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On February 16, 1913, a plate was discovered that had been left behind by the French-Canadian brothers Francois and Louis De La Verendrye. 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 travelled quickly, and the importance of the find became evident.
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. Doanne Robinson indicated previous historians had been wrong, and the expedition did not make it to Montana. Robinson did not take into account parts of their journal about their location. All can agree that they did not find a Northwest Passage.
Dowlin, Genie Philbrick. "French Canadian Brothers are Believed To Have Visited Montana in 1742." Billings Gazzette, September 26, 1954: 31.
Fort Pierre South Dakota: Where the West Begins. n.d. http://fortpierre.com/ (accessed November 30, 2013).
Hunhoff, Bernie. South Dakota Magazine. March/April 1989. http://southdakotamagazine.com/verendrye-plate (accessed November 30, 2013).
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