Fort played an important part in the opening of the Northwest
Territory, making the fort a significant part of our heritage.
British made alliances with various Indian tribes encouraging and
supporting attacks on settlers. The increasing hostilities on the vast
frontier were a leading cause of the War of 1812 with Great Britain,
lasting until February of 1815.
With expansion of the
settlements in the Illinois Country it became necessary to build a
string of forts to serve as military stations to protect the scattered
settlers from Indian attacks. Three forts were built in Bond County:
Jones, Lindley, and Hill's Fort.
Hill's Fort may have been
built as early as 1806 at the time of settler arrival. Records indicate
that it was in existence in 1808. The fort location appears on an 1808
survey map by Capt. Isaac Hill, leader of a team commissioned by Thomas
Jefferson to survey the Illinois Territory. The fort consisted of a
blockhouse and stockade enclosing two cabins.
separate Indian attacks are associated with Hill's Fort. June 2, 1811,
the Cox family cabin north of Pocahontas was attacked, with one child
killed and one kidnapped. In August 1812, Henry Cox and his son were
killed at their cabin site on Beaver Creek. On September 9, 1814,
thirteen Rangers and civilians were bush-wacked outside the fort. Four were killed and three injured.
In 1817, Bond County was created and named
for the first Governor, Shadrach Bond. The legislature fixed Hill's
Fort as the temporary county seat. At that time the boundaries of Bond
County were immense, including portions of today's Clinton and Fayette
counties south and east, and north to the shores of Lake Superior.
records are preserved from Hill's Fort and include court and marriage
dockets. The Bond County seat was moved to Perrysville later, and in
1821 to Greenville.
No longer useful as a fort or county
seat, Hill's Fort was abandoned and fell into ruin. The site was
consequently lost over time. In 1918 the Benjamin Mills chapter of DAR
purchased land and placed a memorial stone near the site. Ranger
gravestones were set in 1988 by the Bond County Genealogical Society.
October 2001, a local archaeology student, Jenny Simpson, with U.S.
Corps of Engineers assistance, discovered the original Hill's Fort site
using a protron magnetron and radiometer.