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Decisive Dates /" 
Illinois History 

A Story of the Statue 

Told in a Record of Events which 

have Determined the History of 

Illinois and of the Nation 

With Thirty Illustrations 

Lottie E. Jones 

Author of 

Library Method Applied to 
State History 













In making this compilation of events and 
influences which have determined the history of 
Illinois, I have freely taken from many sources and 
am indebted to many authorities. 

I have endeavored to give due credit for all 
material used and have added a brief bibliography 
that probably covers any further authority which 
has even indirectly influenced statements made. 
I desire to more fully acknowledge specific aid which 
I have derived from the Publications of the Illinois 
State Historical Society, particularly from the con- 
tributions of Clarence Walworth Alvord, of Dr. 
Snyder, of H. W. Beckwith, of Stuart Brown, of 
Daniel Berry M. D. and of J. O. Cunningham. 

I am also indebted to Olde Ulster, Vols. I. No. 1, 
II. No. 4, and IV. No. 1, for matter concerning the 
Silver Covenant Chain. At this same time, I would 
mention the work of John Moses, Illinois Histori- 
cal and Statistical, in two volumes, which I have 
frequently quoted. 

I desire also to acknowledge here my obligations 
to the Illinois State Historical Society for use of 
many valuable cuts; to Judge Walter B. Douglas, 
President of the Missouri State Historical Society, 
for the same favor, and to the Chicago Historical 
Society, to A . C. McClurg and to Harper and Bros. 
for permission to reproduce and use pictures 
belonging to them. For all this aid 

I am, gratefully, 




INTRODUCTION Prehistoric Illinois 7 

DATE I. 1673 Discovery '. . . . 17 

Interim 1673-1759 39 

LaSalle Expedition 41 

Forts Creve Coeur and St. Louis 42 

Colonial Days 45 

DATE II. 1759 The Silver Covenant Chain 51 

Interim 1759-1778 83 

The Story of Pontiac 85 

End of the Period of Romance 87 

British Domination 88 

DATE III. 1778 The Conquest of the Northwest. . 94 

Interim 1778-1818 105 

Illinois a County of Virginia 107 

The Indiana Territory Ill 

The Territory of Illinois 113 

The Fort Dearborn Massacre 115 

DATE IV. 1818 Extension of Northern Boundary. 119 

Interim 1818-1824 125 

Pioneer Life 127 

DATE V. 1824 Defeat of Convention to Amend 

Constitution 135 

Interim 1824-1858 145 

The Black-Hawk War : . . 147 

Anti-Slavery Influences in Illinois 149 

DATE VI. 1858 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates 151 







Louis JOLIET 21 



























THE WIGWAM . .163 


ILLINOIS, now truly the "heart of the 
nation," has a proud present dayfa promis- 
ing future and an interesting past. 

Its past, reaching back nearly as far as does 
that of the states on the Atlantic coast, has its 
period of romance, its period of telling events, 
and its period of commercial achievement, all of 
which are fraught with interest. 

There are five events in the history of Illinois, 
which have proven strong factors in determin- 
ing the history of the nation. 

So important are these events, that the years 
in which they occur, may be called Decis- 
ive Dates. These years are 1759, 1778, 1818, 
1824 and 1858. They lie within the hundred 
years between about the middle of the eight- 
eenth and the nineteenth centuries. 

In 1759, the Indians from the Illinois Country 
agreed to the compact already existing between 
the Iroquois and the English this compact hav- 
ing come to the English as an inheritance from 
the Dutch. This agreement withdrew their 
support from the French at the time when it 
was needed to sustain New France in America. 


The direct result of this " being bound by the 
Silver Covenant Chain," as the Indians called 
the agreement, was the supremacy of the 
Anglo-Saxon over the Gaul in the New World. 

In 1778, George Rogers Clark made his con- 
quest of the Northwest by capturing Kaskaskia 
and St. Vincent in the Illinois Country, thereby 
restricting Great Britain's domain to the terri- 
tory north of the Great Lakes rather than the 
Ohio River. This restriction made it possible 
for the states to preserve their dearly-bought 

In 1818, Nathaniel Pope had the northern 
boundary of Illinois extended and secured a 
coast line on Lake Michigan, also Chicago in Illi- 
nois, and fifty miles of territory out of which 
fourteen counties were created which domin- 
ated state politics and decided national affairs 
in 1860. 

In 1824, the question of Illinois being made 
a slave state was settled for all time by the 
defeat of the convention to amend the state 
constitution. Illinois as a slave state would 
have materially changed the history of the 
United States. In 1858, the Lincoln-Douglas 
debates marked an era in the history of the 

We do well in this compilation to preface 


these dates with the one of 1673, because that 
year marks the beginning of authentic history 
of Illinois it is the date of its birth. 

Although it matters little to the world and 
has had insignificant effect upon subsequent 
history of the state or nation, that the French 
discovered the Illinois country in the seven- 
teenth century, yet this date is not without 

There is little reason to think that the Missis- 
sippi valley would have attracted colonization 
from any other European power for a century 
after the time of the discoveries by the French. 

England had enough space along the Atlantic 
coast for the time being to colonize; Holland 
was comfortably settled on the Hudson river and 
had no desire to push into the wilderness of the 
west; while Spain, in seeking wealth through 
the finding of precious metals, was led to the 
mountains rather than to the fertile plains, and 
went further and yet further west. So it was 
that France, and France alone, must colonize 
the Illinois country if it was to be done for a 
hundred years to come. 

Yet the fact remains that the discovery and 
subsequent hundred years of occupancy by 
France was without particular influence upon 
the history of Illinois. 


The strongest searchlight thrown upon that 
period, fails to reveal any event of special im- 
portance. It was the period of romance. 

There have been many important events in 
Illinois history since 1858. In the better per- 
spective of coming years there may be, here or 
there, one which will prove of more than local 
interest, and perhaps even of national import- 
ance and merit the record as a decisive date, 
but in the light of today none such can be dis- 

In the following pages a story of the State has 
been attempted to be told by a record of these 
years connected with each other by brief state- 
ments of less important incidents. 

This plan has been followed for two reasons, 
first: to give due importance to these events, 
and second, to present them in such a way as to 
make a connected story which interests the 

As far as possible, the matter has been given 
at first hand, and Marquette, Sir William 
Johnson, Clark and others have told their 
stories in their own words, credit being given 

So condensed a history must needs omit many 
details, but it is hoped Decisive Dates will 
arouse so deep an interest in the history of UK- 


nois as that the reader may make continued 
research for himself. 

To aid in this research, a short bibliography is 




ALTHOUGH authentic history of Illinois 
does not begin until the day in June, 
1673, when Joliet and Marquette as- 
cended the Illinois River yet there are such 
indisputable evidences of life within the area 
now known as the state before this event 
that the time previous to the Seventeenth 
Century is fraught with interest. 

For a record of conditions and events before 
the coming of the white man, we must look to 
the legends of the Indian, to the relics of a 
long gone and vanished race, or read it from 
the great book opened only to scientific re- 

Geologists are able to turn the "leaves of 
sandstone and limestone" and show us wonder- 
ful pictures. 

The first picture of Illinois is a vast sea of 
salt water with tiny forms of animal life, these 
followed by the shell fish, all working to form 
the foundation of physical Illinois. 

Another is the sea flowing away and the 
plant life appearing, to afterward be again 
covered by the returning sea. These pictures 
are repeated again and again, while layer after 


layer was formed, until a great plain of solid 
rock was made. 

The next picture in this wonder book is 
the vast glacier coming down from the North 
with its load of ground-up rock substance de- 
positing it as clay. We call this the picture 
of the Ice age, and in it we first see human 
life in this section of country. These Ice people 
are supposed to have been very like the 
Eskimo as they are now known. 

They may have been the ancestors of the 
Mound Builders. No one can know anything 
definite about them, for neither the wisdom of 
the Geologist, nor traditions, can give us any 
authentic information on the subject. Here 
and there a stone implement is dug up out of 
the soil and it brings a tale of a human hand 
which used it thousands of years ago. There 
are other interesting pictures for the Geologist 
to show. The change in the contour of the 
land after the melting ice has formed the 
channels of waterways and their correspond- 
ing elevations the slowly drained country 
the final surface of the land as prairie, marsh 
and upland covered with green grasses, shrubs 
and trees, all these come to view as the ages 
roll by. 


The Indians who were found by the white 
man had many legends, but none which told 
of people living here before their own race. They 
had nothing to account for the strange mounds 
which were found along the banks of the 
Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and rivers of less 

But these mounds have been excavated by 
the white man and from their contents the 
theory has been established that the time 
between the supposed possession of the land 
by the Ice Folk and the coming of the red- 
man was not devoid of human life in the Mis- 
sissippi valley, but that a race of people of 
perhaps higher civilization than the American 
Indian lived in this region before his coming. 

These people have been given the name of 
Mound Builders. From the pottery, metal 
plates, and implements of labor found in these 
mounds, the people were no doubt skilled in the 
arts of peace, rather than being a war-like race, 
such as the American Indian. Large fragments 
of pottery have been found in the Illinois 
Salines which tend to prove the people who once 
lived there to have distinctly differed from the 
American Indian, both in skill and appearance. 
This fact is suggested by the decoration on 
the pottery found. 


A curious mound was found where the city 
of Rockford now stands called the Turtle 
Mound. It has never yielded anything of 
particular value and is supposed to mark the 
southern limit of some race or family. The most 
interesting of Illinois mounds is located in 
St. Clair County about three miles north of 
East St. Louis. It is one of the well known 
Cahokia mounds. 

This is known as the Monks Mound because of 
the fact that at one time there was a monastery 
of Trappist monks located upon its summit. 
It is the largest of all known mounds. Numer- 
ous smaller mounds are located near to it. The 
Monks Mound is oblong in shape. It is 1080 
feet long, 710 feet wide and occupies sixteen 
acres. This mound has for some time been 
owned by a family who guards the secret it may 
hold most jealously. It is not tilled as is the 
land adjoining it, nor is any one permitted to 
make excavations to learn what may be 
found under the soil. Excavations were 
begun here at one time and human bones of 
unusual size together with pottery were found. 
These bones crumbled upon being exposed to 
the air. 

Whether more light could be thrown upon the 
life and habits of these little known mound 


builders by excavating the Monks Mound and 
those near by, remains to be seen. 

Who these mound builders were, whence they 
came and whither they went is a problem which 
never has been and may never be solved. 
Nothing definite is even known concerning the 
time they lived here. 

The American Indian, whom the first white 
explorer found, knew nothing of them. No 
Indian legend accounted for the mounds. 
Whether the Mound Builders were identical 
with the semi-civilization of South America, of 
the Aztecs of Mexico, or whether they 'were a 
different race yet than they, can not now be de- 
termined. There is much evidence in southern 
Illinois of the abode, at one time, of the so-called 
Stonegrave People. There is no reason how- 
ever to think they were the same as the Mound 
Builders. These people buried their dead in 
graves lined and covered with thin flagstones. 
This custom gave them the name by which they 
were known. Their old graves are to be found 
in Georgia and thence in a north west direction 
through southern Illinois and across the great 
river into what is now the state of Missouri. 
Hammered copper plates have been found in 
these graves which are quite nearly like the art 


of Central America and suggests there may be 
some close relationship between the people. 

Many hold to the belief that the Mound 
Builders were, after all, the same race as the 
American Indians. But all that can be known 
has had to have been literally dug out of the 
ground, and at best, must ever remain a matter 
of conjecture. The descendants, if any, of 
the Mound Builders, unless they really are the 
American Indians, are not known. Whether 
they were or were not the same race as 
the American Indians, all trace of their identity 
has entirely disappeared. 

The origin of the American Indian has never 
been satisfactorily determined. No more is 
known of him before the fifteenth century than 
is of the "Ice Folk," the "Stonegrave People," 
and the "Mound Builders." 

The records of the sixteenth century show 
little knowledge of the natives of the Mississippi 
valley, nor, until three quarters of the seven- 
teenth century was passed, can there be found 
anything upon which to base theories of whence 
they came. The seventeenth century deter- 
mined the Colonization of America. 

The location of a country, its natural re- 
sources, its means of access and its climate, are 
all factors in determining its colonization. 


The eastern coast of the New World was 
naturally the first attraction to settlers from 
the Old World. Those from France settled 
along the St. Lawrence River, and followed the 
course of the rivers toward the west. It was 
late in the seventeenth century that the country 
of the Illini, the territory now the common- 
wealth of Illinois, was discovered, explored, and 
to a limited extent colonized by France. 

This was the first knowledge the civilized 
world had of the Mississippi valley. The com- 
ing of the two Frenchmen, Marquette and 
Joliet, down the Mississippi River and into the 
Illini Country in 1673, was the discovery to the 
world of the great water-way and fertile valley 
of the new continent, through resources of 
which the promise of the New World was to 
be made good. 

Two strong motives led the French into the 
wilderness. One was the fur trade and the 
other was the love of their church, which sent 
them as missionaries among the American 
Indians. Wherever a trading-post was located, 
a mission was established. The priest with his 
altar on his back went side by side with the 
explorer and the trader. This was the case 
from the time of the building of Quebec, the 


first permanent settlement in New France, 
by Samuel Champlain in 1608. 

When, a half century later, knowledge of the 
great water-way through the center of the con- 
tinent came, it was the explorer, the priest and 
the trader who went into the new country of the 

America is the only country conquered by the 
cross rather than the sword. Freedom to wor- 
ship God according to the dictates of his own 
conscience, brought the Puritan to the eastern 
coast. A desire to save the souls of the red men, 
led the Jesuit priests into the wilderness of the 
Mississippi valley. 

Jacques Carter, a Frenchman, discovered the 
St. Lawrence River in 1535. This gave France 
a claim to the region drained by this river to 
which the name of New France was given. 
Settlements were made at Nova Scotio (or 
Acadia as it was then called) but they proved 
weak and until in 1806, when Samuel Champlain 
founded Quebec, New France was not very 
promising. The wisdom of selecting the site 
of Quebec for a colony was proven by its ad- 
vantage in the fur trade. Montreal, although 
located by Champlain, was not built for a 
quarter of a century after Quebec was settled. 
These colonies carried on so profitable a trade 


in furs, that they grew rapidly and from them 
explorers, traders and missionaries pushed north 
and north-west with such energy that within 
another quarter of a century, trading posts 
and missions were established as far west as 
Sault Ste. Marie and Michilimakanac. Other 
than these missions and trading posts, there 
were no white men west of the Allegheny 
Mountains up to the discovery of the Mississippi 
River in 1673. 

DATE I. 1673 

DATE I. 1673 

EIGHT years previous to this date, Father 
Claude Allouez was sent to the region of 
Lake Superior to restore the mission 
which had been established years before at the 
cost of Father's Menard's life. Father Allouez 
went beyond the site of the old mission, how- 
ever and built his chapel of bark at Chequa- 
megon Bay calling it La Pointe du Esprit or 
Mission of the Holy Ghost. 

A trading post was soon established here 
which was sustained by the Indians from the 
south and west who came from long distances. 
Among them were Pottawattomies, Sacs and 
Foxes, Miamis and the Illini whose hunting 
grounds lay on both sides the Mississippi river 
which, as yet, was an undiscovered country 
to the whiteman. These Indians doubtless 
brought tales of the great river but it was left for 
the successor of Father Allouez to call the 
attention of the civilized world to the possibili- 
ties of this great water way and the Illini 

Three years later Father Allouez was re- 
moved from this mission to be located elsewhere, 



and Father James Marquette was sent to La 
Pointe du Saint Esprit. 

It is from a letter written by Father Mar- 
quette, while at this mission, to his Reverend 
Father Superior, preserved in the Relations for 
1669 and 1670, that first mention is made of any 
knowledge of the Mississippi River. In this 
letter Marquette says: "When the Illini come 
to the Point, they pass a great river which is 
almost a league in width. It flows from north 
to south and is so great a distance that the 
Illini, who know nothing of the use of the 
canoe, have never as yet heard tell of its mouth. 
They dwell to the east-south-east of this river. 
They gather corn twice each year. A nation 
they call Chaouanon* (Shawnees) came to 
visit them the past summer. The young man 
who has been given to me to teach me the 
language, has seen them. They had to journey 
across the land for thirty days before arriving 
at the Illini country. It is hardly probable that 
this great river t discharges itself in Virginia. 
We are more inclined to believe that it has its 
mouth in California." J 

The probable value of this great water-way, 
as yet unknown to the white man, made the 
exploration of the river imperative. The re- 
ports of the length of this river and the fertile 

Courtesy of Chicago 
Historical Society 



land through which it flowed, reached the ears 
of those in authority at Quebec and Paris, at- 
tracted their interest and they deemed it ex- 
pedient to explore it to its mouth and to learn 
more of the country of the Illini. To this end 
Sieur Louis Joliet was commissioned to go upon 
such an expedition, and Father Dablon ap 
pointed Father Marquette to accompany him. 

Sieur Joliet was "a man of great experience 
in these sorts of discoveries and had already 
been almost to that great river, the mouth of 
which he promises to see," writes Count Fronte- 
nac, the Governor of Quebec, to M. Colbert, 
Minister of the Navy at Paris.* 

Joliet had discovered Lake Erie. He was a 
man of learning, having been educated for a 
priest, but his love of adventure had proven 
stronger than his love of study, and his interest 
in Indian affairs deeper than either, so that life 
in the wilderness had lured the man from the 
cloister. His temperament and natural tastes 
contrasted, yet harmonized with those of Father 
Marquette, and made them staunch friends, and 
well adapted to together undertake this ex- 

Jacques James Marquette was a devout and 
zealous Jesuit priest who makes record that 
he "was enraptured at the good news of 


seeing my designs on the point of being ac- 
complished, and myself in the happy necessity 
of exposing my life for the salvation of all 
these nations, and particularly for the Illini, 
who had very earnestly entreated me to carry 
the word of God to their country, "t 

Taking three Indians, two to act as oarsmen, 
and one as guide, these two men embarked in 
two canoes to make a most perilous journey. 
They left the Mission of St. Ignatius at Mich- 
ilimakanac, on the 17th day of May, 1673. 

Marquette himself, had two years previous to 
this time, established this mission, when he 
left the mission at La Pointe du Saint Esprit. 
It was the year following the time he wrote the 
letter telling of reports concerning the Mississippi 
River, that he established the Mission of St. 
Ignatius. This Mission of St. Ignatius was not 
on the island of Mackinaw, but on the point of 
land to the west of the island, extending from 
the north shore into the strait. The place is 
now called Point St. Ignace. 

This exploring party crossed Lake Michigan 
to the mouth of the Fox River. They ascended 
the stream as far as it was navigable, thence 
carried their canoes across to the Wisconsin 
River. This portage, or carrying-place, is now 

Historical Society 



marked by Portage City in Wisconsin. Rowing 
with the current, down the Wisconsin River, 
they, in due time, found themselves entering 
the Mississippi River with, to use the words of 
Marquette himself in his Journal, "a joy that 
I cannot express."* They descended as far 
as forty-one degrees, twenty-eight minutes 
north latitude. This journey had taken them 
eight days. 

Here they, to quote further from the Journal 
of Marquette, t" perceived footprints of men 
by the water-side, and a beaten path entering 
a beautiful prairie. Concluding that it was a 
path leading to some Indian village, we resolved 
to go and reconnoitre; we accordingly left our 
two canoes in charge of our people, cautioning 
them to beware of a surprise; then M. Jolly et 
and I undertook this rather hazardous discovery 
for two single men, who thus put themselves at 
the mercy of an unknown and barbarous peo- 
ple. We followed the little path in silence, and 
having advanced about two leagues, we dis- 
covered a village on the banks of the river, and 
two others on a hill half a league from the 

"Then, indeed, we recommended ourselves to 
God with all our hearts, and having implored 
his help we passed on undiscovered, and came 


so near that we even heard the Indians talking. 
We then deemed it time to announce ourselves, 
as we did, by a cry which we raised with all our 
strength, and then halted, without advancing 
any farther. At this cry the Indians rushed 
out of their cabins, and having no reason to 
distrust us, seeing we were but two and had 
made known our coming, they deputed four old 
men to come and speak to us. 

"Two carried tobacco pipes well-adorned and 
trimmed with many kinds of feathers. They 
marched slowly, lifting their pipes toward the 
sun as if offering them to it to smoke, but with- 
out yet uttering a single word. They were a 
long time coming the little way from the village 
to us. Having reached us at last, they stopped 
to consider us attentively. 

" I now took courage, seeing these ceremonies, 
which are used by them only with friends, and 
still more on seeing them covered with stuffs 
which made me judge they were allies. I, 
therefore, spoke to them first, and asked them 
who they were. They answered that they were 
the Illini (Illinois), and in token of peace they 
presented their pipes to smoke. 

"They then invited us to the village, where 
all the tribe awaited us with impatience. 
These pipes for smoking are all called, in this 


country, calumets, a word that is so much in 
use, that I shall be obliged to employ it in order 
to be understood, as I shall have to speak of it 

"At the door of the cabin in which we were 
to be received, was an old man awaiting us in a 
very remarkable posture, which is their usual 
ceremony in receiving strangers. He was 
standing with his hands stretched out and 
raised toward the sun, as if he wished to screen 
himself from its rays, which, nevertheless, 
passed through his fingers to his face. 

"When we came near him, he paid us this 
compliment: 'How beautiful is the sun, O 
Frenchman, when thou comest to visit us! 
All our town awaits thee, and thou shalt enter 
our cabins in peace!' He then took us into his 
cabin where there was a crowd of people, who 
devoured us with their eyes, but kept a profound 
silence. We heard, however, these words 
occasionally addressed to us, 'Well done, 
brothers, to visit us!' As soon as we had taken 
our places they showed us the usual civility, 
which is to present the calumet. You must not 
refuse it unless you would pass for an enemy, or 
at best for being very impolite. It is, however, 
enough to pretend to smoke. While all the old 
men smoked after us to honor us, some came to 


invite us, on behalf of the great sachem of all 
the Illini, to proceed to his town, where he 
wished to hold counsel with us. We went 
with a good retinue, for all the people who had 
never seen a Frenchman among them, could not 
tire looking at us; and they threw themselves 
on the grass by the wayside, they ran ahead, 
then turned and walked back to see us again. 
All this was done without noise, and with marks 
of a great respect entertained for us. 

" Having arrived at the great sachem's town, 
we espied him at his cabin door between two 
old men ; all three standing with their calumets 
turned to the sun. He harangued us in a few 
words, to congratulate us on our arrival, and 
then presented us his calumet and made us 
smoke; at the same time we entered his cabin 
where we received all their usual greetings. 

" Seeing all assembled and in silence, I spoke 
to them by four presents which I made. By 
the first, I said that we marched in peace to 
visit the nations on the river to the sea ; by the 
second, I declared to them that God, their 
creator, had pity on them, since, after they had 
been so long ignorant of him, he wished to be- 
become known to all nations; that I was sent 
on his behalf with this design; that it was for 


them to acknowledge and obey him; by the 
third, that the great chief of the French in- 
formed them that he spread peace everywhere, 
and had overcome the Iroquois; lastly, by the 
fourth, we begged them to give us all the in- 
formation they had of the sea, and of nations 
through which we should have to pass to reach 

" When I had finished my speech, the sachem 
rose, and laying his hand on the head of a little 
slave whom he was about to give us, spoke thus : 
'I thank thee, Black-gown and thee, French- 
man,' addressing M. Jollyet, 'for taking so much 
pains to come to visit us. Never has the earth 
been so beautiful nor the sun so bright, as to-day, 
never has our river been so calm, nor so free 
from rocks, which your canoes have removed as 
they passed, never has our tobacco had so fine 
a flavor, nor our corn appeared so beautiful as 
we behold it to-day. Here is my son that I give 
thee that thou mayest know my heart. I pray 
thee take pity on me and all of my nation. 
Thou knowest the Great Spirit who has made us 
all ; thou speakest to Him and hearest His word ; 
ask Him to give me life and health, and come 
and dwell with us that we may know Him.' 
Saying this, be placed the little slave near us 


and made us a second present, an all-mysterious 
calumet, which they value more than a slave. 
By this present he showed us his esteem for our 
Governor, after the account we had given of 
him. By the third he begged us, on behalf of 
his whole nation, not to proceed farther on 
account of the great dangers to which we ex- 
posed ourselves. 

" I replied that I did not fear death, and that 
I esteemed no happiness greater than that of 
losing my life for the glory of Him who made us 
all. But this, these poor people could not 

"The council was followed by a great feast 
which consisted of four courses, which we had 
to take with all their ways. The first course 
was a great wooden dish of sagamity that is 
to say, Indian meal boiled in water and seasoned 
with grease. 

"The master of ceremonies with a spoonful 
of sagamity, presented it three or four times to 
my mouth, as we would do with a little child; 
he did the same to M. Jollyet. For the second 
course, he brought in a second dish containing 
three fishes ; he took some pains to remove the 
bones, and having blown upon it to cool it, put 
it in my mouth as we would give food to a 
bird. For the third course they produced a 


large dog which they had just killed, but, 
learning we did not eat it, withdrew it. Final- 
ly, the fourth course was a piece of wild ox, 
the fattest of the portions of which were put in 
to our mouths."* 

After a stay of a few days Joliet and Mar- 
quette took their leave of the Illini and con- 
tinued their way. Meeting several adventurers 
where the calumet, given them by their Illini 
friends saved their lives, they journeyed on down 
the river seeking its mouth. 

The civilized world at that time was divided 
in theories regarding the extent and direction of 
this great river. Some held it emptied into the 
Atlantic Ocean, flowing through Virginia, others 
that it flowed into the South Sea (as the Pacific 
Ocean was called) with its course through Cali- 
fornia, and yet others that its course was, as it 
is, southerly and its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. 
The principal object of the expedition under- 
taken by Joliet and Marquette was to settle 
this dispute. About half a league from 
the Akansea (Arkansas) river, they met 
natives who told them that the mouth of the 
Mississippi River was but a ten days journey 
distant. They also learned of the dangers 
ahead, not alone from the natives but from the 
Spaniards, who at best would likely take them 


prisoners. So it was Joliet and Marquette to 
run no further risks of losing to the world the 
knowledge of the country they had already 
gained, and figuring that they were within two 
degrees of the Gulf of Mexico, began retrac- 
ing their way. When they had come as far 
north as the mouth of the Illinois River, 
Marquette was found too ill to proceed. Here 
they learned from the natives of a shorter 
route than the one they had taken in coming 
from Lake Michigan, and they ascended the 
Illinois River. 

The day in the latter part of July this 
year of 1673, in which they began their 
ascent of the Illinois river, marks the begin- 
ning of authentic history of Illinois. A de- 
scription of the land they found, with its 
wealth of plant and animal life as seen by 
these men reads like a fairy tale. 

The long stretch of prairie over which the eye 
roamed to the sky-line, with its waving grass, 
presented a picture as beautiful and as awe- 
inspiring as must have been the outlook to the 
Pilgrims in mid-ocean, or the first sight of the 
Great Lakes to the white man. The soft sun- 
shine, the gentle breeze burdened with the 
fragrance of innumerable flowers, the gay 


winged insects, the water-fowl, the singing 
birds, all lent charm to the scene. 

The buffalo and deer, not yet having been 
taught to fear the white man, came to the 
river's brink to satisfy their thirst. Indeed it 
was a goodly land to look upon. Marquette 
says, "We had seen nothing like this river for 
the fertility of its land, its prairies, wood, wild 
cattle, stag, deer, wild cats, swan, ducks, 
parrots, and even beaver; its many lakes and 
rivers. That on which we sailed (the lake 
of the Illinois) is broad, deep and gentle, for 
sixty-five leagues."* 

Here where the river widened into the lake 
they found a village of Kaskaskia Indians. 
This town Marquette records as composed of 
seventy-five cabins. This was the first, the 
original Kaskaskia. The village was on the 
wide bottom directly south of what is now 
Utica, in LaSalle County. This is on the 
north side of the Illinois River. 

The Indians took kindly to Father Mar- 
quette 's teachings, and exacted a promise from 
him to return. This he did the next year and 
established there the Mission of the Immaculate 
Conception of the Virgin Mary. This mission 
was sustained, although Marquette died upon 
his second return journey, and to-day, after 


even the second Kaskaskia has been destroyed 
and the third been built a little further down the 
island in the Mississippi River, this mission 
still exists, the sole tie binding the present to 
the far-away past. 

Father Claude Allouez came to Kaskaskia the 
year following the death of Marquette, and 
reports three hundred fifty-one cabins. This 
was perhaps the largest Indian village in the 

The name for the mission is explained by the 
fact which is recorded by Marquette, that the 
day Joliet arrived with orders from the Gover- 
nor to make their journey, was the one on the 
Calendar of the Church to be observed as "the 
day of the Immaculate Conception of the 
Blessed Virgin, whom I had always invoked 
since I had been in this country, to obtain of 
God the grace to be able to visit the Nations of 
the River Mississippi. I therefore put our 
voyage under the protection of the Blessed 
Virgin Immaculate, promising that if she did 
us the grace to discover the Great River, I 
would give it the name of the Conception ; and 
that I would give that name to the first mission 
I should establish among these New Nations, "f 

He made good his promise, both as regarded 
the river and the mission, but the latter alone 


retains the name. The name he gave the river 
was never recognized. This is but one of the 
attempts to change the name of the Mississippi 
River which failed. Nine years after Mar- 
quette attempted to give it a new name, . La 
Salle named it the Colbert, and a hundred years 
later, the King of France named it, in his grant 
to M. Crozat, as the river St. Louis, but the 
Indian name remains and shall always remain. 
The word Mississippi is a combination of two 
Algonquin words, "Missi," which means great 
and "sepi" meaning a river. No better name 
could be chosen. 

Marquette promised the mission on his first 
trip to Kaskaskia, and returned the following 
year to officially establish it. He sojourned 
but a short time at Kaskaskia because of rapidly 
failing health. He made an effort to reach the 
St. Ignatius Mission but had not strength to 
complete the journey. He died on the banks 
of a small stream on the eastern side of Lake 
Michigan a desolate spot in the wilderness. 

Late in August, 1673, Marquette and Joliet 
parted company, the one to return to Mich- 
ilimakinac to await orders to establish his 
promised mission among the Illini, and the 
other to return directly to Quebec. 



When Joliet reached the rapids in sight of 
Montreal, his boat was capsized, and he but 
just escaped death. The little Indian slave 
whom he had fetched from the first village of 
the Illini where he and Marquette had met such 
a hearty welcome, was lost, together with the 
maps and other valuable papers which Joliet 
had carefully prepared. 

