Picturing history: Fort Osage

Published: Wednesday, June 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Kenneth Mays

Fort Osage in Jackson County, Mo., was built overlooking the Missouri River in 1808 as an outpost in the land of the Louisiana Purchase to protect the interests of the United States.

In the summer of 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith traveled to Missouri for the first time. On Aug. 9, the Prophet and 10 others began their return journey to Kirtland, Ohio.

The 800-mile trip home started on the Missouri River, the northern boundary of Jackson County. The Prophet's group was able to acquire some canoes to float east with the current toward St. Louis.

On the first day of travel, the group traveled uneventfully until they reached Fort Osage where they stopped for the night and had "an excellent wild turkey for supper."

Originally identified as a potential site for a fort by Lewis and Clark, Fort Osage was used for 19 years. Seen in these photos is a reconstruction of the fort from still-extant original plans.

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