Figure 1: Mountain Man. 7

Figure 2: Sulphur Spring Area. 9



(by John Edward Sunder)

  The time frame here takes quite a jump. Charles Gratiot died in 1819 and William Sublette started buying large sections of Gratiot League Square in 1831.  Bill Sublette (1799-1845) led many lives. Renowned as a “Hardy Mountain Man”, ranged the Missouri, Bighorn, Yellowstone, and Sweetwater River Country between 1823 and 1833, hunting beaver, fighting Indians, and unwittingly opening the west for settlers.(He proved wagons could be used effectively on the Oregon Trail). Then he bought about a 1,000 acres of Charles Gratiot’s Land Grant, becoming what they would call a Progressive Gentleman Farmer, a Banker, a Corporation Executive, Land Speculator, a Resort Proprietor, Mine Operator, and Politician.  The development of American geography, politics, business, and agriculture all bear the mark of his accomplishments.

  William Sublette, Born Sept.21, 1799 by the Cumberland River in the Whitley Home (Mothers side), two miles south of Stanford Kentucky. Well back from the Wilderness Road,(Eleven and one half miles south of Logans Trace) atop a low hill at Cedar Creek. On an adjoining hill his father had marked one of the finest Race Tracks in Kentucky.

  Before mid Nov.1817 the Sublettes moved to the St. Louis, St. Charles area. (That same year Charles Gratiot Sr. died).These were pre depression years, (1816-18). A mountain torrent of settlers poured across the Mississippi since the river opened up from New Orleans, causing Lexington,Ky. To lose economic power to Louisville, Ky.

  William was 18 when he reached St. Louis (St. Charles).He worked first with his father (Philip) operating a ferry. He then worked first with his father, then with his uncle Solomon   Whitley in their taverns. He became a Deputy Constable of St. Charles Township in 1820 at   four months under 21Yrs.old. In May 21, 1822 William was appointed Township Constable by   the County Court. He finished the term of Constable Knott who ran for the office of Coroner.

  Three Months later he won re-election on Aug.5, 1822 in the County Elections. There was a delay in oath taking since he was preoccupied with his father’s death on Dec.28, 1820. He was settling his father’s estate ($153.25) when on Jan.21or22, 1822, his mother Isabella died. It was not until Jan.1823 that William was appointed administrator of his mother’s estate. The family home was not sold until 1827 at a time when William was in St .Louis between trips to the mountains.  It is easy to account for his interest in the fur trade, since his home was located but a few miles from the Fur Emporium of St. Louis. His family ties were broken with the death of his parents.

 His brothers and sisters were either mature or could be placed in the hands of trusted relatives. He only needed the proper occasion to join a fur party. When he resigned his Constable Post, auctioned his mother’s household items, he was ready to join Lt.Gov.Gen. William Ashley in a fur trading and trapping expedition making $200 per year.


Figure 1: Bill Sublette, Mountain Man


At age 23, he stood six feet two inches, a tall rawboned brave. He had a long face,(Jackson Faced) with a straight forehead and slightly hooked nose which contrasted with his fair skin and light sandy hair. His blue eyes were quick and steady like his hand. In later years he would bear the name “Cut Face” for a scar on his left chin. He would be known to some Red Men as

“Fate”, and to others as “Straight Walking Cane” for his physical bearing. This is the only description I have. No pictures, except the drawing on the Cover of his book, which I think could be him (No Guarantee). William joined Ashley’s party on 10, Mar 1823 from St. Charles. By June they were 400 Miles beyond Council Bluffs, Ten Miles above the Rampart River. Here they had their first taste of Indian War. This was with the Arikara Indians. This was a large Fur Trapping party which was not well received by Treaty Leaders.  The party was attacked, and Sublette was with 40 men, separate and trapped on the beach. They lost 13 men and 11 wounded. They held out as long as they could, then jumped into the river and swam to the boats. A boatload of wounded were sent down the river to Council Bluffs with a call for help. They reached Fort Atkinson by June 18. Col. Leavenworth readied 200 men, and on June 22 departed. Five days out they were joined by Joshua Pilcher and 60 men of the Missouri Fur Company. July 19. About 10Mi.above the mouth of the White River they were joined by a few Yankton and Teton Sioux, enemies of the Arikara. 50 men led by Andrew Henry joined Ashley’s camp on the Cheyenne River. By June 30 all men were gathered and were organized. Sublette was named Sergeant Major.   


   On Aug.8 the first major campaign on the upper Missouri occurred. There was no real winner. Many were killed or wounded, and a village burned. This would not be the end of Indian trouble. This also caused quite an uproar on the home front. Sublette became quite a fur trapper and a valuable trail blazer. His early expeditions were (1823 to 1825) and (1825 to 1827). Be sure to read “Bill Sublette Mountain Man”. These were extensive expeditions and the story describes them at length. I am surprised his story is not better known. Even with the large collection of Mountain Men books in Silver Dollar City, Bill Sublette’s book can’t be found. I have been trying to school them on who should be Missouri’s Favorite Mountain Man. I myself had never heard of William Sublette until my research. I only knew there was a Sublette Park and Street in St. Louis.


To help with the perspective of Sublette’s position in the fur trade:  In July, 1823, during the battle with the Arikara Indians William was named Sergeant Major when being organized to attack the village. (Called themselves “The Missouri Legion”). There is another occasion which I can’t find that William was made a Captain. It’s possible he was rather young and was overshadowed by the older fur trappers. He seemed to hold his own and worked and fought by the side of all the famous names of Mountain Men.

Ashley did well enough in the years from 1824 to 1826, but decided to sell his interests and settle down. On July 18, 1826 Ashley transferred the company and all merchandise to the new firm of Jedediah Smith, David Jackson, and William Sublette. Robert Campbell, witness to the deal, was appointed Clerk of the company. I find it too much to cover all the activity through the years, so read the book. It is an exciting story.

The Fur Trade started going down with heavy competition from John Jacob Astor and the American Fur Company with Pierre Chouteau as Astor’s Chief St. Louis representative. The winter of 1830 was a time of settlement and a new organization. (Smith, Jackson, and Sublette).They continued their expeditions until June 15, 1831, when they sold the company for $16,000 or more. The buyers were Fitzpatrick, Bridger, Milton Sublette, Henry Fraeb, and Jean Baptiste Gervais.

Smith purchased a house and lot in St. Louis, and Sublette and Jackson made plans for a venture in trade with SantaFe. Then on Apr.01, back on the trail to Sana-Fe. Smith died May 27, 1830 at the Cimarron in a desperate search for water. He did find it as he dug a trickle of water started to show. About that time 15 or 20 Comanches appeared. He was killed on his horse, but not before he killed the Comanche Chief. This was not learned until some Mexican Traders heard the story from the Indians, then passed the story on. Jedediah Smith died at the age of 32, shocking everyone. Jackson wanted to go to California and Sublette didn’t like Santa-Fe, so they dissolved their partnership.

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On Mar.10, 1831 Sublette bought 446acres of land on the River Des Peres six miles from St. Louis for $3,000. A few weeks later on Apr.26 his attorney purchased in his name, an adjoining tract of 333acres for $4,000. The two tracts together more commonly known as “Sulphur Springs Tract”. The 779 rolling fertile acres were located in a rough rectangle formed by -Kingshighway, Southwest (Old Manchester), Tamm, and New Manchester. Someone suggested the property extended to Berthold, but that may have been added later.

 Sublette was on his way home by Sept.01, 1831 arriving in St. Louis Oct.30, 1831. He spent the winter in St. Louis, cared for his farm, and prepared for another expedition of 1832.

 While Sublette was in the west in 1832 Ashley bought trade goods for him on the eastern market. He would continue to do so for some time. By Jan.1833 Sublette had sold 2/3 of his fur return, most of it beaver at $4.25 a pound or better. A favorable price in the light of the growing market competition.

 Robert Campbell had returned with Sublette from the mountains to the quiet and solitude of Sulphur Springs, where they worked on final details of a partnership agreement destined to be a long-lived powerful and profitable fur trading commitment. It was a risky business, with the fur trade declining. But Sublette wasn’t ready to quit. At only 33Yrs old, his private fortune wasn’t large enough to cover the growing expenses at the farm or to permit him to settle there, supported by its produce. Until he had substantial proof on his balance sheets that the fur trade was dying, he had to take the risk.

 As Sublettes close friend, Robert Campbell was a man of proven business ability and a logical choice as a partner. He was five years younger than Sublette and had been with him in the 1832 expedition as a free associate. He had saved Sublette’s life at the battle of Pierre’s Hole. Their final partnership agreement would not be complete until Dec.20, 1832, and by Jan.1833 he had been to New York to complete the deal for an 1833 trip.

 There were many meetings before starting in April. During this trip, Sublette outdid the American Fur Company and built a trading post at the mouth of the Yellowstone River. This post was named “Fort William, later became Fort Laramie”. It was here Sublette got sick unto death, possibly from respiratory trouble.

 He left for St. Louis in mid-September before construction was complete. He took his keelboat downstream before the ice closed in. Campbell was left in charge for the winter while he was ready to leave the unsettled life.

