Fort Lisa (North Dakota)


Fort Lisa (North Dakota)

The first Fort Lisa, also known as the Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post and as Fort Manuel, was started by famed fur trapper and trader Manuel Lisa of the Missouri Fur Company in 1809. It was located near the Gros Ventres village located between the mouth of the Little Missouri and that of the Big Knife rivers in what is now North Dakota. This fort was likely where Sacagawea died.

Fort Lisa superseded Fort Raymond, the first outpost built by Lisa in 1806-1807 at the mouth of the Bighorn River in Montana, as the uppermost post of the Missouri Fur Company on the Missouri River. It was followed by another fort built by Lisa in 1812 near present-day North Omaha, Nebraska, which he also named Fort Lisa.

History

Although dates vary according to account, at some point in 1806-07 fur trapper Manuel Lisa established Fort Raymond at the mouth of the Bighorn River, where it entered the Missouri River. This was the first permanent structure of its kind on the Upper Missouri. It was at first just "two rooms and a loft". Lisa named it after his son, but traders also called it Manuel's Fort or Fort Manuel. [Robeson, G.F. [http://iagenweb.org/history/palimpsest/jan1925mlisa.htm "Manuel Lisa"] , "The Palimpsest", Vol. VI, No.1, January 1925. State Historical Society of Iowa, reprinted at Iowa GenWeb, accessed 4 Aug 2008.] Lisa built it for the company he and William Clark jointly owned called the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company.

In 1808 George Drouillard, a member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, was tried for the murder of a deserter from Fort Lisa whom he mortally wounded while trying to capture. [Keogh, X. (1998) [http://www.najit.org/members_only/proteus/back_issues/keogh.htm "The American Federal Interpreter and How the West Was Won"] . "Proteus", VII"(3). Summer.] (Given the date, this source is probably referring to Lisa's first fort, Fort Raymond/Manuel.)

In 1809 Lisa was one of the founders of the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, later known as the Missouri Fur Company, which included members of the Chouteau family. On his fur expedition in 1809 with 300 men, Lisa and his company built another fort further east, near the Gros Ventres village located between the mouth of the Little Missouri and that of the Big Knife rivers in what is now North Dakota. This was named Fort Lisa, or, as in the excerpt below, Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post. Fort Raymond/Manuel was abandoned. [Robeson, G.F. [http://iagenweb.org/history/palimpsest/jan1925mlisa.htm "Manuel Lisa"] , "The Palimpsest", Vol. VI, No.1, January 1925. State Historical Society of Iowa, reprinted at Iowa GenWeb, accessed 4 Aug 2008.] The famous Astor Expedition would have stopped at Fort Lisa in 1811.

Famous Lewis and Clark Expedition guide Sacajawea died at this first Fort Lisa on December 20, 1812. [Helmus, T., Toppin, E., Pounds, N. & Arnsdorf, V. (1990) "The United States Yesterday and Today." Silver Burdett & Ginn Inc.] An 1811 journal entry made by Henry Brackenridge, a fur dealer at Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post on the Missouri River, stated that both Sacagawea and Charbonneau were living at the fort. He recorded that Sacagawea "...had become sickly and longed to revisit her native country." The following year, John Luttig, a clerk at Fort Manuel Lisa recorded in his journal on December 20, 1812, that "...the wife of Charbonneau, a Snake Squaw, died of putrid fever." He went on to say that she was "aged about 25 years. She left a fine infant girl."Drumm, Stella M., ed. (1920). "Journal of a Fur-trading Expedition on the Upper Missouri: John Luttig, 1812-1813". St. Louis: "Missouri Historical Society".]

Documents held by Clark show that Sacagawea's son Baptiste had already been entrusted by Charbonneau into Clark's care for a boarding school education, at Clark's insistence." [From Butterfield, B "Spirit Wind-Walker". (n.d.) [http://www.bonniebutterfield.com/NativeAmericans.html "Sacagawea: Captive, Indian Interpreter, Great American
] .
] Fort Lisa was abandoned soon after. [ [http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=2868# W. Raymond Wood, "Post-Expedition Fur Trade: The Great Engine", Discovering Lewis & Clark, 1998-2008] , accessed 8 Aug 2008]

Because of difficulties with Indians and shipping at this location, in 1812 Lisa built a third fort about 12 miles north of present-day Omaha. He named this Fort Lisa, too, and shifted his operations to this location. This became the main post of the Missouri Fur Company and its successors under various names. [Robeson, G.F. [http://iagenweb.org/history/palimpsest/jan1925mlisa.htm "Manuel Lisa"] , "The Palimpsest", Vol. VI, No.1, January 1925. State Historical Society of Iowa, reprinted at Iowa GenWeb, accessed 4 Aug 2008.]

At the time of its establishment, Fort Raymond/Manuel was the first permanent structure of its kind on the Upper Missouri. Lisa established the only trading post in the Great Plains region. This made the Fort instrumental in American relations with local tribes, as well as the early settlement of the Nebraska Territory.

ee also

*Dakota Territory
*Louisiana Purchase

References


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