Joliet never returned to the Illinois Country. 
That his verbal report of this country was a 
glowing one, is testified by Count Frontenac, 
who, writing from Quebec, November 14, 1675, 
to M. Colbert, Minister of the Marine at Paris, 
says: " Sieur Joliet has returned. He has 
discovered some very fine countries, and a navi- 
gation so easy through beautiful rivers that a 
person can go from Lake Ontario in a bark to 
the Gulf of Mexico, there being only one carry- 
ing-place (around Niagara Falls), where Lake 
Ontario communicates with Lake Erie." * 
But the hope that the newly discovered great 
water-way through North America, should 
prove to be the short route to Cathay, had to 
be abandoned. 

The interest which the report of Joliet 
aroused crystalized into the ambitions and 
great plans of La Salle, who with his faithful 


Tonti came into the country of the Illinois five 
years later. Some admirers of La Salle have 
claimed for him the discovery of the country of 
the Illini previous to the coming of Joliet and 
Marquette. They say that by following the 
course of the Ohio River (which he discovered) 
to its mouth, he went thence up the Mississippi 
to the mouth of the Illinois River, ascended this 
for some distance, and La Salle, not Joliet and 
Marquette, was the real discoverer of the 
Illinois Country. But this claim lacks proof, 
and there is no reasonable doubt that the 
natal day of Illinois was the July day in 1673, 
when Joliet and Marquette ascended the 
Illinois River. 


Page 19 *The French came into the northern part of 
America when the St. Lawrence river was dis- 
covered by Jacques Cartier in 1534 but New France 
was not established until seventy four years later, 
when Samuel de Champlain built Quebec. 

In the demands of the fur trade and in answer to 
the spirit of adventure which was common, these 
hardy Frenchmen pushed into the western wilder- 
ness even as far as the region of the Great Lakes. 
Their route was necessarily through Canada because 
of the hostility of the Iroquois to the French. 

This hostility was an inheritance from Champlain 
whose hastily given service to the Algonquins made 
the Iroquois the everlasting enemy of the French 

Wherever the trader and explorer went, he was 
accompanied by the priest so that, by a little after 


the middle of the seventeenth century, missions 
were established even so far as Lake Superior. 

Jean Nicolet was sent on an embassy to the 
Winnebagpes, near the head of Green Bay, to 
secure their fur trade at Quebec, in about 1634. 

The first missionary penetrating the wilderness 
thus far was Father Menard who in 1665 lost his 
life in service for the native redmen. It was in 
1671, two years before the expedition of Joliet and 
Marquette that formal possession of "Sainte Marie 
du Sault, as also Lakes Huron and Superior, the 
Manatonlin Island and all the countries, lakes, 
rivers and streams contiguous or adjacent thereto," 
was taken in the name of the king of France by 
the deputy of Sieur de St. Lusson Jean Talon, 
the intendant of New France. 

So it is that the existence of the Mississippi river 
must have been vaguely known to the French 
missionaries and traders sometime before it was 
discovered in 1673. 

Page 20 *This word in the Illinois tongue meant southern, 
or people to the south ; so termed because they lived 
to the south of the Illinois Country. 
tThe Mississippi. 
JParis Documents, vol. 9, p. 92. 

Page 21 *Jesuit Relations, 1669-1670. 

Page 22 fMarquette Journal. 

Page 23 *Shea's Discovery and Exploration of the Missis- 
sippi. Quotation from Marquette' s Journal. 
fFather Marquette's Original Journal. 

Page 29 *These extracts are from the original Journal of 
Father Marquette which was prepared for publica- 
tion by his superior, Father Dablon, and lay in 
manuscript at Quebec, among the archives of the 
Jesuits, until Dr. JohnG. Shea translated it and pub- 
lished it in his Discovery and Explorations of the 
Mississippi. This account differs, although not essen- 
tially, from Marquette's narrative sent the French 
government and printed at Paris by M. Thevenot 
in 1681 and called Receuil de Voyages. This 
narrative, copiously quoted and duly credited in 
Beckwith's Historic Notes of the Northwest. 
These extracts are introduced here since no better 
words could be chosen to relate the experiences than 
those Father Marquette himself used. 


Page 31 *Original Journal. 

Page 32 *"This name, Kaskaskia is an Algonquin word 
and has had a varied spelling. Marquette spells it 
Cachecachequia ; Allouez spells it Kachkachkia; 
Membri spells it Cascaskias; Marest spells it Cas- 
casquas, and Charlevoix spells it Kaskasquias. Its 
equivalent in English has, so far as I know, never 
been determined. Beckwith. 
fMarquette's Journal. 

Page 34 * Paris Documents, Vol. 9, p. 21. 








LA SALLE came into the country of the 
Illinois by way of the St. Joseph and 
Kankakee rivers, (that part of the Illi- 
nois River above the Des Plaines was called the 
Kankakee) and Kankakee portage. His ex- 
ploring party comprised thirty men, includ- 
ing the faithful Tonti and two priests, Father 
Membre and Father Hennepin. 

Reaching the Indian village of Kaskaskia 
where Marquette had established his mission 
four years before this time, they found it de- 
serted. The Indians were away on their annual 
hunt. Taking of the stores there found, and 
leaving value in presents, La Salle proceeded a 
little further down the river where he began the 
building of what proved to be but a temporary 
station hardly deserving the name sometimes 
given it of the first fort in the Illinois Country. 
To this he gave the name of Creve Coeur. Its 
site, after much dispute, has been marked as 
near what is now Wesley City. La Salle then 
returned to Quebec for help, leaving Tonti in 
charge of affairs in the country of the Illini. 



While gone, La Salle's men mutinied, destroyed 
his partially built ship, and abandoned and 
burned Fort Creve Coeur. 

La Salle returned to find even Tonti gone. 
Later he found him at Michilimakinac, and 
together they descended the Mississippi River 
to its mouth, where, in the name of his king 
and for his church, La Salle took possession of 
the river and its valley. 

He subsequently fortified the Rock in the 
Illinois River, just a little above the Indian vil- 
lage of Kaskaskia, to which he gave the name 
of Fort St. Louis and which was the first per- 
manent settlement in the country of the Illini. 
Some confusion has arisen concerning the loca- 
tion of Fort St. Louis. This comes about in 
part because it is known to have been near 
Kaskaskia, and the first Kaskaskia which was 
near Fort St. Louis was removed some twenty 
years later, to near the mouth of the Kaskaskia 
(Okaw) River, not far from which the Spanish 
settlement (which grew into the present city) 
of St. Louis was located. To add to this con- 
fusion, Fort St. Louis is not now known by that 
name, but is called Starved Rock. 

Custom has given this rock in the river a name 
which perpetuates the passing of the Indian 


instead of having it known by the name of Fort 
St. Louis, which would have emphasized the 
coming of the white man. 

A seventeenth century French settlement 
attached itself about the fort on the Illinois 
River, and had it not been for the untimely 
death of La Salle, the fate of New France in the 
Illinois Country, near a hundred years later, 
would have been different. 

La Salle left Fort St. Louis in charge of Tonti, 
and returned to France, thence to bring a colony 
to near the mouth of the Mississippi River. 
The ships carrying this colony somehow missed 
the mouth of the Mississippi, and the unfortu- 
nate Frenchmen landed on the coast of what 
now is Texas, where they wandered, enduring 
inexpressible hardships. 

Attempting to return to Fort St. Louis and 
secure aid from Tonti, La Salle was foully 
murdered by his own men who, because of their 
hardships, had grown dissatisfied. Describing 
the tragedy, Father Douay, who was one of the 
party, closes with an eulogy of La Salle in these 
words: "Thus died our commander; constant 
in adversity, intrepid, generous, engaging, dex- 
terous, skillful, capable of everything. He who 
for twenty years had softened the fierce temper 
of countless savage tribes was massacred by the 


hands of his own domestics whom he had 
loaded with caresses." 

With all his aspirations, spite the honors oft- 
times heaped upon him and the deserved praise 
he has received, the life of La Salle is a tragedy, 
a "tale of disappointment, suffering, failure, 
treachery, and ignoble death." 

Repeated raids of the Iroquois into the Illini 
Country greatly reduced their numbers; 
thriving settlements along the lower Missis- 
sippi drew interest down the river; the line 
of travel changed to the Mississippi route, 
making the early abandonment of Fort St. 
Louis a natural consequence. 

These conditions working together induced 
the removal of the Kaskaskia tribe and others 
of the Illini to near the mouth of the Kaskas- 
kia River, and the transfer of the settlement in 
the Illinois Country from what is now La Salle 
County to that part of the state on the Missis- 
sippi River near what was later known as the 
American Bottoms, and is now known as Ran- 
dolph and St. Clair counties. 

There, early in the eighteenth century, Fort 
Chartres was built and Cahokia, Prairie du 
Rocher, and other French towns were located. 
There the new Kaskaskia, the well-known Kas- 


kaskia, the town which for a hundred and thirty 
years reflected the life of the people of Illinois, 
was built. So interwoven is it into every event 
of Illinois history to nearly the middle of the 
nineteenth century, that the story of Kaskas- 
kia* is the story of Illinois. 

During the first half of the eighteenth century 
the colonies in the Illinois Country were the 
centre of New France in America. These have 
well been called the "halcyon days for New 
France in the Illinois Country." With the 
government at Quebec or at New Orleans, the 
power of New France in the Illini Country could 
well afford to ignore the claim of both England 
and Spain to the same territory. 

"Nature offered her gifts with bounteous 
hand." * 

" The history of a single voyageur and hunter 
will be enough to make a type of old Kaskaskia. 
Take Jules for the type. He may have come to 
Mobile as a soldier under Iberville, and con- 
cluded to remain after his term of enlistment 
had expired ; he may have accompanied Phillippe 
Renault. It is more likely that Jules was a 
Canadian born in the woods and accustomed to 
the birch canoe since infancy. The birch canoe 
was the great carrier of the wilderness, the 


Frenchman's steamboat. * * * Jules was 
light-hearted and gay. He was simple and 
temperate. He was placid as he smoked in his 
red cap by some cottage door; then he would 
be excited, raving, weeping, threating in the 
crowd. The merriest of mortals, he was one of 
the hardiest and also the handiest. He could 
swim like an otter, run like a deer, paddle all 
day without resting; and while he paddled he 
sang or told stories, and laughter was his dear 
companion. He could imitate the Indian yell, 
mimic the hissing rattlesnake, could skin a deer, 
and scrape a fiddle. 

Here at Kaskaskia where nature had been 
bountiful, he could raise corn for sagamiti and 
hominy. Here the maple yielded him sugar. 
Here was cotton for garments and wheat for 
flour. Around him were fertile grassy prairies 
for cattle to grow fat upon. Wild grapes, 
plums, persimmons, and cherries in abundance 
for his use, and pecans, acorns, hickory nuts, 
hazel and walnuts for his swine. Here were 
buffalo, elk and deer for hides and food. The 
rivers were full of fish, while the forest abounded 
in fur-bearing animals whose skins he might 
acquire and sell. 

Jules decided to settle here and marry a 
French woman, if possible, and if not, an Indian 


maid. At Kaskaskia he could find these, with 
music and dancing and a glass of domestic wine 
to complete his enjoyment. He could live in 
elegant ease on what he could farm and shoot. 
He could cut his own lumber, make his own 
mortar, get a lot near others of his kind and 
procure a deed for his cornfield, with a right of 
common for wood and pasture. 

Here he had no taxes. Here he had a mild 
paternal government. He could make one 
voyage each year, of three or four months dur- 
ation. Here he was lazy when the mood 
suited, and happy always; with Priest Father 
to give him consolation on the doorstep of 
death and bury him with the rites of the 
church."* The strenuous life of the twentieth 
century American citizen was unknown. 

The freedom of the pioneer was enjoyed with 
no thought of a citizen's responsibility. The 
problem of securing food, shelter, and clothing 
was easily solved, for each man's garden was a 
part of the common, while his cow was fed 
without cost to him from the common pasture. 
All of this was supplemented with the berries, 
nuts, and other wild fruit which was his for the 

The houses were easy to construct, and the 
dress consisted of homespun, or tanned skins, 


the product of the flax, the cotton plant, the 
flock, and the chase. No taxes to pay, and the 
desire and opportunity for unlimited fun what 
more could one ask? Such was the life of the 
more lowly Kaskaskian. 

It must not, however, be assumed that high 
breeding, fashion and wealth were altogether 
lacking. The best blood of old France was 
found in these towns in the Illinois Country. 
These well-born Kaskaskians surrounded them- 
selves with what elegancies they could bring from 
France or Canada. They had good homes and 
life was made easy for them by their large 
number of slaves. In taste -and manners so 
refined were some of them, that a social function 
at the home of a Bauvais, or a Charleville, or a 
Viviat, a LaChauces or a Sancier, whether in 
Kaskaskia or Cahokio, would have done credit 
to the salons of Paris itself. 

Such were the conditions of life in the French 
colonies in the Illinois Country up to the time 
of the struggle called the Seven Years, or the 
French and Indian War, which conflict deter- 
mined the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon in the 
New World. 



Page 45 *Kaskaskia remained the capital of the Illinois 
county of Virginia, until the territory was organized 
under the government of the United States as the 
Northwest territory with its capital at Mariette, 
Ohio. Kaskaskia remained an important town 
during the years Illinois was a part of the North- 
west territory, and later as a part of the Indiana 
territory. When the division was made and the 
Illinois territory created, Kaskaskia again be- 
came its capital. The young commonwealth had 
Kaskaskia as its capital until it was moved up the 
river to Vandalia. Kaskaskia was built so near the 
river that in time, it suffered from the fact. But it 
was not until in the eighties that the Mississippi 
washing its way into the Kaskaskia channel cut 
through the town and made it an island in the 
great river. Those living in Kaskaskia sought 
safer homes, while the state removed the cemetery 
to the opposite bluffs at Fort Gage. A noble shaft 
has been erected to the memory of those buried in 
the new cemetery which over-looks all that is left 
of the once proud and important Kaskaskia, the 
spot so filled with romance that is dear to the 
hearts of all those who know its story. 

Page 45 **Alvord in Virginia series Vol. I, Col. 111. Hist. 
Lib. gives clear idea of life in French towns in 111. 
during this period. See p. XIV-XXV. Also 
Stuart in Old Kaskaskia Days and Ways. Pub. No. 
10, 111. Hist. Library. 

Page 47 *Stuart in Old Kaskaskia Days and Ways. Pub. 
10, 111. Hist. Library, p. 132. 

DATE II. 1759 


DATE II. 1759 

[To appreciate the significance of this date it is 
necessary to understand conditions in Europe and this 
country in the early part of the seventeenth century.] 

THE four, at that time, great powers of 
Europe, were colonizing America more 
than a half century before the Illinois 
Country was known. 

New England was getting a foothold on the 
eastern coast; New France was established in 
Quebec and Montreal, and other points along 
the St. Lawrence River, reaching into the wilder- 
ness of what is now Canada and along the 
northern shores of the Great Lakes ; New Neth- 
erlands was planted along the Hudson River ; 
and New Spain was flourishing in South 
America, Mexico, New Mexico, and toward the 
Pacific Coast. 

From the time of the discovery of America, 
Spain had been more active in explorations than 
had any other nation of the Old World. During 
the sixteenth century she discovered, conquered, 
and, in a way, colonized a large portion of inland 
America ; at least, she laid claim to the domain 
from Colorado to Buenos Ay res, extending from 
sea to sea. 



Spain made permanent settlements in what 
is now known as Florida and New Mexico, 
years before New England, New Netherlands, 
and New France were established. But Spain's 
object in exploring America, itself defeated 
her permanent possession of the land. She 
came to America for wealth, not to establish 
homes. In her insatiate search for gold, she 
pushed to the north and northwest, leaving fer- 
tile plains for rocky mountains which might 
hold the coveted treasure. 

The Spanish domains at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century comprised not only Spain 
proper, but a large part of the Netherlands ad- 
joining Holland and portions of Italy in Europe, 
together with that part of America claimed by 
rights of discovery. The West Indies, together 
with immense provinces in South America, 
were hers by right of conquest and occupancy, 
as well as discovery. So too were Florida 
and Mexico and New Mexico ; Spain was a power 
to be feared. But her claim to North America 
as far as forty degrees north latitude was not 
considered valid by all the European powers. 
Indeed, Great Britain completely ignored any 
right of Spain above thirty-four degrees north 
latitude, and so made her grants of land. 


By reason of the discovery, early in the 
seventeenth century, of the Hudson River by 
Henry Hudson, while in command of a Dutch 
vessel seeking the much-desired new quick 
route to the Orient, the valley drained by this 
river became the property of Holland. It was 
speedily occupied by the thrifty people of that 

The influence of the Holland Dutch in the 
making of American institutions must not be 
estimated by the limited extent of their posses- 
sions and duration of time of ownership com- 
pared with that of England, France, and Spain. 
Their political authority was quickly absorbed 
by the power of Great Britain, and New Nether- 
lands ceased to exist, yet the Dutch from Holland 
have determined much of American history. 
The history of Illinois is incomplete without 
the important part Holland played at one stage 
of its development. By right of discoveries of 
Cabot, England held a just claim to North 
America. Upon the strength of this claim, at 
the beginning of the seventeenth century Great 
Britain made grants of land in the New World 
to two companies. These grants extended from 
thirty-four degrees to forty-eight degrees north 
latitude, inclusive. The east and west limits 
were the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 


It will be remembered that Spain claimed all 
land as far as forty degrees north latitude, be- 
cause of the discovery of Columbus and the 
decree of the Pope. So it was the grant made 
the London Company included six degrees 
already claimed by the other nation. This 
claim of Spain may have directed explorers 
from both England and France to the New 
World to the north of forty degrees north lati- 
tude, yet it seems that England forgot it when 
asserting her claim to the territory. 

If the claim of Spain directed the French ex- 
plorers whose efforts resulted in the discovery 
of the St. Lawrence River to the north of forty 
degrees north latitude, the valuable fisheries 
and fur trade held their interest and deter- 
mined the location of New France in America. 
Quebec, Montreal, and other smaller colonies on 
the St. Lawrence made good trading posts 
from which the earnest and loyal Frenchman 
pushed his way into the wilderness, carrying 
the interests of his church and his king. 

The right of Spain in the New World as far as 
forty degrees north latitude, was recognized in 
the grant of land made by the king of France in 
1603 to De Chartres and afterwards transferred 
to De Monts. This grant extended across the 
continent, including the territory between forty 


and forty-six degrees north latitude. The grant 
of land made the London Company by Great 
Britain early in the seventeenth century, it is 
plain, ignored the claim of Spain to the terri- 
tory included between thirty-four and forty 
degrees north latitude since its southern limit 
was thirty-four degrees north latitude. At 
the same time the grant made the Plymouth 
Company about the same date, by Great 
Britain ignored the grant of De Monts, 
between forty and forty-six degrees north 
latitude, since forty-eight degrees was 
the northern limit named in this patent. In 
this way Great Britian, in the early seven- 
teenth century, disputed claim to the territory 
between thirty-four and forty-eight north lati- 
tude, while the strip down the Hudson belonged 
to the Dutch, undisputed save by the native 

Later in the century, La Salle's bold explora- 
tion of the Mississippi River to its mouth, and 
formal taking possession of its valley in the 
name of the king of France, further compli- 
cated and confused the rights of the European 

Spain claimed the Mississippi valley because 
De Soto, a Spaniard had long before this dis- 
covered the lower Mississippi River. This had 


less effect than would seem worthy the fact 
since Spain had failed to further explore and 
colonize the region. 

So it was that the middle of the seven- 
teenth century found the eastern coast of 
America a New England ; along the St. 
Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, and the 
Mississippi River to the Gulf, a New France; 
the West Indies, South America, Florida, 
Mexico, New Mexico, and toward the western 
coast, a New Spain; and along the banks of 
the Hudson River, a New Netherlands. 

So much for the white man in America at the 
middle of the seventeenth century. But the 
real owners of the soil were the American 
Indians. What of them? They were the people 
the white men found, they were the original in- 

The transfer of ownership was effected in 
different ways. The English generally com- 
pelled the relinquishment of the Indians' claims, 
by force. The French secured it by sharing 
their life and agreeing upon equal division. 
The Dutch gained their end by purchase, giving 
the equivalent value. The Spanish resorted 
to force or trade, as their whim directed. 

There were two great families of the Indian 
race located east of the Mississippi River, known 


as the Algonquins and the Iroquois. The 
Creeks and Seminoles were further to the South- 
east, and were not known in the country of the 

The early explorers found the Algonquins the 
most numerous, but later the Iroquois, domi- 
nated them. The Iroquois were at home in 
central New York. They were, however, con- 
stantly going into the lands of other tribes and 
making war upon them. The results of these 
raids were usually the subjugation of the at- 
tacked tribes, to the end that they paid tribute 
to the Iroquois. Each year an Iroquois chief 
would go among the tribes thus subjugated, and 
collect the tribute. The insolence, upon the 
part of the collector on such an occasion, 
beggars description. 

Champlain found the Algonquins when he 
first came to the St. Lawrence River. They 
were friendly to the white man. When they 
asked Champlain's help in a war which was as 
usual, going on between them and the Iroquois, 
Champlain gave them aid. He taught them 
the use of the white man's weapons, and him- 
self led the victorious Algonquins in a decisive 
battle on the lake now bearing his name. The 
result was the undying hatred of the Iroquois 


not alone for Champlain but for every French- 
man as well. 

This hatred barred the way of the French 
from going westward across the Iroquois 
country and by way of the Great Lakes, and at 
the same time protected the Dutch and English 
colonies from the French. The same reason 
that made it impossible for the French on the 
St. Lawrence to overcome the colonies on the 
coast, sent them west by way of the Ottawa 
River and Georgian Bay. On the other hand, 
because of this impulsive act of Champlain, the 
French gained the never-ceasing friendship of 
the Algonquins and made it possible for Joliet 
and La Salle and other Frenchmen to abide in 
the country of the Illinois. 

The Iroquois had not always been the domi- 
nating tribe among the American Indians. The 
Adirondacks were the original family from 
which the various tribes of the Algonquins 
sprang. The word in the Iroquois tongue for 
Algonquins is Adirondacks. Long before the 
arrival of the Europeans in America, the Iro- 
quois were under subjection to the Adirondacks, 
so it is said. 

The principal villages of the Iroquois were on 
the north shore of Lake Ontario, where they 
made the planting of corn their business. The 


Adirondacks despised them for doing a work fit 
only for women. At one time, however, game 
being very scarce, the Adirondacks induced 
some of the young men of the Iroquois to help 
them hunt. These young men soon became 
quite expert in hunting, so much so indeed, 
that the Adirondacks grew jealous, and one 
night murdered all the Iroquois young men they 
had with them. 

To the surprise of the Adirondacks, the Iro- 
quois determined upon revenge. They had 
hitherto looked upon the Iroquois as women. 
So it was the Adirondacks forced the Iroquois to 
leave their country and fly to the south shore of 
the lake. There they made war upon the 
"Satanas" (Shawnees),* a tribe of the Adiron- 
dacks. The Iroquois subdued the "Satanas," 
and drove them from their country, f After 
this, the Iroquois grew more and more a war- 
like people. Notwithstanding their war-like 
impulses, the Iroquois lived more the life of the 
white man in cultivating the soil and establish- 
ing permanent homes than did the other 

The Algonquins, unlike the tribes further to 
the south, had no special religion. They had a 
general belief in " good and bad spirits," and the 
necessity of appeasing the latter by all sorts of 


gifts and various offerings. Generally speak- 
ing, they took kindly to the teachings of the 
French priests and would, in most cases, be 
guided by them. 

The Indians found in the Illinois Country by 
Joliet and Marquette, were all tribes of the 
Algonquins. The principal confederacy was 
that of the Illini, which consisted of five tribes : 
the Peorias, the Kaskaskias, the Cahokias, 
Tamarois, and the Michiganians. The names 
of these tribes have been given to towns and 
rivers in the state, so that their habitat is easily 
determined, while the name of the confederacy 
has been impressed upon the principal river 
and the state itself. 

The Indians of the confederacy of the Illini, 
who were the first known occupants of the 
territory now known as the state of Illinois, were 
not a war-like people. They were not even a 
courageous people. They are recorded as being 
lazy and vicious. They were "mild and docile 
enough, but they were cowardly, treacherous, 
fickle, deceitful, thievish, brutal, destitute of 
faith or honor, addicted to gluttony, and not a 
whit less haughty or self complacent because of 
the fact that the Canada tribes despised them 
on account of their vices." J 


"Their villages," says Father Hennepin,* 
" are open, not enclosed with palisades, because 
they have no courage to defend them; they 
would flee as they heard their enemies approach- 
ing. ' ' Up to the time of the coming of the white 
man, their weapons were the bow and arrow and 
the club. Their arrows were pointed with 
stone, and their tomahawks were made of stag 
horns cut in the shape of a cutlass and termi- 
nating in a large ball. In the use of the bow and 
arrow, all writers agree that the Illini excelled 
all neighboring tribes. For protection against 
the missiles of an enemy, they used bucklers 
composed of buffalo hides stretched over a 
wooden frame. 

In form the Illini were tall and lithe. 
They were swift runners. The women, 
beside cultivating the soil, did all the 
household drudgery, carried the game and made 
the clothes. The garments were made from 
buffalo-hides and from the soft wool that grew 
upon these animals. Both the wool and hides 
were dyed with brilliant colors, black, yellow 
or vermilion. In this kind of work, the Illini wo- 
men were greatly in advance of the women of 
other tribes. Articles of dress were sewed 
together with thread made from the nerves and 
tendons of deer, prepared by exposure to the 


sun twice in every twenty-four hours. After 
this the nerve and tendons were beaten so that 
their fibres would separate into a fine white 

The garment worn by the women was some- 
thing like a loose wrapper. Beneath the wrap- 
per were petticoats, for warmth in winter. 
They wore a head-dress for ornament, rather 
than use. Their feet were covered with mocca- 
sins, and leggins decorated with quills of the 
porcupine stained in colors of brilliant con- 
trasts. Ornaments fashioned from clam-shells 
and other hard substances, were worn about their 
neck, wrists, and ankles. 

Their food consisted of the scanty products 
of their fields, and principally of game and fish, 
of which there was in their country a great 
abundance. Father Allouez, who followed 
Father Marquette to the mission at Kaskaskia, 
stated there were fourteen varieties of herbs, and 
forty-two varieties of fruits in that locality 
which they used for food. Their plates and 
other dishes were made of wood, and their 
spoons constructed out of buffalo bones. The 
dishes for boiling food were earthen, sometimes 

Spite of all records of limited good qualities 
on the part of the Illini Indian, it must not be 


forgotten that their loyalty to the French was 
enduring. The friendship between the two 
races never was lessened, and when in the 
course of events, the French were no longer in 
authority, the children of the Illini Indian were 
taught to love the Gaul. It was not the Illini, 
but the "tribes as far west as the Illinois River" 
(the Illini had before this been removed beyond 
and below this point), that deserted the French 
in the decisive time of the Seven Years' War, and 
it was the confidence and love the Illini had for 
the French represented by Father Gibault, which 
insured George Rogers Clark's success in his 
conquest of the Northwest. 

The Illini became less and less hardy and 
fewer in numbers owing to their habits of idle- 
ness and vice and their inherited tendencies to 
disease as well as the raids made on them by 
their enemies during the hundred years subse- 
quent to the coming of the white man to the 
Illinois Country. 

When Pontiac met his death at the hands of 
one of the tribe, the hatred felt toward all of 
them by other tribes was increased. 

A strong confederacy of tribes was formed 
about this time (1760) called the Penotomy. 

There were several decisive battles fought by 
the Penotomies and the Illini. It is said one was 



at Blue Island, another on the Des Plaines near 
where the city of Joliet now stands, and another 
on the site of Morris in Grundy County. In all 
of these, the Illini suffered defeat. Tradition 
says they were driven ahead of their relentless 
foes to the Rock in the Illinois River which had 
eighty years before this been occupied as Fort 
St. Louis. This refuge proved a trap for the 
Illini since it shut them in by their enemy, and 
their fate was absolute starvation. This gave 
the Rock its present name. A few escaped and 
made their way to St. Louis on the Mississippi. 
In 1830, the Illini confederacy had lost its iden- 
tity being known only as Peoria and Kaskaskia 
tribes. Twenty years later there were but one 
hundred sixty-five in it at Quapau, I. T. Du- 
Cogne, their last chief, boasted that his tribe 
had never shed the blood of a white man. 

The constant raids of the Iroquois upon the 
Indians of the Illinois Country in the seventeenth 
century, is no doubt explained by M. Du 
Chesneau, in a memoir on the western Indians, 
dated at Quebec, September 13, 1681,f in 
which he says: "Their (the Iroquois) true 
motive was to gratify the English at Manette 
(New York) and Orange (Albany), who by 
means of presents, engaged the Iroquois in 
these expeditions, the object of which was to 


force the Illinois Indians to bring their beaver to 
them, so that they may go and trade it afterwards 
to the English; also to intimidate the other 
Indians and constrain them to do the same 

That the efforts of the Iroquois to subdue the 
western Indians were not without the support 
of the English for their advantage in the ex- 
tension of the fur trade, note that reply of the 
Governor of New York to an appeal made from 
the Senecas, one of the tribes of the Iroquois, 
for aid some twenty years later, in a war waged 
by the Miamis against them. " I should think 
it prudence and good policy in you to try all 
possible means to fix a trade and correspond- 
ence with all those nations by which means you 
would reconcile them to yourselves, and with 
my assistance, I am in hopes that in a short time 
they might be united with us in the covenant 
chain, and then you might without hazard, go 
into their country, which I understand is much 
the best for beaver. / should think myself 
obliged to reward you for such a piece of service, 
and will always use my best efforts to preserve 
you from all your enemies." * 

This communication was made the year 
preceding that in w r hich the Sachems of the 
Iroquois conveyed to William III, king of Great 


Britain, their beaver hunting-grounds north- 
west and west of Albany, including a broad strip 
on the south side of Lake Erie, all of the present 
states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and 
Illinois "as far as the Illinois." 

The country of the Illini at the time of its dis- 
covery by Marquette and Joliet, extended as 
far east as the " ridge that divides the waters 
flowing into the Illinois from the streams that 
drain into the Wabash above the head-waters of 
Saline Creek," but the Iroquois had driven them 
west of the Illinois River, and the year before the 
date of this cessation, they had moved their 
principal village to the south and west of the 
river. The year following this cessation, 
Fort St. Louis was abandoned, and protection 
to the Illini tribes east of the Illinois River 

This purchase of lands of the Northwest by 
the English from the Iroquois, was little bene- 
fit further than to give the "color of title" 
Great Britain flaunted with so much pride. 
The strength of the English with the Indians, 
lay rather in a treaty which came as an 
inheritance from the Dutch. This treaty was 
called the Silver Covenant Chain. 

