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Antoine David Le Claire


Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 7/14/2021 at 12:24:00

SOURCE: Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County, Iowa. American Biographical Publishing Company, H. C. Cooper, Jr., & Co. Proprietors. 1895


The subject of this sketch was born December 2, 1818, at Portage Des Sioux, Missouri. His father, Antoine Le Claire, entered the government service when a young man, and through his wide acquaintance with the Indian tribes, his influence among them and his familiarity with their languages, he rendered great service in the adjustment of early Indian troubles. He married Acoqua (the Kettle), a grandaughter of the Sac chief, Keokuk. He was one of the founders of Davenport, Iowa, a man of great public spirit and wealth, and left to the city many gifts as memorials of his generosity. He died September 25, 1861. His father (our subjects grandfather) was a Canadian Frenchman, who married a grandaughter of a Pottawatomie chief. As early as 1808 he established a trading-post at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he traded for furs, and in 1809 engaged extensively in business with John Kinsey at Fort Dearborn (Chicago). During the Indian troubles he warmly espoused the American cause. Our subject enjoyed few educational advantages in his early life, and, although a man of broad views, and well informed on a wide range of subjects, his knowledge was gained from his study of men and affairs rather than from books. In early life he was of a roving disposition, fond of adventure and full of daring, and while yet a boy, gratified his roving tendency by running away from home and living for a time among the Indians. What schooling he received was at St Charles and on Rock Island. After leaving school he turned his attention to farming, but the occupation was ill suited to his tastes and after several unsuccessful attempts he left the farm and went to work in the pineries. Later he went to work on Mississippi river steamboats, and finding that line of employment much to his liking he devoted himself to it with great energy and became one of the most reliable and best known pilots on the Mississippi, and was an honored member of the Mississippi River Pilots Association. He took little part in political matters more than to perform his duties as a good citizen, but always affiliated with the Democratic party. In religious faith he was a Roman Catholic. In his death, which occurred May 14, 1881, Scott County sustained the loss of a citizen who was universally honored and beloved. He was a man of domestic habits and tastes and loved his home, where by his generosity, his rare good humor, his happy sunny disposition and his open-hearted hospitality he made everybody who came within its circle happy and welcome. He was a man of positive and firm convictions, but always ready to treat those who differed from him with fairness and consideration. And in all his dealings and relations with others so demeaned himself as to win their confidence and esteem.

On February 26, 1840, he married Miss Sarah Mandana Hall, who was born near Terre Haute, Indiana, February 23, 1819, to Dr. James and Mahala (Winters) Hall. Her father, who was born in Orwell, Vermont, March 12, 1794, died September 6, 1878. Her mother, born at Lyons, New York, September 8, 1801, died November 2, 1879.

To Mr. and Mrs. Le Claire were born seven children, viz : Antoine James, born December 8, 1840 ; Francis H. , born March 8 , 1842 ; David Napoleon, born July 19, 1843, died December 23, 1884 ; Charles W., born January 16, 1845, died in childhood ; George W., born February 7, 1847, died March 23, 1881 ; Margaret A., born December 16, 1849, and Mary H. , born November 25, 1852.

-Transcribed by Georgeann McClure


Scott Biographies maintained by Lynn McCleary.
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