Les Habitants du Petit Fort

  A Reenactment Company
Via Le Roy! Via Le Roy! Portraying Life in Northwest Indiana
 Circa 1755  
A Member of La Brigade de Levis  

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How life probably looked at Le Petit Fort in the 1750's

Who are Les Habitants du Petit Fort?

 Les Habitants du Petit Fort is a historical re-creation  group dedicated to
researching and reenacting the lives of the men and women who resided in
Northwest Indiana circa 1755.  It is the goal of the organization to accurately
portray the culture during this time period through thorough research and
scholarship, to educate both its members and the public  on the lives and
culture of those being reenacted, and to promote the enjoyment of historical 
study and reenacting.








Some Habitants while on Campaign during the winter near Fort Carillon.






Members of Les Habitants du Petit  Fort portray both the average and the unique inhabitants of the North West Indiana area around 1755. This includes civilian, military, militia, clergy and Native American impressions.


A word about Les Habitants du Petit Fort.

 “le Petit Fort” was not the real name of the building erected in Northwest Indiana during the 18th century.  This was a name subscribed to the building long after its inhabitants had abandoned the post.  The name has been adopted by the group because this is the only documented name of the structure as written by Major Arent  S. De Peyster in  1781.  To be entirely historically accurate, the military group Milice du Petit Fort did not exist.  If the French inhabitants of Northwest Indiana had joined the militia during the French and Indian War (there is no evidence for or against this idea), they would have enlisted at Fort St. Joseph, and rather would have been part of the Milice de Ste. Joseph.  The name has simply been retained to refer specifically  to those living in the area of le Petit Fort.

In addition, the term “Habitants” is used with the connotation as meaning simply “people”.  During the 18th century, the French word “habitant” was adopted by the farming land owners of New France to distinguish themselves as class above the European peasant, yet still below the nobility.   This needs to be noted as the French residing in Northwest Indiana during this time were traders, not farmers


Who Lived In Indiana in the 1750's?

In 1682 the Chevalier de La Salle laid claim to the Mississippi river and all of its tributaries for the King of France. This claim included the land which is currently North West Indiana. Soon European settlers, missionaries and traders began moving into this new track of land now under Frances control. Ten years after La Salle's expedition a Jesuit mission was built in present day Niles, Michigan and soon a military post was constructed to protect this post. Then in 1717 another trading post was established by the French on the banks of the Wabash in present day La Fayette, Indiana and in 1732 in present day Vincennes, Indiana. The region was now solidly under French influence, though the area was still considered the "Frontier" of New France.

The people living in this area would have been a mix of French traders, trappers, settlers, clergy and military. In addition these Europeans would have shared the land with several Native Indian allies whom they traded and lived with and among. These tribes included the Potawatomie, Wea, Ojibwa, and Miami. 



  The Brigade de Levis


The Brigade incorporates members of Le Petit Fort militia, as well as Regular French military units of the period.

Les Habitants du Petit  Fort is a member of The Brigade de Levis. The Brigade is umbrella organization which includes all facets of portrayals of 17th century life. The primary purpose of the Brigade is to portray and demonstrate the military forces of King Louis XV in the 1750's. The Brigade includes individuals who portray members of the regular French land forces, the Troupes de Terre, members of the Compagnie Francais de la Marine, the independent companies of the marine, and various Milice and Sauvage allies, French militia and Native American forces.

Les Habitants du Petit  Fort works in conjunction with The Brigade de Levis and all members of the Habitants are also members of the Brigade. When engaging in military battle reenactments the Milice du Petit  Fort falls under the command of the officers of The Brigade.

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