Decisive Dates /"
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
Library Method Applied to
LLINOIS PRINTING COMPANY
[COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY LOTTIE E. JONES]
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. CHARLOTTE JONES
WHOSE PATRIOTISM AND LOYALTY
TO OUR COUNTRY
\Q HAS BEEN THE INSPIRATION
TO ALL MY
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
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
Interim 1824-1858 145
The Black-Hawk War : . . 147
Anti-Slavery Influences in Illinois 149
DATE VI. 1858 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates 151
CONCLUSION THE COMMERCIAL ERA 167
ADDENDA THE GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS. . . 171
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
THE PIERRE MENARD HOUSE Frontispiece
THE MONK'S MOUND 11
Louis JOLIET 21
FATHER JACQUES MARQUETTE 23
LASALLE'S MONUMENT 39
STARVED ROCK (SITE OF FORT ST. Louis) 43
PIASA BIRD <. 65
TABLET TO PONTIAC 83
INDIAN TRAIL 87
FATHER PIERRE GIBAULT 101
ARTHUR ST. CLAIR Ill
OLD COURT HOUSE AT KASKASKIA 127
TAVERN AT KASKASKIA 129
FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE (TABLET) 113
KlNZIE HOUSE AND FoRT DEARBORN 115
FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE (MONUMENT) 117
MAP SHOWING EXTENSION OF NORTHERN BOUNDARY 119
NATHANIEL POPE 123
EDWARD COLES 137
MORRIS BIRKBECK 143
THE HARGRAVE HOUSE 141
BLACK-HAWK ROCK 145
MONUMENT AT STILLMAN VALLEY 149
ABRAHAM LINCOLN 155
GEN. JOHN M. PALMER 157
GOVERNOR WM. BISSELL 159
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS 161
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 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-
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
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
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
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
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,
20 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
22 DECISIVE DATES
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
FATHER JACQUES MARQUETTE
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
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
24 DECISIVE DATES
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
26 DECISIVE DATES
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
28 DECISIVE DATES
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-
" 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
"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
30 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
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
32 DECISIVE DATES
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.
34 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
36 DECISIVE DATES
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.
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.
Page 34 * Paris Documents, Vol. 9, p. 21.
LA SALLE'S EXPEDITION
FORTS CREVE COEUR AND ST. Louis
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.
42 DECISIVE DATES
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
LA SALLE'S EXPEDITION 43
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
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
44 DECISIVE DATES
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-
COLONIAL LIFE 45
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
" 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
46 DECISIVE DATES
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
COLONIAL LIFE 47
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,
48 DECISIVE DATES
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
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN
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
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.
54 DECISIVE DATES
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.
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 55
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.
56 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 57
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
58 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 59
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,
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
60 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 61
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
62 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 63
"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
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
64 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 65
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
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
66 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 67
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
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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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 69
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-
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-
70 DECISIVE DATES
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
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-
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 71
* 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
72 DECISIVE DATES
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-
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 73
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
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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-
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 75
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.
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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
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,
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 77
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.
78 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 79
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.
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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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
THE SILVER COVENANT CHAIN 81
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
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
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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
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 STORY OF PONTIAC
END OF THE PERIOD OF ROMANCE
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
86 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE STORY OF PONTIAC 87
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
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
88 DECISIVE DATES
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-
BRITISH DOMINATION 89
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
90 DECISIVE DATES
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
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-
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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 :
BRITISH DOMINATION 91
" 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
THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST
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
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
96 . DECISIVE DATES
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
THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST 97
carried secret orders from Gov. Henry to cap-
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
98 DECISIVE DATES
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."!
THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST 99
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
"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
100 DECISIVE DATES
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.
FATHER PIERRE GIBAULT.
THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST 101
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 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
102 DECISIVE DATES
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
THE CONQUEST OF THE NORTHWEST 103
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
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
104 DECISIVE DATES
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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,
ILLINOIS A COUNTY OF VIRGINIA
THE INDIANA TERRITORY
THE TERRITORY OF ILLINOIS
THE FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE
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
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
108 DECISIVE DATES
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
ILLINOIS A COUNTY OF VIRGINIA 109
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
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.
GEN. ARTHUR ST. CLA1R.
THE INDIANA TERRITORY 111
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
112 DECISIVE DATES
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-
!S BU'ICINC OCCUPIES THE SI^E OF Q
n^r" J EXTEND!:
THE SUGGESTION OF THE CH C,:C H:STD
SOCIETY THiS TABLET WAS ERtCTZC BY
Courtesy of Chicago Historical Society
FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE (TABLET)
THE TERRITORY OF ILLINOIS 113
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
114 DECISIVE DATES
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.
FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE 115
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 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
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
116 DECISIVE DATES
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
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.
MONUMENT TO COMMEMORATE THE FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE
FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE 117
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
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
MAP SHOWING EXTENSION OF NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF ILLINOIS
DATE IV. 1818
EXTENSION OF NORTHERN BOUNDARY.
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
122 DECISIVE DATES
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.
EXTENSION OF NORTHERN BOUNDARY 123
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
124 DECISIVE DATES
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.
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.
128 DECISIVE DATES
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.
PIONEER LIFE 129
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.
130 DECISIVE DATES
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-
PIONEER LIFE 131
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
132 DECISIVE DATES
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
PIONEER LIFE 133
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
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
Page 128 * See Hist. LaSalle County.
DATE 5. 1824
DEFEAT OF CONVENTION TO AMEND
Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society.
GOV. EDWARD COLES.
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
138 DECISIVE 'DATES
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
DEFEAT OF CONVENTION 139
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
140 DECISIVE DATES
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
DEFEAT OF CONVENTION 141
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
*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-
142 DECISIVE DATES
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.
