First Illinois capital to mark capture from British

KASKASKIA, Ill. (AP) — The first capital of Illinois is preparing to commemorate its little-known role in the American Revolution.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says Kaskaskia next weekend will mark its successful capture from British forces on July 4, 1778.

The July Fourth festivities in the tiny southwestern Illinois community will include historic interpreters and remarks by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

George Rogers Clark and his men seized Kaskaskia when it served as an important outpost on the western edge Britain’s North American territory. Villagers celebrated at the time by ringing a bell now known as “the Liberty Bell of the West.”

The Mississippi River changed course in 1881, flooding much of the village and cutting it off from the rest of Illinois. Kaskaskia is now reachable only from Missouri.