The First Expedition

The First Expedition

On May 1, 1814, William Clark, governor of Missouri Territory, with a detachment consisting of sixty United States regulars of the Seventh Infantry, and one hundred and forty Illinois and Missouri rangers or volunteers, left Cap au Gris in five fortified keel boats for the mouth of the Wisconsin River. there to erect a United States fort. At the mouth of the Rock River they had a slight skirmish with a party of Sauk (Sac) braves. About the middle of April, Colonel Dickinson left Prairie du Chien, taking with him most of the British forces, together with about three hundred Indian allies. Captain Deace was left in charge of the post. His command consisted of a company of Michigan fencibles and a body of Sioux and Fox Indians. When it was learned that an American force was nearing the Prairie, the Indians refused to fight the Americans, and Captain Deace and his British soldiers fled. Lieutenant Joseph Perkins, who was in command of the United States regulars, on his arrival at the Prairie, took possession of the place and immediately began the erection of a fort, which he named Fort Shelby in honor of Governor Shelby of Kentucky. As soon as the fort was completed Captain John Sullivan’s company of fifty rangers, thirty-two rangers from Captain Yeizer’s company, together with Governor Clark, left Fort Shelby and returned to St. Louis, arriving there the last of June. On the 17th of July Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien was attacked . by Colonel William McKay in command of one hundred and fifty British soldiers and four hundred Sioux, Winnebago, Menominee and Chippewa Indians, and on the evening of July 19th, the same day Campbell’s expedition was defeated, Lieutenant Perkins surrendered Fort Shelby. The British renamed the fort, calling it Fort McKay.

Early Settlements of Rock County 


Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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