Prairie du Rocher: Historical Newspaper Articles

Last Rev. August 28, 2009
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Newspaper article citations: 1807 - 1933

Prairie du Rocher, Fort de Chartres, and Nearby Areas

19th Century

Date - SourceDescription
1807Jan01 - Annales PhilosophiesObservations sur la Riviere des Illinois (in French)
1823Jan01 - Christian SpectatorRemarks on the States of Illinois and Missouri: describes towns and missionary status in Illinois and Missouri
1823Feb07 - Pittsburg Reporter(similar to previous) Remarks on the States of Illinois and Missouri: describes towns and missionary status in Illinois and Missouri
1823Feb22 - Boston Recorder(similar to previous) Domestic Religious Intelligence: describes towns and missionary status in Illinois and Missouri
1833Feb - The Western Monthly Magazine, and Literary JournalHistorical sketch of early settlements in Monroe and St. Clair counties, Illinois; describes Indian wars
1839Jan08 - from The Far WestThe Journal of Belles Lettres - La Prairie Du Rocher: describes Kaskaskia and Prairie du Rocher; describes Indian massacre of Illinois Civil Court functionaries at the creek in Prairie du Rocher
1839Jan17 - The Catholic TelegraphThe Catholic Almanac for 1839: describes the church in Prairie du Rocher
1857Aug25 - Chicago TribuneFirst annual report of the Chicago Historical Society: describes thousands of aboriginal monuments in Illinois, the history of Illinois (mentions Fort de Chartres), and the estabishment of a Free Public Library
1859Dec16 - New York TimesObituary of Mme. Catharine Benoist, granddaughter of Dr. Conde - a Surgeon at Fort de Chartres
1864Apr06 - St. Louis Post-DispatchCivil War Skirmish in Prairie du Rocher - the scene of the only Civil War combat on Illinois soil.
1865Mar15 - Colman's Rural WorldMeeting of the Alton (Illinois) Horticultural Society: mentions picking pears using a skiff during the flood of 1844, and the oldest pear trees in Prairie du Rocher being about 50 years old.
1867Jan22 - Chicago TribuneOpera House Drawing - the winner ... Abraham H. Lee of Prairie du Rocher
1867Feb23 - Chicago TribuneOpera House Drawing - Mr. Lee's Modesty
1869Jul26 - New York TimesThe sudden death of Abraham H. Lee - the man who won the Opera House Drawing (scroll down to view)
1870Feb8 - New York TimesObituary of Abraham H. Lee (scroll down to view)
1871Jul04 - Chicago TribuneNews from the Northwest: Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa - various news stories including several tragic accidents. For example, "A son of Mrs. Kerr, at Prairie du Rocher, was almost instantly killed, a few days ago, by drinking cold water while in a heated condition."
1871Jul25 - Chicago TribuneCrops grown in Randolph County, Illinois: Concord and Virginia grapes are among the best ... grown in areas along the Mississippi river up to Prairie du Rocher
1872Feb03 - Chicago TribuneThe Great Flood of 1844: the Mississippi river extends from bluff to bluff, 12 miles wide, higher even than in 1785 when part of Fort de Chartres was washed in. The whole American Bottom being submerged from Alton to Cairo, the flood stage at St. Louis being 38 ft. 7 inches above the low water mark.
1876Jul30 - New York TimesWedding Contract at Fort de Chartres - May 13, 1732, also describes construction of Fort de Chartres
1877Mar19 - Chicago TribuneHistory of the area: 1718 - the first organized government in Illinois was established by the Company of the West, with its headquarters at Fort de Chartres. 1719 - The Company of St. Phillip is organized in Paris to develop mines supposed to exist near Fort de Chartres - Phillip Francis Renault is placed at the head of this colony.
1878Jul07 - Chicago TribuneCapture of Fort Gage by George Rogers Clark and his men. Mentions the oldest towns in Illinois: Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, and Cahokia - the outposts of the Western country.
1882Oct08 - Washington PostSmallpox outbreak: "Another death from smallpox is reported by the attending physician near Prairie du Rocher, Randolph county. Of the ten unvaccinated cases in this group six have died; while of the vaccinated cases, all have survived."
1887Jan10 - New York TimesIllinois Capitol completed, mentions a picture of Fort de Chartres inside the Capitol
1888Feb07 - Chicago TribuneJohn Baker of Illinois introduces a resolution to look into purchasing and preserving Fort de Chartres because of its historical associations. Fort de Chartres is connected with all the history of the exploration and settlement of the Mississippi Valley by the French before the country fell into the hands of the British.
1889Jun09 - Chicago TribuneScenes at Prairie du Rocher and Fort de Chartres: describes the town, the ruins at Fort de Chartres, the farmer who currently lives there, important events that occurred at the fort, its specifications when rebuilt of stone, local farmers currently using the stone for foundations.
1891Jun07 - Chicago TribuneHistory of Fort de Chartres, Fort Gage,Chester, and Ste. Genevieve: describes Fort de Chartres as currently being in ruins - ridges of stone and earth dimly define the location of the ancient walls, and a part of the magazine are all that is left to mark the spot.
1893Jan03 - Chicago TribunePrairie du Rocher Commons: Senator Ford of Randolph County introduces bills to allow tenants to buy the property, and for a reduction in the assessment of the bottom lands currently selling for $30/acre compared to $12/acre for nearby high lands
1896May09 - Chicago TribuneRelics from Fort de Chartres: the Chicago Historical Society purchases the colleciton of the German farmer, Ferdinand J.Wierschene, who lived on the fort grounds for 20 years. The President of the Society finds the baptismal records of St. Anne in the house of a Prairie du Rocher resident. He restores the documents and returns them to the Church.
1897Feb21 - Chicago TribuneBuilding Fort de Chartres, Tissent's adventure with the Indians, Odd French-American Customs, John Law's Financial Bubble, Communication with the Outside World.
1899Jun25 - Los Angeles TimesStories of Big Riverboats in Bygone Days: "... The pilot points out the site of Fort de Chartres, which stood in 1718, and is in all the histories of early America. This was a most important fort in the French and English war. This fort was abandoned in 1772, but the old walls and some of the old rusty cannon are there yet."