The Hudson River was discovered in 1609, and 
immediately colonized. "The Dutch took an 


early advantage of the opportunity the river 
afforded for trading for furs. Traders were at 
work where Albany now is, as early as 1610. 
Christiaensen built a rude fort four miles below 
Albany in 1613, which he named Nassau. Here 
Jacob Eelkens was in command, and here in 
1618 he negotiated a treaty with the Indians 
which secured their alliance with the Dutch 
during their whole possession, and to which the 
English fell heirs. This treaty was still in force 
when the war of the Revolution began."* 

In their poetic use of language, the Indians 
called this treaty the "Silver Covenant Chain," 
which bound them to the interest of their 
white brothers. It was never broken. When 
the Dutch surrendered to the English, the 
treaty was transferred to them, and always re- 
mained intact. 

This treaty was made on the banks of what is 
now Normans Kill, a small stream which 
empties into the Hudson River four miles 
south of Albany. The place is better known 
through the song of Hiawatha, as 

"The Vale of Tawasentha, 
The green and silent valley, 
By the pleasant water-courses." 

It was here that the chain was forged which was 
destined to decide the fate of nations and de- 


termine the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon in 
the New World. 

The Dutch in America, through this treaty, 
decided the governing power of the continent. 
For because of this treaty, as it will later be 
shown, the British found it possible to destroy 
the power of the French in America forever. 
Frequent reference is made to this Silver 
Covenant Chain in writings prior to the war of 
the Revolution. The answer to the appeal of 
the Seneca chief quoted above, for aid, 
shows the high value put upon this treaty by 
the British. 

Every effort was made to extend this compact 
to the western Indians. Had the French not 
come into the Illinois Country in the latter part 
of the seventeenth century, this alliance might 
have been made. On the other hand, had it 
not been for the strength of the Silver Covenant 
Chain whose "links were never permitted to 
rust," the French priests with their evident 
personal interest in all the redmen, would sure- 
ly, spite of Champlain's act, have won even the 
Iroquois to espouse their cause. The constant 
effort of the French was to "break the chain," 
and as constant an effort of the British was to 
lengthen it until it bound the tribes of the west- 
ern Indians. 


* Sir William Johnson was made Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs in America by Great Britain 
about 1750. He had great influence over the 
Indians and managed them wisely and well. He 
urged the extension of this treaty to the Indians 
of the West. In a letter written to the Lords 
of Trade at London, dated March 6, 1756, he 
says of the Indians: "It gives me the most 
solid pleasure that I can, with the greatest 
truth, assure your Lordships, that the Six 
United Nations (the Iroquois), give us the 
strongest intimations of sincerity and fidelity 
* * * They seem solicitous now to enlarge 
their confederacy by bringing in the western 
Indians, which I have been advising them to 
do these several years." * 

A meeting of Indian chiefs was called later at 
Onondago, at which there were some Shawnee 
and Delaware Indians. Others came, and two 
days later met with the Shawnees and Dela- 
wares at Sir William Johnson's house, where 
they formally joined the alliance and "were 
bound with the Silver Covenant Chain " in the 
interests of the English. 

This council was held but just before the loss 
of Oswego during the French and Indian war. 
After this defeat, the future looked gloomy to 
the English. Sir William Johnson writes that 


this "unfortunate revolution in our military 
affairs entirely disconcerted all my measures. 
Under these circumstances, I judged the most 
prudent step I could take would be to summon 
a meeting of some of the chiefs of each nation as 
soon as possible at my house in order to know 
their positive determination and what part they 
proposed to act."* The result of this meeting 
was the urgent wish expressed to the Lords of 
Trade for a change in the plans of the campaign. 

Again Sir William writes: *"If an at- 
tempt upon Niagara through Lake Ontario 
should be a part of the plan of operations for 
this year, and that our preparations for it are 
projected with judgment and carried on with 
vigor, I am persuaded I could join His Majesty's 
troops that way, with the main body of the 
warriors of the Six Nations together with 
many others of their Allies and Dependents, and 
that by taking proper measures, I could prevent 
many, if not most, of those northern and west- 
ern Indians who form the Ottawa Confederacy, 
from joining the French against us." 

Later it is recorded that at a conference held 
in the spring of 1759, "a number of (Genesee) 
Indians were present who brought word that 
'as soon as the waters were navigable, the 
Indians as far west as the Illinois | were com- 


ing to meet Sir William Johnson." They ar- 
rived shortly afterward. At this conference, 
ten and more nations agreed to bind themselves 
with the Silver Covenant Chain. 

It was in the July following, that a siege of 
three weeks ending in a severe conflict, re- 
sulted in the loss of Fort Niagara to the French, 
and complete victory to the English forces. 
The connecting link of French military posts 
between Canada and Louisiana was effectually 
broken forever. It was the promise of the 
victory on the Plains of Abraham. 

To understand how influences from the 
Illinois Country occasioned defeat we must 
know cause of the war which had been waging 
for a half-dozen years. It echoed the war in 
Europe between France and Great Britain, 
yet came directly because both nations dis- 
puted rights to the fur trade west of the 
Allegheny Mountains. It has been seen that 
the territory between the thirty-ninth and 
forty-eighth degrees north latitude was claimed 
by three of the great European powers. As 
the years passed, the fur trade of this section 
was desired by both the French and the 
English. To make their claim stronger, 
Great Britain purchased the land of this sec- 
tion from the Iroquois Indians, who held the 


right to make this sale because of conquest. 
The purchase was made early in the eighteenth 
century, but the deed of transfer was ignored 
by the French who came into the disputed 
country and built forts. 

To further possess this country, the Virginia 
Colony organized the Ohio Company with an 
idea of colonizing the territory north and west 
of the Ohio River. The government of France 
was vainly urged to send colonists to possess 
the same territory. Colonization did not follow 
from either source. The French made good 
their claim by sinking plates at the mouths of 

To stop this, the Governor of Virginia sent 
young George Washington from Williamsburg 
to carry a message to the French, remon- 
strating against their actions. He brought 
back in return a message of refusal to with- 
draw troops from the disputed country. A 
regiment of six hundred men was organized 
and sent to drive the Frenchmen out of the 

Meanwhile the Ohio Company sent thirty 
men to build a fort at the point of the con- 
fluence of the Allegheny and Monongehela 
rivers. They had not progressed far when a 
party of French and Indians attacked and ex- 


pelled them. These completed the fort and 
called it Fort DuQuesne, in honor of the 
Governor General of Canada. 

Not knowing the fort was occupied by French 
instead of English, the Virginia troops pressed 
forward toward it. On the way, one company 
under the command of George Washington, 
then a young man hardly in his twenties, met 
and attacked a company of French soldiers 
under the command of Jumon de Villiers, and 
killed the commanding officer. His brother, 
Neyon de Villiers, was of the garrison at Fort 
Chartres on the Mississippi River, in the Illinois 
Country. Hearing of his brother's death, Cap- 
tain de Villiers asked and received permission 
to take troops to the relief of Fort DuQuesne. 
With his soldiers from the Illinois Country, 
de Villiers went to the rescue and compelled 
the return to Virginia of Washington and his 
troops, and the agreement of the English colony 
not to erect any establishment west of the 
mountains for a year. 

This is the first record of the bravery of the 
Illinois soldier, but by no means the last. The 
soldiers from Illinois carried supplies to Fort 
DuQuesne, making the trip by way of the 
Mississippi River to the mouth of the Ohio, 
thence up that stream. 


As the war progressed, there was a great 
demand in the army of the French for increased 
number of soldiers. The English navy cut off 
most of the reinforcements from France, while 
the English, on the contrary, were constantly 
receiving troops from the mother-country. 

Every effort was made north of the Ohio 
River, by the French, to stir up the Indians 
to help in the preservation of the Northwest 
for the joint occupancy of the Gallic and native 
American races. 

In the spring of 1759, while Sir William 
Johnson was holding the Council and Conference 
of Indians at his House in far away New York, 
which resulted in the transfer of the allegiance 
of the Indians "as far west as the Illinois," 
from the French to the English, Mons. de 
Aubry, Commandant at Fort Chartres in the 
Illinois Country, was raising troops to take 
east with him. 

Four hundred men started with him in 
bateaux and canoes down the Mississippi to 
the mouth of the Ohio, which they ascended 
as far as the mouth of the Wabash. They could 
go no further up the Ohio River, since the 
English were in possession of its headwaters. 
Ascending the Wabash River to the Miami 
villages near the present site of Fort Wayne, 


they made the portage, and passing down the 
Maumee, they entered Lake Erie. 

They were constantly reinforced by bands of 
different tribes of Indians, and by Canadian 
militia, as they passed the several posts, until 
there was an army of sixteen hundred men. 
Of these there were six hundred Frenchmen and 
one thousand Indians. Before Aubry reached 
Presque Isle, he was joined by other bodies of 
Indians and Canadians from the region of the 
upper lakes. M. de Lignery had assembled 
the Ohio Indians at Presque Isle, and met 
him at Fort Machault, at the mouth of French 
Creek in Pennsylvania. 

Aubry 's intention was to go down the river 
and retake Fort DuQuesne, or Fort Pitt, as 
the English called it. But letters received at 
Fort Machault changed his plans. The news 
that the "English had gone against Fort 
Niagara" determined Aubry to go to the rescue 
of that fort. His route was up French Creek, 
thence by portage to Presque Isle, and sailing 
along the shores of Lake Erie to Niagara. Sir 
William Johnson being informed of this ad- 
vance of the French army was prepared to 
meet them on the road between Niagara Falls 
and the fort. 


As the French made their appearance, they 
were seen to be marching along a path about 
eight feet wide and were in readiness to fight 
in close order and without ranks or files. 
The Indians of the English army advanced to 
speak to those of the French army. After 
this conference the Indians of the French army 
refused to advance under pretext that they 
were at peace with the Iroquois. Thus were 
the French abandoned by their chief force ! 

Utter defeat followed and a massacre ensued 
in which all the French officers were either 
killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. McCarty, 
the commandant at Fort Chartres, sadly said: 
"Niagara cost us the flower of our soldiers." 

The treachery of the savage allies of the 
French carried victory to the British. Sir 
William Johnson reported it in these words: 
"To show your Lordships that my Labours 
have not been in vain, I now send duplicates 
(of former letter and treaty at Canajohary), it 
(the treaty) being concluded at a general con- 
vention of the Six Nations and the Allies (in 
the spring of 1759), after many Solicitations 
and interested Arguments Suggested to them 
by me, to join us against the Enemy which they 
did, last year to the amount of above a thousand 
fighting men at Niagara, from whence I sent 


them home laden with the spoils of the French ; 
and tho' the Enemy put me to a deal of trouble, 
when their army was near upon us, by sending 
some of the Indians under pretence of Parley 
with ours, but rather to inveigle and intimidate 
ours (?) / found means to retain even them who, 
though come into our camp under French in- 
fluence, / made them fight against their old 

Such was the result of the Indians from "as 
far as the Illinois" being bound by the Silver 
Covenant Chain in 1759. Had these western 
Indians remained as true to the moral obligation 
they had to the interests of the French as had 
the eastern Indians to the promise their fathers 
had made to Jacob Eelkins near a century and 
a half before this time, "the Chain" would 
never have drawn them away from their alliance 
to their friends, the French. If they had 
turned a deaf ear to the efforts of Sir William 
Johnson and refused to be bound by the Silver 
Covenant Chain, the war would probably have 
had a different ending when end it did. The 
passing of New France in America would have 
been at least delayed, if not averted. The 
history of our State and our Nation would read 
other than it does now. 


Victory to the British at Niagara* was quickly 
followed by victory at other points until upon 
the Plains of Abraham at Quebec, the "Lilies 
of France'" were displaced by the Dragon of 
St. George. The Anglo-Saxon race dominated 
the New World. 


Page 61 * Shawnee meant south. 

t See Beckwith's notes of the Northwest, p. 170. 

Page 62 j Charlevoiz's History of New France.Vol. 5, p. 130. 

Page 63 * Hennepin, p. 132 (London Ed.) 

Page 64 * Beckwith's Historic notes of the Northwest, p. 

Page 66 -j- Paris Documents, Vol. 9, p. 161. 

Page 67 * New York Colonial Documents, Vol. 4, p. 729. 

Page 69 * Qlde Ulster, Vol. 4, p. 3. 

Page 71 * Letter of Sir William Johnson, dated September 
10, 1756, to the Lords of Trade at London, Hist. 
New York, p. 733. 

Page 72 * Letter dated May 17, 1 759. 

t Although the expression "as far west as the 
Illinois" is usually considered to include the country 
of the Illinois, there is every reason to consider that 
here it means the river of that name. Since the 
tribe of the Illini had been moved beyond and 
below the river a half century before, an inference 
may be drawn that this tribe was not among the 

Page 79 * A letter written by Sir William Johnson to the 
Board of Trade at London, dated 5th of June, 1760. 

Page 80 * Many historians state that the Indians re- 
mained neutral during the Seven Years' War. Such 
was the case only during the first years of the war 
or until the British, at the suggestion of Sir William 
Johnson, made an attack upon Fort Niagara. Sir 
William Johnson had already persuaded the western 
Indians to be bound with the "Silver Covenant 
Chain." After this the red man was an ally of the 


Illustra- The first white explorers of the Mississippi River 
^ n noted strangely pictured rocks at different places 

Pia e sa alon g its wa y- 

Bird The most striking of these was the one on the 

bluff at the point where afterward the city of Alton 
was built. This represented the Piasa or Devil 
bird and might have been seen as late as 1856 when 
the State Prison was built there and they quarried 
the rock and destroyed this terror of the native 

There is a narrow ravine between the city of 
Alton and the mouth of the Illinois River through 
which a small stream runs to empty into the Missis- 
sippi. This is known as the Piasa. Near the mouth 
of this stream, bluffs of sandstone rise upon which 
the representation of the Piasa birds was made. 
No Indian could ever be induced to look upon these 
pictured rocks. Indeed they were horrible to see. 
The legend of the Piasa briefly told is this : " Many 
thousand moons before the arrival of the paleface' ' 
a bird of such dimensions that he could easily carry 
off a buffalo, lived in the locality of these pictured 
rocks. At one time this bird tasted the flesh of an 
Indian and ever after, one of the Piasa birds would 
watch opportunity to dart upon an Indian and 
bear him off into one of the caves of the bluff to 
devour him. Hundreds of warriors were de- 
voured in this way and the bird became a terror to 
all Indians. 

At last, a great chief, Onatoga by name separ- 
ated himself from his tribe and fasted the length of 
a moon praying the Great Spirit to protect his 
children from the dread Piasa. On the last night 
of his fast, the Great Spirit appeared to Onatoga 
in a dream and told him to take twenty of his war- 
riors, to arm each with a bow and poisoned arrows 
and take them to the mouth of this cave. 

They must be concealed but another warrior 
must stand exposed to the sight of the Piasa and 
when the monster sprang at him the men must 
shoot at the bird. 

Onatoga chose to, himself, stand in full view as 
the prey of the Piasa. He so loved his people that 
he was willing to give up his life for them. When 
all were ready, Onatoga planted his feet firmly 
upon the earth and drawing up his manly form, he 
began chanting the death song of the Indian war- 
rior. A moment and the Piasa arose in the air and 
darted down upon the chief. But the monster 


had no more than reached his victim when twenty 
arrows from twenty bows pierced its body in as 
many places and the Piasa expired while Onatoga 
remained unhurt. 

The Miamis had a tradition concerning the Piasa 
bird which accounted for their hatred of the Illini 
and the ultimate almost complete annihilation of 
that confederacy. In their tradition the Piasa 
showed great favor to the Michegannis when they 
met the Miamis in this Piasa canyon. This ill 
will caused by their defeat was handed from one 
generation to another until opportunity came to 
join their strength to the Penotomy confederacy 
which worked such disaster to all the tribes of the 

.^ * 






THE French colonies in the Illinois Coun- 
try, were the last to be transferred to 
the rule of Great Britain. This delay in 
which the flag of France defiantly fluttered in 
the Illinois breeze (the sole spot in the New 
World where it waved unmolested) was owing 
to the interference of Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, 
who three times drove back the British that 
were coming to take legal possession of Fort 

Major Robert Rogers was sent to tell the 
western forts of the surrender of Canada and 
the change in government at the close of the 
French and Indian War. He met Pontiac, a 
celebrated Ottawa chief, near what is now Cleve- 
land, Ohio. Pontiac stopped him, asking the 
reason of his (Roger's) coming into that country 
without his (Pontiac's) permission. He was 
informed of the change from French to English 
rule, and at last permitted Rogers to proceed. 
He even graciously accompanied him and 
averted a massacre of Rogers and his company, 
at the mouth of the Detroit River. But Pontiac 



was by no means won to the cause Rogers repre- 
sented. He hated the English. 

Pontiac comprehended the situation. He 
was a man of rare intelligence, and he correctly 
read the signs of the times. He saw the differ- 
ence between the English and the French ; that 
the one were settlers, the other but fur-traders, 
they were not seeking homes. He knew that 
English settlements in North America meant 
the destruction of his race. 

Pontiac made a plan to drive the English 
away. It was a desperate plan to save the coun- 
try to the red man, and it involved the effort of 
all the tribes of the Northwest, under the most 
absolute secrecy. The plan succeeded in so far 
as that no white man had the least idea of what 
was contemplated by the Indians. When the 
chosen day arrived, every garrison west of Fort 
Pitt, excepting that of Detroit, by either 
strategy or force, was captured by the Indians. 

But Pontiac planned without understanding 
the strength of the white man. Detroit held 
out for fifteen months against the Indians. 
Then the garrison was relieved by General 

Pontiac gave up his plan of completely con- 
quering the white man. He crossed the prairies 
to Fort Chartres on the Mississippi. This fort 


was not surrendered to the English until two 
years after peace was declared, because of the 
fear Pontiac aroused. The cessation of hostilities 
on the part of Pontiac, and the transfer of Fort 
Chartres to the English, was at last secured 
through a conference, which George Croghan, 
Deputy Supt. of Indian Affairs, held with this 
great chief.* 

After the English garrison had taken posses- 
sion of Fort Chartres, the surrounding French 
towns became almost depopulated. Many fam- 
ilies moved across the river to the Spanish towns 
on the west side of the Mississippi. Those who 
did not move, although at heart remaining 
loyal subjects to the French Crown and clinging 
to their old customs, reluctantly took the oath 
of allegiance to Great Britain. New France in 
America had ceased to exist. Thus ended the 
period of Romance in Illinois history. 

It is the pen of the poet or novelist, or the 
brush of the artist that should be used to picture 
this period, the historian is out of place in re- 
cording cold facts in detail during the hundred 
years of Illinois under the French. This period 
has had little influence upon succeeding 
events; it made slight impress upon after his- 
tory. Yet it is a time fraught with interest and 
abounds in attractive events to one who looks 


into the past for something more than statistical 
records with which to account for, or prove the 
value of later history. It is the thread of gold 
to brighten a dull fabric, or the elusive fragrance 
which heightens the attraction of the rose. 

The passing years have obliterated all trace 
of life during this period. Another people have 
lived a different life in the land of the Gauls. 
A search for evidence of life of this hundred 
years is rewarded by the sight of an island in the 
river rapidly being washed away, with here and 
there a handful of old coin or some small piece 
of silver which has been dug out of the side of 
the bluff where the great Mississippi has, in its 
irony, cast it. 

The British domination of the Illinois Country 
lasted from 1765 (Pontiac kept the garrison at 
Fort Chartres from formal surrender for two 
years) to 1778. It was thirteen years of inac- 
tivity other than the constant inciting of the 
Indians to harrass the colonists in Kentucky and 
elsewhere on the Ohio River. These colonists 
had gone west in spite of the edict of the king of 
England made at the close of the Seven Years' 
War, that the Alleghany Mountains should be 
the western limit of colonization. The policy 
of Great Britain was against extended coloniza- 
tion of the West because of fear that the mother- 


country could not control the colonists, but 
that they would do as they did very soon do on 
the eastern coast declare their independence. 

The French subjects in the Illinois Country 
were discontented, and petitioned the king to be 
attached to the Province of Quebec. This was 
done in June, 1774. The act of British Parlia- 
ment which enlarged the Province of Quebec so 
as to include the Illinois Country, further pro- 
vided for the free exercise of religion in this 
Province, also that the ancient laws of the 
French be restored to them, particularly that 
trial by jury cease. This was the first con- 
sideration the French had received since the 
Treaty of Peace at Paris, eleven years before, 
at the close of the French and Indian War. 
It was not, however, their first petition. Three 
years before this time a mass meeting at Kas- 
kaskia is recorded as protesting against the 
tyranny of those placed in authority. 

At this meeting a demand to be granted in- 
stitutions such as those of the Connecticut 
colony, with a right to appoint their own gov- 
ernor and civil magistrates, was made. Since 
Connecticut was the only one of the English 
colonies which had preserved its ancient charter, 
there needs no stronger evidence that the French 
colonies of the Illinois Country, so lately put 


under the rule of Great Britain, were imbued 
with as earnest a desire for independence as were 
the English colonies along the coast, who were 
on the threshold of the War of the Revolution. 

The answer to the demand for institutions 
modeled upon those of Connecticut, was a 
decided refusal. 

Intercourse between these colonies on the 
Mississippi River and those on the Coast, 
was limited. The English soldiers at Fort 
Gage and Vincennes fostered a terror of the 
Americans in both the Frenchmen and the 
Indians. The former were discouraged in a 
knowledge of the methods of their eastern 
neighbors, and the latter were encouraged in all 
manner of cruelties perpetrated upon the 
frontiersman along the Ohio River and in Ken- 


Page 87 * Croghan and Pontiac met on the familiar trail 
which even yet may be discerned in the North 
Western part of Edgar County and after a confer- 
ence agreed upon a treaty of Peace when they 
reached Kaskaskia, whither they journeyed. A 
few rods south of this trail is situated the old spring 
which was used by the Indians and the early French 

The old spring is now a well which overflows the 
year around. Mr. Geo. W. Brown, the Superin- 
tendent of Edgar County Schools plans marking 
this historic spot with a tablet to be inscribed : 


" Near here on July 18, A. D. 1765, Colonel George 
Croghan, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
for the British Government, held a treaty of Peace 
with Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa and Leader of the 
Great Indian Confederacy. By the terms of this 
agreement, the Allegiance of the Indians was trans- 
ferred from the French to the English, thus secur- 
ing the eastern Mississippi valley for Anglo-Saxon 

After this treaty, made with Major George Grog- 
han, Pontiac went to St. Louis to live. One day 
he went to Cahokia against the advice of St. Ange, 
his friend. Here he was made drunk, and, at the 
instigation of an English merchant of St. Louis, 
was foully murdered by one of the Indians. 
Whether with good reason or not, the claim that 
it was an Indian of the Illini Confederacy called 
out all the enmity of all other tribes against every 

St. Ange had Pontiac buried. It is in the rotunda 
of the hotel which covers the site of his burial place 
that the D. A. R. of St. Louis has placed the tablet 
to his memorv. 

DATE III. 1778 

DATE III. 1778 

IN the plans of the War for Independence, 
fought by the English colonists, the territory 
along the eastern coast alone seemed consid- 
ered of importance. The great extent of coun- 
try, formerly New France, which became British 
possessions at the close of the Seven Years' War, 
appears to have been underestimated. Yet what 
would have been the effect upon this country, 
or upon the world, if, when the Revolutionary 
War was over, the Alleghany mountains or even 
the Ohio River, rather than the Great Lakes, had 
been the northern and western limits of the 
United States! 

The spirit of love of adventure which brought 
the first settlers to Virginia, gave their children 
the desire to press on into the wilderness of the 
West in spite of the edict of the king to the con- 
trary. Beyond the mountains, they found and 
settled an Eden, for such the fertile land of Ken- 
tucky appeared to be. Virginia extended her 
territory south of the Ohio to the Mississippi 
River, and the county of Kentucky was a 
possession only limited in value because of the 
hostile Indians who lived or came into it. The 



Indian cruelties were increased through the in- 
fluence of the British garrison in the Illinois 
Country. At last the policy of the British 
soldier's paying for scalps of the settlers on the 
frontier, made life in Kentucky so uncertain 
that help was asked from Virginia. 

But the county of Kentucky was a long way 
from Williamsburg, the seat of government of 
Virginia, and the militia, together with all 
possible volunteer troops, were all needed in the 
War of the Revolution, then being waged on the 
eastern coast. The gravity of the situation for 
the Kentucky pioneer, together with the im- 
portance of conquering the Northwest for the 
new nation, were apparent to George Rogers 
Clark, himself one of the pioneer settlers of 

Patrick Henry was the governor of Virginia. 
He was a relative of George Rogers Clark. It 
was a long, a hard and a hazardous journey from 
Kentucky to Williamsburg, yet Clark undertook 
it, and secured permission to raise troops to aid 
him in his plan of relief to the frontiersman, 
from not only the Indian enemies, but from those 
who were urging the Indians against the help- 
less settlers. After much difficulty, the troops 
were secured as volunteers. Clark started with 
them, ostensibly to protect the frontier, but he 


carried secret orders from Gov. Henry to cap- 
ture Kaskaskia. 

In a history of Indiana prepared by Judge 
John B. Dillon, in 1843, extracts are taken from 
the Manuscript Memoirs composed by George 
Rogers Clark, at the joint request of Presidents 
Jefferson and Madison. It is from this source 
that the extracts given here are taken. Through 
these extracts, we learn in the words of George 
Rogers Clark himself, how British Illinois be- 
came part of the new American Nation, and the 
Cross of St. George gave place to the Stars and 
Stripes, which have never been lowered. 

The trip down the Ohio was safely made as 
far as the island, now Louisville. They reached 
this place June 24, 1778. Learning that spies 
were kept below Kaskaskia, Clark decided to 
land and march overland to Fort Gage. The 
men who were not able to endure the fatigue 
of the march were left at the Ohio River. That 
gave Clark but four companies with which to 
undertake the capture of Kaskaskia. 

It was at this time that Clark received a letter 
from Colonel Campbell, dated at Pittsburg, 
which informed him of the treaty just made 
between France and America. This knowledge 
came at an opportune time, and Clark used it to 
advantage, not only in securing the good-will of 



the French, but as well in gaining their influence 
over the Indians in behalf of the Virginians. 

Since they were to leave the Ohio at Fort 
Massac, they landed at an island at the mouth 
of the Tennessee River. There they captured a 
party of hunters coming down the river, from 
whom they received valuable information. 
These men were formerly from the East, and 
expressed happiness in the adventure of the 
Virginians. Since Clark had heard nothing 
from Kaskaskia for many months, it was well 
for him to learn that "the militia (at Kaskaskia) 
was kept in good order and spies on the 
Mississippi, and that all hunters both Indian 
and others were ordered to keep a good look-out 
for the rebels."* These hunters further told 
Clark "that if they (the British) received timely 
notice, they could collect all forces and give a 
warm reception, and that the people were 
taught to harbor a most horrid idea of the rebels, 
especially the Virginians."* 

Clark and his men concealed their boats in a 
little gulley a small distance from Massac and 
set out on their march. They "set out a 
northwest course. The weather was favorable. 
In some parts water was scarce, as well as game. 
Of course they suffered drought and hunger, 
but not to excess."! 


On the third day the guide became confused 
and aroused Clark's suspicions. But he fortu- 
nately regained the trail with little delay. 
After many days' weary march "on the fourth 
of July," continues Clark in his Memoirs, "in 
the evening, we got within a few miles of the 
town (Kaskaskia), where we lay until near 
dark, keeping spies ahead, after which we com- 
menced our march, and took possession of a 
house wherein a large family lived, on the 
bank of the Kaskaskia River, about three- 
quarters of a mile above the town. Here we 
were informed that the people, a few days 
before, were under arms, but had concluded 
that the cause of the alarm was without foun- 
dation, and that at that time there were a great 
number of men in town, but that the Indians 
had generally left it, and at the present all was 
quiet. We soon procured a sufficiency of 
vessels, the more in ease to convey us across 
the river. 

"With one of the divisions, I marched to the 
fort, and ordered the other two into different 
quarters of the town. If I met with no resist- 
ance, at a certain signal a general shout was to 
be given and certain parts were to be immediate- 
ly possessed, and men of each detachment, 
who could speak the French language, were to 


run through every street and proclaim what 
had happened, and inform the inhabitants that 
every person that appeared in the street would 
be shot down. This disposition had its desired 
effect. In a very little time we had complete 
possession, and every avenue was guarded to 
prevent any escape to give the alarm to the 
other villages in case of opposition. Various 
orders had been issued, not worth mentioning. 

"I don't suppose greater silence ever reigned 
among the inhabitants of a place than did at 
this : not a person to be seen, not a word to be 
heard by them, for some time, but, designedly, 
the greatest noise kept up by our troops through 
every quarter of the town, and patrols con- 
tinued the whole night around it, as inter- 
cepting any information was a capital object, 
and in about two hours, the whole of the in- 
habitants were disarmed, and informed that 
if anyone was taken attempting to make his 
escape, he should be immediately put to 

Thus it was that without a shot nor the shed- 
ding of a drop of blood, Kaskaskiaf on the 
Mississippi River was surrendered to the Ameri- 
cans and the vast territory hitherto claimed by 
Spain, settled by France, and possessed by 
Great Britain, became the property of Virginia, 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 



and shortly afterward was ceded to the United 

George Rogers Clark, who through tact and 
aid from Father Gibault, the priest of the 
Roman Catholic church, whose parish included 
all the French towns from Cahokia on the west 
to Post Vincent on the east, soon had the oath 
of allegiance from every citizen, and completed 
his conquest. 

His afterward brave capture of Fort Sack- 
ville (Post Vincennes) was but the necessary 
act in holding the territory. Father Gibault 
went to Vincennes and secured the allegiance 
of the people. General Hamilton was in com- 
mand of Fort Sackville, but was at that time 
absent in Detroit. Clark seeing the necessity 
of an American officer at Post Vincennes, sent 
Captain Helm to command at that post and 
also appointed him agent for Indian affairs in 
the Department of the Wabash. Captain Helm 
took command of the fort about the middle of 

Unfortunately Clark was given neither the 
men nor the authority to march against Detroit, 
and by the capture of its garrison to complete 
the conquest of the Northwest. It was in 
October of that year (1778) that the Assembly 
of Virginia passed an Act making the territory 


west of the Ohio River into a county of Virginia. 
But before this law could avail anything, 
General Hamilton collected an army of about 
thirty British soldiers, fifty volunteers, and four 
hundred Indians, and on the 15th of December 
passed down the Wabash River and took pos- 
session of Post Vincennes for Great Britain. 

