Saturday, January 19, 2019


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

Chester-Kaskaskia, Illinois

This is one of three identical markers. It is located in Chester Park at the toll gate to the Mississippi River bridge on IL 51 near IL 3.
No coordinates identified
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
Shadrach Bond, first Governor of Illinois (1818-1822), is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Chester. The first recorded settler in the area was John McFerron who purchased land in 1817 but Samuel Smith, who settled here in 1830, is considered the founder of Chester. Formerly known as Smith's Landing, the community was renamed after Chester, England. The town was a river port for the export of such local products as castor oil, flour, and meat during the mid-nineteenth century. It became the county seat in 1848 and was incorporated as a city in 1855.

Kaskaskia, founded in 1703 as a Jesuit mission, became a prominent French village. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763) between France and Britain, Fort Kaskaskia was erected on the bluffs near the settlement. By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Kaskaskia came under British control. On July 4, 1778 George Rogers Clark captured Kaskaskia settlement and the area became part of Virginia. Kaskaskia served as Illinois Territorial Capitol (1809-1818) and as the first state capitol (1818-1820). When the capitol was moved to Vandalia, Kaskaskia declined in importance. Mississippi floods from 1844 to 1910 gradually destroyed the old settlement, and the area is now Fort Kaskaskia State Park.

Sites of interest include the Garrison Hill Cemetery containing a monument to the pioneers; the home of Pierre Menard, first Lieutenant Governor, which is preserved as a State Memorial; and the Kaskaskia State Memorial on Kaskaskia Island containing the "Liberty Bell of the West."

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