Cooper's Fort

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Cooper's Fort (1812-1815) - A War of 1812 settler Fort established in 1812 near Boonesboro, Howard County, Missouri. Named Cooper's Fort after Colonel Benjamin A. Cooper on whose property it was built. Abandoned in 1815.

Cooper's Fort Marker Location, August 2020.


At the outbreak of the War of 1812 the settlers around Boonesboro, Missouri began construction of forts as refuges from British sponsored hostile Indian attacks. The settlers were spread out in farms along a fertile plain on the north side of the Missouri River and in small settlements on the south side so many forts were required to provide safety for all. In all, some 500 to 600 persons gathered in these forts for protection.

At the west end of the plain was the economic engine of the area, the Boone's Lick salt works. Boone's Lick was named after the sons of Daniel Boone and was in fact a series of saltwater springs. The saltwater was boiled down to produce salt crystals which were packaged and shipped to St. Louis at a profit. The Indian attacks became so severe by 1814 that the salt works were shut down until 1815 when peace was made with the warring Indian tribes.

Boone's Lick Forts During the War of 1812.

North Side of River

  • Cooper's Fort the largest of the forts
  • McLean's Fort aka Fort Hempstead
  • Fort Kincaid near river, about 1.5 miles from the site of Old Franklin; named for David Kincaid.
  • Head's Fort, 4 miles above Rocheport on the Big Mohiteau, near the old Boonslick trail from St. Charles most easterly fort

South Side of River

Cooper's Fort was the largest of the Boone's Lick area defenses. It was a log stockade flanked by log cabins erected on the prairie near the Missouri River. A field of 250 acres was located between the river and the fort and was worked by all the inhabitants. Some twenty families and a number of young men resided in the fort.

Life at Cooper's Fort was dangerous, on 14 Apr 1814 Captain Sarshall Cooper was killed while sitting with his family inside his cabin by a hostile Indian. Under the cover of a raging storm, the Indian had managed to remove enough chinking between the logs to insert his rifle far enough into the cabin to shoot the captain dead. In another incident, when the fort was in danger of falling to attacking hostiles, Mildred Cooper (Millie), the 16-year-old daughter of Captain Braxton Cooper volunteered to ride six miles through the attackers to nearby Fort Hempstead to get reinforcements. She returned several hours later at the head of the rescue party and the fort was saved.

Current Status

Cooper's Fort Roadside Direction Sign.

The markers at this site have been destroyed but the stand they were affixed to remains.

Location: Boonesboro, Howard County, Missouri.

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.05847 Long: -92.90947

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 606'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Visited: 20 Aug 2020

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