Fort Kaskaskia

Kaskaskia, the village, was established in 1703 by French fur traders on the east side of the Mississippi; in 1730, the first fort was built on the bluff above the village, to protect it. George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia (the village) and Fort Gage in 1778 as part of his Illinois campaign. 

We had two Dodge surprises here.  One was that “freebooter” John Dodge (Henry’s uncle) and his band of brigands used this site as their headquarters until they were rousted out in 1790.  The other was that Alexander Hamilton Willard was recruited for the Corps of Discovery, here, in 1803.  Willard later married Eleanor MacDonald, sister of Christiana MacDonald Dodge, Henry’s wife.  The Willards came to the Lead Region early — I haven’t found a source, yet, but I’m thinking they  might have come up the Mississippi with the Dodge party.

A brief history of the site. Click on the picture for an easier to read size.

The shape of the original fort is still visible in the earthen mounds on the site.

For a site that was essentially nothing but a faint outline, it was a moving experience to be here.

One of the reasons for the forts being sited here was the commanding view of the Mississippi.

William Clark came here in 1803 to recruit men for the "Corps of Discovery.' One of them was Alexander Hamilton Willard, who later married a sister of Henry Dodge's wife. The Willards were early settlers in Elk Grove township in the Lead Region.


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