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Name:    Lucas, Charles
Description:    Charles Lucas, the son of John B.C. Lucas, was an up-and-coming young attorney and land speculator in St. Louis who was killed in the most famous duel in the City’s history.

Lucas gained notoriety in 185-16 when he succeeded in acquiring large tracts of land at pennies on the dollar from people whose properties had been ruined in the New Madrid earthquake. Much of his property was located northwest of the City in an area he named Normandy.

In 1817, Lucas was named U.S. Attorney for the Missouri Territory by President James Madison, despite the fact Lucas was only 25 years old at the time. Later that year, he took on Thomas Hart Benton, a frequent opponent of his in trial court, by questioning Benton’s right to vote. Benton replied with a challenge for a duel. On August 12, 1817, the two men met on a small island in the middle of the Mississippi River—Blood Island— and Lucas was shot and wounded. Unwilling to let the matter rest, Benton insisted on a second duel, which was held on the same island a month later. Benton’s shot killed the young Lucas, but tarnished the reputations of both Benton and St. Louis, which came to be regarded as a violent and dangerous place. (Primm, 114; Gerteis, 3-4)

Duel at ´Bloody Island´



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