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Fort Payne
Fort locationOverview
Following an appeal from Captains Joseph Naper and Harry C. Boardman, on June 7, 1832, Captain Morgan L. Payne and 50 volunteers from Danville came to Naper Settlement to construct a fort for local protection during the Indian uprising known as the Blackhawk War.

Construction & Use
The fort was named Fort Payne for the man who supervised its construction. It was considered a temporary shelter for the small community. The stockade was 100 square feet, with two corner blockhouses and 10-foot high pickets from which the prairie could be surveyed. Prior to the fort's construction, the area's women and children were sent to Chicago's Fort Dearborn for safekeeping. Once built, they quickly returned due to overcrowding and rampant diseases in Fort Dearborn.

While the fort was never used in battle and no fighting occurred in Naperville, one fatality did occur due to the war. William Brown was scalped by Indians while out collecting shingles for the blockhouses.

Reconstruction
The fort was reconstructed in May 1979 on a smaller scale than the original. The original fort was situated on the grounds of Merner Fieldhouse on the campus of North Central College. Northern Log Cabins Limited in Kelliher, Minnesota, was responsible for the actual construction of the fort. As each section was completed, it was coded, dismantled and shipped by truck to Naper Settlement, where it was reassembled by a corps of enthusiastic volunteers. With more than 100 workers, the Fort Payne of today was erected in two weekends.

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