The Osage in Saint Charles
When French Canadian Louis Blanchette (1739-1793), founder of the City of Saint Charles, arrived in 1769, his only neighbors were the American Indians. The Sauk, Fox, Pottowatomie and Osage were the predominant tribes, using the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers for passage, to trade furs with the settlers in St. Louis.
The Osage had been shoved eastward from the Ohio valley into Illinois, then here. Here, the tall fierce tribe would often clash with the others tribes over hunting grounds. They soon developed a closer relationship with the French-Canadians fur traders and other white settlers than some tribes, often intermarrying.
As our area was traded back and forth between Spain and France, settlers from Kentucky and Virginia moved in. They followed the friends and families of trailblazer Daniel Boone, who had come in search of a wide frontier. As the early settlers found themselves United States residents again, with the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, the American Indians were overwhelmed. With the white man came disease, killing thousands. Everyone fought for the land, the British, the Spanish claimants, the American pioneers, and the Native Americans.
In the east, the War of 1812, often called the second Revolutionary War, would also affect us. Here, it was better known as the Indian War. While the settlers built forts in defense of depredations by Indians, the original residents fought for a way of life, and a land, that had been their home for ages. Afterwards, the settlers flooded the land once home for many tribes, including the Osage, and treaties were made. A treaty of 1804 had stated
the said tribes do hereby solemnly promise and agree that they will put an end to the bloody war which has heretofore raged between their tribes and those of the Great and Little Osages.
When William Clark led his men The Corps of Discovery westward with Meriwether Lewis, he had spotted an ideal prominent point, which would later officially become Fort Clark, known by all as Fort Osage. He would return, led by Nathan Boone, by using what became the Boone’s Lick trail. In 1808, at Fort Clark,
The United States being anxious to promote peace, friendship and intercourse with the Osage tribes, to afford them every assistance in their power, and to protect them from the insults and injuries of other tribes of Indians, situated near the settlements of the white people, have thought proper to build a fort on the right bank of the Missouri.
George C. Sibley (1782-1863) would be appointed the fort’s manager, called the factor.
By 1815, the United States would treaty with all tribes, at Portage des Sioux along the Mississippi, including the Osage.
A treaty of peace and friendship, made and concluded between William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Chouteau, Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, on the part and behalf of the said States, of the one part; and the undersigned King, Chiefs, and Warriors, of the Great and Little Osage Tribes or Nations, on the part and behalf of their said Tribes or Nations, of the other part.