History of Randolph, Tennessee - European Explorers - Cavelier De La Salle

Cavelier De La Salle

René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643–87) was a French explorer. In 1682, La Salle led a canoe expedition to explore the Mississippi River basin. The expedition landed to hunt, when one of their members went missing. The armorer Pierre Prudhomme was assumed captured by Chickasaw Indians. La Salle decided to stay and search for the missing member. La Salle had a stockade built and named it Fort Prudhomme, after their lost man. This was the first structure built by the French in Tennessee. Days later, the missing member found his way back. Prudhomme had lost his way while hunting. The expedition reached the mouth of the Mississippi River on April 6, 1682.

The exact location of Fort Prudhomme is unknown. Some historians claim that Fort Prudhomme was built on the first Chickasaw Bluff, in modern day Lauderdale County. The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture suggests that the fort was constructed on the second Chickasaw Bluff near modern day Randolph. Other research mentions the third Chickasaw Bluff as the location of the fort, at the border of modern Tipton and Shelby Counties. Again other sources assume that the fourth Chickasaw Bluff in modern Shelby County at Memphis was the location of Fort Prudhomme.

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