ABSTRACT: Three manuscript trade ledgers from John Lee & Company, St. Louis grocers and commission merchants.
SCOPE: The ledgers preserve John Lee & Company’s extensive trade network including hundreds of accounts from St. Louis-based individuals and businesses, non-local individuals and businesses, US military officers and employees, and steamboats. The ledgers record thousands of transactions over a four-year period from 1830-1834. Local entries include the American Fur Company; St. Louis College; Missouri politician William G. Pettus, who was Secretary of the State Convention of 1821; and Armstead Lewis, a formerly enslaved man from Kentucky who himself claimed ownership of three enslaved people. Non-local and military entries include Moses D. Bates, founder of Hannibal, Missouri; Elisha McClelland, owner of a tavern in Columbia, Missouri; Taylor & Steel, wholesalers and grocers operating at Louisville, Kentucky; and Major Joseph V. Hamilton, sutler at Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River. Steamboats include the Yellow Stone, Warrior, Aleona, Argus, Ben Franklin, Chester, Crusader, Don Juan, Galiman, Globe, Heroine, Maryland, Michigan, Missourian, New Brunswick, Orion, Otto, Saint Louis, Sarpy, Traveler, and Wanderer.
EXTENT: Three volumes, approximately 1050 pages total.
HISTORY: John Lee & Company was founded by John and Elliott Lee, and their brother-in-law Jesse Lindell, some of the best-connected mercantile families of early St. Louis. According to an advertisement in the 1837 Western Address Directory, the company was located along the river at Front Street and O’Fallon’s Row.
ACCESS: This collection can be viewed on-site in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Reading Room. Some of the material may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, subject to condition and other access restrictions. Information on conducting research with the archival collections of the Library, including current building hours and reading room policies, can be found on our Research page. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building on the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ north campus.
Preferred Citation note: The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.”