William Lindsay Long

William Lindsay Long (1789-1849) was the founder of the town of Fenton, Missouri. He named the town after his grandmother, Elizabeth Fenton Bennett of Cardigan, Wales. His parents, Captain John Long and Elizabeth Bennett eloped to America, residing in Philadelphia initally. Later they moved to Virginia, Kentucky, and finally Missouri.


William Lindsay Long arrived in Missouri at the age of 5 and remained a resident of the area for the rest of his life. In July, 1808, he married Elizabeth Sappington, one of the seventeen children of John Sappington, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Elizabeth was a sister to Thomas Sappington, original owner of the historic “Sappington House” in Crestwood, Missouri.


The Longs built their first home, known as “White Haven”. Ulysses S. Grant was one of the subsequent owners of the home. It is now owned by St. Louis County, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. On March 23, 1818, William Lindsay Long purchased 408 acres of land along the Meramec River. He drafted plans for the new town of Fenton, which would consist of an eight square block area, divided into eighty small lots.


Long sold “White Haven” and moved his family to the new town. By 1820 Long had only managed to sell 2 lots, later that year he moved back to the same area where “White Haven” had been built. In 1849 he died in a cholera epidemic, along with other members of his family. Shortly thereafter, his Fenton property was sold on the courthouse steps. Two of his sons, John Fenton Long and Harrison L. Long were among those that purchased the lots. The Long family was highly respected among the pioneer families of the St. Louis area.