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Benoist Troost bio


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Etymology of troost, Dutch for Holy Spirit

c.1200, from O.N. traust "help, confidence," from P.Gmc. *traust- (cf. O.Fris. trast, Du. troost "comfort, consolation," O.H.G. trost "trust, fidelity," Ger. Trost "comfort, consolation," Goth. trausti "agreement, alliance"). Related to O.E. treowian "to believe, trust," and treowe "faithful, trusty" (see true). Meaning "businesses organized to reduce competition" is recorded from 1877. The verb (c.1225) is from O.N. treysta "to trust." Trust-buster is recorded from 1903. Trustee in the sense of "person who is responsible for the property of another" is attested from 1653. Trustworthy is first attested 1808.

By Fr. David Altschul

Troost Avenue was named after Dr. Benoist Troost. Born in Bois Le Duc, Holland, on November 17, 1786, Dr. Troost came to this area during the 1840s (Sandy, 1984, p. 151). This was the period of mercantile discovery of Kansas City as an ideal location for trade. Located at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, the early fur traders were afforded relative easy transport for their business (The History of Jackson County, Missouri, 1881/1966, p. 375, 377-378).

Inordinate trading with local Native American nations was the original impetus for much of the attraction to the area (The History, 1881/1966, p. 399). This level of commerce is indicated by items obtained for ten cents in St. Louis later being sold for five or six dollars to traders among the Delaware, Pottawatomie, Kansas, or Shawnee nations (The History, 1881/1966, p. 399). The many Native American nations gathered in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma during this period was due, of course, to the forced migration of Indian nations during the Jackson era. The Wyandotte nation resided in current Kansas City, Kansas. The Shawnee dwelt in Mission Hills, Mission and Shawnee, Kansas. The proximity of this market was an enticement for settlers in Westport and, eventually, the town of Kansas, later to be called Kansas City (The History, 1881/1966, pp. 386-388, 395-399).

Eventually, the merchants developed other areas of enterprise. The Dutch doctor, Benoist Troost, was one of the founding fathers of Kansas City, Missouri. He, along with two other doctors, seven farmers, three butchers, and other merchants, grocers, traders, and laborers (to name some of the professions), purchased various portions of the Prudhomme estate in 1846 (The History, 1881/1966, pp. 408-409). This piece of real estate stretched “between Broadway and Troost avenue, from the river back to the township line, which runs along Independence Avenue” (The History, 1881/1966, p. 396). That Dr. Troost, who died on February 8, 1859, already had been honored with an avenue in his name by 1881 shows that he was a significant member among Kansas City’s early leaders.

In addition to his real estate investments, he also invested in the city’s first newspaper, called the Public Ledger in the early1850s (The History, 1881/1966, p. 418)0. It later became known as the The Kansas City Journal, which lasted until 1942 (McEniry, 2002). In 1854, Dr. Troost was elected to the city council ((The History, 1881/1966, p. 414). Then, in December, 1855, he along with other city leaders, incorporated the Kansas City, Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company, setting up the road between Kansas City and Cameron, Missouri (The History, 1881/1966, p. 443).

Dr. Benoist Troost, and his wife, Mary Ann Gilliss Troost, have their portraits on display in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Painted by the local artist, George Caleb Bingham in the same year of Troost’s death, 1859, the portraits are another part of the legacy Dr. Troost leaves behind (Sandy, 1984, p. 151).


Sandy, W. (1984) Here lies kansas city. Kansas City: Bennett Schneider.

The history of jackson county, missouri (1966) Cape Girardeau, MO: Ramfre Press (Reprinted from Kansas City, MO: Union Historical Company, 1881)

McEniry, K. (2002) From local project to lively pioneer: a short history of the kansas city journal-post. Dept. of Special Collections: Miller Nichols Library, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Linked to: HYPERLINK Accessed: March 13, 2005

updated link,

Short Bio of Benoist Troost
“Benoist Troost, physician, city father and early entrepreneur, was born November 17, 1786, in Holland. His medical training is uncertain, but he was reputed to have served as a medical steward in Napoleon’s army. Before coming to the Kansas City, he and his brother operated a successful lead works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From Pittsburgh, Troost moved to St. Louis in 1845. According to legend, while staying at a hotel there, he met two prominent area citizens who successfully urged him to settle in Jackson County. Troost moved to Independence, Missouri, and practiced medicine there for a few years before moving to Westport Landing, which was then a separate town from Kansas City. He was the first resident physician in Kansas City”.

When lots were sold for the Town Company of Kansas in 1846, Troost bought five. In 1849, as the California gold rush peaked, Troost and his wife's uncle, William Gilliss, built the town's first brick hotel at the corner of Delaware and Wyandotte Streets. It was originally called Troost House but later renamed the Gilliss House. After the Town of Kansas—now the city of Kansas City, Missouri—was incorporated in 1850, Troost became one of the trustees who governed it. He was involved in the effort to publish the first newspaper in Kansas City, the Kansas City Enterprise, in the 1850s. Troost was also one of the incorporators of the first Chamber of Commerce in 1857.

In February 1859, he died at age 72. Troost Avenue and Troost Park bear his name. (Lee, J., 2003). Kansas City Library 

The Troost Folks - a loose collaboration.

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last updated 2/11/12