 While on his return trip to St. Louis, Sublette visited his many fur posts (13 posts). At Ft. William, Milton had joined him. He had an injured foot. Late in November they were both staying at William’s farm where Dr. Bernard Farrar cared for Milton’s foot. (He ended with a cork leg).

 A Subtle agreement by Sublette and Campbell and the old age of Astor in 1833 helped turn the tide of hard times, and helped them make a deal to give up the battle with Astor. It was called the “Partition of Poland”. This was between the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and the American Fur Company. There just wasn’t enough room for the two companies plus the Hudson Bay Company. The beaver were disappearing. Sublette agreed to give up their trade and posts on the Upper Missouri in exchange for the American Fur Company,  “To retire from the mountain trade for one year”. This saved the Rocky Mountain Fur Company from going broke.

 Then by early April William was on his way again to the mouth of the Laramie to build Fort William and to the Rendezvous on the Hams Fork. Sublette knew the trail and arrived there June 17. Wyeth’s party left western Missouri 10 days in advance of Sublette’s and didn’t arrive until June 18 or 20. William, as a final gesture, offered Rev. Jason Lee Fort William on the Laramie for a Missionary Site.

 This is where the history books fail to make clear. This Fort William became Fort Laramie, and William Sublette is never mentioned. There is a possibility of two different locations for the fort. Map study is tough.

 Sublette was home by the end of Aug.1833. The only dark cloud was the up and coming death of his brother Milton after his leg went bad and had to be amputated in Feb.1835.

 When not looking after Milton, William devoted his time to his farm. On Nov.29, he removed a Quit-Claim Deed William held to his land.

 He began to plant fruit trees as early as 1835, and to use better varieties of seed. Although many of the trees did not grow well immediately, he constantly experimented with the best available strains and within a few years produced an attractive orchard.

 With Hugh Campbell’s assistance he placed seasonal orders with D.& C. Landreth of Philadelphia for fruit trees, grains, flowers, berry bushes, and a wide variety of kitchen-garden seeds.


 In the Autumn of 1836 Sublette placed himself under the care of Dr. William Beaumont, the eminent physician. He confined Sublette to a rocking chair while he performed a series of operations upon him for Fistula in Anno. Sublette was probably confined to a rocking chair with a writing desk attached.

 He was much pleased with Dr. Beaumont as a “Sergent” (Surgeon), and was up and around by late spring. Dr. Beaumont was called in to “prescribe” especially in 1841 and 1842 since Sublette’s health grew worse each year, partially as a result of his dangerous western exploits. This illness may have ruined a possible romance with Mary E. Town, who was crazy about him.

 His diet did not contribute to better health. Although he was not usually a heavy drinker, he had acquired a taste for certain delicacies uncommon in civilized areas. He commissioned his friends coming from the west and his employees to bring in packages of buffalo meat prepared according to the Indian method. Thin slices and dried on a framework over an open fire.

 There was a supply of Pemmican in his larder which he served along with the buffalo meat at home or in his office to old mountain friends.

 As it was, most of the food Americans ate at that time was badly cooked, lacking in imagination, and oftentimes swimming in grease. They ate in a hurry and if they could afford it, waded through every edible item the neighborhood could provide. Everything considered, he would have been fortunate if he escaped dietary troubles.

 Sulphur Springs was a pleasant place to convalesce after his recurrent illnesses. His home was a great place to relax. He had a piano, a library, and the latest news of the Missouri Argus. When in better health, and the weather permitting, he may have attended Sunday services at one of the Presbyterian Churches.

 There is no accurate proof of his membership in any particular congregation, but based on his Kentucky religious background, or upon the fact that he married later in a Presbyterian Church, and that a niece was baptized in the same faith suggest his Calvanism.

 1834 was the dissolutuon of Rocky Mountain Fur Company Partnership.(Pg.142) From then on things take a different direction. And this may even go further in showing what kind of man he was, and could show the reason for his being more or less hidden in the books of history. I feel the book "“Bill Sublette Mountain Man”, by John E. Sunder is the best history of Sublette. I did find a soft cover copy of the book at Barnes and Nobel for about $20.00. It is great reading.

 The Bibliography is well documented.  I suppose the writer, “Sunder” knew better than I how to treat these stories. I have been trying to put it all together by the dates. All sections are so intertwined in the years from 1835 to 1844.

 I want to shorten the story as much as possible. It seems as though I am just copying out of the book. Will try to see the man, and his connection with our town.

 The story really starts with the new territory of “Louisiana”. The Chouteaus had complete control of the fur trapping in the mid-west. If anyone else wanted in the business, they had to move on to the Rocky Mountains, which is what Stewart did.

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This book mentions Sublette, and was in the St. Louis Public Library. I checked every drawing in hopes of finding a picture of Sublette or Sulphur Springs. Nothing found except references to Sublette in the comments with the pictures.

 To start with, on page xv11 is the story of Miller meeting Capt. William Stewart who offered Miller a job painting scenes, incidents, and people during a trip to the Rocky Mountains. The meeting took place in Mar.orApr.1837 at New Orleans.

 Shortly after this meeting, they were in St. Louis. Stewart was from England, and a good friend and fellow traveler of Sublette.

 (PICTURE #129)   was a picture of Shoshone Indians near Green River Oregon. In the background they are preparing jerked meat.-Miller’s comments-“before we started from St. Louis, we became acquainted with Captain Sublette who was then a substantial merchant in that city. He had been one of the pioneers to the far west, and almost the first thing he did was to hand us a piece of his prepared meat so as to give us a foretaste of mountain life. He told us that every season he caused a bale of meat to be brought down to him which lasted him six or eight months".

 There is a reference in picture #21 about Sublette getting jerky from the Indians.

 Picture #49 is of “Laramie’s Fort This post was built by the American Fur Co.”(See Below) It was situated about 800 miles from St. Louis, and is of a quadrangular form with bastions at the diagonal corners to sweep the two fronts in case of an attack.

 Over the ground entrance is a large block house, or tower in which is placed a cannon. The interior is possibly 150Ft.square. A range of houses built against the palisades, entirely surround it, each apartment having a door and a window overlooking the interior court.

 Picture #150 is an interior view of Fort Laramie. “This Fort was built for and in honor of William Sublette by Robert Campbell, Sublette’s friend and partner. These gentlemen were the earliest pioneers after Messer’s Lewis and Clark, and had many battles with the Blackfeet Indians. They made their wills in true soldier like fashion as they rode along into battle, appointing each other the executer of the other.

 In an encounter with the Blackfeet. Mr. Sublette received a poisoned ball, from which he never fully recovered. (I heard he ultimately died from it).

 Picture #69 is of the Rock of Independence. From a distance it resembled a huge Tortoise. It was composed of granite or Porphyry and from 500 to 600 Ft. high. (Location unknown).

 In a prominent part were inscribed the names of the pioneers of the Rocky Mountains. Among others, the names of Sublette, Wyeth, Campbell, Bonneville, Pitcher and Company. Many carved deep in the stone. To one man’s name “Nelson”, they carved “OF THE NILE” to insure him immortality.



 The Christmas of 1835 was a quiet one while William recuperated. He drew up a new partnership agreement with Robert Campbell. The old three year agreement was to expire Jan.01, 1836. Each was to contribute slightly over $7,900.00, to share equally all gains and losses, and to have the right to dissolve the partnership at any time by mutual consent.

 After much planning, reports from the west were promising enough to encourage them, in 1836 to take their long-delayed step. Early in Sept.1836 they opened a store at No.7 Main (First) Street, opposite what had been the St. Louis branch of the United States Bank. They advertized “An entire new stock of goods. The building and lot were purchased for $12,833.00.

 In general, business conditions in St. Louis were prosperous from 1836 to 1840, but their business slowed by autumn of 1838, and Sublette started making trips to collect past dues. They still dabbled in the fur trade. The last sale of furs directly attributed to them was transacted in Aug.1840 when two lots of deer and raccoon skins, possibly taken in barter from local residents, were sold in St. Louis.

 By 1842 the economic picture was so bad, Sublette and Campbell had to bring suits for debt in at least four Illinois and eleven Missouri Counties. They won most of the cases (30 or more), but not much money was involved. Most involved land, which wasn’t worth too much. Rather than risk greater losses, in 1842 they agreed to dissolve their long close association.

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 Sublette’s estate was approx. 1000 Acres bordered by Kingshighway, Tamm, Berthold, and Old Manchester Rd. (Southwest). This is not a sure thing yet. Since trying to locate his Race Track, I have a tendency to stretch the eastern border to include property on the east side of Kinghshighway. Will have to settle this someday.


 His land was part of the old “Gratiot League Square”. As stated in an old newspaper article that describes the direction to his home, which was the original country home of Charles Gratiot. The article was a bit confused. The home was a log cabin, one and a half stories high. A description of this house is in the first essay I call “The Beginning”.

