Joseph Charless Cabanne, a member of the Union Club in the 1860's, was the founder of the St. Louis Dairy Company. The son of John Charless and Virginia E. (Carr) Cabanne and a member of the prominent Chouteau family, he was born in St. Louis on October 16, 1846. A graduate of the Christian Brothers Academy, Cabanne studied at eastern colleges, most notably Flushing (N.Y.) Institute, before returning to St. Louis to start his business career.
Upon the advice of an uncle, Cabanne founded the Mont Cabanne Dairy in 1868 on the family farm in what is now Forest Park and in 1882 he established the St. Louis Dairy Company. An innovative businessman, Cabanne was the first to introduce covered milk wagons, a creamery, the delivery of milk in bottles, and the selling of whole milk at a cheaper price than skim milk in St. Louis. By 1893, Cabanne was one of the prominent business men of St. Louis.
An active member of the community, Cabanne was the first president of the Civics League. He was also a member of the Citizens' Industrial Association, the Missouri Athletic Club, the Amateur Athletic Club and, of course, the Union Base Ball Club of St. Louis.
In 1868, as he was launching his dairy business, Cabanne married Susan Mitchell, the daughter of Col. D.D. Mitchell. Their children included Joseph P. Cabanne, Virginia (Mrs. E.W. Little), Martha (Mrs. Robert J. Kayser), Susan (Mrs. J. Shepard Smith), Mary (Sister Mary Ambrose of the Visitation Convent), Fannie (Mrs. E. Lawrence Pearson) and Arthur Lee Cabanne.
On March 17, 1922, Cabanne, after being ill with pneumonia for several weeks, cut his throat with a straight razor and died.
The Cabanne House on Lindall Blvd. was built by Joseph Charless Cabanne just after he got married and stood on the family's farm property. In the mid 1870's, the house and part of the farm tract was purchased by the city of St. Louis and become the northeastern part of Forest Park.
I actually drove right by the place late Sunday afternoon, after leaving the History Museum, and almost stopped to take a look around. Wished I had. But as I drove by, I did think a bit about Joseph Cabanne and I guess it's a bit ironic that I then stumbled across his portrait in St. Louis, the Fourth City.