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Full text of "A complete history of Illinois from 1673 to 1873 : embracing the physical features of the country, its early explorations, aboriginal inhabitants, French and British occupation, conquest by Virginia, territorial condition, and the subsequent civil, military and political events of the state"

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1673 TO 1873; 












Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1873, by 


In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 




I. GEOLOGY OF ILLINOIS ............................................................. 1 


Origin of the Prairies; Table of Temperature and Rainfall .................... 14 

III. ILLINOIS ANTIQUITIES; THE MOUND BUILDERS .......................... 33 


Algonquins and Iroquois; Illinois Confederacy; Sacs and Foxes; Kickapoos; 
Mascoutins; Plankishaws; Potto watamies; Art of Hunting; General Coun 
cils; Constitution of the Indian Family; Methods of Sepulture; Belief 
in a Future State; Why the Red Race should give way to the White.... 30 


UP TO 1673 The French on the St. Lawrence; LaSalle Discovers the Ohio 53 

VI. EXPLORATIONS BY JOLIET AND MARQUETTE 1673-1675 .................. 59 


The Griffin; Fort Creve Coeur ....... ............................. 67 



His Indian Colony on the Illinois; Discovers the Mouth of the Mississippi and 
takes possession of all the Country in the name of the King of France; 
Builds Fort St . Louis on Starved Rock ; His Colony in Texas 91 


The Government a Theocracy; Operations of Crozat 108 

173 ? 


John Law His Banking Operations; The Mississippi Scheme; Founding of 
New Orleans; Mining for the Precious Metals in Illinois; The Spaniards via 
Santa Fe seek the Conquest of Illinois; They are met and overwhelmed by 
theMissouris; Fort Chartres built; Extermination of the Natchez; Opera 
tions of the Company of the West in Illinois 115 

War with the Chickasaws; Death of Gov. D Artaguette; Commerce of Illi 
nois; Manners and customs of the French; Common Field; Common; Inter 
course with the Indians; Avocation and Costume of the People; Mode of 
Administering the Law; Operations of the Ohio Company ; Fort DuQuesne ; 
M. DeVilliers of Fort Chartres defeats the Virginians at the Great Meadows; 
War between the French and English Colonists 121 




Destruction of the British Posts and Settlements 137 


His Submission and Death 150 


Partial exodus of the French ; Their dislike of English Law, and the restoration 
of their own by the Quebec Bill; Land Grants by British Commandants; 
Curious Indian Deeds ; Condition of the Settlements in 1765, by Capt. Pitman ; 
Brady s and Meillets s Expeditions to the St. Joseph in 1777-1778 162 



Treaties with the Indians; Vincennes falls into the hands of the English and 
is recaptured by Clark , 184 


The French take the Oath of Allegiance; Illniois County; American Immi 
grants; LaBalme s Expedition; The Cession of the Country and Delays 
Incident thereto; No Regular Courts of Law; Curious Land Speculation. 202 

Ordinance of 1787; Organization of St. Clair County ; Bar of Illinois in 1790; Im 
poverished condition of the French; Indian Hostilities, 1783 to 1795; Randolph 
County ; American Immigration; Sickness; Territorial Assembly at Cincin 
nati ; Notable Women of OlSenTime ; Witchcraft in Illinois 210 


Its Organization; Extinguishment of Indian Titles to Lands; Gov- Harrison s 
Facility in this; Land Speculations and Frauds on Improvement Rights and 
Headrights; Meeting of the Legislature at Vincennes in 1805; Statutes of 
1807 232 


Opposition to division; Jesse B. Thomas; Gov. Edwards; Nathaniel Pope; Ter 
ritorial Federal Judges; The Governor avoids the meshes of the Separa- 
tionists and Anti-Seperationists; Condition and Population of the Territory. 241 

The Conntry put in a State of Defence by the organization of Ranging Com 
panies and the building of Block Houses and Stockade Forts; Gov. Edwards 
sends an envoy to Gomo s Village; Battle of Tippecanoe; Indian Council at 
Cohokia 247 



Gov. Edwards s Military Campaign to Peoria Lake; Gen. Hopkins with 2,000 
Mounted Kentucky Riflemen marches over the prairies of Illinois; His force 
Mutinies and marches back; Capt. Craig burns Peoria and takes all its inhabi 
tants prisoners; Second Expedition to Peoria Lake; Indian Murders; Illinois 
and Missouri send two expeditions up the Missouri in 1814: Their Battles and 
Disasters 268 

Meeting of the Legislature; The Members: Laws: Conflicts between the Legis 
lature and Judiciary; Curious Acts; Territorial Banks; Commerce; First 
Steamboats; Pursuits of the People 283 



Administration of Gov- Bond; Our Northern Boundary; First Constitutional 
Convention and something of the instrument framed ; Gov. Bond ; Lieut.-Gov. 
Menard; Meeting of the Legislature and election of State Officers; First 
Supreme Court ; Hard Times and First State. Bank; Organization of Courts. 295 


A resume of Slavery in Illinois from its earliest date; Indentured Slaves 
Black Laws; Life and Character of Gov. Coles; The effort to make Illinois a 
SlaveState in 1824... 309 


Legislative Reorganization of the Judiciary ; Chief Justice Wilson; Hubbard 
as Governor ad interim ; Population of 1820 ; Visit of Lay f ay ette 328 


Campaign of 1826; The Gubernatorial Candidates; Contest between Daniel P. 
Cook and Joseph Duncan for Congress; Character of Edwards speeches; His 
charges against the State Bank Officers and result of the inquiry into their 
conduct; Repeal of the Circuit Court System; Gov. Edwards claims for the 
State title to all public lands within her limits 335 


Advance of the settlements; Note; Galena, its early history; Origin of the 
term "Sucker;" Douglas 1 humorous account of it; Trials and troubles of 
Pioneers in new counties; European Colonist; Financial condition of the 
State; Trade and Commerce; Early Mail Routes; Newspapers and Literati; 
Politics of the People; Militia System 346 


The Gubernatorial Candidates; Their Lives and Characters; The Campaign; 
The Wiggins Loan; Impeachment of Supreme Judge Smith; W.L. D. Ewing 
Governor for 15 days 363 


Winnebago Hostilities; Indians unable to resist the encroachments of the 
Minors; Coalition with the Sioux; Attack on a steamboat; Compelled to sue 
for Peace. 

2. Sacs and Foxes ; Blackhawk; Keokuk; Sac Villages; Invasion of the State; 
Militia and Regulars brought into requisition; March to the scene of danger; 
Black Hawk compelled to enter into a treaty of peace 370 


Blackhawk induced by White Cloud to recross the Mississippi; Refuses to obey 
the order of Gen. Atkinson to return: State forces reorganized; March to 
Rock River and unite with the Regulars; Army proceeds up the river in 
pursuit of the enemy; Battle of Stillman s Run; Call for fresh troops; The 
old forces disbanded 381 


Requisition for additional troops; Attack on Apple Creek Fort; Capt.Stephens 
Encounter with the Indians; Organization of the New Levies; Battle of 
Kellogg s Grove; Battle of the Wisconsin 


Pursuit of the Indians ; Battle of Bad Axe ; Arrival of Gen. Scott ; Treat 
ies with the Indians ; Eastern tour of the Prisoners; Death of Black Hawk. 401 



The Campaign; Life and Character of Duncan ; More State Banks and what 
became of them ; Slavery Agitation by Lovejoy ; his death 416 



Continuance of the subject of Internal Improvement; Collapse of the grand 
system ; Hard Times ; Reorganization of the j udiciary in 1841 441 


The Campaign; Life and character of Gov. Ford; Lt. Gov. Moor; Means 
of Relief from Financial embarrassments; The State at the turning point; 
Restoration of her credit 462 


Trials and troubles incident to its construction 474 


Joe Smith : Prophetic mission : Followers remove to Missouri ; Expulsion 
from the State : Settlement in Illinois: Obnoxious Nauvoo charter and or 
dinances ; Arrest and acquittal of Smith ; His assassination 489 


Manner of Smith s death : Character of the Mormons ; Apostles assume the 
government of the Church ; Trial and and acquittal of the assassins : Saints 
driven from the vicinity of Xiima and Green Plains ; Leading Mormons re 
tire across the Mississippi ; Battle at Nauvoo; Expulsion of the inhabitants.. 508 





Lives and character of the Gubernatorial candidates : Funding of the State 
debt ; Refusal of the people to give the Legislature control of the 2 mill tax ; 
Township organization ; Homestead Exemption ; The Bloody Island Dike 
and a speck of War ; State policy regarding railroads 551 


Congressional grant of land; Holdbrook Charter : Bondholder s scheme : The 
7 per cent, of its gross earnings; Passage of its Charter; Benefits the Com 
pany, the State, and individuals; Note; Jealousy of politicians on account of 
its glory ; Correspondenc of Messrs. Breese and Douglas 571 


How a bank might be started ; The small note act; Panic of 1854; Revulsion 
of 1857; Winding up 585 


Democratic and Whig Conventions; Sketches of the Gubernatorial candi 
dates; Financial condition and physical development of the State; Legisla 
tion 1853-5; Maine Law and riot at Chicago; Our common Schools and trials 
in the establishment of the Free School system 599 


Affairs of honor and personal difficulties, 618 



The Illinois Wilmot Proviso; Dissolution of the Whig party; Repeal of the 
Mo. Compromise; Intense political feeling; Douglas denied free speech in 
Chicago: Knownothingism: Democratic and Republican Conventions of 
1856; Result of the campaign; Lincoln s plea for harmony at the Chicago 
banquet 635 


Life and character of the Governor, Gross attack upon him in the Legisla 
ture on account of his dueling affair, Turbulence of party strife and want 
of official courtesy, Disgraceful action in organizing the house, Apportion 
ment bills of 1857-9, Canal scrip fraud, The Macalister and Stebbins 
bonds 656 


Their lives and characters; Senatorial contest between Lincoln and Douglas 
in 1858 679 


Party conventions of 1850; The two great labor systems of the country in di 
rect antagonism; Life and character of Gov. Yates ; Lieut. Gov-. Hoffman ; 
Condition of the State and comparative growth since 1850 716 


Slavery; Sectional antaggnism ; Secession; Inauguration of Lincoln ; Call for 
volunteers; Proclamation of Gov. Yates; Uprising of the people 722 


Unprecedented success in furnishing men ; Patriotic efforts of women ; Mil 
itary operations within the State 732 


Battles of Lexington, Monroe, Charleston, Fredericktown, Belmont and Pea 
Ridge 746 

Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson ; Capture of Columbus, New Madrid 
and Island No . 10 , 757 


Battle of Pittsburg Landing , Mitchell s campaign; Siege of Corinth 709 



Battles of Perryville, Bolivar, Britton s Lane, luka, Corinth and Stone River. 785 


Movements on the Mississippi, Battles of Coffeeville, Holly Springs, Par 
ker s Cross Roads, Chickasaw Bayou and Arkansas Post 799 


Battles of Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills and Black River : 
Grierson s Raid , Siege and capture of Vicksburg 811 


Battles of Chicamauga, Wauhatchie, Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge , 
Relief of Knoxville .825 



Battles of Rocky Face Mountain, Resaca, New Hope Church, Peach Tree 
Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Alatoona, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville.. . 836 




Sentiments of the Illinois Democracy in the winter of 1860-1; Patriotic feeling 
on the breaking out of hostilities irrespective of party as inspired by 
Douglas; Revival of partisan feeling; Constitutional Convention of 
1862; Its high pretensions , Conflict with the Governor, Some features of 
the instrument framed , it becomes a party measure , The vote upon it ; 
Party Conventions of 1862; The last Democratic Legislature ; Frauds in pass 
ing bills ; Reaction among the people against the Peace movement; Military 
arrests; Suppressing the Chicago Times; Secret Politico-Military Societies; 
Democratic mass Convention of June 17th, 1863, Republican mass Conven 
tion, Sept., 1863; Peace meetings of 1864. NoteChicago Conspiracy 866 


Republican and Democratic State Conventions of 1864; Lives and character of 
Oglesby and Bross; Prosperity and condition of the State during the Rebel 
lion; Legislation, political and special, in 1865-7; Board of Equalization 
established; Location of the Agricultural College; Illinois Capitals and 
their removal ; History of the Penitentiary 907 


Republican and Democratic State Conventions, Life and character of Gov. 
Palmer, Legislation, the tax grabbing law, Lake Front bill, &c. The Con 
stitution of 1870 , The great Chicago fire .. 929 

Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 32, 33, 
34, 35, 41, 42, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64,- the Death of 
Lovejoy in 36, and "Note, Conspiracy of Chicago," in 65, have 
been written by Mr. DAVIDSON. 

Chapters 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 
36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50. 51, 52, 53, 65, 66 and 
67, have been written by Mr. STUVE . 


Although Illinois, whose grassy plains have been styled the 
Eden of the new world, contains the oldest permanent settlements 
in the Yalley of the Mississippi, and in her strides to empire is 
destined to become the first State of the Union, her history has been 
strangely neglected. Fragments have been written at different 
times but only of detached periods and embracing but a small 
part of the two centuries, which have elapsed since the first ex 
plorations. To supply this deficiency and furnish a history com 
mensurate with her present advancement in power and civiliza 
tion is the object of the present work; whether it has been accom 
plished remains to be seen. 

Not having taken any part in the shifting and instructive drama 
enacted by those who have directed the affairs of State, no rank 
ling jealousies have been engendered to distort conclusions ; no 
undue predelections to warp the judgement. Measures have been 
estimated by their results ; men by their public acts. While no 
disposition has existed to assail any one, it must be remembered 
that none are faultless, and to speak well of all is the worst of 
detraction, for it places the good and the bad on a common level. 

A principal aim has been to render the the work complete. A 
large amount of matter has been inserted never before published 
in connection with the history of the State ; yet important facts, 
though familiar, have always been preferred to new ones of minor 
significance. The main consideration, however, has been to ren 
der it truthful. In the wide field which has been gleaned, every 
available source of information has been carefully consulted, and 


it is believed a degree of accuracy lias been secured, which will 
compare favorably with that of other similar efforts. Still there 
will always be room for improvement, aud any corrections which 
may be offered by parties who have witnessed, or been connected 
with events described, will be thankfully received and inserted in 
future editions of the work, the object being to make it a complete 
repository of reliable facts for the general reader, the politician, 
the lawyer, and all who may wish to become acquainted with the 
history of our noble State. 

To the many in different parts of the State, who have furnished 
information, or aided us by valuable suggestions, we return 
our thanks, especially to Messrs. Eummel and Harlow, Secretaries 
of State, for the use of public documents, and to the proprietors 
of the State Journal and State Register, for access to their valua 
ble files. 

SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 19th, 1873. 


On the geological structure of a country depend the pursuits of 
its inhabitants and the genius of its civilization. Agriculture is the 
outgrowth of a fertile soil; mining results from mineral resources; 
and from navigable waters spring navies and commerce. Every 
great branch of industry requires, for its successful development, 
the cultivation of kindred arts and sciences. Phases of life and 
modes of thought are thus induced, which give to different com 
munities and states characters as various as the diverse rocks 
that underlie them. In like manner it may be shown that their 
moral and intellectual qualities depend on material conditions. 
Where the soil and subjacent rocks are profuse in the bestowal of 
wealth, man is indolent and effeminate ; where effort is required to 
live, he becomes enlightened and virtuous ; and where, on the sands 
of the desert, labor is unable to procure the necessaries and com 
forts of life, he lives a savage. The civilization of states and 
nations is, then, to a great extent, but the reflection of physical 
conditions, and hence the propriety of introducing their civil, polit 
ical and military history with a sketch of the geological substruc 
ture from which they originate. 

GEOLOGY traces the history of the earth back through successive 
stages of development to its rudimental condition in a state of 
fusion. Speculative astronomy extends it beyond this to a gaseous 
state, in which it and the other bodies of the solar system consti 
tuted a nebulous mass, without form and motion. When, in the 
process of development, motion was communicated to the chaotic 
matter, huge fragments were detached from its circumference, 
which formed the primary planets. These retaining the rotary 
motion of the sun, or central mass, in turn threw off other and 
smaller fragments, thus forming the secondary planets, as in the 
case of the moon which attends the earth. All these bodies are 
similar in form, have a similar motion on their axes, move substan 
tially in a common plain and in the same direction, the result of 
the projectile force which detached them from the parent mass. 
These facts are strong evidence that the sun, and the planetary 
system that revolves around it, were originally a common mass, 
and became separated in a gaseous state, as the want of cohesion 
among the particles would then favor the dissevering force. From 
the loss of heat they next passed into a fluid or plastic state, the 
point in the history of the earth where it comes within the range 
of geological investigation. 

While in this condition it became flattened at the poles, a form 
due to its diurnal rotation and the mobility of its particles. At a 

2 / * \J t \ : \ . ^"HISTORY OF ILLINOIS. 

further reduction of temperature its melted disk was transformed 
into a crust of igneous rock. A great many facts render it almost 
certain that the vast nucleus within this enveloping crust is still 
an incandescent mass. Compared with its enormous bulk, the 
external covering is of only filmy thickness, the ratio of the two 
being as the pulp and peel of an orange. In this world-crucible 
are held in solution the 01 elementary substances, which, variously 
combining, produce the great variety of forms, energies aud modes 
of being, which diversify and enliven terrestrial nature. From the 
same source the precious metals have been forced into the fissures 
of the superincumbent rocks, whither the miner descends and 
brings them to the surface. Volcanoes are outlets for the tremen 
dous forces generated in these deep-seated fires. As an evidence 
of their eruptive power, Vesuvius sometimes throws jets of lava, 
resembling columns of fiame, 10,000 feet in hight. The amount of 
lava ejected at a single eruption from one of the volcanoes of 
Iceland, has been estimated at 40,000,000,000 tons, a quantity suffi 
cient to cover a large city with a mountain as high as the tallest 
Alps. By the process of congelation, which has never ceased, 
the rocky crust which rests on this internal sea of fire, is now 
supposed to be from thirty to forty miles in thickness. The outer 
or upper portion of it was the most universal geological formation, 
and constituted the floors of the primitive oceans. The rocks com 
posing it are designated iinstratined, because they occur in irregular 
masses, and igneous from having originally been melted by intense, 
heat. The vast cycle of time extending through their formation 
and reaching down to the introduction of life on the globe, consti 
tutes the Azoic age. The earth s surface, consisting of arid wastes 
and boiling waters, and its atmosphere reeking with poisonous 
gases, were wholly incompatible with the existence of plants and 
animals. By the continued radiation of heat the nucleus within 
the hardened crust contracted, and the latter, to adapt itself to the 
diminished bulk, folded into huge corrugations, forming the prim 
itive mountain chains and the first land that appeared above the 
face of the waters. The upheaval of these vast plications was 
attended with depressions in other parts of the surface constituting 
the valleys and basins of the original rivers and oceans. Through 
the agency of water the uplifted masses were disintegrated and the 
resulting sediment swept into the extended depressions. Here it 
settled in parallel layers and constitutes the stratified rocks. In 
some localities these are entirely wanting, in others many miles in 
depth, while their average thickness is supposed to be from six to 
eight miles. 

The plain, separating the stratified from the unstratified rocks, 
runs parallel with the oldest part of the earth s crust. When 
solidification commenced it was the surface, and as induration 
advanced toward the centre the crust thickened by increments on 
the inside, and, therefore, the most recently formed igneous rocks 
are the farthest below the surface. Stratification commenced at 
the same plain and extended in an upward direction, and hence 
the most recent deposits are nearest the surface, when not displaced 
by disturbing causes. 

In the silent depths of the stratified rocks are the former creations 
of plants and animals, which lived and died during the slow, 
dragging centuries of their formation. These fossil remains are 


fragments of history, which enable the geologist to extend his 
researches far back into the realms of the past, and not only deter 
mine their former modes of life, but study the contemporaneous 
history of their rocky beds, and group them into systems. The 
fossil iferous rocks are not only of great thickness but frequently 
their entire structure is an aggregation of cemented shells, so 
numerous that millions of them occur in a single cubic foot. Such 
lias been the profusion of life that the great limestone formations 
of the globe consist mostly of animal remains, cemented by the 
infusion of mineral matter. A large part of the soil spread over 
the earth s surface has been elaborated in animal organisms. First, 
as nourishment, it enters the structure of plants and forms veget 
able tissue. Passing thence as food into the animal, it becomes 
endowed with life, and when death occurs it returns to the soil and 
imparts to it additional elements of fertility. The different systems 
of stratified rocks, as determined by their organic remains, are 
usually denominated Ages or Systems. 

The Laurentian System or Age is the lowest, and therefore 
the oldest, of the stratified series. From the effects of great 
heat it has assumed, to some extent, the character of the igneous 
rocks below, but still retains its original lines of stratification. A 
principal effect of the great heat to which its rocks were exposed 
is crystalization. Crystals are frequently formed by art, but the 
most beautiful specimens are the products of nature s laboratories, 
deep-seated in the crust of the earth. The Laurentian system 
was formerly supposed to be destitute of organic remains, but 
recent investigations have lead to the discovery of animals so low 
in the scale of organization as to be regarded as the first appear 
ance of sentient existence. This discovery, as it extends the origin 
of life backward through 30,000 feet of strata, may be regarded 
as one of the most important advances made in American geology. 
It* supposed beginning, in a considerable degree of advancement 
in the Silurian system, was regarded by geologists as too abrupt 
to correspond with the gradual development of types in subsequent 
strata. The discovery, however, of these incipient forms in the 
Laurentian beds, renders the descending scale of life complete, 
and verifies the conjectures of physicists that in its earliest dawn 
it should commence with the most simple organisms. 

The ffiironian Sytttem, like the one that precedes it, and on 
which it rests, is highly crystalline. Although fossils have not 
been found in it, yet from its position the inference is they once 
existed, and if they do not now, the great transforming power of 
heat has caused their obliteration. This, and the subjacent system, 
extend from Labrador southwesterly to the great lakes, and 
thence northwesterly toward the Arctic Ocean. They derive their 
names from the St. Lawrence and Lake Huron, on the banks of 
which are found their principal outcrops. Their emergence from 
the ocean was the birth of the North American continent. One 
face of the uplift looked toward the Atlantic, and the other toward 
the Pacific, thus prefiguring the future shores of this great division 
of the globe, of which they are the germ. Eruptive forces have 
not operated with sufficient power to bring them to the surface in 
Illinois, and therefore the vast stores of mineral wealth, which they 
contain in other places, if they exist here, are too deep below the 
surface to be made available. 


The Silurian Age, compared with the more stable formations of 
subsequent times, was one of commotion, in which fire and water 
played a conspicuous part. Earthquakes and volcanoes furrowed 
the yielding crust with ridges, and threw up islands whose craggy 
summits, here and there, stood like sentinels above the murky 
deep which dashed against their shores. The present diversities 
of climate did not exist, as the temperature was mostly due to the 
escape of internal heat, which was the same over every part of the 
surface. As the radiation of heat in future ages declined, the sun 
became the controlling power, and zones of climate appeared as 
the result of solar domination. Uniform thermal conditions impar 
ted a corresponding character to vegetable and animal life, and 
one universal fauna and flora extended from the equator to the 
poles. These hardy marine types consisted of Kadiates, Mollusks 
and Articulates, three of the four sub-kingdoms of animal life. 
Seaweed, which served as food for the animals, was the only plant 
of which any traces remain. During the Silurian age North 
America, like its inhabitants, was mostly submarine, as proved by 
wave-lines 011 the emerging lands. There lay along the eastern 
border of the continent an extended ridge, which served as a break 
water to the waves of the Atlantic, The region of the Alieghanies 
was subject to great elevations and depressions, and the latter 
largely preponderating, caused the deposit of some twelve thousand 
feet of strata. Although mostly under water, there was added to 
the original nucleus of the continent formations now found in New 
York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Niagara lime 
stone, a Silurian formation, is found over a large extent of country 
in northern Illinois, beyond the limits of the coal-fields. It is a com 
pact grayish stone, susceptible of a high polish, and at Athens 
and Joliet is extensively quarried for building purposes, and 
shipped to different parts of the State. The new Capitol is being 
erected of this material. The Galena limestone, another Silurian 
deposit, is interesting, from the fact that it contains the lead and 
zinc ores of the State. St. Peters sandstone belongs also to the 
same system. Besides outcropping in a number of other localities, 
it appears in the bluffs of the Illinois, where it forms the island- 
like plateau known as Starved Eock. In some localities, being 
composed almost entirely of silica and nearly free from coloring 
matter, it is the best material in the West for the manufacture of 

The Devonian Age is distinguished for the introduction of Verte 
brates, or the fourth sub-kingdom of animal life and the beginning 
of terrestrial vegetation. The latter appeared hi two classes, the 
highest of the flowerless and the lowest of the flowering plants. 
The Lepidodendron, a noted instance of the former, was a majestic 
upland forest tree, which, during the coal period, grew to a hight 
of SO feet, and had a base of more than 3 feet in diameter. 
Beautiful spiral flutings, coiling in opposite directions and crossing 
each other at fixed angles, carved the trunks and branches into 
rhomboid al eminences, each of which was scarred with the mark 
of a falling leaf. At an altitude of GO feet it sent off arms, each 
separating into branchlets covered with a needle-like foliage, des 
titute of flowers. It grew, not by internal or external accretions, 
as plants of the present day, but like the building of a monument, 
by additions to the top of its trunk. Mosses, rushes and other 


diminutive fiowerless plants are now the only surviving represen 
tative of this eryptogamic vegetation, which so largely predomina 
ted in the early botany of the globe. Floral beauty and fragrance 
were not characteristic of the old Devonian woods. No bird 
existed to enliven their silent groves with song, no serpent to hiss 
in their fenny brakes, nor beast to pursue, with hideous yells, its 
panting prey. 

The vertebrates consisted of fishes, of which the Ganoids and 
Placoids were the principal groups. The former were the fore 
runners of the reptile, which in many respects they closely resem 
bled. They embraced a large number of species, many of which 
grew to a gigantic size; but with the exception of the gar and 
sturgeon, they have 110 living representatives. The Placoids, 
structurally formed for advancement, still remain among the 
highest types of the present seas. The shark, a noted instance, 
judging from its fossil remains, must have attained 100 feet in 
length. Both groups lived in the sea, and if any fresh water 
animals existed their remains have either perished or not been 
found. So numerous were the inhabitants of the ocean, that the 
Devonian has been styled the age of fishes. In their anatomical 
structure was foreshadowed the organization of man; reptiles, 
birds and mammals being the intermediate gradations. The con 
tinental sea of the preceding age still covered the larger part of 
^North America, extending far northwest and opening south into 
the Gulf of Mexico. In its shallow basins were deposited sand 
stones, shales and limestones, which westerly attained a thickness 
of 500 feet, and in the region of the Alleghanies 1,500 feet. The 
great thickness of the latter deposits indicated oscillations, in 
which the downward movement exceeded the upward. Shallow 
waters, therefore, interspersed with reefs and islands, still occu 
pied the sites of the Alleghanies and Eocky Mountains, which 
now look down from above the clouds on the finished continent. 
The St. Lawrence and the Hudson may have existed in miniature, 
but the area of land was too small for rivers and other bodies of 
fresh water of considerable extent. In the disturbances closing 
the Devonian age additions were made to the surface in Iowa, 
AVisconsin and Illinois. The two resulting formations in this State 
are the Devonian limestone and the Oriskany sandstone. There 
are outcrops of the former in the bluffs of the Mississippi, Rock 
and Illinois rivers. It contains a great variety of -fossils, and is 
used for building material and the manufacture of quicklime. The 
latter appears in Union, Alexander and Jackson counties, and is 
used to some extent in the manufacture of glass. 

The Carboniferous Age opened with the deposition of widely 
extended marine formations. Added to the strata previously 
deposited, the entire thickness in the region of the Alleghanies, 
now partially elevated, amounted to 7 miles. Wide areas of per 
manent elevation occurred between the 34th and 45th degrees of 
latitude, embracing most of the territory between the eastern con 
tinental border and the States of Kansas and Nebraska. Farther 
westward, and resulting from the gradual emergence of the Pacific 
coast, was an interior sea whose shallow waters still flowed over 
the site of the Eocky Mountains. The winter temperature near 
the poles was 66 degrees. A stagnant and stilling atmosphere 
rested upon the area now constituting the United States and British 


America. Tlie McKenzie river, now filled with icebergs, then 
flowed through verdant banks to a coral sea, having the same tem 
perature as the Gulf of Mexico at the present day. The most prom 
inent feature of the age was the formation of coal. Being carbon 
ized vegetable tissue, the material furnished for this purpose was 
the vast forest accumulations peculiar to the period. Vegetation, 
commencing in the previous age, had now attained an expansion 
which greatly exceeded the growth of prior or subsequent limes. 
Invigorated by a warm, moist and winterless climate, and an 
atmosphere surcharged with carbonic acid gas, vast jungles spread 
over the marshy plains, and impenetrable forests covered the 
upland slopes and hights. The graceful lepidodendron, now fully 
developed, was one of the principal coal producing plants ; sub 
serving the same purpose and associated with it was the gigantic 
conifer, a member of the pine family. The ancient fern, another 
coal plant, grew to a hight of 80 feet. Its trunk, regularly fretted 
with scars and destitute of branches, terminated in a crown of 
foliage rivaling that of the palm in profuseness and beauty. The 
sigillarid, however, as it contributed most largely to the produc 
tion of coal, was the characteristic plant o f the period. The 
trunk, which rose from 40 to 00 feet high from its alternate flirtings 
and ribs, appeared, like a clustered column. At an altitude of 25 
or 30 feet it separated into branches, covered with a grass-like* 
foliage intermingled with long catkins of obscure flowers or strings 
of seed, arranged in whorls about a common stem. The structure 
of the trunk was peculiar. One, 5 feet in diameter, was surrounded 
with a bark 13 inches in thickness; within this was a cylinder of 
wood 12 inches in thickness, and at the center a pith 10* inches in 
diameter. Such a tree would be useless as timber, but the bark, of 
which they largely consisted, was impervious to mineral solutions, 
and valuable for the production of coal. The calamites, growing 
with the sigillarids, covered with dense brakes the marshy flats. 
Their hollow stems, marked vertically with thitings and horizon 
tally with joints, grew in clumps to a hight of 20 feet, Some 
species were branchless, while from the joints of other sprang 
branches, subdividing into whorls of branchlets. 

The vast accumulation of vegetable matter from these and other 
carboniferous plants, either imbedded in the miry soil in which it 
grew, or swept from adjacent elevations into shallow lakes, became 
covered with, sediment, and thus were transformed into coal. It 
has been estimated that 8 perpendicular feet of wood were re 
quired to make 1 foot of bituminous coal, and 12 to make 1 of 
anthracite. Some beds of the latter are 30 feet in thickness, and 
hence 300 feet of timber must have been consumed in their pro 
duction. The process of its formation was exactly the same as 
practiced in the manufacture of charcoal, by burning wood under 
a covering of earth. Vegetable tissue consists mostly of carbon 
and oxygen, and decomposition must take place, either under 
water or some other impervious covering, to prevent the elements 
from forming carbonic acid gas, and thus escaping to the atmos 
phere. Conforming to these requirements, the immense vegetable 
growths forming the coal-fields subsided with the surface on which 
they gTew, and were buried beneath the succeeding deposits. 
.Nova Scotia has 70 different beds, and Illinois 12; and conse 
quently, in these localities there were as many different fields of 


verdure overwhelmed in tlie dirt-beds of the sea. Thus, long be 
fore the starry cycles had measured half the history of the un 
folding continent, and when first the expanding stream of life 
but dimly reflected the coining age of mind, this vast supply of 
fuel was stored away in the rocky frame-work of the globe. Here 
it slumbered till man made his appearance and dragged it from 
its rocky lairs. At his bidding it renders the factory animate 
with humming spindles, driving shuttles, whirling lathes, and clank 
ing forges. Under his guidance the iron-horse, feeding upon its 
pitchy fragments, bounds with tireless tread over its far reaching 
track, dragging after him the products of distant marts and climes. 
By the skill of the one and the power of the other, the ocean 
steamer plows the deep in opposition to winds and waves, making 
its watery home a highway for the commerce of the world. 

Prior to the formation of coal, so great was the volume of car 
bonic? acid gas in the atmosphere that only slow breathing* and 
cold-blooded animals could exist. Consequent upon its conversion 
into coal, all the preceding species of plants and animals- perished, 
and new forms came upon the stage of being with organizations 
adapted to the improved conditions. In the new economy, as at 
the present time, stability is maintained in the atmosphere by the 
reciprocal relations subsisting between it and the incoming types. 
The animal inspires oxygen and expires carbonic acid gas ; the 
vegetable inspires carbonic acid gas and expires oxygen, thus pre 
serving the equilibrium of this breathing medium. The coal-fields 
of Europe are estimated at 18,000 square miles, those of the United 
States at 150,000. The Alleghany coal-field contains 00,000 square 
miles, with an aggregate thickness of 120 feet. The Illinois a-nd 
Missouri 60,000 square miles, and an aggregate thickness in some 
localities of 70 feet. Other fields occur in different localities, of 
various thicknesses. In Illinois, three-fourths of the surface are 
underlaid by beds of coal, and the State consequently has a greater 
area than any other member of the Union. There are 12 different 
beds, the two most important of which are each from (J to 8 feet 
in thickness. The entire carboniferous system, including the coal- 
beds and the intervening strata, in southern Illinois is 27,000 feet 
in thickness, and in the northern part only 500. 

Next to the immense deposits of coal, the Burlington, Keokuk 
and St. Louis limestones are the most important formations. 
They receive their appellations from the cities whose names they 
bear where their lithological characters were first studied and 
in the vicinities of which they crop out in Illinois. The Burling 
ton furnishes inexhaustible supplies of building stone and quick 
lime, but is mostly interesting on account of the immense number 
of interesting fossils which it contains. Along its northern out 
crop Crinoids are found in a profusion unequalled by that of any 
locality of similar extent in the world. Though untold ages have 
elapsed since their incarceration in the rocks, so perfect has been 
their preservation, their structure can be determined with almost 
as much precision as if they had perished but yesterday. The 
Keokuk is extensively used for architectural purposes, and fur 
nished the material for the celebrated Mormon Temple at Nauvoo, 
the new Post-office at Springfield, and the Custom Houses at 
Galena and Dubuque. It contains some of the most interesting 
crystals found in the State. These consist of hollow spheres of 


quartz and chalcedony of various sizes, and lined on the inside 
with crystalets of different minerals. Tons of specimens have 
been taken from Hancock county and distributed over the United 
States and Europe, to ornament the cabinets of mineralogists. 
The St. Louis is almost pure carbouet of lime, and the best ma 
terial in the State for the manufacture of quick-lime. It is largely 
quarried at Alton. 

The Aye of Reptiles is distinguished for changes in the conti 
nental borders, which generally ran within their present limits. 
The sub-marine outlines of the Bay of New York, and the course 
of the Hudson, indicate that the adjacent shores during the early 
part of this age were beyond their present limits. Southward the 
sea line ran within the present shore, the distance increasing from 
60 miles in Maryland to 100 in Georgia, and 200 in Alabama. 
The Texan gulf-shore, and that of the peninsula and State of 
California, were parallel, and mostly within their present positions. 
These borders were fringed with deposits, while inland the trough 
of the old continental sea was becoming more shallow. The alti 
tude of the Alleghanies had nearly reached their present hight. 
The Eocky Mountains, in the transition from the close of the 
present to the beginning of the subsequent age, began slowly to 
emerge from the Avaters under which they had hitherto slumbered. 
The Gulf of Mexico formed a deep bay extending to the mouth of 
the Ohio, and, protruding itself northwesterly, covered the region 
of the liocky Mountains. It may have connected with the Arctic 
Ocean, but observations have been too limited to trace it with cer 
tainty beyond the head waters of the Missouri and Yellow Stone. 
These are, therefore, among the more recently formed rivers, und 
cannot be compared with the primeval St. Lawrence and Hudson. 
The Mississippi was a stream of not more than one-half its present 
length and volume, falling into the gulf not far from the site of 
Cairo. The Ohio drained substantially the same region it does at 
the present time. In the earlier part of the age the geographical 
distribution of fossils indicates a common temperature, from Beh- 
ring Strait in the Northern to that of Magellan in the Southern 
Hemisphere. In the latter part, however, a difference is percep 
tible, indicating also a difference of temperature and the com 
mencement of climatic zones. This change, caused by the partial 
upheaval of mountain chains north of the Equator /and the de 
cline of internal heat, marked a new era in the physical history 
of the globe. As the result, currents commenced flowing in the 
ocean ; the constant monotony of previous ages was broken by 
the pleasant diversities of changing seasons ; life was imparted to 
the atmosphere, and the breeze came forth laden with the breath 
of spring; the tempest madly burst into being and began its work 
of destruction, and the trade-winds commenced blowing, but it 
was reserved for a future age to make them the common" carriers 
of the ocean s commerce. 

The principal formations of the age, none of which exist in 
llinois, were sandstones, chalks and limestones, in terstra titled 
with deposits of salt and gypsum. Their absence can be explained 
either upon the supposition that the surface of the State was either 
above the waters in which they were deposited, or, having originally 
been deposited, they were subsequently swept away by denuding 
agencies. The former was perhaps the case, as no aqueous action 


could have operated with sufficient power to remove all traces of 
their former existence. The characteristic plants of the coal age, 
now declining, were replaced by cycads and many new forms of 
conifers and ferns. The cycad was intermediate in character, 
resembling the fern in the opening of its foliage, and the palm in 
its general habits. It was now in the full zenith of its expansion, 
while the fern was dying out and the conifer was yet to be devel 
oped. More than 100 augiosperms made their appearance, one-half 
of them closely allied to the trees of modern forests and the fruit 
trees of temperate regions. In the latter part of the age the palm, 
at present the most perfect type of the vegetable kingdom, was 
also introduced. Xew animal species made their appearance, 
attended by the extinction of all pre-existing forms. Reptiles 
now reached their culmination, the earth, sea and air, each having 
its peculiar kind. Their fossil remains indicate a large number of 
both lierbiverous and carniverous species, which in many instan 
ces attained a length of CO feet. The ichthyosaurus, a prominent 
example, united in its structure parts of several related animals, 
having the head of a lizard, the snout of a porpoise, the teeth of 
a crocodile, the spine of a fish and the paddles of a whale. Its 
eyes, enormously large, were arranged to act both like the telescope 
and the microscope, thus enabling it to see its prey both night and 
day, and at all distances. It subsisted on fish and the young of 
its own species, some of which must have been swallowed several 
feet in length. Associated with it was the Pleiosaurus, an animal 
resembling it in its general structure. A remarkable difference, 
however, was the great length of neck possessed by the latter, 
which contained 40 vertebrae, the largest number that has ever 
been found in animals living or fossil. These two reptiles for a 
long time ruled the seas and kept the increase of other animals 
within proper limits. But the most gigantic of reptile monsters 
was the Iguanodoii. Some individuals were CO feet long, 15 feet 
round the largest part of the body, had feet 12 feet in length, and 
thighs 7 feet in diameter. The most heteroclitic creature was the 
Pterodactyl. It had the neck of a bird, the mouth of a reptile, 
the wings of a bat, and the body and tail of a mammal. Its curi 
ous organization enabled it to Avalk on two feet, fly like a bat, and 
creep, climb or dive in pursuit of its food. The age is also remark 
able as the era of the first mammels, the first birds, and the first 
common fishes. 

The Mammalian Age witnessed the increase of the mass of the 
eartli above the ocean s level three-fold. The world-constructing 
architect, the coral insect, built up Florida out of the sea, thus 
completing the southern expanse of the continent. Its eastern 
and western borders were substantially finished, and superficially 
its great plateaus, mountain chains and river systems, approximated 
their present geographical aspects. The Rocky Mountains were 
elevated to a Light of 7,000 feet, the Wind River chain 0,800, the Big 
Horn Mountains C,000, Pike s Peak 4,500. The upheaval of the 
Rocky Mountain region greatly enlarged the Missouri, previously 
an inconsiderable stream, adding to it the Yellowstone, Platte, 
Kansas and other tributaries. The Lower Mississippi was formed 
and discharged its vast volume of accumulated waters near the 
present coast line of the Gulf. The elevation of mountain masses 
to snowy altitudes cooled down the temperature and introduced 


substantially the present climates. In Europe the change was 
gradual from tropical to subtropical and temperate; in Xorth 
America abrupt. As a consequence the botany of the latter 
opened with the oak, poplar, dogwood, magnolia, fig, palm and 
other plants closely resembling those of the present day. 

Of the animals the Mammoth was remarkable. Unlike the 
elephant of the present day, they were covered with a redish wool 
intermingled with hair and black bristles, the latter being more 
than a foot in length. Vast herds of these huge creatures, nearly 
three times as large as the present elephant, their living represen 
tative wandered over the northern part of both hemispheres. 
An individual in a perfect state of preservation was found in 1790, 
encased in ice, at the mouth of the river Lena. It still retained 
the wool on its hide, and otherwise was so free from decay, that 
its flesh was eaten by dogs. Their remains are abundantly distrib 
uted over the northern part of the United States, imbedded usually 
in marshes where the animals were perhaps mired while in search 
of food or water. A large fossil specimen was recently exhumed 
in Macon county, Illinois, 2 miles southeast of llliopolis, in the 
edge of Long Point Slough, by the side of an oozy spring. The 
fossils have been found in other localities of the State, and the 
prairies may have been places of frequent resort. Contemporane 
ous with them were the Dinotherium and Megatherium, and other 
creatures of the most gigantic proportions. The magnitude of the 
Mammoth seems almost fabulous, but that of the Dinotherium 
probably surpassed it. One of its most remarkable features was 
its enormous tusks, projecting from the anterior extremity of the 
lower jaw} which curved down like" those of the walrus. Like the 
rhinoceros, it lived in the water, and was well adapted to the lacus 
trine condition of the earth common at the time it flourished. The 
Megatherium, belonging to the sloth family, was also of colossal 
dimensions. Its body, in some instances 18 feet long, rested on 
legs resembling columns of support rather than organs of locomo 
tion. Its spinal column contained a nerve a foot in diameter; its 
femur was three times the size of the elephant s, while its feet 
were a yard in length and more than a foot in width. The tail 
near the body was two feet in diameter, and used with its hind 
legs as a tripod on which the animal sat when it wielded its huge 
arms and hands. 

Toward the close of the age oscillations occurred in the northern 
part of the continent, greatly modifying the condition of its sur 
face. During the upward vibration vast glaciers spread over 
British America and the contiguous portion of the United States. 
These fields of ice, becoming filled with hard boulders, and mov 
ing southward by expansion, ground into fragments the underlying 
rocks. The sediment was gathered up by the moving mass, and 
when a latitude sufficiently warm to melt the ice was reached, it 
was spread over the surface. Accumulations of this kind consti 
tute the drift which extends from Xew England westward beyond 
the Mississippi, and from the 39th parallel northward to an un 
known limit. In Illinois, with the exception of small areas in the 
northwestern and southern parts of the State, it covers the entire 
surface with a varying stratum of from 10 to 200 feet in thickness. 
Here, and in other parts of the West, not only glaciers, but ice 
bergs, Avere connected with its distribution. The waters of the 


lakes then extended southward perhaps to the highlands, crossing 
the State from Grand Tower east toward the Ohio. This barrier 
formed the southern limits of this sea, and also of the drift which 
was distributed over its bottom by floating bodies of ice filled with 
sediment previously detached from the glaciers further north. The 
upward movement of the glacial epoch was followed by a depres 
sion of the surface below its present level. The subsidence in 
Connecticut was 50 feet; in Massachusetts, 170; in Xew Hamp 
shire, 200; at Montreal, 450; and several hundred in the region of 
Illinois and the Pacific. Previously the adjacent Atlantic seaboard 
extended into the sea beyond its present limits ; now it receded, 
and the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain became gulfs extend 
ing far inland. As the result of the down-throw the temperature 
was elevated, causing 1 the glaciers to melt, and a further dissemi 
nation of the drift. Regular outlines, due to the dinamic forces, 
ice and water, were thus imparted to the surface, which a subse 
quent emergence brought to its present level. Order, beauty, and 
utility sprang into being and harmony with man, the highest type 
of terrestrial life, now in the dawn of his existence. 

The Aye of Man commenced with the present geological condi 
tions. The great mountain reliefs and diversities of climate at 
tending the present and the close of the preceding age, largely 
augmented the variety of physical conditions which modify vege 
table and animal life/ Multiplying under these diverse influences, 
the present flora exceeds 100,000 species. The palm alone, culmi 
nating in the present era, and standing at the head of the vegeta 
ble kingdom, embraces 1,000. Commensurate with the variety of 
plants is the extent of their distribution. They are found univer 
sally, from Arctic snows to Tropical sands, growing in the air and 
water, covering the land with verdure, and ministering to the 
wants of their cousins, the different forms of animal life. In the 
jungle the wild beast makes his lair; the bird builds her nest in 
their sheltering leaves and branches, and subsists on their fruits; 
and man converts them into innumerable forms of food, ornaments 
and material for the construction of his dwellings. In the oak 
and towering cedar their forms are venerable and majestic; grace 
ful and beautiful in the waving foliage and clinging vine, and pro 
foundly interesting in their growth and structure ; crowned Avith 
a floral magnificence greatly transcending their predecessors of 
previous ages, they give enchantment to the landscape, sweetness 
to the vernal breeze, and refinement and purity to all who come 
within their influence. As in the case of plants, a diversity of 
physical conditions has impressed a multiplicity and variety upon 
the animals. The approximate number of species at the present 
time is 350,000, each sub-kingdom numbering as follows : Eadi- 
ates, 10,000 ; Mollusks, 20,000 ; Articulates, 300,000 ; Vertebrates, 
21,000. Of the existing Vertebrates, Fishes embrace 10,000 ; Kep- 
tiles, 2,000 ; Birds, 7,000, and Mammals, 2,000. With the appear 
ance of Man on the stage of being, in the latter part of the pre 
ceding age, many types of the lower animals, in which magnitude 
and brute ferocity were prominent characteristics, became extinct. 
Their successors, as if harmonizing with the higher life developing 
in their midst, were generally reduced in size, less brutal in their 
nature, and more active, beautiful and intelligent. 

Recent discoveries have shown that the appearance of man, in- 


stead of being confined to the geological age which bears his name, 
must be extended back to an indefinite period. His remains and 
the relics of his art show that he was a contemporary of the mam 
moth; that he witnessed the inundation that buried the northern 
plains of the Old and New Worlds under the sea of ice 5 and that 
even before that time, when sub-tropical animals disported them 
selves in the forests of middle Europe, have traces of his existence 
been discovered. Though the absolute time of his advent cannot 
be determined, he doubtless was an inhabitant of the earth several 
hundred thousand years before he was sufficiently intelligent to 
preserve the records of his own history. His appearance as the 
head of the animal kingdom marks a new stage in the unfoldment 
of terrestrial life. His claim to this preeminence is based on the 
superiority of his mental, moral and spiritual endowments. Having 
an understanding capable of endless progression in knowledge, he 
is able to study the laAvs of nature and make them subservient to 
his will and wants; to institute systems of government for his 
protection, and to hold in subjection the lower animals, however 
greatly they may exceed him in size or physical strength. He is 
the first of terrestrial beings capable of comprehending the nature 
of moral relations ; of distinguishing right from wrong, and of deri 
ving happiness from the practice of virtue and suffering in conse 
quence of vice. In his reverence for the Deity and aspirations for 
immortality he is removed still further from the animal plain, and 
stands as a connecting link between the latter and spirit exist- 

The present age still retains, in a diminished degree of activity, 
the geological forces of previous periods. Extensive flats at many 
points along the Atlantic coast, and the deltas and other alluvial 
formations of rivers, are slowly extending the present surface. 
The latter, in many places, is becoming modified by the produc- 

oscillations. As observed by Moravian settlers, the western coast 
of Greenland, for a distance of 000 miles, has been slowly sinking 
during the last four centuries. The border of the continent, from 
Labrador southward to New Jersey, is supposed to be undergoing 
changes of level, but more accurate observations will be necessary 
to determine the extent of the movement. 

Like the uninterrupted course of human history there are no 
strongly drawn lines between the ages and their corresponding 
system of rocks and organic remains. Culminent phases occur, 
giving distiiictiveiiess to the center of each and distinguishing it 
from others. The germ of each Avas long working forward in the 
past before it attained its full development and peculiar character, 
and extended far into the future for its decline and final extinction. 
There is, hence, a blending of periods and their products, and, 
while centrally well defined, their beginnings and endings are 
without lines of demarkatioii. The ratios, representing the com 
parative length of each age as determined by the thickness of its 

TVW*1."S^ Oll/l Mi/i T:~*-f-/i s\-F -d-1^,r\-J-M -V,-~, ^ -,. -L * . / n ^ i 


these results are only approximations to the truth. They are, 
however, sufficiently correct to give the proportionate duration of 
these great geological eras, and Avill doubtless, by future research, 
be rendered more accurate. Could definite intervals of time be 
substituted for these ratios, the most ample evidence exists to 
prove that the results would be inconceivably great. Even with 
in the period of existing causes, the mind is startled at the tre 
mendous sweep of ages required to effect comparatively small 
results. The waters of Lake Erie originally extended below the 
present Falls of Niagara, and the cataract, in subsequently pass 
ing from the same point to its present position, excavated the 
intervening channel of the river. Allowing the rate of movement 
to be one inch per year, which is perhaps not too low an estimate, 
it would require 380,000 years to pass over the six miles of retro 
cession. Judging from this estimate, what time would be required 
to excavate the canon of the Colorado, which is 300 miles long, 
and has been worn a large part of the distance through granite 
from 3000 to 6000 feet in depth. Captain Hunt, who for many 
years was stationed at Key West, and whose opportunity for 
observations was good, estimates that the coral insects, which 
have built up the limestone formations of Florida, must have 
required more than 5,000,000 years to complete their labors. 


The Hirers and Topography of tlie State are based upon and cor 
respond with its geological formations. The surface, inclination 
and the direction of the interior drainage faces the southwest. 
Rock river, flowing southwesterly through one of the most beau 
tiful and fertile regions, enters the Mississippi just below the 
Upper Rapids. The Desplaines, rising in Wisconsin west of Lake 
Michigan, and flowing southward, and the Kankakee, rising in 
Indiana, south of the lake, and flowing westward, form the Illinois. 
The latter stream, the largest in the State, courses across it in a 
southwesterly direction and falls into the Mississippi not far from 
the city of Alton. The Kaskaskia rises near the eastern boundary 
of the State and the 4()th parallel of latitude, flows in a soutliAvest 
direction, and forms a junction with the Mississippi not far from 
the town which bears its name. These and other smaller streams 
.flow through valleys originally excavated in solid limestone by 
ancient rivers anterior to the formation of the drift. The latter 
material was subsequently deposited in these primitive water 
courses from 10 to more than 200 feet in thickness, and now forms 
the channel of the existing streams. For the formation of these 
ancient river beds of such great width and frequently excavated 
several hundred feet in hard carboniferous rocks, the" diminished 
waters now flowing within their lining of drift are wholly inade 
quate. Furthermore, the alluvial valleys which the rivers now 
occupy are far too broad to correspond with the present volume 
and swiftness of the waters. The alluvial bottoms of the Illinois 
are nearly equal to those of the Mississippi, though the latter has 
a current twice as rapid and a quantity of water (> times as large 
as the former stream. The smaller streams of the State occupy 
valleys filled with drift, through which the waters have been unable 
to cut their way to the ancient troughs below. Owing to this, the 
stratified rocks in many localities have never become exposed, and 
it is difficult for the geologist to determine the character of the 
underlyin g formations. 

Though the surface of the State is generally level or slightly 
undulating, there are some portions of it considerably eleva 
ted. The highest summits are found along the northern border 
between Freeport and Galena, known as the mounds. The culmi 
nant points of altitude are 200 feet above the surrounding country, 
575 above the Avaters of Lake Michigan, 000 above the junction 
of the Ohio and Mississippi, and 1,150 above the ocean. The tops 
of the mounds coincide with the original elevation of the surface, 
and their present condition as isolated hills is due to denuding; 


forces which have carried away the surrounding strata. Mounds 
occur in other places, some of them having a hight of 50 feet, and 
frequently a crown of timber upon their summits, which gives them 
the appearance of islands in surrounding seas of prairie verdure. 
Besides the mounds there are in the State 5 principal axes of dis 
turbance and elevation. The most northerly of these enters it in 
Stephenson county, crossing Rock river near Dixon, and the Illinois 
not far from LaSalle. On the former river it brings to the surface 
the St. Peters sandstone; on the latter, magnesian. limestone, a 
Hilurian formation. At LaSalle the coal strata are uplifted to the 
surface from a depth of 400 feet, which shows that the disturbance 
occurred after their formation. On the Mississippi, in Calhoun 
county, there occurred an upheaval of the strata, attended with a 
down throw of more than 1,000 feet. On the south side of the 
axis the Burlington limestone of the subcarboniferous series had 
its strata tilted up almost perpendicular to the horizon. On the 
north side the St. Peters sandstone and magnesian limestone were 
elevated,* and form the bluff known as Sandstone Cape. This 
bluff, at the time of its elevation, was doubtless a mountain mass 
of 1,500 feet in hight, and has since been reduced to its present 
altitude by the denuding effects of water. The same axes- of dis 
turbance, trending in a southeastern direction, crosses the Illinois 6 
miles above its mouth, and farther southward again strikes the 
Mississippi and disappears in its channel. Farther down the river 
another uplift dislocates the strata near the southern line of St. 
Clair county. This disturbance extends by way of Columbia, in 
Monroe county, to the Mississippi, and brings to -the surface the 
same limestone and the St. Peters sandstone. Again, farther 
southward, an uplifted mountain ridge extends from Grand Tower, 
on the Mississippi, 1 to Shawneetown, on the Ohio; on the west of 
the Mississippi it brings the lower Silurian rocks to the surface ; in 
Jackson county, Illinois, it tilts up the Devonian limestone at an 
angle of 25 degrees; and farther eastward the subcarboniferous 
limestone becomes the surface rock. The last important point of 
disturbance occurs in Alexander county, constituting the Grand 
Chain, a dangerous reef of rocks, extending across the Mississippi 
and forming a bluff on the Illinois shore 70 feet high. Passing 
thence in a southeastern direction, it crosses the Ohio a few miles 
above Caledonia, in Pulaski county.* 

The Formation of the Soil is due to geological and other physi 
cal agencies. From long habit we are accustomed to look upon it 
without considering its wonderful properties and great importance 
in the economy of animal life. Not attractive itself, yet its pro 
ductions far transcend the most elaborate works of art ; and hav 
ing but little diversity of appearance, the endless variety which 
pervades the vegetable and animal kingdoms springs from its pro 
lific abundance. Its mysterious elements, incorporated in the struc 
ture of plants, clothes the earth with verdure and pleasant land 
scapes. They bloom in the flower, load the breeze with fragrant 
odors, blush in the clustering fruit, whiten the fields with harvests 
for the supply of food, furnish the tissues which, wrought into 
fabrics, decorate and protect the body, and yield the curative 
agents for healing the diseases to which it is subject. From the 
source also proceed the elements which, entering the domain 

*Geological Survey of Illinois, by ATH. Worthen. 


of animal life, pulsate in the blood., suffuse the cheek with the 
glow of health, speak iu the eye, in the nerve become the recipi 
ents of pleasure and pain, render the tongue vocal with music and 
eloquence, and fill the brain, the seat of reason and throne of the 
imagination, with its glowing- imagery and brilliant fancies. But 
while the soil is the source of such munificent gifts, it is also the 
insatiable bourne to which they must all return. The lofty tree, 
spreading its vast canvass of leaves to the winds, and breasting 
the storms of a thousand years, finally dies, and undergoing de 
composition, enriches the earth in which it grew. The king of 
beasts, whose loud roar can be heard for miles, and whose im 
mense power enables him to prey upon the denizens of his native 
jungles, cannot resist the fate which at length consigns his sinewy 
frame to the mold. Even the lord of the lower world, notwith 
standing his exalted position and grasp of intellect, must likewise 
suiter physical death and mingle with the sod that forms his 
grave. . 

The soil was originally formed by the decomposition gf rocks. 
These, by long exposure to the air, water and frost, became disin 
tegrated, and the comminuted material acted upon by vegetation, 
forms the fruitful mold of the surface. When of local origin, it 
varies in composition with the changing material from which it is 
derived. If sandstone prevails, it is too porous to retain fertiliz 
ing agents ; if limestone is in excess, it is too hot and dry ; and if 
slate predominates, the resulting clay is too wet and cold. Hence 
it is only a combination of these and other ingredients that can 
properly adapt the earth to the growth of vegetation. Happily 
for Illinois the origin of its surface formations precludes the pos 
sibility of sterile extremes arising from local causes. As we have 
stated before, almost the entire surface of the State is a stratum 
of drift, formed by the , decomposition of every variety of rock, 
and commingled in a homogeneous mass by the agents" employed 
in its distribution. This immense deposit, varying from 10 to 200 
feet in thickness, required for its production physical conditions 
which do not IIOAV exist. We must go far back "in the history of 
the planet, when the Polar world was a desolation of icy wastes. 
From these dreary realms of enduring frosts vast glaciers, "reaching 
southward, dipped into the waters of an inland sea, extending 
over a large part of the upper Mississippi valley. These ponder 
ous masses, moving southward with irresistible power, tore im 
mense boulders from their parent ledges and incorporated them 
in their structure. By means of these, in their further progress, 
they grooved and planed down the subjacent rocks, gathering up 
and carrying with them part of the abraded material and strew 
ing their track for hundreds of miles with the remainder. On 
reaching the shore of the interior sea huge icebergs were projected 
from their extremities into the waters, which, melting as they 
floated into warmer latitudes, distributed the detrital matter they 
contained over the bottom. Thus, long before the plains of Illi 
nois clanked with the din of railroad trains, these ice-formed navies 
plowed the seas in which they were submerged, and distributed 
over them cargoes of soil-producing sediment, No mariner walked 
their crystal decks to direct their course, and no pennon attached 
to their glittering masts trailed in the winds that urged them for 
ward 5 yet they might perhaps have sailed under the flags of a 

SOIL. 17 

hundred succeeding empires, each as old as the present nationali 
ties of the earth, during the performance of their labors. This 
splendid soil-forming deposit is destined to make Illinois the great 
centre of American wealth and population. Perhaps no other 
country of the same extent on the face of the globe can boast a 
soil so ubiquitous in its distribution and so universally productive. 
Enriched by all the minerals in the crust of the earth, it necessa 
rily contains a great variety of constituents. Since plants differ 
so widely in the elements of which they are composed, this multi 
plicity of composition is the means of growing a great diversity 
of crops, and the amount produced is correspondingly large. So 
great is the fertility, that years of continued cultivation do not 
materially diminish the yield, and should sterility be induced by 
excessive working, the subsoil can be made available. This ex 
tends from 2 to 10 and even 20 and 30 feet in depth, and when 
mixed with the mold of the surface, gives it a greater producing 
capacity than it had at first. Other States have limited areas as 
productive, but nearly the entire surface of Illinois is arable land, 
and when brought under cultivation will become one continued 
scene of verdure and agricultural profusion. With not half of its 
area improved, the State has become the granary of the continent ; 
far excels any other member of the Union in packing pork ; fat 
tens more than half of all the cattle shipped to the Eastern mar 
kets, and if prices were as remunerative, could furnish other 
products to a corresponding extent. Graded to a proper level, 
and free from obstructions, the State has become the principal 
theatre for the use and invention of agricultural implements. 
Owing to the cheapness attending the use of machinery, with a 
given amount of capital, a greater extent of lands can be culti 
vated. The severity of the labor expended is also proportionately 
diminished, and those engaged in husbandry have time to become 
acquainted with the theoretical as well as the practical part of 
their duties. The profound philosophy involved in the growtlrof 
plants furnishes a field for investigation and experiment requiring 
the highest order of talent and the most varied and extensive at 
tainments. Agriculture, aided by chemistry, vegetable physiology 
and kindred branches of knowledge, will greatly enhance the pro 
ductiveness of the land. Thus with the advantages of science, a 
superior soil, and the use of machinery, agriculture will always 
remain the most attractive, manly and profitable branch of indus 
try in which the people of Illinois can engage, contributing more 
than any other pursuit to individual comfort, and proportionally 
adding to the prosperity of the State. The cultivation of the soil 
in all ages has furnished employment for the largest and best por 
tion of mankind 5 yet the honor to which they are entitled has 
never been fully acknowledged. Though their occupation is the 
basis of national prosperity, and upon its progress more than any 
other branch of industry depends the march of civilization, yet 
its history remains to a great extent unwritten. Historians duly 
chronicle the feats of the warrior who ravages the earth and beg 
gars its inhabitants, but leaves unnoticed the labors of him who 
causes the desolated country to bloom again, and heals with the 
balm of plenty the miseries of war. When true worth is duly re 
cognized, instead of the mad ambition which subjugates nations 
to acquire power, the heroism which subdues the soil and feeds 


the world, Avill be the theme of the poet s song and the orator s 

The Origin- of the Prairies has been a source of speculation. 
One theory is that the soil resulted from the decomposition of 
vegetable matter under water, and that the attending conditions 
were incompatible with the growth of timber. According to this 
view, prairies are at present in process of formation along the 
shores of lakes and rivers. During river freshets the heaviest 
particles settle nearest the channel, and here by repeated deposits 
the banks first became elevated above the floods. These natural 
levies becoming sufficiently high, are overgrown with timber and 
inclose large areas of bottom lands back from the river, by which 
they are frequently inundated. The waters on these flats, when 
the flood subsides, are cut off from the river and form sloughs, 
frequently of great extent. Their shallow and stagnant waters 
are first invaded by mosses and other aquatic plants which grow 
under the surface and contain in their tissues lime, allurnina, and 
silica, the constituents of clay. They also subsist immense num 
bers of small mollusks and other diminutive creatures, and the 
constant decomposition of both vegetables and animals forms a 
stratum of clay corresponding with that which underlies the fin 
ished prairies. As the marshy bottoms are by this means built 
up to the surface of the water, the mosses are then intermixed 
with coarse grasses, which become more and more abundant as the 
depth diminishes. These reedy plants, now rising above the sur 
face, absorb and decompose the carbonic acid gas of the atmos 
phere, and convert it into woody matter, which at first forms a 
clayey mold and afterwards the black mold of the prairie. * The 
same agencies, now operating in the ponds skirting the banks of 
rivers, originally formed all the prairies of the Mississippi Valley. 
We have already seen that the surface of the land was submerged 
during the dispersion of the drift, and in its slow emergence after 
ward, it was covered by vast sheets of shallow water, which first 
formed swamps and subsequently prairies. The present want of 
liorizontality in some of them is due to the erosive action of water. 
The drainage, moving in the direction of the creeks and rivers, at 
length furrowed the surface with tortuous meanders, resulting 
finally in the present undulating prairies. The absence of trees, the 
most remarkable feature, is attributable first to the formation of 
ulmic acid, which favors the growth of herbacious plants and retards 
that of forests ; secondly, trees absorb by their roots large quantities 
of air, which they cannot obtain when the surface is under water or 
covered by a compact sod; and thirdly, they require solid points 
of attachment which marshy flats are unable to furnish. When, 
however, the lands become dry and the sod is broken by the plow 
or otherwise destroyed, they ijroduce all the varieties of arbores 
cent vegetation common to their latitude. Indeed, since the settle 
ment of Illinois, the woodland area of many localities extends far 
beyond its original limits. 

The foregoing theory requires a large, unvarying quantity -of 
water, while another, perhaps equally plausible, is based on aque 
ous conditions almost the reverse. It is well known that the 
different continental masses of the globe are in general surrounded 
by zones of timber, and have within them belts of grasses, and 
centrally large areas of inhospitable deserts. On the Atlantic side 



of Xorth America there is a continuous wooded region, extending 
from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, while on the Pacific a simi 
lar arborescent growth embraces some of the most gigantic speci 
mens of the vegetable kingdom. Within these bands of timber, 
which approach each other in their northern and southern reaches, 
are the great prairies extending transversely across the Mississippi 
Valley, and having their greatest expansion in the valley of the 
Missouri. Farther westward, from increasing dryness, the grasses 
entirely disappear, and the great American Desert usurps their 
place. This alternation of forest, prairie, and desert, corres 
ponds with the precipitation of moisture. The ocean is the great 
source of moisture, and the clouds are the vehicles employed for 
its distribution over the land. From .actual measurement it has 
been ascertained that they discharge most of their water on the 
exterior rim of the continents ; that farther toward the interior 
the amount precipitated is less, and finally it is almost entirely 
supplanted by the aridity of the desert. In a section extending 
across the continent from ]STew York to San Francisco, the amount 
of rain-fall strikingly coincides with the alternations of wood-land, 
prairie, and desert. The region extending from Kew York, which 
has an annual rain-fall of 42 inches, to Ann Arbor, having 29 
inches, is heavily covered with timber; thence to Galesburg, 111., 
having 26 inches,* is mostly prairie interspersed with clumps of 
forest ; thence to Fort Laramie, having 20 inches, it rapidly 
changes to a continuous prairie ; thence to Fort Younia, having 
only 3 inches, it becomes an inhospitable desert ; and thence to 
San Francisco, having 22 inches, it changes to luxuriant forests. 
Illinois is thus within the region of alternate wood and prairie, 
with the latter largely predominating. This wide belt, owing to a 
difference of capacity for retaining moisture, has its eastern and 
western borders thrown into irregular outlines, resembling deeply 
indented bays and projecting headlands. As the result of decreas- 
( ing moisture, only 90 arborescent species are found in the wooded 
region which on the east extends a considerable distance into 
Illinois, and all of these, except 6, disappear farther westward. 
The diminished precipitation in Illinois, and the great valley east 
of the Mississippi, while it has an unfavorable effect on the growth 
of trees, seems rather to enhance the growth of crops. In further 
confirmation of this theory, the same physicial laws which have 
diversified Xorth America with forest, prairie, and desert, have 
produced similar effects upon other continents. Hence it is that 
South America has its Atacama, Africa its great Sahara, Europe 
its barren steppes, and Asia its rainless waste of sand and salt,, 
extending through more than 100 degrees of longitude. All these 
desert places, where local causes do not interfere, are girt about 
by grassy plains and belts of forest. 

* The subjoined table has been kindly furnished us by Prof. Livingstone, of Lombard Uni 
versity. It will be seen that the mean annual temperature of Gralesbtucg is 48 degrees, and its 
mean annual precipitation of moisture 24 inches. The sonthem and western portions of the 
State slightly exceed the above figures: 

Jan. I Feb. 





Apr. | May. 



Aug. 1 Sep. | Oct. 

Xov. | Dec. 



n l 




- - 





W H 

s" 3 



t-3 \ 7$ 







14 240 

14 30 

r. -!!>" 28 (10 j -29 , 70 J 32 j 59! 40 


43 630 

33 5n 


39 11 2G 

|.- !-> 



Some eminent physicists refer the treeless character of the great 
grassy plains to the mechanical and chemical character of the soil. 
Perhaps, in the constantly varying physical, conditions of different 
localities, the forces alluded to in these theories advanced, may all 
co-operate to produce these great grassy expanses, which consti 
tute so large a part of the earth s surface. To Illinois they are 
inexhaustible sources of wealth, and as intimately connected with 
her destiny as the great coal fields which underlie them. Both are 
the expression of natural law, both destined to furnish the State 
with the elements of future greatness and power, and both pro 
phetic of labor, intelligence and the enjoyment of a noble man 

The Climatology of the State, in common with other countries of 
the same latitude, has four seasons. The melting snows of winter, 
generally attended by rains, convert the rich soil of the prairie into 
mud, and render early spring the most unpleasant part of the year. 
The heat of summer, although more intense than in the same lati 
tude on the Atlantic, is greatly relieved by the constant breezes 
which fan the prairies. Autumn, with slowly diminishing heats, 
terminates in the serene and beautiful season known as Indian 
summer. Its mild and uniform temperature, soft and hazy atmos 
phere, and forests beautifully tinted with the hues of dying foliage, 
all conspire to render it the pleasant part of the year. Next come 
the boreal blasts of winter, with its social firesides, and tinkling 
bells in the mystic light of the moon, as merry sleighs skim over 
the level snow-clad prairies. The winter has its sudden changes 
of temperature, causing colds and other diseases arising from 
extreme vicissitudes of weather. This is the most unfavorable 
feature of the climate, which in other respects is salubrious. The 
general belfef that Illinois is scourged by bilious diseases is sub 
stantially unfounded. It is well known that the pioneers of Ohio, 
Indiana and Michigan suffered far worse from malarious diseases 
than those who first subdued the soil of Illinois. The cause of 
this is apparent. The malaria of marshes and unsubdued soils in 
wooded districts, excluded from the light of the sun and a free 
circulation of air, is far more malignant than that of the prairie 
having the full benefit of these counteracting agents.t 

The most distinguishing feature of the climate is its sub-tropical 
summers and the arctic severities of its winters. The newly 
arrived English immigrant is at first inclined to complain of these 
climatic extremes, but a short residence in the country soon con 
vinces him that many of the most kindly fruits and plants could 
not be cultivated and matured without them. Owing to this tropical 
element of the summer, the peach, grape, sweet potato, cotton, 
corn and other plants readily mature in Illinois, though its mean 
annual temperature is less than that of England, where their cul 
tivation is impossible. These facts show that a high temperature 
for a short season is more beneficial to some of the most valued 
plants than a moderate temperature long continued. This is well 
exemplified in the cultivation of our great staple, maize, or Indian 
corn, which, wherever the conditions are favorable, yields a greater 
amount of nutriment, with a given amount of labor, than any 

*See Geographical Surveys of the State, and Foster s Physical Geography of the Missis 
sippi Valley. 

{Foster s Physical Geography. 


known cereal. It was originally a tropical grass, and when culti 
vated in regions of a high and protracted temperature, exhibits a 
strong tendency to revert to its original condition. In the Gulf States 
it grows to a greater hight than farther northward, but its yield of 
seed is correspondingly less. In the valleys opening seaward along 
the Pacific slope, it attains a medium size, but fails to mature for 
the want of sufficient heat. Hence the districts of its maximum 
production must be far north of its native latitudes, and have the 
benefit of short but intense summer heats. In Illinois and adja 
cent parts of the great valley its greatest yield is about the 41st 
parallel, and though far less imposing in its appearance than on 
the Gulf, its productive capacity is said to be four-fold greater 
than either there or on the Pacific. It is wonderful that a plant 
should undergo such a great transformation in structure and nat 
ural habits, and that its greatest producing capacity should be 
near the northern limits of its possible cultivation. "These facts 
suggest questions of great scientific value relative to the develop 
ment of other plants by removing them from their native localities. 

One of the causes which assist in imparting these extremes to 
the climate may be thus explained. The different continental 
masses during the summer become rapidly heated under the influ 
ence of the sun, while the surrounding oceans are less sensitive to 
its effects. As the result, the lauds bordering on the sea have a 
comparatively mild temperature, while the interior is subject to 
intense heat. During winter, for similar reasons, the interior 
becomes severely cold, while the sea-girt shore still enjoys a much 
milder temperature. But a greater modifying influence upon the 
climate are the winds to which it is subject. The source of these 
is at the equator, where the air, becoming raritied from the effects 
of heat, rises and flows in vast masses toward the poles. On 
reaching colder latitudes it descends to the earth, and as an under 
current returns to the equator and supplies the tropical vacuum 
caused by its previous ascent. If the earth were at rest, the two 
under and two upper currents would move at right angles to 
the equator. But, owing to its daily revolution from west to east, 
the imder-currents, as they pass from the poles toward the equator 
where the rotation is greatest, fall behind the earth, and that in 
the northern, hemisphere flows from the northeast, and that in the 
southern from the southeast. In like manner the upper-currents, 
flowing from the greater velocity of the equator toward the less at 
the poles, get in advance of the earth; and the one in the north 
flows from the southwest, and the other in the south from the 
northwest. If the globe were a perfectly smooth sphere, the flow 
of the winds as above described would be uniform, but the former 
being crested with mountain chains, the latter are broken into a 
great variety of local currents. In a belt of about 2o degrees on 
each side of the equator, the under- currents blow with the greatest 
regularity, and are called trade-winds, from their importance to nav 
igation and commerce. 

In making an application of these great primary currents to the 
valley of the Mississippi, and consequently to Illinois, it will be 
seen that the southwest winds, descending from their equato 
rial altitude, become the prevailing winds of the surface in our 
latitude. Besides these, the northeast trade-winds, in their pro 
gress toward the equator, impinge against the lofty chain of the 


Andes, and are deflected up the Mississippi Valley and mingle 
with the winds from the southwest, In their passage along the 
Andes Mountains, and across the Carribbean Sea and the Mexican 
Gulf, they become charged with tropical heat and moisture. On 
entering the great central valley of the continent, walled in on 
both sides by impassable mountain barriers, they are directed far 
northward, and, mingling with the southwest winds, dispense their 
waters, warmth and fertility, which are destined to make it the 
greatest theatre of human activities on the face of the globe. 
These winds, from local causes, frequently veer about to different 
points of the compass ; and in Illinois and other prairies States, 
where there are no forest belts to break their force, frequently 
sweep over the country with the fury of tornadoes. Almost every 
year has recorded instances of the loss of life and property from 
this cause, and even in the great northern forests are tracks made 
by their passage, as well defined as the course of the reaper through 
a field of grain. 


It is the opinion of antiquarians that three distinct races of 
people lived in North America prior to its occupation by the present 
population. Of these the builders of the magnificent cities whose 
remains are found in a number of localities of Central America 
were the most civilized. Judging from the ruins of broken columns, 
fallen arches and the crumbling walls of temples, palaces and pyr 
amids, which in some places for miles bestrew the ground, these 
cities must have been of great extent and very populous. The 
mind is almost startled at the remoteness of their antiquity, when 
we consider the vast sweep of time necessary to erect such colossal 
structures of solid masonry, and afterwards convert them into the 
present utter wreck. Comparing their complete desolation with 
the ruins of Balbec, Palmyra, Thebes and Memphis, they must 
have been old when the latter were being built. May not America 
then be called the old world instead of the new; and may it not 
have contained, when these Central American cities were erected, 
a civilization equal if not superior to that which contemporane 
ously existed on the banks of the Nile, and made Egypt the cradle 
of eastern arts and science! 

The second race, as determined by the character of their civili 
zation, were the mound builders, the remains of whose works con 
stitute the most interesting class of antiquities found within the 
limits of the United States. Like the ruins of Central America, 
they antedate the most ancient records; tradition can furnish no 
account of them, and their character can only be partially gleaned 
from the internal evidences which they themselves afford. They 
consist of the remains of what was apparently villages, altars, 
temples, idols, cemeteries, monuments, camps, fortifications, pleas 
ure grounds, etc. The farthest relic of this kind, discovered in a 
northeastern direction, was near Black river on the south side of 
Lake Ontario. Thence they extend in a southwestern direction 
by way of the Ohio, the Mississippi, Mexican Gulf, Texas, New 
Mexico and Youcatan, into South America. Commencing in Cata- 
raugus county, New York, there was a chain of forts extending 
more than 50 miles southwesterly, not more than. 4 or 5 miles 
apart, and evidently built by a people rude in the arts and few in 
numbers. Further southward they increase in number and mag 
nitude. In West Virginia, near the junction of Grave creek and 
the Ohio, is one of the most august monuments of remote antiquity 
found in the whole country. According to measurement it has an 
altitude of 90 feet, a diameter at the base of 100 feet, and at the 
summit of 45 feet, while a partial examination discloses within it 


the existence of many thousands of human skeletons. In Ohio, 
where the mounds have been carefully examined, are found some 
of the most extensive and interesting that occur in the United 
States. At the mouth of the Muskingum, among a number of 
curious works, was a rectangular fort containing 40 acres, encircled 
by a wall of earth 10 feet high, and perforated with openings 
resembling gateways. In the mound near the fort were found the 
remains of a sword, which appeared to have been buried with its 
owner. Besting on the forehead were found three large copper 
bosses, plated with silver and attached to a leather buckler. Near 
the side of the body was a plate of silver, which had perhaps been, 
the upper part of a copper scabbard, portions of which were tilled 
with iron rust, doubtless the remains of a sword. A fort of similar 
construction and dimensions was found on Licking river, near 
Newark. Eight gateways pierced the walls, and were guarded by 
mounds directly opposite each on the inside of the work. At Cir- 
cleville, on the Scioto, there were two forts in juxtaposition; the 
one an exact circle 00 rods in diameter, and the other a perfect 
square, 55 rods on each side. The circular fortification was sur 
rounded by two walls, with an intervening ditch 20 feet in depth. 
On Paint creek, 15 miles west of Chillicothe, besides other exten 
sive works, was discovered the remains of a walled town. It was 
built 011 the summit of a hill about 300 feet in altitude, and encom 
passed by a wall 10 feet in liight, made of stone in their natural 
state. The area thus inclosed contained 130 acres. On the south 
side of it there were found the remains of what appeared originally 
to have been a row of furnaces or smith-shops, about which cinders 
were found several feet in depth. In the bed of the creek, which 
washes the foot of the hill, were found wells which had been cut 
through solid rock. They were more than 3 feet in diameter at the 
top, neatly Availed with jointed stones, and, at the time of discovery, 
covered over by circular stones. So numerous were works of this 
kind in Ohio it would require a large volume to speak of them in 

Along the Mississippi they reach their maximum size and contain 
some of the most interesting relics. The number of mounds found 
here at an early day were estimated at more than 3,000, the smallest 
of which were not less than 20 feet in hight, and 100 feet in diam 
eter at the base. A large number of them were found in Illinois, 
but, unfortunately, most of those who have examined them were 
little qualified to furnish correct information respecting their real 
character. It is greatly to be regretted that the State has never 
ordered a survey of these works by persons qualified to do the 
subject j ustiee. Many of the most interesting have been ruthlessly 
destroyed, but it is believed a sufficient number still remain to 
justify an examination. It may, however, be safely assumed, from 
what is already known respecting them, that they were substantially 
the same as those found in other parts of the United States. 

One of the most singular earthworks in this State was found in 
the lead region on the top of a ridge near the east bank of the 
Siusmawa creek. It resembled some huge animal, the head, 
ears, nose, legs and tail and general outline of which being as per 
fect as if made by men versed in modern art. The ridge on Avhich 
it was situated stands 011 the prairie, 300 yards wide," 100 feet in 
hight, and rounded on the top by a deep deposit of clay. Cen- 


trally, along the line of its summit and thrown up in the form of 
an embankment three feet high, extended the outline of a quadru 
ped, measuring 250 feet from the tip of the nose to the end of the 
tail, and having a width of body at the center of 18 feet. The 
head was 35 feet in length, the ears 10, legs 60, and tail 75. The 
curvature in both the fore and hind legs was natural to an animal 
lying on its side. The general outline of the figure most nearly 
resembled the extinct animal known to geologists as the Megathe 
rium. The question naturally arises, by whom and for what pur 
pose was this earth figure raised. Some have conjectured that 
numbers of this now extinct animal lived and roamed over the 
prairies of Illinois when the mound builders first made their appear 
ance in the upper part of the Mississippi Valley, and that their 
wonder and admiration, excited by the colossal dimensions of these 
huge creatures, found expression in the erection of this figure. 
The bones of some similar gigantic animals were exhumed 011 this 
stream about 3 miles from the same place.* 

David Dale Owen, a celebrated western geologist, in his report 
to the land office in 1839, refers to a number of figures, similar to 
the one above described, as existing in Wisconsin. He thinks they 
were connected with the totemic system of the Indians who formerly 
dwelt in this part of the country. When, for example a distin 
guished chief died, he infers that his clansmen raised over his body 
a mound resembling the animal which had been used as a symbol 
to designate his family. 

Mr. Breckenridge, who examined the antiquities of the western 
country in 1817, speaking of the mounds in the American Bottom, 
says: "The great number and the extremely large size of some 
of them may be regarded as furnishing, with other circumstances, 
evidence of their antiquity. I have sometimes been induced to 
think that at the period when they were constructed there was a 
population here as numerous as that which once animated the 
borders of the Xile or of the Euphrates or of Mexico. The most 
numerous as well as considerable of these remains are found in 
precisely those parts of the country w T here the traces of a numer 
ous population might be looked for, namely, from the mouth of 
the Ohio, on the east side of the Mississippi, to the Illinois river, 
and on the west from the St. Francis to the Missouri. I am per 
fectly satisfied that cities similar to those of ancient Mexico, of 
several hundred thousand souls, have existed in this country. 7 

Says Mr. 0. Atwater, the author of an able work 011 the antiqui 
ties of Ohio: u Xearly opposite St. Louis there are traces of two 
such cities, in the distance of 5 miles. They were situated 011 the 
Cahokia, which crosses the American Bottom opposite St. Louis. 
One of the mounds is 800 yards in circumference at the base, and 
100 feet in hight," 

The following description of this mound, which is the largest in 
the United States, is condensed from an article in the Belleville 
Eayle : It is situated 6 miles northeast of St. Louis, and is com 
monly known as the Monk s mound, from the Monks of La Trappe 
having settled on and around it. It is an irregular oblong, ex 
tending north and south, and its shortest sides east and west. 
The top contains about 3^ acres, and about half way down the 
sides is a terrace, extending the whole width of the mound, and 

*Galena Jeft ersouian, 1853. 


sufficiently broad to afford sites for a number of spacious build 
ings. The present want of regularity is due to the action of the 
rains, which, during a long interval of time, has so changed its 
surface that the original design of its builders has been lost. A 
Mr. Hill, who lived on it, in making an excavation for an ice-house 
on the northwest part, found human bones and white pottery in 
large quantities. The bones, which crumbled to dust on being 
exposed to the air, were larger than common, and the teeth were 
double in front as well as behind. A well dug by Mr. Hill, whose 
dwelling was on the summit, passed through several strata of 
earth, and, it is said, the remains of weeds and grass were discov 
ered between the layers, the color of which was still visible and 
bright as when they were first inhumed. The writer thinks this 
portion of the American Bottom might with propriety be called 
the city of mounds, for in less than a mile square there are 00 or 
80 of every size and form, none of which are more than one-third 
as large as the Monk s mound. They extend in a westerly direc 
tion, five miles or more, along the Cahokia. 

Notwithstanding the authorities referred to above, recent obser 
vations render it highly probable that these mounds are portions 
of the original shore of the Mississippi, which, like islands, were 
not wholly Avashed away by its waters. Professor Worthen, our 
State Geologist, and others, think that the material of which they 
are composed, and its stratification, correspond exactly in these 
particulars with the opposite Muffs. 

The greatest evidence of art which they exhibit is their form. 
The base of the large mound, before denudation changed it, had 
the form of a parallelogram, whose well defined right-angles could 
not have resulted from the action of water. Its terrace, and the 
same features which distinguished the mounds on the west side 
of the river at St. Louis, at Marietta, Portsmouth, Paint Creek 
and Circleville, Ohio, and large numbers of them in Mexico, are 
remarkable coincidences, if they are not works of art. It is well 
known that the ancients, instead of throwing up mounds, in 
some instances selected natural elevations and shaped them with 
terraces for sites of altars and temples, and this seems to have 
been the character of the mounds in the American Bottom. Though 
not originally intended for graves, they were subsequently used as 
such by the Indians, that their dead might be above the floods of 
the Mississippi. 

But whatever may have been the nature of these, there is no 
doubt as to the artificial character of others in many localities. 
Pioneer evidence states that at an early date copper, and a great 
variety of other implements, exceeding in their workmanship the 
skill of the present Indians, were taken from the mounds of South 
ern Hlinois. The existence of tins metal in these earthworks re 
fers them to the era of the mound builders, as the Indians are 
ignorant of the process of working it, and never used it in the 
manufacture of implements. The copper so frequently discovered 
m mounds in the United States doubtless came from the region of 
Lake Superior. Mines have been examined here extending over 
large areas, the working of which antedates all existing records 
or Indian traditions. Another of the many evidences of tribes, 
who must have inhabited this country at a remote period, was 
found a few years since at the Illinois Salines. Fragments of pot- 


ten, from 4 to 5 feet in diameter, were exhumed some 30 feet be 
low the surface, and had evidently been used in the manufacture 
of salt by the mound builders, or some other ancient people, dif 
ferent from the present Indians. The artificial character of these 
works not being; a controverted point, the inquiry arises who were 
their builders f The hypothesis that they were the ancestors of 
the Algonquin and other tribes found living in their midst, when 
first visited by Europeans, but illy accords with the evidence fur 
nished by an examination of the facts. These curious relics are 
fragments of a history which point to a people different in physi 
cal structure from the red men, and greatly in advance of them in 
art and civilization. The latter in general are a tall, rather slen 
der, straight-limbed people, while the former were short and thick 
set, had low foreheads, high cheek bones, and Avere remarkable for 
their large eyes and broad chins. Their limbs were short and 
stout, while their whole physique more closely resembled that of 
the German than any existing race. The remains of their art also 
indicated a people wholly distinct. From these tumuli have been 
taken silver, iron and copper implements, exhibiting in their con 
struction a degree of skill greatly exceeding Indian ingenuity and 
workmanship. The large number of medals, bracelets, pipes, and 
other instruments made of copper, show that its use among them 
was much more extensive than that of the other metals. They 
may have possessed the lost art of hardening it, for cut stone is 
occasionally found in some of their works. The manufacture of 
earthenware was one of their most advanced arts ; vessels made 
from calcareous breccia have been taken from their tombs, equal in 
quality to any now made in Italy from the same material. A con 
siderable number of these were urns, containing bones, which ap 
pear to have been burnt before they were deposited in them. 
Mirrors, made of isinglas, were of frequent occurrence in the 
mounds. Many of them were large and elegant, and must have 
answered well the purpose for which they were intended. Could 
they speak, they would doubtless tell us that the primitive belles, 
whose charms they reflected, had the same fondness for personal 
decoration that distinguishes their sisters of the present day. 

Their habitations must have been tents, structures of wood, or 
some other perishable material ; otherwise their remains would 
have been numerous. The remains, however, of fire-places, 
hearths and chimneys, imbedded in the alluvial banks of the Ohio 
and Muskingum rivers, are frequently brought to light by the ac 
tion of their waters. The Indians of these localities never erected 
such works ; while their great depth below the surface, and its 
heavy growth of trees, is evidence that they were not made by Eu 
ropeans, hence must be referred to the mound builders. Evidence 
of this kind might be multiplied indefinitely, but what has been 
said is deemed sufficient. 

Xot only had the mound builders made considerable progress in 
the arts, but they were not wholly wanting in scientific attainments. 
The lines of nearly all their works, where the situation would admit 
of it, conform to the four cardinal points. Had their authors 110 
knowledge of astronomy, they could never have* determined the 
points of the compass with such exactness as their works indicate. 
This noble science, which in modern times has given us such ex 
tended views of the universe, was among the first in the earlier 


ages to arrest the attention of mankind. The pastoral life of primi 
tive times, when men dwelt in tents, or the open air, with the 
heavenly bodies in full view, was very favorable to the study of 

If the mound builders were not the ancestors of oiir Indians, 
who were they ? The oblivion which has closed over them is so 
complete that only conjectures can be given in answer to the ques 
tion. Those who do not believe in the common parentage of man 
kind contend that they were an indigenous race of the western 
hemisphere. Others, with more plausibility, think they came from 
the east, and imagine that they can see coincidences in the religion 
of the Hindoos and Southern Tartars and the supposed theology of 
the mound builders. An idol was found in a tomb near Nashville, 
consisting of three busts, representing a man in a state of nudity. 
On the head of each were carved the sacred fillet and cake with 
which, in ancient Greece, during sacrifices, the heads of the idol, 
the victim, and priest were bound. The Greeks are supposed to 
have borrowed these sacred appliances from the Persians, with 
whom they had frequent Avars and an intimate maritime inter 
course. Another idol, consisting of three heads united at the 
back, was taken from a tomb on the headwaters of the Cumber 
land river. Then 1 features, which were expressive, exhibited in a 
striking manner the lineaments of the Tartar countenance. It has 
been further observed that wherever there was a group of mounds 
three of them were uniformly larger and more favorably situated 
than the rest. The triune character of these images and mounds 
are supposed to represent the three principal gods of the Hindoos, 
Brahmin, Yishnoo and Siva. This supposition has been farther 
strengthened by the discovery in many mounds of murex shells, 
which were sacred in the religion of the Hindoos, used as material 
in the construction of their idols, and as the musical instruments 
of their Tritons. In digging a well near Nashville, a clay vessel 
was found 20 feet below the surface. It was of a globose form, 
terminating at the top with a female head, the features of which 
were strongly marked and Asiatic. The crown of the head was 
covered with a cap of pyramidal form resembling the Asiatic head 
dress. The vessel was found sitting on a rock from under which 
issued a stream of water, and may have been used at the fountain 
in performing the ablutions enjoined by some of the oriental re 
ligions. Indeed, for this purpose the temples and altars of the 
Hindoos are always erected on the banks of some river, as the 
Ganges and other sacred streams, and the same practice was ob 
served by the authors of the American tumuli. 

From evidence of this kind it is inferred that this people came 
from Asia, and that their migrations, like those from Europe at 
the present day, were made at different times and from different 

They were no doubt idolators, and it has been conjectured that 
the sun was an object of adoration. The mounds were generally 
built in a situation affording a view of the rising sun. When in 
closed with walls their gateways were toward the east. The caves 
in which they were occasionally found buried always opened in the 
same direction. Whenever a mound was partially inclosed by a 
semicircular pavement, it Avas on the east side. When bodies were 
buried in graves, as was frequently the case, they lay in an east- 


ern and western direction; and finally, medals have been found 
representing the sun and his rays of light. 

At what period they came to this country is likewise a matter 
of speculation. From the comparatively rude state of the arts 
among them, it has been inferred that the time was very remote. 
Their axes were made of stone ; their raiment, judging from the 
fragments which have been discovered, consisted of the barks of 
trees interwoven with feathers ; and their military works were such 
as a people would erect who had just passed from the hunter to 
the pastoral state of society. The line of forts already referred to, 
in ]S T ew York, were built on the brow of the hill which was origi 
nally the southern shore of Lake Erie. By the recession of the 
waters, they are now from 3 to 5 miles distant from their original 
limits. The surface, which became exposed by the retirement of 
the waters, is now covered with a vegetable mold from 6 to 10 
inches deep, and it may reasonably be supposed that a long inter 
val of time was required for the production of the forests by whose 
decomposition it was formed. But a much longer interval would 
be required for the Niagara to deepen its channel and thus cause 
the subsidence of the waters in the lake. 

What finally became of this people is another query which has 
been extensively discussed. The fact that their works extend into 
Mexico and Peru has induced the belief that it was their posterity 
that dwelt in these countries when they were first visited by the 
Spaniards. The Mexican and Peruvian works, with the exception 
of their greater magnitude, are similar. Belies common to all of 
them have been occasionally found, and it is believed that the reli 
gious uses which they subserved were the same. One of the prin 
cipal deities of the South Americans was the god of the shining 
mirror, so called because he was supposed to reflect, like a mirror, 
his divine perfections. The same god was also a Mexican divinity ; 
and while other deities were symbolized by images, this one was 
represented by a mirror, and held in great veneration as the un 
known god of the universe. Isiiiglas, common in the mounds in 
the United States, was the material generally employed for the 
construction of mirrors in Mexico ; but in South America, obsidan, 
a volcanic product, which answered the same purpose, was more 
frequently used. If, indeed, the Mexicans and Peruvians were the 
progeny of the more ancient mound builders, then Spanish rapacity 
for gold was the cause of their overthrow and final extermination. 

A thousand other interesting queries naturally arise respecting 
these nations which now repose under the ground, but the most 
searching investigation can only give us vague speculations for 
answers. No historian has preserved the names of their mighty 
chieftains nor given an account of their exploits, and even tradi 
tion is silent respecting them. If we knock at the tombs, no spirit 
comes back with a response, and only a sepulchral echo of forget 
fulness and death reminds us how vain is the attempt to unlock 
the mysterious past upon which oblivion has fixed its seal. How 
forcibly their mouldering bones and perishing relics remind us of 
the transitory character of human existence. Generation after 
generation lives, moves and is no more ; time has strewn the track 
of its ruthless march with the fragments of mighty empires ; and 
at length not even their names nor works have an existence in the 
speculations of those who take their places. 


he third distinct race which, according to ethnologists, has in- 
>ited North America, is the present Indians. When visited by 



early European pioneers they were without cultivation, refinement 
or literature, and far behind their precursors, the mound builders, 
in a knowledge of the arts. The question of their origin has long 
interested archeologists, and is one of the most difficult they have 
been called on to answer. One hypothesis is that they are an 
original race indigeneous to the Western Hemisphere. Those who 
entertain this view think their peculiarities of physical structure 
preclude the possibility of a common parentage with the rest of 
mankind. Prominent among these distinctive traits is the hair, 
which in the red man is round, in the white man oval, and in the 
black man flat. In the pile of the European the coloring matter 
is distributed by means of a central canal, but in that of the Indian 
it is incorporated in the fibrous structure. Brown, who has made 
an exhaustive examination of these varieties of hair, concludes 
that they are radically different, and belong to three distinct 
branches of the human family, which, instead of a common, have 
had a trinary origin. Since, therefore, these and other peculiar 
ethnological features are characteristic only of the aboriginal in 
habitants of America, it is inferred that they are indigenous to this 
part of the globe. 

A more common supposition, however, is that they are a deriva 
tive race, and sprang from one or more of the ancient peoples 
of Asia. In the absence of all authentic history, and when even 
tradition is wanting, any attempt to point out the particular theater 
of their origin must prove unsatisfactory. They are perhaps an 
offshoot of Shemitic parentage, and some imagine, from their tribal 
organization and some faint coincidences of language and religion, 
that they were the descendants of the ancient Hebrews. Others, 
with as much propriety, contend that their progenitors were the 
ancient Hindoos, and that the Brahmin idea, which uses the sun 
to symbolize the Creator of the Universe, has its counterpart in 
the sunworship of the Indians. They also see in the Hindoo poly 
theism, with its 30,000 divinities, a theology corresponding with 
the innumerable minor Indian deities, of which birds, quadrupeds, 
reptiles, and fishes are made the symbols. The Persians, and 
other primitive oriental stocks, and even the nations of Europe, if 
the testimony of different antiquarians could be accepted, might 
claim the honor of first peopling America. 

Though the exact place of origin may never be known, yet the 
striking coincidences of physical organization between the oriental 



types of mankind and the Indians, point unmistakably to some 
part of Asia as the place whence they emigrated. Instead of 
1800 year^, the time of their roving in the wilds of America, 
as determined by Spanish interpretation of their pietographic 
records, the interval has perhaps been thrice that period. Their 
religions, superstitions and ceremonies, if of foreign origin, evi 
dently belong to the crude theologies prevalent in the last cen 
turies before the introduction of Mahometanism or Christianity. 
Scarcely oOOO years would suffice to blot out perhaps almost every 
trace of the language they brought with them from the Asiatic 
cradle of the race, and introduce the present diversity of abori 
ginal tongues. Like their oriental progenitors they have lived for 
centuries without progress, while the Oaucassiaii variety of the 
race, under the transforming power of art, science, and improved 
systems of civil polity, have made the most rapid advancement. 
At the time of their departure eastward, a great current of emi 
gration flowed westward to Europe, making it a great arena of 
human effort and improvement. Thence proceeding farther west 
ward it met in America, the midway station in the circuit of the 
globe, the opposing current direct from Asia. The shock of the first 
contact was the beginning of the great conflict which has since 
been waged by the rival sons of Shein and Japheth. The first 
thought of the Indian, when hostilities commenced 011 the Atlantic 
border, was to retire westward. It was from beyond the Allegha- 
nies, according to the traditions of their fathers, they had come, 
and in the same undefined region they located their paradise or 
happy hunting ground. To employ an aboriginal allegory, "The 
Indians had long discerned a dark cloud in the heavens, coming 
from the east, which threatened them with disaster and death. 
Slowly rising at first, it seemed shadow, but soon changed to sub 
stance. When it reached the summit of the Alleghanies it as 
sumed a darker hue ; deep murmurs, as of thunder, were heard ; 
it was impelled westward by strong wind, and shot forth forked 
tongues of lightning." 

The movement of the sombre cloud typified the advance of labor, 
science and civilization. Pontiac foresaw the coming storm when 
he beheld the French flag and French supremacy stricken down 
on the plains of Abraham. To the British officer sent westward 
to secure the fruits of victory, he said: "I stand in thy path. 77 To 
the assembled chiefs of the nations in council, he unfolded his 
schemes of opposition, depicted the disasters which woidd attend 
the coming rush of the Anglo-Saxon, and climaxed his invective 
against the hated enemy with the exclamation, "Drive the dogs 
who wear red clothing into the sea. 77 Fifty years after the defeat 
of Pontiac, Tecumseh, emulating his example, "plotted the conspi 
racy of the Wabash. He brought to his aid the powerful influ 
ence of the Indian priest-hood; for years the forest haunts of his 
clansmen rang with his stirring appeals, and the valleys of the 
West ran with the blood of the Avhite invaders. But Tecumseh fell 
a martyr to his cause, and the second attempt to turn back the tide 
of civilization was a failure. The Appalachian tribes, under the 
leadership of Tuscaloosa, next waged a continuous war of three 
years against the southern frontiers. The conflict terminated by 
the sublime act of its leader, who, after a reward had been offered 
for his head, voluntarily surrendered himself for the good of his 


countrymen. After this defeat, the southern tribes abandoned 
their long 1 cherished idea of re-establishing* Indian supremacy. A 
last and fruitless effort of this kind, by the Sacs and Foxes of Illi 
nois, placed the vast domain east of the Mississippi in the hands 
of the ruthless conquerors.* 

Algonquin* and Iroquois. Of the several great branches of 
North American Indians, as determined by sameness of language 
and mental and physical type, the only ones entitled to considera 
tion in Illinois history, are the Algonquin, and incidentally the 
Iroquois. Before the encroachments of Europeans caused the re 
tirement of the Algonquin tribes, they occupied most of the United 
States between the 35th and 00th parallels of latitudes, and the 
60th and 105th meridians of longitude. They were Algonquins 
whom C artier found on the banks of the St. Lawrence, whom the 
English discovered hunting and fishing on the Atlantic coast, from 
Maine to the Carolinas. They were tribes of this lineage whom 
Jesuit missionaries taught to repeat prayers and sing avis on the 
banks of the Mississippi and Illinois, and on the shores of the 
great lakes and Hudson Bay. The same great family waged war 
with the Puritans of New England, entered into a covenant of 
peace with Penn, and furnished a Pocahontas to intercede for the 
life of the adventurous founder of Virginia. 

The starting point in the wanderings of the Algonquin tribes on 
the continent, as determined by tradition and the cultivation of the 
maize, their favorite cereal, was in the southwest. It is conjectured 
as they passed up the western side of the Mississippi Valley, their 
numbers were augumented by accessions from nomadic clans pass- 
through the central and southern passes of the Eocky Mountains. 
Then, turning eastward across the Mississippi, the southern mar 
gin of the broad track pursued toAvard the Atlantic was about the 
35th parallel, the limits reached in this direction by these tribes. 
This would place in the central line of inarch, Illinois, and the ad 
jacent regions, where the first European explorers found corn 
extensively cultivated and used as an article of food. On reaching 
the Atlantic they moved northeasterly along the seaboard to the 
mouth of the St. Lawrence, introducing along their track the cul 
tivation of maize, \vithout which many of the early British colo 
nists must have perished. Next, ascending the St. Lawrence and 
the great lakes, they spread northward and westward to Hudson s 
Bay, the basin of Lake Winnepeg, and the valley of the Upper 
Mississippi. In this wide dispersion the original stock was broken 
into minor tribes ; each, in the course of time, deviating in speech 
from the parent language, and forming a dialect of its own. The 
head of the migratory column, circling round the source of the 
Mississippi, recrossed it in a southeasterly direction above the falls 
of St. Anthony, and passed by way of Green Bay and Lake Michi 
gan into the present limits of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Thus, 
after revolving in an irregular elipse of some 3000 miles in diame 
ter, they fell into the original track eastward. 

The territory of the Iroquois lay like an island in this vast area 
of Algonquin population. They had three conflicting traditions 
of their origin: that they came from the west, from the north, and 
sprung from the soil on which they lived. Their confederacy at 
first consisted of 5 tribes, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onoiidagas, 

*Sclioolcraft 8, Part 5 ; Spencer s History of the United States 


Cayugas and Senecas, to which a Oth, the Tuscaroras was after 
wards added. Each tribe had a separate political organization in 
which the sachems were the ruling spirits. When foreign tribes 
were to be consulted, or the general interests of the confederacy 
required deliberation, the sachems of the several tribes met in 
general council. Hasty writers, judging from their successes without 
carefully studying their character and history, have greatly over 
rated their virtues. There is no doubt as to their success in Avar, but 
it was rather the result of circumstances than inherent worth. Not 
withstanding their much lauded eloquence, diplomacy and courage, 
there is little doubt that the Algonquin tribes of the same latitude 
were in these respects fully their equals. As it regards cranial 
indications, the Iroquois had an excessive development at the 
basillar region, and the Algonquins a larger intellectual lobe, and 
the conduct of the two races corresponds with their cerebral dif 
ferences. It is well known that for the exhibition of brutish ferocity 
in battle, and the fiendish butchery of prisoners, the former were 
without rivals. Missionary evidence states that it was they who 
first taught the Illinois the cruel practice of burning prisoners at 
the stake. But admitting their natural superiority they must have 
lost it by amalgamation, for it was customary with them to repair 
their constant losses in war by adopting into their families the 
women and children captured from their Algonquin enemies. 
This infusion of blood, if in a few generations it did not give the 
foreign element the ascendancy, must have greatly modi lied the 
original stock. Indeed some of the adopted Algouquins became 
afterwards their prominent chiefs. 

