Biographical Sketch of F. B. Kercheval, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, MO

>From "History of Buchanan County, Missouri, Published 1881, St. Joseph
Steam Printing Company, Printers, Binders, Etc., St. Joseph, Missouri.

Captain F. B. Kercheval stands among the first settlers of Buchanan
County, and is thoroughly conversant with the first commercial trans-
actions done at Robidoux' Landing. He is a native of Montgomery
County, Tennessee, and was born near Nashville, July 9, 1817, was
there reared, and received his education. John, his father, was a
native of Virginia, and settled in Tennessee when a young man, and
was extensively engaged in the manufacture of iron, in that state.
Our subject came to Missouri in the fore part of 1841, engaging in
business at Fredricktown, and in the spring of 1842, came to St.
Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Kercheval brought with him a stock of general
merchandise, with the intention of engaging in trade, but abandoned
the idea and engaged in farming, a short distance from this place,
in Washington Township, and he took an active part in laying out the
wagon roads, building school houses, churches, and developments of
the township generally. In 1852, he embarked in the hardware busi-
ness in St. Joseph, continuing until 1856, when he commenced steam
boating. At Louisville, Kentucky, he had built the steamer Omaha,
which he placed between St. Joseph and Omaha. In 1857, he built the
Hesperian, which was burnt opposite Atchison, a few years later.
Captain Kercheval is an old steamboat man of the Missouri River, he
having established lines between St. Joseph and Omaha, and St. Joseph
and Kansas City. After the war broke out, he embarked in the whole-
sale grocery trade here. The firm was known as Kercheval & Donovan,
and afterwards F. B. Kercheval & Co. In 1864, an enterprise was
successfully carried out by Messrs. Kercheval, Joseph Kinney, J. C.
Ogden, Thos. Tootle and Powell & Levy, which eclipsed any previous
commercial undertaking in St. Joseph. They fitted out forty-six
wagons, loaded with general merchandise, and had 220 yoke of oxen,
which they drove through to Virginia City, Montana and established a
wholesale grocery house, the style of the firm being Kercheval, Kenny
& Co. In 1865, Mr. Kwercheval, withdrew, and established a wholesale
grocery house at Helena, Montana, continuing until 1868, when he re-
turned to St. Joseph, and engaged in the milling business, he building
the Kercheval Flour Mill, and, in connection with this branch, was
extensively engaged in grain buying, with which interest he was ident-
ified until the memorable crisis of 1873, when he was obliged to
succumb to the pressure, and lost heavily. In 1839, he was married to
Miss Helen Kay. They have by this union, four children: Sarah Ann,
wife of Judge A. H. Gambrill, of Alton, Illinois; Minnie, wife of F. M.
Long, Civil Engineer, at Alton, Illinois; John K. and Fanny, wife of
J. H. Thorp.

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