William Carr Lane

 

William Carr Lane

Term: 1823 - 1829
1837 - 1840
Party: Whig
Born: December 1, 1789
Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Died: January 6, 1863
St. Louis, Missouri
 
William Carr Lane (Mayor 1823-1829 and 1837-1840)-Background
Mayor (1823-1829) and (1837-1840). William Carr Lane was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania on December 1, 1789. He attended Jefferson and Dickson Colleges in Pennsylvania and studied medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1816, Lane was appointed post surgeon at Fort Harrison, then commanded by Zachary Taylor. He married Miss Mary Ewing of Vincennes, Indiana, in 1818, and his family included three children. Dr. Lane came west to St. Louis in 1818 as post surgeon at Fort Bellefontaine. In 1819 he resigned from the army and formed a partnership with Dr. Samuel Merry.

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William Carr Lane (Mayor 1823-1829 and 1837-1840)-Administration
In 1823 William Carr Lane became the first Mayor of St. Louis.

He later served as the fifth Mayor as St. Louis.

Dr. Lane was elected Mayor, serving six one-year terms in succession, and after almost nine years out of office, elected again three more times -- once to fill out the unexpired term of Mayor Darby, then for two full terms. At Lane's first election he received 122 votes to Auguste Chouteau's 70. Mayor Lane, speaking to the first Board of Alderman concerning the City's future said:

'The fortunes of the inhabitants may fluctuate, you and I may sink into oblivion, and even our families become extinct, but the progressive rise of our City is morally certain. The causes of its prosperity are inscribed upon the very face of the earth, and we are as permanent as the foundations of the soil and the sources of the Mississippi.'

Upon becoming Mayor of 4000 people, William Lane found the town one of unpaved streets. Under his guidance the narrow streets were graded and improved and Main Street was paved. A small Town Hall was erected. The first Health Commission was formed and given power to abate nuisances. Physicians were required to make weekly reports of deaths. St. Louis got ready to receive its first world famous visitor. In 1825 General Lafayette visited America and came to St. Louis by steamboat. He stayed at the substantial stone home of Major Chouteau. A grand ball was given in Lafayette∆s honor on the night of April 29, 1825.

The basic Ordinances for the establishment of City government were passed during Mayor Lane's administration. The Official City Seal -- a steamboat carrying the United States Flag -- was adopted. The City was divided into three wards. Procedures for elections were written into law. Fast driving was prohibited: horses should not exceed a moderate trot or pace. Fire arms were not to be discharged within the City. The Mayor's salary was $300 per year.

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William Carr Lane (Mayor 1823-1829 and 1837-1840)-Post-Administration
In 1852, the President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, appointed Dr. William Carr Lane Governor of the New Mexico Territory. He later returned to St. Louis and continued to practice medicine until his death.

William Carr Lane died on January 6, 1863. Burial was in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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