Louis Lorimier Comes To Cape Girardeau

Mar 6, 2018

It seems like Almost Yesterday that residents of Cape Girardeau gained access to important historical records of Louis Lorimier, the founder of Cape Girardeau.

Born into an important family in Montreal, Canada in 1748, Lorimer moved to the Ohio frontier and shortly before the American Revolutionary War, established a trading post on the main military route between Detroit and the Ohio Valley.

A supporter of the British and their Native American allies, Lorimier supplied trade items to those who resisted American incursion into the Great River Valley. George Rogers Clark, of the famous Clark family of Virginia, moved into the area and destroyed Lorimier's post, forcing him west to Vincennes, Kaskaskia and to the west bank of the Mississippi, then the property of Spain.

By the early 1790's Lorimier, with a number of friends, allies, and members of the Shawnee and Delaware Indians, found a secure location which evolved into Cape Girardeau.

The Lorimier records acquired in 2011 include a set of day books from 1783 to 1785 when he was in Vincennes, and a second set from 1797 to 1798 when he was in Cape Girardeau. Both sets are original and are now back in Cape Girardeau County in the care of the County Archives. These documents are a gift to the people of this region and shed light upon the early history of the area.

Here we learn of items traded at Lorimier's post: tools, lead, weapons, blankets -- and whiskey, much whiskey. Of special interest are the names of the post's customers: Solomon Thorn, Amos Dorbin, David Brooks, Bernard Pratte, Pierre Godere, Hugh Walles, Edward Robertson, Maurice Williams and Joseph Martin. These are some of the earlier names in southeast Missouri.