My Corner Online


Fort Jefferson Hill Park and Memorial Cross

After visiting Cairo Illinois and Fort Defiance State Park, head across the bridge to Wickliffe, Kentucky and visit Fort Jefferson Hill Park for a great view of the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from a different perspective. I am interested in this confluence because somewhere near here my ancestor, David Sevier Kirkpatrick, was buried in 1822, where he died and was taken ashore and buried in the wilderness. You can read the stories on David's page. No one knows exactly where he is buried, so it could be any side of the rivers in Missouri, Illinois, or Kentucky. We visited on August 12, 2018.

The journal kept by Meriwether Lewis indicates that the Corps of Discovery spent six nights beginning November 14, 1803, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark tried to determine the best location for establishing a military fort. They also each spent time taking astronomical readings to determine latitude and longitude, and on November 18 they “Set out early this morning with a canoe and eight men in company with Capt. Clark to visit and view the ground on which Oald Fort Jefferson stood.”

Fort Jefferson was established in 1789 by George Rogers Clark, the older brother of William, naming it for Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia. The fort was abandoned the next year. 

The Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross is a 95-foot memorial which was moved from Wickliffe Mounds when Murray State University purchased the site in 1981. Now the cross is tall enough to be seen from Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky and is lit up at night.

You can see in the distance the bridge to cross the river which can also be seen in the images at Fort Defiance State Park.

Again, as I stated on the Fort Defiance State Park page, I can imagine my ancestor being buried at any of these shorelines in any of the three states. No one really notes, but it looks like wilderness to me and what they might have experienced when they reached this land.


Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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