Jean Pierre Cabanne
- Born: 18 Oct 1773
- Marriage: Julia Gratiot
- Died: 27 Jun 1841 at age 67
Founder of the American Fur Company
Jean Pierre Cabanne (ka'-bin-AY) (1773-1841)
Founder of the American Fur Company, St. Louis, MO
By: Kevin J. Gillespie
June 11, 2002
Merchant, son of Jean Cabanné and Jeanne Dutilh, his wife, was born in the city of Pau, Bearne, France, October 18, 1773, and as a young man came to New Orleans, where he remained for a time, and then came up to St. Louis, in the year 1798. He married Julia Gratiot, the eldest daughter of Charles Gratiot, merchant, born July 24, 1782, on April 8, 1799. .
His father was Jean Cabanne, of Bordeaux, France, and his mother, whose maiden name was Duteil, was a sister of General Lucien Duteil, who was in command of the republican forces at the siege of Toulon, and at whose house Napoleon stayed during the siege. In grateful remembrance of General Duteil's kindness to him, Napoleon bequeathed to the general five hundred thousand francs in his will, written at St. Helena. John P. Cabanné was educated and trained to mercantile pursuits in France; and [(in 1798 , 1803 )] came to the United States with considerable capital. He first established his home at Charleston, South Carolina, and engaged in the sugar trade; which he conducted profitably for a year or more. Meeting with a disaster, occasioned by the loss at sea of two of his trading vessels, he then went to New Orleans and embarked in trade in that city.
In 1806 [a more reliable source indicates 1798  ] he came to St. Louis and engaged in the fur trade, which was then the principal business of this place. For many years he was interested in this trade with Bernard Pratt, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Antoine Chenie, Bartholomew Berthold, Manuel Lisa and others. For some years he was a member of the firm of Pratt, Chouteau & Co., and during this period spent much of his time in what was then called the Indian country.  He amassed a large fortune and left his family a rich inheritance. 
J. Pierre Cabanne established a trading post located on the Missouri River between Omaha and Fort Calhoun, it was more popularly known as the "French Company" when it was established in 1822 by the firm of Berthold, Chouteau and Pratte. It was operated until the early 1840's, successful in part because of its ability to provision the garrison at nearby Fort Atkinson. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cabanne’s Post in 1827-28 recorded the following :
28 packs [80-100 pelts/pack] of beaver
58 packs [about 60 skins/pack] of opossum
3 packs [about 60 skins/pack] of otter
400 packs [about 10 hides/pack] of buffalo robes
By the early 1830’s, the fur trade on the lower Missouri had begun to decline due to cultural changes brought by trade in the Indian populations of the lower Missouri and the impact of disease and famine. In the interim, much of the fur trade had shifted to the upper Missouri in the 1840s as steamboats reached farther up the Missouri where the quality and quantity of the furs was greater. 
He was one of the commissioners appointed to accept subscriptions of stock to the Bank of St. Louis, founded December 17, 1816.  The Bank of St. Louis, chartered Aug. 21, 1813, owing to the war of 1812 and other causes, did not commence business until Dec. 12, 1816, a delay of over three years. In meantime some of the principal getters-up of that bank, dissatisfied with this long delay, had opened books for subscriptions to the stock of another bank to be called the"' Bank of Missouri," with a capital stock of $250,000, the commissioners were Charles Gratiot, William Smith, John McKnight, John P. Cabanne and Matthew Kerr. In 1820, the Bank was made the Depository of the US. Public Moneys for the Land district of Missouri. In the summer of 1822, the Bank closed its doors and went into liquidation. 
He was a member of the first Public School Board of St. Louis, was one of the incorporators of the city, and was foremost in all measures and enterprises designed to promote the advancement and progress of the town. 
So prominent was he as a business man and citizen that his death was universally regretted, and the utterances of the press and of the public of that period gave expression to the feeling that the place which he occupied in the community was one not easy to be filled. 