 The direction states it is but a short walk to the famous spring where Charles Gratiot, the ancestor of the Missouri Gratiot’s erected a Mansion (Log Cabin), and a Spring House in 1777, every vestige of which has disappeared. They may have had Charles Jr. in mind, but Charles Sr. was the “Missouri Gratiot”, and the house was a Log Cabin.(French Style)Logs were placed upright.

 Highway 44 obliterates the whole place. As you are going west, approx. at Macklind, the street on the northern edge of the highway is Pattison. Wilson is a street on the south side of the highway at Hampton. Holiday Inn Motel is on Wilson, just about where the Sublette Mansion was in 1835.

 As you are driving west on I44, just east of Hampton, you can visualize Gratiot’s, and later Sublette’s vast holdings. To the north, the tree line is about Oakland. The tree line to the west is about McCausland, and the tree line to the south is about Arsenal. All just a part of Gratiot’s League Square. A great view can be had from the turn-around of Macklind on the south side of I44. You can reach this by way of Southwest Avenue. Also a good view can be had from Northrup where it dead-ends at Macklind. You can reach this from a bridge between Pattison and Northrup over I44.

 You could visualize all this, by eliminating all the factories, the highway, or the railroad, then picture a beautiful valley of farms, the small river, and lots of trees.

 Clay was discovered early (before 1830). It may be the Gratiots mined clay, and possibly coal. For sure, Sublette mined Coal, not sure of Clay. I haven’t been able to verify if, as the story goes, the English Quakers opened the first Clay Products Co.in 1844. The closest I can see may be Humbleton and Green, if they could have been Quakers.

 The spring that was half way down the hill, came up like a fountain. At this time the spring was called a “Cool Limpid silvery stream”.(See Part One:”  The Beginning”.




Figure 2: Sulphur Spring Area


 In the first one dated the 13th, William contracted for four log cabins, each 14x16Ft. to be built two together as a usual slave cabin at a cost of $400.00. Sublette agreed to furnish the plank for floors, and shingles for the roofs. The builder, Lindsay Lewis was to complete the job by May 1835.

 In the second contract of Dec.23, John Lewis the brother of Lindsay, promised to build two additional cabins each 24x16Ft. at the same cost by the same date.

 The third and most important contract, however also drawn up on the 23RD with Lindsay and Samuel Lewis. It involved $1400.00 in payment for a stone and lime house 55x45Ft. It was to contain a basement and two upper stories, and was to be completed in six months. The entire structure was to be architecturally attractive and substantial. Its 2Ft.thick outer walls enclosed three rooms on the basement level. There were to be six fireplaces on the first floor, stone caps over each door and window, and an arch over the main entrance.

 This would be Sublette’s new home at Sulphur Springs to replace his temporary quarters there and would be a worthwhile addition to the countryside.

 Throughout the spring and summer of 1835 carpenters worked steadily to finish Sublette’s new home at Sulphur Springs. A flight of stairs four feet wide was constructed from the basement floor to the Garrett. Shutters were hung, door and window frames were raised, and venetian blinds were installed.

 Two master carpenters, Thomas Herd and Jacob Sash used as their building guide the plan followed in “Col. Johnson’s Popular Brick House On Fifth Street”. They had to hurry however, since Sublette expected them to be finished by Oct.01, at the latest.

 From year to year the amount of land William held in St. Louis County varied according to purchase and sale, but Sulphur Springs proper, ALL 779 acres was seldom touched. In fact, in July 1836 he bought 273 acres of the remaining Gratiot lands adjoining his farm. He resold seventy of them immediately for a substantial profit, but the next year added a little over eight acres, also originally Gratiot land in the nearby Barrier Des Noyer Tract. (Original Deed Record XPG 276 AND 298. Also Z Pg 176, MSS, St. Louis CRDO).

By the summer of 1835 Sublette’s home and slave cabins were nearly completed, and he moved into his new residence. It was situated a few hundred feet from the tiny River Des Peres and was surrounded by rich valley lands and gentle, sloping hills. A beautiful stand of native timber covered much of the farm, and beneath the soil was a commercially marketable horizontal vein of coal two to five feet thick. A large, sparkling mineral spring was located nearby in the bed of the River Des Peres opposite to a high bank.

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 The potentialities of Sulphur Springs were evident: “His Manor House stood in the midst of a Gentleman-Farmer’s domain. His cultivated fields largely lying along the course of the river were never farmed extensively during his lifetime, yet some of them were worked each year. Corn was planted in the bottom field and oats, timothy, potatoes, and cabbage in others. Drought, excessive water, and insect pests such as the Army Worm, which was the most dreaded, caused periodic troubles, but he took measures against them and carefully supervised his slaves and hired agricultural workers. Several of the laborers resided at the farm as permanent gardeners or lived in the neighborhood. Other artisans and craftsmen, some of whom temporarily lived at the farm. Plastering, minor carpenter jobs, and repairs were always necessary.

 He began to plant fruit trees as early as 1835, and to use better varieties of seed. Although many of the trees did not grow well immediately, he constantly experimented with the best available strains and within a few years produced an attractive orchard.

 With Hugh Campbell’s assistance he placed seasonal orders with D. & C. Landreth of Philadelphia for fruit trees, grains, flowers, berry bushes, and a wide variety of kitchen-garden seeds.

 By selectivity he became one of the most progressive farmers in the country. Farming methods were crude, but he followed what up-to-date information was available in the Cultivator Magazine and developed a superior farm.

With his experimentation with seeds and tools he added a third project. Stock raising and breeding. There were usually five to eight horses on the farm, and a small herd of pigs. The ungainly type with long legs and snout, a sharp back and of roaming disposition. (Sounds like Arkansas RazorBacks).

 In 1837 they built a new double log cabin, and possibly a small mill.

 The first “Approved Pedigreed Shorthorn Cows” were brought from Ohio to Missouri in 1939. They were direct from England. In December 1839 Stewart shipped from Scotland the first of Sublette’s new herd. “A very fine spring bull and a heifer”. By 1842 he owned 25 of them, and the same year received two silver cups for the best cattle exhibited at the St. Louis County Agricultural Fair.

 In 1842, only five years after John Deere created an improved steel plow, Sublette paid to have two of his laid with steel. The earlier wooden and cast iron types were cumbersome, tending to stick and drag in heavy soil.

 Sublette was more interested in agricultural security rather than speculation. At times he would market livestock for food, but wasn’t a regular dealer. Visitors noted a number of exotic animals at Sulphur Springs, animals he ordered brought in from the mountains for the entertainment of his friends and family, but animals that were not for sale.

 His menagerie included Buffalo, Deer, Cranes, Wild and Domesticated Geese, and even Swans. At least one visitor was surprised by a tame young female Antelope which frolicked freely about the house to the delight of the host and his guests. Others referred to Bears staked out on chains as an interesting attraction.

 All were pleased with Sublette’s living memories of the mountain trade. It was noted he had all sorts of visitors including Mountain Men, Indians, Artists, Writers, Important people, Friends and Family, and even the Neighboring Farmers.

 Sulphur Springs was his dream of Arcadia, a dream common in his day. ”An old dream of a golden agricultural age. Over the years he transformed his acreage from a semi-wilderness into a prosperous farm and watering place. He hoped to reside there permanently in his old age surrounded by well tilled fields and superior livestock. His accumulated fortune, income from his partnership, and whatever he might derive from operating part of his farm as a watering place would be more than enough, he thought to provide his every comfort.

 Between 1835 and 1842 he sold or leased tracts to John Forstaken, George K.Nye, Thomas Asby, Dr.John Tagart, Owen Williams, and Daniel Thomas. Forstaken purchased 20 acres in 1839, but the following year, defaulted on his notes and lost land to Sublette.

 William then resold the land to Nye, and this time the sale was valid. Asby leased a small tract in 1840, with the understanding he would cultivate 10 acres and build a log cabin and stable upon the remainder. Dr. Tagart bought 130.20ares in 1837 and met his notes on time, while Williams and Thomas held 15acres for only two years.

 There was a lot more land speculation, but I’m trying to stay with St. Louis proper. Somewhere in the city, and about 300 acres in Lexington, and many more in partnership with Robert Campbell.

 Sublette’s deepest plunge into speculation was in 1838 in company with thirteen others. Together they formed a land company to secure a sizable area near Westport landing. They paid $4,220.00, laid it off into a town and named it Kansas, but owing to disagreement nothing was done until 1846. The region grew and Sublette secured another niche in history as one of the original developers of Kansas City.

 Sublette had a wide circle of friends composed of old Mountain companions, Business associates, Politicians, Bankers, and Farmer neighbors. There were guests frequently in his large stone house. Most notable were Robert and Hugh Campbell, Joseph Williams, and artist Alfred Jacob Miller,& William Stewart who traded stock and gifts with Sublette.

 On one occasion Stewart sent two German Immigrants, possibly Rev. Bishop Stephen and Dr. Marberg from New Orleans with a letter of introduction and a plea for help.

 Usually his brother Andrew and sister Sophronia were the only relatives that spent time with him. Andrew, for a time helped run the farm, but he had a drinking problem. Sophronia made her home with William after 1840 when she had a marital problem. Her daughter Theresa was with her and had attended school in St. Louis since 1837, and Uncle William footed the bill for her tuition. At the same time he supported two young boys in another boarding school, possibly a gesture to financially embarrassed friends.

