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27, September 2017

A Puppy and a Pair of Pistols

America’s most famous duel, between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804, shares some interesting parallels with what occurred just 13 years later on an unassuming sandbar island in the Mississippi River. Both incidents involved an argumentative, ambitious lawyer and a more reserved lawyer from a well-to-do family, but in the local duel the participant with the fiery temper won—though it took him two tries to manage it. Read more »

18, August 2017

Meriwether Lewis in St. Louis

Though his time in our river town was short, Meriwether Lewis’s efforts as a trailblazer and founding father of the Louisiana Territory ensure he’ll forever be associated with St. Louis. Read more »

3, March 2017

The Highs and Lows of Gov. James Wilkinson

Occasionally there are figures who weave in and out of history, connecting seemingly disparate people and events. It’s like when an infamous recurring character’s name pops up in the credits of a television show: You just know things are about to get messy.  

James Wilkinson was one such person. Throughout his lifetime he had been called a conspirator, drunkard, slanderer, traitor, insurgent, perjurer—and the Louisiana Territory’s first governor. Read more »

17, February 2017

But for One Man . . .

Missouri owes a lot to Thomas Jefferson, who signed off on the land agreement that almost doubled the size of the United States. When we look back at history, it seems almost guaranteed that Jefferson—former governor of Virginia, U.S. ambassador to France, first Secretary of State, and second vice president—would become president at some point. But history is often messier than it seems at first glance. Read more »