St. Louis – The Fourth City, Volume 3 – Walter Barlow Stevens
This is not a book of dates. It does not abound in statistics. It avoids controversies of the past and prophecies of the future. The motive is to present in plain, newspaper style a narrative of the rise and progress of St. Louis to the fourth place among American cities. To personal factors rather than to general causes is credited the high position which the community has attained. Men and women, more than location and events, have made St. Louis the Fourth City. The site chosen was fortunate. Of much greater import was the character of those who came to settle. American history, as told from the Atlantic seaboard points of view, classed St. Louis as “a little trading post.” The settlement of Laclede was planned for permanence. It established stable government by consent of the governed. It embodied the homestead principle in a land system. It developed the American spirit while “good old colony times” prevailed along the Atlantic coast. Home rule found in St. Louis its first habitat on this continent. This is volume three out of four, giving a historical review from the founding of the town to its great days.
St. Louis – The Fourth City, Volume 3
Excerpt from the text:
Praetorius, Emil, L.L.D.
There is perhaps no resident of St. Louis, aside from one or two notable exceptions, who have figured so prominently in national political circles and who have so largely influenced public thought and opinion or more directly affected the national policy than Dr. Emil Praetorius. On the pages of American history there have been emblazoned the names of a few men of foreign birth who have become factors in the life of the republic because of a love of liberty and a desire for freedom of speech and conscience denied them under monarchical rule in their own country. Denied those privileges which he regarded as the inherent right of every individual, Dr. Praetorius felt that our republican government largely approached the ideal, but when he believed that in the heat and passion of war grave mistakes were being made that threatened to encroach upon the very basic principles of republican government, he used his voice, his influence and his superior powers to hold the ship of state to a steady course that it should not be wrecked upon the rocks of ultra and bitter partisanship. At one time a partner of Carl Schurz, his opinions were sought and respected by such eminent statesmen and political leaders as Charles Francis Adams, Lyman Trumbull, Stanley Matthews, J. B. Stollo, Murat Halstead, Horace Greeley and other eminent republicans.
Dr. Praetorius was born in Alzey, Rhein-Hessen, Germany, in 1827, and pursued his education at Mayence and Darmstadt. Parental ambition desired that he should become a member of the bar, and with the intention of ultimately practicing law he entered and took degrees both at Giessen and the University of Heidelberg. He early displayed the elemental strength of his character, and even in his college days gave evidence of the clear, logical mind which ever dominated his expression upon matters of vital import. At that time, too, he was recognized as a forceful and persuasive speaker and keenly alive to the questions of government and, with decided views concerning the rights of the individual and of the ruling powers, he took up arms against the monarchy in 1848, joining the revolutionary party which sought larger tolerance, but which in its military contests met defeat.
The course of the revolutionists was deemed traitorous by the monarchy and, forced to flee from the fatherland, Dr. Praetorius became a resident of the United States in 1853. He established his home in St. Louis, but -without a knowledge of the English language he found himself unable to follow the profession for which he had qualified. He then turned his attention to commercial pursuits, but -while thus engaged was closely studying the problems that confronted the American government and in 1860 fearlessly advocated the election of Abraham Lincoln and the adoption of the newly organized republican party. His gifts of oratory were now employed on the public platform in the clear, logical and forceful presentation of the principles for which the party stood. He had little ambition for himself in political lines, yet in 1862 was elected to the Missouri legislature as an emancipationist. His opinions carried weight in the councils of his party, in shaping its policies and directing its legislation, but while he was strongly opposed to the system of human slavery’ and advocated abolition as a war measure and also from the humanitarian standpoint, he had no sympathy with the radical ideals of negro equality in the social sphere. He also opposed the proscriptive course of many of the republican leaders, regarding the disfranchisement of political opponents not actually engaged in rebellion or on the ground of supposed sympathy with the southern cause. He belonged to the little band of far-sighted men whose judicial spirit caused them to recognize the injustice of methods employed by the radical partisans in the administration of an inquisitorial test oath and a system of registration applied to voters excluding a large part of the citizenship of the state. In his capacity as editor of the Westliche Post, one of the most influential German republican newspapers of the west, early in 1864 he exerted every power possible and used every argument to secure the adoption of a course that would be fair and equitable to all concerned and would continue to uphold the high ideals of republican government. For a time he was associated in publication of the paper with the Hon. Carl Schurz, and it was the Westliche Post which organized the liberal republican party that nominated and elected the Hon. B. Gratz Brown as governor and in 1872 sought to nationalize the movement. Although the party failed to elect its presidential candidate in that year it performed a most commendable work in checking the course of radical republicans and securing the adoption of more conservative measures by the regular republican party. The policy of the Post as set forth by Dr. Praetorius and his eminent associate received the endorsement of many distinguished men who were factors in molding public opinion at that time.
Even after the war and the reconstruction period had passed Dr. Praetorius continued at the head of the paper and its influence never waned. He possessed a statesman’s grasp of affairs and his discussion of all momentous public performances was so fair and impartial and based upon such common sense that it received the endorsement of all loyal American men of unbiased judgment. He continued in active connection with the Westliche Post as editor-in-chief and was also president of the German-American Press Association up to the time of his death, which occurred November 19, 1905.
