Vigo, Joseph Maria Francesco
- William W. Giffin
Vigo, Joseph Maria Francesco (03 December 1747–22 March 1836), soldier, fur trader, and merchant, was born in Mondovi on territory in northern Italy then possessed by the kingdom of Sardinia, the son of Matheo Vigo and Maria Magdalena Iugalibus. In his youth Vigo was a soldier in a Spanish regiment that was assigned to Spanish territory in the Americas. Vigo was stationed in Havana, Cuba, and then in New Orleans, where he was informed about a profitable fur trade. Traders from the upper Mississippi River frequented the port in order to export furs and to acquire trade goods. Following his discharge from the military, Vigo began acquiring furs in the Arkansas country, where he developed successful commercial relations with native American suppliers of pelts and with French inhabitants. In 1772 Vigo removed to St. Louis, a new Spanish outpost. As Vigo prospered he made a partnership with a relative, establishing the firm of Vigo and Yosti. In 1778 Fernando de Leyba, the lieutenant governor of Louisiana then residing in St. Louis, entered a partnership with Vigo in an unpublicized agreement....