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Full text of "Glimpses of Prairie du Rocher, its history from 1722 to 1942 intimately linked with that of Randolph County and of the state of Illinois"

977 39Z 
G4-39 



'^^UECHLER PRINTIMG Q-^. 
Rnrf.l^^ OF PRAIRit Du 




9T7.39E 

(54-99 



Oiltmpggg of 



Its Past and Present History 
1722-1942 



With Illustrations 



Published B>' 

BUECHLER PRIKTIXP CO. 

332 Vv''est Main S-:reet 

Belleville, Illirxis 



o 

y 



GLIMPSES of PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



Its History From 1722 to 1942 Intimately 

Linked With That of Randolph County 

and of the State of Illinois 



\^'r\nen and Compiled, bv an Editorial flnd Feature 'Writer 

Published by the Buechler Printing Co., i32 West Main St., Beliei'ille, 111. 

January, 1942 




CourteFv F^tleral Reserv 



,4^ 



AERIAL VIEW OF FORT DE CHARTRES STATE PARK, RANDOLPH COUNTY, ILLINOIS 

The Fort, seat of civil and military government in the Illinois Country for half a centur>', was first 
completed in 1720. In 1753-56 it was rebuilt of stone and became one of the strongest forts in North 
America. Fort de Chartres was occupied by a French garrison until 1765. It was the seat of the 
British Government in the Illinois Country until 1722. The site was made a State Park in 191,". 



- -^^ 



GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 



ITS EARLY BEGINNINGS :— Just as the history of 
IlHnois has been a part of the history of the nation, 
so has been the history of Prairie du Rocher, one 
of the earhest settlements of the State of IlHnois. 

Peoria, long known as Pimitoui was established in 1691. 
Cahokia in 1699, Kaskaskia in 170.^, Prairie du Rocher in 
1722. To keep the lines between Canada and Louisiana 
open, to protect the scattered settlements along the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, forts were built, one of the most preten- 
tious being that of Fort de Chartres in 1720, and two 
years later, in 1722, the first rude cabins of the little ham- 
let to be known as Prairie du Rocher were erected on its 



building of the fort, commandant of the Illinois country. 
The fort was named for the Due de Chartres, son of 
the Regent of France. 

Prairie du Rocher received its name from the rock 
bluifs at the bottom of which the little village was located, 
and where it is today so beautifully situated. 

Fort de Chartres was barely done when there arrived 
at the village of St. Anne, which was the mother village 
of Prairie du Rocher, a Frenchman, Phillipe Francois 
Renault, a representative of the Company of the West, 
to engage in mining and prospecting operations. He had 
left France in the Spring of 1719, with two hundred 




Hist, 



Br}cke\ Home at Prairie du Roclier 



We picture one of the early cabins in this miners, laborers, and a full complement of mining uten- 



present site, 
publication. 

The town was founded by Jean Theresa Langlois, a 
nephew of Pierre Boisbriant who arrived from France in 
December, 1718, and started the erection of a fort which 
was called Fort de Chartres, and which was completed 
in 1720. It was built of logs, and was considered very 
excellent for defense purposes. It served the Illinois 
Country- for a half century. In 17i.V56, it v.as rebuilt 
of stone and became one of the strongest forts in North 
America. Fort de Chartres was occupied by a French 
garrison until 1765. It was the first seat of British Gov- 
ernment in the Illinois Country until 1772. The site 
was made a State Park in 191?. 

Pierre Dugue de Boisbriant was, at the time of the 



sils. 

On the way to the Province of Louisiana he bought, in 
St. Domingo, five hundred negroes to work the mines 
and plantations he desired to establish. A large number 
of these slaves were brought to the Illinois district. 

From Fort de Chartres and Prairie du Rocher Renault 
sent his e.xpert miners and skilled workmen in ever>' di- 
rection hunting for precious metals. The bluffs skirting 
the American Bottoms on the East were diHgently 
searched for minerals, but nothing encouraging was found. 
In what is now Jackson, Randolph and St. Clair coun- 
ties the ancient traces of furnaces were visible as late as 
1850. Silver Creek, which runs south and through Mad- 
ison and St. Clair counties, was so named on the suppo- 
sition that the metal was plentiful along that stream. 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



THE DAWN OF PRAIRIE DU ROCHER:— It 
was during the year 1722 that the village of Prarie 
du Rocher was begun. It was then, as it is now, 
located near the bluffs, due East from Fort de Chartres, 
about three and a half miles. Early history tells us that 
some of the houses were built of stone, there being an 
abundance of that material in the bluffs just back of the 
village. To this village was then granted a very large 
Common which it holds to this day. This Common is 
about thre miles square and lies back of the village on the 
uplands. 

The first little village was probably like others of the 
frontier. It consisted of a straggling lot of crude cabins, 
built without reference to definitely platted streets, and 
constructed with no pretentions to architectural beauty. 
Its inhabitants were French, and Indians, and Negro. 

The industrial life of these people consisted of fishing 
and hunting, cultivation of the soil, some grist and flour 
milling, some lumber milling and tanning of hides. Mining 
was not then extensively engaged in. Coal was not dis- 
covered at so early a day, and the forests provided abund- 
ant fuel. 

The fishing, done with hickory pole and line, the hunt- 
ing with blunderbuss and bow and arrow was partly a 
pastime, but the table of the early French settlers of Prairie 
du Rocher was often liberally supplied from this source. 
The soil was fertile and yielded abundantly to only a very 
slight cultivation. Wheat was early grown and the grain 
was ground in a crude water mill, from which developed 
the giant Prairie du Rocher Mills of the present day. 

