One must stop and ask oneself what were you doing at the age of fourteen years? It is doubtful that you were leading a group of older men in the construction of a city on the banks of one of the largest rivers in the United States. Yet, that is exactly what Auguste Chouteau was doing, as he supervised a crew sent with him by his stepfather, Pierre Laclede, with instructions to build what is now St. Louis. As if that was not enough, after his stepfather’s death, Auguste went on to build a fur trading business known as the Missouri Fur Company, managing some of the most rugged trappers in the territory. The business grew into one of the largest in the country. In the process, he became one of the city’s leaders in business as well as its social life.

Business was not his only interest. The Chouteau family consisted of Auguste, his wife, Therese Cerre, and their children:

    • Marie Therese Chouteau, 1788–1796
    • Catherine Emilie Chouteau, 1790–1792
    • Auguste Aristede Chouteau, 1792–1833, married Constance Sanquinett
    • Gabriel Sylvestre Chouteau, 1794–1887
    • Marie Therese Eulalie Chouteau, 1797–1835, married Rene Paul
    • Marie Louise Chouteau, 1799–1832, married Gabriel Paul
    • Emilie Antoinette Chouteau, 1802–1843, married Thomas Floyd Smith
    • Henry Pierre Chouteau, 1805–1855, married Clemence Georgine Coursault
    • Edward Rene Chouteau, 1807–1846.

Due to the establishment of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Chouteau become one of the three justices of the newly formed Territorial Court. Auguste held several public offices over the years, but he favored his business over politics. At the time of his death, he was the richest man in St. Louis.

Born in 1749 or 1750 in New Orleans, Auguste Pierre Chouteau died on 24 February 1829 in St. Louis. He was the son of Rene Auguste Chouteau and Marie Therese Bourgeois. Rene, born in France in 1723, died in New Orleans in 1776. Madame Chouteau, as she was called all of her adult life, was born in New Orleans in 1733 and died in 1814 in St. Louis. Auguste Chouteau was the stepson of Pierre Laclede.

Auguste Chouteau found his final resting place three times. He was first buried at the St. Louis Cathedral Cemetery before the church closed the cemetery, which was located on what is now part of the Arch grounds. Most of the graves were moved to Rock Springs Cemetery. That cemetery closed, and Auguste moved to Calvary Cemetery circa 1854, which is truly his final resting place.

(Sources include Mary B Cunningham & Jeanne C. Blythe, The Founding Family of St. Louis (Midwest Technical Publications: St. Louis, 1977, plus, numerous other publications and documents dealing with early St. Louis and the Chouteau family. As an example, Henry Chouteau signed most early St. Louis deeds with his, not to be missed, flamboyant signature.)

Written by James Dallas Fleming
January 2022

© 2022, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Return to St. Louis City/County Biographies.

Last Modified: 30-Mar-2022 12:11