Camp Dubois (English: Camp Wood), near present-day Wood River, Illinois, served as the winter camp and launch-point for the exploration of the Louisiana Purchase by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Founded at the confluence with the Rivière du Bois (Wood River) on December 12, 1803, it was located on the east side of the Mississippi River so that it was still in United States territory. This was important because the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase to France from Spain did not occur until March 9, 1804, and then from France to the United States on March 10, 1804. The expedition returned again to the camp on their return journey on September 23, 1806.
In 1803, at Cahokia, Lewis and Clark had met a well known French citizen, Nicholas Jarrot, who owned 400 acres on the du Bois, and he agreed to let them camp there.William Clark established Camp Dubois, with a group of men that he recruited from Kaskaskia and Fort Massac. There, they constructed a frontier fort. Captain Meriwether Lewis joined the camp several weeks later after gathering information about Upper Louisiana and the west from Cahokia, Kaskaskia, St. Louis and other locations. Also during this time, Lewis took the opportunity to smooth relations with the Spanish authorities in St Louis to make the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase easier.
Camp Dubois was a fully operating military camp. Soldiers stationed at the camp were required to participate in training, maintain personal cleanliness, police the camp and other duties spelled out by the United States military. They had inspections, marched, stood guard duty and hunted to supplement their military rations. Sergeant John Ordway was in charge of the camp during periods in which both Lewis and Clark were away.
On May 14, 1804, the Expedition, under Clark's command, left Camp River Dubois on the east side of the Mississippi River and sailed up the Missouri River.
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site has been established south of the actual winter camp site of the Expedition in Hartford, Illinois. It is located across the Mississippi from the present mouth of the Missouri, as the original camp was; however, the rivers have altered their courses, making the original site inaccessible. The Historic Site contains a museum center and reconstructed replica of Camp Dubois.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition from August 31, 1803, to September 25, 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the United States expedition to cross the newly acquired western portion of the country after the Louisiana Purchase. In the 1970s, the federal government memorialized the winter assembly encampment, Camp Dubois, as the start of the Lewis and Clark voyage of discovery and in 2019 it recognized Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the start of the expedition. The expedition made its way westward, and crossed the Continental Divide of the Americas before reaching the Pacific Coast. The Corps of Discovery was a select group of U.S. Army and civilian volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.
Kaskaskia is a village in Randolph County, Illinois. Having been inhabited by indigenous peoples, it was settled by France as part of the Illinois Country. Its population peaked at about 7,000 in the 18th century, when it was a regional center. During the American Revolutionary War, the town, which by then had become an administrative center for the British Province of Quebec, was taken by the Virginia militia during the Illinois campaign. It was designated as the county seat of Illinois County, Virginia, after which it became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787. Kaskaskia was later named as the capital of the United States' Illinois Territory, created on February 3, 1809. In 1818, when Illinois became the 21st U.S. state, the town briefly served as the state's first capital until 1819, when the capital was moved to more centrally located Vandalia.
Ste. Genevieve is a city in Ste. Genevieve Township and is the county seat of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,410 at the 2010 census. Founded in 1735 by French Canadian colonists and settlers from east of the river, it was the first organized European settlement west of the Mississippi River in present-day Missouri.
The Corps of Discovery was a specially-established unit of the United States Army which formed the nucleus of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that took place between May 1804 and September 1806. The Corps was led jointly by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, the Corps' objectives were scientific and commercial – to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to learn how the Louisiana Purchase could be exploited economically. An additional group of scouts, boatmen, and civilians aided the Corps.
The Kaskaskia were one of the indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands. They were one of about a dozen cognate tribes that made up the Illiniwek Confederation, also called the Illinois Confederation. Their longstanding homeland was in the Great Lakes region. Their first contact with Europeans reportedly occurred near present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1667 at a Jesuit mission station.