Clark knew Hamilton would undertake to 
capture his forces, so he resolved to save them 
by himself capturing Hamilton. He sent some 
of his men whom he had re-enlisted, by boat 
down the Mississippi and up the Ohio and 
Wabash rivers, with instructions to their com- 
mander, Captain Rogers, to secrete himself a 
few miles below Vincennes, and prohibit any 
person from passing either up or down. With 
another part of his men he undertook the march 
across the country to Vincennes. Words are 
inadequate to express the hardships of that 

Across prairies, through swamps and marshes, 
which were flooded by continual February 
rains, with water waist-high or higher, the 
brave men followed their leader. Never was 
a commander taxed heavier to keep up the 
spirits of his men! Never was there a display 
of greater courage or more praise-worthy hero- 
ism. Because of his secrecy and rapid 


movements, Hamilton had no idea he had left 
Kaskaskia, when Clark surprised him at Vin- 
cennes. The town was only too glad to sur- 
render and the people assisted at the siege of 
the Fort. The result of this siege was that 
Hamilton and all his force were made prisoners 
of war. 

George Rogers Clark held military possession 
of the Northwest until the close of the war of 
the Revolution. The correspondence relative 
to the treaty of peace, held at Paris at the close 
of the war, shows the importance of Clark's 
conquest. The British insisted that the Ohio 
River should be the Northern boundary of the 
United States and the "American Commission- 
ers relied to sustain their claim that the lakes 
should be the boundary, upon the fact that 
General Clark had conquered the country, and 
was in the undisputed military possession of it 
at the time of the negotiation. This fact was 
affirmed and admitted, and was the chief 
ground on which British Commissioners reluc- 
tantly abandoned their claim."* 

Had the Ohio River been the boundary, with 
the British in possession of the territory now 
covered by the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Michigan and Wisconsin, the struggling new 
nation would have been handicapped, and the 


United States have met a different fate. Such 
would have been the case had it not been for 
the effort of George Rogers Clark, who captured 
Fort Gage at Kaskaskia, July 4, 1778. 


Page 98 * Clark's Memoirs. 
f Clark's Memoirs. 

Page 100 * Clark's Memoirs. 

f It is now generally understood that the ' ' Fort 
Gage" where Clark "captured the Governor Mr. 
Rocheblave" was not the so-called Fort Gage which 
stood "on the summit of a high rock opposite the 
village (Kaskaskia)" whose earth works are yet to 
be seen. This Fort Gage burned in 1766 and there 
is no record that it was ever re-built. 

The "Fort Gage" Clark did capture was the 
"stone house of the Jesuits" in Kaskaskia called 
Fort Gage in honor of General Thomas Gage. See 
Appendix Illinois Hist. Collections, Vol. I. 

Page 103 * Burnett's Notes on the Northwest Territory, 
p. 77. 







INTERIM 1778-1818. 

AFTER Clark's conquest of the Illinois 
Country, its future government became a 
matter of anxiety to him. In his mem- 
oirs he says: "I inquired particularly into the 
manner the people had been governed formerly, 
and much to my satisfaction, I found that it had 
been generally as severe as under the Militia law. 
I was determined to make an advantage of it, 
and took every step in my power to cause the 
people to feel the blessings enjoyed by an 
American citizen."* 

To this end, he caused a " court of civil juris- 
diction to be established at Cahokia, elected by 
the people." f The date of the earliest paper 
which has been preserved issuing from the 
court at Cahokia, is October 29, 1778. The last 
direct petition to Clark that exists is dated 
August 27, 1778. Therefore, it must be con- 
cluded that the courts were established, between 
the last of August and the last of October, 
1778, and the first election in Illinois was held 
sometime during the Fall of 1778. 

Clark soon discovered this plan enabled him 
to support, from their own choice, almost a 


supreme authority over the people. In proof 
that this government was a good one, he further 
records the fact that "there was an appeal to 
myself in certain cases, and I believe that no 
people ever had their business done more to 
their satisfaction than they had through the 
means of these regulations."* 

Before the beginning of the new year, the 
legislature of Virginia had passed a bill provid- 
ing for the government of this new country 
which was claimed as the Illinois County of Vir- 
ginia, naming the county lieutenant as chief 
executive officer. Governor Patrick Henry 
commissioned John Todd to this office. 

Todd reached the Illinois County in May 1779. 
He found many difficult problems to solve. 
There were the two distinct races meeting at 
these towns, which by reason of inherited ideas 
of religion, government and social life largely 
differing, were far from easy to merge into the 
one people with the same ideals and desires. 
The French were Roman Catholics ; the Ameri- 
can frontiersman was, or his fathers had been, 
Protestants, and the Calvinistic and English- 
Catholic blood in their veins flowed hot and 
aggressive. The French was friendly to the 
Indian; these new people hated the Indians 
under all conditions. The French depended 


upon the law and respected it; the Americans 
were a law unto themselves. The government 
of Virginia had neither the interest in the new 
territory nor was there money to spare to sup- 
port the soldiers in the County of Illinois. The 
soldiers lacked the true idea of the rights of 
property and imposed upon the Frenchmen.* 

Again, the land was fertile and there was a 
threatened rush of settlers to pre-empt it, 
endangering to the Illinois county the fate of 
Kentucky with land speculation, law-suits, and 
anarchy. Another source of anxiety was the 
worthlessness of the paper money in circulation. 

All these combined to place the man who was 
at the head of the civil government in a position 
to be unconditionally blamed. Matters grew 
constantly worse, and Todd begged to be per- 
mitted to resign as early as the middle of August, 
but little more than five months after he came 
as county lieutenant to the Illinois County. He 
did not receive the desired permission at that 
time, but did leave the Illinois County in No- 
vember. How long after that he remained in 
the official position of county lietuenant, is not 
definitely known. He left Richard Winston, 
his deputy, during his ablence. 

One of the last official acts of Todd was to 
turn the government over to the military, with 



the result of suffering on the part of the inhabi- 
tants that drove many families to emigrate to 
the other side of the Mississippi River. 

Spite of all adverse conditions, the Virginians 
held the territory northwest of the Ohio for 
almost four years. This Northwest Territory 
comprised what now are the states of Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. 
Then came the readjustment at the end of the 
Revolutionary War. 

Massachusetts and Connecticut claimed the 
northern part of the Northwest Territory, upon 
the chartered state rights. New York claimed 
the territory because of the cession made by the 
Iroquois Indians, while Virginia claimed it be- 
cause of Clark's conquest. These conflicting 
claims caused much dispute upon the part of the 
states. Maryland, in particular, refused to 
agree to the Articles of Confederation until these 
states abandoned all claims to special owner- 
ship to the Northwest Territory, and it was 
made a part of the general government. The 
plea was that all had fought, first France, then 
England, and that all should have that terri- 
tory. This resulted in all the states relinquish- 
ing their rights. After all due cessions were 
made, Congress passed the ordinance of 1787, 
providing for the government of this territory. 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 



The seat of government was at Marietta, Ohio. 
Arthur St. Clair was the governor of the territory. 

In 1801, the Ohio territory was formed, and 
two years later admitted as a state. The re- 
maining territory was known as Indiana terri- 
tory, and for nine years the name of Illinois was 
lost, Gen. Harrison was governor of Indiana 
territory, and Vincennes was its capital. In 
1809, a further division was made, forming the 
Illinois territory. Its seat of government was 
at Kaskaskia, and Ninian Edwards was ap- 
pointed the first governor of Illinois territory. 
Illinois territory was made a state in 1818. 

At the close of the Seven Years War, the king 
of France surrendered all land in the Mississippi 
valley east of the river to Great Britian, and 
west of the river he ceded to Spain. This terri- 
tory west of the river belonging to Spain, had 
St. Louis as its capital. It was from this 
point that an invasion of Illinois was made by 
Spanish soldiers in 1781. The company con- 
sisted of thirty Spaniards, thirty-five French- 
men and sixty Indians. Their objective point 
was the nearest fort which yet floated the flag of 
England. This was old fort St. Joseph in 
southern Michigan. The only possible motive 
for this expedition seems to have been the 
hatred of the Spanish for the English. This was 


the echo of the trouble in the old world between 
these two, at that time, great European powers, 
who were then at war with each other. The 
march was started in mid-winter. 

The men dared not cross the great prairies at 
that time because of the extreme cold weather, 
so their line of travel was along the streams as 
much as possible. 

It is believed they left the state where Danville 
now is located, going thence in a northerly 
direction to South Bend, Indiana. Don Eu- 
genio Pourre was in command of this strange 
army. They surprised the fort and captured 
it without trouble, hauled down the flag of 
England and hoisted the flag of Spain, after 
which they triumphantly returned to St. Louis 
to report their act to Spain. It took a year 
to get the report to Spain and no action was 
ever taken. If Spain had a plan of increasing 
possessions in the New World and Illinois was 
at that time in danger of becoming a part of 
their new possessions, it is nowhere recorded. 

The early years of the nineteenth century 
were marked by increased trouble with the 
Indians in the border settlements of Illinois. 
Beside their growing discontent because of the 
fact which every year became more and more 
apparent that the white man was taking pos- 

n^r" J EXTEND!: 





ov.isio. W.M.H:Y 

Courtesy of Chicago Historical Society 



session of their hunting grounds and driving 
them ever further and further away, there was 
the ever present influence of the English, who 
remained in the country, and by every means, 
kept the flame of hatred of the Americans burn- 
ing in the Indians' hearts. 

The settlements of white men, it must be 
remembered were along the Mississippi River, 
below what is now Alton and along the Ohio 

Northern Illinois, including Chicago, was yet 
a wilderness, the hunting grounds of the 
Pottawatomie with the Sacs and Foxes and 
Winnebagoes in the northwest. Mention has 
been made of Father Allouez having come into 
the Illinois Country landing at the mouth of the 
Chicago River at a date even previous to the 
coming of Marquette and Joliet, but that is only 
a tradition. A French trading post mission and 
fort is supposed to have been located there be- 
fore 1700. This trading post at the mouth of the 
Chicago River was a favorite one of the Indians, 
and, in the first years of the nineteenth century, 
the United States built a fort on the south side 
of the Chicago River near its mouth which they 
called Fort Dearborn.* 

In July, 1812, the garrison of this fort was 
composed of seventy-four men commanded by 



Captain Nathan Heald. During the spring the 
Indians had shown such great hostilities that, 
fearing it would be impossible to hold the fort in 
case of an attack, Gen. William Hull, who was 
in command at Detroit, gave orders for it to be 
evacuated and the property to be distributed 
among the Indians as a peace offering. 

The order was brought to Fort Dearborn 'by 
a friendly Pottawatomie chief who knew of the 
hostile plan of the Indians, and strongly urged 
that the order be disregarded; or that, if the 
fort be evacuated, it be done at once before the 
Indians had any knowledge of its being con- 

But Capt. Heald, against the judgment, of all 
the other officers, announced to the neighboring 
tribes his intention of abandoning the fort and 
dividing the goods among the Indians. To this 
end he invited a council which assembled on 
August 14. The day before the council met, 
an uncle of Mrs. Heald arrived from Fort 
Wayne with thirty friendly Miami Indians to 
escort the garrison at Fort Dearborn to this 
fort in Indiana. On the day of the council, the 
supplies of broadcloth, calico and paints, with 
some other less valuable materials, were dis- 
tributed among the Indians. 


But the muskets, which the savages coveted, 
were destroyed and the casks of liquor which 
they desired even more, had been rolled to the 
bank of the river and the contents poured into 
the stream. 

The Indians found this evidence of what 
they considered bad faith on the part of 
the white men, their passion was aroused and 
when the next day Captain Heald and his gar- 
rison marched out, they walked into the jaws 
of death. 

Five hundred Indians offered to be their 
escort, and when the garrison marched out, 
these five hundred Indians brought up the 

They had proceeded but little more than a 
mile along the beach with the lake on their left, 
and a high sand bank on their right, when it 
was discovered that the Indians were prepared 
to attack them from behind the bank. 

Marching up to the top of the bank with his 
company, Capt. Heald had one round fired and 
charged upon the Indians who gave way in 
front and joined those in the rear, where they 
took possession of all the horses, baggage and 
provisions. The white men were then with- 
drawn to a slight elevation in the prairie out 
of shot of the bank or other cover. Here they 


paused, and when the Indians made signs, 
Capt. Heald advanced alone. 

After a few moments conversation with one 
of the Pottawatomie chiefs, Capt. Heald con- 
cluded the most prudent thing would be to 
surrender, trusting to the promise of the Indians 
to spare the lives of all the prisoners. 

These promises proved of little worth, for in 
the massacre that followed the entire garrison, 
men, women and children were all either 
killed or taken into a captivity which was 
worse than death. 

This massacre at Fort Dearborn occurred 
less than two months after the war of 1812 had 
been declared. 

The news of the massacre determined Gov. 
Edwards to take out a company of men from 
Camp Russell, which had been hastily organized 
by him near Edwards ville, with the avowed 
purpose of dispersing the Indians and destroy- 
ing their villages on the Wabash and Illinois 

The manner of executing this plan was 
little more to be commended than that of the 
Pottawatomies at Fort Dearborn, for, in too 
many cases, the peaceable, friendly Indians 
were killed and their homes destroyed without 
other reason than that of anger at the race. 



The. trading post at LaPe was one instance. 
It was a French village, upon the site of which the 
present city of Peoria is built. Its people were in 
noway hostile. Yet the traders, voyageurs, Indi- 
ans and even the agent who was a loyal and 
confidential officer of the government, were all 
compelled to watch their village as it was burn- 
ing, and then to march many miles from their 
homes, and were there left to wander back to 
what might remain of their town, as best 
they could. 

The two years following were not satisfactory 
or favorable to the efforts of the Illinois soldiers 
to subdue the Indians. At the close of this 
period the Indians were in complete and defiant 
possession of the upper Illinois Country. And 
although the treaty of peace with Great 
Britain was signed December 24, 1814, no 
formal treaty with the Indians was made until 
a year from the following July. This was two 
years after the massacre of Fort Dearborn. 


The matter for this portion of Illinois history 
should be credited to C. W. Alvord in his contri- 
butions to the Illinois State Hist. Library. 
Page 107 *Clarks Memoirs in Conquest of the Northwest. 
^Collections of Illinois Historical Library, Vol. 
I , Cahokia Records, p. xivii. 
Page 113 *See Moses Historical and Statistical. 

x^ I -v -.-i 

^. . i i Kt~o.ii 


DATE IV. 1818 

DATE IV. 1818. 

THE ordinance of 1787 provided for the 
government of the territory lying north 
and west of the Ohio River, and also for 
its future division into states. It distinctly 
stated that this territory should be divided 
into not less than three nor more than five 
states. Furthermore, that the southern bound- 
ary of the two possible northern states should 
be "an east and west line drawn through the 
southern bend or extreme of Lake Michigan." 

Both Ohio and Indiana were admitted into 
the Union with the prescribed forty degrees 
and thirty-nine minutes north latitude for 
northern boundary. The Illinois territory was 
thus bounded on the north. 

But when the time came to admit the state 
into the Union, Nathaniel Pope, who was the 
delegate for the Illinois Territory, asked to 
amend the bill so that the northern boundary 
of the new state should be 42 30'. The 
amendment was adopted and the state admitted 
with the northern boundary 42 30', thus 
making the year 1818 a Decisive Date, not 
because of the birth of the commonwealth, but 



because of the value to the state and the nation 

of this extension of northern boundary. A 
"line drawn east and west from the southern 
bend or extreme of Lake Michigan" as the 
northern boundary, would have deprived Illi- 
nois of the lake coast line, which has proved of 
such great value to the state and to the nation. 

At the time of making the ordinance, and 
indeed at the date of the admission of the state 
into the Union, the need of this coast-line was 
not as apparent as it later became. At that 
time, Illinois north of the lower third of the 
state, was a wilderness, The early settlers all 
came to the southern part of the state. The 
towns on the Ohio River and in the American 
Bottoms had no use for any means of transit 
other than the rivers. 

But had the commerce of the state in after 
years been altogether drawn down the Mis- 
sissippi River, the resources of Illinois would have 
been limited and the nation been the poorer. 
Without this coast-line there would not have 
been the means of intercourse with the East, 
which modified the sentiments of the state, 
otherwise under the strong influence of interest 
allied to the southern states. Without this 
extension of territory, the fifty-mile strip from 
which fourteen counties were formed, would 

Courtesy of the Missouri State Historical Society. 


have been lost to the state. These, in the 
middle of the nineteenth century, by their votes 
saved Illinois to the Union and made it possible 
for Abraham Lincoln to be made president. 

The East and West were, through this fore- 
sight of Judge Pope, bound together by every 
interest of moral standards and commercial 
gain, because of which the Union could not be 
dissolved. Without this extension of territory, 
Chicago would have been lost to Illinois; and 
it is reasonable to declare as well, that Chicago 
would have been lost to the world, because with- 
out the facilities of growth given by the Illinois 
and Michigan canal, and the Illinois Central 
railroad, Chicago would never have become the 
great center of commercial enterprise it has 
been and now is. 

There were attempts made by the governor 
of Wisconsin territory to restore the northern 
boundary of Illinois to the one fixed by the 
Ordinance of 1787. James D. Doty, in 1842, 
urged the inhabitants of that northern strip 
which is above the original 42 39', to assert 
their independence in government, and those 
living in the western and central part of this 
section were very much in favor of being set 
aside into the territory of Wisconsin. Chicago, 
however, and surrounding country, absolutely 


refused to agree to the plan, even in spite of the 
promise of having a United States senator 
selected from the then growing city. Later 
in the same year there was a bill before the 
Legislative Council of Wisconsin Territory, to 
refer the question of making Wisconsin a state, 
to the popular vote of the people at the next 
election, and to invite the people of the disputed 
strip of land to hold an election at the same time, 
but the bill did not pass. 

Soon after this, Governor Doty officially 
notified Governor Carlin (of Illinois) that the 
fourteen northern counties of the state of Illi- 
nois were not within the constitutional bound- 
aries of that state. Gov. Carlin made no answer 
whatever. Gov. Doty issued proclamations 
on his own responsibility, on two occasions 
afterward, for all the people "within the ancient 
limits of Wisconsin" to vote on the subject of 
state government. Little attention was given 
this proclamation. The Wisconsin (territory) 
legislature of 1843-4 sent a communication to 
Congress on the subject, and it met the same 
fate, no attention being accorded it. 

Five years later, Wisconsin was made a state, 
with southern boundary fixed at 42 31', which 
ended the matter. 




INTERIM 1818-1824. 

THE earlier settlers of Illinois were mostly 
from Virginia and Kentucky, coming in 
flat boats down the Ohio River to the 
Mississippi, thence up stream to their destina- 
tion. A few came over land ; in which case 
they followed Indian trails or crossed the 
unbroken prairie in covered wagons generally 
drawn by oxen. They left luxuries and even 
comforts behind them. Indeed, a fire built 
along the route where they camped at night 
was often denied for fear it would attract the 
hostilities of the possibly skulking Indian. 

Generally it was the fertile land of the Ameri- 
can bottoms which attracted the eager settlers 
into the new country. Most settlements were 
made in this locality extending into what is 
now Madison, Pope, Alexander and Gallatin 
counties. The Illinois Salines attracted settle- 
ments. The changing of the capital from 
Kaskaskia to Vandalia was the reason for a 
limited settlement being made in another 
direction. Yet the central part of the state 
was settled but slowly while northern Illinois 
was not opened to settlement for ten years 
after it had become a state. 



In a survey of the Northwest made by Maj. 
Stephen H. Long, United States topographical 
engineer, in 1817, Fort Clark at Peoria was found 
to have been but just occupied by United States 
troops, while Fort Dearborn had been rebuilt but 
the year previous, it having been unoccupied 
since its destruction and the massacre in 1812. 

About the year 1816 the American Fur 
Company established posts for trading with 
the Indians ; one at the mouth of Bureau Creek 
on the south side of the river; one three miles 
below Peoria, on the west side, and six to ten 
in the interior between the Illinois and Wabash ; 
and three or four on Rock River. Save the 
agents at these posts there were no white people 
between the Illinois and the Wabash rivers until 
in the early thirties. These posts remained in 
the heart of the Indian country quite unprotect- 
ed, yet with perfect safety. 

An account given by one explorer of central 
Illinois the year following its admittance into 
the Union gives a good idea of conditions at 
that time.* Entering Illinois where Danville 
now is, he found a small settlement near by at 
the salt works. He made a short stay here 
with some friends and thence in a northwest 
course, he started to strike the Illinois River. 
His map and compass were his only guide. 


Wherever night found him, he stopped, struck 
a fire with his flint, steel and punk, ate the 
jerked venison he carried with him, and wrap- 
ping his blanket around him, he took the earth 
for his bed and slept soundly. 

Before many days' travel across the boundless 
prairie, his horse became very cowardly; he 
would scarcely crop the grass, would keep close 
to his master, sleeping by his side at night, 
never leaving him. Sometimes he struck an 
Indian trail, but his journey generally led him 
through high grass and bushes, or along the 
timber belts. Occasionally he met a party of 
Indians with whom he could converse only in 
signs. It is not surprising that both horse and 
rider should grow lonely, suspicious and fearful. 

He did not see a white man from the time he 
left the salt works near Danville until he 
reached Dillon's Grove in Tazewell County. 
Under such conditions he was in no mood to 
realize the true value of a prairie farm. Added 
to the apparent lack of fuel because of the de- 
ficiency of timber, (the coal fields were unsus- 
pected, although coal was discovered as early 
as by LaSalle in his first coming) , there was an 
idea that the prairie was uninhabitable in the 
winter, it being so cold and bleak. The deer, 
the wolf, and the Indian held a divided empire. 



All local histories tell the same story of pioneer 

The first settlements were made along the 
edge of the best timber. The wagon in which 
the journey into the interior was made was 
used for shelter, even after the settler's claim 
was located, until logs could be cut to build the 
cabin. These cabins had no glass in the win- 
dows, no iron hinges nor locks on the doors 
and no nails used in building them ; the frames 
were put together with pegs made of hardwood. 
The floors were made of split logs hewn on the 
split side and spotted onto the sleepers on the 
round side. These floors were called puncheons. 
The chimney was built on the outside at the 
end of the cabin. 

The habits and manners of these early settlers 
were plain, simple and unostentatious. They 
raised their corn, which they broke in a mortar 
and ground in a hand mill. The bread made 
from this corn meal was baked on a smooth 
board two feet long and eight inches wide. It 
was baked by putting the board in front of the 
fire until one side was brown when the cake was 
turned to bake on the other side. This board 
was always carried as they traveled from place 
to place, to use on the way and so was called 
the "journey board" which name became cor- 


rupted into "Johnny board" and the corn cake 
thus baked became "Johnny cake." 

They kept a never-failing supply of bacon, 
and bear and deer meat, both fresh and dried, 
with turkey and other wild game in season. 
Vegetables grew luxuriantly and wild fruit was 
generally to be had for the taking. They used 
pewter dishes and iron knives. Each woman 
took particular pride in the art of cooking and 
no greater praise was desired or could be given 
than to be known as the best cook in the 

They raised flax and their sheep furnished 
them with wool. The women spun the flax 
on the "little wheel" and the wool on the "big 
wheel;" colored the thread with the bark of 
trees or other primitive dye stuff, and wove it 
into cloth on the family loom. This homespun 
cloth was fashioned into garments sewed by 
hand, while the spun wool was twisted into 
yarn and knit into stockings or mittens. The 
outside garments were made of the dressed 
skins of the deer or fox, while those of the buf- 
falo and elk gave material for head covering. 

Their amusements were "shucking bees," 
horse races and the social gatherings often oc- 
casioned by "changing work" in house or barn 


The prairie sod had but to be turned and the 
crop put in. This turning of the virgin sod 
was done by an ox team of six to ten yoke with 
a plow of rude construction. The first crop 
was mostly corn. This was planted by cutting 
a gash in the inverted sod with an axe, dropping 
the corn and covering it by another blow* along- 
side the first. After the first crop, the kind 
soil produced any crop suitable to the climate. 

Life was no idle dream. The market and 
mill were at long distances, the new-comer 
required help in raising his cabin, the prairie- 
fires called for fighting each year, and this to- 
gether with the planting and harvesting which 
must too often be done while the pioneer, to- 
gether with his entire family, was suffering the 
pest of a new country the fever and ague, and 
other malarial diseases. 

The yearly burning of the heavy grass of the 
prairie was a source of great annoyance and 
oftentimes of heavy loss. From the time of the 
first frost until after the surrounding prairie 
was all burned over, if not all burnt, or until 
the green grass in the spring had grown high 
enough to prevent the rapid spread of the fire, 
a continual watch must be kept. 

Imagine the settler with his comfortable 
house, his corn, wheat, oats and fodder stored 


for stock, surrounded by a sea of standing grass, 
dry as tinder stretching away for miles in every 
direction over which the wild prairie wind 
howls constantly, in terror lest a spark from 
somewhere will send a sea of fire all about him ! 
In character, these pioneers were hardy 
backwoodsmen, brave, hospitable, generous, and 
courageous, whose indomitable will was equaled 
only by their rugged integrity, which regarded 
dishonesty and cowardice equally contemptible 


Page 128 * See Hist. LaSalle County. 

DATE 5. 1824 


Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 

DATE 5. 1824 

WHEN the Constitution of the United 
States was adopted there was a dif- 
ference of opinion concerning it. Two 
political parties arose. One party interpreted 
the Constitution in one way and the other 
party interpreted it in another way. Such 
was the case until the fierce struggle of the 
Civil War decided the controversy. These 
diverse interpretations involved both the prin- 
ciple whether each state had sovereign rights 
to self-government in every particular or 
whether they should be limited in such rights by 
the general government, and the practice of 
the institution of slavery. 

Whether or not the principle of Sovereign 
States' Rights is a true one, each man must 
decide for himself, and each state up to 1860 
had to solve the slavery problem for itself. 
Illinois was no exception. From the time in 
1620 when the first shipload of slaves from 
Africa was brought to Jamestown and was the 
beginning of slavery in the American colonies, 
until when, in 1863, by proclamation of Presi- 
dent Lincoln, and later by the amendment of 



the Constitution, slavery ceased to exist, the 
slavery question was a vital one in America. 

The answer given the question in Illinois 
differed from that in other states because of 
conflicting events in its history. Renault 
brought African slaves to the French settle- 
ments of Illinois in 1720 and sold them. But 
neither these settlements nor many of the de- 
scendents of these settlers, had a great share 
in shaping the .policies or determining the 
institution after the end of the 18th century. 

Then too, many of the slave owners in the 
French villages moved across the river or far 
down the river at the time of the surrender of 
Fort Chartres to the British, taking their 
slaves with them. 

When Virginia ceded all claim to the North- 
west territory, it was with the proviso that the 
laws and customs of the French should remain 
unchanged. If the spirit of religious intoler- 
ance of the time is remembered, a special light 
is thrown upon this proviso since it gave the 
French the needed protection to the adherence 
to their religion. Too great prominence has 
always been given to the protection of their 
institution of slavery through this proviso. 

The ordinance of 1787 governed the North- 
west Territory after all claim had been ceded 


by the different states. By this ordinance 
slavery or involuntary servitude was forever 

Here were two apparently conflicting ideas. 
Virginia had ceded her claim on condition that 
the institution of slavery should be recognized, 
and the Government had announced that 
slavery should cease and henceforth be for- 
bidden. The two ideas were at last reconciled 
by an agreement that those slaves who belonged 
to the French before the conquest of Clark 
should remain in bondage, but that their chil- 
dren from and after this date should be free. 

This made it but a matter of time and strictly 
a matter of locality that slavery would be 
tolerated within the boundaries of the Illinois 
Country. This agreement made the problem 
more easy of solution in that portion of the 
territory afterward admitted as the state of 
Ohio, than that part remaining as Indiana Ter- 
ritory, a part of which afterward became 

It was at this time, after the division of the 
original Northwest Territory that an effort was 
made to repeal or modify the article in the 
ordinance which related to slavery, but without 
success. Four different times memorials were 
sent to Congress to this effect without any 


notice being taken of them until the fourth was 
reported adversely. This ended the effort to 
legalize slavery in the territory afterward be- 
coming the state of Illinois. 

When Illinois became a state in 1818, the 
Constitution, although it was closely a copy of 
the constitutions of Virginia and Kentucky, yet 
provided that "neither slavery nor involuntary 
servitude shall hereafter be introduced into 
this state." True, there was a clause legalizing 
indenture laws, and this was abused in many 
cases but it never meant legal slavery. This 
struggle for legalized compulsory service was 
by no means the direct result of the limited 
slave ownership of the French colony days, nor 
should it be ascribed to the slave owners in 
the old French Illinois. It came from a dif- 
ferent source. Salt-making was a great in- 
dustry of Illinois. Large salt works were 
located in southern Illinois. At these salt 
works near Shawneetown the labor was done 
largely by negroes. This industry was in a great 
degree responsible for the agitation on the part 
of the pro-slavery advocates.* 

Up to the time that Illinois became a state 
these salt works were leased by individuals who 
would bring their slaves from Kentucky and 
Tennessee to work in them. When the state 


was admitted into the Union the Government 
turned the salt works over to state authorities. 

The first Constitution of the state, however 
faulty, yet is to be commended in that it con- 
tained this provision in Article 6, section 2 : 
"No person bound to labor in any other state 
shall be hired for labor in this state, excepting 
within the tract reserved for the salt works 
near Shawneetown, nor even at that place for 
a longer term than one year at any one time, 
nor shall it be allowed there after the year 1825. 
Any violation of this article shall effect the 
emancipation of such person from his obligation 
to service." 

*Major Willis Hargrave was the general in- 
spector of the salt works. When the lease of 
the salt works company was about to expire 
they knew it could not be renewed under the 
Constitution. The only thing to do was to 
change the Constitution. Major Hargrave pro- 
ceeded to work for this. To this end he used 
his extended influence in the state to elect 
members to the third general assembly who 
would favor the amendment to the Consti- 

The slavery question was the all-absorbing 
subject of discussion and debate throughout the 
United States, and as each state sought ad- 


mittance it was closely watched, lest on the 
one hand, it be lost by the pro-slavery advocates 
or on the other that it make possible the exten- 
sion of the institution so bitterly hated and 
dreaded by the anti-slavery advocates. By 
common consent the slave states and anti-slave 
states alternated in being admitted into the 
Union. The year following Illinois coming into 
the Union as a free state, Alabama came as a 
slave state. Missouri wanted to be admitted, 
but Congress insisted it could only be upon 
condition of giving up slavery, which she did 
not want to do. Thus matters stood when 
Congress took recess. 

