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Genealogy Trails

Forts of Illinois
Transcribed by Kim Torp

Forts are quickly listed by county or by name in alphabetical order.

View a map
here of some of the more well-known forts

The alphabetical order list also gives whatever historical information is known about the fort. The information is quoted directly from pages 255-271 of the
"Encyclopedia of Historic Forts" by Robert B. Roberts
©November 16, 1987 - 897 pages total

For your further reading enjoyment, view the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois' piece on

Links will take you to pictures or drawings of the forts.

County in which
Fort was located

Fort, Camp or Post






FORT JONES (Green's Fort)
HILL'S FORT (existed in the summer of 1811) This fort covered an acre of ground and located eight miles southwest of present Greenville and located a mile and half north of JONES Fort.
In 1905, that land was owned by farmer John O'Byrne










HILL'S FORT (Carlyle Fort)




FORT MIAMIS (Fort des Miamis)
FORT SHERIDAN (Camp Highwood)




FORT PAYNE (Fort Paine)













Jo Daviess





FORT CAHOKIA (Fort Bowman)




FORT JOHNSON (Fort Ottawa)
FORT ST. LOUIS NO. 1 (Fort St. Louis de Rocher; Fort St. Louis des Illinois)
FORT ST. LOUIS NO. 2 (Fort Pimitoui; Fort Illinois; Fort Peoria)










FORT MASSAC (Fort Ascension)




FORT HENLINE (now Logan co)






FORT CREVECOEUR (exact location not known, but close to the Illinois River) Read an article by Arthur Lagron which purports to prove the actual location of this fort. (NEW!)






FORT KASKASKIA (Fort Gage; Fort Clark)

Rock Island

FORT ARMSTRONG (Rock Island Arsenal; Rock Island Barracks)



St. Clair











FORT HANNA (in then White co.)
FORT MCHENRY (in then White co.)
STARKEY'S FORT (in then White co.)
TANQUARY'S FORT (in then White co.)
FORT WILLIAMS (in then White co.)





Unknown Counties

FORT LA FOURCHE (Altes Fort; Fort Francois; Vieu Fort)
FORT STE. ANNE (between Cahokia and Kaskaskia)

alphabetical listing of forts with brief histories of each.

Source: "Encyclopedia of Historic Forts"
by Robert B. Roberts
©November 16, 1987
pgs. 255-271


FORT ALLISON - The vicinity of Russellville in Lawrence County was settled in 1809 or 1810 by Kentucky Baptist families, with the Allison clan conspicuous among them. They erected a fort in the spring of 1812 on Samuel Allison's property.


ALTON (CAMP) POST - A military prison in operation during 1862-65, Alton Post was located at or near the town of Alton in Madison County.

CAMP ANNA - A Civil War encampment, this post was located at or near the town of Anna in Union County.

FORT APPLE RIVER - A fortified stockade, enclosing at least one two-story blockhouse, erected during the Black Hawk War, this fort was located near the present town of Elizabeth, about 12 miles east of Galena, in Jo Daviess County. On the night of June 24, 1832, about 150 Indians led by Black Hawk attacked the fort, then occupied by 22 men (mostly miners) and 23 women and children. Their spirited defense forced the Indians to withdraw after committing depredations and driving off horses and cattle. The fort continued as a settler's refuge until the close of the war

FORT ARMSTRONG (Rock Island Arsenal; Rock Island Barracks) - Rock Island's military history goes back to the close of the War of 1812, shortly after which Fort Armstrong was built there. Construction of the post, primarily intended to both keep hostile Indians in check and prevent British traders from operating on American territory, was begun on May 10, 1816, at the lower end of the island situated in the Mississippi River between the present cities of Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois. Established by Colonel George Davenport (for whom Davenport was named) in compliance with an order of Brevet Brigadier General Thomas A. Smith, Regiment of Riflemen, the post was located immediately to the east of the Sauk (Sac) and Fox Reservation on the Iowa side of the river. Many of the activities associated with the Black Hawk War of 1832 took place in the post's vicinity.

Fort Armstrong, named in honor of former as having been Secretary of War John Armstrong, was described as having been situated on the lower extremity of the island where the shoreline consisted of 30-foot high perpendicular cliffs of limestone. Two sides of the quadrangular fort were protected by the cliffs. The two blockhouses were two stories high, their second stories being placed diagonally upon the first. The faces were made up principally by the rear walls of the barracks and storehouse, which were about 20 feet high and furnished with two rows of loopholes. The works were constructed principally of timber and the lower part of the blockhouses, including lower embrasures, were stone. The stone magazine measured 70 square feet, with walls 4 feet thick. A government Indian factory was established at the post in the spring of 1822, shortly before the factory system was ended, and was terminated on December 31, 1822. Fort Arm strong was abandoned on May 4, 1836. A reconstructed blockhouse near the end of Government Bridge over the river marks the site of the fort. (See also ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL.)

FORT ARMSTRONG - A frontier fort erected in about the year 1812, Fort Armstrong was reportedly located in the vicinity of Allendale, Wabash County.


BARCROFT PLACE FORT - A defense erected during the War of 1812, it was located at or near Barcroft Place in Jackson County.

FORT BARNEY - William Barney, who had emigrated from western New York, built an Indian defense in 1811 in the vicinity of Allendale, Wabash County.

FORT BARTHOLOMEW - An Indian defense, this frontier fort was erected in 1832 by General Thomas Bartholomew five miles northwest of Pleasant Hill, McLean County.

BARTLETTS BLOCKHOUSE - A blockhouse erected by Joseph Bartlett during the War of 1812 in Pin Oak Township, Madison County, it remained standing until about 1834 when he tore it down, moved it nearer his residence, and converted it into stables.

BECK'S BLOCKHOUSE - Paul Beck, one of Madison County's earliest residents, built his blockhouse about three miles east of Edwardsville. Most probably erected in 1811, it proved to be a popular refuge during the Indian troubles associated with the War of 1812.

FORT BEGGS - The home of Methodist minister S. R. Beggs, located at Plainfield, Will County, was converted into a fort in 1832 in anticipation of Indian attacks during the Black Hawk War.

FORT BELLEFONTAINE - Five families, residing near Bellefontaine, now part of Waterloo in Monroe County, united and built a blockhouse in early 1787 and surrounded it with a palisade.

CAMP BISSELL - A Civil War recruiting and training camp, Camp Bissell was established 1861 "near Belleville and Caseyville" in St. Clair County. The post was probably named in honor of William H. Bissell, the first Republican govenor of Illinois who practiced law in the county.

BLACK (BLOCK) ISLAND FORT - According to a National Archives citation, this fortification, armed with six guns, stood on an eminence atop one of the Black Islands in the Mississippi River, "about 130 leagues above the mouth of the Ohio River." A sketch of the fort appeared in an 1854 newspaper.

CAMP BLUM - A temporary Civil War assembly point for recruits, Camp Blum was located within the precincts of Chicago and established during the early months of the war.

BOONE'S FORT - Jonathan Boone, a brother of Daniel Boone, established a land claim on August 24, 1814, near the town of New Haven, Gallatin County, and soon after erected a stockade on the bank of the Little Wabash River. The stockade reportedly enclosed a considerable tract of land on which were constructed additional protections.

FORT BOULTINGHOUSE - A fort built during the War of 1812 by Daniel Boultinghouse in the northern part of then White County. He was killed by Indians on the prairie named for him, near his home and fort, in 1813.


CAMP BRADLEY - A briefly used World War I training post, Camp Bradley was established at Peoria in late 1918.

BRASHEAR'S FORT - Located at or near Harrisonville, Monroe County, Brashear's Fort was a frontier defense in use from 1786 to 1795.

CAMP BUREAU - A Civil War training facility, Camp Bureau was established in 1861 on the county's fair grounds at Princeton, Bureau County. The camp was in use at least through 1862 primarily for infantry troops.

CAMP BUTLER - A Civil War concentration camp for Illinois Volunteers, Camp Butler was established in August 1861 and used until June 1866. It was located six miles east of Springfield and named for William Butler, then Illinois State Treasurer. Here about a third of the Illinois regiments were mustered into Federal service and later discharged. It was at this camp that Ulysses S. Grant offered his services. He became drill officer during the early months of the war, whipping into shape many regiments of infantry, artillery, and especially cavalry. His usefulness became so apparent to superior officers, that within a year after he left Camp Butler he was winning plaudits as commander of the Army of Tennessee. After the capture of Fort Donelson, Camp Butler was used also as a prison camp, housing at one time as many as 3,600 captured Confederates. Its site is now a national cemetery.

FORT BUTLER - Located near the site of the present village of St. Jacob in Madison County, Fort Butler was an Indian defense built in 1812 and used as a refuge for 11 families of this and adjoining townships. It was never attacked.