The Illinois Country — sometimes referred to as Upper Louisiana — was a vast region of New France claimed in the 1600s in what is now the Midwestern United States. While these names generally referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, French colonial settlement was concentrated along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in what is now the U.S. states of Illinois and Missouri, with outposts in Indiana. Explored in 1673 from Green Bay to the Arkansas River by the Canadien expedition of Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, the area was claimed by France. It was settled primarily from the Pays d'en Haut in the context of the fur trade. Over time, the fur trade took some French to the far reaches of the Rocky Mountains, especially along the branches of the broad Missouri River valley. The French name, Pays des Illinois, means "Land of the Illinois [plural]" and is a reference to the Illinois Confederation, a group of related Algonquian native peoples.
This is the timeline of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the American West, 1803-1806.
Private John Shields (c1769–1809) was, at about 35 years old, the second oldest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and its oldest enlisted member. Shields, born in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, moved at about 14 years old to the wilderness of Tennessee, helped build and lived in a family fort that provided protection from Native Americans, traveled with Captain Meriwether Lewis, Second Lieutenant William Clark, and Native American Sacagawea to the Oregon Coast where he helped build Fort Clatsop, and then returned to St. Louis, Missouri. At the completion of this great adventure Shields hunted and trapped with the famous American pioneer Daniel Boone.
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States. It extends for some 3,700 miles (6,000 km) from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon.
The American Bottom is the flood plain of the Mississippi River in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois, extending from Alton, Illinois, south to the Kaskaskia River. It is also sometimes called "American Bottoms". The area is about 175 square miles (450 km2), mostly protected from flooding in the 21st century by a levee and drainage canal system. Immediately across the river from St. Louis, Missouri, are industrial and urban areas, but many swamps and the major Horseshoe Lake are reminders of the Bottoms' riparian nature. This plain served as the center for the pre-Columbian Cahokia Mounds civilization, and later the French settlement of Illinois Country. Deforestation of the river banks in the 19th century to fuel steamboats had dramatic environmental effects in this region. The Mississippi River between St. Louis and the confluence with the Ohio River became wider and more shallow, as unstable banks collapsed into the water. This resulted in more severe flooding and lateral changes of the major channel, causing the destruction of several French colonial towns, such as Kaskaskia, which relocated; Cahokia, and St. Philippe, Illinois.
Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site is a 200-acre (0.8 km²) park near Chester, Illinois, on a blufftop overlooking the Mississippi River. It commemorates the vanished frontier town of Old Kaskaskia and the support it gave to George Rogers Clark in the American Revolution.
The Cahokia Courthouse State Historic Site is a reconstructed French-Canadian structure built about 1740 at what is now 107 Elm Street, Cahokia, Illinois. At various times it has served as a house and as a courthouse. It is currently interpreted to resemble its appearance about 1800 as a frontier courthouse of the Northwest Territory. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 9, 1972.
The Nicholas Jarrot Mansion is a historic house at 124 East First Street in Cahokia, Illinois and is operated as an inactive historic site by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). It is a State Historic Site, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and became a National Historic Landmark in 2001. Built in 1807–1810 for the son of French colonists, it is an extremely rare example of Federal architecture in the upper Mississippi River valley.
Kaw Point is the name given to the point where the Kansas River terminates at the Missouri River in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, Kansas. Kaw Point is also where the Missouri ceases its southerly course and turns to flow generally east through the state of Missouri to the Mississippi River at St. Louis.
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site opened in 2002 and is owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation. The site, located in Hartford, Illinois, commemorates Camp River Dubois, the camp of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from December 1803 to May 1804. The site is National Trail Site #1 on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and is located directly off the Confluence Bike Trail, part of the Confluence Greenway. The site is at the southern end of the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route.
Three Flags Day commemorates March 9 and 10, 1804, when Spain officially completed turning over the Louisiana colonial territory to France, who then officially turned over the same lands to the United States, in order to finalize the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
Old Baldy, also known as the Tower, is a hill located near the village of Lynch, in Boyd County, in the northern part of the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. It was visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition on their way up the Missouri River in 1804; nearby, they discovered a colony of prairie dogs, an animal previously unknown to scientists.
Lewis and Clark's keelboat was built as a galley in Pittsburgh in 1803 for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, after detailed specifications by Meriwether Lewis. A keelboat, it could be propelled by oars, sails, poles and towlines. The boat was the expedition's main vessel until the spring of 1805, when it was returned to Saint Louis.
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