Dr. Praetorius had two children: Mrs. G. Riechhoff and Edward L. Praetorius. Those who knew him in the relations of the home and of friendship found him a most congenial companion with whom association meant expansion, elevation and progress. He was a notable example of the fact that frequently the highest ideals of American patriotism and loyalty have been exemplified in men of foreign birth -who have studied the systems of government abroad as well as in this land and who recognize the possibilities of mistake and error as well as the opportunities for progress, laboring as earnestly to prevent the one as to secure the other. He stands today in the American mind as the highest type of American manhood and chivalry.
Houser, Daniel M.
Daniel M. Houser needs no introduction to St. Louis’ citizens, so closely has he been identified with the interests of the city leading to its substantial improvement, to its municipal development and to its adornment. Moreover, he is one of the best known figures in the middle west in connection with journalism and through the period of his long career there has been brought about the evolution of the newspaper to its present high standard—a work in which Daniel M. Houser has been a most active and helpful participant. For fifty-seven years he has been associated with the paper now published by the Globe Printing Company, of which he is the president.
A son of Elias and Eliza Houser, he was born in Washington county, Maryland, December 23, 1834, and was a youth in his fifth year at the time of his parents’ removal to Clark county, Missouri, whence they came to St Louis in 1846. He had no educational advantages other than those afforded by the public schools and the year 1851, when he was sixteen years of age, saw him facing the problems of the business world with a career of success or failure before him, as he should make it. His first service was in a humble capacity in the workrooms of the Union, a newspaper which was merged into the Missouri Democrat upon its purchase by the firm of Hill & McKee. The history of its evolution is contained elsewhere in this volume. It is inseparably interwoven with the annals of St. Louis and its record omitted from history’s pages would leave but a garbled version of growth and development here. Marshall Field, master of finance and merchant prince, gave this advice to young men: “Try always to be ahead of your position and increase your efficiency.” Although the words were not uttered at the time of Mr. Houser’s early connection with the Globe-Democrat, the spirit was his in his embryonic business career. He won his promotions and they signified a recognition of his general worthiness and specific business ability. He had been with the paper but a few years when he became bookkeeper and afterward general business manager. About the time he attained his majority Francis P. Blair purchased, the interest of the senior partner in the Democrat and following his retirement from connection with the paper Daniel M. Houser acquired a pecuniary interest. At that day even the most progressive newspaper had but a comparatively small equipment, its presses and other office accessories being of the most crude character as compared with those of the present day. Mr. Houser has stood in the position of leadership in the west in the advance which has practically revolutionized the newspaper business until the journal of today is in touch with every section of the globe and presents every subject, as news items or in discussion, that is of any interest to classes or to the general public. While the paper has kept abreast with the times in its search for matters of presentation through its columns, the work of the office has been carried on in the most systematic manner, every detail carefully watched with no lose of time or labor, so that maximum results are obtained by minimum effort,—which is the secret of all real success.
Mr. Houser succeeded to the presidency of the Globe Printing Company upon the death of his predecessor, Mr. McKee. He was for many years a director of the Western Associated Press and shared with Richard Smith, W. N. Haldeman, Murat Halstead, Joseph Medill and other -well known newspaper men in planning the operation that has resulted in giving to the public the journal of today, which is a combination of the magazine and the newspaper. There is no work, movement or measure of vital interest to the city which does not elicit the attention of Mr. Houser and all such which his judgment endorses as beneficial or progressive receive his personal cooperation as well as his journalistic support. It was therefore to be expected that he would be among the first to father the interests of St. Louis in connection with an exposition project and became one of the incorporators and original directors of the St. Louis Exposition. In the latter part of November, 1897, having declined to serve longer on the directorate of the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall Association, the general manager was requested by the board to express to Mr. Houser their great regret at his decision, and in doing so F. Gilennie said: “Your unselfish and disinterested work in behalf of the Exposition for fifteen years attests your loyalty to it and your public spirit in everything that has the interest of St. Louis at heart. Your unanimous nomination by the board would have been ratified by the stockholders at the election. Your uniform, courteous and considerate manner will long be remembered, and the good wishes of all will follow you for your future welfare.” Mt. Houser served as one of the directors of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, of which he was one of the chief promoters and contributed in substantial measure to the success of that great fair.
In 1862 occurred the marriage of D. M. Houser and Miss Margaret Ingram, of St. Louis, and the family numbered two sons and a daughter, the former being associated with the business department of the Globe-Democrat. Mrs. Houser died in February, 1880, and nine years later Mr. Houser was married to Miss Agnes Barlow, daughter of Stephen D. Barlow, deceased, by whom he has three children.
Entirely free from ostentation, there is neither about him the least shadow of mock modesty. He is a gentleman of fine address and thorough culture, whose citizenship has been a synonym for patriotism and whose business career has been characterized no less for the integrity of its methods than for its progressiveness and its success. Today he is not more honored on account of the enviable position which he occupies in journalistic circles than on account of the many kindly deeds of his life, which have ever been quietly and unostentatiously performed.