As early as 1722 the settlers had swine and black cat- 
tle. The cultivation of the grape was also begun at an 
early date, and the excellent vintage produced, graced 
many a festive table, when community and social life 
began to be more settled and secure. The Indians round 
about Prairie du Rocher raised poultry, spun the wool 
of the Buffalo and wove a cloth which they dyed black, 
yellow or red, from vegetable dyes extracted from ber- 
ries and bark. Later on woolen and silk cloth was brought 
from France and Canada, and these were woven and 
fashioned into the clothes of early days. 



SOCIAL LIFE OF EARLY SETTLERS— The so- 
cial life of the early settlers of Prairie du Rocher, as 
of other settlements, was one of pleasure. It is said 
they passed much of their time in singing, dancing and 
gaming. Long time ago they organized a society known 
ever since as La Guignolle, which annually in May had, 
and still has a grand celebration and song and dance fes- 
tival. At this festival a May ^ueen was chosen and 
crowned. During late years this custom has been ex- 
tended, and girls from other localities are sometimes 
chosen as MAT ^UEEJ{, a custom not to he commended. 
The LA GUIGl^lOLLE should he retained as a distinctive 
feature of the social life of Prairie du Rocher. 



HcmSES AND CATTLE INTRODUCED:— 
Horses and cattle were introduced in this vicinity 
very early. It is said the cattle came from Can- 
ada, while the horses were of Arabian strain and were 
brought from the Southwest by the Spaniards. It is not 
to be understood that the cultivation of the soil was of 
a very high order in 1772, and for some decades after. 
Utensils were crude. The plows were of wood and were 
usually drawn by oxen. The oxen were fastened to- 
gether by the horns, by means of a flat piece of wood, 
not as later on yokes as was customary with the English. 
Wagons were usually small two-wheeled carts, made by 
the early settlers themselves, usually with little iron, and 
were pulled' or pushed by hand, seldom by horses or oxen. 



EARLY CROPS AND FLOWERS:— The crops 
of the early French settlers were cultivated by 
themselves and by slaves or indentured servants. 
The settlers of Prairie du Rocher were much given to the 
cultivation of small fruits, and flowers. Cherry, apple, 
peach and plum trees grew in every yard. Large beds 
ot flowers were cultivated, and wild flowers were gathered 
in abundance to adorn homes and church. 

As late as 182'), when LaFayette visited Kaskaskia, 
Cahokia and St. Louis, the French inhabitants searched 
the woods for wild flowers and the banquet hall at Kas- 
kaskia and the Jarrott Mansion at Cahokia, where he and 
his entourage were feasted and dined, were literally filled 
with flowers. 



EARLY FRENCH GOVERNMENT:— In 1717 the 
Illinois country became a district of the French 
Province of Louisiana, and was governed by a 
major commandant, who, besides exercising military pow- 
ers supervised fur trading and agriculture. Other dis- 
trict officers were a doctor, a notary, and interpreter, 
and a judge who administered the coutume de Paris or 
common law of Paris. Each village maintained a militia 
company, the captain of which was an agent of the dis- 
trict judge and the major commandant. 

Although there was no legal basis for local govern- 
ment, that function was admirably performed by mar- 
guilliers (church wardens) elected by the parishioners of 
the Catholic churches of Cahokia, Kaskaskia and Prairie 
du Rocher. In addition to accounting of church property, 
the marguilliers passed acts concerning the time of har- 
vest, fence repair, and in short the general welfare of the 
village. 

We refer on another page to the election of judges 
for this district. One of these judges, in later days, was 
M. Andrew Bafbeau, who was present at the corner-stone 
laying of St. Joseph's Church, on July 19, 1858, when a 
new brick church was erected. 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



JEAN ST. THERESA LANGLOIS:— It has been 
diiScult to trace the line of descendants of this 
founder of Prairie du Rocher. In a document of 
December 30, 1740, we learn that the late Ettienne Lang- 
lois married Catherine Beaudrau, a widow, and had the 
following children: Marie Louise, who married Pierre 
Messenger; Marie Josefine, m. Louis Populus sieur de 
St. Photes; Toinette, m. Pierre Boucher de Monbrun 
sieur de Soudray; Francois, Louis, Girard, Perine and 
Auguste. These last five were minors. From other sources 
it is learned that Ettienne had two brothers, August who 
lived at Kaskaskia, and Louis. What relation the notary 
Pierre Langlois was to these is not apparent. He was 
married to Catherine Normand Labriere, and had two 
children, Pierre and Marie Louise. The latter signed a 



ference of anyone, whoever he may be. The property 
thus placed in her care included a tannery. A sign of 
the commercial life of Prairie du Rocher at so early a 
day in its history. 

Another reference is to Instructions to George Rogers 
Clark from Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, in 
which Clark is instructed to spare no pains to conciliate 
the affections of the French and Indians, as their friend- 
ship was of great importance to the struggling Union of 
States as then constituted. 

Another reference is to a strict command by Colonel 
Clark, prohibiting the sale of intoxicants to Indians or 
Negro slaves, or to lend or rent to any red or black 
slaves their house, buildings, and courts, after sunset or 




Beneath the Bhtjjs at Pitinie du Rocher 



marriage contract with Pierre Lefebhve of Vincennes, 
October 9, 1785. Pierre Langlois died in 1789, and his 
widow took oath to the inventory of the property Decem- 
ber 14, of that year. 



