How
Three Biddle Brothers
Nicholas Biddle, Major Thomas Biddle and Major John Biddle
Played Roles of Westward Expansion in the United States
including
History along the Missouri River around Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska near where I live.

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This is how my family is connected. My Grandmother Martha (Mattie) (Biddle) Picton is a daughter of Henry Biddle (1841-1920). Joseph Biddle (her Great Great Great Grandfather) had a nephew Charles Biddle. Three of the sons of nephew Charles  Biddle were named Nicholas Biddle, Major Thomas Biddle and Major John Biddle. The exploration of the Missouri River at Fort Atkinson located in the town now called Fort Calhoun, Nebraska (a few miles North of Omaha) had roles played by Nicholas Biddle, Major Thomas Biddle and Major John Biddle. The following three paragraphs relate stories how the three Biddle brothers (Nicholas Biddle, Major Thomas Biddle and Major John Biddle) are connected to exploration of the Missouri River.

Nicholas Biddle at the age of 18 went to France to work on financial details of the Louisiana Purchase and became friends with Lafayette. After returning to the United States, Nicholas Biddle became the editor of "The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" (one of the more important publications of the 19th century - enter date to find location of Lewis and Clark during there expedition) where this effort which included his "Biddle Notes" were very important because these journals opened up the West. Nicholas Biddle is one of the fathers of both the central banking system in the United States and developing a trading system which became our stock exchanges. He became the president of the Second Bank of the United States ("The Bank") at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which evolved into our current Federal Reserve System. "The Bank" was blamed for all financial problems of the United States at that time and he was hated by almost everyone in the United States, but now history may be rewriting how he is viewed.

More on information Nicholas Biddle worked with as editor related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition journal. This effort included his "Biddle Notes" and what the  members of the expedition did.  Lewis sailed the Missouri River with a Sextant just as one would sail the ocean. Clark has two writeup's for each day. The first are his notes and the second is his writeup for the book that was published. You can move through the journal by putting in other dates by going to the web site above. July 10, 1804 brings up the a writeup for the day they arrived at what is now the Nebraska - Kansas state line. Other members of the Expedition also have notes. Floyd was the only member of the Expedition to die. He died at what is now Sioux City, Iowa from what is believed was appendicitis.
lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/item/lc.jrn.1804-07-21 - "The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on July 21, 1804" on the University of Nebraska website, talks about arriving at the mouth of the Plate River in what is now Nebraska.
"The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on July 27, 1804" is believed near the location of present Douglas Street in Omaha,Nebraska.
"The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on July 30, 1804" at the place they called Council Bluff at what is now Fort Calhoun, Washington County, Nebraska. They would hold council at this spot with the Indians. They prepared the pipe for peace on August 1, 1804. On August 3, 1804 Clark listed the known Indians Tribes in the area, which ones had similar languages and left on that afternoon. The Indians said they were 25 days travel from Santa Fe.
"The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on August 4, 1804" is where they passed the location where Blair, Nebraska is now located. Floyd (who died at what is now Sioux City, Iowa) wrote in his notes that they passed a stream called Fish Creek Council or Pond which must be the place we now call Fish Creek at Blair, Nebraska.  A man went back for his knife and by August 7, 1804 they realized that the man had deserted.  Clark then sent four men to bring him back and gave orders that if he did not give up peaceably, to put him to death. Now Nicholas Biddle left out of the journal the command "to put him to death" and someone, most likely Nicholas Biddle drew a red line through the command "to put him to death".

Major John Biddle was part of what became known as Long's Expedition.  J. C. Calhoun, Secretary of War ordered an Expedition lying West of the Allegheny and East of the Rocky Mountains by going up the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains for the Years 1819, 1820 under the Command of Maj. S. H. Long. The expedition went up the Missouri River and setup a winter camp called "Engineer Cantonment" at a place a few miles South of a town we now call Fort Calhoun, Nebraska (town named after J. C. Calhoun, Secretary of War). Major John Biddle was the official journalist of this expedition of 1819, but he withdrew from this assignment before the end of the year because of a situation that had happen to him. On the way up the Missouri River with the expedition, he and his party had gone ashore and were captured by the Indians. The steamboat "Western Engineer" (page down to the article on Western Engineer) of the expedition did not wait for them (as intended at the mouth of the Platte River) and continued on up the river to where they setup the winter camp at "Engineer Cantonment". The Indians robbed Major John Biddle and his party of their horses and equipment and then released them. Major John Biddle and his party had to then find their own way up the Missouri River (past the intended meeting place at the mouth of the Platte River) to the expedition winter camp and he was not a happy camper. Major John Biddle wrote a letter complaining about Maj. S. H. Long and then was discharged from the service in 1821 (One does not write such a complaint letter in the military).  He eventually was elected mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan and to the United States Senate. The steamboat "Western Engineer", had construction which was calculated to cause astonishment to the Indians. The bow of the boat was in the form of a giant sized serpent, having a carved head reared as high as the boat's deck. Smoke was forced out of the mouth of the monster causing a great roar heard for miles, and the craft was setup to appear as a huge serpent carrying the boat on its back with guns and canon pointing out the portholes. The expedition changed its plans after Major John Biddle left and went up the Platte River to explore to the Rocky Mountains then down the Arkansas River. This became known as Long's Expedition.

Major Thomas Biddle in 1820 was the paymaster at Fort Atkinson along the Missouri River located in the town now called Fort Calhoun, Nebraska (a few miles North of Omaha) at a place formally called Council Bluffs where Lewis and Clark had held council with the Indians.  After leaving Fort Atkinson a few years later, he loaned his two white horses to help pull a carriage around St. Louis, Missouri for Lafayette when Lafayette visited St. Louis.  He died in a duel fought at St. Louis, Missouri, in which he killed Spencer Pettis (a Missouri U.S. Congressman) in a duel on August 29,1831 over an argument about "The Bank" of his brother Nicholas Biddle who had "The Bank" of the United States of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The duel (which was against the law in both Missouri and Illinois) was fought on Bloody Island in the middle of the Mississippi River with hundreds looking on. As a result of Major Biddle's poor eyesight, they decided to fight the duel at a paced off distance of only five feet. The two killed each other on the first shot.

It is reported that Charles Biddle (the father of the above three brothers) hid the setting United States Vice President Aaron Burr in his home after the famous Burr duel and death of Alexander Hamilton (each man claimed the other shot first).

Mythological Genealogy from Charlemagne to my Grandmother Martha Biddle- The genealogy of the three brothers listed above are shown under Charles Biddle.





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Last Modified Oct 2018
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