It was at this time of intense interest that the 
first election for Congress in Illinois under the 
Constitution took place. The candidates were 
two promising young lawyers. One was Daniel 
Pope Cook (a nephew of Nathaniel Pope) of 
Kaskaskia, and the other John McLean, of 
Shawneetown. In personal appearance they 
differed almost as much as in political ideas. 
Cook was small of stature with finely cut 
features. He was very eloquent and made 
a lasting impression upon any audience before 
whom he spoke. 

Since the slavery question was the all-absorb- 
ing theme at that time, it is not strange that 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Association. 



it was made the issue and that each young man 
thinking his views were right, although holding 
opposite notions, was anxious to hold joint 
debates in each county.* The result of this 
contest was the election of McLean by a majori- 
ty of fourteen votes. The following campaign 
the debates were repeated and Cook won 
by a majority of 633. The third time they 
made the race, Cook had a majority of 876 

This first was the campaign of 1822 when Ed- 
ward Coles was elected the second governor of 
Illinois on the anti-slavery ticket. It was at this 
same election that Maj. Hargrave's efforts to 
secure a state legislature favoring an amend- 
ment of the Constitution had succeeded. The 
session of the legislature following Gov. Coles' 
inauguration, after much debate, passed a 
resolution to call a convention to amend the 
Constitution of Illinois so that slavery could be 

The eighteen months following were days 
marked by intense feeling and strenuous work. 
The result was the defeat of the convention by 
an overwhelming vote of the people. 

Gov. Coles gave his salary for the term, 
which amounted to $4000.00, in this campaign. 


Beside this he made untiring effort and visited 
every county in the state. 

Thus ended the effort to make Illinois a 
slave state. 

The defeat of the convention which would 
have amended the state Constitution, marked 
an era in the life of the state and of the nation. 


Page 140 * See Dr. Berry Pub. No. 9 of the 111. Hist. 
Library, pp. 259-273. 

Page 141 * The irony of events is shown in the fact that the 
house in which Maj. Hargrave lived, near Equality 
(still standing), was in the next generation known 
to be one of the stations of the Underground Rail- 
way, it being occupied by a man who was as much 
of an Abolitionist as was Hargrave a pro-slavery 

Page 143 * These debates were heard by a man who after- 
ward heard the debates between Abraham Lincoln 
and Stephen A. Douglas and made comparison 
between them which was little to the disadvantage 
of the Cook-McLean efforts. 






Courtesy of the Illinois Historical Society. 


INTERIM 1824-1858 

EARLY settlements in Illinois were made 
almost exclusively in the southern part 
of the state. Up to ten or more years 
after Illinois had become a state, there were 
no white settlers north and west of the Illinois 

The Pottawatomies, the Winnebagoes, the 
Sacs and the Foxes had possession of that 
territory just as they had had always so far 
as man knew. The government bought a 
large tract of this land from the Sacs and Foxes 
in 1804, and the terms of the treaty made at 
that time were that the Indians should remove 
their villages to the west of the Mississippi 
River ; but there was a clause in the treaty to the 
effect that the red man might hunt and even 
live on the east side of the river until such time 
as the land was claimed as settlements for the 
white man. The Indians lived up to this 
clause. This treaty was confirmed by both 
chiefs Black Hawk and Keokuk at a council 
held at Fort Armstrong.* When six years later 
the land was sold to be occupied by white set- 
tlers, the Indians were notified to leave and go 



across the river, and Keokuk withdrew in 
peace, but Black Hawk was not so inclined. 

The white settlers made an arrangement 
so that he might stay in peace, but it did not 
last long. They tried it for two years and at 
last found they could no longer endure the 
Indians, so Gov. Reynolds was asked for aid. 

Fifteen hundred men volunteered to fight 
and Gen. Gaines was given command of this 
hastily formed army. Black Hawk was sure 
he could drive out the intruding white man, 
but he understood neither the strength of 
the white race nor the loyalty of the Potta- 
watomies to their pale-face friends. A council 
was held at the mouth of Sycamore Creek in 
Ogle County, where Black Hawk found he 
could not secure their aid because Shabbona, 
on account of his friendship for the whites, 
influenced his tribe against Black Hawk's 
plans. The old chief was discouraged and 
ready to give up all hostilities. He saw his 
foe near him, and sent out ten of his men with 
a flag of truce to sue for peace. 

But these white men were a part of the un- 
disciplined scouts, who, although under the 
command of Maj. Stillman, acted without 
orders. These soldiers disregarded the flag 
of truce and tried to kill the Indians who bore 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 




it,, chasing them back to the place where Black 
Hawk was waiting. This act turned the old 
chief's desire for peace, and in true Indian fury 
he rushed upon the men, killing some and chas- 
ing the others back to Ogle's Ferry. This ferry 
was where the city of Dixon now stands. It 
was on the Kellogg Trail from the mines at 
Galena to Fort Clark (now Peoria), over which 
the veteran mail carrier, John Dixon, regularly 
passed. The brave stand taken at Stillman's 
Run at the time of this retreat, by Maj. Perkins 
and Capt. Adams, to stop the Indians in their mad 
following of these frightened volunteers, showed 
the true soldier spirit. It was a hand-to-hand con- 
flict, and in it Capt. Adams sacrificed his life. 

The volunteer army was now thoroughly 
aroused and the remainder of this war was a 
little more than a search for the foe, and repeat- 
ed attempts at annihilation of the Indians. 
The last so-called battle of Bad Axe which 
was intended by the Indians to be a trap for 
the white man, proved to be a slaughter of the 
red men, most distressing to read. Its descrip- 
tion seems more nearly a massacre than a battle. 
It of necessity ended the war. 

A brief review of some anti-slavery influence 
at work in Illinois may well be made at this 
time. The Jefferson-Lemen compact in which 


Thos. Jefferson gave of his money and influence 
to, through his friend, young Lemen, advance 
the interest of anti-slavery by a residence and 
work in Illinois, was one great factor. The 
settlement at New Design, the building churches 
of the Baptist denomination pledged to work 
against the institution, was another strong in- 
fluence for anti-slavery. Morris Birkbeck, the 
friend of Gov. Coles, at his English Colony in 
Edwards County, was a power in advancing the 
cause of anti-slavery. 

Elijah P. Love joy, the great Abolitionist, met 
bitter opposition where he might have won a 
degree of support had his zeal been less. His 
radical measures doubtless quickened anti- 
slavery sentiment. 

The immigration into the northern counties 
after the Black Hawk War, of people from the 
New England states brought strong convictions 
and determined advoctates of anti-slavery into 
that section of the state. 

Again, the Yale Band of enthusiastic young 
men who came into the state to locate schools 
did much in determining sentiment throughout 
the state. They were thoroughly imbued with 
the idea that no man has property rights in his 
fellow man, and that slavery is fundamentally 

DATE 6. 1858. 

DATE 6. 1858 

THERE was no further political action, 
so far as the slavery question was con- 
cerned, taken in Illinois for thirty years 
after the defeat of the Convention to so amend 
the Constitution as to legalize the institution. 

However, it must not be imagined that the 
subject of slavery was not discussed by individu- 
als with the warmth of interest it received in 
other sections of the country. Indeed, Illi- 
nois, because of its location and the source of 
its people, was a place of great difference of 
opinion on this subject, and became a battle- 
ground of ideas. 

There were slave states to the south and 
west. These, together with the easy communi- 
cation and consequent commercial ties to the 
interests of the south, because of the Missis- 
sippi River being the entire length of the 
western border of Illinois, made the pro-slavery 
adherents numerous. On the other hand, un- 
conditional anti-slave states lay to the east and 
the west. 

Again, the southern part of Illinois was set- 
tled almost exclusively by Virginia, Kentucky, 



Tennessee and the Carolinas. These settlers 
had brought their prejudices in favor of the 
institution of slavery, while Northern Illinois 
had been more recently peopled with New 
Englanders, who brought their strong conviction 
concerning the moral wrongs of slavery. These 
were as two diverse streams and when they 
met, turbid waters were as a matter of course. 

Strong anti-slavery sentiments were fostered 
in certain sections; while pro-slavery doctrine 
was as vigorously defended in other sections. 
The speedy settlement of the question by im- 
mediately abolishing the institution of slavery 
in every state, found but a limited number of 
adherents in Illinois. The radical ideas of the 
Abolitionists were accepted by a comparative 

The Missouri Compromise satisfied the ma- 
jority of the people of Illinois, in that it re- 
stricted the extension of slavery into new terri- 
tory, while it was legal in the already slave 
states. But the time came when the Missouri 
Compromise was repealed. And not long after 
this, the Nebraska bill was enacted. The legis- 
lation in both cases was through efforts of 
Illinois men in Congress. 

Intense feeling was aroused. Up to this 
time Stephen A. Douglas had been the idol of 

Courtesy of Chicago 
Historical Society 


From Photograph 
taken in 1858 


the state. Political honors were heaped upon 
him. But he returned from the session of Con- 
gress where he had introduced and championed 
the Nebraska bill to its passing, to find senti- 
ment changed toward him. Conditions were 
rapidly giving way to new ideas. Represent- 
ing the dominant party, Douglas found many of 
his supporters wandering away to unite with 
representatives of the Old Line Whigs in the 
common interest which had been forced upon 
them- by the legislation just enacted. The 
imminent danger of extended slave territory 
was the openly-expressed fear. 

At this time, Abraham Lincoln was brought 
out as a candidate for the office of United States 
Senator, to be vacated by James Shields. 
Lincoln's election appeared to be assured. He 
was a Whig and unequivocally against the idea 
of the extension of slavery. 

Unexpected complications arose, and Lyman 
Trumbull, a life-long Democrat and friend of 
Douglas, but who opposed the extension of 
slavery, by the support of Lincoln and his 
friends, was elected to the office of United States 
Senator in 1854. This sacrifice of his personal 
ambition on the part of Lincoln was character- 
istic of the man. His personal loss was the gain to 
the interest of the nation. By his withdrawal in 


favor of Trumbull, a man holding identical 
views on extension of slavery, was sent to the 
Senate, since the successful candidate, together 
with John M. Palmer and many others, had 
forsaken the party of Douglas, and was hence- 
forth bitter and vigorous in opposing his policy. 

Douglas undertook to justify his action through 
public speeches, but found the people of Illinois 
were far from friendly toward him. His first 
speech was made at Chicago where his reception 
showed the effect of the opposition he had in 
every newspaper. He was interrupted by fre- 
quent hissing and cat-calls and adverse remarks. 
Later, his speeches at Springfield at the State 
Fair, then in session, and at Peoria, were 
answered by Lincoln in a way to increase the 
unpopularity of Douglas * and to strengthen 
Abraham Lincoln's leadership. 

The press in many parts of the state, was 
indignant at the measures of the Nebraska 
bill. Every paper in Chicago was opposed 
to the policy of Senator Douglas. The two 
years following the election of Trumbull, the 
press of the state worked toward the organiza- 
tion of a new party from those who opposed 
the Nebraska bill. This influence kept the 
opposition alive and crystalized it in Illinois, 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 


into a definite, live, winning party. It was 
known as the Anti-Nebraska Party. 

Upon the initiative suggestion of the Journal 
published at Jacksonville, seconded by twenty- 
four other newspapers of the state, a meeting 
of newspaper men having organization in view, 
was held at Decatur, February 22, 1856.* 
The result of this meeting was a committee 
appointed to call a convention and fix a ratio 
of representation. The convention was called 
May 29, 1856, at Bloomington. It was called 
and acted under the name of a "State Con- 
vention of the Anti-Nebraska Party of Illi- 
nois." Those who responded were from the 
old Democratic Party, the Old Line Whigs, and 
the new so-called Free-soil Party, with even 
some Radicals, among whom was Owen Love- 
joy, brother of the martyred Elijah P. Lovejoy. 

John M. Palmer, a life long political and per- 
sonal friend of Douglas, was chosen permanent 
chairman of the convention. His speech 
proved the wisdom of the choice. Other 
speeches by conservative Whigs followed his. 
Then came Lovejoy's eloquence which fired his 
hearers and lessened the prejudice that many 
had against his ultra views. Refugees from 
Kansas told experiences of extreme suffering and 
outrageous wrongs perpetrated upon the Free- 


State men. Every man present rose in de- 
fense of wronged Kansas. The burden of the 
slave code being forced upon Kansas, whether 
or not the people were willing, aroused the in- 
dignant protest of the convention. 

It was at this juncture that Abraham Lin- 
coln arose to make a speech which has been called 
one of his greatest efforts. For some reason the 
speech was not fully reported at the time and 
although since it has been claimed to be given 
in full from memory of someone present, it has 
always been called the "lost speech." 

It is well to remember that the only issue pre- 
sented by this convention, was that of the ex- 
tension of slavery in the territories. The moral 
right of slavery as an abstract proposition nor 
the expediency of abolitionism were mentioned, 
nor came into discussion during the convention. 

The direct result of this convention was the 
election in November, 1856, of the state ticket 
there nominated, headed by William H. Bissell 
for governor, as a ticket of the Anti-Nebraska 

Abraham Lincoln walked out of the Bloom- 
ington Convention the undisputed leader of the 
new political party in Illinois. In less than a 
month he came near being the nominee of this 
new party for vice-president. Up to this time 

Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society. 



Lincoln's active work had been done in central 
Illinois, and other sections of the state hardly 
knew him. Now his reputation as a political 
speaker was made in every part of the state. 

The two years following this convention were 
busy times for press and people to advance the 
principles of the Anti-Nebraska doctrine. Then 
came the close of the term of office as United 
States Senator, of Judge Douglas. He was a 
candidate for re-election. Every effort was 
made by his friends to secure a state legislation 
which would re-elect Douglas, while his oppo- 
nents were none the less earnest and busy. In 
the midst of the campaign, Lincoln, who was 
also a candidate, challenged Douglas to a series 
of debates upon the all-absorbing topic of 
interest the extension of slavery into the 
territories. The challenge was accepted. 
Seven times, each time in a different part of the 
state, these great men met, and before immense 
audiences presented the question for open dis- 

Douglas was well called the "little giant." 
Small of stature, he had a great head crowned 
by heavy hair, and a personality which 
gave him the power to sway his audience 
from one strong impulse to another as he 
chose. His manner was that of the well- 


bred gentleman the state loved to give him 
honor. Lincoln tall lank, almost ungainly in 
personal appearance- appeared in strange con- 
trast. The effect upon the people shows the 
real worth of the two men. Douglas won 
admiration wherever he appeared, but Lincoln 
carried the hearts of the people. 

The first debate was held at Ottawa, August 
20th ; Douglas spoke first for one hour, and Lin- 
coln followed, talking one hour and a half. 
Then Douglas used the closing thirty minutes. 
The next debate was at Freeport. It was here 
that Lincoln, spite of the efforts of his friends to 
dissuade him, asked Douglas the fatal question, 
the answer to which decided the fate of the 
nation itself. 

This being the second debate, it was Lincoln's 
turn to begin, and close the argument. Al- 
though Freeport was in that part of the state 
which -held strong anti-slavery sentiments, 
there were many Douglas Democrats present. 

The contrast between Douglas and Lincoln in 
personal appearance was never more strongly 
marked than upon this platform. But if the 
first sight of Lincoln was not calculated to 
attract admiration, it was for but a brief time 
until his sympathetic nature won favor. The 
power of his logic, clothed in words so clear 

Courtesy of Chicago 
Historical Society 


From Photograph 
taken in 1858 


and simple that the dullest could comprehend, 
together with his magnetic personality claimed 
all his hearers, and the audience was spellbound. 
Carefully Lincoln paved the way for the all-im- 
portant question to be given; clearly he enun- 
ciated the words: "Can the people of a United 
States Territory in any lawful way, against the 
wish of any citizen of the United States exclude 
slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a 
State Constitution ? "* 

Senator Douglas arose to answer this, as well 
as the other points of Lincoln's speech. A man 
of the world, self-assured, well-poised, he stood 
easy and indifferent. He skillfully parried all 
thrusts made by Lincoln and, at last, carelessly 
answered the question : "It matters not which 
way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide 
as to the abstract question whether slavery may 
or may not go into a territory under the Con- 
stitution, the people have the lawful means to 
introduce or to exclude it as they please, for the 
reason that slavery cannot exist a day or an 
hour anywhere unless it is supported by local 
police regulations." 

That was enough. By these words Douglas 
had said that which split the Democratic Party 
two years hence. The solid south which in- 
sured the success of the Democratic Party and 


to which support Douglas had catered in pass- 
ing the Nebraska bill, listened to these words, 
called them the "Freeport heresy " and denied 
their support when the man, two years later, 
was a candidate for place as President on the 
Democratic ticket. 

Thus Douglas met defeat ultimately, although 
his answer strengthened him with northern 
Democrats, and he was re-elected U. S. Senator, 
defeating Lincoln for the time being. 

The third debate was had at Jonesboro at the 
other extreme of the state, on September 15th. 
The fourth debate was at Charleston, Septem- 
ber 18th; the fifth debate was at Galesburg, 
October 7th; the sixth debate was at Quincy, 
the 13th, and the last one was at Alton two 
days later. 

When Lincoln determined to draw Douglas 
out to make the statement he did by asking him 
the fatal question, his friends and advisers used 
every argument to keep him from doing so. 
But nothing could dissuade him. Not even the 
knowledge that the answer which Douglas 
would doubtless make, and did make, would in- 
crease the strength of the Democratic party in 
Illinois and cost him his own election to the 
United States Senate, could dissuade him from 
his purpose. Again he put aside his personal 


ambition for the good of his party and the cause 
he espoused. Not that he lacked in political 
aspirations, for such was not the case. There 
is no doubt Lincoln would have been pleased to 
go to the United States Senate from Illinois. 
But he knew the "end was not yet." His 
prophetic vision showed him the work of the 
"Freeport Heresy," or, as others call it, the 
" Freeport Doctrine," as an instrument to split 
the party which stood for opposition to the fight 
against extension of slave territory. 

Lincoln's opportunity to lead his beloved 
country through troubled waters came. He 
was nominated and elected President of the 
United States on the ticket of the new (Repub- 
lican) party in 1860. 

His nomination was made in the historic 
Wigwam in Chicago. This building remained 
in existence until the fire of 1871. 

With the single purpose of preserving the 
Union, Lincoln dedicated his efforts to the end 
"that the nation, under God, have a new birth 
of Freedom, and that government of the people, 
by the people, for the people, shall not perish 
from the earth."* Echoes of his " lost 
speech " made at the Bloomington Convention 
came down the years as a prophecy of his action 


in the time of decision: "We'll not go out of 
the Union and you (the South) shan't."* 

The Union was preserved. 

Abraham Lincoln, the rail-splitter, the store- 
keeper, the lawyer, the statesman, the soldier, 
the political leader, the citizen of Illinois, served 
his country as President of the United States 
through the four years of hard work and great 
anxiety following his inauguration March 4, 

The country grew to love him in this service, 
and eagerly responded to his calls for volunteer 
soldiers to fight for the maintenance of the 
Union. He was re-elected to the Presidency, 
but scarcely was inaugurated the second time 
before he was assassinated. 

He was brought back to his beloved state 
through the sad lines of the grief-stricken 
nation and was laid to rest in the soil of Illinois 
the state which had made possible his great 
service to the world. 

He had lived to see, in less than a decade, his 
prophecy come true and to learn the far-reaching 
results of his famous debates. Instead of the 
new territories, the entire country had been 
forever freed from the curse of the Institution 
of Slavery, and the Union was preserved. 


Surely 1858, the year in which the " Freeport 
Heresy " was voiced, is a decisive date in the 
history of Illinois and of the nation. 


Page 156 *The story of Stephen A. Douglas is not com- 
plete without a mention of his generous act in the 
speech he made at Springfield after War was 
declared. Defeated as he had been by Lincoln, 
when his country was in dire distress and Presi- 
dent Lincoln called for volunteer soldiers, Douglas 
urged his friends to respond to the call. Judge 
Douglas died suddenly in Chicago a day or two 
after he made this speech, greatly mourned by the 
people irrespective of party affiliation. 

Page 157 *For detailed account of this and following 
. Bloomington Convention, see J. O. Cunningham in 
Publication, No. 10, Hist. Library, p. 103. 

Page 161 *See Illinois Hist. Col., Vol. Ill, p. 152. 
aSee Illinois Hist. Col., Vol. Ill, p. 161. 

Page 163 *President Lincoln's address at Gettysburg, 
Nov. 19, 1864. 

Page 164 *The " lost speech " of Abraham Lincoln made 
at Bloomington Convention, May 29th, 1856. 





THE record of Illinois during the Civil 
War is a proud one. The bravery of the 
soldiers, the wisdom of the officers and 
the industry of those at home who gave time, 
care and money to the cause of the war, all 
make a bright page in the history of Illinois. 

Illinois proudly claims Ulysses S. Grant as 
one of her sons, yet has little right to do so 
since his citizenship of the state was but 

The great fire which destroyed the small 
city to make possible the greater Chicago; 
the industrial difficulties, that resulted in 
mobs and bloodshed, conspicuous among which 
was the Haymarket riot; the discoveries of 
great resources in gas and oil in the south- 
eastern part of the state; the tragedy of the 
burning of the Iroquois theatre; the Deep 
Water Way proposition all these have become 
parts of the history of Illinois. 

There have been authors and preachers and 
teachers who have molded public opinion; 
statesmen who have done credit to the common- 



wealth; philanthropists who have led the world 
in their work; merchant princes who have 
carried great wealth. The healing touch, the 
skilled labor and the echoing wisdom from 
the platform are not lacking in the history of 
Illinois. There is no line of work in which 
the state has not excelled. The rapid growth 
of the cities, the increased extent of best 
facilities for transportation, the ever increasing 
wealth are all in evidence. 

This has been the Commercial Age. Like 
the age of Romance it is sufficient unto itself. 
It records achievements of brain and brawn of 
no mean proportions. To this period let all 
honor be accorded. Yet do not look for any 
decisive date within its limits. With its host 
of events of historic interest crowding each 
other, there is not one to be found which can 
be distinguished as having as yet decided any 
thought or action of importance to either the 
State or the Nation. 



SHADRACH BOND 1819-1823. 

SHADRACH BOND, the first governor of 
Illinois, was born in Frederick County, 
Md., in 1773. When he had reached 
man's estate he followed the impulse of the 
times and went into the western part of the 
Northwest Territory, locating near Eagle Creek 
in the "New Design," in what is now Monroe 
County, Illinois. Here he was a farmer. He 
was a member of the Assembly of the Indiana 
Territory for several terms, and was a delegate 
to the Twelfth and Thirteenth Congresses, 
from the Illinois Territory, from 1812-1814. 
When his term as delegate expired, he was 
appointed receiver of public moneys at Kas- 
kaskia, then the capital of the Illinois Territory. 
He, together with seven others, founded the 
city of Cairo. This city, at the juction of 
the two great rivers, near the center of the 
great west, promised to develop into a metropo- 
lis. A special charter incorporating both the 
city and bank of Cairo was obtained from the 
territorial Legislature. 



Mr. Bond was elected the first governor of 
Illinois in 1818, with Pierre Menard as lieut.- 
governor. At this time there were but eleven 
counties in the state. These were Randolph, 
Madison, Gallatin, Johnson, Pope, Jackson, 
Crawford, Bond, Union, Washington and Frank- 
lin. Northern Illinois was included in Madison 
County. Illinois had not completely solved 
the slavery problem although it was admitted 
into the Union as a free state.* 

This first state ticket was a compromise one. 
Bond represented the "Convention" or pro- 
slavery party, supported by Elias Kent Kane, 
his secretary of state, and John McLean, while 
Pierre Menard represented the anti-slavery ele- 
ment led by Nathaniel Pope and John P. Cook. 
The election, however, was less a test of the 
strength of party sentiment than of popularity 
of candidates. Gov. Bond was a popular 
favorite. The personal favor element entered 
largely into the appointments during this ad- 
ministration, the power being taken out of the 
hands of the chief executive and vested in the 

Two years after his term as governor expired, 
Bond was defeated for Congress by the invin- 
cible John P. Cook. Three years later the 
Legislature appointed ex-Gov. Bond one of 


three commissioners to locate a site for a peni- 
tentiary on the Mississippi at or near Alton. 
Ex-Gov. Bond died April 11, 1830. 

Gov. Bond was a man of attractive personal 
appearance. He was erect, standing six feet, 
and after middle life became quite portly, 
weighing two hundred pounds. He was strong- 
ly masculine in features, of dark complexion, 
jet black hair and hazel eyes. He was of a 
benevolent and convivial disposition, shrewd of 
observation and careful in giving gubernatorial 
patronage, thereby making warm and zealous 
friends who served him well. 

During his administration a general law was 
passed for the incorporations of academies and 
towns; also one authorizing lotteries. Gov. 
Bond was also authorized by the session of the 
legislature of 1822, to appoint commissioners 
to act with Commissioners of Indiana, to in- 
vestigate and report on the practicability and 
expediency of improving the navigation of the 
Wabash River; also inland navigation generally. 
Many improvements were recommended. Some 
of them were feebly attempted. 

In 1820, Congress authorized the state to 
open a canal through the public lands. This 
was attempted, but later abandoned because of 
lack of state funds until some time afterward, 


when Congress made the grant of land for the 
purpose of its construction. It was during 
Bond's administration that the capital was 
moved from Kaskaskia to Vandalia. 

During the territorial period of the existence 
of Illinois, the following counties were formed: 
St. Clair, Randolph, Madison, Gallatin, Johnson, 
Edwards, White, Monroe, Jackson, Pope, Craw- 
ford, Bond, Franklin, Union and Washington. 

The second session of the first General 
Assembly of the State of Illinois created Alexan- 
der, Clark (from the north part of Crawford), 
Jefferson (from Edwards and White) and 
Wayne (from Edwards) counties. Clark county 
extended on the north to the line of the Wiscon- 
sin territory. During the rest of Bond's admin- 
istration there were created Lawrence (from 
Crawford and Edwards) , Greene (from Madison) , 
Sangamon (from Madison), Pike (from Madi- 
son and Pike), Hamilton with present bounda- 
ries (from western part of White) , giving White 
its present limits, and Montgomery (from Bond 
and Madison) counties. 


Page 174 * See Date V and VI. 

EDWARD COLES 1823-1827. 

EDWARD COLES, the second governor of 
Illinois, was a native of Virginia. It was 
at Enniscorthy, in Albermarle County, 
which had been the Coles estate for several 
generations, that he was born December 15, 
1786. He was the son of John Coles who had 
been a colonel in the Revolutionary War. Ed- 
ward was among the youngest of ten children. 
Thomas Jefferson, who was a neighbor and inti- 
mate friend of the family, was fond of the youth, 
and showed him many favors, none of greater 
value than his counsel and the influence of his 
personality. It was from Jefferson that young 
Coles imbibed ideas of the wrongs of slavery. 
These ideas were in conflict with Coles' life, and 
the views of almost everyone whom he knew. 

Edward Coles was fitted for college by private 
tutors, and sent to Hampden Sidney, where he 
remained until in 1805, when he was sent to 
William and Mary College. Here his ideas 
crystalized to the opinion that a man had no 
property right to his fellow man, and that the 
principles of slavery were fundamentally wrong, 
alike injurious to the master and to the slave. 

(12) 177 


Pretty Dollie Madison was Edward Coles' 
cousin. It was perhaps to please her that 
President Madison appointed him his private 
secretary. This position he was not loath to 
accept, particularly since his duties included at 
times, the escort of the gracious dame. Edward 
Coles at this time was a handsome young man 
of twenty-three, tall and graceful, with polished 
education, good manners and an irreproachable 
character. He was the proprietor of a fine 
plantation, and the owner of twenty-five slaves 
which was his share of his father's property that 
he had inherited the previous year. He was 
the kinsman of Patrick Henry, the friend of 
Monroe and Madison, and the trusted protege 
of Thomas Jefferson. 

While yet secretary to President Madison, 
Coles was sent to Russia on a mission requiring 
great diplomacy. Upon his homeward journey, 
spending some time in England, he made the 
acquaintance in London of Morris Birbeck. 
This acquaintance ripened into a beautiful 
friendship through which Illinois was far the 

After Edward Coles retured to America, he 
determined to make his home in some non-slave 
holding part of the United States. He had 
visited Illinois twice; once in 1815 before it be- 


came a state, and again in 1818, at which time 
he spent some time in Waterloo. He recalled 
his impression of the country with so much 
favor that he decided to make that his home. 
He sold his land, and taking his slaves with him, 
in the spring of 1819 set out on his journey. 
Not that he had any intention of keeping his 
slaves as slaves, because it was to get away from 
the institution of slavery that he left Virginia. 
He did not, however, free his slaves nor give 
them any idea that he contemplated doing such 
a thing for he was curious to know how the 
fact of their freedom would affect the men whom 
he had been taught to look upon as merely 

To this end, he made the journey down the 
Ohio, and up the Mississippi River in flat boats. 
As they were descending the Ohio River one 
moon-light night, he ordered the boats to be 
put alongside and calling the slaves together, 
in a dramatic way, told them they were free, 
that they might go where they chose. The 
news was received in breathless silen ce . " Then , ' ' 
to quote the words of Coles himself, "they 
stood before me unable to utter a word, but 
with countenances beaming with expression 
which no words could convey, and which no 
language can describe. After a pause of in- 


tense and unutterable emotion, bathed in tears, 
and with tremulous voices, they gave vent to 
their gratitude and implored the blessing of God 
on me." They offered him a year's service free 
which he refused.* 

He continued his journey to near where 
Edwards ville now is located, where he left his 
boats and giving the negroes certificates of free- 
dom, gave each head of a family 160 acres of 
tillable land and let them begin their new lives, 
free men, each with a good home. 

President Monroe had appointed Edward 
Coles as Registrar of the Land Office, and he 
began his duties at once, making his home in 
Edwards ville. Three years later he was elected 
the second governor of Illinois, after a bitter 
campaign, the issue of which was the slavery 
problem, t 

Like the preceding administration, this one 
showed the unsettled state of political senti- 
ments by having a governor and lieutenant- 
governor holding directly opposite views. Gov. 
Coles strengthened his party by appointing 
Morris Birbeck, secretary of state. 

The inaugural speech of Gov. Coles showed 
the greatness of the man in that, while making 
no compromise with evil, he showed a calmness, 
a deliberation and such appropriate suggestions 


that he won the approval of all judicious poli- 
ticians. His conduct during his term of office 
was most praiseworthy. 

