NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG3966.AM: Bernard Silvaier Blondeau, 1813-1892
Account Books: 1858-1886
Plum Creek, Dawson County, Neb.; St. Joseph, MO: Businessman; Partner in Plum Creek Ranch
Size: 1 reel of microfilm
Bernard Silvaier Blondeau was born in Tours, France, on April 26, 1813. As part of the group of Icarians led by Etienne Cabet, Blondeau and his wife and family left France in 1848, committed to founding a communistic settlement in America. The Icarians settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1849, taking up land abandoned by the Mormons three years earlier. With the break-up of the Icarian community in 1854, Blondeau moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri. He had lost his wife in a cholera epidemic at Nauvoo and later remarried.
Abandoning the socialistic philosophy of the Icarians, Blondeau became a successful businessman in St. Louis and then St. Joseph, Missouri. His varied interests included the financing of wagon trains from St. Joseph to Denver; the selling of buffalo carcasses and produce; ownership of buildings which he rented; investments in railroads; operation of a store and trading post at Sugar Creek, Missouri; and a partnership in the Plum Creek Ranch in what is today Dawson County, Nebraska (near Lexington). Although Blondeau probably never lived in Nebraska, he was a partner, on and off, with Louis Wiscomb (Wiscamp?) in the Plum Creek road ranch in 1861, 1863 and 1864, and possibly longer. The two men were engaged in selling food and supplies to emigrants heading west. In 1862 Blondeau, with his son Jules, kept another ranch "two miles after Bouvais," which was much further west.
Blondeau left St. Joseph in his old age for California, where he died in San Diego on January 21, 1892.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of one reel of microfilm containing three volumes of Account books dating from 1858-1886. This material relates to the businesses conducted by Bernard Silvaier Blondeau and the financial transactions and records these businesses produced. These account books, 1858-1886, kept by Barnard S. Blondeau, contain a meticulous record of every expenditure and account kept by him in his businesses. Of particular interest are the recordings made under either Plum Creek or Louis Wiscamp dealing with their business of Plum Creek Road Ranch. These accounts provide names of many of the early frontiersmen and Indian fighters of this area. Volume 2, particularly, and Volume 3, show entries for the Plum Creek Ranch, which operated near present-day Lexington, Nebraska.
It should be noted that because most of the recordings are in French and because Blondeau did not keep his records in strict chronological order, these account books are difficult to follow. There is also a great deal of chronological overlap, particularly in Volumes 2 and 3, so that a comprehensive view of Blondeau's financial affairs can be gotten only by going through all three volumes. Besides Blondeau's financial records, Volume 2 contains a story told to W.L. Blondeau, grandson of Bernard Blondeau, by his father, Jules, about an attack of a passenger train near Ft. Kearny. Volume 3 contains a newspaper article about the Blondeau family in which the business career of Bernard Silvaier Blondeau is described.
These account books were loaned for microfilming by the Dawson County Historical Society in September of 1979.
Photographs of the Blondeau family are held in the photo collections. Ask a staff member for assistance.
- 1861-1886; Plum Creek Ranch entries included; also contains story told to W.L. Blondeau, grandson of Bernard S. Blondeau, by his father Jules, about attack of a passenger train near Ft. Kearny.
- 1862-1875; Plum Creek Ranch entries included; also contains newspaper article about Blondeau family with emphasis on Bernard S. Blondeau's business career.
Blondeau, Bernard Silvaier, 1813-1892
Dawson County (Neb.) -- Businesses
Dawson County (Neb.) -- History
Plum Creek Ranch (Dawson County, Neb.)
03-02-2010 Revised TMM