 Sophronia repaid her brother, in part by supervising his household. There was always an abundance of food and drink on hand, easily replenished from fields, orchards, and streams, and with the aid of household slaves she directed in her brother’s kitchen.

 Sublette installed in her domain, a large modern cookstove purchased in Pittsburgh, and supplied her with Tableware, Silverware, Glassware, and whatever she needed for proper housekeeping. Although divorce was then much more serious and less frequent than now, even condemned in some communities.

 Sublette supported Sophronia when on Mar.29, 1841 she filed for divorce. When her husband Grove Cook failed to appear. He was well on his way to California.

 On Oct.4, 1841 the St. Louis County Court of Chancery, granted Sophronia a divorce. She returned to Sulphur Springs since William offered her a permanent home, which she accepted willingly and expressed her gratitude by saying that “her brother was the only person I have to thanke for the menney comforts I enjoy”. She returned to her duty as housekeeper which was not a light task because the interior of Sublette’s home was furnished elaborately as the time required.

 William spared no effort to display samples and souveneers of western life, including three pairs of elk horns, several skins, and Indian oddities. The rooms were filled with large pieces of cherry furniture. The windows were draped and curtained, and the floors were covered with carpeting and matting. “Oil lamps with cotton wicks” and tallow and wax candles lighted the rooms and halls, and in the flickering glow his Indian trophies cast their spell.

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 Sublette’s coal mining industry seemed to be the most important, and was very profitable. As early as 1819-20, coal was mined in numerous St. Louis County localities. In Dec.1835, at the time his buildings were under construction, William began to develop his coal and fire-clay deposits.

 The initial cost of sinking a shallow pit and supporting and equipping it was nearly $500.00. At first he planned to utilize a horse drawn coal wagon to carry the coal to market, but switched to Oxen when he discovered they were more adept.

 In the summer of 1836, owing to the press of business in town, he entered into a 2Yr. Partnership agreement with John Gant and William Stoney to mine and sell coal from the deposit recently opened on his farm.

 Within five months Gant gave up the partnership, and Sublette drew up a new eighteen months contract with Stoney, share and share alike. Under this contract the mine was operated successfully and profitably. During Sept.-Feb. four wagons the remainder of the year, and two wagons regularly carried coal to the market in St. Louis. Sublette had the drivers to get the coal weighed and to get a receipt.

 Upon conclusion of the agreement with Stoney, Sublette made a new one early in the autumn of 1838 whereby the mine plus a new one recently opened at the farm, was leased to Abraham Stevens. Stevens was to mine the coal, and Sublette was to purchase it from him at the mine. By this agreement coal marketing was vested solely in William’s hands, but the risk was slight because coal sales continued to flourish.

 Late in 1839 or early 1840, Sublette opened a third mine “between the two old mines”. He permitted Stevens to work it for two years, not under lease but under a partnership similar to the early one with Stoney. Profits were to be divided equally. Stevens was allowed to live rent free in one of the cabins at the farm, and in return he promised to keep two coal wagons in operation.

 By early 1842 however, the depression was in full force an Stevens was unable to meet his part of the contract. After some negotiation, Sublette turned over all three mines to Elias Stitts and G.W.Shephard, who agreed to work them three years and to pay him one fourth of a cent for every bushel mined.


 Sulphur Springs also boasted more than enough timber to provide fuel, fencing, and building material for the farm. In fact, so much timber that it could be marketed in St. Louis. Cordwood was cut, loaded on coal wagons or in separate vehicles and carried into the city. In volumn, however, it’s sale and distribution was much less than that of Sulphur Springs Coal and was handled directly by William or brother Andrew.

 Wood sold at $4.00 a cord in 1839, but like every other commodity was hit by the depression and by Dec.1842, was reduced to a dull $2.25 a cord. At that time Sublette had one team hauling coal and another wood and corn. In that way he hoped to increase his falling income, although the most profitable years had passed.

 In the winter a third commodity, Ice was gathered at the farm and stored for the summer months when it was used by the family or sold to the neighbors. A mid-winter freeze brought family and worker alike to the river to gather as much as possible and store it, packed in straw, in underground sheds.



 The volumn of Sublette’s trade to St. Louis depended upon the condition of the Old Manchester Road (Southwest), alternately muddy or dusty leading into town. Horses and mules were not strong enough to pull loaded wagons through the deep sticky clay, but he learned that Oxen were if the wagons were in good repair.

 Sublette realized that better roads were key to the success of his farm, and so exerted every effort for road improvement. In Aug.1836 the county court appointed him to contract for a stone bridge to be built over the Camp Spring Branch, one mile from St. Louis on the Old Manchester Road. (Not sure where this is. Suspect it was in Tower Grove Area).

 Within less than a year he reported the bridge to be complete for less than the estimate. The court was very well satisfied. In the spring of 1838 appointed him with two others. “To view a proposed alteration in another road”.

 They recommended no other alterations be made, and their suggestion was accepted.

 He was more interested in a “New Manchester ROAD”. Sulphur Springs would need a good road. It was not only his home and his farm he was thinking of, but was as well, especially between 1838 and 1842, a leading St. Louis Resort and watering place. Good roads meant good business.

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 About half a mile west of Sublette’s old home, and belonging to his estate was another noted fountain known as Sulphur Springs. This is the location of the future Sulphur Springs Cottage and Resort. The history books identify it as being opened by Mr. Grimes of Paducah Ky. It actually belonged to William Sublette, and leased to Mr. Grimes.

 The Cottage otherwise known as a Hotel, was a large building, and could accommodate about 60 people. The location was approx. where the Hampton Bridge is now. It was much frequented by southern planters. And was advertised to be much cleaner and had clean fresh air and good fishing. Of course this was long before the factories.

 Slaves performed farm and household tasks and were well cared for by their master.

 Sublette’s parents and grandparents had been slave owners and he did not question slavery as an institution, although he owned only a few young. Even the ownership of a hand full was in Missouri, a mark of distinction.

 He never actively participated in the slave market since most of his were acquired through natural increase. In other instances he hired slaves, usually by the year to perform additional tasks. And he provided for all of them soundly constructed cabins, good medical care, and at death, burial near the main house.

 He tried to keep a balance between property and humanity, and was realistic enough to know slaves were valuable property to be protected, yet at the same time, human beings to be respected. Those slaves not employed in the house, barns, or fields assisted the hired hands to provide Ice, lumber, and coal.

 In 1835 Sublette sent two samples of the springs to Hugh Campbell who had them analyzed and they came back with a favorable result. The water resembled that of White Sulphur Springs in Virginia, or as the Gazette reported, “It had the taste and smell of Sulphurated Hydrogen, good for the elderly, particularly those affected with complaints of the liver. In a short time the springs were patronized for their curative powers.

 Following the analysis during the summer of 1835, Sublette, assisted by a crew of workmen under “E.Town” started to erect “Large and Commodious” guest buildings near the springs and within close walking distance of his nearly completed home. Sublette hoped to lease the grounds and buildings of the spring “proper to some enterprising manager”.

 Many of the St. Louis hotels were said to be filthy and disagreeable, but the Suphur Springs was to be an exception. Thomas W.Thompson, a well-known Hotel Manager, took over operation of Sublette’s new resort from E. Town, furnished it on Sublette’s surety and on July 20, 1837 announced that he was prepared to receive visitors, about 60 of whom he could accommodate as boarders. (This must be the large hotel, not other buildings).This hotel held 60 and was identified as “Sulphur Springs Cottage”.

 For those local citizens anxious to escape the whirl of city life, the Springs offered a variety of Quiet Entertainment. But for the more spirited was provided a Ninepins Alley and a Racetrack, both illegal within City Limits.

 In Sept.1838, Sublette and several friends organized the “St. Louis Jockey Club”, and the following month commenced races at the springs. I am trying to verify the location. I suspect the track was on the east side of Kingshighway on what later was Mary McGee property, and became the Laclede Race Track. (Unless proved wrong).

The Sublette races started with a large purse put up and had other novel attractions, and the crowds flocked to the event.

 Six months later a spring meet was held lasting several days for both Full-Gaited and Trotting Stock. Sublette, as his Grandfather Whitley many years before at Sportsman’s Hill, watched some of the country’s best Horseflesh race over his track.


Note: This does not match my findings:


 According to the “Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis Vol3”. There was a three quarter mile horse racing track on the prairie adjoining the St. Louis settlement, (wrong date 1767). The races were said to be for amusement only, but it was noted that there were “individual wagers as an incident”.

 There is a partial record of a Jockey Club in 1828. The book states “in 1830 and for some years afterward, races took place on St. Charles Rock Rd. and in 1848 a new Jockey Club was organized and races were held on an 80 acre tract on Manchester Rd.” I find the story different.

 I need to gather my notes to correct this.