Their success in war was in a great measure the result of local 
and other advantages. Possessing a territory included in the 
present limits of New York, it gave them ready access to the 
nations living on the western lakes ; while the Mohawk and the 
Hudson furnished them a highway to the tribes of the sea-coast. 
Having by savage barbarity converted all the surrounding nations 
into enemies, necessity taught them the advantage of union, fixity 
of habitation made them superior in agriculture, while a passion 
for war gave them a preeminence in the arts best suited to gratify 
their inordinate lust for blood. Deprived of these advantages it 
is doubtful whether they would have been long able to cope with 
the tribes which they outraged by incessant attacks. 

The Algonquin tribes were too widely dispersed to admit of a 
general confederacy ; the interposition of great lakes and rivers 
prevented concert of action, and hence each community had to 
contend single-handed with the united enemy. Even in these une 
qual contests they were sometimes the conquerors, as instanced in 
the triumph of the Illinois on the banks of the Iroquois, a stream 
in our State whose name still commemorates the victory. 

It is not, however, in the petty broils of tribal warfare, but the 
fierce conflicts with the civilized intruders upon their soil, that a 
correct opinion is to be formed of these rival races. In these 
bloody struggles, which decided the fate of the entire aboriginal 
population, it was that the Algonquins evinced their great superi 
ority. Unlike the Iroquois, who, in their haughty independence, 
disdained to go beyond their OAVII narrow realms for assistance, 
and who, in their great thirst for carnage, even destroyed kindred 
nations, the Algonquins formed the most extensive alliance to 


resist the encroachments of their English destroyers. Such was the 
nature of King Philip s war, who, with his Algonquin braves, 
spread terror and desolation throughout New England. Panic- 
stricken at his audacity and success, the Puritans imagined they 
saw dire portents of calamities in the air and sky, and shadowy 
troops of careering horsemen imprinted on the face of the sun and 
moon. This compactly formed confederacy of tribes was over 
thrown; but it cost the Colonists, with their superior numbers, 
discipline and weapons, a bloody contest to accomplish it. Such. 
too, was the character of the culminating struggle of the red race, 
some 90 years later, for the dominion of the western wilderness. 
Never before had the Indians exhibited such feats of courage, 
such skill in diplomacy and such strategy in war; and never before, 
nor afterwards, were their efforts attended with such terrible con 
sequences. With an Algonquin chief and Algonquin warriors as 
the controlling spirits, a confederacy of continental proportions 
w r as the result, embracing in its alliance the tribes of every name 
and lineage, from the northern* lakes to the gulf 011 the south. 
Pontiac, having breathed into them his implacable hate of the 
English intruders, ordered the conflict to commence, and all the 
British colonies trembled before the desolating fury of the onset. 
Of the tribes of Algonquin lineage which formerly dwelt in 
Illinois, those bearing the name of the State were the most numer 
ous. Judging from the graves which were thickly planted over the 
prairies, they must at an early date have been a prominent theater 
of aboriginal activities. Long before the intrusion of the white 
man, the stately warrior marshaled his swarthy clans to defend 
the hunting grounds which embosomed the homes and graves of 
his ancestors. Here, around the lodge fire, the young braves 
listened to the exploits of their aged chiefs and marched forth to 
perform the deeds which were to crown them with a chieftain s 
honors. On the grass-cushioned lap of the prairie, when the 
moon with mellow radiance flooded the valleys and silvered the 
streams, the red swain went forth to woo his intended mate and 
win her love. Where the game abounded which furnished him 
with food and clothing he built the w T igw r am in which his faithful 
partner dispensed the hospitalities of his frugal board. Nature 
disclosed to his untutored mind the simple duties of life. The 
opening flow^er revealed the time for planting corn, the falling leaf 
when to provide for the frosts of winter, and from the lower 
animals he learned industry, prudence and affection. His own 
wondrous organization directed his thoughts to the Great Spirit, 
and in the spacious temple, lighted by the sun and curtained with 
clouds, where the tempest offers its" loud anthem of praise, he 
worshipped the God of Nature. 

The Illinois Confederacy were composed of five tribes: the Tam- 
aroas, Michigamies, Kaskaskias, Cahokias, and Peorias. Albeit 
Gallatin, who has prepared the most elaborate work on the struct 
ure of the Indian languages, gives the definition of Illinois as real 
or superior men, and derives it from the Delaware word Leno, 
Leni or Tllini, as it is variously written by different authors. The 
termination of the word as it is now, and applied to the State and 
its principal river, is of French origin. The Illinois, Mia mis and 
Delaware* arc of the same stock, and, according to tradition, emi 
grated from the far w T est 7 the first stopping in their eastern round 


of migration in the vicinity of Lake Michigan, the second in the 
territory of Indiana, and the third that of Pennsylvania. 

As early as 1070 the Jesuit, Father Marquette, mentions frequent 
visits made by individuals of this confederacy to the missionary 
station of St. Esprit, near the western extremity of Lake Superior. 
At that time they lived west of the Mississippi in eight villages, 
whither the Iroquois had driven them from the shores of Lake Michi 
gan, which received its name from one of the tribes. Shortly after 
wards they commenced returning eastward, and finally settled 
mostly on the Illinois. Joliet and Marquette, in 1743, descending 
the Mississippi below the mouth of the Wisconsin, on their famous 
voyage of discovery, met with a band of them on the west bank 
of the river. The principal chief treated them with great hospi 
tality, gave them a calumet as a pass down the river, and bid 
them a friendly farewell. The same explorers, in their return voy 
age up the Illinois, discovered and stopped at the principal town 
of the confederacy, situated on the banks of the river 7 miles below 
the present town of Ottawa. It was then called Kaskaskia, and 
according to Marqnette, contained 74 lodges, each of which domi 
ciled several families. Marquette returned to the village in the 
spring of 1075, and established the Mission of the Immaculate 
Conception, the oldest in Illinois, and subsequently transferred 
to the new town of Kaskaskia further southward. 

When, in 1G79, La Salle visited the town it had greatly increased, 
numbering, according to Heunepin, 460 lodges, and at the annual 
assembling of the different tribes from 6,000 to 8,000 souls. The 
lodges extended along the banks of the river a mile or more, ac 
cording to the number of its fluctuating, population, which ex 
tensively cultivated the adjacent meadows and raised crops of 
pumpkins, beans, and Indian corn. At this time the confederacy 
possessed the country from the present town of Ottawa and the 
lower rapids of the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio, and, ac 
cording to the missionary Father Easles, besides the principal 
town occupied some 10 or 12 other villages. In the irruption of 
the Iroquois, the following year, the principal town was burned 
and the several tribes pursued down the river to the Mississippi, 
where the Tamaroas were attacked and 700 of their women and 
children made prisoners. These were burned and butchered till 
the savage victors were sated with carnage, when the survivors 
were lead into captivity. With the withdrawal of the enemy the 
tribes returned, rebuilt their town, and in 1682 furnished 1,200 
of the 3,800 warriors embraced in LaSalle s colony at fort Saint 
Louis on the Illinois. After this they were forced further south 
ward by northern nations, and Peoria, Cahokia and Kaskaskia 
became the centres of the tribes indicated by their names. The 
Tamaroas were associated with the Kaskaskias, and the Miclii- 
gamies were located near Fort Chartres on the Mississippi. While 
here they were the centre of Jesuit missionary operations, and 
great efforts were made to convert them to Christianity, but with 
only partial success. 

In 1729 they were summoned by M. Pcrrier, Governor-General 
of Louisiana, to assist in the reduction of the Natchez, who were 
disturbing the peace of the province. On the breaking out of the. 
Chickasaw war they were again called to the assistance of their 
allies, the French, and under one of Illinois most gallant generals, 


the Chevalier D Artagnette, they successively stormed and carried 
two of the enemy s strongholds, and would have taken a third but 
for the fall of their heroic leader. 

In common with other western tribes they became involved in 
the conspiracy of Pontiac, but from frequent defeats by surround 
ing- tribes, and long contact with civilization, they had lost to a 
great extent the warlike energy, for which, according to tradi 
tion, they were anciently distinguished. When, therefore, the 
great chief visited them in the autumn of 1764, their zeal did not 
meet his expectations, and he told them if they hesitated, he 
would " consume their tribes as fire doth the dry grass on the 
prairies." Finally, when Pontiac lost his life by the hand of an 
Illinois, the nations which had followed him as a leader descended 
from the north and the east to avenge his death, and almost an 
nihilated the tribes of this lineage. Tradition states that a band 
of fugitives, to escape the general slaughter, took refuge on the 
high rock which had been the site of Fort St. Louis. There they 
were besieged by a superior force of the Pottawatamies, whom the 
great strength of this natural fortress enabled them easily to keep 
at bay. Hunger and thirst, more formidable enemies, however, 
soon accomplished what the foe was unable to effect. Their small 
quantity of provisions quickly failed, and their supply water was 
stopped by the enemy severing the cords attached to the vessels 
by which they elevated it from the river below. Thus environed 
by relentless foes, they took a last lingering look at their beautiful 
hunting grounds, spread out like a panorama on the gently rolling 
river, and, with true Indian fortitude, laid down and expired with 
out a sigh or a tear. From their tragic fate the lofty citadel OH 
which they perished received the unpoetical name of " Starved 
Rock," and years afterwards their bones were seen whitening on 
its summit." The Tamaroas, although not entirely exterminated, 
lost their identity as a tribe in a battle with the Shawnees, near 
the eastern limits of Randolph county. At the commencement of 
the present century the contracting circle of hostile tribes had 
forced the remnants of this once powerful confederacy into a small 
compass around Kaskaskia. When the country was first visited 
by Europeans they numbered 12,000 souls ; now they were reduced 
to two tribes, the Kaskaskias and Peorias, and could only muster 
150 warriors. Their chief at this time was a half-breed of consid 
erable talent, named Du Quoin, Avho wore a medal presented to 
him by Washington, whom he visited at Philadelphia. In the 
early part of the present century the two tribes under his guidance 
emigrated to the Southwest, and in 1850 they were in the Indian 
Territory, and numbered 84 persons. 

The Macs and Foxes, who have figured extensively in the his 
tory of Illinois, dwelt in the northwest part of the State. The 
word "Sau-Kee," now written " Sac," is derived from the com 
pound word " A-sau-we-kee," of the Chippewa language, signifying 
yellow earth, and " Mus-qua-kee," the original name of the Foxes, 
means red earth. Though still retaining separate tribal names, 
when living in Illinois they had, by long residence together and 
intermarriage, become substantially one people. Both tribes origi- 
nally lived on the St. Lawrence, in the neighborhood of Quebec 
and Montreal. The Foxes first removed to the West and estab 
lished themselves on the river which bears their name, empty- 


ing into the head of Green Bay. Here they suffered a signal 
defeat from the combined forces of the French and their Indian 
allies, which caused them afterwards to unite with the Sacs, to pre 
vent extermination. 

The Sacs became involved in a long and bloody war with the 
IroquoiSj who drove them from their habitation on the St. Law 
rence toward the West. Retiring before these formidable enemies, 
they next encountered the Wyandots, by whom they were driven 
farther and farther along the shores of the great lakes till at length 
they found a temporary resting place 011 Green Bay, in the neigh- 
hood of their relatives, the Foxes. For mutual protection against 
the .surrounding nations a union was here instituted between the 
two tribes, which has remained unbroken to the present time. The 
time of their migration from the St. Lawrence to the region of 
the upper lakes cannot be definitely ascertained. Green Bay was 
visited in ItiGi) by Father Allouez, a Jesuit, who established a mis 
sionary station there, and in the winter of 1672 extended his labors 
to the Foxes, who at first treated him with the greatest contempt. 
Some of the tribe had recently been 011 a trading expedition to 
Montreal, where they had been foully dealt with by the French, 
and they now took occasion to show their resentment by deriding 
the utterances of the missionary. By the exercise of great pa 
tience, however, he at length obtained a hearing, and succeeded so 
well in impressing their minds with his religious instruction that 
when he exhibited a crucifix they threw tobacco on it as an offering. 
He soon afterwards taught the whole village to make the sign of 
the cross, and painting it 011 their shields, in one of their war ex 
peditions, they obtained a great victory over their enemies. Thus, 
while they knew but little of its significance as a religious emblem, 
in war they regarded it as a talisman of more than ordinary power. 

From Green Bay they moved southward, and shortly after the 
French pioneers visited the country they took possession of the 
fertile plains of Northwestern Illinois, driving out the Sauteaux, 
a branch of the Chippewas. In their southern migration, accord 
ing to their traditions, a severe battle occurred between them and 
the Mascoutins, opposite the mouth of the Iowa, in which the lat 
ter were defeated, and only a few of them left to carry the news 
of their disaster to friends at home. Subsequently they formed 
alliances with the Potawatanries and other nations, forced the dif 
ferent tribes of the Illinois confederacy southward, and after years 
of strife almost exterminated them. In conjunction with the Me- 
nomonee.s, Winnebagoes, and other tribes living in the region of 
the lakes, they made an attempt, in 1779, to destroy the village of 
St. LOULS, but were prevented by the timely arrival of George 
Ilogers Clark with 500 men from Kaskaskia. Finally, in the Black 
Hawk war, waged by them against the troops of Illinois and the 
United States, they attracted the attention of the entire nation, 
and won a historical reputation. 

Much labor has been expended to ascertain whether the cele 
brated Chief, Pontiac, was of Sac or Ottawa lineage. If a simil 
arity in the traits of character, which distinguished him and the 
Sac tribe, could decide the question, the latter might, doubt 
less, claim the honor of his relationship. It is unnecessary to 
speak of the courage and fighting qualities of Pontiac. That of 
the Sacs and their relatives, the Foxes, is thus given by Drake, in 


his " Life of Black Hawk :" " The Sacs and Foxes fought their 
way from the waters of the St. Lawrence to Green Bay, and after 
reaching that place not only sustained themselves against the hos 
tile tribes, but were among the most active and courageous in the 
subjugation, or rather extermination, of the numerous and power 
ful Illinois confederacy. They had many wars, offensive and defen 
sive, with the Sioux, the Pawnees, the Osages and other tribes, 
some of which are ranked among the most fierce and ferocious 
warriors of the whole continent, and it does not appear that in 
these conflicts, running through a long period of years, they were 
found wanting in this the greatest of all savage virtues. In the 
late war with Great Britain, a party of the Sacs and Foxes fought 
under the British standard as a matter of choice, and in the recent 
contest between a fragment of these tribes and the United States, 
although defeated and literally cut to pieces by an overwhelming 
force, it is very questionable whether their reputation as braves 
would suffer by a comparison with that of their victors. It is be 
lieved that a careful review of their history, from the period when 
they first established themselves on the waters of the Mississippi 
down to the present time, will lead the inquirer to the conclusion 
that the Sacs and Foxes are a truly courageous people, shrewd, 
politic, and enterprising, with not more of ferocity and treachery 
of character than is common among the tribes by whom they were 

These tribes, at the time of the Black Hawk war, were divided in 
to 20 families, 12 of which were Sacs and 8 Foxes. As marks of dis 
tinction, each family had its particular totemic symbol, represented 
by some animal. There also existed a peculiar custom among 
them of marking each male child at birth with black and white 
paint, each mother being careful to apply the two colors altern 
ately, so that each family and the entire nation might be divided into 
two nearly equal classes, the whites and the blacks. The object of 
these distinctive marks, which were retained during life, was to 
keep alive a spirit of emulation in the tribes. In their games, 
hunts, and public ceremonies, the blacks were the competitors ot" 
the whites, and in war each party was ambitions to take more 
scalps than the other. 

Lieutenat Pike, in his travels to the source of the Mississippi, 
in 1805, visited these tribes and found them residing in four prin 
cipal villages. The first was at the head of the rapids of the river 
DesMoines, the second farther up on the east shore of the same 
stream, the third on the Iowa, and the fourth on Itoek river near 
its entrance into the Mississippi. The latter greatly exceeded the 
others in political importance, and was among the largest and 
most populous Indian villages on the continent. The country 
around it, diversified with groves and prairies, was one of the most 
beautiful regions in the valley of the Mississippi, and gave addi 
tional interest to this time-honored residence of the nation. 
According to Lieutenant Pike, the Sacs numbered 2,850 souls, 
of whom 1400 were children, 750 women, and 700 Avarriors. The 
total number of Foxes were 1750, of whom 850 were children, 500 
women, and 400 warriors. In 1825, the Secretary of War estimated 
the entire number of Sacs and Foxes at 4,600, showing in the in 
tervening period of 20 years a considerable increase of population. 
After the Black Hawk war, these tribes retired to their lands in 


Iowa, whence they were finally transferred to tlie Indian Territory, 
and in 1850 numbered some 1(300 souls. 

The early traditions of the Winnebcujoes fixes their ancient seat 
on the west shore of Lake Michigan, north of Green Bay. They 
believed that their ancestors were created by the Great Spirit, on 
the lands constituting their ancient territory, and that their title 
to it was a gift from their Creator. The Algonquins named 
them after the bay on which they lived, Ween-ni-ba-gogSL which 
subsequently became anglicized in the form of Whmebagoes, 
They were persons of good stature, manly bearing, had the cliarc- 
teristic black circular hair of their race, and were generally more 
uncouth in their habits than the surrounding tribes. Their lan 
guage was a deep gutteral, difficult to learn, and show\s that they 
belonged to the great Dacotah stock of the West. Ai -<*i^i^ly,they 
were divided into clans distinguished by the bird, bear, fish, and 
other family totems. 

How long they resided at Green Bay is not known. Father Al- 
louez state.s that there was a tradition in his day, that they had 
been almost destroyed in 1640, by the Illinois. They had also, in 
this connection, a tradition that their ancestors built a fort, which 
Irwiii and Hamilton, missionaries among them, think might 
liave been identical with the archeological remains o+ an ancient 
work found on liock river. Coming down to the era of authentic 
history, Carver, in 1766, found them on the Fox river, evidently 
wandering from their ancient place of habitation, and approach 
ing southern Wisconsin and the northern part of Illinois and Iowa, 
where portions of the tribe subsequently settled. The Illinois por 
tion occupied a section of country on Eock river, in the county which 
bears their name, and the country to the east of it. In Pontiac s 
war, they, with other lake tribes, hovered about the beleaguered 
fortress of Detroit, and made the surrounding forests dismal with 
midnight revelry and war-whoops. English agents, however, suc 
ceeded in molifying their resentment, and when the new American 
power arose, in 1776, they were subsequently arrayed on the side 
of the British authorities in regard to questions of local jurisdic 
tion at Prairie du Chien, Green Bay and Mackinaw. In the war 
of 1812, they still remained the allies of England, and assisted in 
the defeat of Col. Croghan, at Mackinaw; Col. Dudley, at the 
rapids of the Maumee ; and General Winchester, at the river 
Raisin. In the Winnebago war of 1827, they defiantly placed 
themselves in antagonism to the authority of the general govern 
ment, by assaulting a steamboat on the Mississippi, engaged in 
furnishing supplies to the military post on the St. Peters. 

The Kickapoos, in 1763, occupied the country southwest of the 
southern extremity of Lake Michigan. They subsequently moved 
southward, and at a more recent date dwelt in portions of the ter 
ritory on the Mackinaw and Sangamon rivers, and had a village 
on Kickapoo creek, and at Elk hart Grove. They were more civi 
lized, industrious, energetic and cleanly than the neighboring 
tribes, and it may also be added more implacable in their hatred 
of the Americans. They were among the first to commence bat 
tle, and the last to submit and enter into treaties. Unappeaseable 
enmity led them into the field against Generals Harmar, St. Clair 
and Wayne, and first in all the bloody charges at Tippecanoe. 
They were prominent among the northern nations, which, for more 


than a century, waged an exterminating Avar against the Illinois 
confederacy. Their last hostile act of this kind was perpetrated 
hi 1805, against some poor Kaskaskia children, whom they found 
gathering strawberries on the prairie above the town which bears 
the name of their tribe. Seizing a considerable number of them, 
they tied to their villages before the enraged Kaskaskias could 
overtake them and rescue their offspring. During the years 1810 
and 1811, in conjunction with the Chippewas, Potawatamies and 
Ottawas, they committed so many thefts and murders on the fron 
tier settlements, that Governor Edwards was compelled to employ 
military force to suppress them. When removed from Illinois 
they still retained their old animosities against the Americans, 
and went to Texas, then a province of Mexico, to get beyond the 
jurisdiction o< the United States. They claimed relationship with 
the Potawatamies, and perhaps the Sacs and Foxes, and Shaw- 
nees. The following tradition respecting the origin of this tribe 
was related in 1812, at the Indian Superintendency at St. Louis, 
by Louis Kodgers, a Shawnee : 

" It is many years ago since the number of the Shawnees was 
very great. They were, on an important occasion, encamped to 
gether on the prairie. At night one-half of them fell asleep, the 
others remained awake. The latter abandoned the sleepers before 
morning, and betook themselves to the course where the sun rises. 
The others gradually pursued their route in the direction where 
the sun sets. This was the origin of the two nations, the first of 
which was called the Shawnees, and the other the Kickapoos. 
Prior to this separation these nations were considered one, and 
were blessed with bounties above any blessings which are now 
enjoyed by any portion of mankind ; and they ascribe their pres 
ent depressed condition, and the withdrawal of the favor of Provi 
dence, to the anger of the Great Spirit at their separation. 
Among the many tokens of divine favors which they formerly en 
joyed was the art of walking on the surface of the ocean, by 
which they crossed from the East to America without vessels. 
Also the art of restoring life to the dead, by the use of medical 
art, continued for the space of six hours. Necromancy and pro 
phecy were with them at their highest state, and were practiced 
without feigning ; and, in fine, such Avere the gifts of heaven to 
them that nothing fell short of. their inconceivable power to per 
form. And after the Shawnees have wandered, to the remotest 
West, and returned East to the original place of separation, the 
world will have finished its career. It is believed by the Shawnees 
that the consummation of this prophecy is not far distant, because 
they have, in fulfillment of it, reached the extreme Avestern point, 
and are HOAV retrograding their steps." 

A fragment of the Shawnee nation, in early times, dwelt in the 
southeastern part of Illinois, in the vicinity of Shawneetown, 
which bears their name. The nation, bold, roving and adventur 
ous, originally inhabited the Atlantic seaboard, between the Alta- 
niaha and James rivers. Becoming embroiled in Avars with the 
oquois,to save themselves some took refuge in the Carolinas 
1^ londa. True to their native instincts, in their IICAV location 
they soon came to blows Avith the OAvners of the soil, and about the 
year 1730 removed to the Sciota, in the present State of Ohio. 
About l<oO, a discontented fraction broke off from the rest of the 


nation and went to East Tennessee, and thence to their location on 
the Ohio, at Shawneetown. Here, in common with neighboring 
tribes, they regarded Illinois as sacred ground, and during Pon- 
tiae s war assisted in repelling the attempts of their English ene 
mies to get possession of the country in the present limits of the 
State. Here, too, both themselves and their brethren on the Seiota, 
obtained arms from the French, for Avhose supremacy they deluged 
the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia with blood. Such had 
been the atrocity of their conduct, when the war was over they at 
first supposed they were excluded from the general amnesty ex 
tended to other western tribes, and even prepared to murder their 
prisoners and resume hostilities. After having, a short time before 
the conquest of Clark, destroyed the Tamaroas in battle, they re 
joined their kindred on the Sciota. 

Tl\e Mascoutins were a tribe holding friendly relations with the 
Illinois, and are supposed by some to have constituted a sixth tribe 
of their confederacy. The name, "Mascontin," is synonymous with 
prairie, and was applied to this tribe from the circumstance of their 
dwelling on the great grassy plains east of the Mississippi. The 
first European who mentions them is Father Allouez, who found 
them, in 1001), on the Wisconsin river. Marqtiette saw them in 
1073, near the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. Marest 
states that they had formed settlements in 1712 on the Wabash, 
and in subsequent times they ranged over the prairies between the 
Wabash and the Illinois. They were also intimately associated 
with the Foxes and Kickapoos, whom they resembled in deceit and 
treachery. Charlevoix states that the Mascoutins and the Kicka 
poos united with the Foxes in a plot of the latter against the 
French, but were surprised by the Ottawas and Potawatamies and 
150 of them cut to pieces. After the cession of the French posses 
sions to the English, Col. Croghan was sent to conciliate the western 
tribes. Having descended the Ohio to the site of Shawneetown, 
they, with the Kickapoos, attacked and made him and his men 
prisoners. Under the name of Meadow Indians they are men 
tioned by Gen. Clark, whom, in 1778, they endeavored to cut off 
by treachery. Subsequently they appear to have been absorbed 
by the Kickapoos and Foxes. 

The Piankixhaws occupied the lower Wabash country on both 
sides of that stream, and west into the Illinois territory as far as 
the dividing ridge between the sources of the streams flowing into 
the Wabasli and those falling into the Kaskaskia. They were one 
member of the Miami Confederacy. This nation, in early times, 
resided on Fox river, Wisconsin, where they were visited, in 1070, 
by Fathers Allouez and Dablon. The latter is lavish in his praise 
of their chief, stating that he was honored by his subjects as a 
king, and that his bearing among his guests had all the courtly 
dignity of a civilized monarch. They were also visited the same 
year by St. Susson, who was received with the honors of a sham 
battle and entertained with a grand game of ball. He likewise 
speaks in glowing terms of the authority of the chief, who was 
attended night and day by a guard of warriors. The nation 
shortly afterward removed to the banks of the St. Joseph, and 
thence found their way to the Wabash and Maumee. They were 
more largely represented in La Salle s colony, at Fort St. Louis, 
than any other tribe, and were active participants in the con- 


spiracy of Pontiac. The confederacy, like that of the Illinois, 
was reduced to the last extremity by repeated attacks from the Iro- 
quois. But they fill a considerable space in western annals, and 
gave birth to Little Turtle, who commanded the Indians at St. 
Clair s defeat. The Piankishaws, after their removal from Illinois, 
were transferred to the Indian Territory, and in 1850 were reduced 
to 107 persons. 

The Potawatamies are represented on early French maps as 
inhabiting the country east of the southern extremity of Lake 
Michigan. At the mouth of the St. Joseph, falling into this part 
of the lake, the Jesuits had a missionary station, which, according 
to Marest, was in a flourishing condition as early as 1712. Here, 
an immeasured distance from civilization, for more than half a 
century the devoted missionaries labored for their spiritual wel 
fare. These years of toil and self-denial were, however, little ap 
preciated, for in Pontiac s war they proved themselves to be 
among the most vindictive of his adherents. Disguising their 
object under the mask of friendship, they approached the small 
military post located on the same river, and having obtained in 
gress, in a few minutes butchered the whole of the garrison, except 
three men. 

From this locality a portion of the tribe passed round the south 
ern extremity of the lake, into northeastern Illinois. Time and a 
change of residence seems not to have modified their ferocious 
character. Partly as the result of British intrigue, and partly to 
gratify their thirst for blood, they perpetrated, in 1812, at Chicago, 
the most atrocious massacre in the annals of the northwest. After 
their removal from Illinois, they found their way to the Indian 
Territory, and in 1850 numbered 1,500 souls. " The following 
legend of the tribe gives their theology and origin: "They 
believe in two great spirits, Kitchemonedo, the good or benev 
olent spirit, and Matchemonedo, the evil spirit. Some have 
doubts which is the most powerful, but the great part believe 
that the first is; that lie made the world and called all things 
into being, and that the other ought to be despised. When 
Kitchemonedo first made the world he peopled it with a class of 
beings who only looked like men, but they were perverse, ungrate 
ful, wicked dogs, who never raised their eyes from the ground to 
thank him for anything. Seeing this the Great Spirit plunged 
them, with the world itself, into a great lake and drowned them. 
He then withdrew it from the water and made a single man, a 
very handsome young man, who as lie was lonesome, appeared 
sad. Kitchemonedo took pity on him and sent him a sister to 
cheer him in his loneliness. After many years the young man 
had a dream which he told to his sister. Five young men, said he, 
will come to your lodge door to-night to visit you. The Great 
Spirit forbids you to answer or even look up and smile at the first 
lour ; but when the fifth comes, you may speak and laugh and 
show that you are pleased. She acted accordingly. The first of 
the five strangers that called was Usama, or tobacco, and having 
been repulsed he fell down and died; the second, AVapako, or a 
pumpkin, shared the same fate; the third, Eshkossimin, or melon, 
and the fourth, Kokees, or the bean, met the same late; but when 
lamiii or Montamin, which is maize, presented himself, she opened 
the skin tapestry door of her lodge, laughed very heartily, and 
gave him a friendly reception. They were immediately married, 


and from this union the Indians sprang. Tamin forthwith buried 
the tour unsuccessful suitors, and from their graves there grew 
tobacco, melons of all sorts, and beans; and in this manner the 
Great Spirit provided that the race which he had made should 
have something to otter him as a gift in their feasts and ceremo 
nies, and also something to put into their alteeks or kettles, along 
with their meat. 7 * 

Portions of the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes were associated 
with the Potawatamies in the northeastern part of the present 
limits of Illinois. They were among the most energetic and power 
ful nations of the northwest, and fought Avith great ferocity in 
most of the wans caused by the westward advance of civilization. 
In the conspiracy of Pontiac they were the immediate followers of 
the great Avar chief, and impelled by his imperious will, at Detroit, 
Mackinaw and other British posts, they were without m^als in the 
work of carnage and death. The Kauteaux, a branch of the Chip- 
pewas, dwelt on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, and had 
villages on the sites of Rock Island, Quincy and other adjacent 
places. They were driven west of the river by the Sacs and Foxes, 
after which their principal town was Davenport. 

All these tribes have now passed beyond the limits of the State. 
Some long since were exterminated, while the degenerate offspring 
of others are found in the Indian Territory and other parts of the 
west. Inflexible as if hewn from a rock, they Avere unable to adapt 
themselves to the requirements of civilized life, and could but flee 
before it or perish. Their fast disappearing graves, and the relics 
occasionally turned up by the plow, are now the only melancholy 
vestiges of their former existence in Illinois. 

In common AA T ith the whole Indian race, their most exalted con 
ception of glory was success in war, and a knowledge of its arts 
the most valuable attainment. The aged chief looked back to his 
exploits in battle as the crowning acts of his life, while the growing 
youth looked forward to the time when he would be able to Aviu 
distinction by like feats of prowess. CiA ilizatioii offers to the 
votaries of ambition not only the sword but the pen, the forum, the 
paths of science, the painter s brush and the sculptor s chisel; the 
savage has only the triumphs of the war path. The Avar par 
ties of the prairie tribes consisted of volunteers. The leader Avho 
attempted to raise one must have previously distinguished himself 
in order to be successful. He first appealed to the patriotism and 
courage of the warriors, and was careful to intimate that the 
Great Spirit had made known to him in dreams the success of his 
enterprise. Then, painted AA T ith vermillion to symbolize blood, he 
commenced the Avar dance. This performance expressed in panto 
mime the varied incidents of a successful campaign. The braves 
entering upon the war-path, the posting of sentinels to avoid sur 
prise, the advance into the enemy s country, the formation of 
ambuscades to strike the unwary foe, the strife and carnage of 
battle, the writhing victim sinking under the blow of the Avar- 
club, the retreat of the enemy, the scalping of the slain, the feast 
ing of vultures on the putrid bodies, the triumphant return of the 
war party to their A^illage and the torturing of prisoners, were all 
portrayed Avith the vividness and vehemence of actual warfare. 
Warrior after warrior, wishing to volunteer for the expedition, rap- 



idly fell into the dance with the leader. Each one, keeping time 
with the beat of the drum, sped in mazy circles around a common 
centre, until with increased numbers the whole, in movement and 
uproar, resembled the whirlwind. The several actors taxed their 
muscular energies to the utmost endurance, stamping the ground 
with great fury, throwing their bodies into the different attitudes 
of combat, distorting their faces with the frenzy of demons, and 
uttering the war-cry with the frightful shriek of madmen. These 
hideous orgies, waking up all the lire and energy of the Indian s 
soul, were a fitting prelude to the premeditated carnage, If a 
young man participated in the dance, it was tantamount to an en 
listment, and he could not afterwards honorably withdraw. 

The Art of Hunting not only supplied the Indian with food, but, 
like that of war, was a means of gratifying his love of distinction. 
The male children, as soon as they acquired sufficient age and 
strength, were furnished with a bow and arrows and taught to 
shoot birds and other small game. Success in killing large quad 
rupeds required years of careful study and practice, and the art 
was as sedulously inculcated on the minds of the rising generation 
as are the elements of reading, writing and arithmetic in the com 
mon schools of civilized communities. The mazes of the forest 
and the dense tall grass of the prairies were the best fields for the 
exercise of the hunter s skill. !No feet could be impressed in the 
yielding soil but they were objects of the most rigid scrutiny, and 
revealed at a glance the animal that made them, the direction it 
was pursuing, and the time that had elapsed since it had passed. 
Even if the surface was too hard to admit of indentations, such 
were his wonderful powers of observation, lie discovered on it 
evidences of a trail from which, with scarcely less certainty, he 
derived the same information. In a forest country lie selected for 
his places of ambush valleys, because they are most frequently the 
resort of game, and sallied forth at the first peep of day . In 
ascending the valleys he was careful to take the side of the stream 
which threw his shadow from it, thus leaving his view unobstruc 
ted in the opposite direction. The most easily taken, perhaps, of 
all the animals of the chase was the deer. It is endowed with a 
curiosity which prompts it to stop in its flight and look back at the 
approaching hunter who always avails himself of this opportunity to 
let fly his fatal arrow. An ingenious method of taking this animal, 
practiced by the Indians on the small tributaries of the Mississippi, 
was the use of the torch. For this purpose they constructed their 
bark canoes with a place in front for the reception of a large flam 
beau, whose light was prevented from revealing the hunter by the 
interposition of a screen. As he descended the narrow streams, 
the deer, seeing only the light, was attracted by it to the banks 
and easily shot. 

But by far the noblest objects of the chase which the Indian en 
countered on the prairies, was the buffalo. It is an animal confined 
to temperate latitudes, and was found in large numbers by the first 
explorers, roaming over the grassy plains of Illinois, Indiana, 
Southern Michigan and Western Ohio. It has a remarkably large 
chest, a heavy mane covering the whole of its neck and breast, horns 
turned slightly upward and large at the base, eyes red and fiery, 
and the whole aspect furious. In its native haunts it is a furious 
and formidable animal, worthy of the Indian s prowess. Like the 


moose and other animals of the same family, nature has bestowed 
on it the most exquisite power of scent. The inexperienced hunter 
of the present day, unaware that the tainted breeze has revealed 
his presence to them, is often surprised to see them urging their 
rapid flight across the prairies, at a distance of two or three miles 
in advance, without any apparent cause of alarm. He is therefore 
necessitated to dismount and approach them on the leeward, under 
cover of the horse. When within a proper distance he vaults into 
the saddle and speeds forward in the direction of the prey, which 
commences its retreat, getting over the ground with great rapidity 
for animals so unwieldy. Intuitively it directs its course over the 
most broken and difficult ground, causing both horse and rider to 
frequently imperil their lives by falling. When wounded they 
sometimes turn with great fury upon their pursuer, and if he hap 
pens to be dismounted, nothing but the greatest coolness and dex 
terity can save his life. 

The bow and arrow, in the hands of the tribes which formerly 
ranged the prairies, were said to be more formidable weapons in 
hunting the buffalo, than the guns subsequently introduced by Eu 
ropeans. The arrows could be discharged with greater rapidity and 
with scarcely less precision. Such, too, was the force with which 
it was propelled, that the greater part of it was generally imbedded 
in the body of the buffalo, and sometimes protruded from the oppo 
site side. "Deep grooves cut in the side of the missile permitted the 
rapid effusion of blood, and animals, when pierced with it, survived 
only a short time. 

One of the modes of killing the buffalo, practiced by the Illinois 
and other tribes of the West, was to drive them headlong over the 
precipitous banks of the rivers. Buffalo Eock, a large promontory 
rising fifty or sixty feet high, on the north side of the Illinois, six 
miles below r Ottawa, is said to have derived its name from this 
practice. It was customary to select an active young man and dis 
guise him in the skin of the buffalo, prepared for this purpose by 
preserving the ears, head and horns. Thus disguised, he took a 
position between a herd and a cliff of the river, while his compan 
ions, on the the rear and each side, put the animals in motion, 
following the decoy, who, on reaching the precipice, disappeared 
in a previously selected crevice, while the animals in front, pressed 
by the moving mass behind, were precipitated over the brink and 
crushed to death on the rocks below. The Indians also often cap 
tured large numbers of these buffalo, when the rivers were frozen 
over, by driving them on the ice. If the great weight of the ani 
mals broke the ice, they were usually killed in the water, but if too 
strong to break, its smoothness caused them to fall powerless on 
the surface, when they were remorselessly slaughtered, long after 
supplying the demands for food, merely to gratify a brutal love for 
the destruction of life. 

Their General Councils were composed of the chiefs and old men. 
When in council they usually sat in concentric circles around the 
speaker, and each individual, notwithstanding the fiery passions 
that rankled within, preserved an exterior as immovable as if cast 
in bronze. Before commencing business, a person appeared with 
the sacred pipe and another with fire to kindle it. After being 
lighted, it was presented first to the heavens, secondly to the earth, 
thirdly to the presiding spirits, and lastly to the several councilors, 


each of whom took a whiff. These formalities were observed with 
as much scrupulous exactness as state etiquette in civilized courts. 
After the speaker commenced and became animated in the discus 
sion of his subject, his statue-like auditors signified their assent to 
what he said by deep guttural ejaculations. These gatherings, in 
dignity, gravity and decorum, were scarcely equalled by the deli 
berative bodies of the most enlightened centres. It is said that 
the Indians were wont to express the greatest surprise on witness 
ing the levity exhibited by French officials, in their public assem 
blies at Fort Chart-res. 

The Indian council had no authority to give force and validity to 
its enactments. If it decided to engage in war, it had no power 
to enforce its enlistments, and therefore volunteers had to fight 
the battles. If its decrees of peace were observed, it was not the 
result of compulsion, but due to the confidence which the nation 
placed in its wisdom and integrity. Where councils were convened 
for negotiating treaties, or terms of peace, the presentation of gifts 
was often a part of the proceedings. It was customary on these 
occasions for the orator of the interceding party to rise and pre 
sent them to those of the assemblage who were to be conciliated. 
A particular object was assigned to each gift, which the speaker 
explained as he proceeded in his discourse. Corresponding with 
the various objects to be accomplished by negotiation, there were 
gifts to propitiate the Great Spirit and cause him to look with favor 
upon the council; to open the ears and minds of the contracting 
parties, that they might hear what was said and understand their 
duty; to inter the bones of the dead, and heal the wounds of their 
living friends ; to bury the tomahawk, that it might not again be 
used in shedding blood, and to so brighten the chain of friendship 
that the disaffected tribes might ever afterwards be as one people. 

The thoughts uttered in these councils, and on other public occa 
sions, were frequently of a high order. Deeply imbued with the 
love of freedom and independence, their ideas on these subjects 
Avere generally of a lofty, unselfish and heroic character. Patriot 
ism, their most cherished virtue, furnished their orators Avith 
themes for the most stirring appeals. Barrenness of 

.. r. justice. 

while this A\as true it was much more frequently the case that the 
tran slator greatly improved tl i e ori gin al. It m ay also be added that 
some of the most sparkling gems of what purports to be Indian 
eloquence are nothing but thefanciful creations of writers. Pontiac s 
speeches are frequently referred to as among the best specimens 
of aboriginal eloquence. The following retort was made by Keokuk, 
in answer to charges preferred against his people by the Siouxs at 
a convocation of chiefs in 1837, at the national capital : 

1 They say they would as soon make peace with a child as with 

us. Ihey know better, for when they made war on us they found 

s men. They tell you that peace has often been made and we 

lave broken it. How happens it then that so many of their braves 

lave been slain in our country. I will tell you : They invaded us, 

we never invaded them; none of our braves have been MUed in 


tlieir land. We have their scalps and we can tell you where we 
took them." 

Black Hawk s speech to Col. Eustice, in charge of Fortress Mon 
roe, when he and his fellow prisoners were set at liberty, is not 
only eloquent, but shows that within his chest of steel there beat a 
heart keenly alive to the emotions of gratitude : 

" Brother, I have come on my own part, and in behalf of my companions, to 
bid you farewell. Our great father has at length been pleased to permit us to 
return to our hunting grounds. We have buried the tomahawk, and the sound 
of the rifle will hereafter only bring death to the deer and the buffalo. Broth 
er, you have treated the red men very kindly. Your squaws have made them 
presents, and you have given them plenty to eat and drink. The memory of 
your friendship will remain till the Great Spirit says it is time for Black Hawk 
to sing his death song. Brother, your houses are numerous as the leaves on 
the trees, and your young warriors like the sands upon the shore of the big 
lake that rolls before us. The red man has but few houses, and few warriors, 
but the red man has a heart which throbs as warmly as the heart of his white 
brother. The Great Spirit has given us our hunting gronnds, and the skin of 
the deer which we kill there, is his favorite, for its color is white, and this is the 
emblem of peace. This hunting dress and these feathers of the eagle are white. 
Accept them, my brother ; I have given one like this to the White Otter. Accept 
of it as a memorial of Black Hawk, When he is far away this will serve to remind 
you of him. May the Great Spirit bless you and your children. Farewell." 

Constitution of the Indian Family. The most important social 
feature of the prairie and other tribes, and that which disarmed 
their barbarism of much of its repulsiveness, was the family tie. 
The marital rite which precedes the family relations required only 
the consent of the parties and their parents, without any concur 
rent act of magistracy, to give it validity. The husband, with equal 
facility, might also dissolve this tie or increase the number of his 
wives without limit. Though the marriage compact was not very 
strong, the ties of consanguinity were rigidly preserved, and hered 
itary rights, generally traced through the female line, were handed 
down from the remotest ancestry. For this purpose they had the 
institution of the Totem, an emblem which served as a badge of 
distinction for different clans or families. This family surname was 
represented by some quadruped, bird, or other object of the ani 
mal world, as the Avolf, deer, hawk, &c. Different degrees of rank 
and dignity were indicated by various totems, those of the bear, 
wolf, and turtle, being first in honor, secured the greatest respect 
for those who had the right to wear them. Each clansman was 
proud of his ensign, and if a member of the fraternity was killed, 
he felt called upon to avenge his death. As the different members 
of a clan were connected by ties of kindred, they were prohibited 
from intermarriage. A Bear could not marry a Bear, but might 
take a wife from the Wolf or Otter clan, whereby all the branches 
of a tribe or nation became united by bonds of consanguinity and 
friendship. By this simple institution, notwithstanding the wan 
dering of tribes and their vicissitudes in war, family lineage was 
preserved and the hereditary rights of furnishing chiefs, accorded 
to certain clans, was transmitted from generation to generation. 

Though in many of the most endearing relations of life the men, 
from immemorial custom, exhibited the most stolid indifference, 
yet instances were not wanting to show that in their family attach 
ments they frequently manifested the greatest affection and sym 
pathy. Ko calamity can cause more grief than the loss of a prom 
ising son, and the father has often given his life as a ransom to 


save him from the stake. A striking instance of this kind occur 
red in the war of the 17th century between the Foxes and Chippe- 
was, near Montreal. In this war the Foxes captured the son of a 
celebrated and aged chief of the Chippewas, named Bi-ans-wah, 
while the father was absent from his wigwam. On reaching his 
home, the old man heard the heart-rending news, and knowing 
what the fate of his son would be, followed on the trail of the enemy, 
and, alone, reached the Fox village while they were in the act of 
kindling the fire to roast him alive. He stepped boldly into the 
arena and ottered to take his son s place. u My son, 77 said he u has 
seen but few winters, his feet have never trod the war path ; but 
the hairs of my head are white; I have hung many scalps over the 
graves of my relations, which I have taken from the heads of your 
warriors. Kindle the fire about me and send my son to my lodge." 
The offer was accepted and the father, without deigning to utter a 
groan, was burned at the stake. Such are the severities of savage 
warfare, amidst which the family is maintained with a heroism 
which has no parallel in civilized life. 

The Methods of Sepulture, among the Indians, varied in different 
localities. It was common, among the northern forest tribes of 
the United States, to choose elevated spots above the reach of 
floods, for places of burial, ^ot having suitable tools for making 
excavations, they interred their dead in shallow graves and placed 
over them trunks of trees to secure them from depredation by wild 
beasts. The bodies were sometimes extended at full length, in an 
eastern and western direction, but more frequently in a sitting pos 
ture. The Illinois and other prairie tribes frequently placed their 
dead on scaffolds erected 011 eminences commanding extensiA r e 
and picturesque views. The corpse, after receiving its wrappings, 
was deposited in a rude coffin, fancifully painted with red colors. In 
this condition they were placed on scaffolds decorated with gifts of 
living relatives, and built sufficiently high to protect them from 
wolves and other animals of prey infestin g the prairies. But judging 
from the remains of graves, by far the greater part of the ancient in 
habitants of Illinois and the adjacent parts of the Mississippi Valley, 
deposited large numbers of their dead in a common tomb, and gen 
erally marked the place by the erection of a mound. The plains 
and alluviums of Southern Illinois, have in many places been liter 
ally sown with the dead, evincing a density of population greatly 
exceeding that found by the first European explorers of this region. 
The custom of raising heaps of earth over the graves, Avas perhaps 
practiced as a mark of distinction for the tombs of eminent person 
ages, and for such as contained the bodies of warriors slain in bat 
tle, or were made common repositaries for the dead of whole clans 
and villages. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the 
places of sepulture raised by the ancient mound builders, and the 
more modern graves of the Indians. The tombs of the former were 
in general larger than the latter, were used as receptacles for a 
greater number of bodies, and contained relics of art evincing a 
higher degree of civilization than that attained by the present ab 
original tribes. The ancient tumuli of the mound builders have in 
some instances been appropriated as burial places by the Indians, 
but the skeletons of the latter may be distinguished from the osteo- 
logical remains of the former by their greater stature. 


The existence of a future state was regarded by the prairie tribes 
as an actuality, and upon this idea was predicated the custom 
of depositing in the graves of departed friends their favorite 
implements, and such as they thought would be useful to them in 
the land of spirits. When a warrior died they placed with him his 
war-club, gun and red paint, and some times his horse was slain 
upon his grave, that he might be ready to mount and proceed to 
to his appointed place of rest in the land of spirits. If a female 
was to be interred, they placed with her a kettle, canoe paddles, 
articles of apparel, and other objects of feminine use and interest. 
No trait of character was more commendable in the Indian than 
his scrupulous regard for the graves of his ancestors. Not even 
the invasion of his hunting grounds roused more quickly his pat 
riotism and resentment, than the ruthless desecration of the graves 
of his fathers, by the unhallowed hands of strangers. So long as 
any part of their perishable bodies were supposed to remain, they 
were prompted by reverence to visit the sacred places where they 
slept, and pour out libations to their departed spirits. 

Man is, by nature, a religious being. The exhibitions of his 
character, in this respect, are as universal as are the displays of 
his social, intellectual and moral nature No nations, tribes or in 
dividuals have been found, whatever may be their isolated condi 
tion or depth of degradation, but they are more or less governed 
by this inherent element. While the religious sentiment is univer 
sal, its manifestations are as various as the different degrees of ad 
vancement made by its subjects in knowledge. From the ignorant 
idolator who bows down before a lifeless image or some abject form 
of animal life, to the devotee of a more enlightened theology, the 
devotion is the same, but their theories and practices are infinitely 
diverse. The faculties which make man a worshipping being are 
unchangeable, and may not its manifestations become uniform, 
when the immutable attributes of the deity, and the invariable 
laws instituted by him for the government of the human family, 
are properly studied and understood. 

The red man of the prairies and forests, like the rest of mankind, 
was also psychologically religious. Without speaking of the diver 
sities of belief entertained by different tribes, only the general fea 
tures of their faith can be given. Prominent among these was 
the idea that every natural phenomenon was the special manifesta 
tion of the Great Spirit. In the mutterings of the thunder cloud, 
in the angry roar of the cataract, or the sound of the billows which 
beat upon the shores of his lake-girt forests, he heard the voice of 
the Great Spirit. The lightning s flash, the mystic radiance of the 
stars, were to him familiar displays of a spirit essence which up 
held and governed all things, even the minute destinies of men ; 
while the Indian attributed to the Great Spirit the good he enjoyed 
in life, he recognized the existence of evil. To account for this, 
without attributing malevolence to the Great Spirit, an antagonis- 
tical deity was created in his theology, whom he regarded as the 
potent power of malignancy. By this duality of deities he was 
careful to guard his good and merciful God from all imputations of 
evil by attributing all the bad intentions and acts which afflict the 
human family to the Great Bad Spirit. 

Doubtless, in part, as a result of missionary instructions, the 
Illinois and other branches of Algonquin stock, designated their 


Great Spirit as the Author of Life, the Upholder of the Universe. 
They believed him all-wise, all-powerful, and all-good, and vari 
ously assigned him a dwelling place in the sun, moon or indefinite 
skies. They not only distinguished the principle of good and evil 
by two antagonistic gods, but supplied them with an innumerable 
number of minor divinities, whose office was to execute their will. 
These consisted of birds, reptiles, fairies, spirits, and a great va 
riety of other objects, some being instrumentalities of good and 
others of evil. Under such a multiplicity of antagonistic powers, 
everything which the Indian saw or heard in the external world 
might be the cause of intense hope or fear, and keep him in per 
petual doubt as to whether it foreboded good or evil. A prey to 
these mysterious fears, he readily fell into the belief of sorcery 
and other supposed magic influences. From this cause they were 
constantly victimized by their priests, jugglers, and prophets, a 
class who" lived by these impositions instead of hunting. 

The belief in a future state was common. According to their 
traditions, which had been modified by missionary teachings, the 
wicked, at death, sink into a dark retributive stream, while the 
good are rewarded with an abode in a delightful hunting ground. 
In their lively imagery, they spoke of this place as the land of the 
blest, or the country of souls, through which meandered gently 
flowing rivers. They supposed these streams replete with every 
kind of fish suitable for food, and that those who bathed in them 
were exempt from the ills which afflict life in the present state of 
being. Over the surface, agreeably diversified with hills and val 
leys, were prairies interspersed with noble forests, under whose 
sheltering branches disported the various creations of animal life. 
Birds warbled their sweetest music in waving groves, and noble 
animals grazed on the verdant plains so numerous and prolific that 
the demands of the hunter were always met without exhausting 
the supply. INo tempest s destructive blast, no wasting pestilence 
nor desolating earthquake, emanating from the Spirit of Evil, oc 
curred to mar the sweet and varied pleasures of life. Such was 
the Indian s future state of existence, the dwelling place of the 
Great Spirit, who welcomed home at death his wandering children. 
The belief in this terrene elysium, the Indian s most exalted idea 
of paradise, doubtless explains his stoical indifference of death. 
With him 

" Time comes unsiglied for, nn regretted flies; 
Pleased that lie lives, happy that he dies." 

As it regards the Indians in general, it is an adage among those 
whose observations have been the most extensive, that he who 
has seen one tribe has seen them all. This seems to be true, not 
withstanding their wide geographical distribution, and the great 
extremes of climate to which they are exposed. Whether enjoy 
ing the great abundance and mild climate of the Mississippi 
Valley, or chilled and stinted by the bleak and barren regions of 
the extreme north and south of the hemisphere, over which they 
are scattered, they have the same general lineaments. "All pos 
sess, though in varied degrees, the same long, lank, black hair, 
the dull and sleepy eye, the full and compressed lips, and the 
salient but dilated nose."* The cheek bones are prominent, the 
nostril expanded, the orbit of the eye squared, and the whole max- 



ilory region ponderous. The cranium is rounded, and the diame- 
tre, from front to back, less in some instances than between the 
sides. The posterior portion is flattened toward the crown, while 
the forehead is low and retreating. The hair, which, in the Avhite 
man, is oval, and in the black man eccentrically eliptical, is inva 
riably round. 2Tot only its cylindrical form, but its great length 
and coarseness, are found in all the diversified climate in which 
this people is found. When contrasted with the European, they 
are found mentally and physically inferior, ^o measurement has 
been instituted to determine their average stature, whereby the 
difference between them and the races of Europe, in this respect, 
can be accurately determined. Shenandoah Avas 6 feet 3 inches 
high: Logan, feet; Eed Jacket, 5 feet 8 inches, and the distin 
guished Fox chief, Keokuk, feet 2 inches. These celebrated 
instances doubtless exceeded the majority of their countrymen in 
hi glit, as all rude and uncultivated races admire superior physical 
development, and generally consult prominence of stature in the 
selection of their leaders. While their stature may average with 
that of the European, in muscular power and endurance they are 
surpassed. In feats of agility, connected with running* and limit 
ing, they are scarcely equal to their white competitors ; while in 
alt labors requiring compactness of muscle and protracted exer 
tion, the latter are always the victors. In the severe labor of 
rowing, and the carrying of heavy burdens across the portages of 
the northwest, it was observed that the French boatmen of Illinois 
and Canada exhibited the greatest strength and endurance. The 
European also excels them in brain development and mental 
power. The facial angle, which indicated the volume of the intel 
lectual lobe, has in the European an average of 80 degrees, Avhile 
that of the Indian is only 75. The superiority of the former in 
this respect, and in the size and activity of his brain, is in keeping 
with their respective conditions. The history of the one is a 
history of human progress ; that of the other details the struggles 
of a race perishing before the advance of civilization, which it is 
neither able to adopt nor successfully oppose. 

Much has been said and written in regard to the unjust en 
croachments of white men upon the territory of the Indians, ^o 
doubt much hardship has grown out of the manner in which their 
lands have been taken, yet the right of civilized races to demand 
a part of their vast domain, even without their consent, when it 
could not be obtained otherwise, can hardly be questioned. The 
earth was designed by the Creator for the common habitation of 
man, and it is his destiny and duty to develop its resources. 
"When, therefore, the occupants of any region fail to accomplish 
these objects, they must be regarded as unfaithful stewards, and 
give way to those who have the ability to make it yield the largest 
supplies and support the greatest number of inhabitants. Had 
the Indians, who refused to become tillers of the soil, been suf 
fered to retain possession of the hemisphere over which they 
roamed, some of the most fertile portions of the globe must have 
remained a wilderness, thus defeating the object of the Creator, 
and doing great injustice to the rest of mankind. Failing to 
make a proper use of this heritage, they have lost it, but behold 
the gain ! At the touch of civilization the wilderness has been 
made to blossom like the rose. Herds and harvests have followed 


the track of the pale-faced pioneer, and teeming millions of a 
higher life have taken the place of a few wandering hunters and 
fishermen. After Columbus made known to Europeans the exis 
tence of the new world, priority of discovery was considered as 
conferring upon the governments under whose patronage it was 
made, the right of extinguishing the Indian title. England, in 
the exercise of this right, treated the Indians substantially as she 
did her own subjects. She respected their claim to occupy and 
use the country for their own benefit, but did not permit them to 
alienate it except to her own people, in accordance with the prin 
ciple of English law that all titles to lands are vested in the 
crown. The United States, by the acquisition of independence, 
succeeded to the right of the mother country, and has forced upon 
them similar restrictions, and accorded the same privileges. In 
every instance the government has extinguished their title by 
treaty or purchase. It must, however, be admitted that in many 
instances these treaties grew out of wars provoked by frontier 
settlers, for the sole purpose of demanding territory in the way of 
reprisal. It must also be added, that when lands have been 
obtained by purchase, the consideration was frequently of the 
most trivial character. 



Although commercial enterprise is perhaps the principal agent 
for the dissemination of civilization in the undeveloped regions 
of the globe, its extension into the Mississippi valley was due to a 
different cause. Pioneers, actuated by a religious fervor and 
enthusiasm hitherto without a parallel in the history of the world, 
were the first to explore its trackless wilds, and attempt to teach 
its savage inhabitants the refinements of civilized life. These 
self-denying explorers belonged mostly to the Jesuits or the Society 
of Jesus, a famous religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola, a 
Spanish knight of the sixteenth century. He gave out that 
the constitution of his order was given him by immediate in 
spiration. Notwithstanding his high pretensions, he at first 
met with little encouragement, and the Pope, to whom he applied 
for the authority of his sanction, referred him to a committee of 
cardinals. The latter decided that his proposed establishment 
would not only be useless, but dangerous, and the Pope refused 
to give it his approval. To overcome the scruples of the Pope, in 
addition to the vows of other orders he required the members of 
his society to take a vow of obedience to the Pope, whereby they 
bound themselves to go whithersoever he should direct them in 
the service of religion, without requiring anything from him as a 
means of support. In other orders the primary object of the 
monk is to separate himself from the rest of the world, and in the 
solitude of the cloister to practice acts of self-mortification and 
purity. He is expected to eschew the pleasures and secular affairs 
of life, and can only benefit mankind by his example and prayers. 
Loyola, on the contrary, preferred that the members of his society 
should mingle hi the affairs of men, and they were accordingly ex 
empted from those austerities and ceremonies which consumed 
much of the time of other orders. Full of the idea of implicit 
obedience which he had learned from the profession of arms, he 
gave to his order a government wholly monarchical. To a general, 
who should be chosen for life from the several provinces, the 
members were compelled to yield not only an outward submission, 
but were required to make known to him even the thoughts and 
feelings of their inner life. At the time this offer was made, the 
papal power had received such a shock from the refusal of many 
nations to submit to its authority, that the Pope could not look 
upon it with indifference. He saw that it would place at his dis 
posal a body of the most rigorously disciplined ecclesiastics, 
whose powerful iniluence would enable him to repel the violent 



assaults with which the papal system was everywhere assailed. 
He therefore authorized the establishment of the order, and ap 
pointed Loyola its first general. The result proved the discern 
ment of the Pope, for the enginery he thus put in motion at no 
distant day extended its influence to the uttermost limits of the 
earth. Before the termination of the 16th century, the society 
furnished the educators in most of the Catholic countries of 
Europe, a privilege which exerted a more coiitroling influence in 
molding national character than that which emanates from all 
other sources combined. Although taking a vow of poverty, it- 
managed to rapidly increase in wealth. Under the pretext of 
promoting the success of their missions, they obtained the privi 
lege of trading with the nations they were endeavoring to convert, 
and thus frequently became the masters of extensive commercial 

Besides the Jesuits, the Eecollet monks bore a conspicuous part 
in the history of the French-American possessions. They were a 
branch of the Franciscan order, founded in the early part of the 
13th century by St. Francis of Assisi, a madman, saint or hero, 
according to the different views entertained respecting him. Like 
all other saints, he became the subject of supernatural visitations, 
consisting, in his case, largely of dreams revealing to him the 
nature of the work which providence had called him to perform. 
In entering upon the labors of his mission lie dressed in the rags 
of a beggar, and at last presented himself in a state of nudity to 
the Bishop of Assisi, and begged the mantle of a peasant. He 
next robbed his father, to get means to build himself a chapel; 
crowds gathered to listen to his fanatical appeals, and Europe 
soon becajne dotted over with the convents of his order. In the 
course of time the Franciscans lost the vigor for which they were 
first distinguished, but the Eecollets, a reformed branch of the 
order, at the time of the French explorations still retained much 
of its pristine spirit. These two orders, and incidentally that of 
St. Sulpice, played an important part in the exploration and colo 
nization of the Mississippi valley. 

The St. Lawrence and its chain of lakes entering the continent 
on the east, and the Mississippi from the south, are the two great 
avenues through which Europeans first made their way to Illinois, 
The former opening with a broad estuary into the Atlantic, 
directly opposite Europe, first diverted a portion of its Gallic emi 
gration to the region^ drained by its tributaries. Pioneers, led by 
the indefatigable Jesuits, soon reached Illinois, and made it an 
important centre in the vast schemes projected by the French 
court for the possession of the Mississippi valley. 

The French on the St. Lawrence. As early as 1535, four 
years before the discovery of the Mississippi by DeSoto, Jacques 
Cartier conducted an expedition to the St. Lawrence, which he 
ascended as far as the island of Orleans. Several attempts were 
shortly afterward made to plant colonies in the newly discovered 
region, but they failed in consequence of the inclemency of the 
climate and hostilities of the natives. France, at that time, was 
too much engaged in Avars to further exhaust her resources in 
forming settlements, and it was not till 1608 that a permanent 
colony was established. During this year Champlain, a bold 
navigator, with a number of colonists, sailed up the St. Lawrence, 


and lauded at the foot of the lofty promontory which rises in the 
angle formed by the confluence of the St. Charles. Carpenters 
were set to work, and within a few weeks a pile of buildings rose 
near the water s edge, the first representatives of the spacious 
churches, convents, dwellings and ramparts which now form the 
opulent and enterprising city of Quebec. These buildings consti 
tuted the headquarters of Champlain, and were surrounded by a 
wooden wall pierced with openings for a number of small cannon. 
To secure the friendship of the Hurons and neighboring Algon 
quin nations, Champlain was induced to assist them in a war 
against the Iroquois, inhabiting the country south of the St. Law 
rence. Victory attended his superior arms, but it aroused the 
implacable hate of these tribes, and for a period of 90 years they 
continued to wreak their fury upon the Indian allies of France, 
and materially contributed to the final overthrow of her power. 

In 1015 Champlain returned to France, and brought back with 
him four Eecollet monks. Great was the astonishment of the 
Indians at first beholding these mendicants, clad in their rude 
gowns of coarse gray cloth. Their first care Avas to select a site 
and erect a convent, the completion of which was honored by the 
celebration of mass. All Xew France participated in the myste 
rious rite, while from the ships and ramparts of the fort cannon 
thundered forth an approving salute. Their great object was the 
salvation of the Indians, and unappalled by the perils that awaited 
them, they met in council and assigned to each his province in the 
vast field of labors. As the result of unwearied effort, they estab 
lished missions from Nova Scotia to Lake Huron, but finding the 
task too great for their strength, they applied to the Jesuits for 
assistance. The followers of Loyola eagerly responded to the 
invitation, and Canada for the first time saw the order which, in 
after years, figured so extensively in her history. Though suffer 
ing must be their fate, and perhaps martyrdom their crown, they 
penetrated to the most remote regions and visited the most war 
like tribes. Missions were established on the Straits of St. Mary, 
the northern shores of Lake Huron, the tributaries of Lake Michi 
gan, and finally among their inveterate enemies, the Iroquois. 

Champlain, after having acted as governor for a period of 27 
years, died on the Christmas of 1G35, a hundred years after the 
first visit of Carder, and was buried in the city he had founded. 
Sharing with others of his time the illusion of finding a passage 
across the continent to the Pacific, he made voyages of discovery 
with a view of finding the long-sought commercial highway. In 
one of his excursions he discovered the lake which bears his name, 
and was among the first Europeans who set their feet on the 
lonely shores of Lake Huron. What indescribable thoughts must 
have thrilled his bosom as he looked out on its broad expanse, or 
perhaps awed by its majestic solitudes, he listened with strange 
delight to the loud refrain of its billow-lashed shores. 

Discovery of the Ohio by LaSalle, 1(569. After the death of 
Champlain, the next actor in the field of exploration was Robert 
Cavalier, better known as LaSalle. His father s family was among 
the old and wealthy burghers of Eouen, France, and its several 
members were frequently entrusted with important positions by 
the government, Robert was born in 1643, and early exhibited 
the traits of character which distinguished him in his western 


career. Having a wealthy father, he enjoyed ample facilities for 
obtaining an education, and made rapid progress in the exact 
sciences. He was a Catholic, and it is said a Jesuit ; but judging 
from his subsequent life, he was not a religious enthusiast. The 
order of Loyola, wielded at the centre by a single will so compli 
cated and so harmonious, may have attracted his youthful imagi 
nation. It was, however, none the less likely that when he found 
himself not at the centre, but moving in a prescribed orbit at 
the circumference, he Avould leave it. Having an individuality 
which could not be molded by a shaping hand, he was better 
qualified for a different sphere of action. He therefore parted 
with the Jesuits on good terms, with an unblemished character, 
for his lofty ambition completely divested him of the petty ani 
mosities to which groveling minds are subject. 

He had an older brother living in Canada a priest of the order 
of St. Sulpice and it was this circumstance which induced him 
to emigrate to America. His connection with the Jesuits deprived 
him, under the laws of France, from inheriting the property of 
his father, who died shortly before his departure. He, however, 
received a small allowance, and with this, in the spring of 1000, 
arrived at Montreal. Here he found a corporation of priests, 
known as the Seminary of St. Sulpice, who were disposing of 
lands on easy terms to settlers, hoping by this means to establish 
a barrier of settlements between themselves and the hostile 
Indians. The superior of the seminary, on hearing of LaSalle s 
arrival, gratuitously offered him a tract of land situated on the 
St. Lawrence, 8 miles above Montreal. The grant was accepted, 
and though the place was greatly exposed to the attacks of savages, 
it was favorably situated for the fur trade. Commencing at once 
to improve his new domain, he traced out the boundaries of a pal 
isaded village, and disposed of his lands to settlers, who were to 
pay for them a rent in small annual installments. 

While thus employed in developing his seignory, he commenced 
studying the Indian languages, and in three years is said to have 
made rapid progress in the Iroquois, and eight other tongues and 
dialects. From his home on the banks of the St. Lawrence, his 
thoughts often wandered over the u wild unknown world toward 
sunset," and like former explorers, dreamed of a direct westward 
passage to the commerce of China and Japan. While musing 
upon the subject, he was visited by a band of Senecas, and learned 
from them that a river called the Ohio, rising in their country, 
flowed into the sea, but at such a distance that it required eight 
months to reach its mouth. In this statement the Mississippi and 
its tributary were considered as one stream, and with the geo 
graphical views then prevalent, it was supposed to fall into "the 
gulf of California. 

Placing great confidence in this hypothesis, and determined to 
make an exploration to verify it, he repaired to Quebec, to obtain 
from Governor Courcelles his approval. His plausible statements 
soon Avon over to his plans both the Governor and Intendant 
Talon, and letters patent were issued authorizing the enter 
prise. Xo pecuniary aid being furnished by the, government, and 
as LaSalle had expended all his means in improving his estate, he 
was compelled to sell it to procure funds. The superior of the 
Seminary, being favorably disposed toward him, bought the 


greater part of liis improvement, and realizing 2800 livres, he 
purchased four canoes and the necessary supplies for the expedi 

The Seminary, at the same time, was preparing for a similar 
exploration. The priests of this organization, emulating the 
enterprise of the Jesuits, had established a mission on the north- 
.ern shore of Lake Ontario. At this point, hearing of populous 
tribes further to the northwest, they resolved to essay their con 
version, and an expedition, under two of their number, was fitted 
out for this purpose. On going to Quebec to procure the neces 
sary outfit, they were advised by the Governor to so modify their 
plans as to act in concert with LaSalle in exploring the great 
river of the west. As the result, both expeditions were merged 
into one an arrangement ill-suited to the genius of LaSalle, 
whom nature had formed for an undisputed chief, rather than a 
co-laborer in the enterprise. On the Oth of July, 1009, everything 
was in readiness, and the combined party, numbering 24 persons, 
embarked on the St. Lawrence in 7 canoes. Two additional 
canoes carried the Indians who had visited LaSalle, and who were 
now acting as guides. Threading the devious and romantic mazes 
of the river in opposition to its rapid current, after three days 
they appeared on the broad expanse of Lake Ontario. Their 
guides led them thence directly to their village, on the banks of 
the Geuesee, where they expected to find guides to lead them to 
the Ohio. LaSalle, only partially understanding their language, 
was compelled to confer with them by means of a Jesuit priest, 
stationed at the village. The Indians refused to furnish a con 
ductor, and even burned before their eyes a prisoner from one of 
the western tribes, the only person who could serve them as 
guide. This and other unfriendly treatment which they received, 
caused them to suspect that the Jesuit, jealous of their enterprise, 
had intentionally misrepresented their object, for the purpose of 
defeating it. With the hope of accomplishing their object, they 
lingered for a month, and at length had the good fortune to meet 
with an Indian from an Iroquois colony, situated near the head 
of the lake, who assured them that they could there find what 
they wanted, and offered to conduct them thither. With 
renewed hope they gladly accepted this proffered assistance, and 
left the Seneca village. Coursing along the southern shore of the 
lake, they passed the mouth of the Niagara, where they heard for 
the first time the distant thunder of the cataract, and soon arrived 
safely among the Iroquois. Here they met with a friendly recep 
tion, and were informed by a Shawnee prisoner that they could 
reach the Ohio in six weeks time, and that he would guide them 
thither. Delighted with this unexpected good fortune, they pre 
pared to commence the journey, when they unexpectedly heard 
of the arrival of two Frenchmen in a neighboring village. One 
of them proved to be Louis Joliet, a young man of about the age 
of LaSalle, and destined to acquire fame by his explorations in 
the west. He had been sent by Talon, the intendant of Canada, 
to explore the copper mines of Lake Superior, but had failed, and 
was now on his return. Giving the priests a map representing 
such parts of the upper lakes as he had visited, he informed them 
that the Indians of those regions were in great need of spiritual 
advisers. On receiving this information, the missionaries decided 


that the Indians must no longer sit in darkness, and thought that 
the discovery of the Mississippi might be effected as easily by a 
northern route, through these tribes, as by going farther south 
ward. LaSalle, remonstrating against their determination, in 
formed them that this direction was impracticable, and in case 
they should visit that region, they would perhaps find it already 
occupied by the Jesuits. lie had, for some time, been afflicted 
with a violent fever, and finding his advice unheeded, he told the 
priests that his condition would not admit of following them 
further. The plea of sickness was doubtless a ruse to effect a 
separation; for the invincible determination, of LaSalle never 
permitted an enterprise which he had undertaken to be defeated 
by other considerations. A friendly parting was arranged, and 
after the celebration of mass, LaSalle and his men fell back to 
Lake Ontario, while the Sulpitians descended Grand river to 
Lake Erie. 

The latter prosecuted their journey up the lakes, and on arri 
ving among the Indians of whom Joliet had spoken, they found, 
as LaSalle had surmised, Marquette and Dablon established 
among them. Learning, too, that they needed no assistance from 
St. Sulpice, nor from those who made him their patron saint, they 
retraced their steps, and arrived at Montreal the following June, 
without having made any discoveries or converted an Indian. 

The course pursued by LaSalle and his party, after leaving the 
priests, is involved in doubt. The most reliable record of his 
movements is that contained in an anonymous paper, which pur 
ports to have been taken from the lips of LaSalle himself, during 
a visit subsequently made to Paris. According to this statement, 
he went to Onondaga, where he obtained guides, and passed 
thence to a tributary of the Ohio, south of Lake Erie, followed it 
to the principal river, and descended the latter as far as the falls 
at Louisville. It has also been maintained, that he reached the 
Mississippi and descended it some distance, when his men de 
serted, and he was compelled to return alone. It is stated in the 
same manuscript, that the following year he embarked on Lake 
Erie, ascended the Detroit to Lake Huron, and passed through 
the strait of Mackinaw to Lake Michigan. Passing to the southern 
shore, he proceeded by land to the Illinois, which he followed to 
its confluence with the Mississippi, and descended the latter to 
the 36th degree of latitude. Here, assured that the river did not 
fall into the gulf of California, but that of Mexico, he returned, 
with the intention of at some future day exploring it to the mouth. 

The statement that he visited the falls of the Ohio, is doubt 
less correct. He himself affirms, in a letter to Count Frontenac, 
in 1077, that he discovered the Ohio, and descended it to the falls. 
Moreover, Joliet, his rival, subsequently made two maps repre 
senting the region of the Mississippi and the lakes, on both of 
which he states that LaSalle discovered and explored the Ohio. 

is, perhaps, also true that LaSalle discovered the Illinois, but 
that he descended either it or the Ohio to the Mississippi before 
the discovery of Joliet, is improbable. If such had been the case, 
he certainly would have left written evidence to that effect, as in 
the case of the Ohio especially, when the priority of Joliet s dis 
covery had become a matter of great notoriety. 


LaSalle had explored one, and perhaps two, routes to the Miss 
issippi, but as yet the upper portion of the great river had 
probably never been seen by any European. The honor of inau 
gurating the successful attempt to reach this stream is due to M. 
Talon, who wished to close the long and useful term of his servi 
ces, as the Intendant of Canada, by removing the mystery which 
ensliroflded it. For this purpose he selected Louis Joliet, a fur 
trader, to conduct the expedition, and Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit 
missionary, to assist him. 

Talon, however, was not to remain in the country long enough 
to witness the completion of the enterprise. A misunderstanding 
a rose between him and Governor Courcelles in regard to the juris 
diction of their respective offices, and both asked to be recalled. 
Their requests were granted, and early in the autumn of 1072, 
Count Frontenac arrived at Quebec, to take the place of the 
retiring governor. He belonged to the high nobility of France, 
was well advanced in life, and a man of prompt and decided 
action. Though intolerant to enemies, he partially atoned for this 
fault by his great magnanimity and devotion to friends, while his 
charm of manners and speech made him the favorite and orna 
ment of the most polished circles. His career in Canada, at first, 
was beset with opposition and enmity, but its close was rewarded 
with admiration and gratitude for his broad views and unshaken 
firmness, when others dispaired. 

Before sailing for France, M. Talon recommended to Frotenac 
Joliet and Marquette, as suitable persons to execute his projected 
discoveries. The former was born at Quebec, in 1645, of humble 
parentage. He was educated by the Jesuits for the priesthood, 
but early abandoned his clerical vocation to engage in the fur 
trade. Though renouncing the priesthood, he still retained a par 
tiality for the order which had educated him, and no doubt this 
was the principal reason which induced Talon to labor for his 
appointment. Possessing no very salient points of character, he 
yet had sufficient enterprise, boldness and determination properly 
to discharge the task before him. 

His colleague, Marquette, greatly surpassed him in bold out 
lines of character. He was born in 1G37, at Laon, France. Inheri 
ting from his parents a mind of great religious susceptibility, he 
early united with the Jesuits, and was sent, in 1C60, to America 
as a missionary, where he soon distinguished himself for devotion 
to his profession. To convert the Indians he penetrated a thousand 
miles in advance of civilization, and by his kind attentions in their 



afflictions, won their affections, and made them his lasting friends. 
Softening their savage asperities into smoothness and peace by 
the blended purity and humility of his own life, he Avas the most 
successful of all the missionaries in developing their higher and 
better feelings. His extensive acquaintance with the Indian lan 
guages, now enabled him to act in the threefold capacity of inter 
preter, explorer and missionary. 

Joliet ascended the lakes and joined his companion at the Jesuit 
mission, on the strait of Mackinaw, where, for several years, he 
had been instructing the Ottawas and Hurons. With 5 other 
Frenchmen and a simple outfit, the daring explorers, on the 1 7th 
of May, 1673, set out on their perilous voyage. Coasting along 
the northern shore of Lake Michigan, they entered Green Bay, 
and passed thence up Fox river and Lake Winnebago to a village 
of the Masco utins and Miamis. Marque tte, who never suffered 
the beauties of nature to escape his attention, speaks in eloquent 
terms of the broad prairies and tall forests which he saw from the 
summit of the hill on which it was situated. His admiration of 
the scenery was, however, greatly exceeded by the joy which he 
experienced at beholding a cross planted in the midst of the place, 
and decorated with some of the most valued of Indian imple 
ments. With due ceremony they were introduced to a council of 
chiefs, when Marquette, pointing to Joliet, said : " My friend is an 
envoy of France, to discover new countries, and I am an embas- 
sador from God, to enlighten them with the truths of the gospel."* 
The speaker then made them some presents, and asked for guides 
to conduct them on their way. Though the Indians regarded their 
journey as extremely hazardous, these were granted, and the 
voyagers re-embarked in their canoes. All the village followed 
them down to the river, wondering that men could be found to 
undertake an enterprise so fraught with dangers. Their guides 
led them safely through the devious windings of the river, beset 
with lakes and marshes overgrown with wild rice. The seed of 
this plant largely furnished the Indians with food, and subsisted 
immense numbers of birds, which rose in clouds as the travelers 
advanced. Arriving at the portage, they soon carried their light 
canoes and scanty baggage to the Wisconsin, about three miles 
distant. France and papal Christendom were now in the valley 
of the Mississippi, ready to commence the drama in which, for the 
next succeeding 90 years, they were the principal actors. 

Their guides now refused to accompany them further, and 
endeavored to induce them to return, by reciting the dangers they 
must encounter in the further prosecution of the journey. They 
stated that huge demons dwelt in the great river, whose voices 
could be heard at a long distance, and who engulphed in the 
raging waters all who came within their reach. They also repre 
sented that, should any of them escape the dangers of the river, 
tierce and warring tribes dwelt on its banks, ready to complete the 
work of destruction. Marquette thanked them for the informa 
tion, but could not think of trying to save his own perishable 
body, when the immortal souls of the Indians alluded to might be 
eternally lost. Embarking in their canoes, they slowly glided 
down the Wisconsin, passing shores and islands covered with 
forests, lawns, parks and pleasure grounds, greatly exceeding in 

Moiiette s Valley of the Mississippi, 124. 


tlieir natural beauty the most skillful training of cultured hands. 
The 17th of June brought them to the mouth of the river, and 
with great joy they pushed their frail barks out on the floods of 
the lordly Mississippi. Drifting rapidly with the current, the 
scenery of the two banks reminded them of the castled shores of 
their own beautiful rivers of France. For days of travel they 
passed a constant succession of headlands, separated by grace 
fully rounded valleys covered with verdure, and gently rising as 
they recede from the margin of the waters. The rocky summits 
of the headlands, rising high above tlieir green bases, had been 
wrought by the corroding elements into a great variety of fantas 
tic forms, which the lively imagination, of Marquette shaped into 
towers, gigantic statues, and the crumbling ruins of fortifications. 
On going to the heads of the valleys, they could see a country of 
the greatest beauty and fertility, apparently destitute of inhabi 
tants, yet presenting the appearance of extensive manors, under 
the fastidious cultivation of lordly proprietors. By and by great 
herds of buffalo appeared on the opposite banks, the more timid 
females keeping at a safe distance, while the old bulls approached, 
and through their tangled manes looked defiance at the strange 
invaders of their grassy realms. 

Near a hundred miles below the mouth of the Wisconsin, the 
voyagers discovered an Indian trace, leading from the western 
shore. Joliet and Marquette, leaving their canoes in charge of 
their men, determined to follow it and make themselves acquainted 
with the tribes of this region. Moving cautiously through prairies 
and forests, rendered beautiful by the verdure and bloom of July, 
they discovered a village near the banks of the river and two 
others on a hill half a league distant. Commending themselves 
to the protection of Heaven, they approached and shouted to at 
tract attention. When the commotion, excited by their unexpected 
salute, had partially subsided, four elders advanced with uplifted 
calumets to meet them. A friendly greeting ensued, and after in 
forming the Frenchmen that they were Illinois, they conducted 
them to their village. Here they were presented to the chief, who, 
standing near the door of his wigwam in a state of complete 
nudity, delivered an address of welcome : "Frenchmen, how bright 
the sim shines when you come to visit us ; all our village awaits 
you, and you shall enter our wigwams in peace." After entering 
and smoking a friendly pipe, they were invited to visit the great 
chief of the Illinois, at one of the other villages. Followed by a 
motley throng of warriors, squaws, and children, they proceeded 
thither and were received with great courtesy by the chief. On 
entering his wigwam, filled with the dignitaries of the tribe, Mar 
quette announced the nature of their enterprise, asked for informa 
tion concerning the Mississippi and alluded to their patron, the 
Governor of Canada, who had humbled the Iroquois and compelled 
them to sue for peace. This last item of information was good 
news to these remote tribes, and drew from their chief the compli 
ment that the "presence of his guests added flavor to their tobacco, 
made the river more calm, the sky more serene and the earth more 
beautiful."* Next, followed a repast, consisting of hominy, fish, 
and buffalo and dog s meat. The Frenchmen partook sumptiously 

Discov. of the Great West. 


of all the dishes, except the last, which they failed to appreciate, 
although one of the greatest Indian delicacies. The generous 
hosts, Avith true forest courtesy, as they dished out the different 
articles, first blew their breath upon each morsel to cool it, and 
then, with their own hands, placed it in the mouths of their guests. 
They endeavored to persuade the explorers, by depicting the great 
dangers they would incur, to abandon their object. Finding that 
tneir efforts were unavailing, on the following day they hung on 
the neck of Marquette a sacred calumet, brilliantly decorated with 
feathers, as a protection among the tribes lie \vas about to visit. 
The last mark of respect, which the chiefs could now offer their 
departing friends, was to escort them with COO of their tribesmen 
to the river, where, after their stolid manner, they bade them a 
kindly adieu. 

Again they were afloat on the broad bosom of the unknown 
stream. Passing the mouth of the Illinois they soon fell into the 
shadow of a tall promontory, and Avith great astonishment beheld 
the representation of two monsters painted on its lofty limestone 
front. According to Marquette, each of these frightful figures had 
the face of a man, the horns of a deer, the beard of a tiger, and 
the tail of a fish so long that it passed around the body oA er the 
head and between the legs. It was an object of Indian worship, 
and greatly impressed the mind of the pious missionary with the 
necessity of substituting for this monstrious idolatry, the worship 
of the true God.* Before these figures of the idols had faded from 
their minds, a IICAV Avonder arrested their attention. They ran 
into the current of the Missouri, SAveeping directly across" their 
track, and threatening to engulf them in its muddy waves. Frag 
ments of trees Avere drifting in large numbers, which must have 
come from a A ast imknoAA 7 n wilderness, judging from the magni 
tude of the stream Avhich bore them along. Passing on, it was 
ascertained that for several miles the Mississippi refused to min 
gle with the turbid floods of the intruding stream. 

Soon the forest covered site, of St. Louis appeared on the right, 
but little did the A^oyagers dream of the emporium which now fills 
the river with its extended commerce. Farther on, their attention 
was attracted by the confluence of the Ohio, a stream which, in 
the purity of its waters, they found wholly different from that pre 
viously passed. Some distance below the mouth of this eastern 
tributary, the banks of the river became skirted with a dense 
growth of cane, whose feathery-like foliage formed a pleasing 
contrast with that Avhich they had passed above. But a greater 
vegetable wonder was the Spanish moss which hung in long fes 
toons from the branches of the trees, exquisitely beautiful, yet, 
like funeral drapery, exciting in the beholder feelings of sadness. 
Another change was the increasing heat, which, now rapidly dis 
sipated the heavy fogs which previously, to a late hour, had hung 
over the river. Clouds of mosquitos also appeared in the relaxing 
atmosphere, to annoy them by day, and disturb their much needed 
rest at night. 

"Near the month of the Piasa Creek, on the bluff, there is a smooth rock in a cavern 
ous clelt, under an overhanging cliff, on whose face, 50 feet from the base, are painted 
some ancient pictures or hieroglyphics, of great interest to the curious. They are 
placed in a horizontal line from east to west, representing- men, plants and animals. 
a paintings, though protected from dampness and storms, are in great part destroyed, 
marre 1 by portions of the rock becoming- detached and falling down. See Prairie State, 



Without suspecting the presence of Indians, they suddenly dis 
covered a number on the eastern banks of the river. Marquette 
held aloft the symbol of peace, furnished him by the Illinois, and 
the savages approached and invited him and his party ashore. 
Here they were feasted on buffalo meat and bear s oil, and after 
the repast was over, were informed that they could reach the mouth 
of the river in ten days. This statement was doubtless made with 
the best intention, but with little truth, for the distance was not 
far from 1,000 miles. 

Taking leave of their hosts, and resuming the journey, they 
penetrated a long monotony of bluffs and forests, and again dis 
covered Indians near the mouth of the Arkansas. Rushing from 
.their wigwams to the river, some of them sallied forth in canoes 
to cut off their escape, while others plunged into the water to 
attack them. Marquette displayed the calumet, which was un 
heeded till the arrival of the chiefs, who ordered the warriors to 
desist, and conducted them ashore. A conference ensued, and as 
soon as the Indians understood the nature of the visit, they be 
came reconciled. The day s proceedings closed with a feast, and 
the travelers spent the night in the wig-warns of their entertainers. 
Early the next day, messengers were sent by the latter to the 
Arkansas tribe on the river below, to apprise them that French 
men were about to descend the stream. As announced, the explo 
rers proceeded a distance of 24 miles, when they were met by a 
deputation of three Indians, who invited them to visit their town. 
Assent being given, they were conducted thither and seated on 
mats, which had been spread for their reception under a shed 
before the lodge of a principal chief. Soon they were surrounded 
by a semi-circle of the villagers the warriors sitting nearest, 
next the elders, while a promiscuous crowd stared at them from 
the outside. The men were stark naked, and the women imper 
fectly clad in skins, wearing their hair in two masses, one of 
which was behind each ear. Fortunately, there was a young man 
in the village who could speak Illinois. By his aid, Marquette 
explained to the assemblage the mysteries of the Christian faith, 
and the object of the expedition, and learned in turn from them 
that the river below was infested with the most hostile tribes. 
During their stay at this place, they were forced to submit to the 
merciless demands of aboriginal hospitality, which imposed dish 
after dish upon their over-taxed organs of digestion, till repletion 
became intolerable. 

It was now the middle of July and the voyagers debated the 
propriety of further lengthening out their journey. They had 
been on the river four weeks, and concluded they had descended 
sufficiently far to decide that its outlet was on the Atlantic side of 
the continent. Their provisions were nearly exhausted, and they 
also feared if they visited the river below they might be killed by 
the savages, and the benefit of their discovery would be lost. 

Influenced by these considerations, they determined to retrace 
their steps. Leaving the Arkansas village, they comrnmenced 
forcing their way in opposition to the swift current of the river, 
toiling by day under a July sun, and sleeping at night amidst the 
deadly exhalations of stagnant marshes. Several weeks of hard 
labor brought them to the mouth of the Illinois, but unfortunately, 
Marquette, enervated by the heat and the toils of the voyage, was 


suffering with an attack of dysentery. Here they were informed 
by the Indians that the Illinois furnished a much more direct route 
to the lakes than the Wisconsin. Acting upon this information, 
they entered the river, and found, besides being more direct, that 
its gentle current offered less resistance than that of the Mississ 
ippi. As they advanced into the country, a scene opened to their 
view which gave renewed strength to their wearied bodies, and 
awoke in their languid minds the greatest admiration and enthu 
siasm. Prairies spread out before them beyond the reach of 
vision, covered with tall grass, which undulated in the wind like 
waves of a sea. In further imitation of a watery expanse, the 
surface was studded with clumps of timber, resembling islands, 
in Avhose graceful outlines could be traced peninsulas, shores and 
headlands. Flowers, surpassing in the delicacy of their tints the 
pampered products of cultivation, were profusely sprinkled over 
the grassy landscape, and gave their wealth of fragrance to the 
passing breeze. Immense herds of buffalo and deer grazed on 
these rich pastures, so prolific that the continued destruction of 
them for ages by the Indians, had failed to diminish their num 
bers. For the further support of human life, the rivers swarmed 
with fish, great quantities of wild fruit grew in the forest and 
prairies, and so numerous were water-fowl and other birds, that 
the heavens were frequently obscured by their flight. This favo 
rite land, with its profusion of vegetable and animal life, was the 
ideal of the Indian s Elysium. The explorers spoke of it as a 
terrestial paradise, in which earth, air and water, unbidden by 
labor, contributed the most copious supplies for the sustenance of 
life. In the early French explorations, desertions were of frequent 
occurrence, and is it strange that men, wearied by the toils and 
restraints of civilized life, should abandon their leaders for the 
abundance and wild independence of these prairies and wood 
lands ! 

Passing far up the river, they stopped at a town of the Illinois, 
called Kaskaskia, whose name, afterwards transferred to a differ 
ent locality, has become famous in the history of the country. 
Here they secured a chief and his men to conduct them to Lake 
Michigan and proceeded thither by the way of the rivers Illinois, 
Desplaines and Chicago. Following the western shore of the 
lake, they entered Green Bay the latter part of September, having 
been absent about four months, and traveled a distance of 2,500 

Marquette stopped at the mission on the head of the bay, to 
repair his shattered health, while Joliet hastened to Quebec, to 
report his discoveries. Hitherto fortune had greatly favored him, 
and it was only at the termination of his voyage that he met his 
first disaster. At the foot of the rapids, above Montreal, his 
canoe was capsized, and he lost the manuscript containing an 
account of his discoveries, and two of his men. He says, in a let 
ter to Governor Frontenac : "Iliad escaped every peril from the 
Indians ; I had passed 42 rapids, and was on the point of disem 
barking, full of joy at the success of so long and difficult an 
enterprise, when my canoe capsized after all the danger seemed 
over. I lost my two men and box of papers within sight of the first 
French settlements, which I had left almost two years before. 


Nothing remains to me now but my life, and the ardent desire to 
employ it on any service you may please to direct." 

AY hen the successful issue of the voyage became known, a Te 
Dcum was chanted in the cathedral of Quebec, and all Canada 
was filled with joy. The news crossed the Atlantic, and France 
saw, in the vista of coining years, a vast dependency springing up 
in the great valley partially explored, which was to enrich her 
merchant princes with the most lucrative commerce. Fearing 
that England, whose settlements were rapidly extending along the 
Atlantic, might attempt to grasp the rich prize before she could 
occupy it, she endeavored to prevent, as far as possible, the gen 
eral publicity of the discovery. Joliet was rewarded by the gift 
of the island of Anticosti, in the gulf of St. Lawrence, while 
Marquette, who had rendered the most valuable services, was sat 
isfied with the consciousness of having performed- a noble duty. 

Marquette suffered long from his malady, and it was not till 
the autumn of the following year that his superior permitted him 
to attempt the execution of a long cherished object. This was 
the establishment of a mission at the principal town of the Illinois, 
visited in his recent voyage of discovery. With this purpose in 
view, he set out on the 25th of October, 1674, accompanied by 
two Frenchmen and a number of Illinois and Potawatamie Ind 
ian s. The rich and varied tints of autumn were now rapidly 
changing to a rusty brown, and entering Lake Michigan, they 
found it cold and stormy. Buffeted by adverse winds and waves, 
it was more than a month before they reached the mouth of the 
Chicago river. In the meantime Marquette s disease had returned 
in a more malignant form, attended by hemorrhage. On ascending 
the Chicago some distance, it was found that his condition was 
growing worse, compelling them to land. A hut was erected on 
the bank of the river, and here the invalid and the two Frenchmen 
prepared to spend the winter. As it wore away, the enfeebled 
missionary was unceasing in his spiritual devotions, while his 
companions obtained food by shooting deer, turkeys and other 
game in the surrounding forests. The Illinois furnished them 
with corn, and frequently, by their presence and other kindly 
attentions, greatly cheered their lonely exile. 

Marqjiette, burning with the desire to establish his contempla 
ted mission before he died, consecrated himself anew to the service 
of the Virgin, and soon began to regain his strength. By the 
13th of March, being able to recommence his journey; the two 
men carried their canoes over the portage between the Chicago 
and Desplaines, and commenced to descend the latter stream. 
Amidst the incessant rains of opening spring, they were rapidly 
borne forward on the swollen river to its junction with the Illinois, 
and down the latter to the object of their destination. Here, it is 
said, he was viewed as a messenger from heaven, as he visited the 
wigwams of the villagers and discoursed of paradise, the Re 
deemer of the world, and his atonement for sinful men. The 
excitement at length drew together, on the plain between the river 
and the present town of Utica, some 500 chiefs, and a great un 
known concourse of warriors, women and children. In the midst 
of this multitude he exhibited four large pictures of the Holy 
Virgin, and with great earnestness harangued them on the duties 
of Christianity, and the necessity of making their conduct conform 


to its precepts. The audience were deeply impressed with his 
gospel teachings, and eagerly besought him to remain with them, 
a request which his fast waning strength rendered it impossible 
to grant. 

Finding he must leave, the Indians generously furnished him 
with an escort to the lake, on which he embarked with his two 
faithful attendants. They turned their canoes in the direction of 
the mission on the strait of Mackinaw, which the afflicted mis 
sionary hoped ro reach before he died. As they coasted along the 
eastern shore, advancing May began to deck the forest with her 
vernal beauties, but the eyes of the dying priest were now too 
dim to heed them. On the 19th of the month he could go no 
farther, when, at his request, his two friends landed and built a 
hut, into which he was carefully conveyed. Aware that he was 
rapidly approaching his end, he, with great composure, gave 
directions concerning his burial, and thanked God that he was 
permitted to die in the wilderness an unshaken believer in the 
faith which he had so devotedly preached. At night he told his 
weary attendants to rest, and when he found death approaching 
he would call them. At an early hour they were awakened by a 
feeble voice, and hastening to his side, in a few moments he 
breathed his last, grasping a crucifix, and murmuring the name 
of the Virgin Mary. Having buried his remains as directed, his 
trusted companions hastened to Mackinaw, to announce the sad 
news of his demise. 

Three years afterward, a party of Ottawas, hunting in the vi 
cinity of his grave, determined, in accordance with a custom of 
the tribe, to carry his bones with them to their home at the mis 
sion. Having opened the grave and carefully cleaned them, a 
funeral procession of 30 canoes bore them toward Mackinaw, the 
Indians singing the songs which he had taught them. At the 
shore, near the mission, the sacred relics were received by the 
priests, and, with the solemn ceremony of the church, deposited 
under the floor of the rude chapel. 


We must now turn from Marquette, whose great piety, energy 
and self-denial made him a model of the order to which he be 
longed, and again introduce LaSalle on the stage of action. The 
previous voyage had well nigh established the fact that the Miss 
issippi discharged its waters into the Gulf of Mexico ; yet he and 
others now entertained the opinion that some of its great tribu 
taries might afford a direct passage to the Pacific. It was the 
great problem of the age to discover this passage, and LaSalle 
proposed not only to solve it by exploring the great river to its 
mouth, but to erect a fort on its outlet, and thus secure to France 
the possession of its valley, To further his object, he gained the 
influence and support of Frontenac, and induced some of the 
Canadian merchants to become partners in the adventure. 

Fort Frontenac. The new governor had no sooner been installed 
in office, than, with eagle eye, he surveyed the resources of Cana 
da, and prepared to get them under his control. LaSalle had 
informed him that the English and Iroquois were intriguing with the 
Indians of the upper lakes to induce them to break their peace 
with the French, and transfer their trade in peltries from Mon 
treal to New York. Partly to counteract this design, and in part 
to monopolize the fur trade for his own benefit, he determined to 
build a fort on Lake Ontario, near the site of the present city of 
Kingston. Lest he should excite the jealousy of the merchants, 
he gave out that he only intended to make a tour to the upper part 
of the colony, to look after the Indians. Being without sufficient 
means of his own, he required the merchants to furnish each a 
certain number of men and canoes for the expedition. When 
spring opened, he sent LaSalle in advance to summon the Iroquois 
sachems to meet at the site of the proposed fort, while he followed 
at his leisure. In obedience to his call, the chiefs arrived, and 
were much pleased with the attentions shown them by the gov 
ernor. Flattered by his blandishments^ and awed by his audacity, 
they suffered the erection of the fort, which was called Frontenac, 
after its founder. The governor writes : " With the aid of a ves 
sel now building, we can command the lakes, keep peace with the 
Iroquois, and cut off the fur trade from the English. With 
another fort at Niagara, and a second vessel on the river above, 
we can control the entire chain of lakes." These far-reaching 
views accorded well with the schemes of LaSalle, who-was shortly 
afterwards employed in reducing them to practice. The erection 
of the fort was in violation of the king s regulations, which re 
quired the fur traders of Canada to carry on their trade with the 



Indians within the limits of the settlements. In view, however, of 
its great importance as a means of defence against the Iroquois, all 
legal objections were waived, and provision was made to maintain 
it. It also served as a stepping-stone for its subsequent owner to 
make other and greater westward strides in the cause of discovery. 

In 1074, LaSalle visited France to petition the king for the rank 
of nobility, and to negotiate with him for a grant in seignory of 
the new fort and adjacent lands. As a consideration for the lat 
ter, he agreed to reimburse him for what it had already cost to 
maintain in it an adequate garrison, and provide for the spiritual 
wants of the settlements that might gather about it. His petition 
was granted, and he returned to Canada the proprietor of one of 
the most valuable estates in the province, His relatives, pleased 
with his flattering prospects, advanced him large sums of money, 
which enabled him to comply with his agreement. Besides fur 
nishing the stipulated military and clerical forces, and providing 
a chapel for the latter, he built four small decked vessels to carry 
freight to the head of the lake, whither he next expected to ad 
vance. A period of more than three years now succeeded, in 
which all Canada w r as rent with civil feuds. Altercations sprang 
up between rival traders j Jesuits and liecollets were embittered 
by dissensions, and the civil authorities became corrupt, and en 
gaged in intrigues, attended with the greatest acrimony. It was 
impossible for a person of LaSalle s prominence to avoid becoming 
a mark for the shafts of those who differed with him in opinion 
and interest. As soon, however, as lie could extricate himself 
from the jarring factions, he again visited France, to obtain the 
recognition and support of the government . in his contemplated 
undertaking. His object being regarded with favor by the minis 
ter, he was authorized to proceed with his discoveries, and occupy 
the new found countries by the erection of forts, while, in lieu of 
other support, he was granted a monopoly in buffalo skins, which, 
it Avas believed, would be a source of great wealth. His relatives 
made additional advances of money, and in July, 1078, he sailed 
with 30 men and a large supply of implements for the construction 
and outfit of vessels. After a prosperous voyage he arrived at 
Quebec, and proceeded thence up the river and lake to his 

Among the employes he had brought with him was an Italian, 
named Henri Tonti, who had lost one of his hands by the explo 
sion of a grenade in the Sicilian wars. Notwithstanding the loss 
of his hand, and a constitution naturally feeble, his indomitable 
will made him superior to most men in physical endurance. 
Besides these qualities, so valuable in the pioneer, he possessed a 
fidelity which neither adversity nor the intrigues of enemies could 
swerve from the interests of his employer.* On his way through 
Quebec, he also obtained the services of M. Lamotte, a person of 
much energy and integity of character, but not so efficient an as 
sistant as Tonti. 

Among the missionaries who became associated with LaSalle in 
his future explorations, may be mentioned Louis Hennepin, Gabriel 
Kibourde and Zenobe Meinbre. All of them were Flemings, all 

*His father had been governor of Gaeta, but fled to France to escape the political 
convulsions of his native country. He was an able financier, and won distinction as 
the inventor of Tontine Life Insurance. 


Recollets, but in other respects different. Hennepin, in early life, 
read with unwearied delight the adventures of travelers, and felt 
a burning desire to visit strange lands. Yielding to his ruling 
passion, he set out on a roving mission through Holland, where he 
exposed himself in trenches and seiges for the salvation of the 
soldier. Finding, at length, his old inclination to travel returning, 
he obtained permission of his superior to visit America, where, in 
accordance with his wandering proclivity, he became connected 
with the adventures of LaSalle. In this capacity he won distinc 
tion as an explorer, but afterwards tarnished his reputation with 
false pretensions. Ribourde was a hale and cheerful old man of 
(U years, and though possessing fewer salient points of character 
than Hennepin, he greatly excelled him in purity of life. He re 
nounced station and ease for the privations of a missionary, and 
at last was stricken down by the parricidal hand of those he fain 
would have benefited. Membre, like Hennepin, is accused of vanity 
and falsehood. He must, however, have possessed redeeming 
traits, for he long remained the faithful companion of LaSalle, 
and finally perished in his service. 

On arriving at the fort, LaSalle sent 15 men with merchandise 
to Lake Michigan, to trade for furs. After disposing of the goods, 
they were instructed to proceed with the bartered commodities to 
Illinois, and there await his arrival. The next step he hoped to 
make in his westward progress was the erection of a fort at the 
mouth of the river Niagara. He thought if he could control this 
key to the chain of lakes above, he could also control the Indian 
trade of the interior. For this purpose, LaMotte and Henepin, 
with 10 men, on the 18th of November, embarked in one of the 
small vessels which lay at the fort, and started for the mouth of 
the river. Retarded by adverse winds, it was not till the Gth of 
December that they reached their destination and effected a land 
ing. Here they met with a band of Senecas from a neighboring 
village, who gazed upon them with curious eyes, and listened with 
great wonderment to a song which they sung in honor of their 
safe arrival. When, however, the erection of a fort was com 
menced, their surprise gave way to jealousy, and it became neces 
sary to obtain the consent of the chiefs before the work could be 
completed. With this object in view, LaMotte and Hennepin, 
loaded with presents, set out to visit the principal town, situated 
near the site of Rochester, New York. Arriving thither after a 
journey of 5 days, they were received by a committee of 32 chiefs, 
to whom they made known their object. LaMotte distributed 
gifts among the chiefs with a lavish hand, and by means of his 
interpreter, used all the tact and eloquence of which he was mas 
ter to gain their consent to the erection of the fort. They readily 
received the gifts, but answered the interpreter with evasive gen 
eralities, and the embassy was compelled to return without a 
definite reply. In the meantime LaSalle and Tonti, who had been 
detained in procuring supplies for the new settlement, arrived. 
They had also encountered unfavorable winds, and LaSalle. anx 
ious to hasten forward, entrusted one of his vessels to the pilot, 
who, disregarding his instructions, suffered her to become wrecked. 
The crew escaped, but with the exception of the cables and 
anchors intended to be used in building a ship above the cataract, 
the cargo was lost, LaSalle, who was more than an ordinary inas- 


ter of Indian diplomacy, next visited the Senecas, and partially 
obtained his request. In lieu of the fort, he was permitted to 
erect a warehouse. This was completed, and used as a shelter for 
the men during- the ensuing winter, and a depository for mer 
chandise in his subsequent transactions on the lakes. 

