1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pierre

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PIERRE, the capital of South Dakota, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Hughes county, situated on the east bank of the Missouri river, opposite the mouth of the Bad river, about 185 m. N.W. of Yankton. Pop (1905) 2794, (1910) 3656. Pierre is served by the Chicago & North-Western railway; the Missouri is navigable here, but river traffic has been practically abandoned. Among the principal buildings are the state capitol (1909) and the post office building. Pierre has a public library, and is the seat of the Pierre Industrial School (co-educational, opened in 1890), a government boarding school (non-reservation) for Indian children. The city has a large trade in livestock, and is a centre for the mining districts of the Black Hills and for a grain-growing country. Natural gas is used for lighting, heating and power. A fur-trading post, Fort La Framboise, as built in 1817 by a French fur-trader (from whom it took its name) at the mouth of the Teton or Little Missouri river (now called the Bad River), on or near the site of the present village of Fort Pierre (pop. in 1910, 792). In 1822 Fort Tecumseh was built about 2 m. up-stream by the Columbia Fur Company, which turned it over in 1827 to the American Fur Company. The washing away of the river bank caused the abandonment of this post and the erection about a mile farther up-stream, and a short distance west of the river, of Fort Pierre Chouteau (later called Fort Pierre), occupied in 1832, and named in honour of Pierre Chouteau, jun. (1789-1865).[1] For twenty years thereafter Fort Pierre was the chief fur-trading depot of the Upper Missouri country. In 1855 the United States government bought the post building and other property for $45,000, and laid out around them a military reservation of about 270 sq. m. The fort was the headquarters of General William S. Harney (1800-1889) in his expedition against the Sioux in 1856, and in March of that year an important council between General Harney and the chiefs of all the Sioux bands, except the Blackfeet, was held here. The fort was abandoned in 1857. Pierre was laid out in 1880, was incorporated as a village in 1883, and was chartered as a city in 1900.

See Major Frederick T. Wilson, “Fort Pierre and Its Neighbors,” in South Dakota Historical Collections, vol i (Aberdeen, S.D., 1902); and Hiram M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (3 vols., New York, 1902).

  1. Pierre Chouteau in 1804 succeeded his father, one of the founders of St Louis, in the Missouri Fur Company, and about 1834 Pratt, Chouteau & Company, of which he was the leading member, bought the entire western department of the American Fur Company, and in 1838 reorganized under the name of Pierre Chouteau, jun., & Company. Chouteau built (in 1830-1831) the “Yellowstone,” which went up the river to the present site of Pierre in 1831, and was the first steamboat to navigate the upper waters of the Missouri. Chouteau lived for some years in New York City, and while living in St Louis was a member of the convention (1820) which drafted the first constitution of Missouri.