 "About 1852 came a popular interest in racing and the fairgrounds attracted the best animals in the country. The interest of horsemen throughout the Mississippi Valley was centered in these annual exhibitions until the (Civil) war broke out, then languished for a time and was renewed in 1866, continuing for some years with unabated spirit, until several racing clubs came into being."

 Among those was the Laclede Race Track Association, which had a short run.

 "In 1869 the association disbanded, the track grounds being opened as an addition to St. Louis called McRee City (in the area bounded by Cabanne Avenue, Manchester Road and McRee and Chouteau avenues).

 "In 1877 the St. Louis Jockey Club was incorporated. . . . A full mile track was laid out and a grandstand was erected to seat 6,000 people, the opening took place July 4, 1877.

 "The South Side Race Track Association was organized in 1894, and opened a course on Russell and Missouri avenues." It had a successful run "until the property was destroyed by the cyclone of 1896, and the club made no attempt to replace it."

The big change came with the beginning of the large scale Mining and Factories in the 1850’s. This was the beginning of the end for the beautiful “Valley of the River Des Peres”, and the death of William Sublette. Gone would be the beautiful, unspoiled farming, fishing, and hunting land. Gone would be the great stand of trees, and spring fed streams.

 The River Des Peres would be un-usable. What Thomas Scharf had described in 1803 as a “Romantic little stream” was, as the Post-Dispatch described in New-1894, “Nothing less than a monster open sewer”. Poisoning the air with the most “Dangerous, Corrupting Menace to health known. It was especially bad when the river flooded. The County dumped sewage into the river, causing the city to get state funds and County money to build a sewer.

 This didn’t happen until the 1920’s. In the early days there was an advertisement about the great hunting and fishing. The Sulphur Springs was noted for its healing qualities, but I think it caused more disease than good health.

 The Sulphur Springs came up approx. where the river made a bend at Sulphur Avenue. I have read several descriptions of this, but have only one hand-drawn map which was drawn from memory. Never found an official map. From all indications, it was on the south side of River Des Peres. This is hard to imagine the River Des Peres weaving through the valley, and to the south of it was the Sulphur Springs Lake.

 The lake is described, as follows: It formed like a strange left hand facing east with the thumb going to Elizabeth between Sublette and January, and three fingers going almost to Macklind. One finger goes to the north side of Wilson, one to Dagget, and the third goes to midway between Shaw and Pattison. The arm goes to Sulphur and the resort.

 There was a Wilson bridge over the thumb, which would give me cause to think this was the path from the old Sublette home and grave site on the north side of Northrup at Macklind. Just a half mile distance walk to the new home on Wilson, east of Sulphur.

When the railroad came to Cheltenham in 1852, the clay industry opened up. The Clay Works, Coal Mines, and the St. Louis Smelting and Refining Co. attracted many German and Irish immigrants who found residence in Fairmont and Mound St. Louis.

 The St. Louis Smelting and Refining Co. located at Macklind and Manchester, gave more employment to men in Cheltenham than any other local industry in the 1870’s, and was responsible for bringing in many Catholics to the district. The company specialized in refining crude ore from the Rocky Mountain Mining Companies, converting it into solid bars of Gold, Silver, and other precious metals.

 Sublette’ principle difficulty was to keep a good manager at the resort. Thompson lasted only a short time, and his successor Edmond Leonard was heavily in debt and not very dependable.

 In Mar.1838, William leased the Springs for five years to Owen W. Grimes who promised to keep the springs clean, to build a porch on the rear of Sublett’s house, and to pay $200.00 the first year, and $1000.00 each year thereafter in rent. In addition, Grimes was permitted to graze his stock on the pasture, to use some of the timber, and to farm a few of the fields.

 Almost immediately Grimes began to default on his promises, or so Sublette said, and had to be taken to court. The case was finally dropped, but he still owed Sublette a little over $1000.00. Everything regarding the lease seemed to go from bad to worse.

 Early in 1842, Grimes failed to meet his note payments, and on Mar.01 the lease was dissolved by mutual consent. He remained at the springs until mid Apr. in order to whitewash and paint the buildings for a new leesee John C.Branner, who had taken the resort for three years under the conditions similar to those in the Grimes lease.

 Branner, Sublette discovered was without ready cash or credit, and spent most of his time in St. Louis “About the groceries trying to get someone to join him to open the resort”. Since the money market was tight and the lease strict, few were disposed to help him.

 Andrew, in Williams absence on a business trip, tried to dissolve the lease, but the “Trifling Old Curse (Branner), as he said, refused to submit”. Andrew ordered him out of the resort and threatened to club him, but the old man remained in one of the cabins and refused to leave until paid for some repairs he made. After considerable bickering, the lease was broken, and in July Branner moved.

 Andrew proposed that William permit him to open the tavern in the hotel, but William, recognizing his brothers propensity for hard liquor refused. By that time Grimes was back in town, trying to take benefit of the bankruptcy law, after having returned empty handed from a borrowing trip to Kentucky, and was talking wildly about taking up a new lease to the springs.

 Dr. Thomas Hereford, a respectable Alabama Physician was also in town, and he was anxious to negotiate for the springs. Andrew believed he was the right man for the lease. He had money and negroes, and those who knew him spoke well of him. William agreed with Andrew when he met Dr. Hereford, so on Sept.13, 1842 leased him ninety acres, including the resort, buildings, and springs for five years. The doctor was given timber rights, rights to the coal beds, and consent to improve the buildings. In return, Sublette was to receive rent payable in nine installments.

 Meanwhile, the doctor moved into a house near the resort. Mrs. Hereford and most of the children remained in Tuscumbia, Alabama patiently waiting for regular spring traffic on the Mississippi so they could move to St. Louis. “Frank” Frances Hereford, however was with her father. She was the eldest daughter of the doctor and was an attractive dark haired southern beauty with a graceful figure, and had an eye for an advantageous marriage.

 She met Sublette either in the summer of 1842 or after he returned from his business trip. Although she had a beau at home, she realized that the Lord of Sulphur Springs would make an excellent husband. She listened carefully to some of her Alabama friends, who advised her to “Catch some good amiable and rich man, as a full purse is very useful”.

 The Herefords were said to have tempers “equal to brimstone”, but she seems to have hidden that characteristic behind her large sad eyes. Certainly, they said she would make some lucky man “a most accomplished wife”.

 Late in May the Hereford reopened the springs as a watering place. The water was re-analyzed. The favorable results were published in the St. Louis press, and guests were invited to visit and stay for a rest. But they had to bring references. Dr. Hereford did not want undesirables at his resort. Medicinal waters from the springs, now said to resemble most, those of certain English wells were available to all who could afford them.

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 This last trip in 1843 was more of a pleasure trip, taking anyone with money to the mountains from May to October. He and Stewart had planned a western trip since 1840, but each year something happened to delay it. Stewart tried to aim for 1842, but was held up again. He was about to give up, but Sublette said he would hold the horses and mules in western Missouri until Stewart was ready.

 In the spring of 1843 Sublette, free of worries about the resort, spent time with Frances and thought about a vacation. Fortunately Steward concluded his time-consuming duties in Scotland, and by the fall of 1842 reached the United States.

 He stopped first at Baltimore and Cincinnati to recruit “For the Mountains”, then moved to New Orleans to await an Ice free channel on the Mississippi. In March he started up the river on the steamboat “J.M.WHITE” which sank. He survived, and finally made it to St. Louis. The city was alive with activity, since a large immigrant party of perhaps 1,000 people was scheduled to leave for the west within a few weeks.

 The “Oregon” fever raged in the nation. James Audubon, the famed naturalist was on his way west but didn’t join Sublette. Also John Freemont was said to be assembling a new western expedition.

 The Stewart-Sublette expedition was publicized widely as a well-supplied, tastefully arranged summer’s “Excursion”, not much of a profit making venture. William sent Solomon to purchase more horses and mules.

 In three days (Apr.27-29) William bought $600.00 worth of goods from St. Louis trading houses, especially from Campbell.

 Stewart bought even more. One item high on the list was liquor of all types. (A keg of slo gin, two of cognac, one of rum, a barrel of alcohol, one dozen bottles of champagne, two dozen of port wine. Stewart reminded William not to forget the whiskey since “we are a thirsty party”.

 Navigation was open prairie grass was abundant, and the time had come to leave “For the Green”. Suddenly tragedy struck. An unexpected death in Sublette’s family. Sister Sophronia had been ill the previous autumn of 1842, but had recovered under the care of Dr. Beaumont. She had been careful not to expose herself to the cold as it “brings on the ague”, yet precautions were insufficient. In the spring her health grew worse, and Dr. Hereford was called for consultation and made daily calls after Apr.11 but Sophronia died on the 20th of causes unknown. Possibly of Pneumonia, Tb, or some malignant fever. She was interred with simple services at the farm late in the afternoon the following day (Apr.21, 1843). This further delayed Sublette’s departure. By May 01, most were ready to go. Andrew was allowed to remain at Sulphur Springs to look after the family interests and to operate the grocery and “Dram Shop”.

 Finally they left St. Louis in two parts. One under Stewart’s command, the other under Sublette. Stewart left by steamboat to Independence. A fortnight late and six days later was in Westport, incamped and waiting for Sublette who traveled overland along the rivers south bank.

