Rich details of early life in Missouri’s river valleys define two of our newly available paperbacks.
François Vallé (1716–1783) was born in Beauport, Canada and immigrated to Upper Louisiana as a penniless common laborer sometime during the early 1740s. Settling in Ste. Genevieve, he engaged in agriculture, lead mining, and the Indian trade, and ultimately became the wealthiest and most powerful individual in Upper Louisiana, although he never learned to read or write.
Based entirely on primary source documents, Carl Ekberg’s François Vallé and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark traces the life of Vallé, his family, and the lives of his slaves. In doing so, Ekberg provides a portrait of Missouri’s very first black families, something that has never before been attempted.
The mass migrations to the United States from Europe that began in the 1830s were strongly influenced by what is known today as emigration literature—travelers’ writings about their experiences in the New World. Gottfried Duden’s account, published in 1829, was among the most influential of these books. Written as a collection of letters, the idyllic descriptions of pioneer farming in Missouri made it an instant success that attracted thousands of Germans to the Midwest, particularly to Missouri. This edited and annotated translation is the first complete version to be published in English.
The Mississippi-Missouri valley reminded Duden of his native Rhineland where the rivers facilitated trade and transportation, and fertile river bottom land offered the perfect environment for agriculture. Duden farmed the land he bought during his stay in Missouri, and he includes meticulous descriptions of clearing, fencing, and harvesting. His pro-emigration bias and his ability to hire help on his farm made his view of the farmer’s life more idyllic than practical. Many would-be gentlemen farmers, inspired by his book to come to Missouri, found pioneer farming more strenuous than they had expected.
FRANÇOIS VALLÉ AND HIS WORLD
Upper Louisiana before Lewis and Clark
Carl J. Ekberg
Winner, Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History
$36.95 | ISBN: 978-0-8262-2132-2 | 336 pp. | 16 illus. | 6.13 x 9.25
REPORT ON A JOURNEY TO THE WESTERN STATES OF NORTH AMERICA
and a Stay of Several Years Along the Missouri (During the Years 1824-1827)
By Gottfried Duden; James W. Goodrich, General Editor
George H. Kellner, Elsa Nagel, Adolf E. Schroeder, and W. M. Senner, Editors and Translators
$39.95| ISBN: 978-0-8262-2143-8 | 400 pp. | 6 x 9