After an extremely strenuous four years * of 
service to the state, Gov. Coles retired to his 
home at Edwardsville busying himself with the 
care of his nearby farm; agricultural pursuits 
were always attractive to him. He was the 
founder of the first agricultural society of the 

His ill health sent him frequently to eastern 
cities, and in 1832, he made Philadelphia his 
permanent home. He died there July 7, 1868, 
and is buried in Woodland near that city. His 
administration is marked by the constant and 
bitter struggle for and against calling a conven- 
tion to amend the constitution so as to legalize 
slavery in Illinois, and by its triumphant de- 
feat, largely owing to the efforts of Gov. Coles. 
In 1825 , the first general school law was enacted ; 
Gen. Lafayette visited Illinois; the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal Association was incorporated. 

Four new counties were created in 1823. 
These were Edgar (from Clark), Marion (from 
Fayette and Jefferson) with present boundaries, 
Fulton (from Pike) and Morgan (from Sanga- 
mon and unorganized territory). A year later 
Clay (from Fayette, Crawford and Wayne), 


Clinton with present boundaries (from Wash- 
ington, Fayette and Bond) and Wabash with 
present limits (from Edwards) were created 
while Edwards, Wayne and Washington were 
reduced to present limit. Calhoun, Adams, 
Hancock, Peoria and McDonough with present 
boundaries, Warren, Mercer, Knox, Schuyler, 
Putnam, Henry and Vermilion counties all were 
created during the Coles' administration. 

Vermilion county was created January 18, 
1826, from unorganized territory attached to 
Edgar. Pike, Fulton, Edgar and St. Clair 
counties were all reduced to present limits dur- 
ing this term of office of Gov. Coles. 


Page 180 * There is a picture representing this scene at 
the Capitol in Springfield. 

t See page 143. 
Page 181 * See page 143. 

NINIAN EDWARDS 1826-1830. 

NINIAN EDWARDS, the third governor 
of Illinois, was the son of Benjamin Ed- 
wards. He was born in Montgomery 
County, Md., in March, 1775. His parents were 
Baptists and very strict in the training of their 
son. His early education was in company and 
under the tuition of William Wirt. Here an 
intimacy was formed which lasted during the 
life of the two men. 

His education was further carried on at Dick- 
inson College. He began the study of law, but 
left home at the age of nineteen to go to Nelson 
County, Ky. Here he fell into bad company 
and squandered much of his father's wealth in 
buying farms, buildings, tan-yards, etc., all of 
which were poor investments. Realizing his 
errors he had strength of will and purpose to 
call a halt and reform his ways. He devoted 
himself to the study of law and its practice, and 
in a few years attained distinction. He repre- 
sented Nelson County in the legislature of 
Kentucky before he was twenty-one years old, 
and was re-elected by almost an unanimous 



When he was twenty-four years old he re- 
moved from Nelson County to Russelville in 
Logan County, where he entirely gave up his 
reckless ways and devoted himself to severe and 
laborious study. He soon became an eminent 
lawyer. Inside of four years, he filled the 
offices of presiding judge of the general court, 
circuit judge, fourth judge of the court of 
appeals, and chief justice of the state. 

In 1802, he was commissioned major of a 
battalion of Kentucky militia, and in 1804 was 
chosen a presidential elector on the Jefferson 
and Clinton ticket. In 1806, he was a candidate 
for Congress, but withdrew on being promoted 
to the court of appeals. 

Three years later, when Illinois Territory was 
organized, President Madison appointed Judge 
Edwards, then chief justice of the court of 
appeals in Kentucky, governor of the new 
territory. At the same time Judge Edwards 
was appointed superintendent of the United 
States salines. 

He continued in this position until the terri- 
tory was made a state in 1818, having been re- 
appointed twice. When Governor Bond was 
inaugurated as first governor of the state, 
Edwards was sent to the United States Senate, 
his colleague being Jesse B. Thomas. He was 


appointed minister to Mexico by President 
Monroe, but resigned that he might have cer- 
tain charges made against him fully investi- 
gated. The result was his complete vindica- 

He was elected governor of the state in 1826, 
and served until 1831. His views on the sub- 
ject of slavery were the same as Gov. Coles', 
although the so-called "Black Laws" dis- 
graced the statute of both territory and state 
during his administrations. 

When Judge Edwards first came to Illinois 
Territory, he resided at Kaskaskia, and soon 
afterward bought a farm near Prairie du Rocher, 
which he called Elvivade for his wife El viva. 
This he stocked with horses, cattle and sheep of 
choice breeding from Kentucky; also with 
fruit trees, grape vines and shrubbery. He 
also established grist-mills and saw-mills. He 
owned no less than eight or ten stores in Illinois 
and Missouri at the same time, and himself 
attended to the buying for them all. 

He was very liberal to the poor, providing 
homes for several widows and ministers of the 
gospel. While he never became a regular 
practioner of medicine, he studied the healing 
art, and had great skill in prescribing and caring 
for the sick, making no charge for the same. 


His home was at Elvivada during his term 
as Governor of Illinois Territory. Then he re- 
moved to Edwardsville in Monroe County. 
This town was named for him. He lived there 
during his term in the United States Senate, 
after which he moved to Belleville where he 
lived until his death July 20, 1833. 

In person, Gov. Edwards was a fine-looking, 
polished gentleman, aristocratic in his bearing. 
He was highly intellectual, with a general 
hospitality and benevolence. It was because 
of his desires to help his fellows, that he con- 
tracted the Asiatic cholera, which resulted in 
his death. He gave a good administration. 
It closed with every evidence of good-will and 

The depredations of the Winnebago Indians 
in the northern part of the state, together with 
the desire of the white settlers to have un- 
divided possession of the land, aroused hostilities 
which resulted in the so-called Winnebago War. 
The capture and death of Red Bird ended the 
contest. Gov. Edwards was kept busy in his 
care of the Illinois frontier, and his interpreting 
and execution of the treaties. This was par- 
ticularly difficult since the Indians kept them- 
selves generally within the jurisdiction of 
Michigan Territory, and Lewis Cass, the gov- 


ernor, was so remote that necessary correspon- 
dence with him was almost impossible. 

It was during the administration of Gov. 
Edwards in 1826 that the first steamboat 
was put on the Illinois River. In 1827, the 
penitentiary at Alton was built. In 1829, 
Illinois College was founded. 

Shelby (from Fayette), Perry with present 
boundaries (from Randolph and Jackson), 
Tazewell, JoDaviess (from Mercer, Henry and 
Putnam), Macoupin with present boundaries 
(from Madison), Macon, Coles (from Clark), 
McLean (from Tazewell) , Cook (from Putnam) , 
LaSalle (from Putnam), Rock Island with its 
present boundaries (from JoDaviess), Effing- 
ham with present boundaries (from Fayette 
and Crawford) and Jasper with present bound- 
aries (from Crawford and Clay) counties; all 
were created during the administration of Gov. 

JOHN REYNOLDS 1831-1834. 

JOHN REYNOLDS was the fourth governor 
of Illinois. He was born in Montgomery 
County, Pennsylvania, February 26, 1788. 
His father, Robert Reynolds and his mother, 
Margaret Moore, were natives of Ireland, coming 
to America three years previous to his birth. 
When but a baby, he came with his parents into 
Tennessee, where they located at the base of the 
Copper Ridge Mountains, about fourteen miles 
northeast of where now is Knoxville. Because 
of the hostilities of the Indians, they later 
moved into the interior of the state. They 
were always poor, and in 1800 the family made 
another move to better their condition. This 
time they went to Kaskaskia, in the then 
Indiana Territory. They came overland in two 
wagons having eight horses. 

Seven years later the family moved once 
more. This time they went to the Goshen 
settlement at the foot of the Mississippi bluffs, 
in what is now Monroe County. The year 
afterward, John Reynolds being twenty years 
old, he resolved to go to college and went to 
Knoxville, Tennessee, where he had relatives. 



for the purpose of entering school. He stayed 
there three years, when ill health sent him 
back home for a short time, but he returned to 
Knoxville and continued his studies, taking up 
the study of law. 

He won his nickname of "Old Ranger" 
during his service in the War of 1812. He be- 
gan the practice of law in Cahokia. In 1818, 
he was elected an associate justice upon the 
supreme bench by the General Assembly. In 
1826, he was elected a member of the state 
Legislature. Here he acted independently of 
all cliques and private interests. 

He was elected governor in 1830 on the Jack- 
son ticket. While in that place of authority, 
he did all that was in his power to advance the 
cause of education, to advance internal im- 
provements and to encourage the settling of the 
country. He called out the militia and was 
himself, always on the battle-field in the 
engagements of the Black Hawk War* of 
1832. He condemned the South Carolina 
Nullification, which came up at this time. Just 
before the close of his term he was elected to 
Congress to fill out the term of Charles Slade, 
who had died of Asiatic cholera. This com- 
pelled him to resign his office a short time before 
the end of his term. 


During the eight sessions that he was a mem- 
ber of the House, he was hardly absent from his 
seat a single day, and he never wavered in a 
party vote. He built the first railroad in Illi- 
nois. This was about six miles long and led 
from his coal mine in the Mississippi bluff, to 
the bank of the river opposite St. Louis. Not 
having money enough to buy a locomotive, this 
railroad was operated by horse power. In 
1839, he was appointed one of the canal com- 
missioners. In 1846, he was elected a member 
of the Legislature from St. Clair County so that 
a charter for macadamizing the road from 
Belleville to St. Louis, a distance of fourteen 
miles, might be obtained. 

He was again sent to the Legislature in 1852, 
when he was made speaker of the house. 
In 1860, he went to the Charleston, S. C., Con- 
vention as an anti-Douglas delegate. As such, 
he received much attention from the southern 
delegates. He warmly supported Brecken- 
ridge for the presidency, and when the October 
elections showed the probability of Lincoln 
being elected, he urged the Democrats to rally 
to the support of Douglas, hoping to throw the 
election into Congress and thereby defeat all 
but Breckenbridge. 


He deeply sympathized with the south re- 
garding secession, and urged upon the Bu- 
chanan officials that they seize the treasure and 
arms in the custom house and arsenal at St. 

Gov. Reynolds was a man who talked much, 
and used all the catch words and slang of his 
time, adding thereto with many cunning and 
odd words of his own. He was the author of 
several books, among which is a not very re- 
liable history entitled "My Own Times." His 
" The Pioneer History of Illinois," published 
three years previous, is no less highly colored 
with personal opinions of men and events. He 
died at Belleville in May, 1865. 

Two important events were within his ad- 
ministration. These were the Black Hawk 
War, * and the scourge of Asiatic cholera 
which swept the state. In 1831, Illinois was 
reapportioned and had three congressmen. 
In 1833, Chicago was incorporated as a village. 

Champaign county, with its present bound- 
aries (from Vermilion and unorganized territory 
lying west of it), and Iroquois (from unorgan- 
ized territory north of Vermilion) , were created 
during the administration of Gov. Reynolds. 

Page 188 * See page 147. 
Page 19 * See page 147. 

NOVEMBER 17, 1834. 

ZODOK CASEY, the Lieutenant-Governor 
during Reynolds administration, was 
elected to congress in the latter part of 
1832. Gen. Ewing, who had distinguished 
himself in the Black Hawk War, had been 
elected to the Senate, and was chosen presiding 
officer on account of the resignation of the 
Lieutenant-Governor. Because of this official 
position, when Gov. Reynolds resigned to go to 
Congress on account of the death of his pred- 
ecessor, Chas. Slade, Gen. Ewing became 
Governor of Illinois until the inauguration of 
his successor, who was already elected. 

He assumed the duties of his office November 
third, and, on the seventeenth, when the 
Legislature met, he sent in his message giving a 
statement of the condition of affairs of the state, 
and urging a continuance of the policy adopted 
by Gov. Reynolds. On the same day Governor- 
elect Duncan, was sworn in and Gov. Ewing was 
relieved of the responsibilities of his office. 

A year later Gen. Ewing was elected to the 
United States Senate to fill out the term of 



Elias Kent Kane who had died. His election 
was a protracted struggle, it being strongly 
contested by James Simple and Richard M. 
Young. In 1842, Gen. Ewing was elected state 
auditor on the ticket with Gov. Ford. Gen. 
Ewing was a polished gentleman of culture, 
with refined tastes and having a thorough edu- 

He was a lawyer and much in public life. 
He was above medium height, of heavy build, 
with auburn hair, blue eyes, large-sized head 
and short face. He died March 25, 1846. He 
is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield. 


JOSEPH DUNCAN, 1834-1839. 

JOSEPH DUNCAN, the sixth governor of 
Illinois, was born at Paris, Ky., February 
23, 1794. He enlisted in the war of 1812, 
although but eighteen years old, and as a sol- 
dier, acquitted himself with credit. He was 
an ensign under the dauntless Croghan at 
Lower Sandusky or Fort Stephenson. After 
moving to Illinois, he attracted attention as 
Major-General of the Militia. 

He made his home in Jackson County and 
from there went to the State Senate. It was 
at this time that he introduced the first bill 
providing for a Free-school system. 

In 1826, he defeated the popular John P. 
Cook for Congress. He retained his seat in 
Congress during three terms. Indeed he was 
absent in Washington attending to these duties 
during the gubernatorial campaign which result- 
ed in his election as Governor of Illinois. In 
his inaugural message he recommended meas- 
ures so desirable, that the Legislature, although 
by a large majority of the opposite political 
party, endorsed him. These measures related 
mainly to banks and internal improvements. 



His term expired in 1838. In 1842, he was 
nominated for governor by the Whig party in 
opposition to Adam W. Snyder of Cairo, a 
Democrat. Before the campaign had advanced 
very far Snyder died, and his party substituted 
Theo. Ford, who was duly elected. 

Gov. Duncan was a man of limited education. 
He possessed natural fine abilities and profited 
by his experiences. He was a man of clear 
judgment, was decisive, had confidence in him- 
self and the courage of his convictions. 

He had a swarthy skin, high cheek-bones, 
broad forehead, piercing black eyes and straight 
black hair. No doubt a strong factor in his 
life was his connection with the men who, 
together with himself, belonged to the board of 
trustees of the Illinois College at Jacksonville. 
He died January 15, 1844. It was during the 
administration of Gov. Duncan that the people 
of Illinois apparently lost their wits; at least, 
lost all judgment, in the craze over internal 
improvements. So extensive did these im- 
provements become that the state was com- 
pletely overwhelmed. The estimate for the 
expenses for all these projects was $10, 000, 000, 
but really it was less than half enough. 
It was enough to bankrupt the state several 
times over. 


During Gov. Duncan's administration Elijah 
P. Lovejoy was killed at Alton by a mob. In 
1833, the Illinois, the Shurtleff, and the McKen- 
dree colleges were incorporated. The old State 
House at Vandalia was torn down and a new 
one built in 1836. This was with the hope that 
a new State House would hold the capital at 
Vandalia. This building has since always been 
the court house of Fayette County. In 1837, 
a bill was passed the Legislature making Spring- 
field the future capital of the state. 

Will county (from Cook and Iroquois), Kane, 
McHenry, Ogle, Winnebago, Whiteside with 
present boundaries, Livingston with present 
boundary (from La Salle, McLean and un- 
organized territory), Bureau with present bound- 
aries (from Putnam), Boone with present bound- 
aries (from Winnebago), De Kalb with pres- 
ent boundaries (from Kane), Stephenson with 
present boundaries (from Winnebago and Jo 
Daviess), and Cass (from Morgan), were all 
created during the administration of Gov. 

THOMAS CARLIN, 1839-1843. 

THOMAS CARLIN was the seventh gov- 
ernor of Illinois. He was born near 
Frankfort, Ky., July 18, 1789, of Irish 
parentage. When the lad was fourteen years 
old, his father moved to Missouri New Spain 
as it was then. 

In 1812 Carlin came to Illinois and proved 
himself a brave soldier. Two years later he 
married and settled on the bank of the Missis- 
sippi River opposite the mouth of the Missouri, 
living the life of a farmer. At the end of this 
time he moved to Greene County. He located 
the town site of Carrollton. He was the first 
sheriff of Greene County and was later twice 
elected as a Jackson Democrat to the Illinois 
senate. He served in the Black Hawk War. 
In 1834 he was appointed by President Jackson 
to the position of receiver of public moneys, 
and to better fill that office he moved to Quincy. 
He was a typical self-made man, having had 
but a limited education. 

At the close of his term of office, from 1838 
to 1842, Gov. Carlin returned to Carrollton 
where he remained caring for his farm, until 



his death Feb. 4, 1852. It was during the 
term of Gov. Carlin that the noisy national 
campaign of Tippecanoe and Tyler occurred 
with its Whig victory. It was during his 
administration that the capital was moved 
from Vandalia to Springfield. 

The internal improvement efforts were of 
necessity brought to an end during this adminis- 
tration. Knox College opened in 1841. 

Brown county (from Schuyler), Du Page 
(from Cook), Christian (from Shelby, Mont- 
gomery and Sangamon), together with Mar- 
shall (from Putnam), Logan (from Sangamon), 
Menard (from Sangamon) and DeWitt (from 
McLean), Hardin (from Pope), Scott (from Mor- 
gan), Carroll (from Jo Daviess), Lee (from 
Ogle), Jersey (from Greene), Lake (from Mc- 
Henry), Stark (from Knox and Putnam), Hen- 
derson (from Warren), Mason (from Tazewell 
and Menard), Piatt (from DeWitt and Macon), 
Grundy (from La Salle), Kendall (from La Salle 
and Kane), Richland (from Clay and Law- 
rence) and Woodford (from McLean and Taze- 
well), all with present boundaries were created 
during the term of office of Gov. Carlin. 

THOMAS FORD, 1843-1847. 

THE eighth governor of Illinois, Thomas 
Ford, was a native of Pennsylvania, 
being born at Uniontown in 1800. His 
father died two years later. His mother, left in 
indigent circumstances with a large family mostly 
girls, with an idea of bettering her condition, 
decided to remove to Missouri where it was 
customary for the Spanish government to give 
land to anyone who would become an actual 
settler. But when she reached St. Louis she 
found the country had been ceded to the 
United States and the liberal policy toward 
new settlers completely changed. Thomas was 
four years old at this time. After sickness, 
she moved across the river to Illinois, going three 
miles south of Waterloo, and the following 
year moved nearer the Mississippi bluffs. 

Here Thomas started to school, walking 
three miles to a Mr. Humphrey under whom 
he studied. He had a good mind with an in- 
clination for mathematics. He attracted the 
attention of Hon. Daniel P. Cook* who became 
his patron and friend. At the suggestion of 
this friend, young Ford turned his attention to 
the study of Law. But his older half-brother 



thought his education defective and sent him 
to Transylvania University for a short time. 

In 1829 Gov. Edwards appointed him prose- 
cuting attorney, and in 1831 he was re-appoint- 
ed by Gov. Reynolds. After that, he was four 
times elected a judge by the Legislature, 
without opposition, twice a circuit judge, once 
a judge of Chicago and an associate judge of 
the supreme court, when, in 1841, it was re- 
organized by the addition of five judges. 

Judge Ford was holding court in Ogle County, 
having been assigned to the ninth judicial 
circuit, when he received notice of having been 
nominated by the Democratic Convention for 
governor. He resigned his place on the 
supreme bench at once, and entered into the 
canvass. Of all the offices ever held by him 
every one came to him unsolicited. 

In personal appearance Gov. Ford was short, 
slender and dark of complexion. He had 
black hair, deep set eyes, sharp features and a 
pointed aquiline nose, and a small mouth. 
He was plain and unostentatious. As a lawyer 
he was not so great a success in pleading, as 
many. He was more fitted for a writer upon 
law than an advocate. As judge his opinions 
were clear and sound. He wrote a history 
of Illinois which is both readable and quite 


authentic. He died at Peoria, 111., Nov. 2, 
1850, in indigent circumstances. 

The most important event of his adminis- 
tration may well be headed by the wise determi- 
nation to not permit repudiation of state debt, 
which was the tendency when Gov. Ford went 
into office. For his efforts, which resulted in 
maintaining the public credit, every citizen 
of today has reason to be grateful. The Mor- 
mon troubles during his administration, together 
with the Massac Rebellion, placed Gov. Ford 
in a position where he received adverse criticism. 
He was closely connected with the Mormon agita- 
tion. Their increasing strength, their dangerous 
doctrine which threatened the government, 
although it claimed to be but a system of re- 
ligion, in which the right of interference was 
questionable, the agitation of the people on 
their account, the loss of their leader by violence 
and at last their removal from the state make 
Gov. Ford's administration conspicuous. 

Mob law in different parts of the state marks this 
time. The State was redistricted in 1843, giving 
seven Congressmen. Joseph Smith was killed by 
mob while in jail at Carthage, June 27, 1844. 

Massac county (from Pope and Johnson), 
Moultrie (from Shelby and Macon) , Cumberland 
(from Coles) and Pulaski (from Johnson and 


Alexander) counties, were created and given 
their present boundaries during Gov. Ford's 


Page 199 *See page 142 

AUGUSTUS C. FRENCH, 1847-1853. 

AUGUSTUS C. FRENCH, the ninth gov- 
ernor of Illinois, was the first one to fill 
that office as a native New Englander. 
He was born in the town of Hill, New Hamp- 
shire, coming from early New England stock, 
being a descendant in the fourth generation 
from Nathaniel French, who emigrated from 
England and settled in Saybury, Mass., in 1687. 
He was the oldest of six children and at the age 
of nineteen, when his mother died and left the 
younger ones to his care, he discharged his 
trust faithfully. Besides this common school, 
he attended Dartmouth College, but because 
of this care of his brothers and sister, he 
could not remain long enough to complete 
the course. He read law and was admitted 
to the bar, shortly after which time he moved 
to Albion, Edwards County, Illinois. 

The following year he moved to Paris, Edgar 
County, which county he represented in the 
State Legislature where he was thrown with 
Stephen A. Douglas, with whom a warm 
attachment was soon formed. In 1839, Mr. 
French was appointed receiver of the United 



States land office at Palestine, Crawford 
County. In 1844, he was a Presidential Elector 
voting for James H. Polk. 

He was elected governor of Illinois in 1846. 
By the new constitution of 1848, a new election 
of state officers was ordered to be held in 
November of that year, at which time Gov. 
French was re-elected for a term of four years, 
thus making his term of office six consecutive 

Gov. French was a man of medium height, 
squarely built, with light complexion. His 
face was ruddy and his countenance pleasing. 
He was, generally speaking, diffident in manner 
but he could speak out his convictions when 
duty demanded. He was an accurate and 
methodical business man, and made a personal 
trust of the affairs of the state. He filled the 
chair in law at McKendree College after his 
term as governor expired. He died at Lebanon, 
St. Clair County, in 1865. 

It was during the administration of Gov. 
French that the Mexican war closed. His 
party held the policy committed to that war. 

During his term of office in 1847, the State 
Legislature, by permission of Congress, declared 
that all government lands sold to settlers 
should be immediately subjected to state 


taxation and not be, as hitherto, exempt for 
five years. The settlements of the state were 
greatly increased by the distribution of govern- 
ment land warrants among the Mexican soldiers 
as bounty. The same Legislature authorized 
the sale of the Northern Cross R. R. The 
governor also authorized the sale of the salt 
wells and canal lands in the Saline reserve in 
Gallatin County, to apply on the state debt. 
This raised the state revenue to the point of 
meeting current demands. 

Two years later the Legislature adopted the 
township organization law, and when it proved 
defective amended it the following session so 
as to be satisfactory. This was a triumph to 
the sentiment of northern Illinois. 

In 1850, Congress granted nearly 3,000,000 
acres of land in aid to the completion of the 
Illinois Central R. R. This was a very im- 
portant event in the history of Illinois. The 
institution for the blind was chartered during 
the administration of Gov. French. 

Saline county, created from Gallatin during 
Gov. French's term of office, was given its 
present boundaries and territory was added to 
Hardin county at same session of the legislature. 

JOEL A. MATTESON 1853-1856. 

JOEL A. MATTESON, the tenth Governor of 
Illinois, was born in Jefferson County, New 
York, August 8, 1808. He was the first 
man to fill that office whose home was not in the 
southern part of Illinois. 

He had but a common school education, and 
early left his father's farm making a tour of the 
south, working on railroads, at the Georgia 
gold diggings and elsewhere, returning by way 
of St. Louis through Illinois to his father's home. 
After his father's small farm came into his 
possession, he sold it and entered a claim on 
Government land near the head of Au Sable 
River, in what is now Kendall County, Illinois. 
There were not more than three or four houses 
between him and Chicago. Here he opened a 
large farm and two years later bought largely 
at the Government land sales. When the next 
year the speculative real estate mania broke 
out in Chicago and spread over the state, he 
sold all his land at a great profit and moved to 

He w r as a heavy contractor on the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal from 1838-41, when he bought 



the 700 tons of railroad iron the state offered at 
a bargain, and selling it, made much money. 
He then started a woolen mill at Joliet, which, 
too, proved to be a valuable investment. 

In 1842 he was elected a state senator, 
where, because of his being known as a business 
man of such great discretion, he was made 
chairman of the committee on finance, which 
position he held during the two and a half terms 
of his place in the Legislature. He was elected 
governor of Illinois on the Democratic ticket in 
1852. His candidacy for the United States 
senatorship in 1854, unexpected as it was, so 
complicated matters as to defeat Lincoln and 
elect Lyman Trumbull.* 

A heavy disgrace has always been attached 
to his name because of the fact that he was im- 
plicated in a false re-issue of redeemed canal 
scrip amounting to $224,182.66. He would 
never offer an explanation although he volun- 
tarily turned over his property to, as far as 
possible, refund the amount. f 

Ex-Gov. Matteson died in the winter of 
1872-73 at Chicago. His administration was 
marked by success in physical development and 
advancement of the state in its increase of 
commercial and business enterprise. The re- 
peal of the Missouri Compromise and the pass- 


age of the Nebraska Bill occurred during the 
time of the administration of Gov. Matteson. 
The election of Lyman Trumbull,* the organi- 
zation of the Anti-Nebraska Press and Party t 
and the Bloomington Convention:}: all were 
important events of his term of office. The 
first state fair was held at Springfield in 1853. 
Ninian Edwards was appointed first state 
superintendent of Public Instruction in 1854, 
and the General Education Act, the basis for the 
present school system was had in 1855. All of 
these dates come within the administration of 
Gov. Matteson. 

Kankakee county, with very nearly present 
boundaries was created from Iroquois and Will 
counties in 1856. The act creating Kankakee 
reduced Iroquois and Will to present limits. 


Page 207 *See page 155. 

fBy a suit in the Sangamon circuit court the 
state recovered the principal and all the interest 
excepting $27,500. 
Page 208 * See page 157. 
t See page 157. 
JSee page 157. 

WILLIAM H. BISSELL 1857-1860. 

WILLIAM H. BISSELL, the eleventh 
governor of Illinois, was, at the same 
time, the first man to fill that office 
elected upon any other than the Democratic 
ticket. He was born April 25, 1811, near 
Painted Post, New York. Here he received a 
limited education and later studied medicine. 

In his early manhood, he was attracted to 
the west, and coming to Illinois, located in 
Monroe County. But he was not an enthusias- 
tic practitioner, and early neglected his pro- 
fession that he might exercise the singular 
power of public speech which he developed. 
Drifting into politics he was sent to the Legis- 
lature from Monroe County as a Democrat, in 

Returning, he read law and rapidly rose in 
that profession on account of his power as an 
advocate. He carried every jury. He had a 
captivating oratory. His diction was pure, his 
gestures inimitable and expressive, with all of 
which he had a clearness of statement and 
remarkable vein of sly humor. He was chosen 
prosecuting attorney for the circuit in which he 

(14) 209 


lived, and he seldom failed to convict an of- 

He was colonel of the Second Illinois, in the 
war with Mexico, acquitting himself with great 
credit. Upon his return at the close of the war, 
he was elected to Congress, where he served 
two terms. He was an ardent politician and 
vigorously opposed the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. 
During his first term in Congress, Jefferson 
Davis challenged him to a duel, which Col. 
Bissell accepted. This was because Col. Bis- 
sell was defending the Northern troops when 
Jefferson Davis was claiming all the credit for 
success at Buena Vista to be given the Missis- 
sippi troops. 

In 1856, when the "Anti-Nebraska" press 
called the convention at Bloomington to nomi- 
nate a state ticket,* it was a foregone con- 
clusion that it must be headed by the name of 
William H. Bissell. The election of this ticket 
put the state under control of the new party, 
thenceforth, to be known as the Republican 
Party, but as yet in Illinois, called the Anti- 
Nebraska Party, f 

Governor Bissell was a man of commanding 


presence. He was tall and slender, dark of 
complexion, with a well-poised head. His 
straight military bearing made him distin- 
guished in appearance. He had a pleasing ad- 
dress and winning manner. His habits were 
exemplary, and his home life always pleasant, 
he being a devoted husband and a kind parent. 
He was twice married. His second wife was a 
daughter of Elias Kent Kane. He died during 
his term of office, March 18, 1860. 

The events of importance during the ad- 
ministration of Gov. Bissell were : The bringing 
to light of the notorious canal scrip fraud im- 
plicating Ex-Gov. Matteson* and the Lincoln- 
Douglas debates, t There were two attempts 
at re-apportionment of the state, both of which 
were lost by the vote of the chief executive. 
The state penitentiary at Joliet was built. 
The State Board of Education was created and 
the State Normal School at Normal was es- 
tablished, during this administration. 

Two new counties were created during Gov. 
Bissell's administration. Douglas county was 
created from Coles with present boundaries, 
and Coles was reduced to present limits. Ford 
county was formed with present boundaries from 


unorganized territory which had been attached 
to Vermilion. Ford County was the last county 
to be formed. 


Page 2 10 *See page 157. 

tSeepage 158. 
Page 211 *See sketch of Gov. Matteson. 

fSee Sixth Decisive Date. 

JOHN WOOD 1860-1861. 

THE death of Gov. Bissell made John 
Wood the twelfth governor of Illinois. 
John Wood was a native of New York 
State, being born at Moravia, Cayuga County, 
N. Y., December 20, 1798. He was the second 
child and only son of Dr. Daniel Wood, a learned 
and skillful physician. 

John Wood left home when he was twenty 
years old, going to Cincinnati, where he spent 
the winter. The following summer he came 
down the river to Shawneetown, and thence 
into Calhoun County, where he spent the fall 
and winter. Thence he went to Pike County 
and lived on a farm for two years. 

In 1821, he visited the site of the present city 
of Quincy, then uninhabited, and after buying 
a quarter-section of land near by, put up a 
small cabin 18x20 feet, the first building in 
Quincy. He was identified with the life of 
Quincy from its very beginning, He was one 
of the early town trustees, often a member of 
the city council, and many times mayor. 