FORT CAHOKIA (Fort Bowman) - The oldest town in Illinois, Cahokia on the Mississippi River was founded in 1698 when a mission was established here by the Seminary of Foreign Missions among the Cahokia and Tamaroa Indians, the only Mississippi Valley settlement not under Jesuit jurisdiction. The Seminary today is represented by Laval University at Quebec. In 1733, when the town's French settlers felt themselves threatened by the region's Indians, they built a wooden fort and garrisoned it with 20 men. By the terms of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, all of the French possessions in the Mississippi Valley, excepting New Orleans, passed into British control. Cahokia became a center of considerable trade and a depository of British arms for distribution among their allied Indians during the early years of the Revolution in the Valley. The British fort in Cahokia was most probably the former old stone-built Seminary mission.

The year 1777 was a bloody one for the American settlements along the frontier, because of the British-inspired Indian raids. Twenty-six-year-old George Rogers Clark of Kentucky felt that aggressive action was needed by the Americans. ... The government of Virginia empowered him to raise the necessary army and with great secrecy Clark and his small force captured Kaskaskia by surprise on 4 July 1778. He immediately sent his trusted officer, Captain Joseph Bowman, with some forty men and a party of Kaskaskians, to take the villages to the north. Cahokia was peacefully occupied on July 6. In Cahokia Bowman found an old stone house built in 1763 to serve as the parish house which the British had later used for a barracks. Bowman occupied the building, repaired it, and it became known as "Fort Bowman." However minor the part it played during the war, it was nevertheless the westernmost post of the American government...

With Spain's declaration of war on England in 1779, a new phase began in the war in the West. The British immediately planned a vast strategy for capturing the valley, sending a British and Indian army to attack St. Louis and Cahokia on 26 May 1780. Their defeat ended the last serious British attempt to conquer the region. When the war ended Clark had achieved his original objectives. But the Creoles of the Illinois villages, as the pawns in the international struggle, were bankrupt and embittered... Cahokia never recovered. The growth of St. Louis, the decline of the fur trade which had long sustained the village, all combined to relegate the village to the status of a quiet, country village. [Old Cahokia, ed. John Francis McDermott 1949, "Affairs at Fort Bowman, 1778-1780" ed. Charles van Ravenswaay, pp. 232-33]

CAMP CAIRO - A temporary Civil War encampment, it was established in 1861 at or near Cairo on the Mississippi River.



FORT CHAMBERS. Erected by Nathan Chambers on his property in either 1811 or 1812, his fort was located one mile south of today's Summerfield, St. Clair County, and provided a refuge from Indian depredations for neighboring families.

FORT (DE) CHARTRES (Fort Cavendish). Fort de Chartres State Park, 20 acres in area, occupies the site of a former French fortress in the fertile valley commonly known as the American Bottom, 4 miles from Prairie du Rocher, in the northwest corner of Randolph County, close to the Mississippi River. The fort was the seat of military and civil government in the Illinois country for more than half a century.

Shortly after Father Marquette and Joliet traversed the Mississippi in 1673, La Salle explored the region through which it flowed and laid claim to the entire valley in the name of France. The fertile soil in the bottom lands east of the river below the mouth of the Missouri and the pervading belief among the French that the bluffs in the region contained gold and silver drew many settlers. The hills, however, failed to yield precious metals in appreciable amount, and the people turned to agriculture and the fur trade.

With colonization came the necessity for some form of civil and military rule. In the autumn of 1718, Pierre Duqué de Boisbriant, who had been appointed commandant of the Illinois country, arrived at Kaskaskia with instructions to erect a permanent military post. He selected a site 18 miles north of Kaskaskia on the east bank of the Mississippi and built a strong wooden stockade, reinforced on the interior with the earth excavated for the moat. This was the first Fort de Chartres, completed in 1720 and named for the son of Philip, duke of Orleans, regent of France. Exposed to the flood waters of the Mississippi, the fort quickly fell into disrepair. It was rebuilt in 1727, but by 1732 it was so dilapidated that Robert Groston, sieur de St. Ange, the commandant, built a new fort bearing the same name at some distance from the river. By 1747 this too had fallen into a condition beyond repair, and the garrison was withdrawn to Kaskaskia.

In 1751 the French again planned a strong fortification. The government selected Kaskaskia as the site, but the engineer in charge, Jean Baptiste Saucier, chose a location near the old fort. Construction was begun in 1753, and three years later the structure was substantially completed. The stone blocks were quarried and numbered in the bluffs about three miles to the east and transported across the lake to the fort in boats and on rafts. The massive stone walls, 18 feet high and more than 2 feet thick, enclosed about 4 acres. From the 15-foot-high arched gateway a railed, stone stairway led to a platform above. Within the walls stood a two-story building, guardhouse, chapel, government house, coach house, pigeon house over the well, two buildings for officers, two long barracks, powder magazine, kitchen and bake ovens, and four prison cells all arranged around the parade grounds. The massive fort remained the pride of Louisiana and New France for many years. It was capable of accommodating 400 men, although its garrison rarely exceeded half that number.When the Treaty of Paris in 1763 ceded all French possessions east of the Mississippi, with the exception of New Orleans, French domination in North America was at an end. French garrisons held the post until October 10, 1765, when English troops took possession. Renamed Fort Cavendish, the fort was the seat of British military and civil rule in the Illinois country until 1772 when it was abandoned and destroyed. Almost a century and a half later, in 1915, the site was acquired by Illinois as a state park. The fort was reproduced according to plans drawn after careful research and study. On the original foundations of the stone structure have been erected custodian's quarters and a museum, the latter holding relics directly associated with the former French stronghold. Also reconstructed were the magazine, combined guardhouse and chapel, and the arched gateway, contributed by the Daughters of the American Colonists.

The following information is from the Historical Encylopedia of Illinois:
FORT CHARTRES, a strong fortification erected by the French in 1718, on the American Bottom, 16 miles northwest from Kaskaskia. The soil on which it stood was alluvial, and the limestone of which its walls were built was quarried from an adjacent bluff. In form it was an irregular quadrangle, surrounded on three sides by a wall two feet two inches thick, and on the fourth by a ravine, which, during the spring time, was full of water. During the period of French ascendency in Illinois, Fort Chartres was the seat of government. About four miles east soon sprang up the village of Prairie du Rocher (or Rock Prairie). (See Prairie du Rocher.) At the outbreak of the French and Indian War (1756), the original fortification was repaired and virtually rebuilt. Its cost at that time is estimated to have amounted to 1,000,000 French crowns. After the occupation of Illinois by the British, Fort Chartres still remained the seat of government until 1772, when one side of the fortification was washed away by a freshet, and headquarters were transferred to Kaskaskia. The first common law court ever held in the Mississippi Valley was established here, in 1768, by the order of Colonel Wilkins of the English army. The ruins of the old fort, situated in the northwest corner of Randolph County, once constituted an object of no little interest to antiquarians, but the site has disappeared during the past generation by the encroachments of the Mississippi.

FORT CHECAGOU (Fort St. Joseph) - During the early days of French exploration and colonization, they built Fort St. Joseph where Chicago's "Loop" is today. On a French map drawn in 1683 is marked "Fort Checagou." According to traditions handed down by regional historians, the fort was said to have been abandoned after the French and Indian War in 1763.

CHILTON'S FORT - Located about two miles west of the present town of St. Jacobs, Madison County, Chilton's Fort was built during the early days of the War of 1812 when British-allied Indians had begun a series of widespread depredations in the region. The fort, never attacked, provided a haven for the area's pioneering families who had emigrated from Kentucky and Tennessee.


FORT CLARK - This fort, named for explorer William Clark, was built on the right bank of the Illinois River in 1813 on the site of present-day Peoria, which bore the name of the fort until 1825. Fort Clark was garrisoned until about 1817. Two years later it was completely destroyed by Indians.

FORT COMPTON - Built by Levi Compton in about the year 1810 on Coco Creek in the vicinity of Allendale, Wabash County, the Indian defense was reportedly large enough to accommodate a hundred families and boasted such amenities as dwellings and granaries.

FORT COUNCIL - This Indian defense was reportedly erected in 1813 on the "Starkey place" by "Hardy Council" and located in what was then White County.

CRANE'S FORT - Apparently an Indian defense erected by a pioneering family, Crane's Fort was located somewhere in present-day Carroll County.

FORT CREVECOEUR - In 1673, René Robert de La Salle, intrepid French explorer, established Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario. On two trips back to France, he obtained title to a seigniory in Canada, a license to trade in furs, and authorization to erect additional posts and find a water passage to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1678 he and a party of men, including his trusted lieutenant, Henri de Tonty and Père Louis Hennepin, arrived at Niagara Falls. There, in 1679, above the falls they built a blockhouse fort, Fort Conti, to guard Lake Ontario, and constructed a vessel to transport them through the Great Lakes. Overcoming one obstacle after another, La Salle led the men to the site of Green Bay to trade, from which point he sent the boat, loaded with furs, back to Niagara for supplies. He then traveled by canoe down Lake Michigan and around its southern tip to the mouth of the St. Joseph River, where he built semi-permanent Fort Miami. After waiting in vain about three months for the supply boat, he ascended the St. Joseph to the site of South Bend, crossed the Kankakee portage, and descended that river to the Illinois River, which he followed to Lake Peoria, arriving in January 1680. Here he built Fort Crèvecoeur, the first white habitation in Illinois, on a low knoll with a ravine on either side, situated on the left bank of the river below the lower end of the lake. The stockade of 25-foot-high, 1-foot-thick palisades enclosed two barracks, a small cabin that served as both living quarters and a chapel for the priests in the party, and a forge. The fort was named Crèvecoeur in honor of the Dutch stronghold that capitulated in July 1672 when Tonty served as a minor officer under Marshal Turenne.