EARLY LEGAL TRANSACTIONS: ^- Reference 
is made in Kaskaskia records, as far back as 1778 
to legal transactions. One partains to the death 
of Antoine Cottinault, in which a scribe of the house of 
M. Barbeau, captain of militia and commanding the said 
place of Prairie du Rocher, sought the privilege of being 
appointed administrator, and to have a guardian chosen 
for the minor children. This petition was resented by 
the spirited widow, and its prayer was, though first 
granted, soon rescinded. She was rather permitted to 
act as guardian of her children, and to enjoy, and make 
use of her goods whatsoever they may be without inter- 



for the night, for the purpose of dancing, feasting or hold- 
ing nocturnal assemblies therein. 

Still another reference is found relative to an election 
at Prairie du Rocher held on May 17, 1779, at which 
election two magistrates for the district were chosen. The 
first judge chosen was M. Jean Baptiste Barbau, captain 
of the militia, and the second judge chosen was M. 
Antoine Duchafour de Louvieres, lieutenant of said 
militia. 



REMARKS 

The history of Prairie du Rocher is an interesting one, 
and worthy of extended research. It is hoped that this 
first attempt will stimulate further study and that at some 
time in the near future we may be able to publish a 
comprehensive review of this quaint and historic little 
city. 



6 



HISTORY AND GLIMI'SES OF PRAIRIE tlu ROCHER 



EARLY CENSUS:— The census of Prairie du Roclv 
er held in 1787 Hsted the names of 16 inhabitants 
who signed the register for themselves and male 
children, making a total of 62 registrants; and 6 in- 
habitants who did not personally sign the register, and 
their male children, making a total of 17, thus showing a 
grand total of 79 males, at that time. The present popula- 
tion, men, women and children as of the census of 1940, 
is 540. 

Another important document petitioned the Congress 
of the United States to grant to every male inhabitant 
of the village of Prairie du Rocher, without any discrim- 
ination of age, a tract of five hundred acres of land, 
gratis and for ever, in the vicinity of their holdings, and 
the village. This was a petition drawn up by Bartholo- 
mew Tardiveau, agent, on September 15, 1787. This pe- 
tition was not granted, but subsequently all titles and 
claims justly established were confirmed. 



PRAIRIE DU ROCHER IN 1941 :— It was a most 
beautiful day in July, 1941, that the writer rode 
with the publisher of this brief GLIMPSE of 
Prairie du Rocher from Belleville, Ilinois, to the little vil- 
lage. Past and through other historic villages, they drove 
and everywhere admired the beauty of the skies, the fair 
and fragrant air, the fertile fields and splendid homes, the 
hill-side scenery which stretched in every direction, up 
and down winding roadways, down to Prairie du Rocher. 

We did not pass the big spring which was the stopping 
place for the early travelers from Kaskaskia and Fort 
de Chartres to Cahokia. We traveled a different route, 
but equally as picturesque and enchanting. From a dist- 
ance, after getting into the bottom, the hills and bluffs 
presented as imposing a view as do the famed pallisades 
of the Hudson, or the beautiful dells of Wisconsin. And 
suddenly we descended a turn in the road and found 
ourselves in Prairie du Rocher. There it lay! Here 
live the descendants of the French of Fort de Chartres, 
who chose to stay rather than to follow St. Ange to St. 
Louis. Here is the typical French village, where all is 
sunshine and flowers, where love and piety prevail, where 
the very atmosphere seems inspiring with French accents 
of the past. Three miles due west lie the now rebuilt, 
once the ruins of the old fort. 

We spent some time in Prairie du Rocher, some pictures 
were taken to illustrate this story. Brief passages shall 
tell of our rambles adown its main street and its lanes. 
Here was still heard the chatter of the squirrel, the hoot 
of the owl, the murmur of the sylvan brook, the sighing 
of the wind in the trees, the crow of the canticleer of the 
morning, the neighing of the horse, the lowing of the cat- 
tle, the grunt of the pig, the barking of the dog. 

And in the towering woods the whole rapturous rush 
of wild life was unleashed by the magic of bright and 



gh.wing summer; there was heard the quail's welcome 
whistle; the thrush's silver lyric; the robin's possessive 
strut; and in the hidden pond was heard the splash of the 
fish or the sudden tumble of the bull frog. 

And above all was seen the rugged trust of almost pri- 
meval forest; and green hills melting into blue horizons 
in which silvery flecked and mountainous, billowing clouds 
were sailing calmly onward. 

Here was seen, this day, July 15, 1941 a typical Amer- 
ican village, hallowed to the memory, proud of the in- 
heritance of its first settlers, the French of old France 
and of Canada; the singers and dancers of La GuignoUe. 



HISTORY OF ST. ANNE AND ST. JOSEPH'S 
PARISH: — Wc have related how the village of 
Prairie du Rocher was founded. The history of 
its Catholic Church is coterminous with the foundation 
of the village. The first church was located at St. Anne 
Fort de Chartres, the name of the church being St. Anne. 
The parish register was opened in 1721 by two resident 
Jesuit priests, Joseph Ignatius le Boullenger and de Kcre- 
ben. Soon after the founding of Prairie du Rocher a 
Chapel of Ease was erected and attached to the parish of 
St. Anne. This ch;ipcl was i adc use of for many de- 
cades, the church of St. Anne gradually falling into dis- 
use and decay. Parish records were kept however, and in 
1767 these records and the sacred vessels were brought 
from St. Anne's to St. Joseph's Chapel. The few in- 
habitants of St. Anne did not want this removal made, 
and instituted a civil suit for their return to St. Anne. 
The suit being tried before English justices was decided 
in favor of the inhabitants of St. Anne and the vessels 
and records were returned to the building near Fort de 
Chartres, which was not suitable for their care and 
preservation, however. They were later returned to 
Prairie du Rocher, where they remained. 



