Mine La Motte, Missouri

Mine La Motte, Missouri
MOMap-doton-Mine La Motte.png

Mine La Motte is an unincorporated community in Madison County, Missouri, United States. It is located about six miles north of Fredericktown. Europeans discovered lead here, and Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac brought several hundred workers, including slaves from Santo Domingo, to develop mines in 1717 making it one of the oldest settlements west of the Mississippi River. The presence of lead, a critical ingredient for ammunition, attracted unusually early mining by French colonists in this otherwise remote interior region of the North American continent.

Historical marker at the site of the first lead mine in Missouri

La Mothe named the mine after himself, and the town that grew up nearby was named after the mine. While dispatching workers and supervisors to the mines, La Mothe settled for a time in the Illinois Country east of the mid-Mississippi River, where the first French colonial villages were founded. These settlers were mostly French Canadians who developed agriculture. Due to the rich soils, they were quickly able to produce grain surpluses that were critical to the survival of the lower Louisiana colony. The habitants shipped tons of grain to New Orleans and other points south on the Mississippi River. La Mothe later served as Governor-General of Louisiana.

See also

  • Southeast Missouri Lead District

Coordinates: 37°36′56″N 90°17′23″W / 37.61556°N 90.28972°W / 37.61556; -90.28972

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