Fort St. Pierre ceremony Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2001

[04/06/01] A plaque commemorating Fort St. Pierre as a National Historic Landmark will be dedicated Saturday on the lawn of the Old Court House Museum.

The ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. on the northwest corner of the museum lawn and is open to the public.

“I think it is definitely significant that we are honoring another part of our heritage,” said Gordon Cotton, museum curator.

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Dr. Mark R. Barnes, a senior archeologist with the National Park Service, will speak briefly before the dedication.

The fort was just north of Redwood on the east bank of the Yazoo River nearly 300 years ago. A loop road off Mississippi 3 now marks the actual site.

The landmark designation, among the highest rankings for historical sites, was awarded in March 2000, based on a nomination Dr. Ian W. Brown of the University of Alabama.

Brown was one of the crew who verified the fort site during several excavations from 1974 to 1977. He has spoken here and written about the old French fort, but will not be at Saturday’s event.

French colonists founded the fort in 1718 as part of their expansion up the Mississippi River from a base in New Orleans.

The fort, along with Fort Rosalie near Natchez, were intended to stop English traders from making inroads into the French sphere of influence in the Lower Mississippi River Valley.

St. Pierre was manned for about 11 years before an uprising among members of the Natchez tribe in 1729. All inhabitants of the fort, including military and civilian, were killed and the fort was burned.

In 1976, archeologists from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History investigated the area between the hill line and the Yazoo River and located the actual site of the fort.

“This is an important part of our history that has just about been forgotten,” Cotton said.

The Old Court House Museum and the restored Pemberton’s Headquarters are the only other National Historic Landmarks in Warren County.

To gain national designation, a site must first be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register consists of more than 67,000 listings, but only 3 percent have been picked for the higher designation.