BUILDING OF FIRST CHURCH: In 1765, ac 
cording to the parish records, a church was built 
on the site of the present cemetery, consisting of 
upright logs, the building being 50x34 feet. The logs 
were set three feet in the ground on ends, and the spaces 
between the logs were chincked with small stone and 
mortar. In 1767 the records and sacred vessels were 
brought from St. Anne's to the Church at Prairie du 
Rocher, and these records are still in the possession of the 
pastor of the present St. Joseph's Church and have been 
objects of interest to many historically inclined visitors. 

St. Joseph's parish continued to grow and it was found 
in 1858 that a larger church was needed. Accordingly 
on July 19, 1858, the corner-stone of the present brick 
church was laid by Right Reverend Henry Damian 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



Juncker, D.D., Bishop of Alton, assisted by Rev. Father 
Nicholas Perrin, pastor of Kaskaskia and administrator 
of St, Joseph's parish. In the corner-stone was placed a 
document giving all the facts of the dedication, and noting 
that James Buchanan was president of the United States, 
and William Bissel governor of the state of Illinois. The 
corner-stone laying ceremony was held in the presence of 
M, Andrew Bar'beau, John and Ambrose Ker, and a large 
body of parishioners and visitors. 

When this church was built the parish owned two 
whole blocks of land, one occupied by the Church, parish 
house and a small frame building which was formerly the 
residence of the parish school teacher but is now, and up 
to July, 1941, was used as a home for the sisters teach- 



Dearworth and Mr. Howard Wilcox as teachers. There 
are forty-five pupils enrolled. Four Sisters of the Precious 
Blood Order, are employed in the grade school. The num- 
ber of pupils in grade school in 1940 exceeded 12^. 

Mr. Dearworth, much concerned in the welfare of our 
boys, interested them in scouting and the boys became 
enthusiastic. In consequence of Mr. Dearworth's zeal in 
the matter, St. Joseph's Congregation received a Charter 
of the Boy Scouts of America and Troop No. 39 — Prairie 
du Rocher, was formed. 

In 1910 new pews and a communion railing were in' 
stalled in the church; in 1912 the steam heating plant was 
placed, and numerous improvements were made to the 
church. In 1925 the transcept of the sanctuary was built, 
and other extensive improvements were made. 




St. Joseph's Church from a 

ing in the parochial school. (Soon they will occupy the 
remodeled rectory, and the pastor. Rev. Raymond L. Har- 
baugh, will occupy a fine modern parish house, now being 
erected.) 

The second block contains the parish school and play- 
grounds.The first school building was built in the sixties 
of the ninetenth century, it being a small one-story frame 
building which is still used as an auxiliary school. An 
addition was built to it during 1931. The present brick 
school was built in 1885-86 at a cost of $5,000. In 1893 
it was considerably damaged by a tornado, which took 
off the roof, the amount of damage being $1,800. 

With the close of school in June 1935, Prof. P. G. 
Ehresmann rounded out thirty-five successive and suc- 
cessful years as teacher and principal of our school. Dur- 
ing these thirty-five years, Prof. Ehresmann was also or- 
ganist of St. Joseph's Church. He retired as teacher and 
organist with complete satisfaction of duty well per- 
formed and assured of the esteem of all the people. 

In September one year was added to the school curricu- 
lum, making it a three-year high school with Mr. Harry 



distance — Prairie du Rocher 

GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATION: — During 
the beautful month of June, 1939, the parish and 
village celebrated in festive manner the Golden 
Jubilee of the Very Rev. Wm. 'Van Delft, Dean. It 
was an ocasion of great rejoicing and was made festive 
by splendid religious ceremonials, and secular observance. 
As a mark of the esteem in which the venerable pastor 
was held, a new Main Altar and a new organ were 
erected, new Stations of the Cross were placed and the 
interior of the church was frescoed. 



BEAUTIFIED CEMETERY:— The present ceme- 
tery is the original one first platted when the first 
church was built in Prairie du Rocher, it also being 
the site of the first church. It was the custom of the 
early days among the French to bury the dead around 
the church. About the year 1935 all graves were levelled 
and foot stones were buried, so that today this ancient 
burial ground presents a beautiful sight with its smooth 
green lawn and a contrast of varied colored markers. 



HISTORY AND (JLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



PARISH REGISTERS:— The parish registers of 
St. Joseph's begins with the abandonment of St. 
Anne du Fort de Chartres in 1765, and the records 
preceding are those of St. Anne, now in possession of St. 
Joseph's, and in which also entries of St. Joseph's of 
Praine du Rocher and of Our Lady of the Visitation of 
St. Phihppe were made previous to 1765. 



BIOGRAPHY OF VERY REVEREND WILLIAM 
VAN DELFT— Wilham Van Delft, was born at 
St. Louis on February 26, 1865, a son of John 
and Anna Margaret (Schluetter) Van Delft. While a 
child the family moved to New Douglas, Illinois, from 
whence the subject of this sketch went to college at 
Teutopolis, 111., and later entered the seminary at St. 
Meinrad, Indiana, where he finished his preparation for 
the priesthood. 