 Sublette had left St. Louis May 01 and arrived in Westport May 10 with about 50 mules. He was accompanied by three moiuntain men and two slave boys (Ages 11&14). There was no clear consensus about how long they planned to stay in the mountains, but some of the men planned to return home in the fall and Sublette planned to be with them.

 He had Frances on his mind. He was warned by a friend not to let her get away. And Andrew, who stayed behind was also interested in her. William decided to stick to his plan and finish the expedition.

 So the trip went with much excitement with a rendezvous with the snake indians and hunters on the Piney Fork River, finishing with Horse Races. Chapter 11 covered the story of “Back to the Green”. I’m already writing too much of a great story.

 Heading back home, the main party under Stewart and Sublette went down the Platte and by Oct.06 reached the Blue River. They jogged into Westport late in the afternoon of the 20th. At Independence they were mistaken for emigrants or a traveling menagerie. Field declared them the fattest, greasiest set of truant rogues imaginable.

 Many of the men took the steamer “John Aull” for St. Louis. Sublette shipped two cartloads of peltries and harness aboard the “Nodaway”. He and Stewart remained in western Missouri to settle accounts, then traveled overland. They were in Sulphur Springs by the first or second of November, pleased, as were most of their hardier companions with the summer “Tour of the Green”.



 The month of November was spent at Sulphur Springs. Stewart left for New Orleans the end of the month. Sublette asked Dr. Beaumont to visit him at the farm, examine him, and tell him whether his health had been improved by his recent mountain excursion. It seems that the doctor’s report was not encouraging.

 His general health was not much better, in fact he had signs of Tuberculosis (common in his family), but that he was not in critical condition. He did not intend to withdraw from the world, and care might live many more years. Instead of going into semi-seclusion, he prepared for the future and drew up a new will on New Year’s Day, 1844. In this he distributed his property amongst his close relatives and friends.

 Frances, his esteemed female friend and future wife received a life income from 100 acres of Sulphur springs. Whether or not she knew of his failing health is difficult to say, but it is likely she did. She planned to marry him with the mutual understanding that the marriage might not be a long one.

 Throughout the winter Sublette busied himself with his affairs: He paid his taxes, replenished his wardrobe, visited his neighbors, and received friends at the farm.

 Note: Sublette received a lot of bad press, but it may have been overdone. He was a partner of Robert Campbell and they were money makers, if not overly successful. Robert Campbell handled most transactions And Sublette spent most of his time collecting debts. This was not easy since the depression.

 If William was the unscrupulous money maker as some contended, he seldom allowed that trait to travel from his counting house to his farm. Hugh Campbell seems to have been correct when years before he said “The attention, the downright brotherly friendship of William Sublette is almost without precedent. In this cold and heartless world, it is like an Oasis in the desert to meet with such a man.”

 Throughout the remainder of 1841-42, Sublette was too busy with his partnership and his farm to devote much time to politics. Even though former President Van Buren was in St. Louis in June 1842, and Sublette was appointed to his reception committee. Sublette was too occupied with duties in western Missouri. Nor did he participate in the Democratic State Convention that year.

 Sublette’s business success in the fur trade brought him into conflict with competitors who brought unfounded charges against him, but none of his close friends or loved ones ever found he was anything but friendly, companionable, generous, and accommodating. He was not renowned for sparkling wit or the most graceful manners, but the meta of his life was tempered by years of rough living. Still, he was fair and hard-working, and admired most by those who knew him best. (From the Campbell Family Bible and letter of Sept.27, 1835, Private Campbell MSS.

 Sublette and Campbell were allied closely to the new “Bank of the State of Missouri”. It helped them in community standing, but it also involved them in heated controversies over the bank and the money questions. They both served as directors.

 After looking this statement over, I’d say it is an understatement. After re-reading pages 162-168 of Sublette’s book, it seems several reasons caused William problems.

 The main problem was the economy which was going bad. Other banks were failing, people owed Sublette and Campbell, but no one was paying the bill. They usually won suits but gained land not money. They borrowed from Stewart and drew money from the bank, which politicians could do. The depression was coming and people were getting nervous. They had to tighten up, and would only accept the backing of hard currency.

 It was the goal of the Democrats to do away with the Second National Bank, and to develop the State Bank. This became an issue from 1836, and Sublette was in the middle of it up to 1844.

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 In 1844 William had decided in the autumn, despite his uncertain health that he would re-enter the political arena. In the last presidential race of 1840, he and his friends campaigned at “the old stand”, only to be beaten by the Whigs, who sang and shouted and swayed the masses. I won’t get too deep in this political thing, just that he was one of “Hards”. The Democratic party was split between “The Hards and Softs”and the convention of 1844 was quite an uproar. The “Hards” backed Benton.

 The anti-Benton Missouri Republican Newspaper sarcastically referred to the meeting in St. Louis as an event “never witnessed west of the Rubicon,” and added that “Tammany Hall in its glory may have furnished something like it, but its equal was never seen here in St. Louis.” The evening meeting was more to the Republican’s liking.

 Sublette and his friends had temporally won control of the Missouri Democratic Party, but the Baltimore Democratic National Convention passed over Van Buren, Benton’s choice, and nominated the expansionist James K. Polk AND FOR Vice-President, George W. Dallas.

 One of the Missouri delegates, Arthur L. Maginis denounced the Polk Dallas ticket. He was also a Democratic elector for the seventh district of the state. The rumor started that he was mentally incompetent and it turned out Sublette was asked if he would break his resolution not to hold office and serve as an elector for the seventh district.

 A week later he accepted, and became and elector for the seventh district. He was invited to address two political gatherings, one at Hannibal and one at Independence. He served as one of five non-partisan citizens meeting in regard to the imprisonment of Thomas W. Dorr, the rightful governor of Rhode Island, an element that favored a much broader suffrage. To many Americans, he, Dorr, was the hero of the hour, and the very symbol of Democracy in operation

 So, When the returns were counted, the Democratic Ticket carried Missouri and the White House, The 24th of Nov. William had reached Jefferson City, voted for Polk and Dallas, then was on his way home. His political career was essentially over, but while in Jefferson City he was re-elected a director of the State Bank. Sublette’s years of devoted service to the bank, his confidence in its stability, and his belief in its future were repaid by the legislature’s reacceptance of him. He attended most meetings of the board during the winter and spring of 1845, and in May used his influence for a friend to fill the office of Notary of the Bank.

 Benton, in a speech referred to Sublette as his lifelong friend and “one of St. Louis’s most cherished citizens”.

 When the returns were counted, the Democratic ticket carried Missouri and the White House. By November 24, after the Polk-Dallas win, Sublette was back in Jefferson City to cast his vote. He was on his way in a few days, his political career essentially over. But while in Jefferson City he was re-elected a director of the State Bank.

 William’s health did not improve during 1844, and it is possible he was too active for his own good. Not only was he busy in politics, his farm, and the State Bank, but he helped Campbell settle old business accounts. The economy had improved, but over one-hundred individuals and firms still owed them money.

 Sublette made a collection trip to New Orleans about the first week of January, 1844. He met with old friends including Stewart, who had not yet left for Scotland. He stayed about a month and returned to St. Louis on or shortly before March 01. Upon reaching St. Louis, he learned that Campbell’s four month old child had died.

 William had left Andrew in charge of the farm, and the younger Sublette had operated it in a “Fairly efficient manner. Yet Andrew had a persistent cough and wanted to return to the mountains for his health.

 In late April, 1844 Andrew left for Independence and Westport where he gathered supplies and took charge of a company of twenty-five young men going to the mountains for their health. He led the invalid group as far as Fort Laramie where he gave up his command and went to Bent’s Fort where he met his wandering brother Solomon. The two of them traveled to Taos for provisions. They returned to the Arkansas-Platte, and by Oct.1845 Andrew was back in Missouri, much improved in health.

 Before Andrew left for the west, Frances Hereford and William were married. Rev. William Potts, a prominent local clergyman and former president of Marion College, rode out to Sulphur Springs on Mar.31, 1844, and performed a simple evening ceremony according to the form prescribed by the Presbyterian Church. Frances was fond of the country and of her husband’s farm and settled down with him to a rural life. There was some gossip that Frances had “formed a prior attachment to Solomon”, but it’s possible she scarcely ever knew him. (His hanging out in the mountains did seem odd).

 In the spring of 1844, Sublette was concerned for Frances, her mother, and Campbell all were ill, but recovered. He was busy with many problems. His crops, coal mines, tools, and equipment, negroes to be hired. The fur trade needed to be looked over. All needed attention.

 His properties also needed his time. While William added property in Cole County (180Acres). He sold property in St. Louis County. In Mar.1844, William sold 52Acres in July 52Acres, and in Mar.1845 6 Acres of his Sulphur Springs Plot to his mother-in-law Mrs. Esther S. Hereford. He sold Campbell his interest in lot fourteen of Christy’s Addition.

