Chansons (songs) on this page by La Salle Expedition II (August 11, 1976 - April 9, 1977).
La Salle Expedition II was a 3000 mile re-enactment of La Salle's 1681-82 journey from Montreal to the Gulf of Mexico.
For additional information contact the Elgin Public Museum - Elgin, Illinois: 847-741-6655. Click here to visit their website.
Prairie du Rocher: Historical Timeline
(work in progress)
M. de Boisbriand, Mr. Du Tissent, and others arrive by a convoy of canoes on the east bank of the Mississippi river and begin building a fort and other structures.
Chicago Tribune - Feb. 21, 1897
The fort is named Fort de Chartres - after the duc de Chartres, son of the regent of France.
The French begin to settle the
country between Fort de Chartres and Kaskaskia
Founding date of Prairie du Rocher
Official census: 208 persons living
in the area of Fort de Chartres, St. Philippe, and Prairie du Rocher
St. Joseph's chapel is built at
Prairie du Rocher (on site of present day cemetary
St. Anne's church is dedicated
Official census: 281 persons living
in the area of Fort de Chartres, St. Philippe, and Prairie du Rocher
MKB-114, Note 1
Fort de Chartres' chapel is built
Official land grants are made to
individuals in Prairie du Rocher
Three residents receive a land
grant for building a water mill between Prairie du Rocher and Fort de Chartres
Pierre D'Artaguiette is appointed commandant of Fort de Chartres. D'Artaguiette was chosen because he had won signal victories in the Natchez war, and because holding Fort de Chartres required great skill owing to hostilites of the Spaniards and the Chickasaws.
Chicago Tribune - June 9, 1889
D'Artaguiette's forces attack a small Chickasaw village, but are ambushed by several hundred Indians. About forty frenchmen are killed. The commandant, D'Artaguiette, the officers, Pierre St. Ange, Louis Dutisne, Sieur de Vincennes, and the Jesuit priest, Antoine Senat are burned at the stake.
Civil Judge Jean Baptiste de Lelore
Flancourt ruled that three square miles of land be given to the the
people of Prairie du Rocher for common usage
Pierre Chaffour de Louviere (later
Captain of the Militia during the British period) has 200 arpents of
land (170 aces) under cultivation, six slaves, and three hired helpers
NCN-1997Apr17-Margaret Kimball Brown
The Creole House is built
Soldiers from this area help De
Villiers capture George Washington at Fort Necessity
Jesuits expelled from French
settlements. Pierre LaClede stayed at Fort de Chartres during the
winter and left his daughter at Prairie du Rocher
Flooding removes approximately half
of the land between St. Anne and Fort de Chartres
JHS-401, Note 2
Fort de Chartres is surrendered to
the British on Oct. 10 - by order of Saint Louis and Foccault.
Captain Sterling and the 42nd Regiment of Foot take possession.
Captain Sterling describes Fort
Kaskaskia as being nearly in ruins, the Indians insolent, and some
local villagers as having moved to Missouri.
JHS-398, Note 3
The Great Flood ... the British
leave the area
Residents of Prairie du Rocher
(male) elect two magistrates: Jean Baptiste Barbeau (the younger) and
NCN-1997Apr10-Margaret Kimball Brown
The winter is severely cold with
three feet of snow. Cattle starve and deer are caught alive
NCN-1997Jun26-Margaret Kimball Brown
The "Year of the High
Water" (because of melting snow from the previous year)
The citizens declared that until
Congress could provide a plan for a stable government (because of the
growing number of Americans coming in), they would only have French
magistrates in the court, due to the impossibility of finding interpreters
NCN-1997Jun05-Margaret Kimball Brown
Congress directs that a donation be
given to each of the families living at either of the villages of
Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Cahokia, Fort de Chartres, or St. Philippe
Congress reserves from occupancy or
sale, a tract of about one square mile that includes Fort de Chartres
and its buildings
Pierre Gibault, the priest at
Kaskaskia, and 87 others sign a memorial asking Gov. St. Clair to
petition Congress on their behalf (unable to pay mandatory surveying fees)
Congress directs that 400 acres of
land be granted to the head of any family which had made improvements
in Illinois prior to 1788.
Illinois country becomes part of
the Diocese of Bardstown, Kentucky
New Madrid earthquake
Brown, also Note 4
A road is opened from the Old Stone
House in the commonfields along near the bluff.
NCN-1997Apr03-Margaret Kimball Brown
Illinois becomes a state
By act of state leglislature,
Prairie du Rocher becomes a "village". The first trustees
are Andre Barbeau, Antoine Louvier, Henry Barbeau, Henry Kerr, and
The first English entry occurs in
Prairie du Rocher's Church records
Henry Conner is allowed to keep a
public inn or tavern in a house that he occupied
John M. Godaire is licensed to keep
a public inn or tavern - commonly called a "grocery" - at
Official grants for new lots begin
- for moving the village closer to the bluffs to avoid floods
Census of St. Joseph's parish: 86
households - this includes six free black households. The total
population is 526 persons: 475 white and 51 black. No Indians are mentioned.
Mississippi River flood: water
covers part of the cemetary, water is at the old church door. John
Reynolds recalls the water being higher than the watermarks left on
buildings from the flood of 1785.
Blais, Dr. Smith, and Dr. McDonald, and several other Prairie du
Rocher residents depart for the California Gold Rush
St. Joseph's parochial school built
Civil War skirmish
Abraham Lee wins Crosby Opera House
in nationwide lottery. He sells his ticket back to Crosby for $200,000.
Crosby Opera House destroyed in the
Great Chicago Fire
The Atlas Map of Randolph County is
published - contains much information about Prairie du Rocher.
