On-line Book
Book Cover
Cover Page




Colonial Period


Early Republic

War Between the States

Recent Era

District of Columbia

Historic Projects

Glimpses of
Historical Areas East of the Mississippi River

The Colonial Period 



Special Feature: Site of a French frontier post at Fort Niagara.

THIS monument which is located on the Fort Niagara Military Reservation in New York, was established by Presidential proclamation on September 5,1925, and placed under the jurisdiction of the War Department. By the reorganization of August 1933 it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

The Presidential proclamation describes Father Pierre Millet, for whom the monument was named, as "a French Jesuit priest who came to Canada—then known as New France—in 1667, and served about 15 years as a missionary among the Onondaga and Oneida Indians within what is now the State of New York, and subsequently became a chaplain in the French colonial forces, first at Fort Frontenac and later at Fort Niagara."

In the seventeenth century the French established a military post known as Fort de Nonville on the site of the present Fort Niagara. During the winter of 1687-88 disease and starvation overwhelmed the fort's garrison of a hundred men and only 12 of them were saved by a rescue party. With this rescue party was Father Millet, who on Good Friday of 1688 erected and dedicated upon the site a cross invoking God's mercy for the plague-stricken men.

To replace the original cross which had long since disappeared the Knights of Columbus in 1926 erected a bronze one 18 feet high. It stands as a memorial not only to Father Millet, but to those other priests whose heroism took Christianity into the wilderness and whose devotion sought to create in this new world a new France.

Adjacent to Father Millet Cross is Fort Niagara, one of the battlegrounds of France and England in their struggle for possession of the North American continent. Here the Old Fort Niagara Association has reconstructed the colonial French fortress and developed a museum of frontier life and warfare in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region.

Built in 1726 by Gaspard Chaussegros de Lery, chief engineer of France, the fort became an important post in controlling the fur trade of the region. Later it was converted into a military stronghold and fortified for defense. The fort was captured by the British in the Seven Years' War; became headquarters for Brant and his savages during the Revolution; and suffered bombardment and capture by the British in the War of 1812.

NEXT> Fort Marion And Fort Matanzas National Monuments


Last Modified: Thurs, Nov 23 2000 10:00:00 pm PDT

National Park Service's ParkNet Home