On June 15, 1889, he was ordained a priest at the 
Cathedral at Belleville and said his first mass at St. Bom- 
face Catholic Church at Edwardsville on June 20, 1889. 

His first assignment was as pastor at Mound City, 111., 
from which point he had charge of missions over Pulaski, 
Johnson, Pope and Massac counties. He remained at 
Mound City from 1889 to 1900, when he was appointed 
pastor at Sparta, with a mission at St. Leo's, near Modoc, 
taking care of that mission until the present church was 
built at Walsh, when he was relieved of the mission at 
St. Leo's and assigned the mission at Walsh. He re- 
mained at Sparta from 1900 to l9ll. 

Father Van Delft took charge of St. Joseph's Church at 
Prairie du Rocher, on February 28, 1911, and in 1914 
celebrated his silver jubilee as a priest here. On January 
12, 1927, he was appointed a Dean, and on June 20, 1939, 
celebrated his fiftieth anniversary as a priest. 

During his pastorate he made many improvements in 
the church, the most extensive in 1925, when the church 
was re-dedicated. The school building has been improved 
and modernized, the cemetery improved, and in the Jubilee 
year of the Diocese of Belleville, other improvements have 
been made to the interior of the church under the super- 
vision of the Very Rev. William Van Delft, to whom at 
that time a booklet was dedicated, for his long and faith- 
ful service in the Service of The Lord. 

Among the many clergymen of St. Joseph's Parish who 
deserve mention we wish only to add that of Rev. John 
Timon, CM., who resided in Prairie du Rocher for a short 
time prior to being consecrated Bishop of Buffalo Diocese. 
Rev. Henry F. Frohboese was pastor from 1864 to 1876; 
Rev. Charles Krewet from 1876 to 1902; Rev. Charles 
Eschmann from 1902 to 1911. Of these last mentioned, 
two we shall write more extensively in a history of Wa- 
terloo which we contemplate compiling and publishing. 

It was the singular honor for St. Joseph's Parish to 
present the first Holy Communion class, to His Excellency 



Bishop Henry J. Aithoff, D. D., shortly after he had been 
elevated to the episcopal sec of Belleville Diocese. 

THE PRESENT PASTOR:— The present zealous and 
vigorous pastor of this parish is the Rev. Raymond Har- 
baugh, who came to Praine du Rocher during the year 
iy.i9. Under his administration the parish has continued 
Its progress, and the many improvements inaugurated by 
Rev. Harbaugh will redound to his credit, and that of the 
parish in years to come. Rev. Harbaugh came to this 
little city from historic old Shawneetown, where he was 
pastor of Immaculate Conception Church for a number 
of years. 

TWO HISTORIC EVENTS:— Two hundred and 
twenty years ago the village of Prairie du Rocher was 
founded. That was an historic event, worthy of some 
record. Two hundred and twenty years ago a book was 
written, and published, which has been a first-seller ever 
since, and has been re-published countless times, and read 
by tens of milions. Its title is known throughout all the 
world, it is "Robinson Crusoe." It was written by 
Daniel Defoe, an Englishman, who founded his story 
upon the experiences of Alexander Selkirk, a castaway on 
the lonely island of Juan Fernandez. We link these two 
historic events, in this publication, because of the striking 
fact that both were born in the same year. 

DESCRIPTIVE MATTER 

The present Civic Government of Prairie du Rocher is 
lodged in a mayor and several aldennan. It consists of 
the following gentlemen who are serving the community 
with distinction and with considerable prcgressiveness : 
Dr. John T. Finley, mayor: Elmer A. Laurent, trustee and 
acting mayor; Leo. Laurent, trustee; Wclda Laurent, 
trustee; Emile J. Dufrenne, trustee; Ralph Melliere, 
trustee. 

Its Singing Society operates under the name "Fort 
Chartres La Guillonnee Society," although various spell- 
ings have been applied to it in publications of the past. 
An authority on French pronunciation tells us that this 
name should be pronounced La Giu Annee, and he was 
considerably put out when we gave it a different pronun- 
ciation. However the fact remains that this singing so' 
ciety contributed considerably to a great festive orcasion, 
when on Sunday, July 14, 1940, the Annual Fete com- 
memorating the Fall of the Bastille was celebrated. The 
music to the song was provided by Mrs. Anne Andre- 
Clark, now residing at Santa Monica, California; she was 
born in the Brickey house, which we picture, long time 
ago. Before her second marriage to Mr. Clark she was 
Mrs. Charles P. Johnson, who was at one time Governor 
of Missouri, and was noted as a great criminal lawyer. 
Captain N. C. Duclos is president of the society, and 
Leo F. Duclos is its vice-president. This society also took 
a very active part in enlivening the dedicatory services of 
the now restored Cahokia Court house, on May 30, 1940. 

MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS: — A 
number of manufacturing concerns may said to still exist 
in Prairie du Rocher. Among these is the large elevator. 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIK du ROCHER 



operated under the ownership of the Cole Milling Co., 
of Chester, with immense storage capacity. The Colum- 
bia Farmers' Co-Operative Grain Company also operates 
a mill and elevator in this city. One of the principal in- 
dustries is that ot the Columbia Quarry Company, which 
operates extensive quarries in the bluffs at Prairie du 
Rocher, where building stone, and road material arc pro- 
duced in large quantities. Still another establishment 
which may be classed also as a manufacturing establish- 
ment IS the lumber yard prominently situated at the en- 
trance to the village, and several saw-mills which manu- 
facture railroad tics, and staves. 