Mississippi River flood
MKB-251 (approx. date)
Iron Mountain Railroad comes
through Prairie du Rocher - passenger trains to St. Louis run 3-4
First automobiles in town
Illinois legislature designates
Fort de Chartres a State Park
Water plant is built
The first electrc plant is in
operation (one-cylinder diesel engine with a cowhide belt)
Road is built between Prairie du
Rocher and Fort de Chartres
Two-year high school is started in
St. Joseph's school
Royal storehouse is reconstructed
as a custodian's quarters and museum at Fort de Chartres
Road is built between Prairie du
Rocher and Ruma
Airport (emergency landing field)
is built south of town near the cemetary
Guardhouse and Chapel rebuilt at
Fort de Chartres
Common land leases terminate before
the 99 year term is due. Land was valued and lease-holders purchased
Golden Jubilee of Msgr. Van Delft:
a new altar and organ are installed.
King's Ball discontinued (WWII)
Baseball diamond is built on St.
Joseph's Church grounds
Levee is built
MKB-285 (approx date)
La Guiannee plays at the National
Folk Festival in St. Louis
Note 5, LaGuiannee photos
Last doctor leaves (no doctor in
Prairie du Rocher since)
Airport is dismantled
School building is built by the
Catholic church - is leased to the public school district
Baptist church built
Brickey mansion is destroyed by fire
Public school is built
French Colonial District created:
22 square miles
Village Hall is built
King's Ball is revived
(discontinued since WWII)
Percy Clerc publishes "Echoes
of Old Prairie du Rocher" (book of poetry)
Percy Clerc's home burns down -
Percy perishes in the fire.
Chamber of Commerce is formed
IHA - various contributors "An
Illustrated Historical Atlas Map of Randolph County, Ills. -
Carefully Compiled from Personal Examinations and Surveys" W. R.
Brink and Co. of Illinois, 1875
JHS - Schlarman, J. H. "From
Quebec to New Orleans: The Story of the French in America"
Buechler Publishing Company, Bellevile, Illinois 1929
MKB - Brown, Margaret K.
"History As They Lived It: A Social History of Prairie du
Rocher, Ill." The Patrice Press, Tucson, Arizona 2005
NCN - author indicated above North
County News Red Bud, Illinois
Note 1: The 1732 census records 179
French persons plus 102 black and Indian slaves, for a total of 281 persons.
Note 2: Upon taking control of Fort
de Chartres in 1765, Captain Sterling writes "I am sending an
officer to Cauho (Cahokia), it being the next considerable village,
the Prairiech Rocher, and St. Phillip, having only a few inhabitants,
the Village of this Place (St. Anne) is quite depopulated, the River
having run away with half of it, and every one is of the Opinion that
it will carry away the Fort next Spring, it having carry'd off more
of the Land betwixt it and the Fort last Year, than what remains,
which is a great pity, as it is one of the best constructed Forts
against Indians in America, and able to contain 200 men."
Note 3: Captain Sterling writes
"The Fort of the Caskakias (Fort Kaskaskia) having been
abandoned by the French since the treaty of Peace, it is almost in
ruins, one face of it having fallen down, which prevented my sending
a Detachment there, and indeed my party is so small and the Indians
so Numerous, so easily assembled, and so insolent, that I thought it
for His Majesty's Service not to divide my little Force. The Indians
have not been accustomed to have Troops among them since the Peace,
so that they have been quite Masters here, and treated the
Inhabitants as they thought proper, which has drove several of them
to the other side of the River, where there is two Villages, One
Opposite to Caskaskias Settled about Fourteen Years ago, called St.
Genevieve, and has about Twenty five families, the other about Twenty
Leagues higher up, called St. Louis, and has Forty Families, it is
established since the Cession of this Country to the English, by
those who either did not like to be under our Government, or were
frightened for the Indians."
Note 4: Fr. Benedict Roux related
its effects in Kaskaskia. "In 1811, Kaskaskia underwent one of
the most dreadful earthquakes ever felt by mortals - earth waves came
several times this year - the steeple of the church bending like a
reed, here and there stone and brick chimneys fell down, cattle
themselves siezed with fear, were running to and fro. The earth
cracked so deeply along one of the streets that they could never
sound the bottom of this crevice." There must have been similar
effects in Prairie du Rocher. From Wickopedia: "Based on the
effects of these earthquakes, it can be estimated that they had a
magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale. As a result of the quakes,
large areas sank into the earth, new lakes were formed (notably
Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee), and the Mississippi River changed its
course, creating numerous geographic exclaves, including Kentucky
Bend, along the state boundaries defined by the river. Some sections
of the Mississippi River appeared to run backward for a short time.
Sandblows were common throughout the area, and their effects can
still be seen from the air in cultivated fields. Church bells were
reported to ring in Boston, Massachusetts and sidewalks were reported
to have been cracked and broken in Washington, D.C. There were also
reports it toppled chimneys in Maine."
Note 5: A partial list of
participants is Charles Clerc (lead singer), Charles Bise, Frank
Coleno, Percy Clerc, William Clerc, and Edward DuFrenne. A 45-RPM
phonograph record was produced by Radio Station KSGM: titled "LA
GUIGNOLEE (EN FRANCAIS) BY PRAIRIE DUROCHER SINGERS" (record 15871B).
Information compiled by Chamber
member, Daryl Clerc
If you have addiitonal information
or photos that add to the Historical Time line, contact Daryl at email@example.com
© 2008 Prairie du Rocher
Chamber of Commerce. All Rights Reserved.