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John Mason Peck (1789-1858) was and American Baptist Missionary, who would go on to become one of St. Louis's leading citizens.  In the 1820’s, he founded one of the first Protestant churches west of the Mississippi, the first college in Illinois, and ordained the first African-American clergy in St. Louis.  He also established the first schools for slaves in St. Louis. He was a great publicist for the region and encouraged settlement back east through his famous gazetteer for Missouri and Illinois, and wrote many other books which celebrated the pioneer spirit and history of the area.