Places in the Illinois Country

John W. O'Brien
Old Man Grey, 1852
Oil on canvas
Illinois State Museum

This section of the Lewis and Clark in the Illinois country Web site contains short descriptions of some of the Illinois places the explorers visited or explored.

Fort Massac was the first Illinois Country settlement Lewis and Clark visited. They continued past the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, then up the latter, stopping at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, which were the most important settlements in 1803.

They were offered a camp ground for the winter by Nicholas Jarrot. While building their camp and while spending the winter, soldiers went out across the area hunting game, fishing, and bringing goods back to camp. Lewis wrote about the natural world that surrounded the camp, the changing of the seasons, and the characteristics of the settlements. His writing reflects his efforts toward accuracy, and also, toward being able to express the aesthetic of his time.