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Thursday, October 24, 2013

LA FAMILLE Chapter 2 THE TRADER


Trading Post and Restaurant
courtesy photobucket.
 
The river had frozen over but as soon as the river was clear of ice, Jean headed down the river to find his family.

Along the way down, he made several deals, buying things people needed to sell in order to buy food.  He would only give them twenty five percent or less in the case of jewelry of what the stuff was worth.

He had accumulated a large stash of stuff, but then he had to protect his  goods for there were some rowdy men on board who would kill you and throw you overboard after robbing you.

The word got out that he was an expert with a knife and had killed several ruffians which may or may not have been true.  In any case no one bothered him after this story got out, for the hooligans were looking for an easy target.

Jean was almost broke when he arrived in New Orleans so he set about selling all of the bounty he acquired on his trip down stream.  

As he finished selling his prizes his oldest sister Alma saw him and ran and hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  She said everyone was worried about him for it had been a year since they had heard from him.

When he arrived at the home place, he told them about all he had been up to, and that he would again be heading back north as soon as he could get some farm equipment and horses.  They tried to get him to stay for they were making out right well in the businesses they ran.

Jean declined and said if any of the brothers wanted to return with him he would see to it that they prospered along with him.  One or two showed some interest but elected to remain in New Orleans.  

He managed to make some good deals on the equipment he wanted but decided to get further up stream before looking for good work horses.

Many people arriving at the river were deciding not to go any further and were willing to sell their whole outfit for a very reasonable price.

At one of the stops he found three wagons with teams and household goods for a cheap price and made a deal for the man of the house to drive the teams to St. Louis which was only four days away.

He paid half down and the balance when they arrived at their destination.  To be sure they would fulfill their part of the bargain he said that if they tried to not keep their promise he would find them and harm them.

They kept their word and were in St. Louis in the four days as they promised.  They also promised to help him load everything on a ferry to cross the river to the other side and then down to his property on the West side of the river.  

One of the men had a family with a wife and two sons that were big enough to start to work.  Jean discussed the possibility of the man going to work for him.  The man had said that he had farmed all his life and after a long discussion they came to an agreement.  

There was a house started on each of the five plots Jean owned and the first thing was to finish the houses that had been started by the former tenants so they could get out of the wagons and into a warm, dry environment.

While Jean wanted to own a lot of land, his main interest was in trading.

He knew he could make more money by trading than he could ever make by farming but the thought of owning land intrigued him.  Soon he was able to make a couple of more deals for some more plots of land the people had left.

This winter convinced some more of the growers that farming wasn’t for them.  There were several more that wanted to sell but Jean put them off by telling them to get their crops in, and he might talk to them about making a deal.

Jean found two more families that were on hard times and made a similar deal with them to come and work for him.  He had more tools than he needed so he went to some established farmers and sold them for a profit.

After managing to buy six more plots of land, he made an arrangement with four of the families to work them.

For himself he set up a trading post and a restaurant and would trade for almost anything.  Some things he would ship down river for there was no market for it in St. Louis and there his kin would find buyers for it there.

There was one fellow named Wyman who had experience in merchandising that understood the principles of buying and selling that he put in charge of the post at St. Louis until Monet arrived.

Jean explained that he wanted to setup another post further to the north and he needed someone like themselves to run the post in St. Louis to ship goods north to the new post.  
 
After six months he felt Wyman and Monet had everything under control and the weather was breaking so he could head north.

To be Continued

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