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Ioway Cultural Institute : History :
General History

Ioway students in the early schools & Father DeSmet's journey to Council Bluffs, May 1838.

Boys Catholic School St. Louis, Mo. (temporarily located in Florissant 1826-9)
Excerpts from; "The Jesuits of the Middle United States," by Gilbert J. Garraghan, S.J.

Catholicism in St. Joseph, Buchanan County, the metropolis of the Platt Purchase, may be said to date it's beginning from the visit in May, 1838, of Father De Smet, then on his way up the Missouri with Father Verreydt to open a mission at Council Bluffs. "We stopped for two hours at the Blacksnake Hills. There I had a long talk with Joseph Robidoux, who keeps a store and runs his father's fine farm. He showed me a great deal of affection and kindness and expressed a wish to build a little chapel there if his father can manage to get some French families to come to settle near them. The place is one of the finest on the Missouri for the erection of a city."

Footnote same page; Young Joseph Robidoux, whom Father De Smet met on this occasion, was a student at St. Louis University during the years 1829-1833. (Vol.1, p.266.)

The first Catholic school for boys in St. Louis was begun November 16, 1818, being called St. Louis Academy, located in a house N/W corner of 3rd. & Market St.

The academy prospering was soon transformed into a college, for which a site was found in the cathedral block on the west side of Second Street between Market and Walnut. this building in the fall of 1820 St. Louis College held its first session. With the end of the session 1826-1827 the institution closed its doors. Its register included names rich in historical associations of early St. Louis and the Pioneer West, among them those of Joseph Robidoux, Chauvette Labeaume, Marcellin St.Vrain, Alexander Bellesime, Charles Sanguinet, Vital Beaugenou, Louis Primeau, Francis Bosseron, Philip Rocheblave, Toussaint Hunat, Francis Cabanne' and August Delassus. (Vol.1, p.272)

In September, 1828, Father Van Quickenborne reported to his superior in Maryland that St. Louis did not have a single Catholic school. By that time some of the former students of St. Louis College had registered at Florrisant, where the Jesuits held classes for them pending the erection of the new college building on Washington Avenue (St.Louis). (Vol.1, p.273)

The beginnings of St. Louis University as a Jesuit institution may be dated from the period at which white students were first recieved into the seminary at Florissant. As early as the second half of 1825 Father Van Quickenborne had four white boys in residence there, .... Hubert and Charles Tayon (Jr.) of St. Charles, Mo., admitted at Florissant November 6, 1825. After the Tayons came Pierre Bellau, admitted August 27, 1826. No more white students seem to have registered until June 12, 1828, when Charles Pierre Chouteau, a grandson of Pierre Chouteau, Senior, was admitted to the school. Five additional students registered in the course of the same year, Francis Cabanne' (July 10), Edward Paul (July 22), Julius Cabanne' (August 7), Du Thil Cabanne' (August 12), Thomas Forsyth (August 16), Francis Bosseron (September 3), and John Shannon (October 16). On January 7, 1829 Bryan Mullanphy, a future mayor of St. Louis and founder of the Mullanphy Fund, was enrolled, followed in the course of the same year by Paul Etienne Fremont De Bouffay, Alexander La Force, Charles Capdeville, Edward Chouteau, Julius Clark (son of General William Clark), and Howard Christy ....enrolled July 25. It was therefore only during the session 1828-1829 that what could properly be called a school for white boys was conducted at Florissant; and the school was, it is plain, nothing more than a make-shift or accommodation pending the opening of a Jesuit college in St. Louis. (V.1, p.282-3.)

Meanwhile. work on the new building (in St. Louis) had proceeded far enough to permit housing of the students. Accordingly, on November 2, 1829, the college was formally opened with an enrollment of ten boarders and thirty externs or day-scholars. Within a few weeks the boarders increased to thirty and the day-scholars to one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and fifty students in all. (Vol.1, p.290.)

-- end of excerpts --


I hope that this is helpful to those searching early school records. The French or white boys are students of St. Louis Academy 1818, or St. Louis College 1820, or St. Louis University by 1829, (more or less the same school, different phases). The Indian students attendend St. Regis Seminary 1824-closed 1831, but here is the tricky part when it comes to researching the records; From abt. 1825-1829 both schools are being carried on at the Seminary near St. Ferdinand de Florissant, (in Florissant), Mo., north of St. Louis.

No definate age of student Joseph Robidoux was stated; but judging from the age a student might be, locations and years stated, I'm presuming that the Joseph Robidoux mentioned is the one b.Jan.1816, and is non-Indian.

Contributed by Susan K. Suttle White

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