 Commercial life in St. Louis came to a standstill by the great flood of the summer of 1844. Things finally got back to normal, and life moved on. Sublette’s friends tried to get him into Indian affairs. They wrote President Polk in Dec.1844, reminding him of Sublette’s service to the Democratic cause. William even tried writing to the Benton in Mar.1845, to no avail.

 Later in the spring additional pressure was brought to bear upon the President. Sublette’s friends in St. Louis wrote a joint letter on May 22, 1845 saying “We have no hesitation in vouching for his character and qualifications; and asserting without fear of successful contradiction that Col. Sublette’s appointment would be hailed with more joy in this state, than the appointment of any other man”. Never the less Polk refused to take any immediate action. The answer never came.

 In the meantime, Sublette and his wife were both ill. He knew well that his recommendations were honest.

 Few men in the west knew more about Indians. Had he not befriended them on many occasions? He could remember that in 1834 he and Campbell had gone to considerable trouble to rescue an Omaha Indian woman taken prisoner by the Iowa Indians. Also it seems he had allowed certain Indians to camp in the rear of his store in St. Louis, and tradition holds that he buried deceased Indian friends at his farm. He had once administered the estate of an Indian Chief, bore at least three tribal names, and both fought and lived with the red men.

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 William and Frances decided to go east for their health. On July 14,1845 William, Frances, her sister Mary Hereford, Robert Campbell, and a negro servant left St. Louis on the steamboat “Swiftsure#3” bound for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The Hereford family agreed to care for the farm, and his business friend James W. Smoot consented to collect several notes which were due to expire during Sublette’s absence.

 They passed Cairo on the fifteenth, made a short stop at Louisville and reached Cincinnati the following day. Campbell’s cousin Robert Buchanan greeted them at the wharf, and the next afternoon, Thurs. July 17 they boarded another steamer, the “Uncle Ben” and continued up the Ohio River. According to Campbell, William was in full health, although they had purchased sundries, ice, and medicines in “C” in Cincinnati.

 Sublette was seriously ill by the 18th or 19th. When they reached Pittsburg on the 22nd, while still aboard the boat, he drew up a new will in which Frances was given the bulk of his estate including approx. one-half of Sulphur Springs.

 Andrew and Solomon were granted the remainder of the springs plus some minor land tracts and personal property. Theresa Cook was bequeathed a slave girl. Another slave girl was to be freed within a year, and Campbell was to share with Frances any “surplus coming to my estate from the business of Sublette and Campbell”. Andrew and Campbell were appointed executers, but nowhere in the document was there any hint as has been charged that Sublette, in order to keep Frances from remarrying, “willed his property to his wife on condition that she should not change her name”. Note: (Deed record U3, Pg.247, MSS,St. Louis PC). (It didn’t matter since she married Solomon).

 As soon as quarters were available in Pittsburg, the party moved into the city. A disastrous fire the previous April had burned over a large area, and hotel accommodations were at a premium. Sublette was moved into room#8 at the Exchange Hotel. Dr. William Addison, who resided nearby, and was a well-known medical man highly respected as a local historian and naturalist as well as a physician, was consulted.

 The taint of consumption took its toll, and on Wed. July 23, 1845, William died far from his beloved Sulphur Springs, and farther from the mountains.

 Late in the afternoon or early Thursday evening, Campbell took Frances and her sister to the levee and placed them aboard a steamer, probably the “North Bend” scheduled to leave for St. Louis in the morning. Hired servants carried William’s remains aboard, but Campbell could not accompany them home since he had to proceed to Philadelphia on emergency business and family affairs.

 The women were home by the seventh of August, and Sublette’s remains were taken to the farm to be prepared for burial in the family plot.

 The daily Missouri Republican, his political adversary in life, commented: “His death is as unexpected as it will be sincerely deplored by numerous friends all over the State”. Carriages gathered at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut early in the morning on a cloudy Aug.08, a short distance from the old Sublette/Campbell store. All “Friends of the deceased” were invited to join the funeral procession to the farm where services were to be held

 The mourners moved slowly out the old Manchester Road through a slight shower, and at Sulphur Springs with the neighbors, friends, and slaves in attendance. William was buried near his great stone house.

 Since Andrew was still in the west, Campbell, aided by Micijah Tarver as counsel, began to settle the estate. Sublette’s personal estate was appraised at slightly over $7,500.00. Campbell then proceeded to carry out the bequests of the will, but would not complete his duties until 1857 since there were difficulties over remaining partnership accounts, suits in debt, and the Kansas City lands.





 Andrew Sublette reached Missouri in early autumn, 1845. He aided Campbell whenever possible with the estate. He was not content to become a farmer. (Haven’t seen what happened to his share of the will).Since the Mexican War was under way, he offered his services to the Missouri Mounted Volunteers for the duration of the war. He was accepted as a Captain in charge of Co. A, Oregon Batt., and on Sept.22, 1847 was ordered to proceed to Grand Island on the Platte River as escort to Lieutenant D.P. Woodbury. Andrew was mustered out Nov.6, 1848 at Fort Leavenworth, and by the following June accompanied Navy Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale from St. Louis overland with messages to California. While in Calif. He worked the gold fields, until the mines became detrimental to his precarious health and he fell ill.

 Grove Cook took him in and nursed him back to health. By 1851 or 52, Andrew was in Los Angeles where he formed a partnership with James Thompson to supply wheat to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs in California. Before the contract could be fulfilled, however, he died as the result of an encounter with a Grizzly Bear while hunting in the hills near his home. Some of the Herefords who by then had settled at Los Angeles arraigned for his burial on Dec.20, 1853. (I have read about this story somewhere else, which said there were actually two bears. While he was fighting one, the other one got him from behind. It also stated he had a faithful hunting dog never left him, and also died.)

 Thompson, Andrew’s business partners estimated Andrew’s property was worth approx. $5,000.00, but Thomas Hereford who became administrator of Andrew’s estate, estimated that after he paid all of Andrew’s debts, scarcely $2,000.00 would remain. He had said in a letter to Solomon, “As long as he (Andrew) had money, every one that wanted it got it, as you well knew his propensities for cards”.

 When a final settlement was made early in 1857, Hereford informed Solomon that the property was valued only $200.00 remained.



 Solomon had been roaming the west since 1843, and did not return until Sept.1846. During those years he engaged in the Indian trade, found his way to California, and kept up an intermittent correspondence with his family.

 After parting with William at Laramie Fork in the summer of 1843, Solomon traveled to the Arkansas-Platt River area where he met Andrew in 1844 at Bents Fort. They were at Taos in October, then back on the Arkansas. And in the spring of 1845, he was in Taos once again.

 During the summer of that year, Andrew set out for St. Louis, but Solomon turned west with a small group of fifteen adventurers, and on Oct.05 reached Sutter’s Fort in California. He spent the next seven months on the Pacific Coast between Sutter’s Domain and Los Angeles, saw Grove Cook, and traded in land and animals.

 In May, 1846 Solomon started for St. Louis by a circuitous route happy to be on his way home. He partitioned Benton for a job in the Indian service, and was finally commissioned Oct.21, 1847. “Agent for the United Tribe of Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi”. He scarcely held the job six months when he resigned in April, 1848 because of continual sickness.

 Frances, who had been ill and despondent during the winter of 1847-48, planned to accompany her brother Thomas to the west to seek better health. She met Solomon at Independence, he proposed, and in something of a surprise ceremony in May, 1848 they were married. They remained in Independence several months.

 Frances returned to the farm in the spring of 1849, although Solomon did not return until late autumn or early winter. That year, Theresa Cook died in the cholera epidemic in St. Louis. And on May 17, the old Sublette/Campbell store was swept away in a great business district fire. Fortunately, the insurance on the building was enough to cover the loss and to settle once and for all the last debts of the old partnership.

 Solomon and Frances, after their marriage, had moved into new quarters on the farm. Probably into the house occupied by the Herefords near the southeast corner of the tract facing what is now Shaw Avenue. In the same year, (1848), lawyers representing Solomon, Frances, and Andrew sold 388 acres of the Spring Tract including Resort Facilities and the Stone House to David W. Graham.

 Two years later (1850), Graham resold 29.99acres of that tract which contained the house and resort to Thomas Allen. Much of the remaining land, Graham subdivided.

 After 1849, Solomon and Frances spent most of their time in St. Louis Co.at the Sublette farm. They learned that crop raising was a difficult, many times a costly business.

 Their family obligations gradually increased. Frances had given birth to her first child. A son “Solomon Perry Jr.” in Dec.1849. A daughter, “Esther Frances” followed in Oct.1853.

 Then another son “William Hugh in June 1856. Both sons died before the age of two. The sorrow of their deaths seriously affected their mother’s health. In Aug.1855 she made a will in which she left all her property to Solomon, except for one-hundred acres to go to her daughter.

 Solomon died first, on Aug.31, 1857, but Frances quickly followed on Sept.28 of the same year. The Herefords took charge of young Esther Frances (Fannie), who was also in poor health and survived only until May 6, 1861 when she died and was buried in the family plot. The Herefords considered themselves legitimate heirs to Sulphur Springs, since Fannie was the last of her line.  The last of an entire branch of the Sublette family.

