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O’Fallon, Benjaminlocked

(20 September 1793–17 December 1842)
  • Peter Michel

Extract

O’Fallon, Benjamin (20 September 1793–17 December 1842), Indian agent, was born in Kentucky, the son of James O’Fallon, a physician, and Frances Eleanor Clark. He was sent, in his teens, to St. Louis to live with his maternal uncle, William Clark. Clark noted in a letter written to O’Fallon’s brother John in 1809 that O’Fallon “has jenious but wants application.” After dabbling in business, O’Fallon set off in 1816 for the St. Peters River to trade with the Sioux. His success convinced his uncle of his diplomatic skill, for in the following year Clark officially appointed him U.S. Indian agent (with the rank of major) to the Sioux. O’Fallon made his headquarters at Prairie du Chien, now in Wisconsin, where he quickly established a reputation among the St. Louis traders for the “rigor and firmness” with which he exercised his authority....

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