In 1850, he was elected to the state senate. 
In 1856, he was a prominent Anti-Nebraska Bill 



advocate, and as such was chosen lieutenant- 
governor on the ticket with Wm. Bissell for 
governor. In 1861, Ex-Gov. Wood was one of 
the five delegates from Illinois to the Peace 
Convention at Washington, and in April of the 
same year at the breaking out of the Rebellion, 
he was appointed quartermaster-general of the 
state, which position he held throughout the 
war. In 1864, he took command as colonel of 
the 137th 111. Vol. Inf. with whom he served 
as long as the war lasted. 

Gov. Wood died June 4, 1880, at his residence 
in Quincy. Lincoln was nominated at the 
National Republican Convention held at Chi- 
cago, May 18, 1860. 

RICHARD YATES 1861-1865. 

RICHARD YATES, the thirteenth gov- 
ernor of Illinois, was a native of Kentucky. 
He was born on the banks of the Ohio 
River at Warsaw, Gallatin Co., Ky., January 
18, 1818. His father moved to Sangamon 
County, Illinois, in 1831. Richard Yates at- 
tended school at Illinois College, Jacksonville, 
and there imbibed the strong doctrine of in- 
dividual rights to liberty which was taught by 
the staunch patriots who formed the faculty. 
He graduated in 1837, with first honors. He 
studied law, and, gifted as he was with fluent 
and ready speech, he soon became a favorite 
in political meetings. He was an ardent ad- 
mirer of Henry Clay and as such became a 
strong advocate of the Whig doctrine. 

The exciting campaign for Harrison and 
Tyler received his earnest support. Two years 
later he was elected to the Legislature from 
Morgan County, although it was a stronghold 
of the Democrats. He served his state until, 
in 1850, his large Congressional district sent 
him to Congress. He was returned and it was 
at this second term in Congress that the repeal 



of the Missouri Compromise, which he earnestly 
opposed, brought him into identification with 
the rising Republican Party. This lessened 
his popularity in his district, which was strongly 

The Republican State Convention which 
met at Decatur, May 9, 1860, nominated 
Richard Yates for governor, and he was duly 

The ensuing four years were serious years in 
every state. The life struggle of the nation 
turned upon the loyalty of the states. Gov. 
Yates realized the situation, and was firm in 
upholding the government, wise in using his 
popularity to lead the people of the state, and, 
withal, well deserved the title of the "Soldiers' 
Friend." Immediately after the battle of 
Shiloh he, himself, went to the battlefield and 
cared for the wounded and disabled, arranging 
comforts for them and bringing them by boat- 
loads to hastily-established hospitals in the 
North. His special message in 1863 to the 
Democratic Legislature, pleading for material 
aid for the sick and wounded Illinois soldiers, 
was a masterpiece of noble sentiment ex- 
pressed in a most tactful way. 

Gov. Yates was deservedly popular. He 
was erect and symmetrical in person, always 


winning friends because of his prepossessing 
appearance and magnetic nature, together 
with his scholarly and captivating manner of 
speaking. His hearers could never tell why 
they were transported, but such was always 
the case. He was social and convivial. In 
March, 1873, Gov. Yates was appointed govern- 
ment director of the Union Pacific Railroad 
in which office he continued until his death in 
St. Louis, Mo., the 27th day of the following 

Illinois has the distinction of sending the 
first volunteer soldier to the Civil War. This 
was George Wheeler, who enlisted at Elgin. The 
entire number of soldiers from the state reached 
about 200,000. 

The administration of Gov. Yates was marked 
with few events of local civil character although 
there were many partisan quarrels of great 
bitterness. The Knights of the Golden Circle 
gave much annoyance. Another source of 
anxiety was the riot in Fulton County. Again 
there was the attempted suppression of the 
Chicago Times and the usurping State Con- 
stitutional Convention. 

In 1863, Gov. Yates astonished the Demo- 
crats by proroguing their Legislature. This 
body after a recess met June 2, and began 


wasting time upon various partisan resolutions. 
While the two houses were disagreeing upon the 
question of adjourning sine die, the governor 
took advantage of his authority and adjourned 
them to the "Saturday next preceding the first 
Monday in January, 1865." The supreme 
court sustained his action. 

The death of Stephen A. Douglas, June 3, 
1861, in Chicago, conies within this adminis- 
tration. John A. Logan resigned his seat in 
Congress in August, 1861, to take a regiment 
into battle. There was no more brave nor 
beloved man in the whole army than Gen. 
Logan. U. S. Grant took command at Cairo, 
Sept. 4, 1861. During the autumn of 1864, 
a conspiracy for the liberating of the prisoners 
of war at Camp Douglas, the burning of the 
city, and the inauguration of rebellion in the 
north was discovered and punished. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY 1865-1868. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY, the fourteenth 
governor of Illinois, was born in Old- 
ham County, Ky. He was left an or- 
phan when but eight years old. His uncle who 
had the care of him, apprenticed him to be a 
carpenter and he was working at that trade 
when but ten and a half years old. When he 
was twelve years old his uncle moved to De- 
catur, Illinois, and took Richard with him. 
In 1844, Richard Oglesby commenced the study 
of law, he was admitted to the bar the follow- 
ing year, and began the practice of his profession 
at Sullivan. 

Mr. Oglesby volunteered in the war with 
Mexico in June, 1846, and was elected first 
lieutenant of Company C, 4th Illinois Regiment, 
and took part in the battles of Vera Cruz and 
Cerro Gordo. On his return he began further 
pursuit of his Law studies by attendance upon 
a course of lectures at Louisville, Ky., but the 
"California Gold Fever" broke out, and 1849 
saw him crossing the plains to the new Eldorado. 

In 1852, he returned to Macon County and 
was put upon the presidential ticket as an 



elector. Four years later he was absent 
twenty months visiting Europe, Asia and 
Africa. Upon his return in 1858, he ran for 
Congress, but was defeated. In 1860 he was 
elected to the Illinois senate. 

The following spring, when the war had 
begun in earnest, he quickly responded to the 
call for volunteers. The extra session of the 
Legislature elected him Colonel of the Eighth 
Illinois Infantry. In April, after having been 
stationed at Bird's Point, Cairo, he was pro- 
moted brigadier-general. At Fort Donelson, 
his brigade was in the van, being stationed to 
the right of General Grant's army. It was 
the first brigade to be attacked. He lost 500 
men before reinforcements arrived, many of 
whom were from Macon County. He was 
carried from the field at the battle of Corinth 
with a bullet in his body, which he carried to 
the day of his death. 

In 1863, he was assigned to the command of 
the 16th army corps but because of the effect 
of his wound, he gave up this command. Gen. 
Grant refused to accept his resignation, however, 
and the following December Oglesby was de- 
tailed to court martial and try the surgeon- 
general of the army, at Washington, where he 


remained until May, 1864, when he returned 

He was elected governor of Illinois in the 
following fall election. He was twice after 
this elected to the same office. 

Gov. Oglesby, or "Dick Oglesby" as his loving 
friends delighted in calling him, was a fine 
appearing, affable man with regular, well- 
defined features, and a rotund face. He was 
a little above medium height, large of frame and 
inclined to put on flesh. He was outspoken, 
ardent in feeling, and first, last, and every time 
a devoted republican. His bluff manner and 
speech attracted his admirers and his jovial 
disposition and general liberal attitude saved 
him from the hatred of those opposing him. 
He was an effective stump-speaker. He died 
at Elkhart, 111., April 24, 1899. 

The events of prominence of the first term 
of Gov. Oglesby were the election of Ex-Gov. 
Yates to the United States Senate, and the 
ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Con- 
stitution. The Legislature repealed the last 
of the famous Black Laws which long ago had 
been but a dead letter on the statutes. Several 
bills were passed over the governor's veto. 
Contests over the location of the industrial 
college, the capitol, the southern penitentiary, 


as well as the canal enlargement and the Illi- 
nois River improvements, were bitter and all- 
absorbing. The asylum for the feebleminded 
was located at Jacksonville in 1865. The 
Soldiers' Orphans' home at Normal was estab- 
lished the same year. Abraham Lincoln was 
assassinated April 14, 1865. His burial at 
Springfield occurred May 5, 1865. The state 
reformatory at Pontiac was established in 
1867, also the office of state entomologist. 

JOHN M. PALMER 1869-1873. 

JOHN M. PALMER, the fifteenth governor 
of Illinois, was a native of Kentucky. He 
was born at Eagle Creek, Scott Co., Ky., 
September 13, 1817. His father, an ardent 
Jackson man, held strong anti-slavery senti- 
ments. These he impressed upon his children. 
In 1831, he emigrated with his family to Illinois, 
settling in Madison County, where he lived on 
a farm for about two years, with his wife and 
children. At this time the death of the wife 
and mother broke up the family. 

It was about this time that Alton College 
was opened on the "manual labor" system, 
and young Palmer with his brother Elihu 
entered. They remained there eighteen months. 
After this John M. Palmer tried various pur- 
suits, among them the cooper's trade, peddling, 
and school-teaching. But he had not yet 
found his calling. 

When he had but reached the age of twenty- 
one, he first met Stephen A. Douglas and came 
under the spell of his personality. Young, 
ardent, and in political accord with the "Little 
Giant," young Palmer found his ambition fired 



and his purpose in life fixed. The winter 
following this first meeting with Douglas, 
whose leadership he was to follow for more 
than thirty-five years, Palmer was teaching 
school near Canton and began to read law. 

A little later he made his home with his elder 
brother at Carlinville, continued his law studies, 
was admitted to the bar and practiced in the 
courts there. 

He became interested in local politics and in 
1843 was elected probate judge. Two years 
later he was chosen a member of the State Con- 
stitutional Convention where he was active and 
influential. At the age of thirty-five he served 
his first term in the state senate. Here he took 
a firm stand on the slavery question, vigorously 
opposing the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. 
The Nebraska question soon became a party 
issue and this man proved himself true to senti- 
ments which were his as an inheritance from his 
father. He refused a renomination to the state 
senate by the Democratic Party. Regretting 
this necessary break with his party he yet ac- 
cepted the nomination for the state senator- 
ship by the Anti-Nebraska Democrats and was 
elected. The following winter, Palmer put 
Lyman Trumbull in nomination for United 
States Senator to succeed Senator Shields and 


he was one of the five men who remained stead- 
fast, voting for him until the unexpected can- 
didacy of Gov. Matteson,who was an uncompro- 
mising pro-slavery man, caused Abraham Lin- 
coln to turn his support among the Whigs to 
Trumbull, and he was elected. Trumbull, like 
Palmer, was a Democrat who had espoused 
the new Anti-Nebraska Party. Two years 
later Palmer was conspicuous in the forma- 
tion of the new party, being chairman of the 
Anti-Nebraska Convention at Bloomington. 
A year later he was Republican elector for the 
state at large. He was one of the five Republi- 
can delegates representing Illinois at the Peace 
Congress in Washington. 

Entering the army when the war broke out, 
he was made colonel of the 14th Illinois Volun- 
teer Infantry. He was in a number of im- 
portant engagements. At Stone River, he 
stood like a rock and for his gallantry was made 
major general. He rendered valiant service at 
Chickamaugua. He took part in the Atlanta 
campaign under Sherman, and his prudence at 
Peach Tree Creek has become an historical re- 
cord as having averted disaster. His service as 
military governor of Kentucky shows great tact. 

General Palmer was nominated for governor 
of Illinois at the Republican State Convention, 



at Peoria, May 6, 1868, in spite of his persistent 
declaration that he did not want the office. He 
gave an administration which was clean and 
worthy the man. 

Governor Palmer was a statesman and a 
patriot. When, because of certain unjust 
criticism and, perhaps, natural affection for 
first political affiliation, the Republican Party 
lost his support, it was indeed a misfortune to it. 

Governor Palmer was a lawyer with a clear 
insight and rare appreciation of his profession. 
This was shown by the vetoes of a number of 
the bills passed by the Legislature during his 
administration. Although these became laws 
over his veto, their weakness have since proved 
the wisdom of his opposition. 

The new and improved constitution of 1870 
was adopted during the administration of Gov- 
ernor Palmer. 

The great Chicago Fire occurred during his 
term of office and his prompt response to the call 
for help alleviated much suffering. 

In personal appearance, Governor Palmer 
was tall, with robust frame and ruddy complex- 
ion. He was of sanguine-nervous temperament. 
He was social in disposition, easy of approach, 
and democratic in his habits and manners. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY* 1872-1874. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY,* the fourteenth 
governor of Illinois, was elected the 
sixteenth governor in 1872, with John 
L. Beveridge as lieutenant-governor. This 
election was to have Oglesby made an avail- 
able candidate for United States Senator. He 
was duly elected to the United States Senate 
as soon as the Legislature met. During his 
short term the state was reapportioned, giving 
nineteen Congressmen. 


*See sketch of 14th Governor. 


JOHN L. BEVERIDGE 1873-1877. 

JOHN L. BEVERIDGE, the seventeenth 
governor of the state, was born in the 
town of Greenwich, Washington Co., N. Y., 
June 6, 1824. His parents lived on a farm and 
could give him but a limited common school 
education. They came "west" when he was 
in his eighteenth year to DeKalb County, while 
that section was sparsely settled. 

Here he worked on the farm during the 
summers and taught school in the winter until, 
in the fall of 1842, he attended a term at the 
academy at Granville, and completed his aca- 
demic course at Rock River Seminary at 
Mount Morris. In the fall of 1845, he went 
south and taught school in Tennessee, where 
he read law and was admitted to the bar. In 
1849, he failed financially, and returned to 
DeKalb County where he opened his law office 
in Sycamore. Five years later he moved to 
Evanston, and the following year began the 
practice of law in Chicago. 

In August, 1861, he raised a company which 
was attached to the Eighth Cavalry, and he 
was soon promoted to be major. In October, 



his regiment joined the Army of the Potomac. 
In November, 1863, he resigned to organize 
the Seventeenth Cavalry, of which he was 
made colonel. He participated in some forty 
battles. He was mustered out February 6, 
1866, and was bre vetted a brigadier -general. 

He resumed his practice of law, was elected 
sheriff of Cook County in 1866, and in Novem- 
ber, 1870, state senator. This place he resigned 
in 1871 to be elected congressman-at-large. In 
1872 he was elected lieutenant-governor and 
when Oglesby was elected to the United States 
Senate in 1873, he became the seventeenth 
governor of Illinois. 

After his term of office expired, he became 
a member of the firm of Beveridge & Dewey, 
bankers and dealers in commercial paper at 
Chicago, with his home in Evanston. The 
only public office held afterwards was when he 
served as assistant United States treasurer. 

The principal events of Gov. Beveridge's 
administration were: State board of canal 
commissioners created, new state house oc- 
cupied, asylum for feebleminded children 
removed to Lincoln. The laws enacted were: 
Women allowed to hold offices under the 
school law, and the passing of a bill preventing 
discrimination in railroad rates. 

SHELBY M. CULLOM 1876-1880. 

SHELBY M. CULLOM, the eighteenth 
governor of Illinois, was born in Wayne 
County, Ky., Nov. 22, 1829. When but 
one year old his father emigrated with his family 
to Tazewell County, Illinois. 

When Shelby Cullom was 19 years old he 
entered the Rock River Seminary at Mount 
Morris, but the close confinement to indoor life 
told upon his physical strength and his health 
failed. Upon recovering his health he began 
the study of law under Abraham Lincoln, at 
Springfield. Lincoln being absent from his 
office so much of the time, young Cullom went 
into the office of Stuart Edwards. 

Soon after being admitted to the bar, he 
was elected city attorney. He was an elector 
in 1856 on the Fillmore ticket: was a member 
of the Illinois House in 1856, 1860, 1873 and 
1874, and was speaker in 1861 and 1873; was 
a member of the thirty-ninth, fortieth and 
forty-first Congresses. He was delegate to the 
Philadelphia Convention in 1872, and placed 
Grant in nomination. He was chairman of 
the Illinois delegation to the Republican 
National Convention of 1884. 



He was elected governor in 1876. The 
events of his administration were: The results 
of the great depression in financial circles; 
a spirit of insubordination which began in 
Pittsburg, Pa., and extended west made a 
great railroad strike in parts of Illinois strongly 
affecting all industrial interests; the creation 
of the State Board of Health, also the Appellate 
Courts. The constitution was amended so as 
to give the Legislature power to create drainage 
districts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and 
Board of Fish Commissioners were also created 
during the administration. 

SHELBY M. CULLOM 1880-1883. 

GOV. CULLOM succeeded himself by 
re-election and became the nineteenth 
governor of Illinois. (See above sketch.) 
John M. Hamilton was elected lieutenant- 
governor on the same ticket. Feb. 6, 1883, 
Gov. Cullom resigned, having been elected to 
the United States Senate. In 1889, and again 
in 1895, and as well in 1901, he has been re- 
elected to the United States Senate. His home 
is in Springfield. 

The events of his second administration 
began with the announcement, in his inaugural 
address, that every cent of the state debt had 
had provision made for it. The Republican 
National Convention met at Chicago and 
nominated James A. Garfield. The Green- 
back National Convention met at the same place 
and nominated James B. Weaver. January, 
1881, the last state bonds were called in. 
The Board of Dental Examiners and Board of 
Pharmacy were created. Pure food legis- 
lation was an event of 1881. By a state and 
congressional re -apportionment, Illinois ob- 
tained twenty congressmen. 


JOHN M. HAMILTON 1883-1885. 

the twentieth governor of Illinois, Feb- 
ruary 6, 1883, by reason of the resignation 
of Gov. Cullom. He was born in Union County, 
Ohio, May 28, 1847, and with his father he 
came to Illinois in 1854. When he was sixteen 
years old he enlisted in the army. 

After the close of the war he took the course 
at Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, 
whence he graduated in 1868. He located 
at Bloomington, Illinois, read law and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1870. He was elected 
State Senator in 1876, and was elected Presi- 
dent pro tern of the Senate in the 31st General 
Assembly. While a member of the Senate he 
was the author of the bill creating appellate 
courts. After his term as governor had ex- 
pired, he moved to Chicago where he has since 
practiced his profession. 

The events of his administration are, by 
legislative acts : The creation of the State Min- 
ing Board and the office of Inspector of Mines, 
also the appropriation for the state militia, as 
well as the adoption of the Harper High- 



License Liquor Law. In June, 1884, the 
Republican National Convention was held at 
Chicago. Gov. Hamilton was a delegate-at- 
large to this convention. The first choice of 
the state was John A. Logan, of Illinois, the 
second choice being Chester A. Arthur. James 
G. Elaine was nominated. In July the Demo- 
cratic National Convention nominated Grover 
Cleveland at the same place. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY 1885-1889. 

RICHARD J. OGLESBY was the twenty- 
first governor of Illinois. (See sketch.) 
The events of this, his third (though not 
consecutive) term were: 

Legislative Acts Establishment of Soldiers' 
and Sailors' Home at Quincy; making Illinois 
Industrial University the University of Illinois ; 
the creation of the offices of State Veterinarian 
and State Game Wardens, also of Live Stock 
Commission; and the Industrial Home for the 
Blind at Chicago; provisions for Arbor Day, also 
the execution of the Chicago anarchists. 

Labor troubles during this administration 
were menacing. In March, 1886, there was 
a strike at the McCormick Harvester Works; 
in April, a railroad strike in East St. Louis, 
and May 4th, the anarchists' riot at Haymarket 
Square in. Chicago. The trial and conviction 
of the anarchists followed. 

The Republican National Convention at 
Chicago, 1888, nominated Benjamin Harrison 
for President of the United States. 


JOSEPH W. FIFER 1888-1892. 

JOSEPH WILSON FIFER, or better known 
by his host of loving friends as "Private 
Joe," was the twenty- second governor of 
Illinois. He was born in Stanton, Va., Oct. 
28, 1842. In his youth he came with his father 
and the other eight children to McLean County, 
in Illinois. His education was limited to the 
district school. 

When the Civil War broke out he, at the age 
of twenty, together with his brother George, 
walked a dozen miles barefooted to enlist in 
Company C, 33rd Illinois Infantry. The regiment 
was sent to Missouri, and later went down to 
Millikin's Bend, and "Private Joe" worked on 
Grant's famous ditch for some w r eeks. The 
regiment then joined the forces operating 
against Port Gibson and Vicksburg. "Private 
Joe" was on guard duty in the front ditches 
when the flag of surrender was run up on the 
fourth of July, and he stuck the bayonet of 
his gun into the embankment and went into the 
city with the vanguard of Union soldiers. 

The day following, the 33d joined the force 
after Johnson, and in an assault at Jackson, 



Miss., "Private Joe" fell, terribly wounded, 
having been shot completely through his body. 
He was thought to have been mortally wounded. 
The surgeons gave no hope of his recovery, 
saying nothing but ice could save his life and 
there was no ice to get nearer than fifty miles 
away ! It was through the efforts of his brother 
George that the ice was procured. After a few 
months careful nursing "Private Joe" rejoined 
his regiment, for he was determined to finish 
the term for which he enlisted. He was mus- 
tered out in October, 1864. 

He at once entered the Illinois Wesleyan 
University at Bloomington, from which school 
he was graduated in 1868. He studied law, 
was admitted to the bar in 1869, and immedi- 
ately began practice in Bloomington. He was 
corporate counsel of Bloomington, state's at- 
torney two terms, and was elected to the State 
Senate in 1880. In 1888, he was elected 
governor on the Republican ticket. After 
his term as governor, he returned to the prac- 
tice of his profession in Bloomington. 

In personal appearance, Mr. Fifer is tall- 
six feet spare, with swarthy complexion, keen 
black eyes, and quick motions. He is popular 
wherever he goes. He is a pleasant speaker 
and always wins friends. 


The chief events of the Fifer administration 
may be briefly summed up as follows: Legis- 
lative Acts Establishing Asylum for Insane 
Criminals at Chester; also State Horticultural 
Society and Chicago Sanitary district ; a general 
school law with compulsory clauses; Anti- 
trust law, legal rate of interest reduced to five 
percent: Child Labor Law, and the Australian 
Ballot System adopted. The World Columbian 
Exposition was decided upon, Chicago selected 
as the site and special session of the Legis- 
lature made provision for it. October 1, 1891, 
Chicago University opened. October 21, dedi- 
cation of World's Fair Buildings ; on November 
25, 1889, the Illinois State Historical Society 
was organized. 

JOHN P. ALTGELD 1893-1897. 

JOHN P. ALTGELD, the twenty- third 
governor of Illinois, was the first man 
other than a Republican who had been 
elected to this office in forty years. Altgeld was 
a native of Prussia, having been born there 
in 1848. His father emigrated to America 
when he was a lad, and settled on a farm near 
Mansfield, Ohio. 

At the age of sixteen young Altgeld enlisted 
in the 163d Ohio Infantry. After the war he 
taught school and studied law. He entered 
a law office at Savannah, Mo. In 1874, he was 
elected prosecuting attorney of Andrew County. 
Two years later he resigned, and moved to 
Chicago. He took little interest in politics 
for several years, but in 1884 he accepted the 
nomination for congress on the Democratic 
ticket, and greatly reduced the overwhelming 
Republican majority. In 1886, he was elected 
superior court judge of Cook County; he 
resigned in 1891. In 1892, he was elected 
Governor, defeating Joseph W. Fifer (Rep.) 
in spite of the fact of Fifer's acceptable adminis- 
tration. In 1896, he was renominated for 



Governor but was defeated by John R. Tanner 
(Rep.). Ex-Gov. Altgeld died in Chicago, 
March 12, 1902. 

The events of his administration were: 
Legislative Acts Reapportionment of State, 
giving Illinois twenty-two congressmen ; modifi- 
cation of Edwards law; creation of the State 
Insurance Department ; State Board of Factory 
Inspectors; and State Home for Juvenile 
Female Offenders; establishing of Eastern 
Normal School at Charleston, Northern Normal 
School at DeKalb, Asylum for Incurable Insane 
at Bartonville, and Farmer's Institutes; also, 
State Board of Arbitration, Prison parole sys- 
tem adopted, Municipal Civil Service law. 

June 26, 1892, Gov. Altgeld pardoned the 
anarchists, Neebe, Fielden, and Schwab. 
World's Columbian Exposition opened May 
1st, closed October 30th. 

During Altgeld 's administration there oc- 
curred serious labor troubles. At the Pullman 
and American Railway Union strikes the State 
and Federal troops were called out. Gov. Altgeld 
protested against the use of Federal troops in 

JOHN R. TANNER 1897-1901. 

JOHN R. TANNER, the twenty-fourth 
governor, was elected in 1900. He was 
born on a farm in Warwick County, 
Indiana, April 4, 1844. The great grand- 
father of John R. Tanner died in service in the 
War of the Revolution, the grandfather while 
in the War of 1812, and his father while in 
service in the War of the Rebellion. Each bore 
the name of John R. Tanner. John R. Tanner, 
of the fourth generation, enlisted in the Civil 
War at the age of nineteen in the 98th Illinois 
Infantry and was transferred to the 61st and 
served to the end of the war. 

After the war, John R. Tanner took up the 
life of a farmer in Clay County. He went into 
politics, being elected sheriff in 1870, and in 
1874, circuit clerk of Clay County. In 1880 
he was elected state senator, and in 1886, 
state treasurer. He was, for a time, United 
States marshal for the southern district of 
Illinois; railroad and warehouse commissioner 
under Gov. Fifer, and assistant treasurer at 
the United States Sub-treasury, Chicago. 

(16) 241 


In 1896, he was elected Governor, defeating 
John P. Altgeld (Dem.)- The December fol- 
lowing, he married Miss Cora Edith English of 
Springfield. His term of office expired in 
January, 1901, and he died at Springfield the 
following May. 

The principal events of this administration 
are as follows: Legislative Acts Establish- 
ment of State Board of Pardons, State Board 
of Examiners of Architects, State Board of 
Examiners of Horseshoers, Offices of State 
Food Commissioners, and State Commissioners 
of Game, also the Juvenile Court act, and the 
creation of Western Normal School at Macomb. 
Senatorial and Congressional reapportionment 
was made, Illinois securing twenty-five con- 
gressmen thereby. Chicago Drainage Canal 
in operation. Water turned in January 2, 1900. 

During his administration, a company, of 
which Governor Tanner was one, purchased 
the estate of Pierre Menard, at Fort Gage. 
This later passed into the hands of Mr. Charles 
Lynn, who restored the house and improved 
the farm. This house, built by the first Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of the state, now stands in 
appearance exactly as it did in the early years 
of the nineteenth century. It has been occupied 
by Mr. Lynn for several years and is, perhaps, 


the only house in the state which represents 
the varied life of Illinois from the French colo- 
nial days, through the early years of the young 
commonwealth up to the present time. As 
such it has been chosen as the frontispiece of 
this volume. 

RICHARD YATES 1901-1905. 

RICHARD YATES, son of the thirteenth 
governor of Illinois, was elected the 
twenty-fifth governor in November, 

The campaign was begun before his nomi- 
nation, and continued until his election in a 
spectacular manner. His candidacy was urged 
as an inheritance from his father, he receiving 
support because of the remembrance of the wise 
administration of Yates, the War Governor. 

Richard Yates was the first governor of the 
state born in Illinois. He was born in Jackson- 
ville, 111., December 12th, 1860, was educated 
as a lawyer, attending the Law School of the 
Michigan University, afterward having a law 
office in Jacksonville. Since his term, he has 
resided in Jacksonville, with his address at 

During the administration of Governor Yates, 
the "little ballot law" and a new primary 
election law were given the state. The Illinois 
war claim of $1,005,129.29 was paid by the 
United States. The site of Fort Massac was 
purchased by the state. The laws relating to 



child labor, employment offices and agencies, 
and mechanics' liens were revised. A board of 
prison industries and a good roads commis- 
sion were created. The speed of automobiles 
was regulated by state law. The constitution 
was amended relating to charter of the City of 
Chicago. Floods in Madison and St. Clair 
counties and the Iroquois theatre fire were great 
disasters during the third year of his adminis- 

The Republican national convention was 
held at Chicago, June 21-23, 1904, and the 
Populist national convention was held at 
Springfield, July 4. 

CHAS. S. DENEEN 1905. 

CHAS. S. DENEEN was elected the twenty- 
sixth governor of Illinois. He was born 
May 4, 1863, at Edwardsville, Illinois. 
He was educated in the public schools of 
Lebanon and at McKendree College, completing 
his course at the Union College of Law (now 
Northwestern Law School). He moved to 
Chicago where he practiced his profession. 

In the fall of 1892, he was elected a member 
of the Illinois Legislature; in 1895, Attorney 
for Sanitary Board; in 1896, states attorney 
for Cook County and re-elected in 1900. He 
was a delegate to the National Republican 
convention in 1900. Was elected chief execu- 
tive in 1904, and re-elected in 1908 as the twen- 
ty-seventh governor of the state. 

A bill passed the Legislature during the first 
winter of Governor Deneen's second term, mak- 
ing native oak the state tree and the wood 
violet the state flower. This was done on the 
result of a vote cast by the school children of 
the state. 

Other legislative acts during his adminis- 
trations have been as follows : 



Civil service in state charitable institutions; 
general primary law; Saturday half -holiday in 
Chicago; revising marriage and divorce laws; 
municipal court law; sale of gas and electricity 
in Chicago; state geological survey; revision of 
laws relating to food, factory inspection, care 
of insane, county detention houses, interest on 
state money, motor vehicles and primary 
election. The local option law was passed and 
a test case resulted in it being declared consti- 
tutional. The constitution was amended relat- 
ing to deep waterways. 



Abbott, A. 

The Life of Abraham Lincoln. Published New 
York, J. R. Dowley, 1864. 

Alvord, C. W. 

Illinois in the Eighteenth Century. Bulletin of 
the Illinois State Historical Society. 

Illinois Historical Collections, Vol. II., Virginia 
Series, Vol. I. 

Kaskaskia Records : An Address. Chicago His- 
torical Society. 

Armstrong, Perry A. 

The Piasa or the Devil among the Indians. 
Morris, 111., 1887. 

Atwater, Caleb. 

Description of the Antiquities Discovered in 
Ohio and other Western States. Circleville, 
Ohio, 1820 (out of print.) 

Arnold, I. N. 

The Life of Abraham Lincoln. Chicago, 1891, 
A. C. McClurg & Co. 

Bateman and Selby. 

Historical Enclyclopedia of Illinois. 

Beckwith, Hiram W. 

The Illinois and Indiana Indians. Fergus His- 
torical Series No. 27; Chicago, 1887. 
Notes of the Northwest. 



Illinois Historical Collection, Vol. 1., Illinois State 
Historical Society, 1903. 

Berry, Daniel, M. D. 

Morris Birkbeck and his Friend's Publication 
No. 9 of the Historical Library, p. 259. 

Blanchard, Rufus. 

Discovery and Conquest of the Northwest. 
Wheaton, Illinois, 1879. 

Boyd, C. E. 

