Biography of Benjamin C. Chouteau
Benjamin C. Chouteau was born in 1835, in Johnson County, Kansas, the only son of Cyprian Chouteau (of French descent), who was an Indian trader. Benjamin’s mother was Miss Rogers, a full blood Shawnee and sister to Graham Rogers, at one time second chief of the Shawnees. Benjamin attended public school until his sixteenth year, after which he went to California and followed mining, at which he was not very successful. He spent twenty-five years of his life traveling in British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho, etc., and in November 1877, arrived back in Vinita, Cherokee Nation. Here he purchased a small place south of town and went to farming, which business he now continues. In 1885 he was elected member of the Cherokee Council, which office he held for two years. In February 1891, Mr. Chouteau started in the general mercantile business in Vinita, and in the same year associated himself with Mr. Thomason, the firm being known by the name of Chouteau & Thomason. These gentlemen carry a stock of about $16,000 in general merchandise. Mr. Chouteau owns about 400 acres of improved farm ten miles from town, and 40 head f cattle, besides horses and mules. In 1880 Mr. Chouteau married Mrs. Shaw, daughter of Charles Tucker, once chief of the Shawnees, the most prominent man of his day amongst his tribe, and one of three who made the treaty with the Cherokees. By this marriage he has four children, Benjamin C., Edgar G., Albert C. and Blanche, ranging in ages from twelve to five. He has also a stepdaughter of eighteen or nineteen years of age, named Corea Shaw, who is living with the family. Mrs. Chouteau is a lady of good education. She is kind and charitable, and has a host of friends. Mr. Chouteau is fully six feet in height, and is a gentleman of fine appearance, with a good address and a thorough practical business education. He is half Shawnee by blood. His sister married Carl Guinnette, a leading architect in Kansas City, Missouri.