MERCANTILE ESTABLISHMENTS :—In the ad- 
vertising pages of this book the names of several mer- 
cantile establishments will be found displayed. Among 
these prominently to be mentioned because of the long 
years of continuous service to the community is the Con- 
nors' Department store, situated on the main street cf 
the village; the Brickey 6? Co., store, which carries an 



beautiful still when rich harvests are being gathered. 
In brief the farming district of Prairie du Rocher is one 
of the best to be found in all of Southern Illinois, known 
for fertility of soil, and for the diligence and progressive- 
ncss of its farmers. 

OUR FRIENDS AND ADVERTISERS:— 'Whilst 
the issuing of this booklet on Prairie du Rocher has not 
been primarily a money-making scheme, hut intensively 
a historic development, the publisher and editor take great 
pleasure in acknowledging the valuable aid thus extended 
in making possible the publication in its present form. 

THE WINNING OF CROSBY'S OPERA HOUSE: 
- In the year lS6i, shortly after the close of the Civil 
War, there was built in Chicago a theatre building which 
in si;e and magnificence became famed throughout the 
Midwest. It was the Crosby Opera House, and its ini- 
tial cost was above $600,000.00. Six hundred thousand 
dollars. But this enterprise was not financially successful, 
and two year later it was raffled on lottery tickets. Among 
the purchasers of these lottery tickets was a native of 




Armin Palmitr Tyjiical Frenih Home at Prairic: du RoLher 



cxtensive line of goods; the Allard's store v^'hich in point 
of time and service is to be reckoned among the leading 
mercantile establishments. Other establishments of similar 
character are the Bielefeld Garage, which conducts a 
comprehensive service in its line, and the Berr>''s Market, 
which lately has absorbed the Siegfried Bros, store. Wc 
must not forget to mention in this hook the splendid eating 
establishments conducted by and known as the Berr>''s 
Cafe, as also Lou's Tavern, where an appetizing meal 
also is served. 

FARMING DISTRICT:— We have already referred 
to the early farming conducted by the early settlers in this 
vicinity. It spreads all around Prairie du Rocher. in the 
valleys, on the hillsides, on the table-lands "round about. 
Rich in soil fertility the country presents a most beautiful 
appearance. Wheat, oats, barley, corn, soy-beans, clover 
and alfalfa are grown in abundance. Dair>- farming and 
poultr>' raising are extensively indulged in, and many 
orchards of apples, peaches and pears are to be seen, the 
trees of which are beautiful in blossoming time, and more 



Prairie du Rocher. William Lee, who was the lucky 
winner. He sold the building and ground for the sum 
said to have been in excess of a quarter million dollars. 
This huge sum was invested in enterprises of diversified 
nature, among them the development of the Plate-glass 
industry' of Crystal City, and Festus, Missouri; and the 
speculative ventures in the Silver and Gold Mines of 
Colorado, as also in Lead and Silver Mines of Missouri. 

THE BRICKEY HOMESTEAD :— One of the preten- 
tious homes of Prairie du Rocher is the old Brickey 
homestead. It lies on the main street leading through the 
village, and its well-kept lawns and wide porches bespeak 
the true hospitality which once was there, so lavishly be- 
stowed. The mansion is a wood structure, and its chief 
charm lies in the fact that, although no longer the resi- 
dence of the Brickey family, it has ever been kept under 
their proprietorship, and has been supervised by compe- 
tent caretakers. The rooms of this old mansion are still 
filled with many articles of interest. We show a picture 
of the exterior in this issue. 



HISTORY AND (iLlMPSKS OF I'KAIRIK du KOCHER 



THE ARSON PALMIER HOUSE:— One of the old- 
est houses in Prairie du Rocher, this homo seemd worthy 
of picturi;ation. We class it among the typically French 
period buildings. Its wide porch runs the entire length 
of the house and invites to comfort and rest. The inner 
rooms bespeak the true culture and the religious spirit 
of its inhabitants, as does the entire village, up to the 
present. We found in this old home a number of pic- 
tures, depicting religious scenes, one in particular which 
impressed us. It was a "First Holy Communion" picture. 
The inscription read: "Alice Alicia Louvier, First Holy 
Communion, 30th day of April, 1882," and the signature 
was that of Reverend Charles Krcwet, who for many 
years administered to the parish. 



of old Prairie du Rocher on the night of a certain day in 
January, 1779. 

OBSERVATIONS ON THE CLIMATE IN 1699.^ 
Record is made of a letter in which Reverend Julien 
Bineteau, S.J., writes of the climate of the Illinois coun- 
try. "I am to return to the Illinois of Tamaroa in the 
Spring. There is a great difference between this climate 
and that of Quebec, where the cold lasts a long time, and 
a great quantity of snow falls; whereas here, as a rule the 
snow remains but a very short time. We have hardly 
telt the cold during the whole of this month of January. 
Vines climb all around the trees, up to their tops; the 
grapes are wild, and are not nearly as good as those of 
France. There are an indefinite number of nut and plum 




T 



vpua 



I Tumbstoi 



St. Patncl{'s Cemetery, Rui: 



nil 



A FESTIVE DAY IN 1779:— On a certain day m 
January, 1779, (the exact date cannot now be ascertained) 
the little village of Prairie du Rocher was all aglow with 
excitement. A party of soldiers had arrived. It was a 
detachment under the command of Col. Rogers Clark, 
and they decided to spend the evening at the hospitable 
home of Captain Jean Baptiste Barbeau, (Barber). Col. 
Rogers Clark tells of this hospitable reception and the 
"bair that followed: "We went cheerflly to Prara De 
Ruch, 12 miles from Kaskaskia, war I intended to spend 
the Eavening at Captn Barbers." 

