Fort Lisa (Nebraska)

Fort Lisa (Nebraska)

Fort Lisa was established in 1812 by famed fur trapper Manuel Lisa and the Missouri Fur Company in the present-day neighborhood of North Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. It was home to several firsts in Nebraska history, including the first European farmer in Nebraska, who was Lisa himself [(n.d.) [ Visual Tour of the Nebraska Courts] ] ; the first American settlement set up in the then-recent Louisiana Purchase; the first woman of European descent in Nebraska (Lisa's third wife), and; the first steamboat to navigate Nebraska waters, the "Western Engineer", arrived at Fort Lisa on September 19, 1819. [(1904) [ Semi-Centennial History of Nebraska - 1904] . Retrieved 8/6/08.]


Lisa established Fort Lisa about 12 miles north of what became Omaha after he abandoned his trading posts on the Upper Missouri: Fort Raymond/Manuel in Montana and the original Fort Lisa in North Dakota. The War of 1812 disrupted the fur trade with American Indians for years.

Fort Lisa (Nebraska) was located, "at a point between five and six miles below the original Council Bluff - where Lewis and Clark had a council with the Missouri (tribe) and Otoe Indians, August 3, 1804, and now the site of the town of Fort Calhoun..." [Morton & Watkins. (1918) [ Fur Trade] "History of Nebraska." p. 53. Retrieved 5/28/08.] The site of Fort Lisa is located at 11808 John J Pershing Drive in the northwest corner of Hummel Park, north of Florence. The fort traded in furs, cattle, horses and land, and served as a base from which Manuel Lisa acted as a subagent to neighboring tribes for the federal government. [Federal Writers Project. (1939) "Nebraska: A guide to the Cornhusker state." Nebraska State Historical Society. p 267.]

With his wide trading network, Manuel Lisa had a unique role in relation to American Indian tribes. He traveled extensively among them to share agricultural products and build relations, as well as to promote trade. According to one source, the influence of Manuel Lisa, exerted from Fort Lisa, was strong enough to hold all the Missouri River Indians firmly in alliance with the American people. He organized war expeditions against tribes on the Mississippi River during the War of 1812 from Fort Lisa, and during the same period secured the allegiance of tribes along the northern Missouri River. [Chittenden, H.M. and Swagerty, W.R. (1986) " [ The American Fur Trade of the Far West] ." University of Nebraska Press. p 128.]

The "Western Engineer", piloted by Stephen Harriman Long, reached the fort in 1819 and was the first steamboat to ply the Missouri River. Aboard the ship were General Henry Atkinson and Captain Stephen Watt Kearny, both important to the future development of the American West, and both of whom later had forts in the Nebraska Territory named after them: Fort Atkinson and Fort Kearny.

Lisa spent the winter of 1819-20 at Fort Lisa with his third wife, Mary Hempstead Keeney. That winter Lisa spent the winter at the fort in the company of Major Stephen H. Long, whose famous expedition encamped a mile and a half north of Fort Lisa. [Robeson, G.F. [ "Manuel Lisa"] , "The Palimpsest", Vol. VI, No.1, January 1925. State Historical Society of Iowa, reprinted at Iowa GenWeb, accessed 4 Aug 2008.] In 1820 he returned to St. Louis and died that year. Fort Lisa was next run by Joshua Pilcher, who succeeded Lisa as president of the fur company. He closed Fort Lisa in 1823 after building Pilcher's Post downriver at what became Bellevue. [Davidson-Peters, A. [ Major Joshua Pilcher] , Retrieved 8/6/08.] [ [ "Old forts along the Upper Missouri River"] . Retrieved 8/7/08.]

The site of Fort Lisa may have influenced the positioning of several nearby historically significant sites. In competition, the American Fur Company established Cabanne's Trading Post two and one half miles south of Fort Lisa in 1822. The proximity of the posts, along with Fort Atkinson, in turn influenced the positioning of Culter's Park, the Mormon Bridge, Fort Omaha, and Florence. These establishments led to the flow of Mormon Trail pioneers, which in turn led to the development of Kanesville, Omaha, Saratoga, and eventually all of North Omaha itself, as well as many further points in America's western expansion. [(n.d.) [ Chapter 4: Council Bluffs and Winter Quarters: 1846-1847] in "Mormon Pioneer Historic Resource Study." National Park Service. Retrieved 8/6/08.]

ee also

*Cabanne's Trading Post
*Nebraska Territory
*Louisiana Purchase
*History of North Omaha, Nebraska
*Timeline of North Omaha, Nebraska history
*Landmarks in North Omaha, Nebraska


External links

* [ 1902 photo] of the site of Fort Lisa

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