Francis Guittar – Early Citizen of Council Bluffs

Francis Guittar had a life that should have been written down. Unfortunately we only have a few stories told later in life.

Francis Guittar was born in St Louis on September 25, 1809. At the age of 14 he became a cook on a river boat that traveled between St. Louis and the council bluffs.

In 1827 he became an agent for the American Fur Company at Trader’s Point. He kept small store stocked with goods in order to trade with the local Native American tribes. This was not a stationary job as Francis traveled to the headwaters of the Missouri and most of the great plains to the west.
It was during this time that he got caught up in a battle with the Pawnee against the Sioux. Guittar was camped with the Pawnee near present day Fremont, NE. They were attacked by a large group of Sioux. Francis had guns that he had provided to the Pawnee and they were able to fend off the attacking party. Francis was shot in the right leg during the battle.

Francis Guittar continued to use Trader’s Point as his home and base of operations for many years.

When it comes to Francis Guittar’s personal life, things can get a bit confusing.

He had two children with a Pawnee woman. According to a family tree on Ancestry her name was Skatoos or Che-sah-ra-co-hutt. The children were Henry (1836-1894) and Susannah (1838-1936). They were both born in Nebraska Territory.

In 1842 Francis married Eugenie Bonnais in Missouri. They had three children Theodore (1842-1919), Francis Jr. (1844-1938) and Frederic (1846-1910).

In 1850 Francis was listed as living with Eugenie and the children in Missouri and he was also listed as living in Pottawattamie County with Mary Morgan. I have a feeling Francis did a lot of traveling between Iowa and Missouri.

In a 1936 Daily Nonpareil article about Guittar it is told that Francis met Mary Morgan in 1847 and they married soon after. The article does mention his first wife, that she had died and not much was known about her. Truth is, Eugenie was alive and well in Missouri when Francis met Mary. Eugenie passed away in 1906.

In 1857 Eugenie gave birth to Edward Guittar in Missouri, but since Eugenie admitted in the baptismal record that she and Francis had not lived together in over 6 years, odds are this was not Francis’ son.

By the 1856 Iowa census Francis and Mary Ann were now listed has husband and wife. Ultimately they had three children that lived to adulthood, Matilda (1855-1883), Adolph (1856-1879) and Mary Ann (1858-1957). Several children died in infancy. By 1870 Theodore had joined his father’s family in Council Bluffs.

In the 1850s Francis gave up the trading post and set up store in Council Bluffs. He remained in business until 1870 when he retired.

Francis enjoyed his retirement and was well known around town for his stories of the “early days”.

In 1894 Francis suffered a stroke and passed away 2 years later on April 25, 1896. He was 87. Mary Ann Guittar passed away on May 12, 1916, she was 83 years old. They are both buried in Fairview Cemetery.