Louis Auguste Benoist was born 12 July 1801, in St. Louis, Upper Louisiana, the son of Franҫois Marie Benoist and Marieann Catherine Sanquinette. He was baptized 7 January 1802 at St. Louis King of France “Old Cathedral” Catholic Church, in St. Louis.

Louis married three times, first to Eliza S. Barton on 10 August 1826 at Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois. He married Esther A. Hackney, daughter of Aaron Hackney and Mary Klans, on 22 November 1832, at St. Louis King of France “Old Cathedral.” And third, he married Sarah Elisabeth Wilson, daughter of Peter Henry Wilson and Gennetta Johnston, on 16 November 1849, at Saints Mary and Joseph Catholic Church in Carondelet. Louis fathered at least fifteen children, among them, Eliza (1827–1828); Sanguinet Hubert (1833–1910); Anne Elizabeth Benoist Pallen (1838–1897); Louisa A. Benoist Tompkins (1840–1926); Esther Ariadne Benoist Nast (1844–1929); Conde Louis (1846-1916); Henry Augustus (1851–1923); Eugene Hunt (1852–1938); Charles Francis (1854–1855); Clemence Marie Benoist Faris (1855–1944); Helen Amanda Benoist Carton (1857–1937); Louis August (1859–1907); Theodore (1861–1925); Leo de Smet (1864–1881); and Howard A. (1867–1950).

Louis studied both medicine and law in St. Louis and Kentucky. He was admitted to the bar in St. Louis. In 1823, he was sent to France to settle his grandfather’s estate and returned to New Orleans from Bordeaux, France, aboard the ship Mississippi on 3 February 1823. “His return trip was a thrilling and perilous one, for in the wreck of the Bay of Biscay he almost lost his life. Finally, however, he was picked up by another vessel and eventually reached home.” By 1841, Louis, in partnership with Aaron H. Hackney, operated a banking house under the name L. A. Benoist and Company. “Mr. Benoist was justly considered one of the most eminent financiers of the west in his day as well as one of its most progressive men. . . . While he saw in his earlier business career some dark days, his financial valuation at his death was $5,000,000.”

Louis established a country home named Oakland House in St. Louis County in what is now Affton. The house, built in 1853, located at 7801 Genesta Avenue, is still standing and is the home of the Affton Historical Society. Louis died of cholera in Havana, Cuba, on 15 January 1867, where he had gone for his health. Louis is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

(Sources include church and cemetery records, probate records, newspaper records, census records, and published histories of St. Louis.)
Written by Viki Fagyal
March 2019

© 2019, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Louis Benoist
Louis Benoist
Photo from Encyclopedia of St. Louis, volume 1, 1899, overleaf p. 130.
Public domain

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Last Modified: 01-Oct-2019 16:55