He married, in St. Louis, in 1807 [Note other sources indicate 1799  ], Miss Julia Gratiot, daughter of Charles Gratiot, in his day. one of the leading citizens of Missouri. Five sons and 4 daughters were born to them, all of whom lived and died in St. Louis, and they have numerous descendants who still reside in the city. 
The children of J. Pierre and Julia Gatroit Cabanne :
1. Batiste Gregoire, born February 8, 1800, died in 1801.
2. Jeanne Victoire, born November 16, 1803, also died young.
3. Adelle, born in 1805, was married to John B. Sarpy, No. 2, on September 14, 1820, and died March 27, 1832, aged twenty?seven.
4. John Charles, born November 4, 1806, married to Virginia, second daughter of Judge Wm. C. Carr, February 12, 1835. He died on July 17, 1854, leaving three sons ; the eldest, John Pierre, died, unmarried, April 18, 1863, aged twenty?six years ; the two others, J. C. and S. C. Cabanne, both married, with families, and their mother, the widow, are living.
5. Augustus Eneas, born March 28, 1808, died January 23, 1825, aged seventeen years.
6. Julia A., born July 8, 1809, married to Lieut. James W. Kingsbury, U. S. A., May 25, 1830. She died in 1836, and Capt. K. in 1854, and their only son, Julius, was killed by lightning in 1868, at the age of thirty?two. Their two daughters, Mrs. Giver ville and Mrs. A. M. Waterman, both widows, are living.
7. Louisa, born August 12, 1811, was married to Lieut. Albert G. Edwards, U. S. A., April 28, 1835. She died August 4, 1841, at the age of thirty years, her infant son in his third year, having preceded her about twenty days.
8. Lucien Dutilh, born July 28, 1814, married Miss Susan Shepard. He died April 10, 1875, in his sixty?first year, leaving but one son, Dr. Shepard Cabanne.
9. Francis, born January 1, 1816, died, unmarried, November 9, 1876, in his sixty?first year.
10. Louis Julius, born February 22, 1818, was married to Stella McNair, November 24, 1846, and died up the Mississippi, leaving several children.
11. Isabella, born in 1820, died an infant.
The Cabanné Mansion <http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/history/cabanne.html>
In its day, the family home of Jean P. Cabanné was the most widely known mansion to this part of the country, and is the best type of the grand old country house to be found in the West situated opposite the west end of Forest Park boulevard on King's Highway, South of Laclede Avenue in St. Louis. Built by Mr. John P. Cabanne in 1819 as a country residence for his family while pursuing the fur trade in Indian country. 'It was an elegant brick mansion, and located oil high ground, and could be soon from a long distance towards the east and north. Mr. Cabanne remained with his family there for twelve years  and after him his descendants continued to reside there. Their hospitality became proverbial. Near the house was a quaint windmill. it was finally removed when the city purchased the ground for Forest Park. 
Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis, William Hyde and Howard Conard, Editors, Vol. 1, Southern History Co,, New York, 1899, p. 289.
Annals of St. Louis, Frederic Billon, 1888, p. 473-4.
Annals of St. Louis, Frederic Billon, 1888, p. 88-89.
W. B. Stevens Scrapbook #100 (from Newspaper Article dated April, 14, 1889) Missouri State Historical Society, St. Louis, MO, p. 69.
The Fur Trade of the American West, 1807-1840, David J. Wishart, University of Nebraska Press, 1979, p. 59.
Ibid, p. 60-74.
Special Thanks to Mr. Jason D. Stratman, Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, MO.
A freedom suit was made against Mr. Cabanne: Pelagie, born a slave to Antoine Soulard, was forced to go to dwelling house of Jean Cabanne on December 1, 1821; she was imprisoned for 80 days, then transported 40 miles down the Mississippi to be imprisoned for another 25 days; damages $5,00
Jean married Julia Gratiot. (Julia Gratiot was born on 24 Jul 1782 and died on 14 Apr 1852.)