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I HAVE lived In Cairo forty years and during all that time have been 
engaged in the practice of the profession of the law. I ought, there- 
fore, to be fairly well acquainted with what has taken place, 
during that time, in and concerning the citj' and which was worthy of 
record or of a place in its history. For many years I have preserved 
papers and documents relating to the city, not at first with a view to 
writing a historj^ thereof, but just as any one would preserve papers or 
documents he regarded as of more than usual interest. These have so 
accumulated that I have felt I could in no other way do a better service 
for the people of Cairo than by using them and other materials in the 
preparation of a historj'^ of the city. Besides this, 1 have not known of 
any one who had in contemplation the undertaking here attempted. 

In the year 1864, Mr. Moses B. Harrell, then long a resident of 
Cairo, wrote an excellent short history of the city, and the same became 
the first fifty pages of a city director}' of that year. 

The History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, published 
in 1883, twenty-seven years ago, contains three several parts relating to 
Cairo. These parts were written by Mr. H. C. Bradsby, who had 
before that time resided in Cairo many years. The book is a large one 
and contains many biographical sketches of citizens of Cairo. There 
are quite a number of copies of this history in the city 1 suppose; but of 
Mr. Harrell's history, there are now only a very few copies. 

This history must necessarily contain much that is found in the other 
two, just as the second contains much that is found in the first; but I 
have found a great deal which I have deemed worthy of permanent 
record, which is not embraced in either of the other two books; and 
further, many matters merely touched upon in them I have presented 
much more fully. 

It will be seen that the book contains much historical information 
about that part of our countrj'^ which embraces our city, county and 
state — information that might have been omitted without afEecting the 
local history ; but it is believed little of it will be found so foreign to the 
local history as to seem wholly out of place. Lyocal history would be 
very local indeed, which did not here and there show the relation of the 




locality to much that was outside and pertained to the country at large. 
Then, too, I have desired to create, in some small degree at least, a desire 
in the younger people of our community to know more of this part of the 
Valley of the Mississippi — this Illinois Country, in some respects the 
richest part naturally of the United States. 

I have not been able to devote much time or space to biographical 
sketches. Ordinarily, it is quite difficult enough to choose between what 
ought and ought not to go into a local history like this. The book should 
be a history of the city and not of individuals, excepting, of course, of 
those persons who have been so identified with its establishment and 
growth that a history of it with them left out would seem very in- 

J. M. L. 

Cairo, Illinois, September, 1910. 



Sketch of the Illinois Country . . . .13 

Early French Explorers and Missionary Priests . .18 

The Illinois Territorial Government . . -25 

The City of Cairo of 1818 . . . . -30 

The Site and Place from 1818 to 1836 . . -39 

The City of Cairo of 1836 to 1846. — The Illinois Central 
Railroad Company of 1836. — The Illinois Exporting 
Company. — The Cairo City and Canal Company . 41 

The Cairo City and Canal Company Succeeded by the 
Cairo City Property Trust. — Cairo from June 13, 
1846, to December 23, 1853 • • • .58 

Cairo's Site and its Abrasions by the Rivers. — Levees 
AND Levee Construction. — The Highest Known 
Floods . . . . . . .63 


Low Lots and Grounds. — Seepage. — The Linegar Bill. — 

Street Filling. — City Indebtedness . . • 79 

The Wharf and Wharfage. — Riparian Rights . . 85 

Geological Formations. — The Signal Station. — The 

River Gauge. — Temperatures, Rain Falls^ etc. . 90 

The Illinois Central Railroad . . . .96 



Maps and Plats . . . . . . iii 

The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. — The Territory 
Drained. — Distances. — The Ohio River as a Bound- 
ary . . . . . . . .116 

The Health of the City . . . . .120 

Cairo During the War . . . . .128 

The Churches ...... 138 

The Schools . . . • . • .148 

The a. B. Safford Memorial Library. — The Woman's 
Club and Library Association. — St. Mary's Infirmary. 
— The United States Marine Hospital . • i53 

The Trustees of the Cairo City Property. — The Trus- 
tees OF the Cairo Trust Property. — Their Early 
Civil Engineers. — The Cairo Newspapers . . 157 


Cairo in Servitude to Land Companies . . . 167 

The American Notes . . . . .170 

The Town Government of Two Years and the City Gov- 
ernment of Fifty-Three Years. — The Seventeen 
Mayors . . • • • • -177 

Darius Blake Holbrook. — Miles A. Gilbert. — Samuel 
Staats Taylor. — William Parker Halliday. — Hal- 
lid ay Brothers . . • . • .190 

The Growth of "The Three States" . . .208 


Alexander County and its Other Towns, and its Earliest 

Settlers . . . . . . .211 

Harrell's Short History. — The History of Alexander, 

Union and Pulaski Counties . . . .217 

Other Railroads. — The Illinois Central and the Thebes 
Railroad Bridges. — The Cairo Harbor and Bacon 
Rock. — The Ferries, Cairo's Need of . . . 220 


Cairo Banks. — Building and Loan Associations. — The 
Custom House. — The Halliday Hotel. — The Spring- 
field Block. — The Court of Common Pleas . .231 