The Griffin. A more vital consideration, and that which next 
engaged the attention of LaSalle, was the building of a vessel on 
the river. The point selected for this purpose was on the east side 
of the river, at the mouth of Cayuga creek, miles above the 
cataract. The men struggled up the steep hights above Lewiston 
with the necessary equipments, and on the IJL d of January, 1079, 
commenced the laborious task of carrying them to the point 
selected, some 12 miles distant. Arriving thither, Tonti immedi 
ately commenced the task of building the vessel, while LaSalle 
returned to Frontenac, to replace the stores which had been lost 
in the lake. Notwithstanding the attempt of the Senecas to burn 
the vessel as she grew on the stocks, in due time she was finished 
and ready to launch. The firing of cannon announced her com 
pletion, and as the men chanted a song in honor of their success, 
and the Indians stared at the novel sight, she gracefully glided 
out on the waters of the Niagara. During her construction, they 
were greatly amazed at the ribs of the huge monster, but now 
they looked with increased surprise at the grim muzzles of 5 can 
non looking through her port holes, and a huge creature, part lion 
and part eagle, carved on the prow. The figure was a griffin, 
after which the vessel was named, in honor of the armorial bear 
ings of Frontenac. She was taken further up the river, where the 
men supplied her \vith rigging, and Tonti anxiously awaited the 
arrival of LaSalle. This did not occur till August, he having, in 
the meantime, been detained by financial difficulties, growing out 
of the attempt of enemies to injure his credit. He brought with 
him Kibourde and Membre, to preach the faith among the tribes 
of the west, which he now proposed to visit. 

To defer the enterprise longer, would be to defeat it, and on the 
7th of August, 1079, the voyagers embarked. The extended sails 
of their little craft catching the breeze, bore her safely out on the 
bosom of Lake Erie. Never before had been pictured in its 
waters the image of fluttering canvas, and to the Griffin belongs 
the honor of first coursing the highway which is now whitened 
with the sails of such an extended commerce. After a prosperous 
voyage up the lake, they entered the Detroit, and passed on each 
bank a pleasant succession of prairies and forests, alive with 
game. The men leaped ashore, and soon the decks of the Griffin 
were strewn with the dead bodies of deer, turkeys and bears, upon 
whose flesh the crew feasted with the greatest relish. Ascending 
Lake St. Clair and the rest of the strait, they entered Lake Huron, 
wMch appeared like a vast mirror set in a frame fantastic with 
rocks and verdure. So pure and transparent were the waters, 
the fish on the pebbled bottom below seemed the only inhabitants 
of earth, while their little bark floated like a cloiid in mid-air 
above them. At first the voyage was prosperous, and islet after 
islet loomed up before them, which the strange mirage of the 
waters converted into huge Tritons stalking rapidly by, and disap 
pearing in the distance behind. Soon, however, the breeze before 
which they moved freshened into a gale, and at last became an 


angry tempest, causing the greatest alarm. All fell to praying ex 
cept the pilot, who was incensed at the idea of ignobly perishing 
in the lake, after having breasted the storms and won the honors 
of the ocean. LaSalle and the friars evoked the aid of St. An 
thony of Padua, whom they declared the patron ofthe expedition, 
and promised a chapel if he would deliver them from the devour 
ing waves. The saint, it is said, answered their prayers ; the 
billow-tossed bosom of the lake became still, and the Griffin rode 
into the straits of Mackinaw uninjured. A salute of cannon an 
nounced their arrival at the Jesuit mission, where they effected a 
landing, and immediately repaired to the chapel to offer thanks for 
their recent deliverance. 

Here, under the shadow of the cross, the votaries of mammon 
had erected a bazaar for the fur trade, which they carried on with 
or without a license, as best suited their interests. All of them 
looked with jealous eyes upon LaSalle, but openly extended a wel 
come to him, that they might allay suspicions respecting their 
secret designs against his enterprise. With motives Ifttle better, 
the Indians saluted him with a volley of musketry, and soon 
swarmed in canoes around the Griffin, which they called a floating 
fort, and evidently regarded it with greater curiosity than good 
will. Is r ot only the residents were secretly hostile, but it soon ap 
peared that his own men had proved treacherous. Most of those 
lie had sent up the lakes with merchandise had sold it and kept 
the proceeds, instead of going with them, as directed, to Illinois. 
LaSalle arrested four of them at Mackinaw, and sent Tonti to the 
Straits of St. Mary after two others, whom he also succeeded in 

As soon as Toiiti returned, LaSalle weighed anchor and sailed 
through the Straits into Lake Michigan, and landed at an island 
near the entrance of Green Bay. Here he was received with great 
hospitality by a Potawatamie chief, and met with a number of his 
traders, who, unlike the others, had faithfully disposed of his 
goods and collected a large quantity of furs. He at once resolved 
to send them, with others he had collected on the way to Niagara, 
for the benefit of his creditors. Such a transaction was not author 
ized by his license of discovery, yet his will was law, and despite 
the protest of his followers, the furs were carried aboard the Grif 
fin. The pilot, after disposing of the cargo, was instructed to 
return with her to the southern shore of the lake. Her cannons 
thundered forth a parting salute, and soon the little bark melted 
out of sight in the distance. LaSalle, with the remaining men, 
now embarked in canoes, laden with a forge, tools and arms, and 
started for the mouth of the St. Joseph. Unfortunately, they 
found the lake broken with constant storms, which frequently im 
periled their own lives and made them tremble for, the fate of the 
Griffin. After a long voyage, in which they suffered mu^l^lfrom 
hardship and hunger, they arrived at their destination. Here 
they expected to meet with Tonti and twenty of the men who 
left Mackinaw simultaneously with the Griffin, expecting to make 
their way along the eastern shore of the lake. After waiting 
some time in vain for their arrival, those who had come with La 
Salle urged upon him the necessity of pushing forward to obtain 
corn from the Illinois before they departed for their winter hunt 
ing grounds. He decided it unwise to grant their request, and, to 


divert their minds from the subject, commenced the erection of a 
fort. After laboring some twenty days, and the structure was 
far advanced, Tonti and ten of his companions arrived. At the 
instance of LaSalle he immediately went back with two men to 
hasten forward the others, who were without provisions, and hunt 
ing as a means of support. On their way a violent storm overset 
their canoes and destroyed their provisions, and they were com 
pelled to return. Shortly after, of their own accord, the absent 
men made their way to the fort, and the entire party was again 
united. The only care which now oppressed LaSalle was the ab 
sence of the Griffin. Ample time had elapsed for her return, but 
nowhere on the wild solitude of waters was he cheered with the 
sight of a sail. Eueful forebodings saddened his breast when he 
thought of her fate, and two men were sent down the lake, with 
instructions to conduct her to the mouth of the St. Joseph, in case 
they were able to find her. The fort was finished and named 
Miami, alter a neighboring tribe of Indians. 

Without further delay, on the 3d of December, 1679, the party, 
numbering 33 persons, commenced ascending the St. Joseph. 
Already the margins of the stream were glassed with sheets of ice 
and the adjacent forests were gray and bare. Four days brought 
them to the site of South Bend, to look for the path leading across 
the portage to the Kankakee. A Mohegan hunter, who accompa 
nied the expedition, and who was now expected to act as a guide, 
was absent in quest of game, and LaSalle sallied forth to find the 
way. In the blinding snow and tangled woods he soon became 
lost, and the day wore away without his return. Tonti, becoming 
alarmed for his safety, sent men to scour the forest and tire guns 
to direct his course to the camp. It was not, however, till the 
next afternoon that he made his appearance. Two opossums dan 
gled in his girdle, which he had killed with a club, while suspended 
by their tails from overhanging boughs. After missing his way, 
he was compelled to make the circuit of a large swamp, and it was 
late at night before he got back to the river. Here he fired his 
gun as a signal, and soon after, discovering a light, made up to it, 
supposing it came from the camp of his men. To his surprise it 
proved to be the lonely bivouac of some Indian, who had tied at 
the report of his gun. He called aloud in several Indian tongues, 
but only the reverberations of his voice in the surrounding soli 
tude met his ear. Looking around, he discovered under the trunk 
of a huge tree a couch made of dried grass, still warm and im 
pressed with the form of its recent occupant. He took possession 
and slept unmolested till morning, when, without further difficulty, 
he found his way to camp. Meanwhile, the Mohegan hunter had 
arrived, and soon the whole party stood on the banks of the Kan 
kakee, coursing its way in zig-zags among tufts of tall grass and 
clumps of alder. Into its current, which a tall man might easily 
bestride, they set their canoes, and slowly moved down its slug 
gish, slimy waters. So full was its channel that the voyagers 
seemed sailing on the surface of the ground, while their evening 
shadows, unobstructed by banks, fell far beyond their canoes, and 
trooped like huge phantoms along by their side. By and by it 
grew to a considerable stream, from the drainage of miry barrens 
and reedy marshes skirting its banks. Still farther on succeeded 
prairies and woodlands, recently scorched by the fires of Indian 


hunters, and here and there deeply scarred with the trails of buf 
falo. Occasionally, on the distant verge of the prairies, they 
could see Indians in pursuit of these animals, while at night the 
horizon blazed with camp fires where they were cooking and feast 
ing upon their sweetly flavored meats. LaSalle s Mohegan hunter 
had been unsuccessful, and his half-starved men would gladly 
have shared with the Indians their rich repast. Their wants were 
however unexpectedly relieved by the happy discovery of a huge 
bull so deeply mired he was unable to escape. So ponderous was 
his huge body that when killed it required 12 men, with the aid 
of cables, to extricate him from the mud. Eefreshed with a boun 
tiful repast, they again betook themselves to their canoes, and 
soon entered the Illinois, meandering through plains of richest ver 
dure. They were then the pasture grounds of innumerable deer 
and buffalo, but now wondrously transformed into scenes of agri 
cultural thrift. On the right they passed the high plateau of Buf 
falo Bock, long the favorite resort of the Indians. Farther down, 
on the left, appeared a lofty promontory beautifully crested with 
trees, and soon destined to be crowned with the bulwarks of an 
impregnable fortress. Below, on the north shore, stood the prin 
cipal town of the Illinois, in which Heimepiii counted 4G1 lodges, 
each containing from G to 8 families. These structures were made 
of poles in the form of an oblong rectangle. Those composing the 
sides rose perpendicularly from the ground, and at the top were 
united in the form of an arch. Others crossing these at right 
angles completed the framework, which was afterward neatly in 
closed in a covering of rushes. As had been feared by the voya 
gers, the Illinois were absent, and their village a voiceless solitude. 
The presence of savages is often a cause of alarm, but now the 
case was reversed, for LaSalle desired to obtain from them corn 
for his famishing companions. Soon some of his men discovered 
large quantities of it stored away in pits, but at first refrained from 
taking it, lest they might seriously offend its owners. Necessity, 
however, generally gets the better of prudence, and they took "a 
quantity sufficient to supply their present wants, and departed 
down the river. 

On the 1st of January, 1680, they again landed to hear mass, 
and wish each other a happy new year. Father Hennepiii closed 
the exercises by haranguing the men on the importance of patience, 
faith and constancy. Two days afterward they entered the ex 
pansion of the river now called Peoria Lake, after the Indians who 
dwelt upon its banks. Columns of smoke, rising gracefully from 
the forest below, now announced the presence of Indians, who, 
LaSalle had reasons to suspect, were averse to his enterprise. Un- 
dismayed, they moved down the lake, which soon narrowed to the 
usual width of the river, when, just beyond, they discovered some 
80 Illinois wigwams on the opposite banks. Dropping their pad 
dles and seizing their weapons, they were rapidly borne toward 
the astounded savages. LaSalle, aware that the least hesitancy 
on his part would be construed as fear, leaped ashore with his lit 
tle band of Frenchmen, each armed and ready for action. Such 
audacity was too much, even for Indian heroism. Women and 
children trembled with fear; brave warriors fled in the utmost 
terror, but a few of the more bold rallied and made overtures of 
peace. Two chiefs advanced and displayed a calumet, which La- 


Salle recognized by exhibiting one of his own, and the hostile dem 
onstrations terminated in friendship. Next succeeded a feast, and 
while some placed the food in the mouths of the Frenchmen, oth 
ers, with great obsequiousness, greased their feet with bears oil. 

As soon as LaSalle could disengage himself from their caresses, 
he informed them that in descending the river he had visited their 
town and taken corn from their granaries. He stated that he had 
been forced to the commission of this unlawful act to save his men 
from hunger, and was now ready to make restitution. In explain 
ing the object of his visit, he said he had come to erect a fort in 
their midst, to protect them against the Iroquois, and to build a 
large canoe in which to descend the Mississippi to the sea, and 
thence return with goods to exchange for their furs. If, however, 
they did not regard his plans with* favor, he concluded by stating 
he would pass on to the Osages, in the present limits of Missouri, 
and give them the benefit of his trade and influence. The allusion 
to these Indians aroused their jealousy, which had long existed 
between the two tribes, and the Illinois readily assented to his 
wishes, and were loud in their professions of friendship. 

Notwithstanding this auspicious reception, it soon became evi 
dent to LaSalle that secret enemies were intriguing to defeat his 
enterprise. Some of his men, dissatisfied and mutinous from the 
first, secretly endeavored to foment disaffection and ill-will in the 
better disposed of his followers. They represented to their com 
rades the folly of longer remaining the dupes and slaves of a 
leader whose wild schemes and imaginary hopes could never be 
realized. What could be exx)ected, said they, after following him 
to the extreme confines of the earth and to remote and dangerous 
seas, but to either miserably perish or return the victims of dis 
ease and poverty. They urged that the only way to escape these 
evils was to return before distance and the waste of strength and 
means rendered it impossible, It was even hinted that it might 
be best to escape from their present calamities by the death of 
their author: then they might retrace their steps and share in the 
credit of what had already been accomplished, instead of further 
protracting their labors for another to monopolize the honors. 
Fortunately those who entertained these views were too few in 
numbers to reduce them to practice. Unable to effect anything 
with their own countrymen, they next turned to the savages. 
Having obtained a secret interview, they informed them that La 
Salle had entered into a conspiracy with the Iroquois to effect 
their destruction, and that he was now in the country to ascertain 
their strength and build a fort in furtherance of this object. They 
also said that, while he was ostensibly preparing to visit Fort 
Frontenac, his real object was to invite the Iroquois to make an 
invasion into their country as soon as he was prepared to assist 
them. The Indians, ever suspicious and ready to listen to charges 
of this kind, became morose and reserved. LaSalle, noticing their 
altered demeanor, at once suspected his men, and soon obtained 
information establishing the truth of their perfidy. To remove the 
false impressions, lie reminded the Indians that the smallness of 
his force indicated a mission of peace, and not of war ; and that 
neither prudence nor humanity would ever permit him to form an 
alliance with the Iroquois, whose brutal and revengeful conduct 
he had always regarded with horror and detestation. His great 


self possession and frankness, together with the evident truthful 
ness of his remarks, completely divested the savages of suspicion 
and restored him to their confidence. Balked in their efforts to 
make enemies of the Indians, the conspirators, as a last resort, 
sought the life of their ernplo^yer. Poison was secretly placed in 
his food, but fortune again came to his rescue. By the timely ad 
ministration of an antidote the poison was neutralized, and his life 
was saved. This was an age of poisoners, and it had not been long 
since a similar attempt against the life of LaSalle had been made 
at Fort Froiitenac. 

Hardly had LaSalle escaped the machinations of his own men, 
before he became involved in the meshes of others, with whom he 
sustained not even the most remote connection. The new in 
trigues, LaSalle, in a letter to Count Frontenae, attributes to the 
Jesuit Priest, Allouez, then a missionary among the Miamis. 
Perhaps LaSalle on account of his partiality for the Recollets, or 
more likely fearing that the latter, through his influence, might 
become more potent than his own order, he sent a Mascoutin chief, 
called Monso, to excite the jealousy of the Illinois against him. 
They came equipped with presents, which drew together a nightly 
conclave of chiefs, to whom Monso unbosomed his object. Rising 
in their midst he said he had been sent by a certain Frenchman to 
warn them against the designs of LaSalle. He then denounced 
him as a spy of the Iroquois on his way to secure the co-operation 
of tribes beyond the Mississippi, with the hope that by a com- 
binod attack, to either destroy the Illinois or drive them from the 
country. In conclusion he added, the best way to avert these ca 
lamities was to stay his farther progress, by causing the desertion 
of his men. Having thus roused the suspicions of the Illinois, 
the envoys hurridly departed, lest they might have to confront the 
object of their foul aspersions. The next morning the savages 
looked suspicious and sullen. A glance sufficed to convince 
LaSalle that new difficulties awaited him, nor was it long till he 
ascertained their character. A chief, to whom the day before he 
had given a liberal supply of presents, privately informed him of 
what had transpired at the council the preceding night. This 
information was confirmed by what occurred at a feast, given 
shortly afterward by a brother of the principal chiefi, to which 
LaSalle and his men were invited. While the repast Avas in pre 
paration their host endeavored to persuade them to abandon their 
journey by magnifying the dangers which would attend it. He 
informed them that the object of his invitation was not only to re 
fresh their bodies but to remove from their minds the infatuation 
of farther attempting an errand which could never be accom 
plished. If you endeavor to descend the Mississippi, said he, you 
will find its banks beset with tribes whom neither numbers nor 
courage can overcome, while all who enter its waters will be ex 
posed to the devouring fangs of serpents and unnatural monsters. 
Should they avoid these, he added, the river at last becomes a 
succession of raging whirlpools, which plunge headlong into a 
storm smitten sea, from which, if they entered, escape would be 

The most of LaSalle s men knew little of Indian artifice, and 
were greatly alarmed at the thought of having to encounter such 
formidable perils. Some of the older and more experienced en- 


deavored to expose these misrepresentations, but as we shall 
presently see, with only partial success. LaSalle knew in a mo 
ment, from what had been told him, the object of the speaker was 
to deceive his men and seduce them from their allegiance. After 
expressing his thanks for the timely warning, he replied as 
follows : 

"The greater the danger the greater the honor; and even if the danger were 
real, a Frenchman would never be afraid to meet it. But were not the Illinois 
jealous? Had they not been deluded by lies? We were not asleep, my brother, 
when Monso came to tell you, under cover of night, that we were spies of the 
Ii oquois. The presents he gave you, that you might believe his falsehoods, 
are at this moment buried in the earth under this lodge. If he told the truth 
why did he skulk away in the dark? Why did he not show himself by day? 
Do yon not see that when we first came among you, and your cam]) \vas all in 
confusion, we could have killed you without needing help from the lioqnois, 
and now while I am speaking, could we not put your old men to death, while 
your young warriors are all gone away to hunt. If we iiu-ant to make war 
on you, we should need no help from the Iroquois, who have so often felt the 
force of our arms. Look at what we have brought you. It is not AVC apons to dis- 
stroy you, but merchandise and tools for your good. If yon still harbor evil 
thoughts of us, be frank as we are and speak them boldty. Go after the 5m- 
poster, Monso, and bring him back that we may answer him face to face; for 
he never saw either us or the Iroquois and what can he know of the plots he 
pretends to reveal? " 

The savage orator, too much astounded at these disclosures to 
attempt a reply, ordered the feast to proceed. 

LaSalle, suspicious of danger, the night after the feast stationed 
sentinels near the lodges of the French to watch the movements 
of their recent entertainers. The night passed without disturb 
ance, and at early dawn he salied forth to find, that instead of 
watching the enemy, 6 of his men had basely deserted. Doubt 
less, in part to escape the imaginary dangers already alluded to, 
but mostly on account of previous disaffection, they had aban 
doned their employer at the time when he had the greatest need 
of their services. LaSalle assembled the remainder, and spoke in 
severe terms of the baseness of those Avho had left him. " If any 
one yet remains, " he continued, " who from cowardice desires to 
return, let him wait till spring, and he can then go without the 
stigma of desertion. " One of the principal difficulties attending 
the early French enterprises of the West was to procure trusty 
men. The Avilderness Avas full of vagabond hunters who had tied 
from the discipline of civilized life, and now exhibited an extreme 
of lawlessness proportioned to their previous restraints. Their 
freedom from care, and immunity from the consequences of crime, 
rendered them a perpetual lure to entice others from the duties of 
legitimate employment. 

Fort Crevecceure. LaSalle, wearied with these difficulties, now 
determined to erect a fort in which he and his men might pass the 
winter without molestation. A site was chosen on the east side 
of the river, a short distance below the outlet of the lake. This 
was the extremity of a ridge approaching within 200 yards of the 
shore, and protected on each side by deep ravines. To fortify the 
bluff thus formed, a ditch was dug behind to connect the two 
ravines. Embankments were thrown up to increase the altitude 
of the different sides, and the whole was surrounded with a palisade 
25 feet in hight. The work was completed by erecting within 
the enclosure buildings for the accommodation of the mem 


LaSalle bestowed on it the name Crevecoeur.* an appellation which 
still perpetuates the misfortunes and disappointments of its foun 
der. The Indians remained friendly, and the new fortification 
subserved more the purpose of a sanctuary than a place for the 
discharge of military duty. Heiinepin preached twice on the Sab 
bath, chanted vespers, and regretted that the want of wine pre 
vented the celebration of mass. Membra daily visited the 
Illinois and, despite their filth and disgusting manners, labored 
earnestly, but with little success, for their spiritual welfare. Such 
was the first French occupation of the territory now embraced in 
the present limits of Illinois. The place of this ancient fort may 
still be seen a short distance below the outlet of Peoria Lake. 
For years after its erection the country around the lake remained 
the home of savages, and rich pasture grounds for herds of deer 
and buffalo. 

Hitherto, LaSalle had entertained some hope that the C riffin, 
which had on board anchors, rigging, and other necessary articles 
for the construction of another vessel, might still be safe. He 
proposed to build n vessel on the Illinois, freight her with buffalo 
hides, collected in the descent of the Mississippi, and thence sail 
to the AVest Indies or France, and dispose of the cargo. The Grif 
fin, however, with her much needed stores, never made her appear 
ance. It was variously believed at the time that she had found 
ered in a storin that the Indians had boarded and burnt her 
and that the Jesuits had contrived her destruction. LaSalle was 
of opinion that her own crew, after removing the cargo of furs and 
merchandise, sunk her and then ran away with their ill-gotten 
spoils. But the cause of the loss was of little moment; they were 
gone, and there was no alternative left LaSalle but to return to 
Frontenac and get others to supply their place. His great anxiety 
in connection with this step was the fear that others of his men 
might take advantage of his absence and desert. 

AVhile revolving this subject in his mind, an incident occurred 
which enabled him to disabuse their minds of the false state 
ments tlfey had heard in regard to the dangers of the Mississippi. 
During a hunt in the vicinity of the fort, he chanced to meet with 
a young Indian who had been absent some time on a distant war 
excursion. Finding him almost famished .with hunger, he invited 
him to the fort, where he refreshed him with a generous meal, and 
questioned him with apparent indifference respecting the Missis 
sippi. Owing to his long absence, he knew nothing of what had 
transpired between his countrymen and the French, and, with 
great ingenuousness, imparted all the information required. La 
Salle now gave him presents not to mention the interview, and, 
with a number of his men, repaired to the camp of the Illinois to 
expose their misrepresentations. Having found the chiefs at a 
feast of bear s meat, he boldly accused them of falsehood, and at 
once proceeded to verify his charges. The Master of Life, he de 
clared, was the friend of truth, and had revealed to him the actual 
character of the Mississippi. He then gave such an accurate 
account of it, that his astonished but credulous auditors believed 
his knowledge had been obtained in a supernatural manner, and at 
once confessed their guilt. It was their desire, they said, to have 
him remain with them, and they had resorted to artifice for this 

"" Broken hearted. " 


purpose, and not to do him any injury. This confession removed 
a principal cause of desertion, and banished from the mind of La- 
Salle a fruitful source of anxiety. Lest idleness should breed new 
disturbances among 1 his men during his absence, he set them at 
work on the new vessel. Some of his best carpenters had deserted, 
yet energy supplied the place of skill, and before his departure he 
saw the new craft on the stocks, rapidly approaching completion. 
He also thought that Hennepin might accomplish greater results by 
exploring the Upper Mississippi than by preaching sermons, and 
he was therefore requested to take charge of an expedition for this 
purpose. The friar, not wishing to incur the dangers of the under 
taking, plead bodily infirmity, and endeavored to have one of his 
spiritual colleagues appointed in his stead. Ribourde was too old 
to endure the hardships, and Meinbre, though disgusted with his 
clerical duties among the Illinois, preferred an unpleasant field of 
labor to one beset with perils. Hennepin, finding no alternative but 
to accept, with rare modesty and great reliance upon providence, 
says : "Anybody but me would have been much much frightened 
with the dangers of such a journey, and in fact, if I had not placed 
all my trust in God, I should not have been the dupe of LaSalle, 
who exposed my life rashly.." A profusion of gifts was placed in 
his canoe, to conciliate the Indians, and on the last day of Febru 
ary, 1080, a party assembled on the banks of the Illinois to bid 
him him farewell, rather Eibourde invoked the blessing of heaven 
over the kneeling form of the clerical traveler; his two compan 
ions, Accau and DtiGay, plied their paddles, and they were soon 
concealed from view in the meandering channel of the river. 


Only two days afterward, another parting occurred at the river. 
It Avas now LaSalle s time to bid adieu to the scenes where, during 
the winter, his motives had been so often misrepresented and im 
pugned. Leaving Tonti in command of the fort, garrisoned with 
three or four honest men and a dozen knaves, he set out for Fort 
Frontenac with four men and his Mohegan hunter, whose faithful 
ness was a perpetual rebuke to French fickleness and treachery. 
The winter had been severe, and his progress up the river was 
greatly retarded by drifting sheets of ice. Beaching Peoria Lake, 
the ice was unbroken from shore to shore, and the party was com 
pelled to land and make sledges on which to drag their canoes to 
a point in the river above, where the swiftness of the current kept 
the channel open. Little thought these lonely wanderers that the 
desolate spot where this incident transpired, was one day to re 
sound with the tramp of the multitude which now throngs the 
streets of Peoria. A laborious march of four leagues, through 
melting snows, placed them above the icy barrier of the lake, and 
they launched their canoes. Thence, to the great to\vn of the 
Illinois, they found the river at different points blocked with ice, 
and their journey was made alternately by land and water, in the 
drenching rains of opening spring. They found the village with 
out inhabitants, and its lodges crested with snow. T^e adjacent 
meadows Avere still locked in the fetters of winter, and the more 
distant forests, bearded with crystals, flashed in the morning sun 
like a sea of diamonds. Yet the frozen landscape was not without 
life. The impress of moccasined feet could be traced in the snow, 
and occasionally a straggling buffalo could be seen, and one of 
them Avas shot. While his men Avere smoking the meat of the 
animal, LaSalle went out to reconnoitre the country, and soon fell 
in with 3 Indians, one of whom proA r ed to be the principal chief 
of the Illinois. Inviting him and his associates to his camp, he 
made them presents, and refreshed them with the best food his 
scanty larder could furnish. He then informed the chief that he 
was on his way east to procure arms and ammunition for the de 
fense of his tribes, and obtained from him a promise that he would 
send provisions to his men in the fort during his absence. While 
here, he visited Staged Kock, the remarkable cliff previously 
alluded to, a mile or more aboA T e the village, on the southern bank 
of the river. He afterwards sent word to Tonti to examine and 
fortify it, in case an outbreak of the Indians rendered it necessary.* 

*Several years since, it was seleeted by some enterprisihg Yankees as a site for a 
town, which they very appropriately called Gibraltar ; but now it remains houseless, 
as in the time of the great explorer. 


On the 15tli of March LaSalle left the village, and continued 
his journey as before, partly by land and in part by water, till 
within two- miles of the site of Joliet. Here, in consequence of 
the ice, they found the further ascent of the river impossible, and, 
concealing their canoes, prepared to make a inarch directly across 
the country to Lake Michigan. Journeying lakeward, they found 
the country a dreary waste of mud and half-melted snow, inter 
sected here and there by swollen streams, some of which they 
waded, and others they crossed on rafts. On the 23d they were 
gladdened by the distant surface of the lake glimmering through 
the openings of the forest, and at night stood on its bank, thank 
ful that they were safe, and that their hardships had been no 
worse. The next day they followed its winding shores to the 
mouth of the St. Joseph, and rested at night in the fort. Here 
LaSalle found the two men whom he had sent to look for the 
Griffin, and learned from them that they had made the circuit of 
the lake without learning any tidings of her fate. Deeming it 
useless to further continue the search, he ordered the men to re 
port themselves to Tonti, and started himself across the trackless 
wilds of Southern Michigan, to avoid the delay attending the 
indirect route by way of the lakes. 

It was the worst of all seasons for such a journey, and almost 
every league traversed, brought with it some new hardship. Now 
they were lascerated by brambly thickets, now they plunged up 
to their waists in the mud of half- frozen marshes, and now they 
were chilled in wading swollen streams. Dogged by a pack of 
savages, they were compelled to pass the nights without lire, to 
escape their murderous attacks. At length, with two of their 
number sick, they arrived at the head of a stream supposed to be 
the Huron, which, after making a canoe, they descended to the 
Detroit. * Thence, marching eastward to the lake, 30 miles distant, 
they embarked in a canoe and pushed across the lake for the falls 
of Niagara, whither they arrived on Easter Monday, 1080. Here he 
found the men left at the cataract the previous autumn, who not 
only confirmed the loss of the Griffin, but informed him that a 
cargo of merchandise belonging to him, valued at 2200 livres, had 
recently been swallowed up in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Leaving 
the weary companions of his previous journey at Niagara, he set 
out with fresh men for Fort Frontenac, and on the Oth day of 
May discovered through the hazy atmosphere, the familiar out 
lines of his seigniory. He had now traveled within Go days the 
distance of 1000 miles, which, considering the circumstances, was 
one of the most remarkable journeys ever made by the early 
French explorers. Possessing an invincible determination and a 
frame of iron, he surmounted obstacles from which a person less 
favorably endowed would have turned away in dispair. How 
changed has since become the wilderness through which he wan 
dered. Its dark forests have become a region of harvests, and the 
traveler of to-day accomplishes in less than two days the journey 
which required of him more than two months. 

At the fort he learned that his agents had treated him with bad 
faith; that his creditors had seized his property, and that several 
canoes belonging to him, loaded with valuables, had been lost in 
the rapids of the St. Lawrence. Without useless repining, he 
hastened to Montreal, where his presence excited the greatest sur- 


prise, and where, notwithstanding his great financial losses, his 
personal influence enabled him to obtain the necessary supplies. 

Again he directed his course westward, to succor the forlorn 
hope under Tonti, isolated from the rest of mankind on the dis 
tant banks of the Illinois. At Frontenac he received intelligence 
of another of those crushing blows which both nature and man 
seemed to be aiming at the success of his enterprise. Two mes 
sengers came with a letter from Tonti, stating that soon after his 
departure, nearly all his men had deserted, and that, before 
leaving, they had destroyed the fort, and thrown away stores they 
were unable to carry. The news of this disaster had hardly been 
received, before two traders arrived from the upper lakes, and 
further stated that the deserters had destroyed the fort on the St. 
Joseph, seized a gxeat quantity of furs belonging to him at Macki 
naw, and then, with others, descending the lakes, had plundered 
his magazine at Niagara. And now, they added, some of them are 
coming down the northern shore of the lake to murder him, as a 
means of escaping punishment, while others are coasting the 
south shore, with a view of reaching Albany, and getting beyond 
liis jurisdiction. On receipt of this information, LaSalle chose 9 
of his trustiest men, and sallied forth to meet them. Coming upon 
them by surprise, he killed 2 of their number and captured 7, whom 
he imprisoned in the fort to await the sentence of a civil tribunal. 
It might be supposed that LaSalle had reached the utmost limits 
of human endurance, on seeing the hopes of his enterprise so 
frequently levelled to the ground. While, however, weaker men 
would have turned away in dispair, no eye could detect in his 
stern demeanor an altered purpose or a shaken resolve. His only 
hope now seemed to be in Tonti, and could that faithful officer 

E reserve the vessel commenced on the Illinois, and the tools which 
ad been conveyed thither with so much labor, it might constitute 
an anchor to which he could attach the drifting wreck of his 

Having procured supplies and everything needful for the outfit 
of a vessel, without further delay he set out, on the 10th of Au 
gust, for Illinois, accompanied by his lieutenant, LaForest, and 25 
men. He ascended the river Hmnber, crossed Simcoe Lake, and 
descended the Severn into Lake Huron, over which he passed to 
the Straits of Mackinaw. At the station he found it difficult to 
replenish his provisions, and, not to be delayed for this purpose, 
he pushed forward with 12 men, leaving LaForest and the remain 
der to follow as soon as they could procure supplies. November 
24th he arrived at the St. Joseph, and, anxious to push forward 
more rapidly, he left the greater part of the stores, with 5 men, 
at the ruined fort, and with the remainder ascended the river, 
crossed the portage and commenced the descent of the Kankakee. 
Not meeting with any traces of Tonti and his men, he concluded 
they must still be at the fort on the river below, and hastened 
thither, greatly relieved of the anxiety he had felt for their safety. 
Eumors for some time had prevailed that the Iroquois were medi 
tating a descent on the Illinois, and should it prove true, it might, 
after all his labors, involve his enterprise in ruin. On entering 
the Illinois, he found the great prairies, which he had left the 
previous spring sheeted in ice now alive with buffalo. Some were 
sleeping on the sward, many were cropping the tall grass, while 


groups, to slake their thirst, were moving toward the river, where 
they looked with strange bewilderment at the passing canoes. 
Wherever a squad appeared, it was guarded by bulls, whose for 
midable manes and unsightly forms might well have inspired an 
approaching foe with terror. But it was rather with domestic 
rivals than foreign enemies they performed the greatest feats of 
prowess. Battered heads and splintered horns told of many bat 
tles fought among themselves as the result of gallantry, or perhaps 
the more ambitious motive becoming the champions of their shaggy 
herds. The party wishing a supply of buffalo meat, landed and 
commenced a warfare on the tempting game. Some dragged 
themselves through the thick grass and with unerring aim brought 
down their favorite animals, while others, with less labor and 
greater success, concealed themselves behind the banks of the 
river and shot such as came to drink. Twelve huge carcasses re 
warded the labors of the hunt, which the men cut into thin flakes 
and dried in the sun for future use. 

With abundant supplies they again started down the river, 
pleased with the prospect of rejoining the men under Tonti and 
relieving their wants. Soon loomed up before them the rocky cit 
adel to Avhich LaSalle had directed the attention of Tonti, but 
they found on a near approach its lofty summit unfortified. At 
the great town of the Illinois they were appalled at the scene 
which opened to their view. No hunter appeared to break its 
death-like silence with a salutatory whoop of welcome. The plain 
on which the town had stood was now T strewn with the charred 
fragments of lodges, which had so recently swarmed with savage 
life and hilarity. To render more hideous the picture of desola 
tion, large numbers of skulls had been placed on the upper ex 
tremities of lodge poles, which had escaped the devouring flames. 
In the midst of the horrors was the rude fort of the spoilers, ren 
dered frightful with the same ghastly relics. A near approach 
showed that the graves had been robbed of their bodies, and 
swarms of buzzards were discovered glutting their loathsome 
stomachs on their reeking corruption. To complete the work of 
destruction, the growing corn of the village had been cut down 
and burnt, while the pits containing the products of previous years 
had been rifled and their contents scattered with wanton waste. 
It was evident the suspected blow of the Iroquois had fallen with 
relentless fury. No other denizens of the wilderness were capable 
of perpetrating such acts of barbarity and unhallowed desecration. 
LaSalle carefully examined the scene of these hellish orgies, to 
ascertain whether Tonti and his men had become the victims of 
savage vengeance. Nightfall terminated his labors, and no certain 
traces of their presence were discovered. The nightly camp lire 
was kindled, and the men now listened with rueful faces at the dis 
cordant chorus of wolves, each striving to get his share of the 
putrid bodies Avhich had been resurrected from the vilage grave 
yard. Sleep at length came to their relief, but LaSalle, perplexed 
with uncertainty and filled with anxiety, spent the whole night in 
pondering over the proper course to pursue in future. In his 
search the previous day he had discovered C posts near the river, 
on each of which was painted the figure of a man with bandaged 
eyes. Surmising that the figures might represent 6 French pris 
oners in the custody of the Iroquois, at daylight he made known 


liis intention of further descending the river to unfold the mys 

Before his departure he ordered 3 of his men to conceal them 
selves and baggage in the hollow of some rocks situated on a 
neighboring island, and keep a sharp lookout for further deA elop- 
ments. They were instructed to refrain from the use of fires, 
whereby they might attract the attention of enemies ; and should 
others of the men arrive they were to secrete themselves in the 
same place and await his return. He now set out with the 4 
remaining men, each properly armed and furnished with merchan 
dise to conciliate the Indians who might be met on the way. Sev 
eral leagues below the town they landed on an island, near the 
western shore, where the fugitive Illinois had taken refuge. 
Directly opposite, on the main shore was the deserted camp of the 
Iroquois enemy. Each chief had carved on trees of the forest the 
totem of his clan, and signs indicating the strength of the forces 
he had led to the war and the number of the Illinois he had killed 
and captured. From these data LaSalle concluded that the entire 
strength of the invaders could not have been less than 580 war 
riors. Xothiug was found to indicate the presence of Frenchmen, 
and LaSalle again fell down the river, and passed in one day 6 
additional camps of the Illinois and as many more belonging to 
their enemy. Both parties seemed to have retreated in compact 
bodies toward the mouth of the river. Passilig Peoria Lake they 
found the fort destroyed, as stated in the letter of Tonti, but the 
vessel was still on the stocks and only slightly injured. Further 
on they discovered 4 additional camps of the opposing armies, and 
near the mouth of the river met with the usual sequel of an Iro 
quois invasion. On the distant verge of a meadow they discovered 
the half-charred bodies of women and children still bound to the 
stakes, where they had suffered all the torments that hellish hate 
could devise. The men, regardless of their helpless charges, had 
evidently fled at the first approach of danger to save themselves. 
Their wives and children, unprotected, fell into the hands of the 
enemy, who, in addition to those who had been burnt, thickly cov 
ered the place with their mangled bodies, many of which bore 
in arks of brutality too horrid for record. Helpless innocence, in 
stead of exciting compassion in the hearts of these monsters, had 
only nerved them for the fiendish task of indiscriminate slaughter. 

LaSalle, seeing no traces of his lost men, proceeded to the mouth 
of the river, where he saw the great highway which for years 
had been the object and hopes of his ambition. Its vast floods 
rolled mysteriously onward to an unknown bourne, for the dis 
covery of which, with new resolves, he determined to devote his 
life. His men proposecf, without further delay, to proceed on the 
long contemplated voyage, but LaSalle, hedged in by untoward 
complications, was compelled to await a more favorable time. 
Thinking that Tonti might* still be in the nighborhood, he fastened 
to a tree a painting representing himself and party sitting in a 
canoe, and bearing the pipe of peace. To the painting he attached 
a letter, addressed to Tonti, the purport of which was that he 
should hasten up the river and join him at the great town of the 
Illinois. The party next commenced the ascent of the river to 
the same place, and vigorously plying their paddles night and day, 
arrived at their destination in 4 days. During the upward voyage, 


the great comet of 1G80 nightly illumined the starry expanse above 
them, projecting its vast tail, with a terrible brilliancy, a distance 
of 60 degrees. LaSalle speaks of it as an object of scientific in 
quiry, while Increase Mather, a celebrated New England divine, 
with the superstition common to his time, said that "it was fraught 
with terrific portent to the nations of the world." 

At the Indian town they found the men who had been left be 
hind, unharmed, and anxiously awaiting their return. After get 
ting some corn from the ravaged granaries of the burnt village, 
the whole party embarked, and commenced the ascent of the river. 
On the 6th of January, 1681, they arrived at the junction of the 
Desplaines and Kankakee, and passing up the latter a short 
distance, they discovered, not far from, the shore, a rude hut. La 
Salle landed, and entering it, found a block of wood which had 
recently been cut with a saw, thus indicating that Tonti must have 
passed up the river, This discovery kindled anew the hopes of 
the dispairing voyagers that their friends were still alive, and with 
lighter hearts they started directly overland to Fort Miami. On the 
way the snow fell in blinding storms, and not being sufficiently 
compact for the use of snow shoes, LaSalle led the way to open a 
track and urge on his followers. Such was the depth of the snow, 
his tall figure was frequently buried in drifts up to his waist, while 
the remainder of his person was showered with the crystal bur 
dens of boughs overhead, whenever he chanced to touch them. On 
reaching their goal, LaSalle s first inquiry was for Tonti. No 
tidings, however, had been heard from him, and the hope he had 
entertained of meeting him here, was changed to disappointment. 
LaForest and the men whom he had left behind, with commenda 
ble industry had rebuilt the fort, prepared ground for raising a 
crop the* ensuing year, and sawn material for building a new ship 
on the lake. 

We must now endeavor to relate the adventures of Tonti. 
Meanwhile, we will leave LaSalle in the sheltering walls of the 
fort, pondering over the wasted energies of the past, and the 
gloomy prospects of the future. Yet his mind, so full of expedi 
ents, soon found means to evolve, from the fragments of his ruined 
fortunes, new resources for the furtherance of his daring schemes. 

It will be remembered that Tonti had been left in command of 
Fort Crevecceur with 15 men. Most of these disliking LaSalle, 
and having no interest in his enterprise, were ripe for revolt the 
first opportunity that promised success. LaSalle, stern, incompre 
hensible and cold, was much better qualified to command the 
respect of his men when present, than secure their good will and 
fidelity when absent. His departure eastward was, therefore, the 
commencement of unlawful acts among liis men. A short time 
afterward, another event occurred which greatly increased the 
spirit of insubordination. The two men who had been sent tolo^k 
for the Griffin, had, in pursuance of LaSalle s orders, arm r ed at 
the fort with disheartening intelligence. They informed the al 
ready disaffected garrison that the Griffin was lost; that Fort 
Frontenac was in the hands of LaSalle s creditors, and that he was 
now wholly without means to pay those in his employ. To prevent 
the desertion of his men, it was usual for LaSalle to withhold their 
wages till the term for which they were employed should expire. 
Now the belief that he would never Day them, gave rise to a spirit of 


mutiny, which soon found an opportunity for further developement. 
The two men alluded to were the bearers of a letter from LaSalle, 
directing Tonti to examine and fortify the Itoek on the Illinois; 
and no sooner had he, with a few men, departed for this purpose, 
than the garrison of the fort refused longer to submit to authority. 
Their first act of lawlessness was the destruction of the fort; after 
which, they seized the ammunition, provisions, and other porta 
bles of value and fled. Only two of their number remained true, 
one of whom was the servant of LaSalle, who immediately hastened 
to apprise Tonti of what had occurred. He, thereupon, dispatched 
4 of the men with him to carry the news to LaSalle ; two of whom, 
as we have seen, successfully discharged their duty, while the 
others perhaps deserted. 

Tonti, now in the midst of treacherous savages, had with him 
only 5 men, 2 of whom were the friars Ilibourde and Membre. 
With these he immediately returned to the fort, collected the forge 
and tools which had not been destroyed by the mutineers, and 
conveyed them to the great town of the Illinois. By this volun 
tary display of confidence, he hoped to remove the jealousy with 
which the enemies of LaSalle had previously poisoned their minds. 
Here, awaiting the return of his leader, he was unmolested by the 
villagers, who, when the spring opened, amounted, according to 
the statement of Membre, to some 8,000 souls. Neither they nor 
their wild associates little suspected that hordes of Iroquois were 
then gathering in the fastnesses of the Alleghanies, to burst upon 
their country and reduce it to an uninhabitable waste. Already 
these hell-hounds of the wilderness had destroyed the Hurons, 
Eries, and other nations on the lakes, and were now directing their 
attention to the Illinois for new victims with which to flesh their 
rabid fangs. ISTot only homicidal fury, but commercial advantages 
now actuated the Iroquois, who expected, after reducing these 
vast regions of the west, to draw thence rich supplies of furs to 
barter with the English for merchandise. LaSalle had also enemies 
among the French, who, to defeat his enterprise, did not scruple 
to encourage the Iroquois in their rapacious designs. Under these 
circumstances a council was held by the latter. The ceremonies 
of inaugurating a campaign were duly celebrated, and 500 war 
riors, with a dispatch only equalled by their terrible earnestness, 
commenced traversing the wide waste of forest and prairie that lay 
between them and their intended prey. In the line of their march 
lay the Miamis, who by their crafty intrigues were induced to join 
in the movement against their neighbors and kindred. There had 
long existed a rankling jealousy between these tribes, and the Mi- 
amis were ready to enter into any alliance that promised revenge. 
It was the policy of the Iroquois to divide and conquer, and their 
new allies were marked as the next object of their vengeance, 
should the assault on the Illinois prove successful. 

All was fancied security and idle repose in the great town of the 
Illinois, as the formidable Avar party stealthily approached. Sud 
denly, as a clap of thunder from a cloudless sky, the listless in 
habitants were awakened from their lethargy. A Shawnee Indian, 
on his return home after a visit to the Illinois, first discovered the 
invaders. To save his friends from the impending danger, he 
hurriedly returned and apprised them of the coming enemy. 
This intelligence spread with lightning rapidity over the town, and 


each wigwam disgorged its boisterous and astounded inmates. 
Women snatched tlieir children, and in a delirium of fright wan 
dered aimlessly about, rending the air with their screams. The 
men, more self-possessed, seized their arms, and in a wild panto 
mime of battle, commenced nerving themselves for the coming 
fray. Tonti, long an object of suspicion, was soon surrounded by 
an angry crowd of warriors, who accused him of being an emissary 
of the enemy. His inability properly to defend himself, in house- 
quence of not fully understanding their language, left them still 
inclined to believe him guilty, and they seized the forge and other 
effects brought from the fort, and threw them into the river. 
Doubting their ability to defend themselves without the assistance 
of tlieir young men, who were absent 011 a war expedition, they 
embarked their women and children in canoes and sent them down 
to the island where LaSalle had seen their deserted huts. Sixty 
warriors remained with them for protection, and the remainder, 
not exceeding 400, returned late in the day to the village. Along 
the adjacent shore they kindled huge bonfires, which cast their 
glare for miles around, gilding the village, river and distant mar 
gins of the forest with the light of day. The entire night was 
spent in greasing their bodies, painting their faces and perform 
ing the war dance, to prepare themselves for the approaching con 
flict. At early dawn the scouts who had been sent out returned, 
closely followed by the Iroquois, most of whom were armed with 
guns, pistols and swords, obtained from the English. The scouts 
had seen a chief arrayed in French costume, and reported their 
suspicions that LaSalle was in the camp of the enemy, and Tonti 
again became an object of jealousy. A concourse of wildly gestic 
ulating savages immediately gathered about him, demanding his 
life, and* nothing saved him from their uplifted weapons but a 
promise that he and his men would go with them to meet the en 
emy. With their suspicions partially lulled, they hurriedly crossed 
the river and appeared on the plain beyond just as the enemy 
emerged in swarms from the woods skirting the banks of the Ver 
milion. The two foes were now face to face, and both commenced 
discharging their guns and simultaneously leaping from side to 
side, for the purpose of dodging each other s shots. Tonti, seeing 
the Illinois outnumbered and likely to sustain a defeat, determined, 
at the imminent risk of his life, to stay the light by an attempt at 
mediation. Presuming on the treaty of peace then existing be 
tween the French and Iroquois, he exchanged his gun for a belt 
of wampum and advanced to meet the savage multitude, attended 
by three companions, who, being unnecessarily exposed to danger, 
he dismissed them and proceeded alone. A short walk brought 
him into the midst of a pack of yelping devils, writhing and dis 
torted with fiendish rage, and impatient to shed his blood. As the 
result of his swarthy Italian complexion and half savage costume, 
he was at first taken for an Indian, and before the mistake was 
discovered a young warrior approached and stabbed at his heart. 
Fortunately the blade was turned aside by coming in contact with 
a rib, yet a large tlesh wound was inflicted, which bled profusely. 
At this juncture a chief discovered his true character, and he was 
led to the rear and efforts made to staunch his wound. When 
sufficiently recovered, he declared the Illinois were under the pro 
tection of the French, and demanded, in consideration of the treaty 


between the latter and the Iroquois, that they should be suffered 
to remain without further molestation. During this conference, a 
young warrior snatched Tonti s hat, and, fleeing with it to the 
front, held it aloft on the end of his gun in view of the Illinois. 
The latter, judging from this circumstance that their envoy had 
been killed, caused the battle to "breeze up" with increased inten 
sity. Simultaneously, intelligence was brought to the Iroquois 
that Frenchmen were assisting their enemies in the fight, when 
the contest over Tonti was renewed with redoubled fury. Some 
declared that he should be immediately put to death ; while oth 
ers, friendly to LaSalle, with equal earnestness demanded that 
he should be set at liberty. During their clamorous debate his 
hair was several times lifted by a huge savage who stood at his 
back with a scalping knife, ready for execution. 

Tonti at length turned the current of the angry controversy in 
his favor, by stating that the Illinois were 1,200 strong, and that 
there were 60 Frenchmen at the village ready to assist them. 
This statement obtained at least a partial credence, and his tor- 
men ters now determined to use him as an instrument to delude 
the Illinois with a pretended truce. The old warriors therefore 
advanced to the front and ordered the firing to cease, while Tonti, 
dizzy from the loss of blood, was furnished with an emblem of 
peace and sent staggering across the plain to rejoin the Illinois. 
The two friars, who had just returned from a distant hut, whither 
they had retired for prayer and meditation, were the first to meet 
him and bless God for what they regarded as a miraculous deliv 
erance.* With the assurance brought by Touti, the Illinois re- 
crossed the river to their lodges, followed by the enemy as far as 
the opposite bank, ^ot long after, large numbers of the latter, 
under the pretext of hunting, also crossed the river and hung in 
threatening groups about the town. These hostile indications, 
and the well known disregard which the Iroquois had always 
evinced for their pledges, soon convinced the Illinois that their 
only safety was in flight. With this conviction they set fire to 
their ancestral homes, and while the vast volume of flame and 
smoke diverted the attention of the enemy, they quietly dropped 
down the river to rejoin their women and children. Shortly after, 
the remainder of the Iroquois crossed the river, and as soon as the 
conflagration would permit, entrenched themselves on the site of 
the village. Tonti and his men, remaining at the village, were 
ordered by the suspicious savages to leave their hut and take up 
their abode in the fort. 

At first their associates seemed much elated at the discomfiture 
of the Illinois, but two days after, when they discovered them re- 
connoiteriug on the low hills behind their intrenchments, their 
courage greatly subsided. With fear, they recalled the exaggera 
tions of Tonti, respecting their numbers, and immediately concluded 
to send him with a hostage to make overtures of peace. He started 
on his mission, and he and the hostage were received with delight 
by the Illinois, who readily assented- to this proposal which he 
brought, and in turn sent back with him a hostage to the Iroquois. 
On his return to the fort, his life was again placed in jeopardy, and 

*Membre. perhaps prompted by vanity, claims that he accompanied Totiti in this in 
terview. This is the only instance in which he is charged with a want of veracity, and 
doubtless in many respects was a good man. 


the treaty was with great difficulty ratified. The young and inex 
perienced Illinois hostage betrayed to his crafty interviewers the 
numerical weakness of his tribe, and the savages immediately 
rushed upon Tonti, and charged him with having deprived them 
of the spoils and honors of a victory. " Where, " said they, " are 
all your Illinois warriors, and where are the Frenchmen you said 
were among them 9 " It now required all the tact of which he was 
master to escape the present difficulty, which he had brought oil 
himself by the artifice employed to escape the one previous. After 
much opposition, the treaty was concluded, but the savages, to 
show their contempt for it, immediately commenced the construc 
tion of canoes in which to descend the river and attack the Illinois. 

Tonti managed to apprise the latter of their designs, and he and 
Membre were soon after summoned to attend a council of the Iro- 
quois. They still labored under a wholesome fear of Count Fron- 
tenac, and disliking to attack the Illinois in the presence of the 
French, their object was to induce the latter to leave the country. 
At the assembling of the council, 6 packages of beaver skins were 
introduced, and the savage orator, presenting them separately to 
Tonti, explained the nature of each. " The first two, n said he, 
"were to declare that the children of Count Frontenac, that is, 
the Illinois, should not be eaten ; the next was a plaster to heal 
the wounds of Tonti ; the next was oil wherewith to annoint him 
and Membre, that they might not be fatigued in traveling j the 
next proclaimed that the sun was bright; and the sixth, and 
last, required them to decamp and go home. "* 

At the mention of going home, Tonti demanded of them when 
they intended to set the example by leaving the Illinois in the 
peaceable possession of their country, which they had so unjustly 
invaded.. The council grew boisterous and angry at the idea that 
they should be demanded to do that which they required of the 

TTI 1- --. ,1 ~ ~ -J-~ _!._. _ J _. j_j n 

to devour the children of Count Frontenac with cannibal ferocity, 
he would not accept their gifts. This stern rebuke of perfidy re 
sulted in the expulsion of Tonti and his companions from the 
council, and the next day the enraged chiefs ordered them to leave 
the country. 

Tonti had now, at the great risk of his life, tried every expedi 
ent to avert from the unoffending Illinois the slaughter which the 
unscrupulous invaders of their soil were seeking an opportunity 
to effect. There was little to be accomplished by remaining in the 
country, and as a longer delay might imperil the lives of his men, 
he determined to depart, not knowing when or where he Avould be 
able to rejoin LaSalle. With this object in view, the party, con 
sisting of G persons, embarked in canoes, which soon proved leaky, 
and they were compelled to land for the purpose of making re 
pairs. While thus employed, Father Eibourde, attracted by the 
beauty of the surrounding landscape, wandered forth among the 

f roves for meditation and prayer. ISTot returning in due time, 
onti became alarmed, and started with a companion to ascertain 

.Discoveries of the Great West. Parkman. 


the cause of the long delay. They soon discovered tracks of Ind 
ians, by whom it was supposed he had been seized, and guns were 
tired to direct his return, in case he was still alive. Seeing 
nothing of him during the day, at night they built tires along the 
bank of the river and retired to the opposite side, to see who 
might approach them. Near midnight, a number of Indians were 
seen flitting about the light, by whom, 110 doubt, had been made 
the tracks seen the previous evening. It Avas afterwards learned 
that they were a band of Kickapoos, who had, for several days, 
been hovering about the camp of the Iroquois in quest of scalps. 
Kot being successful in obtaining the object of their desires from 
their enemies, they, by chance, fell in with the inoffensive old 
friar, and scalped him in their stead. " Thus, in the Goth year of 
his age, the only heir to a wealty Burgundian house perished under 
the war club of the savages, for whose salvation he had renounced 
ease and affluence."* 

During the performance of this tragedy, a far more revolting- 
one was being enacted at the great town of the Illinois. The Iro 
quois were tearing open the graves of the dead, and wreaking 
their vengeance upon the bodies made hideous by putrifactiou. 
At this desecration, it is said, they even ate portions of the 
dead bodies, while subjecting them to every indignity that brutal 
hate could inflict. Still uusated by their hellish brutalities, and 
now unrestrained by the presence of the French, they started in 
pursuit of the retreating Illinois. Day after day they and the 
opposing forces moved in compact array down the river, neither 
being able to gain any advantage over the other. At length they 
obtained by falsehood that which numbers and prowess denied 
them. They gave out that their object was to possess the country, 
not by destroying, but by driving out its present inhabitants. 
Deceived by this mendacious statement, the Illinois separated, 
some descending the Mississippi, and others crossing to the 
western shore. Unfortunately, the Tamaroas, more credulous than 
the rest, remained near the mouth of the Illinois, and were sud 
denly attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy. The men 
fled in dismay, and the women and children, to the number of 
700, fell into the hands of the ferocious enemy. Then followed 
the tortures, butcheries and burnings which only the infuriated 
and imbruted Iroquois could perpetrate the shocking evidence of 
which LaSalle saw only two weeks afterward. After the ravenous 
horde had sufficiently glutted their greed for carnage, they retired 
from the country, leading with them a number of women and 
children, whom they reserved either for adoption into their tribes, 
or as victims to grace the triumphs sometimes accorded them on 
their return home. 

Their departure was the signal for the return of the Illinois, 
who rebuilt their town. The site of this celebrated village was 
on the northern bank of the river, where it flows by the modern 
town of Utica. Its immediate site was on the great meadow 
which, at this point, originally stretched up and down the stream. 
The large quantities of bones and rude implements of savage life 
which are annually turned up by the ploughshare, are the only 
sad traces of the populous tribes that once made this locality their 

*Discovery of the Great West Parkman. 


principal home. Along the southern side of the river extends a 
range of hills, which terminate a mile and a half above in the 
natural abutment known as Starved Rock, 011 which the French, 
in 1082, built a fort. Several miles below, an opening occurs in 
the hills, through which the waters of the Big Vermilion unite 
with those of the Illinois. It was by means of these prominent 
landmarks Francis Parkinan, Esq., a few years since, was enabled 
to identify the site of the Indian town, which, for many years pre 
vious, was entirely unknown. 

After the death of Eibourde, the men under Toiiti again resumed 
the ascent of the river, leaving no evidence of their passage at the 
junction of the two streams which form the Illinois. Their craft 
again becoming disabled, they abandoned it, and the party started 
on foot for Lake Michigan. Their supply of provisions soon be 
came exhausted, and the travelers were compelled to subsist in a 
great measure on roots and acorns. One of their companions 
wandered off in search of game, lost his way, and several days 
elapsed before he had the good fortune of rejoining them. In his 
absence he was without flints and bullets, yet contrived to shoot 
some turkeys by using slugs cut from a pewter porringer and a 
firebrand to discharge his piece. It was their object to reach 
Green Bay and find an asylum for the winter among the Potawat- 
amies. As the result of privation and exposure, Touti fell sick of 
a fever and greatly retarded the progress of the march, bearing 
Green Bay, the cold increased and the means of subsistence pro 
portionately diminishing, the party would have perished had they 
not found a few ears of corn and some frozen squashes in the 
fields of a deserted village. Near the close of November they had 
the good fortune of reaching the Pota watamies, who greeted" them 
with a warm reception, and supplied them with the necessaries of 
life. Their chief was an ardent admirer of the French, whom he 
had befriended the year previous, and was accustomed to say : 
There were but three great captains in the world, himself, Tonti 
and LaSalle." 


We must now return to LaSalle, whose exploits stand out in 
such bold relief. In the previous discoveries he had observed 
that white enemies were using the Iroquois to circumvent his 
operations ; that their incursions must be stopped, or his defeat 
was inevitable. After due consideration, he concluded the best 
way to prevent their inroads was to induce the western tribes to 
forget their animosities, and under a league against their inexora 
ble enemies, colonize them around a fort in the valley of the 
Illinois, where, with the assistance of French arms and French 
generalship, the common enemy would be unable further to molest 
them. French colonists could teach them the arts of agriculture, 
Roeollet monks instruct them in their religious duties, and the 
ships of France supply merchandise to traffic with them for the 
rich harvest of furs annually gathered from their vast interior 
wilds. Meanwhile he proposed to explore the Mississippi, and 
make it a highway for the commerce of the world. Thus, conclu 
ded LaSalle, the plains of Illinois, which for centuries have been a 
slaughter pen for warring savages, might be made the theatre of 
a civilization as famous as their past history had been rendered 
infamous by deeds of carnage. To the execution of this new ex 
pedient for advancing his plans, he now turned his attention. 

After the terrible scourge of King Philip s war, a number of the 
conquered Indians left their eastern homes and took refuge in the 
vicinity of the fort, where LaSalle had spent the winter. These 
were mostly Abeiiakis and Mohegans the latter having furnished 
the hunter Avho had so often, by his superior skill, provided La- 
Salle s hungry followers with food. He was also master of several 
Indian dialects, which, at this particular juncture of LaSalle s 
affairs, he could use with great advantage. To these exiles from 
the east LaSalle first directed his attention, and found them 
unanimously in favor of casting their lot with his, asking no rec 
ompense save the privilege of calling him chief. A new ally, in 
the person of a powerful chief from the valley of the Ohio, also 
appeared, and asked permission to enter the new confederation. 
LaSalle replied that his tribe was too distant, but let them come 
to me in the valley of the Illinois, and they shall be safe. The 
chief, without stipulating further, agreed to join him with 150 
warriors. To reconcile the Miamis and Illinois, and thus secure 
their co-operation, was now the principal obstacle. Although 
kindred tribes, they had long been estranged, and it was only after 
.the recent depredations of the Iroquois, they began to see the 
advantage of opposing a united front to their outrages. Wish- 



ing first to consult the Illinois, many of whom had returned after 
the evacuation of the Iroquois, they found the prairies still encrusted 
with snow, from the dazzling whiteness of which, LaSalle and 
several of the men became snow-blind, and were compelled to en 
camp under the edge of a forest till they could recover. AYhile 
suffering from the loss of vision, they sent out a companion to 
gather pine leaves, which were supposed to be a specific for their 
malady. While on this errand he had the good fortune to fall in 
with a band of the Foxes, from whom he learned that Touti was 
safe among the Potawatamies, and that Hennepin had passed 
through their country, on his way to Canada. This was welcome 
news to LaSalle, who had long been anxious in regard to his 
safety. The afflicted soon after recovered, and the snow having 
melted, they launched their canoes into the swollen tributary of 
the Illinois. Following the river, they fell in with a band of the 
Illinois, ranging the prairies in quest of game. LaSalle expressed 
his regret at the great injury they had sustained from the Iro 
quois, and urged them to form an alliance with their kindred, the 
Miamis, to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters in the fu 
ture. He promised them that he and his companions would take 
up their abode among them, furnish them with goods and arms, 
and assist in defending them in the attacks of the common enemy 
of the Algonquin race. Pleased with LaSalle s proposition, they 
supplied him with corn, and promised to confer with others of 
their countrymen on the subject, and let him know the result. 

Having completed his negotiations with the Illinois, he sent La- 
Forest to Mackinaw, whither Tonti was expected to go, and where 
both of them were to remain till lie could follow them. It now 
remained for him to consult the Miamis, and he accordingly visited 
one of tlieir principal villages 011 the portage between the St. 
Joseph and the Kankakee. Here he found a band of Iroquois, 
who had for some time demeaned themselves with the greatest 
insolence toward the villagers, and had spoken with the utmost 
contempt of himself and men. He sternly rebuked them for their 
arrogance and calumnies, which caused them to slink away, and 
at night flee the country. The Miamis were astonished beyond 
measure when they saw LaSalle, with only 10 Frenchmen, put 
their haughty visitors to flight, while they, with hundreds of war 
riors, could not even secure respect. LaSalle now resolved to use 
the prestige he had gained in furthering the object of his visit. 
There were present in the village Indian refugees from recent 
wars in Virginia, Xew York and llhode Island, to whom LaSalle 
communicated the nature of his errand, and promised homes and 
protection in the valley of the Illinois. It is a goodly and beau 
tiful land, said he, abounding in game, and well supplied with 
goods, in which they should dwell, if they would only assist him 
in restoring amicable relations between the Miamis and Illinois. 
The co-operation of these friendless exiles, who now knew how to 
value the blessings of peace and a settled habitation, was readily 
enough secured. 

The next day the Miamis were assembled in council, and La 
Salle made knoAvn to them 7 he objects he wished to accomplish. 
From long intercourse with the Indians, he had become an expert 
in forest tact and eloquence, and on this occasion he had come 
well provided with presents, to give additional efficacy to his pro- 


ceedings. He began his address, which consisted of metaphori 
cal allusions to the dead, by distributing gifts among the living. 
Presenting them with cloth, he told them it was to cover their 
dead ; giving them hatchets, he informed them that they were to 
build a scaffold in their honor; distributing among them beads and 
bells, he stated they were to decorate their persons. The living, 
while appropriating these presents, were greatly pleased at the 
compliments paid their departed friends, and thus placed in a 
suitable state of mind for that which was to follow. A chief, for 
whom they entertained the greatest respect, had recently been 
killed, and LaSalle told them he would raise him from the dead, 
meaning that he would assume his name and provide for his 
family. This generous offer was even more than Indian gravity 
could bear, and the whole assemblage became uproarious with ex 
citement aftd applause. Lastly, to convince them of the sincerity 
of his intentions, he gave them 6 guns, a number of hatchets, and 
threw into their midst a huge pile of clothing, causing the entire 
multitude to explode with yells of the most extravagant delight. 
After this, LaSalle thus finished his harangue : 

" He who is my master, and the master of all this country, is a mighty chief, 
feared by the whole world ; but he loves peace, and his words are for good 
alone. He is called the king of France, and is the mightiest among the chiefs 
beyond the great water. His goodness extends even to your dead, and his 
subjects come ^amoug you to raise them to life. But it is his will to preserve 
the lifehehasgiven. It is his will that you should obey his laws, and make no 
war without the leave of Fronteuac, who commands in his name at Quebec, 
and loves all the nations alike, because such is the will of the great king. You 
ought, then, to live in peace with your neighbors, and above all with the Illi 
nois. You had cause of quarrel with them, but their defeat has avenged you. 
Though they are still strong, they wish to make peace with you. Be content 
with the glory of having compelled them to ask for it. You have an interest 
in preserving them, since, if the Iroquois destroy them, they will next destroy 
you. Let us all obey the great king, and live in peace under his protection. 
Be of my mind, and use these guns I have given you, not to make war, but 
only to hunt and defend yourselves "* 

Having thus far been successful in uniting the western tribes, 
he was now ready to use the aUiance formed in further extending 
his discoveries. First, it was necessary to return to Canada 
and collect his scattered resources, and satisfy his creditors. 
Toward the latter part of May, 1081, they left Fort Miami, and 
after a short and prosperous trip arrived at Mackinaw, where they 
had the happiness of meeting with Tonti. After the kindly 
greetings of the long absent friends were over, each recounted the 
story of his misfortunes. Such was LaSalle s equanimity and 
even cheerfulness, that Membre, in admiration of his conduct, 
exclaimed : "Any one else except him would have abandoned the 
enterprise, but he, with a firmness and constancy which never had 
its equal, was more resolved than ever to push forward his work. " 
Having reviewed the past, and formed new resolves for the future, 
the party embarked for Frontenac. The watery track of 1000 
miles intervening between them and their destination, was soon 
crossed, and LaSalle was again in consultation with his creditors. 
In addition to the cost incurred in building the fort, and maintain 
ing in it a garrison, he was now further burdened with the debt 
of subsequent fruitless explorations. The fort and seigniory were 
mortgaged for a large sum, yet by parting with some of his mo- 

* Discovery of the Great West Parkman. 


nopolies, and securing aid from a wealthy relative, lie managed 
to satisfy his creditors and secure means for another outfit. 
Owing to unavoidable delays the season was far advanced when 
his flotilla was pushed out on the waters of Lake Michigan. 
Their canoes were headed for the mouth of the St. Joseph, and as 
they slowly crept along the dreary shores of the lake, it is easy to 
imagine the more dreary thought that harrassed the mind of 
LaSalle. A past of unrequited toil and sad disappointment, a 
present embittered by the tongue of hate and slander, and the 
future clouded with uncertainty, must have intruded themselves 
into his mind, but could not for a moment divert him from the 
accomplishment of the great object which for years had been the 
guiding star. of his destiny. The trees were bare of the beautiful 
autumnal foliage when at length the walls of Fort Miami rose 
above the waste of waters, and they drew up their canoes on the 
adjacent shore. The columns of smoke that rose high in the still 
November air, told LaSalle that his Mohegan and Abenaki allies 
were awaiting his return. Notwithstanding these were the rem 
nants of the tribes " whose midnight yells had startled the bor 
der hamlets of New England ; who had danced around Puritan 
scalps and whom Puritan imaginations painted as incarnate 
fiends," LaSalle chose from them 18 men to accompany him. 
These, added to the Frenchmen, made 41 men. who, on the 21st 
of December, 1G81, set out on this famous expedition. Tonti and 
some of the men crossed in advance to the mouth of the Chicago, 
where they were soon after joined by LaSalle and the remainder 
of the men. The streams being now sheated over with ice, and 
the land covered with snow, they were compelled to construct 
sledges on which to drag their canoes and baggage to the wes 
tern branch of the Illinois. Finding it also bridged over with ice 
they filed "down it in a long procession, passed the tenantless vil 
lage of the Illinois and found the river open a short distance 
below Peoria Lake. The season, and other unfavorable circum 
stances, rendered the building of a vessel, as originally contem 
plated, at this point wholy impossible. They were compelled 
therefore to proceed in their canoes, and 011 the 6th of February 
they reached the Great Eiver which was to bear them onward to 
the sea. Waiting a week for the floating ice to disappear, they 
glided down the current toward the great unknown, which all 
former attempts had failed to penetrate. The first night they en 
camped near the mouth of the Missouri, and witnessed its opaque 
floods invade the purer waters of the Mississippi. Re-embarking 
the next morning they passed several interesting localities, and 
after several days, landed on the 24th of February, at Chickasaw 
bluffs for the purpose of going out in quest of game to supply 
their failing provisions. Here, one of the hunters named Prud- 
homme, lost himself in the dense forest, and it was only after a 
search of more than a week he was found in a starving condition 
and brought to camp. Meanwhile LaSalle caused a fort to be 
erected which he named Prudhomme to evince his condolence for 
the suffering of the hunter, who with a small party he left in 
charge of it. Again embarking on the tortuous river, they were 
soon apprised by the opening buds of semi-tropical vegetation, that 
they were rapidly entering the realms of spring. 


On the 13th of March, their attention was arrested by the 
booming of an Indian drum, and shouts proceeding from a war 
dance on the western side of the river. Being unable, in conse 
quence of a fog, to see the authors of the demonstrations, they 
retired to the opposite shore and threw up breastworks as a 
means of protection. When the mist rolled away the astonished 
savages for the first time saw the strangers, who made signals for 
them to come over the river, Several of them, accepting the in 
vitation, were met midway the stream by a Frenchman, who, in 
turn was invited in a friendly manner to visit their village. The 
whole party, thus assured, crossed the river, and LaSalle at their 
head inarched to the open area of the town. Here in the midst 
of a vast concourse of admiring villagers, he erected a cross, 
bearing the arms of France, Membre sang a hymn in canonicals, 
and LaSalle, having obtained from the chiefs an acknowledge 
ment of loyalty, took possession of the country in the name of 
the king. This lively and generous people, so different from the 
cold and taciturn Indians of the north, were a tribe or the Ar 
kansas, and dwelt near the mouth of the river bearing their name. 
The travelers, on taking leave of them, were furnished with two 
guides, and next passed the sites of Yicksburg and Grand Gulf, 
where, 181 years afterward, were fought bloody struggles for the 
dominion of the river they were endeavoring to explore. Kear 
200 miles below the Arkansas, their guides pointed out the direc 
tion of the village of the Taensas. Tonti and Membre were di 
rected to visit it, and were greatly surprised at the evidences of 
civilization which it exhibited. Its large square dwellings, built 
of sun-dried mortar and arched over with dome-shaped roofs, 
were situated in regular order around a square. The residence of 
the chief, made in the same manner, was a single hall 40 feet 
square and lighted by a single door, in which he sat in state, 
awaiting the arrival of the visitors. He was surrounded by a 
court of 60 old men clad in robes of mulbery bark, while near his 
person sat his three wives, who howled whenever he spoke, to do 
him honor. After making him a number of presents, which he 
graciously received, the visitors proceeded to examine the temple, 
similar in size to the building occupied by the king. Within 
were the bones of departed chiefs, and an altar kept perpetually 
burning by the two old men devoted to this sacred office. On the 
top of the temple were carved three eagles, looking toward the 
east ; while around it was a wall studded with stakes, on the tops 
of which hung the skulls of enemies who had been sacrificed to the 
Sun. The chief, in response to a friendly call, visited the camp 
of LaSalle. A master of ceremonies was sent to announce his 
coming, after which he made his appearance, robed in white, and 
attended by three persons, two of them bearing white fans and 
the third a disk of burnished copper. The latter was doubtless 
intended to represent the Sun, which was not only an 
object of worship, but the source whence the chief claimed 
his ancestors were derived. His demeanor was grave and 
dignified in the presence of LaSalle, who treated him with 
becoming courtesy and friendship. After receiving a 
number of presents, the principal object of the visit, 
he returned to his village, and the travelers started down the 


Shortly afterward, they fell in with another tribe, and LaSalle 
wishing to approach them in a friendly manner, encamped on the 
opposite shore. He then permitted Tonti, with a few companions, 
to make them a visit, who, finding them favorably disposed, La- 
S alle and Membre also joined the party. They next visited one of 
the Indian villages and were made the recipients of a hospitality 
limited only by the means of their generous entertainers. They 
were the STachez, and LaSalle, learning that the principal town 
was not far distant, repaired thither to have an interview with the 
head chief of the tribe. As among the Taensas, he saw here a royal 
residence, a temple of the siin, with its perpetually burning h re, and 
other evidences of more than ordinary Indian progress. Before 
leaving, LaSalle erected a cross in the midst of the town, to which 
was attached the arms of France, an act which the inhabitants re 
garded with great satisfaction, but had they known its meaning 
their displeasure would have been equally intense. 

!Next, they discovered the mouth of Red River, and after pass 
ing a number of other villages, found themselves at the junction 
of the three channels of the river which branch off into the Gulf. 
A different party entered each passage, and as they moved south 
ward the water rapidly changed to brine,and the land breeze became 
salty with the breath of the sea. On the 6th of April " The broad 
bosom of the great Gulf opened on their sight, tossing its restless 
billows, limitless, voiceless and lonely as when born of chaos, with 
out a sign of life."* 

The great mystery of the new world was now unveiled. LaSalle 
had at last triumphed over every opposing obstacle, and secured a 
fame which will live as long as the tloods of the great river roll to 
the sea and impart fertility to the valley through which they flow. 

After ^coasting for a short time the marshy shores of the Gulf 
and its inlets, the party ascended the river till its banks became 
sufficiently dry to afford a landing. Here LaSalle erected a col 
umn on which he inscribed the words : u Louis le Grand Roy de 
France et de Xavarre, Regne ; Le Neuvieme Avril, 1682." 

In honor of his King, he called the country through which he 
had passed, Louisiana, and commenced the ceremony of taking 
formal possession by military display and the imposing pageantry 
of the Catholic church. Standing by the side of the column, he 
proclaimed in a loud voice : 

"In the name of the most high, mighty, invincible, and victorious Prince 
Louis the Great, by the grace of God King of France and Navarre, fourteenth 
of that name, I, this 9th day of April, 1682, in virtue of the commission of his 
Majesty, which I hold in my hand, and which may be seen by all whom it may 
concern, have taken, and now do take, in the name of his majesty and of his 
successors to the crown, possession of this country of Louisiana, the seas, har 
bors, ports, bays, adjacent straits, and all the nations, peoples, provinces, cities, 
towns, villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, streams and rivers, comprised in the 
limits of the said Louisiana." 

A song, with volleys of musketry, closed the ceremonies by 
which the realms of France received the stupendous accession of 
the great region drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries, t 

The voyagers having now accomplished the great object of the 
expedition, started on their homeward journey. The tribes which 
had treated them with so much civility and generosity in the down- 

*Diseoveries of the Great West. 
tMonette s Val. of the Miss 


ward voyage, were now from some cause alienated, and indisposed 
to let him have food. On arriving among the Naeliez, they found 
them hostile, and while they abundantly supplied them with corn, 
they at the same time surrounded them with a large force to cut 
them off. Fearing, however, to make an attack, the travelers de 
parted, and, without further molestation, reached Fort Prud- 
homme, where LaSalle was seized with a dangerous illness. 
Unable to go himself, he sent Tonti and a few companions to an 
nounce the news of his discoveries at Mackinaw, whence it was to 
be dispatched to Canada. Although carefully attended by Mem- 
bre, he lay sick in the fort till the latter part of July, when he, in 
a great measure, recovered, and reached Mackinaw on the 1st of 
September. Thence Meinbre was sent to France with dispatches 
making known the grandeur of LaSalle s discoveries ; the vast 
region visited ; the immensity of its mountain ranges, and its great 
plains, veined by mighty streams. 

It was LaSalle s intention also to visit France, but hearing that 
the Iroquois were about to renew their attacks on the western 
tribes, he decided that his presence was necessary to the safety of 
his projected policy. He accordingly returned to the Illinois river, 
whither Touti had already preceded him, and at once commenced 
preparations to meet the enemies. As a means of defence it was 
determined to fortify Starved Bock, whose military advantages 
had previously attracted the attention of LaSalle. From the 
waters which wash its base it rises to an altitude of 125 feet. Three 
of the sides itis impossible to scale, Avhilethe one next to the land 
may be climbed with difficulty, From its summit, almost as inac 
cessible as an eagle s nest, the valley of the Illinois spreads out 
in a landscape of exquisite beauty. The river, nearby, struggles 
between a number of wooded islands, while further beloAV, it qui 
etly meanders through vast meadows, till it disappears like a 
thread of light in the dim distance. Here, on the summit of this 
rocky citadel, in the month of November he began to entrench him 
self. Storehouses were constructed from the trees that grew on 
the top, and when the supply was exhausted, at immense labor, 
timbers were dragged up the steep ascent to construct a palisaded 
inclosure. With the completion of this stronghold, which was 
called in honor of the French King the Fort of St. Louis, the In 
dians began to gather around it, regarding LaSalle as the great 
champion who was to protect them against the Iroquois. The 
country, which lay under the protection of the fort, recently strewn 
with the ghastly relicts of an Iroquois victory, now became ani 
mated with a wild concourse of savage life. The great town of 
the Illinois, the Jerusalem of these tribes, Phce nix-like, had sprung 
from its ashes, and again echoed with the tramp of some 6,000 in 
habitants. In addition to the Illinois, there were scattered along 
the valley of the river, among the neighboring hills and over the 
adjacent plains, the fragments of 10 or 12 other tribes, numbering 
some 14000 souls. Miamis, from the source of the Kankakee ; 
Shawnees, from the Scioto, Abeuakis and Mohegans, from the 
Atlantic seaboard, and other tribes whose rough names are too 
unpleasant for record, had buried their animosities, and now 
lounged here and there in lazy groups, while their wives performed 
the drudgery of their camps, and their children gamboled and 
whooped with the reckless abandon of mad-caps. LaSalle s nego- 


tiations with the western Algoiiquins aided by tlie universal lior 
ror inspired by the brutal attacks of the Iroquois had met with 
unexampled success. In writing to the French Minister of Ma 
rine, he wrote that his colony had sprung up as if by magic, in a 
single night, and contained 4,000 warriors and some 20,000 souls. 
By the privileges which had been conferred on him as a discoverer 
he ruled his wild domain as a seigniory, and granted portions of 
land to his followers. Little profit, however, Avas realized in this 
manner, for the greater part of his men were so reckless that 
their traducers were Avont to say of them that each married a new 
squaw every day of the week. 

To maintain his colony, he now found it necessary to furnish its 
members with protection against the common enemy, and mer 
chandise to barter for the immense quantities of furs annually 
gathered in the interior of the continent. Previously, the avenue 
of trade lay through Canada, but it was LaSalle s intention to 
establish an entrepot at the mouth of the Mississippi, whereby his 
colony would have the advantage of direct intercourse with the 
West Indies and Europe. While he was thus maturing plans for 
the benefit of his colony, his cotemporaries, either through envy or 
too short-sighted to comprehend his objects, were striving to defeat 
them. Unfortunately, Gov. Frontenac had been recalled, and l)e 
La Barre, an avaricious old naval officer, had been sent out to 
take his place. His conduct soon proved that he was wholly unlit 
for the office he was called to fill. Like his predecessor, he was 
guilty of violating the royal ordinances regulating the fur trade, 
but the former partially atoned for this wrong by an energetic ad 
ministration of public affairs, while the latter added inability to 
his faults, whereby the best interests of the country became paral- 
lized. He was the special champion of the enemies of LaSalle, 
who, engrossed with the affairs of his colony, was ignorant of the 
great jealousy with which his affairs were regarded. Xot know 
ing the disposition of La Barre, he wrote to him from Fort St. 
Louis in the spring of 1683, expressing the hope that he would 
have the same counsel and support from him that he had received 
from his predecessor. After cautioning the Governor that his en 
emies would endeavor to misrepresent his objects he proceeds to 
give an account of his explorations : 

With only 22 Frenchmen, he states, he had formed amicable 
relations with the various tribes along the Mississippi, and that 
his royal patent enabled him to establish forts in the newly dis 
covered country, and to make grants around them as at Fort Fron 
tenac. He adds : 

"The losses in my enterprises have exceeded 40,000 crowns, I am now <ro- 
ing-400 leagues southwest of this place to induce the Chickasaws to fo]]o\v the 
Sliawnees and other tribes, and settle like them at Fort St. Louis. It remained 
only to settle French colonists here, and this I have already done. I hope you 
will not detain them as violators of the laws governing the fur trade when they 
comedown to Montreal to make necessary purchases. I am aware that I have 
no right to trade with the tribes who descend to Montreal, and I shall not per 
mit such trade to my men ; nor have I ever issued licenses to that effect, as my 
enemies say that I have done." 

Notwithstanding this reasonable request, the men he sent on 
important business were retained, and he a second time wrote to 
the governor : 


"The Iroquois are again invading the country. Last year the Miami s were 
so alarmed by them that they abandoned their town and fled, but on my return 
they came back, and have been induced to settle with the Illinois at my Fort 
of St. Louis. The Iroquois have lately murdered some families of their nation 
and they arc all in terror again. I am afraid they will take flight and so pre 
vent the Missouris and neighboring tribes from coming to settle at St. Louis, 
as they are about to do. Some of the Hurons and French tell the Miamis that 
I am keeping them here for the Iroquois to destroy. I pray that you will let 
me hear from you, that I may give these people some assurances of protection 
before they are destroyed in my sight. Do not suffer my men who have come 
down to the settlements to be longer prevented from returning. There is 
great need here of reinforcements. The Iroquois, as I have said, have lately 
entered the country, and a great terror prevails. I have postponed going to 
Mackinaw, because, if the Iroquois strike any blow in my absence, the 
Miamis will think that I am in league with them; whereas, if laud the French 
stay among them, they will regard us as protectors. But, Monsieur, it is in 
vain that we risk our lives here, and that I exhaust my means in order to ful 
fill the intentions of his majesty, if all my measures are crossed in the settle 
ments below, and if those who go down to bring munitions, without which we 
cannot defend ourselves, are detained, under pretexts trumped up for the occa 
sion. If I am prevented from bringing up men and supplies, as I am allowed to 
do by the permit of Count Frontenac, then my patent from the king is useless. 
It would be very hard for us, after having done what was required, even be 
fore the time prescribed, and after suffering severe losses, to have our efforts 
frustrated by obstacles got up designedly. 1 trust that, as it lies with you alone 
to prevent or to permit the return of the men whom I have sent down, you 
will not so act as to thwart my plans, as part of the goods which I have sent 
by them belong not not to me, but the Sieur de Touti, and are apart of his 
pay. Others are to buy munitions indispensable for our defense. Do not let 
my creditors seize them. It is for their advantage that my fort, full as it is of 
goods, should be held against the enemy. I have only 20 men, with scarcely 
100 pounds of powder, and I cannot long hold the country without more. The 
Illinois are very capricious and uncertain. . . If I had men enough to 
send out to reconnoitre the enemy, I would have done so before this ; but I 
have not enough. I trust you will put it in my power to obtain more, that this 
important colony may be saved." * 

While LaSalle was thus corresponding with the governor, the 
latter was writing letters to the French Colonial Minister, saying 
that he doubted the reality of LaSalle s discoveries; that with 
scarce a score of vagabonds he was about to set himself up as 
king, and was likely to involve Canada and the western tribes in 
a war with the Iroquois. The extent to which the enemies of La 
Salle suffered their jealousies to lead them astray maybe gathered 
from the posture of affairs at the time. The governor of New 
York, with the hope of diverting the fur trade from Montreal to 
Albany, was inciting the Iroquois to make another attack on the 
western tribes. Although this proceeding was fraught with the 
greatest danger to Canada, yet La Barre and his political menials 
were willing it might succeed, and the entire country be endan 
gered, provided it resulted in the ruin of LaSalle. When, there- 
lore, these pests of the forest, under the influence of British 
intrigue, were again making preparations to invade the country of 
the Illinois and Miamis, instead of an earnest effort to check their 
designs, they even encouraged them to kill LaSalle and cut off his 
supplies to aid them in their diabolical work. The continued cal 
umnies uttered against LaSalle at length reached the ear of the 
king, who wrote to his Canadian governor, stating that he was 
convinced that LaSalle s discoveries were useless, and that such 
enterprises ought to be prevented in the future, as they tended to 
diminish the revenues derived from the fur trade. 

*This letter is d^ted Portage de Chicagou, 4 Juni, 1863. Discov. of the Great West. 


Doubtless, emboldened by the king s letter, the governor now 
determi.ii eel to seize Fort Frontenae, under the pretext that La 
Salle had not fulfilled the conditions of his contract by maintain 
ing a sufficient garrison. Despite the remonstrance of LaSalle s 
creditors, he sent two of his political associates to take command 
of the fort. As soon as this was accomplished, they commenced 
living on LaSalle s provisions, and were afterward charged with 
selling those which had been furnished by the king for their own 
private benefit. The governor also sent an officer of the king s 
dragoons to Fort St. Louis, and maele him the bearer of a letter to 
LaSalle, demanding his presence at Quebec. Meanwhile rumors 
were still rife at the Fort that the Iroquois were getting ready for 
an invasion, and the tribes comprising the colony flew to LaSalle 
and besought him to furnish the promised succor. Cut off from 
supplies, anel robbed of the men whom he had sent to secure 
them, he was greatly mortified to find himself wholly unable to 
make gooel his pledge. Fortunately the rumors were premature, 
but as his relations with the governor were otherwise intolerable, 
he determined to visit France to obtain relief. With this object 
in view, he left Tonti in command of the fort, and on his way to 
Quebec met with the governor s officer, who made known to him 
the nature of his mission. LaSalle, submitting gracefully to an 
indignity he could not well avoid, wrote to Tonti to receive the 
officer with due courtesy, whereupon, without further business, 
they parted. In due time the dragoon arrived at the fort, and 
he and Tonti spent the winter harmoniously, the one com 
manding in the name of the governor, and the other in that of La 
Salle. The threatened invasion of the Iroquois, though postponed, 
was not abandoned. During the latter part of the spring they 
made an incursion into the country and attacked the fort, but the 
rocky citadel proved too strong for the assault, and after a siege 
of 6 days they were compelled to retire. 

LaSalle, on arriving at Quebec, sailed for France, taking a last 
leave of the great arena in which, for the last 16 years, he had 
been the principal actor ; had suffered the most harrassing anxie 
ties, and had won the proudest triumphs. From forest solitudes 
and squalid wigwams, a prosperous voyage introduced him to the 
busy throngs and sculptured magnificence of the French capital. 
Its venal court, bewildered by the pompous display of wealth and 
the trappings of power, regarded with little interest the sober ha 
biliments of honest worth. But the son of the burgher of Rouen, 
unmoved by regal vanities, and with a natural dignity far tran 
scending the tinsel of titled rank, announced his eliscoveries to 
the giddy court. He asked for means to return to the new found 
lands, and to founel a colony on the Mississippi, to protect them 
from the intrusion of foreigners. Two points on the Mississippi 
properly selected and fortified, he argued, would guard the whole 
interior of the continent, with its vast areas of fertile lands and 
boundless resources. Count Frontenac gave him the advantage 
e>f his influence, the minister of marine entered with vigor into 
the scheme, and recommended it to the king, who also became 
fascinated with the glittering project. As an act of justice, anel 
to show his appreciation of LaSalle, he ordered LaBarre to restore 
to him the possession of Forts Frontenac and St. Louis, anel make 
reparation for the damage he had sustaiiieel by their seizure. La- 


Salle asked for two ships, but the king, in his zeal, gave him four 
the Francais, the Belle, the Amiable, and the Jolly. Two hun 
dred and eighty men embarked in the expedition, consisting of 
ecclesiastics, soldiers, sailors, mechanics, several families, and 
even a number of girls, lured by the prospects of marriage 
in the new land of promise. Such were the colonists who were 
to plant the standard of France and civilization in the wilderness 
of Louisiana. As in most of the early attempts at colonization, 
the men were illy qualified to grapple with the stern work it was 
proposed to accomplish. But, worst of all, was the naval com 
mander, Beaujeu, who was envious, self-willed, deficient in judg 
ment, and tbolishly proud. 

On the first of August, 1084, they sailed from Rochelle on their 
adventurous voyage. Frequent calms retarded their progress, 
and when at length they arrived at Hispaniola, the Francais, 
filled with munitions and other necessaries for the colon} , was 
captured by a Spanish privateer. This disaster, for which Beau 
jeu was evidently to blame, was the first of the disasters which 
afterward attended the expedition. After obtaining supplies, and 
searching for information in regard to the direction in which he 
must sail to find the outlet of the Mississippi, the voyage was re 
newed. On entering the Gulf of Mexico, and sailing in a north 
westerly direction, a sailor at the mast-head of the Amiable, on 
the 28th of December, discovered land. In coasting along the 
shore toward the west, searching for the mouth of the river, they 
incautiously passed it. Proceeding further, LaSalle discovered 
the mistake, but Beaujeu, refusing to return, they at length landed 
at Matagorda Bay. Entering this arm of the gulf, they discov 
ered a considerable river falling into it, which LaSalle concluded 
might be the Lafourche, the most western outlet of the Mississippi. 
If his conjectures were true, he preferred to ascend it to the main 
stream, instead of returning 011 the gulf against contrary winds, 
and the still greater impediment of Beaujeu s obstinacy. He had 
differed with LaSalle from the commencement of the voyage, and 
in every instance proved to be in the wrong, and now, to get rid 
of him, he preferred to debark his followers on the lone shore of 
the bay. 

For this purpose, the Amiable weighed anchor and entered the 
narrow passage leading into the bay, but was unfortunately ca 
reened over by the sand banks obstructing the channel. LaSalle, 
with a sad heart, beheld the disaster, yet with cool and patient 
energy set himself about the work of removing the cargo. A 
quantity of powder and flour was saved, but presently a storm 
arose, and the stranded vessel, rent assunder by the waves, scat 
tered the remaining treasures upon the ravenous waters. After 
the landing was effected, the Indians became troublesome, and a 
fort was built, with great labor, two miles above the mouth of 
the La Vacca, a small stream tailing into the Bay. LaSalle, as in 
previous instances, named the fortification St. Louis, in honor of 
his king. Here he planted the arms of France, opened a field for 
planting a crop, and thus founded the first French settlement 
made in Texas. The country, thus formally occupied, gave to 
France a claim which she never abandoned till Louisiana became 
a part of the United States, nearly 120 years afterward. 


The scene around the fort was not uninteresting, and to some 
extent relieved the dejection arising from the recent misfortunes. 
The bay, bordered by marshes, stretched away in a southeastern 
direction, while the other points of the compass spread out in an 
expanse of prairie sprinkled with the bright flowers for which 
Texas is remarkable, and which still rank high among the floral 
beauties of southern gardens. At certain seasons of the year, the 
grassy area was dotted over with grazing buffalo, while the adja 
cent waters swarmed with fish and water fowl. Necessity soon 
taught the colonists the best methods of securing them, and the 
sports of the angler, the hunter and the fowler not only gave zest 
to their wilderness life, but furnished them with an abundance of 
food. It was customary for the women to mingle in the hunting 
parties and assist in cutting up the meat, and thus a hunter and 
fair huntress became enamored of each other, and were married. 
Their nuptials were solemnized with the usual expressions of mer 
riment, for the genuine Frenchman, whatever maybe his situation, 
always thinks it better to be merry, than to brood over the mis 
fortunes he is unable to remedy. 

LaSalle, having provided for the security of his people, next 
went 150 leagues along the coast, east and west, to search for the 
hidden river, but without success. He also determined to make a 
tour of observation toward the mines and settlements of Northern 
Mexico. After consuming four mouths in this expedition, and 
gathering such information from the Indians as convinced him. 
that his previous conjectures respecting the situation of the Miss 
issippi river were correct, the party retraced their steps, and arrived 
at the fort March 6th, 1686. travel-worn, weary, and their clothes in 
tatters. Soon after, it was ascertained that the Belle, the only 
remaining; vessel, had been sunk, and her cargo, consisting of the 
personal effects of LaSalle and a great quantity of amunition and 
tools, were scattered in the waters of the gulf. The loss was a 
fatal blow to all attempts in the future to move the colony to the 
Mississippi, and left little hope of the unhappy exiles ever again 
beholding the vine-clad homes of their sunny France. 

LaSalle, forced by the necessities of his situation, now deter 
mined to make his way, eastward, to the Mississippi, and thence 
to Canada or France, to obtain relief. ]STo sooner had ho formed 
this resolve, the offspring of dire extremity, than preparations 
were completed for the journey. April 22d, 20 men issued from 
the fort and made their way across the prairie, followed by the 
anxious eyes of those Avho Avere left behind. Day after day they 
held a northeasterly direction, passing through a country of wild 
and pleasing landscapes, made up of prairies, woods and groves, 
green as an emerald with the beauty of May. After having made 
a distance of some 400 miles, their ammunition and provisions 
foiled them, and they were compelled to return to the fort without 
having accomplished the object of their journey. Twenty men 
had gone out, but only 8 returned, some having deserted, and 
others perished in the attempt to reach the fort. The latter num 
ber would doubtless have been greatly increased, but for the 
assistance of horses purchased from the Cenis Indians, the most 
easterly tribe visited. The temporary elation produced by the 
return of the absent party, soon gave way to dejection, and La 
Salle had a heavy task to prevent the latter from becoming dis- 


pair. He was naturally stern and unsympathizing, yet lie could 
soften into compassion at the great extremes of danger and 
distress of those about him. 

The audacity of hope with which he still clung to the accom 
plishment of liis object, determined him to make a second and 
more persevering effort for this purpose. It was decided that the 
adventurers should consist of LaSalle, his brother, and two 
nephews, Cavalier and Moranget ; DuHaut, a person of reputable 
birth; Leotot, a surgeon; Joutel, who afterwards became the 
historian of the expedition, and some 20 others. Among those 
left behind were the women and children, and Zenobe Membre, 
who had so long followed the fortunes of LaSalle. Everything 
being in readiness, the travelers for the last time entered the rude 
chapel of the fort, mass was solemnly celebrated, and, with the 
cloud of incense which rose from the altar, ascended the prayers 
of the colonists for the success of the journey. Next came the 
parting, of sighs, of tears, and of embraces all seeming intui 
tively to know that they should see each other no more. January 
12th, 1687, the chosen band filed out of the fort, placed their bag 
gage on horses, and started off in the direction of the previous 
journey. Pushing forward across prairies and woodlands, among 
tribes some friendly and some hostile, they passed the Brazos, and 
encamped on the 15th of March near the western waters of the 
Trinity. They were now in the vicinity of some corn which La 
Salle had concealed in his previous journey, and he sent DuHaut, 
Leotot and some others, to get it. The grain was found spoiled, 
but in returning they shot some large game, and sent for horses to 
convey it to camp. Moranget and two others were sent on this 
errand, and found, when they arrived, the meat cut up, and that, 
according to a woodland custom, the hunters had appropriated 
some of the best pieces to themselves. Moranget, whose violent 
temper had previously got him into difficulties, berated them in a 
violent manner for claiming this privilege, and ended by taking all 
the meat himself. This outburst of passion kindled to an aveng 
ing flame a grudge which had for some time existed between Du 
Haut and LaSalle, and the former conspired with Leotot to take 
the life of his nephew. Night came on, the evening meal was 
dispatched, and when the intended victim had fallen asleep, the 
assassins approached and shot him. The commission of one crime 
generally requires another, to save the perpetrator from merited 
punishment, and LaSalle was marked out as the next object of 

Two days passed by and the latter, hearing nothing of his 
nephew, began to entertain rueful forebodings in regard to his 
safety. At length, unable longer to endure his suspense, he left 
Joutel in command of the camp and started in search of his rela 
tive. Accompanied only by a friar and two Indians, he ap 
proached the camp of the assassins, and when near by fired a 
pistol to summon them to his presence. The conspirators, rightly 
judging who had caused the report, stealthily approached and 
shot their intended victim, Leotot exclaiming as he fell, " You are 
down now, Grand Bashaw, you are down now." * They then des 
poiled the body of its clothing, and left it to be devoured by the 

Monette s Val. of the Miss. 


wild beasts of the forest. Thus, at the age of 43, m his vigorous man 
hood s prime, perished oue whose exploits have so greatly enriched 
the history of the new world. His successes required for their ac 
complishment an undaunted will and invincible courage, whicli few 
could bring to the aid of an enterprise. His failures were partly 
caused by the vastness of his schemes, and in part because his 
imperious nature would not permit him to conciliate the good will 
of those he employed and was compelled to trust. While he 
grasped one link in the chain of his extended enterprises, another, 
through treachery, slipped from his hand. 

"It is easjr to reckon up his defects, but it is not easy to hide from sight the 
Roman virtues that redeemed them. Beset by a throng of enemies, he stands, 
like the King of Israel, head and shoulders above them all. He was a tower 
of adamant, against whose impregnable front hardship and danger, the rage of 
man and the elements, the southern sun, the northern blast, fatigue, famine 
and disease, delay, disappointment and deferred hope, emptied their quivers 
in vain. That very pride which, Coriolanus-like, declared itself most sternly 
in the thickest press of foes, has in it something to challenge admiration. Never 
under the impenetrable mail of paladin or crusader beat a heart of more in 
trepid mettle than within the stoic panoply that armed the breast of LaSalle. 
To estimate aright the marvels of his patient fortitude, one must follow on his 
track through the vast scene of his interminable journeyings, those thousands 
of weary miles of forest, marsh and river, where, again and again, in the bitter 
ness of baffled striving, the untiring pilgrim pushed onward toward the goal he 
was never to attain. America owes him an enduring memory ; for in this mas 
culine figure, cast in iron, she sees the heroic pioneer who guided her to the 
possession of her richest heritage." * 

Those who were not in sympathy with the assassins concealed 
their resentment, and on the 2d day after the murder the party 
was again in motion. On the main stream of the Trinity they 
were again compelled to halt for the purpose of buying provisions 
of the Indians. Here the two murderers, who had arrogated to 
themselves the command of the expedition, declared their inten 
tion of returning to the fort, and there building a ship in which to 
escape to the West Indies. This impossible scheme, together with 
their refusal to let their accomplices in the murder share in the 
spoils obtained by it, soon led to dissensions. The breach rapidly 
widened, and at last the aggrieved parties shot the murderers, an 
act which was but the recoil of the crimes they were the first to in 
troduce. Thug ended the bloody tragedy, enacted with such atroc 
ity by these pioneers of Christianity and civilization, that even the 
debased savage of the wildernesss looked on with the utmost 
amazement and horror. 

Joutel, with the brother and nephew of LaSalle and 4 others, 
whose innocence would permit them to return to civilization, com 
menced anew their travels, leaving the guilty behind. Proceeding 
in a northeastern direction, they encountered by day a monotony 
of tangled forests, grassy plains, and miry fens ; by night, chilly 
rains alternating with starlit skies, in whose pale and mystic 
radiance they soundly slept and dreamed of absent friends and 
distant homes. At length, after a journey of two months, in 
which they had been led by guides furnished by various tribes, 
they stood on the banks of the Arkansas, opposite an Indian vil 
lage. Gazing across the stream, their eyes fell on a hut, nestled 
among the trees of the forest, while a cross near by showed it to 
be the abode of Christians. Actuated by a common impulse, they 

*Discov. of the Great West. Parkman. 


fell on their knees, and with emotions of gratitude thanked God 
for having- directed them to this outpost of civilization. Two men 
issued from the cabin and fired a salute, which being answered by 
a volley from the travelers, a canoe put out from the shore and 
ferried them over the stream. 

The long lost wanderers were cordially greeted in their mother 
tongue by the occupants of the dwelling, who proved to be 6 of 
Tonti s men, whom he had left here in his assent of the Missis 
sippi.* This noble officer, who had been restored to the command 
of the fort on the Illinois by order of the King, had heard of La 
Salle s disaster, and immediately equipped an expedition with his 
own means to relieve him. With 25 Frenchmen, and 5 Indians, he 
left the fort on the 13th of February, 1686, and soon descended 
the Illinois and Mississippi to tlfe Gulf. ]Not finding any traces 
of him at the mouth of the river, he sent his canoes to scour the 
shores for a distance of 30 leagues on either side. ISot seeing or 
hearing anything of LaSalle, who at the same time was wandering 
among the wilds of Texas, in a search equally fruitless, he retraced 
his course to the fort on the Illinois, leaving, as already mentioned, 
some of his men near the mouth of the Arkansas. The travelers, 
from motives of policy, carefully concealed the death of LaSalle 
from their hosts, and when sufficiently recruited recommenced 
their journey. Proceeding down the Arkan sas, they soon found them 
selves on the great river which had so long been the object of 
their search. The 13th of September found them at the conflu 
ence of the Illinois, and 11 days more brought them to the fort- 
crowned rock, which, like a sentinel, stood watch over its peaceful 
waters. They landed and were soon met by parties from the fort, 
who, after the usual salutations, inquired for LaSalle. Substitut 
ing adroitness for a frank avowal of the truth, they replied that 
they had left him in Texas, and at the time of their departure he 
was in good health. 