20th Century

Date - SourceDescription
1901May02 - Los Angeles Times"Old Fort Chartres will soon be a thing of the past, as the walls are fast crumbling and being carried away as souvenirs ... the seat of government, Fort Chartres, became the center of fashion, business, and gayety of all the Illinois country."
1901Oct27 - New York TimesRed Bud tourism info, also mentions search party, looking for relics in Fort de Chartres, is routed by farmer at fort
1902May30 - New York TimesSearch party organized at Red Bud to look for war relics in Fort de Chartres
1903Jun28 - Washington PostMemoirs of Joseph Scalade - a member of Laclede's expedition from Fort de Chartres that founded St. Louis on Feb. 14, 1764
1911Sep06 - New York TimesCity College President Finley : "He found that a part of the powder magazine was still intact at Fort Chartres below St. Louis. The river had washed away portions of the fort, and it was evident, he said, that the rest sill soon be destroyed unless a movement is started looking to the old fort's preservation. There is some talk, he said, of making the site a National reservation and building a stone embankment along the river, which will prevent further devastation of the historic site."
1916Jan09 - Washington PostSkunk farm in Modoc: Two brothers, F. A. and Ulysses S. Thompson, raise 1,400 skunks for Civet oil (used as a fixative for perfume)
1918Sep07 - New York TimesThe War Department releases a list of 507 Army casualties in France during World War I, bringing the total for the Army to 26,793. Private M. J. Laubenthal of Prairie du Rocher is listed as "Wounded (Degree Undetermined)."
1918Sep20 - New York TimesThe War Department releases a list of 317 Army casualties in Europe during World War I, bringing the total for the Army to 32,000. Sergeant J. W. LaRose of Prairie du Rocher is listed as "Died from accident and other causes."
1918Nov17 - Chicago TribuneEuropean settlement in Illinois: Building Fort de Chartres - then known as the "Gibraltar of the west", and "the most commodious and best built fort in North America". The fort was a bit of France transplanted to the wilderness, and men said "All roads lead to Fort de Chartres".
1926Aug06 - Chicago TribuneTourism advertisement for Prairie du Rocher: "The only town in the United States having a commons on the old French plan. Church records date back to 1720."
1933Jun07 - Chicago TribuneThe Oleo Margarine Bill - introduced by Senator C. J. Kribs of Prairie du Rocher.
1933Jul13 - Chicago TribunePrairie du Rocher Commons: an editorial about Prairie du Rocher selling the commons to the people who have leased the land.