In May, 1873, a St. Louis priest, old and infirm, dedicated a new riverboat named for him. It was fitting the boat should be named for the priest who often had been carried upriver by its captain and who had referred to the Missouri as “my river.”Ten days later the old priest was dead.His name was Pierre Jean DeSmet, a Flemish Jesuit priest. He and several other Jesuits came to Missouri in 1823 to establish an Indian school in St. Louis. Although he was a faculty member there for years, he was also a roving missionary and it is in that role that he is best remembered.

AOWM January 30, 2005