It is said the object of the evasion was to enable the old priest, 
Cavalier, as the representative of LaSalle, to derive some advan 
tage for himself and companions in the settlement of his brother s 
estate. Tonti was absent, fighting the Iroquois, but his lieutenant 
received them with a salvo of musketry, and provided for them 
comfortable quarters in the fort. Toiiti, not long after, returned 
from his martial expedition, and listened with profound interest 
and sympathy to the story of the disasters and sufferings of the 
travelers, as related by the elder Cavalier. He did not scruple to 
tell Tonti the same story by which he had deceived others in re 
gard to the death of his brother. Moreover, after living for 
months on the hospitality of his generous host, he added fraud 
and meanness to deception. This flagrant outrage he perpetrated 
by forging an order on Tonti, in the name of LaSalle, for 4,000 
livres, in furs and other goods, which his unsuspecting victim 
generously delivered to him at the time of his departure. 

On leaving the fort, the travelers proceeded to Mackinaw, where 
they exchanged their ill-gotten furs for clothing and means to de 
fray their expenses home. Without further delay, they made 
their way to Quebec, and thence to France, whither they arrived 
in October, 1688, having spent more than four years in their dis- 

*This was the commencement of Arkansas Post, captured by Gen. McClernand dur 
ing the Rebellion. 


taut wanderings. They were men of only average ability and 
energy, yet, moved by the most pressing necessity, they performed 
one of the most remarkable voyages on record. They now, for the 
first time, divulged the secret of LaSalle s death, and the king 
issued orders for the arrest of all who were privy to his murder. 
It does not appear certain that any of them were ever subjected 
to a criminal prosecution j but rumor has it that part of them per 
ished by their own hands, and part by the Indians, whom their 
misdeeds roused to vengeance. 

In the mean time the news of LaSalle s death also reached Tonti s 
men 011 the Arkansas, and Avas thence carried to him in the fort 
on the Illinois. It is more easy to imagine than describe the feel 
ings of this most devoted of all LaSalle s followers when he learned 
the tragical manner of his deafli. But without useless waste of 
time in grief for him whom he had so long and so faithfully served 
and who was now beyond reach of help, he determined to make an 
effort to rescue his perishing colonists. For this purpose he left 
the fort in December, 1088, with 5 Frenchmen and 3 Indians, and, 
after a toilsome journey, arrived at the mouth of Eed lliver, where 
he learned that some of the accomplices of LaSalle s murderers 
were in a village some 80 leagues distant. On making known his 
intention to visit the town all his men refused to accompany him, 
except two, a Frenchman and an Indian. oS T ot being able to enforce 
obedience, he resolutely set out with them, but unfortunately a few 
days afterwards, lost the greater part of his ammunition. Still 
undeterred, he pushed on to the town, but no trace of the criminals 
could be found. When, however, he questioned the villagers 
respecting them, he concluded from their suspicious demeanor, 
that they had previously been there, and that the Indians, incensed 
at their misdeeds, had probably put them to death. Having accom 
plished nothing thus far, and now almost without ammunition, with 
bitter disappointment he was compelled to return. In retracing 
their steps they met with more than the usual amount of hardships 
attending a march through an unexplored wilderness. On arriv 
ing at the Indian village 011 the Arkansas, Tonti, as the result of 
exhaustion and exposure, became sick of a fever, but recovered in 
time to reach the fort on the Illinois by the first of September. 

This unsuccessful effort was the last attempt made to rescue the 
unfortunate colony from the savage immensity that shut them out 
from home and civilization. Their final destruction by the Indians 
was learned from the Spaniards of Mexico. Spain claimed the 
country bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, and from the capture of 
LaSalle s vessel in the West Indian Seas, his designs became 
known. After several attempts to find the location of his colony 
and destroy it, a Mexican expedition, guided by one of the French 
deserters, pushed across the wilderness to the fort. Seeing no 
evidences of life without, the Spaniards spurred their horses 
through the open gateway of the fort, and found only the ruins of 
what had once constituted the stores and furniture of the garrison. 
From French deserters domesticated among the Indians, it was 
learned that about 3 months before, a baud of savages ambushed 
themselves under the banks of the river, while others drew the 
garrison out of the fort for the purpose of traffic. At a given sig 
nal, the concealed foe rushed from his covert, and immolated indis 
criminately the men, women and children. Thus ends one of the 


most extensive explorations known to history. As a great geo 
graphical discovery, it is only second to that which made known 
to Europe the existence of the Western Hemisphere. The great 
valley thus thrown open has since been filled with a constellation 
of prosperous, happy states. The city which death deprived him 
of founding, and which his sagacity foresaw would become one of 
the great marts of the earth, is now the emporium of the South. 
America owes him a debt of gratitude which she will ever be una 
ble to pay, and in like manner, as a type of incarnate energy, his 
deeds she will never forget. 

HENXEPIN. It will be remembered that LtiSalle having concluded that Hennepin 
could do more good by exploring 1 the Illinois and Upper Mississippi, than in preaching 
sermons,and that he With two companions were sent on that mission. Having- descended 
the I Ilinoisahd commenced the ascent of the Mississippi, they were surprised, and taken 
bv a band of Sioux, who conducted them up the river to the falls of St. Anthony, and 
t hence to their villages in the vicinity of Mille Lac, Wisconsin Here Hennepin spent the 
Spring and Summer in hunting, acting as a physician, and studying the Sioux language. 
Autumn at lengiit came, and with the consent of the chief they were permitted to 
depart. Proceeding by way of the Rum, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Fox rivers to Green 
bay, they spent the Winter with the Jesuit Missionaries. With the opening of Spring 
they moved down the lakes and St Lawrence, to Quebec, where Hennepin was recei . ed 
>v the governor, who listened with profound interest to the recital of his travels. 
From America he went to France, where an account of his travels were published in 
different languages, and read with great interest Not meeting with the encourage 
ment in France he expected, he went to England and was taken into the service of 
King William. Tnis monarch wishing to set up a claim to Louisiana, induced him to 
modify the narrative of his discovery so as to favor his claim. Yielding to his request 
lie wrote a IIOAV account, in which he falsely stated that before his voyage up the river 
he first descended it to the sea. Thus while he endeavored to rob LaSaile of his princi 
pal lain- els. he tarnished his own fame and was afterwards stigmatized by his country 
men as the prince of liars. 



A Dependency of Canada. Twelve years elapsed after LaSalle s 
fruitless attempt to found a colony on the Mississippi, before the 
government of France made a second effort. At length, fearing 
that England might obtain precedence in the great valley, the 
king set on foot an enterprise for this purpose. M. d Iberville, 
who had exhibited such mature judgment and prompt action in 
the wars of the French- American possessions, \vas chosen to com 
mand it. Having encountered the icebergs and snows of Hud 
son s Bay and the burning sands of Florida, he was now ready, 
at the command of his king, to encounter the malarious marshes 
of the Mississippi. The two preceding years he had established 
colonies on Ship Island and the head of Lake Borgne, and about the 
middle of February, 1700, sailed up the Mississippi, to found a 
third one on its banks. A site was selected for a fort and set 
tlement, about 38 miles below New Orleans, and while lie was 
engaged in its erection, Tonti descended from the fort on the Illi 
nois, with a party of Canadians, to assist him. Tonti s intimate 
acquaintance with the Indian languages and the tribes living on 
the river, made him a valuable acquisition to the new colony. 
Availing himself of his assistance, D Iberville resolved to further 
ascend the river, explore the country on its banks, and form alli 
ances with its inhabitants. In company with Tonti, his brother 
Bienville, and other parties, he passed up the river to the Nachez 
tribe, which he found more powerful and civilized than others he 
had visited. The great beauty of the surrounding country in 
duced him to select it as the seat of the future provincial govern 
ment, and the bluff on which the city of Natchez is now built, he 
chose as the site of its capital. He named the prospective city 
Rosalie, in honor of the wife of his patron, the French minister 
of marine, and 15 years afterward a fort was erected on the site 
by his successor. D Iberville now returned to his ships below 
and embarked for France, while BienA-ille explored the country 
about the mouth of Red river, and some of the party from Illinois 
were sent to ramble for G months in the remote west, in the vain 
search for gold. 

With this expedition down the Mississippi, Tonti, the most 
trusted officer of LaSalle, disappears from the roll of authentic 
history. The following are some of the acts which distinguished 
his adventurous life during this period : His mediation in the at- 

. 108 


tack of the Iroquois against the Illinois in 1680, whereby he 
greatly mitigated, but did not wholly prevent, the butchery of the 
latter ; his government of the Illinois and the associated tribes at 
Fort St. Louis, during the absence of LaSalle, his effort to relieve 
LaSalle and his suffering colonists in Texas; the founding of Ark 
ansas Post, made famous 177 years afterward by the reduction of 
the rebel fort located there, by McClernand and his brave Illinois 
and other western troops ; and finally, the assistance he rendered 
DeXonville, the govern or of Canada, with 170 Frenchmen and 300 
Indians from the west, in his attack on the Senecas. Says De- 
Nonville : " God alone could have saved Canada in 1688. But 
for the assistance obtained from the posts of the west, Illinois 
must have been abandoned, the fort at Mackinaw lost, and a gen 
eral uprising of the nations would have completed the destruction 
of Xew France."* Rumor states that, after the performance of 
these acts, he resided several years in Illinois, and then returned 
to France. 

As the St. Lawrence had been made an avenue for the approach 
of settlers to Illinois, so, after the exploration of the Mississippi, 
it also became a highway for the in-flowing of population. Through 
these channels, communicating with the external world, came the 
pioneers who, between the years 1680 -9(), founded the villages 
and settlements of Fort St. Louis, Kaskaskia,Cahokia, and others 
of more recent date. These settlements, in common with most of 
those established in the interior of the continent, were, to a great 
extent, the work of the Jesuit and Eecollet missionaries. These 
hardy and enterprising embassadors of the cross, with a zeal 
which defied the opposition of the elements, heat, hunger and 
cold, fatigue, famine and pestilence, entered the prairies of Illi 
nois 1000 miles in advance of its secular population. We justly 
admire the fortitude of Smith, the founder of Virginia, the courage 
of May-flower pilgrims, the fathers of New England; but all 
these had royal patrons ; then what shall we say of the devoted 
missionaries, who laid the foundations of States in the remote 
wilderness, when their monastic vows denied them even the feeble 
aid of ecclesiastical support ? Neither commercial gain nor secu 
lar fame, but religious fervor, could have nerved them to meet 
the toils and dangers incident to their wilderness life. 

The first mission in Illinois, as we have already seen, was com 
menced by Marquette in April, 1675. It is said as he entered the 
rude dwellings of the inhabitants and preached of Christ and the 
Virgin, heaven and hell, demons and angels, and the life to come, 
he was received as a celestial visitor. The Indians besought him 
to remain among them and continue his instructions, but his life 
was fast ebbing away, and it behooved him to depart. He called 
the religious society which he had established the " Mission of 
the Immaculate Conception," and the town " K^askaskia," after 
one of the Illinois tribes bearing the same name. 

The first military occupation of the country was at Fort Creve- 
cceur, erected in February, 1680 ; but there is no evidence that a 
settlement was commenced there or at Peoria, 011 the lake above, 
at that early date.t The first settlement of which there is any 
authentic account, was commenced with the building of Fort St. 


t Annals of the West. 


Louis, on the Illinois river, in 1682. It remained in existence at 
least till 1700, when Tonti seems to have abandoned it and gone 
south, but how long after that date is not definitely known. The 
oldest permanent settlement, not only in Illinois but the valley 
of the Mississippi, is Kaskaskia, situated miles above the mouth 
of the river of the same name.* There is no evidence to sub 
stantiate the statement that LaSalle left colonists here and at 
Cahokia on his return from the successful exploration of the Miss 
issippi in 1082. 

The mission here was originally established at the great town 
of the Illinois, but with the removal of the tribes farther south 
ward, it was transferred to Kaskaskia. Father Gravier, who had 
previously been stationed at Mackinaw, effected the removal some 
time prior to 1090, the exact date being unknown. He was the 
first of the missionaries to ascertain the principles of the Illinois 
language and reduce them to rules. When recalled from Kas 
kaskia to Mackinaw, he was succeeded by Fathers Binneteau and 
Pinet, the latter of whom established the mission and village of 
Cahokia. So successful Avas Pinet in attracting the attention of 
the aborigines, his chapel was insufficient to hold the large num 
ber that attendedhis ministrations. The Indians under his charge 
were the Tamaroas and Cahokias, the latter tribe furnishing the 
village its name. Binneteau, to attend to his ministerial labors, 
followed the Kaskaskias ill one of their hunts on the upland 
plains of the Mississippi, and died. ^Now stifled in the tall grass, 
no\v panting with thirst on the arid prairie, parched by day with 
heat, and by night exposed on the ground to chilling dties, he was 
seized with a mortal fever, and " left his bones on the wilderness 
range of the buffalo." t Shortly after his death, Pinet also died, 
and Father Marest, who had before explained the mysteries of 
the cross to the ice-bound denizens of Hudson s Bay, came to 
Kaskaskia and took charge of the missions of Illinois. In his 
correspondence, he says: "Our life is spent in roaming through 
thick woods, in clambering over hills, in paddling canoes across 
lakes and rivers, to catch a poor savage whom we can neither 
tame by teachings nor caresses." On "Good Friday, 1711, he 
started for the Peorias, who desired a new mission, and thus 
speaks of his journey: 

" T departed, having nothing about me but my crucifix and breviary, being 
accompanied by only two savages, who might abandon me from levity, or 
might fly through fear of enemies. The terror of these vast uninhabitable 
regions, in which for 12 days not a single soul was seeu, almost took 
away my courage. This was a journey wherein there was no village, no 
bridge, no ferry-boat, no house, no beaten path; and over boundless prairies, 
intersected by rivulets and rivers, through forests and thickets filled with 
briars and thorns, through marshes, in which we sometimes plunged to the 
girdle. At night repose was sought on ^he grass or leaves, exposed to the 
winds and rains, happy if by the side of some rivulet Avhose waters mijjht 
quench our thirst, Meals were prepared from such game as might be killed 
on the way, or by roasting ears of corn." 

Early in the 18th century he was joined by Merinet, who had 
previously founded a mission on the Ohio. 

"The gentle virtues and fervid eloquence of Mermet made him the soul of 
the Mission of Kaskaskia. At early dawn his pupils came to church, dressed 
neatly and modestly each in a deer-skin or a robe sewn together from several 
skins. After receiving lessons they chanted canticles; mass was then said in 



presence of all the Christians, the French and the converts the -women on 
one side and the men on the other. From prayers and instructions the mis 
sionaries proceeded to visit the sick and administer medicine, and their skill as 
physic-inns did more than all the rest to win confidence. In the afternoon the 
catechism was taught in the presence of the young and the old, when everyone 
without distinction of rank or age, answered the questions of the missionary. At 
even ing all would assemble at the chapel for instruction, for prayer, and to 
chant the hymns of the church. On Sundays and festivals, even after vespers, 
a homily was pronounced; at the close of the day parties would meet in houses 
to recite the chaplets in alternate choirs, and sing psalms till late at night. 
These psalms were often homilies, with words set to familiar tunes. Saturday 
and Sunday were the da} r s appointed for confession and communion, and every 
convert confessed once In a fortnight. The success of this mission was such 
that marriages of the French immigrants were sometimes solemnized with the 
daughters of the Illinois, according to the rites of the Catholic church. The 
occupation of the country was a cantonment among the native proprietors of 
the forests and prairies.* 

Father Charlevoix, wlio visited Illinois in 1721, thus speaks of 
the Cahokia and Kaskaskia Missions : 

"We lay last night in the village of the Cahokias and Tamaroas, two Illinois 
tribes which have been united, and compose no very numerous canton. This 
village is situated on a very small river which runs from the east, and has no 
water except in the Spring. On this account we had to walk half a league be 
fore we could get to our cabins. I was astonished that such a poor situation 
had been selected, when there are so many good ones. But 1 was told that the 
Mississippi washed the foot of the .village when it was built; that in 3 years it 
had shifted its course half a league farther to the west, and that they were now 
thinking of changing their habitation, which is no great affair among these In 
dians. I passed the night with the missionaries, w 7 ho are two ecclesiastics from 
the Seminary of Quebec, formerly my disciples, but they must now be my mas 
ters. One of them was absent, but 1 found the other such as lie had been rep 
resented to me, rigid with himself, full of charity to others, and displaying in 
his own person ail amiable pattern of virtues. Yesterday I arrived at Kaskas 
kia about 9 o clock. The Jesuits here have a very flourishing mission, which 
has lately been divided into two, it being more convenient to have two cantons 
of Indians instead of one. The most numerous one is on the banks of the Mis 
sissippi, of which two Jesuits have the spiritual direction. Haifa league be 
low stands Fort Chartres, about the distance of a musket shot from the river. 
M. de Boisbrant commands here for the company to which the place belongs. 
The French are now beginning to settle the country between the fort and the 
first mission. Four leagues farther, and about a league from the river, is a 
large village, inhabited by the French, who are almost "all Canadians, and have 
a Jesuit for their curate. The second village of the Illinois lies farther up the 
country, at the distance of two leagues from the last, and is under the charge 
of a fourth Jesuit. 

" The Indians at this place live much at their ease. A Fleming, who was a 
domestic of the Jesuits, has taught them how to sow wheat, which succeeds 
well. They have swine and black cattle. The Illinois manure their ground 
after their fashion, and are very laborious. They likewise bring up poultry 
which they sell to the^ French. Their women are very neat handed and indus 
trious. They spin tl*e wool of the buffalo into threads as fine as can be made 
from that of the English sheep. Nay, sometimes it might be taken for silk. Of 
this tjiey manufacture fabrics which are dyed black, yellow and red, after 
which they are made into robes, which they sew together with the sinews of 
the roebuck. They expose these to the sun for the space of three days, and 
when dry, beat them, and without difficulty draw out white threads of great 

Besides the villages mentioned above, others sprang np in sub 
sequent times, as Prairie du Roche, situated at the base of a 
rocky bluff of the Mississippi, 4 miles below Port Chartres, and 
Prairie du Pont, a mile south of Cahokia. Other missions were 
also established, and Romish clergy continued to visit the country, 
and in the absence of civil government, acted not only as spiritual 



guides, but as temporal rulers of the people. In those days of 
Jesuit enthusiasm, both the priests and their flocks, in addition to 
their strong religious feelings, possessed in many instances an integ 
rity which the most trying temptations were powerless to corrupt. 
It is true much of this enthusiasm was fanaticism, which interpre 
ted the results of natural law as special interpositions of provi 
dence; which regarded self-imposed physical pain an act of virtue, 
and construed their trivial dreams as prophetic of future good or 
evil. These superstitions were common to the age, and rather 
added than detracted from their moral teachings. Under their 
formative influence, the first French settlements of Illinois were 
deeply imbued with a spirit of justice, honesty, charity, and other 
virtues, which enabled them to exist nearly a century without a 
court of law ; without wars with their Indian neighbors, and up to 
the time of Boisbriant, without a local government. The confi 
dence inspired by the priests, as the ministers of a supposed infal 
lible church, gave them ample authority to settle, without the 
tardy proceedings of courts and their attendant costs, all differ 
ences Avhich occasionally disturbed the peace of the colonists. 
Justice, under these circumstances, was dispensed as in Israel of 
old, by the power of the mind to discriminate between right and 
wrong, rather than by laws whose intricacies and technicalities 
frequently suffer the guilty to go unpunished. Such was the res 
pect for right, and the parental regard which animated the priestly 
judges of this isolated theocracy of the Avilderness, it might safely 
challenge comparison with its Hebrew prototype for the religious 
zeal and virtuous conduct manifested by its subjects. 

A Part of Louisiana. Hitherto the settlements of Illinois and 
those sujbsequently founded on the Lower Mississippi by D 7 Iber- 
ville and his brother, Bienville, had been separate dependencies of 
Canada. Now they were to be united as one province, under the 
name of Louisiana, having its capital at Mobile, and in 1711 
Dirou d Artagnette became the Governor General.* It was be 
lieved that Louisiana presented a rich field for speculation and 
enterprise, and it was determined to place its resources in the 
hands of an individual who had the means and energy to develop 
them. It was thought, too, that the colonists should become self- 
supporting, by procuring from the soil products not only for their 
own consumption, but to exchange with France for such articles 
as they could not produce. In conformity with these views, in 
1712, the commerce of the province was grante<J to Anthony Cro 
zat, an officer of the royal household, and a merchant of great 
wealth. The king, in his letters patent, after referring to the 
orders he had given to LaSalle to explore the Mississippi, as a, 
means of developing the commerce of his American possessions, 
enumerates the monopolies conferred on Crozat : 

"From the information we have received concerning the situation and dis 
position of Louisiana, we are of opinion that there may be established therein a 
considerable commerce, of great advantage to France. We can thus obtain 
from the colonists the commodities which hitherto we have brought from other 
countries, and give in exchange for them the manufactured and other products 
of our own kingdom We have resolved, therefore, to grant the commerce of 
Louisiana to the Sieur Anthony Crozat, our counselor and secretary of the 
household and revenue, to whom we entrust the execution of this project, We 

Monette s Val. of the Miss, and Dillon s Indiana. 


permit him to search, open, and dig all mines, veins, minerals, precious stones, 
and pearls, throughout the whole extent of the country, and to transport the 
proceeds thereof into any port of France, during 15 years. And we grant, in 
perpetuity to him, his heirs, and all claiming under him, all the profits, except 
one-fifth, of the gold and silver which he or they shall cause to be exported to 
France We also will that the said Crozat, and those claiming under him, 
si mil forfeit the monopolies herein granted should they fail to prosecute them 
for a period of three years, and that in such case they shall be fully restored to 
our dominion." * 

The vast region thus farmed out, extended from Canada on the 
north, to the Gulf on the South; and from the Alleghanies on the 
east to the Rocky Mountains and the Bay of Matagorda on the 
west. " Not a fountain bubbled " along the summit of these great 
mountain barriers that made its way into the Mississippi, that was 
not included in French territory. Crozat entered the vast field of 
his labors with energy, and soon associated with him La Motte 
Cadilac, the royal governor of Louisiana. He expected to realize 
great profits from the fur trade, but the prospect of boundless 
wealth from the discovery of rich mines of gold and silver was the 
talisman that most enraptured his vision and induced him to make 
the most lavish expenditures of his money. To carry out his plans, 
expeditions were made to the most distant tribes, and posts were 
established on Red Elver, the Yazoo, high up the Washita at the 
present town of Monroe, on the Cumberland river near Nashville, 
and on the Coosa, 400 miles above the mouth of the Alabama, 
where fort Jackson was built 100 years afterward. The search for 
the precious metals has always been a mania affecting the 
pioneers of newly discovered countries, and whether discoveries 
are made or not, it generally retards their permanent growth and 
prosperity. To such an extent were Crozat and his partners in 
fluenced by this shining bubble that they frequently magnified the 
most trivial prospects into what they regarded as realities of the 
greatest value. An instance in which they suffered by their cre 
dulity, and which greatly resembles the impositions and decep 
tions of the present day, occurred at Kaskaskia. Two pieces of 
silver ore, left at this place by a traveler from Mexico, were exhib 
ited to Cadila/c as the produce of mines in Illinois, and so elated 
was he by this assurance of success that he hurried up the river, 
only to find it, like all preA ious prospects, vanish into empty air. 
But while silver and gold could not be found, large quantities of 
lead and iron ore \vere discovered in Missouri ; but the great abun 
dance of these metals in the civilized portions of the globe made 
their presence in the wilds of Louisiana of little consequence. 

Crozat made an attempt to open trade with the Spaniards of 
Vera Cruz, but on sending a vessel with a rich cargo thither, it 
was not permitted either to land there or at any other harbor of 
the gulf. The occupation of Louisiana by the French was re 
garded as an encroachment upon Spanish territory, and Crozat, 
after three years of fruitless negotiations with the viceroy of Mex 
ico, was compelled to abandon the scheme of commercial relations 
with the ports of the gulf. Another project was to establish 
trade by land with the interior Spanish provinces, but in this case 
lie also failed, for, after a protracted effort of five years, his goods 
were seized and confiscated and his agents imprisoned. Nor had 

See Dillon s Indiana 
8 , 


the fur trade with the Indians, another source of anticipated 
wealth, met ivith success. English emissaries from the Carolinas 
had been active in their efforts to excite Indian hostilities against 
the French, and wherever practicable, had controlled the fur trade, 
by furnishing goods in exchange at reduced prices. Agriculture, 
the only resource of lasting prosperity to the country, had been 
neglected, and Orozat, failing to realize any profits from his efforts 
in other directions, was unable to meet his liabilities. lie had 
expended 425,000 livres and realized only 300,000, and failing to 
pay his men, dissatisfaction ensued. Despairing also of being 
more successful in the future, in 1717, he petitioned the king to 
have his charter revoked, which was done, and the government 
reverted solely to the officers of the crown. During his connection 
with the province, the growth of the settlements was slow, and 
little was acoinplished for their permanent benefit. The greatest 
prosperity they enjoyed grew out of the enterprise of humble indi 
viduals, who had succeeded in establishing a small trade between 
them selves, the natives and some neighboring European settlements. 
But even these small sources of prosperity were at length cut off by 
the fatal monopolies of the Parisian merchant. The white popu 
lation of the country had slowly increased, and at the time of his 
departure, that on the Lower Mississippi was estimated at 380, and 
that of Illinois, which then included the settlements of the Wabash, 
320 souls. 

Crozat s partner had died the year previous, and was succeeded 
in his official capacity by Bienville, the former governor. Prior to 
his installation some French hunters and stragglers had located 
in the beautiful country of the Nachez, and difficulties arising be 
tween them and the Indians, two of the former had been murdered. 
Bienville repaired to the tribe in question, and after punishing the 
guilty parties, erected and garrisoned a fort, to prevent the recur 
rence of similar disturbances in the future. It was built on the 
site selected 16 years before by his brother, and was called liosa- 
lie, the name of the capital he proposed to build at the same place. 
This was the origin of the present city of Katchez, the oldest per 
manent settlement in the Mississippi Valley, south of Illinois.* 
With the retirement of Crozat, Bienville was succeeded by L Epi- 
nai, who brought with him 50 emigrants and 3 companies of infan 
try, to reinforce the garrisons of the different posts. 

*It seems that Arkansas Post has never been abandoned since Tonti s men erected 
their cabin there, after his iruitless search for LaSalle s colony, in the spring- of 1686. 



Louis XIV. had recently died, leaving a debt contracted by 
wars and extravagance amounting to 3,000,000,000 livres. He 
was succeeded by his grandson, Louis XV, who, being then only 
a child live years old, the Duke of Orleans was appointed regent. 
In the midst of the financial confusion growing out of the efforts 
of the regent to pay the interest on the overwhelming public 
debt, John Law presented himself at the French court with a 
scheme for affording relief. He was the son of an Edinburgh 
banker, and shortly after the death of his father, wasted his pat 
rimony by gambling and extravagant living. For 3 years he 
wandered over Europe, supporting himself by gambling and 
studying the principles of finance. After perfecting his theory 
lie returned to Edinburgh, and published the project of a land 
bank, which the wits of the day ridiculed by calling it a sand 
bank, which would wreck the ship of state. Several years after 
ward he presented his plan to the Duke of Savoy, who told him 
he was too poor a potentate and his dominion was too small, for so 
grand a project. He thought, however, that the French people 
would be delighted with a plan so new and plausible, and advised 
him to go to France. 

According to his theory of banking, the currency of a country 
is the representative of its moving wealth, and need not, of itself, 
have an intrinsic value, as in the case of gold and silver, but may 
consist of paper or any substance that can be conveniently 
handled. He insisted that the financial embarrassment under 
which France labored, was not the fault of her rulers, but an in 
sufficiency of currency, and gave England and Holland as exam 
ples. The regent, captivated by his views, published an edict in 
1710, authorizing Law and his brother to establish a bank with a 
capital of 6,000,000 livres, the notes of which should be received 
for taxes, and made redeemable in the coin current at the time 
they were issued. Three-fourths of the capital consisted of gov 
ernment securities, and the remainder in specie, Law declaring 
that a banker deserved death who made issues without means of 
redemption. The government had already, by arbitrarily redu 
cing the value of its coin, diminished the debt 1,000,000,000 livres; 
but Law s paper being based on the value of coin at the time 
he made his issues, was without fluctuations, and on this account 
soon commanded a premium of 15 per cent. The regent was as 
tonished that paper money could thus aid specie and be at a pre 
mium, while state bonds were at 78 per cent, discount. 



The banker s influence being now irresistible, he proposed his 
famous Mississippi scheme, which made him a prominent actor in 
the history of Louisiana and Illinois. The vast resources of Lou 
isiana still filled the imaginations of French statesmen with 
visions of boundless wealth. The want of success which had 
hitherto attended the efforts of D Iberville and Crozat, was still 
insufficient to produce in the public mind more sober views. The 
story of its vast mineral deposits was soon revived ; ingots of 
gold, the products of its supposed mines, were exhibited in Paris. 
and the sanguine French court saw in the future of the province 
an empire, with its fruitful fields, growing cities, busy wharves, 
and exhaustless mines of gold and silver, pouring its precious 
freights into the avenues of French commerce. No sooner, there 
fore, had Crozat surrendered his charter, than others appeared, 
eager to enter this vast field of adventurous enterprise. Accord 
ingly, in 1717, an organization was effected under the auspices of 
Law, known at first as the Western Company. Among the privi 
leges conferred on it may be mentioned the right exclusively to 
control the commerce of the province for a period of 25 years ; to 
make treaties with the Indians, and wage war against them in 
case of insult; to open and work all mines free of duty $ to cast 
cannon ; build ships of war, levy troops and nominate the gov 
ernors and those who were to command them, after being duly com 
missioned by the king. To further encourage the company, he 
promised to give them the protection of his name against foreign 
powers, presented them the vessels, forts, munitions and merchan 
dise surrendered by Crozat, and, during the continuance of the 
charter, exempted the inhabitants of the province from tax, and 
the company from duty.* 

The stocks of the company consisted of 200,000 shares of 500 
livres each, to be paid in certificates of state indebtedness. Thus 
nearly 1000,000,000 of the most depreciated of the public stocks 
were immediately absorbed, and the government became indebted 
to a company of its own creation, instead of individuals, for this 
amount. By means of Law s bank, the interest on this portion 
of the public debt was promptly paid, and, as the result, it imme 
diately rose from a great depreciation to a high premium. Any 
person, therefore, who had invested 100 livres in state bonds, 
which he could have done at one-third of the value written on 
their face, could now realize their enhanced worth. Large for 
tunes were thus speedily acquired, though the union of the bank 
with the risks of a commerdfel company were ominous of its future 

But humanity abounds in hope, and men, acting in large com 
binations, gather courage from the increase of their numbers. 
How far their anticipations were realized in the case under con 
sideration, will appear in the sequel. All France was now infatu 
ated with the glory of Louisiana, and imagined the opulence 
which it was to acquire in coming ages, already in their grasp. 
Law s tbank wrought such wonders, that new privileges were 
conferred on it daily. It was permitted to monopolize the tobacco 
trade, was allowed the sole right to import negroes into the French 
colonies, and the exclusive right of refining gold and silver. Fi 
nally, in 1717, it was erected into the Royal Bank of France, and 

*Martin s Louisiana. 


shortly afterward the Western Company merged into the Company 
of the Indies, and new shares of its stocks were created and sold 
at immense profits. In addition to the exclusive privileges which 
it already held, it was now granted the trade of the Indian seas, 
the profits of the royal mint, and the proceeds of farming the 
royal revenue of France. The government, which was absolute, 
conspired to give the highest range to its credit, and Law, says a 
cotemporary, might have regulated at his pleasure the interest of 
money, the value of stocks, and the price of labor and produce. A 
speculating frenzy at once pervaded the whole nation. The maxim 
which Law had promulgated, that the " banker deserved death who 
made issues of paper without means of redemption," was over 
looked or forgotten. While the affairs of the bank were under 
his control, its issues did not exceed 00,000,000 livres, but on be 
coming the Bank of France, they at once rose to 100,000,000. 
Whether this was the act of Law or the regent, we are not in 
formed. That he lent his aid to inundate the whole country with 
paper money, is conceded, and perhaps dazzled by his former suc 
cess, lie was less guarded, and unconscious that an evil day was 
fast approaching. The chancellor, who opposed these extensive 
issues, was dismissed at the instance of Law, and a tool of the 
regent was appointed in his place. The French parliament fore 
saw the danger approaching, and remonstrated in vain with the 
regent. The latter annulled their decrees, and on their proposing 
that Law, whom they regarded as the cause of the whole evil, 
should be brought to trial, and, if found guilty, be hung at the 
gates of the Palace of Justice, some of the most prominent officers 
of the parliament were committed to prison. Law, alarmed for 
his safety, fled to the royal palace, threw himself on the protection 
of the regent, and for a time escaped the popular indignation. 

He still devoted himself to the Mississippi scheme, the shares 
of which rose rapidly. In spite of parliament, 50,000 new shares 
were added, and its franchises extended. The stock was paid in 
state securities, with only 100 livres for 500 of stock. For these 
new shares 300,000 applications were made, and Law s house was 
beset from morning till night with eager applicants, and before 
the list of fortunate stockholders could be completed, the public 
impatience rose to a pitch of frenzy. Dukes, marquises and 
counts, with their wives and daughters, waited for hours in the 
streets before his door, to know the result ; and to prevent being 
jostled by the blebeian crowd, took "apartments in the adjacent 
houses, the rents of which rose from 100 to 1^00, and, in some 
instances, to 1600 livres per annum. Induced by golden dreams, 
the demand for shares was so great it was thought best to in 
crease them 300,000 more, at 500 livres each ; and such was the 
eagerness of the people to subscribe, that, had the government 
ordered three times that number, they would all have been taken. 

The first attempts of the company at .colonization in Louisiana, 
were attended with careless prodigality. To entice emigrants 
thither, the rich prairies and the most inviting fields were granted 
to companies which sought principalities in the valley of the 
Mississippi. An extensive prairie in Arkansas, bounded on all 
sides by the sky, was granted to Law, where he designed to plant 
a colony, and he actually expended a half million of livres for that 
purpose. From the representations of the company, !New T Orleans 


"became famous in Paris as a beautiful city before the work of 
cutting down the canebrakes, which covered its site, had been 
commenced. Kaskaskia, then mostly a cantonment of savages, 
was spoken of as an emporium of the most extensive traffic, and 
as rivaling some of the cities of Europe in refinement, fashion and 
religious culture. In fine, to doubt the wealth of Louisiana was 
to provoke anger. Law was now in the zenith of his glory, and 
the people in the zenith of their infatuation. The high and the 
low, the rich and the poor, were at once filled with visions of un 
told weath, and every age, set, rank and condition were buying 
and selling stocks. 

The effect of this speculation 011 the public mind and manners 
was overwhelming. The laxity of public morals, bad enough be 
fore, now became worse, and the pernicious love of gambling dif 
fused itself through society and bore down all public and nearly 
all private virtue before it. While confidence lasted, an impulse 
was given to trade never before known. Strangers flocked to the 
capital from every part of the globe, and its population increased 
305,000 souls. Beds were made in kitchens, garrets and even sta 
bles, for the accommodation of lodgers. Provisions shared the 
general advance, and Avages rose in the same proportion. An illu 
sory policy everywhere prevailed, and so dazzled the eye that none 
could see in the horrizon the dark cloud that announced the ap 
proaching storm. Law, at the time, was by far, the most influen 
tial man in the realm, while his wife and daughters were courted 
by the highest nobility and their alliance sought by ducal and 
princely houses. 

Suspicions, however, soon arose; specie was demanded and Law 
became alarmed. The precious inetals had all left the kingdom, 
and coin for more than 500 livres was declared an illegal tender. 

[NOTE. A cobbler, whe had a stall near Law s office, gained near 200 livres per daj- by 
letting it, and finding- stationery for brokers and other clients. A humpbacked man, 
who stood in the street, as the story goes, gained considerable sums by loaning his back 
as a writing desk to the eager speculators. Law, finding his residence too small, ex 
changed it for the Place Vendome, whither the crowd followed him. and the spacious 
square had the appearance of a public market. Booths were erected for the transac 
tion of business and the sale of refreshments. The boulevards and public gardens 
were forsaken, and the Place Vendome became the most fashionable lounge for parties 
of pleasure. The Hotel d Suson was taken, and its fine garden, ornamented with foun 
tains and statuary, was covered over with tents and pavilions for the accommodation 
of stockjobbers, and each tent being let at 500 livres per month, m;ide a monthly rev 
enue of 250,000 livres. Peers, judges and bishops thronged the Hotel de Suson, and 
officers of the army and navy, ladies of title and fashion, were seen waiting in the 
ante-chamber of Law, to beg a portion of his stock. He was unable to wait on one- 
tenth part of the applicants, and every species of ingenuity was employed to gain an 
audience. Peers, whose dignity would have been outraged if the regent had made 
them wait half an hour for an interview, were content to wait 6 hours for the purpose 
of seeing 1 the wily adventurer. Enormous fees were paid to his servants to announce 
their name, and ladies of rank employed the blandishments of their smiles. One lady 
in particular, who had striven in vain many days to see Law, ordered her coachman to 
keep a strict watch, and when he saw him coming, to drive against a post and upset her 
carriage. This was successfully accomplished, and Law, who witnessed the apparent 
accident, ran to her assistance. She was led to his house, and as soon as she thought it 
advisable, recovered from her fright, apologized for the intrusion, and confessed the 
stratagem. Law was a gallant, and could no longer refuse, and entered her name on 
his book as the purchaser of some stock. Another lady of rank, knowing that Law 
dined at a certain time, proceeded ttiither in her carriage and gave the alarm of fire, 
and while everybody was scampering away, she made haste to meet him ; but he, sus 
pecting the trick, ran off in the opposite direction. A celebrated physician in Paris 
had bought stock at an unfavorable time, and was anxious to sell out! While it was 
rapidly falling, and while his mind was filled with the subject, he v was called on to 
attend a lady who thought herself unwell. Being shown up stairs, he felt the lady s 
pulse, and, more intent upon his s ocks than the patient, exclaimed: "It falls; good 
God ! it falls continually." The lady started, and ringing the bell for assistance, said : 
" O, doctor, I am dying, I am dying; it falls ! " What falls?" inquired the doctor, in 
amazement, "My pulse, my pulse," said the lady; "I am aying !" " Calm your 
fears, my clear madam," said the doctor, I was speaking of the stocks I have been 
so great a loser, and my mind is so disturbed that I hardly know what I am say 


A council of state was held, and it was ascertained that 2,600,000,- 
000,000 in paper were in circulation, and the bank stopped pay 
ment. The people assaulted Law s carriage with stones, and but 
for the dexterity of his coachman, he would have been torn to 
pieces. On the following day his wife and daughter were attacked 
as they were returning in their carriage from the races. The re 
gent being informed of these occurrences sent him a guard for his 
protection. Finding his house, even with a guard, insecure, he 
repaired to the palace and took apartments with the regent. Soon 
afterward, leaving the kingdom, his estate and library were confis 
cated, and he died at Vienna in extreme poverty.* 

The lessons to be learned from these wild financial speculations, 
is, that the expansion of currency always gives an impetus to indus 
try, but when it is based on credits, without means of redemption, 
it must meet with an overthrow attended with a prostration of 
business greatly overbalancing all temporary advantages. 

We must now recount the operations of the company in Louis 
iana. On the 25th of August, 1718, its ships, after a pleasant 
voyage entered the port of Mobile, chanting the Te Deum for their 
sate arrival. On board the ships was the king s lieutenant, M. 
Boisbriant, bearing a commission authorizing Bienville to act as 
governor-general of the province, and 800 immigrants. The gov 
ernor again commenced the duties of his office, still entertaining 
his previous convictions that the capital of the province should be 
removed from the sterile sands of the Gulf coast to the banks of 
the Mississippi. He reasoned that if established on the fertile 
alluvium or uplands of the great river, it would become the centre 
of a community devoted to agriculture, the only branch of industry 
that could give permanent growth and prosperity to the province. 
He therefore selected the site now occupied by Kew Orleans for a 
capital, and gave it the name it now bears, in honor of the Begent 
of France. Eight convicts were sent from the prisons of France to 
clear away the coppice which thickly studded the site. Two 
years afterward the royal engineer surveyed the outlets of the 
river and declared that it might be made a commercial port, and 
in 1783 it became the provincial and commercial capital of Louis 
iana. Although M. Hubert, who had charge of the company s 
affairs, reluctantly complied with the advice of Bieuville in remov 
ing the depots to the new capital, time has proven the superior 
judgment of the former. From a depot for the commercial trans 
actions of a single company, it has become the emporium of the 
noblest valley on the face of the globe. 

The delusion that dreamed of silver and gold in Louisiana, and 
which had so largely contributed to the ruin of Crozat, still haunt 
ed the minds of his successors. Unwilling to profit by his expe 
rience, they concluded that his success was rather the result of his 
unskillful assayers than the absence of the precious metals, and 
accordingly Phillip Renault was made director-general of the 
mines. He left France in 1719, with 200 mechanics and laborers, 
and provided with all things necessary to prosecute the business 
of his ofiice. On his way hither he bought 500 negro slaves at 
San Domingo, for working the mines, and on reaching the mouth 
of the Mississippi, sailed to Illinois, where it was supposed gold 
and silver existed in large quantities. He established himself a 

Condensed from Bancroft, Brown s Illinois, and M Kay s Extraordinary Delusions. 


few miles above Kaskaskia, in what is uow the southwest corner 
of Monroe county, and called the village which lie founded Saint 
Phillips. Great expectations prevailed in France at his prospect 
ive success, but they all ended in disappointment. From this 
point he sent out exploring- parties into various parts of Illinois, 
which then constituted Upper Louisiana. Search was made for 
minerals along Drewry s creek, in Jackson county ; about the St- 
Mary s, in Randolph county; in Monroe county, along Silver 
creek ; in St. Glair county, and other parts of Illinois. Silver 
creek took its name from the explorations made on its banks, and 
tradition, very improbably, states that considerable quantities of 
silver were discoverd here and sent to France. The operations of 
Renault were at length brought to a close from a cause least ex 
pected. By the edict of the king the Western Company became 
the Company of the Indies, and the territory was retroceded to the 
crown. The efforts of the company had totally failed, and Renault 
was left to prosecute the business of mininng without means. 

In the meantime a fierce war had been raging between France and 
Spain, and their respective colonists in North America presented a 
continuous display of warlike preparations. Bienville, with his reg 
ulars and provincial troops, 400 Indians, and a few armed vessels, 
made a descent on Pensacola and laid it under siege before its 
garrison could be reinforced. After an assault of 5 hours, and a 
determined resistance on the part of the besieged, the Spanish 
commandant surrendered. The approach of -a powerful Spanish 
armament shortly afterward, compelled Bienville to relinquish the 
fort and return to Mobile, where he, in turn, was besieged in the 
fort of Dauphin Island. The squadron endeavored, by a furious 
bombardment, to reduce the fort, but its commander, finding his 
efforts unavailing, after 13 days retired. The war continuing to 
harrass the coast of the gulf, Bienville the following year, with the 
whole available force of the province, again moved against the 
town of Pensacola. After a close investment by sea and land the 
town and fort Avere carried by storm, and, besides the munitions of 
the latter, 1,800 prisoners fell into the hands of the victors. Sev 
eral Spanish A^essels with rich cargoes, ignorant of the occupation 
of the town by the French, ran into port and Avere also captured. 
The occupation of the town, as before, Avas of short duration, for 
Bienville, anticipating the arrival of a Spanish force, blew up the 
fort, burned the town and returned to Mobile. 

But the operations of the war were not confined to the lower 
part of the proA ince. Traders and hunters had discovered a route 
across the western plains, and detachments of Spanish cavalry 
pushed across the great American desert, and AY ere threatening 
Illinois. The Missouri Indians Avere at the time in alliance with 
the French, and the Spaniards planned an expedition for the ex 
termination of this tribe, that they might afterward destroy the 
settlements of Illinois and replace them with colonists from Mex 
ico. The expedition for this purpose Avas fitted out at Santa Fe, 
and directed to proceed by way of the Osages, to secure their co 
operation in an attack on the Missouris. Consisting of soldiers, 
priests, families and domestic animals, it moved like an immense 
caraA an across the desert, prepared both to overthrow the French 
colonies and to establish others in their stead. By mistake, their 
guides led them directly to the Missouris instead 1 of the Osages, 


and as each spoke the same language they believed themselves in 
the presence of the latter tribe. The wily savages, on learning 
their business, encouraged the misunderstanding, and requested 
two days to assemble their warriors and prepare for the attack. 
More than 180 muskets were put into their hands, and before the 
Spaniards found out their mistake the Missouris fell upon them 
and put them indiscriminately to death. The priest alone was 
spared to tell the fate of his unfortunate countrymen. In antici 
pation of similar difficulties, Boisbriant was sent to Illinois in 
17:20 by the Western Company, to erect a fort on the Mississippi, 
for the protection of the surrounding regions. Thus originated 
Fort Chartres, which played such an important part in the subse 
quent history of Illinois. The fortification was built on the east 
side of the river, 22 miles northwest of Kaskaskia, and was at the 
time the most impregnable fortress in North America. Here the 
Western company finally built their warehouses, and when, in 
1721 Louisiana was divided into districts, it became the head 
quarters of Boisbriant, the first local governor of Illinois. The 
7 districts were New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, Alabama, Natchez, 
Natehitochis, and Illinois. 

Soon after the erection of the fort, Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, 
and some other villages, received large accessions to their popula 
tions. All the settlements between the rivers Mississippi and 
Kaskaskia became greatly extended and increased in number, and 
in 1721 the Jesuits established a monastery and college at Kas 
kaskia. Four years afterward it became an incorporated town, and 
Louis XV granted the inhabitants a commons, or pasture grounds, 
for their stock. Immigrants rapidly settled on the fertile lands of 
the American Bottom, and Port Chartres not only became the 
headquarters of the commandant of Upper Louisiana, but the cen 
tre of wealth and fashion in the West.* 

In the Autumn of 172G, Bienville was succeeded by M. Perrier. 
The retiring governor had with much propriety, been called the 
Father of Louisiana, having, with the exception of two short inter 
missions, been its executive officer for 26 years. Not long after 
the arrival of the new governor, his attention was directed to the 
Chicasaw Indians. His predecesor had observed, in previous years, 
the insincerity of their friendship for the French, and had urged the 
directory of the company to institute some more effective protection 
for the adjacent settlement. M. Perrier now reiterated its import 
ance, but his apprehensions were deemed groundless, and nothing 
was done. The Indians were now becoming jealous at the rapid 
encroachments of the whites, who sometimes punished them harshly 
for the most trivial offense. Under these circumstances the Chic- 
asaws, Natchez, and other tribes conceived the design of destroy 
ing the French, and sent agents to the Illinois to induce them to 
cut off the settlements in their midst. The attack was \o commence 
at different places at the same time, but from some unknown cause 
the Natchez were the first to carry the design into execution, 
although the Chicasaws were the first to propose the conspiracy. 
It is said that the number of days to elapse from the new moon to 
the time of the massacre, was indicated by a certain number of 
reeds, bundles of which were sent to the different tribes. One reed 
Avas to be drawn daily from each bundle, and the attack was to 

Monette s Val. oi the Miss. 


commence when the last one was drawn. By design, or accident, 
the bundle sent to the Natchez was made smaller than the rest, 
and hence they struck the first blow. Indian tradition asserted 
that the plot was kept a profound secret till the fatal day arrived. 
This, according to Natchez computation, was on the 28th of No 
vember, 1729, at the dawn of which the Great Chief, or Sun, with a 
number of chosen Avarriors having concealed weapons, repaired to 
Fort Eosalie. At a preconcerted signal, the warriors drew their 
weapons, and at a single onset the little garrison slept the sleep 
of death. Other parties were distributed through the contiguous 
settlements, and when the ascending smoke of the burning fort 

cious warehouse of the company, and with the greatest apparent 
unconcern, smoked his pipe as his warriors piled up the heads of 
the garrison in the form of a pyramid near by, whose apex was 
the head of the commandant. When the warriors informed him 
that the last Frenchman ceased to live, he ordered the pillage to 
commence. The negro slaves were ordered to bring in the spoils 
for distribution, but the military stores were reserved for future 
use. As long as the ardent spirit lasted, day and night alike pre 
sented a continued scene of savage triumphs and drunken revelry. 
The settlements on the Yazoo and other places, met with a similar 
fate, but those within the present limits of Illinois, owing to the 
loyalty and friendship of the prairie tribes, remained unharmed. 
As soon as the massacre became known, M. Perrier dispatched 
vessels to France for troops and military supplies, and couriers 
were sent to Port Chartres and other posts, urging upon the sev 
eral commandants the necessity of preparation to co-operate with 
him against the common enemy. Agents were also sent to the 
Choctaws and other Indians in alliance with the French, for fur 
ther assistance. The governor immediately got ready to march to 
the scene of disaster with the troops in the southern part of the 
province; but the negroes, numbering some 2,000, betrayed 
symptoms of revolt, and he was detained to watch the intended 
insurrection. In the meantime, the Ohoctaws, who had committed 
no overt act of hostility, had been visited by one of the company s 
agents, and induced to furnish (500 warriors. At Pearl river he 
received an accession of 000 more, and with this formidable body 
of warriors he moved forward and encamped near the enemy, to 
await the arrival of other forces. It Avas, however, soon ascer 
tained that the Natchez, unsuspicious of danger, were spending 
their time in idle carousals, and the Choctaws rushed on them 
unexpectedly, and after a brief conflict, returned with 60 scalps. 
Not long afterward French troops arrived, completed the victory, 
and liberated the women and children. The larger part of the 
tribe, led by their Great Sun, fled across the Mississippi and for 
tified themselves on Black river. Thither they were followed by 
troops from France and the prinpcial settlements of the province, 
and in two successful battles were completely cut to pieces. Tlio 
Great "Sun and 400 warriors were captured and taken to New Or 
leans, and thence to San Domingo, and sold as slaves. Thus per 
ished this powerful tribe, and with them their mysterious worship 
of the sun and bloody rites of sepulture. No tribe was, perhaps, 


more distinguished for refinement, intelligence, courage and con 
tempt of death, in fighting for their rights and country. 

The great expenditures in prosecuting the Natchez war, the conse 
quent loss of trade with other tribes, and the financial embarrass 
ments incident to Law s failure, induced the company to ask for a 
surrender of their charter. The king readily granted their petition, 
and on the l()th of April, 1732, issued a proclamation declaring 
Louisiana free to all his subjects, with equal privileges as to com 
merce and other interests. The 14 years the company h ad possession 
of the country, notwithstanding the many adverse circumstances, 
was a period of comparative prosperity. When it assumed con 
trol, the number of slaves was 20 ; now it was 2,000. Then the 
entire Avhite population was 700; now 5,000, among which 
were many persons of worth, intelligence and enterprise. The 
extravagant hopes entertained respecting the precious metals, had 
not been realized, but the search for them had attracted popula 
tion, which had now made such progress in agriculture as to be 
self-sustaining. Illinois, at this time, contained many flourishing 
settlements, more exclusively devoted to agriculture than those in 
other parts of the province. All industrial enterprises, however, 
were, to a great extent, paralyzed by the arbitrary exactions of 
the company. The agriculturists, the miners and the fur traders 
of Illinois were held in a sort of vassalage, which enabled those in 
power to dictate the price at which they should sell their products, 
and the amount they should pay them for imported merchandise. 
The interest of the company was always at variance with that of 
the producer, and it would have been difficult to devise a state of 
affairs so injurious to both parties, and so detrimental to the pros 
perity of Illinois and other parts of Louisiana. 




When the Company of the Indies gave up their charter, the gov 
ernment of France resumed the administration of public affairs. 
M. Perrier remained governor-general, and M. d Artaguette became 
local governor of Illinois. The common law of Paris had previously 
been adopted as the code of Louisiana, but had never been formally 
extended over Illinois. The ecclesiastical affairs were under the 
superintendence of the vicar-general of New Orleans, as a part of 
the diocese of the bishop of Quebec. One of the principal objects 
of the governor was, to establish his authority over the different 
Indian tribes inhabiting the country under his command. The 
Chicasaws. instigated by English colonists, had made intercourse 
between Illinois and New Orleans so hazardous that commerce 
was virtually suspended, and the settlers kept in a constant state 
of alarm. Such was the animosity and activity of this tribe, it also 
sent secret envoys to the Illinois, for the purpose of debauching the 
time honored affection which had existed between them and their 
French neighbors, and inducing them to destroy the latter. These 
ta-wny sons of the prairies, however, refused to desert their friends, 
and sent an envoy to New Orleans to offer their services to the 
governor. Said this deputy to that functionary : " This is the pipe 
of peace or war ; you have but to speak and our braves will strike 
the nations that are your foes. r> * It was now necessary to reduce 
the ChicasaAVS, to establish communication between the northern 
and southern portions of the province, and to save the eastern por 
tion from the intrigues of emissaries, sent out among the Indians by 
the English colonies on the Atlantic. An officer was, therefore, 
dispatched to Fort Chartres, in 1730, directing .D Artaguette to get 
in readiness the French forces under his command, and such Indians 
of Illinois as he could induce to unite with him in the Avar. It was 
arranged that D Artaguette should descend the Mississippi to some 
suitable point of debarkation, and then cross to the country on the 
head Avaters of the Talahatchee, Avhere the enemy s stronghold Avas 

In the meantime Biemdlle, who had again been commissioned 
by the king as governor- general, with the forces of southern Louis 
iana, A\ r as to ascend the Tombigbee to the continence of its tAvo 
principal tributaries, and marching thence by land, effect a junc 
tion Avith the forces from the north. Early in the spring, Bienville 
moved Avith his forces from New Orleans to Mobile, and thence to 



the point designated, where a fort had previously been erected to 
serve as a depot of supplies. Here, by offering rewards for scalps 
and making presents of merchandise, he drew together the large 
force of 1200 Choctaws. After disembarking the artillery and 
placing it in the fort, the solitude of the primitive forests and 
blooming prairies was broken by the tread of the forces moving in 
the direction of the enemy.* On the 25th of May, they arrived 
within 3 miles of the Chicasaw village, but several days behind the 
time fixed for meeting the northern forces ; a delay, which, as the 
sequel will show, proved fatal. The village was 27 miles from the 
fort, and within a few miles of Pontotoc, Mississippi, which still 
perpetuates the name of the Indian stronghold, and became famous 
as a point in Grierson s great raid in the war of the rebellion. 
Before daylight, the next morning, the impatient and ungovern 
able Choctaws moved against the log citadel of the enemy, expect 
ing to take its occupants by surprise. On the contrary, they found 
the garrison on the alert, and the fort a skillfully constructed 
fortification, erected under the supervisor! of English traders. 
Twice during the day, Bienville attempted to carry the works by 
vigorous attacks, but was repulsed with a loss of C5 wounded, 
and 32 killed 5 the latter embracing 4 officers of rank. The follow 
ing day, some skirmishing occurred between the Choctaws and the 
enemy, without any decisive results, when Bienville, mortified at 
his defeat, and believing his own forces too inconsiderable for the 
reduction of such formidable works without the co-operation of the 
northern forces, of which he had heard nothing, concluded to aban 
don the enterprise. lie accordingly dismissed his red auxiliaries, 
made a retrograde inarch to the fort on the Tombigbee, in gloriously 
threw his cannon into the river, and returned to New Orleans, 
covered with defeat and shame. 

Prior to the inflicting of this disgrace upon the French arms, 
the gallant D Artaguette, accompanied by DeVincennes and Father 
Lenat, had led his army of 50 Frenchmen and more than 1000 
red warriors, from the prairies of the north to the Yalabusha. 
Here, at the appointed place of rendezvous, he waited for 10 days 
the arrival of the commander-in-chief, ready to co-operate with him 
in maintaining the jurisdiction and honor of France. The failure 
of the latter, however, to arrive in time, prevented the junction of 
the two armies, and thus defeated the campaign. On the 20th of 
May, his rash Indian confederates, who had the .courage to strike 
a blow, but lacked the calculation and patience to wait the proper 
time, compelled him to commence offensive operations. Having 
skillfully arranged his forces, with great daring and impetuosity he 
drove the Chicasaws from two fortifications, and in the assault on 
the third was disabled in the moment of victory. Dismayed at the 
loss of their leader, the Indians fled precipitately, closely pursued a 
distance of 125 miles by the enemy in the flush of unexpected victory, 
while D Artaguette and some of his brave comrades lay weltering in 
their gore, attendedby Lenat, who, mindful only of the assistance he 
might render the suffering, refused to fly. Vincennes, too, whose 
name is perpetuated by the city of the Wabash, chose also to remain 
and share the captivity of his leader. The wounds of the prisoners 
were staunched, and at first they were treated with great kindness 
by their captors, who expected"to get a large reward from Bien- 



ville for their safe return. When, ho wever, they heard of his discom 
fiture and withdrawal, the} dispaired of receiving a ransom for the 
prisoners and proposed to make them victims of a savage triumph. 
For this purpose they were borne to a neighboring field, bound to 
stakes, and tortured before slow and intermitting fires till death 
mercifully released them from their sufferings. Thus perished 
the faithful Lenat, the young and intrepid D Artaguette, and the 
heroic Vincennes, whose names will endure as long as the Illinois 
and Wabash shall flow by the dwellings of civilized men. 

The Chiekasaws, elated by victory, sent a deputation to an 
nounce their success and the torments inflicted on their captives 
to the English colonists, with whom they Avere now in sympathy. 
Bienville, on the other hand, chagrined at the result of the 
campaign, determined to retrieve his honor and the glory 
of France by a second invasion. The approbation of the Minister 
having been obtained, toward the close of the year 1739 he com 
menced putting in operation his plans for the reduction of the 
fierce antagonists who had before so successfully defied him. The 
signal for preparation was given to the commandants of the dif 
derent posts, which resulted in efforts far transcending in military 
display anything before seen in the provinces. A fort was erected 
at the mouth of the St. Francis, which served as a place of 
rendezvous, and afterward of departure for the grand army 
eastward, to the country of the enemy. The force from Illinois, 
consisting of 200 French and 300 Indians, was commanded by La 
Buissoniere, who had succeeded the lamented I) Artaguette as 
commandant at Ft. Chartres. These, with the forces from other 
posts, amounted to 1200 Europeans and 500 Indians and negroes. 
The whole, under the command of Bienville, was soon moved to 
the mouth of Wolf river, where it was delayed in the erection of 
a second* fort, in which to deposit their military stores, and care 
for the sick. Before the fort, which bore the name of Assump 
tion, was completed, malarious fevers so fatal to European consti 
tutions, had seriously disabled the army. Hardly had the early 
frosts of winter abated the disease, when famine, a more formida 
ble enemy, threatened them with annihilation. Supplies could 
only be obtained at Ft. Chartres and New Orleans, and hence the 
consummation of the campaign was necessarily postponed till the 
following spring. Spring came, but such had been the debilita 
ting effects of the winter and the want of wholesome food, that 
only 200 men were IIOAV fit for duty. Undeterred, hoAvever, by the 
want of numbers, M. Celeron, a lieutenant of La Buissoniere, bold 
ly set out to meet the Chicasaws, who, supposing the whole French 
army was behind him, sued for peace. Celeron, taking advantage 
of the mistake, obtained from them a declaration that they would 
renounce the English and resume peaceable relations with the 
French. To confirm their statements, a deputation of chiefs ac 
companied them to Ft. Assumption and entered into a treaty of 
peace with Bienville, which was ratified with the customary In 
dian ceremonies and festivities. The army now returned to the 
fort on the St. Francis, where Bienville disbanded it, and " again 
in gloriously floated down the river to New Orleans. 7 * This was 
the end of the second campaign against the Chicasaws, wherein 
Bienville not only failed to retrieve his tarnished military fame, 

tMonette s Val.of the Miss. 


but incurred the displeasure of his sovereign. Two armies had 
been sacrificed in an attempt to mete out to the Chicasaws the 
fate that had befallen the Natchez ; but like their ancestors, who 
200 years before had encountered the steel-clad chivalry of Deso- 
to, they still remained intact. With the close of these disastrous 
expeditions terminated the gubernatorial career of Bienville, 
which, with slight interruptions, had extended through a period 
of 40 years. Age had cooled down the ardor and energy of his 
manhood s prime, and the honors won in previous years were now 
obscured in a cloud of disapprobation and censure. 

Retiring from office, he was succeeded by the Marquis de Van- 
dreuil, who subsequently became Governor of Canada. After the 
establishment of amicable relations with the Chicasaws, the na 
tive tribes throughout the valley of the Mississippi submitted to 
the dominion of France and became her allies. A commercial in 
tercourse with them succeeded, and agriculture, now freed from 
company monopolies, rapidly sprang into new life. Sugar cane 
was brought from San Domingo, and the first attempt at its culti 
vation proving successful, it has since become the great staple of 
the present state of Louisiana. Cotton was introduced and suc 
cessfully cultivated as far north as Illinois. A gin was subse 
quently invented by M. Dubreuil, and though imperfect compared 
with Whitney s of the present day, it greatly facilitated the oper 
ation of separating the fibre from the seed and thus gave a new 
impetus to the cultivation of the plant. The fig tree, the orange, 
and the lemon, began to bloom about the houses of the colonists 
on the Lower Mississippi and supply them with delicious fruit, 
while the SAveet potato, extending over a broader range of latitude, 
contributed largely to the sustenance of both, the northern and 
southern parts of the province. Every arrival from France aug 
mented the population of the rapidly extending settlements. 
Many Canadians, retiring from the rigor of their winters, sought 
homes in the comparatively mild climate of Illinois and the region 
of the Wabash. Under the stimulus of individual enterprise the 
commerce between the northern and southern parts of the pro 
vince, and between New Orleans and foreign countries, was great 
ly extended. Eegular cargoes of pork, flour, bacon, tallow, hides 
and leather were annually transported in barges from Illinois to 
New Orleans and Mobile, and thence shipped to France and the 
West Indies. In exchange were brought back rice, indigo, sugar 
and European fabrics. The tw r o extremes of Louisiana were mu 
tually dependent, and by means of the Mississippi and its hun 
dred tributaries, naturally supplied each other s wants. The 
decade commencing with 1740 and closing with 1750 was one of 
unusual prosperity. 

Manners and Customs of the French. Unlike the English and 
other Europeans, who usually lived in sparse settlements, the 
French fixed their abode in compact villages. These were gen 
erally built on the banks of some pure stream of water, contigu 
ous to timber and prairie, the one furnishing them fuel and the 
other with ground for tillage. The construction of the dwellings 
was of a primitive character. The frame work consisted of posts 
planted in the earth three or four feet deep and strongly bound 
together by horizontal cross-ties. The interstices thus formed 
were filled with mortar, intermixed with straw or Spanish moss, to 


give it tenacity. The surface of the walls, both internal and ex 
ternal, were washed A^itll white lime, which imparted to the build 
ing s an air of cleanliness and domestic comfort. Most of the 
dwellings were surrounded by piazzas, on which the inmates found 
a pleasant retreat to while away in social converse the sultry sum 
mer evenings. Destitute of machinery for cutting their trees into 
boards, they split them into slabs, which were used for flooring, 
doors and other purposes, while as a substitute for shingles they 
thatched their buildings with straw. Although having the great 
est amplitude for wide streets, they generally made them so nar 
row that the merry villagers living on opposite sides could carry 
on their sprightly conversations each from his own balcony. Even 
in detached settlements the social turn of the people induced 
them to group their dwellings as closely together as possible. 
Each settlement had its patriarchal homestead, which generally 
stood in a spacious enclosure, and was occupied by the oldest 
member of the family. Around this sprung up a cluster of cotta 
ges, the residence of each child and grand child as it married and 
became the head of a family. Not unfrequently the aged patri 
arch became the centre of a dozen growing families of his own 
lineage and embracing 3 or 4 generations. 

Common Field. A duty imposed upon the commandant of each 
village was to reserve a tract of land for a common iield, in which 
all the inhabitants were interested. To each villager was assigned 
a portion of the field, the size of which was proportioned accord 
ing to the extent of his family. Lands thus apportioned were 
subject to the regulations of the villages, and when the party in 
possession became negligent so as to endanger the common inter 
est he forfeited his claim. The time of plowing, so wing and har 
vesting, and other agricultural operations, was subject to the 
enactment of the village senate. Even the form and arrangement 
of enclosures surrounding the dwellings and other buildings were 
the subject of special enactments, and were arranged with a 
view to protection against the Indians, should an exigency occur 
making it necessary. 

Commons. Besides the common field, which was designed for 
tillage, there was a common which was free to all the villagers for 
the pasture of their stock and the supply of fuel. As accessions 
were made to the families of the community, either by marriage 
or the arrival of strangers, portions of land were taken from the 
common and added to the common field for their benefit. 

Intercourse with the Indians. Owing to their amiable disposi 
tions and the tact of ingratiating themselves with the tribes that 
surrounded them, the French almost entirely escaped the broils 
which weakened and destroyed other colonies less favored with 
this trait of character. Whether exploring remote rivers or tra 
versing hunting grounds in pursuit of game ; in the social circle or 
as participants in the religious exercises of the church, the red 
men became their associates and were treated with the kindness 
and consideration of brothers. Like the Quakers guided by the 
example of Penn, they kept up a mutual interchange of friendly 
offices with their red neighbors, and such was the community of 
interests, the feeling of dependence and social equality, that inter 
marriages frequently occurred, thus more closely uniting them in 


the bonds of peace. Penn and Ms folloAvers for many years lived 
in unbroken peace with their brethren of the forest, but that es 
tablished by these pioneers of Illinois was never interrupted and 
for more than a hundred years the country enjoyed the benign in 
fluence of peace; and when at length it terminated, it was not the 
conciliatory Frenchman, but the blunt and sturdy Anglo-Saxon 
who supplanted him that was made the victim of savage ven 
geance. * 

The calm and quiet tenor of their lives, remote from the bustle 
and harrassing cares of civilization, imparted a serenity to their 
lives rarely witnessed in communities where the acquisition of 
wealth and honor are suffered to exclude the better feelings of 
human nature. Lands of unequaled fertility, and the still more 
prolific waters and the chase supplied almost unsolicited the wants 
of life and largely contributed to the light hearted gaiety of the 
people. With ample leisure and free from corroding cares, they 
engaged in their various amusements with more than ordinary 
pleasure. Prominent among their diversions was the light fantas 
tic dance of the young. At this gay and innocent diversion could 
be seen the village priest and the aged patriarch and his com 
panion, whose eyes beamed with delight at beholding the harmless 
mirth of their children. When parties assembled for this purpose 
it was customary to choose the older and more discreet persons to 
secure proper decorum during the entertainment and see that all 
had an opportunity to participate in its pleasure. Frequently, 
on occasions, fathers and mothers whose youthful enthu 
siasm time had mellowed down to sober enjoyments again became 
young and participated in the mazy evolutions of the dance. 
Even the slave, imbibing the spirit of the gay assemblage, was 
delighted because his master Avas happy, and the latter in turn 
was pleased at the enjoyment of the slave. Whenever the old, 
who were authority in such cases, decided that the entertainment 
had been protracted sufficiently long, it was brought to a close ; 
and thus the excesses which so frequently attend parties of this 
kind at the present day were avoided. 

At the close of each year it was an unvarying and time-honored 
custom among them for the young men to disguise themselves 
in old clothes, visit the several houses of the village, and engage in 
friendly dances with the inmates. This was understood as an 
invitation for the members of the family to meet in a general ball, 
to dance the old year out and the new year in. Large crowds 
assembling on these occasions, and taking with them refreshments, 

[*Says Hall in his Sketches of the West: " We have heard of an occasion on which 
this reciprocal kindness was very strongly shown. Many years ago a murder having 
been committed in some broil, three Indian young- men were given up by the Kaskas- 
kias to the civil authorities of the newly established American government. The pop 
ulation of Kaskaskia was still entirely French, who felt much sympathy for their Indian 
f rien<)3, and saw these hard proceedings of the law with great dissatisfaction. The la 
dies, particularly, took a warm interest in the fate of the young aborigines, and deter 
mined if they must die, they should at least be converted to Christianity in the mean 
while, and be baptized in the true church. Accordingly, after due preparation, 
arrangements were made for a public baptism of the neophites in the old cathedral of 
the village. Each of the youths wasadopted by a lady who gave him a name and was to 
stand godmother in the ceremony, and the lady patronesses with their respective 
friends were busily engaged for some time in preparing decorations for the festivities. 
There was quite a sensation in the village. Never were three young men brought into 
notoriety more suddenly or more decidedly. The ladies talked of nothing else and all 
the needles in the village were employed in t l "e preparation of finery for the occasion. 
Previous to the evening of hanging, the aboriginals gave the jailer the slip and es 
caped, aided most probably by the ladies, who had planned the whole affair with a view 
tothisend. Thelawisnot vindictive in new communities. The danger soon blew 
over; the young men again appeared in public and evinced their gratitude to their 


with good clieer and merry dance beguiled the flying hours till the 
clock on the mantle chimed the advent of the new born year. 
Another custom was, on the Oth of January, to choose by lot 4 kings, 
each of whom selected for himself a queen, after which the parties 
thus selected proceeded to make arrangements for an entertain 
ment styled, in the parlance of the times, a king-ball. Toward the 
close of the lirst dance, the old queens selected new kings whom 
they kissed as the formality of introduction into office. In a simi 
lar manner, the newly selected kings chose new queens, and the 
lively and mirthful dance continued during the carnival, or the 
week preceding Lent. The numerous festivals of the Catholic 
church strongly tended to awaken and develope the social and 
friendly intercourse of the people. 

All were Catholics and revered the pope as the vice-gerent of 
God, and respected their priests as spiritual guides and friendly 
counselors in the secular affairs of life. Mostly without schools 
or learning, the priest was the oracle in science and religion, and 
their enunciations on these subjects were received with an unques 
tioning faith as true. Ignorant of creeds and logical disputations, 
their religion consisted, in the main, of gratitude to God and love 
for mankind qualities by far more frequently found in the unpre 
tending Avalks of life than in the glare of wealth and power. 

As the result of these virtues, children were loving and obedient, 
husbands and wives kind and affectionate. The latter had the 
undivided control of domestic matters; and as a further tribute to 
her moral worth, she was the chief umpire in cases of social equity 
and propriety. None more than she, whose intuition could i>ene- 
trate at a glance the most subtle casuistry, was better qualified to 
detect and enforce it in a gentle and impartial manner. The peo 
ple attended church in the morning, after which they collected and 
spent the remainder of the day in social intercourse and innocent 
pastimes. To the more sedate Protestant, such amusements on 
the Sabbath, seem unreasonable ; but the French inhabitants of 
the country, in these early times, regarded them as a part of their 
religion, and conducted them with the utmost propriety. If ques 
tioned as to their gaiety on the Sabbath, they replied, that man was 
made for happiness, and the more he enjoyed the innocent pleas 
ures of life the more acceptable he rendered himself to his crea 
tor. They contended that those who, on the Sabbath, repressed 
the expression of joyous feelings under the guise of sanctity, were 
the persons ready to cheat their neighbors during the remainder 
of the week. Such, were the religious sentiments of a people prone 
to hospitality, urbanity of manners, and innocent recreation; who 
presented their daily orisons to the throne of grace with as much 
confidence of receiving a blessing, as that enjoyed by his most 
devout Puritan brother. 

The costume of the Illinois French, like their manners and cus 
toms, was simple and peculiar. Too poor, and too remote to obtain 
finer fabrics, the men, during the summer, wore pantaloons made 
of coarse blue cloth, which, during winter, was supplanted by 
buckskin. Over their shuts and long vests, a flannel cloak was 
worn, to the collar of which a hood was attached, which, in cold 
weather, was drawn over the head, but in warm weather it fell 
back on the shoulders after the manner of a cape. Among voy 
agers and hunters, the head was more frequently covered with a 


blue handkerchief folded in the form of a turban. In the same 
manner, but tastefully trimmed with ribbons, was formed the fancy 
head dress which the women wore at balls and other festive occa 
sions. The dress of the matron, though plain and of the antique 
short-waist, was frequently varied in its minor details to suit the 
diversities of taste. Both sexes wore moccasins which, on public 
occasions, were variously decorated with shells, beads, and ribbons, 
giving them a tasty and picturesque appearance. 

No mechanical vocation as a means of earning a livelihood, was 
known. The principal occupation was agriculture, which, owing 
to the extreme fertility of the soil, produced the most munificent 
harvests. Young men of enterprise, anxious to see the world and 
to distinguish themselves, became voyagers, hunters, and agents 
of fur companies, and in discharging their duties, visited the remote 
sources of the Missouri, Mississippi, and their tributaries. After 
mouths of absence, spentin this adventurous employment among the 
most distant savage nations of the wilderness, they would return to 
their native villages, laden with furs and peltries. These articles 
for a long time constituted the only medium of exchange, and the 
means whereby they procured guns, ammunition, and other impor 
tant requisites of their primitive life. The re-union with their friends 
was signalized by the dance, the most important requisite of hospi 
tality, gaiety and happiness. The whole village would assemble on 
these occasions to see the renewed voyagers, and hear them recount 
the strange sights and the adventures which they had encountered. 

Xo regular court was held in the country for more than a hun 
dred years, or till its occupation by the English, evidencing that a 
virtuous and honest community can live in peace and harmony 
without the serious infraction of law. The governor, aided by the 
friendly advice of the commandants and priests of the villages, 
either prevented the existence of controversies, or settled them 
when they arose, without a resort to litigation. Although these 
civil functionaries were clothed with absolute power, such was the 
paternal manner in which it was exercised, it is said, that the "rod 
of domination fell on them so lightly as to hardly be felt. 77 When, 
in 1765, the country passed into the possession of the English, 
many of them, rather than submit to a change in the institutions 
to which they were accustomed and attached, preferred to leave 
their fields and homes, and seek a new abode on the west side of 
the Mississippi, still supposed to be under the dominion of France. 
Upon the reception of assurances, however, from Great Britain, 
that they should be protected in their property and religion, many 
of them remained. Those who had removed to the west side of 
the river enjoyed but a brief interval of peace. Intelligence was 
received that France had ceded all western and southern Louisiana 
to Spain, and although Spanish authority was not extended over 
the territory for a period of five years, it was a period of uncer 
tainty and anxiety. The Spanish government, like that of France, 
was mild and parental. Every indulgence was extended to her 
new subjects, and for thirty years they continued to enjoy their 
ancient customs and religion. The next inroads upon their anti 
quated habits was the advance of the Americans to the Missis 
sippi, in the region of Illinois. The unwelcome news was received 
that all Louisiana was ceded to the United States and a new sys 
tem of jurisprudence was to be extended over them. Previous to 


this cession they had to a great extent become reconciled and 
attached to Spanish rule, but when the new regime was extended 
over them, totally at a loss to comprehend the workings of repub 
licanism, they asked to be relieved of the intolerable burden of 
self- go ver 1 1 m en t . 

Thus, in the heart of the continent, more than a thousand miles 
from either ocean, in a region styled by LaSalle a territorial para 
dise, flourished these interesting communities, in the enjoyment 
of peace, contentment and happiness. It was, however, of a pas 
sive character, wanting in that intensity of enjoyment which flows 
from fully developed powers and an energetic and progressive 
mode of life. The faculties of both mind and body languish with 
out labor, and that may be considered the normal condition of the 
race which brings into healthy play all the diversified springs of 
action and thought which make up the wonderful machinery of 
man. Without effort and useful industry he is the creature of 
languid enjoyments, and a stranger to the highly wrought sensi 
bility and the exquisite delights resulting from cultured mental 
and physical powers. Furthermore, without enterprise, the vast 
material forces which slumber in the crust of the earth, and its 
mantle of exhuberant soil, cannot be made available. While 
there was peace and contentment on the banks of the Illinois, the 
"W abash, and the Upper Mississippi, it was reserved for a different 
race to develop the vast coal fields and exhaustless soil of this 
favored region, and cause their life sustaining products to pulsate 
through the great commercial arteries of the continent. While this 
simple, virtuous and happy people, dwelt in the granary of Xorth 
America almost unconscious of its vast resources, there was cling 
ing to the inhospitable shores of the Atlantic an intelligent and 
sinewy race, which was destined. to sweep over and occupy their 
fruitful muds as the floods of the great river overwhelms and 
imports fertility to its banks. Only a few remnants of them have 
escaped the inflowing tide of American population, who still retain 
to a great extent the ancient habits and customs of their fathers. 
With their decline came the downfall of their tawny allies of the 
forest, and a new direction was given to American history. 
France, could she have remained supreme, with her far reaching 
and adventurous genius, aided by Jesuit enterprise, would perhaps 
have partially civilized the savages and thus have arrested their 
destruction. Populations would have sprung up in the basins of 
the Great Lakes, and in the Valley of the Mississippi, under the 
impress of a feudal monarchy, and controlled by a hierarchy of 
priests hostile to freedom of thought. The progress of civil and 
religious liberty would have been temporarily but not permanently 
suspended. The present free institutions of America would have 
been delayed till the shifting phases of national life furnished new 
opportunities for experiment and improvement. 

[Many curious anecdotes might be still picked up i ? relation to these early settlers, 
especially in Illinois and Missouri, where the Spanish, French, English and Americans, 
have had sway in rapid succession. At one time the French had possession of one side 
of the Mississippi river and the Spaniards the other ; and a story is told of a Spaniard 
living- on one shore, who, having a creditor residing on the other, seized a child, the 
daughter of the latter, and having borne her across the river which formed the national 
boundary, held her a hostage for the payment of the debt. The civil authorities de 
clined interfering, and the military did not think the matter of sufficient importance to 
create a national war, and the Frenchman had to redeem the daughter by discharging 
his creditor s demand. The lady who was thus abducted was still living a few years 
ago near Cahokia, the mother of a uumerous progeny of American French.] 


In the year 1750 LaBuissonier, governor of Illinois, was succeeded 
by ChevalierMacarty. The peace which had given such unexampled 
prosperity to Louisiana, was soon to be broken by the clangor and 
discord of war. .Already, in the controversy between France and 
England in regard to their respective possessions, could be heard 
the first throes of the revolution which gave a new master and new 
institutions not only to Illinois, but to the Avhole continent. France 
claimed the whole valley of the Mississippi, which her missionaries 
ami pioneers had explored and partially settled, and England the 
right to extend her possessions on the Atlantic indefinitely west 
ward. The jealousies and animosities of the parent countries soon 
crossed the Atlantic, and colonial intrigues were the result. 
Traders from South Carolina and Georgia again commenced intro 
ducing large quantities of goods among the Chiekasaws and other 
tribes of southern Louisiana, and again endeavored to alienate 
them from their treaty stipulations with the French. As the 
result, depredations were renewed by the Chicasaws, and a third 
expedition was sent to their forest fastnesses on the Tombigbee, to 
reduce them to submission, but like its predecessors, it was sub 
stantially a failure. Farther northward similar disturbances 
commenced. British merchants sent their agents to the Miamis 
and other western tribes, whose traffic had been previously mo 
nopolized by the French. A more grievous offense was the 
formation of a company to whom the king of England granted a 
large tract of land on the Ohio, and conferred on it the privilege 
of trading with the western Indians. 

The operations of the Ohio company soon drew the French and 
English colonial authorities into a controversy, and the mother 
countries Avere ready to back any effort that either might make for 
the maintenence and extension of their respective possessions. As 
the traders, who were encouraged by the Ohio company, were 
mostly from Pennsylvania and Xew York, the governor of Canada 
informed the executives of these colonies that their traders had 
been trafficing with Indians dwelling on French territory, and 
unless they immediately desisted from this illicit commerce, he 
would cause them to be seized and punished. Notwithstanding 
this menace, the Ohio company employed an agent to survey their 
lands southwesterly to the Falls of the Ohio, and northwesterly 
some distance up the Miami and Scioto. Virginia, also seconding 
the efforts of the company, obtained from the Indians the privilege 
to form settlements on the southeast side of the Ohio, 18 miles 
below the junction of the Alleghany and Monongahela. 

England and France now saw that their territorial contest could 
only be settled by a resort to arms, and each urged its colonial au 
thorities to institute preparations for defending their respective 
boundaries. In the coming contest the result could not be doubt 
ful, for the colonists of the former power numbered 1.051, 000, while 
those of the latter were only 52,000. Beside this great disparity 
of numbers, France had transmitted to her possessions institutions 
which shackled their progress. The English colonists brought 
with them advanced ideas of government from their native land, 
and left behind them the monarch and the nobility. The French 
emigrant came with only the feudal ideas of the past, and cared 
little for the innovations of modern freedom. The former claiming 
the right of religious liberty, withdrew from the established church 


and had a self-appointed ministry. The latter was closed against 
every ray of theological light, and dominated by a foreign priest 
hood, from whose teachings there was not a single dissenter. The 
one were self-reliant, self- sustaining, and energetic ; ever pressing 
their way against the receding forests ; always advancing, but 
never retreating The other were accustomed to follow a leader, 
and depend upon the parent country for supplies, which they 
might have produced themselves. The inhabitants of British 
America had the press, local legislatures, municipal discipline, the 
benefit of free schools, and were accustomed to think and act for 
themselves. As the result, from the waters of the southern gulf to 
where civilization is stayed by barriers of perpetual frost, the con 
tinent is their heritage. 

In response to the advice of the British government, Virginia 
raised a force for the protection of her frontier, and sent Major 
Washington with a letter to the French commandant 011 the Ohio, 
requesting him to withdraw his troops from the dominion of Great 
Britain. The officer courteously replied that u it was not his 
province to determine whether the land situated on the Ohio be 
longed to his sovereign, but he would transmit the letter to his 
superior officer, and act in accordance with Ms instructions. In 
the meantime, he did not think it incumbent upon him to obey 
the summons of the British government, and would tlefend his 
position with all the skill and force at his command. 7 * Washing 
ton, after encountering much hardship, returned safely, and 
reported the reply of the French officer. The following year lie 
received orders from the governor of Virginia to proceed with 1200 
men and complete the erection of a fort at the junction of the Monon- 
gahela and the Alleghany, previously commenced by the Ohio 
company. The attempt to execute the order was defeated by the 
French officer, M. Contrecoeur, who, anticipating the arrival of the 
Virginia forces, moved down to the mouth of the Mommgahela ii 
advance, with 18 pieces of cannon and a force of 1,000 French and 
Indians. He drove away the small detachment of Virginia militia 
and some employes in the Ohio company, and completing the fort 
they had commenced, they called it liuQuesne, in honor of the 
governor of New France. In the meantime, a small detachment 
under Jummonville, was sent to notify Washing-ton to withdraw 
from French territory. The American officer, learning beforehand 
the approach of Jummonville, made arrangements to fall on him by 
surprise. At a place called the Little Meadows, the forces met, 
and Washington, ordering his men to tire, set the example by dis 
charging his own musket. Its flash kindled the forests of America 
to a name, and scattered its fires over the kingdom of Europe. It 
was the signal gun whose reverbrations followed the night of years, 
announced the revolution which banished from the New World the 
institutions of the Middle Ages, and erected upon their ruins the 
fabric of free government. The tidings of the renconter earned the 
fame of Washington across the Atlantic, and while liis name was 
execrated by the advocates of feudal monarchy, they chanted 
in heroic verse the martyrdom of Jummonville, who had been slain 
in battle. " And at the very time Washington became known to 
France, the child was born who was one day to stretch out his 
hand for the relief of America. How many defeated interests bent 


over the grave of Jumuionville, and how niauy hopes clustered 
about the cradle of the infant Louis. "* 

Fort Ohartres was at this time the depot of supplies and the 
place of rendezvous for the united forces of Illinois and other 
posts of Louisiana. Shortly after the affray at the Little Meadows, 
M. de Villiers, a brother of Juniinonville, and at the time an officer 
at Fort Chartres, solicited Macarty, the commandant of the for 
tress, to go and avenge the death of his relative. Permission was 
granted, and with a force from the garrison and a large number 
of Indians, he passed down the Mississippi and up the Ohio to 
Fort DiiQuesne, of which he subsequently became the commander. 
From the fort he proceeded to the ground of the recent battle. 
Washington, finding himself confronted with greatly superior 
forces, fell back to Fort Necessity, a rude stockade previously 
erected at the Great Meadows. Thither they were followed by De 
Yilliers with a force of GOO French and a smaller number of Indians, 
who took possession of an adjacent eminence and commenced 
firing from behind trees on the men in the fort beneath them. 
Animated by the cool determination of their commander, the raw 
provincials, so unequal in numbers and position to their assailants, 
for nine hours maintained their position. At length the French 
commander, fearing the exhaustion of his ammunition, proposed 
terms of capitulation, which Washington in his critical situation 
was compelled to accept. The terms were magnanimous, the 
besieged being permitted to retire with the honors of war and all 
their munitions, except the artillery. Upon the defeat of the Vir 
ginia forces, England and France took up the gauntlet, ami the 
contest between the colonists became further intensified. In 1755, 
General Braddock arrived in Virginia with two regiments of 
British regulars. Washington was made one of his aids-de-camp, 
and afterward his force was augmented by the addition of 1,000 
provincials. Thus strengthened he started for Fort DnQuesne, 
and at the Little Meadows received intelligence of the expected 
arrival of 500 troops to strengthen the garrison of the fort. 
Leaving Col. Dunbar with 800 men to bring up his stores, he 
hastened forward with the remainder to reach the fort in advance 
of the reinforcements. Crossing the Monongahela he pushed 
forward with so much rapidity that he seldom took time to recon 
noitre the woods and tangled thickets through which he was 
passing. In the meantime the commandant at Fort DiiQuesne, 
apprised by the French and Indian scouts of the approach of the 
British force, sent M. Beaujeu with a force of 250 French and GOO 
Indians to check their advance. Seven miles from the fort they 
concealed themselves on the borders of a ravine through which 
Braddock must pass, and awaited his arrival. As soon as his 
men entered the hollow, the concealed enemy opened upon those 
in front, and the rear forces pushed rapidly forward to support 
them. Before this could be effected, the advanced columns fell 
back in a heap on the artillery, and the army became greatly con 
fused. At this juncture the Virginia forces, contrary to orders, 
took positions behind trees and fought till all were killed except 
thirty men. The regulars, remaining in a compact body, were 
terribly cut to pieces. Braddock received a mortal wound and 



died in the camp of Col. D unbar, whither with the shattered rem 
nants of his army he retreated. Never before had the Indians 
received such a harvest of scalps as that gathered from the fatal 
field. Dressed in the laced hats and scarlet coats of the dead, 
they celebrated the victory by exhibiting their personal decorations 
and iiriiig guns, which were answered by the artillery of the fort. 
When the news of the battle became known the two belligerents 
increased their forces, and in 1754 Fort Duquesne again became 
the objective point of an English army. Gen. Forbes, with a force 
of 7,000, approached it, and the garrison of Illinois and other 
troops being unable to cope with such a formidable arnij^ dis 
mantled the fort and retired to different parts of the West. A 
portion of the fugitives under M. Massac descended the Ohio river 
and built a fort on the Illinois side of the stream, forty miles from 
its mouth. The fort bore the name of its founder, and was fur 
nished with a small garrison till the close of the Avar. Such was 
the origin of the last French fort built on the Ohio, divested of the 
romance which fable has thrown around its name.* In the course 
of the struggle Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Niagara, fell 
before the victorious arms of England, and finally it terminated 
in 1759 by the capture of Quebec. As the result of the contest 011 
the Plains of Abraham, Illinois and its vast resources became the 
heritage of a different race. Anglo-Saxon energy and progress 
were now to gather from its prolific soil treasures far exceeding in 
value the exhaust-less mines of ^t)ld, which had haunted the imag 
ination of its Gallic inhabitants, even if their dreams had been 
realized. In this closing battle the colossal power of France in 
North America received a fatal blow. From her first permanent 
settlement on the St. Lawrence she held dominion over its waters 
for a period of 1.50 years. The Teutonic race, with its partiality 
for individual rights, for self-government and freedom, now ob 
tained the dominion of a continent from the Gulf of Mexico to the 
Pole, and the English tonguge, whose utterance 150 years before 
was confined to two small islands on the western verge of Europe, 
was now to become the language of a continent, and ultimately, 
perhaps, a universal vehicle for the expression of human thought. 

*LNoTE Jas. Hall, in his Sketches of the West, says : "The French had also a fort 
on the Ohio, about 36 miles above the junction of that river with the Mississippi, of 
which the Indians obtained possession by a singular stratagem. A number of them 
appeared in the day time on the opposite side of the river, each covered with a bear 
skin, walking on all-fours, and imitating the motions of that animal. The French sup 
posed them to be bears, and a party crossed the river in pursuit of them. The 
remainder of the troops left their quarters and resorted to the bank of the river, in 
front of the garrison, to observe the sport. In the meantime, a large body of warriors, 
who were concealed in the woods near by, came silently up behind the fort, entered it 
without opposition, and very few of the French escaped the carnage. They afterward 
built another fort on the same ground, which they called Massacre, in memory of this 
disastrous event, and which retained the name of Fort Massac after it passed into the 
hands of the American government." The Rev. J. M. Peck, in his "Annals of the 
West," thinks the foregoing statement is a truthful one, according to all the tradi 
tional evidence we can collect." Dr. Lewis Beck s Gazeteer of Illinois and Missouri 
contains the same story, as also Reynold s Pioneer History of Illinois ; and in his Life 
and Times, the latter says : "Fort Massacre was established by the French about the year 
1711, and was also a missionary station It was only a small fortress until the war of 
1755 between the English and French . In 1756 th fort was enlarged and made a respec 
table fortres-, considering the wilderness it was in. It was at this pla-e where the 
Christian missionaries instructed the Southern Indians in the gospel precepts, and it 
was here also that the French soldiers made a resolute stand against the enemy." The 
place is also referred to some times as the "old Cherokee Fort." The Letters Edifl- 
antes indicate it to have been a mission and trading post about 1711 In 1800 two com 
panies of U.S. troops were stationed at Fort Massac and a fe\v lamilies resided in the 
vicinity. In 1855, s-ays Reynolds, he vistedthe site. The walls of the ruins were 135 
feet square, pallisaded with earth between, and with strong bastions at each angle. 
Three or four acres were beautifully gravelled with pebbles from the river, on the 
north of the fort, as a parade ground. The site is a beautiful one.] 



It has already been stated that the downfall of Quebec was the 
overthrow of French power in North America. It was not, 
however, until 1700, when the feeble and disheartened garrison of 
Montreal capitulated without resistance, that Canada and its 
dependencies were surrendered to the British. The overthrow of 
French supremacy was now assured, but the recoil of the blow 
which had smitten it down was the cause of another great struggle 
more desolating and widely extended than the first, but ended 
without accomplishing any political results. In the second contest 
the red man became the principal actor and exhibited a degree of 
sagacity and constancy of purpose never before witnessed in the 
history of his warfare. The English, to reap the fruits of their 
victory at Quebec, sent Major Robert Rogers to take possession of 
the outposts on the frontier. He was a native of New Hamp 
shire, and his startling adventures in the recent colonial struggle 
had made him the model hero of New England firesides. As he 
coasted along the southern, shore of Lake Erie in the early part of 
November, 1760, on his way to Detroit, it suddenly became cold 
and stormy, and he determined to put ashore and wait the return 
of pleasant weather. A camp was soon formed in the adjacent 
forest, then clothed in the fading hues of Autumn, when a number 
of chiefs made their appearance and announced themselves as an 
embassy from Pontiac. The day did not pass away before the 
daring chief himself came to the camp and demanded of Rogers 
his business in the country. The latter replied that he was on his 
way to Detroit to make peace with the white men and Indians. 
Pontiac listened with attention and said he would stand in his path 
till morning, and after inquiring if they needed anything which 
his country afforded withdrew. This was Rogers first interview 
with the Napoleon of his race, whose great conspiracy forms the 
subject of this chapter. 

According to tradition, he was of medium height, commanding 
appearance, and possessed a muscular frame of great symmetry and 
vigor. His complexion was darker than usual with individuals of 
his race; his features stern, bold, and irregular, and his bearing 
that of a person accustomed to surmount all opposition by the 
force of an imperious will. He was generally clad in a scanty 
cincture girt about his loins, with his long black hair flowing 
loosely behind, but on public occasions he plumed and painted 



after the manner of his tribe. On the following- morning , in com 
pany with his chiefs, he again visited the camp and told Rogers 
he was willing to be at peace with the English and suffer them to 
remain in his country as long as they treated him and his country 
men with due deference and justice. Hitherto he had been the 
devoted friend of the French, and the motive which now actuated 
him was apparent. Shrewd, politic, and ambitions, he sagaciously 
concluded that the power of France was declining, and it might be 
best to secure the good will of the English. He hoped by the aid 
of snch powerful allies to extend his influence over the tribes of 
his own race, and nattered himself that they also would treat him 
with the deference which had previously been accorded him by the 
French. Rogers had several interviews with him, and was struck 
with the native vigor of his understanding and the wonderful 
power he exercised over those about him. 

The storm abating, Rogers and his men resumed their voyage up 
the lake. A messenger had been sent in advance to notify 
Captain Beletre, the French Commandant at Detroit, that Canada 
had surrendered, and that an English force was on its way to 
relieve him. This officer was greatly incensed at the reception of 
the news ; treated it as an informal communication, and stirred np 
the Indians to resist the advance of Rogers. When, therefore, the 
latter arrived at the month of the Detroit, and was about to ascend 
it, he found four hundred Indian warriors ready to dispute his 
further progress. Pontiac however, whose vigilance was ever on 
the alert, interposed in behalf of his new friends, and they were 
permitted to reach Detroit without further opposition. Rogers 
immediately took possession of the fort, and the French garrison 
defiled out on the plain and laid down their arms. As the French 
colors wcsre loAvered from the flagstaff, and those of England 
hoisted aloft, the spectacle was greeted by the yells of TOO Indian 
warriors. The Canadian militia were next disarmed, and the 
Indians, unable to comprehend why so many should submit to so 
few, regarded with astonishment what they considered as obse 
quious conduct on the part of their recent allies. Nothing is so 
effective in winning the respect of savages as an exhibition of 
l>o wer, and hence the Indians formed the most exalted conceptions 
of English prowess, but were greatly surprised at their sparing the 
lives of the vanquished. 

Thus, on the 29th of November, 1760, Detroit passed into the 
hands of the English. The French garrison was sent prisoners 
down the lake, while the Canadian residents were suffered to retain 
their houses and lands on the condition of their swearing allegi 
ance to the government. Officers were sent to the southwest to 
take possession of Forts Miami and Watannon,* the first situated 
on the head waters of the Manmee, and the latter 011 the AVabash 
not far from the site of the present town of Lafayette. Rogers 
next started to relieve the forts on the upper lakes, but was pre 
vented by the gathering ice and storms of Lake Huron. The 
following season, however, the forts at the head of Green Bay and 
the mouth of the St. Joseph, and those on the straits of St. Mary 
and Mackinaw, were garrisoned by small detachments of English 
troops. The flag of France still waved over the plains of Illinois, 



which was not included in the stipulations entered into at 

The country had not long been in the possession of England 
before a wide-spread feeling of dissatisfaction pervaded its inhab 
itants. The French element of the population, having their national 
hate of the English intensified by years of disastrous warfare, left 
their homes in Canada and settled in Illinois. Here they contin 
ued to cherish their animosity, and whenever an opportunity ottered, 
were ever ready to embrace any scheme that might injure the 
objects of their ill will. In common with their brethren of Illinois, 
they still hoped that Canada might be restored to France, and no 
effort was spared by either to bring about this much desired result. 
Canada was powerless, yet Illinois, her intimate neighbor and 
sympathizer, was still an untrameled province of France, and now 
became the depot of supplies and the centre of French intrigues ; all 
looking forward to the consummation of this object. The Indians, 
whose good will they had long since won by a conciliatory policy, 
they found ready instruments for the execution of their designs. 
Accordingly, swarms of French traders and Canadian refugees 
issued from the head-waters of the Illinois and other points of 
egress, and spreading over the conquered territory, held councils 
with the Indians in the secret places of the forests. At these 
secluded meetings they urged the excited savages to take up arms 
against the English, who they declared were endeavoring to compass 
their destruction by hedging them in with forts and settlements on 
one hand, and stirring up the Cherokees to attack them on the other. 
To give effect to these fabrications, they added more potent incen 
tives of guns, ammunition and clothing, which the English had 
refused to grant them. These, long furnished by France, had now 
become a necessity, but England had incurred heavy expenses in 
the recent war, and it became necessary for her either to withhold 
or deal them out with scanty and reluctant hands. Want, suffer 
ing, and in some instances death, was the result which, without .the 
aid of French machinations, was sufficient to make them dislike 
the English. Formerly, under the mild sway of France, when the 
chiefs visited the forts they were received with the greatest polite 
ness and hospitality by the officers, and the petty annoyances of 
their men were disregarded. ^Sow, when in their intrusive man 
ner they came about the posts, they heard only words of reproach 
and abrupt orders to depart, frequently enforced by blows from 
ruffian soldiers. The intercourse of French traders had always 
been courteous and respectful, while those of the English treated 
them as inferiors, frequently outraged their families, and in various 
ways gave them an unfavorable opinion of the nation which now 
laid claim to their country. 

Under these circumstances Pontiac., although he had wavered in 
his allegiance to the French so far as to permit Rogers to occupy 
the fort at Detroit, began to feel his partiality for his old friends 
returning. The Sacs, his native tribe,* under the immediate influ 
ence of the Illinois French, were among the first to espouse their 
cause, and it may safely be assumed that if he was not iustrumen- 

*In the Hist. Col. of Mass., 2nd series, the reportof Morse, 1822, on the Sac and Fox 
wars against the Illinois, and the life of Tecumseh, he is spoken of as a Sac. Several tribes 
were ambitious to claim his lineage. His residence among the Ottawasmay have been 
due to his partiality for their reputation as warriors. 


tal in bringing about the result, lie was not long in following their 
example. By his own inherent powers and assistance obtained 
from the French, he had become the acknowledged head of the 
tribes of Illinois, and .the nations dwelling in the region of the great 
lakes and the Upper Mississippi. Says Captain Morris, who was 
sent West by General Gage to conciliate the tribes of Illinois: 
" This chief has a more extensive power than was ever known 
among the Indians, for every chief used to command his own 
tribe, but 18 nations by French intrigue have been brought to 
unite and choose him as their commander." Thus the name kin 
dled in Illinois, and finding material in many other localities upon 
the eve of ignition, as we shall see, spread farther and wider, until 
all British America became involved in the fiery ordeal of war. 
Operated upon by so many causes of irritation and apprehension, it 
was impossible ibr a people so excitable as the Indians to long 
remain quiet. Accordingly, as early as 1761, Maj. Campbell, then in 
command of Detroit, received intimations that they meditated an 
tack upon his fort, and upon further inquiry learned that there was 
to be a general uprising of all the tribes from Illinois toXova Scotia, 
and that Forts Pitt and Niagara were also to be attacked. Intelli 
gence of this discovery was immediately transmitted to the com 
manders of the threatened points, and the calamity averted. This 
and another similar plot detected and suppressed the folio wing sum 
mer, were only the precursors of the coming storm that swept the 
whole country as with the besoni of destruction. A plot was next 
conceived in the scheming brain of Pontiac to attack all the Eng 
lish forts on the same day, and after having massacred their 
unsuspecting garrisons, to turn upon the defenseless settlements 
and continue the work of death until the entire English popula 
tion, as the Indians fondly hoped and expected, should be driven 
into the* sea. For comprehensiveness of design and successful 
execution, no similar conspiracy can be found in the annals of 
Indian warfare. 

Pontiac was now 50 years of age and brought to the contest a 
judgment matured by the past experience of his adventurous life. 
Before the breaking out of the French war, he had saved Detroit 
from the overwhelming attack of some discontented tribes of the 
jSorth. During the war he fought valiantly for France, and is said 
to have commanded the Ott a was at the defeat ofBraddock and 
materially contributed to his overthrow, For his devotion and 
courage, he was presented with a full French uniform by the Mar 
quis Montcalm, only a short time before the famous battle on the 
Plains of Abraham. After the defeat of the French and the arrival 
of Kogers, as previously intimated, he manifested a desire to culti 
vate the friendship of the conquerors, but was greatly disappointed 
in the advantages he expected to derive from their influence. His 
sagacious mind discoA ered in the altered posture of affairs the great 
danger which threatened his race. The equilibrium hitherto 
subsisting between the French and English, gave the Indians the 
balance of power, and both parties were compelled to some extent 
to respect their rights. Under English domination their import 
ance as allies was gone and their doom already sealed, unless they 
could re-establish the power of the French and use it as a check to 
the encroachments of the English. Filled with this idea and tired 
by patriotism, and ambition, he UOAV sent embassadors to the nations 


of the upper lakes, to those 011 the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio, 
and as far southward as the Gulf of Mexico. His emissaries, bear 
ing the war belt and bloody hatchet as emblems of their mission, 
passed from tribe to tribe, and everywhere the dusky denizens of 
the forest eagerly assembled to hear the words of the great war 
chief. The principal of the embassy, holding aloft the emblems of 
war, with violent gesticulations delivered the fiery message pre 
viously prepared by Pontiac for this purpose. The attending chiefs 
and warriors, moved by these impassioned appeals, pledged them 
selves to assist in the war, and the fervor thus excited rapidly 
spread till the whole Algonquin race was aglow with enthusiasm. 

