Fort Massac (1757-1764, 1794-1817, 1850-1864) - First established by the French in 1757 as Fort Ascension. Renamed Fort Massiac in 1759 after the French minister of marine, the Marquis de Massac. Renamed again by the Americans in 1794 as Fort Massac. Finally abandoned in 1864.
French Fort History
Fort Ascension was completed 2 Jun 1757 by the French to protect their interests on the upper Ohio River. The fort quickly deteriorated and had to be rebuilt in 1759-60. At the end of the French & Indian War it was abandoned by the French and destroyed by Indians. The British chose not to occupy the ruined fort even though the 1763 Treaty of Paris gave them control of the territory.
American Fort History
In 1794 the fort was rebuilt over the ruins of the original French fort by American General Anthony Wayne. American troops occupied the fort periodically through 1817 before it was abandoned. Lewis and Clark stopped at the fort in 1803 to recruit members for the Corps of Discovery and hired on Pierre Drouillard, a key member of the expedition.
The fort was again rebuilt in 1850 as a factory-fort that produced all sorts of military supplies. Throughout the U.S. Civil War the fort was sporadically occupied by Union troops but was finally abandoned at the end of the war.
Part of Massac State Park, Illinois. A replica of the 1802 American fort is located just to the northeast of the actual site close to the Ohio River. The actual site is outlined with log posts that indicate the location of fortifications and buildings. A statue of George Rogers Clark is also at the site of the original fort.
Location: Fort Massac State Park, Massac County, Illinois.
Maps & Images
Lat: 37.1427778 Long: -88.7116667
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 266
- Three articles on Fort Massac by Norman W. Caldwell (Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1950‑1951)
- North American Forts - Fort Massac
- IDNR - Fort Massac
Visited: 30 Jun 2010
Fort Massac Picture Gallery
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