La Salle set out with several men for his base at Fort Frontenac for needed supplies, leaving Tonty in charge of Fort Crèvecoeur. The explorer enroute spent several days at an Indian village near Starved Rock at the lower rapids of the Illinois River, a cliff of yellow sandstone that struck him as being a natural fortress. Some days later he sent Tonty an order to examine the locality to assess its worth as a future stronghold in case of need. During the absences of both La Salle and Tonty, the Frenchmen posted at Fort Crèvecoeur mutinied. News of the calamity was contained in a letter from Tonty who wrote that most of his men had wrecked the fort, pillaged its storehouse, and fled.

During the winter of 1691-92, after La Salle's death by assassination, Tonty revisited lake Peoria and built a new fort named St. Louis, commonly called Fort Pimiteoui. It was located on the right bank of the Illinois River, about a mile and a half from the lower outlet of Lake Peoria, a short distance from the site of the first fort. Despite assiduous archaeological explorations, the site of Fort Crèvecoeur has not been determined.

FORT CRIBS - In 1832, during the Black Hawk War, almost a dozen stockades were erected in present Marshall and Putnam counties. One of these, located about three and one-half miles north of Hennepin, was known as Fort Cribs because of the large number of corn cribs around the fort, inside the stockade as well as out. At times the fort sheltered as many as 100 people during the Indian scares.

CROSS ROADS FORT - An Indian defense, this fort was located at a village known as Old Fort in McDonough County

CROZAT FORT - During the early days of French colonization in the Mississippi Valley, Antoine Crozat was granted a monopoly of working and exploiting precious metal mines. A number of his followers built a "fortlet" in the bottom lands near the Mississippi River about 15 miles above Kaskaskia.

FORT DARLING - In compliance with orders of Secretary of War Simon Cameron in the late spring of 1861 to occupy Cairo at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, five regiments of Union troops were put to work erecting fortifications there. They built barracks, cleared parade grounds, and mounted guns for the establishment of Fort Darling, which was then occupied by the 1st and 2nd Illinois Light Artillery. A Confederate attack never came, and Fort Darling garrison's duties were chiefly confined to the prevention of contraband traffic on the river.

FORT DARNELL - An Indian defense erected in 1832 during the Black Hawk War, this fort stood on Benjamin Damell's farm in Roberts Township, in then La Salle County (now Marshall County). The exact dimensions of this fort near Sandy Creek are not known, but it must have been of considerable size, since it enclosed sufficient cabins to accommodate at least 70 people besides wagons and other implements of husbandry.


FORT DEARBORN - Built in 1803 by Captain John Whistler on the windswept west shore of Lake Michigan where the Chicago River empties into the lake, Fort Dearborn occupied a site today incorporated within Chicago's famous "Loop" section. The basic design of the fort, named for Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, was much like that of earlier forts in the East and of others erected in Illinois, such as Fort Armstrong and Fort Clark.

In opposite corners of a 12-foot-high stockade of logs were two towering blockhouses. One, armed with two cannon, protected the lake (east) and south sides of the fort; the other house, with one cannon and a large stand of muskets, protected the north (river) and west sides. The stockade's gates opened to the south. Just inside them stood the hospital and the barracks, while on the west and east sides, against an inner palisade, were the commandant's residence and the officers' quarters. On the side of the parade was the stone (brick) magazine. The fort's well was located under a covered walk which led to a dock or wharf on the river.

On August 15, 1812, after nine relatively peaceful years, Fort Dearborn's garrison was making last-minute preparations to abandon the fort. Six days earlier Captain Nathan Heald, the post commander, had received an urgent letter from Brigadier General William Hull, commander of American forces in Michigan Territory. Hull's letter was a positive command to evacuate the fort immediately and to proceed to Fort Wayne in Indiana. The captain was informed that this necessary because there were not sufficient provisions to supply the fort.

Arms and ammunition, except for side arms were thrown down the well and the whisky supply dumped into the river. Blankets, calicoes, broadcloths, and paints were divided among the 30 Miami Indians who accompanied Captain William Wells arriving from Fort Wayne to assist Captain Heald in the evacuation. The area's Potawatomi Indians, although evincing anger because of the ruination of the ammunition and liquor, reluctantly agreed to be an escort for the small group of soldiers, settlers, and their families. "At 9:00 a.m. the procession moved out of the fort. Captain Wells with 15 of his Miami band led the group, while the other Miami brought up the rear. Between them were 55 regular soldiers, 12 militiamen, nine women, and 18 children... . The Potawatomi accompanied the procession as an escort, riding in a column some distance to the right" [Illinois History 12, no. 7 [1959]: 171].

The column of Indians passed to the right of the sand dunes in the line of march and disappeared from view, hurrying to a prearranged place about a mile and a half from the fort.

"There were over 500 Indians and fewer than 100 in the procession, including the children. After only 15 minutes of fighting, almost one-half of the regulars and all the militiamen were dead. Twelve of the children and two women also were killed.. . . Some of the wounded prisoners were immediately slain, and others lost their lives later through torture and starvation" [Illinois History 12, no. 7 [1959]: 171]. The Potawatomi then vengefully proceeded to destroy the fort.

After the end of the war, the government was urged to rebuild the fort on the same site where only the brick remains of the powder magazine served as a stark reminder of the tragedy On July 4, 1816, Captain Hezekiah Bradley arrived with 116 soldiers and Fort Dearborn's reconstruction followed. This second fort fell into disrepair after the Black Hawk War of 1832 and was abandoned in December, 1836. Twenty years later the fort was completely dismantled except for one small structure which was ultimately destroyed in the great Chicago fire of 1871. Today a reproduction of the fort stands near Lake Michigan on 26th Street, about three miles south of the original fort site in the immediate area of Prairie and 16th streets.

The following information is from the "Historical Encylopedia of Illinois":
FORT DEARBORN, the name of a United States military post, established at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1803 or 1804, on a tract of land six miles square conveyed by the Indians in the treaty of Greenville, concluded by General Wayne in 1795. It originally consisted of two block houses located at opposite angles (north west and southeast) of a strong wooden stockade, with the Commandant s quarters on the east side of the quadrangle, soldiers' barracks on the south, officers' barracks on the west, and magazine, contractor's a (sutler's) store and general store house on the north-all the buildings being constructed of logs, and all, except the block-houses, being entirely within the enclosure. Its armament consisted of three light pieces of artillery. Its builder and first commander was Capt. John Whistler, a native of Ireland who had surrendered with Burgoyne, at Saratoga,, N. Y., and who subsequently became an American citizen, and served with distinction throughout the War of 1812. He was succeeded, in 1810, by Capt. Nathan Heald. As early as 1806 the Indians around the fort manifested signs of disquietude, Tecumseh, a few years later, heading an open armed revolt. In 1810 a council of Pottawatomies, Ottawas and Chippewas was held at St. Joseph, Mich., at which it was decided not to join the confederacy proposed by Chief Tecumseh. In 1811 hostilities were precipitated by an attack upon the United States troops under Gen. William Henry Harrison at Tippecanoe. In April, 1812, hostile bands of Winnebagos appeared in the vicinity of Fort Dearborn, terrifying the settlers by their atrocities. Many of the whites sought refuge within the stockade. Within two months after the declaration of war against England, in 1812, orders were issued for the evacuation of Fort Dearborn and the transfer of the garrison to Detroit. The garrison at that time numbered about 70, including officers, a large number of the troops being ill. Almost simultaneously with the order for evacuation appeared bands of Indians clamoring for a distribution of the goods, to which they claimed they were entitled under treaty stipulations. Knowing that he had but about forty men able to fight and that his march would be sadly hindered by the care of about a dozen women and twenty children, the commandant hesitated. The Pottawatomies, through whose country he would have to pass, had always been friendly, and he waited. Within six days a force of 500 or 600 savage warriors had assembled around the fort. Among the leaders were the Pottawatomie chiefs, Black Partridge, Winnemeg and Topenebe. Of these, Winnemeg was friendly. It was he who had brought General Hull's orders to evacuate and, as the crisis grew more and more dangerous, he offered sound advice. He urged instantaneous departure before the Indians had time to agree upon a line of action. But Captain Heald decided to distribute the stores among the savages, and thereby secure from them a friendly escort to Fort Wayne. To this the aborigines readily assented, believing that thereby all the whisky and ammunition which they knew to be within the enclosure, would fall into their hands. Meanwhile Capt. William Wells, Indian Agent at Fort Wayne, had arrived at Fort Dearborn with a friendly force of Miamis to act as an escort. He convinced Captain Heald that it would be the height of folly to give the Indians liquor and gun powder. Accordingly the commandant emptied the former into the lake and destroyed the latter. This was the signal for war. Black Partridge claimed he could no longer restrain his young braves, and at a council of the aborigines it was resolved to massacre the garrison and settlers. On the fifteenth of August the gates of the fort were opened and the evacuation began. A band of Pottawatomies accompanied the whites under the guise of a friendly escort. They soon deserted and, within a mile and a half from the fort, began the sickening scene of carnage known as the "Fort Dearborn Massacre." Nearly 500 Indians participated, their loss being less than twenty. The Miami escort fled at the first exchange of shots. With but four exceptions the wounded white prisoners were dispatched with savage ferocity and promptitude. Those not wounded were scattered among various tribes. The next day the fort with its stockade was burned. In 1816 (after the treaty of St. Louis) the fort was rebuilt upon a more elaborate scale. The second Fort Dearborn contained, besides bar racks and officers' quarters, a magazine and provision-store, was enclosed by a square stockade, and protected by bastions at two of its angles. It was again evacuated in 1823 and re-garrisoned in 1828. The troops were once more withdrawn in 1831, to return the following year during the Black Hawk War. The final evacuation occurred in 1836.

