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 one out of four, giving a historical review from the founding of the town to its great days.