Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One More Western Wednesday...!

Many times in the old days, trading post and other small communities grew into much larger towns and cities. This was most obvious in places like St Joseph!

This is really a case of being in the right place at the right time! I'm sure that many, many travelers were glad to have places like this to stock up and rest a bit before the big adventure began!

Nov 20, 1843:
Blacksnake Hills trading post is renamed St. Joseph

Established as the Blacksnake Hills trading post in 1826, the growing community along the banks of the Missouri River adopts the more impressive St. Joseph as its name.

As with many early western towns, St. Joseph began as a fur trading post. The French-Canadian Joseph Robidoux III shrewdly located his Blacksnake Hills post at the entrance to the Indian-controlled Platte country so he could trade cloth, metal pots, and other manufactured goods for Native Americans' furs. As the numbers of Anglo settlers in the region increased and the fur-bearing animals disappeared, though, the Indians were steadily squeezed out. In June 1836, the Platte territory became part of the new state of Missouri.

Although the fur trade declined after the 1830s, the town nonetheless prospered and continued to grow as a popular gateway to the West for overland travelers. No longer a mere trading post, the city leaders decided their little town needed a more impressive title than Blacksnake Hills and renamed it St. Joseph. The number of overland emigrants picking St. Joseph as a rendezvous spot and jumping-off point for their westbound wagon trains continued to grow, and the town prospered by providing these emigrants with the food, wagons, stock animals, and the many other supplies they needed to make the westward journey. In 1849 alone, more than 2,000 wagons crossed the Missouri River there. The emigrant demand for meat led some innovative St. Joseph businessmen to begin large-scale hog raising and meatpacking operations, two businesses that continued to play a major role in the town's economy well into the 1950s.

By 1859, St. Joseph was the second largest city in Missouri, surpassed only by St. Louis. With the arrival of the railroad that same year, St. Joseph became the eastern terminus of the short-lived Pony Express, which picked up mail delivered by train to St. Joseph and brought it by horseback to California from 1860 to 1861.

After the Civil War, Kansas City began to eclipse St. Joseph as the major western travel hub and crossroad for western emigrants. Its proximity to the southern cattle trails and Hannibal Bridge across the Missouri, which eliminated the need for ferries, made it a more attractive stop than St. Joseph.

There are many towns and cities with interesting history behind them. Early history of the places we think we know is a fun way to gain a little knowledge, in my opinion.

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. You don't mind the smell of the fresh baking bread, do ya?


Gorges Smythe said...


Chickenmom said...

But you patio is more famous! Fresh bread? I'll bring the butter!

linda m said...

Can't think of a better invite than the smell of fresh baking bread. Interesting story about the history of St. Joseph, MO. I once visited a real trading post on the Navajo reservation - it is still an active trading post.

Rob said...

Fresh bread... :)

2000 wagons in 1849, the last time I drove I-80 from Salt Lake City to California I thought about the wagons way back then.
Plodding along, everybody walking & looking for fuel, 10 miles a day across that vast empty with the mountains off in the distance.
From St Joseph to SLC is already a long trip.
Thanks for the bite of history!

Mamahen said...

Love little tidbits of history lke this...
.and fresh baking bread mmmm who dosen't love that :)) Thanks for the invite!

JO said...

Interesting story. Yes there are many such towns. Love reading about them.

Don't mind coffee in the kitchen with the smell of fresh baking bread.

We have awful winds today 48 mph gusts. blew all night.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
I'm glad you think so!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Phyllis...
Funny, but I never thought of my patio as being famous!

Fresh butter is always welcome!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Linda...
Something about the smell of baking bread that makes me drool!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Rob...
It was a slow way to make a long trip, no doubt!

Thanks for stopping in today!

Hey Mamahen...
History is a lot of fun to read. So much we didn't learn in school!

Breaking bread with friends is a good thing!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
I knew that you like reading about early history! I'm glad you liked it!

Thanks for dropping by, sweetie!