What do we mean when we talk about "French Colonial America" in this region?

More than forty years before the people of the British Colonies on the east coast of North America declared their independence, another group of colonists were settling on the western bank of the Mississippi River in what is now the state of Missouri. The town established by these people -- families with names such as Bolduc, Vallé, Pratte, and Rozier -- became known as Ste. Geneviéve (after the patron saint of Paris).   

 

These people were primarily of French descent, coming from France, Canada, and other French-held territories such as the Illinois Country on the eastern side of the great river, Lower Louisiana and New Orleans, and  the island of St. Domingue. Even as other nations claimed ownership of the region -- first Spain and then the United States -- the people here retained their own sense of identity and developed their own unique "Creole" traditions and way of life. 

 

We invite you to visit us in Ste. Genevieve and enjoy discovering the stories of the people who created a distinct way of life on the frontier.