FORT DEFIANCE (Camp Prentiss) - First called Camp Prentiss, for Union General Benjamin M. Prentiss, when Union forces began its construction on Cairo Point in 1861, Fort Defiance commanded the strategic confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, guarding against any Confederate ship that might get through the blockade. One block south of it were the drill grounds and array of barracks for the great army that General U. S. Grant assembled here. Nearby, at 609 Washington Avenue, was the headquarters of the Western Flotilla during the struggle to control passage of the Mississippi. Today, the Fort Defiance State Park on the Point contains a reproduction of the Civil War fort. The city of Cairo is perhaps the only walled city in the United States. It is surrounded by levees, and entrance to the city is through gates that can be closed against floods.

CAMP DEMENT - A temporary Civil War encampment at Amboy, Lee County.


CAMP DES PLAINES - A World War II facility located on the west side of Route 66 in Grundy County, southwest of Joliet, Camp Des Plaines was established to house laborers brought in from Jamaica and the Barbados because of the labor shortage. Later it was used to accommodate special Army guards sent to guard the Illinois Waterway. The camp was activated in the fall of 1942 and used until 1945, and dismantled in 1948. The camp was named for the river that flows south through Joliet to join the Illinois and Kankakee rivers.

FORT DIXON - By an order dated May 22, 1832, General Henry Atkinson made Dixon's Ferry (Dixon in Lee County) on the Rock River his headquarters and base of operations during the Black Hawk War. Fort Dixon, erected on the north side of the river, consisted of two loopholed blockhouses within an earth and sod breastwork, four and a half feet high, abutting on the river bank near the west line of what is now North Galena Avenue. The northeast blockhouse was at least four times as large as the other, which probably held the fort's powder magazine. The structures stood for many years after the war. In the park on Fort Dixon's site is the Lincoln Monument, a bronze statue sculptured by Leonard Crunelle, depicting Abraham Lincoln attired in a captain's uniform.

FORT DOOLITTLE - The first school house in Pekin, Tazewell County, was built in 1831. It was located on 2nd Street between Elizabeth and St. Mary's streets. At the breaking out of the Black Hawk War the following year, the one-story school was palisaded and converted into a fort.

CAMP DOUGLAS - An extensive Federal Civil War encampment, first a camp for the instruction of recruits, then a camp for Confederate prisoners, Camp Douglas was established in Chicago in 1861 and soon became one of the two principal places for the mustering of Illinois regiments (the other being Camp Butler at Springfield). The 60-acre camp was then located between 31st Street and College Place, and Cottage Grove and Forest avenues. It covered the land through which has since been opened Calumet, South Park, Vernon, and Rhodes avenues, between 31st and 33rd streets. The camp's main gate was at what is now 32nd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. To the south of the camp was the old university, to the west and north was prairie land, clumps of trees, and thinly scattered houses, which have all long since given way to the march of progress.

Camp Douglas remained as a camp of instruction until after the battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862 when by official order it was prepared for the reception of prisoners taken from Island No. 10. Nearly 9,000 prisoners - weak, worn-out, sick, and wretched - came to Chicago in the first lot. In November of 1863 a nearly successful attempt to escape was made. A number of the prisoners removed the boards from the floor of their barracks and digging down a few feet ran a tunnel under the fence and one by one silently crept through and out and fled into the darkness. Some 70 or more of them had escaped before the discovery of their plans, and about 50 of them were afterward recaptured.

In 1864 Chicago figured dramatically in one of the most daring plans devised by Confederate leaders. The plan called for the Confederate prisoners at Camp Douglas to break out of prison on the eve of the presidential election. But an informer, who while a prisoner had been privy to the prisoners' grapevine, and who had since escaped, related the details of the plot to the commandant. Federal agents on the night before the election, November 7, arrested some of the conspirators at a fashionable Chicago hotel and at the home of another near the camp where a veritable arsenal of weapons was found.

At the opening of the year 1865, the camp held 17,880 prisoners. In February the release began and continued irregularly until August 1865, when all but about 200 who were too ill to be moved had been discharged, and the office of Camp Douglas as a prison camp was closed. The barracks, fences, and improvements were torn down. The sale of the government property began on November 24, 1865, and continued until all was sold.

CAMP DOUGLAS - A temporary Civil War encampment "near Jonesboro Station" at Anna in Union County.

CAMP DUBOIS - On December 13, 1803, the Lewis and Clark Expedition set up a winter base camp where the Wood River emptied into the Mississippi River. The site is on the Illinois bank, some 23 miles upriver from St. Louis and opposite the mouth of the Missouri River. The camp, near the present towns of Wood River and Hartford in Madison County, was established in Illinois territory for several reasons, principally because St. Louis was then technically a French possession, although actually governed by a Spanish commandant, and because both the French and Spanish in St. Louis were suspicious of American intentions. The camp was named "Dubois" because its site was located at La Rivière Dubois, as the local French called the Wood River. On May 11, 1804, seven voyageurs arrived from St. Louis, They had been engaged to help paddle the exploration party up the Missouri River as far as the second winter encampment in North Dakota. On May 14 the 40 men in the party, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, abandoned their camp and set off on their great adventure.

CAMP DUBOIS - A temporary Civil War camp at or near Alton in Madison County.

CAMP DUBOIS - A temporary Civil War camp, established in December 1861 at or near Anna in Union County.

CAMP DUNCAN - A temporary Civil War camp at or near Jacksonville, Morgan County was established in 1861.

CAMP DUNNE - A temporary Civil War encampment in the suburbs of Chicago.

FORT DU PAGE - In 1832, during the first days of the Black Hawk War, a group of settlers in present Du Page County constructed a 100-foot-square fort with two blockhouses, covered with "shakes," in diagonal corners. The fort, defended by 50 well-armed men, was not actually attacked, but a number of confrontations with hostile Indians took place in its environs.

DUSABLE TRADING POST - Chicago's first settler, Jean DuSable was also the first to recognize the commercial advantages of the location, having enough faith in its possibilities to establish a successful trading post near the mouth of the Chicago River. Today this pioneer's settlement has grown into the trading post of the world. DuSable, a Haitian, came all the way up the Mississippi in about 1779. The elaborate home he built was located at the present site of the Wrigley Building on the north bank of the Chicago River at Michigan Boulevard. He established a lasting friendship with the Potawatomi living in the area, or Eschikagou, as the Indians called it. He courted an Indian girl, joining the tribe in order to marry her and then sanctifying the marriage when a Catholic priest entered the region. They had two children, one a boy named after his father, and a girl named Suzanna, whose birth is considered the first recorded birth in the Chicago area. DuSable died at St. Charles, Missouri. Today a plaque marks the site in Chicago where his home stood, a high school in the city was named in his honor, and a memorial society exists to revere his memory.

FORT EDWARDS (Cantonment Davis) - In the fall of 1815, a detachment of the 8th Infantry under Colonel Robert C. Nicholas ascended the Mississippi in keelboats, with the purpose of establishing a fort at or near Rock Island, to control the Sacs and Foxes. The troops, however, were stopped by ice at the mouth of the Des Moines River in November and built rudimentary huts for winter quarters on the east bank of the Mississippi, calling their camp Cantonment Davis, which the next year evolved into Fort Edwards, at the present city of Warsaw, Hancock County, to secure the area against the Potawatomi Indians. Intermittently garrisoned, the post was finally abandoned in July 1824.

CAMP ELLIS - A World War II training post was established in December 1942 at Bernadotte, near Ipava and Table Grove, on the Spoon River in Fulton County. The camp, named in honor of Sergeant Michael B. Ellis, World War I hero, was originally designed to activate and train supply units for overseas war zones. In addition, a prisoner of war facility was established at the post, officially designated Camp Ellis, Illinois, Prisoner of War Camp, and was first used for a thousand German prisoners who reached the camp in August 1943. Camp Ellis was abandoned in 1950, its buildings dismantled, and the salvageable lumber sold.

