Joseph Michael “Michel dit Tayon” Tayon Sr.


Joseph Michael “Michel dit Tayon” Tayon Sr.

Death 1807
Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Burial Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Plot Section 5
Memorial ID 38804277 View Source
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One of the founding settlers of St. Louis, Mo.

Joseph Michael Tayon aka Joseph Michel dit Tayon (his French dit/nickname), was born in about 1715 and was French by birth. He probably was born in Canada or France, but the location is unknown.

He was one of the founding settlers of St. Louis (future Missouri). In 1766, and likely much longer, he was known as the wealthiest man in St. Louis. His name and the name of his mill also were spelled Taillon in early times. He primarily was referred to, rather equally, as Joseph Michael Tayon or Joseph Michel dit Tayon; at times his children were referred to as that, or simply with surname Michel.

Joseph M. Tayon. another form of his name seen, was among the first St. Louis settlers who was given a verbal land grant in by St. Louis founder Pierre Laclede in 1765. Tayon's land was listed as:
* No. 33: south half to Joseph Taillon, stone.
Source: Annals of St. Louis; pub 1886.

After immigrating to America, Tayon had settled with his wife and children in Fort de Chartres and then Cahokia (both in future Illinois) before moving to St. Louis in 1764.

A miller by trade, Tayon also built the first dam in St. Louis in 1765 to power Taillon's Mill, his grist (flour) mill. (Years later, St. Louis co-founder Auguste Chouteau acquired the property and replaced Tayon's wooden mill with a stone mill.)

Tayon married Marie-Louise Bosset, a Canadian by birth. They probably were married before 1749.

When, in 1766, their daughter Marie-Josephe (Michel dit) Tayon married Paul Kiercereau, the Kiercereaus also were one of St. Louis' wealthiest families. St. Louis founder Pierre Laclede stood as a witness for Marie-Josephe at the marriage as a friend of the family. (Some 17 years later, in 1783, Marie-Joseph and Paul's daughter Pelagie Kiercereau would marry Jean Pierre Chouteau, who was Laclede's natural son with Madame Chouteau.)

Tayon died in 1807, reportedly at age 92, in St. Louis. He was buried Dec. 3, 1807, in Old Cathedral Cemetery (defunct). (The cemetery and their early settlers original homes were generally where the St. Louis Arch now stands.) Tayon apparently was among those who were reinterred from Old Cathedral Cemetery (aka King of France Cemetery) to Calvary Cemetery.

Tayon is one of the 30 earliest St. Louis founders honored by this monument (see photos of Calvary Cemetery marker) which was donated by the Gamache family and the St. Louis Archdiocese.

In honor of this Joseph Tayon, the City of St. Louis named a downtown street after him in the mid-1830s called Tayon Avenue. There also was a Tayon Avenue Bridge built in 1882 over the downtown railroad yards on Tayon Avenue; the bridge was replaced in 1908. Tayon Avenue now is known as 18th Street. In 1883, when it first was renamed, Tayon Avenue also included other streets north and south of downtown.

Bio by Leslie at


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