The County of Illinois. Am. Hist. Review, Vol. 
4, No. 4, 1899. 

Breese, Sydney. 

The Early History of Illinois. Chicago, 1884. 

Brooks, Noah. 

Abraham Lincoln and the Downfall of Slavery. 
New York, G. P. Putnam Sons, 1894. 

Brown, H. 

History of Illinois. New York, 1884. 

Brown, Stuart. 

Old Kaskaskia Days and Ways. 
Publication No. 10 of the Illinois Historical 
Library, p. 128. 

Carr, Clark E. 

The Illini. Chicago, A. C. McClurg, 1904. 

Carr, Lucien. 

The Mounds of the Mississippi Valley. Ken. 
Gov't Survey. 


Catherwood, Mary Hartwell. 

Heroes of the Middle West: The French. 1898. 
Story of Tonty. Chicago, 1892. 
Lady of Fort St. John. Boston, 1892. 
Life of Renault. 1897. 
Spanish Peggy. Chicago, 1899. 

Chittenden, H. M. 

American Fur Trade of the Far West. 3 Vols. 
New York, 1902. 

Clark, George Rogers. 

Sketch of His Campaigns in the Illinois. Ohio 
Valley Hist. Series, No. 3, 1869. 

Coffin, Chas. Carleton. 

Abraham Lincoln. New York, Harper Bros., 

Conant, A. J. 

Footprints of Vanished Races in the Mississippi 

Valley. St. Louis, 1879. 
Documentary History of New York. 

Douglas, W. B. 

Gabriel Cerre, a Sketch. Trans, of the 111. State 
Hist. Soc., 1903. 

Drake, Benjamin. 

Life and Adventures of Black Hawk. 

Dunn, J. P. 

Father Gibault. Trans, of the 111. State Hist. 
Soc., 1905. 


Edwards, Ninian Win. 

History of Illinois, 1778-1833. Springfield, 

English, W. H. 

Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River 
Ohio and Life of George Rogers Clark. 2 
Vols. Indianapolis, 1896. 

Fergus Hist. Series, Nos. 4, 12, 31, 32, 34. 


New France and New England. Boston and New 
1| York, 1902. 

Flower, George. 

History of English Settlements in Edwards 
County, Illinois. Chicago Hist. Society Col- 
lections, Vol. 1, 1883. 

Greegg, Thomas. 

The Prophet of Palmyra. New York, 1890. 
Green, E. B. 

The Government of Illinois. New York, 1904. 

Herndon, Wm. Henry and Weik, Jesse Wm. 

Abraham Lincoln : The true story of a great life. 

New York, 1892. 

A Short History of the Mississippi Valley. Boston 

and New York, 1901. 
Howells, W. D. 

Stories of Ohio. Chicago, 1897. 
Howells, W. D. and Hayes, J. G. 

Lives and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln and 
Hannibal Hamlin, Columbus, O., 1860. 


Linn, Wrfi. Alexander. 

The Story of the Mormons. New York, 1902. 

Mason, E. G. 

Chapters from Illinois History. Chicago, 1901. 
Nos. 12 and 34 of Fergus Historical Series. 

Matson, N. 

Pioneers of Illinois. Chicago, 1882. 
Memories of Shaubena. Chicago, 1878. 

Moses, John. 

Illinois Historical and Statistical. 2 Vols. Chi- 
cago, 1895. 

Nicolay, John G. 

A Short Life of Lincoln. New York, 1902. 

Nicolay, John G. and Hay. 

Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works. New 
York, 1894. 


Starved Rock. An Historical Sketch. 

Olde Ulster, Vol. I., No. 6; Vol. II., No. 4, and 
Vol. IV., No. 1. 


The Discovery of the Great West. Boston, 1869. 
The Conspiracy of Pontiac. Boston, 1883. 
The Old Regime in Canada, 2 Vols. Boston, 1905. 
Pioneers of France in the New World. Boston, 


Jesuits in North America. Boston, 1907. 
Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV. 

Boston, 1907. 


Parrish, Randall. 

Historical Illinois. Chicago, 1906. 

When Wilderness was King. Chicago. 

The Sword of the Old Frontier. Chicago. 
Publications of Illinois, State Historical Society. 


Discovery and Explorations of the Mississippi 
Valley. New York, 1888. 

Snyder, J. F. 

A Group of Illinois Mounds. 
Captain Jean Baptiste Sancier. Peoria, 1901. 
Forgotten Statesmen of Illinois. Jesse B. 
Thomas, Pub. 111. State Hist. Society, No. 9. 

The Army led by Col. George Rogers Clark in 
his Conquest of the Illinois, 1778-1779. Pub. 
No. 8, pp. 166-178, 111. State Hist Soc. 

Sparks, Edwin Erie. 

Collections of the Illinois State Library, Vol. II. 
Lincoln Series, Vol. I. 1908. 

Stevens, Frank. 

The Black Hawk War. Chicago, 1903. 
Illinois in the War of 1812. Pub. No. 9, 111. 
State Hist. Lib., 1904. 

Tarbell, Ida M. 

The Life of Abraham Lincoln. New York, Lin- 
coln Hist. Society, 1902. 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold. 

Early Lead Mining in Illinois and Wisconsin. 
American Hist. Assn., 1893. 


Early Western Travels. Cleveland, 1903. 
How George Rogers Clark won the Northwest. 

Chicago, 1903. 
Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents. Vols. 

59-60. Cleveland, O., 1896-1901. 

Thompson, Maurice. 

Stories of Indiana. Chicago, 1898. 
Alice of Old Vincennes. Chicago. 

Wallace, Joseph. 

Illinois and Louisiana under French Rule. Cm., 


Fort de Chartres. Pub. No. 8, Illi. State Hist. 
Lib., 1904. 

Winsor, Justin. 

Narrative and Critical History of America. Bos- 
ton, 1886. 

The Mississippi Basin, 1697-1763. Boston, 1895. 
The Western Movement. Boston and New York, 

W or then, A. H. 

Geological Survey of Illinois. 8 Vols. 




Abolitionist, mentioned, ISO; comparatively few, 154. 
Adams, Captain, mentioned, 149. 
Adirondacks, original source of Algonquins, 60. 
Agricultural Society, first one wars founded by Gov. Coles, 


Albany, N. Y., 69. 
Algonquin, word Missi, 33; great family of Indians east of 

Mississippi River, 59; original source of the Adirondacks, 


Alliances, Dutch with Iroquois, 69. 
Allonez, Father Claude, sent to Lake Superior region, 19; 

sent to mission at Kaskaskia, 12; reports numbers of 

native herbs and fruits, 64. 

Altgeld, Hon. John P., twenty-third governor, 239. 
Alton, Lincoln-Douglas debate held at, 162. 
American Bottoms mentioned, 44. 
American Indian, origin of, 13. 
Anarchists, execution of, 23 5; pardoned by Gov. Altgeld, 


Anti-Nebraska Bill mentioned, 206. 
Anti-Nebraska Party, mentioned, 157. 

Anti-Slavery, influences cited, 149; sentiment of, in differ- 
ent States, 154. 

Anti-Trust Law, established, 238. 
Appellate Court established, 231. 
Arbor Day, provision made for, 235. 
Arkansas River nearly reached, 29. 
Armstrong Fort, see fort. 
Asylum for the Feeble Minded located, 222;removed to 

Lincoln, 229. 

Asylum for Insane Criminals, established, 238. 
Asylum for Incurable Insane established, 240. 
Aubrey, Mons. de, commandant at Fort Chartres, 76; went 

to rescue of Fort Niagara, 77. 



Australian Ballot System adopted, 238. 
Automobiles, speed of, regulated, 243. 


Bad Axe, mention of, battle, 149. 
Beveridge, Hon. John L., Seventeenth Governor, 228. 
Birkbeck, Morris, mentioned, 150. 

Bissell, Hon. Wm. H., candidate for governor, 158; eleventh 
governor, 207. 

Black Gown, name given Father Marquette by Illini, 27. 

Black Hawk, mentioned, 147 ; war, 150. 

Black Laws, reference to, 271. 

Bloomington Convention ,157. 

Board of Dental Examiners, created 232; mentioned, 163. 

Board of Pharmacy, created, 232; mentioned, 206. 

Board of Prison Industries, 243. 

Bond, Hon. Shadrack, first governor, 173. 

Bond County, 176. 

Bucklers of buffalo hides, 63. 

Bureau, of Fish Commissioners, created, 231. 

Bureau of Labor Statistisc, created, 231. 

Buffalo, in country of the Illini, 31. 

British domination, mentioned, 88. 


Cahokia, a tribe of the Illini, 62; court established at, 107; 

town built in 18th century, 44. 
Cahokia Mounds in St. Clair County, 11. 
Cairo, founded, 173. 
California, mouth of Mississippi River supposed to be 

located in, 20, 29. 
Calumet, peace pipe, 25. 
Canal, see Illinois and Michigan Canal, also Chicago 

Drainage Canal. 

Carolinas, settled Southern Illinois, 154. 
Carlin, Hon. Thos., seventh governor of Illinois, 196. 
Cartier, Jacques, discovered St. Lawrence River, 15. 
Champlain, Samuel, founded Quebec, 15; gave aid to 

Algonquins, 59. 
Charleston, Lincoln-Douglas fourth debate, 162. 

INDEX 263 

Chartres Fort, built in early 18th century, 44; English 
garrison took possession, 87; refuge of Pontiac, 86. 

Chequamegon Bay, location of, Allonez Mission, 19. 

Chicago, drainage canal in operation, 242; sanitary dis- 
trict, 238; saved to Illinois, 123; University opened, 238. 

Chicago Fire, mentioned, 226. 

Child labor law, 245. 

Cholera, Asiatic, caused death of Gov. Edwards, 185. 

Christiensen, built Fort Massac, 69. 

Civil Service, in State charitable institutions, 243. 

Civil War, mentioned, 137. 

Clark, Fort (see fort). 

Clark, George Rogers, established government in Illinois 
territory, 107; march to Kaskaskia, 99; related to Pat- 
rick Henry, 96; secured oath of Allegiance from French, 
101 ; success result of love of Illini for French, 65. 

Colbert, M . , minister of navy at Paris, 2 1 . 

Coles, Hon. Edward, defeated convention to amend con- 
stitution, 143; mention of, 150; second governor, 177; 
set slaves free, 179. 

Columbian Exposition, decided upon, 238; opened, 240. 

Constitution, amended, 231 ; first of Illinois, 141 ; legislation 
favoring amendment, 143; of 1870, adopted, 226; 
amended, 243-244; of the United States, mentioned, 

Compact (see alliance, see Jefferson -Lemen compact.) 

Conquest of Northwest (see Clark). 

Cook, Hon. John B., candidate for congress, 142. 

Convention, Bloomington, 157; Democratic National, 234; 
Greenback National, 232; Populist National at 
Springfield, 243; Republican National, of 1884, 232; 
of 1888, 235; of 1904, 243. 

Council, with Illini, 28. 

Crawford County (see County), 174. 

Creve Coeur Fort (see Fort). 

Crogham, George conference with Pontiac, 87; also foot- 
note page 90. 

Crozat M., grant of land given, 33. 

County, organized, Adams, 182; Alexander, 176; Boone, 
196; Bond, 196; Bureau, 196; Calhoun, 182; Cass, 196; 
Champaign, 191; Clay, 181; Clark, 176; Clinton, 182; 
Coles, 187; Cook, 187; Crawford, 174; Dekalb, 196; 


Douglas, 211; Edgar, 181; Edwards, 182; Effingham, 
187; Ford, 211; Franklin, 174; Fulton, 181; Gallatin, 
174; Greene, 176; Hancock, 176; Henry, 182; Iroquois, 
191; Jackson, 174; Jasper, 187; Jefferson, 171; Jo 
Daviess, 187; Kane, 196; Knox, 182; La Salle, 187; 
Lawrence, 176; Livingston, 196; Madison, 174; 
Macon, 187; Macoupin, 187; Marion, 181; Mercer, 182; 
Montgomery, 176; Morgan, 181; Monroe, 176; Mc- 
Donough, 182; McHenry, 196; McLean, 187; Ogle, 196; 
Peoria, 182; Perry, 187; Pope, 174; Pike, 176; Putnam, 
182; Randolph, 176; Rock Island, 187; Schuyler, 182; 
Shelby, 187; Stephenson, 196; St. Clair, 176; Tazewell, 
187; Union, 174; Vermilion, 182; Wabash, 182; Wash- 
ington, 174-182; Warren, 182; Wayne, 182; White, 176; 
Whiteside, 196; Will, 196; Winnebago, 196. 
Cullom, Hon. Shelby M., the eighteenth governor, 230; 
succeeded himself, 232. 


Dablon, Rev. Father, appoints Marquette to accompany 

Joliet, 21. 
Danville, exploration of central Illinois, started from, 128; 

salt works, near to, 129; Spanish troops passed through, 


Dearborn, Fort, Massacre at, 113; rebuilt, 128. 
Delawares, bound by Silver Covenant Chain, 71. 
Democratic National Convent-ion, of 1884 (see convention), 

De Sola, mention of, discovery of lower Mississippi River, 


Deneen, Hon. Chas. S., the twenty-sixth and twenty- 
seventh governor, 244. 
Detroit, mention of Fort, 86. 
Des Plaines River, La Salle's route into Illini country via, 

41 ; battle on, 66. 
de Villiars, Jumon, killed by troops under George. 

Washington, 75. 

de Villiars, Neyon, defeated George Washington, 75. 
Dillon, Judge John B., history of Indiana, mentioned, 97. 
Dillons Grave, in Tazewell county, 129. 
Dixon, John, veteran mail carrier, 149. 
Doty, James D., governor of Wisconsin, 123. 
Donay, Rev. Father, eulogised La Salle, 43. 

INDEX 265 

Douglas, Hon. Stephen A., change in sentiment, regarding, 
155 ; lifelong friend of John M. Palmer, 157 ; called Little 
Giant," 159; contrasted with Lincoln, 160; answered 
question at Freeport, 161; active when war was de- 
clared (foot note), 165; death, 218. 

Douglas-Democrats, mentioned, 160. 

Duncan, Hon. Joseph, sixth governor, 192. 

Du Cogne, last chief of the Illini, 66. 

Dutch, strength of English with the Indians an inherit- 
ance for the Dutch, 68. 

Du Quesne, Fort, French Fort, 75. 


East St. Louis, three miles south of Monks' Mounds, 1 1. 

Education Act, passed in 1855, 206. 

Edwards, Ninian, first governor of Illinois Territory, 111; 
took out State militia at news of Fort Dearborn mas- 
sacre, 116; third governor of State, 182. 

Edwards, Law, modified, 240. 

Edwardsville , mentioned, 116; home of Governor Coles, 

Elk-ins, Jacob, made treaty with Iroquois, 69. 

English Colony, in Edwards county, mentioned, 150. 

Edwards County (see county). 

Erie, Lake, discovered by Joliet, 21; strip ceded to Great 
Britian, 68; route taken by Aubry, 77. 

Eskimo, Ice folk very much like, 9. 

Ewing, William, Lee D., Governor from November 3 to 
November 17, 1834, 191. 


Farmers' Institutes established, 240. 

Fifer, Hon. Joseph W., the twenty-second governor, 236. 

Ford, Hon. Thos. eighth governor, 198. 

Fort, Armstrong, on Rock Island, 147; Chartres (see 
Chartres Fort); Clark, now Peoria, mentioned, 149; 
Creve Coeur, first fort, 41 ; burned, 42 ; Dearborn, estab- 
lished, 113; Massacre, 116; rebuilt, 128; Du Quesne, 
built by French, 75; Machault, mentioned, 77; Massac, 
Clark's troops to begin march from, 98, 243; Niagara, 
loss of, 73; Pitt, mentioned, 77; Sackville (Post Vin- 
cennes), 101; St. Louis, rock in Illinois River, 42; 


Indians driven to, 66; abandoned, 68; Wayne, help to. 

Fort Dearborn, 114. 

Fox River, route of Joliet and Marquette, 22. 
Franklin County (see county). 
French, influence on Illinois country, 70. 
French, Hon. Agustus C., ninth governor, 201. 
French, colonial life, 45. 
French Creek, route of, aubry, 77. 
Freeport, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 160. 


Galesburg, mention of, 162. 
Gallat-in County (see county). 
Gauls, mentioned, 88. 
Gibault, Rev. Father, mentioned, 65 ; 
Good Roads Commissioners, created, 243. 
Government, of county of Virginia, 108. 
Grant, U.S., mentioned, 218. 
Great Britian, Sir. Wm. Johnson made commissioner of 

Indian affairs by, 71 ; last colonies transferred to, 85. 
Gulf of Mexico, mouth of Mississippi river, 29. 


Hamilton, Gen., at Post Vincennes, 102. 
Hamilton, Hon. John Marshall, twentieth governor, 233. 
Harrison, Gen., governor of Indiana territory, 111. 
Heald, Captain Nathan, commander at Fort Dearborn, 1 14; 

surrendered Garrison, 116. 

Helm, Captain, sent to command at Post Vincennes, 101. 
Henry, Patrick, relative of George Rogers Clark, 96. 
Hiawatha, mentioned, 69. 
High License Liquor Law, adopted, 233. 
Holland Dutch, influence on American institutions of, 55. 
Hudson, Henry, discovery of river, 55. 
Hudson River, treaty made on banks. 69. 

Ice Age, mentioned, 9. 
Ice People, mentioned, 9. 

INDEX 267 

Ice Folk, mentioned, 13. 

Illini, hunting grounds of, 19; mentioned in letter from 
Marquette, 20; mission among, promised, 33; La Salle 
said to have discovered, 35 ; tribes of, 62 ; excelled in use 
of bow and arrow, 63; became less and less hardy, 65. 
country of, extent, 68; raids of Iroquois into, 44; first 
permanent settlement in, 42; confederacy lost identity, 

Illinois, heart of nation, 1 ; authentic history of, begins, 8; 
people of, 154; leader of new political party in, 158. 

Illinois-Northern, hunting grounds, 113. 

Illinois country, coming of white man to, 65; had French 
not come to, 70; province of Quebec, include, 89. 

Illinois River, Joliet and Marquette ascended, 8, 30, 35 ; vil- 
lage of Kaskaskia on north side of, 31; "tribes as far 
west as," 65 ; Iroquois had driven them west of, 68. 

Illinois soldiers, bravery of, 75. 

Illinois Territory, formed in 1809, 111; boundary of, 121. 

Illinois Central Railroad, mention of, 123; completion of, 

Illinois and Michigan Canal Association, incorporated, 181. 

Illinois College, founded, 186. 

Immaculate Conception, Mission of, 31. 

Indians, supposed origin, 13; western, 70. 

Indian Affairs, commissioner of, 71. 

Indiana, mentioned, 68; territory bounded, 111. 

Industrial Home for the Blind, at Chicago, 235. 

International Improvements, craze over, 194; came to 
an end, 197. 

Iroquois, dominated the Algonquins, 59; origin of, 60; 

frew warlike, 61; English gave Iroquois support, 67; 
roquois drive Illini west of Illinois River, 68; Silver 
Covenant Chain held allegiance of, 70. ' 

Inspector of Mines, created, 233. 
Institution for the Blind, chartered, 203. 
Iroquois Theatre, horror, 243. 


Jackson County (see county). 

Jefferson, Thos., efforts in behalf of anti-slavery, 150. 

Jefferson-Lemen Compact, mentioned, 149. 


Jesuit, led into wilderness, 15; Marquette, a devout, zeal- 
ous, 21. 

Johnny-Cake, origin of name, 130. 

Johnson, Sir. Wm., commissoner of Indian affairs, 71;. in- 
formed of advance of Aubry, 77 ; reports of treachery of 
savages to French, 78; result had western Indians 
refused to listen to, suggested attack on Fort Niagara 
(footnote), 79, 80. 

Johnson County (see county). 

Joliet, mentioned, 8; mentioned, 14; commissioned to go 
upon expedition, 21. 

Joliet, city of, mentioned, 66. 

Jonesboro, third Lincoln-Douglas debate, 162. 

Journey-board, how used, 130. 

Jumon de Villiars, killed by George Washington's troops. 

Juvenile Court Act, passed, 242. 


Kane, Elias Kent, secretary of State during Bond's admin- 
istration, 174. 

Kane County (see county). 

Kankakee River, mentioned, 41. 

Kansas, refugees from, 157. 

Kaskaskia, Indian village, 31; Marquette's mission prom- 
ised, 33; La Salle found deserted, 41; near Fort St. 
Louis, 42 ; type of, 45 ; report of Father Allonez, 64. 

Kaskaskia River, on the banks of , 99. 

Kaskaskia Indians, village of , 3 1 ; tribe, 66 ; confederacy, 62 

Kentucky, fertile land of, 95 ; life in, uncertain, 96. 

Keokuk, Indian chief, 148. 

Knights of Golden Circle, depredations by, 217. 

Knox College, opened, 197. 

Knox County, (see county). 


Labor Troubles, menacing, 235 ; serious, 240. 
LaFayette, visit of, 181. 

Lake, Michigan, boundary of State, 122; Ontario, 34; 
Superior, region of, 19. 

INDEX 269 

La Salle, claims discovery, 35; discovered coal, 129; life 
a tradedy, 44; untimely death influenced fate of New 
France, 43. 

La Salle Coimty (see county). 

La Pointe du Esprit, Allonez's mission, 19. 

Law, first school mentioned, 216; with compulsory clauses, 
238; child labor, 243; general primary, 244; little ballot, 
243; local option, 244; primary election, 243. 

Lincoln, Abraham, brought home, 164; candidate for 
United States senator, 155; contrasted with Douglas, 
160; Douglas debate, 162; lost speech, 158; nominated 
for president, 163; question asked Douglas, 161. 

Live Stock Commission, created, 235. 

Local Option Law, 244. 

Logan, John A., brave soldier, 218; choice for president, 

London Company, claims shared with other nations, 56. 

Lords of Trade, letter written to, 71. 

Lovejoy, Elijah P., the abolitionist, 150; killed at Alton, 

Lovejoy, Owen, at Bloomington convention, 157. 


Madison County (see county). 

Mariette, Ohio, seat of government of northwest territory, 

Marquette, Rev. James Father, ascended Illinois River, 8 
letter to his Rev. Father Superior, 20; appointed by 
Father Dablon to accompany Joliet, 21; established 
mission, 41; Indians found, by 62; followed to mission 
by Father Allonez, 64; boundary of country as found 
by, 68. 

Massac Fort, starting point for Clark's march, 98. 

Mas sac Rebellion, mentioned, 200. 

Massacre, Fort Dearborn, (see Dearborn and Fort), Fort 
Niagara, mentioned, 78. 

Matte son, Joel A., tenth governor, 204; unexpected condi- 
dacy for U. S. senator, 225. 

Maumee River, mentioned, 77. 

McCarty, commandant at Fort Chartres, 78. 

McLean, John, candidate for cpngress, 142; of the pro- 
slavery party, 174, 


McLean County (see county). 

McKendree College, incorporated, 195. 

Menard, Rev. Father, established mission on Lake Superior, 

Menard, Pierre, first Lieutenant-Governor, 174; residence, 

frontispiece, 242. 

Miami Indians, foot note, 81; at Fort Wayne, 114. 
Miamies, went to trading post at La Pointe du Esprit, 19. 
Michigan, mentioned, 68. 
Michiganians, mentioned, 62. 
Michilimacana, mentioned, 16; Joliet and Marquette left 

mission, 22; Marquette to return to, 33. 
Mission, Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, 31; La 

Pointe du esprit or the Holy Ghost, St. Ignatius, 22. 
Mississippi River, mentioned, 14; first mention of, 20; 

mouth but ten days distant, 29; name never changed, 

33; La Salle's colony missed mouth, 43; Indians escaped 

to, 66. 

Missouri Compromise, repealed, 154. 
Mob Law, mentioned, 200. 
Mobile, mentioned, 45. 
Montreal, when built, 1 5 ; Joliet's boat capsized in sight of, 

34; good trading post, 56. 
Morris, battle at, 66. 

Mound, Cahokia, 1 1 ; Monks, 1 1 ; Turtle, 1 1 . 
Mormons, mentioned, 200. 
Mounds, origin unknown, 11. 
Mound Builders, origin entire conjecture, 16. 
Municipal Civil Service Law, adopted, 240. 


Nassau, N. Y., mentioned, 69. 

Nebraska Bill, mentioned, 154; Douglas supported, 162. 
New Design, mentioned, 150. 

New England, mentioned, 53; anti-slavery views from, 150. 
New France, mentioned, 15; could afford to ignore other 

claims, 45; mentioned, 53; became British possessions, 


New Netherlands, mentioned, 53. 
New Orleans, seat of government of New France, 45. 
New Spain, mentioned, 53; boundaries of, 58. 

INDEX 271 

Niagara, attacked, 72. 

Niagara Falls, Aubry met troops at, 77. 

Normans Kill, mentioned, 69. 

Normal School (see State Normal School), Eastern, 240; 

Northern, 240; Western, 242. 
Northern Illinois, a wilderness, 113. 
Northwest, purchased from Iroquois, 68. 
Northwest Territory, bounded, 110; Virginia ceded claim 

to, 138; division of, 139. 


Ohio, mentioned, 68. 

Ohio Company, mentioned, 74. 

Ohio River, mentioned, 35; northern boundary of United 
States, 95-103; George Rogers Clark, trip down, 97. 

Ohio Indians, joined Aubry, 77. 

Ogle County, (see county). 

Oglesby, Hon. Richard J., fourteenth governor, 219; six- 
teenth governor, 227; twenty-first governor, 235. 

Okaw River, mentioned, 42. 

Onondaga, conference of Indians, at, 71. 

Orange, Albany, N. Y., 66. 

Ottawa, first Lincoln-Douglas debate held at, 160. 

Ottawa Confederacy, Indians forming, 72. 

Ottawa Chief, Pontiac, 85. 


Pacific Ocean, South sea, 29. 

Palmer, Hon. John M ., fifteenth governor, 223. 

Paris, mentioned, 21. 

Peace Convention, reference to, 214. 

Peace Congress, mentioned, 225. 

Peoria, tribe of Illini, 62; mentioned, 66. 

Penitentiary, at Alton, 186; at Joliet, 209. 

Pennsylvania, French Creek ii>, 77. 

Penotomy, confederacy of Indians, 65. 

Penotomies, Indians of the Penotomy confederacy, 65. 

Piasa Bird, note, 81. 

Point St. Ignace, mission on Island of Mackinaw, 22. 

Pontiac, mentioned, 65; an Ottawa chief, 85. 


Pontiac's Conspiracy, to save America to redman, 86; 
treaty with Croghan, note, 90; death, note, 91, 

Pope, Nathaniel, delegate to congress for the Illinois 
territory, 121; bound the east and west, 123; led anti- 
slavery sentiment, 174. 

Pope County (see county). 

Portage, carrying place, 22; Aubry's route, 77. 

Portage City, Wisconsin, 23. 

Pottery, found in mounds, 10. 

Pottawatomies, mentioned, 19; at Fort Dearborn, 116. 

Prairie du Rocher, mentioned, 44. 

Presque Isle, route of Aubry, 77. 

Pure Food, legislation, 232. 

Prison Parole System, adopted, 240. 

Primary Election Law, 243-244. 


Quebec, founded by Champlain, 15 ; Frontenac, governor of, 

21; Joliet returned to, 33; Frontenac, writing from, 34; 

La Salle, returned to, 41 ; made a good trading post, 56; 

province of, 89. 
Quincy, sixth Lincoln-Douglas debate had at, 162; John 

Wood put up first cabin, 213; soldiers' and sailors' 

home located, 235. 


Railroad Strikes, in parts of Illinois, 231. 

Randolph County (see county). 

Renault, Phillippi, mentioned, 45; brought African slaves 

to French settlements, 138. 
Republican National Convention, in 1884; in 1888 (see 


Revolution, War of, mentioned, 69. 
Reynolds, Hon. John, mentioned, 148; fourth governor 


Rock in Illinois River, 42; mentioned, 66. 
Rockford, mound found at site of, 11. 
Rogers, Major Robert, sent to tell of surrender of Canada 


Romance, period of, 87. 
Russel Camp, organized at Edwardsville, 116. 

INDEX 273 


Sachem, of the Illini, 26. 
Sackville, Fort, (see Fort). 
Sacs, mentioned, 19. 

Sagamity, presented to Marquette, 28; corn raised for, 46. 
Saline, pottery found in, 10; sale of land in saline reserve, 

Salt Works, near Danville, 128; near Shawneetown, 140; 

Hargrave, general inspector of, 141. 

Sault Ste. Marie, as far west' as, 16. 
School Law, women allowed to hold office under, 229; 

anti-trust, 238. 
Senecas, appeal from, 67. 
Seneca Chief, answer to appeal, 70. 
Seventeenth Century, French settlement, 43. 
Seven Years' War (see War). 
Shawnees, came to visit Illini, 20; Iroquois made war upon, 

61; at Onondago, 71. 

Shawneetown, salt works near, 141; John McLean of, 142. 
Shields, Hon. James, mentioned, 155. 
Shurtleff College, incorporated, 195. 
Silver Covenant Chain, Indians' name for treaty, 69; 

strength of 70; nations bound with, 73; Sir. Wm. 

Johnson's use of (foot note), 80. 
Six United Nations, (see Iroquois), faithful to British, 71; 

troops of British joined to, 72; convention of, 78. 
Slaves, African, brought by Renault, 138. 
Slavery, African, extension of, 154. 
Slavery Question, all absorbing topic, 141. 
Slave States, to west and south, 153. 

Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, State, located at Quincy, 235. 
South Bend, direction of Spanish troops, 112. 
Smith, Joseph, killed by mob, 200. 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home, located, 222. 
Spain, permanent settlements made by, 54. 
Spanish Settlement, of St. Louis, 42. 
Spanish Domains, comprised, 54. 
Spanish Invasion, of state, 111. 
Springfield, the capital of state, 195. 
Starved Rock, in IlHni River, 42. 
State Board of Arbitration, established, 240. 


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Wigwam, Lincoln nominated in, 163. 

Williamsburg, George Washington sent from, 74; County 
of Kentucky a long way from, 96. 

Winnebago Indians, war with, 185. 

Winnebago County, (see County^. 

Wisconsin, making a state, 124 

Wisconsin River, Joliet and Maiquette followed, 22. 

Wisconsin Territory, Governor of, efforts to restore boun- 
dary, 123. 

Wood, Hon. John, twelfth Goveinor, 213. 

World's Columbian Exposition, (see Columbian Exposition) 


Yates, Hon. Richard, thirteenth Governor, 215. 
Yates, Hon. Richard, twenty-fifth Governor, 242.