Fort Le Duc

Fort Le Duc or Fort LeDuc[lower-alpha 1] was a square fort and trading post built near Wetmore, Colorado. It was named after trapper Maurice LeDuc or Maurice LeDoux, and constructed around 1830[3] or 1835.[2]

Fort Le Duc
Trading post and fort
Buzzard's Roost, El Cuerbo, Maurice's Fort, and Crow's Nest
Fort Le Duc
Coordinates: 38°15′52.26″N 105°5′15.49″W
CountryUnited States
Nearest townWetmore


The fort was located by the junction of Mineral Creek and Adobe Creek[1] off of the Hardscrabble Trail, an old Native American trail at the foot of Greenhorn Mountain. The trail went through the Wet Mountain Valley and Sangre de Cristo Mountains.[2][lower-alpha 2]


Maurice LeDuc was a French Canadian who married a Ute woman. It is believed that he may have obtained money to start the fort and trading post from the Bent brothers, Charles and George Bent.[2] LeDuc had several circumstances that helped him succeed at the site. The Mexican government licensed him to trade, he was able to purchase the moonshine Taos Lightning, and his wife had many Native American friends who traded at the post.[2]

The fort was 144 feet (44 m) wide, made of picket lots, and had bastions at the corners. There were wooden gates on the west side of the building that led to a 48-square foot central plaza. An adobe house within the enclosure provided living quarters.[2] The fort, with eight rooms, protected settlers from often hostile Native Americans.[3] It was in service until 1848[3] or 1854, when settlements such as Hardscarabble were established in the area.[1] There are no remains of the fort today.[1]

A historical marker was installed in 1969 in recognition of Fort Le Duc by the Arkansas Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colorado Department of Highways, and Colorado Historical Society. It is located seven miles south of Florence.[3] The historical marker is entitled "Hardscrabble".[2]


  1. It was also called Buzzard's Roost, El Cuerbo, Maurice's Fort, and Crow's Nest.[1][2]
  2. A source states that the fort was 5 miles from Bent's Old Fort,[2] but per Google Maps, the two forts were about 105 miles apart. Brooks says that Fort Leche was established 5 miles from Bent's Fort. He also says that Fort Le Duc and Bent's Fort were 90 miles apart.[4]


  1. Jolie Anderson Gallagher (April 2, 2013). Colorado Forts: Historic Outposts on the Wild Frontier. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-61423-903-1.
  2. "Frontier Forts, part 1". The World Journal. Huerfano County, Colorado. August 7, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  3. "Ft. Le Duc Marker Established by DAR". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. May 22, 1969. p. 29. Retrieved June 5, 2018 via
  4. James F. Brooks (April 25, 2011). Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands. UNC Press Books. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-8078-9988-5.

Further reading

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