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Massac County, Illinois

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Established in 1843 and named for the French Fort Massac founded in the 18th century.

Fort Massac

Fort Massac was built by the French in 1757, during the French and Indian War and was originally called "Fort de L’Ascension." The name was changed in 1759, to honor of Claud Louis d'Espinchal, Marquis de Massiac, the French Naval Minister. Massiac is a French town in the Cantal department.

The French left the fort at the conclusion of the war, and it was destroyed by the Chickasaw sometime after 1763. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, Colonel George Rogers Clark led his regiment of "Long Knives" into Illinois near the site of the fort at Massac Creek.[a] The fort was rebuilt in 1794, during the Northwest Indian War.

In the fall of 1803, the Lewis and Clark Expedition stopped at Fort Massac on its way west, recruiting two volunteers.

In 1805, General James Wilkinson and Vice President Aaron Burr held discussions at the fort. It is unclear, what connection this meeting may have had to the unfolding Burr Conspiracy (1806-1807), but as an important river fort in what was then the western United States, the fort was connected to several events related to the conspiracy.

In The Fort was repaired after being damaged in the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes, but it was decommissioned in 1814.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Villages & Communities

  • Big Bay *Boaz *Brookport *Hillerman *Joppa *Metropolis (County Seat) *Midway *New Columbia *Round Knob *Shady Grove *Unionville



Shawnee National Forest (part)

Fort Massac

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