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Menard, Pierre

Born: 1766-10-07 Saint Antoine, Lower Canada

Died: 1844-06-13 Kaskaskia, Illinois

Flourished: Kaskaskia, Illinois

Menard received a common-school education in Canada. He moved to Vincennes, Indiana Territory, around 1787, where he worked as an agent in the fur trade. In 1791, he moved to Kaskaskia, Indiana Territory, where he established a mercantile business. Menard was active politically as well, serving as a judge in county courts as well as the territorial supreme court. From 1803 to 1809, he served as a delegate to the legislature of Indiana Territory. Menard also served in the territorial militia, gaining promotion to lieutenant colonel in 1806. When Congress established the Illinois Territory in 1809, he was elected to its legislative council, serving as its presiding officer until 1818. When Illinois attained statehood in 1818, Menard was appointed its first lieutenant governor. In addition to his political and military activities, Menard invested heavily in efforts to increase trade connections on the upper Missouri River, including participating in an expedition up the river in 1809, and he became a regional expert on trade with Native Americans and the French. In 1828 and 1829, he served as commissioner to negotiate trade treaties with several tribes in the northern Great Plains. Menard married Thérèse Godin in 1792, with whom he had six children. After her death in 1804, he married Angélique Saucier, with whom he had four children. Menard's French Colonial style home, which he built around 1815 on the bluffs overlooking Kaskaskia, is preserved as an Illinois State Historic Site. The Illinois General Assembly named a new county established in 1839 Menard, in his honor.

Gravestone, Menard Cemetery, Randolph County, IL; Combined History of Randolph, Monroe and Perry Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: J. L. McDonough, 1883), 306, 310; Timothy R. Mahoney, "Menard, Pierre," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 15:288-89.