The attack was to be made in May, 1763, only one month after 
the treaty of Paris, by which Illinois and all the vast possessions 
of France, east of the Mississippi, passed under the dominion of 
Great Britain. This event was one of the three important steps 
by which Illinois passed from a French province to its present 
position as a member of the American republic, the first being 
foreshadowed in the triumph of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham, 
the second in the conquests of Clark, and the last in the battle of 
Yorktown. In accordance with the requirements of the cession, 
the posts of southern Louisiana were surrendered to British garri 
sons. In Illinois, owing to the impenetrable barrier of hostile 
savages, which surrounded it, this was impossible, and the French 
officers were empowered by Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the British Com 
mander-in-chief, to retain their position till this difficulty could be 
overcome. In the exercise of this trust they betrayed the confi 
dence reposed in them by furnishing the Indians with large sup 
plies of guns and ammunition, and for a long time concealed the 
transfer which had been made, lest the knowledge of it might 
cause the Indians to relax their efforts in the prosecution of the 
war. But for this neglect of duty, the war which followed might 
have been either averted or its virulent character greatly modified. 
The king, in parceling out his newly acquired domain among the 
colonists, retained the valley of the Ohio and the region adjacent 
as a reservation for the Indians. The timely publication of his 
order in this respect would have prevented the intrusion of the 
settlers upon these lands, and thus? have removed a principal cause 
of irritation among the Indians dwelling along the English 
frontiers. But while the benevolent intentions of the king slum 
bered in the breasts of unfaithful stewards, the forests were alive 
with preparations for strife and carnage. Indian maidens were 
chanting the war song; magicians were retiring to the gloom of 
rocky defiles and caverns to fast and learn the will of the Great 
Spirit in the coming struggle, while in the glare proceeding from 
hundreds of nightly camp fires, chiefs and warriors were enacting 
the savage pantomime of battle. 

The warlike spirit of the Indians gave great satisfaction to the 
French inhabitants of Illinois, who had so unwillingly been made 
subjects of Britain. To impart additional life to their prepara 
tions, they declared that the King of France had of late years fallen 
asleep, and during his slumbers the English had taken possession 
of Canada, but that now he was awake again and his armies were 
advancing up the St. Lawrence and Mississippi, to drive out the 
intruders from the homes of his red children. 


In accordance with the arrangement of Pontiac, the different 
posts were to be attacked on the same day by the adjacent Indians. 
The arch conspirator himself with some of his tribes lived in the 
vicinity of Detroit, and that point soon became the focus of the 
bloody struggle. To institute preliminary arrangements, a place 
of rendezvous was selected on the river below the town, and mes 
sengers sent to summon the tribes to meet him in council. In 
obedience to the call straggling bands of Ottawas, Wyandots, 
Chippewas, and Pottawatomies, of all ages, sexes and conditions, 
for several days were seen emerging from the forests. Squaws 
accompanied by swarms of naked children, came to attend to the 
domestic arrangements of the camps ; youthful gallants attended 
by maidens, bedecked with feathers and ruddy with paint, were 
present looking love at each other and enjoying the social amuse 
ments of savage life. But the most important personages were 
stalwart warriors, who, while waiting the arrival of tardy delega- 
gations, lounged the lazy hours away in feasting and gambling. 
At length, on the U7th of April, the last stragglers had arrived, 
when, variously costumed and armed after the manner of tlieii 
respective tribes, they seated themselves in circles 011 tlie ground. 
Pontiae immediately appeared in their midst and with impassioned 
voice commenced his address. Contrasting the English with the 
French, he declared the former had treated himself with contempt 
and his countrymen with injustice and violence. Presenting a 
broad belt of wampum, he informed his wild auditors that he had 
received it from the great father, the King of France, who had 
heard the voice of his red children ; had arisen from his sleep and 
was sending iris great war canoes up the St. Lawrence and the 
Mississippi to wreak vengeance on his enemies, and that the French 
and their red brethren would again fight side by side as when 
many moons since they destroyed the army of their enemies on 
the banks of the Monongahela. Having awakened in his hearers 
their native passion tor war and blood, he next appealed to their 
superstitions, by relating a legend composed by one of their magi 
cians, which enjoined upon them as a duty to drive the "dogs that 
wear red clothing into the sea," and made known to them the best 
method of doing it. In conclusion he told them that the work 
must commence at Detroit j that he would gain admittance to the 
fort, and having thus learned the situation and strength of the 
garrison, at another council he would explain to them the plan of 

The object of the convocation was now consummated, and long 
before the morning sun broke through the mists that hung over 
the river, the savage multitude had disappeared in the gloomy re 
cesses of the forest. Nothing remained to tell of the night s 
carousals and intrigues but the smouldering embers of camp fires 
and the slender frames of several hundred Indian lodges. Pontiac, 
impatient for the execution of his design as previously announced, 
advanced with 40 warriors, and presenting himself at the gate of 
the fort asked permission to dance before the officers of the 
garrison. After some hesitation permission was granted, and he 
and 30 of his men filed up to the residence of Major Gladwyn, 
then in command of the fort. The dance was commenced, and 
while the officers and men gathered round to witness the perform 
ance the remaining 10 Indians strolled about the premises to make 


observations. When the different parts of the fort had been ex 
amined the 40 retired, without causing- the slightest suspicion as to 
the object which induced the visit. Messengers were again sent 
to summon the chiefs to meet in the village of the Pottawatomies. 
Here a hundred wily conspirators seated themselves in the 
council hall of the town to perfect in the darkness of night the 
black scheme they had concocted for the destruction of the fort. 
Fitful flashes from the lire in the centre of the room fell upon 
features stolid and immovable as if cast in iron, despite the fierce 
passions that rankled in the breasts beneath them. As Pontiac in 
an exciting harrangue reiterated the wrongs they had sustained at 
the hands of the English, and made known his plan of attack, 
deep guttural expressions of approval rose from his statue-like 
audience. Under pretense of holding a council he proposed 
to obtain admittance to the fort for himself and principal chiefs, 
and while in conference with the officers, with concealed weapons 
they would put them to death. Meanwhile the Indians loitering 
about the palisade were to rush on the unsuspecting garrison and 
inflict on them a similar fate. 

Detroit, now threatened with destruction, was founded in 1701 
by La Mott Cadilac, who subsequently became the Governor-Gen 
eral of Louisiana and the partner of Crozat. Eogers, who visited 
it at the close of the French war, estimated its population and that 
of the adjacent settlements at 2500 souls. The fort which sur 
rounded the town was a palisade 25 feet high, furnished with 
bastions at the four angles and block-houses over the gate ways. 
On the same side of the river, and a little below the fort, was the 
village of the Pottawatomies ; southeasterly, on the other side, 
was that of the Wyandots, while on the same bank, 5 miles above, 
was the town of the Ottawas. The river, about half a mile in 
width opposite the fort, flowed through a landscape of unrivaled 
beauty. In its pure waters were glassed the outlines of the noble 
forests that grew on its banks. Farther back white Canadian 
cottages looked cosily out of the dark green foliage, while in the 
distance Indian wigwams sent up wreathy columns of smoke high 
in the transparent northern atmosphere. Pontiac, the master 
spirit of this sylvan paradise, dwelt on an island at the outlet of 
Lake St. Clair, and like Satan of old revolved in his powerful mind 
schemes for marring its beauty and innocence. Though he was 
friendly to the French they seemed to apprehend some coming 
disaster. The October preceding the outbreak dark clouds gath 
ered over the town and settlement, and drops of rain fell of a 
strong sulphurous odor, and so black the people are said to have 
collected and used them for ink. Many of the simple Canadians, 
refusing to accept a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, 
thought it was the precurser of some great calamity. 

Although breathing out vengeance and slaughter against the 
English, the designs of the chief were to be defeated. According 
to local tradition, on the afternoon of the 6th of May, the day pre 
ceding the intended assault, intelligence of the conspiracy was 
communicated to Gladwyn by a beautiful Chippewa girl, who had 
formed for him an attachment and wished to save his life. Osten 
sibly she visited the fort to deliver a pair of ornamental moccasins 
which he had requested her to in ake. After delivering t hem , sh e was 
seen, late in the afternoon, lingering about the fort, Avith a dejected 


countenance. Gladwyn himself at length noticed her altered man 
ner, and asked the cause of her trouble. When assured that she 
would not be betrayed, she stated that on the following- day, Pontiac - 
and 00 chiefs, with guns concealed under their blankets, would visit 
the fort to hold a council, and that after he had presented a peace 
belt in a reversed position as a signal for attack, the chiefs were to 
shoot down the officers, and their men in the streets were to murder 
the garrison. Gladwyu immediately communicated what he had 
heard to the garrison, and preparations were commenced to avert 
the threatened calamity. Lest some wild impulse should precip 
itate an attack before morning, half the garrison was ordered 
under arms, the number of sentinels doubled, and the officers 
arranged, to spend the night on the ramparts. In the immediate 
vicinity of the fort there was quiet, but the winds that swept 
across the river bore to the listening sentinels the distant boom 
of Indian drums, and the wild yells of savages performing the war 
dance. The following morning, when the mist had disappeared 
a fleet of canoes was seen moving across the river, tilled 
with savages mostly in a recumbent position, lest if seen 
their numbers might excite suspicions. Presently groups of tall 
warriors wrapt in blankets up to their throats were seen stalking 
across the common toward the fort. These Avere all admitted, for 
ii ot only the garrison but the whole population of fur traders were 
armed, and Gladwyu defied their treachery. It said that as 
Pontiac entered, he involuntarily uttered an exclamation of 
surprise and disappointment. Eecovering from his consternation, 
he started in the direction of the council house, followed by his 
chiefs, who, notwithstanding their usual stoicism, cast uneasy 
glances at the ranks of glittering steel on each side of their path 
way. Passing into the hall they found the officers fully armed and 
waiting to receive them. Pontiac, observing with suspicion their 
swords and pistols, asked Ghuhvyn why so many of his young men 
were in the attitude of war. The latter, witk the dissimulation 
which his adversary was practicing, replied that he had ordered 
his soldiers under arms for the purpose of exercise and discipline. 
With evident distrust the chiefs at length sat down on mats pro 
vided for their accommodation, while Pontiac commenced speaking, 
holding in his hand the wampum which was to be the signal of 
attack. Though it was thought he would hardly attempt to carry 
out his design under present circumstances, yet during the 
delivery of his speech he was subjected to the most rigid scrutiny 
by the officers. Once, it is said, he was about to give the signal, 
when Gladwyn by a slight movement of the hand made it known 
to the attending soldiers, and instantly the drum beat a charge 
and the clash of arms was heard in the passage leading to the 
room. Pontiac, confounded at these demonstrations, and seeing 
the stern eye of Gladwyn fastened upon him, in great perplexity 
took his seat. Gladwyn, in a brief reply, assured him that the 
friendly protection of the English would be extended to his people 
as long as they deserved it, but threatened the most condign pun 
ishment for the first act of aggression. The council now broke up ; 
the gates were thrown open, and the Indians departed. It has 
been a query why the chiefs were not detained as hostages, but 
the full extent of their intrigues was unknown. The Avhole affair 


was regarded as a paroxysmal outbreak which would soon termi 
nate if an open rupture could be avoided. 

Pontiac, foiled in his attempt against the fort, was enraged and 
mortified, but not discouraged. He considered his escape from 
the fort as evidence that his designs were not fully known, and 
on the following- morning 1 returned with three companions and 
endeavored to remove the suspicions which he had excited. Imme 
diately after his interview with Gladwyn, however, he repaired to 
the village of the Pottawatomies and commenced consulting with 
their chiefs in regard to another attempt against the fort. As the 
result, on the 9th of May, the common behind the fort was crowded 
with savages, and their chief, advancing to the gate, asked that 
he and his warriors might be admitted and enjoy with the garrison 
the fragrance of the friendly calumet. Gladwyn concisely but 
uncourteously replied, that " he might enter, but his rabble must 
remain without." Thus circumvented, he became livid with hate 
and defiance, and stalked off in the direction of his warriors, 
large numbers of whom were prostrate on the ground, and sud 
denly rising up, the plain, as if by magic, se med alive with yelping 
creatures part man, part wolf, and part devil, who rushed upon 
some English inhabitants outside of the fort and put them to death. 
Pontiae, taking no part in the brutal butcheries of his men, imme 
diately leaped into a canoe, and with a speed commensurate with 
his rage and disappointment, forced his way up the river to the 
village of the Ottawas. Bounding ashore and pointing across the 
water, with imperious voice he ordered the entire population to 
move to the opposite side, that the river might no longer interpose 
a barrier between him and his enemy. At night-fall he leaped 
into the central area of the village, and brandishing his tomahawk, 
commenced the war dance. As warrior after warrior straggled in 
from the day s carnage, they fell into the ring,- and circling round 
and round, made the night hideous with unearthly yells. Long- 
however before morning the tribe was on the opposite side of the 
river and pitched their camp above the mouth of the small stream 
known as Bloody Run, from the tragedy which was shortly after 
ward enacted on its banks. In the early twilight of morning, 
with terrific yells, they bounded naked over the fields and com 
menced firing on the fort. Large numbers secured a position 
behind a low hill, and soon its summit became wreathed with 
puffs of white smoke from their rapidly discharging guns. Others 
gathered in the rear of some out-buildings, but a cannon, charged 
with red-hot missiles was immediately brought to bear on the dry 
material, which, becoming wrapt in flames, soon caused the con 
cealed savages to retreat with precipitation. For six hours the 
attack was unabated, but as the day wore away the fire slackened, 
and at last only a gun could be heard now and then in the direction 
of the retiring ibe. 

After this discomfiture, Pontiae augmented his forces and, on 
the 12th of May, renewed the attack. Day after day the fighting- 
was continued, till the rattle of bullets on the palisade and the 
discordant yells of savages became familiar sounds to the garrison 
within. Stealthy warriors wormed their way through the tall 
grass, and crouching behind some sheltering object, shot arrows 
tipped with burning tow upon the houses within the fort. These 
efforts, however, proved abortive. Cisterns were dug inside to 


quench the flames and sorties outside were made from time to time 
till all the adjacent orchards, fences and building s, were leveled 
to the ground, and no screen was left to conceal a lurking foe. 

The Indians, expecting to take the fort at a single blow, had 
failed to provide for a protracted siege. Their numbers daily 
augmenting by the arrival of straggling bands of warriors from 
Illinois and other parts of the West and South, the question of 
food soon became an important consideration. To obtain it they 
had already irritated the Canadian farmers by committing depre 
dations upon their stock, and a delegation of their head men called 
on Pontiac to remonstrate against these outrages. He admitted 
the truth of the allegations, expressed regret for the injuries they 
had sustained, and at once instituted means for obtaining supplies 
without their repetition in the future. He visited the different 
Canadian families, making a careful estimate of their provisions, 
levied upon each a proportionate amount for the sustenance of the 
assembled tribes, now numbering nearly 1,000 warriors and more 
than 2,000 women and children. The levies thus made were 
brought into camp, and a commissary appointed to prevent the 
excessive eating and waste which the savage always practices 
when unrestricted in his access to food. Pontiac, being unable to 
make immediate compensation, gave promissory notes, drawn on 
birch bark and signed Avith the figure of an otter, the totem of 
his family. To his credit it is said these were all afterward hon 
orably paid. This approach to the usages of civilized life was 
doubtless suggested by some of his Canadian allies, yet his ready 
adoption of them indicates a sagacity which is without a parallel 
in the history of his race. In the prosecution of the siege he also 
endeavored to obtain from the Canadians the method of making 
approaches to a fort as practiced in civilized warfare. Likewise, 
to aid his undisciplined warriors, he sent ambassadors to M. Key on, 
the commandant of Fort Chartres, for regular soldiers. This 
officer had no soldiers at his disposal, but abundantly furnished 
munitions in their stead. Says Sir William Johnson, Superin- 
perintendent of Indian affairs : 

"It now appears from the very best authorities, and can be proven by the 
oath of several respectable persons, prisoners among the Indians of Illinois, 
and from the account of the Indians themselves, that not only many French 
traders, but also the French officers, went among the Indians, as they said, fully 
authorized to assure them that the French King was determined to support 
them to the utmost, and not only invited them to visit Illinois, where they 
were plentifully supplied with ammunition and other necessaries, but also 
sent several canoe loads at different times up the Illinois river to the Miamis, 
as well as up the Ohio to the Shawnees and Delawares." 

Thus, while Detroit was the scene of the principal outbreak of 
the war, Illinois more largely than any other place furnished the 
means to put it in motion and keep it alive. But while other 
localities were bleeding and sore from the vengeful thrusts of the 
strife, the Illinois Frenchmen, caressed and protected by savage 
admirers, hunted and fished as usual in the peaceful forests and 
gentle rivers of his western paradise. 

As the ^erils were thickening around Detroit, there came vague 
rumors from time to time of settlements destroyed, forts attacked 
and garrisons butchered. These flying reports were soon followed 
by definite information that, with the exception of Detroit, all the 
posts scattered at wide intervals throughout the vast forests west 


of Forts Pitt and Niagara, had fallen into the hands of the enemy. 
The first reliable evidence of this kind was the appearance of a 
party of warriors in the rear of Detroit, bearing aloft a number of 
scalps taken from victims they had slain in the capture of Fort 
Saudusky. Ensign Paully, in command of the fort at the time, 
and subsequently adopted by one of the tribes near Detroit, wrote 
to Gladwyn, giving an account of the capture. Seven Indians 
called at the fort, and being intimately acquainted with the garri^ 
son, were readily admitted. Two of the party seated themselves 
on each side of Paully, and after lighting their pipes, with feigned 
indifference commenced a conversation, during Avhich they sud 
denly seized and disarmed him. Simultaneously a discordant din of 
yells and the clashing of arms was heard without, and when Paully 
afterward was taken from the room by his captors, he beheld the 
parade ground strewn with the mangled bodies of his men. At 
night he was conducted to the lake in the light of the burning fort 
and started over its still waters for Detroit. 

On the 15th of June, a number of Pottawatomies with some pris 
oners, who proved to be Ensign Schlosser, the commander of Fort 
St. Joseph,* and three of his private soldiers. Their captors had 
come to exchange them for some of their own men, who for some 
time had been retained as prisoners in the fort. After this w^as 
effected, the Englishmen related the story of their capture. Early 
in the morning preceding the attack, the neighborhood of the fort 
was enlivened by the appearance of a large number of Pottawat 
omies, who stated that they had come to visit their relations resid 
ing on the river St- Joseph. Hardly had the commandant time to 
suspect danger when he was informed that the fort was surrounded 
by hundreds of Indians, evidently intending to make an assault. 
Schlosser hastened to get his men under arms, but before this could 
be effected an attack was made, and in a few minutes the fort was 
plundered and all its garrison slain, except himself and the priso 
ners mentioned. 

Only three days later a Jesuit priest arrived at Detroit, bringing 
with him a letter from Captain Etherington detailing the capture 
of the fort at Mackinaw, of which he was commander. For several 
successive days the Chippewas had been assembling on a plain 
near the fort and playing games of ball. Finally, on the 14th of 
June, while engaged at this pastime, the ball was intentionally 
thrown near the fort, and the Indians, rushing up ai if to get it, 
seized Captain Etherington and Lieut. Lesley standing near the 
gate, and hurried them off to the woods. At the same time, another 
party rushed into the fort, and with hatchets furnished by their 
squaws, who had previously entered with them, concealed under 
tlieir blankets, slew 15 of the garrison, while the remainder and 
all the English fur traders were made prisoners. 

The next disaster of this kind was the loss of Fort Watannon. 
A letter was received from Lieut. Jenkins, the commanding officer, 
informing Gladwyn that on the 1st of June he and several of his 
men were seized by strategy, and the rest of the garrison, being 
without a leader, surrendered. The Indians afterward apologized 
for their conduct by declaring the attack was not the result of their 
own inclinations but due to the pressure which had been brought 

Originally Miami. 


to bear on them by surrounding tribes. This plea may have been 
true, for they were farther removed from English influence than 
most of the other tribes and hence more paciiic. 

Fort Miami, on the Maumee, in command of Ensign Holmes, 
added another to the list of captured forts. Though this officer 
had detected and circumvented a previous attempt against the 
fort, his cunning adversaries at length triumphed over his vigi 
lance. On the 27th of May an Indian girl, who was living with 
him, told him that a squaw lay sick in a neighboring wigwam^ and 
desired him to administer medical relief. Placing the utmost con 
fidence in the girl, he followed her till they came in sight of a 
number of lodges, when she pointed out to him the one containing 
the invalid and withdrew. Holmes, unsuspicious of danger, con 
tinued on his errand of mercy till as he neared the wigwam two 
guns flashed from behind it, and his lifeless body fell prostrate 011 
the ground. Exultant yells of savages followed the report of the 
guns, and a Canadian soon came to the fort and demanded its 
surrender, informing the garrison that their lives would be spared 
if they complied, but in case of refusal their claims to mercy would 
be forfeited. Taken by surprise, and without a commander to 
direct them, they threw open the gates and gave themselves up as 

With the previous disasters fresh in the minds of the beleaguered 
garrison at Detroit, on the 22d of June, their attention was 
attracted to the opposite side of the river where they saw the sav 
ages conducting Ensign Christie, the commandant of Presque Isle, 
and the prisoners to the camp of Pontiac. Christie afterward 
escaped and related the particulars of the seige and surrender of 
his post, situated near the present town of Erie on the southern 
shore ot\the lake after which it was named. On the 15th of June 
it was surrounded by 200 Indians, and the garrison immediately 
retired to the blockhouse, the most impregnable part of the forti 
fications. The savages, sheltered in a ravine, close by, sent volleys 
of bullets at the port holes and burning balls of pitch upon the 
roof and against the sides of the building. Eepeatedly it took 
fire, and finally the barrels of water which had been provided for 
extinguishing the flames were all exhausted. There was a well in 
the parade ground, but it was instant death to approach it, and 
they were compelled to dig another in the blockhouse. Meanwhile 
the enemy had made a subternean passage to the house of the 
commandant and set it on fire, and the walls of the blockhouse 
near by were soon wrapt in a sheet of flame. The well was now 
complete and the fire subdued, but the men were almost suffocated 
by heat and smoke. While in this condition they learned that 
another more effectual attempt would soon be made to burn them, 
and at the instance of the enemy they agreed to capitulate. 
Parties met for this purpose, and after stipulating that the garri 
son should march out and retire unmolested to the nearest post, 
the little fortress which had been defended with so much valor was 
surrendered. Notwithstanding the terms agreed upon, a part of 
the men were taken as prisoners to the camp of Pontiac, and part 
bedecked as warriors were adopted by the different tribes of the 

The destruction of Laboeuf and Yenango, 011 the head waters 
of the Alleghany, closes the black catalogue of captured posts. 


On the 18th of June, a large number of Indians surrounded the 
former, the only available defence of which was a block-house. 
Fire arrows were showered upon it, and by midnight, the upper 
story was wrapt in names. The assailants gathered in front and 
eagerly watched for the inmates to rush out of the burning build 
ing, that they might shoot them. In the meantime, however, they 
hewed an opening through the rear wall, and passing out unper- 
ceived, left the savages exulting in the thought that they were 
perishing in the flames. But from Yenango, destroyed about the 
same time, not a single person escaped or was left alive to tell of 
their fate. 2Sot long afterward it was learned from Indians who 
witnessed its destruction, that a party of warriors entered it under 
the pretext of friendship, and closing the gates behind them, 
butchered all the garrison except the principal officer, whom they 
tortured over a slow fire several successive nights till life was ex 
tinct Forts Pitt and Niagara were also attacked, but like that 
of Detroit, their garrisons proved too strong for the savage assail 
ants who sought their destruction. 

But the destruction of life and property in the forts was only a 
fraction of the losses. The storm of savage vengeance fell with 
appalling fury on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, and Penn 
sylvania, and for hundreds of miles north and south they became 
n continuous theatre of rapine, slaughters, and burnings, without 
a parallel in all past and succeeding years. Bands of infuriated 
savages skulking in the forests, suddenly bounded forth from their 
lurking places and surrounded the unprotected homes of settlers. 
The startled inmates where scarcely aware of danger before they 
became the victims of the most ferocious butcheries. Mothers 
were compelled to stand by and witness the brains of their help 
less innocents dashed out against the walls of their dwellings ; 
daughters were carried away into captivity to become the wives of 
their savage captors, while fathers and sons were bound to trees 
and roasted over slow-burning fires to protract and intensify their 
sufferings. Whole settlements in the valley retreats of the AUeg- 
hanies, where a prolific soil and industry were rapidly multiplying 
the necessaries of life, were entirely depopulated. Fields ripen 
ing for harvest were laid waste ; herds of domestic animals, like 
their owners, were, killed; dwellings were burnt to the ground, and 
where plenty and happiness had once lived together in peace, there 
was now only desolation and death. Thousands of fugitives fled 
to the interior towns and made known the fearful tragedies they 
had witnessed, and such had been the deep dissimulation of the 
savages, the story of their butcheries preceded even the faintest 
suspicions of danger. 



Detroit was still the head of savage machinations and the home 
of the arch conspirator who, with the complacency of a Nero, 
looked round on the constantly widening circle of ruin and death. 
The garrison of which he had the immediate custody was confined, 
as if in a vice, to the narrow confines of the fort. The attempt of 
Cyler to reinforce it, terminated in the defeat and death of some 
60 of his men. Most of the unfortunates taken alive were carried 
to the camp of Pontiac, where some were pierced with arrows, some 
had their hands and feet cut off, while others were fastened fo 
trees and children employed to roast them alive. For several days 
after death had ended their sufferings, their bodies were seen float 
ing down the river by the fort, still ghastly with the brutal atro 
cities which had caused their death. No expedient was left untried 
which might injure the besieged. Huge fire rafts were set afloat 
down the river to burn two small schooners opposite the fort. On 
one occasion a faint light was descried on the river above, which 
grew larger and brighter as it descended the stream. Presently 
it loomed up in a violent conflagration and, fortunately passing 
between the vessels and the fort, revealed with the light of day 
the tracery of cordage and spars on one side, and the long line of pal 
isades on the other. The distant outlines of the forest and a dark 
multitude of savages were plainly visible on the opposite side of 
the stream, the latter watching the effects of their artifice as the 
crackling, glimmering mass floated down with the current of the 
waters, in which its tires were finally quenched. Though all the 
arts of savage warfare were employed to prevent the reinforce 
ment of the fort, it was at length accomplished, and an assault 
made on the camp of Pontiac. In this fierce conflict, which rose" 
to the dignity of a pitched battle, the English were defeated with 
a heavy loss, and compelled to retire to the fort for safety. 

Attracted by this success, large numbers of warriors flocked to 
the standard of Pontiac, and the spirit of his men, previously begin 
ning to flag, was revived and the siege prosecuted with unexam 
pled vigor till the last of September. The Indian is naturally 
fickle and impulsive, and perhaps the history of his race does not 
furnish another instance of such protracted effort and constancy 
as this. Their remarkable perseverance must, no doubt, be attrib 
uted to their intense hatred of the English, the hope of assistance 
from France, and the controlling influence of Pontiac. Their ammu 
nition, however, was now exhausted, and as intelligence had been 
received that Major Wilkius, with a large force, was on his way to 



Detroit, many of them were inclined to sue for peace. They feared 
the immediate consequences of an attack, and proposed by lulling 
the English into security, to retire unmolested to their winter hunt 
ing ground and renew offensive operations in the spring. A chief of 
the (Jhippewas, therefore, visited the fort and informed Gladwyn that 
the Pottawatornies, Wyandots and his own people were sorry for 
what they had done, and desired thereafter to live in peace. The 
English officer well knew the emptiness of their pretentious, but 
granted their request that he might have an opportunity of replen 
ishing the fort with provisions. The Ottawas, animated by the 
unconquerable spirit of Pontiac, continued a disultory warfare till 
the first of October, when an unexpected blow was dealt the imper 
ious chief, and he, too, retired from the contest. 

General Amherst, now aware that the occupation of the forts in 
Illinois by French garrisons greatly served to protract and inten 
sify the war, would fain have removed them, but still found it 
impossible to break through the cordon of savage tribes which girt 
it about. Pontiac had derived thence not only moral support, but 
large supplies of guns and ammunition,* and the only remedy of 
the British general was to write to M. Xeyon de Villiers, instruct 
ing him to make known to the Indians their altered relations under 
the treaty by which the country had been transferred to England. 
This officer, with evident reluctance and bad grace, was now com 
pelled to make known what he had long concealed, and accordingly 
wrote to Pontiac that "he could not expect any assistance from the 
French ; that they and the English were now at peace and regarded 
each other as brothers, and that the Indians should abandon th.eir 
hostilities, which could lead to no good result. " The chieftain, 
enraged and mortified at having his long cherished hope of assist 
ance dashed to the ground, with a number of his countrymen 
immediately departed for the country of the Maumee. intending 
to stir up its inhabitants and renew the contest the ensuing spring. 
With his withdrawal, Detroit lost its significance in the war, 
and its leader was to return no more except as an intercede!- for 

The winter of 17G3-4 passed away without the occurrence of any 
event of special interest. The ensuing summer two expeditions 
were fitted out by the English ; one intended to operate against 
the savages residing on the great lakes, and the other for the 
reduction of those living in the valley of the Ohio. Bouquet hav 
ing charge of the latter, advanced from Fort Pitt, and encounter 
ing the warlike Shawnees and Delawares on the banks of the 
Muskingum, soon reduced them to an unconditional peace. Among 
the demands made by this efficient officer, was the surrender of 
all their prisoners. Large numbers were brought in from Illinois 
and the region eastward, some of whom had been captured as far 
back as the French and English war, and had now almost forgot 
ten their homes and friends of childhood.t 

*Says Sir William Johnson : In an especial manner the French promote the inter 
ests of Pontiac, whose influence has now become so considerable, as General Gage 
observes in a letter to me, tbat it extends even to the mouth of the Mississippi, and 
has been the principal cause of our not saining possession of Illinois, which the French, 
as well as the Indians, are interested in preventing. " 

tOf the scenes attending the reunion of broken families and long sundered friends, 
a few incidents have been preserved and are worthy of relation A young Virginian, 
who had been robbed of his wife and child, enlisted in the army of Bouquet 1 orthe 
purpose of recovering them. After suffering he most intense anxiety, he at length dis 
covered her in a group of prisoners, bearing in her arms a child born in captivity ; but 


Bradstreet, who commanded the other force, wrested from the 
savages the military hosts, which cunning and treachery had 
placed in their power. As a part of his plan, while at Detroit, he 
sent Captain Morris, and a number of friendly Canadians and 
Indians, to induce the savages of Illinois to make peace with the 
English. Having effected arrangements for this purpose, they 
ascended the Maumee in a canoe, and soon fell in with a party of 
some 200 Indians who treated Morris with great violence. They 
had come directly from the camp of Pontiae, and soon led him 
into the presence of the great chief, who with a scrowling brow 
denounced the English as liars. He then displayed a letter written 
by some Frenchman, though purporting to be from the King of 
France, which Morris declares contained the greatest calumnies 
that ingenious malice could devise for prejudicing the minds of the 
Indians against the English. The party, after being stripped of 
everything except their clothing, aims, and canoe, were suffered 
ito depart. Resuming the ascent of the river, in seven days they 
reached Fort Miami and effected a landing. This post not having 
been garrisoned since its capture the preceding year, the Cana 
dians had built their houses within its palisades, and a few Indians 
made it a temporary abode. A Miami village was directly oppo 
site on the other side of the stream, while the meadows immediately 
around it were dotted with lodges of the Kickapoos, who had re 
cently arrived. After getting ashore they proceeded through the 
meadows toward the fort, but before reaching it they were suddenly 
surrounded by a mob of infuriated savages, bent on putting them 
to death. Fortunately the chiefs interposed, and before any seri 
ous violence was offered the sudden outburst of savage passion Avas 
checked. Threatened and insulted, however, Morris was con 
ducted to the fort and there ordered to remain, while the Cana 
dians were forbidden to shelter him in their houses. He had not 
long been in this situation before two warriors entered, and 
with uplifted tomahawks seized and conducted him to the river. 
Supposing it was their intention to drown him, he was agreeably 
disappointed when they drew him into the water and led him safe 
to the opposite shore. Here he was stripped, and with his hands 
bound behind him, led to the Miami. village, where instantly a vast 
concourse of savages collected about him, the majority of whom 
were in favor of putting him to death. A tumultuous debate on 
the subject soon folloAved, during which two of his Canadian 
followers made their appearance to induce the chiefs to spare his 
life. The nephew of Pontiac, who possessed the bold spirit of his 
uncle, was also present and pointed out to the rabble the impro- 

the pleasure of the meeting was alloyed by the absence of another child, which had 
been taken from the mother and carried she knew not wither. Anxious days and 
Aveeks passed away, but no tidings of its fate were received. At leng-th the mother, 
almost frenzied with despair, discovered it in the arms of an Indian and seized it with 
irrepressible transports of joy. 

Young women, now the wives of warriors and the mothers of a mongrel offspring, 
were reluctantly brought into the presence of their white relatives ; and children 
whose long residence among their captors had obliterated the remembrance of former 
associations, struggled lustily to escape. With the returning army they were carried 
to the East, where they were visited by hundreds whose relatives had been abducted 
by the Indians. Among the fortunate seekers was a mother, who discovereu in the 
swarthy features of one of the rescued captives the altered lineaments of her daughter. 
The latter had almost forgotten her native tongue ; and making no response to the 
words of maternal endearment, the parent wept that the child she had so often sung 1 
to sleep on her knee had now forgotten her in old age. "The humanity of Bouquet 
suggested an expedient : Sing the songs you used to sing to her when a child. The 
old lady obeyed, and a sudden start, a look of bewilderment, and a passionate flood of 
tears restored the long lost daughter to the mother s arms." PARKMAN.] 


priety of putting him to death, when so many of their kindred 
were in the hands of the English at Detroit. He was accordingly 
released, but soon afterward again seized by a maddened chief and 
bound to a post. Young Pontiac, now more determined than ever, 
rode up and severing the cords with his hatchet, exclaimed : "I give 
this man his life. If any of you want English meat go to Detroit, 
or the lakes, and you will have plenty of it. What business have 
you with the Englishman, who has come to speak with us?"* 

The current of feeling now began to change in favor of sparing 
his life, and after having violently thrust him out of the village, 
they suffered him to return to the fort. Here the Canadians would 
have treated him Avith kindness, but were unable to do so without 
exposing themselves to the tierce resentments of the savages. 
Despite the inauspicious commencement of the journey, Morris 
was still desirous of completing it, but was notified by the Kieka- 
poos if he attempted to pass them they would certainly put him to 
death. He was also informed that a delegation of Shawnee war 
riors was on its way to the post for the same purpose. The same 
party, with a number of Delawares, had visited the Miamis a short 
time before the arrival of the embassy, to urge upon them the 
necessity of renewing hostilities, and much of the bad treatment 
to which he had been subjected was due to the feeling which they 
had engendered. From the fort they proceeded westward, spread 
ing the contagion of their hostile feelings among the tribes of 
Illinois, and other Indians, between the Ohio and Mississippi, 
declaring that they would fight the English as long as the sun 
furnished light for the continuance of the conflict. Thus it became 
evident that the Shawnees and Delawares had two sets of embass- 
adors, and while one was sent to sue for peace with Bouquet, the 
other was urging the neighboring tribes to renew the atrocities of 
war. Under these circumstances the further prosecution of the 
journey was impracticable, and at the earnest solicitation of his 
Indian and Canadian attendants, Morris decided to return. Sup 
posing that Bradstreet was still at Detroit, he made his way 
thither, but found that he had gone to Sandusky. Being too much 
exhausted to follow him, he sent a letter detailing his hardships 
among the Indians, and the unfavorable issue of the expe 

Hardly had Morris escaped from the dark forests of the Maumee 
before Pontiac was again in motion. Preceding his advance, a 
wave of tumultuous excitement swept westward to the Mississippi. 
M. Xeyon, commandant of Fort Chartres, in the meantime had 
retired, and St. Ange d Bellrive had taken upon himself the 
arduous duties of the vacated situation. Mobs of Illinois, and 
embassies from the Delawares, Shawnees, and Miamis, daily im 
portuned him for arms and ammunition, to be used against the 
English. The flag of France, which they had been taught to 
revere, still clung to the staff on the summit of the fort, and Illi 
nois was now the only sanctuary Avhich remained for them to 
defend. While thus actuated by feelings of patriotism there were 
other causes which gave intensity to their zeal. The whole region 
bordering the Mississippi was filled with French traders, who re 
garded the English as dangerous rivals and were ready to resort 
to any expedient which might be instrumental in their expulsion 



from the country. Using every calumny and falsehood that malice 
could suggest, to excite opposition to the objects of their jealousy, 
they now told the Indians that the English were endeavoring to 
stir up civil feuds among them, whereby they might fight and 
destroy each other. They still insisted that the long delayed 
armies of France would soon be in the country, and to keep alive 
this oft repeated falsehood the traders appeared frequently in 
French uniforms, representing themselves as embassadors of the 
King, and sent forged letters bearing the royal signature to 
Pontiac, urging him to persist in his efforts against the common 

As intimated, Pontiac, with 400 warriors, in the Autumn of 
17G4 crossed the Wabash to visit these tribes and give direction to 
their efforts. Unshaken amidst the ruin which threatened his 
race, with tireless energy he entered the villages of the Miamis, 
Kiekapoos, and Piankishas, and breathed into them his own 
unconquerable spirit. Receiving from them promises of co-opera 
tion, he next directed his course through trackless expanses of 
prairie verdure, to the homes of the Illinois. These Indians, repeat 
edly subdued by surrounding nations, had lost their Avarlike 
spirit, and were reprimanded by Pontiac for their want of zeal. 
Hastily collecting an assemblage, he told the cowering multitude 
that u he would consume them as the lire consumes the dry grass 
on the prairies if they hesitated in offering assistance." This 
summary method of dealing with the tardy savages drew from 
them unanimous assent to his views, and promises of assistance 
which the most warlike tribes would have been unable to perform. 
Leaving the Illinois, he hastened to Fort Chartres, and entered 
the council hall with a retinue of 400 warriors. Assuming the 
gravity and dignity characteristic of his race on public occasions. 
he addressed the commandant, as follows : 

"Father, we have long desired to see you, and enjoy the pleasure of taking 
you by the hand. While we refresh ourselves with the soothing incense of the 
friendly calumet, we will recall the battles fought by our warriors against the 
enemy which still seeks our overthrow. But while we speak of their valor 
and victories, let us not forget our fallen heroes, and with renewed resolves and 
more constant endeavors strive to avenge their death by the downfall of our 
enemies. Father, I love the French, and have led hither 1113 braves to main 
tain your authority and vindicate the insulted honor of France. But you must 
not longer remain inactive and suffer your red brothers to contend alone against 
the foe, w T ho seek our common destruction. We demand of you arms and 
warriors to assist us, and when the English dogs are driven into the sea, we 
will again in peace and happiness enjoy with you these fruitful forests and 
prairies, the noble heritage presented by the Great Spirit to our ancestors." 

St. Aiige , being unable to furnish him with men and munitions, 
offered in their stead compliments and good will. But Pontiac, 
regarding his mission too important to be thus rejected, com 
plained bitterly that he should receive such poor encouragement 
from those whose wrongs he was endeavoring to redress. His 
warriors pitched their lodges about the fort, and sueh were the 
manifestations of displeasure that the commandant apprehened 
an attack. Pontiac had previously caused his wives to prepare a 
belt of wampuu more than six feet in length, interwoven with the 
totems of the different tribes and villages still associated with him 
in the prosecution of the war. While at the fort this was assigned 
to a chosen band of warriors who were instructed to descend the 


Mississippi, and exhibiting it to the numerous nations living on 
its banks, exhort them to repel all attempts which the English 
might make to ascend the river. They were further required to 
call on the governor of New Orleans and obtain the assistance 
which 8t. Ange had refused. Pontiae, aware that the Mississippi 
on the south, and the Ohio on the east were the channels by which 
Illinois AY as most accessible to the English, wisely determined to 
interpose barriers to their approach by these great highways. 
Not long after the departure of his warriors, tidings were received 
at the fort which verified the sagacity and correctness of his anti 

The previous spring Major Loftus, with a force of 400 men, 
sailed from Fensacola to New Orleans, for the purpose of ascend 
ing the Mississippi and taking possession of Fort Chartres. Being 
embarked in unwieldy boats, his progress was slow, and when 
only a short distance above the town he was unexpectedly assailed 
by the warriors of Pontiae. They were fired upon from both sides 
of the river, which, swollen by a freshet, had inundated its banks 
and formed swampy labyrinths, from which it was impossible to 
dislodge the foe. Several soldiers were killed at the first discharge, 
and the terrified olficers immediately deciding a farther advance 
impossible, fell back to New Orleans. Here they found the merri 
ment of the French greatly excited at their discomfiture, which, 
it was alleged, had been caused by not more than 30 warriors. 
Loftus. smarting under the ridicule, boldly accused the governor 
of having been the author of his defeat, though there was not the 
si igl i test ground for such suspicion. As the result of fear, from 
which he had not yet recovered, he likewise conceived the idea 
that the Indians intended to attack him on his return on the river 
below, and petitioned the governor, Avhomhe had just accused of 
collusion with the savages, to interpose and prevent it. The 
French officer, with a look of contempt, agreed to furnish him 
with an escort of French solders, but Loftus, rejecting this humil 
iating offer, declared he only wanted an interpreter to confer with 
the Indians whom he should meet on the way. One was granted, 
and he sailed from Pensacola, leaving the forts of Illinois still in 
the hands of the French, but virtually controlled and protected 
by the warriors of Pontiae. After this abortive effort to reach 
Fort Chartres, Captain Pitman sailed from Mobile to make a sec 
ond attempt. Hearing in New Orleans the commotion excited 
among the savages by the messengers of Pontiae, he was deterred 
from proceeding openly without an escort. It however occurred 
to him that he might reach his destination in the guise of a 
Frenchman, by going with a company of Creole traders, but owing 
to the great danger of detection, this also was abandoned. 

In the meantime the ambassadors of Pontiae, true to the trust 
reposed in them, had traversed the immense forest solitudes, 
watered by the tortuous windings of the Mississippi, reeking 
with the deadly exhalations of poisonous marshes. Visiting the 
tribes scattered over this vast wilderness, even to the southern ex 
treme of Louisiana, whither the fame of Pontiae had preceded them, 
they infused into them a spirit of resistance to British encroach 
ments. Next repairing to New Orleans to demand military aid, 
they found the inhabitants excited over the transfer of their 
territory to the dominion of Spain. By a special provision New 


Orleans had not been included in the cession made to England 
east of the Mississippi, and now they had just learned that their 
parent country had transferred all her remaining possessions to 
the crown of Spain. The inhabitants cordially hated the Span 
iards, and their patriotic governor, mortified at the disgrace, be 
came the victim of a disease that shortly afterward caused his 
death. Bowed with disease and shame, he received the messen 
gers of Pontiac in the council hall of the town. Besides the 
French officials, a number of English officers were present at the 
interview. The orator of the Indian deputation Avas a Shawnee 
warrior, who, displaying the great belt of wainpurn and pointing 
to the English, said : 

" These red* dogs have crowded upon us more and more, and when we ask why 
they do it, we are told that you, our French fathers, have given them our land. 
But we know they have lied. These lands are neither yours nor theirs, and 
no man shall give or sell them without our consent. Fathers, we have always 
been your faithful children, and we have come to obtain from you arms to aid 
us in this war." 

After an ineffectual attempt by the governor to allay the animos 
ity expressed in the speech, and a promise to furnish them with 
supplies for their immediate wants, the council adjourned till the 
next day, When, however, it again assembled, the dying gover 
nor had breathed out his life. M. Aubrey, his successor, presided 
in his place. After one of the Indian orators, according to the 
solemn custom of his people, had expressed his regret for the sud 
den death of the governor, a Miami chief arose and said : 

"Since we last sat on these seats we have heard strange words. We hare 
learned that you, whom Ave have loved and served so well, have given these 
lands on which we dwell to our common foe. We have also ascertained that 
the English have forbidden you to send traders to our villages, and that you, 
whom we thought so great and brave, have obeyed their commands like 
women, leaving us to die and starve in misery. We now tell you again that 
these lands are ours, and moreover that we can live Avithout your aid and hunt 
and fish and fight as did our ancestors before us. All we ask is the gnus, the 
knives, and the hatchets we have worn out in fighting your battles." 

To these home-thrusts of Indian invective, M. Aubrey could 
make but a feeble reply. Presents were distributed among them, 
but produced no effect on the indignant warriors, and on the mor 
row they commenced their ascent of the great river. 

The great influence of Pontiac in Illinois convinced General 
Gage, the successor of General Amherst, that as long as the posts 
of Illinois remained in the hands of French officers and the nag of 
Trance was recognized in any part of the ceded territory, it would 
be impossible to eradicate from the minds of the Indians the phan 
tom of French assistance. He therefore determined to send a 
force westward of sufficient magnitude to overcome all opposition, 
and at once terminate the Avar, by removing the cause. After the 
repulse of Loftus the southern route to Illinois was regarded as 
impracticable, and it was decided to send the troops by way of the 
Ohio. George Croghan and Lieutenant Frazer, accompanied by a 
small escort, were sent in advance to prepare the Indians for the 
advent of the contemplated expedition. Croghan had for years 
been a trader among the western tribes, and by the aid of his 
manly character had won the respect of the savages, and was well 
fitted for the discharge of this important trust. The party set out 

Alluding to the red coats of the British soldiers 


for Fort Pitt in February, 17(55, and after having penetrated snow 
bound forests and mountain defiles during the rigors of a severe 
winter, they arrived safely at the fort. Here Croghan was de 
tained several weeks, for the purpose of having* a consultation 
with the Shawnees and Delawares, along whose southern border 
the expedition was to pass. In the meantime, fearing that the 
delay attending his negotiations might have a prejudicial effect 
upon the tribes of Illinois, he sent Frazer immediately forward to 
enter upon the important duties with which they had been en 
trusted. The icy blockade which during the winter had obstructed 
the navigation of the Ohio, now disappeared, and the party em 
barking in a canoe, descended with the current of the river near 
1,000 miles without encountering opposition. But when a landing 
was effected the followers of Pontiac were on hand, and he met 
with a reception similar to that accorded to Morris the previous 
autumn. Buffeted and threatened with death, he abandoned the 
object of his visit, and fled in disguise down the river to seek a 
refuge among the French. .The universal overthrow which had 
attended the efforts of the Indians in all the surrounding regions, 
caused them to look upon Illinois as sacred ground, and hence 
their determined efforts to prevent its desecration by the intru 
sion of their hated foe. 

The English, having thus far failed to effect an entrance into the 
country by force and negotiations, now determined to try their 
hand at conciliation. They had heard of the wonderful influence 
exerted over the savages in this way by the French, and concluded 
that their own efforts might be attended with similar results. For 
this purpose they secured the services of a Frenchman, and sent 
him up the river with a boat load of goods, which he was instructed 
to distribute among the Indians as presents from the English. 
Intelligence of this movement traveled far more rapidly than the 
supplies, and Pontiac determined that they should subserve his 
own interest and not that of his enemies. He, therefore, watched 
the arrival of the boat, and no sooner had a landing been effected 
than his men leaped aboard, and having flogged the Frenchman 
and his crew, distributed the goods among themselves. As was 
customary, these supplies were soon squandered with reckless 
prodigality, and the savages when pressed with want turned to the 
French for assistance. But the latter were now expecting the 
arrival of a British force to take possession of the country, and 
fearing that punishment might overtake them for past offences, 
concluded it best to withhold their assistance. St. Ange and other 
officers, also believing that their successors would soon arrive, 
informed them that henceforth they must look for supplies to the 
English, whose good will it was now their interest to cultivate. 

Hunger itself is more powerful than an " army with banners, n 
and when the savages saw other disasters equally appalling and 
imminent, the most resolute warriors began to hesitate in regard to 
the further prolongation of the struggle. Even Pontiac, whose 
masculine fibre and enduring fortitude the ordinary vicissitudes of 
war failed to affect, began to waver when he learned that the highest 
French dignitaries refused to grant him aid. The expectations 
which had so long nerved his arm were fast vanishing, and 
with a sorrowful heart he beheld the vast civil and military com 
binations he had formed, in a state of hopeless disintegration. 


Deserted by allies on every hand, there was no place of refuge 
whither he might fly for safety. In the south and west were fierce 
tribes, the hereditary enemies of his people ; from the east came 
an overwhelming 1 foe to engulf him, while the north, the home of 
his children and the scenes of his youthful activities and aspi 
rations, was under the guns of an impregnable fortress. At 
present, unable to extricate himself from the labyrinth of impend 
ing dangers, he was compelled to submit and wait a future day of 

Croghan, having completed his conference with the Indians at 
Fort Pitt, with his own men and a number of Delaware and Shaw- 
nee warriors, on the 15th of May, 1765, started down the Ohio. 
With little detention, he landed on the Illinois shore, a short dis 
tance below the month of the Wabash.* Soon after disembark 
ing, he was unexpectedly greeted by a shower of bullets proceed 
ing from tangled thickets on the banks of the river, whereby 5 of 
his men were killed and most of the remainder wounded. Imme 
diately following the explosion of musketry, 80 yelping Kickapoos 
rushed from their coverts, and disarming the English, took posses 
sion of all their personal effects. When thus rendered powerless, 
the assailants began to apologize for the dastardly attack. They 
declared to Croghan that the French had told them that his escort 
consisted of Cherokees, their mortal enemies, and that under this 
false impression, they had made the assault. This pretext was, 
however, another instance of the deception for which that tribe 
was distinguished. Though endeavoring to excuse their conduct 
on the plea of ignorance, it was afterward ascertained that they 
had dogged Croghan for several days, and knew well the charac 
ter of his escort. With less government over themselves than 
children, and tilled with the instinct of devils, their real object was 
to wreak Vengeance on the English and gratify a rabid desire for. 

Carefully guarded as a prisoner, Croghan was conducted np the 
Wabash to Yincennes, where, fortunately, lie met with a number 
of his former friends, who not only effected his release but sharply 
reprimanded his captors for their unjustifiable conduct. From 
Vincenues he was escorted farther up the river to Fort Watanon 
and entertained with much apparent cordiality by Indians with 
whom he had been previously acquainted. Here he spent several 
days in receiving and shaking hands with deputations of chiefs 
and warriors from the surrounding region, allot whom were appar 
ently anxious to be on friendly terms with the English, and 
expressed a desire for the return of peace. In contrast with these 
evidences of good will, a Frenchman arrived with a message from 
a chief living in Illinois, urging the Indians in the vicinity of the 
fort to put the English ambassador to death. Despite this mur- 
derous request, lie was assured by his savage friends that they 
w^ould not only protect his person, but assist in taking possession 
of the country where the hostile chief resided. Unexpectedly a 

*" On the 6th of June they arrived at the mouth of the AVabash. Here they found a 
breastwork, supposed to have been erected by Indians. Six miles further, they 
encamped at a place called the old Shawnee village, upon or near the present site 
of Shawneetown, which perpetuates its name. At this place they remained Bdays for 
the purpose of opening a friendly intevcouse and trade with the Wabash tribes ; and 
while here, Col. Croghan sent messengers with dispatches for Lord (Lieut. ?) Frazer 
who had gone from Fort Pitt as commandant at Fort Chartres, and also to M. St. Ange, 
the former French commandant. MONNET je, 1,346. 


messenger next came from St. Ange, requesting him to visit Fort 
Chartres and adjust affairs preparatory to his withdrawal from 
the fort. As this was in accordance with his intentions, he imme 
diately set out, but had not proceeded far before he was met by 
Pontiac and a numerous retinue of warriors. The chief had come 
to otter terms of peace, and Croghan returned with him to the fort 
for consultation. The chiefs and warriors of the surrounding 
nations also met in council, and Pontiac, in the presence of the 
multitude, introduced the pipe of peace and expressed his concur 
rence in the friendly sentiments which had been interchanged at 
the fort before his arrival. He declared that the French had misled 
him with the statement that the English proposed to stir up the 
Cherokees against his brethren of Illinois, and thus reduce them 
to servitude. The English, he agreed, might take possession of 
Fort Chartres and the other military posts, but sagaciously inti 
mated that the French had never purchased the lands of the 
Illinois, and as they lived on them by sufferance only, their suc 
cessors would have no legal right to their possession. The amicable 
feelings manifested by the Illinois chiefs who were present, 
obviated the necessity of his proceeding farther westward, and he 
next directed his attention to the tribes of the north-east. 

Accompanied by Pontiac he crossed to Fort Miami, and descend 
ing the Maumee, held conferences with the different tribes dwell ing 
in the immense forests which shelter the banks of the stream. 
Passing thence up the Detroit, he arrived at the fort on the 17th 
of August, where he found a vast concourse of neighboring tribes. 
The fear of punishment, and the long privations they had suffered 
from the suspension of the fur trade, had banished every thought 
of hostility, and all were anxious for peace and its attendant bless 
ings. After numerous interviews with different tribes in the old 
town hall, where Pontiac first essayed the execution of his 
treachery, Croghan called a final meeting on the 27th of August. 
Imitating the forest eloquence with which he had long been 
familiar, he thus addressed the convocation : 

" Children, we are very glad to see so many of you present at your ancient 
council fire, which has been neglected for some time past. Since then high 
winds have blown and raised heavy clouds over your country. I now, by this 
belt, re-kindle your ancient fires, and throw dry wood upon it, that the blaze 
may ascend to heaven, so that all nations may see it and know that you live in 
peace with your fathers, the English. By this belt I disperse all the black 
clouds from over your heads, that the sun may shine clear on your women 
and children, and that those unborn may enjoy the blessings of this general 
peace, now so happily settled between your fathers, the English, and you and 
all your younger brethren toward the sunsettiug." 

Pontiac replied: 

"Father, we have all smoked together out of this peace pipe, and as the 
Great Spirit has brought us together for good, I declare to all the nations that 
1 have made peace with the English. In the presence of all the tribes now 
assembled,! take the King of England for my father, and dedicate this pipe to 
iiis use, that thenceforth we may visit him and smoke together in peace." 

The object of Croghan s visit was now consummated, but before 
he departed he exacted from Pontiac a promise that the following 
spring he would repair to Oswego and enter into a treaty with Sir 
William Johnson, in behalf of the western nations associated with 
him in the war. 

u ln the meantime a hundred Highlanders of the 42d regiment, 
those veterans whose battle cry had echoed over the bloodiest 


fields of America, bad left Fort Pitt under command of Captain 
Stirling, and descending the Ohio undeterred by the rigor of the 
season, arrived at Chartres just as the snows of early winter began 
to whiten the naked forests. The Hag of France descended from 
the rampart, and with the stern courtesies of war St. Ange yielded 
up his post, the citadel of Illinois, to its new masters. In that 
act was consummated the double triumph of British power in 
America. England had crushed her hereditary foe ; France in her 
fall had left to irretrievable ruin the savage tribes to whom her 
policy and self-interest had lent a transient support."* The doomed 
nations were next to seal their submission to the power which had 
wrought their ruin, and British sway would be complete. 

Reminded of his promise to Croghan by the leafy drapery of 
summer, Pontiac repaired to Oswego, and for the last time appeared 
before the representatives of English sovereignty. In the midst 
of a large concourse, which the importance of the occasion had 
drawn together, he arose and said : "Father, we thank the Great 
Spirit who has given us this day of bright skies and genial warmth 
to consider the great affairs now before us. In his presence, and 
in behalf of all the nations toward the sunsetting, of which I am 
the master, I now take you by the hand. I call upon him to wit 
ness, that I have spoken from my heart, and in the name of the 
tribes which I represent, I promise to keep this covenant as long 
as I live." Having now fulfilled his promise, he retired from the 
scene of his humiliation with a sad heart. Before his fierce glance 
the vail which hides the present from the future was withdrawn, 
and he saw his people, deceived by intruding strangers, driven 
from the home of their ancestors and fleeing westward to perish 
on the desert with hunger. 

After the treaty he returned to the west, and for three years 
buried Ifis disappointment in the seclusion of its dark forests, 
providing as a common hunter for his family. In the earlier part 
of the year 1709, some slight disturbance occurred between the 
Indians of Illinois and some French traders living in and around 
St. Louis. Simultaneously Pontiac appeared in the excited region, 
but whether he was connected with the disturbance is not known. 
The English evidently regarded him with distrust, and determined 
to take his life to prevent a repetition of the bloody drama he had 
formerly enacted. Soon after his arrival he went to St. Louis and 
called on his old friend St. Ange, then in command of the Spanish 
garrison. For this purpose he arrayed himself in the uniform 
which had been presented him by Montcalm, and which he had the 
good taste never to wear except on important occasions. St. Ange 
and the principal inhabitants of the place gave him a cordial wel 
come, and exerted themselves to render his visit agreeable. He 
had been there but a few days when he heard that there was a 
social gathering of the Indians at Cahokia, on the opposite side 
of the river, and informed his friend that he would cross over and 
see what they were doing. St. Ange, aware of the danger he 
would encounter, endeavored to disuade him from his purpose, but 
the chief boasting that he was not afraid of the English, departed. 
At Cahokia he found the Indians engaged in a drunken carousal, 
and soon becoming intoxicated himself, started to the neighboring 
woods, and shortly afterward was heard singing magic songs, in 



the mystic influence of which he reposed the greatest confi 

There was an English trader in the village at the time, who, in 
common with the rest of his countrymen, regarded him with the 
greatest distrust, and while the oportunity was favorable deter 
mined to effect his destruction. He approached a vagabond Indian 
of the Kaskaskia tribe, and bribed him with a barrel of Avhiskey to 
execute his murderous intent. The assassin approached the woods, 
and at a favorable moment glided up behind the chief and buried 
his tomahawk in his brain. Thus base!} 7 terminated the carreer 
of the warrior, whose great natural endowments made him the 
greatest hero of his race, and with him ended their last great struggle 
to resist the inroads of civilized men. The body was soon found, 
and the village became a pandemonium of howling savages. His 
friends, worse than brutalized by their fiery potations, seized their 
arms to wreak vengeance on the perpetrator of the murder, but the 
Illinois, interposing in behalf of their countryman, drove them 
from the town. Foiled in their attempt to obtain retribution, they 
fled to the neighboring nations, and making known the momentous 
intelligence, a war of extermination was declared against the 
abettors of this crime. Swarms of Sacs, Foxes, Pottawatomies, 
and other northern tribes who had been fired by the eloquence of 
the martyred chief, descended to the plains of Illinois, and whole 
villages were extirpated to appease his shade.* St. Auge pro 
cured the body of his guest, and mindful of his former friendship 
buried it with the honors of war near the fort under his command 
at St. Louis. His proud mausoleum is the great city which has 
since risen above his unknown grave, and his loud requiem the din 
of industry and the tramp of thousands descended from the race 
he hated with such remorseless rancor. The forest solitudes 
through which he loved to wander have been swept away, his 
warriors are no more, and the rusty relics of their former existence 
can only be found in the cabinet of the antiquary, while the great 
river which floated only their frail canoes is now beat into foam by 
the powerful enginery of the passing steamboat. 

*It was at this time that the tragedy before described on the Hock of St. Louis was 
enacted, which has since been kuowu as "Starved Rock." 



Exodus of the French Their Dislike of English Laic, and 
Restoration of their Own by the Quebec Bill Land Grants by 
British Commandants Curious Indian Deeds Conditon of the 
Settlements in 1766, by Captain Pitman Brady s and Meillctte s 
Expeditions to the St. Joseph in 1777-78. 

It was on the 10th of October, 1765, that the ensign of France 
was replaced on the ramparts of Fort Chartres by the flag of Great 
Britain. At the time the colonies of the Atlantic seaboard were 
assembled in preliminary congress at New York, dreaming of lib 
erty and independence for the continent, while the great valley 
east of the Mississippi, with its broad rivers rushing from the 
mountains and gathering in the plain, its vast prairies unsurpassed 
for their wealth of soil, its boundless primeval forests with their 
deep solitudes, into which were presently to be summoned the 
eager millions of many tongues to build their happy homes, passed 
finally from the dominion of France under the yoke of Great 
Britain.* Besides being constructively a part of Florida for over 
100 years, during which time no Spaniard set foot upon her soil 
or rested his eye upon her beautful plains, Illinois, for nearly 90 
years, had been in the actual occupation of the French, their puny 
settlements slumbering quietly in colonial dependence on the far- 
off waters of the Kaskaskia, Illinois and Wabash. But the Anglo- 
Saxon had gained at last a permanent foot-hold on the banks of 
the great river, and a new life, instinct with energy and progress, 
was about to be infused into the country. 

M. Neyon de Yilliers, long the commandant of Fort Chartres, 
kept from the French, and particularly the Indians, so long as he 
could, a knowledge of the cession of the country to Great Britain 
by the treaty of Paris, and finally, when it had gained publicity 
and when the power and influence of the great Indian conspirator 
was broken, rather than dwell under the detested v flag of the con 
queror, he abandoned Illinois in the summer of 1764, followed by 
many of the inhabitants, to New Orleans. The command of the 
fort and country then devolved upon M. St. Ange de Bellerive, a 
veteran Canadian officer of rare tact and large experience, who, 40 
years prior, had escorted Chaiievoix through the West, the Jesuit 
traveler mentioning him with commendation. His position required 




skill and address to save his feeble colony from a renewed war 
with the English, and from a general massacre by the incensed 
hordes of savages under Pontiac surrounding him. By the home 
government he had been advised of the cession to the British, and 
ordered to surrender the country upon their arrival to claim it. 
By repeated embassies from Pontiac and from various warlike 
tribes toward the east, he was importuned for assistance against 
the English, and unceasingly tormented by the Illinois demand 
ing arms and ammunition. But in various dexterous ways, he put 
off from time the importunate savages with fair speeches and occa 
sional presents, while he anxiously awaited the coining of the British 
garrison to take possession and relieve him of his dilenma.* After 
the evacuation of Fort Chartres, he also retired from the country, 
conducting his feeble garrison of 21 soldiers to the infant settle 
ment of St. Louis, where, in the absence of any Spanish rule as 
yet, he continued to exercise the functions of his office with great 
satisfaction to the people until November, 1770, when his authority 
was superceded by Piernas, commandant under the Spanish gov 
ernment. By a secret treaty, ratified November 3, 1702, the king 
of France had ceded to the king of Spain all the territory west of the 
Mississippi to its remotest tributaries, including New Orleans ; but 
the civil jurisdiction of Spain was not enforced in Upper Louis 
iana until 1709.t Prior to his departure, with a fatherly care and 
benevolent intent, St. Ange instituted for those he left behind in 
Illinois some wise and salutory regulations regarding titles to 
their lands.f 

The exodus of the old Canadian French was large just prior and 
during the British occupation. Unwilling to dwell under the flag 
of their hereditary enemy, many, including some of the wealth 
iest families, removed with their slaves and other personal effects, 
mostly to Upper Louisiana, just across the Mississippi, and settled 
in the small hamlet of St. Genevieve. Others joined and aided 
Laclede in founding the present great city of St. Louis, the site of 
which had then but just been selected as a depot for the fur com 
pany of Louisiana. The number of inhabitants of foreign lineage 
residing in the Illinois settlements were estimated as follows: 
White men able to bear arms, 700 white women, 500 ; their chil 
dren, 850; negroes of both sexes, 900 ; total, 2,950. Bythehegira, 
one-third of the whites and a greater proportion of the blacks 
removed, leaving probably less than 2,000 souls at the commence 
ment of the British occupation, during which the influx did not 
more than keep pace with the efflux. Few English or Americans 
even visited the country under the British rule, and less settled. 
Scarcely an Anglo-Saxon (other than the British troops, traders, 
officers and favored land speculators) was seen there during 
this time, and until the conquest of Clark in 1778. 

Captain Sterling, of the 42d Royal Highlanders, brought out 
with him, and in taking possession of Fort Chartres, published 
the following proclamation : 

"By His Excellency, Thomas Gage, Major-General of the King s armies, 
Colonel of the 22d regiment, General commanding in chief all the forces of His 
Majesty in North America, etc., etc: 

*Seehis letter to Governor D Abbadie, Sept. 9th. 
tMonette s Valley of the Mississippi. 
^Peek s Annals of the West. 


"Whereas, by the peace concluded at Paris, on the 10th of February, 17G3, the 
country of the Illinois has been ceded to His Britannic Majesty, and the, taking 
possession of the said country of the Illinois by troops of His Majesty, though 
dela} r ed, has been determined upon, we have found it good to make known to 
the inhabitants 

"That His Majesty grants to the inhabitants of the Illinois the liberty of the 
Catholic religion, as it has already been granted to his subjects in Canada; he 
has consequently given the most precise and effective orders, to the end that 
his new Roman Catholic subjects of the Illinois may exercise the worship of 
their religion according to the rights of the Roman Church, in the same manner 
as in Canada; 

" That His Majesty, moreover, agrees that the French inhabitants, or others, 
who have been subjects of the Most Christian King, may retire in full safety 
and freedom, wherever they please, even to New Orleans, or any other part of 
Louisiana, although it should happen that the Spaniards take possession of it 
in the name of .His Catholic Majesty ; and they may sell their estate, provided 
it be to subjects of His Majesty, and transport their effects, as well as persons, 
without restraint upon their emigration, under any pretense whatever, except 
in consequence of debts or of criminal process; 

"That those who choose to retain their lands and become subjects of His 
Majesty, shall enjoy the same rights and privileges, the same security for their 
persons and effects and liberty of trade, as the old subjects of the King; 

"That they are commanded, by these presents, to take the oath of fidelity 
and obedience to His Majesty, in presence of Sieur Sterling, Captain of the 
Highland regiment, the bearer hereof, and furnished with our full powers for 
this purpose; 

" That we recommend forcibly to the inhabitants, to conduct themselves like 
good and faithful subjects, avoiding by a wise and prudent demeanor all cause 
of complaint against them ; 

" That they act in concert with His Majesty s officers, so that his troops may 
take peaceable possession of all the posts, and order be kept in the country ; by 
this means alone they will spare His Majesty the necessity of recurring to force 
of arms, and will find themselves saved from the scourge of a bloody war, and 
of all the evils which the march of an army into their country would draw 
after it." 

" We direct that these presents be read, published, and posted up in the 
usual places. 

" Done and given at Headquarters, New York. Signed with our hand, sealed 
with our seal at arms, and countersigned by our Secretary, this 30th of De 
cember, 1764. 


" By His Excellency: 


With such fair and liberal concessions, so well calculated to gain 
the favor and affection of the French, and stay their emigration, 
Captain Sterling began the government of this isolated colony. 
But it was destined to be of short duration. He died some three 
months after his arrival, leaving the office of commandant vacant. 
Under these circumstances their former beloved commandant, M. 
St. Ange, returned to Fort Chartres and discharged the duties of 
the office until a successor to Captain Sterling should be sent out. 
Major Frazer was next sent out from Fort Pitt. He exercised a 
brief but arbitrary power over the settlements, when he was re 
lieved by a Colonel Reed, who proved for the colonists a bad 
exchange. For 18 months he enacted the petty tyrant by a series 
of military oppressions over these feeble settlements, which were, 
by reason of their isolation, entirely without redress. He was, how 
ever, at last removed and succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Wil- 
kiiis, who arrived September 5, 1768. He brought orders for the 
establishment of a court of justice in Illinois for the administra 
tion of the laws and the adjustment and trial of all controversies 


existing between the people relating to debts or property, either 
real or personal. 

On the -Jlst of November, 1768, Col. Wilkins issued his procla 
mation for a civil administration of the laws of the country. For 
this purpose he appointed seven magistrates or judges, from 
among the people, as a civil tribunal, to hold monthly terms of 
court. The names of these first exponents of the principles of the 
common law of England upon the soil of Illinois, we are unable to 
transmit. A term of this court was held, commencing December 
6, 17G8, at Fort Chartres, which was the first common law juris 
diction ever exercised within the present limits of Illinois. Al 
though we call this a common law court, it was in point of fact a 
very nondescript affair. It was a court of first and last resort no 
appeal lay from it. It was the highest, as well as lowest the 
only court in the country. It proved anything but popular, and 
it is just possible that the honorable judges, themselves taken 
from among the i>eople, may not have been the most enlightened 
exponents of the law. The people were under the laws of England, 
but the trial by jury that great bulwark of the subject s right, 
coeval with the common law and reiterated in the British Consti 
tution the French mind was unable to appreciate, particu 
larly in civil trials. They thought it very inconsistent that the 
English should refer nice questions relating to the rights of 
property to a tribunal consisting of tailors, shoemakers or other 
artisans and tradespeople, for determination, rather than the 
judges learned in the law. While thus under the English admin 
istration civil jurisprudence was sought to be brought nearer to 
the people, where it should be, it failed, because, owing to the 
teachings and perhaps genius of the French mind, it could not be 
made of the people. For near 90 years had these settlements been 
ruled by the dicta and decisions of theocratic and military tribu 
nals, absolute in both civil and criminal cases, but, as may well be 
imagined, in a so remote, where there was neither wealth, 
culture nor fashion, all incentives tooppress the colony remained 
dormant, and the extraordinary powers of the priests and com 
mandants were exercised in a patriarchal spirit which gained the 
love and implicit confidence of the people. Believing that their 
rulers were ever right, they gave themselves 110 trouble or pains 
to review their acts. Indeed, many years later, when Illinois had 
passed under the jurisdiction of the United States, the perplexed 
inhabitants, unable to comprehend the to them complicated ma 
chinery of republicanism, begged to be delivered from the intoler 
able burden of self-government and again subjected to the will of 
a military commandant. 

In 1774 the English Parliament restored to the people their 
ancient laws in civil cases, without the trial by jury ; guaranteed 
the free exercise of their religion, and rehabilitated the Roman 
Catholic clergy with the privileges stipulated in the articles of 
capitulation of Montreal in 1700. The act was known as the 
"Quebec bill," which extended the boundaries of the province of 
Quebec to the Mississippi, including all the French inhabitants at 
Detroit, Mackinaw, 011 the Wabash, and in the Illinois country. 
Its object was to firmly attach these remote French colonies, as 
well as all Canada, to the English government, and to thwart the 
rising opposition of the colonies on the Atlantic seaboard to its 


policy. The latter strongly disapprobated it, viewing it as but 
another stroke of ministerial policy to secure the aid of the French 
toward their subjugation. The colonists were then openly arrayed 
against the arbitrary acts of the home government. At a conven 
tion held at Falmouth, Mass., September >, 1774, it was resolved 
that "As the very extraordinary and alarming act for establishing 
the Roman Catholic religion and French laws in Canada may 
introduce the French or Indians into our frontier towns, we recom 
mend that every town and individual in this country should be 
provided with a proper stock of military stores," etc. The French 
colonists, apprised of the bitter opposition of the English colonists 
to the Quebec bill, and believing that Puritanism was inclined to 
deprive them of the religious privileges granted by it, were bound 
the closer to the support of the government during the first years 
of the revolutionary war. It is asserted that the French supplied 
Indian war parties with arms and ammunition to commit depre 
dations upon the western frontiers of the English settlements.* 

After the acquisition of New France by Great Britain, the king, 
by his proclamation of October 7th, 1763, forbade his subjects 
"making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking pos 
session of any of the lands beyond the sources of any of the rivers 
which fall into the Atlantic ocean from the west or northwest." 
The policy was to reserve thisA ast and fertile region as a hunting 
ground for the Indians, and by means of the lakes place within 
British control their enormous fur and peltry trade ; to confine the 
English colonies to the seaboard within the reach of British ship 
ping, which would be more promotive of trade and commerce, 
while the granting of large bodies of land in the remote interior, it 
was apprehended, would tend to separate and render independent 
the people, who would want to set up for themselves.! 

Notwithstanding this policy of the home government, the most 
noticeable feature of Colonel Wilkins administration was the won 
derful liberality with which he parceled out the rich domain over 
which he ruled in large tracts to his favorites in Illinois, Philadel 
phia and elsewhere, without other consideration than the 
requiring of them to re-convey to him an interest. Under the 
proclamation of the king, dated October 7, 1763, the taking or pur 
chasing of lands from the Indians in any of the American colonies 
was strictly forbidden, without special leave or license being first 
obtained. In view of this prohibition, Colonel Wilkins and some 
others of the commanders during the British occupation of Illinois, 
from 1765 to 1775, seem to have considered the property of the 
French absentees as actually forfeited, and granted it away. But 
this transaction never received the sanction of the king ; by no 
official act was this property in any manner annexed to the Brit 
ish crown. True, under the laws of England, an alien could not 
hold land, yet to divest his title, and cause it to become escheated, 
a process in the nature of an inquisition was necessary. Did not 
the same rule apply in the case of a conquered country before the 
forfeiture of the lands of an absentee became complete? 

Colonel Wilkins grants amounted to many thousands of acres. 
One became afterwards somewhat notorious. This was made to 

Dillon s Ind. 90, 

+See letter of the Royal Governor of Georgia to the British Lords of Trade, 1769. 


John Baynton, Samuel Whartoii aud George Morgan, merchants 
of Philadelphia who, "trading in this country, have greatly con 
tributed to his majesty s service" "for range of cattle and for 
tilling grain," said to contain 13,980 acres, but the metes and 
bounds disclosed it to cover some 30,000 acres.* It was a mag 
nificent domain, lying between the villages of Kaskaskia and 
Prairie du Rocher, in the present county of Randolph. The con 
veyance opens and closes with the flourishes of the period : " John 
AVilkins, Esq., lieutenant colonel of his majesty s 18th, or royal 
regiment of Ireland, governor and commandant throughout the 
Illinois country, sends greeting," etc., etc., whereunto he " set his 
hand and seal-at-arins at Fort Chartres, this 12th day of April, in 
the ninth year of the reign of our sovereign, Lord George the Third, 
king of Great Britain, France and Ireland," etc., etc., 1709. A 
condition is annexed that "The foregoing be void if disapproved 
of by his majesty or the commander-in-chief." 

On the 25th of June following, at Fort Chartres, George Morgan 
and J. Ramsey executed an instrument of writing, reciting a 
number of grants besides the foregoing, together with the names 
of the grantees, wherein in consideration of Colonel John AYilkiiis, 
"the better to promote the said service, has agreed to be interested 
one .sixth part therein," they "engage that each of the before men 
tioned persons shall assign over to the whole, and to Colonel 
Wilkins, five-sixth, parts thereof," etc. For the better carrying 
out of their plans, the British officers, and their grantees perhaps, 
committed a wanton outrage on the records of the ancient French 
grants at Kaskaskia, destroying to a great extent their regular 
chain of title and conveyances.t 

By act of congress of 1788, the Governor of the Northwestern 
territory was authorized to confirm the possessions and titles of 
the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers on the 
public lands, who, on or before 1788, had professed themselves 
citizens of the United States, or any one of them. Governor St. 
Clair confirmed many of these grants in a very loose manner, 
sometimes by the bundle. But this British grant of 30,000 acres, 
which had been assigned to John Edgar, was patented by the 
Governor to Edgar and his (the Governor s) son, John Murray St. 
Clair, to whom Edgar, previous to the confirmation, had conveyed a 
moiety by deed. Much fault was found with this and many other 
transactions, and some grave charges were made by Mich aelJ ones 
and E. Backus, U. S. land commissioners for the district of Kas 
kaskia, as to the manner of obtaining confirmation of innumerable 
old land grants. But the title to the claim in question Avas after 
ward confirmed by the U. S. Government to Edgar and St. Clair, 
notwithstanding the adverse report of the commissioners. Edgar 
was for many years the largest land holder and richest man in 
Illinois. He had deserted the British naval service, and in 1784 
came to Kaskaskia with a stock of goods. 

At an Indian council held at Kaskaskia, in 1773, an association 
of English traders and merchants, styling themselves "Illinois 
Land Company," obtained, July 5th, from ten chiefs and head men 
of the Kaskaskias, Cahokias, and Peorias, by a curiously signed 
deed, two immense tracts of land, the first 

*American State Papers, vol. 11, Public Lands. 
tAm. State papers. 


"Beginning at the mouth of the Huron creek, called by the French the river 
of Mary, being about a league below the mouth of the Kaskaskia river; thence 
a northward of east course, in a direct line to the Hilly Plains, eight leagues or 
thereabouts, be the same more or less; thence the same course, in a direct line 
to the Crabtree Plains, seventeen leagues, or thereabouts, be the same more or 
less; thence the same course, in a direct line to a remarkable place known by 
the name of the Big Buffalo Hoofs, seventeen leagues, or thereabouts, be the 
same more or less; thence the same course, in a direct line to the Salt Lick 
creek, about seven leagues, be the same more or less ; thence crossing the said 
creek, about one league below the ancient Shawneestown, in an easterly 
or a to the north of east course, in a direct line to the river Ohio, about four 
leagues, be the same more or less; thence down the Ohio, by the several 
courses thereof, until it empties itself into the Mississippi, about thirty-five 
leagues, be the same more or less; and then up the Mississippi, by the several 
courses thereof, to the place of beginning, thirty-three leagues, or thereabouts, 
be the same more or less." 

This, it will be perceived by tracing the line, included ten or 
twelve of the most southerly counties in the State. 
The other tract was bounded as follows : 

"Beginning at a place or point in a direct line opposite to the mouth of the 
Missouri river ; thence up the Mississippi, by the several courses thereof, to 
the mouth of the Illinois river, about six leagues, be the same more or less; 
and then up the Illinois river, by the several courses thereof, to Chicagou or 
Garlick creek, about ninety leagues or thereabouts, be the same more or less ; 
then nearly a northerly course, in a direct line, to a certain place remarkable, 
being the ground on which an engagement or battle was fought, about forty 
or fifty years ago, between the Pewaria and Rinard Indians, about 50 leagues, 
be the same more or less; thence by the same course, in a direct line, to two 
remarkable hills, close together, in the middle of a large prairie or plain, about 
forty leagues, be the same more or less ; thence a north-east course, in a direct 
line, to a remarkable spring, known by the Indians by the name of Foggy 
Spring, about fourteen leagues, be the same more or less; thence in the sume 
course, in a direct line, to a great mountain to the northward of White Buffalo 
Plain, about fifteen leagues, be the same more or less; thence nearly a south 
west course, in a direct line, to the place of beginning, about forty leagues, be 
the same more or less." 

The consideration recited in the deed of conveyance was : 250 
blankets, 2(>0 stroudes, 350 shirts, 150 pairs of stroud and half 
thick stockings, 150 stroud breechcloths, 500 Ibs. of gunpowder, 
4,000 Ibs. of lead, 1 gross of knives, 30 Ibs. of vermilion, 2,000 
gunnints, 200 Ibs. of brass kettles, 200 Ibs. of tobacco, 3 doz. gilt 
looking-glasses, 1 gross gun worms, 2 gross awls, 1 gross tire 
steels, Iti doz. of gartering, 10,000 Ibs. of Sour, 500 bus. of Indian 
corn, 12 horses, 12 horned cattle, 20 bus. of salt, 20 guns, and 5 
shillings in money. This deed was duly signed by the Indian 
chiefs and attested by the names of ten persons, and was recorded 
in the office of a notary public at Kaskaskia, September 2d, 1773. 
The transaction was effected for the Illinois Land Company by a 
member named William Murray, then a trader in the Illinois 
country. There belonged to it two members in London, ten in 
Philadelphia, two in Lancaster, three in various counties of Penn 
sylvania, one in Pittsburg, and George Castler and James Kumsey, 
merchants of the Illinois country. The names indicate the members 
to have been mostly Jews. 

In 1775, Louis Viviat, a merchant of the Illinois country, acting 
as the agent of an association denominated the Wabash Land 
Company,* obtained by a deed dated October 18th, from eleven 
Piaunkeshaw chiefs, immense tracts of land lying on both sides of 

*We recognize in this company some of the same names as in the Illinois Company. 


the Ouabach river, one commencing at Cat river 52 leagues above 
Vincenues, to Point Coupee, with 40 leagues in width, on the east 
side and 30 leagues (90 miles) on the west side Illinois. Another 
tract, also on both sides of the river, beginning at the mouth of 
White river, to the Ohio, 50 leagues, and extending 40 leagues into 
Indiana and 30 into Illinois. The number of acres contained iu 
these grants was about 37,497,000. The consideration was much 
the same as recited in the other purchases. The deed was regis 
tered, as the other, at Kaskaskia. 

The title thus acquired to enormous bodies of fertile lands, was 
contrary to the King s proclamation, and at best imperfect. But 
it Avas the revolt of the colonies and the establishment of their 
independence that frustrated the schemes of these powerful com 
panies. Their grants might otherwise have been perfected by the 
King. In 1780 (April 29th), the two land companies effected a 
consolidation under the style of "The United Illinois and Wabash 
Land Companies." Through their agents they HOAV applied to 
congress repeatedly for a recognition and confirmation of their 
Indian grants, in part at least, their efforts running through a 
period of 30 years 1787, 1791, 1797, 1804 and 1810; but that body 
was firm, and all their applications were rejected. 

We here give some valuable extracts from an old English report 
of 108 pages, entitled, "The present state of the European Settle 
ments on the Mississippi," by Captain Phillip Pitman, published 
at London in 1770. Captain Pitman was engineer in the British 
army and was sent out to make a survey of the forts and report 
the condition of the villages and improvements in these newly 
acquired territories of the British crown. This work is a docu 
ment of rare value, filling up, as it does in a measure, a hiatus 
in Illinois history for which there are no other authentic sources 
of information. He visited Illinois in 170G. Of Kaskaskia, he 
gives the following description : 

" The village of Notre Dame de Cascasquias is by far the most considerable 
settlement in the country of the Illinois, as well from its number of inhabi 
tants as from its advantageous situation. * * 

" Mons. Paget was the first who introduced water-mills in this country, and 
he constructed a very fine one on the river Cascasquias, which was both for 
grinding corn and sawing boards. It lies about one mile from the village. 
The mill proved fatal to him, being killed as he was working it, with two 
negroes, by a party of the Cherokees, in the year 1764. 

" The principal buildings are the church and Jesuits House, which has a 
small chapel adjoining it; these, as well as some other houses in the village, 
are built of stone, and, considering this part of the world, make a very good 
appearance. The Jesuits plantation consisted of 240 arpents (an arpeut is 
85-100 of an acre) of cultivated land, a very good stock of cattle, and a brewery ; 
which was sold by the French commandant, after the country was ceded to the 
English, for the crown, in consequence of the suppression of the order. 

" Mons. Beauvais was the purchaser, who is the richest of the English sub 
jects in this country; he keeps 80 slaves; he furnishes 86,000 weight of flour to 
the King s magazine, which was only part of the harvest he reaped in one year. 
Sixty-five families reside in this village, beside merchants, other casual people, 
and slaves. The fort, which was burnt down hi October, 1766, stood on the 
summit of a high rock opposite the village and 011 the opposite side of the 
river. It was an oblong quadrangle, of which the extreme polygon measured 
290 by 251 feet. It was built of very thick square timber, and dove-tailed at 
the angles. An officer and twenty soldiers are quartered in the village. The 
officer governs the inhabitants, under the direction of the commandant at 
Fort Chartres. Here are also two companies of militia." 


Prairie du Eoclier " La Prairie des Bodies" is described as 

"About 17 [14] miles from Cascasquias. It is a small village, consisting of 
22 dwelling houses, all of which are inhabited by as many families. Here is a 
little chapel, formerly a chapel of ease to the church at Fort Chartres. The 
inhabitants are very industrious, and raise a great deal of corn and every kind 
of stock. The village is two miles from Fort Chartres. [This was Little 
Village, which was a mile or more nearer than the Fort.] It takes its name 
from its situation, being built under a rock that runs parallel with the river. 
Mississsippi at a league distance, for 40 miles up. Here is a company of militia, 
the Captain of which regulates the police of the village. 

" Sahit Phillipe is a small village about five miles from Fort Chartres, on the 
road to Kaoquias. There are about sixteen houses and a small church standing ; 
all of the inhabitants, except the Captain of the militia, deserted it in 1765, and 
went to the French side, (Missouri.) The Captain of the militia has about 
twenty slaves, a good stock of cattle, and a water-mill for corn and planks. 
This village stands on a very fine meadow, about one mile from the Mis 

" The village of Saint Fainille de Kaoquias (Cahokia) is generally reckoned 
fifteen leagues from Fort Chartres and six leagues below the mouth of the 
Missouri. It stands near the side of the Mississippi, and is marked from 
the river by an island (Duncan s) two leagues long. The village is opposite 
the center of this island ; it is long and straggling, being three-fourths of a mile 
from one end to the other. It contains forty-five dwelling houses, and a church 
near its center. The situation is not well chosen, as in the floods it is generally 
overflowed two or three feet deep. This was the first settlem nt on the Mis- 
sissipoi. The land was purchased of the savages by a few Canadians, some of 
whom married women of the Kaoquias nation, and others brought wives from 
Canada, and then resided there, leaving their children to succeed them. The 
inhabitants of this place depend more on hunting and their Indian trade than 
on agriculture, as they scarcely raise corn enough for their own consumption ; 
they have a great plenty of poultry and good stocks of horned cattle. 

The mission of St. Sulpice had a very fine plantation here, and an excellent 
house built on it. They sold this estate, and a very good mill for corn and 
planks, to a Frenchman who chose to remain uncler the English government. 
They also^disposed of thirty negroes* and a good stock of cattle to different 
people in "the country, and returned to France in 1764. What is called the 
fart, is a small house standing in the center of the village. It differs nothing 
from the other houses, except in being one of the poorest. It was formerly 
inclosed with high palisades, but these were torn down and burnt. Indeed a 
fort at this place could be of but little use." 

Begardiug the soil, products and commerce, of the colony, Pitt- 
mail says: 

" The soil of this country, in general, is very rich and luxuriant ; it produces 
all kinds of European grains, hops, hemp, flax, cotton and tobacco, and 
European fruits come to great perfection. The inhabitants make wine of the 
wild grapes, which is very inebriating, and is, in color and taste, very like the 
red wine of Provence. 

In the late wars, New Orleans and the lower parts of Louisiana were sup 
plied with flour, beef, wines, hams and other provisions, from this country. At 
present its commerce is mostly confined to the peltry and furs, which are got 
in traffic from the Indians ; for which are received in return such European 
commodities as are necessary to carry on that commerce and the support of its 

Of the Indians, he says : 

" The principal Indian nations in this country are, the Cascasquias, Kaho- 
quias, Mitchigamias, and Peoyas ; these four tribes are generally called the 
Illinois Indians. Except in the hunting seasons, they reside near the English 
settlements in this country. They are a poor, debauched, and detestable 
people. They count about 350 warriors. The Panquichas. Mascoutins, Mi- 
amies, Kickapous, and Pyatonons, though not very numerous, are a brave and 
warlike people." 

Of old Fort Chartres, the strongest fortress in the Mississippi 
valley, which was re-built by the French government in 1756, 


during the French and English war in America, Captain Pitman 
furnishes the following description: 

" Fort Chartres, when it belonged to France, was the seat of the government 
of the Illinois. The headquarters of the English commanding officer is now 
here, who, in fact, is the arbitrary governor of the country. The fort is an 
irregular quadrangle; the sides of the exterior polygon are 490 feet. It is 
built of stone, and plastered over, and is only designed as a defense against the 
Indians. The walls are two feet two inches thick, and are pierced with loop 
holes at regular distances, and with two port-holes for cannon in the facies and 
two in the flanks of each bastion. The ditch has never been finished. The 
entrance to the fort is through a very handsome rustic gate. Within the walls 
is a banquette raised three feet, for the men to stand on when they fire through 
the loop holes. The buildings within the fort are, a commandant s and a com 
missary s house, the magazine of stores, corps de garde, and two barracks ; 
these occupy the square. Within the gorges of the bastion are a powder mag 
azine, a bake house, and a prison, in the floor of which are four dungeons, and 
in the upper, two rooms, and an out-house belonging to the commandant. The 
commandant s house is thirty-two yards long and ten broad, and contains a 
kitchen, a dining-room, a bed-chamber, one small room, five closets for serv 
ants, and a cellar. The commissary s house (now occupied by officers) is built 
on the same line as this, and its proportion and the distribution of its apart 
ments are the same. Opposite these are the store-house and the guard-house ; 
they are each thirty yards long and eight broad. The former consists of two 
large store-rooms, (under which is a la~ge vaulted cellar,) a large room, a bed 
chamber, and a closet for the store-keeper ; the latter of a soldiers and officers 
guard-room, a chapel, a bed-chamber, a closet for the chaplain, and an artillery 
store-room. The lines of barracks have never been finished ; they at present 
consist of two rooms each for officers, and three for soldiers; they are each 
twenty feet square, and have betwixt a small passage. There are fine spacious 
lefts over each building which reach from end to end ; these are made use of to 
lodge regimental stores, working and entrenching tools, &c. It is generally 
believed that this is the most convenient and best built fort in North America. 
* * * In the year 1764, there were about forty families in the village near 
the fort, and a parish church, seived by a Franciscan friar, dedicated to St. 
Anne. In the following year, when the English took possession of the coun 
try, they abandoned their houses, except three or four families, and settled in 
the villages en the west side of the Mississippi, choosing to continue under the 
French government." 

Iii 1756, when the fort was rebuilt, the intervening distance 
to the bank of the Mississippi was some 900 yards. A sand bar 
was forming opposite, to which the river was fordable. At the 
time of Captain Pitman s visit, the current had cut the bank away 
to within 80 yards of the fort, the sand bar had become an island 
covered with a thick growth of cottonwoods, and the intervening 
channel was 40 feet deep. The great freshet of 1772, which inun- , 
dated the American Bottom, produced such havoc upon the bank 
that the west walls and 2 bastions were precipitated into the rag 
ing current of the mighty river. The British garrison abandoned 
it and and took up their quarters at Fort Gage, on the bluff of the 
Kaskaskia, opposite the ancient village of that name, to which the 
seat of government was removed. Since then the great citadel of 
New France has-been a ruin. Those of its walls which escaped 
destruction by the flood, were in great part hauled away by 
the neighboring villagers for building purposes. In 1820 the 
ruins were visited by Dr. Lewis C. Beck and Mr. Hanson of 
Illinois, who made an accurate drawing of the plan for the Illinois 
and Missouri Gazetter. Many of the rooms, cellars, parts of the 
walls, showing the opening for the large gate, port-holes, &c., were 
still found in a tolerable state of preservation. The exterior line 
of the walls measured 1447 feet. By 1850, a dense forest sur- 


rounded and covered the ruins, and trees, 3 feet in diameter, had 
grown up within the crumbling Avails.* 

Fort Gage, which continued to be the headquarters of the Brit 
ish while they occupied the country, was, in shape, an oblong par 
allelogram, 280 by 251 feet, built of large squared timbers. In 1772 
the British garrison consisted of only 20 soldiers and an officer. 
In the village of Kaskaskia were organized 2 small companies of 
.well disciplined French militia. When George Rogers Clark, in. 
1778, effected the bloodless conquest of Illinois, not a British sol- 
dier was on garrison duty in the country. M. Bocheblave, a French 
man, was in command as the British governor. He occupied Fort 
Gage, and in Kaskaskia the French militia was kept in good order. 
We iiud no chronicle of how long Colonel Wilkins remained in 
command, or when the last remnant of the British garrison took up 
its line of departure. It is highly probable that these withdrawals 
were made with the breaking out of the war of the revolution. 

The Illinois French were remote from the main theatre of the 
revolutionary Avar; and while they had perhaps little sympathy 
with the object for Avhich the colonies struggled, their hatred of 
their hereditary foe Avas active. In 1777, Thomas Brady, whom 
they commonly called " Monsieur Tom, " a courageous and enter 
prising Pennsylvanian who had wandered out to Cahokia, organized 
there and at Prairie du Pont a band of 10 A T olunteers, and in Octo 
ber, proceeding to the British post on the St. Joseph in Michigan, 
surprised and attacked the fort in the night time, defeating the 
garrison of 21 men. A negro slave who had escaped from the 
French in Illinois, was killed in his flight. A large quantity of 
goods for the Indian trade, fell into the hands of the victors, which 
doubtless had been one incentive to the expedition. With these, 
their homeward journey was retarded, and the British traders, 
having rallied the soldiers and stirred up the Indians, with a large 
force made pursuit and fell upon the camp of the marauders on 
the Calumet in the night time, killing 2, wounding 2 more (who 
were afterward dispatched with the tomahawk) and made prisoners 
of the rest. Brady, in being sent East, effected his escaped, and 
later returned to Cahokia, where he married the celebrated widow 

The following year, while Colonel Clark was conducting his 
expedition against Kaskaskia, Paulette Meillet, the founder 
of Peoria, which Avas then called Lav-Hie a Meillet, who was 
a remarkable character for bravery, brutality and enterprise, 
burning to avenge the disaster of Brady s party, in which Avere 
many of his relatives, assembled about 300 warriors, red, white 
and mixed, and marched thence to St. Joseph. On the Avay, 
through the broad praries on foot under the rays of the summer s 
sun, M. Amlin, one of his men, exhausted with fatigue, gave out. 
Celerity and secrecy being essential to success, and unwilling to be 
encumbered Avith the sick, the soldier fell a sacrifice to the toma 
hawk, sunk in his brain by the brutal commander. Amving at 
the post, the fort was surrounded, and, after an obstinate engage 
ment, the garrison surrendered and was permitted to retire to Canada. 
The prisoners of Brady s party were released, and the stores of 
merchandise, said to have amounted to $50,000, were brought away 
to Peoria.t 

.Reynold s Pioneer History. tSee Peck s Annals of the West. 




While the colonists of the east were maintaining a fierce struggle 
with the armies of England, their western frontiers were ravaged 
by merciless butcheries of Indian warfare. The jealousy of the 
savage had been aroused to action by the rapid extension of 
American settlements westward and the improper influence exerted 
by a number of military posts garrisoned by British troops in 
different parts of the west. To prevent indiscriminate slaughters 
arising from these causes Illinois became the theatre of some of the 
most daring exploits connected with American history. The hero 
of these achievements by which this beautiful land was snatched 
as a gem from the British crown, was George Rogers Clark. He 
w r as born in Albemarle county, Virginia, November 19, 1752, and 
like his great cotemporary of the Revolution in his youth studied 
and practiced the art of surveying land. The manly exercise con 
nected with the original surveys of the country seemed to create a 
partiality for the adventurous exposure of military life. Little is 
known in regard to Clark s early history. It is said he became a 
proficient in geography and devoted considerable time to the study 
of mathematics, but owing to the imperfect conditTon of the schools 
and the exciting times of his youth, the presumption is that his 
education was confined to the useful rather than ornamental 
branches of learning. Shortly after attaining his majority he en 
listed as a staff officer in Governor Dunm ore s war and with many 
other daring spirits of the times was present in the campaign of 
1774 on the river Scioto. For nieretorious conduct he was offered a 
commission in the royal service which, owing to the unfriendly feel 
ing then existing between the colonists and the mother country and 
unsatisfactory termination of the war, he declined. Dunmore 
became apprehensive that the colonists would rebel, and it was 
believed by Washington and others that he was instructed to so 
treat with the Indians that he could use them as allies in case of 

A spirit for adventure being awakened in the mind of young 
Clark by the war in 1775 he visited the wilds of Kentucky. Here 
he found the pioneers in a state of excitement as to whether the 
country on the south side of the Kentucky river was a part of the 
territory of Kentucky or Virginia. At the suggestion of Clark a 
meeting was called for considering the subject and devising 
the best means of remedying the perplexed state of affairs. The 
meeting was duly held and a paper prepared setting forth their 
grievances, and Clark and Gabriel Jones were appointed to lay it 



before the legislature of Virginia. The envoys started on their 
journey, and after suffering the most distressing hardships arrived 
at the county of Bottetourt where they heard that the legislature 
had just adjourned. At the reception of this news Gabriel Jones 
returned to the settlement on the Holstein river and Clark pro 
ceeded on his way to Hanover county, where he found Governor 
Henry lying sick at his private residence. Clark made known to 
him the object of his visit, which the executive cordially ap 
proved, and to further his views gave him a letter to the council 
for further consideration. At the fall term of the Legislature of 
1776, Clark and Jones presented their Kentucky petition to that 
body, and despite the efforts of Henderson and other Xorth Caro 
lina land speculators, the disputed territory was erected into the 
county of Kentucky, which embraced the limits of the present 
State of the same name. In addition to this political recognition, 
the parent State gave 500 Ibs. of powder for the defense of the 
isolated settlement, a gift which now seems small, but then looked 
large, for the tremendous struggle of the revolution demanded all 
the energies of the donor to protect her own people and firesides 
from the ravages of the enemy. 

Clark s great services for Kentucky and the good will inspired 
by his manly appearance and genial manners induced the pioneers 
to place him at the head of their irregular militia, and he soon 
instituted such effective means of defense that in all the fierce 
conflicts with the savages, which gave Kentucky the name of 
"Bloody Ground, 7 his valor was more than equal to the emergency. 
Intimately acquainted with the progress of colonization west of 
the Alleghanies, he was the first to fully comprehend the advan 
tages which would arise from the extension of American conquest 
to the banks of the Mississippi. While associated with the mili 
tary operations in Kentucky, his sagacity enabled him to trace the 
Indian ravages tg the instigations of British emissaries at Kas- 
kaskia, Vincennes, Detroit and other places in their possession. 
These remote posts furnished the Indians with clothing and mili 
tary stores, and Clark believing that their capture was the only 
possible way to abate the evils caused by their sav.age allies, sent 
two spies by the name of Moore and Dunn, to learn the nature of 
their defences. They having made observations returned and re 
ported that their militia was well organized and active ; that the 
predatory excursions of the Indians were encouraged by the British 
authorities and that notwithstanding British agents had endeavored 
by misrepresentation to prejudice the minds of the French inhab 
itants against the colonists many of them were evidently in favor 
of their cause and interests. Clark, furnished with this" informa 
tion, again started to Virginia to make known to the government 
his plans respecting the subjugation of these British outposts. 
While on the road thither, fortunately for the enterprise which he 
had in view, the battle of Saratoga was fought, and resulting in- 
victory to the Americans, prepared the public mind for a more 
spirited prosecution of the war. On reaching the capital, Clark s 
impressive representations captivated the mind of Governor Henry 
with the idea of subduing these British strongholds in the centre 
of their savage confederates. The enterprise, however, was re 
garded as extremely hazardous, and so great was secrecy indis 
pensable to success that it was r-ot deemed prudent to entrust the 


direction of it to the legislature. Being interrogated by Jefferson as 
to what he Avould do in case of defeat, lie replied "cross the Missis 
sippi and seek the protection of the Spaniards." The plan was so 
thoroughly digested that the approbation of the council was readily 
obtained, and to secure men, George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson and 
George Mason pledged themselves, if the enterprise was successful, 
to use their influence to secure a bounty of 300 acres of land for 
every one engaged in the service. Governor Henry gave him 1200 
pounds in depreciated currency, and an order on the commandant 
of Ft. Pitt for ammunition boats, and other necessary equipments. 
He also furnished instructions, one set authorizing him to enlist 7 
companies of 50 men each for the defense of Kentucky, and the 
other was drawn as follows : 

" Lieut. Colonel George Rogers Clark : 

"Yon are to proceed with all convenient speed to raise 7 companies of soldiers, 
to consist of 50 men each, officered in the usual manner, and armed most prop 
erly for the enterprise; and with this force attack the British force at Kaskas 
kia. It, is conjectured that there are many pieces of cannon, and military stores 
to a considerable amount at that place, the taking and preservation of which 
would be a valuable acquisition to the state. If you are so fortunate, therefore, 
as to succeed in your expedition, you will take every possible measure to 
secure the artillery and stores, and whatever may advantage the state. For the 
transportation of the troops, provision s% etc., down the Ohio, you are to apply 
to the commanding officer at Fort Pitt for boats, and during the whole trans 
action you are to take especial care to keep the true destination of your force 
secret ; its success depends upon this. Orders are, therefore, given to Captain 
Smith to secure the two rnen from Kaskaskia. It is earnestly desired that 
you show humanity to such British subjects and other persons as fall into your 
hands. If the white inhabitants of that post and neighborhood will give un 
doubted evidence of their attachment to this state, for it is certain they 
live within its limits, by taking the test prescribed by law, and by every other 
way and means in their power, let them be treated as fellow-citizens, and their 
persons and property be duly respected. Assistance and protection against all 
enemies, whatever, shall be afforded them, and the commonwealth of Virginia 
is pledged to accomplish it. But if these people will not accede to these reason 
able demands, they must feel the consequences of war, under that direction of 
humanity that has hitherto distinguished Americans, and which it is expected 
you will ever consider as the rule of your conduct, and from which you are in no 
instance to depart. The corps you are to command are to receive the pay and 
allowance of militia, and to act under the laws and regulations of this state 
now in force as to militia. The inhabitants of this post will be informed by you 
that in case they accede to the offers of becoming citizens of this common 
wealth, a proper garrison will be maintained amcng them, and every attention 
bestowed to render their commerce beneficial ; the fairest prospects being opened 
to the dominions of France and Spain. It is in contemplation to establish a 
post near the mouth of the Ohio. Cannon will be wanted to fortify it. Part 
of those at Kaskaskia will be easily brought thither, or otherwise secured as 
circumstances make necessary. You are to apply to General Hand, at Pitts- 
burg, for powder and lead necessary for this expedition. If he cannot supply 
it, the person who has that which Captain Sims brought from New Orleans 
can. Lead was sent to Hampshire, by my orders, and that may be delivered to 
you. Wishing you success, I am your humble servant, 

P. HENKY. " 

These instructions breathe a generosity and humanity in strik 
ing contrast with the spirit of the British government, whose 
minions were suffering our soldiers to perish by thousands in 
prison-ships for the want of food and offering bounties to encour 
age the merciless savages to murder and scalp our helpless women 
and children. It was thought best to raise the requisite number 
of troops west of the Alleghanies, as the colonies needed all the 


available forces of the east for the Atlantic defences. To enlist 
men Major William B. Smith went to the settlement of the Hoi- 
stein, and for the same purpose Captains Leonard Helm and Joseph 
Bowman visited other localities. Clark proposed to get assist 
ance at Pittsburg, but on account of jealousy arising from the 
rival claims of Pennsylvania and Virginia to the dominion of the 
Kentucky settlements, he was unsuccessful, and the latter colony 
furnished the troops. His real destination being unknown, many 
thought it would be better to remove the Kentuckiaiis than to 
attempt their defence while their own citadels and the whole 
country round them was threatened by the savage confederates of 
England. Clark in the meantime being informed that Major 
Smith had raised 4 companies, and that Captains Helm and Bow 
man would join him with two others at Brownsville, on the 
Monongahela, made no further attempts to secure enlistments at 
Fort Pitt. Major Smith s men were to go by way of Cumberland 
Gap to Kentucky, and Clark, Avith the other troops, amounting to 
300 men and a number of private adventurers, commenced the 
descent of the Ohio. At the mouth of the great Kanawa he was 
besought by Captain Arbuckle, commanding the fort at the junc 
tion of the two rivers, for assistance in capturing a band of Indians 
Avlio had attacked him the preceding day. Thinking, however, his 
own enterprise was of greater moment, and wishing to strictly 
comply with his instructions, he continued on his course. He 
landed at the mouth of the Kentucky, with the intention of erect 
ing a fortification at that point, but after mature consideration 
abandoned it for a more favorable position farther westward, at 
the falls of the Ohio. While here, learning that of the 4 compa 
nies promised by Major Smith, Captain Dillard s alone had arrived 
in Kentucky, he wrote to Captain Bowman, informing him of his 
intention to establish a fort at the falls, and having in view an 
enterprise of the greatest importance to the country, requested him 
to repair thither with Major Smith s men, and as man} 7 more as 
could be spared from the frontier stations. At this place he for 
tified Corn Island, opposite Louisville, not only as a base of 
operations, but as a means of protecting boatmen, who, in pass 
ing the rapids, were frequently attacked and plundered by the 
Indians. When joined by Captain Bowman s party from Ken 
tucky, it was discovered that the withdrawal of his forces from the 
country left it to a great extent without protection, and therefore 
only a portion of them were engaged, with the understanding that 
when the remainder of Major Smith s men arrived the others should 
return for the defence of Kentucky. Clark now announced to his 
assembled forces the real destination of the expedition, and with 
the exception of Captain Dillard s company, the project met the 
enthusiastic approbation of the men. Lest desertions might occur 
in the disaffected company, the boats were secured and sentinels 
stationed at different points where the Ohio was supposed to be 
fordable. Notwithstanding these precautions, one of Captain 
Dillard s lieutenants and the most of the men, passing the senti 
nels unperceived, waded to the opposite shore and disappeared in 
the woods. A mounted party the next day was sent in pursuit of 
the fugitives, with orders to kill all who refused to return, and 
although overtaken 20 miles from the river, such was their vigil 
ance that only 8 were caught and brought back. " The disap- 


pointment caused by the loss of the men, 7 says Clark in his 
journal, "was cruel, and in its consequences alarming." The 
remainder of the deserters, dispersed in the woods to elude pur 
suit, suffered, the most intense privations, and when finally they 
readied Harrodsburg, the brave Kentuckians were so exasperated 
at the baseness of their conduct that for a long time they refused 
to admit them into their stations. The forces -were now about to 
separate, and in a day of rejoicing and mutual encouragement the 
heroes of the Kaskaskia expedition took leave of their friends who 
were to return for the defense of Kentucky. After the departure 
of the latter, Clark s little army, under the command of Captains 
Bowman, Helm, Harrod and Montgomery, only numbered 153 
men. Everything being in readiness, on the 24th of June, 1778, 
while the sun was in a total eclipse, he left the position which he 
had fortified and fell down the river. This phenomenon fixes the 
time of Clark s embarkation, and by the same means other impor 
tant events of history, the dates of which were wholly unknown, 
have been determined with perfect precision. Science in modern 
times has so far divested occurrences of this kind of the terrors 
which they excited in ancient armies, that among the men of the 
expedition but little importance was attached to the eclipse, as a 
harbinger for good or evil. 

