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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

CHOUTEAU, Jean Pierre

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CHOUTEAU, Jean Pierre. (New Orleans, Oct. 10, 1758–-St. Louis County, July 10, 1849). Jean-Pierre and his half-brother Auguste Chouteau, known as the “river barons,” adjusted to the many political changes which came about as the town changed from Spanish rule to becoming part of the United States. They continued to create political alliances with numerous parties. For a long time, they held monopoly rights on the lucrative fur trade with the Osage, and they expanded their St. Louis businesses to many parts of the emerging economy. (1)

Jean Pierre devoted himself to the fur trade. He worked for René Auguste for many years and extended the trade into present-day Oklahoma, where he established in 1796 the first permanent white settlement at Salina. In 1804, after becoming the U.S. agent for the Osage, he struck out on his own and with others founded (1809) the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company. One of the wealthiest men in St. Louis, he spent the last years of his life on a large plantation outside the city. Two of his sons, Auguste Pierre and Pierre, continued in the fur trade. (2)

Pierre Chouteau, Jr., nephew of Rene Auguste Chouteau, worked for a period of time with Julien DUBUQUE at the mines. He returned to this area after the death of Dubuque and returned in June with a power of attorney from his uncle Rene Auguste Chouteau who was then the administrator of Dubuque's estate. Pierre Chouteau and three appraisers inventoried Dubuque's personal property. (3)



1. "Jean Pierre Chouteau," Pediaview.com Online: https://pediaview.com/openpedia/Jean_Pierre_Chouteau

2. "Jean Pierre Chouteau," Encyclopedia.com Online: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Chouteau.aspx

3. Klein, Robert F., Julien Dubuque--Portrait of a Pioneer, Dubuque, IA, Loras College Press, 2021, p. 34