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History of Fort du Rocher


Fort Saint Louis du Rocher (on "the rock")

French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and Henry de Tonty built Fort St. Louis on the large butte by the river in the winter of 1682. Called Le Rocher, the butte provided an advantageous position for the fort above the Illinois River. A wooden palisade was the only form of defense that La Salle used in securing the site. Inside the fort were a few wooden houses and native shelters. The French intended Fort St. Louis to be the first of several forts to defend against British incursions and keep their settlements confined to the east coast. Accompanying the French to the region were allied members of several native tribes from eastern areas, who integrated with the Kaskaskia: Miami, Shawnee, and Mohican tribes. The tribes established a new settlement at the base of the butte at a site now known as Hotel Plaza. After La Salle's five-year monopoly ended, Governor Joseph-Antoine de La Barre wished to obtain Fort St. Louis along with Fort Frontenac for himself. By orders of the governor, traders and his officer were escorted to Illinois. On August 11, 1683, Prudhomme obtained approximately one and three-quarters of a mile of the north portage shore.

During the French and Indian Wars, the French used the fort as a refuge against attacks by Iroquois, who were allied with the British. The Iroquois forced the settlers, then commanded by Henri de Tonty, to abandon the fort in 1691. De Tonty reorganized the settlers and constructed Fort Pimiteoui in modern-day Peoria.

French troops commanded by Pierre Deliette may have occupied Fort St. Louis from 1714 to 1718; Deliette's jurisdiction over the region ended when the territory was transferred from Canada to Louisiana. Fur trappers and traders used the fort periodically in the early 18th century until it became too dilapidated. No surface remains of the fort are found at the site today. 

Chapter History

The Fort du Rocher Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) was organized on November 5, 2019, by Linda Byrd.


Linda Byrd, was an active member with the Princeton-Illinois Chapter, NSDAR, and served as registrar. She then navigated to the Illini Chapter, NSDAR, of Ottawa, Illinois, where she studied and qualified as a volunteer genealogist. With gratitude for these Illinois chapters and ambition in hand, she set forth to develop a new NSDAR chapter in Mendota, Illinois. 

Having family ties to Mendota, State Regent Sharla Luken, was extremely encouraging and supportive in the organization of the Fort du Rocher Chapter, NSDAR. Linda Byrd was fittingly appointed by the state regent to be the organizing regent of the Fort du Rocher Chapter, NSDAR. 


The chapter organized with nineteen charter members and has grown with the legacy and kindful purpose of bringing service into the community.             

Fort du Rocher Chapter, NSDAR, Founding Members

Courtesy of Ifremer

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