All unnecessary baggage was left behind that they might not be 
encumbered in the difficult march which they proposed to make 
across the country, in order to reach unperceived the post which 
they designed to capture. Clark was anxious to make an assault 
upon the post of Vincennes, but the greater extent of the French 
settlements in Illinois, the prospect of securing them as allies if 
they were conquered, and the facility of retreat to the Spanish 
possessions beyond the Mississippi, in case of defeat, inclined him 
to the original plan of the campaign. While descending the river 
a letter was fortunately received from Colonel Campbell, of Fort 
Pitt, stating that an alliance had been entered into between France 
and the United States, and that the army and navy of the former 
were coming to our assistance. This information was calculated 
to make a favorable impression upon the French and Indians of 
Illinois, and therefore of the greatest importance to the successful 
termination of the expedition. Landing on an island at the mouth 
of the Tennessee, the guard stopped a man by the name of John 
Duff and a number of other American hunters, from whom they 
also had the good fortune to obtain valuable information respect 
ing the garrison at Kaskaskia. Duff and his party had recently 
been at that place, and he informed Clark that a French Canadian 
by the name of liocheblave was in command ; that he kept the 
militia well drilled; sentinels stationed on the Mississippi, and 
had ordered the hunters and Indians in their excursions through 
the country to watch for the rebels, or " Long Knives," as they 
designated the Virginians. They also stated the fort was kept in 
order as a place of retreat in case they were attacked ; that its de 
fence was attended to more for the purpose of military discipline 
than from any apprehensions of immediate danger, and that if 
any assault was anticipated, its great strength would enable the 
garrison to make a formidable resistance. The declaration of 
Moore -and Dunn respecting the fearful apprehensions with which 
the inhabitants regarded the Virginians was likewise corrobora- 


ted. Having obtained tlie hunters for guides, Clark dropped 
down the stream, and landing near Fort Massac, concealed the 
boats in a small creek emptying into the river. The distance from 
this point to Kaskaskia is 120 miles, and at that time the inter 
vening country was difficult to traverse, in consequence of streams, 
swamps and other obstructions. The expedition started across 
this tract in the direction of Kaskaskia, both leader and men 
sharing the vicissitudes incident to travel in the wilds of an un 
cultivated region. Success depended entirely upon secrecy, and 
to send out hunting parties in pursuit of game, upon which they 
mostly depended for subsistence, it was feared might be the 
means of discovery. 

On the third day, John Saunders, the principal guide, becoming 
bewildered and being unable to point out the course, suspicion was 
immediately excited in regard to his fidelity, and a cry arose among 
the men to put him to death. He, however, accompanied by a 
guard, was permitted to go to the adjoining prairie for further 
search, and was told unless he directed them into the hunters 7 
path leading to Kaskaskia, a road in consequence of having so fre 
quently traveled he could not easily forget, he should certainly be 
hung. After spending some time in examining the features of the 
country, he exclaimed : u I know that point of timber, n and point 
ing out the direction of Kaskaskia established his innocence. In 
the afternoon of the 4th of July, 1778, the invading party, \vith 
their garments worn and soiled, and beards of three weeks 
growth, approached the village where their long and wearisome 
journey terminated, and concealed themselves among the hills east 
of the Kaskaskia river. Clark sent out parties to reconnoitre, and 
at night-fall, a detachment took possession of a house f of a mile 
above the town, and on the west side of the river. From the family 
living in it, he learned that there were a great many men in town, 
that but few of them were Indians, and that the militia had 
recently been under arms, but no danger being discovered 
they were dismissed. Boats having been procured for transport 
ing the troops, the forces were divided into 3 parties ; 2 of which 
crossing to the west side of the river, were to proceed to different 
parts of the town, while the other, under Colonel Clark, was to 
capture the fort, on the east side. If Clark should be successful 
in securing the fort, at a given signal the other detachments, with 
a shout, were to take possession of the town and send heralds 
who could speak the French language, to warn the inhabitants 
that they would be shot down if they appeared in the street. 

Kaskaskia, at that time, contained about 250 houses, and the 
British officer, who had charge of the place after the revolt of the 
Atlantic colonies, endeavored to create in the minds of the unsus 
pecting French the most dreadful apprehensions respecting the 
ferocity and brutality of the " Long KniA^es ; " telling them that 
they not only plundered property but indiscriminately murdered 
men, women and children when they fell into their hands. The 
object of these falsehoods was to stimulate the people of these 
remote outposts to make a determined resistance in case they were 
attacked, and to induce them to supply the Indians with guns, 
ammunition and scalping knives to aid them in their depredations 
upon the Americans. Clark now wisely concluded if he could sur 
prise them fear would cause them to submit without resistance, 


and they would afterward become friendly from gratitude if treated 
with unexpected clemency. The plan of attack was successfully 
executed. Clark without resistance entered the fort through a 
postern gate on the side next to the river, and the others, passing 
into the village at both extremities with the most hideous outcries, 
alarmed the unsuspecting: inhabitants, who commenced screaming 
" the Long Knives, " u the Long Knives." In about two hours 
after the surprise, the townsmen, panic stricken, delivered up their 
arms, and though the victory was complete it had been obtained 
without shedding a drop of blood. The victors, in obedience 
orders, rendered the remainder of the night a pandemonium of 
tumult. This artifice as it prevented opposition and the effusion of 
blood, was the most innocent means that could have been resorted to 
to in order to be successful. M. Kocheblave, the British commadant, 
was not aware that he was a prisoner till an officer of the detachment 
which had entered the fort, penetrated to his bedroom and tapped 
him on the shoulder. The public papers were either concealed or 
destroyed. It was supposed that the governor s lady, presuming 
upon the deference which would be extended to her sex and rank, 
concealed them in her trunk, and such was the chivalry of these 
ancient Virginians that, although the papers were supposed to be 
valuable, they suffered her trunk to be removed without examina 

In seeking for information during the night, they learned that a 
considerable body of Indians was encamped near Cahokia, 50 
miles higher up the Mississippi, and that M. Cerre, the principal 
merchant of Kaskaskia and an inveterate hater of the American 
cause, was at St. Louis on his way to Quebec. This information 
respecting the intensity of his hatred was, perhaps, a misrepre 
sentation. None of the French inhabitants of Illinois were 
greatly attached to the British government, and it is probable that 
his unfriendly feeling was only the prejudice he, in common with 
the rest of his countrymen, entertained against the Virginians. 
His family and a large assortment of merchandise were then in 
Kaskaskia, and Clark thought that if these pledges were in his 
possession, he could render the influence of this opulent merchant 
available in case an emergency should occur in which he might 
need it. A guard was accordingly placed about his house and 
seals put on his property, and also on all the merchandise belong 
ing to other citizens of the place. 

On the 5th day Clark Avithdrew his forces from the town to posi 
tions around it, and to augment the gloomy forebodings which had 
already unnerved the inhabitants, he sternly forbade alt intercourse 
between them and his own men. After the removal of the troops 
the citizens were again permitted to appear in the streets, 
but when Clark perceived they assembled in groups and earnestly 
engaged in conversation, he caused some of the principal militia 
officersto be put in irons, without assigning any cause for the arrest 
or granting any opportunity for defense. This exhibition of arbi 
trary power did not spring from a despotic disposition or a 
disregard for the principles of liberty. No one excelled Clark in 
the respect which he entertained for the rights of others, and he 
keenly felt himself the hardships which the necessities of his situ 
ation compelled him to inflict upon those in his power. The terror 
hitherto intense now reached its climax, and when hope had nearly 


vanished Clark, who of all commanders had the clearest insight 
into human nature, granted an audience to the priest and five or 
six elderly men of the village. The shock which they received 
from the capture of their town, by an enemy which they regarded 
with so much horror, could only be equaled by their surprise when 
admitted to the presence of their captors. Their clothes were torn 
and soiled by the rough usage to which they had been exposed, and, 
as Clark says, they looked more frightful than savages. Their 
appearance, uncouth in the extreme, doubtless to the sensibility 
and refinement of the ancient French, seemed worse than the 
reality. After admission the deputatation remained sometime 
unable to speak and when at length their business was demanded 
they could not determine who should be addressed as commander 
so effectually had the hardships of the expedition obliterated the 
distinction between the chieftain and his men. Colonel Clark 
being pointed out, the priest in the most submissive tone and 
posture, said that "the people expected to be separated, perhaps 
never to meet again and they requested the privilege of meeting 
in the church to take leave of each other and commend their 
future lives to the protection of a merciful God." Clark, aware 
they suspected him of hostility to their religion, carelessly remarked 
that a the Americans did not interfere with the beliefs of others 
but let every one worship God according to his convictions of 
duty," that they might assemble in the church "but on no account 
must a single person venture outside of the village." Some farther 
conversation was attempted, but that the alarm might not abate it 
was roughly repelled, Clark abruptly informing them that he had 
not time for further intercourse. The entire population immediately 
convened in the church, and the houses being deserted orders were 
given that they should not under any pretext be entered by the 
soldiers, and that all private property should be honorably 
respected. After remaining in church a longtime the priest and a 
few others again called upon Colonel Clark, and expressed their 
thanks for the great favor which he had granted them and also a 
desire that he would inform them what disposition he proposed to 
make of the people. They stated that, owing to the remoteness of 
their situation they did not fully comprehend the nature of the 
contest between England and her colonies ; that their conduct had 
been influenced by British commanders whom they were constrained 
to obey, and that some of their citizens had expressed themselves 
in favor of the Americans, whenever the restraint to which they 
were subject would permit. They added, their present condition 
was the resuft of war and they were willing to submit to the loss 
of property, but begged that they might not be separated from 
their families, and that some food and clothing might be retained 
for their future support. 

Clark having now sufficiently wrought upon their fear, resolved 
to try the effect of lenity. "What P said he, abruptly addressing 
them, "do you mistake us for savages? Do you think Americans 
will strip women and children and take the bread out of their 
niouthsP "My countrymen," said the gallant colonel, "disdain to 
make war upon helpless innocence. It was to protect our own 
wives and children that we penetrated the wilderness and subju 
gated this stronghold of British and Indian barbarity, and not the 
despicable object of plunder. We do not war against Frenchmen 


The King of France, your former ruler, is the ally of the colonies ; 
his fleets and arms are fighting our battles, and the war must shortly 
terminate. Embrace which ever side you deem best, and enjoy 
your religion, for American law respects the believers of every 
creed and protects them in their rights. And now, to convince yon 
of my sincerity, go and inform the inhabitants that they can dismiss 
their fears concerning their property, and families that they can 
conduct themselves as usual, and that their friends who are in 
confinement shall immediately be released." The revulsion of 
feeling which followed this speech can better be imagined than 
described. The village seniors endeavored to apologize for the 
suspicion they had entertained, upon the supposition that the 
property of a captured town belongs to the conquerers, but Clark 
gently dispensing with all explanations desired them immediately 
relieve the anxiety of their friends and strictly comply with the 
terms of a proclamation which he was about to issue. The 
good news soon spread throughout the village ; the bell rang 
a merry peal and the people almost frantic with joy assembled in 
the church to thank God for their happy deliverance. Clark s 
anticipations were fully verified, the inhabitants were allowed all 
the liberty they could desire and all cheerfully submitted to him as 
the commandant of the village. 

An expedition was now planned against Cahokia, and several 
influential Kaskaskians voluntarily offered to accompany it. They 
assured Clark that the Cahokians were their kindred and friends, 
and that when the situation of Kaskaskia was explained to them 
they would be willing to change their political relations. Their 
offer was accepted, and Major Bowman and his company were 
selected as one party for the new conquest, and the other the 
French militia commanded by their former officers, the entire 
detachment being but little inferior in numbers to that which 
invaded the country. Mounted on horseback the expedition 
reached Cahokia before the surrender of Kaskaskia was known to 
the inhabitants. On being perceived, the cry of "the Long Knives, 
the Long Knives," as at Kaskaskia, created the most intense con 
sternation among the timid portion of the little community. As 
soon, however, as the new French allies could notify them of the 
change of government, this formidable appellation of the Virginians 
was changed to huzzas for freedom and the Americans. Major 
Bowman took possion of the fort without opposition; the Indian 
force in the vicinity was dispersed, and the inhabitants a few days 
afterward took the oath of allegiance. 

The success which had hitherto, attended the efforts of Clark 
greatly exceeded the means employed, but such were the compli 
cations of his position that he was compelled to use the greatest 
address in order to maintain it. He cultivated the most intimate 
relations with the Spanish on the west bank of the Mississippi, 
and instructed his men to create the impression that the head 
quarters of his army was at the Falls of the Ohio ; that reinforce 
ments were daily expected to arrive, and that when they came 
military operations would be resumed upon a more extended scale. 
This artifice enabled him to counteract the extensive influence of 
his adversaries, and ultimately triumph over their superior 


In the meantime M. Cerre, whose influence Clark had endeav 
ored to obtain by securing his property and family, became 
anxious to return to Kaskaskia. Fearing to place himself in the 
hands of the American officer without some protection, he pro 
cured letters of recommendation from the Spanish governor of St- 
Louis 7 and the commandant of St. Genevieve, with a view to ol>. 
taming a passport. Clark, however, refused his application, and 
intimated that it need not be repeated, as he understood that M. 
Cerre was a man of sense, and if he had not been guilty of encour 
aging Indian barbarities, he need not apprehend any danger. 
These sentiments having been communicated to M. Cerre, he im 
mediately repaired to Kaskaskia, and called upon Colonel Clark, 
who informed him that he was charged with inciting the Indians 
to plunder and murder the Americans, and that humanity required 
that such violators of honorable warfare should be punished 
according to the enormity of their crimes. The merchant, in reply 
to this accusation, said he challenged any man to prove that he 
had encouraged the depredations of the Indians, and that on the 
contrary, he could produce many witnesses who had heard him 
repeatedly condemn such cruelties in decided terms. lie further 
remarked that he never interfered in matters of state, except when 
his business demanded it; that he was not well acquainted with 
the nature of the contest in which the colonists were engaged, and 
that these charges were perhaps preferred by some of his debtors, 
who sought by this means a release from their obligations. Being 
willing to submit to an examination in the presence of his accus 
ers, Clark requested him to retire to another room, while he sum 
moned them to appear. In a short time they came in, followed by 
a large part of the inhabitants, but when M. Cerre was brought 
into their midst they were confounded. Clark told them that he 
was unwilling to condemn any one without a trial ; that M. Cerre 
was now in their presence, and if they found him guilty of the 
alleged crime he should be summarily punished. At the conclu 
sion of these remarks, the witnesses commenced whispering with 
each other and retiring, till only 1 out of 7 was left. He being 
called on for his proof, replied that he had none, and M. Cerre was 
thus honorably acquitted. His friends and neighbors congratu 
lated him upon the happy termination of the trial, and Clark 
informed him that although it was desirable he should become an 
American citizen, yet if he was not inclined to do so ? he was at 
liberty to dispose of his property and remove from the village. 
M. Cerre was so pleased with the equitable and generous treat 
ment which he had received at the hands of the American com 
mander, he immediately took the oath of allegiance and thereafter 
remained the staunch friend of the new political power which he 

Clark never resorted to artifice or punishment except when he 
could make it conducive to the public good. In the cases narra 
ted he kept up the appearance of rigor with the view to enhancing 
the favors which policy and the magnanimity of his own disposi 
tion inclined him to grant. So adroit had been his management 
that he subdued without bloodshed all the French settlements 
within the present boundaries of Illinois. The captures, as we 
shall have occasion to show, were fraught with great consequences 
to the nation, and does it speak less honorably for him who, with 


great, skill, had accomplished them with few instead of thousands, 
or because he had conquered without the shedding of blood instead 
of making- the plains of Illinois gory with the blood of the enemy 
and that of his friends ! The essence of true heroism is the same, 
whatever may be the scale of action, and although numbers are 
the standard by which military honors are usually awarded, they 
are in reality only one of the extrinsic circumstances. So 
important were Clark s achievements considered, that on the 23d 
of November, 1778, he and his brave officers and men were voted 
the thanks of the Virginia House of Delegates for their extraordi 
nary resolution and perseverance in so hazardous an enterprise, 
and the important services thereby rendered the country. In this 
extraordinary conquest the Americans were doubtless assisted by 
the affection which the French inhabitants still retained for their 
ancient Fatherland, now allied with the colonies. 



Clark now turned his attention to the British post of St. Vin 
cents (Vincennes), the subjugation of which would not only extend 
the dominion of his native State, but from its contiguity render his 
own position and government more seeure. He, therefore, sent for 
M. Gibault, who, being the Catholic priest both of Vincennes and 
Kaskaskia, could give him any information he desired. He 
informed Clark that Governor Abbot had lately gone 011 business 
to Detroit, and that a military expedition against the place Avas 
wholly unnecessary. Desirous of having his parishioners free 
from the violence of war, he offered to induce the people to transfer 
their allegiance to the Americans without the assistance of troops. 
This proposition was readily accepted, and DeLafont and a spy 
were selected to accompany him. The embassy set off for Vincen 
nes, and* after a full explanation between the priest and his nock, 
the inhabitants concluded to sever their relations with the British 
government and take the oath of allegiance to the common wealth 
of Virginia. A temporary governor was appointed, and the Amer 
ican flag immediately displayed over the fort, to the great sur 
prise of the Indians. The savages were told that their old father, 
the king of France, had come to life and was angry with them 
because they fought for the English, and that if they did not wish 
the land to be bloody with war they must make peace with the 
Americans. M. Gibault %nd party returned about the 1st of 
August, with the joyful intelligence that everything was peace 
ably adjusted at Vincenues in favor of the Americans. This news 
was both a source of astonishment and gratification, as such a 
result was hardly to be expected. 

The 3 months for which Clark s men had enlisted was now ter 
minated, and his instructions being indefinite, he was at first at a 
loss how to proceed. If the country was abandoned at this junc 
ture, the immense advantages already gained would be sacrificed, 
and, therefore, acting upon the discretion which necessity demanded, 
he re-enlisted as many of his own men as were willing to continue 
in the service, and commissioned French officers tdraise a com 
pany of the inhabitants. He established a garrison at Kaskaskia, 
under the command of Captain Williams, another at Cahokia 
under Captain Bowman, and selected Captain Sims, who had 
accompanied the expedition as a volunteer, to take charge of the 
men who wished to return. The latter officer was also intrusted 



with orders from Clark for the removal of the station from Corn 
Island, at the Falls of the Ohio, to the main land, and a stockade 
fort was erected where Louisville, the metropolis of Kentucky, 
has since been built. Captain John Montgomery, in charge of 
Bocheblave and the bearer of dispatches, was sent to Richmond, 
which had become the capital of Virginia. It had been the inten 
tion to restore to the British commander his slaves, which had 
been seized as public property, and he and some of his friends 
were invited to dine with Clark and his officers, when the restitu 
tion was to take place. M. Kocheblave, however, called them a 
set of rebels and exhibited such bitterness of feeling, that it was 
necessary to send him to the guard-house and finally a prisoner 
to Virginia. The generous idea of returning the slaves to their 
former owner having been frustated by this pro vocation, they were 
subsequently sold for 500 pounds, which was divided among the 
troops as prize money. 

The government of Virginia in the meantime was informed of 
the reduction of the country and Clark desiring that a civil govern 
ment might be instituted, an act was passed in October, 1778, 
organizing the county of Illinois which included all the territory 
of the commonwealth west of the Ohio river. This immense region, 
exceeding in superficial extent the whole of Great Britain and Ire 
land, was at that time the largest county in the world, and contained 
the best section of farming lands on the continent. A bill was 
also passed to raise 500 men for opening communication with Xew 
Orleans, for the benefit of the isolated settlements, and Col. John 
Todd was appointed the principal officer in the government of the 
new county, and justice was for the first time administered under 
the authority of Virginia. 

About the middle of August, Clark appointed Capt.Helm com 
mandant of Vincennes and Indian agent for the department of the 
Wabash. His great prudence and intimate knowledge of Indian 
character eminently qualified him for the duties of this important 
trust. It was also the intention of Col. Clark to place a strong 
detachment under his command as soon as reinforcements should 
arrive from Virginia. 

At that time there lived in the vicinity of Vincennes a chief of 
the Piaukashaw Indians, who possessed great influence over his 
people. He was complimented by his countrymen with the appel 
lation of the Grand Door of the Wabash, in imitation of the title 
of Pontiac, who was styled the Grand Door of St. Joseph. Clark 
had exchanged messages with him through Gibault, the catholic 
priest, and he instructed Helm to secure his influence, as nothing 
could be done within the Indian confederacy of the Wabash without 
his approbation. The American agent arriving safe at Vincennes, 
and being received with acclamation by the inhabitants, he imme 
diately invited the Grand Door to a conference. The proud and 
pompous chief was pleased with the courtesies of Capt.Helm, who, 
in a friendly talk, communicated to him an invitation from Clark 
to unite with the "Long Knives" and his old master, the King of 
France. In reply to this invitation, he said that he was glad to see 
a chief of the "Long Knives" in toAvn, but with the caution peculiar 
to Indian character, declined giving a definite answer, until he 
could confer with the principal men of his tribe. In all their inter 
course, the Grand Door observed the ceremonies of the most 


courtly dignity, and the American, to operate on his vanity, 
exhibited the same pomposity, till after several days the interview 
was concluded. Finally, Capt. Helm was invited to attend a council 
of chiefs, in which the Grand Door informed him, in a strain ot 
Indian eloquence, that "the sky had been very dark in the war 
between the Long Knives and English, but now the clouds were 
brushed away he could see the Long Knives 7 were in the right, 
and if the English conquered them, they might also treat the 
Indians in the same way." He then jumped up, struck his hands 
against his breast, and said, "he had always been a man and a 
warrior, and now he was a Long Knife and would tell the 
red people to bloody the land no longer for the English." He and 
his red brethren then took Capt. Helm by the hand, and during 
the remainder of his life, lie remained the staunch friend of the 
Americans. Dying two years afterward, at his request he was 
buried with the honors of Avar, near the Fort of Cahokia. 

Many chiefs south of Lake Michigan followed the example of 
the Grand Door, and the British influence, which had caused great 
mischief to the frontier settlements, daily declined. Much of the 
success attending these negotiations was due to the influence of 
the French, for the Indians, relying implicitly upon their state 
ments, became greatly alarmed at the growing power of the Ameri 
cans. Clark s method of effecting treaties with them was attended 
with remarkable success. He had studied the French and Spanish 
methods of intercourse, and thought their plan of urging them to 
make treaties was founded upon* a mistaken estimate of their 
character. He Avas of opinion that such overtures were construed 
by the savages as evidence of either fear or Aveakness, and there 
fore studiously avoided making the first adA*ances. Unlike the 
English, who endeavored to win their good will by freely granting 
them presents, he either bestowed them reluctantly, or fought 
them until they Avere compelled to seek refuge in treaties as a 
means of self-preservation. The ceremonies attending his coun 
cils with these sons of the forest, as they illustrated their charac 
ter, are worth recording. The first convocation of this kind in 
which Colonel Clark was present, met at Cahokia about the 1st of 
September. The various parties had assembled, and as the Indians 
were the solicitors, one of the chiefs approached the table where 
Colonel Clark was sitting, bearing three belts, one of which Avas 
emblematical of peace, another contained the sacred pipe, and a 
third the fire to light it. After the pipe was lighted, it Avas first 
presented to the heavens, then to the earth, next forming a circle, 
it Avas offered to all the spirits, invoking them to A\ itness their 
proceedings, and finally to Colonel Clark and the other members 
of the council. At the conclusion of these formalities, a chief arose 
and spoke in la^or of peace, after Avhich he threw down the bloody 
belt and flag, which had been given to him by the English, and 
stamped on them, as eA^idence of their rejection. Clark coldly re 
plied that he would consider what he had heard and give them an, 
answer on the following day. He however intimated that their 
existence as a nation depended on the determination of the coun 
cil, and as peace Avas not concluded, he cautioned the chief not to 
let any of his countrymen shake hands with the white people, 
saying it would be time to give the hand when the heart also 
could be given with it. When he had ceased speaking, one of the 


chiefs remarked that such sentiments were like men who had but 
one heart and who did not speak with a forked tongue. The 
council then adjourned till the next day, and when, at the appoint 
ed time the Indians reassembled, Clark thus ^addressed them: 

" MEN AND WARRIORS : Pay attention to my words. You informed 
me yesterday that you hoped the Great Spirit had brought us together 
for good. I have the same hope, and trust each party will strictly adhere 
to whatever is agreed upon, whether it be peace or war. I am a man 
and warrior, not a councilor. I carry war in my right hand, peace in 
my left. I am sent by the ^reat council of the Long Knives and their 
friends, to take possession of all the towns occupied by the English in 
this country, and to watch the red people; to bloody the paths of those 
who attempt to stop the course of the rivers, and to clear the roads for 
those who desire to be in peace. I am ordered to call upon the Great 
Fire for warriors enough to darken the land, that the red people may 
hear no sound but of birds which live on blood. I know there is a mist 
before your eyes. I will dispel the clouds that you may clearly see the 
causes of the war between the Long Knives and the English ; then you 
may judge which party is in the right, and if you are warriors, as you 
profess, prove it by adhering faithfully to the party which you shall be 
lieve to be entitled to your friendship." 

After Clark had explained in detail the cause and eftect of the 
war existing beween the English and the colonies, lie thus con 
cluded : 

" The whole land was dark ; the old men held down their heads for 
shame, because they could not see the sun ; and thus there was mourn 
ing for many years over the land. At last the Great Spirit took pity on 
us, and kindled a great council tire at Philadelphia, planted a post, put 
a tomahawk by it and went away. The sim immediately broke out, the 
sky was blue again, and the old men held up their heads and assembled 
at the fire. They took up the hatchet, sharpened it, and immediately 
put it in the hands of our young men, ordering them to strike the Eng 
lish as long as they could find one on this side of the Great Water. The 
young men immediately struck the war post and blood was shed. In 
this way the war began, and the English were driven from one place to 
another, until they got weak, and then hired the red people to right for 
them. The Great Spirit got angry at this, and caused your old father, 
the French King, and other great nations to join the Long Knives, and 
fight with them against all their enemies. So the Euglish have become 
like deer in the woods, and you can see that it was the Great Spirit that 
troubled your waters, because you have fought for the people with whom 
he was displeased. You can now judge who is in the right. I have 
already told you who I am. Here is a bloody belt, and a peace belt ; 
take which you please ; behave like men, aud do not let your being sur 
rounded by Long Knives cause you to take up one belt with your hands 
while your hearts take up the other. If you take the bloody path, you 
can go in safety and join your friends, the English. We will then try 
lil\e warriors who can stain our clothes the longest with blood. If, on 
the other hand, you ta ke the path of peace, and are received as brothers 
by the Long Knives, and then listen to bad birds that are flying through 
the land, you cannot longer be considered men, but creatures with two 
tongues, which ought to be destroyed. As I am convinced that you 
never heard the truth before, 1 do not wish you to answer me before you 
have taken time for consideration. We will therefore part this eveniug, 
aud when the Great Spirit shall bring us together again, let usspeak aud 
think as men with but one heart and one tongue. " 

On the following day, the council fire was kindled with more 
than ordinary ceremony, and one of the chiefs came forward and 
said : 

" We have listened with great attention to what the chief of the Long 
Knives told us, and are thankful that the Great Spirit has opened our 
ears and hearts to receive the truth. We believe you tell us the truth, 


for you do not speak like other people, and that our old men are right, 
who always said the English spake with double tongues. We will 
take the belt of peace, and cast down the bloodly belt of war ; our war 
riors shall be called ^ome ; the tomahawk shall be thrown into the 
river, where it can never be found ; and we will carefully smooth the road 
for your brothers whenever they wish to come arid see you. Our friends 
shall hear of the good talk you have given us, and we hope you will send 
chiefs among our countrymen, that they may see we are men, and 
adhere to all we have promised at this fire, which the Great Spirit has 
kindled for the good of all who attend." 

The pipe was agaiii lighted, the spirits were called on to witness 
the transactions, and the council concluded by shaking hands. 

In this manner alliances were formed Avith other tribes, and in 
a short time Clark s power was so well established that a single 
soldier could be sent in safety as far north as the head waters of 
the streams emptying into the lakes. In the vicinity of the lakes 
the British retained their influence, some of the tribes being 1 
divided between them and the Americans. This sudden and 
extensive change of sentiment among the Indians, was due to the 
stern and commanding influence of Colonel Clark, supported by 
the alliance of the French with the colonies, and the regard which 
the Indians still retained for their first Great Father. It required 
great skill on the part of Clark, while in command of such dimin 
utive forces, to keep alive the impression which had originally 
been made respecting the arrival of forces from the Falls of the 
Ohio. To create a favorable impression, the fees connected with 
the administration of justice were abated. The maintenance of 
friendly intercourse with the Spanish authorities, and the per 
mission of trade among the inhabitants on both sides of the Mis 
sissippi, was also productive of good will. 

In his negotiation with the Indians, an incident occurred about 
this time* which, from its romantic character, is worthy of mention. 
A large reward was offered the Meadow or Mascoutiu Indians, 
who accompanied the other tribes to the council, to assassinate 
the American commander. For this purpose they pitched their 
camp on the same side of Cahokia creek occupied by Clark, dis 
tant 100 yards from the fort and the American headquarters. It 
was arranged that a part of their number should cross the creek, 
which could easily be waded, fire in the direction of the Indian 
encampment, and then flee to the quarters- of Clark, where, under 
the pretense of fear, they were to obtain admission and put 
the garrison to death. The attempt was made about 1 o clock in 
tlie morning. The flying party having discharged their guns, in 
such a manner as to cast suspicion upon the Indians on the oppo 
site side of the creek, started directly to the American encampment 
for protection. Clark was still awake with the multiplied cares 
of his situation, and the guards being stronger than had been 
anticipated, presented their pieces and compelled the fugitives to 
halt. The town and garrison were immediately under arms; the 
Mascoutins, whom the guard had recognized by moonlight, were 
sent for, and being interrogated respecting their conduct, declared 
that they had been fired upon by enemies on the opposite side of 
the creek, and that they had fled to the Americans for refuge. The 
French, however, understanding them better than their conquer 
ors, called for a light, and on examination discovered that their 
leggings and moccasins were wet and muddy, which was evidence 


that they had crossed the creek and that the Indians they visited 
were friends instead of enemies. The intended assassins were 
dismayed at this discovery, and Clark, to convince the Indians of 
the confidence which he reposed in the French, handed over the 
culprits to them to be dealt with as they thought proper. Inti 
mations were, however, made to them privately, that they ought 
to be confined, and they were accordingly manacled and sent to 
the guard-house. In this condition they were daily brought into 
the council, Avhere he whom they had endeavored to kill, was 
funning friendly relations Avith their red brethren of other tribes. 
When all the other business of the council was transacted, Clark 
ordered the irons to be struck off, and said: "Justice requires 
that you die for your treacherous attempt upon my life during the 
sacred deliberations of a council. I had determined to inflct death 
upon you for your base designs, and you must be sensible that you 
have justly forfeited your lives 5 but on considering the meanness 
of watching a bear and catching him asleep, I have concluded that 
you are not warriors, but old women, and too mean to be killed 
by the Long Knives. Since, however, you must be punished for 
wearing the apparel of men, it shall be taken away from you, and 
you shall be furnished with plenty of provisions for your journey 
home, and while here you shall be treated in every respect as 
squaws." At the conclusion of these cutting remarks, Clark turned 
to converse with others. The offending Indians, expecting anger 
and punishment, instead of contempt and disgrace, were exceed 
ingly agitated. After counseling with each other, one of the chiefs 
came forward, and laying a pipe and belt of peace on the table, 
made some explanatory remarks. The interpreter stood ready to 
translate these words of friendship, but Clark refused to hear 
them, and raising his sword and shattering the pipe, declared that 
the Long Knives never treated with women. Some of the other 
tribes with whom alliances had been formed, now interposing for 
the discomfitted Indians, besought Clark to pity their families and 
grant them pardon. To this entreaty he coldly replied, that a the 
Long Knives never made war upon these Indians ; they are of a 
kind which we shoot like wolves when we meet them in the woods, 
lest they kill the deer." This rebuke wrought more and more upon 
the guilty parties, and, after again taking counsel, two of the 
young men came forward, covered their heads with blankets, 
and sat down at the feet of the inexorable Clark. Two chiefs also 
arose, and standing by the side of the victims who thus offered 
their lives as an atonement for the crime of their tribe, again pre 
sented the pipe of peace, saying, we hope this sacrifice will appease 
the anger of the Long Knife. The American commander, not 
replying immediately, as if still unsatisfied, the most profound 
silence reigned in the assembly, and nothing was heard but 
the deep breathing of the multitude, all turning their eyes upon 
Clark, as if to read in the expression of his countenance the 
fate of the devoted Indians. The sudden impulse caused by the 
heroism of this romantic incident, almost overcame the powerful 
nerve of Clark, who, from the first, had intended to grant these 
Indians peace, but with a reluctance, as he says, that should 
enhance its value. At length, to relieve the great suspense of the 
assembly, lie advanced toward the young men and ordering them 
to uncover their heads and stand up, said : "I am rejoiced to find men 


among all nations ; these two young warriors who have offered 
their lives a sacrifice, are at least proof for their own countrymen. 
Such men only are worthy to be chiefs, and with such I like to 
treat." He then took them by the hand, and in honor of their 
magnanimity and courage, introduced them to the American officers 
and other members of the assembly, after which all saluted them 
as the chiefs of their tribe. "The Roman Curtius leaped into the 
Gulf to save his countrymen, and Leonidas died in obedience to 
the laws of Greece ; but in neither of these instances was displayed 
greater heroism than that exhibited by these unsophisticated 
children of nature." They were ever after held in high esteem 
among the braves of their own tribe, and the fame of the white 
negotiator was correspondingly extended. A council Avas immedi 
ately convened for the benefit of the JMeadow Indians; an alliance 
was formed with their chiefs, and neither party ever afterward had 
occasion to regret the reconciliation thus effected. 

Although it was Clark s general aim not to ask favors of the 
Indians, yet some of their chiefs were so intelligent and powerful 
he occasionally invited them to A^isit him and explan the nature of 
the contest between the English and the colonists. A noted instance 
of this kind was his intercourse with Black Bird, a A ery distin 
guished chief whose lands bordered on Lake Michigan, and who 
had obtained such a reputution among his people that a departure 
from the usual policy Avas deemed advisable. Black Bird Avas in 
St. Louis when the country was first invaded, but having little 
confidence in Spanish protection, he wrote a letter to Clark apolo 
gizing for his absence, and returned to his tribe. A special mes 
senger Avas sent requsting him to come to Kaskaskia, and comply 
ing with the invitation, he called upon Colonel Clark with only 8 
attendants. Great preparations were immediately made for hold 
ing a couilcil, but the sagacious chief, disliking the usual formali 
ties of Indian negotiation, informed Clark that he came on business 
of importance, and desired that no time might be wasted in useless 
ceremonies. He stated that he wished to converse with him, and 
proffered without ostentation to sit with him at the same table. A 
room Avas accordingly furnished and both, provided with interpret 
ers, took their seats at the same stand and commenced the confer 
ence. Black Bird said he had long wished to have an interview 
with a chief of our nation ; he had sought information from pris 
oners but could not confide in their statements, for they seemed 
afraid to speak the truth. He admitted that he had fought against 
us, although doubts of its justice occasionally crossed his mind; 
some mystery hung over the matter which he desired to have 
removed; he was anxious to hear both sides of the question, but 
hitherto he had only been able to hear but one. Clark undertook 
to impart the desired information, but owing to the difficulty of 
rendering himself intelligent, several hours were spent in answering 
his questions. At the conclusion, Black Bird, among other things, 
said that he was glad that their old friends, the French, had united 
their arms with ours, and that the Indians ought to do the same. 
He affirmed that his sentiments were fixed in our favor ; that he 
would never again listen to the offers of the English, who must 
certainly be afraid because they hire with merchandise the Ind 
ians todo their fighting. He closed by saying that he would call 
in his young men, and thus put an end to the war, as soon as he 


could get an opportunity of explaining" to them the nature of the 
contest. This determination of the chief was very agreeable to 
Clark, who informed him that he would write to the government of 
Virginia and have them registered among the friends of the white 
people. A few days afterward, thisintelligent Indian, supplied 
with presents and accompanied, at his request, by an agent of 
Clark, set off for his native forests. His conduct afterward exem 
plified the honesty of his professions, for he thereafter remained 
the faithful friend of the Americans. 

Clark in his intercourse with the Indians, never blamed them 
for accepting the presents of the English, as the necessities of 
their condition and the inability of the Americans to supply their 
wants, rendered it. unavoidable. Commerce had to some extent 
already introduced among them superior appliances of civilization. 
The rifle and its ammunition had long since superceded the bow 
and arrow, and blankets, cooking utensils, cutlery, and other im 
plements manufactured in an advance state of arts, were as 
necessary to the .savage as the civilized man. While, however, 
he forebore to reproach them for receiving presents from the 
English, he endeavored to impress upon their minds the degrada 
tion of fighting for hire. The "Long Knives," lie said, "regarded 
the scalps taken while fighting in self-defence as the greatest of 
trophies, but those obtained in mercenary warfare, are thrown to 
the dogs or used as toys for the amusement of their children." 

Another chief by the name of Lages, about this time, sent ;i/ 
letter to Clark. He was also known by the appellation of Big 
Gate, a title which he received from having shot a British soldier, 
standing at the fort when Pontiac, with whom he was then associ 
ated, besieged Detroit. Several marauding parties against our 
frontier settlements, had been successfully commanded by this 
warrior, who happened to fall in with a party of Piankeshaws 
going to Kaskaskia to make the Americans a visit. Gaudily decked 
in the full costume of war, and with the bloody belt, which the 
British had given him, suspended about his neck, he daily came to 
the council and occupied one of the most prominent seats. As a 
silent spectator he thus attended till all the public business was 
transacted, the American officer then accosted him with an apology 
for not having paid his respects during the deliberations of the 
assembly. Although we are enemies, said he, it is customary with 
the white people to treat celebrated warriors with respect, in pro 
portion to the exploits which they have performed against 
each other in war. Being a distinguished warrior, Clark invited 
him to dinner. Surprised at this civility he at first endeavored to 
decline the invitation. The American officer, however, when he 
attempted to offer an excuse, repeated with greater warmth his 
solicitations, till the feelings of the chief were wrought up to the 
highest piteh of excitement. Eoused in this manner he advanced 
to the center of the room, threw down the war belt, tore off the 
clothes and flag, which had been given him by his friends, the 
English. Despoiled of these presents, he struck himself violently 
on the breast, and said that he had been a warrior from his youth, 
and delighted in battles ; that he had fought three times against the 
Americans and was preparing another war party, when he heard 
of Colonel Clark s arrival ; that he had determined to visit the 
Americans, who he now thought were right, and that he was hence- 


forth a "Long Knife" and would war no longer for the English. He 
then concluded by shaking hands with Clark and his officers and 
saluting them as brothers. The comical part of the affair was that 
the new brother was now naked, and since he must be clothed, a 
fine laced suit was provided and lie appeared at the entertainment 
arrayed in all the trappings of military costume. After the repast 
was over, in a private interview, he disclosed to Clark the situation 
of Detroit, and offered to obtain a scalp or prisoner from its gam 
son. Clark not wishing to encourage the barbarities of the Indians, 
declined the former, but assured the warrior of his willingness to 
accept the latter, provided he treated the captive kindly when lie 
got him m his power. This policy of appealing to the better feel 
ings of humanity was little appreciated by the savages, and iu 
some instances caused them to unite witli the less scrupulous 
enemy who suffered them to plunder and murder without stint, 
provided British aggrandizement was the result. When the chief 
departed Clark gave him a captain s commission and a medal as 
evidence of the new relations and responsibilities which he had 

While the American commander was thus negotiating with the 
Indians, Hamilton, the British governorof Detroit heard of Clark s 
invasion, and was incensed that the country which he had in charge 
should be wrested fromhimbya few ragged militia from Virginia. 
He therefore hurriedly collected a force consisting of 30 regulars, 50 
i^rench Canadians and 400 Indians, and marching by way of the 
Wabash. appeared before the fort at Yincennes on the 15th of 
December, 1778. The inhabitants made no effort to defend the 
town, and when Hamilton s forces arrived Capt. Helm and a man 
by the name of Henry were the only Americans in the fort. The 
latter charging a cannon, placed it in the open gateway, and the 
captain standing by it with a lighted match cried out as Hamilton 
came in hailing distance, "halt." The British officer, not knowing 
the strength of the garrison stopped and demanded the surrender 
of the fort. Helm exclaimed "no man shall enter here till I know 
the terms." Hamilton responded, "you shall have the honors of 
war. 7 The entire garrison, consisting of one officer and one private, 
then capitulated, and receiving the customary courtesies for their 
brave defense, marched out with the honors of war. Capt. Helm 
was retained a prisoner, the French inhabitants were disarmed, 
and a large portion of Hamilton s troops were detached against the 
settlements on the Ohio and Mississippi. 

These movements transpired at Vincennes, 6 weeks before the 
intelligence reached Kaskaskia, thus verifying the serious appre 
hensions which Clark, in the meantime, had entertained for the 
safety of the place. In consequence of these forebodings, he en 
gaged Colonel Vigo to go and reconnoitre the situation of the 
post. No choice could have been more fortunate. Although Yigo 
was an Italian by birth, no one excelled him in devotion to the 
cause of freedom and sympathy for an oppressed people strug 
gling for their rights. Associated as a merchant with the Spanish 
governor of St. Louis, he amassed a large fortune, which, with the 
greatest generosity, he expended during the revolution for the 
benefit of his adopted country. Having for a long time resided in 
Indiana, and died there, the State, in honor of his memory, called 
a county after his name, arid Congress ultimately refunded a large 


part of the money which he had expended. After conferring with 
Clark, he started on his mission, and when within five miles of his 
destination, he was captured by the Indians and taken before 
Governor Hamilton. He was regarded as an American spy, but 
being a Spanish subject, and very popular with the inhabitants of 
the town, the British officer did not dare to proceed against him 
according to his suspicions. The citizens threatened to stop hia 
supplies if he was not suffered to depart. Hamilton reluctantly 
proposed to let him go if, during the war, he would not do any 
act injurious to British interests. Colonel Yigo peremptorily 
refused to become a party to such a compact. Agreeing, however, 
not to do anything prejudicial in his homeward journey, he was 
permitted to return in a boat, down the Wabash and up the Mis 
sissippi, to St. Louis. He remained neutral just long enough to 
comply with his stipulations, for, on his arrival home, he imme 
diately changed his clothes, and set off for Kaskaskia to commu 
nicate the information which he had obtained to Colonel Clark. 
After detailing the capitulation of Vincennes and the disposition 
of the British force, he made known Hamilton s intentions of re 
conquering Illinois, and his meditated attack upon Kaskaskia, on 
the re-assembling of his forces in the spring, as the surest way of 
effecting this object. When this place was reduced, with his 
forces augmented by the addition of 700 warriors from Mackinaw, 
the Cherokees and Chickasaws, and other tribes, he proposed to 
penetrate as far as Fort Pitt, and subjugate in his march all the 
intervening settlements. So elated was the British commander 
with his hopes of conquest, he intended, in a short time, to be 
master of all the territory of Virginia between the Alleghanies 
and the Mississippi. 

Clark, in view of the critical condition of the country, and the 
extreme peril of Lis own situation, wrote to Governor Henry, of 
Virginia, acquainting him of Hamilton s designs, and asking him 
for troops. Parties of hostile Indians, sent out by the British 
governor, began to appear, and as assistance could not be obtained 
from the State in time, with the promptness which the emergency 
demanded, he resolved to help himself. Anticipating his rival, he 
commenced preparations with his own limited means to carry the 
war into the enemy s country, for, as he says, " I knew if I did 
not take him, he would take me." Colonel Vigo had informed 
him that, owing to the dispersion of the British forces, the 
garrison at Vincennes was reduced to 80 men, three pieces of 
cannon and some swivels, and that if the town was attacked be 
fore the troops were recalled, it might, without difficulty, be 
recaptured. Without a moment s delay, a galley was fitted up, 
mounting two 4-pounders and 4 swivels, and placed in charge 
of Capt. John Rogers, and a company of 46 men, with orders after 
reaching the Wabash to force their way up the stream to the 
mouth of White Kiver, and remain there for further instructions. 
Clark next ordered Captain Bowman to evacuate the fort at Caho- 
Ma for the purpose of organizing an expedition to proceed across 
by land, and co-operate with the force under Captain Rogers. 
The French inhabitants of Cahokia and Kaskaskia raised two 
companies, commanded by Captains McCarty and Charleville, 
which, with the Americans, amounted to 170 men. On the 7th of 
February, 1779, just 8 days after the reception of the news from 


Vincennes, this forlorn hope commenced its march in a northeast 
erly direction, over the immndated flats of the country, in a wet, 
bnt fortunately, not cold season. To relieve the hardships of the 
journey, which was perhaps the most dreary one performed during 
the revolution, hunting, game feasts, and Indian war dances were 
instituted for the amusement of the men. After incredible hard 
ships, on the 13th they reached the forks of the Little W abash, 
the low bottom lands of which were covered with water. At this 
part of the stream the opposite banks were 5 miles apart 
and the water so deep when Clark arrived as in many places 
to be waded with the greatest difficulty. Here, drenched in 
the rains which fell almost daily, they managed to construct a 
canoe, and ferry over their baggage to the opposite shore. Hith 
erto they had borne their labors with great fortitude, but now 
many became discouraged by the continued obstacles which beset 
the way. While wading the Wabash, and in some instances to 
the shoulders in mud and water, an incident occurred which, by 
its merriment, greatly relieved the desponding spirits of the men. 
There was in the service an Irish drummer, who was of small stat 
ure, but possessed rare talent in singing comic songs. On coining 
to a depression beyond his depth, he put his drum into the water, 
and mounting on the head, requested one of the tallest men to 
pilot him across the stream, while he enlivened the company by 
his wit and music. 

On the morning of the 18th, 11 days after leaving Kaskaskin, 
they heard the signal guns of the fort, and during the evening of 
the same day, arrived at the Great Wabash, 9 miles below Vin 
cennes. The galley had not arrived with the supplies, and the 
men being exhausted, destitute and almost in a starving con- 
tioh, it required all of Clark s address to keep them from giving up 
in despair. The river was out of its banks, all the low lands 
were submerged, and before means of transportation could be pro 
cured they might be discovered by the British and the entire party 
captured. On the 20th, a boat from Vincennes was hailed and 
brought to land, from the crew of which was received the cheer 
ing intelligence of the friendly disposition of the French inhabit 
ants, and that no suspicion of Clark s movements was entertained 
by the British garrison. The last day of the march, the most 
formidable difficulties were encountered. Says Colonel Clark, in 
his journal : 

" The nearest land to us, in the direction of Vincennes, was a spot 
called the Sugar Camp/ on the opposite side of a slough. I sounded the 
water, and finding it deep as my neck, returned with the design of hav 
ing the men transported on board the canoes to the camp, though I knew 
it would spend the whole day and the ensuing night, as the vessels would 
pass slowly through the bushes. The loss of so much time to men 
half-starved, was a matter of serious consequence, and I would now 
have given a great deal for a day s provisions or one of our horses. 
When I returned, all ran to hear the "report. I unfortunately spoke in a 
serious manner to one of the officers ; the whole were alarmed without 
knowing what I said. I viewed their confusion for a minute, and whis 
pered for those near me to do as I did. I immediately put some water 
in my hand, poured powder on it, blackened my face, gave the war- 
whoop and marched into the water. The party immediately followed , 
one after another, without uttering a word of complaint. I ordered those 
near me to sing a favorite song, which soon passed through the line and 
all went cheerfully. I now intended to have them transported across 


the deepest part of the water, but when about waist-deep, one of the 
men informed me that he thought he had discovered a path. We fol 
lowed it, and finding that it kept on higher ground, without further dif 
ficulty arrived at the camp, where there was dry ground on which to 
pitch our lodges. The Frenchmen that we had taken on the river, 
appeared to be uneasy at our situation, and begged that they might be 
permitted, during the night, to visit the town in 2 canoes and bring, 
from their own houses, provisions. They said that some of our men 
could go with them as a surety for their conduct, and that it would be 
impossible to leave that place till the waters, which were too deep 
for marching, subsided. Some of the officers believed that this might 
be done, but I would not suffer it. I could never well account for my 
obstinacy on this occasion, or give satisfactory reasons to myself or any 
body else why I denied a proposition apparently so easy to execute, and 
of so much advantage ; but something seemed to tell me it should not be 

" On the following morning, the finest we had experienced, I har 
angued the men. What I said I am not now able to recall; but it may 
be easily imagined by a person who possesses the regard which I, at that 
time, entertained for them, I concluded by informing them, that pass 
ing the sheet of water, which was then in full view and reaching the 
opposite woods, would put an end to their hardships ; that in a few hours 
they would have a sight of their long-wished for object, and immedi- 
atefy stepped into the water without waiting for a reply. Before a third 
of the men had entered, I halted and called to Major Bowman, and 
ordered him to fall into the rear with 25 men and put to death any man 
who refused to march with us, as we did not wish to have any such 
among us. The whole gave a cry of approbation, and on we went. 
This was the most trying of all the difficulties we experienced. I gen 
erally kept 15 of the strongest men next myself, and judged from my 
own feelings, what must be that of the others. Getting near the middle 
of the inundated plain, I found myself sensibly failing, and as there were 
no trees for the men to support themselves, I feared that many of the 
weak would be drowned. I ordered the canoe to ply back and forth, and 
with all diligence to pick up the men ; and to encourage the party, sent 
some of the strongest forward with orders that, when they had advanced 
a certain distance, to pass the word back that the water was getting 
shallow, and when near the woods, to cry out land. This stratagem 
had the desired effect. The men, encouraged by it, exerted themselves 
almost beyond their abilities; the weak holding on the stronger. On 
reaching the woods where the men expected land, the water was up to 
their shoulders ; but gaining the timber was the greatest consequence, 
for the weakly hung to trees and floated on the drift till they were 
taken off by the canoes. The strong and tall got ashore and built tires ; 
but many of the feeble, unable to support themselves on reaching land, 
would fall with their bodies half in the water. The latter were so 
benumbed with cold, we soon found that fires would not restore them, 
and the strong were compelled to exercise them with great severity to 
revive their circulation. 

" Fortunately, a canoe in charge of some squaws was going to town, 
which our men captured, and which contained half a quarter of buffalo 
meat, some corn, tallow and kettles. Broth was made of this valuable 
prize and served out to the most weakly with great care. Most of the 
men got a small portion, but many of them gave part of theirs to the 
more famished, jocosely saying something cheering to their comrades. 
This little refreshment gave renewed life to the company. We next 
crossed a deep but narrow lake, in the canoes, and marching some dis 
tance, came to a copse of timber called Warrior s Island. We were now 
distant only two miles from town, which, without a single tree to ob 
struct the view, could be seen from the position we occupied. 

" The lower portions of the land between us and the town were cov 
ered \\ ith water, which served at this season as a resort for ducks and 
other water fowl. We had observed several men out on horseback shoot 
ing them, half a mile distant, and sent out as many of our active young 
Frenchmen to decoy and take one of them prisoner, in such a manner 
as not to alarm the others. Being successful, in addition to the informa- 


tion which had been obtained from those taken on the river, the captive 
reported that the British had that evening completed the wall of the 
fort, and that there were a good many Indians in town. Our situation 
was truly critical. No possibility of retreat in case of defeat, and in full 
view of the town, which, at this time, had 600 men in it troops, 
inhabitants and Indians. The crew of the galley, though not 50 men, 
would now have been a re-inforcement of immense magnitude to our 
little army, but we could not think of waiting for them. Each had for 
gotten his suffering, and was ready for the fray, saying what he had 
suffered was nothing but what a man should bear for the good of his 
country. The idea of being made a prisoner was foreign to every man, 
as each expected nothing but torture if they fell into the hands of the 
Indians. Our fate was to be determined in a few hours, and nothing but 
the most daring conduct would insure success. I knew that a number 
of the inhabitants wished us well; that many were lukewarm to the in 
terests of either party. I also learned that the Grand Door had but a 
few days before openly declared, in council with the British, that he 
was a brother and friend of the Long Knives. These were favorable 
circumstances, and as there was little probability of our remaining until 
dark undiscovered, I determined to commence operations immediately, 
and wrote the following placard to the people of the town. To the in 
habitants of Vincenues : Gentlemen, being now within two miles of 
your village with my army, determined to take your fort this night, and 
not being willing to surprise you, I take this opportunity to request 
such of you as are true citizens, and willing to enjoy the liberty which I 
bring you, to remain still in your houses, and those, if any there be, who 
are friends of the king, let them instantly repair to the fort and join the 
hair-buyer general*, and fight like men. And if any of the latter do 
not go to the fort, and shall be discovered afterward, they may depend 
upon severe punishment. On the contrary, those who are true friends 
to liberty, may depend upon being well treated, and I once more request 
them to keep out of the streets, for every one I find in arms on my arri 
val shall be treated as an enemy. : 

This forcible letter, which shows Clark s insight into human 
nature by inspiring confidence in the friendly, and filling the adverse 
party with* dismay, was half the battle that followed. On the 
receipt of the letter, the people of the town supposed the invaders 
had come from Kentucky as no one imagined it possible that an 
expedition could come from Illinois, in consequence of the freshets 
which prevailed at that season of the year. To deepeen this impres 
sion, letters purporting to come from well known gentlemen in 
Kentucky, were written and sent to the inhabitants, and so well 
established was the conviction, that the presence of Clark could 
not be credited till his person was pointed out by one who knew 
him. The soldiers, as on previous occasions, were directed to 
greatly exaggerate the strength of the American forces. 

About sunset on the 23d, they sallied forth to attack the fort- 
When in full view of it, they were divided into platoons, each dis. 
playing a different flag, and by marching and countermarching 
among some mounds between them and the town, their apparent 
numbers greatly exceeded their real strength. Nearing the village 
and encamping on the adjacent heights, some commotion was per 
ceptible in the streets, but no hostile demonstration occurred at 
the fort, and it was afterward ascertained that even the friends of 
the British were afraid to give notice of Clark s presence. The 
utmost impatience prevailing in the American encampment, to 
know the cause of the silence, Lieut. Bailey, with 14 men was 
sent to make an attack upon the garrison. The fire of the party 

*Thus named from having 1 hired the Indians to murder the American prisoners, by 
payiog so much per scalp. 


was attributed to some drunken Indians, who had saluted the fort 
iii that manner on previous occasions, and it was not till after one 
of the bcseiged was shot through a port hole that the real character 
of the assailants was ascertained, and the engagement commenced 
in earnest. Henry and Captain Helm were still retained as 
prisoners in the fort. Through the Avife of the former, who lived 
in Vinceunes, and was permitted to visit her husband daily, Clark 
obtained minute information respecting the garrison. Learning in 
this way where Capt. Helm lodged knowing his fondness for 
apple-toddy, and believing he would have some on the hearth as 
usual, he suffered one of his men to fire on his quarters, with a 
view, as he said, to knock the mortar into the captain s favorite 
beverage. At the time he was playing cards with Hamilton, and 
when the bullets commenced rattling about the chimney, he jumped 
up and swore that it was Clark, that he would take all of them 
prisoners, and that the d d rascal had ruined his toddy. While 
thus conversing, Helm observed some of the soldiers looking out of 
the port holes and cautioned them not to do so again as the Amer 
icans would certainly shoot out their eyes. It so happened that 
one of the men afterward attempting to look out was shot in the 
eye, which Capt. Helm observing exclaimed, "there, I told you so." 
These incidents, characteristic of the men and the times, doubtless 
had their effect upon the garrison. 

The ammunition of the, Americans, who had expected supplies 
from the galley, being now nearly exhausted, some of the inhabi 
tants furnished them with powder and ball, which had been buried 
to keep it from falling into the hands of the British. Had the 
Americans also needed assistance, the Grand Door, with Avhom a 
treaty had previously been concluded, appeared with 100 warriors 
and offered his services to Clark, who, though declining his aid in 
the field, requested his presence and influence in council. 

The Americans had advanced behind a bank to within 30 yards 
of the fort, whose guns in consequence of their elevation, were 
useless, and no sooner was a port hole darkened than a dozen 
rifles discharged their contents into the apperture, and the British 
soldiers could no longer be kept at their posts. Clark perceiving 
their difficulties, in the course ot the morning demanded the sur 
render of the fort, 4 which Hamilton refused, stating that he would 
not be awed into anything unbecoming a British officer. The men 
were urgent to take the fort by storm, but Clark knowing that he 
could get possession of it without the expenditure of life result 
ing from an assault, wisely opposed their desires. In the evening 
of the same day Hamilton, apprehensive that he would be com 
pelled to surrender at discretion, sent a flag to the beseigers 
desiring a truce of three days. This Clark refused, although during 
the armistice the galley might arrive with its men and munitions, 
which would greatly facilitate his operations for the reduction of 
the fort. He proposed in return the unconditional surrender of the 
garrison, and informed the British commander if he wished to have 
an interview for that purpose, he might meet him at the churclk In 
compliance with this offer, Gov. Hamilton, in company with Capt. 
Helm and Major Hay, waited on Col. Clark at the appointed place. 
At the conference which ensued, the American commander reject 
ing all the overtures of his antagonist, resolutely adhered to his 
first proposition, and when Capt. Helm attempted to moderate his 


demands, he informed him that a prisoner had no rig-lit to interfere. 
^Hamilton thereupon replied, that he was free from that moment, 
but Clark unmoved, would not accept his release upon these terms, 
telling him he must return and abide his fate, and the British 
officers that the firing would recommence in 15 minutes. The gen 
tlemen were about to retire to their respective quarters, when 
Hamilton called Clark aside, and politely asked his reasons for 
rejecting the liberal terms which had been offered. The latter 
sternly replied, U I am aware the principal Indian partisans from 
Detroit are in the fort, and 1 only want an honorable opportunity 
of putting such instigators of Indian barbarities to death. The 
cries of widows and orphans made by their butcheries, require 
such blood at my hands. 1 consider this claim upon me for punish 
ment next to divine, and I would rather lose 50 men than not 
execute a vengeance demanded by so much innocent blood. If 
Gov. Hamilton is willing to risk his garrison for such miscreants, 
he is at perfect liberty to do so." Major Hay, who heard this state 
ment inquired, "Pray, sir, who do you mean by Indian partisans? 7 " 
Clark promptly replied, "I consider Major Hay one of the principal 
ones." The latter, as if guilty of the charge, immediately turned 
deadly pale, trembled and could hardly stand. Gov. Hamilton 
blushed for this exhibition of cowardice in presence of the Ameri 
can officer, and Capt. Helm could hardly refrain from expressing* 
contempt. Clark s feelings now relented, and secretly resolving to 
deal more leniently with the British officers, before separating he 
told them he would reconsider the matter and let them know the 
result. After retiring, a council of Avar was held and milder terms 
being submitted to Gov. Hamilton, he accepted them, and on the 
24th of February, 1770, the garrison surrendered.* 

The following day Clark took possession of the fort, hoisted the 
Auierican nag, and fired 13 guns to celebrate the recovery of this 
important stronghold. Seventy prisoners were captured, and a 
considerable quantity of military stores became the property of 
the victors. Most of the prisoners were permitted to return to 
Detroit on parol of honor, but Hamilton and a few others were 
sent to Virginia, where the council ordered them into confinement 
as a punishment for their ultra barbariism, in offering rewards 
for the scalps of those who were captured by the Indians. Gen. 
Phillips protesting against this rigid treatment, Jefferson referred 
the matter to Washington, who considering it a violation of the 
agreement made at the surrender of the fort, they were released. 

During the siege of the fort, a party of Indian warriors, bringing- 
with them two white persons, whom they had captured in a raid 
on the frontier of Kentucky, arrived and camped in the vicinity 
of the village. Ignorant of Clark s presence, he sent against them 
a force which soon routed them, with a loss of nine warriors. The 
remainder precipitately tied, well pleased to escape with their lives 
from an enemy Avhose prowess on previous occasions they had 
learned to fear. A few days afterward, Capt. Helm and 60 
men were detached to proceed up the W abash and intercept val 
uable military stores then on the way from Detroit to Vincennes. 
The expedition was successful, securing the convoying party and 
property to the amount of $50,000. On the return of the detach 
ment laden with their spoils, the galley hove in sight, and was 

*Butler s Kentucky. 


preparing for an attack on the little river fleet, when the ensign 
of freedom was discovered waving over the fort. The crew, 
although rejoicing in the triumph of their brethren who had pre 
ceded them by land, regretted exceedingly the circumstances 
which had denied them the privilege of participating in the reduc 
tion of the fort. 

After taking Vincennes under obstacles which, by any other 
commander except Clark, would have been deemed insurmount 
able, this brilliant achieveineiitwas only considered the stepping 
stone to other and richer conquests. Detroit was undoubtedly 
within the reach of the enterprising Virginian. "Fortune has 
thus twice placed this point in my power," he writes to Gov. Henry. 
" Had I been able to raise 500 men when I first arrived in the 
country, or 300 when at Vincennes, I should have attempted its 
subjugation. 77 Intelligence was brought to him that the gtr nson 
at that time contained but 80 men, many of whom were invalids, 
and that the inhabitants of the town were so partial to the Amer 
icans as to rejoice exceedingly when they heard of Hamilton s 
capture. In view of these facts, Clark determined to make an 
attack upon the place, when receiving dispatches from the gov 
ernor of Virginia promising a battalion of men, he deemed it most 
prudent to postpone operations till the reinforcements should 

Leaving Capt. Helm in command at Vincennes, Clark embarked 
on board the galley and returned to Kaskaskia, where he found 
himself more embarrassed by the depreciated currency which had 
been advanced to him by the government of Virginia, than j^re- 
viously by the British and Indians. While adjusting these diffi 
culties, the war with England and the colonies terminated in the 
independence of the latter, and with it followed a suspension of 
the hostilities which had so long devastated the western frontier. 
Clark s services being no longer needed, at the instance of Gen. 
Harrison he was relieved of his command, receiving the most 
hearty encomiums of Virginia s noblest statesmen for the valuable 
services he had rendered the country. 

The advantages resulting from the capture of the military sta 
tions of Illinois cannot be over estimated. Hamilton, as intimated, 
had made arrangements to enlist all the southern and western 
Indians for his contemplated campaign the ensuing spring, and 
had he not been intercepted, the entire country between the Alle- 
ghanies and the Mississippi might have been overrun, and thus 
have changed the whole current of American history. Jefferson 
said, in a letter to Clark, " Much solicitude will be felt for the 
result of your expedition to the Wabash ; if successful it will have 
an important bearing in determining our north-western boundary." 
Accordingly, as predicted by this great statesman, in the prelim 
inary negotiations i\r peace and boundary of 1782 between the 
colonies and the three great rival powers of Europe, the conquest 
of Clark had a controlling influence in their deliberations. Spain, 
claimed the entire region between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, on 
the pretense, that in the winter of 1781, sixty-five Spaniards and 
an equal number of Indians captured St. Joseph, a small English 
fort near the source of the Illinois, and took possession of the adja 
cent country in the name of their sovereign. Dr. Franklin, one of 
the negotiators, referring to the claim of this power, said it was 


the design of the Spanish court to restrict the United States to 
the Alleghanies, and he hoped that Congress Avould insist on the 
Mississippi as the western boundary. It Avas, however, found 
impossible to connect the Spanish possessions on the Lower Mis 
sissippi with the disputed territory, for Clark had built Fort 
Jefferson, below the mouth of the Ohio, and Virginia had actual 
possession between the two rivers. France, at the treaty of Paris, 
in 1763, had transferred all this vast region to England, and could 
make no claim. She, however, objected to the right of the Amer 
icans, hoping by this stroke of policy in favor of her jealous rivals, 
to gain some other point in the controversy where she was more 
directly interested. 

Nor had England the presumption to contend, that it did not 
belong to the colonies, which had established themselves as the 
United States. The patent of Virginia covered most of the dis 
puted territory j the army of Clark had subdued and permanently 
occupied it. Subsequently it had been organized as a county of 
the State, and consequently the English envoy could not claim it, 
with any more propriety than other parts of the commonwealth 
after the battle of Yorktown. He was too accurate a jurist to 
allow the claim of Spain, or to listen to the objections of France ; 
but what would have been his decision looking to British aggran 
disement, had it not been for the civil and military rule previously 
established by the Americans ? 

In estimating the debt of gratitude we owe to Clark and his 
sturdy Virginia veterans, let us consider whether the great country 
of Louisiana, subsequently purchased by Jefferson from the First 
Consul, could have been obtained but for the service which they 
rendered. Nay, but for their valor, the magnificent national 
domain now stretching away to the Pacific, and promising to 
absorb the whole continent, might have been broken at the moun 
tain s summit or the river s shore ; and the Republic, now exerting 
controlling influence among the great nationalities of the world, 
would consequently have remained an inconsiderable power. 

After his campaigns in Illinois, Clark engaged in a number of 
expeditions against the Indians : fought under Baron Steuben in 
the East against the traitor Arnold, and finally enlisted as a brig 
adier-general in the armies of France to operate against the 
Spanish possessions on the lower Mississippi. Before anything 
was effected. Genet, the French minister and leader of the enter 
prise, was recalled, Clark s commission was annulled, and he 
retired to private life. During the latter years of his life he 
became an invalid, suffering intensely from rheumatic affections 
caused by exposure in his previous campaigns. With advancing 
age the disease assumed the form of paralysis, and terminated 
fatally, his death and burial occurring in 1818, at Locust Grove, 
near Louisville. 

The rippling waters of the beautiful Ohio still murmura requiem 
over the grave which contains his dust, and his tireless energy 
still lives in the enterprise of the millions who dwell in the land 
he loved and defended. In other respects the innovations of time 
have ruthlessly effected a change. 

Only the relics of the race which contended with him for the 
empire of the wilderness, can be found in the cabinet of the 
antiquary j forests, solitary and unproductive, have passed aAvay, 


and a new creation of fruitful fields and cultivated landscapes lias 
taken their place ; the untrained energies and stationary condition 
of savage life have been superceded by a civilization whose onward 
march is heard in the turmoil of rising cities, the din of railroad 
trains, or the panting steamboat lashing in to foam the watery high 
ways which bear it on the errands of commerce. 


The French Take the Oath of Allegiance Illinois County American 
Immigrants La Balme s Expedition The Cession of the Coun 
try, and Delays Incident Thereto No Regular Courts of Law 
Curious Land Speculation. 

The respect shown by Clark and his followers for their property 
and religion, the news of an alliance between their mother conn- 
try, France, and the United States, and perhaps their hereditary 
hatred to the British, readily reconciled the French inhabitants of 
Kaskaskia and neighboring towns to the change of government 
over them. In October, 1778, the Virginia Assembly erected the 
conquered country, embracing all the territory northwest of the 
Ohio, claimed under this conquest and otherwise, into the County 
of Illinois, a pretty extensive county, which has since been carved 
up into 5 large States, containing a population now exceeding 
8,000,000 souls. A force of 500 men was ordered to be raised for 
its defence, an order which Clark had in part anticipated by en 
listments made on his own reponsibility. Colonel Clark continued 
to be the military commander of all the Avestern territory, both 
north and south of the Ohio, including Illinois. 

Colonel John Todd, then residing in Fayette county, Kentucky, 
who, under Clark, had been the first man to enter Fort Gage, was 
appointed lieutenant-commandant of the County of Illinois. Pat 
rick Henry, governor of Virginia, in his letter, dated Williams- 
burg, Virginia, December 12th, 1778, apprising Todd of his 
appointment, instructed him to cultiA^ate and conciliate the affec 
tions of the French and Indians, and inculcate the value of liberty; 
that 011 account of his want of acquaintance with the usages and 
manners of the people, to advise with the intelligent and upright 
of the country j to give particular attention to Colonel Clark and 
his corps, and co-operate with him in any military undertaking ; to 
tell his people that peace could not be expected so long as the 
British occupied Detroit and incited the savages to deeds of rob 
bery and murder ; that, in the military line, it Avould be expected 
of him to over-awe the Indians, that they might not war on the 
settlers southeast of the Ohio j to consider himself as thehead of the 
civil department, and see that the inhabitants have justice done 
them for any injury received from the soldiery, and quell their 
licentiousness; to touch not upon the subject of boundaries and 
lands with the Indians and arouse their jealousy ; to punish every 
tresspass upon the same, and preserve peace with them ; to maiii- 



fest a high regard toward His Catholic Majesty, and tender the 
friendship and services of his people to the Spanish commandant 
at St. Louis. A large discretion was given him in his administra 
tion of civil affairs, and monthly reports were asked. 

In the spring of 1779, Colonel Todd visited Kaskaskia, and 
began at once to organize a temporary government for the colo 
nies. On the 15th of June, he issued the following proclamation : 
"Illinois [County] to-wit : 

u Whereas, from the fertility and beautiful situation of the lands bor 
dering upon the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and Wabash rivers, the taking 
up of the usual quantity of land heretofore allowed for a settlement by 
the government of Virginia, would injure both the strength and com 
merce of tins country : I do, therefore, issue this proclamation, strictly 
enjoining all persons, whatsoever, from making any new settlements 
upon the flat lands of said rivers, or within one league of said lands, 
unless in manner and form of settlements heretofore made by French 
inhabitants, until further orders herein given. And, in order that all 
the claims to lands, in said county, may be fully known, and some 
method provided for perpetuating, by record, the just claims, every 
inhabitant is required, as soon as conveniently may be, to lay before the 
person, in each district appointed for that purpose, a memorandum of 
his or her land, with copies of all their vouchers ; and where vouchers 
have been given, or are lost, such depositions or certificates as will tend 
to support their claims: The memorandum to mention the quantity 
of land, to whom originally granted, and when, deducing the title 
through various occupants to the present possessor. The number of 
adventurers who will shortly overrun this country, renders the above 
method necessary, as well as to ascertain the vacant lands, as to guard 
against tresspasses which will probably be committed on lands not on 
record. Given under my hand and seal, at Kaskaskia, theloth of June, 
in the 3rd year of the commonwealth, 1779. 

"JOHN TODD, Ju. " 

Many of the French inhabitants at Kaskaskia, Cahokia and 
Vincennes, readily took the oath of allegiance to Virginia. Not 
only these, but many of the chief men of the Indian tribes 
expressed sentiments of friendship for the United States govern 

At the period of which we write, with the exception of the 
French along the Mississippi, and a few families scattered along 
the Illinois and Wabash rivers, all within the present boundaries 
of Illinois was the abode of the nomadic savage. During the 
years 1779-80, the westward emigration from the Atlantic States, 
took a very considerable start. Among the circumstances which 
gave it impetus, were the brilliant achievements of Col. Clark at 
Kaskaskia and Vincennes, Avhich were the occasion of publishing 
abroad the fertile plains of Illinois ; the triumph of the British arms 
in the south, and a threatened advance upon Virginia ; and the 
liberal manner of the latter State, in inviting families to take pos 
session of the public lands claimed by her in the western country. 
Three hundred family boats arrived at the Falls of Ohio in the 
spring of 1780, mostly destined for Kentucky.* Among the im 
migrants to Illinois, we note the names of James Moore, Shadrach 
Bond, James Garrison, Kobert Kidd and Larken Kutherford, the 
two latter having been with Clark. They were from Virginia and 
Maryland. With their families, they, without molestation in those 
perilous times, crossed the Alleghanies, descended the Ohio, 
stemmed the Mississippi, and landed safely at Kaskaskia. James 

*Butler s Kentucky. 


Moore, the leader, and a portion, of his party, located on the hills 
near Bellefontaiue, while Bond and the rest settled in the Ameri 
can Bottom (from which circumstance that name is derived), near 
Harrison ville, afterwards known as the blockhouse fort. James 
Piggot, John Doyle, llobert Whitehead and a Mr. Bo wen, soldiers 
in Clark s expedition, also shortly after settled in Illinois. Doyle 
had a family and taught school. He Avas, perhaps, the first teacher 
to make that profession his business in Illinois. He also spoke 
French and Indian, and in the latter language was frequently em 
ployed as interpreter. Not until 1785 was this little band of 
American pioneers reinforced. Then came Joseph Ogle, Joseph 
Warley and James Andrews, all from Virginia and each with a 
large family. In the following year the American settlements 
were again augmented by the arrival of James Lemen, George 
Atchersou, and David Waddell with their families, besides several 

/ While the country was under the Virginia regime (but without 
the sanction of her authorities), La Balme, a native of France, in 
the fall of 1780 during the revolutionary war, made another attempt 
to lead an expedition from Kaskaskia against the British. It con 
sisted of 30 men, and was ostensibly formed to capture the post 
of Detroit. At Vincennes it was reinforced by a few men. The 
party moved up the Wabash, and at the head of the Maumee 
attacked and destroyed a British trading post called Kekionga, on 
the site of the present Fort Wayne. After securing the booty, 
the party retired to the banks of the small river Aboite, where 
they encamped. Here a party of Indians attacked them in the 
night, the leader and a few of his followers were killed, the re 
mainder dispersed, and the expedition against Detroit failed. Its 
object, like those of Brady and Meillet, was doubtless pi under. t 

Col. l\)dd, the Virginia commandant, was but little of his time in 
our part of the Illinois county ; he remained in command until the 
time of his death, which occurred at the battle of Blue Licks in 
Kentucky, August 18, 1782, where he was in command, not having 
resigned as commander of the militia of that district in Kentucky. 
This was the bloodiest Indian battle ever fought in Kentucky. 
Cols. Todd, Trig, Harlan, and a son of Daniel Boone, all fell. It 
was a sad day ; the Kentuckians lost 07 men, more than a third of 
their force, mostly killed. Col. Todd had just returned from 
Virginia on business pertaining to the Illinois county. His gov 
ernment in Illinois was popular. 

The successor of Col. Todd was a Frenchman, named Timothy 
deMontbrun, of whose administration, how long it lasted, or who 
was his successor, little or nothing is known. Montbrun s name 
appears to land grants and other documents among the archives 
at Kaskaskia. 

The Cession of Illinois. As we have seen, all of the North 
western territory, by private conquest, passed under the dominion 
of Virginia at a time when all the States were engaged in a common 
war, defending against the power of the mother country to reduce 
them to subjection 5 and whatever was the right of a State to 
organize an individual war enterprise, and turn its success to 

*See Annals of the West, 
t Reynold s Pioneer History. 


private advantage, by extending her jurisdiction over a vast and 
fertile region for her separate benefit and aggrandizement, the 
congress of the States, probably for the sake of harmony, acqui 
esced in the validity of this. But Virginia and a number of other 
States asserted still another claim to these western lands, and 
during the revolutionary war these conflicting claims became quite 
a hindrance to the prompt adoption of the articles of confedera 
tion. Many of the original colonies had their boundaries exactly 
denned in their royal charters, but Virginia, Connecticut, Massa 
chusetts, and the Carolinas, claimed to extend westward to the 
farther ocean, or to the Mississippi ; since, under the treaty of 
Paris, 17G3, that river had become the established western 
boundary of Great Britain. New York, too, under certain alleged 
concessions to her jurisdiction made by the Iroquois,or six nations, 
the conquerers of many Algonquin tribes including the Illinois, 
claimed almost the whole of the western country from beyond the 
lakes on the north to the Cumberland mountains on the south, 
and west to the great river. 

Large ideas as to the pecuniary value of the western lands 
obtained at the time, from which vast revenues were anticipated. 
The prospective well-filled coifers of the States, as well as the 
broad expansion of their dominions, excited the envy of their land 
less sisters. The latter held, therefore, that as these lands, as well 
as their own independence, had to be wrested from the British 
crown by joint effort, they ought to become joint property. Still, 
the claimant States in congress had succeeded in getting a clause 
inserted into the proposed articles of confederation, that no State 
should be deprived of any territory for the joint benefit of all. 
But Maryland, a non-claimant State, refused her assent to the arti 
cles with that provision. The adoption of the articles, which would 
make of the colonies a union, was very much desired. New York 
now, whose claim was the most baseless, opened the way by allow 
ing her delegates in congress, at discretion, to cede to the union all 
her interest west of a line drawn through the western extremity of 
Lake Ontario. Congress urged this example upon the other 
claimant states, guaranteeing that the ceded lands should be dis 
posed of for the common benefit of all ; and as the territories became 
populated they should be divided into States and admitted into 
the Union on an equal footing with the original States. 

Connecticut next proposed a cession of her indefinite due western 
extension, retaining, however, a tract of some 3,000,000 acres in 
Northwestern Ohio, known since as the Western Eeserve. This 
she also relinquished in the year 1800. The Virginia assembly, 
hoping to reanimate the flagging cause of the South by a more 
thorough union, just prior to its adjournment, December 31, 1780, 
on the approach of Arnold, who sacked and burned Richmond 
within a few days after, ceded to the United States all her claim 
|fco the territory north-west of the river Ohio, requiring from con 
gress, however, a guarantee of her right to the remainder south 
of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi. The New York delegates 
soon after exercised the discretion confided to them by their State, 
and executed a deed of cession, reserving the right of retraction 
unless the same guarantees were extended to New York as to any 
other ceding States. On the same day the delegates of Maryland, 
being thereunto empowered by act of the State, signed the articles 


of confederation, which completed the ratification, and a nation 
was launched. 

This was early in the spingof 1781; Virginia, however, did not 
execute her deed of cession till March 1, 1784. In the meantime 
peace had been made with Great Britain, by which nearly all this 
country passed to the ownership of the Nation, in common, and 
Virginia modified her act of cession by omitting her demand to the 
territory south-east of the Ohio. The deed of cession was executed 
by her delegates in Congress, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, 
Arthur Lee and James Monroe. It stipulated that the territory 
should be cut into States not less than 100 nor more than 150 miles 
square; to be republican in form, and to be admitted into the 
union with u the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and inde 
pendence as the other States; 7 that indemnity for the expenses of 
her expeditions incurred in subduing the British posts in the west 
be allowed her; that land, not exceeding 150.000 acres, promised 
by her, should be allowed to George Rogers Clark, his officers and 
soldiers; that the proceeds of the sales of the lands ceded shall 
be considered a common fund for all the States, present and future; 
and that "the French andCanadian inhabitants, and other settlers 
of the Kaskaskias, Post Vincennes, and the neighboring villages, 
Avho have professed themselves citizens of Virginia, shall have 
their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protcted in 
the enjoyment of their rights and liberties." 

Immediately after the execution of the deed of cession by Vir 
ginia, Congress proposed by ordinance, (April 23, 1784,) to establish 
a form of government for the entire western region, from the Gulf to 
the Lakes, though it was not yet wholly acquired. The plan proposed 
to divide the whole into 17 States; a tier of 8 was to border on the 
Mississippi, whose eastern boundary was to be a north and south 
line through the falls of the Ohio, and each to contain two par 
allels of latitude, except the northernmost, which was to extend 
from the 45th parallel to the northern limits of the United States; 
to the east of these a corresponding tier of 8 more was to be laid 
off, whose eastern boundary was to be a north and south line run 
ning through the month of the Great Kanawha; the remaining 
tract, to the east of this and north of the Ohio, was to constitute 
the 17th State. In these territories, the settlers, either on their 
petition or by act of Congress, were to receive authority to create 
a temporary form of government; but when 20,000 free inhabi 
tants had settled within any of them, they were authorized to call 
a convention, form a constitution, and establish for themselves a 
permanent government, subject to the following requirements: to 
remain forever a part of the confederacy of the United States ; to 
be subject to the articles of confederation and the acts and ordi 
nances of Congress like the original States; not to interfere with 
the disposal of the soil by Congress; to be liable to their proportion 
of the federal debt, present and prospective; not to tax the lands 
of the United States ; their respective governments to be repub 
lican; not to tax lands belonging to non-residents higher than 
those of residents; and when any one got of free inhabitants as 
many as the least numerous of the original Thirteen States, to be 
admitted into the Union on an equal footing with them. The com 
mittee, of which Mr. Jefferson was chairman, reported also this 


remarkable provision, the adoption of which, and unalterable 
adherence to, would doubtless have prevented the late re 
bellion: -That after they ear 1800, of the Christian era, there 
shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the 
said States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the 
party shall have been duly convicted." But this proviso failed on 
account of not receiving a majority of the States. The four New 
England States, with New York and Pennsylvania, voted for it; 
New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia, were unrepresented; North 
Carolina was divided; Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, 
(Mr. Jefferson being overborne by his colleagues.) voted against 
it. The anti-slavery clause was stricken out and the resolutions 
became an ordinance. 

While such was the law for these territories, it never received 
application to any of them ; no organization was ever effected 
under it. Nor had Massachusetts in the meantime relinquished 
her claim in the territories. In 1785, Kufus King renewed the anti- 
slavery proviso in congress, as a condition upon which she would 
make a cession of her claim. The question was referred to a com 
mittee of eight States, where it slept the sleep that knows no 
waking. Massachusetts, however, in accordance with the Virginia 
scheme of dividing the western territory into small States, ceded 
her claim, April 19, 1785; and with the consent of Congress to 
accept the cession of Connecticut, with the reservation of 3,000,000 
acres. September 13th, 1780, the title of the confederated States to 
the lands north-west of the river Ohio became complete. In the 
meantime, by act of congress, surveys and explorations were 
going on in the territories which glaringly exposed the total disre 
gard of natural boundaries, and the inconvenience resulting from 
cutting up the western country into fourteen small States. Virginia 
and Massachusetts were now called upon to modify the conditions 
of their deeds, so as to allow that portion of the territory north 
west of the Ohio to be divided up into three or five States, at the 
option of Congress, which was accordingly done, and the following 
year Congress passed the ordinance of 1787. 

This was a slow transition period, which was doubly experienced 
in the settlements of Illinois which were the fartherest removed 
from the seat of power, be it Virginia or the United States. 
During all this time, and for three- years after the adoption of 
the ordinance of 1787, and until the organization of the county 
of St. Clair, by Governor St. Clair, in 1790, there was a very 
imperfect administration of the law, which consisted of a mixture 
of the civil or the French, the English, as resulting from the pro 
mulgations of the arbitrary acts of the British commandants at 
Fort Chartres, and such as had been instituted by the Virginia 
authorities. There were no regular courts of law in existence in 
the country, and no civil government worth mentioning. The peo 
ple were a law unto themselves ; their morals were simple and 
pure, and the grosser vices were kept dormant. Crimes against 
the peace of society were rare, misdemeanors infrequent, and 
fraud and dishonest dealings seldom practiced. During part of 
this time, too, the Indians were hostile, committing many brutal 
murders, which engaged the settlers in constant warfare and 
mutual protection against the savages ; a state of affairs not con- 


diicive to the civil administration of the law where even tne most 
perfect code exists. The following curious land speculation, on the 
part of a territorial court instituted by Colonel Todd, as it relates 
in part to Illinois, may not be amiss to transcribe, as it illustrates 
also the fallibility of men in office, and the necessity of the peo 
ple to ever bold a watchful eye over their official servants. 

In June, 1779, Colonel Todd established a court of civil and 
criminal jurisdiction at Post Vincennes, composed of several mag 
istrates. Colonel J. M. P. Legras, having been appointed com 
mandant of the post, acted as president of the court, and exercised 
a controlling influence over its proceedings. Adopting in some 
measure the usages and customs of the early French command 
ants, the court began to grant or concede tracts of land to the 
French and American inhabitants, and to different ciA il and mili 
tary officers of the country. Indeed, the court assumed the power 
of granting lands to every applicant, mostly in tracts varying 1 from 
the size of a house lot to 400 acres, though some were several 
leagues square. Before 1783, about 2(5,000 acres of land were thus 
granted to different individuals j and from 1773 to 1787, when in 
the latter year the practice was stopped by General Harmar, the 
grants amounted to 22,000 acres, making a total, first and last, 
of 48,000 acres. The commandant and magistrates, after having 
exercised this power for some time, were easily led to believe that 
they had the right to dispose of all that large tract of land which, 
in 1742, had been granted by the Piankeshaw Indians, for the use 
of the French inhabitants at Post Vincennes. Once convinced of 
their supreme dominion over this entire tract, the court was not 
long in arriving at the conclusion that they might make grants to 
themselves with as much propriety as to others ; and if they could 
do this^with small tracts, they might with the whole; hoping, 
doubtless, that, as the country passed under the government of the 
United States, the grants would receive confirmation. Accord 
ingly, all that tract of country extending on the Wabash 72 miles 
fromPointe La Coupeeto the mouth of White river, westward into 
Illinois 120 miles and east from the Wabash 90 miles (excluding 
lands already conceded), " to which the Indian title was supposed 
to be extinguished, was divided between the members of the 
court, and orders to that effect, entered on their journal ; each 
member [as a matter of delicacy] absenting himself from the 
court on the day that the order was made in his favor, so as to give 
it the appearance of being the [disinterested] act of his fellows 

This shameful transaction being totally illegal, as no agent or 
trustee can make sale to himself, failing to prove a source of profit 
to the grantees in open market, was in a measure abandoned. 
Still, as the grant was in due form, under the great seal and 
authority of Virginia, land speculators, spying out the matter, 
quietly purchased freely of the lands thus granted, which could 
be readily done for a song, and then dispersed themselves over all 
the United States, and for many years after, duped great numbers 
of ignorant and credulous people, many of whom did not find out 
the swindle until moving out to their lands so purchased, they dis 
covered their titles to be a myth. These swindling practices 

Letter of Governor Harrison. 


never wholly ceased until Governor Harrison, in 1802, at Vin- 
cennes, forbid prothonotaries from authenticating under the sanc 
tion of the official seal of the territory, and recorders from 
recording any of these fraudulent papers.* 

Annals of the West. 




Ordinance of 1787 Organization of St. Clair County Bar of Illi 
nois in 1790 Impoverished Condition of the French Indian 
Hostilities, }783 to 1795 Randolph County American Immi 
gration Sickness Territorial Assembly at Cincinnati Notable 
Women of the Olden Time Witchcraft in Illinois. 

The celebrated ordinance of 1787 was passed by the congress 
of the confederated States on tlie 13th of July of that year. By 
it, the whole of the country north-west of the river Ohio was con 
stituted one district, for the purposes of temporary government. 
It provided for the descent of property in equal shares, substan 
tially as under our present laws, (a just provision, not then 
generally recognized in the States,) "saving, however, to the 
French anfr Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of Kaskaskia, 
St. Vineents, and other neighboring villages, who have heretofore 
professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs 
now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance 
of property." A governor was provided for, whose term of office 
was three years, who was to reside in the district and own a freehold 
of 1,000 acres of land ; a secretary, whose commission was to run 
four years, subject to revocation: he was to reside in the district 
and own 500 acres of land. A court was provided for, to consist 
of three judges, two of them to constitute a court; they were to 
exercise common law jurisdiction, to reside in the district, own 
500 acres of land, their commissions to last during good behavior. 
They, jointly with the governor, were to adopt such laws of the 
original States as were suitable to the conditions of the country, 
to remain in force until the organization of the general assembly, 
which might alter or re-adopt them ; congress, also, might dis 
approve them. The governor was constituted conimander-m-chief 
of the militia, with power to appoint all officers below the grade 
of general officers. Until the organization of the general assembly, 
the governor was to appoint all the civil officers in each county. 
He was to establish comities from time to time, to whose limits 
legal process was to run. With 5,000 free male inhabitants of full 
age, the territory was entitled to a general assembly, the time and 
place of election to be fixed by the governor; each 500 were 
entitled to one representative, till the number reached 25, after 
which the legislature was to regulate the number and proportion. 
The qualifications of a member were, either a residence in the 



territory three years, or citizenship in a State for three years and 
present residence in the territory, and a fee simple right to 200 
acres of land within the same; qualification of an elector: freehold 
f of 50 acres and citizenship in one of the States, or a like freehold 
and two years residence in the district. Representatives were 
elected for the term of two years. The assembly was to consist 
of the governor, council and house of representatives. The council 
was to consist of five members, three to constitute a quorum; 
time of service, five years. Congress was to select the council 
from ten men residents of the territory, each having a freehold 
of 500 acres nominated by the house of representatives. Bills, 
to become laws, must pass both houses by a majority and receive 
the signature of the governor, who possessed an. absolute veto by 
simply withholding his approval. The two houses, by joint ballot, 
were to elect a delegate to congress, who was allowed to debate, 
but not to vote. An oath of office of office was to be taken by all 
the officers. 

For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious 
liberty, and to fix the basis of government of future States to be 
formed out of said territory, it was further provided, in six unal 
terable articles of perpetual compact between the people of the 
original states and the people of the territory : 

I. Xo person, in peaceable demeanor, was to be molested on 
account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments. 

II. The inhabitants were guaranteed the benefits of the writs 
of habeas corpus and trial by jury; a proportion ate representation 
in the legislature and judicial proceedings according to the course 
of the common law. "All persons shall be bailable, unless for 
capital offenses, where the proof shall be evident or the presumption 
great. All fines shall be moderate; and no cruel or unusual pun 
ishments shall be inflicted. ]So man shall be deprived of his liberty 
or his property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of 
the land ; and should the public exigencies make it necessary, for 
the common preservation, to take any person s property, or to 
demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made 
for the same." No law ought ever to be made or have force in 
said territory, that shall, in any manner, interfere with or affect 
private contracts or engagements made in good faith and without 

III. Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good 
government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means 
of education shall forever be encouraged. Good faith, justice and 
humanity toward the Indians, was to be observed ; their lands and 
property not to be taken without consent, and peace and friend 
ship to be cultivated. 

IV. The territory, and States to be formed therein, were to 
remain forever a part of the United States, subject to her laws; 
the inhabitants to pay a just proportion of the public debt, con 
tracted or to be contracted ; not to tax the lands of the United 
States, nor those of non-residents higher than those of residents; 
the navigable waters of the lakes to remain forever free to all 
citizens of the United States. 

V. The territory Avas not to be divided into less than three States, 
and, at its option, congress might "form one or two (more) States 
in that part which lies north of an east and west line drawn 


through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. 7 With 
60,000 free inhabitants, such States Avere to be admitted into the 
union on an equal footing with the original States. 

VI. " There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude 
in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, 
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted;" this section 
providing also for the reclamation of fugitives from labor. 

Such Avas substantially the fundamental law of this vast territory, 
which has ever had a controlling influence upon the destiny of the 
States carved out of it, and saved some of them from the perma 
nent blight of slavery. While the conA^ention at Philadelphia 
was occupied Avith framing the constitution of the United States, 
congress, sitting in New York, disposed of this subject, which was 
fraught with an importance second only to the constitution itself. 
The auti-slavery clause, it Avill be observed, was substantially the 
same as that reported by Jefferson in 1784, for the organization of 
all the western territory, but which was then rejected. The ordi 
nance was reported from committee by Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts, 
and unanimously adopted by the eight States then only repre 
sented in congress. On October 5, 1787, Major General Arthur 
St. Clair was, by congress, elected governor of the Northwestern 
territory. St. Clair was born in Scotland and emigrated to 
America in 1755. He serA^ed in the French and British Avar, 
under General Amherst, at the taking of Louisburg, in 1758, and 
at the storming of Quebec, under Wolfe, in 1759. After the peace 
of 17G3, he settled in western Pennsylvania. In the Avar of the 
Revolution he Avas first commissioned a colonel, raised a regiment 
of 750 men and was afterward promoted to the rank of major 
general. In 1788 he was tried by court-martial for evacuating 
Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence, but was honorably acquitted. 
He remained in the serA T ice until the close of the war. In 1786 he 
was elected to congress, and was chosen president of that body. 
Owing to his losses in the war of the revolution, his friends pressed 
him for the governorship of the Northwestern Territory, that he 
might retrieve his fortune. But he "had neither taste nor genius 
for speculation in lands, nor did he think it consistent with the 

The instructions from congress were, in effect, to promote peace 
and harmony between the Indians and the United States, to defeat 
all combinations or confederations between them, and conciliate 
good feeling between them and the white settlers ; to regulate 
trade with them; to ascertain as far as possible the several tribes, 
their head men and number of warriors, and by every means 
attach them to the government of the United States ; and to neg 
lect no opportunity to extinguish the Indian titles to lands west 
ward as far as the Mississippi, and north to the 41st degree of 
north latitude. 

In the summer of 1788, the gOA^ernor and judges (Samuel Holden 
Parsons, James Mitchell Variimn, and John Cleves Symnies)^ met 
at Marietta, the seat of government, and adopted and promulgated 
a code of laws for the Avhole territory. The governor immediately 
established some counties, except in Illinois, appointed the civil 
officers for them, and thus, July 15th, the machinery of the terri 
torial government under the U. S. was put into operation. These 

*His letter to VV. B. Giles, of Virginia. 


steps by the judges and governor were commonly denominated the 
first grade of territorial government under the ordinance. 

As characteristic of the period, we note that the punishment for 
crimes, owing to the want of prisons, were generally of a sum 
mary character : Death for murder, treason, and arson, (if loss 
of life ensued therefrom) ; whipping with 39 lashes, and tine, for 
larceny, burglary and robbery 5 for perjury, whipping, fine, or 
standing in the pillory ; for forgery, fine, disfranchisement and 
standing in the pillory; drunkenness, fine, for non-payment of 
which to stand in the stocks ; for non-payment of fines generally, 
the sheriff was empowered to bind out the convict for a term not 
exceeding 7 years; obscene conversation and profane swearing 
were admonished against, and threatened with the loss of the gov 
ernment s confidence; morality and piety Avere endued, and the 
Sabbath pronounced sacred. 

Under date of October 6th, 1789, president Washington wrote 
to Governor St. Clair : You will also proceed, as soon as you can, 
\vith safety, to execute the orders of the late congress respecting 
the inhabitants at Post Vincennes and at the Kaskaskias, and the 
other villages on the Mississippi. It is a circumstance of some im 
portance, that the said inhabitants should, as soon as possible, 
possess the lands which they are entitled to, by some known and 
fixed principle. Accordingly in February, Gov. St. Glair and the 
Secretary, Winthrop Sargent, arrived at Kaskaskia. The country 
within the boundaries of our present State extending northward to 
the mouth of the Little Mackinaw creek on the Illinois was organ 
ized into a county, which was named after His Excellency, St. 
Clair, and may be called the mother of counties in Illinois. It 
was divided into three judicial districts, a court of common pleas 
established, 3 judges appointed, namely : John Edgar, of Kas 
kaskia ; John Babtiste Barbeau, of Prairie du Koeher, and John 
D. Moulin, of Cahokia, each to hold the courts for and in the dis 
trict of his residence. The terms were fixed to be held every three 
months, hence the name of quarter sessions, by which the courts 
were generally known. William St. Clair, brother of the governor, 
was appointed clerk and recorder of deeds, and William Biggs, 
sheriff. Cahokia became the county seat. While the clerk could 
issue process for the county, and the sheriff serve the same, suit 
Lad to be brought and entitled of the district Avhere the defendant 
resided, and the writs to bear test of the judges of the respective 
districts, dated at the respective villages and run with the respec 
tive districts. Grand juries were to be quarterly organized in each 
district. The right of appeal was rendered practically nugatory, 
and in no case was it resorted to. The sessions of the U. S. 
judges for the territory were held in bane at cither Cincinnati or 
Cliillicothe, a distance so great from Illinois, by the then facilities 
of travel, as to render appeal impracticable. Of the judges, John 
de Moulin, a native of Switzerland, possessing a good education 
and fair knowledge of the civil law, was a large, fine looking man, 
a bachelor. He was also colonel of the militia, and showed well 
on parade days. He was very popular. Jean Babtiste Barbeau, 
was of the original Canadian French stock, long settled in Illinois; 
energetic, fair business talent, and extensive experience. John 
Edgar was an Englishman. Justices of the peace were also ap 
pointed throughout the county. Their jurisdiction was limited to 


$20 in civil cases ; in criminal, they possessed only examining 
power ; juries before them were not countenanced. Appeal lay to 
the common pleas courts.* Thus was launched the tirst comity 
of Illinois upon its career of usefulness, with all its political ma 
chinery duly organized under the laws of the United States. Down 
to this period, a mixture of the old French, English and Virginia 
laws had maintained a sort of obsolete existence and operation. 

It may not be uninteresting to relate that the bar of Illinois, in 
1790, was illuminated by but a single member, who was, however, 
a host himself. This was John Rice Jones, a Welchman, born. 
1750. He was an accomplished linguist, possessed of a classical 
education, and a thorough knowledge of the law. He was the 
earliest practitioner of law in Illinois and would have been con 
spicuous at any bar. His practice extended from Kaskaskia to 
Yincennes and Clarksville, (Louisville, Ky.) Contrary to the 
habits of frontier life, he was never idle. Asa speaker, his capacity 
for invective under excitement was extraordinary. Removing to 
Yincennes, he became a member of the territorial legislature, and 
in 1807 rendered important services in re vising the statute laws for 
the territory of Indiana.! In 1780 , news found currency in the 
western country that congress, whose meetings were in great part 
secret, had by treaty agreed with Spain to a temporary relinquish- 
ment of the right to the free navigation of the Mississippi. The 
western people, who received these reports greatly magnified, were 
bitterly incensed thereat. At Yincennes a body Of men were en 
listed without authority, known as the Wabash regiment, to be 
subsisted by impressment or otherwise, of whom George Rogers 
Clark took command, and by his orders the Spanish traders there 
and in the Illinois, were plundered and despoiled of their goods 
and merchandise in retaliation of similar alleged offences by the 
Spaniards at Natchez. In these outrages John Rice Jones took a 
leading part. He became the commissary general of the 
marauders, to the support of whom Illinois merchants contributed. 
Such goods as were un suited to the use of the garrison were sold 
by Jones. These acts tended to embroil us with Spain. Jones 
later removed to Missouri, became a member of the constitutional 
convention, and was a candidate for U. S. Senator in opposition to 
Mr. Benton. He held the office of judge of the Supreme Court of 
Missouri until his death, in 1824. 

