pages (25 - 28)
On page 135, Hennepin says, "M. La Salle, improving this fair season, desired me to go down the river with him to choose a place to build a fort. After having viewed the country, we pitched upon an eminence on the bank of the river, defended on that side by the river, and on two other sides by ditches the rains had made very deep, by succession of time, so that it was accessible only by one way; therefore we cast a line to join those two natural ditches, and made the eminence steep, on every side, supporting the earth with great pieces of timber." This was done on the 15th of January, 1680. This is the fort which, on account of La Salle's troubles and misfortunes, he called Creve-Coeur; and this quotation settles, at once and for ever, a question that has been disputed for the last thirty years, to wit, the precise locality of this fort. The most of those who have written on the subject have placed it above Peoria—some two or three miles, and others six or eight miles above. But the first difficulty that hypothesis meets with is, there is no high land on that side of the river within the bounds proposed. All the land above the city, on that side, for more than the greatest distance proposed, is liable to overflow to the extent of ten or fifteen feet. Besides, Hennepin says, to locate it they went from Peoria 'down the river', and that they found a place where there was an 'eminence', and the ' bank of the river' made one line, and two sides were made 'by ditches the rains had made very deep'. There is no place on the river that fits this description but the village of Wesley; and that fits it exactly.
Reynolds, whose means of correct information was superior, or at least equal, to that of any one else, but who was oftener in error, says "there is some confusion with authors in regard to the forts, and their precise location. There were two forts: one called Creve-Coeur, and the other Rock Fort, or Fort St. Louis. Creve-Coeur was located some where, I presume, on the southeast side, eight miles above Peoria, on the lake"; etc.
There were, in fact, six works called forts.
1st, Creve-Coeur, situated at Wesley, on the east side the river, built by La Salle, in 1680, as above described.
2d, Fort Clark, built, as hereafter described, in 1813, by U. S. troops.
3d, Fort Clark, built by the citizens of Peoria in 1832, on the site of old Fort Clark, but never occupied.
4th, A fort built (when I do not know) by the French population, about 150 feet above the pottery. This was burnt by the Indians about the year 1788. The quarter-section on which this fort stood has been in the possession of Mr. John Birket for about forty-three years. In 1826 he could trace the lines of said fort by the lower end of the pickets still being there then, and by the earth being higher along the lines of the pickets than elsewhere. Back of this fort was the remains of a smith-shop, and near it, in digging up a wild plum-tree, he struck into a considerable quantity of metal, mostly iron, among which were some gun-barrels, the whole having the appearance of having been the stock in trade of a gunsmith, that had long been buried there. Among the rest was some silver plate, which had probably been had to inlay gun-stocks by way of ornament. As small change was then very scarce, he cut this up into small circular pieces, in imitation of small coin, and passed them as such. If any question was made as to their genuineness, he would say he knew they were good, for he made them himself.
5th, It would seem, from the testimony of Hypolite Maillet, given in French Claim No. 7 (American State Papers, vol. 3, page 424), that he, who was forty-five years old in 1820, was born in a stockaded fort on block 50, a little above the upper bridge.
6th, Rock Fort, or Fort St. Louis, built by La Salle, in 1680, some where between the present towns of Lasalle and Ottawa. I suppose this was the best-built and most important of all these fortifications. For its locality see Chapter IV.
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