Arrow Rock Fort
Arrow Rock Fort (1813-1814) - A War of 1812 Fort and trading post established in 1813 near Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri. Named Arrow Rock Fort after the Arrow Rock, a place where flint outcroppings furnished Indian arrow points. Abandoned in 1814. Also known as Sibley's Fort after George C. Sibley who operated the post and as Osage Trading House.
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.
North Side of River
South Side of River
In 1813 Indian attacks forced the closure of Fort Osage. The trading post factor, George C. Sibley, was ordered by William Clark the Superintendent of Indian Affairs to build a new trading post and blockhouse in the vicinity of the Arrow Rock. The Arrow Rock location offered access to the "Osage Trace" a historic Indian trail as well as access to the Boonslick settler forts, Fort Cooper, and eight other home forts.
Sibley employed local settlers to constructed a two-story, 30-by-20-foot blockhouse using cotton-wood logs. Cottonwood is a softwood tree and Sibley must have considered the fort to be a temporary post. The Fort was armed with a swivel gun and three blunderbusses but operated without a military detachment.
Sibley traveled to meet with the Osage Indians and attempted to persuade them to resume trading. In 1814 the Indian raids intensified and Sibley was forced to close the fort and withdraw from the area.
The exact location of the Sibley Fort/trading post has not been conclusively identified or if it has been it has not been publicly reported. It was once thought that the post was within the present-day town of Arrow Rock but recent archeological excavations have turned up artifacts at a location on the bluff about a mile north of town. A footprint of the fort does not appear to have been found, possibly because of the soft cottonwood construction. There is a marker in Arrow Rock that tells of the fort and the coordinates cited here are for that marker.
Visited: 20 Aug 2020