The second lawyer of Illinois, prior to 1800, was Isaac l)ar- 
nielle. To a strong native intellect, classical education and a 
tolerable knowledge of the law, he added an engaging manner, 
free benevolent disposition, and a rather large, portly and attractive 
person. He was an agreeable speaker, conspicious at the bar, and 
popular with the people. He was said to have been educated for 
the ministry and had occupied the pulpit. But his great forte lay 

*Brown, History of Ills. p. 273, (with a confused idea as to boundary), to show the 
inconvenient size of St. CJair County, relates the following : 

Suit having been brought before a Justice of Cahokia to recover the value of a cow, 
and judgment having been rendered for 5316, the case was appealed. The adverse 
party and witnesses resided at Prairie duChien, Wisconsin, distance 400 miles. The 
Sheriff, who was also an Indian trader, having received a summons for the party and 
subpoenas for the witnesses, fitted out a boat with a suitable stock of goods for tbe 
Indian trade and proceeded thilher with his papers Having served the summons and 
subpoenaed the witnesses, which included the greater part of the inhabitants of Prairie 
du Chien, he made his return charging mileage and service for each, as he had a right 
to, his costs and the cost of the suit altogether, it is stated, exceeding $900. Whether 
the costs were ever paid or not, chroniclers have failed to transmit. 

tSee Reynold s Pioneer Hist, of His. 


in the court of Venus, where he practiced with consummate art and 
with more studious assuidity than his books received. He never 
married and yet apparently was never without a wife. This course 
of life brought its inevitable consequences. While youth and 
vigor lasted all was well, but with advancing age, he was com 
pelled to abandon his profession, and finally died in western 
Kentucky, at the age of o O, a poor and neglected school-teacher.* 

As to the practice of those times, ex-governor Reynolds relates 
seeing the records of a proceeding in court at Prairie du Eocher, 
against a negro for the u murder" of a hog. The case was mali 
cious mischief, for wantonly destroying a useful animal, which it 
was sought to bring before the court ; but in the absence of a pros 
ecuting attorney, officers disallowed at that time, the grand jury, 
groping about in the law books, met with a precedent of an indict 
ment for murder and applied it to the case in hand. Perhaps 
justice was meted out as fully under this indictment as if drawn 
with the nicest precision as to the nature of the offence, and pros 
ecuted by the ablest attorney in the country. 

In the deed of cession from Virginia, it was stipulated that the 
French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers, who had 
professed allegiance to Virginia, should have their titles con 
firmed to them. By a law of congress of 1788, the governor of 
the territory was authorized to confirm the possessions and titles 
of the French to their lands (and those people in their rights,) 
who, on or before the year 1783, had professed themselves citizens 
of the United States, or any of them. But nothing had been 
done in this direction up to the arrival of Governor St. Clair at 
Kaskaskia. It was to this that Washington had called the gover 
nors attention, in his letter of October 6, 1789. In March, 1790, 
to carry these instructions into effeet, the governor issued his proc 
lamation to the inhabitants, directing them to exhibit their titles 
and claims to the lands which they held, in order to be confirmed 
in their possessions. Numbers of these instruments were exhib 
ited, and for those found to be authentic, orders of survey Avere 
issued, the expense whereof was to be paid by the owners. Such 
payment was anything but satisfactory to the people, as will be 
seen by the subjoined quotation from the governor s report to the 
secretary of state, in 1790 ; and from it may further be gleaned 
the deplorable condition of the French, at the time of the gover 
nor s visit in this oft-painted Eden of the Far West as if over 
flowing with abundance : 

" Orders of survey were issued for all the claims at Kaskaskia, 
that appeared to be founded agreeably to the resolutions of con 
gress ; and surveys were made of the greater part of them. A 
part of these surveys, however, have only been returned, because 
the people objected to paying the surveyor, and it is too true that 
they are ill able to pay. The Illinois country, as well as that upon 
the Wabash, has been involved in great distress ever since it fell 
under the American dominion. With great cheerfulness, the peo 
ple furnished the troops under Colonel Clark, and the Illinois 
regiment, with everything they could spare, and often with much 
more than they could spare with any convenience to themselves. 
Most of these certificates for these supplies are still in their hands, 

*Reynold s Pioneer Hist. 


unliquidated aud unpaid; and in many instances, where applica 
tion lias "been made for payment to the State of Virginia, under 
whose authority the certificates were granted, it has been refused. 
The Illinois regiment being disbanded, a set of men, pretending 
the authority of Virginia, embodied themselves, and a scene of 
general depredation ensued. To this, succeeded three successive 
and extraordinary inundations from the Mississippi, which either 
swept away their crops, or prevented their being planted. The loss 
of the greater part of their trade with the Indians, which was a 
great resource, came upon them at this juncture, as well as the 
hostile incursions of some of the tribes which had ever been in 
friendship with them ; and to these was added the loss of their 
whole last crop of corn by an untimely frost. Extreme misery 
could not fail to be the consequence of such accumulated misfor 
tunes. " 

The impoverished condition of the French settlements is fur 
ther portrayed, and doubtless truly, in a memorial addressed to 
Governor St. Clair, while in Illinois, which bears the date "June 9, 
1790," and is signed by " P. Gibault, Priest," and 87 others. 
Gibault was the same ecclesiastic who, in 1788, conducted the suc 
cessful embassy of Colonel Clark to Vincennes, severing the 
allegiance of that post from the British : 

" The memorial humbly showeth, that by an act of congress of June 
20, 1788, it was declared that the lands heretofore possessed by the said 
inhabitants, should be surveyed at their expense; and that this clause 
appears to them neither necessary nor adapted to quiet the minds of the 
people. It does not appear necessary, because from the establishment 
of the colony to this day, they have enjoyed their property and posses 
sions without disputes or law suits on the subject of their limits ; that 
the surveys of them were made at the time the concessions were obtained 
from their ancient kings, lords and commandants ; and that each of 
them kneV what belonged to him without attempting an encroachment 
on his neighbor, or fearing that his neighbor would encroach on him. It 
does not appear adapted to pacify them ; because, instead of assuring to 
them the peaceable possessions of their ancient inheritances, as they 
have enjoy edit till now, that clause obliges them to bear expenses which, 
in their present situation, they are absolutely incapable of paying, and 
for the failure of which they must be deprived of their lands. 

" Your Excellency is an eye-witness of the poverty to which the 
inhabitants are reduced, and of the total want of provisions to subsist 
on. Not knowing where to find a morsel of bread to nourish their fam 
ilies, by what means can they support the expenses of a survey which 
has not been sought for on their parts, and for which, it is conceived by 
them, there is no necessity? Loaded with misery, and groaning under 
the weight of misfortunes, accumulated since the Virginia troops entered 
the country, the unhappy inhabitants throw themselves under the pro 
tection of Your Excellency, and take the liberty to solicit you to lay 
their deplorable situation before congress ; and as it may be interesting 
for the United States to know exactly the extent and limits of their 
ancient possesssion, in order to ascertain the lands which are yet at the 
disposal of congress, it appears to them, in their humble opinion, that 
the expenses of the survey ought more properly to be borne for whom 
alone it is useful, than by them who do not feel the necessity of it. Be 
side, this is no object for the United States ; but it is great, too great, for 
a few unhappy beings, who, Your Excellency sees yourself, are scarcely 
able to support their pitiful existence. ; 

The French settlements steadily declined and melted away in pop 
ulation from the time the country passed under Anglo-Saxon rule, 
17G5, until their exodus, many years later, became almost complete. 
After their first hegira, commencing with the English occupation, 


down to 1800, the immigration of the latter race scarcely counterbal 
anced the emigration of the former. Indeed, there was a time during 
the Indian troubles, that the balance fell much behind; but after 
the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, immigration was greatly increased. 
In 1800, the population was little, if any, greater than in 1765. 
In capacity for conquest or colonization, for energy of character, 
thrift, ingenious and labor-saving inventions, the Anglo-Saxon 
race surpasses all others. It was that race which established the 
British constitution j which permanently colonized the shores of 
America and gave to it municipal liberty, the gem of republicanism, 
and which furnished our unrivaled federative system, which may 
yet be the means of politically enfranchising the world. To have 
his secluded abode and remote quietude stirred up by such a race, 
with whom he felt himself incapable to enter the race of life, the 
Frenchman of these wilds lost his contentment, and he aban 
doned his ancient villages in Illinois, to the new life, instinct with 
the progress opening all around them, after an occupation of 
over a century. 


After the tide of European immigration had forced back the red 
men of America from the Atlantic slopes, they found their best 
hunting grounds in the magnificient forests and grassy plains 
beyond the Alleghanies, north of the Ohio and east of the Missis 
sippi. When, after the war of the Revolution, this empire region, 
wrested from the grasp of the British crown, was thrown open to 
settlement and the pioneers of the pale faces began to pour over 
the mountains and into the valley with a steadily augmenting 
stream, the red men determined not to give back farther. They 
resolved to wage a war of extermination for the retention of this 
vast and rich domain. Here had gathered the most warlike tribes 
of the Algonquin nations, who have given to known Indian history 
the ablest chieftains and greatest warriors, Pontiac, Little Turtle, 
Tecumseh, and his brother the one-eyed Prophet, Black Hawk, and 

During the war of the Revolution all the most belligerent tribes 
residing within this region, and the fisheries along the great lakes 
of the north, had adhered to the side of Great Britain. But by 
the treaty of peace, 1783, the territory was transferred to the U. 
S. without any stipulations by England in favor of her savage 
allies. The British, during their twenty years rule, had not extin 
guished the Indian title to any part of the country. The French, 
during their long occupation, had made no considerable purchases 
of lands from the western Indians ; and by the treaty of Paris, 
1763, the English succeeded only to the small grants of the French 
about the various forts, Detroit, Kaskaskia, Vincennes, etc. True, 
in 1701, at Fort Stanwix, the Iroquois had ceded to Great Britain 
their shadowy claim over a part of the northwestern territory, ac 
quired by their wars with the Hurons and Illinois, and in 1768 the 
six nations had conceded to her their rights to the lands south of 
the Ohio, but the conquered tribes residing upon them and making 
them their hunting grounds, abandoned them but temporarily, and 
returned and did not respect the transfers. An Indian conquest, 
unless followed by permanent occupation, was seldom more than a 


mere raid, aiid could not be said to draw title after it. There 
fore, by the treaty of peace of 1783, the U. S. received nothing 
from England beyond the old small French grants, and the title of 
the six nations by conquest, such as it was, to the western territory. 
Indeed, the general government in the I Vth article of the ordinance 
of 1787, seems to acknowledge that it had yet to secure the title 
to the lands from the Indians. 

The general government, on account of the adherence of the 
Indians to the side of the British during the war, if not deducing- 
actual title, was inclined to regard the lands of the hostile tribes 
as conquered and forfeited. But while it attempted to obtain 
treaties of cession from the several nations, it also immediately 
threw open the country to settlers, made sales to citizens, and in 
the exercise of supreme dominion, assigned reservations to some 
of the natives, dictating terms and prescribing boundaries. This 
at once produced a deep feeling of discontent among the Indians, 
and led directly to the formation of an extensive confederation 
among a great number of the northern tribes. 

In October, 1784, the government Indian commissioners made a 
second treaty at Fort Stanwix with a portion only of the Iroqnois, 
which, 011 account of its not being made at a general congress of 
all the northern tribes, was refused to be acknowledged by their 
leading chiefs, Brant, Red Jacket, and others. The folio wing- 
year, at Fort Mclntosh, the government again treated with a por 
tion of the tribes the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa, and 
Ottawa nations only partly represented ; and in January, 1786, 
at the mouth of the Great Miami (Fort Kinney,) with the Shaw- 
aiiese, the Wabash tribes refusing to attend. 

We have seen that among the instructions issued to Gov. St. 
Clair, he. was to carefully examine into the real temper of the 
Indians, and to use his best efforts to extinguish their titles to 
lands, westward as far as the Mississippi, and north to the lakes. 
In the fall of 1788, he invited the northern tribes to confirm the 
late treaties of Fort Stanwix and Fort Mclntosh, ceding lands ; 
but the Indians, in general council assembled, refused to do so and 
informed the Governor "that no bargain or sale of any part of 
these Indian lands would be considered as valid or binding." The 
Governor, nevertheless, persisted in collecting a few chiefs of two 
or three nations, at Fort Harmar, (mouth of the Muskingum), and 
from them obtained acts of confirmation to the treaties of Forts 
Stamvix and Mclntosh, ceding an immense conn try, in which they 
were interested only as a branch of the confederacy, and unauthor 
ized to make any grant or cession whatever.* The nations, who 
thus participated in the acts of confirmation, were the Wyandots, 
Delawares, Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawattoinies, and Sacs; but 
the confederation of the north claimed that it was done without 
authority, with the young men of the nation, alleged to have been 
intimidated and over-reached.T But aside from the fact that the 
government had treated with separate tribes, the grants obtained 
from the Iroquois and their kindred, the Wyandots, and the Dela 
wares and Shawanese, were open to scarcelyany objection s.f Those 
most vehement in denouncing the validity of the concessions were 

Proceedings of Indian Council 1793 See American State papers, V. 3577. 

JStoue, ii. 281. 


the Miamis, Chippewas, Piankashaws, Eel River Indians, Weas 
(Quias Ouiatenous,) and Kaskaskias, the latter four making- their 
residence in great part in Illinois. 

The confederacy of Indians at all times strenuously insisted that 
the Ohio river should constitute a perpetual boundary between 
the red and white men ; and to maintain this line the former organ 
ized a war against the latter, the ablest and most stupendous 
known to their annals, in the quelling of which the government 
was actively engaged for six years, and which was finally accom 
plished only by the prowess of "Mail Anthony" Wayne. In their 
determination, evidence is quite abundant that the Indians were 
inspired and supported by the advice and encouragement of 
British agents and officials, supplemented by the avarice of British 
traders. It was to their interest to have this splendid country 
remain the abode of the savages, with whom to exchange their 
gew-gaws for valuable pelts and furs; a lucrative trade which would 
cease with the advances of American civilization. The British 
continued to hold the northwestern posts from which to supply the 
Indians ; and the home cabinet entertained hopes that circum 
stances might yet compel the IT. S. to recognize the Ohio as its 
northwestern boundary.* Much of the dissatisfaction of the 
Indians was clearly traced to the influence and intrigues under the 
superintendence of Col. McKee, the British agent at Detroit and 
the Rapids of the Maumee.t The Indian discontent was openly 
encouraged, and their hostility fanned into a flame of war ; the 
warrior bands obtained their outfit of arms and ammunition from 
the British traders ; to trade with the Indians while at war with 
the U. S. they maintained as but fair and just. 

As the main operations of this war occurred within the limits 
of the present States of Ohio and Indiana, we shall not treat of 
them in detail, notwithstanding Illinois was united with them 
under a common government. Indian depredations upon the settle 
ments and murders of the whites became frequent, inspiring terror 
on every hand. In the fall of 1790, Gen. Harmar conducted a 
large, but fruitless, expedition of 1500 men, mostly Kentucky and 
Pennsylvania militia, poorly armed and without discipline, from 
Fort Washington, (Cincinnati) against the Miami villages on the 
Maumee and head waters of the Wabash. Caution had foolishly 
been taken so notify the British at Detroit, that the troops 
collected were to be used against the Indians alone.f The villages 
were found deserted. They were destroyed, together with 20,000 
bushels of corn. Two detachments of from 300 to 400 men each, 
the first under Col. Trotter and the next under Col. Hardin, rival 
Kentuckians, engaged the Indians, but owing to wretched manage 
ment and worse discipline, both met with defeat and very heavy 
losses. 1 1 The defeated army marched back to Fort Washington, 
and the Indians were only encouraged in their dastardly work of 
murder upon the settlements. 

In the spring of 1791, congress authorized Brig. Gen. Charles 
Scott, and others of Kentucky, to conduct an independent expe 
dition against the Wabash Indians. It consisted of about 1,000 

*See Burnett s Letters, p. 100. 

f-Am. State Papers ^Vayne s Dispatches. 


OAni State Papers, Asheton s Statement, and Cists Cin. Miscellany 


mounted volunteers, who left the Ohio, May 23d. Early 011 the 
morning of June 1st they reached the Wabash at the old Wea 
towns, a few miles above the present Terre Haute. The villages 
were discovered by the ascending smoke from the lodges. The army 
was formed in order of battle and moved briskly forward; the in 
habitants being in blissful ignorance of the stealthy approach of 
the foe. Gen Scott reports that the town was situated on the low 
ground bordering the Wabash below the plain across which they 
marched. " On turning the point of woods, one house presented 
in my front. Capt. Price was ordered to assault that with 40 men. 
He executed the command with great gallantry, and killed two 
w r arriors." This remarkably "gallant" exploit doubtless was the 
means of saving many human livesj otherwise totally surprised on 
this early June morning. Gen. Scott continues : 

"When I gained the summit of the eminence which overlooks the 
villages on the banks of the Wabash, I discovered the enemy in great 
confusion, endeavoring to make their escape over the river in canoes. I 
instantly ordered Lieutenant Colonel commanding Wilkinson to rush 
forward with the first battalion. The order was executed with prompti 
tude, and this detachment gained the bank of the river just as the rear 
of the enemy had embarked ; and, regardless of a brisk tire kept up from 
a Kickapoo town 011 the opposite bank, they, in a few minutes, by a well 
directed fire from the rifles, destroyed all the savages with which five 
canoes were crowded."* 

How this attack differed from a regular murderous Indian raid, 
is left to the discovery of the reader ; as also, how many of the enemy 
,wcre women and children. "Many of the inhabitants of the village 
(Ouiatenon) were French and lived in a state of civilization. By 
the books, letters, and other documents found there, it is evident 
that the place was in close connection with and dependent on 
Detroit. A large quantity of corn, a variety of household goods, 
peltry, and other articles, were burned with this village, which 
consisted of about 70 houses, many of them well finished. ! Col. 
John Hardiii, "burning to retrieve his fame," was sent with a de 
tachment to a village six miles down the river, where he killed six 
warriors and took fifty-two prisoners. In the meantime another 
force under Col. Wilkinson had crossed the swollen river at a 
secluded place two miles above and proceeded on the opposite 
bank to dislodge the refractory Kickapoos. On the following day 
Col. W. was again detached with a force of 360, on foot, to destroy 
the town of Kethtipenunk (Tippecanoe) which was done, no doubt 
"gallantly." Gen. St. Clair in a letter to Washington dated Sept. 
14, 1798, says the Kentuckians were "in the habit of retaliating, 
perhaps, without attending precisely to the nations from which 
the injuries are received." 

In August, Col. Wilkinson, with an independent command, sur 
prised the natives on Eel river. ur fhe men," says Wilkinson, 
"forcing their way over every obstacle, plunged through the river 
with vast intrepidity. The enemy was unable to make the smallest 
resistance. Six warriors, and (in the hurry and confusion of the 
charge) two squaws and a child were killed, 34 prisoners (squaws 
and children) were taken, and an unfortunate captive released, 
with the loss of two men killed and one wounded." Four thousand 

*Am. State Papers, V. 131. 
tScott s tteport. 


acres of corn were destroyed, and the cabins burned.* He was 
voted the thanks of congress. 

On the early morning of November 4, 1791, occurred that most 
disastrous defeat of Gen. St. Clair, in western Ohio, on a small 
branch of the Wabash; b3~ 9 o clock a. m. his beaten and confused 
army, what little was left of it, was in a complete and precipitate 
rout toward Fort Jefferson, distance 29 miles. From the first 
onset, the troops were thrown into disorder and confusion by the 
murderous tire of the savages, and panic reigned supreme.t The 
loss was 890 out of a force of 1400 engaged in battle. "Six hundred 
skulls," writes George Mill from General Wayne s army which 
camped on the battle field three years later, "were gathered up 
and buried j when we went to lay down in our tents at night, we 
had to scrape the bones together and carry them out, to make our 
beds."! The Indians engaged were estimated at 1040. Little 
Turtle, Mecheeunaqua, chief of the Miamis, was in command. 
The battle field was afterwards known as Fort Recovery. 

The general gwernment made repeated efforts, both before and 
during the war, to arrange a peace upon a fair equivalent for the 
lands of the aborigines. But the red men flushed with victories, 
and influenced by the artful whispers of the British emissaries, 
closed their ears to every appeal for peace, and rejected proposition 
after proposition; nothing but the boundary line of the Ohio would 
be entertained as a basis for peace. At the foot of the Maumee 
Rapids, August 13, 1793, 16 of the confederated nations being 
represented in ccfuncil, replied to the American peace commis 
sioners : 

"Brothers : We shall be persuaded that you mean to do us justice, if 

S>u agree that the Ohio shall remain the boundary line between us. * * 
ODey to us is of no value ; and to most of us unknown ; and, as no con 
sideration whatever can induce us to sell the lands on which we get 
sustenance for our women and children, we hope we may be allowed to 
point out a mode by which your settlers may be easily removed, and 
peace thereby obtained. 

"Brothers: We know that these settlers are poor, or they would never 
have ventured to live in a country which has been in continual trouble 
ever since they crossed the Ohio. Divide, therefore, this large sum of 
money, which you have offered to us, among these people. Give to each, 
also, a proportion of what you say you would give to us, annually, over 
and above this very large sum of money ; and as we are persuaded, they 
would most readily accept of it in lieu of the land you sold them. If you 
add, also, the great sums you must expend in raising and paying armies, 
with a view to force us to yield you our country, you will certainly have 
more than sufficient for the purpose of repaying these settlers for all their 
labor and their improvements. * * We want peace. Eestore to us our 
country, and we shall be enemies no longer." 

It is a curious fact, illustrating our dealings with the Indians, 
that a treaty of peace and friendship was entered into at Vin- 
cennes, September 27, 1792, by Brig. Gen. Rufus Putnam, accom 
panied by John Heckvelder and 31 Indians of the Wabash and 
Illinois tribes, the 4th article of which contained the following 
language : 

"Art. 4. The United States solemnly guaranty to the Wabash 
and Illinois nations or tribes of Indians, all the lands to which 
they have a just claim j and no part shall ever be taken from them 

*Wilkinson s Report. 

tAin. State Papers, 

$Am. Pioneer Wayne s Statement. 


but by a fair purchase, and to their satisfaction. That the lands 
originally belonged to the Indians ; it is theirs, and theirs only. 
That they have a right to sell, and a right to refuse to sell. And 
that the United States will protect them in their said rights." 

When the treaty, which contained 7 articles, was laid before the 
United States Senate, the 4th article was objectionable, and after 
much deliberation, it was, Jan. 1), 1794, rejected by a vote Of 21 to 
4. Senate Jour. 1. 128 to 140. 

The Illinois settlements were fortunately beyond the main 
theatre of this savage war; still, owing to the general hostility 
of nearly all the tribes, their depredations were each year extended 
to them, and a comparatively great number of barbarous murders 
were committed by the Kickapoos. These we will give condensed 
from the "Annals of the AVest," pages 700 to 705 : 

In 1783, a single murder, that of James Flannory, was first committed 
while on a hunting excursion, but it was not accounted ail act of war. 
In 1786 the Indians attacked the American settlements, killed James 
Andrews, his wife and daughter, James White and Samuel McClure, 
and two girls, daughters of Andrews were taken prisoners. One of these 
died with the Indians, and the other was ransomed by French traders. 
She is now (1850) alive, the mother of a large family, aud resides in St. 
Clair county. The Indians had previously threatened the settlement, 
and the people had built and entered a blockhouse ; but this family was 
out and defenceless. 

1787. Early in this year, five families near Bellefountaine, united and 
built a blockhouse, surrounded it with palisades, in which these families 
resided. While laboring in the corn field they were obliged to carry 
their rifles, and often at night had to keep guard. Under these embar 
rassments, and in daily alarm, they cultivated their corn-fields. 

1788. This year the war assumed a more threatening aspect. Early in 
the spring, William Biggs was taken prisoner. While himself, John 
Vallis, and Joseph and Benjamin Ogle, were passing from the station on 
the hills to the blockhouse fort in the bottom, they were attacked by the 
Indians. * Biggs and Vallis were a few rods in advance of the party. 
Vallis was killed and Biggs taken prisoner. The others escaped unhurt. 
Biggs was taken through the prairies to the Kickapoo towns 011 the 
W abash, from whence he was finally liberated by means of the French 
traders. The Indians treated him well, offered him the daughter of a 
brave for a wife, and proposed to adopt him into their tribe. He after 
wards became a resident of St. Clair county, was a member of the terri 
torial legislature, judge of the county court, and wrote and published a 
narrative of his captivity among the Indians. 

On the 10th day of December, in the same year, James Garrison and 
Benjamin Ogle, while hauling hay from tbe bottom, were attacked by 
two Indians ; Ogle was shot in the shoulder, where the ball remained; 
Garrison sprang from the load and escaped into the woods. The horses 
taking fright, carried Ogle safe to the settlement. In stacking the same 
hay, Samuel Garrison and Mr. Riddick were killed and scalped. 

17S9. This was a period of considerable mischief. Three boys were 
attacked by six Indians, a few yards from the blockhouse, one of which, 
David Waddel, was struck with a tomahawk in three places, scalped, 
and yet recovered ; the others escaped unhurt. A short time previous, 
James Turner, a young man, was killed on the American bottom. Two 
men. were afterwards killed and scalped while on their way to St. Louis. 
In another instant, two men were attacked on a load of hay, one was 
killed outright, the other was scalped, but recovered. The same year 
John Ferrel was killed, and John Deinphsey was scalped and made his 
escape. The Indians frequently stole the horses and cattle of the 

1790. The embarrassments of these frontier people greatly increased, 
and they lived iu continual alarm. In the winter, a party of Osage In 
dians, who had not molested hitherto, came across the Mississippi, stole a 
number of horses and attempted t^ recross the river. The Americans 


followed and fired upon them. James Worley, an old settler, having 
got in advance of his party, was shot, scalped, and his head cut off and 
left on the sand-bar. 

The same year, James Smith, a Baptist preacher from Kentucky, while 
on a visit to these frontiers, was taken prisoner by the Kickapoos. On 
the 19th of May. in company with Mrs. Huff and a Frenchman, he was 
proceeding from the blockhouse to a settlement then known by the name 
of Little Village. The Kickapoos fired upon them from an ambuscade 
near Bellefountaine, killed the Frenchman s horse, sprang upon the 
woman and her child, whom they despatched with a tomahawk, and took 
Smith prisoner. His horse being shot, he attempted to flee on foot ; and 
having some valuable papers in his saddle bags, he threw them into a 
thicket, where they were found next day by his friend. Having retreated 
a few yards down the hill, he fell on his knees in prayer for the poor 
woman they were butchering, and who had been seriously impressed, 
for some days, about religion. The Frenchman escaped on foot in the 
thickets. The Indians soon had possession of Smith, loaded him with 
packs of plunder which they had collected, and took up their line of 
march through the prairies. Smith was a large, heavy man, and soon 
became tired under his heavy load, and with the hot sun. Several con 
sultations were held by the Indians, how to dispose of their prisoner. 
Some were for despatching him outright, being fearful the whites would 
follow them from the settlement, and frequently pointing their guns at 
his breast. Knowing well the Indian character, he would bare his 
breast as if in defiance, and point upwards to signify the Great Spirit 
was his protector. Seeing him in the attitude of prayer, and hearing 
him singing hymns on his march, which he did to relieve his own mind 
of despondency, they came to the conclusion that he was a "great medi 
cine," holding daily intercourse with the Good Spirit, and must not be 
put to death. After this, they took off his burdens and treated him 
kindly. They took him to the Kickapoo towns on the Wabash, where, 
in a few months, he obtained his deliverance, the inhabitants of New 
Design paying $170 for his ransom. 

1791. In the spring of this year, the Indians again commenced their 
depredations by stealing horses. In May, John Dempsey was attacked, 
but made his escape. A party of eight men followed. The Indians 
were just double their number. A severe running fight was kept up for 
several hours, and conducted w T ith great prudence and bravery on the 
part of the whites. Each party kept the trees for shelter, the Indians 
retreating, and the Americans pursuing, from tree to tree until night put 
an end to the conflict. Five Indians were killed without the loss of a 
man or a drop of blood on the other side. This party consisted of Capt. 
Hull, who commanded, Joseph Ogle, sen., Benjamin Ogle, James N. 
Semen, sen., J. Ryan, Wm. Bryson, John Porter, and D. Draper. 

1792. This was a period of comparative quietness. No Indian fight 
ing ; and the only depredations committed, were in stealing a few 

1793. This was a period of contention and alarm. The little settle 
ments were strengthened this year by the addition of a band of emigrants 
from Kentucky ; among which was the family of Whiteside. In Feb 
ruary, an Indian in ambuscade wounded Joel Whiteside, and was 
followed by John Moore, Andrew Kinney, Thos. Todd, and others, 
killed and scalped. Soon after, a party of Kickapoos, supposed to have 
been headed by the celebrated war chief, Old Pecan, made a predatary 
excursion into the American bottom, near the present residence of S. W. 
Miles, in Monroe county, and stole 9 horses from the citizens. A number 
of citizens rallied and commenced pursuit ; but many having started 
without preparation for long absence, and being apprehensive that an 
expedition into the Indian country would be attended with much 
danger, all returned but 8 men. This little band consisted of Samuel 
Judy, John Whiteside, Wm. L. Whiteside, Uel \Vhiteside, William 
Harrington, John Dempsey and John Porter, with Wm. Whiteside, a 
man of great prudence and unquestionable bravery in Indian warfare, 
whom they chose commander. 

They passed on the trail near the present site of Belleville, towards the 
Indian camps on Shoal Creek, where they found 3 of the stolen horses, . 


which they secured, The party then, small as it was, divided into two 
parts of four men each, and approached the Indian camps from opposite 
sides. The signal for attack was the discharge of the captain s gun. 
One Indian, a son of Old Pecan, was killed, another mortally, and others 
slightly wounded, as the Indians fled, leaving their guns. Such a display 
of courage by the whites, and being attacked on two sides at once, made 
them believe there was a large force, and the old chief approached and 
begged for quarter. But when he discovered his foes to be an insignificant 
number, and his own party numerous, he called aloud to h is braves to return 
and retrieve their honor. His own gun he surrendered to the whites, but 
now he seized the gun of the captain, and exerted all his force to wrest 
it from him. Captain Whiteside was a powerful man, and a stranger to 
fear, but he compelled the Indian to retire, deeming it dishonorable to 
destroy an unarmed man, who had previously surrendered. This in 
trepid band was now in the heart of the Indian country, ^syhere hundreds 
of warriors could be raised in a few hour s time. In this critical situa 
tion, Capt. Whiteside, not less distinguished for prudence than bravery, 
did not long hesitate. With the horses they had recovered, they imme 
diately started for home without the loss of time in hunting the 
remainder. They traveled night and day, without eating or sleeping, 
till they reached in safety Whiteside s station, in Monroe county. On 
the same night, Old Pecan, with 70 warriors, arrived in the vicinity 
of Cahokia. From that time the very name of Whiteside struck terror 
among the Kickapoos. Hazardous aud daring as this expedition was, it 
met with great disapprobation from many of the settlers. Some alleged 
that Old Pecan was decidedly friendly to the whites ; that another party 
had stolen the horses; that the attack upon his camp was clandestine 
and wanton ; and that it was the cause of much subsequent mischief. 
These nice points of casuistry are difficult to be settled at this period. It 
has long been known, that one portion of a nation or tribe will be on 
the war path, while another party will pretend to be peaceable. Hence 
it has been found necessary to hold the tribe responsible for the conduct 
of its party. 

1794. The Indians, in revenge of the attack just narrated, shot Thos. 
Whiteside, a young many near the station ; tomahawked a son of Wm. 
Whiteside, so that he died, all in revenge for the death of Old Pecan s 
son. In February of the same year, the Indians killed Mr. Huff, one 
of the early settlers, while on his way to Kaskaskia. 

1795. Two men at one time, and some French negroes at another 
time were killed on the American bottom, and some prisoners taken. 
The same year the family of Mr. McMahon was killed and himself and 
daughters taken prisoners. This man lived in the outskirts of the settle 
ment. Four Indians attacked his house in day-light, killed his wife 
and four children before his eyes, laid their bodies in a row on the floor 
of the cabin, took him and his daughters, and marched for their towns. 
On the second night, Mr. McMahon, finding the Indians asleep, put on 
their moccasins and made his escape. He arrived in the settlement just 
after his neighbors had buried his family. They had inclosed their 
bodies in rude coffins, and covered them with earth as he came in sight. 
He looked at the newly formed hillock, and raising his eyes to Heaven 
in pious resignation, said, "they were lovely and pleasant in their lives, 
and in their death are not divided." 

His daughter, now Mrs. Catskill, of Ridge Prairie, was afterwards 
ransomed by the charitable contributions of the people. Not far from 
this period, the Whitesides and others to the number of 14 persons, made 
an attack upon an encampment of Indians of superior force, at the foot 
of the bluffs west of Belleville. Only one Indian ever returned to his 
nation to tell the story of their defeat. The graves of the rest were to be 
seen, a few years since, in the border of the thicket, near the battle 
ground. In this skirmish Capt. Wm. Whiteside was wounded, as 
thought, mortally, having received a shot in the side. As he fell, he 
exhorted his-sons to fight valiantly, not yield an inch of ground, nor 
let the Indians touch his body. Uel Whiteside, who was shot in the 
arm, and disabled from using the rifle, examined the wound, and found 
the ball had glanced along the ribs and lodged against the spine. With 
that presence of mind which is sometimes characteristic of our backwoods 


hunters, he whipped out his knife, gashed the skin, extracted the ball, 
and holding it up, exultingly exclaimed, "Father, you are not dead!" 
The old man instantly jumped up on his feet, and renewed the right, ex 
claiming, "Come on, boys, I can fight them yet!" Such instances of 
desperate intrepidity and martial energy of character, distinguished the 
men who defended the frontiers of Illinois in those days of peril. 

After the defeat of St. Clair, the conduct of the war in the 
northwest was placed in the hands of Gen. Anthony Wayne. His 
campaign during the summer of 1794, which culminated in the 
victory of the 20th of August on the Maumee, proved a complete 
success. The confederated tribes, defeated and disheartened, now 
retired to wait the long promised support of the English. Brant, 
of the Iroquois, said : "A fort had been built in their country [by 
the English] under pretense of giving refuge in case of necessity, 
but when that time came, the gates were shut against them as 
enemies."* For several years difficulties had existed between 
Great Britain and the United States, which British Indian agents 
and traders had seduously taught to red men must speedily even 
tuate in war, when they would become their open and powerful 
ally. But on the 19th of November, 1794, after protracted nego 
tiations, Jay, at London, concluded a treaty of amity, commerce, 
and navigation between the United States and Great Britain, in 
which the King pledged a firm peace and agreed to withdraw, by 
the 1st of June, 1790, all his troops and garrisons from the posts 
within the boundary lines of the United States, as fixed by the 
treaty of 1783. This took away from the Indians the last hope of 
British aid, so long promised them, and the vast confederation of 
savage tribes, bending to their inevitable fate, hastened to the 
headquarters of Gen. Wayne during the winter, and signed prelim 
inary articles of peace, which resulted in the treaty of Greenville, 
and which, after a protracted council with all the sachems, chiefs, 
and principal men of the confederacy, lasting from June to August 
3d, 1795, was finally signed. A vast body of land in Ohio and 
Indiana, large enough for a good sized State, was ceded by the 
confederate tribes, besides 1C tracts 6 miles square at various 
points in the northwest, among which we note, as being in Illinois, 
"one piece of laud, 6 miles square, at the mouth of Chicago river, 
emptying into the south-west end of Lake Michigan, where a fort 
formerly stood ;" one piece 12 miles square, at or near the mouth 
of the Illinois river, and "one piece 6 miles square, at the old 
Peorias fort and village, near the south end of the Illinois lake, on 
said Illinois river." The Indians also allowed free passage through 
their country, in Illinois from the mouth of the Chicago river and 
over the portage to the Illinois and down to the Mississippi, and 
down the Wabash. Under the treaty, of what may be considered 
Illinois tribes, the Pottawattomies were to receive an annual 
stipend of $1000 in goods (being as much as any tribes received,) 
and the Kickapoos, Piankeshaws, and Kaskaskias, $500 each.t 

And now, as the news of this important treaty spead abroad, 
the retarded tide of emigration began to flow with a steadily aug 
menting stream into these territories ; apprehension of danger 
from the Indians was banished, and friendly intercourse succeeded 
former enmity ; forts, stations, and stockades were abandoned to 
decay ; the hardy pioneer pushed ever forward and extended the 

*Am. State Papers, V. 
tScott s Brant, IT, 390. 



frontier ; and men of capital and enterprise, securing titles to ex 
tensive bodies of fertile lands, organized colonies for their occupa 
tion, and thus the wilderness under tlie tread of civilization was 
made to blossom as the rose. 

By an act of congress, 1791, 400 acres of land were granted to 
all heads of families who made improvements in Illinois prior to 
1788, except village improvements. These rights were commonly 
designated as a head-riglits." A list of names of heads of families, 
who settled in Illinois previous to the year 1788, entitling them to 
these donations, which included also non-residents who should 
return in five year s time to occupy their claims, shows a total 
number of 244 claimants, 80 of whom were Americans. By allow 
ing the usual number of 5 souls to the family, we have a popula 
tion in that year of 1220. This excluded negroes. Before 1791, 
under the militia law of the governor and judges, the muster roll 
gives about 300 men capable of bearing arms, of which number 
65 only were Americans.* 

In 1797 a colony of 126 persons the largest which had yet 
arrived were most fatally stricken with disease, They were from 
Virginia, had descended the Ohio in the spring, and landed at Ft. 
Massac, from which they made their way across the land to the 
New Design. This place, in the present county of Monroe, was 
established in 1782. It was located on an elevated and beautiful 
plateau of ground, barren of timber, which commanded a view of 
both the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers. The season was ex 
ceedingly wet, the weather extremely warm, and the roads heavy 
and muddy. The colonists toiled through the woods and swamps 
of Southern Illinois for 26 days, distance about 135 miles. They 
were worn down, sick, and almost famished. Arrived at their 
destination, they found among the old settlers long harrassed by 
Indian warfare, from which they had not recovered, but poor ac 
commodations. There was no lack of hospitality in feeling, but 
that did not enlarge the cabins, which usually contained but one 
room, into many of which 3 and 4 families were now crowded with 
their sick and all. Food was insufficient, salt was very scarce, 
and medical aid was almost out of the question. A putrid and 
malignant fever broke out among the newcomers, attended by such 
fatality as to sweep half of them into the grave by the approach 
of winter. No such fatal disease ever appeared before or since in 
the country.f The old inhabitants were not affected. The intelli 
gence of this unwonted mortality produced abroad the wrongful 
impression that Illinois was a sickly country, which tended no 
little to retard immigration. It is now well established that Illinois 
is far healthier than many of her western sisters. 

Among the first Americans who formed settlements remote from 
the French, a great want was mills. The latter had had their 
wind mills and water mills since a very early date; but with their 
hegira the wind mills fell into decay, and for the others the water 
frequently failed, and the Americans were compelled to have 
recourse to other means. The simplest modes of trituration was 
by means of the grater and the mortar. The first consisted in the 
brisk rubbing of an ear of corn over a piece of tin closely pierced 
with orifices. The mortar was extemporized by excavating with 

Reynold s Pioneer Hist. 
t Western Annals. 


fire the butt of a good sized short log, up-ended, sufficiently deep 
to hold a peck or more of corn. Over this was erected a sweep 
to lift, by counter- traction, a piston with a firm, blunt end, 
which served to pound the corn into meal. To these primitive and 
laborious processes, succeeded, in the order of their simplicity and 
in due time, hand mills, band mills, horse mills, and last water 

From 1788 to 1795, Gov. St. Glair and the Judges of the north 
western territory, in their legislative capacity, adopted 04 stat 
utes, 38 at Cincinnati in the last named year/ In April, 1798, 11 
more were adopted.* Four-fifths of these laws were imported 
from Penuslvania, and a few from Massachusetts and Virginia. 
This gave to the country a complete system of statute law, which 
was perhaps but little inferior to that of any of the States at that 
early period. Among them was the common law of England and 
statutes of Parliament in aid thereof, of a general nature and not local 
to that Kingdom, down to the 4th year of the reign of James I; which 
is the law in Illinois to this day, except as varied by statute. From 
it we derive all those fundamental principles of the British Consti 
tution which secure to the citizen personal liberty and protection 
to life and property the habeas corpus, trial by jury, &c. This 
was imported from Virgin i a ; but the bill of rights is also in the 
ordinance of 1787. In 1795 the Governor also divided St. Glair 
county in Illinois by running aline through the New Design settle 
ment in the present Monroe county, due east to the Wabash all 
that country lying south of it being established into the county of 
Randolph, named in honor of Edmund Randolph, of Virginia. 

Before the close of the year 1796, the white population of Ohio 
alone was ascertained to exceed 5,000. By the ordinance of 1787, 
the country was entitled to the 2d grade of territorial government 
so soon as it should contain 5,000 white inhabitants. There being 
no longer any doubt regarding this, Gov. St. Glair, October 29, 
1798, issued his proclamation directing the qualified voters to 
hold elections for territorial representatives on the 3d Monday of 
December, 1798. From Illinois, Shadrach Bond, subsequently the 
first governor of this State, was elected. The representatives 
elect were convened January 22d, 1799, at Cincinnati. In accord 
ance with the provision of the ordinance of 1787, they nominated 10 
men to the President of the IT. S. (Adams) to select 5 from, who 
were to constitute the legislative council. These were confirmed 
by the Senate of the U. S., March 22, 1799. The assembly, after 
making the nominations for the council, immediately adjourned to 
September 16th following, at which time both houses met, though 
they did not perfect their organization till the 24th. This was the 
first time that the people of this country, through their representa 
tives, enacted their own laws for their own local government. The 
Legislature confirmed many of the laws enacted by the governor 
and judges, and passed 48 new ones, the governor vetoing 11. 
They were prorogued December 19, 1799.t 

^Reynold s Pioneer History. 

*Dillon s Ind. I. Chase s Statute 1790, 1795. 

tSee Dillons s Ind,, Vol. 11. 



Mrs. LeCompt. Among the ladies of Illinois at the close of the 
last and the beginning of the present century, presenting such 
marked characteristics as to leave their impress upon the period 
of their existence, we cannot in justice forbear to mention a few. 
The first which we notice was the well known Mrs. LeCompt. 
She was born in 1734, of French parents, on the eastern shore of 
Lake Michigan, at the old station on the St. Joseph. This was the 
country of the warlike Pottawatomie tribe of Indians. Throughout 
her long life Mrs. LeCompt had ever the western savage for a 
neighbor. She early became proficient in the dialect of the 
Indians and gained a deep insight into their character. She was 
married at Mackinaw, settled with her husband, whose name was 
St. Ange, or Pelate, at Chicago, but subsequently removed to Ca- 
hokia, and, her husband dying, she here married Mr. LeCompt, a 
Canadian. From this marriage sprung one of the largest French 
families in Illinois. Later in life, after the death of LeCompt, she 
married again, this time that Thomas Brady who conducted an un 
fortunate marauding expedition against the Fort St. Joseph in 
1778. Of this union no issue resulted. This extraordinary woman 
was possessed of an iron constitution, a strong mind and dauntless 
courage. Her person was attractive and her manner winning. 
She traveled much, took many long trips, and underwent much 
exposure to the inclemencies of the weather, yet she was seldom 
sick. She lived a hardy and frugal life. By her knowledge of the 
Indian language, and a thorough appreciation of his character, she 
acquired a wonderful influence over the tribes,with which she was 
brought into contact. And this was turned to a blessed account 
for the benefit of the settlement where she lived. From the con 
quest of Clark, the French, as we have seen, sided with the 
Americans, while the Indians adhered to the British. From that 
time down to the peace of Greenville, in 1795, the old kindly 
feeling between the French and Indians was more or less inter 
rupted, and many a meditated attack upon Cahokia did Mrs. 
LeCompt frustrate by her rare sagacity and friendly counsel with 
the savages. It is said, that such was the infatuated friendship of 
the savages for her, that they would invariably advise her in 
advance of their meditated attack upon the village. It was upon 
such occasions that the heroine within her would become manifest. 
In the dead hour of night she would go forth from the village to 
meet the warrior hosts, often camped near the foot of the Quentin 
mound, at the foot of the bluffs, or wherever they might be ; in 
their vicinity, dismiss her attendants, and solitary and alone pro 
ceed on foot amid the savage horde. Such devotion to her people 
and such courage in a woman, joined by her ready wit, would 
awaken a chord of sympathy in the warrior s breast. At times she 
would remain among them for days, pleading for the delivery of 
her village, counseling peace, and appeasing tire anger of the 
savages. Her efforts were not intermitted until she was well con 
vinced that the storm was allayed and bloodshed averted. At 
such times the young men of the village were mostly away on the 
chase, or as boatmen down the river, while the remaining inhabi 
tants, terror stricken, would arm themselves for such defence as 


hey were capable of. What would be their joy to see this extraor 
dinary woman escorting a swarthy band of warriors to the village, 
changed from foes to friends ! (The Indians, upon such occasion, 
would paint themselves black to manifest their sorrow for their 
infernal murderous intent upon ttteir friends.) After a thorough 
feasting of the savages, sometimes for days, their reconciliation 
would "usually last some time. Mrs. LeCompt, as she was still 
called after Brady s death, lived to the extreme age of 109 years. 
She died in 1843, at Cahokia. Ex-Gov. Eeynolds, from whose 
pioneer history we are in great part indebted for the above 
account, says he knew her well for 30 years. 

Mrs. John Edgar. This accomplished woman, the center of 
fashion for remote Illinois in the olden time, presided for many 
years with equal grace and dignity over her husband s splendid 
mansion at Kaskaskia, the abode of hospitality and resort of the 
elite for near a half century. It was in the spacious and elegantly 
furnished parlors of this house that La Fayette, on his visit to 
Illinois in 1825, was sumptuously entertained, by a banquet and 
ball. Mrs. Edgar s name merits high rank on the scroll of revolu 
tionary heroines. By birth, education, and sympathy, she was 
American, but her husband, John Edgar, was an officer in the 
British navy, fighting against the colonies in their struggle for 
liberty and independence. By her talent, shrewdness, and above 
all, her patriotic devotion to her country, she won over not only 
the heart of her husband to the American cause, but was the pro 
jector of many plans by which soldiers in the British army were 
induced to quit and join the ranks of the patriots. She had, upon, 
one occasion, arranged a plan of escape for three soldiers and was 
to furnish them guns, American uniforms, etc., and all needful in 
formation to enable them to reach the patriot camp. When they 
came she was absent from home, but her husband, a confidante of 
all her operations, notwithstanding his position in the enemy s 
navy, supplied them with the outfit prepared for them by her. 
But the deserters were apprehended, returned to the British camp, 
and compelled to divulge the names of their abettors. This impli 
cated Edgar and he fled-, remaining a while in the American army 
he deemed it safer for his life to seek greater seclusion and came 
to Kaskaskia. His property was confiscated ; but the rare sagacity 
of his patriotic and devoted wife, who remained back, enabled her 
to save from the wreck some $12,000, with which she joined her 
husband two years afterwards in his western home.* Their union 
was childless; but they were for many years the most wealthy 
family in Illinois. Edgar was a large, portly man. A county of 
the State perpetuates his name. 

Mrs. Robert Morrison. This talented lady was a rare acquisition 
to the society of Kaskaskia. Reared and educated in the monu 
mental city, she, in 1805, accompanied her brother, Col. Donaldson, 
to St. Louis, in the far off wilds of the west, whither he was sent 
as a commissioner to investigate the land titles. But the west 
became her permanent home. She was married the following year 
to llobert Morrison, of Kaskaskia, which place became her resi 
dence thenceforth. Well educated, sprightly and energetic, her 
mind was gifted with originality and romance. u Her delight was 

*8ee Hist. Sketch of Randolph & Co. and Reynold s Pioneer Hist. 
^Reynold s Pioneer Hist, of Ills. 


in the rosy fields of poetry."t Her pen was seldom idle. She com 
posed with a ready facility and her writings possessed a high 
degree of merit. Her contributions to the scientific publications 
of W. Walsh, of Philadelphia, and other periodicals of the time, 
both verse and prose, were m^ch admired. Nor did the political 
questions of the day escape her ready pen. The discussion of 
these topics in our newspapers were eagerly read by the politicians 
of Illinois. A feat of much ingenuity was her work of remoddliug 
and converting into verse the Psalms of David. The volume was 
presented to the Philadelphia Presbytery and met with high com 
mendation for many of its excellencies, though it was not adopted. 
Later in life, she gave a thorough investigation to the doctrines of 
religious sects, and after much reflection united with the Catholic 
church. Possessed of great force of character, and zealous and 
ardent in whatever she espoused, her example and precepts con 
tributed greatly toward proselyting members to that faith. She 
became the mother of an interesting family. Some of her sons 
have been quite conspicious in the affairs of this State. Mrs. 
Morrison lived to an advanced age, and died at Belleville in 


It is recorded}: that at least two human lives have fallen a sacri 
fice to the miserable superstition of witchcraft in Illinois in early 
times. An African slave by the name of Moreau was, about the 
year 1790,. hung on a tree a little ways southeast of Cahokia, 
charged with and convicted of this imaginary crime. He had ac 
knowledged, it is said, that by his power of devilish incantation 
"he had poisoned his master, but that his mistress had proved too 
powerful lor his necromancy,"* and this it seems was fully believed, 
and he was executed. The case was murder j but there was at this 
period a very imperfect administration of the laws in Illinois, lu 
the same village, ignorant! y inspired by a belief in the existence 
of this dread power of diabolism, another negro s life was offered 
up to the Moloch of superstition, by being shot down in the public 
streets. An old negress of that .vicinity, named Janette, commonly 
reputed to possess the supernatural power of destroying life and 
property by the potency of her incantations, inspired such terror 
by her appearance that adults as well as children would flee at 
her approach. It was a very common feeling among the French 
to dread to incur in any way the displeasure of certain old colored 
people, under the vague belief and fear that they possessed a 
clandestine power by which to invoke the aid of the evil one to 
work mischief or injury to person or property. Nor was this belief 
solely confined to the French, or this power ascribed only to the 
colored people. An old woman living on Silver Creek was almost 
generally accredited with the power of witchcraft, which, it was 
believed, she exercised in taking milk from her neighbor s cows at 
pleasure, without the aid of any physical agency. The African s 
belief in fetishes, and the power of their divination, is well-known. 
Many superstitious blacks in this country have claimed the descent 
to them of fetish power; the infatuation regarding voudouism, 
formerly so wide spread, is not yet extinct among many ignorant 

^Reynold s Pioneer Hist. 


blacks of Louisiana, as we read occasionally from New Orleans 
papers. Renault,. agent of the "Company of the West," bought 
in 1720, at San Domingo, 500 slaves which he brought to Illinois, 
many of whom were direct from Africa, and thus was imported 
the claim to this occult power, which, perhaps, had no difficulty in 
finding lodgement in the minds of the superstitious French of 
Illinois. Mankind have ever been prone to superstitious beliefs; 
there are very many persons now who are daily governed in the 
multiplied aftairs of life by some sign, omen, or augery. 

Nor were the red children of the forest in American free from 
superstition. The brother of the Shawanee warrior, Tecumseh, 
named Lawlelueskaw, the loud voiced, better known as the one 
eyed Prophet, who commanded the Indians at the battle of Tippe- 
canoe, seeking to reform his people, earnestly declaimed against 
the vice of witchcraft, as well as drunkenness, intermarrying with 
white men, etc. In obedience to the commands of the maniteau, 
the Great Spirit, he fulminated the penalty of death against those 
who practiced the black art of witchcraft and magic. His vehe 
ment harrangues evoked among his followers a paroxysm of 
superstitious infatuation. An old Delaware chief, named Tate- 
bockoshe, was accused of witchcraft, tried, condemned, tomahawked 
and consumed on a pyre. This was enacted on the present site of 
Yorktown, Delaware county, Indiana.* The chiefs wife, his 
nephew, Billy Patterson, and an aged Indian named Joshua, were 
next accused of witchcraft and the two latter convicted, sentenced 
and burned to the stake; but a brother of the chief s wife boldly 
stepped forward, seized his sister and led her from, the council 
house, without opposition from those present, and immediately re 
turned, and in aloud tone harangued the savages, exclaiming : 
"Maniteau, the evil spirit has come in our midst and we are 
murdering one another." This, together with the earnest letter of 
Gov. Harrison, sent by special messenger in the spring of 180CJ, 
exhorting the Indians to spurn the pretended prophet, checked the 
horrid delusion. See Drake s Tecuuiseh, 88. 

*He had also offended by his influence in bringing about the treaty of Aug. 1804, by 
which the chiefs and head men of the Delaware s ceded to the U. S. that large tract of 
land in southern Indiana, since known as the "pocket." 




Its Organization -Extinguishing Indian Titles to Lands Gov. Har 
rison s Facility in This Land Speculations and Frauds in 
u Improvement-rights" and "Head-rights" Meeting of the Legisla- 
at Vincennes in 1805 Statutes 0/1807. 

By act of Congress, approved May 7, 1800, the large and 
unwieldy territory of tlie Northwest was divided ; all that part of 
it lying westward of a line beginning oil the Ohio river opposite 
the mouth of the Kentucky, running thence north via Fort Eecov- 
ery to the British possessions, was constituted a separate territory 
and called Indiana. It enclosed the present States of Illinois, 
Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana except a little strip 011 the 
eastern side between the mouth of the Kentucky and Great Miami. 
The white population of the country was estimated at 4,875, and 
negro slaves 135, while the aggregate number of Indians within 
the extreme limits of the territory was fairly reckoned at 100,000. 
The seat of Government was fixed at Vincennes, and the ordinance 
of 1787 was applied to the territory in a modified form : that clause 
requiring 5,000 free white male inhabitants of the age of 21 years 
and upwards, before a general assembly could be organized, Avas 
changed to the wish of a simple majority of the freeholders. The 
law was to go into effect on the 4th of July following. 

A chief reason for making this division was the large extent of 
the northwestern territory, which rendered the ordinary operations 
of government uncertain and the prompt and efficient administra 
tion of justice almost impossible. In the three western counties 
Knox, St. Clair and Randolph, the latter two in Illinois, there had 
heen but one term of court, having cognizance of crimes, held in 
five years. Such immunity to offenders offered a safe asylum to 
the vilest and most abandoned scoundrels. The law of 1791, con 
firming titles and granting lands to certain persons for military 
services, and the laying out thereof, remained imexcuted, causing 
great discontent ;* and the unpopularity of Governor St. Clair was 
constantly on the increase. His unfortunate campaign against the 
Maumee towns, which had greatly shaken the confidence of the 
people, had but rendered his conduct of civil affairs more arbitra 
ry and defiant. He vetoed nearly every act of the legislature 
establishing new counties, to the great inconvenience of the people 

See report of Committee in Congress Am. State Pap. XX, 306. 



in tlieir transactions with clerks and recorders, and to the vexation 
of suitors at law. 

The territorial legislature sitting a* Cincinnati, elected, on the 
3d of October, 1799, William Henry Harrison, then secretary of 
the territory, a delegate to congress, over Arthur St. Clair, jun., by 
a vote of 11 to 10. The contest elicited wide and unusual interest, 
and was not unattended by much acrimony and ill blood. The 
St. Clairs were federalists, and party feeling ran extremely high 
in those days. Harrison was largely instrumental in Congress in 
obtaining the passage of the act of division. Up to this time the 
smallest tract of public lands which could be entered was 400 
acres, except fractional pieces cut by important streams. This 
was a great hindrance to settlement, and to the poor our land sys 
tem was a curse rather than a blessing. Harrison, fully 
appreciating this grievance, urged through Congress a law 
authorizing the sale of the public lands in tracts of 320 acres, with 
a cash payment of only one-fourth and the balance in one^. two and 
three years. The passage of this law was regarded in the west as 
a public service of the greatest importance, rendering Harrison ex 
tremely popular. He was, May 13, 1800, appointed Governor for 
the Indiana territory. John Gibson (he to whom in 1774, Logan, 
the great Indian chief had delivered his celebrated speech), was 
appointed secretary : and William Clark, John GritMii and Henry 
Vauderburgh, territorial judges. In the absence of the governor, 
secretary Gibson proceeded in July to put the machinery of terri 
torial government in motion by appointing the necessary local 
officers for the administration of the laws, &c. In January, 1801, 
Governor Harrison, having arrived at his post of duty, immediate 
ly convened the judges with himself at the seat of government, for 
the adoption of "such laws as the exigency of the times" required, 
and to the discharge of such other duty for the government of the 
territory as congress had by law imposed upon them. They 
remained in session two weeks, passing several resolutions provi 
ding payment for various services, and adopted a number of laws, 
one providing for the establishment of courts of quarter sessions 
of the peace in the counties of St. Clair, Randolph and Knox. A 
term of the general court for the territory at large, was commenced 
by the three judges on the 3d of March, 1801. Thus the first 
grade of territorial government was put in full working order. 

The purchase of Louisana from France having been consumma 
ted in 1803, that vast domain lying west of the Mississippi, was by 
act of Congress, March 26, 1804, annexed to the Indiana territory. 
Gov. Harrison and the judges, in October, 1804, adopted the 
necessary laws for the government of the district of Lousiana. 
The union was, however, of short duration ; March 3, 1 805, Louis 
iana was detached and erected into a separate territory. Shortly 
after this Aaron Burr entered upon his treasonable effort to wrest 
from the United States this large domain and to found his south 
western empire. To organize an expedition for his enterprise, he 
visited, among other places in the west, Vincennes and Kankaskia, 
and induced a few men of the territory to enroll their names on the 
list of his followers ; but the scheme came speedily to naught his 
men abandoned it, and he was arrested in Mississippi in the spring 
of 1807. After the purchase of Louisiana, it became desirable to 
learn Something respecting the vast region lying between the Mis- 


sissippi ami the Pacific. Congress therefore authorized an 
overland exploring expedition, to the command of which the 
President appointed Captains Merri weather Lewis and William 
Clark, the latter a brother of Gen. George Eogers Clark. The 
party, consisting of 34 men, encamped during the winter of 
1803-4 in the American bottom, near the month of Wood river, 
below Alton then the ultaina thnlo of the white settlements in Illi 
nois and started thence upon their toilsome and perilous journey, 
May 14th, reaching the Pacific November 17, 1805. The explorers 
returned in safety to St. Louis about a year the re after. The 
peninsula of Michigan was also, by act of Congress, January 11, 
1805, detached from Indiana and erected into a separate territory, 
the act to take effect June 30, 1805. 

The main topics of interest during the 9 years that Illinois con 
stituted a part of the Indiana territory, were : the acquisition of 
land titles from the resident Indian tribes, land speculations, and 
the adjustment of land titles; negro slavery; organization of the 
territorial legislature, extension of the right of suffrage and the 
detachment of Illinois from the Indiana territory.* Captain Wil 
liam Henry Harrison, besides his appointment as governor, was 
also constituted superintendent of Indian affairs, and vested 
with plenary powers to negotiate treaties between the United 
States and the several tribes of Indians residing within his official 
jurisdiction, for the cession of lands. As the rapidly advancing 
settlements of the whites penetrated farther daily, and crowded 
upon the domain of the red man, it became desirable on the part 
of the general government to enlarge the area of its landed acqui 
sitions beyond the stipulations of the treaty of Greenville, by 
which 17,724,489 acres of land were obtained. By an active exer 
cise of .these powers, in which his Excellency discovered a 
remarkable aptitude, no less than ten treaties were concluded with 
various tribes by the close of the year 1805, extinguishing the In 
dian titles to about 30,000,000 acres more of land. We cite in 
brief the treaties of that period, by which lands lying either wholly 
or in part within Illinois, were relinquished : 

Treaty of Fort Wayne, concluded June 7, 1803, with certain 
chiefs and head men of the Delawares, Shawanese, Pottawatomies, 
Eel liiver, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankeshaw, and Kaskaskia tribes 
ratified at Vincennes August 7, 1803, by three of the tribes and 
the Wyandots, by which there were ceded to the United States, 
1,634,000 acres of land, 330,128 of which were situated within 

Treaty of Vincennes, concluded August 13, 1803, with certain 
chiefs and warriors of the Kaskaskias, in consideration of the pro 
tecting care of the government, of $580 in cash, of an increase of 
their annuity under the treaty of Greenville to $1000, of $300 
toward building a church, and an annual payment for seven years 
of $100 to a Catholic priest stationed among them, the tribe of 
Kaskaskias, reduced to a few hundred individuals, but still repre 
senting the once powerful confederacy of the Illinois, ceded to the 
United States, except a small reservation, all that tract included 
within a line beginning beloAV the mouth of the Illinois, descend 
ing the Mississippi to its junction with the Ohio, ascending the 
latter to the Wabash, and from a point up the Wabash west to 

"The subject of slavery is deferred toGov. Cole s administration, 


the Mississippi, embracing the greater part of southern Illinois, 
some 8,008,167 acres, a magnificient grant. 

Treaty of St. Louis, concluded November 3d, 1804, by which the 
chiefs and head men of the united Sac and Fox nations ceded to 
the United States, a gfeat tract on both sides of the Mississippi, 
extending on the east bank from the mouth of the Illinois to the 
head of that river and thence to the Wisconsin, and including on 
tlie west considerable portions of Iowa and Missouri, from the 
mouth of the Gasconade northward. (In 1810 the government 
granted baclt to the united tribes about 5,000,090 acres in Iowa). 
Out of this treaty, as we shall see, subsequently grew the Black 
Hawk war. 

Treaty of Vincennes, concluded December 30th, 1805, by which 
the chiefs and warriors of the Piankeshaw tribe ceded to the United 
States their claim to a tract of country in Illinois, bordering on 
the Wabash river opposite Yincennes, extending north and south 
for a considerable distance, and comprising 2,G 1(J,924 acres. 

Thus by successive treaties all the southern third of Illinois and 
a broad belt of land between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, 
bordering on both streams and running northward to the Wiscon 
sin, was divested of the Indian title as earn- as 1805; but while 
much of the country was thus lawfully thrown open to the advance 
of the enterprising pioneer, the children of the forest still lingered 
around their ancient hunting grounds, reluctant to abandon the 
scenes of their youth and the graves of their ancestors, notwith 
standing the solemn cession of their native land to the powerful 
government of the pale faces, the receipt of payment, and their 
promises to retire. Nor did they abstain from occasional maraud 
ing excursions into tlie frontier settlements of the whites. The 
remoteness of Illinois from the Atlantic sea-board, its destitution 
of many of the comforts of civilized society, and exposure to the 
precarious amity of the savages, to a great extent deterred emi 
grants from coming hither. They found, aside from the quality of 
the soil, equal opportunities in Kentucky, Ohio, and southern 
Indiana, with greater security from danger and more convenience 
of access in their slow and toilsome mode of travel. Hence, at this 
time the settlements on the Wabash, the Illinois, and the Upper 
Mississippi, increased slowly, compared with the regions above 

Virginia, by her deed of cession, had stipulated that "tlie French 
and Canadian inhabitants, and all other settlers of the Kaskas- 
kias, St. Vincents, and the neighboring villages, who professed 
themselves citizens of Virginia, shall have their possessions and 
titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyments of 
their rights and liberties." The congress of the old confederation, 
by resolutions of June 20th and August 29, 1788, ordained that 
steps be immediately taken for confirming in their possessions and 
titles to lands the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other 
settlers, who, on or before 1783, had professed themselves citizens 
of the United States, or of any State; and that a donation should 
be given each of the families then living at either of the villages 
of Kaskaskia, Prairie du liocher, Cahokia, Fort Chartres, or St. 
Phillips. Out of this grew the old "head-right" claims, of which 
it seems there were only a total of 244 in all the country. We 
have seen that in 1790 the French, in their impoverished condition, 


objected strenuously to paying- the expense of surveys. Congress 
passed a law March 3, 1791, providing further, that where lauds had 
been actually improved and cultivated, under n supposed grant of 
the same by any commandant or court claiming authority to make 
such grant, the Governor of the territory was empowered and 
charged with the duty to confirm to the persons entitled thereto, 
as above, their heirs or assigns, the land supposed to have been 
granted to them, or such share of it as might be adjudged upon the 
proof to be reasonable, not exceeding 400 acres to any one person 
however. The benefits of this act were extended to persons enti 
tled under it, but who had removed out of the country, provided 
they or their heirs should return and occupy their lands within 5 
years. By the 6th section of the same act, in the same manner, a 
grant of land not exceeding 100 acres was provided to each person 
who had not already obtained a donation as above from the United 
States, and who, on the first day of August, 1790, had been en 
rolled in the militia and done militia duty. 

Governor StOlair had made many confirmations of these grants, 
but still a large number of claims remained unadjusted. The 
abeyance of these confirmations was a great hindrance to the set 
tlement of that portion of the country where they were located. 
No one cared to invest a fair price in lands, the title whereof was 
not established by survey and record. There was naturally much 
anxiety on the part of claimants, and those AV!IO desired to see the 
country fill up and prosper, to have these obstacles cleared away. 
As a remedy, a law was passed by congress, March 15, 1804, estab 
lishing land offices at Kaskaskia, Vincennes and Detroit, for the 
sale of the public lands, and constituting the registers and receivers 
a board of commissioners, upon which was devolved, for the 
respective districts at each place, the former powers and duties of 
the governor to examine the validity of land claims, decide thereon 
according to justice and equity, and not confirm, but report their 
decisions to congress. The land office at Kaskaskia Avas author 
ized to sell such of the lands included in the cession of the Kas 
kaskia tribe of Indians, by treaty of August 13, 1803, as Avere not 
claimed by any other tribes. 

Michael Jones and E. Backus Avere appointed register and re 
ceiver, respectlA ely, of the land office at Kaskaskia. These 
gentlemen, in entering upon their duties as commissioners, soon 
learned that it Avould be necessary to proceed with great circum 
spection, as many of the land claims presented discovered 
eA r idences of fraud, and hence their labor of im^estigation became 
immense, and they made but S!OAA T progress. They made an elabo 
rate report in 1810, AA hich may be seen in Vol. II, American State 
Papers Public Lands, to which we are indebted for our facts in 
great part. See page 102. 

From a A^ery early time these land claims of ancient grants, both 
French and English of donations to heads of families, "head 
rights," of improA^ement rights, and militia rights, became a rare 
field for the operation of speculators. The French claims, owing 
to the poverty of this people, were in great part unconfirmed, 
and this circumstance, \vitn others, contributed to force many of 
them into market. We have seen, also, Avitli what facility the 
British commandant, Wilkins, made extensive grants to numerous 
favorites in various portions of the country, and these being 


apparently in contravention of the King s proclamation of October 
7th, 1703, were purchased for a trifle; and as for the militia rights 
of 100 acre tracts, while valid, they sold freely at 30 cents per 
acre, in high priced and trifling merchandise. From the passage 
of the law of 1701 to the time that the commissioners took up the 
investigation of these claims, speculation in them was rife, and very 
few of them remained in the hands of original claimants. The 
greed of speculators caused numerous claims to pass current with 
out close scrutiny as to the proofs upon which they rested, a 
circumstance which at the same time tended all the more to stimu 
late the production of fraudulent claims. The number of 
fraudulent claims was comparatively great, but by purchase and 
assignment they, more than the genuine, became concentrated in 
the hands of a, few speculators. The official report of the commis 
sioners for the district of Kaskaskia, made in 1810 to the secretary 
of the treasury, shows that they rejected 890 land claims as either 
illegal or fraudulent, 370 being supported bj~ perjury, and a 
considerable number forged. The report further shows that the 
assignees were privy to both these attempted frauds ; the perjured 
depositions appeared in the handwriting of claimant speculators 
not unfrequently without a word changed by the sworn signers. 
There are 14 names given, both English and French, who made it 
a regular business to furnish sworn certificates, professing an in 
timate knowledge, in every case, of the settlers who had made 
certain improvements, and when and where they were located, 
upon which claims were predicated. In some cases these names 
were assumed and the deponent would never appear; in some they 
were real and well known ; while still in others, purporting to come 
from a distance, well known names would be forged. In one case 
several hundred depositions poured in upon the commissioners 
from St. Charles, Missouri, in the names of gentlemen formerly 
well known in Kaskaskia. The commissioners, having their 
suspicions aroused that they were forgeries, summoned them to 
appear before them, which they readily did, though they could not 
have been compelled to, and with tears in their eyes declared on 
oath that they lived in Upper Louisiana, that they had never been 
in St. Charles in their lives, and that the depositions were despic 
able forgeries. A Frenchman, clerk of the Parish of Prairie du 
Eocher, "without property and fond of liquor," after having given 
some 200 depositions in favor of three certain land claimant spec 
ulators, whose names would be familiarly recognized to-day, "was 
induced either by compensation, fear, or the impossibility of 
obtaining absolution on any other terms, to declare on oatli that 
the said despositions were false, and that in giving them in, he 
had a regard to something beyond the truth. 7 * 

It is not pleasant for an Illinoisan to read in the public archives 
of our country, noted after the honored names of the first promi 
nent settlers of our State, whose descendents have become 
conspicuous in its subsequent history, by sworn and intelligent 
officials the damaging words of "perjury," "deed forged," "fraud 
and perjury," time and again, in support of land claims; but such 

[NOTE. The forged and perjured depositions were mostly adduced to support claims 
presented by Robert Morrison, John Edg-ar, Robert Reynolds, Wm. Morrison, Kichard 
Lord, Wm. Kelley, and others. Am. State Papers, vol. ii, 104 Pub. Lands, 2, ib. 115 
130. J 


is the fact. Well might a cotemporary, young- at the time, subse 
quently exclaim, that "parties were branded with perjury and 
forgery to an alarming extent."! But when he further says that 
"the best citizens in the country were stigmatized with the above 
crimes, without cause," the facts appear against him. Much 
rancor and partisan feeling was engendered against the commis 
sioners by the influential claimant speculators, who were thus 
thwarted to a great extent in their rascally schemes. The com 
missioners close their report with these words: 

"We close this melancholy picture of human depravity, by ren 
dering our devout acknowledgements that, in the awful alternative 
in which we have been placed, of either admitting peijured testi 
mony in support of the claims before us, or having it turned 
against our characters and lives, it lias, as yet, pleased Divine 
Providence which rules over the affairs of men, to preserve us both 
from legal murder and private assassination." 

The claimants, particularly those who held by assignment, had 
met with little trouble in having their claims confirmed and patents 
issued to them by Gov. St. Glair, while Illinois was part of the north 
western territory. On the occasion of his visit to Illinois, in 1700, 
while the impoverished French were unable to bear the expense 
of the government surveys, the rich and influential speculators 
readily met this difficulty and obtained their patents. It seems 
that many of the governor s confirmations were made by the 
bundle. As but a single instance, out of many, we will cite his 
confirmation, in one bulk, of HO donation rights to heads of fam 
ilies, of 400 acres each, amounting to 30,000 acres of land, in the 
hands of John Edgar as assignee. We have already noted his 
confirmation of an English grant described as containing 
13,000, acres but which really contained 30,000, a moiety of which 
had been previously conveyed to his son. While this was the 
largest, there were many others in which his son shared, that 
readily received his confirmation. Evident fraud and imposition 
were also practiced upon Governor Harrison in procuring his con 
firmation to land claims. 

As the report of the commissioners raised manifest doubts re 
specting the validity or propriety of a number of confirmations by 
the governors, and as there was much dissatisfaction on the part 
of the claimants, congress, Feb. 20, 1812, passed an act for the 
revision of these land claims in the district of Kaskaskia. The 
commissioners under this law were Michael Jones, John Caldwell, 
and Thomas Sloo. Their investigations resulted in unearthing 
more facts and confirming many previous ones, damaging to the 
good name of gentlemen high in official life. Regarding the 
English grant of 30,000 acres, which Governor St. Clair confirmed 
to his son, John Murray and John Edgar, they declared that the 
patent was issued after the governor s powers had ceased to exist 
and the Indiana Territory was stricken oft; which rendered it a 
nullity, and that the claim was founded neither in laAv nor equity, 
and ought not to be confirmed. It was, however, confirmed by 
congress. Governor St. Clair was empowered to make absolute 
confirmations and issue patents for the lands ; but the land com 
missioners under the act of 1804 were not vested with the power 
of confirmation they were only an examining board for the in- 

tReynold s Pioneer History. 


vestigatiou of the rights of claimants to ancient grants, head, 
improvement and militia rights. 

A vote, taken September 11, 1804, showed a majority of 138 
freeholders of the territory in favor of the second grade of terri 
torial government, and in obedience to the will. of the people, Gov 
ernor Harrison ordered an election for representatives to the 
territorial general assembly, for January 3, 1805, which was to 
meet at Viiicennes, February 7th following, and nominate ten men 
for the legislative council. The members elect from Illinois were 
Sliadrach Bond and William Biggs, of St. Glair, and George Fisher, 
of Randolph. The names presented from Illinois for councilors, 
were Jean Francis Perrey and John Hay, of St. Glair, and Pierre 
Menard, of Randolph. President Jefferson waived his right of 
selection in favor of Governor Harrison, asking only that he reject 
"land jobbers, dishonest men, and those who, though honest, 
might suffer themselves to be warped by party prejudice." Perrey 
and Menard were selected for Illinois. On the 7th of June follow 
ing, the governor issued his proclamation con veiling the legislature 
for the 29th of July, 1805. This was the second time that the 
people of this country, through their representatives, exercised 
the law making power for their own local government. 

In his message, delivered the following day, the governor re 
commended the passage of laws to prevent the sale of intoxicating 
liquors to the Indians, saying : " You have seen our towns crowded 
with drunken savages; our streets flowing with blood ; their arms 
and clothing bartered for the liquop that destroys them ; and their 
miserable women and children enduring all the extremities of cold 
and hunger; whole villages have been swept away. A miserable 
remnant is all that remains to mark the situation of many warlike 
tribes." He recommended, also, a remodeling of the inferior 
courts, so as to insure a more efficient administration of justice ; 
an improved militia system; more efficient punishment for horse 
stealing; and ways and means for raising a revenue, saying, that 
this latter would be their most difficult and delicate duty; that while 
few were the objects of taxation in a new country, it must still be a 
burthen, and the commencement of our financial operations must 
be expected to be attended by some trifling, though he trusted, 
temporary embarrassments. The legislature, by joint ballot, 
elected Benjamin Parke, of Indiana, territorial delegate to con 
gress. The levying of taxes, as was anticipated, created consid- 
able dissatisfaction among some of the people. The poll tax was 
particularly obnoxious to the French residents. Their indignation 
found vent at a public meeting, held at Yincennes, Sunday, Au 
gust 16, 1807, where it was " resolved" that they would "withdraw 
their confidence and support forever from those men whoadvocated, 
or iii any manner promoted, the second grade of government."* 

The legislature re-enacted many of the general laws selected and 
adopted by the governors and judges of both the Northwestern 
and Indiana territories, under the first grade of their respective 
governments. Provision was made for a collection and thorough 
revision of the laws, by a commission. Accordingly, a volume was, 
two years later, produced, bearing the following title: " Laws of 
the Indiana Territory, comprising those acts formerly in force, and 
as revised by Messrs. John Rice Jones and John Johnson, and 

*Dillon s Indiana. 


passed (after amendments) by tlie legislature ; and the original 
acts passed at the first session of the second general assembly of 
the said territory began and held at the borough of Vincennes, 
on the Ifcth day of August, A. I). 1807." Messrs. Stout and 
Smoot, "printers for the territory," were the publishers ; the paper, 
on which it was printed, was brought on horseback from George 
town, Kentucky. 

This collection of old statutes relates principally "to the organ 
ization of superior and inferior courts of justice, the appoint 
ment and duties of territorial and county officers, prison and 
prison bounds, real estate, interest and money, marriages, 
divorces, licenses, ferries, grist-mills, elections, militia, roads and 
highways, estrays, trespassing, animals, inclosure and cultivation 
of common fields, relief of poor, taverns, improving the breed of 
horses, taxes and revenues, negroes and niulattoes under inden 
tures as servants, fees of officers, sale of intoxicating liquors, 
relief of persons imprisoned for debt, killing wolves, prohibiting 
the sale of arms and ammunition to Indians and other persons, 
the standard of weights and measures, vagrants, authorizing aliens 
to purchase and hold real estate in the territory,"* etc. The pen 
alties provided for crimes and misdemeanors, were, death for 
treason, murder, arson and horse-stealing ; manslaughter, punish 
able as provided at common law; burglary and robbery, each by 
whipping, fine and, in some cases imprisonment not exceeding 40 
years; riotous conduct, by fine and imprisonment; larceny, by 
fine or whipping, and in certain cases, bound out to labor not 
exceeding 7 years ; forgery, by fine, disfranchisement and stand 
ing in the pillory ; assault and battery, as a crime, by tine not 
exceeding $100; hog-stealing, by fine and whipping; gambling, 
profane swearing and Sabbath-breaking, each by fine ; bigamy, by 
fine, whipping and disfranchisement. The disobedience of ser 
vants and children, a justice of the peace was entitled to punish 
by imprisonment in the jail until the culprit was " humbled," and 
if the offense was accompanied by assault, he might be whipped, 
not exceeding 10 stripes. 

Dillon slndiana. 

The laws, relating to indentured slaves, are treated under Governor Cole s adminis 


Opposition to Division Jesse B. Thomas Gov. Edicards Nathaniel 
Pope Territorial FederalJudyes The Governor avoids the meshes 
of the Separationists and Anti- Separationists Condition and Pop 
ulation of the Territory. 

By act of congress, approved February 3, 1809, all that part 
of the Indiana Territory lying "west of the Wabash river, and a 
direct line drawn from the said Wabash river and Post Vincenues, 
dne north to the territorial line between the United States and 
Canada," should, after the first of March following, constitute a 
separate territory, and be called Illinois. This, it will be perceived, 
included the present State of Wisconsin. The population of the 
newly organized territory was estimatecj at about 9,000, leaving 
in Indiana about double that number. 

There are many things which usually influence any American 
community in the desire to be independent. The main reasons 
advanced by Illinois in favor of a separation from Indiana were, 
the "wide extent of wilderness country" which intervened between 
the civilized settlements of the country on the Mississippi, about 
the only ones in Illinois, and the seat of government on the 
Wabash, rendering the ordinary protection of government to life 
and property almost nugatory; the inconvenience, expense and 
dangers of long journeys whose routes led through sections wholly 
inhabited by savages, which litigants in the superior courts of the 
territory were compelled to incur for themselves and witnesses ; 
and the almost total obstruction to an efficient administration of 
the laws in counties so distant from the seat of government as 
those of Illinois. Notwithstanding the remoteness and isolation 
of this country from the centers of population in the United 
States at that early day, the tide of emigration pressed westward 
with a gradual but ever increasing flow. In 1805 Michigan was 
erected into a separate territory, and by this time Illinois contained 
a white population fully as great as that of the whole territory of 
Indiana when detached from Ohio five years before. The question 
of separation in Illinois grew apace from this time on; it was re 
peatedly pressed upon the attention of congress by legislative 
memorials in 1806, 1807 and 1808, until that body finally disposed 
of the subject as above stated. But while the people of Vincennes 
and neighboring villages east of the Wabash opposed the separa 
tion from interested motives, for a division would before many 
years elapsed take from them the seat of government and remove 
it to a more central locality, and would also increase the rates of 


taxation, wliat may appear difficult of solution was tlie fact tliat 
in Illinois there was anything but unanimity in favor of division and 
independence. A violent anti-separation party sprung up here, 
which, though greatly overborne by numbers, by its activity 
aroused a deep and angry feeling which ultimately resulted in 
bloodshed. By the machinations of the opposers to a division 
"one of the warmest friends and ablest advocates of the measure 
was assassinated at Kaskaskia in consequence/ * The question 
of separation turned upon the ability of the Illinois members of 
the. Legislature, in session at Vincemies in October 1808, to elect 
a delegate to congress in place of Benjamin Parke, resigned, who 
should be favorable to the division. The Illinoisans found a suit 
able candidate in an Indiana member of the House, who was also 
Speaker, by the name of Jesse B. Thomas, who, for the sake of 
going to congress, was ready to violate the sentiments of his con 
stituents upon this question. But the Illinois members, with a 
due appreciation of the promises of politicians, even at that early 
day, required of this gentleman, before they would vote for him, 
to support his pledges by his bond, conditioned that he would 
procure from congress a division, AY hereupon he was triumphantly 
elected by a bare majority with the aid of his own vote.t He was 
hung in effigy at Yinceniiesby the aiiti-separationists; but he dis 
charged his pledges and his bond, by procuring the division from 
congress; and, as it was doubtless desirable to change his residence, 
he came home with a commission for a federal judge ship of the 
new territory in his pocket and removed to Illinois. 

By the act of separation, the people of Illinois were also entitled 
to all and singular the rights, privileges and advantages granted 
and secured to the people under the ordinance of 1787, which was 
applied to the territory fair words enough, but the ordinance con 
ferred little political power; the previous duties were imposed upon 
the new officers, r and the President was empowered to make 
appointments during the recess of congress ; provision was made 
for the organization of the second grade of territorial government, 
whenever the governor should at any time be satisfied that a ma 
jority of the freeholders of the territory desired the same, 
notwithstanding there were less than 5,000 inhabitants, fixing the 
number of representatives, in such case, at not less than seven nor 
more than nine, to be apportioned among the counties by the gov 
ernor; the legislative council and delegates to congress were made 
elective by the people; the old officers were continued in the exer 
cise of their duties in Indiana, but prohibited in Illinois ; provision 
was made for the final disposition of all suits from Illinois pending 
in the court at Yincennes, for the collection of taxes levied and 
due ; and the seat of government was fixed at Kaskaskia, until 
otherwise ordered by the legislature. 

See address of citizens to Gov. Edwards, at Kaskaskia, June, 1809, 

teee Ford s Illinois, p. 30. 

[NOTE A curious state of affairs obtained with regard to Indiana after the separa 
tion of Illinois. On the 26th of October, 1808, the governor had dissolved the legisla 
ture : by act of congress, February 3, 1809, Illinois Avas detached, taking with it five 
members, which would have dissolved the legislature had it not already been dissolved; 
later in the same month, on the 27th, congress passed a law extending the right ot 
suffrage and prescribing the number of representatives for the territory, and further, 
directed the legislature to apportion the representatives ; but there was no legislature 
in existence to make the apportionment. Indiana was in political chaos something 
was required of a body that she did not possess, and which it was impossible for her to 
legally create. But Governor Harrison cut the gordean knot, and, legally or otherwise, 
apportioned the territory, issued writs of election for a new legislature, and in October 


Xinian Edwards, at the time chief justice of the Conrtof Appeals 
in Kentucky, became governor of the newly organized territory 
of Illinois. John Boyle, of the same State, at first received the 
appointment of Governor, but declined the office and accepted 
that of associate justice of the same court whereof Edwards was 
Chief Justice. Edwards was desirous of tilling the vacancy, and at 
the recommendation of Henry Clay, received the appointment from 
President Madison, his commission bearing date April 24, 1809. 

In his letter to the president, Henry Clay spoke of Judge Ed 
wards as follows : a The honorable appointments which this 
gentleman has held (first as a judge of our Superior Court, and 
then promoted to his present station), evince how highly he is esti 
mated among us." And in a letter of the same date to the Hon. Eobt. 
Smith, he said: "His political principles accord Avith those of the 
Republican party. His good understanding, weight of character 
and conciliatory manners, give him very fair pretentious to the 
office alluded to. * * * I have no doubt that the whole repre 
sentation from the State, when consulted, woidd concur in ascrib 
ing to him every qualification for the office in question." 

Xinian Edwards was born in Montgomery county, Md., in 1775, 
and at the time of his appointment as governor was about 34 years 
old. He obtained his early education in company with and partly 
under the tuition of William Wirt, his senior by two years, and life 
long friend. After a collegiate course at Carlyle, Pa., he com 
menced the study of law, but before finishing it was sent to 
Kentucky to select lands for his brothers and sisters and open a 
farm. He located in Xelson county, and being furnished with 
ample means in a new country where the character of society was 
as yet unformed, and surrounded by companions whose pleasures 
and pursuits were in sensual indulgences, he fell into indiscretions 
and excesses for two or three years.* But in the then standard of 
society, this did not prevent his election to the Kentucky Legisla 
ture. Subsequently he broke away from his dissolute companions 
and habits, removed to Russelville, and devoted himself to labori 
ous study. He soon attained eminence in his profession. Before 
he was 32 years old he had filled in succession the offices of pre 
siding judge ot the general court, circuit judge, 4th judge of the 
court of appeals, and chief justice of the State, which last he held 
when his associate justice, Boyle, received the appointment of 
territorial governor for Illinois. The two, to suit their respective 
inclinations, exchanged offices, Edwards, through the patronage 
of Mr. Clay, becoming governor, and Boyle chief justice. Governor 
Edwards was a large, fine looking man, with a distinguished air and 
courtly manners, who wielded a ready pen and was fluent of speech. 

The territorial judges appointed, besides Thomas, were Alex 
ander Stuart and William Sprigg. The former was a Virginian, a 
man of fine education and polished manners, who,f however, re- 

fol lowing convened it for business. But that body, entertaining 1 doubts whether it was 
really a legislature or not, prepared a statement to congress, petitioning that power to 
constitue it a legal body, and adjourned temporarily to await action upon the case. 
Such are some of the inconveniences of government where original sovereignty does 
not reside in the people, but is derived from a power superior to them an apparent 
anomoly in the theory of American government. See Dillon s Ind.j 

*Gov. Edward s Life, by his son. 

Kludge Breese, in the address of laying the corner stone of the new State House bv 
Judge Caton, says : "And withall a good liver, of whom it is said he esteemed the 
turkey the most inconvenient of the poultry tribe, as it Avas too large for one and not 
large enough for two." 


maiued on the bench in Illinois but a short time, being changed 
to Missouri. His successor was Stanley Griswold, a good lawyer 
and an honest man, who, as Gov. Eeynolds says in his Pioneer 
History, "paid his debts and sung David s Psalms." He was after 
wards transferred to Michigan, and Thomas Towles became his 
successor. William Sprigg was born and reared in Maryland, where 
his brother attained to the high office of governor. His education 
was classical and he was deeply read in the law. He was a man 
of singular purity of heart and simplicity of manner lacking 
totally in all the arts of the politician.* 

Nathaniel Pope, a relative of the governor, was appointed secre 
tary of the territory. He was born in Kentucky, at the Falls of the 
Ohio, in 1784. His education was collegiate, being one of the early 
graduates of Transylvania University, at Lexington. His natural 
endowments of head and heart, were very superior. To a fine 
analytical mind, he added a genial and benevolent disposition, 
and great dignity of character. He selected the law for a profes 
sion, and soon mastered its intricacies. At the age of 21, he emi 
grated to St. Genevieve, then Upper Louisiana, where he learned 
to speak French quite fluently. Five years later, he was appointed 
secretary of the Illinois territory. As such, in the absence of the 
governor, he was empowered, under the ordinance of 1787, to dis 
charge the duties of the latter s office. On the 25th of April, 
1809, at St. Genevieve, before Judge Shrader, he took the oath of 
office, and coming to Illinois, inaugurated the new government on 
the 28th instant, by issuing his proclamation to that effect. The 
counties of St. Glair and Randolph were reinstated as the tAvo coun 
ties of the Illinois territory. On the 3d of May, he appointed and 
commissioned Elias liector attorney-general, John Hay sheriff, 
Enoch Moore coroner, and 17 justices of the peace. 

On the llth of Junefollowing, Governor Edwards assumed the 
duties of his office. He had taken the oath of office in Kentucky, 
before his departure. Upon his arrival at Kaskaskia, his Excel 
lency was tendered a nattering public address by the citizens, in 
which he was asked to espouse the side of the "virtuous majority 7 
by whose patriotic exertions the territory had been divided 
and his Excellency attained his high station, and to whom ought 
to be distributed the offices in his gift, rather than to those who 
never ceased to oppose the measure and heap calumnies and indig 
nities upon its friends. The governor, unwilling to become a part 
isan on either side, made a felicitous but non-committal reply. He 
re-appointed John Hay clerk of St. Glair county, and, as a curious 
instance of official self-succession to office in this country, we will 
mention that he held that public trust from thence on, until his 
decease, in 1845. In place of Kector, Benjamin H. Doyle had 
been appointed attorney-general, and he resigning, John J. Grit- 
ten den, of Kentucky, was appointed; but the latter, after holding 
the office a few months, also resigned, when his brother, Thomas 
L., succeeded him. 

On thelGth of June, 1809, the governor, joined by Judges Stuart 
and Sprigg (Thomas being still absent in Washington), constitut- 

*Reynolds, in his Pioneer History, says that Sprig 1 "- accompanied Governor Edwards in 
his campaign against the Indians o n PeoriaLake, in 1812, unencumbered by gun or other 
weapon indicating- belligerency. "His pacific and sickly appearance, together with his 
perfect philosophic indifference as to Avar or peace, lite or death made him the subject 
of much discussion among the troops. He was the only savant in the army." 


ing a legislative body in the first grade of territorial government, 
under the 5th section of the ordinance of 1787, met and re-enacted 
such of the laws of the Indiana territory, with which the people, 
who for nine years had formed apart thereof, were familiar, and 
as were suitable and applicable to Illinois, and not local or special 
to Indiana. Many of these laws were those which, without change 
of phraseology, had either been originally imported or enacted by 
the authorities of the old Northwestern territory. 

Thus was put into operation the machinery of civil government 
in the Territory of Illinois ; but Governor Edwards, owing to the 
local political dissensions, growing out of the question of territor 
ial division, which had degenerated into personal animosities, met 
with no inconsiderable difficulties in avoiding the meshes of these 
factions, straggling fiercely for respective ascendancy. He re 
solved not to be caught in the toils of either party, and for the 
interests and prosperity of the country, sought to ignore the entire 
question that it might pass into oblivion. At that day, the militia 
system, which lia-cl received the earnest recommendation of Gover 
nor Harrison, and which was also a necessity of the times, was in 
full and effective operation. With the dissolution of the Indiana 
territory, it became the duty of Governor Edwards to re-organize 
the militia for the new territory of Illinois. The separatioiiists 
urged his Excellency to appoint none to office in the militia who 
had ever opposed the division of the territory; but this would 
have committed him contrary to his judgment. The anti-separa- 
tionists pressed him to re-appoint all the old officers ; but as a new 
commission would have voided all offenses for which any officer 
might have been tried and punished by dismissal, he refused to 
accede to that also. To steer clear of both Scylla and Charibdis, 
he referred the question to the people, by directing the militia 
companies to elect the company officers, and the latter to choose 
the field officers. With these orders, his Excellency retired from 
the field of contention to Kentucky, to wind up some unfinished 
court business, and upon his return, late in the fall, he issued an 
address tothe people, explanatory of his course, and commissioned 
the militia officers returned to him as elected. 

The population of the territory, at the time of its organization, 
was estimated at 9000 ; the census of 1810 returned it at a total of 
12,28211,501 whites, 168 slaves, 613 of all others, except Indians 
being an increase of some 400 percent during the preceding 
decade. The frontiers had been steadily advanced by the adven 
turous pioneers. To the north, the settlements had extended 
to the Wood river country, in the present Madison county; east 
ward, on Silver creek and up the Kaskaskia river; south and east, 
from Kaskaskia, some 15 miles out on the Fort Massac road; the 
Birds had located at the mouth of the Ohio; at old Massac and 
the Ohio salines, there had been nuclei of settlements for 
some time ; Shawneetown,* the nearest point on the Ohio to the 
salt wells, 12 miles west, had contained a few straggling houses 

*Shawneetown. which derives its name from a dissatisfied band of that tribe of Ind 
ians located there from 1735 to about 1760, was laid out by the direction of the United 
States goverment, in 1813-14, and for a quarter of a century was the principal town in 
the State. The site, chosen with reference to its contiguity to the United States salines, 
was an unfortunate one, being subject to repeated inundations. In 1813, a flood rose to 
the ridge poles on the roofs of many of the log houses, and swept 40 of them away, be- 
Biden other damage to stock, fencing, etc, Petitions to change the location tothe 
mouth of the Saline creek, 8 miles below, were disregarded. 


since 1805; along the west side of the Wabash, opposite Yin- 
ceniies, were scattered a few families, one McOawley having pen 
etrated inland to the crossing- of the Little Wabash by the Vin- 
ceunes road, but the latter were mostly abandoned during the war 
of 1812. Indeed, the new settlements were very sparse and all 
feeble, and from 1810, until the close of the war, 4 years later, 
immigration was almost at a stand. Nine-tenths of the territory 
was a howling wilderness, over which red savages held domin 
ion and roamed at will, outnumbering the whites at least three to 



OF 1812 

The Country put in a State of Defence by the Organization of Rang- 
ing Companies and the Building of Block-house and Stockade 
Forts Governor Edwards Sends an Envoy to Gomo s Village 
Battle of Tippecanoe Indian Council at Caholda. 

The British, after the war of Independence, relinquished with 
great reluctance, as we have seen, their hold upon the northwest 
ern territory. The confederated tribes of the northwest only 
ceased their warfare when they found their last hope of British 
aid cut off by Jay s treaty at London, Xovember, 1794; but this 
treaty did not cover all the outrageous pretensions of Great Brit 
ain. In her desperate war with France, later, she boldly boarded 
American vessels on the high seas, searching for English-born 
seamen, impressing them into her marine service upon the ground 
of " once an Englishman, always an Englishman," and denying 
expatriation and American citizenship by naturalization. Xor did 
she scrutinize very closely as to the nationality of the seamen 
impressed, as in the case of the Chesapeake, boarded off the 
coast of Virginia, where, of four of the crew taken as deserters, 
three were of American birth. In the retaliatory measures 
between France and England, to prevent trade and commerce 
^ ith either power, our vessels, as neutrals, became the prey of both 
hostile nations. The affair of the Chesapeake intensified the feel 
ing already deep ; Jefferson ordered all British ships-of-war out 
of the waters of the United States, and congress laid an embargo 
on American vessels, forbidding them to leave port, to the great 
injury of American commerce. 

In the West, British emissaries were busy arousing the north 
western savages to war against the United States. Harrison s 
zeal and activity in divesting the Indian titles to western lands, 
was no inconsiderable provocative. In September, 1800, he had 
held a treaty at Fort Wayne with the Delawares, Potawattomies, 
Miamis, Kickapoos, Weas and Eel River Indians, who, in consid 
eration of $2,350 as annuities, and $8,200 of presents in hand, 
ceded to the United States a targe tract of country, comprising 
near three million acres of land in Indiana, extending up the Wa- 
bash above Terre Haute, and interiorly to include the middle 
waters of White river, and trenching upon the home and hunting 
ground of the great Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh, whose nation 



was not a party to the treaty, and who denounced it as unjust and 

At a council, invited by Governor Harrison and held at Vin- 
cennes, August 12, 1810, Tecumseh, followed by 400 warriors, 
maintained that all the northwestern tribes were one nation, hold 
ing their lands in common, and that without the consent of all 
the tribes concerned, no treaty of purchase and cession was valid; 
that his purpose was to wrest power from the village chiefs 
and put it in the bands of the war chiefs. Nor did he deny having 
threatened to kill the chiefs who had treacherously signed the 
treaty. An angry discussion arose between Harrison and Tecum 
seh, the latter boldly avowing his purpose to hold the lands con 
veyed by the treaty, and resist the further intrusion of the 
wliites. He made an impassioned and bitter recital of the wrongs 
and aggressions of the whites upon the Indians, declaring they 
had been driven back from the sea coast now to be pushed into 
the lakes. Harrison ridiculed his pretensions and the wrongs of 
his people, whereupon Tecumseh sprang to his feet, and excitedly 
charged his Excellency with cheating and imposing upon the Ind 
ians. His red warriors, inliamed by his vehement manner, sim 
ultaneously siezed their tomahawks and brandished their war 
clubs, as if ready for the work of massacre. A moment of silent 
but awful suspense to the whites, who were unarmed, followed. 
No further demonstration Avas however made, and Tecumseh, 
spurned by Harrison, retired, determined to adhere to the old 

The ill-feeling, steadily on the increase, between the United 
States and Great Britain, was early apprehended by the savages 
through the machinations of British agents and traders on the north 
western "frontier. Nicholas Jarrott, of Cahokia, having just 
returned from a trip to Prairie du Ohien, made affidavit, June 28, 
1809, that British agents and traders at that post, and on the fron 
tiers of Canada, were inciting the Indians to hostility, and fitting 
them out with guns and ammunition for demonstrations against 
the western settlers.* The savages were greatly emboldened by 
these friendly offers to commit depredations upon the American 
settlements. In July, 1810, a band of Potawattomies, from Illinois, 
made a raid upon a settlement in Missouri, opposite the mouth of 
the Gasconade, stealing horses and other property. The owners, 
with their friends to the number of six, made pursuit. The Ind 
ians, who were discovered at the distance of a few miles, to baffle 
their pursuers, changed their course. The whites, after a fatiguing 
march, went into camp, and neglecting to post a guard, fell soundly 
asleep. In the night, the Indians, with demoniac yells, pounced 
upon the sleepers and tomahawked all but two. The survivors 
speedily spread the dreadful tidings, which created great excite 
ment at the time. The proof from various circumstances being 
clear that the murderers were Potawattomies, the governor of 
Missouri made a requisition upon the governor of Illinois for them. 
During the same year, hostile demonstrations were made by the 
Sac and Fox nations, from Illinois, against Fort Madison, situate 
011 the west bank of the Mississippi, above the DesMoines Rapids. 
Hostilities also existed between the lowas and Osages, both resid- 

*Annals of the West, Appendix. This was, however, denied by a communication 
from Messrs. Bleakly and Portier,the parties implicated, of Prairie du Chien. 


ing west ot the Mississippi. In 1811, the Indians committed 
many murders upon the whites in Illinois. Near the forks of Shoal 
creek, on the 2d of June, the family of Mr. Cox being absent, 
except a young man and woman, a party of savages killed the 
former, mangling his body horribly, stole the horses, and carried 
off the girl a prisoner. The Coxes and neighbors, to the number 
of eight or ten, made pursuit, and some 50 miles north of the pres 
ent Springfield, overtook the Indians, re-captured their property, 
and during the rambling fight, the girl, after being wounded by a 
tomahawk in the hip, made her escape and joined her friends. In 
the same mouth, at the lower part of the present city of Alton, 
where a Mr. Price and another named Ellis, were plowing corn, 
a party of Indians were observed approaching the spring in the 
vicinity, where there was a cabin. The whites unhitched their 
horses and seized their guns; but the Indians declared themselves 
friendly, and one of them, a tall, stout fellow, laid down his gnu 
and gaA 7 e Price his hand, but in so doing, held him fast while the 
others tomahawked him to death. At this, his companion bounded 
on his horse and made good his escape, with a wounded thigh.* 
But we will not further detail these horrid Indian butcheries. 
The people saw their imminence, and began to make preparations 
for defence. Forts and stockades began to be built, and in July 
of the same year, a company of " rangers," or mounted riflemen, 
was raised and organized in the Goshen settement of Illinois. 

Congress, in 1811, passed an act for the organization of 10 com 
panies of mounted rangers, to protect the frontiers of the West. 
These companies constituted the 17th United States regiment, 
and Colonel William Eussel, an old Indian fighter of Kentucky, 
was assigned to its command. The companies were generally 
made up of frontier citizens, who had the additional stimulus in 
their duties of immediately defending their homes, kindred and 
neighbors. Each ranger had to furnish his own horse, provisions 
and equipments all complete, and the recompense from the govern 
ment was one dollar per day. They appointed their own company 
officers, and were enlisted for one year. Four companies were 
allotted to the defence of Illinois, whose respective captains were, 
Samuel and William B. Whitesides, James B. Moore, and Jacob 
Short. Independent cavalry companies were also organized for 
the protection of the remote settlements in the lower Wabash 
country, of which Willis Hargrave, William McHenry, Nathaniel 
Journey, Captain Craig, at Shawneetown, and William Boon, on 
the Big Muddy, were, respectively, commanders, ready on short 
notice of Indian outrages, to make pursuit of the depredators. 
These ranging companies performed most efficient service in the 
protection of the settlements in Illinois against the savage foe. 
The rangers ami mounted militia, in times of supposed peril, con 
stantly scoured the country a considerable distance in advance of 
the frontier settlers ; and yet the savages would often prowl 
through the settlements, commit outrages, and elude successful 

Great numbers of block-house forts, or stations for the security 
of families, were built, extending from the Illinois river to the 
Kaskaskia, thence to the United Stated salines, near the present 
town of Equality, up the Ohio and Wabash, and nearly to all set- 

Beynold s Pioneer History. 


tlements in Illinois. Some of these forts were situated as follows : 
One on the present site of the town of Carlyle; one a small dis 
tance above the present town of A vision, known as Journey s 
fort; two on the east side of Shoal creek, known as Hill s and 
Jones forts ; one a few miles southeast of the present town of 
Lebanon, on. the west side of Looking-glass prairie, known as 
Chambers fort; on the Kaskaskia river wvre Middleton s and 
Going s forts; one on Doza creek, a few miles from its mouth, 
known as Xat. Hill s; two in the Jourdan settlement, eastern 
part of Franklin county, on the road to the salt works; one at 
the month of the Illinois river, and later, John Campbell, a United 
States officer, erected a small block-house on the west bank of the 
Illinois (Prairie Marcot), 19 miles above its month. More preten 
tious military stations were established on the Mississippi, oppo 
site the month of the Missouri, to guard the river ; and on Silver 
creek, near Troy. But the main military depot was established 
about a mite and a half northwest of the present town of Edwards- 
ville, called Camp Kussell, in honor of the colonel commanding 
the 10 ranging companies. 

