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American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
Legend: Selected Site Area Merchant Site Historic Site Historic Marker Historic Shipwreck
Marker data courtesy of hmdb.org   Some map icons courtesy of Map Icons Collection



1776 Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
The Federalist Papers Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West John Adams
Benjamin Franklin : An American Life The Bloody & Brave History of Native American Warriors & the Women Who Supported Them
Click here for additional books


We the Kids : The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States The New Americans : Colonial Times: 1620-1689 (The American Story)
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery A History of US: Vol 3, From Colonies to Country (A History of Us)
Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
They Called Her Molly Pitcher Now &  Ben : The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin


Pirates and Traders: Gold! Hidden Treasures Hidden Object
Dedaloop (Kindle Fire Edition) Word Treasure
Treasure Island, The Experience Robinson Crusoe
The Patriots Hero Tales from American History - AudioBook

Selected Site

Lewis and Clark Center

1050 S Riverside Dr
St. Charles, MO, 63301




Click on heading to visit the website (excludes markers).

Nearby Historic Sites

Benjamin Stephenson House



409 South Buchanan
Edwardsville, IL, 62025

Cahokia Mounds



30 Ramey Street
Collinsville, IL, 62234

Camp Dubois



1 Lewis and Clark Trail
Hartford, IL, 62048

Daniel Boone Home & Heritage Center



1868 Highway F
Defiance, MO, 63341

Jarrot Mansion



124 E 1st St
Cahokia, IL, 62206

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial



11 N 4th St
St. Louis, MO, 63102

Click on any heading to visit the website.

Community Histories


East Saint Louis
Saint Charles
Saint Louis

East Saint Louis

Native Americans had long inhabited both sides of the Mississippi River. The Mississippian culture rulers organized thousands of workers to construct villages and complex earthwork mounds at what later became St. Louis and East St. Louis, as well as the urban complex of Cahokia to the north of East St. Louis within present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Before the Civil War, settlers reported up to 50 mounds in the area that became East St. Louis, but most were lost to 19th-century development and later roadbuilding.

East St. Louis lies within the American Bottom area of the present day Metro-East area of St. Louis, Missouri. This name was given after the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and European Americans began to settle in the area. The village was first named "Illinoistown."

East St. Louis was founded in 1797 by Captain James Piggott, a Revolutionary War veteran.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Saint_Louis", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0


Saint Charles

Louis Blanchette was a French Canadian who traveled to the Americas, it is said, for adventure. According to Hopewell's Legends of the Missouri and Mississippi:

In the year 1765, a French Canadian, called Blanchette Chasseur, animated by that love of adventure which characterizes all who have lived a roving and restless life, ascended the Missouri, with a few followers, for the purpose of forming a settlement in the then remote wilderness. According to Hopewell's rather romantic account, Blanchette met another French Canadian (Bernard Guillet) at the site of St. Charles in 1765. Blanchette, determined to settle at the site, asked if Guillet, who had become the chief of a Dakota tribe, had chosen a name for it.

"I called the place 'Les Petites Côtes' " replied Bernard, "from the sides of the hills that you see." "By that name shall it be called", said Blanchette Chasseur, "for it is the echo of nature — beautiful from its simplicity." Blanchette settled there in 1769 under the authority of the Spanish governor of Upper Louisiana, and served as its civil and military leader until his death in 1793. During this time perhaps only a couple dozen buildings were built. Although the settlement was under Spanish jurisdiction, the settlers themselves remained primarily French Canadians.

The first church, built in 1791, was dedicated to San Carlos Borromeo, and the town became known as San Carlos del Misuri: "St. Charles of the Missouri". This church was destroyed by a tornado in 1916. The Spanish Lieutenant-Governor Carlos de Hault de Lassus appointed Daniel Boone commandant of the Femme Osage District, which he served until the United States government assumed control in 1804. The name of the town, San Carlos, was anglicized to become St. Charles. William Clark arrived in St. Charles on May 16, 1804. With him were 40 men and three boats; there they made final preparations, as they waited for Meriwether Lewis to arrive from St. Louis. They attended dances, dinners, and a church service during this time, and the excited town was very hospitable to the explorers. Lewis arrived via St. Charles Rock Road on May 20, and the expedition launched the next day in a keelboat at 3:30 pm. St. Charles was the last established American town they would visit for more than two and a half years.

