On January 5, 1680, French explorers, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri de Tonti, established Fort Crèvecoeur, in which Mass was celebrated and the Gospel preached by the Récollets, Gabriel Ribourde, Zenobius Membre and Louis Hennepin. They finished the fort in early March, naming it "Fort Broken Heart" because of the tribulations, including desertions, that they suffered during its construction.
Destruction of Fort Crevecoeur
On April 15, 1680, Henri de Tonti had left Fort Crevecoeur with Father Ribourde and two other men, to begin fortifying the settlement at Starved Rock. The next day, the remaining 7 men pillaged Fort Crevecoeur of all provisions and ammunition, destroyed the fort and most of them fled back to Canada.
Joining Tonti at Starved Rock, 2 men who had been at the fort told him of the fort's destruction. Tonti sent messengers to La Salle in Canada to report the events. Tonti then returned to Fort Crevecoeur to collect any tools not destroyed and moved them to the Kaskaskia Village at Starved Rock.
On September 10, 1680, nearly six hundred (600) Iroquois warriors, armed with guns, approached the Kaskaskia village. Meeting them in advance, Henri de Tonti was accused of treachery, by both the Iroquois and the Illinois Confederation. Tonti tried to mediate their disagreements and delay the Iroquois invasion until the women, children and old people could escape from the village. Tonti was wounded by an Iroquois man, who stabbed him with a knife. The Kaskaskia village was burned and the Iroquois built a fort on that site at Starved Rock. Tonti with his allies fled the area, heading for La Baye.
- "History of Fort Crevecoeur". Fort Crevecoeur Park website. Fort Crevecoeur Inc. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- Ross, Ryan A. "The Controversy over the Location of Fort Crevecoeur, 1846-1923," Journal of Illinois History 14:4 (Winter 2011), 277-92.