CAMP ELLSWORTH - A Civil War encampment located in the suburbs of Chicago.

FORT FOOTE - A War of 1812 Indian defense built by a member of the large Eaton clan, Fort Foote was located in Crawford County.

CAMP FORD - A Mexican War recruitment camp at or near Springfield.


CAMP FREMONT - A Civil War encampment located in Chicago's suburbs.

CAMP FRY - A Civil War post established in February 1864, Camp Fry, like Camp Douglas, was a Chicago-located training camp at first, then a prisoner of war facility. The stockaded camp was located on the site now occupied by the Broadway-Clark-Diversey intersection on Chicago's north side.

The following information is from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois:
FORT GAGE, situated on the eastern bluffs of the Kaskaskia River, opposite the village of Kaskaskia. It was erected and occupied by the British in 1772. It was built of heavy, square timbers and oblong in shape, its dimensions being 290x251 feet. On the night of July 4, 1778, it was captured by a detachment of American troops commanded by Col. George Rogers Clark, who held a commission from Virginia. The soldiers, with Simon Kenton at their head, were secretly admitted to the fort by a Pennsylvanian who happened to be within, and the commandant, Rocheblave, was surprised in bed, while sleeping with his wife by his side.

FORT GALENA - A Black Hawk War defense, Fort Galena was an extensive 14-foot-high stockade enclosing a centrally placed blockhouse and another in one of the angles, in addition to three fortified residences. The fort, located in the center of the town of Galena, Jo Daviess County, was begun during the last week of May 1832. The defense was intermittently garrisoned by Army troops.

CAMP GEISMAR - A World War I encampment adjoining Fort Sheridan.

CAMP GOODE - A temporary Civil War encampment in Coles County.

CAMP GOODELL - A temporary Civil War training post at Joliet in Will County.

CAMP GRANT - A Civil War recruitment and training camp, Camp Grant was located on U.S. 45 at Mattoon, Coles County. General U. S. Grant mustered in the 21st Illinois Infantry here in June 1861. The camp's original flagpole now stands in front of the U. S. Grant Motor Inn.

CAMP GRANT - A temporary Civil War encampment, it was established in 1861 at Jacksonville in Morgan County.

CAMP GRANT - A 3,338-acre Army post four miles south of Rockford, Winnebago County, Camp Grant was established July 18, 1917, and named in honor of General Ulysses S. Grant to serve as a training camp for the 86th (Black Hawk) Division. A cantonment of 1,515 buildings, it had a troop capacity of 42,819. Camp Grant was designated as an infantry replacement and training camp on April 1918 and as a demobilization center on December 3, 1918. Following World War I, Camp Grant was used as a training camp for the Illinois National Guard. In World War II, the site was reclaimed by the federal government and used as a reception center and a medical replacement center. Subsequent to the war, the property was never used again by the state and was eventually disposed of by the federal government.

FORT GREATHOUSE - Erected in 1811 as an Indian defense on Greathouse Creek, in section 30, township 1 south, range 13 west, in Wabash County, the fort was occupied almost continuously by settlers' families until 1815.


FORT HAMILTON - An Indian defense named for William S. Hamilton, the fort was located at Wyota in Stephenson County.

CAMP HAMMOND - A temporary Civil War encampment established in 1861, it was located at or near Aurora, Kane County, and named for the president of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad.

FORT HANDY - A frontier Indian defense located in Clark County.

FORT HANNA - Probably an Indian defense erected during the War of 1812, it was built by John Hanna in what was then White County.

CAMP HARDIN - A temporary Civil War encampment established in 1861 at or near Villa Ridge, Pulaski County.

CAMP HAVEN - Formerly a subpost of Fort Sheridan, 164-acre Camp Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan had been used for antiaircraft artillery practice. The post was permanently closed in October 1959.

CAMP HAYDEN - A temporary Civil War encampment, Camp Hayden was cited by a Springfield newspaper as being located "near Fort Willard at Muddy Creek."

FORT HENLINE - An Indian defense erected during the Black Hawk War in 1832 by John Henline, the fort was located near Lawndale in what was then McLean County, now Logan County.

FORT HENNEPIN - An Indian defense erected in 1832 during the Black Hawk War, it was built a year after the town of Hennepin was founded on the Illinois River in Illinois County. The fort occupied a site on the east side of Front Street and stood for nearly 10 years after.

CAMP HERRING - A World War I ordnance camp at the Holt Manufacturing Company plant in East Peoria, Camp Herring was established in October 1917 and named for Major Harry T. Herring.

FORT HIGGINBOTHAM - An Indian defense erected on a site now incorporated within Joliet in Will County.


HILL'S FORT (Carlyle Fort). - First known as Carlyle Fort, this Indian defense was erected in 1811 by John Hill on the east side of Shoal Creek at or near the town of Carlyle in present Clinton County.

FORT HORN - The earliest white settlement close to the present city of LaSalle was Fort Horn at old Illinoistown, now part of Peru, La Salle County. It was constructed between 1825 and 1828 and located on the north side of the Illinois River near the mouth of the little Vermilion. The fort was built by a contracting partnership, Horn and Wilbur, two men engaged in furnishing supplies to the newly formed government of the state of Illinois.

CAMP HOUGHTALING - A Civil War artillery encampment near Cairo, Camp Houghtaling was established in 1861 by Captain (later major) Charles Houghtaling of the noted 1st Illinois Artillery.


FORT JEFFERSON - "A fort was erected by Colonel George Rogers Clark, under instructions from the Governor of Virginia, at the Iron Banks on the east bank of the Mississippi, below the mouth of the Ohio River. He promised lands to all adult, able-bodied white males who would emigrate thither and settle, either with or without their families. Many accepted the offer, and a considerable colony was established there. Toward the close of the Revolutionary War, Virginia being unable any longer to sustain the garrison, the colony was scattered, many families going to Kaskaskia" (Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois [1901]:171).

FORT JOHNSON - In compliance with orders of General Benjamin Howard, a fort was established in late September 1814, during the War of 1812, by Brevet Major Zachary Taylor on a high bluff on the eastern bank of the Mississippi opposite the mouth of the Des Moines River, near present Warsaw in Hancock County. Taylor named the fort, a defense of the approaches to St. Louis, in honor of his Kentucky friend, Colonel Richard M. Johnson, whom contemporaries credited with killing the famed Shawnee Chief Tecumseh at the recent Battle of the Thames in Canada. Late in October, learning of the death of General Howard, Taylor was forced to burn his fort and return to St. Louis to assume command of all American forces in Missouri Territory.

FORT JOHNSON (Fort Ottawa). - First known as Fort Ottawa, Fort Johnson was erected in the spring of 1832 during the Black Hawk War on a bluff on the south bank of the Illinois River, in what is now a residential area of Ottawa in La Salle County. Abraham Lincoln was at the fort during its early days. On May 27, 1832, Captain Lincoln and a detachment of his men reached Ottawa from Rock River where they were mustered out of service. Lincoln, however, reenlisted and was sworn by Lieutenant Robert Anderson, later in command of Fort Sumter during the Civil War. Lincoln was mustered out by Anderson at Ottawa on June 16.

FORT JONES (Green's Fort). - Originally known as Green's Fort, built by a James Green(e) from Kentucky, then renamed Fort Jones, it was built probably in 1807. The fort was located on the east side of Shoal Creek, about eight miles south west of present Greenville in Bond County.

JORDAN'S FORTS - Two forts were built in 1811 by Francis (Frank) and Thomas Jordan, two of the seven Jordan brothers in present Franklin County. One was located in Frankfort (named for Frank Jordan) and the other about three miles southwest of the present town of Thompsonville eight miles from Frankfort.

FORT KASKASKIA (Fort Gage; Fort Clark). - Fort Kaskaskia State Park, comprising 201 acres in Randolph County near Chester, was established in 1927 as a memorial to the early French and American pioneers who brought civilization to the Illinois wilderness. Of the town of Kaskaskia, which was once "Commercial Queen of the West," the first capital of Illinois, the seat of government during territorial days, and one of the Mississippi Valley's principal settlements of the French, nothing remains today. Across the river are the earthworks and foundations of the old fort and the old Pierre Menard Home at the base of the hill on which the fort stood.

Kaskaskia, founded in 1703, soon attracted a sizable number of settlers and traders to eventually become a major river port. In 1733, on an elevation overlooking the town, the French erected a rudimentary wooden stockade, called Fort of the Kaskasquias. A local tradition, passed on by several regional historians, but not substantiated in major historical works, says that the French government three years later had appropriated a large amount of money to replace the slight work with a substantial fortification.

During the French and Indian War, the inhabitants, in fear of a British attack, petitioned for a fort and offered to furnish the materials. Their petition was granted, and Fort Kaskaskia, built of heavy palisades enclosing four block houses, was located on the bluff above and across from the town. There it stood until 1766, when Kaskaskia's people destroyed it rather than have it occupied by the British, to whom control had passed in 1765.