When Missouri was granted statehood in 1821, a decision was made to build a "City of Jefferson" to serve as the state capital, in the center of the state, overlooking the Missouri River. Since this land was undeveloped at the time, a temporary capital was needed. St. Charles beat eight other cities in a competition to house the temporary capitol, offering free meeting space for the legislature in rooms located above a hardware store. This building is preserved as the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site and may be toured. The Missouri government continued to meet there until Jefferson City was ready in 1826. Gottfried Duden was a German who visited in the area in 1824. Travelling under the guidance of Daniel M. Boone, he wrote extensive accounts of life in St. Charles County during his year there. These he published upon his return to Germany in 1829, and his favorable impressions of the area led to the immigration of a number of Germans in 1833.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles,_Missouri", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0


Saint Louis

The earliest settlements in the middle Mississippi Valley were built in the 10th century by the people of the Mississippian culture, who constructed more than two dozen platform mounds within what would become the city. After the end of the Mississippian culture in the 14th century, Siouan-speaking groups such as the Missouria and the Osage migrated to the Missouri Valley, living in villages along the Missouri and Osage Rivers. Both groups lived in conflict with northeastern tribes such as the Sauk and the Meskwaki, and all four groups confronted the earliest European explorers of the middle Mississippi Valley. European exploration near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers began nearly a century before the city was officially founded. Explorer Louis Joliet and Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette traveled south on the Mississippi River in June 1673, passed the future site of St. Louis and reached the mouth of the Arkansas River before turning back.

Nine years later, French explorer La Salle led an expedition south from the Illinois River to the mouth of the Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the entire valley for France. La Salle named the Mississippi river basin Louisiana after King Louis XIV; the region between and near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers was named Illinois Country. As part of a series of forts in the Mississippi valley, the French built settlements at Cahokia, Illinois and Kaskaskia, Illinois. French trading companies also built towns during the 1720s and 1730s, including Fort de Chartres and Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. From 1756 to 1760, fighting in the French and Indian War halted settlement building, and the economy remained weak through 1762 due to the ongoing Seven Years' War.

The arrival in New Orleans of Jean-Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie as the new governor of Louisiana in June 1763 led to changes in colonial policies. D'Abbadie quickly moved to grant trade monopolies in the middle Mississippi Valley to stimulate the economy. Among the new monopolists was Pierre Laclede, who along with his stepson Auguste Chouteau set out in August 1763 to build a fur trading post near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The settlement of St. Louis was established at a site south of the confluence on the west bank of the Mississippi on February 15, 1764, by Chouteau and a group of about 30 men. Laclede arrived at the site by mid-1764 and provided detailed plans for the village, including a street grid and market area.

French settlers began to arrive from settlements on the east bank of the Mississippi in 1764 due to fears of British control, given the transfer of eastern land to the United Kingdom after the Treaty of Paris. The local French lieutenant governor moved to St. Louis in 1765 and began awarding land grants. As part of the peace negotiations to end the Seven Years' War, Spain gained control of Louisiana according to the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762. Due to travel times and the Louisiana Rebellion of 1768, the Spanish took official control in St. Louis only in May 1770. After the transfer, the Spanish confirmed French land grants, and Spanish soldiers provided local security.

The occupation of most settlers was farming, and by the 1790s nearly 6,000 acres (24 km2) were under cultivation around St. Louis. Fur trading was the major commercial focus of many residents, as it was much more lucrative than agriculture during that period. The residents were not particularly religious, in spite of their Roman Catholic faith. The first church was constructed in mid-1770 and St. Louis acquired a resident priest in 1776, making Catholic religious observance a more customary component of life.

The French settlers brought both black and Indian slaves to St. Louis; although the majority were used as domestic servants, others worked as agricultural laborers. In 1769, the Spanish prohibited Indian slavery in Louisiana, but the practice was entrenched among the French Creoles in St. Louis. As a compromise, Spanish governors ended the Indian slave trade but allowed the retention of current slaves and any children born to them. In 1772, a census determined the population of the village to be 637, including 444 whites (285 males and 159 females) and 193 African slaves, with no Indian slaves reported due to their technical illegality. During the 1770s and 1780s, St. Louis grew slowly and the Spanish commanders were replaced often.

Upon the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, Spanish governors in New Orleans assisted the American rebels with weapons and ammunition. The Spanish lieutenant governors at St. Louis also aided the colonials, particularly the forces of George Rogers Clark during the Illinois campaign. After the official entry of Spain into the American Revolutionary War in June 1779 on the side of the Americans and the French, the British began preparing an invasion to attack St. Louis and other Mississippi outposts. However, St. Louis was warned of the plans, and residents began to fortify the town.

