The Place of Burial for the Early Settlers of the Creole Corridor


Commissioned by Les Amis (“The Friends”) for The 250th Anniversary of the Founding of Saint Louis

The settlers in the French Colonial era left few physical traces, including the locations of their individual burial sites. The oldest burying grounds were East Bank locations, and most of those were washed away by major flooding along the same Mississippi River that brought the early explorers and settlers to that land. Early burying grounds on the West Bank, especially in St. Louis, were “washed away” by the forces of expanding population and changing economics. Identifying early burial grounds is now a difficult, controversial process.

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We can only wish that someone one hundred and fifty years ago had written a record of what was then still documented or remembered regarding the burial sites of those earliest French Colonial settlers. Information one hundred years ago was already incomplete. Information available now is irreparably incomplete, both on the location of burying grounds and on the placement sites of specific individuals. The purpose of this study is to share information which is “knowable”, both what is documented and what is apocryphal, about early places of burial within the Creole Corridor. “Creole Corridor” is a geographic place defined as both sides of the Mississippi River from just north of St. Louis, and including St. Charles, to the Arkansas Post south of the current Missouri border. A few comments about Fort Orleans, Peoria and Vincennes are also included. “Creole” references those settlers born in the Corridor area, both of whose parents were European; their language was French. For more information on the Creole Corridor, see the Les Amis’ Self-Guided Tour booklet, “French Creole Corridor: Mid-Mississippi River Valley”, and their website at The study: lists known locations of burying, and reburying, grounds; describes reasons for changing locations; suggests possible reasons for changing attitudes toward burying grounds, as reflected in changing behavior toward those burial sites; and identifies known burying grounds maintained by families for religious or geographic reasons.

Les Amis (“The Friends”), a Missouri not-for-profit corporation, was organized in 1994 as a permanent support group for the French heritage programs of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Its origins are rooted in the French Heritage Relief Committee formed during the Flood of 1993 for the preservation and support of the endangered historic resources of Ste. Genevieve and the surrounding historic French colonial corridor. Les Amis promotes the preservation, interpretation, and purchase of historic property in Missouri’s unique French colonial region. Les Amis’ greatest achievement, and indeed its most daunting continuing task, is to bring the region’s notable French colonial history to the attention of the general public. Public interest and concern is vital to the continued preservation and further understanding of Missouri’s colonial past. MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Les Amis is to promote education, preservation and awareness of French Creole heritage and culture in the mid-Mississippi River Valley.

Additional information

Weight 3 oz
Dimensions 5 × 7 in

Paperback Book – $17.95, eBook (PDF) – $16.00


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