DEFEAT OF CONVENTION 143
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.
144 DECISIVE DATES
Beside this he made untiring effort and visited
every county in the state.
Thus ended the effort to make Illinois a
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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.
BLACK HAWK WAR
ANTI-SLAVERY INFLUENCES IN ILLINOIS
Courtesy of the Illinois Historical Society.
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
148 DECISIVE DATES
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.
BLACK HAWK WAR 149
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
150 DECISIVE DATES
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-
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
Again, the southern part of Illinois was set-
tled almost exclusively by Virginia, Kentucky,
154 DECISIVE DATES
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
taken in 1858
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 155
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
156 DECISIVE DATES
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.
GEN. JOHN M. PALMER.
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 157
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-
158 DECISIVE DATES
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.
GOV. WM. H. BISSELL.
FIRST REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS.
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 159
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-
160 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS
taken in 1858
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 161
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
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
162 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
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
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 163
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
164 DECISIVE DATES
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.
LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES 165
Surely 1858, the year in which the " Freeport
Heresy " was voiced, is a decisive date in the
history of Illinois and of the nation.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS.
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 COMMERCIAL ERA
THE COMMERCIAL ERA
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-
170 DECISIVE DATES
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.
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
174 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
SHADRACH BOND 175
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,
176 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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.
178 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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-
EDWARD COLES 179
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-
180 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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
EDWARD COLES 181
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),
182 GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
184 NINIAN EDWARDS
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
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
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 185
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.
186 NINIAN EDWARDS
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-
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 187
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.
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 189
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.
190 JOHN REYNOLDS
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
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 191
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
Page 188 * See page 147.
Page 19 * See page 147.
WILLIAM LEE D. EWING, NOVEMBER 3, 1834-
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
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 193
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.
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 195
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
196 JOSEPH DUNCAN
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
198 THOMAS CARLIN
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
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS 201
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
202 THOMAS FORD
Alexander) counties, were created and given
their present boundaries during Gov. Ford's
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
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
204 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
AUGUSTUS C. FRENCH 205
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
JOEL A. MATTESON 207
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-
208 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
Page 207 *See page 155.
fBy a suit in the Sangamon circuit court the
state recovered the principal and all the interest
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
210 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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-
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
WILLIAM H. BISSELL 211
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
212 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
unorganized territory which had been attached
to Vermilion. Ford County was the last county
to be formed.
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
Page 2 10 *See page 157.
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
214 GOVERNORS OFTILLINOIS
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
216 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
RICHARD YATES 217
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
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-
In 1863, Gov. Yates astonished the Demo-
crats by proroguing their Legislature. This
body after a recess met June 2, and began
218 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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
220 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
RICHARD J. OGLESBY 221
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,
222 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
224 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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
JOHN M. PALMER 225
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,
226 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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-
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
NOTES AND EXPLANATIONS
*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,
JOHN L. BEVERIDGE 229
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.
SHELBY M. CULLOM 231
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.
JOHN MARSHALL HAMILTON became
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-
234 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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,
JOSEPH W. FIFER 237
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.
238 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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
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
240 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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.
242 GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
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
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,
JOHN R. TANNER 243
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
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
RICHARD YATES 245
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
Other legislative acts during his adminis-
trations have been as follows :
CHAS. S. DENEEN 247
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.
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-
Armstrong, Perry A.
The Piasa or the Devil among the Indians.
Morris, 111., 1887.
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.
252 DECISIVE DATES
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.
Discovery and Conquest of the Northwest.
Wheaton, Illinois, 1879.
Boyd, C. E.
The County of Illinois. Am. Hist. Review, Vol.
4, No. 4, 1899.
The Early History of Illinois. Chicago, 1884.
Abraham Lincoln and the Downfall of Slavery.
New York, G. P. Putnam Sons, 1894.
History of Illinois. New York, 1884.
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.
The Mounds of the Mississippi Valley. Ken.
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.
Life and Adventures of Black Hawk.
Dunn, J. P.
Father Gibault. Trans, of the 111. State Hist.
254 DECISIVE DATES
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.
History of English Settlements in Edwards
County, Illinois. Chicago Hist. Society Col-
lections, Vol. 1, 1883.
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.
Pioneers of Illinois. Chicago, 1882.
Memories of Shaubena. Chicago, 1878.
Illinois Historical and Statistical. 2 Vols. Chi-
Nicolay, John G.
A Short Life of Lincoln. New York, 1902.
Nicolay, John G. and Hay.
Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works. New
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.
256 DECISIVE DATES
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.
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.
Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents. Vols.
59-60. Cleveland, O., 1896-1901.
Stories of Indiana. Chicago, 1898.
Alice of Old Vincennes. Chicago.
Illinois and Louisiana under French Rule. Cm.,
Fort de Chartres. Pub. No. 8, Illi. State Hist.
Narrative and Critical History of America. Bos-
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
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.
262 DECISIVE DATES
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
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
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
Charleston, Lincoln-Douglas fourth debate, 162.
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;
264 DECISIVE DATES
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
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.
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.
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;
266 DECISIVE DATES
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.
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.
268 DECISIVE DATES
Jesuit, led into wilderness, 15; Marquette, a devout, zeal-
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-
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.
La Salle, claims discovery, 35; discovered coal, 129; life
a tradedy, 44; untimely death influenced fate of New
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
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,
270 DECISIVE DATES
McLean County (see county).
McKendree College, incorporated, 195.
Menard, Rev. Father, established mission on Lake Superior,
Menard, Pierre, first Lieutenant-Governor, 174; residence,
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
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.
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.
272 DECISIVE DATES
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.
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;
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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. - 7 -
276 DECISIVE DATES
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-
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.