John Baptiste Charles Lucas
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John Baptiste Charles Lucas
John Baptiste Charles Lucas from Centennial History of Oregon.png

John Baptiste Charles Lucas (August 14, 1758 - August 17, 1842) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

John B. C. Lucas was born in Pont-Audemer, Normandy, France. He attended the Honfleur and Paris Law Schools, and graduated from the law department of the University of Caen in 1782. He practiced law in France until 1784, when he immigrated to the United States, settled near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He engaged in agricultural pursuits.

Lucas was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1792 to 1798. He served as judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1794.

In the early 1800s, newly-elected president Thomas Jefferson appointed Lucas to a secret mission to St. Louis and New Orleans. Lucas reported directly to the president on the sentiments of the Spaniards in those cities toward the United States, in preparation for Jefferson's efforts at westward expansion.[1]

With strong support from President Jefferson,[1] Lucas was elected as a Republican to the Eighth and Ninth Congresses and served until his resignation in 1805, before the assembling of the Ninth Congress. He moved to St. Louis (then part of the Louisiana Territory), having been appointed district judge for the District of Louisiana (which became Missouri Territory in 1812), and served from 1805 until 1820, when he resigned. He also served as commissioner of land claims of northern Louisiana from 1805 to 1812. He resumed agricultural pursuits and died near St. Louis in 1842. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery.

While in Missouri he donated land in downtown St. Louis in 1816 for a courthouse that is now part of the Gateway Arch National Park. When the courthouse was abandoned in 1930 as the court functions relocated to larger quarters, his descendants fought unsuccessfully to get the courthouse back. The Gateway Arch frames the view of the courthouse from the Mississippi River.

Five of Lucas' sons were to die violently, including Charles Lucas, who was killed in a duel with Senator Thomas Hart Benton.


  1. ^ a b Gaston, Joseph. Centennial History of Oregon, volume 1. (wikisource link).


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