Fort Bernard (1845-1846, 1849-1866) - A fur trade fort established in 1845 near present-day Lingle, Goshen County, Wyoming. Named Fort Bernard for either the owner Bernard Pratte or for his father, General Bernard Pratte Sr. Burned down in 1846, reestablished in 1849, burned down again in 1866 and was abandoned.
Fort Bernard was established in 1845 by Bernard Pratte and Jean Pierre Cabanne who operated the Pratte & Cabanne Company. In December 1845 the fort was sold to the Pierre Chouteau, Jr. and Company and was operated by Joseph Bissonette and John Baptiste Richard, Sr.. John Richard ran the business and Joseph Bissonette visited Indians in their camps. In August 1846 Fort Bernard burned to the ground while both men were away. While in operation, the post was in direct competition with the American Fur Company's Fort Laramie just eight miles away.
The post was reestablished in 1849 and operated by James Bordeaux until again burned down in 1866
Fort Bernard was located on a flat near where Laramie Creek emptied into the Platte River. Not only was the fort a gathering spot for sometimes hundreds of Indians but it was also the first post that the emigrant wagon trains would see since leaving Fort Kearney and eight miles before they would reach Fort Laramie.
Most emigrant wagon trains carrying travelers to California, Oregon and Utah came up the south side of the Platte River from Fort Kearney and continued west up the south side of the north fork of the Platte River passing right by Fort Bernard. They forded the Laramie River at Fort Laramie, crossed the North Platte near present-day Casper, Wyoming and then continued on to the west. In some years as many as 50,000 emigrants made the journey and passed near Fort Bernard and Fort Laramie.
The trading post was abandoned in 1866 after Indian hostilities increased and a fire burned down the post.
The Western History Center, in Lingle, Wyoming, has been doing archaeological work at the Fort Bernard site.