When the first British troops arrived, under the command of Captain Thomas Stirling, Fort Chartres became British headquarters. By 1772, however, Fort Chartres was no longer a safe situation because of the encroaching waters of the Mississippi. Captain Hugh Lord, then commandant, removed the headquarters to Kaskaskia where he and his troops occupied the old Jesuit Seminary (in 1763 the Jesuit order had been suppressed and its property confiscated by the French government). Captain Lord fortified the Jesuit structure by surrounding it with a stockade on which were emplaced several pieces of ordnance. It was named Fort Gage in honor of General Thomas Gage, commander of British forces in America. In 1776 Captain Lord was ordered to proceed with his troops to Detroit, leaving his fort in the care of Philippe de Rocheblave, a former French citizen, but with no garrison. George Rogers Clark and his soldiers made a surprise attack on Fort Gage on the night of July 4, 1778. The fort was at once renamed Fort Clark, and the Americans occupied the town throughout the remainder of the Revolution. In 1844 a disastrous Mississippi flood destroyed most of Kaskaskia, and in 1910 another flood completely obliterated the town site.

KELLOGG'S FORT - An Indian defense named for Oliver W. Kellogg, it was located at or near Pearl City, Stephenson County. Kellogg blazed the then important trail in 1827 from Fort Clark at Peoria to Dixon's Ferry across the Rock River and from there to Galena by way of the south west corner of Stephenson County.

KELLOGG'S GROVE FORT - A blockhouse fort erected in 1832 during Black Hawk's War, it was located about a mile southeast of present-day Kent, near Pearl City, Stephenson County. The blockhouse stood among a group of cabins, one of them the home of trailblazer Oliver W. Kellogg, for whom the village was named. On June 24 about 200 of Black Hawk's (or Chief Neapope's) warriors unsuccessfully attacked the fort at Apple River, and on the following day occurred the Battle of Kellogg's Grove, the war's last Indian-white encounter on Illinois soil. The 150 men garrisoning the blockhouse and cabins during the protracted spirited action prevented the Indians from obtaining desperately needed supplies.

KINZIE'S TRADING POST - Quebec-born John Kinzie, Indian trader and reputedly Chicago's first white settler, established a trading post in 1804, most probably located on or close to either the Chicago River or Lake Michigan. Kinzie's post was not the first in the area - Jean DuSable's trading enterprise preceded Kinzie's by about a quarter of a century (see: DUSABLE TRADING POST). Kinzie later established other posts on the Rock, Illinois, and Kankakee rivers.

KIRKPATRICK'S FORTS - In the year 1811, three different forts at different locations were erected in Madison County by three Kirkpatrick brothers- James, Frank, and Thomas. James Kirkpatrick's fort was about three miles south west of Edwardsville. To the southeast was Frank Kirkpatrick's fort. Thomas Kirkpatrick erected his fort in Wood River on a point of land, north of his home, about 300 yards from Cahokia Creek, at the end of present O Street, just off North Main.

FORT LA FOURCHE (Altes Fort; Fort Francois; Vieu Fort). - An old French fort was probably located on the north side of the Ohio River and the east side of the Mississippi. Tradition has ascribed several alternate names to it. It was marked as "ancient fort" on D'Anville's map of 1755 and several other French maps. Several Illinois historians have expressed the opinion that Fort La Fourche and Fort Massac may have been one and the same, although the latter was established in 1757 on the Ohio River, about 40 miles above its confluence with the Mississippi.

FORT LA HARPE - Reputedly the oldest pioneer fort built in present Hancock County at or near today's town of La Harpe, it was erected by a Frenchman named Bernard de La Harpe. No date has been indicated.

FORT LA MOTTE - A frontier Indian defense, Fort La Motte was erected in 1812 on the creek of the same name in Crawford County.

CAMP LATHAM - A Civil War encampment established 1861 at or near Lincoln in Logan County.

CAMP LINCOLN - Civil War recruitment and training post at Springfield, Camp Lincoln was the state's National Guard headquarters.

LITTLE FORT - A frontier Indian defense at Waukegan, Lake County.

LOFTON'S BLOCKHOUSE - An Indian defense erected during the War of 1812, Lofton's Blockhouse was located in the American Bottom, in present Nameoki Township, Madison County.

CAMP LONG - A temporary Civil War encampment in the suburbs of Chicago.

CAMP LOWDEN - A temporary state mobilization camp established during World War I at the State Fairgrounds, two miles north of Springfield.

CAMP LYON - A temporary Civil War encampment at or near Geneva, Kane County, Camp Lyon was established in 1861.

CAMP MCALLISTER - A temporary Civil War encampment established at or near Cairo in 1861.

CAMP MCCLERNAND - After General Grant displaced General Benjamin M. Prentiss at Cairo in 1861 by appointing Brigadier General John Alexander McClernand to replace him, the area around the St. Charles Hotel near Cairo's point was named Camp McClernand.

FORT MCHENRY - Built by Captain William McHenry in the summer of 1812, the fort was located in what was then White County.

FORT MASSAC (Fort Ascension) - Located on the north bank of the Ohio River, 38 miles from its confluence with the Mississippi, and 1 mile southeast of Metropolis, the original Fort Massac, first named Fort Ascension, was erected by the French in 1757 (completed on June 2), to prevent British encroachment into the lower Ohio Valley. The only known attack upon the fort was made in the fall of the same year by a large band of Cherokees. In 1759 and 1760, the fort was significantly rebuilt and renamed Fort Massiac in honor of the French minister of marine, the marquis de Massiac.

At the end of the French and Indian War, when the French ceded the region east of the Mississippi River, excepting New Orleans, to England, the French abandoned the fort. It was soon largely destroyed by Indians, and its ruins were left untouched by the British. In 1794 General Anthony Wayne rebuilt the fort to guard against Spanish aggression and slightly anglicized its French name to Fort Massac. During the following tumultuous score of years, the fort survived the confederated Indian uprising led by the great Tecumseh and his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, and became a popular stopover for an ever increasing number of soldiers, travelers, and prospective settlers entering the Ohio River Valley. Around the fort there developed a settlement, now the town of Metropolis.

The fort and its surrounding ground were occupied by at least one regiment of infantry during the War of 1812. Evacuated at the end of the war, its small caretaking unit finally abandoned the fort in 1817. Some of its structures were stripped of their timbers to fuel the first steamboats on the Ohio River. Congressional investigations of fort sites between 1841 and 1844 resulted in the selection in 1850 of Fort Massac, completely renovated, as a factory-fort, with the addition of foundries and machine shops capable of producing a great assortment of supplies required by the nation's military and naval services.

During the Civil War, the fort was intermittently occupied by Federal troops. The old fort and its grounds remained neglected from 1864 to 1903, when little more than the site remained. The Daughters of the American Revolution undertook its preservation and made possible some reconstruction. The state of Illinois maintains the area now as a State Memorial.

From the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois:
FORT MASSAC, an early French fortification, erected about 1711 on the Ohio River, 40 miles from its mouth, in what is now Massac County. It was the first fortification (except Fort St. Louis) in the "Illinois Country," antedating Fort Chartres by several years. The origin of the name is uncertain. The best authorities are of the opinion that it was so called in honor of the engineer who superintended its construction; by others it has been traced to the name of the French Minister of Marine; others assert that it is a corruption of the word "Massacre," a name given to the locality because of the massacre there of a large number of French soldiers by the Indians. The Virginians sometimes spoke of it as the "Cherokee fort." It was garrisoned by the French until after the evacuation of the country under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. ." It later became a sort of depot for American settlers, a few families constantly residing within and around the fortification. At a very early day a military road was laid out from the fort to Kaskaskia, the trees alongside being utilized as milestones, the number of miles being cut with irons and painted red. After the close of the Revolutionary War, the United States Government strengthened and garrisoned the fort by way of defense against inroads by the Spaniards. With the cession of Louisiana to the United States, in 1803, the fort was evacuated and never re-garrisoned. According to the "American State Papers," during the period of the French
occupation, it was both a Jesuit missionary station and a trading post.

CAMP MATHER - A temporary Civil War encampment established in 1861 at Chicago or its suburbs.

CAMP MATHER - A temporary Civil War encampment, Camp Mather was located at Shawneetown, Gallatin County, just west of the Ohio River.

CAMP MATHER - A temporary Civil War encampment established on Peoria's Fairgrounds in 1861, Camp Mather was most probably named for Thomas S. Mather, the Illinois adjutant general.

FORT MIAMIS (Fort des Miamis) - Reportedly a French trading post established shortly after the turn of the eighteenth century, it was located at the mouth of the Chicago River, on the site of modern Chicago.

FORT MONTEREY - A blockhouse fort probably erected during the first months of the War of 1812, Fort Monterey was reportedly located on the Illinois River 20 miles from its mouth in Calhoun County.

MOORE'S BLOCKHOUSE - A blockhouse fort used as an Indian defense was erected by George Moore on his farm in 1808 or soon after. It was located not far from the present town of Wood River in Madison County.

