Fort Beauharnois

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Fort Beauharnois (1727-1756) - A French colonial fort established in 1727 near present day Frontenac, Goodhue County, Minnesota. Named Fort Beauharnois after Charles de la Boische, marquis de Beauharnois, governor of New France. Abandoned in 1756.

History of Fort Beauharnois

Established on 18 Sep 1727 by Rene Boucher, sieur de la Perriere on the west side of Lake Pepin, near present day Frontenac in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Fort Beauharnois was established to protect the French trade with the Sioux Indians. Two Jesuit fathers, Michel Guignas and Nicolas de Gonnor, accompanied the expedition as missionaries. Guignas described the fort in a letter as follows:

A substantial fort was erected, consisting of a stockade one hundred feet square of tree trunks set on end twelve feet out of ground, "with two good bastions," each of which gave a flank fire on two sides of the work. Within were three log buildings, all sixteen feet wide, one thirty feet long, another thirty-eight, the third twenty-five. Upon the completion of the work the garrison celebrated in November the birthday of Beauharnois, the governor of Canada, whose name was given to the post. (Folwell 1921:46)

The first Christian mission on Minnesota soil was established at Fort Beauharnois by the two priests. They called it "The Mission of St. Michael the Archangel."

The post was abandoned in October 1728 because of Sioux hostilities and reoccupied in 1732. Rebuilt again in 1750 and finally abandoned as a fortification in 1756 when the garrison was withdrawn for service in the French & Indian War.

Current Status

The exact site location is unknown. An Ursuline convent and the Villa Maria Conference Center stood near the likely site of the old fort and much of the area has become the Frontenac State Park .

Location: The historical marker is located along the northeast side of U.S. 61/U.S. 63 at the junction with County Road 2 near Frontenac, Goodhue County, Minnesota.

Maps & Images

Lat: 44.51167 Long: -92.31528

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  • Elevation: 689'

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