Historical marker at the site of the first lead mine in Missouri
La Mothe named the mine after himself, and the town that grew up nearby was named after the mine. While dispatching workers and supervisors to the mines, La Mothe settled for a time in the Illinois Country east of the mid-Mississippi River, where the first French colonial villages were founded. In 1804 the village had a population of 150 inhabitants.  These settlers were mostly French Canadians who developed agriculture. Due to the rich soils, they were quickly able to produce grain surpluses that were critical to the survival of the lower Louisiana colony. The habitants shipped tons of grain to New Orleans and other points south on the Mississippi River. La Mothe later served as Governor-General of Louisiana.