CAMP MULLIGAN - A temporary Civil War encampment situated in Chicago's suburbs.

FORT NAPER - Captain Joseph Naper and his brother, originally from Ashtabula, Ohio, erected a trading post in 1831 near the Du Page River. During the first days of the Black Hawk War the following year, the post was fortified as a haven for the inhabitants of the Naper Settlement, now the town of Naperville in Du Page County.

NAT HILL'S FORT - An Indian defense of this name was reportedly situated a few miles above the mouth of Goshen (Doza) Creek in St. Clair County.

FORT NONSENSE - Apparently a temporary defense, it was located at Joliet in Will County.


CAMP PAROLE - A Civil War encampment located in Chicago or its suburbs.

FORT PATTON - In 1829 John Patton and his family, with the help of other whites and several Kickapoo and Delaware Indians, erected his cabin in the Pleasant Hill section of Lexington Township, southeast of the town of Lexington, in present McLean County. When it was built it is said there was not another house between it and Chicago, then consisting of Fort Dearborn and a few traders' cabins. In 1832, during the Black Hawk War, a blockhouse was erected 12 feet from the cabin, and in 1840 the original cabin and the block house were joined together. Still in existence, the structure is being maintained by the McLean County Historical Society.

FORT PAYNE (Fort Paine) - In order to additionally safeguard the inhabitants of the Naper Settlement, now Naperville in Du Page County, during the height of the Black Hawk War of 1832, General Henry Atkinson detailed a Captain Paine (Payne) of Joliet, with a company of 50 volunteers from Danville, to erect a fort there. They built a stockade of about 100 feet square, surrounded by pickets, with two loopholed, shingled blockhouses in diagonal corners.


PIGGOTT'S FORT - This was "a blockhouse built by James Piggott and others, at the foot of the bluffs, in Monroe County, where the road from Waterloo to Cahokia, unchanged since then, crosses the rivulet, named by the early French inhabitants of the American Bottom, Le Grand Ruisseau, where it emerges from the bluffs, a mile and a half directly west of Columbia in that county" (Illinois State Historical Society, Transactions for the Year 1902, p. 204).


PRAIRIE MARCOT BLOCKHOUSE - A blockhouse erected by Lieutenant John Campbell during the War of 1812, it was reportedly located on the west bank of the Illinois River about 19 miles above its mouth in present Calhoun County.


FORT RAMSEY - Probably a blockhouse Indian defense, it was erected by members of the Ramsey family in 1811 or 1812, reportedly located in Wabash County.

CAMP REINBERG - A temporary World War I encampment, Camp Reinberg was located at or near Palatine, Cook County.



FORT RUSSELL - Many blockhouses were erected in Illinois during the War of 1812, most of them defenses against attack by the Indians who were allied with the British. There were at least 22 such blockhouse-forts between old Kaskaskia and Alton in Madison County, with the largest and strongest of them being Fort Russell, just northwest of present Edwardsville. The fort was built by Governor Ninian Edwards and named for Colonel William Russell of Kentucky, who commanded ten companies of Rangers, organized by an act of Congress, to defend the western frontier against the British and Indians. Four of these companies were allotted to the defense of Illinois. At least five cannon were removed from Fort Chartres to arm Fort Russell. The only Army regulars stationed at the fort were there during spring of 1812 and constituted the garrison for only a few months.

FORT STE. ANNE - Erected in 1719 by the French, Fort Ste. Anne was reportedly located somewhere between Kaskaskia and Cahokia, the two oldest communities in the state.


FORT ST. LOUIS NO. 1 (Fort St. Louis de Rocher; Fort St. Louis des Illinois). - After La Salle established Fort Crèvecoeur in January 1680 at Lake Peoria, he left it under the command of his trusted lieutenant Henri de Tonty while he returned north to obtain additional supplies. En route up the Illinois River, he noted along its southern bank a range of irregular sandstone bluffs, culminating in a natural abutment rising perpendicularly to a height of 126 feet and accessible on only one of its sides. La Salle immediately recognized it to be a veritable fortress. He did not forget the site.

In 1682, after his momentous voyage of discovery down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, he and Tonty with their party turned northward. later, in December of the same year, he and Tonty met at a large Indian village near the present town of Utica on the north bank of the Illinois River, in today's La Salle County, nearly opposite the sandstone cliff, known to the Indians as Starved Rock (Le Rocher). La Salle determined to establish there a base for his administration and development of the upper Mississippi valley. He put his men to work on a storehouse of stunted pines, surrounding it with a strong palisade of timbers which had to be laboriously dragged up the steep ascent of the bluff. The fort was completed during the winter. In honor of his king, La Salle named his strong hold Fort St. Louis, variously known also as Fort St. Louis du Rocher and Fort St. Louis des Illinois. By right of his royal patent or license, the explorer ruled the fort and its environs as a seigniory.

In 1687 La Salle was assassinated by one of his own followers along the Gulf Coast in Texas. With his death, the fate of Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock was sealed. Because of strong Iroquois pressure in the Illinois country, the fort was practically abandoned in 1691. Tonty, however, maintained some connection with the fort until 1702, although it was only intermittently occupied until then. French traders reportedly were residing on "Le Rocher," as it was called, in 1718. Charlevoix, passing here in 1721, found only ruined palisades. Thus the fort sank into oblivion. Today, about six miles west of Ottawa, Starved Rock State Park is dominated by the pinnacle of Starved Rock itself and preserves some of the sites of the Indian communities that clustered around the fort.

From the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901:
FORT ST. LOUIS, a French fortification on a rock (widely known as "Starved Rock"), which consists of an isolated cliff on the south side of the Illinois River nearly opposite Utica, in La Salle County. Its height is between 130 and 140 feet, and its nearly round summit contains an area of about three-fourths of an acre. The side facing the river is nearly perpendicular and, in natural advantages, it is well-nigh impregnable. Here, in the fall of 1682, La Salle and Tonty began the erection of a fort, consisting of earth-works, palisades, store-houses and a block house, which also served as a dwelling and trading post. A windlass drew water from the river, and two small brass cannon, mounted on a parapet, com prised the armament. It was solemnly dedicated by Father Membre, and soon became a gathering place for the surrounding tribes, especially the Illinois. But Frontenac having been succeeded as Governor of New France by De la Barre, who was unfriendly to La Salle, the latter was displaced as Commandant at Fort St. Louis, while plots were laid to secure his downfall by cutting off his supplies and inciting the Iroquois to attack him. La Salle left the fort in 1683, to return to France, and, in 1702, it was abandoned as a military post, though it continued to be a trading post until 1718, when it was raided by the Indians and burned.

FORT ST. LOUIS NO. 2 (Fort Pimitoui; Fort Illinois; Fort Peoria) - Commonly called Fort Pimitoui, and at times referred to in old regional histories as Fort Illinois and Fort Peoria, Fort St. Louis No. 2 was situated on the right bank of the river or lake, probably near the narrows at the head of lower Peoria Lake. It was erected during the winter of 1691-92 by Henry de Tonty and Francois Dauphin de La Forest, who had acquired the concession or charter formerly held by La Salle, assassinated in Texas in 1687. The French and Indians moved here from Starved Rock, site of the first Fort St. Louis. Pierre de Liette, who was here with his cousin, Tonty, wrote that the Indians were settled "at the end of the lake on the north shore." Jesuit Father Jacques Gravier reestablished here the Mission of the Immaculate Conception, not later than April 1693. Tonty and La Forest were deprived of their concession in 1702.

CAMP SCOTT - Established as a staging area in 1861, Camp Scott was located near the town of Freeport, Stephenson County, on the site of Freeport's present senior high school.

FORT SHERIDAN (Camp Highwood) -Activated in 1887 in response to urgent requests of Chicago business leaders during labor unrest marked by violence, the post was established on the shore of Lake Michigan 25 miles north of the city. It was first occupied on November 8 by two companies of the 6th Infantry. Originally called Camp Highwood for the town adjacent to the post, it was designated Fort Sheridan in 1888 in honor of General Philip Sheridan, who died that yeas. The general, then Commander of the Army, had been sent here to restore order during Chicago's labor riots. Fort Sheridan's tower, a famous landmark on the lake built in 1891 as a barracks, was originally 227 feet high, but after its complete renovation in 1940, its height was scaled down to 167 feet and used to store a huge water tank.

In 1917 Fort Sheridan became the site of a large training camp in addition to facilities for two officers' training camps. From 1918 to 1920, the post served principally as a general hospital for the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. During World War II, Fort Sheridan's Reception Center processed about 500,000 men after a mobilization center was constructed on the southern part of the post. The first soldier to be discharged on the basis of accumulated overseas credit points was processed here on May 10, 1945. Fort Sheridan has been commanded by all ranks, from sergeant to major general. In addition to technical branches of the Army, infantry, cavalry, and artillery units have been stationed here. 

From the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901:
FORT SHERIDAN, United States Military Post, in Lake County, on the Milwaukee Division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, 24 miles north of Chicago. (Highwood village adjacent on the south.) Population (1890), 451; (1900), 1,575.