 After remaining undisturbed for twenty-six years, the old homestead, having fallen into the hands of strangers, and to avoid the encroachments of neighboring manufactories, the family cemetery was abandoned and the bodies removed to Bel fountain Cemetery on Oct.30, 1868.

 Mary Hereford had arranged for the bodies of the Sublette family, Micijah Tarver, several slaves, and possibly several Indian friends, moved to a large lot in Bellefontaine Cemetery where a sizable granite shaft was erected to mark their final resting place. The remains of seven adults and nine children were exhumed. The body of Mr. Sublette was found enclosed in an old fashioned cast-iron casket, which was so much cemented by rust that it was not opened.(This last bit was found somewhere else). I read somewhere, all the names were placed on different sides of that one granite shaft.

 That portion of Sulphur Springs not sold by Solomon, Frances, and Andrew in 1848 was the tract engrossed by the Herefords after little Fannie’s death in 1861. Five years later they subdivided the tract and in June, 1869 began to sell one-acre building lots in the “Fairmount” portion of the estate. Mary C. Hereford participated in the dedication, at which refreshments were served to omnibus loads of prospective buyers from the city.

 "Fairmount” was bounded by Kingshighway, Bischoff, (Bernard), Macklind, and Northrup. (This was incorporated into the city in 1868). This would tie in with the end of the race track on the east side of Kingshighway.

The final disposition of Fairmount took a long time to settle. Descendants of the Whitley family met in St. Louis and organized as heirs of the Sublette estate. This turned out too late (1895). The land was valued at $27,000,000, which some claim was too high. Then the Sublette family entered the picture. They claimed older brother Pinckney had not been killed in the mountains, as though in 1828, and was known to be alive during the Civil War. At this time a will was produced which stated “If Fannie should die without issue, then his property was to go to his brother Pinckney if living, and at his death if single and without issue to his next of kin on his father’s side”.

 The Judge even traveled to Wyoming view the reported remains. The tombstone was marked “P.W.S. 1864”. The remains were even brought back to St. Louis as evidence. This all went on to 1911, to no avail. All the courts threw it out. For one reason, it was too late, another reason was the remains were not accepted as evidence. Too bad they didn’t have D.N.A. capabilities.  The remains were still in St. Louis in 1935, and were finally returned to Wyoming and buried during the 100th anniversary of the grand rendezvous of 1835, on a bluff overlooking the upper Green River Valley, in Sublette County.

 It seems they waited too long and realized too late what the land was really worth. If they only knew the rich deposits of Fire Clay.

 The Sublette’s: William, Milton, Andrew, Pinckney, and Solomon were part of the solid foundation placed beneath American westward expansion. Their lives extended from Kentucky where they were born, not with the proverbial silver spoon, but with one of better than metal to the mountains. The Fur Trade was the key to their careers. Each one exploited the west’s resources and learned the west’s secrets.

 Yet, only William took the first wagons to the Popo Agie. Only he divided the fur empire with the Astor Interests. Only he built a landed estate from his western profits, and only he was the west’s ardent spokesman.

 Of the five, he knew best what he wanted, and believed he knew what the nation needed. An agrarian commonwealth. His was the dream of Arcadia.

EndNote: The book "BILL SUBLETTE MOUNTAIN MAN" was a great book of his life and was well documented. But contained no picture of him.

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 In Nov.1853 Allen who was a leading St. Louis business man and a power in the Mo. Pacific Railroad offered to sell or lease the Resort and the old Sublette house either as a private estate, or as a “suitable place for a public resort, or for a water cure”.

 The railroad which he represented had opened a station at “Cheltenham”, quite close to the resort in 1852. Visitors could commute easily to St. Louis. He was unsuccessful however, and two years later was still advertising the resort. Finally Allen found a buyer. On Feb.1,1858, for the sum of $25,000, $8,000 in cash he conveyed the entire tract and all its buildings to two men who were spokesmen for a small local French Icarian Community.

 The Icarians devoted followers of Etienne Cabet, a utopian-communist who had died in St. Louis two years before, established themselves at the resort, and discovered that Sublette’s stone house was large enough to shelter nearly the entire brotherhood. They were not able to meet the payments on the property, so disbanded in 1864, and returned the entire tract to Allen.

 The following year (1865), he sold it for $18,000 to Samuel Humbleton and James Green of St. Louis, who in turn, transferred it to Theodore Kock. By 1870, the resort was in near ruin, and the River Des Peres had turned it into a Typhoid and Malaria ridden sewer.

 (This developed too quickly. This change in Clay Works can be found in the section of “Clay mines and Factories”.)

 The Icarians had suffered from the pestilential waters. The St. Louis Times related in 1872 that “The cottage and spring have fallen into bad repute, and the odor of one is nearly as bad as the other”.

 The Sublette Mansion, according to the Icarian reports, was destroyed by fire three years later (1875). The last landed empire was being distributed when the question of legal title to the property was raised. (See story above).

 Also, this reminds me of a little confusion as to “Sublette’s Mansion”. The writer of a newspaper article, a story I cover in the chapter of “The Beginning”. In this article the writer describes his visit to the ruins of the “Sublette Mansion”. As is usual, the history is weak of our area of “Gratiot League Square”. This article was actually describing the finding of the original home of Sublette, Henry Gratiot, and the original owner, “Charles Gratiot”. What interests me is the fact that this log cabin burned in 1889, whereas the rock mansion of Sublette burned in 1875.

 EndNote: If anyone finds information that would change my perception, please let it be known.




 The River Des Peres was unusable. What Thomas Scharf had described in 1803, as a “Romantic Little Stream”, was as the Post Dispatch described in 1894, “Practically nothing less than a monster open sewer, poisoning the air with the most dangerous corruption and menace to health known”.

 It was especially bad when the river flooded. The County dumped sewage into the river, eventually causing the City to get State funds and County money to build great sewer. But this didn’t happen until the 1920’s. In the 1800’s they advertised the great fishing and hunting, and the Sulphur Springs was noted for its healing qualities. I think it caused more disease than good health.

 The biggest change of Sulphur Springs was introduction of Fire Clay mines and Factories. I cover this story in the chapter “Clay Mines and Factories.



 THE Sulphur Springs came up approx. where the little river made a bend at Sulphur Avenue. I have read several descriptions of this, but have just one hand-drawn map. This was from and old man’s memory as found in an old book of “The Hill”. Never did find an official map.

 From all indications, it was on the south side of River Des Peres. The lake formed something like a strange left hand facing east, with the thumb going to Elizabeth between Sublette and January, and three fingers going almost to Macklind. One goes on the north side of Wilson, one to Dagget, and the third goes to midway between Shaw and Pattison. The arm goes to Sulphur and the Resort. There was a Wilson Bridge over the thumb, which would give me cause to think this was the path from the old Sublette home and Grave Site on the north side of Northrup at Macklind.

 It would just be a short walk up Macklind, turn on what is now Wilson around the lake which would lead to Sublette’s new mansion, which was described as being on Wilson, east of Sulphur. The distance would only be about a half-mile.

 Highway 44 obliterates the whole place. As you are going west on Hy.44 approx. at Macklind the street on the northern edge of the highway is Pattison.

 Wilson is a street on the south side of I44 at Hampton. Holliday Inn is on Wilson, just off Hampton. Also, The Red Roof Inn is just east of the Holliday Inn. It’s about here or on the Highway where I think Sublette’s Mansion stood. If I remember right, an old map placed it on the North-East corner of Wilson and Sulphur.

 As you are driving west on I44, just east of Hampton, a vista opens up. You can then visualize Gratiot’s, then Sublette’s vast holdings. To the north, the tree line is about Oakland. The tree line to the south is about Arsenal. All just a small part of Gratiot League Square, and what a view from the bluff at Macklind, or pick up Tamm off Southwest. A clear view can be had at the end of the street. In the early 1800’s there were no Factories or Railroads. Just a beautiful valley with the small stream, a few farms and lots of trees.

 Note: Well, there you have it. I tried not to copy all of the book. It is about 280 pages, so there is plenty to read. As I rearrange my notes, I may add more here.


                 ENDNOTES: BILL SUBLETTE MOUNTAIN MAN          

 G.94-12 ORIGINAL (DEED) RECORD (MAR.10,APR.26,1831).























 PG.176--4 ORIGINAL (DEED RECORD) Z, PG.177, F-2, PG.195,

I-2,PP. 264-65, S-2, PG.378, E-3,PG.401, MSS; DEED RECORD V, PP.185-86, MSS,



1834-1845,"LOC.CIT.,31-32.11   W.L.SUBLETTE TO ROBERT











 RECORD OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY COURT NO.2,1836-41,PP.42,86,178,198,MS,


















 PG.227-17 DEED RECORD E,PP.551-52, F,PP.224,413, S,PP.40-41,

 COLE CRDO; ORIGINAL (DEED RECORD) G-3,PP.301,321, I-3,P.145, K,PP.221-22, H-3,PP.220-21;MSS,





 PG.231-26 RECORD OF WILLS C,P.183, MSS;




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