"The Gentlemen fe? Ladies immediately assembled at .i 
Ball ofr our Entertainment; we spent the fore part of vhe 
night very agreeably; but about 12 Oclock there was a 
very sudden change by an Express arriveing, enforming 
us that Governour Hammilton was within three miles of 
Kaskaskia with eight hundred Men, and was determined 
to attack the Fort that night. ..." 

Col. Clark at once ordered his horses saddled in order, 
if possible, to get into the Fort before the attack could 

be made Clark's brave conduct inspired a number 

of young men of Prairie du Rocher to saddle their horses 
and accompany their intrepid leader. But the great at- 
tack never occurred The fact, however, remains, that 
Col. Clark danced with some of the belles and mesdames 



trees of various kinds; also some small apples. We find 
here two kinds of fruit trees that are not known in 
France. They are assimines and piakimines. (Probably 
persimmons and wild crabapples.) Their fruit is good. 
We in this country go without all other delicious fruits 
of France. Game is plentiful, such as ducks, geese, bu- 
stards, swans, cranes and turkeys. Ox, bear and deer 
furnish the substantial meats that we eat in this game 
country. 



THE OLD FORT: — In an old book we find reference 
to the proposed building of Fort de Chartres. We picture 
the new fort in this issue. It read "The old village of 
Kaskaskia is regarded with reason as a very advantageous 
sitse for the stone-fort, which the Court orders built in 
the Illinois. Limestone, wood for construction, a river 
to harbor the boats, a view over the Mississippi about 
two leagues up and two leagues down, the rocky bluff 
which slopes very gently down to the Mississippi, a 
prairie adjoining said bluff, the Mississippi, too, which 
would be under protection of the fort, the Missouri, too, 
which empties into the river five leagues from here on 
the west side of the said river, and the Illinois river which 
mingles its water therewith eleven leagues from here on 
the west (east), all these considerations would seem to 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



insist on the necessity of huildini; the tort in question 
in this place, as is very much the talk now. In this ease 
the Seigneune of the Tamaroais would soon be established 
from one end to the other." 

This was ivrnten on April 12, 17?"!, cnui is found m the 
Laval Mss. 

AN IRISHMAN IN COMMAND:— Even during the 
French occupation of the Illlinois Territory, it was an 
Irishman who commanded the country, and he was vested 
with almost vice-regal power, in the name of King Louis 
of France. He was known as Chevalier Charles Mac 
Carthy. He was born in Ireland in 1706 and was there 
known as "Mac Carty Mac Taig," which means literally, 
"Mac Carthy, the son of Taig or Thaddeus." He was 



NOTE: 


- The 


illustrations 


n 


this booklet 


were 


made from 


photo 


graphs taken 


by 


Carlos 


Piag 


et, of 


the Piaget 


Studios, 3800 West 


Pine Street 


St. 


Louis, 


Missouri. 
















Old Hotel m Ka^kas\ia. Where Lafayette Was Entertained In 182i 



an officer in the French Army, and m 17 Jl was sent 
to Louisiana in charge of a detachment of engineers. On 
the 20th of August, 1751, Mac Carthy sailed from New 
Orleans with a small military force to take command of 
and rebuild Fort de Chartres. They arrived at Fort de 
Chatres on March 28, 1752, and from that time until 
1760 Chevalier Mac Carthy was in command of all the 
French troops in the Illinois country. When, under his 
direction. Fort de Chartres was rebuilt, it was regarded 
as the best fort in America. 



For Printing of All Kinds 

Large or Small 
WRITE OR PHONE 

BUECHLER PRINTING CO. 

FOR ESTIMATES 
^HONE 1 1 OS BELLEVILLE. ILL 



CONTENTS: 

THE DAWN OF PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 
SOCIAL LIFE OF EARLY SETTLERS 
HORSES AND CATTLE INTRODUCED 
EARLY CROPS AND FLOWERS 
EARLY FRENCH GOVERNMENT 
JEAN ST. THERESA LANGLOIS 
EARLY LEGAL TANSACTIONS 
EARLY CENSUS 
PRAIRIE DU ROCHER IN 1941 
DESCRIPTIVE MATTER 

Its Civic Government at Present 

Its Singing Society, La Guignolle 

Its Manufacturing Establishments 

Its Mercantile Establishments 

Its Farming District 

HISTORY OF ST. ANNE & ST. JOSEPH PARISHES 

Early Histor>' 
Golden Jubilee of Reverend Wm. Van Delft, Dean 

Brief Biography of Rev. Raymond L. Harbaugh 



U. OF ILL UB 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF I'RAIRIK du ROCHKR 



HISTORY REPEATS 

Like the Pioneers ot 
Picturesque, Historical 

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 

who successfully wrought from the wilderness the 
fertile lands surrounding the quaint old French City. 
A City set in a background of one of nature's finest 
panorama of beauty. 

A City whose happy atmosphere and friendly 
neighbors remain forever in the memory of all who 
visit or sojourn in Prairie du Rocher. 

YOUR CO-OP 

also IS pioneering a succssful Co-operative Agricul- 
tural Service to its hundreds of Members and Patrons. 

Let It Serve Ton! 

COLUMBIA FARMERS 
CO=OP GRAIN CO. 

Columbia and Prairie du Rocher, 
Illinois 



STATE BANK OF 
PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 



Long time ago the Edwardsville Bank sold stock to 
inhabitants of Prairie du Rocher and vicinity. 