CAMP SIGEL - A temporary Civil War encampment located in the suburbs of Chicago.

CAMP SKOKIE - A World War II military police and prisoner-of-war camp, Camp Skokie was located near the towns of Skokie and Glenview, just north of Chicago. A War Department release, dated September 19, 1945, listed the camp as surplus property as of November 15, 1945.

CAMP SMITH - A temporary Civil War encampment near Cairo.

CAMP SONG - A temporary Civil War encampment located in Chicago's suburbs.

STARKEY'S FORT - A blockhouse defense built by Hardy Council in 1813 in then White County.

FORT SUMTER - Named for the South Carolina Civil War fort, the site of this defense is now part of the town of Highland in Madison County. No data has been found to indicate date of establishment.

CAMP TANNER - A Spanish-American War training encampment activated in May 1898, it was located on the State Fair Grounds outside of Springfield and named in honor of Governor John R. Tanner. Troops trained here included the 1st Illinois Cavalry, a militia unit expanded from a battalion, and several regiments of infantry.

TANQUARY'S FORT - A blockhouse defense built by Captain William McHenry in the summer of 1812, it was located in then White County.

CAMP TAYLOR - A temporary Civil War encampment in or near Springfield.

FORT TAZEWELL - Probably erected in 1811 or 1812, it was named for the county and located at or near the town of Pekin.

FORT THOMAS - On or about May 20, 1832, during the Black Hawk War, two companies of Mounted Rangers entered Bureau County and built a blockhouse surrounded with barricades 15 feet high constructed of heavy timber slabs set in the ground. There were about 140 men in the battalion, and they remained here on duty until the war was over. The fort was named for Henry Thomas on whose property it stood, four miles north of Wyanet.

FORT TOUGAS - In 1803 or 1804, Joseph Tougas (or Tugaw), a Frenchman, and his family emigrated from Vincennes, Indiana, to the site of present St. Francisville, Lawrence County, where he was its first permanent settler. In 1812 he built a stockaded fort on his property as an Indian defense. The enclosure was some 12 to 14 feet high, within which were a number of log dwellings for the use of neighboring families. In two diagonal corners of the stockade were watch-houses or blockhouses to command the surrounding rounding area.

CAMP TYLER - Most probably a temporary Civil War encampment, Camp Tyler was located within or near Chicago.


CAMP WEBB - A temporary Civil War encampment located in the suburbs of Chicago.

FORT WILBOURN (Fort Deposit) - A supply depot and mobilization center for the processing of Illinois volunteers, Fort WILBOURN (also spelled Wilburn or Willburn) was erected in 1832 during the early days of the Black Hawk War. First called Fort Deposit, it was located on the south side of the Illinois River opposite Peru, La Salle County. Here, on June 16, 1832, Abraham Lincoln reportedly enlisted in the Mounted Rangers as a private. Lincoln was later appointed captain of a company that did not participate in any action against the Sauk Indians.


CANTONMENT WILKINSONVILLE (Fort Wilkinson). - Established in January 1801 at Metcalfe Landing on the right bank of the lower Ohio River, near its confluence with the Mississippi, in present Pulaski County, Cantonment Wilkinsonville (also known as Fort Wilkinson for General James Wilkinson) was intended to protect this frontier against French encroachment on American territory. Its situation, however, proved unhealthy and the post was abandoned in 1802.

FORT WILLARD - A temporary Civil War defense erected by Union troops, this fort was cited by a contemporary Springfield newspaper as being located near Camp Hayden at Muddy Creek

FORT WILLIAMS - A War of 1812 blockhouse located on "the east side of Big Prairie" in what was then White County, the defense was erected by Aaron Williams in 1813.

WILSON'S FORT - An Indian defense erected during the War of 1812, Wilson's Fort was reportedly located in present Randolph County.

CAMP WOOD - A temporary Civil War encampment established in 1861 at or near the town of Quincy, Adams County.

FORT WOOD - A year after John Wood emigrated from Kentucky in 1809, he and his neighbors erected an Indian defense at or near Friendsville, near Lancaster, Wabash County.

CAMP YATES - A temporary Civil War encampment established very soon after the fall of Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Camp Yates occupied the Sangamon County Fair Grounds several miles west of Springfield. The camp organized and trained a number of Illinois regiments for service on the Union front in Missouri or at Cairo on the Mississippi River. Ulysses S. Grant served at Camp Yates as drill master and mustering officer. After farmers west of Springfield vehemently complained of the disappearances of their chickens, pigs, fruits, and vegetables, a new campsite was selected on Clear lake and named Camp Butler, six miles northeast of the city. In August 1861 the troops were moved there. (See: CAMP BUTLER.)


From the "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois", 1901:

PREHISTORIC FORTIFICATIONS . Closely related in interest to the works of the mound-builders in Illinois-though, probably, owing their origin to another era and an entirely different race - are those works which bear evidence of having been constructed for purposes of defense at some period anterior to the arrival of white men in the country. While there are no works in Illinois so elaborate in construction as those to which have been given the names of "Fort Ancient" on the Maumee in Ohio, "Fort Azatlan" on the Wabash in Indiana, and "Fort Aztalan" on Rock River in Southern Wisconsin, there are a number whose form of construction shows that they must have been intended for warlike purposes, and that they were formidable of their kind and for the period in which they were constructed. It is a somewhat curious fact that, while La Salle County is the seat of the first fortification constructed by the French in Illinois that can be said to have had a sort of permanent character, it is also the site of a larger number of prehistoric fortifications, whose remains are in such a state of preservation as to be clearly discernible, than any other section of the State of equal area.

One of the most formidable of these fortifications is on the east side of Fox River, opposite the mouth of Indian Creek and some six miles northeast of Ottawa. This occupies a position of decided natural strength, and is surrounded by three lines of circumvallation, showing evidence of considerable engineering skill. From the size of the trees within this work and other evidences, its age has been estimated at not less than 1,200 years.

On the present site of the town of Marseilles, at the rapids of the Illinois, seven miles east of Ottawa, another work of considerable strength existed. It is also said that the American Fur Company had an earthwork here for the protection of its trading station, erected about 1816 or '18, and consequently belonging to the present century.

Besides Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock, the outline of another fort, or outwork, whose era has not been positively determined, about half a mile south of the former, has been traced in recent times. De Baugis, sent by Governor La Barre, of Canada, to succeed Tonty at Fort St. Louis, is said to have erected a fort on Buffalo Rock, on the opposite side of the river from Fort St. Louis, which belonged practically to the same era as the latter- There are two points in Southern Illinois where the aborigines had constructed fortifications to which the name "Stone Fort" has been given. One of these is a hill overlooking the Saline River in the southern part of Saline County, where there is a wall or breastwork five feet in height enclosing an area of less than an acre in extent. The other is on the west side of Lusk's Creek, in Pope County, where a breast-work has been constructed by loosely piling up the stones across a ridge, or tongue of land, with vertical sides and surrounded by a bend of the creek. Water is easily obtainable from the creek below the fortified ridge. -

The remains of an old Indian fortification were found by early settlers of McLean County, at a point called "Old Town Timber," about 1822 to 1825. It was believed then that it had been occupied by the Indians during the War of 1812. The story of the Indians was, that it was burned by General Harrison in 1812; though this is improbable in view of the absence of any historical mention of the fact. Judge H. W. Beckwith, who examined its site in 1880, is of the opinion that its history goes back as far as 1752, and that it was erected by the Indians as a defense against the French at Kaskaskia. There was also a tradition that there had been a French mission at this point.

One of the most interesting stories of early fortifications in the State, is that of Dr. V. A. Boyer, an old citizen of Chicago, in a paper contributed to the Chicago Historical Society. Although the work alluded to by him was evidently constructed after the arrival of the French in the country, the exact period to which it belongs is in doubt. According to Dr. Boyer, it was on an elevated ridge of timber land in Palos Township, in the western part of Cook County. He says: "I first saw it in 1833, and since then have visited it in company with other persons, some of whom are still living. I feel sure that it was not built during the Sac War from its appearance. . . . It seems probable that it was the work of French traders or explorers, as there were trees a century old growing in its environs. It was evidently the work of an enlightened people, skilled in the science of warfare. . . As a strategic point it most completely commanded the surrounding country and the crossing of the swamp or 'Sag'." Is it improbable that this was the fort occupied by Colonel Durantye in 1695?

The remains of a small fort, supposed to have been a French trading post, were found by the pioneer settlers of Lake County, where the present city of Waukegan stands, giving to that place its first name of "Little Fort." This structure was seen in 1825 by Col. William S. Hamilton (a son of Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury), who had served in the session of the General Assembly of that year as a Representative from Sangamon County, and was then on his way to Green Bay, and the remains of the pickets or palisades were visible as late as 1835. While the date of its erection is unknown, it probably belonged to the latter part of the 18th century.

There is also a tradition that a fort or trading post, erected by a Frenchman named Garay (or Guarie) stood on the North Branch of the Chicago River prior to the erection of the first Fort Dearborn in 1803. BACK TO TOP

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