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Near Big Sandy in Chouteau County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Fort Chardon

 
 
Fort Chardon Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 23, 2020
1. Fort Chardon Marker
Inscription.  In the spring of 1844, American Fur Company traders, Francis Chardon and Alexander Harvey constructed a trading post near here. Chardon had a reputation as an able and unscrupulous individual, while Harvey was "one of the most abandoned desperados known to the fur trade". The previous year, the men participated in the massacre of many innocent Blackfeet Indians who had come to Fort McKenzie at the mouth of the Marias River to trade. The resulting hostility directed to Chardon and Harvey forced the men to abandon that post and build a new one, Fort Chardon. The Blackfeet, however, would not trade at the new fort and, instead, placed it under siege. For several months, the Indians stole the post's horses, killed it's (sic) cattle, and murdered employees who foolishly got caught alone outside the stockade. Chardon had no furs to send downriver to his boss, Alexander Culbertson, at Fort Union. Culbertson fired the men and made peace with the Blackfeet. He closed Fort Chardon and burned it to the ground. Trade was re-established with the Blackfeet at a new trading post located upriver; Chardon and Harvey barely escaped with their lives. In 1855,
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Isaac Steven negotiated a treaty with the Blackfeet and the Gros Ventres Indians near here.
 
Erected by Montana Department of Transportation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansForts and Castles.
 
Location. 47° 44.643′ N, 109° 37.64′ W. Marker is near Big Sandy, Montana, in Chouteau County. Marker is on Judith Landing Road (State Highway 236), on the right when traveling south. The marker is about 1/4 mile north of the PN Bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Big Sandy MT 59520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Judith River Formation (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Camp Cooke (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Anglos Are Coming (approx. 0.4 miles away); Welcome to the Mountain Ranges (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (approx. 0.4 miles away); Naturally Sustained Productivity (approx. 0.4 miles away); Tale of Two Treaties (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Judith Landing (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Big Sandy.
 
Also see . . .  Black Fur Traders and Frontiersmen -- Lest We Forget. Fur trade narratives often mentioned black slaves.
Fort Chardon Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, August 23, 2020
2. Fort Chardon Marker
Marker on the right
A black man named Reese who was a servant to Francis A. Cardon was killed by members of the Blood band of the Blackfoot tribe at Fort Chardon on the Mouth of the Judith River. The killing took place in 1842 or 1843 according to Elliott Coues, but Charles Larpenteur remembered the event taking place during the winter of 1844-1845. Chardon made public his vow to revenge Reese's death. It is not known what job Reese held but it is fairly safe to say that in that part of the west in the 1840's it may have had something to do with the fur trade.
(Submitted on December 5, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 5, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 204 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 5, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Feb. 22, 2024