Thy Wondrous Story, Illinois
The marker is located on Bypass US 66/US 40 between the Chain of Rocks Bridge and IL 3.
No coordinates identified
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society
The fertile plains in Illinois attracted the attention of French trader Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette as they explored the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in 1673. France claimed this region until 1763 when she surrendered it to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris. During the American Revolution George Rogers Clark and his small army scored a bloodless victory when they captured Kaskaskia for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Illinois became a county of Virginia. This area was ceded to the United States in 1784, and became in turn a part of the Northwest Territory and the Indiana and Illinois Territories. On Decemnber 3, 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the twenty-first state. The Missouri River mouth, now 3.5 miles north of this site, threatened the first explorers. The account of the 1673 expedition reported that while 'sailing quietly in clear and calm water we heard the noise of a rapid, into which we were about to run. I have seen nothing more dreadful. An accumulation of large and entire trees, branches, and floating islands, was issuing from the mouth of the river Pekistanoui (Missouri), with such impetuosity that we could not without great danger risk passing through it. So great was the agitation that the water was very muddy, and could not become clear.' During the winter of 1803-4 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped with their men at the nouth of the Wood River, at that time opposite the mouth of the Missouri, before beginning their famous journey.
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