Fort Crevecoeur (French: Fort Crèvecœur) was founded on the east bank of the Illinois River, in the Illinois Country near the present site of Creve Coeur, a suburb of Peoria, Illinois, in January 1680.
Nearby, Fort Pimiteoui was established in 1691, a center of trade during the colonial period. Henri de Tonti was a primary founder of the Crevecouer and Pimiteoui outposts.
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 and Fort St. Louis 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.
In 1691, Tonti returned to the area and founded another fort. This fort is known variously as Fort St. Louis II, Fort St. Louis du Pimiteoui, Fort Pimiteoui, and Old Fort Peoria. It remained off and on a center of trade, particularly fur trade, and sometimes settlement throughout the colonial period.
- "History of Fort Crevecoeur". Fort Crevecoeur Park website. Fort Crevecoeur Inc. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- "Illinois; a Descriptive and Historical Guide, - Best Books on, Federal Writers' Project - Google Books". Federal Writers Project on Books.google.com. p. 359. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
- Ross, Ryan A. "The Controversy over the Location of Fort Crevecoeur, 1846-1923," Journal of Illinois History 14:4 (Winter 2011), 277-92.