Early St. Louis


Joshua Pilcher - A Gentleman of the Most Kind and Urbane Disposition

The last entry of, “The Early History of St. Louis and Missouri from its First Exploration …” by Shepard, the author  pays tribute to Joshua Pilcher.  The following is an exact transcript of the original which was published in 1870:

“Among the most enterprising and industrious of the fur traders and explorers of the regions of the Upper Missouri, in the most active days of that trade, when it formed the chief export of St. Louis and gave vitality to all commercial transportations, was Major Joshua Pilcher.  He had received a liberal education, and studied physic for a profession; but coming to St. Louis at a period of great activity in the fur trade, he was easily enticed into it, and became one of the most expert and efficient agents in the business and controlled the operations of one of the most successful companies that located their establishments on the Yellowstone river for near a quarter of a century.

He was a gentleman of the most kind and urbane disposition, and in all his traffic with red men retained their confidence and friendship, and retired from their solitudes with their ardent wishes for his welfare when his age and strength admonished him to seek a more comfortable condition of life.  Surrounded with all that affluence and kind friends could furnish, he ended his active life at the residence of General John Ruland on the 5th of July, 1843, and was followed to his long resting place by some of the most devoted friends that is it possible for a long, active and virtuous life to throw about an individual.  His memory will long be cherished by those whom he enriched by his industry and aided by his liberality and advice in the mourning of life, when his example and experience were a rich treasure to all.”

Photo Credit: Very special thanks to Jeffrey Watts for the use of his beautiful "Fur Trader" oil painting.  A native of southern California, whose oil paintings have won many awards and have been featured in several magazines including Southwest Art , American Artist, Art of the West, Western Art Collector, American Art Collector, and others.  He is a regular participant  in the prestigious Prix de West Invitational held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.   For more information of the artist and his works, please visit his website at http://jeffreyrwatts.com/ 

SOURCE: The Early History of St. Louis and Missouri from its First Exploration by White Men in 1763 to 1843 by Elihu H. Shepard, formerly Professor of Languages in St. Louis College, Saint Louis, Southwestern Book and Publishing Co., 510 and 512 Washington Avenue, 1870; p 170

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