FIRST PRIZE ESSAY
(By Miss Fern Armstrong)
Among the ancient and historical sites included within the bound-
aries of the United States, there are none dearer, none more sacred, nor
none mare truly interesting, than the ruins of the old ferts. Arouad them
linger memor:cs as heroic and as daring as the most glowing adventures
of any fictitious character. Thrilling Occurrences are associated with
them in history, and in traditoa. He who is fortunate enough to be
horn near such a historical monument will, to the last days of his life,
recall the thrilling stories told me as a child, about this same old
fortress. where are such landmarks in every state, and Illinois is no
exception. At her southern extremity, situated on the Ohio river, near
the city of Metropolis, is a fort where events of great consequence
transpired during the campaigns in Illinois, and it is generally known
as Fort Massac.
Massac is on a rolling plain on the northern side of the Ohio, thir-
ty-eight miles from its month and about ten nilles below Paducah. It
includes the spot formerly known as Fort Assumption and as Fort Mas-
sac and commands quite an extensive view of the river, both above and
below. In its days of usefulness, the fort proper stood upon the promi-
nent part of the plain, twonty feet above the highest water mark. From
this point of vantage, with the aid of a field glass, objects were dis-
tinguishable fourteen mies down and eighteen miles up the river.
rrhe river in this vicinity varies from five-eighths to three quarters of
a mile in width, and the Illinois shore affords excellent landing places.
A short distance above the fort there is a small recess. the mouth of a
tributary; in this George Rogers Clark concealed his canoes during his
sojourn at Fort Massac. The shore at this point is a coarse mixture of
sand, gravel and pehbles,which forms a firm but steep declivity.
There are several theories pertaining to the origin of the name,
Mass a c.
At an early date it was called Fort Massacre by the Canadians and
Mftssac by the Americans. The people of Canada accepted the theory
presented by Brown, the historian, concerning the legend of a certain
slaughter. The savages were very angy at the French and they decided
upon a strategical measure to effect their capture. A number of In-
dians appeared in the daytime on the opposite side of the river clothed
In bear skins and walking on all fours. The men of the garrison were