Difference between revisions of "New Madrid, Missouri"

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One of the oldest settlements in Missouri, New Madrid was founded as a port on the [[Mississippi River]] in the late 18th century. It is famous for the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, which were centered in the area nearby.  
 
One of the oldest settlements in Missouri, New Madrid was founded as a port on the [[Mississippi River]] in the late 18th century. It is famous for the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, which were centered in the area nearby.  
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==History==
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New Madrid's history as a permanent settlement dates back to the early 1780s, when Francois and Joseph LeSieur, two French-Canadian brothers and traders, traveled down the Mississippi to establish a trading post. They selected a spot on high ground near the point where St. John's Bayou emptied into the river, which made a great northward loop there. As this was one of the few elevated points overlooking the river south of its confluence with the [[Ohio River|Ohio]], it had the potential to dominate trade in the lower Mississippi Valley. The LeSieur's named their trading post "L'Anse a la Graise" (Grease Creek), which may have been a reference to the abundance of bears (known for the greasiness of their meat and fat) in the area.<ref>https://collections.shsmo.org/manuscripts/ramsay/ramsay_new_madrid.html</ref>
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In 1788 the entire region was awarded by a Spanish land grant to Colonel George Morgan, a [[American Revolutionary War|Revolutionary War]] veteran from [[New Jersey]] who had proposed establishing a new town on the site of the trading post and attracting American as well as French, Spanish, and Indian colonists to build it up. Morgan took possession of the town in early 1789 and renamed it New Madrid, in an effort to curry favor with the Spanish government. (For unclear reasons, the pronunciation of "Madrid" was altered over time, with emphasis laid on the first rather than the second syllable and a short "a" sound [as in "apple"] taking precedence.)
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However, the Spanish authorities distrusted Morgan and removed him in 1789, imposing an official commandant for New Madrid and the surrounding area. The town grew slowly in the next few years, populated first by French settlers from farther north, and later by American settlers from east of the Mississippi, especially after the [[Louisiana Purchase]] in 1803.
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The most notable event in the early history of New Madrid was the string of earthquakes that occurred between December 1811 and February 1812, which bear its name. Though the first quakes had only a limited effect, their epicenter being well to the south, the tremor of February 7 (an estimated 7.5 to 8.0 on the Richter scale) struck much closer to town and practically destroyed it. Though loss of life was minimal, due to the low population and the fact that many had already fled, damage to existing structures was catastrophic, and the town languished until the late 1820s.<ref>https://books.google.com/books?id=G-AlAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false</ref>
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
  
 
[[Category:Missouri Cities and Towns]]
 
[[Category:Missouri Cities and Towns]]

Revision as of 19:33, 19 August 2019

New Madrid is the county seat and largest community of New Madrid County, Missouri, which is named for it. It had a population of 3,116 at the 2010 census.

One of the oldest settlements in Missouri, New Madrid was founded as a port on the Mississippi River in the late 18th century. It is famous for the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12, which were centered in the area nearby.

History

New Madrid's history as a permanent settlement dates back to the early 1780s, when Francois and Joseph LeSieur, two French-Canadian brothers and traders, traveled down the Mississippi to establish a trading post. They selected a spot on high ground near the point where St. John's Bayou emptied into the river, which made a great northward loop there. As this was one of the few elevated points overlooking the river south of its confluence with the Ohio, it had the potential to dominate trade in the lower Mississippi Valley. The LeSieur's named their trading post "L'Anse a la Graise" (Grease Creek), which may have been a reference to the abundance of bears (known for the greasiness of their meat and fat) in the area.[1]

In 1788 the entire region was awarded by a Spanish land grant to Colonel George Morgan, a Revolutionary War veteran from New Jersey who had proposed establishing a new town on the site of the trading post and attracting American as well as French, Spanish, and Indian colonists to build it up. Morgan took possession of the town in early 1789 and renamed it New Madrid, in an effort to curry favor with the Spanish government. (For unclear reasons, the pronunciation of "Madrid" was altered over time, with emphasis laid on the first rather than the second syllable and a short "a" sound [as in "apple"] taking precedence.)

However, the Spanish authorities distrusted Morgan and removed him in 1789, imposing an official commandant for New Madrid and the surrounding area. The town grew slowly in the next few years, populated first by French settlers from farther north, and later by American settlers from east of the Mississippi, especially after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

The most notable event in the early history of New Madrid was the string of earthquakes that occurred between December 1811 and February 1812, which bear its name. Though the first quakes had only a limited effect, their epicenter being well to the south, the tremor of February 7 (an estimated 7.5 to 8.0 on the Richter scale) struck much closer to town and practically destroyed it. Though loss of life was minimal, due to the low population and the fact that many had already fled, damage to existing structures was catastrophic, and the town languished until the late 1820s.[2]

References