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Sieur de Vincennes Wreath-Laying Ceremony

March 25, 2022 @ 12:00 pm 12:30 pm

A wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the founder of Vincennes, François Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes, will take place at 12 noon on Friday, March 25th—286 years after his death in 1736, following the battle of Ogoula Tchetoka (present-day Tupelo, Mississippi). 

The ceremony, conducted by the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, will be at the statue of the Sieur at the end of Main Street, next to the Wabash River. The ceremony will be about 20 minutes.  It will consist of the reading of a proclamation from the Mayor of Vincennes followed by a brief speech about the Sieur de Vincennes and his significance as the founder of Indiana’s oldest city.

[If you have any questions, call Richard Day at 812-890-5078, or rjday1776@gmail.net]

Lieutenant Francois Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes: “The Man Who Started It All”

The Vincennes Historical & Antiquarian Society each year lays a wreath to honor the memory of Lieutenant François Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes (1700-1736), founder of the city of Vincennes, who died on March 25, 1736.  The Sieur de Vincennes was an officer in the French Marine Troops.  In 1736 he led a contingent of troops, militia, and Indian allies as part of a French expedition against Chickasaw Indians near present-day Tupelo, Mississippi. The attack failed and the French and Indian army fled.  Sieur de Vincennes refused to abandon his wounded commander and was captured.  Later that day he and other prisoners were burned on a pyre.

The historical society lays the wreath not just to honor the death of Vincennes—heroic as it was—but also to honor the founding of the community that still bears his name. The date of the founding is uncertain: Sometime in the year 1730 the Sieur arrived here, by 1731 he had built his fort, and by 1732 it was fully operational. The place Vincennes chose for his post was at the crossroads of the north-south running Wabash River, and the east-west road, called the Buffalo Trace.  It was located on a level, treeless prairie, three miles wide and eight miles long, suitable for farming and future expansion.

The statue by sculptor Bill Wolf depicts the Sieur looking out over the site of his future post.  Did he foresee that his small fort and trading post would expand to become a community, and then the political and educational center it is today?  Would he be impressed?  Would he feel honored? 

Today we honor him– the man who started it all—Francois Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes.

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