Long time ago the State Bank of Prairie du Rocher 
was organized by private enterprise and initiative. 
It was established to serve this community and its 
farming territory. 

Its beginnings were humble, but substantial. Its 
growth continuous and successful. 

Today the Bank of Prairie du Rocher is a modern 
Institution. It serves an ever increasing clientel and 
serves them with promptness and friendliness. It is 
ready to serve you. 



STATE BANK OF 
PRAIRIE DU ROCHER 

Prairie du Rocher, Illinois 



P. Flannery & Son 

Dealers In 

Lime - Sand - Cement - Brick - Sewer Pipe 

Roofing Papers ' Plaster Boards, Etc. 

ReadyMixed Concrete 

Phones: East 7000 - Bridge 414^ 

21sT &? State Sts East St. Louis, III. 



F. M. BRICKEY & CO. 

General Merchandise 



Phone 76 



Prairie du Rocher, III. 



METZGER EQUIPMENT COMPANY 

McCormick'Deering Sales and Service — Washers - — Pumps — Repairs 
WATERLOO — RED BUD — VALMEYER 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSKS OF PRAIRIE du ROCHF.R 



We Buy. 
We Sell . 



MILK 



Waterloo 

Milk 

Co. 

Inc. 

Waterloo, Illinois 



WILLIAM A. VOSS 

A £^ G Store 

Groceries - Meats - Vegetables 
Patent Medicines 

Cash Buyer of Cream and Country Produce 

Phone 25 Red Bud, III. 



Fred Husemann Bottling Works 

Manufacturer of 

Hl-GRADE SODAS 

Red Bud, Illinois 



FRANKLIN VARIETY 
STORE 

Groceries - Meats - Vegetables 
Patent Medecines 

• 

Prairie du Rocher, III. 



Optical GcKids - Photo Supplies - Art Materials 
Moving Picture Machines 

610 Olive St., St. Louis ^"18 N. Gr.\nd Blvd. 



BIELEFELD OARAGE 

^'It's Another Big Tear for Pontiac' 

Telephone 64 

• 

W. C. Bielefeld 
Prairie du Rocher, III. 



BERRY'S RESTAURANT 

"A Spleyidid Place to Eat" 

Dinners, Lunches and 
Refreshments Served 



Prairie du Rocher, III. 



HISTORY AND GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE du ROCHER 



Compliments of 

Midland Plumbing 
and Supply Co. 

East St. Louis, III. 



SCHRADER SHOPS 

Lcidies and Childrcyi's Readyto-Wear 
Red Bud, Illinois 



SILVER FOX 

Always Runs Best 




MONROE MILLINQ CO. 

Waterloo, Illinois 



LOU'S TAVERN 

Easy to Find . . . Hard to Leave 
Prairie du Rocher, III. 



BAECHLE CLEANING CO. 

BELLEVILLE No. 1 CLEANER 
PHONE 540 

216 East Main St. Belleville. 111. 



TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF 
CONTINUOUS PROGRESS 



Tom omal 



m I'Vl^" The Business ut 



STRECK BROS. 

Has been one of continuous growth and expansion. 
Organised in 191 "i this firm is today one of the 
finest and most economically arranged 

MEAT PACKERS PLANTS 
in this vicinity 
Selected Home-Dressed 
BEEF — VEAL — PORK — LAMB 
Are processed in this modern plant and a com- 
plete line of finest quality PURE MEAT, SAU- 
SAGES, HAMS, BACON and LARD are man- 
ufactured and delivered daily to all progressive 
Retail Markets in Belleville and more than 'lO 
surrounding towns within a radius of sixty miles 
from Belleville. 

STRECK BROS. 

Are also manufacuturers of NONE-BETTER 
Brand Meat Scrap and Tankage. These products 
are sold hy all dealers in this vicinity, 

STRECK BROS. 

BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS 




A. H. 

HONER 

Cemetery 
Memorials 



^^29 So. Illinois St. 
Belleville, Ilinois 

PHONE 2:6^? 



W. C. Bahiloi 


EAST 4471 


Barth's 


Upholstery Shoppe 


Upholstering 


■ Slip Covers - Rehnishing and 




Repairing 


2211 State Street 


EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL. 



GERO LD 

Storage and Moving Service Since 1894 

Interstate Moving COAST to COAST 

TENTH AND GATY AVENUE 
PHONE: East 700 EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL. 



Felicitation Prairie du Rocher! 

Bonheur from one old friend 
to another. 



\7'OUR HISTORY and ours is so closely 
-*- linked. The trees we felled m 1839 — 
you to clear the land and build homes . . . 
we to build our first mill. Together we've 
seen the tides of fortune rise and fall since 
those trying early days. Today we both 
stand as monuments to the glorious spirit 
of a hardy past. 

To serve your community an important 
branch of our mill, a grain elevator, is in 
Prairie du Rocher. There the farmers, many 
who till the fields of their fathers, may bring 
their golden wheat . . .the kind of wheat that 
makes OMEGA Flour/The South's Finest." 
Felicitation Prairie du Rocher! May we 
remain friends forever. 



H. C. COLE MILLING CO. 



Chester, Illinois 



A 

lltBtorir 

Jtrm 



w^ 




W. H. CONNER & CO. 



In Business Over 
92 Years 



at 



PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, 
ILLINOIS 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOISURBANA 

977 392G499 C001 

GLIMPSES OF PRAIRIE OU ROCHER BELLEVILL 



3 0112 025400026