On May 26, 1780, British and Indian forces attacked the town of St. Louis, but were forced to retreat due to the fortifications and defections of some Indian forces. In spite of their defeat, the British and their allies destroyed much of St. Louis' agricultural lands and cattle stock, killed 23 residents, wounded 7, and captured between 25 and 75 as prisoners (some might have been murdered after their capture). A subsequent counterattack launched from St. Louis against British forts in the Midwest ended the threat of another attack on the town.

After the British were defeated, more French Creole families evaded Anglo-American rule by moving to the Spanish-controlled land on the west bank, including wealthy merchants Charles Gratiot, Sr. and Gabriel Cerre. Both the Gratiot and Cerre families intermarried with the Chouteau family to create a Creole-dominated society in the 1780s and 1790s. The families also had marital ties to Spanish government officials, including the lieutenant governors Piernas and Cruzat.

During the 1790s, towns near St. Louis expanded as small farmers sold their lands to the Cerres, Gratiots, Soulards, or Chouteaus. These farmers moved to towns such as Carondelet, St. Charles, and Florissant. By 1800, only 43% of the district's population lived within the village (1,039 of 2,447).

The Spanish government secretly returned the unprofitable Louisiana territory to France in October 1800 in the Treaty of San Ildefonso. The Spanish officially transferred control in October 1802; however, Spanish administrators remained in charge of St. Louis throughout the time of French ownership. Shortly afterward, a team of American negotiators purchased Louisiana, including St. Louis. On March 8, 1804, the flag of Spain was lowered at the government buildings in St. Louis and, according to local tradition, the flag of France was raised. On March 10, 1804, the French flag was replaced by that of the United States.

Initially, the governor of the Indiana Territory governed the Louisiana District (which included St. Louis), and the district's organizational law forbade the foreign slave trade and reduced the influence of St. Louis in the region. Wealthy St. Louisans petitioned Congress to review the system, and in July 1805, Congress reorganized the Louisiana District as the Louisiana Territory, with its territorial capital at St. Louis and its own territorial governor. From the division of the Louisiana Territory in 1812 to Missouri statehood in 1821, St. Louis was the capital of the Missouri Territory.

The population of the city expanded slowly after the Louisiana Purchase, but expansion increased desire to incorporate St. Louis as a town, allowing it to create local ordinances without the approval of the territorial legislature. On November 27, 1809, the first Board of Trustees were elected. The Board passed slave codes, created a volunteer fire department, and created an overseer to improve street quality. To enforce town ordinances, the Board created the St. Louis Police Department, and a town jail was established in the fortifications built for the Battle of St. Louis.

After the end of the War of 1812, the population of St. Louis and the Missouri Territory began expanding quickly. During this expansion land was donated for the Old St. Louis County Courthouse. The population increase stirred interest in statehood for Missouri, and in 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise, authorizing Missouri's admission as a slave state. The state constitutional convention and first General Assembly met in St. Louis in 1820. Shortly thereafter, St. Louis incorporated as a city, on December 9, 1822. The first mayor of the city was William Carr Lane, and a Board of Aldermen replaced the earlier Board of Trustees. Early city government focused on improvements to the riverfront and health conditions. In addition to a street paving program, the aldermen voted to rename the streets.

After the transfer of Louisiana to the United States, the Spanish had ended subsidies to the Catholic Church in St. Louis. As a result, Catholics in St. Louis had no resident priest until the arrival of Louis William Valentine Dubourg in early January 1818. Upon his arrival, he replaced the original log chapel with a brick church, recruited priests, and established a seminary. By 1826, a separate St. Louis diocese was created. Joseph Rosati became the first bishop in 1827.

Protestants had received services from itinerant ministers in the late 1790s, but the Spanish required them to move to American territory until after the Louisiana Purchase. After the purchase, the Baptist missionary John Mason Peck built the first Protestant church in St. Louis in 1818. Methodist ministers reached the town during the early years after the purchase, but only formed a congregation in 1821. The Presbyterian Church in St. Louis began as a Bible reading society in 1811, and in December 1817 members organized a church and built a chapel late the next year. A fourth Protestant group to take root was the Episcopal Church, founded in 1825.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_St._Louis", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0