis. By Paul Edmond Beckwith. Nixon-Jones Printing Co, St. Louis, 1893. Free e-book retrieved from Google Books.
12. 1810 Pierre Menard's letter to Pierre Chouteau of St. Louis, MO. 
13. Pearl Street. 
14. Findagrave #50822410

Places to Visit in MO. and KS:
1. St. Louis
2. Conjunction of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.
3. Conjunction of the Missouri River and the Kansas River.
4. Four Houses, Wyandotte Co., KS. (about 20 miles downstream from the mouth of the Kansas River at Cedar Creek; 2 ½ miles east of DeSoto, KS. on the north bank) Marker Site: of Chouteau Station 1828-1903. Trading Post, Ferry Crossing, Train Station, Post Office, General Store
5. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 West 12th St., Kansas City, Jackson County.
6. Chouteau Greenway, N. 38th Street to N. 43rd St, KCMO
7. Look around behind the building for the Chouteau Society marker at Pennsylvania and Westport Road, Kansas City, MO. It is enclosed within black iron fencing.
8. Chouteau Park, N. 46th Street and Chouteau Trafficway, KCMO.
9. Marais des Cygnes River

10. Vernon County Historical Museum, 212 West Walnut Street, Nevada

11. Chouteau's Island Marker, US-50, one mile west of Lakin, Kearny Co, KS.
12 Calvary Cemetery, 5239 West Florissant Ave, St. Louis.

13. Lewis & Clark Museum (on the Missouri River),  St. Charles, MO. (see General William Clark's family tree chart).