The simplest form of block-house forts consisted of a single 
house built of logs, compactly laid up a story and a half or two 
stories high, with the corners closely trimmed, to prevent scaling. 
The walls of the lower story were provided with port-holes ; the door 
was made of thick puncheons, and was strongly barred on the 
inside. The upper story projected over the lower three or four 
feet, with port-holes through the floor of the projecting" part, 
which commanded the walls and space below against any Indian 
attempts to force an entrance. They afforded entire security 
against the rude arts of savage war, but were only single 
family fttrts. A stockade fort consisted of four block-houses, 
as described above, or larger, placed one at each corner of a 
square piece of ground, of dimensions ample enough to accommo 
date the number of people seeking shelter therein. The interven 
ing space was filled up with timbers or logs, firmly set on end in 
the ground, and extending upwards 12 or 15 feet. This was the 
stockade into whose sides port-holes were cut, high enough to be 
above the head, and to which platforms were raised, from which 
to fire upon the enemy. There were also port-holes in the project 
ing walls of the corner block-houses, which thus commanded the 
whole of the stockade walls on the outside. With in the stockade, 
cabins were built for the families to live in. AY ells were dug for 
water, or, possibly, the site was selected over a spring . There 
were usually two heavy entrance gates in the stockade walls, 
securely barred on the inside, and large enough to admit teams. 
In times of extra peril, horses, and sometimes other valuable do 
mestic animals, were taken into the stockade over night for safety. 
If the fort was not built out on the prairie, the woods was invaria 
bly cleared back some distance, so as to afford no place of con 
cealment to the stealthy enemy. It was often hazardous to first 
open the gates of a morning. Milking parties, upon their errands, 
were not unfrequently attacked by the skulking red foe. At 
times, sentinels were often posted during the night, as in the case 
of regular garrisons. 

The most notable, as also the largest, strongest, and best 
appointed in every respect of the stockade forts, was Fort Russell, 


established by Governor Edwards early in 1812, about 1 miles 
northwest of the present Edwardsville, then on the extreme north 
ern frontier. The cannon of Louis XIV, which had done service 
for many years in the ancient Fort Chartres, were removed thither 
and placed in position, where, if they served no other purpose, 
their thunder tones reverberated over the broad expanse of wilder 
ness prairie, and upon days of festivity, dress parade, and other 
displays, added eclat to the occasions. This stockade was made the 
main depot for military stores, and became also the general ren 
dezvous for the militia volunteers, rangers and regulars, as well as 
the great point tfappul for the organization of expeditions into 
the country of savages on the Peoria lake. The only United States 
regulars, however, which camped at this fort during the Avar, was 
a small company, under the command of Captain Ramsey, early 
in the spring of 1812. 

When Governor Edwards, during the perilous times of 1812, with 
Indian hostilities threatening on every hand, assumed command 
of the Illinois forces, it was here that he established his head 
quarters. Here was gathered about him the beauty and chivalry 
of those days. TVithin the protecting walls of this stockade, 
defended without and within by brave, stout hearts, were attracted 
and found shelter, much of the talent, fashion and wealth of the 
country ; and here, his Excellency, not devoid of a natural love for 
display and parade, presided with a courtly grace and stately dig 
nity well befitting his fine personal appearance and his many 

Early in the year 1811, numerous were the complaints of horses 
being stolen, houses plundered, and alleged murders committed 
by the savages. Governor Clark, of Missouri, after the murder of 
the four citizens near the mouth of the Gasconade, in August, 1810. 
made a requisition upon Governor Edwards for the authors of 
the crime. Governor Edwards also wanted the tribes on the Illi 
nois to surrender the murderers of the Cox boy and Price, before 
noticed, and to deliver up the property stolen by the Indians for 
two years past. To effect these objects, he commissioned Captain 
Samuel Levering, an intelligent and discreet officer, Avho was fit 
ted out with a boat by Governor Clark, duly provisioned, manned 
and equipped. Levering was accompanied by Captain Herbert 
Henry Swearingen, a Potawattomie named AVish-ha, and eight 
oarsmen, who signed articles to act as boatmen and soldiers, each 
armed with a gun. They started from Cahokia for Peoria, July 
25, 1811. Before leaving the Mississippi, they met Captain. 
\Vhitesides with his rangers from the block-house, near the mouth 
of the .Illinois, who informed them of firing on a party of Sacs 
ascending the Illinois, but that their "summons" was disregarded. 
At Prairie Marcot, they found Lt. Campbell and his force of 17 
men. On the 3d of August they arrived at Peoria, and met 
Mr. Eorsythe, the government Indian agent, who. by his long res 
idence among the Indians, was thoroughly versed in their tongue. 
The principal chief of the Potawattoinies there was Masseno, 
better known as Gomo. To him Mr. Forsythe had previously 
delivered a letter from Governor Clark, demanding a surrender 
of the Gasconade murderers. Gomo was thought to be not unfa 
vorable to the surrender, but claimed to not have power to enforce 
his sole will against so many. Here Captain Levering learned, 


from a Frenchman, named Jacques Mettle, the whereabouts of the 
murderers on Shoal creek, who were Potawattomies. A French 
man, named Founder, was sent forward to apprise Goino of the 
arrival of Captain Levering 1 with a letter for him from Governor 
Edwards ; but an Indian had preceded him, and reported that 
Levering was accompanied by a force of 50 men, and Gomo was 
unwilling to meet him without an armed escort of 14 warriors. 
On the morning of the 5th, however, the chief raised the Ameri 
can nag, and in answer to a message, called and received the 
governor s letter from the hands of Levering. He immediately 
sent out his young men to call together in council all his chiefs, 
who were mostly absent on distant journeys. Gorno professed 
his readiness to do justice to the Americans, so far as his power 
extended. Levering gave Gomo tobacco to be sent as a present 
with a message to the chiefs, and retired. The murderers of Price 
were found to be five brothers, Polsawines. 

In the meantime, Capt. Levering and Mr. Fournier made a visit 
to the Indian towns some 20 miles up the Illinois river. Gomo s 
town was still some 4 miles farther on and back of the river 
bottom, where they arrived late one night. They were hospitably 
entertained in the wigwam of the chief, which was built of bark 
and afforded lodging room for 30 or more persons. It was 25 by 
50 feet on the inside ; sleeping bunks, G by 7, and 5 feet high were 
arranged around the lodge, upon which the Indians slept or 
lounged, with their heads pointing toward the centre of the room 
and their feet toward the walls. Captain Leveling and his 
companions were honored with one next to that of the chief and 
his family. Although it was late when the visitors arrived, a 
dish of new corn was set before them by the chief s squaw, and 
while they were partaking of it, the chief smoked his pipe, as 
also the men, who generally quitted their sleeping places and 
squatted around the lodge fires in the centre, "in all the solemnity 
of profound smoking," as a mark of etiquette due to strangers.* 

In his frequent informal communications with the Indians, 
Captain Levering learned much of their internal polity and their 
feelings toward the Americans, whom they regarded as their ene 
mies, notwithstanding their professions of peace and friendship 
for them. Their adroitness in diplomacy is well disclosed in the 
replies of the chiefs to Captain Levering ; their most customary 
evasions to deliver up any of their braves, charged with crime, 
being, that they had departed with such and such chiefs on an 
expedition | that they had no control over them; that it Avas not 
their business, and did not concern them, etc. The ambition of 
the young braves to be able to exclaim, during their orgies, "I am 
a man: who can gainsay it ? I have killed an Osage! I have killed 
a white!" stimulated them to the commission of outrages ; while 
their frequent immunity from punishment, led them to infer inac 
tivity, if not fear, on the part of the whites. Gomo was anxious 
the chiefs should attend at the delivery of the governor s address, 
and hear for themselves, so that they could not afterwards charge 
him with fear or treachery, and denounce him as "sugar mouth." 
In a conversation, Gomo spoke of seeing Washington at Phila 
delphia, in 1793, and his elder brother remembered the time when 
the British put the Indians in the front of battle. 

*M. W. Edwards Life of his Father. 


A number of chiefs and warriors having arrived, in obedience to 
Goino s summons, they indulged their contempt in a little act of 
offeusiveness by displaying the American flag union down. Cap 
tain Levering, inclining to attribute this to their ignorance, 
attempted to explain its meaning, to which they replied that 
they knew it. But on the morning following, the flag was dis 
played union up. The Indians in council differed as to the policy 
to be adopted, regarding the demand of the Americans for the 
surrender of the murderers and the stolen property. The offend 
ers were greatly scattered, receiving the protection of chiefs hun 
dreds of miles away. Gomo favored the sending of an Indian 
commission for them, but foresaw that it would be said to him 
that he belonged 011 the Illinois, and that he better attend to 
his own tribe ; and he disliked the cowardly appearance of hav 
ing made the attempt and failed. Others opposed the surrender 
of anything but the stolen property. Meanwhile, the British 
inspired the policy of sending Little Chief, who was a "talkative 
fellow," to give the Americans any amount of assurance to 
answer present purposes, with which these, like many previous 
outrages, soon to be covered by passing events, would likewise 
directly blow over. Little Chief, in a preliminary conversation 
with Captain Levering, indicated his displeasure by saying that 
he hoped the letter of the governor would be fully told them 
as it was written, at which insinuation Mr. Forsythe, the 
interpreter, became not a little incensed. 

On the morning of the 16th of August, 1811, Captain Levering 
being informed that the Indians were ready to proceed to the 
council chamber, promptly repaired thither, accompanied by his 
leading men. and the inhabitants of Peoria whom he had invited. 
After a preliminary "talk" on the part of Captain Levering, and 
smoking the pipe, the address of Governor Edwards, dated Kas- 
kaskia, July 21st, was slowly delivered to them and carefully 
interpreted. It was addressed "to the chiefs and warriors of 
the tribes of Potawattomies, residing on the Illinois river and 
its waters, in the territory of Illinois." The governor explained 
to them how faithfully the president had carried out all treaty 
obligations with the Indians, and that it was his great desire to 
have his red and white children live in peace and friendship ; that 
the tomahaAvk and scalping-knife had been for a long time buried, 
but that a storm seemed now to be gathering; that the whites 
were being plundered and murdered ; citing a number of acts of 
hostility and giving the names of Indians who had committed 
them ; that the relatives and friends of these victims cried aloud to 
the Great Spirit, their hearts aflame with revenge, and who could 
onl> be repressed from instant war by showing them that these 
acts of barbarity were not approved by the nations of the authors 
of them, whom he demanded to be surrendered for trial. Allusion 
was also made to the British emissaries among them, who flat 
tered, deceived and instigated them to the commission of these 
horrible acts ; concluding with a full explanation of the power and 
resources of the American nation. 

After the reading of the address the council dispersed, and on 
the following day Gomo made the subjoined reply, which was 
interpreted and written down on the spot, and is not only very 
interesting to peruse but shows this chief to have been the pos- 


sessor of a high order of intellect. After inviting attention to 
his words, and expressing gladness for the opportunity, Gomo 
spoke as follows : 

" You see the color of our skin. The Great Spirit, when he made 
and disposed of man, placed the red-skins in this land, and those who 
wore hats, on the other side of the big waters. When the Great Spirit 
placed us on this ground, we knew nothing but what was fur 
nished to us by nature. We made use of our stone axes, stone knives 
and earthen vessels, and clothed ourselves from the skins of the beasts 
of the forest. Yet, we were contented! When the French first made 
large canoes, they crossed the wide waters to this country, and on first 
seeing the red people, they were rejoiced. They told us that we must 
consider ourselves as the children of the French, and they would be 
our father ; the country was a good one, and they would change goods 
for skins. 

"Formerly, we all lived in one large village. In that village there was 
only one chief, and all things went on well ; but since our intercourse 
with the whites, there are almost as many chiefs as we have young 

" At the the time of the taking of Canada, when the British and the 
French were fighting for the same country, the Indians were solicited 
to take part in that war since which time there have been among us a 
number of foolish young men. The whites ought to have staid 011 the 
other side of the waters, and not have troubled us on this side. If we 
are fools, the whites are the cause of it. From the commencement of 
their wars, they used many persuasions with the Indians; they made 
them presents of merchandise in order to get them to join and assist in 
their battles since which time there have always been fools among us, 
and the whites are blameable for it. 

" The British asked the Indians to assist them in their wars with the 
Americans, telling them that if we allowed the Americans to remain 
upon our lands, they would in time take the whole country, and we would 
then have no place to go to. Some of the Indians did join the British, but 
all did not; some of .this nation, in particular, did not join them. 
The British persisted in urging upon us that if we did not assist them in 
driving the Americans from our lauds, our wives and children would 
be miserable for the remainder of our days. In the course of that war, 
the American general, Clark, came to Kaskaskia, and sent for the 
chiefs on this river to meet him there. We attended, and he desired us 
to remain still and quiet in our own villages, saying that the Americans 
were able of themselves to fight the British. You Americans generally 
speak sensibly and plainly. At the treaty of Greenville, General W^ayne 
spoke to us in the same sensible and clear manner. I have listened with 
attention to you both. At the treaty of Greenville, General Wayne told 
us that the tomahawk must be buried, and even thrown into the great 
lake ; and should any white man murder an Indian, he should be 
delivered up to the Indians; and we on our part, should deliver up 
the red men who murdered a white person to the Americans. [Mis 

"A Potawattomie Indian, by the name of Turkey Foot, killed an 
American, for which he was demanded of us ; and although he was a 
great warrior, we killed him ourselves in satisfaction for his murders. 
Some of the Kickapoos killed an American. They were demanded, 
were given up, and were tied up with ropes around their necks for 
the murders. This was not what the chief, who made the demand, 
promised, as they were put to death in another manner. Our custom is 
to tie up a dog that way when we make a sacrifice. Now, listen to me 
well in what 1 have to say to you. - 

"Some time ago, one of our young men was drunk at St. Louis, and 
was killed by an American. At another time, some person stole a horse 
near Cahokia. The citizens of the village followed the trail, met ail 
innocent Kickapoo, on his way to Kaskaskia, and killed him. Last 
fall, on the other side, and not far from Fort Wayne, a Wyandot Indian 
set fire to the prairie ; a settler came out and asked him how he came 
to set fire. The Indian answered iat he was out hunting. The set- 


tier struck the Indian and continued to beat him till they were parted, 
when another settler shot the Indian. This summer, a Chippewa Ind 
ian, at Detroit, was looking at a gun, when it went off accidentally and 
shot an American. The Chippewa was demanded, delivered up and 
executed. Is this the way General Wayne exhibits his charity to the 
red-skins? Whenever an instance of this kind happens, it is usual for 
the red-skins to regard it as an accident. You Americans think that all 
the mischiefs that are committed are known to the chiefs, and immedi 
ately call on them for the surrender of the offenders. We know noth 
ing of them ; our business is to hunt, in order to feed our women and 
children. It is generally supposed that we red-skins are always in the 
wrong. If we kill a hog, we are called fools or bad men ; the same, or 
worse, is said of us if we kill an horned animal ; yet you do not take 
into consideration that, while the whites are hunting along our rivers, 
killing our deer and bears, we do not speak ill of them. When the 
French came to Niagara, Detroit, Mackinaw and Chicago, they built no 
forts or garrisons, nor did the English, who came after them ; but when 
the Americans came, all \\ as changed. They build forts, and garrisons 
and blockades wherever they go. From these facts, we infer that they 
intend to make war upon us. Whenever the United States make the 
Indians presents, they afterwards say that we must give them such a 
tract of land ; and after a good many presents, they ask for a larger 
piece. This is the way we have been served. This is the way of extend 
ing to us charity. Formerly, when the French were here, they made 
us large presents ; so have the English ; but the Americans, in giving 
their presents, have asked a piece of land in return. Such has been the 
treatment of the Americans. 

u If the whites had kept on the other side of the waters, these acci 
dents would not have happened ; we could not have crossed the wide 
waters to have killed them there ; but they came here and turned the 
Indians into confusion. If an Indian goes into their village, like a dog he 
is hunted and threatened with death. The ideas of the Potawattomies, 
Ottawas and Chippewas are, that we wish to live peaceable with all man 
kind, and attend to our hunting and other pursuits, that we may be 
able to provide for the wants of our women and children. But there 
remains a lurking dissatisfaction in the breasts and minds of some of 
our young men. This has occasioned the late mischiefs which, at the 
time, were unknown to the chiefs and warriors of the nation. I am sur 
prised at such threateiiings to the chiefs and warriors (old people), who 
are inclined entirely for peace. The desires of the chiefs and warriors 
are to plant corn and pursue the deer. Do you think it possible for us to 
deliver the murderers here to-day ? Think you, my friends, what would 
be the consequence of a war between the Americans and Indians. In 
times passed, when some of us were engaged in it, many women were 
left in a distressful condition. Should war now take place, the distress 
would be, in comparison, much more general. This is all I have to say 
on the part of myself and warriors of my village. I thank you for your 
patient attention to my words. "* 

Captain Levering replied to them, giving a resume of the his 
tory of the white settlers on this continent, and their contact with 
the red men. He denied that the forts at Chicago, Fort Wayne, 
or the one opposite the mouth of the Missouri, were established to 
threaten or make war on the Indians, but that they were built to 
afford protection to their friends; that the Americans, unlike the 
British, had never taught nor employed the red men to join in wars 
and outrages upon the whites; that even in the revolutionary 
struggle they had advised the Indians to lie on their skins at 
home, raise corn and kill deer, but not to engage on ei their side; 
he showed them their mistake regarding the treaty of Greenville, 
that all murderers 1 , on either side, should be delivered up to the oppo 
site party; that the government at Washington would not have 

*See Edwards Life of Edwards. 


permitted Wayne to do this, but that all offenders against our 
laws must be tried under the laws by a jury of 12 men, and that 
justice would be meted out to Indians the same as the whites. 

At the conclusion, Little Chief said : "I request you now to take 
the names of the chiefs and warriors, that you may show to your 
father in Kaskaskia, how ready we have been to attend his words." 
Gomo, the day following, upon the final adjournment of the coun 
cil, said: "We have listened with patient attention, and I hope 
that the great Master of Light was noticing it, When the Mas 
ter of Light made man, he endowed those who wear hats with 
every gift, art and knowledge. The red-skins, as you see, live in 
lodges and on the wilds of nature. 7 This sentiment evinced a 
high appreciation of the relative status of the two races. 

Two horses only were delivered up, Little Chief promising to 
return two more to Captain Heald, at Chicago, and Gomo prom 
ised to try and return all, as soon as they could be found. The 
murderers of the Coles party in Missouri, were revealed to be in a 
village about 20 miles west of the Prophet s town Tippecanoe; 
that by inviting them to Fort Wayne with others they might there 
be seized in the fall. But it is said that some of them were, in 
point of fact, with them then. So ended Levering s mission. By 
the exposure incurred on the Illinois, this clear headed soldier con 
tracted disease and died soon after his return to Kaskaskia. 

A mission, in charge of Joseph Trotier, a sagacious French 
Creole of Cahokia, was/ilso sent to the Kickapoos, \vho inhabited 
the country along Sugar Creek in the northern part of the present 
county of Logan. The usual "talks," or speeches, with many fair 
promises from this rather shrewd but treacherous and implacable 
nation, were had, which were also written down as interpreted. 

But throughout the west English emissaries kept up the dastardly 
work of ^setting the red men like dogs upon the whites," in the 
energetic language of Tecninseh to Harrison. That great warrior, 
the fit successor of Pontiac, having conceived the plan of bring 
ing the southern tribes, the Creeks, Choctaws, and Chicasaws, 
into a league with the tribes of the north, to make war against the 
United States till their lands were restored to them, started thither 
on his errand in the spring of 1811. The purposes of this chief 
tain and his brother, the one-eyed Prophet, being well understood 
by Gov. Harrison, he determined, during the former s absence, to 
strike and disperse the hostile forces collected under the latter at 
Tippecanoe. He started from Vincennes in the fall of 1811 and 
arrived in the vicinity of the Prophet s town on the 6th of Xov., 
with an effective force of something over 700 men. Here he was 
met by ambassadors from the Prophet, and a suspension of hostili 
ties was arranged until an interview on the following day could be 
had. The governor, desiring a good piece of ground to camp 
upon, allowed the treacherous foe to point it out; but the site was 
not selected without examination and approval by his officers. 
Upon this spot, before the dawn of the following morning, the 
stealthy foe, with a superior force, attempted to re-enact the defeat 
of St. Clair 21 years before. Under cover of darkness he crept 
upon the American camp, and began a murderous attack with 
savage fury uncommon even to him, and maintained it with great 
obstinacy; but the surprise was not complete, and he was ulti 
mately repulsed and put to flight, with a loss equaling that of the 


Americans. The loss of the latter was, in killed, 37 ; mortally 
wounded, 25; wounded, 120. The loss in officers was particularly 
heavy. Of the Illinoisans who fell here we may mention Isaac 
White, for some years the government agent of the Ohio salines, 
who, having received the appointment of captain of a militia com 
pany from Gov. Edwards, in 1810, joined the expedition of Gov. 
Harrison. His death was much regretted, and the Territorial Leg 
islature, in 1815, to perpetuate his memory, named the county of 
White in honor of him. Here, too, fell the gifted and brilliant 
young Major Joe Daviess, whose deeds of valor have also been 
commemorated in Illinois by naming a county after him. The 
intelligence of the battle of Tippecanoe was peculiarly alarming 
to the settlements of Illinois, so contiguous to these hordes of 
savages, and additional measures were concocted as speedily as 
circumstances permitted, to meet the exigency of the times. 

During the winter of 1811-12, the Indians on the Upper Missis 
sippi were very hostile and committed many murders. In antici 
pation of an early war with the United States, the British agent at 
Prairie dti Chien, Col. Dixon, it was reported by Indian traders, 
had engaged all the warriors of that region to descend the Missis 
sippi and exterminate the settlements on both sides of the river;* 
but upon the breaking out of actual hostilities in June of that 
year there was more pressing need for savage recruits in Canada, 
which doubtless saved the effusion of much blood in the denser 
settlements of Illinois; still many murders were committed. The 
Louwinna Gazette, March 21st, 1812, reports 9 murders in the dis 
trict of St. Charles; 1 at Fort Madison; 2 at the lend mines in 
Illinois, and a party of men who left the Fort in February for the 
mines, not having been heard from, were supposed to have fallen 
into the hands of the savages. Two hundred Winnebagoes from 
Illinois made a plundering raid upon a "factory store" of the 
United States, situated on the west bank of the Mississippi, the 
present site of Bellevue. Lieutenants Hamilton and Vasques, with 
a small force of regulars, made a gallant defence and repulsed the 

A few marauding parties penetrated far down into Illinois. 
Andrew Moore and his son, on their way home from the Jourdan 
blockhouse, made camp near the middle fork of the Big Muddy, 
not far from the crossing of the old Massac road. Here they Avere 
attacked by the savages, and after a bloody encounter both 
father and son were killed and their horses stolen. Moore s 
Prairie in the present county of Jefferson, perpetuates their names. 
At Tom Jourdan s fort, on the road to Equality, three men ven 
tured out after dark to gather firewood, when they were fired 
on by Indians concealed in the brush, killing Barbara, wound 
ing James Jourdan, but missing Walker. A marauding band of 
Winuebagos attacked Lee s settlement at Hardscrabble, about 4 
miles from Fort Dearbon, near the present junction of the canal 
with the Chicago river, and killed a Mr. White and a Canadian in 
his employ. Two other men escaped. 

At Hill s Fort, later in the same year, a band of warriors ap 
peared. They removed the mud from between the logs of a 
chimney of one of the blockhouses, inserted a gun, and shot a man 
sitting inside by the fire. A soldier by the name of Lindley, in 

"Reynolds Own Times. 


carrying feed out to Ids horses, left the stockade gate open, for 
which the skulking foe made an instant rush, but the occupants 
quickly slammed the gate shut, leaving the soldier outside with 
the savages. He sheltered himself from their missiles among the 
cattle, which directly stampeding, he managed by feats of great 
dexterity to ride on and under an ox, thus escaping the savages 
and saving his lite. The Indians were meanwhile engaged in a 
fight at the fort over the pickets, and were repulsed with loss, as 
indicated by the trails of blood, they, as usual, carrying away the 
wounded or dead.* 

In March, 1812, Governor Edwards sent Capt. Edward Hubert 
with another friendly message to the Indians residing on the Illinois, 
inviting them to a council, and requesting traders of every descrip 
tion to withdraw till the Indian affairs became more settled, and if 
the latter did not instantly comply they need expect no further 

On the ICth of April. 1812, His Excellency met in protracted 
council at Cahokia, with the chiefs and warriors of the following 
nations : Of the Pottawatomies Gomo, Pepper, White Hair, 
Little Sank, Great Speaker, Yellow Son, Snake, Maukia, Bull, 
leman, Xeckkeenesskeesheck, Ignance, Pottawatomie Prophet, 
Pamousa, Ishkeebee, Toad, Manwess, Pipe Bird, Cut Branch, The 
South Wind, and the Black Bird ; of the Kickapoos Little Deer, 
Blue Eyes (representative of Pamawattau), Sun Fish, Blind of an 
Eye, Otter, Makkak, Yellow Lips, Dog Bird, and Black Seed. Of 
the Ottawas Mittitasse (representative of the Blackbird), Kees- 
kagon, and Malshwashewii. Of the Chippewas the White 

The Governor delivered in person a forcible address to them. 
He spoke of the ardent desire of the general government to main 
tain peace and harmony with all the Indian nations ; defended the 
United States against the charge of rapacity for their lands 5 
warned them against the arts and deceptions of the Shawanee 
Prophet and other "bad birds," or evil counselors, whom the 
British had sent among them ; portrayed the power and resources 
of the American nation, which desired not war but peace; insisted 
that the murderers, whom they had harbored all the time, notwith 
standing their denial to Levering, must be surrendered ; that he 
understood well their unfriendly disposition and the efforts at com 
binations attempted to be formed among the tribes; Avarned them 
that their depredations could not be laid to the Winnebagos, who 
were at open hostility; that he was prepared with energetic meas 
ures to protect the whites and punish the Indians, &c. 

The leading chiefs of the different tribes represented all deferred 
to Gomo as the one who was to answer the Governor s speech, 
which he did 011 the following day : He professed that the words 
of the Governor had sunk deep into his heart; that he spoke the 
sentiments of all the chiefs according to their. instruction. He 
declared the Great Spirit to be angry with the red men for selling 
their lands, which he had given them to live upon, and denied the 
power of a chief to sell lands ; they wanted to live in peace ; if 
there was a chief among them of inuueuce enough to deliver up a 

Reynolds Own Times. 

+Ed wards Life of his Father. 


murderer lie would like to see him; if he attempted to secure the 
murderers without the consent of all the chiefs he would be killed, 
and that the Missouri murderers were Kickapoos; he denied being 
himself a great chief, and said he could not control his young men 
who were so scattered that it would be impossible to bring them 
together; they had no laws among them like the whites to punish 
offenders; denied listening to evil birds or interfering between the 
British and Americans. They would not join the British, for in 
the last war they had left them in the lurch and would do so again. 
When he wanted a blanket he bought it. The British had invited 
them to aid them, but they had sent them word to fight their own 
battles, that they wanted to live in peace. He complained that 
the Americans did not live up to their promises in supplying their 
wants, and that they had been fired upon by whites in coming 
down to the council. Promised good behavior, which they hoped 
the Good Spirit would help them to perform, and professed great 

The Indians had brought their women and children along to 
show his Excellency, as Gomo naively said, how ragged and needy 
they were. This, together with their fair promises of good be 
havior and peaceable intentions, had the desired effect. They 
came away loaded with substantial presents. An early writer 
says : "The wild men exercised the most diplomacy, and made the 
governor believe the Indians were for peace, and that the whites 
need dread nothing from them. They promised enough to obtain 
presents, and went off* laughing at the credulity of the whites."t 
Some of them were in August following concerned in the horrible 
massacre at Chicago. 

The savages of the northwest, however, were thoroughly stirred 
up and did not desire peace; in this the reports of travelers, 
traders, and spies all concurred ; the red wampum was constantly, 
passing between the different tribes in all parts of the country, 
from the Sioux of the St. Peters to the tribes at the head of the 
Wabash, and a general combination was fast ripening. The 
British agents at Prairie du Chien, Fort Maiden, and other points, 
in anticipation of a war with the United States, sought to enlist 
the favor of the savages by the distribution of large supplies of 
goods, arms and ammunition to them. The English continued their 
insults to our flag upon the high seas, and their government refus 
ing to relinquish its offensive course, all hope of a peaceful issue 
was abandoned, and congress, on the 19th of June, 1812, formally 
declared war against Great Britain. In Illinois the threatened 
Indian troubles had already caused a more thorough organization 
of the militia along the frontiers, from the mouth of the Illinois 
down the Mississippi to the Ohio, thence up that stream and the 
Wabash above Yiucennes. Additional forts were also built, one 
towards the mouth of the Little Wabash, and at the mouth of La 
Motte Creek. 

*Ed wards Life of Edwards. 
^Reynolds 1 Own Times. 




The greatest, as well the most revolting, massacre of whites 
that ever occurred in Illinois, was perpetrated by the Potawat- 
tomie tribe of Indians, on the site of the present city of Chi 

From early Indian tradition, it has been gathered that the 
month of the Chicago river was a favorite resort of the Illinois 
tribes in very remote times. Besides its fishing facilities, it was 
the only deep inlet from the lake on its southwesterly bend. The 
portage between the Chicago and the headwaters of the Illinois, 
offered but a narrow interruption to canoe travel from the great 
lakes on the north to the Gulf of Mexico. It is said, that the 
Tainaroas gave name to the river, derived from Checaqua, the 
title of a long succession of governing chiefs, which, by an easy 
transition, attached to the place. It was said also to mean thun 
der, the voice of Mauitou, and "skunk," an appellation but too 
suggestive during a few years preceding the deepening of the 
canal, by which its current was reversed with the pure waters of 
the lake. But its most commonly accepted definition is "wild 
onion," from that rather odorous vegetable growing abundantly 
on its banks in early times.* 

A small French trading post was established there in the period 
of the French explorations. For the better possession of their 
western empire, the French built forts at various points, from 
Canada, via Peoria, to New Orleans, including one at Chicago. 
On the earliest known map of this region, dated Quebec, 1C88, a 
correct outline of the lake is given, and the river accurately loca 
ted, with "Fort Chicago" marked at its mouth. Subsequently, the 
Americans found no vestige of the early French settlers there. 
By the treaty of Greenville, to which the Potawattomies from this 
region, with many others, were parties, "one piece of land 6 miles 
square, at the mouth of the Chekajo river, emptying into the 
south-west end of Lake Michigan, where a fort formerly siood^ 
was relinquished. The tide of emigration setting into Indiana 
and Michigan after the treaty of Greenville, 1795, concentrated 
the Indians in greater numbers about this point, and largely in 
creased the Indian trade, for which a number of traders were here 
located ; John Kinzie being one whose descendants are residents 
of Chicago down to the present time. The general government, 
in 1804, built, on the south side of the river, Fort Dearborn, 

* Chicago and its great conflagration. 



named after a general of the army, and garrisoned it with 50 men 
and 3 pieees of artillery. The fort consisted of 2 block-houses, 
with a parade ground and sally-port, or subterranean passage to 
the river, the whole surrounded by a stockade. With this pre 
carious protection, the number of traders increased and a few set 
tlers gathered around the post. 

For eight years, this isolated garrison and community furnished 
scarcely an incident worthy of record. Friendly intercourse 
between the garrison and neighboring Indians grew apace. The 
attachment of the Indians for the traders was particularly cordial. 
While nenrly all the chiefs visited Fort Maiden yearly, and 
received large amounts of presents, and many Potawattomies, 
Winnebagos anil Ottawas were in the battle of Tippecanoe with 
the Shawanese, the principal chiefs of the neighborhood were yet 
on amicable terms herewith the Americans. Then our trouble 
with Great Britain threatened an open rupture ; but the Indians, 
long before the declaration of hostilities, took the war-path, as we 
have seen. We have alreadj 7 noticed their attack 011 an outpost 
of this place called Hardscrabble. 

On the 7th of August, arrived the order of Governor Hull, 
Commander-in-chief of the northwest, by the hand of a trusty 
chief of the Potawattomies, called Winnemeg, or Cat-fish, "to 
evacuate the post if practicable, and in that event, to distribute 
the property belonging to the United States, in the fort and in 
the. factory or agency, to the Indians in the neighborhood." The 
dispatches further announced, that the British had taken Mack 
inaw, and that General Hull, with his army, was proceeding from 
Fort Wayne to Detroit. 

The garrison, at the time, consisted of 75 men, few of whom 
were effective soldiers. The officers were, Captain Heald, the 
commander, Lieutenant Helm and Ensign Konan (both very young 
men), and Doctor Yoorhees, the surgeon. John Kinzie ^yas the 
principal trader. He and the first two named officers had families 
there. So also some of the soldiers and other traders. Consider 
able coolness existed between Ensign lloiian, a brave and gallant 
soldier, but overbearing in his disposition, and Captain Heald. 

Winnemeg, the bearer of the dispatches, well apprised of the 
hostile disposition of the treacherous savages, advised strongly 
against the evacuation, which was discretionary. The fort was 
well supplied with ammunition and provisions for six months, and 
in the meantime succor might come. He sought to learn the 
intention of the commander, and further urged, that if it should 
be decided to evacute, then let it be done immediately, and by 
forced marches elude the concentration of the savages before the 
news, of which they were yet ignorant, should circulate among 
them. To this most excellent advice, Captain Heald gave no heed; 
he decided not only to evacuate, but deemed it obedience to orders 
to collect the neighboring Indians and make an equitable distribu 
tion of the property among them. Again the sagacious Indian chief, 
strongly seconded by Mr. Kinzie, who had much at stake, sug 
gested the expediency of promptly inarching out, leaving all 
things standing, and Avhile the Indians should be engaged in divid 
ing the spoils, to effect an unmolested retreat. But the com 
mander, not apprehending the murderous intent of the savages to 
the extent the advisers did, and impressed with the duty of obedi- 


ence to orders, disregared this also, notwithstanding the discretion 
allowed him. On the following morning, without consultation with 
the subordinate officers with whom he was estranged he pub 
lished on parade the order for evacuating the post. The officers 
whose council had been thus ignored in so important an emergency, 
remonstrated against this step, and pointed out the improbability 
of their party reaching Fort Wayne without molestation ; how 
they would be retarded in their inarches by the women and chil 
dren, and invalid and superanuated soldiers; how the few friendly 
chiefs, Avho had from motives of private regard for the family of 
Mr. Kinzie, opposed successfully an attack upon the fort the pre 
ceding autumn, were now, when the country Avas at war with 
Great Britain, powerless to restrain their tribes. They advised 
remaining and fortifying themselves till succor came ; at any rate, 
it was better to tali into the hands of the British, as prisoners, 
than a sacrifice to the brutal ferocity of the savages. Captain 
Heald, however, dreading censure, stood upon his idea of obedi 
ence to orders, and expressed confidence in the friendly profess 
ions of the Indians. With this, the officers, who regarded the 
project as little short of madness, held themselves aloof from their 
commander, and dissatisfaction and insubordination spread among 
the soldiers. The Indians, too, became daily more unruly. They 
entered the fort in defiance of the sentinels, and made their way 
without ceremony into the quarters of the officers. On one occa 
sion, an Indian fired a ride in the parlor of the commanding offi 
cer. This was by some construed as a signal to the young braves 
for an attack. The old chiefs were passing to and fro among the 
assembled groups with much agitation, while the squaws were 
rushing hither and hither, as if looking for a fearful scene. Still 
Captain Heald clung to his conviction of having created a feeling 
so amicable among them, as would en sure the safe passage of the 
party to Fort Wayne. In the meantime, a runner had arrived 
with a* message from Tecumseh, who had joined the British with 
a large force, conveying the news to the Indians ot the capture of 
Fort Mackinaw in July, the defeat of Major Van Home at Browns- 
town, and the inglorious retreat of General Hull from Canada, 
saying further, that lie had no doubt but that Hull would, in a 
short time, be compelled to surrender; and urged them to arm 

The Indians from the neighboring villages having at length 
collected, a council was held on the 12th of August. Of the offi 
cers of the garrison, though requested, none attended beside the 
commander; the others, in anticipation of intended, mischief, 
opened the port-holes of the blockhouses and witli loaded cannons 
commanded the council. This action, it was supposed, prevented 
a massacre at the time. Capt. Heald promised the Indians to dis 
tribute among them all the goods in the United States factory, and 
the ammunition and provisions in the fort, desiring an escort of 
the Pottawatomies to Fort Wayne in return, and promising them 
a further liberal reward upon arrival there. The Indians, with 
many professions of friendship, assented to all he proposed and 
promised all he required. 

No sooner had the commander made these indiscreet promises 
than he allowed himself to be persuaded to violate them. Mr. 
Kinzie, well knowing the treachery of the Indian character, repre- 


sented to him the danger to their party of furnishing- the savages 
with arms and ammunition, and liquor to lire their brains. This 
argument, true and excellent in itself, was now certainly inoppor 
tune, and, if acted upon could only incense the treacherous foe. 
But Capt. Heald, struck with the impolicy of his conduct and 
falling in with tlie advice, now resolved to break his indiscreet 
promise. Accordingly, on the 13th, all the goods in the factory 
store were duly distributed; but in the night time the arms were 
broken, the ammunition secretly thrown in a well, and the barrels 
of whisky, of which there was a large quantity, mostly belonging 
to traders, were rolled quietly through the sally-port, their heads 
knocked in and their contents emptied into the river. But the 
lurking redskins witnessed the breaking of the casks, and quickly 
apprehending how faith had been broken with them by the whites, 
were greatly exasperated at the loss of their fond "fire water," 
which they asserted was destroyed in such abundance as to make 
the river taste "groggy." At a second council held on the 14th, 
they expressed their indignation at this conduct, and their murmurs 
and threats were loud and deep. Black Hawk, who lived many 
years after, always maintained that this violation of promises on 
the part of the whites precipitated the massacre oil the following 

While nearly all the Indians in alliance with the British partook 
of the hostility of their people against the Americans, there were 
still several chiefs and braves who retained a pers&nal regard for 
the inhabitants of this place. Among these was Black Partridge, 
a chief of some renown. He now entered the quarters of Capt. 
Heald and spoke as follows : "Father, I come to deliver up to you 
the medal I wear. It was given me by the Americans, and I have 
long worn it in token of our mutual friendship. But our young 
men are resolved to imbrue their hands in the blood of the 
whites. I cannot restrain them, and I will not wear a token of 
peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy. 7 

On the same day, the 14th, the despondency of the garrison was 
for a time dispelled by the arrival of Capt. Wells from Ft. Wayne, 
with 15 friendly Miamis. Capt. Wells was the son of Gen. Wells, 
of Kentucky, and either a brother or uncle to Mrs. Capt. Heald. 
When a child, he was taken prisoner by the Miamis and reared 
and adopted in the family of Little Turtle, who commanded the 
Indians in the defeat of St. Clair, in 1790, Wells leading 300 of the 
warriors in the very front of that battle. He subsequently joined 
the army of Gen. Wayne, and by his knowledge of the country, 
proved a powerful auxiliary. Later he rejoined his foster father. 
He was a brave and fearless warrior. Having learned the order 
of evacuation, and knowing well the hostile disposition of the 
Pottawatomies, he made a rapid march through the wilderness to 
save, if possible, his sister and the garrison at Chicago, from. their 
impending doom. But he came too late. The ammunition was 
destroyed and the savages were rioting on the provisions. Pre 
parations were therefore made to march on the morrow. The 
reserved ammunition, 25 rounds to the man, was now distributed. 
The baggage wagons for the sick, the women and the children, con 
taining also a box of cartridges, were got ready, am] amid the 
pervading gloom, a fatiguing march through the wilderness in 
prospect, and the fears of disaster on the route, the whole party 


except the faithful sentinels retired for a little repose. The morn 
ing of the fatal 15th of August, 1812, arrived. The sun shone 
with its wonted splendor, and Lake Michigan "was a sheet of burn 
ished gold." Early in the morning Mr. Kinzie received a message 
from Topeneebe, a friendly chief of the St. Joseph band of Potta- 
watomies, warning him that his people, notwithstanding their 
promise of safe conduct, designed mischief. Mr. Kinzie with his 
eldest son, who had agreed to accompany the garrison, was urged 
to go with his family, for which a boat had been fitted out to 
coast around the southerly end of the lake to the St. Joseph. 

At 9 a. ru. the party quitted the fort amidst martial music and in 
military array. Oapt. Wells, at the head of his band of Miamis, 
led the van, his face blackened after the manner of the Indians. 
The troops with loaded arms came next, followed by the wagons 
containing the women and children, the sick and the lame and the 
baggage. A little distance in the rear followed the escort of about 
500 Pottawatoiiiies. The party took the beach road south ward wi th 
the lake upon their left. On reaching the range of sand hills sepa 
rating the beach from the prairie, the Indians denied to the right, 
bringing these shore elevations between them and the whites down 
on the beach. They had marched about a mile and half from the 
fort, when Capt. Wells rode furiously back, shouting: "They are 
about to attack us; form instantly and charge upon them." The 
words were scarcely uttered Avhen the savages poured a volley of 
musketry front behind the hills upon the party. The troops were 
hastily formed into line and they charged up the bank. One 
veteran of 70 years fell as they ascended. The action became 
general. The Miamis tied at the outset; their chief rode up to the 
Pottawatomies, charged them with treachery, and branishing his 
tomahaAvk, declared "he would be the first to head a party to 
return and punish them." He then turned his horse and galloped 
after his cowardly companions. The troops behaved gallantly, 
but were overwhelmed by numbers. The savages flanked them, 
and "in about 15 minutes got possession of the horses, provisions, 
and baggage of every description."* Here the murderous work 
upon the helpless women and children was commenced. 

Mrs. Helm, wife of Lieutenant Helm, was in the action, and 
furnished Mr. Kinzie, her step-father, many thrilling incidents.! 
Dr. Yoorhees, who had been wounded at the first fire, was, while 
in a paroxysm of fear, cut down by her side. Ensign lion an, a 
little ways off, though mortally wounded, Avas straggling with a 
powerful savage, but sank under his tomahawk. A young brave 
with uplifted tomahawk sought to cleave her skull ;" she sprang 
aside and the blow grazed her shoulder; she seized him around 
the neck and while grappling for his scalping knife, was forcibly 
borne away by another and plunged into the lake and held down in 
the water. She soon found, however, that her captor did not design 
to drown her, and now for the first time recognized, through his 
disguise of paint and feathers, the friendly chief, Black Partridge. 
When the firing had somewhat subsided her preserver bore her 
safely to the shore, A soldier s wife, under the conviction that 
prisoners taken by Indians were subjected to tortures worse than 
death, though assured of immunity, fought a party of savages, 
who attempted to take her, with such desperation^ that she was 

Heald s Report. tSee J. H. Kiiizie s Narative. 


litterally cut to pieces and her mangled remains left on the field. 
Mrs. Heald, too, fought life a perfect heroine and received several 
wounds. After she was in the boat, a savage assailed her with, 
his tomahawk, when her life was saved by the interposition of a 
friendly chief." 

The troops having fought gallantly till over half of their number 
were slain, the remainder, but 27 out of 66, surrendered. And 
now the most heart-rendering and sickening butchery of this 
calamitous day was committed by a young brutal savage, who 
assailed one of the baggage wagons containing 12 children, every 
one of whom fell beneath his murderous tomahawk. When Capt. 
Wells, who with the others had become a prisoner, beheld this 
scene at a distance, he exclaimed in a tone loud enough to be heard 
by the savages around him: "If this be your game, I can kill too !" 
and turning his horse, started in full gallop for the Pottawatomie 
camp, located about what is now State street, near the crossing of 
Lake, where the squaws and pappooses had been left. The Indians 

imrsued, and he avoided the deadly aim of their rifles for a time by 
ay ing flat on his horse s neck, but the animal was directly killed and 
he wounded. He again became a prisoner; Winnemeg and Waban- 
see, both friends of the whites, interceded to save him, but 
Peesotum, a Pottawatomie, while he was being supported along, 
gave him his death blow by a stab in the back. Thus fell Win. 
Wayne Wells, a white man of excellent parentage and descent, 
reared among the Indians, and of as brave and generous a nature 
as man ever possessed, a sacrifice to his own rash impulse inspired 
by a deed of most savage ferocity. His remains were terribly 
multilated ; the heart was cut in pieces and distributed among the 
tribes, as was their wont, for a token of bravery. Billy C aid well, 
a half-breed Wyandot. long well-known in Chicago afterward, 
arriving next day, gathered up the several portions of the body 
and buried them in the sand. Wells street, in the present city of 
Chicago, perpetuates the memory of his name. 

The following is copied from the official report of Captain 

"We proceeded about a mile and a half, when it was discovered the 
Indians were prepared to attack us from behind the bank. I immediately 
marched the company up to the top of the bank, when the action com 
menced; after firing one round, recharged, and the Indians gave way in 
front and joined those on our flanks. In about 15 minutes, .they got pos 
session of all our horses, provision and baggage of every description, and 
finding the Miamis did not assist us, I drew off the few men I had left, 
and took possession of a small elevation in the open prairie out of shot 
of the bank or any other cover. The Indians did not follow me, but 
assembled in a body on the top of the bank, and, after some consultation 
among themselves, made signs for me to approach them. I advanced 
towards them alone, and was met by one of the Pottawatomie chiefs, 
called the Blackbird, with an interpreter. After shaking hands, he re 
quested me to surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. 
On a few moments consideration I concluded it would be the most pru 
dent to comply with his request, although I did not put entire confidence 
in his promise. After delivering up our arms, we were taken back to 
their encampment near the fort and distributed among the different 
tribes. The next morning they set fire to the fort, and left the place, 
taking the prisoners with them. Their number of warriors was between 
400 and 500, mostly of the Pottawatomie nation, and their loss, from the 


and Dr. Isaac V. Vau Voorhees, of my company, with Captain Wells, 
of Fort Wayne, are to my great sorrow, numbered among the dead. 
Lieut. L. T. Helm, with 25 non-commissioned officers and privates, and 11 
women and children, were prisoners, when we separated. Mrs. Heald 
and myself were taken to the mouth of the river St. Joseph, and being 
both badly wounded, were permitted to reside with Mr. Burnet, an In 
dian trader. In a few days after our arrival there, the Indians all went 
off to take Fort Wayne, and in their absence I engaged a Frenchman to 
take us to Mackinaw, by water, where I gave myself up as a prisoner 
of war, with one of my sergeants. 

In the surrender, Captain Heald had stipulated for the safety of, 
the renmaut of his force and the remaining women and children. 
The wounded prisoners, in the hurry of the moment, were unfor 
tunately omitted, or rather, not particularly mentioned. These 
helpless sufferers, on reaching- the Potawattomie camp, were there 
fore regarded as proper subjects upon to wreak their savage 
and cowardly brutality A distinguishing trait of civilized 
humanity is, protection for the helpless ; with the savage, these 
become the objects of vengeance. Mrs. Helm writes: "An old 
squaw, infuriated by the loss of friends or excited by the sangui 
nary scenes around her, seemed possessed of demoniac fury. She 
seized a stable fork and assaulted one miserable victim, who lay 
groaning and writhing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by 
the scorching beams of the sun. With a delicacy of feeling 
scarcely to have been expected under such circircum stances, Wan- 
bee -nee-\vau stretched a mat across two poles between me and this 
dreadful s,cene. I was thus spared, in some degree, a view of its 
horrors, although I could not entirely close my ears to the cries of 
the sufferer. The following night live more of the wounded pris 
oners were tomahawked."* 

When the Indians about the fort first learned of the intended 
evacuation, they dispatched runners to all the villages of the 
nation, apprising them of the news and their purpose to overpower 
the garrison. Eager to share in the act of bloodshed and plun 
der, many warriors hastened forward, only to be too late. 

A band of Potawattoinies, from the Wabasli, were met at the Aux 
Plains by a party from Chicago, bearing home a wounded chief. 
Being informed that the battle had been fought and won, the 
prisoners slain and scalped, and the spoils divided, their disap 
pointment and rage knew no bounds. They accelerated their 
march, and reaching Chicago, determined to glut their taste for 
blood on new victims. They blackened their faces, and without 
ceremony entered the parlor of Mr. Kinzie and sullenly squatted 
upon the floor amidst the assembled family, who had been 
kindly restored to their home on the north side of the river 
by Black Patridge, Wabansee and others, and who now guarded 
them. Black Patridge, interpreting their looks and intent cor 
rectly, observed to Wabansee in an undertone, that their white 
friends were lost. But at this moment the whoop of another band 
of Indians was heard on the opposite shore. Black Patridge hast 
ily advanced and met their chief in the darkness, 011 the river s 
bank. "Who," said he, "are youf "A man," answered the 
chief, "who are youf "A man, like yourself," replied Black 
Patridge; "but tell in e, who are you for?" "I am," said the 

*Brown, Hist. Ills., page 316, note 5, says : "Mrs. Heald and Mrs. Helm ha\ ing- 
eclipsed the most visionary taste of romance, with which modern literature abounds, 
lived for many years thereafter, highly respected." 


chief, "the Sau-ga-nafih" (that is, the Englishman). "Then make 
all speed to the house," was the reply ; "your friends are in dan 
ger, and you alone can save them." 

It was Billy Caldwell, the half-breed Wyandot, to whom we 
have referred as burying the remains of Captain Wells. He hur 
ried forward, entered the house with a resolute step, deliberately 
removed his accoutrements, placed his rifle behind the door and 
saluted the Potawattomies : "How now, my Mends, a good day to 
you. I was told there were enemies here ; but I am glad to find 
only friends. Why have you blacked your faces "? Are you mourn 
ing for friends lost in the battle? (adroitly mistaking the token 
of their evil intent), or, are you fasting ? If so, ask our friend 
and he will give you food. He is the Indian s friend, and never 
refused them in their need." 

Diverted by the coolness of his manner, they were asham-ed to 
avow their murderous purpose, and simply asked for some cotton 
goods to wrap their dead, preparatory to burial. This, with other 
presents, was given them, and they quietly departed. Thus, by 
his presence of mind, Caldwell averted the murder of the Kinzie 

The prisoners, with their wives and children, were dispersed 
among the Potawattomie tribes on the Illinois, Eock river, the 
Wabash, and some to Milwaukee, The most of them were ran 
somed at Detroit thefollowing spring. A part of them remained 
in captivity, however, another year, but were more kindly treated 
than they expected. Lieutenant Helm was taken to the AuSable, 
thence to St. Louis, where he was liberated through the interven 
tion of Thomas Forsythe, long the government Indian agent at 

Brown s Hist. Ills. 



Gen. Hopkins icith 2QQQ Mounted Kentucky Riflemen Marches over the 
Prairies of Illinois H-is Force Mutinies and Marches back Capt. 
Craiy Burns Peoria and takes all its Inhabitants Prisoners. Sec 
ond Expedition to Peoria Lake Indian Murders Illinois and 
Missouri send two Expeditions up the Mississippi in 1814 Their 
Battles and Disasters. 

After liis ignominious retreat from Canada, Gen. Hull, in a most 
unaccountable manner, on tlie 16th of August, the day after the 
Chicago massacre, at Detroit surrendered his army all the mili 
tary stores, and the whole of Michigan, without a struggle, while 
his men, it is said, wept at the disgrace. Thus by the middle of 
August the British and their red allies were in possession of the 
whole northwest, with the exception of Forts Wayne and Harrison. 
This activity and success of the enemy aroused the people of this 
region to a realization of their imminence. To the impulse of self- 
preservation was added the patriotic desire to wipe out the dis 
grace with which our arms were stained, stay the tide of savage 
desolation which menaced the frontiers, and retrieve our losses. 

The savages grew bolder and penetrated deeper into the settle 
ments. Early in September a large force from the Prophet s town 
made anight attack on Fort Harrison, located a few miles above 
the present city of Terre Haute, in command of Capt. Zachary 
Taylor, afterwards president. They ingeniously tired one of the 
blockhouses, killed during the engagement three men and wounded 
several more. By the coolness of the commander and the energy of 
the garrison, though greatly reduced by sickness, the buildings were 
mostly saved, and the Indians at daylight repulsed. They, how 
ever, shot, killed, or drove away, nearly all the hogs, cattle and 
work oxen belonging to the fort. 

Gov. Harrison superseded Gen. Hull, and was also appointed 
major-general by brevet in the Kentucky militia, This young 
State, in the course of a few weeks, by the aid of Richard M. John 
son and others, had raised a force of 7, 000 men, a portion of which 
was directed to the aid of Indiana and Illinois, Vinceimes being- 
designated as the rendezvous* The British had descended the 
Mississippi to Rock Island, and wore distributing loads of goods 
as presents to the Indians, through one Girty. 

In the meantime Governor Edwards was "active in making pre 
parations for an expedition against the Kickapoos and Potawat- 

*Lanman Bio. Sketches. 



tomies on the Illinois river. His excellency, "before congress had 
adopted any measures on the subject of volunteer rangers, organ 
ized companies, supplied them with arms, built stockade forts, 
and established a line of posts from the month of the Missouri to 
the Wabash." His commission had at this time expired and liis 
appointment had not been renewed, rendering him legally liable 
for the expenses of the expedition, a responsibility which, relying 
upon the justice of hiscountry, he did not hesitate to assume.* Col. 
William Russell, of the 17th regiment, on the llth of October, 
started from the neighborhood of Vincennes with two small com 
panies of IT. S. Rangers, commanded by Captains Perry and 
Modrell to join the expedition of Governor Edwards.t The place 
of rendezvous for these forces was Camp Russell, already described. 

General Samuel Hopkins, a veteran officer of the Revolution, 
had been invested with the command of the Kentucky mounted 
volunteers, some 2,000 in number, at Vincennes. His instructions 
were to break up the villages and disperse the Indians residing on 
the Wabash and Illinois rivers. 

The plan was now suggested that the expedition of Edwards, 
then in preparation, act in concert with that of Hopkins ; that 
the latter, consisting of mounted Kentucky riflemen, should 
move up the Wabash to Fort Harrison, destroy the villages in its 
course, pass over into Illinois, march across the prairies via. the 
head Avatersof theSangamon and Vermilion rivers to the Illinois, 
effect a junction with the Illinois forces under Edwards and Rus 
sell, and sweep all the villages along the Illinois river.:} The plan 
thus arranged was sent by the hand of Col. Russell and readily ac 
ceded to by the Governor. But it was destined to meet with failure 
and disgrace on the part of the Kentuckians. In that ill-compacted 
and undisciplined crowd of horsemen there had already been dis 
content and murmurs against proceeding further, at Vincennes 
and Bosseron. At Fort Harrison a number of the men and one 
officer " broke off and returned." About the middle of October, 
however, the Wabash was crossed at this point, and great harmony 
prevailing the expedition bore promise of success. At the request 
of Gen. Hopkins, a council of the officers was now held, and the 
object and destination of the expedition considered, which were 
highly favored. In his letter to Gov. Shelbv, of Kentucky, dated 
October 26, 1812, Gen. Hopkins writes: 

" Thinking myself secure in the confidence of my brother officers and 
the army, we proceeded on our march early on the loth, and continued 
it four days-^our course lay north on the prairie until we came to an 
Indian house where some corn, &c., had been cultivated. The last day 
of the march to this place I had been made acquainted with a return of 
that spirit of [discontent] that had, as I had hoped, subsided; and when 
I ordered a halt near sunset (for the first time that day), in a fine piece 
of grass in the prairie, to aid our horses, I was addressed in the most 
rude and dictatorial manner, requiring me immediately to resume my 
march, or his battalion would break from the army and return. This 
was a Major * * * I mention him in justice to the other officers of that 
grade ; but, from every information, I began to fear that the army waited 
but for a pretext to return. This was afforded the next day by our guides, 
who thought they had discovered an Indian village at the site of a 
grove, about ten miles from where we had encamped on the fourth night 
of our march, and turned us six or eight miles out of our way. An almost 

Edwards Life of of Edwards 
tDillon sInd. 1. 
$Aunals of the West. 


universal discontent seemed to prevail, and we took our course in such a 
direction as we supposed would atone for the error in the morning. About 
or after sunset, we came to a thin grove affording water. Here we took 
our camp ; and about this time arose one of the most violent gusts I ever 
remember to have seen, not proceeding from clouds. The Indians had 
set tire to the prairie, which drove on us so furiously that we were com 
pelled to fire around our camp to protect ourselves. This seems to have 
decided the army to return. I was informed of it in so many ways, that, 
early the next morning, Oct. 20th, I requested the attendance of the 
general and field officers and stated to them my apprehensions the ex 
pectations of our country the disgrace attending the measure the ap 
probation of our own consciences. Against this I stated the weary 
situation of our horses and the want of provisions which to me seemed 
only partial six days only having passed since every part of the army 
was furnished with ten days rations in bacon, beef, or breadstuff. The 
reasons given for returning, I requested the commandants of each regi 
ment, with the whole of the officers belonging to it, to take fully the 
sense of the army on this measure* * *and to report to me in writing 
adding that if 500 volunteers would turn out, I would put myself at their 
head, and proceed in quest of the towns ; and the balance of the army 
might retreat, under the conduct of the officers, in safety, to Fort Har 
rison. In less than a hour the report was made, almost unanimously, 
to return. I then requested that I might dictate the course to be pur 
sued that day only, which, I pledged, should not put them more than six 
miles out of their way my object being to cover the reconuoitering 
parties I wished to send out for the discovery of the Indian towns. About 
this time the troops being paraded I put myself in front, took my 
course, and directed them to follow me. The columns moving off quite 
a contrary way, I sent Captain [Zachary] Taylor and Major Lee to apply 
to the officers to turn them. They were told that it was not in their 
power the army had taken their own course, and would pursue it. Dis 
covering great confusion and disorder in their inarch, I threw myself in 
the rear, fearing an attack on those who were there from necessity, and 
continued in that position the whole day. The exhausted state of the 
horses, nor the hunger of the men, retarded that day s march. * * * The 
generals Ray, Ramsey and Allen lent all their aid and authority in 
restoring our march to order ; and so far succeeded as to bring on the 
whole with much less loss than 1 had feared." They were not followed 
or menaced by an enemy. They had " marched at least 80 or 90 miles 
into the heart of the enemy s country." A Major Dubois commanded 
the corps of spies and guides. Messrs. Barren, Lasselie and Laplante 
were the interpreters. Gen. Hopkins was certain they "were not 20 
miles from the Indian village when [they] were forced to retire." The 
exact point at which they commenced "their retrograde march is not 

Governor Edwards had collected and was organizing all the 
disposable forces of Illinois, amounting to about 350 men, at Camp 
Russell, by the time Captain Russell arrived trom Yiuceimes with 
a part of two companies, consisting of 50 privates. The volun 
teers were divided into two small regiments, commanded by 
Colonels Elias Hector and Benjamin Stephenson, respectively. 
Col. Russell commanded the IT. S. Rangers. Col. Deshaof the U. 
S. army, Major John Moredock and others, were the field officers. 
The companies were commanded respectively by Captains Samuel 
and William B. Whitesides, James B. Moore, Jacob Short, Willis 
Hargrove from the Ohio Salina, McIIenry afterwards of "White 
.County, Janney, and Lieut. Roakson with a small independent 
company. Captain Samuel Judy had also organized an inde 
pendent corps of spies, consisting of 21 men. The staff of 
Governor Edwards, who was in chief command, were Secretary 
Nathaniel Pope, Nelson Rector, and Lieut. Robert K. McLaughliu, 
of the IT. S. Army. Col. Biis -ell, an unpretending but very 


efficient officer, was next in command to his Excellency, but he 
neither had nor wanted aids. Bag-gage wagons for the army were 
not provided in this short campaign. The men were ordered to 
pack each on his horse 20 days rations. The horses were to 
sustain themselves on prairie grass. Some of the officers employed 
extra pack-horses. 

Captain Craig, of Shawneetown, was detached with a sufficient 
force to man two boats, one laden with provisions and the neces 
sary tools to build a fort, and the other armed with blunderbusses 
and a swivel, both so fortified that the enemy s bullets could not 
penetrate their sides. He was dispatched in advance up the Illinois 
river, with orders to wait at Peoria until further word from the 
army. He was also to make offensive Avar upon the French 
inhabitants of .Peoria, who were suspected of inciting the savages 
to their murderous raids, and he possessed besides large discre 
tionary powers. On the 18th of October, the defenses of the 
frontiers having been duly provided for, this crude army of about 
400 mounted men, took up its line of march from Camp Russell. 
The privates, it seems, looked upon the expedition as affordimg 
them rare sport, not caring whether they were " marched into 
danger or frolic." The route pursued was upon the west side of 
Oahokia creek, thence to the Magoupin, which was crossed near 
the present site of Carlinville ; thence northeasterly, crossing the 
Sangamon below the junction of the north and south forks, east 
of the present capital of the State; passing thence east of Elkh art 
grove, crossing Salt creek not far from the present city of Lincoln, 
and thence in a northward direction striking an old deserted 
Kickapoo village on Sugar creek. These tenant less bark wigwams, 
which were painted up here and there with rude savage devices, 
mostly representing the red-skins scalping whites, provoked the war 
like indignation of the army. The town was assaulted, set on fire and 
reduced to ashes ! After this, fearing that their nightly camp-fires 
would reveal their approach to the Indians, the marches were mostly 
continued after dark till midnight. The course was now directed 
towards the upper end of Lake Peoria, where Avas located the 
Black Portridge village of the Potawattoinies, on the eastern bluff 
of the river. A small party in charge of Lieut. Peyton Avas dis 
patched to Peoria on a direct Avest course, which, howeA^er, made 
no discoveries, and Capt. Craig had not yet arrived thither. The 
army moved rapidly but cautiously forward, and late in the night 
preceding the attack encamped within a few miles of the 
A r illage. It was now desirable to reconnoitre the position of the 
enemy, or rather the Indian toAvn. Four men, namelv Thomas 
Carlin (subsequently governor), and three of the Whitesides 
Robert, Stephen and Davis volunteered for this perilous sendee, 
and were entrusted by the governor Avith its delicate execution. 
They proceeded to the village, explored it and the approaches to 
it, thoroughly, without starting an Indian or provoking the bark 
of a dog. The position of the town was ascertained to be about 
5 miles distant, situated on a bluff separated in great part from 
the high lands by a swampy glade, through which meandered a 
miry branch or creek, Avhose low banks were covered by a rank 
growth of tall grass and clumps of brush, so high and dense as to 
readily conceal an Indian on horseback until within a feAv feet of 


Irim. The ground had become additionally yielding by recent 
rains, rendering it almost impassable to mounted men. 

In the tireless and cheerless camp all was silent as the grave. 
A deep gloom, with many misgivings, had settled upon the men. 
The fatiguing marches had ceased to be frolicsome. The troops 
felt jaded and sulky, and they were within the enemy s country. 
They reposed upon their arms, with their horses tethered near at 
hand, ready saddled to be instantly mounted for action. During 
the night a gun in the hands of a trooper was carelessly discharged, 
which caused great consternation in the camp. The stealthy foe, 
with gleaming tomahawk raised over his victim, was momentarily 
expected. All the horrors of the night attack at Tippecanoe, then 
fresh in the minds of every one, presented themselves to the active 
imaginations of the men. Every white coated soldier at that 
battle, it was said, Tiad been singled out in the dusky morning and 
killed by the savages. In a moment no\v not a white coat 
remained in sight. But directly the assuring voice of his Excel 
lency cried out that the firing was an accident, and all became 
quiet again. 

Early on the following morning, with a dense fog prevailing, the 
army took up its line of march for the Indian town, Captain 
Judy with his corps of spies in advance. On the route iu the tall grass 
they came up with an Indian and his squaw, both mounted. The 
Indian wanted to surrender, but Capt. Judy observed that he " did 
not leave home to take prisoners," and instantly shot one of them. 
With the blood streaming from his mouth and nose, and in his 
agony " singing the death song," prompted by the instinctive 
emotion of self-defense which even a trodden worm will exercise, 
the dying Indian raised his gun, shot and mortally wounded in 
the groin a Mr. Wright, and in a few minutes expired. Wright 
was from the Wood river settlement, and died after he was 
brought home. The rest of those who had incautiously approached 
the wounded Indian, when they saw him seize his gun, quickly 
dismounted 011 the far sides of their horses, making of them, as 
it were, a breast- work. Many guns were immediately discharged 
at the other Indian, not then known to be a squaw, all of which, 
in the trepidation of the occasion, missed her. Badly scared, and 
her husband killed by her side, the agonizing wails of the squaw 
were heart-rending. She was taken prisoner, and subsequently 
restored to her nation. 

Owing to the fog, the army was misled into the spongy bottom, 
some three-fourths of a mile below the town, with the miry creek 
to cross, which deranged the plan of attack. The village thus 
escaped a surprise; and while a halt was made, preparatory to 
crossing, the Indians were observed running from the town, 
bounding through the tall grass on their horses, almost hid from 
view. An attack was every moment expected while crossing the 
treacherous stream, and the advanced corps, under Judy, sat 
lightly in their saddles, expecting to draw the fire of the hidden 
foe. To their great s atisfactioii, no attack was made or meant ; 
the Indians were fleeing from their village and impending death, 
pell-mell, women and children, some on horse-back and some on 
foot, into the swamp among the tall grass, and toward a point of 
timber, in which the governor, disappointed in his charge upon 
the town, judged they intended to make a stand for battle. u I 


immediately changed my course," he writes, "ordered and led on a 
general charge upon them," but "owing to the unsoundness of the 
ground," the pursuers, horses, riders, arms and baggage, from 
his Excellency so valiantly leading the charge to the shouting 
subciltern and private, all shared in the common catastrophe alike, 
and wore unhorsed and overwhelmed in the morass. It was called 
a democratic overthrow, in which all were literally "swamped." 

Upon this yielding ground, into which a horse would sink and 
plunge without avail, a mounted force could not be moved. A 
pursuit on foot was ordered, which was both difficult and extremely 
dangerous on account of the tall grass in which the Indians were 
lurking. Several parties on foot trailed in pursuit of the Indians, 
however, two or three miles across the saturated bottom to the 
river, killing some of the enemy while attempting to cross to the 
farther shore. To such a pitch of excitement were some of the 
men wrought, that Charles Kitchen, John Howard and Pierre St. 
Jean, finding some Indian canoes, in the fury of the chase, crossed 
the river alone in full view of the retreating foe, but without moles- 

A Potawattomie town, called by the governor, Chequeneboc, 
after a chief, was here burned. The Indians fled toward the inte 
rior wilderness. Another party made pursuit of the fugitives in a 
different direction; but the Indians making a stand in considerable 
force, these were compelled to retreat. Reinforcements were sent, 
when the savages entirely dispersed. Some of the troops w r ere 
wounded in this action it is " reported, but none killed. In the 
meantime, the village was pillaged and burned by the main body 
of the troops. The Indians, in their precipitate flight, had left 
behind all of their winter s store of provisions, which was de 
stroyed or taken away. Hiding about the burning embers of the 
ruins, were found some Indian children, left by the frightened 
fugitives ; also, some disabled adults, one of whom was in a starv 
ing condition, and partook of the bread given him with a vora 
cious appetite. He is said to have been killed by a cowardly 
trooper straggling behind, after the main army had resumed its 
retrograde march, who wanted to be able to assert or boast that 
he had killed an Indian. Governor Edwards reports that four 
prisoners were taken away, and some eighty head of horses ; of 
the Indian losses, gathered from their own account, between 24 
and 30 were killed; our loss being one wounded. The Indian 
losses, based entirely upon their own reports, made by the few 
prisoners taken, to please the vanity of the whites, were, doubt 
less, apochryphal. To show the reckless daring of the Indian 
character, it is mentioned that a warrior walked calmly down the 
bin ft" some 200 yards distant, deliberately raised his gun and fired 
upon the troops in the town, then turned and strode slowly away 
amid a shower of bullets. 

Nothing having been heard from General Hopkins and his 2000 
mounted Kentucky riflemen, and apprehensive that a large force 
of warriors would be speedily collected, it was deemed prudent 
not to protract their stay, and accordingly, the retrograde march 
of the army was commenced that very day. A heavy and con 
tinuous rain prevailed at the time, but the dread of pursuit caused 
them not to intermit their travels till darkness overtook them, 
when, greatly exhausted and wet. without fire to dry their clothes, 


or food to nourish their bodies, they sank into sleep on the wet 
ground, their clothing covered with the mud of the morass. The 
dread warrior did not appear. a Our army returned home 
with all convenient speed," writes Governor lieynolds, who- in the 
campaign earned the soubriquet of " Old Hanger," and to whose 
account we are largely indebted for this. 

On the morrow, a detachment in charge of Lieutenant Peyton, 
was again sent over to Peoria with a message to Captain Craig 
in charge of the provision boats, to return as speedily as possible. 
This party on their way burnt a Miami village within a hall-mile 
of Peoria. 

The force of Captain Craig, in charge of the provision boats 
for the armies of Hopkins and Edwards, and under instruction 
from his Excellency to proceed to Peoria "and take prisoners those 
persons who were there for the purpose of assisting the savages to 
murder the frontier settlers," was not idle. His armed boat, by 
force of a gale having broken its cable and drifted ashore, it was 
in the night time fired upon by ten Indians, who immediately fled. 
Discovering at daylight their tracks leading up into the town, 
Captain Craig inquired of the French their whereabouts. These 
denying all knowledge of them, said "they had heard or seen noth 
ing," but he took the whole of them prisoners, burned and de 
stroyed Peoria, and bore the captured inhabitants away on 
his boats to a point below the present Alton, where he landed 
and left them in the woods men women and children in the in 
clement month of November, without shelter, and without food 
other than the slender stores they had themselves hurriedly gath 
ered up before their departure. They found their way to St. Louis 
it is said, in almost a starving condition. They numbered perhaps 
75, the names of the heads of families given exceeding a dozen.* 
Thomas* Forsythe, the government Indian agent stationed at 
Peoria, was included among the number. This was owing to his 
true relation to the government not being disclosed to the Indians 
or others, that he might have more influence with them in releas 
ing or ransoming the prisoners captured in the recent Chicago 
massacre. From his long residence among the Indians, he was 
very popular with them. The burning of Peoria and taking pris 
oners its inhabitants, upon the mere suspicion that they sympa 
thized with the Indians, was generally regarded as a needless, if 
not wanton, act of military power.t 

After an absence of 13 days the gallant army of Governor 
Edwards returned to Camp Eussell without loss. It was received 
with the honors of war, amidst the booming of the old but royal 
cannon which had done duty for many years at Fort Chartres, 
and the rattle of small arms. The troops were mostly dis 
charged ; the governor, in a letter to the secretary of war, be 
speaks for them a speedy payment as i4 the reward due to their 

*See life of Governor Edwards, by his son. 

t After the building- of Fort Crevecoeur, in 1680, Peoria lake was ever familiar to wes 
tern travel and history ; but there is no authentic account of a permanent European 
settlement there until 1778, when Laville de Meillet, named after its founder, was 
started . On account of the quality of the water and its greater salubrity, the location 
was changed further down the lake to the present site of Peoria, and by 179(5, the old 
had been entirely abandoned for the new villag e. After itsdestruction, in J812, it was 
not settled again until 1819. and then by American pioneers, though in 1813, Fort Clark 
was built there, which gave a name to the pface tor several years In 1818. the fort 
was destroyed by fire. In 1825, the county of Peoria was established and the county 
seat located. 


services." In his address, to the St. Clair county militia, the gov 
ernor said : "Your bravery has enabled me to repel hostile invas 
ion and to wage war upon the enemy in their own country. * * 
Your intrepidity and patriotism have been equally honorable to 
yourselves, and useful to your country." Xot to be outdone in 
such flattering testimonials, the militia, through their officers, 
replied in as felicitous a vein, that his Excellency had "greatly 
increased his claims upon the gratitude of the country for his wise 
measures," and that they had "witnessed his coolness, deliberation 
and promptitude in the hour of peril." It seems, however, that 
his Excellency was not without rivals for the laurels of this 
campaign. With much concern, he writes, under date of Decem 
ber 25th, 1812 : U I discover that some pitiful attempts are making 
to deprive me of the credit I am entitled to, by giving it to Colonel 
Russell, who happened to join me (about three days before I com 
menced my march) with 50 rangers. The injustice of this is known 
and attested by the whole of my little army," etc.* 

1813. Early in this year, the country was put in such state of 
defense against the hostile Indians as its sparse population admit 
ted of. Block house stations and stockade forts were repaired and 
strengthened along the entire frontier, and the remote settlers 
and feeble garrisons were removed to the denser settlenfents. 
Kew ranging companies were formed and so stationed as to easily 
range through the settlements. From the present Alton to Kas- 
kaskia, twenty-two family forts were scattered along. In spite of 
these precautions, the extent of the frontier was so great that no 
diligence in ranging afforded entire immunity from savage attacks. 
Numerous depredations and murders were committed by maraud 
ing bands of the red foe. Of these, only a few will be men 

The savages fell upon the family of Mr. Lively, four miles south 
east of Covington, in the present Washington county, and four 
were slain. The bodies of two women were shockingly mangled ; 
a little boy of seven years was borne away from the house, his 
head severed from his body, his entrails torn out, and both 
carried away, it was thought, for purposes of cannibalism. Mr. 
Lively s body was indecently mutilated. A son and a stranger 
stopping there, were out in quest of their horses, and from a dis 
tance saw the house attacked. These in their retreat to the 
settlements, bivouaced in a grove 6 miles southeast of Fayette- 
ville on the Kaskaskia river, which perpetuates the name of the 
murdered family. The Indians, supposed to be Kickapoos, were 
pursued by Captain Boon s company, but having 4 days the start, 
made good their escape. That a pursuing force should be 4 days 
behind, shows how incautiously remote from the denser settle 
ments some families must have located. On the banks of Kas 
kaskia, near the present Carlyle, a Mr. Young and a minister by 
the name of McLean, had a desparate struggle with a party of 
savages. The former having been killed, as also both horses, a 
single but powerful savage pursued. McLean, who was unarmed 
and on foot. McLean would come to a stand at times and in a 
menacing manner defy the savage to approach with his tomahawk. 
The Indian seeking the advantage, would hestitate. At such 
times, McLean would divest himself of a portion of his surplus 

*Ed wards Life of Edwards. 


clothing, and finally, the attention of the Indian having been 
arrested by his cast off garments, McLean plunged into the river, 
swam to the further shore, and effected his escape.* Some murders 
were also committed on Cache river in the present Alexander county. 
On the Wabash, 30 miles above Vincennes, near Fort Lamotte, the 
wife of a Mr. Houston and four children were killed. In a small 
prairie 2 or 3 miles from the present Albion, in Ed wards county, a 
farmer by the name of Boltenhouse was killed, the prairie perpet 
uating his name. 

Considering the frequent murders and the fact that the general 
government had made no provision to sustain the militia and 
volunteers, which caused those of Illinois to be discharged from 
the service on the 8th of June, by the governor, it may be said 
that the year 1813 presented but a gloomy prospect for the exposed 
settlements in the west. 

Second Expedition to Peoria. Large numbers of hostile Indians 
were known to have collected among the Potawattomies and 
Kickapoos on Lake Peoria, Avhence marauding parties, which 
harrassed the frontiers of both Illinois and Missouri, were sent 
out. It became again an object therefore to penetrate their country 
with a military force, disperse them from their convenient location, 
and "drive them far into the interior. In the latter part of the 
summer a joint expedition from Illinois and Missouri, was projected 
for this purpose. An army of some 900 men was collected and 
Gen. Howard, who had resigned the office of Governor of Missouri 
to accept a Brigader General s commission in the United States 
Army, was placed in command. The Illinois troops were ordered 
to rendezvous at Camp Russell; one company was ordered to the 
Mississippi at a point called the Piasa, opposite the Portage des 
Sioux, where it remained several weeks and became quite sickly. 
The Illinois troops were formed into the second regiment, and 
Benjamin Stephen son, of Randolph county, was appointed colonel; 
W. B. Whitesides and John Moredock were majors; and Joseph 
Phillips, Samuel Judy, ^Nathaniel Journey, and Samuel AYhite- 
sides, captains. There was some delay on account of the Missou- 
rians, who were being collected at St. Louis. 

Finally the order for a forward movement arrived, and the 
Illinoisans marched up the Mississippi by companies to the Illinois, 
which was crossed 2 or 3 miles above its mouth. The movement 
was slow ; in Calhoun County, where the bee-trees were very 
numerous, a few rangers, who rambled from the main body, got 
into a skirmish with some Indians, but no loss was sustained 
except that a gun-stock was shivered by an Indian bullet. The 
Missourians marched 100 miles north, on the west side of the 
Mississippi to Fort Mason, where they swam the river mounted 
naked on their horses, while their garments were crossed on a 
platform, borne up by 2 canoes, and joined the Illinoisans. They 
were commanded by Col. McXair, afterward governor of Missouri. 
The whole force was re-organized into a brigade, of which General 
Howard was in chief command. The march was continued up the 
Mississippi. On the present site of Quincy they passed a recently 
deserted camp and village, supposed to have contained 1,000 Sa^ 
warriors. At a point called the " Two rivers, 7 they struck out east 
ward and across the high prairies to the Illinois, which was reached 

*Missouri Gazette, March 1813. 


near the mouth of Spoon river. Here their provision boats arrived 
and took on board the sick. The march was continued up the 
Illinois to Peoria, where there was a small stockade in charge of 
Captain Nicholas of the U. S. Army. Two days before, the 
Indians had made an attack on the fort, but were repulsed. On 
the line of march from the Mississippi, numerous fresh trails indi 
cated tli tit the Indians, gaining knowledge of the invading force, 
were fleeing northward. 

Being in the enemy s country, knowing his stealthy habits and 
the troops at no time observing a high degree of discipline, many 
unnecessary night alarms occurred-, they were paraded, frequently 
ordered to arms, and under the general excitement incident to a 
constant dread of momentary attack, guns were incautiously tired, 
and one tine young Kentucky trooper, was shot dead by a fear 
smitten sentinel. All this time the dread savages were far away. 

The army was marched up the lake to Gomo s village, the 
present site of Chilicothe, and finding that the enemy had ascended 
the Illinois, two deserted villages were demolished under the shock 
of its onset, and burned, when it took up its retrograde march. 
At the outlet of the lake, the present site of Peoria, the troops 
remained in camp several weeks, building Fort Clark, named in 
memory of Gen. George Rogers Clark. Major Christy, in the 
meantime, was dispatched with a force in charge of two fortified 
keel-boats up the river to the foot of the rapids, to chastise and 
rout suck of the enemy as might have lodged in that region. 
Major Boone was sent with a force to scour the Spoon river 
country, towards Hock river. Both expeditions returned without 
other discoveries than signs of alarm on the part of the enemy, 
and his retreat into the interior. The army returned by a direct 
route to Camp Russell, where the volunteers and militia were dis 
banded, October 22(1, 1813. 

The campaign, though no battle was fought or enemy seen, was 
still fraught with great benefit in affording the frontiers immunity 
from the murderous incursions of the savages for the entire suc 
ceeding winter. To the foe was unfolded the power and resources 
lie had to contend with, and shaking his head he muttered, " pale 
faces like the leaves in the forest like the grass on the prairies 
they grow everywhere \" 

1814. The year 1814, was, however, also prolific with horrible 
deeds of savage butchery. Those fiends, with a natural aptitude 
for such work, received additional incentives from their British 
allies. Our naval victories on Lake Erie, the recovery of Detroit, 
and the defeat of the British at the battle of the Thames, where 
Tecumseh fell, which was fought before the close of 1813, had the 
effect to cause the savages to retreat from Canada, and concentrate 
in .meat numbers on the banks of the upper Mississippi; and 
marauding bands again visited the settlements of Illinois and 
Missouri, committing many depredations and murders. We do 
not pretend to cite all. 

In July, a band of Indians raiding in the Wood river settle 
ment, (J miles east of the present Alton, massacred a Mrs. Reagan 
and her (5 children. The husband and father, absent at the time, 
was the first to discover the dreadful slaughter. On arriving 
home after night-fall, and opening the door of his cabin, he 

*Annals of the West Appendix. 


stepped into the gore of liis loved family, and beheld their stark 
and "mangled remains. Captain Samuel Whitesides with his 
company of rangers pursued the savages to the San gam on, where, 
in a thicket, all escaped except the leader of the baud, who was 
shot out of a tree-top. In his belt he had dangling the scalp of 
Mrs. Keagan. 

In the western part of Clinton county, near the crossing of the 
present O. & M. K. R. over a stream, Jesse Bailes and wife were 
looking for their hogs on a Sunday evening in the creek bottom, 
and the dogs baying at a thicket, it was supposed they were found ; 
but on approaching the thicket, the Indians, concealed within, 
tired upon both, the lady only being hit. She was taken to her 
father s house, Mr. Bradley, and died in a short time. 

In August, while a company of Captain Short s rangers were 
encamped at the Lively cabins, a trail was discovered which led 
directly to the starting of 7 Indians with 14 stolen horses. When 
overtaken a skirmish ensued, in which the rangers were rather 
worsted $ one was wounded, a horse killed, and another, Moses 
Short, received a bullet which lodged in a twist of tobacco in his 
pocket. William Stout, with great speed, went to camp for rein 
forcements. Captain Short with 30 men now followed the trail all 
night, and next morning overtook the marauders on a fork of the 
Little Wabash. A lagging Indian here shot a turkey, and the 
report of his gi n apprised the pursuers of their proximity. On 
discovering the whites, the. rear Indian ran in great haste forward, 
and all prepared for battle, in ignorance probably of the number 
of the pursuing force, and assured doubtless by their previous 
success, for they might have easily made their escape. They were 
directly surrounded, and when they realized their situation, sang 
the death .song, shouted defiance, and fought bravely to the last. 
All were killed. The pursuers lost one man, William O Xeal, 
who, while taking deliberate aim, met an adversary quicker than 
himself, and was shot. 

[NOTE. The most desparate single-handed combat with Indians. ever foughtonthe 
soil of Illinois, was that of Tom Higgins, August 21, 1814. Higgins was #> years old, of 
a muscular and compact build, not tall, but strong- and active. Jn danger he possessed 
a quick and discerning judgment, and was without fear. He was a member of Journey s 
rangers, consisting of 11 men, stationed at Hills Fort, 8 miles southwest of the present 
Greenville. Discovering Indian i-igns near the fort, the company early the following- 
morning started on the trail. They had not gone far before they were in an ambus 
cade of a larger party. At the first fire, their commander Journey and 3 men fell. Six 
retreatea to the fort in flight, but Higgins stopped " to have another pull at the red 
skins," and taking deliberate aim at a straggling savage, shot him down. Hig gin s horse 
had been wounded at the first tire, as he suppose !, mortally, but coming to, he was 
about to efiect his escape, when the familiar voice of Burgess hailed him from the long- 
grass, " Tom don t leave me." Higgins told him to come along, but Burgess replied that 
his leg was smashed. Higgins attempted to raise him on his horse, but the animal took 
fright and ran away Higgins then directed Burgess to limp off as best he could, and 
by crawling- through the grass he reached the fort, while the former loaded his gun 
and remained behind to protect him against the. pursuing enemy. When Burgess was 
well out of the way, to throw any wandering enemy off the trail, Higgins took another 
route which led by a small thicket. Here he was unexpectedly confronted by !5 savages 
approaching. He ran to a little ravine near at hand for shelter, but in the effort dis 
covered for the first time that he was badly wounded in the leg. He was closely pressed 
by the largest, a powerful Endian, who lodged a bail in his thigh. He fell, but instantly 
rose again, only to draw the fire of the other two and again fell wounded. The 
Indians now advanced upon him Avith their tomahawks and scalping knives, but as he 
presented his gun first at one, then at another, from his place in the ravine, each 
wavered in his purpose. Neither party had time to load, and the large Indian, suppos 
ing finally that Higgins 1 gun was empty, rushed forward with uplifted tomahawk and a 
yell, but as he came near enough, was shot down. At this, the others raised the war- 
whoop and rushed upon the wounded Higgins, and now a hand to hand conflict ensued. 
They darted at him with theirknifestimeandauain, inflicting many ghastly flesh wounds 
which bled profusely, One of the assailents threw his tomahawk at him with such 
precision as to sever his ear and lay bare his skull, knocking him down. They now 
rushed in on him, but he kicked them off, and grasping one of their spears thrust at 


The military expeditions of 1814, In which Illinois participated, 
were by water on the Mississippi. The first projected in the west 
was that of Governor Clark (in the absence of General Howard), 
which left St. Louis about the 1st of May. It comprised a force 
of some 200 men in five armed barges, its destination being 
Prairie du Chien. The notorious Dickson, British agent and In 
dian trader, a man of pleasing manner and captivating address, 
had but a few days before recruited for the British army 300 
Sioux, Winnebagoes and Folsavoisns, whom he was conducting to 
Canada. A small garrison of "Mackinac fencibles ", in command 
of a British officer, was left in charge of the place, but being greatly 
outnumbered by Clark s forces, they joined the fleeing inhabitants. 
Clark s unopposed troops were quartered in the house of the 
Mackinaw Fur Company, and a fort, calledShelby, was built. In 
June Gov. Clark returned to St. Louis, where the people tendered 
him a public ovation in honor of his conquest. Thus easily did he 
win military glory. But in July a large force of British and Indians 
under Col. Mackey, came by water from Mackinaw, via Green 
Bay and the Wisconsin, and after a short seige,Gov. Clark s entire 
garrison capitulated and was paroled, leaving the British with the 
new fort in much better condition than two months before. Such 
are the fortunes of Avar. 

In the meantime, Gen. Howard, having returned to his post, 
deemed it advisable to strengthen so remote a post as Prairie du 
Chien, and to that end sent reinforcements to the number of 108 
men, in charge of Lieut. Campbell of the regular army, in three 
keel boats tip the river. Of this force O G men were Illinois Rang 
ers, under Captains Stephen Rector, and Biggs, who occupied two 
boats. The remainder were with Campbell in the other boat. 
Hock Island, where they laid up for a night, was passed without 
molestation, but at the foot of the rapids great numbers of the 
Sacs and Fox Indians visited the boats with professions of friend 
ship. Some of the French boatmen were known to the Indians, 
and very much liked by them. They would squeeze their hands 
with a pull down the river, indicating that it would be Avell for 
them to leave. It was rightly judged by them that the treacherous 
savages meditated an Attack, of which Lieut. Campbell was duly 
informed. He, however, disregarded these hints. The sutler s 
and contractor s boats, and two barges with the Illinois rangers, 
had passed the rapids, and had got some two miles ahead, when 
Campbell s barge was struck by a gale from the west so strong as 
to force her against a small island, next to the Illinois shore. 
Thinking it advisable to lie to till the wind abated, sentinels were 
immediately stationed, while the men went ashore to cook break- 

him, was raised up by it. He quickly seized his gun, and by a powerful blow crushed 
in the skull of one, but broke his rifle. His remaining 1 antagonist still kept up the 
contest, making thrusts with his knife at the bleeding and exhausted Hiugins, which he 
parried with his broken gun as best he could. Must of this desperate engagement was 
in plain view of the Fort, but the rangers, having been in one ambuscade, saw in this 
fight only a ruse to draw out the balance of the garrison. But a Mrs. Pursely, residing 
at the Fort, no longer able to see so brave a man contend unaided for his lile, seized a 
gun, and mounting a horse, started to his rescue. At this the men took courage and 
hastened along. The Indian seeing aid coming, fled. Higgins being nearly hacked to 
pieces, fainted from loss of blood. He was carried to the Fort. There being no sur 
geon, his comrades cut two balls from his flesh ; others remained in For days his life 
was despaired of, but by tender nursing, he ultimately recovered his health, badly 
crippled. He resided in Fayette County for many years after, where he raised a large 
family, and died in 1829. He received "a pension, pursued farming, and at onetime 
was door-keeper of one of the houses of the General Assembly at Vandalia . Reynold s 
Pio. Hist. p. 321. 


fast. At this time a large force of Indians on the main shore, 
under the command of Black Hawk, commenced an attack. The 
savages, in canoes, passed rapidly to the island, and with a war 
whoop rushed upon the men, who retreated and sought refuge in 
the barge. A battle of brisk musketry now ensued between the 
few regulars aboard the stranded barge and the hordes of Indians 
under cover of trees on the island, with severe loss to the former. 
Meanwhile, Captains Rector and Riggs, ahead with their barges, 
seing the smoke of battle, essayed to return, but in the strong- 
gale Riggs boat became unmanageable and was stranded on the 
rapids. Rector, to avoid a similar disaster, let go his anchor. The 
rangers, however, opened with good aim and telling effect on the 

The unequal combat having raged for some time, the command 
er s barge, with many wounded and several dead on board, among 
the former of whom, very badly, was Campbell himself, had almost 
ceased lighting when she was discovered to be on tire. And now 
Stephen Rector, and his brave crew of Illinois rangers, compre 
hending the horrid situation, performed, without delay, as cool 
and heroic a deed, and did it well, as ever imperiled the lite of 
mortal man. In the howling gale, in full view of hundreds of the 
infuriate savages, and within range of their rifles, they deliberately 
raised anchor, lightened their barge by casting overboard quan 
tities of provisions, and guided it with the utmost labor down the 
swift current, to the windward of the burning barge, and, in the 
galling fire of the enemy, rescued the survivors, removed the 
wounded, the dying and all, to their vessel. This was as heroic a 
deed of noble daring as was performed during the war in the 
west. The island, in memory of the struggle, was named after 
Campbell, but with Rector and his crew of Illinois rangers remains 
the glory of the action. 

The manner of effecting the rescue displays the resource of 
courageous minds in the crisis of imminent peril. Rector s barge 
was first quickly lightened by casting overboard the provisions, 
the crew (mostly experienced French boatmen,) got into the water 
on the windward side of the barge, which brought it between 
them and the fire of the enemy. In this manner it was guided in 
clo^se proximity to the disabled barge, and* held there till the re 
moval was effected, when, after being hauled against the wind far 
out into the stream, it glided safely away. The loss was 25 ; 9 
killed 4 rangers, 3 regulars, 1 woman, 1 child ; wounded 16, 
among whom were Lieut Campbell and Dr. Stewart, severely.* 
Rector s barge was uncomfortably crowded for the wounded, but 
as the force was large they rowed night and day until St. Louis was 
reached. The Indians, after the abandonment of Campbell s 
barge, feasted upon the contents of their prize. 

It was now feared that Riggs and his company were captured 
and sacrificed by the savages. His vessel, which was strong and well 
armed, was for a time surrounded by the Indians, but the whites 
on the inside were well sheltered. The wind becoming allayed in 
the evening, the boat, under cover of the night, glided safely down 
the river without the loss of a single man. At St. Louis there was 
great rejoicing 011 the arrival of Riggs and crew, all safe. Many 
fervent prayers had gone up, many anxious eyes had eagerly 

*Mo. Gazette, July 30, 18U 


watched the river, and many a patriot heart was made glad by the 
final tidings of their safety. 

Still another expedition, for the Upper Mississippi was projected 
this season after the two fore-going disasters. It was fitted out at 
Cape an Gris, and old French hamlet on the left bank of the Mis 
sissippi, a few miles above the mouth of the Illinois. It consisted 
of 334 effective men, 40 regulars and the rest rangers and volun 
teers, in command of Major Zackary Taylor (afterwards president.) 
Xelson Hector, and Samuel Whitesides, with the Illinoisans, were 
in command of boats. It was generally regarded as of material 
importance to have a strong fort with a garrison well up the Mis 
sissippi in the heart of the Indian country. The plan was to 
proceed above the rapids, and in descending sweep both banks of 
the river of the Indian villages, destroy their corn down to 
Rock Island, and there build the fort. The expedition departed 
its place of rendezvous, August 23, 1814, and passed Rock Island 
and the Rapids unmolested. It was now learned that the country 
was not only swarming with Indians, but that the English were 
there in command, with a detachment of regulars and artillery. 
The advanced boats in command of Rector, Whitesides, and 
Hempstead, turned about and began to descend the Rapids, fight 
ing with great gallantry the hoardes of the enemy pouring their fire 
into them from the shore at every step. A little way above the 
mouth of Rock river, not far from some willow islands, Major 
Taylor anchored his fleet out in the Mississippi. During the night 
the English planted a battery of six pieces down at the water s 
edge to sink or disable the boats, and filled the islands with 
redskins to butcher our men, who might, unarmed, seek refuge 
there. But in this scheme they were frustrated. In the morning 
Taylor ordered all the force, except 20 boatmen on each vessel, to 
the upper, island to dislodge the enemy. The order was executed 
with great gallantry, the island scoured and the savages, many of 
whom were killed, driven to the lower one. In the meantime the 
British cannon told with effect upon the fleet, piercing many of the 
boats. The men rushed back and the boats were dropped down 
the stream out of range of the cannon. Captain Rector was 
now ordered with his company to make a sortie on the lower island, 
which he did, driving the Indians back among the willows, but 
they being reinforced, in turn hurled Rector back upon the sand 
beach. A council of officers called by Taylor had \)y this time 
decided that their force was insufficient to contend with the enemy, 
who outnumbered them three to one, and the boats were in full 
retreat down the river. As Rector attempted to get under way, 
his boat grounded, and the savages, with demoniac yells, sur 
rounded it, when a most desperate hand to hand engagement 
ensued. The gallant ranger, Samuel Whitesides, observing the 
imminent peril of his brave Illinois comrade, went immediately 
to his rescue, who, but for his timely aid, would undoubtedly have 
been overpowered with all his force and murdered. Taylor s loss 
was 11 men badlj wounded, 3 of whom had died at the date of 
his re port to Gen. Howard, Sept. C, 1814. 

Opposite the mouth of the Des Moines, on the site of the present 
town of Warsaw, a fort was built by Taylor s men, called Edwards, 
which consisted of a rough stockade and blockhouses of unhewn 
logs. Fort Madison, on the west side of the Mississippi and farther 


up, after being repeatedly attacked by the enemy, was evacuted and 
burnt. A few weeks later (in October) Fort Edwards shared a 
similar fate; the troops got out of provisions, and unable to sustain 
their position, retreated down the river to Cape au Gris. The 
people of Illinois aiid Missouri were astonished at this extraordi 
nary evacuation and destruction of the fort by our own troops. 
The rangers and volunteers were discharged October 18th, 

Thus ended the last, like the two previous expeditions up the 
Mississippi during the war of 1812, in defeat and disaster. The 
enemy was in undisputed possession of all the country north of the 
Illinois river, and the prospect respecting these territories boded 
nothing but gloom. With the approach of winter, however, 
Indian depredations ceased to be committed, and the peace of 
Ghent, Dec. 24, 1814, closed the war. 

*The account of these expeditions has been in great part gathered from Reynolds 
Own Times. 



TO 1818. 

Meeting of the Legislature The Members Laws Conflict between 
the Legislature and Judiciary Curious Acts Territorial Banks 
Cait;o Bank Commerce First Steamboats Pursuits of the 

For nearly four years after the organization of the territorial 
government no legislature existed in Illinois. The governor was 
both executive and, in great part, the law-making power. These ex 
traordinary powers, authorized by the ordinance of 1787, viewed at 
this day, seem, strangely inconsistent with our republican notions of 
the necessity of co-ordinate branches of government. Under that 
celebrated ordinance, the political privileges of the citizen were 
few or none, -lie could not exercise the elective franchise unless 
lie was a freeholder of 50 acres, nor aspire to a seat in the territo 
rial legislature unless he was a freeholder of from 200 to 500 acres. 
Those of the territorial officers whom the president did not appoint, 
were appointed by the governor. The people could not elect jus 
tices of the peace, county surveyors, treasurers, coroners, sheriffs, 
clerks, judges of the inferior courts, nor even choose the officers of 
the territorial militia ; all this power and much more was vested 
in the governor. By the act establishing the Illinois territory, it 
was provided that whenever his Excellency was satisfied that a 
majority of the freeholders desired it, then he might authorize a 
legislature. While none of these extraordinary powers were per 
haps ever arbitrarily exercised by any of the governors, unless it 
was St. Glair, the people were all the time clamorous for an exten 
sion of suffrage. Congress (not the governor) finally, by act 
of May 21, 1812, raised Illinois to the second grade of territorial 
government, and further extended the right of suffrage to any 
white male person 21 years old, who had paid a territorial tax and 
resided one year in the territory next preceding any election, author 
izing such elector to vote for representative, member of the legis 
lative council and delegate to congress. The property qualification, 
under the ordinance of 1787, was abolished. This was a very 
great concession to the people. The governor was required to 
apportion the territory. On the 14th of February, 1812, accordingly, 
he issued his proclamation, ordering an election to take the sense 
of the people for or against entering upon the second grade of 
territorial government. The election was to beheld for three suc 
cessive days in each county, commencing on the second Monday 
in April. The question was decided in. the affirmative by a large 



majority. On September 10th, following, the governor and judges 
having organized the new counties of Madison, G alia tin and John 
son, making now, with the two old counties of St. Clair and Ran 
dolph, a total of five, a proclamation was issued, publishing their 
establishment. By another proclamation of the same date, an 
election for 5 members of the legislative council, 7 representatives 
and a delegate to congress, was ordered to be held in each county 
on the 8th, 9th and 10th days of October following. At this elec 
tion, Shadrach Bond was elected to congress. The members elect 
of the legislative council were, Pierre Menard, of Randolph- 
chosen to preside ; William Biggs, of St. Clair ; Samuel Judy, of 
Madison;. Thomas Ferguson, of Johnson, and Benjamin Talbot, 
of Gallatin. 

The members elect of the house of representatives were, George 
Fisher, of Randolph; Joshua Oglesby and Jacob Short, of St. 
Clair; William Jones, of Madison; Phillip Trammel and Alexan 
der Wilson, of Gallatin, and John Grammar, of Johnson. 

We subjoin brief sketches of the members constituting the first 
general assembly of Illinois. Pierre Menard^ a Canadian French 
man, settled at Kaskaskia in 1790. He was a merchant and 
enjoyed an extensive trade with the Indians, over whom he ex 
erted a great influence and was for many years the government agent 
for them. He was Avell informed, energetic, frank and honest, 
and was very popular with all classes. William I>iyf/s was an 
intelligent and respectable member, who had been a soldier in 
Clark s expedition, and ten years afterward had been a prisoner 
for several years among the Kickapoos! He wrote and published a. 
complete narrative of his Indian captivity, and in 1820, congress 
voted him three sections of land. He was for many years county 
judge. ^ Samuel Judy the same who, in the fall preceding, com 
manded* the corps of spies in Governor Edwards military cam 
paign to Peoria lake was a man of "energy, fortitude and 
enterprise." Some of his descendants now reside in Madison 
county. Joshua Oglesby was a local Methodist preacher of ordinary 
education, who lived on a farm and was greatly respected by his 
neighbors. Jacob tihort, the colleague of Oglesby, removed to 
Illinois with his father, Moses, in 1790, and pursued farming. Dur 
ing the war of 1812, he distinguished himself as a ranger. George 
Fisher possessed a fair education, and was by profession a physi 
cian. He removed from Virginia to Kaskaskia in 1800, and en 
gaged in merchandizing, but at this time he resided on a farm. He 
was afterward in public life. Phillip Trammel was a man of dis 
criminating mind, inclined to the profession of arms. He Avas the 
lessee of the United States saline in Gallatin county. His col 
league, Alexander Wilson, was a popular tavern keeper at Shaw- 
neetown, of fair abilities. William Jones was a Baptist preacher, 
grave in his deportment, and possessed of moderate abilities. He 
was born in North Carolina, removed to Illinois in 1800, and set 
tled in the Rattan prairie, east of Alton * This was the first 
appearance in public life of John Grammar. He afterwards rep 
resented Union county frequently during a period of 20 years. 
He had no education, yet was a man of shrewdness. After his 
election, it is related that to procure the necessary apparel to 
appear at the seat of government, he and the family gathered a 

*Annals of the West. 


large quantity of hickory nuts, which were taken to the Ohio 
saline and traded for blue strouding, such as the Indians wore for 
breech -cloth. When the neighboring women assembled to make 
up the garments, it was found that he had not invested quite 
enough nuts. The pattern was measured in every way possible, 
but was unmistakably scant. Whereupon it was decided to make 
a "bob-tailed coat and a long pair of leggings. 7 Arrayed in these, 
he duly appeared at the seat of government, where he continued 
to wear his primitive suit for the greater part of the session. 
Notwithstanding his illiteracy, he had the honor of originating the 
practice much followed by public men since, of voting against all 
new measures it being easier to conciliate public opinion for 
being remiss in voting for a good measure, than to suffer arraign 
ment for aiding in the passage of an unpopular one.* 

On the 10th of November, the governor, by proclamation, or 
dered the members elect to convene, on the 25th instant, at Kas- 
kia, the seat of government. The two bodies met in a large, 
rough old building of uncut limestone, with steep roof and gables 
of unpainted boards, situated in the centre of a square, which, 
after the ruin and abandonment of Fort Chartres, had served the 
French as the headquarters of the military commandant. The 
first floor, a large, low, cheerless room, was fitted up for the house, 
and a small chamber above for the council chamber. The latter 
body chose John Thomas their secretary, and the former elected for 
clerk William C. Greenup. The two houses had a door-keeper in 
common. All the 12 members boarded with one family, and lodged, 
it is said, in one room. How unlike the present times! The 
members addressed themselves to the business in hand, without 
delay or circumlocution. Windy speeches or contention were 
unheard of, and parliamentary tacticians, if any there were, met 
with no indulgence. It has been naively remarked that not a. 
lawyer appears on the roll of names. 

The assembly effected a peaceful revolution of the civil polity 
of the territory, at a time when actual war was the all-absorbing 
public question. By act of December 13, 1812, all the laws 
passed by the Indiana legislature, and in for