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Near Fort Pierre, South Dakota, an important discovery occurred on February 16, 1913. Fort Pierre was an important area during the 1800s as it was located on the Missouri River. Fort Pierre is the birthplace of deceased rodeo star and legend Casey Tibbs. However, Fort Pierre has additional historical notoriety. On February 16, 1913, a plate was discovered that had been left behind by the French-Canadian brothers Francois and Louis De La Verendrye; they left the plate there to claim the region for France. Three friends, Hattie Foster, George O'Reilly, and Ethel Parrish were merely playing when they uprooted the significant plate. Once uprooted, it was tossed aside until the youngsters quit playing. They initially thought they would scrap it for the money. Luckily, word traveled quickly, and the importance of the find became evident.


  • This monument commemorates the discovery of the plate and its significance to national history.

The Verendrye brothers were trying to find a way to the Pacific Ocean. They had left Manitoba, Canada in 1742. It was known and accepted at the time that they had visited Montana in an attempt to claim the land for the French. People did not realize that their explorations had taken them as far south as the plate indicated. 

Later historians and writers then began examining the Verendrye travels, and controversy ensued. Some historians argue that, in fact, the expedition did not actually make it to Montana. However, all do agree that they did not find the Northwest Passage, which was later discovered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Dowlin, Genie Philbrick. "French Canadian Brothers are Believed To Have Visited Montana in 1742." Billings Gazette, September 26, 1954: 31.

Hunhoff, Bernie. "Verendrye Plate." South Dakota Magazine. March/April 1989. http://southdakotamagazine.com/verendrye-plate.

"Verendrye Plate." City of Fort Pierre. Accessed November 30, 2013.
https://www.fortpierre.com/attractions/verendrye-monument/?hilite=%27Verendrye%27%2C%27Plate%27.

Photo: South Dakota Historical Society