F O R T

C H A R T R E S.

FORT CHARTRES when it belonged to France was the seat of government of the Illinois; the headquarters of the English commanding officer is now here, who is, in fact, the arbitrary governor of this country. The fort is an irregular quadrangle, the fides of the exterior polygon are four hundred and ninety feet; it is built of stone and plastered over, and is only designed as a 'defence against the Indians, the walls being two feet two inches thick,, and pierced with loop-holes at regular distances, And with two portholes for cannon in the faces, and two in the flanks of each bastion; the ditch has never been finished; the entrance to the fort is through a very handsome rustic gate : within the wall is a small banquette, raised three feet, for the men to Stand on when they fire through the loopholes. The buildings within, the fort are, the commandant's and commissary houses, the magazine of stores, corps do garde, and two barracks; these occupy the square. Within the gorges of the bastions are, a powder magazine, a bakehouse, a prison, in the lower floor of which are four dungeons, and in the upper two rooms, and an out-house belonging to the commandant. The commandants hours is thirty-two yards long, and ten broad ; it contains a kitchen, a dining-room, a bed-chamber, one Small room, five closets for servants, and a cellar. The commissary's house (now occupied by officers) is built in the fame line as this, its proportions and distribution of apartments are the fame. Opposte these are the store-house and guard-house, they are each thirty yards long and eight broad - the former consists of two large storerooms (under which is a large vaulted cellar) and a large room, a bed-chamber, and a closet for the Storekeeper the latter, of a soldiers and officer's guard-rooms, a chapel, a bed-chamber and closet for the chaplain, and an artillery storeroom. The lines of barracks have never been finished; they at present consist of two rooms each, for officers, and three rooms for soldiers; they are good spacious rooms of twenty-two feet square, and have betwixt them a small passage. There are fine spacious lofts over each building which reach from end to end; these are made use of to lodge regimental stores, working and intrenching tools, etc. It is generally allowed that this is the most commodious and best built fort in North America. The bank of the Missisippi, next the fort, is continually falling in, being worn away by the current, which has been turned from its course by a sand-bank, now en. creased to a considerable island covered with willows: many experiments have been tried to flop this growing evil, but to no purpose. When the fort I was began in the year 1756, it was a good half mile from the water-fide ; in the year 1766 it was but eighty paces; eight years ago the river was fordable to the island, the channel is now forty feet deep. In the year 1764 there were about forty families in the village near the fort, and a parish church, served by a Franciscan friar, dedicated to St. Anne. In the following year, when the English took possession of the country, they abandoned their houses, except three or four poor families, and settled at the villages on the west side of the Missisippi, chusing to continue under the French government.

 

S A I N T P H I L I P P E.

SA I N T P H I L I P P E is a small village about five miles from Fort Chartres, in the road to Kaoquias; there are about sixteen houses and a small church standing; all the inhabitants, except the captain of militia, deserted it in 1765, and went to the French side: the captain of militia has about twenty slaves, a good stock of cattle, and a water-mill for corn and planks. This village stands in a very fine meadow, about one mile from the Missisippi.

 

K A O Q U I A S.

THE village of Sainte Famille de Kaoquias is generally reckoned fifteen leagues from Fort Chartres, and six leagues below the mouth of the river Missoury; it stands near the side of the Missisippi, and is masked from the river by an island of two leagues long; the village is opposite the center of this island; it is long and straggling being three quarters of a mile from one end to the other; it contains forty-five dwelling-houses, and a church near its center. The situation is not well chosen, as in the floods it is generally overflowed two or three feet. This was the first settlement on the river Missisippi. The land was purchased of the savages by a few Canadians, some of whom married women of the Kaoquias nation, and others brought wives from Canada, and then resided there, leaving their children to succeed them. The inhabitants of this place depend more on hunting, and their Indian trade, than on agriculture, as they scarcely raise corn enough for their own consumption: they have a great deal of poultry and good flocks of horned cattle. The mission of St. Sulpice had a very fine plantation here, and an excellent house built on it; they sold this estate, and a very good mill for corn and planks, to a Frenchman who chose to remain under the English government. They also disposed of thirty negroes and a good flock of cattle to different people in the country, and returned to France in the year 1764. What is called the fort is a small house standing in the center of the village; it differs in nothing from the other houses except in being one of the poorest; it was formerly enclosed with high pallisades but these were torn down and burnt. Indeed a fort at this place could be of but little use.

 

SAINT LOUIS, or PAINCOURT.

THIS village is one league and a half above Kaoquias, on the west side of the Missisippi, being the present head quarters of the French in these parts. It was first established in the year 1764, by a company of merchants, to whom Mons. D'Abbadie had given an exclusive grant for the commerce with the Indian nations on the river Missoury; and for the security and encouragement of this settlement, the staff of French officers and the commissary were ordered to remove there, upon the rendering Fort Chartres to the English; and great encouragement was given to the inhabitants to remove with them most of whom did. The company has built a large house and stores here, and there are about forty private houses, and as many families. No fort or barracks are yet built. The French garrison consists of a captain-commandant, two lieutenants, a fort-major, one serjeant, one corporal, and twenty men.

 

SAINTE GENEVIEUVE, or MISERE.

TH E first settlers of this village removed about twenty-eight years ago from Cascasquias : the goodness of the foil and the plentiful harvests they reaped made them perfectly satisfied with the place they had chosen. The situation of the village is very convenient, being within one league of the salt spring, which is for the general use of the French subjects, and several persons belonging to this village have works here, and make great quantities of salt for the supply of the Indians, hunters, and the other settlements. A lead mine, which supplies the whole country with shot, is about fifteen leagues distance. The communication of this village with Cascasquais is very short and easy, it being only to cross the Missisippi, which is about three quarters of a mile broad at this place, and then there is a portage, two miles distance, to Cascasquias. This cuts off eighteen miles by water, fix down the river Cascasquias and twelve up the Missisippi. The village of St. Louis is supplied with flour and other provisions from hence. An officer appointed by the French commandant has the entire regulation of the police. Here is a company of militia, commanded by a Mons. Valet, who resides at this place, and is the richest inhabitant of the country of the Illinois ; he raises great quantities of corn and provisions of every kind ; he has one hundred negroes, besides hired white people, constantly employed. The village is about one mile in length and contains about seventy families. Here is a very fine water-mill, for corn and planks, belonging to Mons. Valet.