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Copyright 2018, French Colonial America

A SPECIAL MUSEUM EXHIBIT EXPLORING THE MIDWEST’S INVOLVEMENT IN 

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR IN THE WEST

In May of 2020, French Colonial America will unveil a 2,000 square foot special exhibit at its museum building, the Centre for French Colonial Life, located at 198 Main Street, Ste. Geneviève, Missouri. The exhibit will cover events of the American Revolutionary War in the West including Clark’s conquest of the Illinois Country; Spanish aid to the Americans up the Mississippi River; Bernardo Galvez’s Mississippi River campaign; the attacks on St. Louis and Cahokia; Ste. Geneviève, St. Louis and Cahokia in 1780; the Chickasaw attacks on Fort Jefferson in 1780; the British attacks on Ruddle’s and Martin’s stations (the Bird Expedition); the Natchez Revolt of 1781; the free and enslaved black experience in the west; a brief biography of Fernando de Leyba, the Lt. Governor of St. Louis; the militia at St. Louis and Ste. Geneviève; James Colbert’s Raid on Arkansas Post in 1783; British Native American Policy in the West; the impact of the final peace treaties; the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies at St. Louis; and an overview of how the Battle of St. Louis has been remembered (and forgotten) in Missouri and Spain. 

The exhibit will include special artwork and maps, service records and important correspondence, dozens of period weapons
and artifacts, and specially made uniforms and costumes, flags and dioramas. In addition, a new book titled The American Revolutionary War in the West will be available for sale, covering the events showcased at the museum exhibit in unprecedented detail. The museum companion book will be authored by a diverse group of 13 scholars and experts on these events, and will feature many pictures of museum display items and artwork in full color. 

A fascinating aspect of this history is the diverse variety of backgrounds of the people involved: the local French-heritage inhabitants; the Spanish; the Americans; the British; the Native Americans who fought on both sides; and free and enslaved African Americans. The exhibit will explore anecdotal stories of the attack on St. Louis, including the exploits of Madame Rigauche (later credited with almost single-handedly saving St. Louis), François Hebert, Madame Honoré, the Vequettes (Bequets) and the mysterious otro que se haio, Father Gibault the Patriot Priest, the strawberry pickers and the British scouts, free black gunsmith Pierre Ignace dit Valentin, and many others. 

Admission will be charged for this exhibit: $10 for adults and $5 for children.  Visitors will be admitted to the Centre to view the exhibit from 10 AM to 5 PM on Monday through Saturday, and from Noon to 5 PM on Sunday.  Special discounts will be available for a combined visit to the exhibit and guided tour of the historic Bolduc House.

This exhibit was made possible through the 

generous support of the following groups, 

individuals and organizations:

Stephen L. and Rebecca A. Kling

Tandy Thompson

Enterprise Foundation

Jane Gleason

Christy F. James 

David Orthwein

Blanche and Joe Touhill

St. Louis Jefferson Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Margaret A. Carr

Colleen and Jason Fulton

Richard and Judee Sauget

David Blanton

John Sappington Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Molly Long Fernandez de Mesa

Mary Anthony Startz

Fort San Carlos Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution 

Larry and Clara VanDraska

 

 

Archivo General de Indias

Laura Bryant

Clayton Garden Club     

Cynthia Easterling

English Speaking Union

Geo. Franks, Hatter

Anne C. Foard

Douglas Harding

Sumner Hunnewell                    

Joan Koechig    

Molly Long                  

Lyn Moore McCreery

Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis

Missouri State Museum

Kathleen Nadeau

Gretchen Pratte             

Jeffrey and Linda Smith

Mary Anthony Startz

St. Charles Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution 

St. Louis County Library

Peggy Strelinger

Katrinka Westendorf                 

Alan Wheeler                

William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Wisconsin Historical Society

Wishing Well  Donors