The following is a speech given by Firmin A. Rozier in celebration of 150 years of Ste. Genevieve (in 1883). Click on the desired page. Feel free to download these pages, they
should print out nicely. More text below.
A Famous Duel
One of the most melancholy and
unfortunate tragedies of the year 1811, was the duel between Thomas
H. Crittenden and Doctor Walter Fenwick, both residents of Ste.
Genevieve. Crittenden was a lawyer and a brother of Senator
Crittenden, of Kentucky. Doctor Fenwick was an eminent
physician, and an estimable and polished gentleman, and both were
popular and regarded by the community as brave and gallant men.
The cause which led to the fatal encounter was one with which Doctor
Fenwick had originally nothing to do, he only being drawn into the
quarrel by a chivalrie devotion to and regard for his brother,
Ezekiel Fenwick. A difficulty, the exact nature of which is
not known, resulted in a challenge from Ezekiel Fenwick to Thomas H.
Crittenden, which was borne to the latter by Doctor Fenwick, as the
friend of his brother. For some reason Mr. Crittenden refused
to meet Ezekiel Fenwick, whereupon the Doctor deeming the refusal as
a personal affront, offered himself in his brother’s stead, and was
accepted. The parties met Oct 1st, 1811, on Moreau’s Island, a
few miles below Ste. Genevieve, and opposite Kaskaskia landing; Gen.
Henry Dodge and Hon John Scott were the seconds of the parties.
At the first fire Doctor Fenwick fell mortally wounded, and expired
a short time afterwards. Mr. Crittenden was unhurt.
Doctor Fenwick is buried in the
old Catholic graveyard,
in the heart of this city. No monument but a plain freestone
slab marks his last resting place, and the only epitaph upon one of
the most accomplished men of his day, consists of the simple
inscription – “Doctor Walter Fenwick, born 1775, died Oct. 2d,
[I have been told that the guns of Dr. Fenwick and Thomas
Crittenden, made by a slave of John Smith T. are in display at the
Ste. Genevieve museum.]
Fatal Encounter of Capt. De Mun
An ancient family known as Depeste,
and also one knows as De Mun, settled in Ste. Genevieve in the year
1808. A melancholy death occurred to one of them, being
Auguste De Mun, the son of Jacques
De Mun, captain of dragons of St. Domingo. He had made,
from information, injurious remarks of Mr. William McCarthur
[McArthur], about coining money*. Mr. McCarthur being well
connected, and a brother-in-law of Dr. Lewis F. Linn, sent a
challenge to De Mun, which was not accepted, because he thought him
unworthy of his steel. McCarthur denounced De Mun in public,
which gave him greater offense. They met at the old
territorial court house, whilst court was in session, at Ste.
Genevieve. As McCarthur was coming down and De Mun up the
stair way, they both fired, and poor De Mun feel mortally wounded,
and expired shortly afterwards. They were, at the time, both
candidates for the territorial house of representatives. Mr.
De Mun was buried in the
Catholic graveyard in Ste. Genevieve, August 28, 1816, but no
tombstone marks his burial.
*[meaning that he accused him of counterfeiting]
[William McArthur was not wounded and was never prosecuted.]
The steamer Doctor Franklin No. 2, in
August 1852, collapsed a fine, at Turkey Island, on the Mississippi,
about four miles above Ste. Genevieve, scalding and killing nearly
all her decks passengers and crew. She was towed down to the
Ste. Genevieve wharf. Amongst the passengers was the famous
novel writer Net Buntline, who escaped unhurt. The sight on
board of the steamer was a distressing and mournful one. The
cabin of the boat was strewed with men and women, uttering the most
fearful cries, and undergoing the most cruel sufferings.
Strong men were there blistered with steam, yet cold in death.
Both engineers were blown into the river, and at the time of the
explosion some jumped overboard and were lost. In one berth
lay a wife and mother dead, with a child still clasped in her arms,
whilst others were frightfully mutilated. The citizens of Ste.
Genevieve rendered all the aid and assistance to those unfortunate
persons, and had the dead decently buried in the