St. Joseph, Missouri was founded by fur trader Joseph Robidoux who lived from 1783-1868. The location in northwest Missouri where Joseph Robidoux established his Blacksnake Hills Trading Post is modern day St. Joseph, Missouri with a population of about 75,000.
Years before founding one of the current day ten largest cities in the state of Missouri Robidoux grew up on the other side of the state in St. Louis, Missouri where he had six brothers. From an early age Joseph and his brothers were taught the family business of fur trading by their father who in the eighteenth century began sending Joseph up and down the Missouri River as a teenager to hone his trade.
In what is currently the city of Chicago Joseph Robidoux set up a fur trading post next to Fort Dearborn, Illinois but ironically his success led to his demise. As legend has it Joseph was such a proficient young businessman that more established elder men practicing his craft did not think too kindly of having a young up and comer stepping into their territory and disrupting their established business. To correct the disruption that Joseph caused the Fort Dearborn locals persuaded local Indians to threaten and disturb Joseph until he was quite literally run out of town.
After leaving Illinois Joseph established himself in modern day Omaha, Nebraska and settled down with his second wife (after the 1805 death of his first wife Eugenie) with an 1813 wedding to Angelique Vaudry. Between his two marriages Joseph had eight children (two from the first marriage and six from the second) and today the names of many of those children adorn some of the most commonly used streets in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri which he eventually founded. Among names of his children that have since been immortalized with streets named in their honor are Messanie, Faraon, Francis, Felix, and Edmond. While those names probably seem a bit outdated to most folks in the twenty-first century anyone who has spent a significant amount of time around St. Joseph, Missouri instantly recognizes those names as some of the most high traffic streets in town.
Joseph Robidoux sold his successful Nebraska fur trading business in 1822 to the American Fur Company and decided to leave the area after being motivated by the American Fur Company with a $1,000 annual payment for abiding by a non-compete agreement.
After spending time back in St. Louis after selling his business to the American Fur Company Robidoux was later hired by the American Fur Company to start a Blacksnake Hills trading post in northwest Missouri near Kansas City and in doing so Joseph Robidoux laid the groundwork for the city of St. Joseph, Missouri that has held his namesake for over 150 years.