Extracts from Books^ Pamphlets and Letters . . 240 


Fort Jefferson. — Bird's Point and the Birds . .255 


Miscellaneous Papers. — Judges of the Supreme, Circuit 
AND County Courts. — Members of the Legislature 
AND Other Bodies. — County, City and Other Offi- 
cers. — Lists of Early Residents of the City, Etc. . 261 

Cairo as a Business Place. — The Future of the City . 280 

Index ........ 289 


John M. Lansden, Photogravure 

Tanner's Map of Illinois of 1822 

Details of Maps of 1718 and 1755 

Survey of Township Seventeen, 1807 

Map of Cairo of 18 18 

Shadrack Bond, Photogravure 

Elias Kent Kane, Photogravure 

Thompson's Survey of 1837 • 

Chancellor Kent's Letter of 1838 

Galena Celebration, 1838 

Certificate of Stock in C. C. & C. Company 

Long's Topographical Map of 1850 

Illinois Central Railroad Tracks 

Junction of Rivers (1858) 

Map of Proposed Canal, 1838 

City Ordinance of 1843 

Gulf Embayment Area 

Judge Sydney Breese, Photogravure 

Strickland and Taylor's Map of 1838 

Ohio and Mississippi Rivers at Cairo 

Generals Grant and McClernand 

River Gunboats, Cairo, 1861 . 

First School House 

A. B. S afford Memorial Library 

St. Mary's Infirmary . 

Cairo in 1841 

Mayors of Cairo 

Mayors of Cairo 

Darius B. Holbrook, Photogravure 

Miles A. Gilbert, Photogravure 

Samuel Staats Taylor, Photogravure 

William P. Halliday, Photogravure 

Thebes Court House, 1845 

Cairo Court House, 1864 

















Illinois Central Railroad Bridge 

Thebes Railroad Bridge 

Bed of Ohio River at I. C. Bridge 

Cairo-Kaskaskia Bank Bills 

Custom House and Post Office Building 

Alexander M. Jenkins, Photogravure 

U. S. Battleship Concord 

. 220 
. 227 
. 229 
. 231 
. 233 
. 238 
. 280 

H. S. Tanner's Map, P 




THE geographical position of this place, at the junction of the 
two rivers, requires, it seems to me, a somewhat full account of 
the attention given it before any attempt was made to establish 
a city here, which was in the year i8i8. This account may, therefore, 
be called the introductory chapter. 

The colonial grants to Virginia of May 23, 1609, and of March 12, 
1612, were for territory extending "from sea to sea. West and North- 
west" or from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It was not then 
known how far westward it was to the Pacific coast ; and the uncertainty 
about the western boundary of the grants afforded grounds for the ter- 
ritorial disputes which subsequently arose. 

The French had entered the country by way of the St. Lawrence 
quite as early as the English had entered it further southward ; and the 
former, pushing westward and southward, crossed these so-called sea-to- 
sea grants, which to them had nothing more than a mere paper existence. 
They, also, not long afterward, came into the country on the south and by 
way of the Mississippi River. Their claims to the country were based 
on the right of discover}' and on other grounds not necessary to be 
noticed here. They established posts here and there in their widely 
extended dominions. Differences now and then arose between the au- 
thorities in Canada and those at New Orleans. Both claimed juris- 
diction over the Illinois country, which embraced the whole country 
between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers and west of Canada. But 
these jealousies of each other never interfered with their hearty co-opera- 
tion against the English. All told, their numbers in the whole country 
were less than one-tenth that of the English ; but they went ever>'where 
and easily obtained favor with the original occupants of the country. 
Religion, business and amusement went hand in hand ; and soon it 
became apparent that New France was to extend from the Gulf to the 
Great Lakes and thence eastward to the Alleghanies, and that the English 
were to have nothing west of that mountain range. Nothing shows so 
clearly the character and extent of the French claim as the fact that it 



embraced the Ohio River country and reached to the present site of 
Pittsburg, where they established their Fort Du Quesne. 

The English, seeing their sea-to-sea grants so wholly disregarded, 
began to assert their supposed superior rights. They saw that should the 
French acquire permanent lodgment in the Valley of the Mississippi as 
they had in the Valley of the St. Lawrence and along the Great Lakes, 
they would be shut in by the Alleghanies and confined to the Atlantic 
coast. These territorial disputes, to which we can only make the barest 
reference, extended over well-nigh a centurj'^ and a half. A few years 
of peace now and then ensued ; but on the whole, a well-established state 
of controversy existed all the time. The two great nations were the 
actual claimants, and often the controversy in the new world was but 
the counterpart of that in the old, between the same parties. The 
English saw plainly that if they were not to be shut in by that coast 
range of mountains, they must maintain their asserted territorial lines 
by force of arms. 

The country was not uninhabited. The Indians were everywhere. 
Wherever one went in the great broad land, he found himself within the 
bounds of some one of its innumerable tribes. The contending parties 
took little account of these early occupants. Each enlisted their aid 
against the other. In the one case, the Indian was to help the French- 
man for the Frenchman's sake; in the other, the Englishman for the 
Englishman's sake; but all the while, the contest was for the land and 
country the Indian himself claimed. 

It was long a state of war, interrupted now and then by stirring 
events elsewhere. Canada was now and then entered, held, and aban- 
doned by the English. Finally, in the year 1755 what proved to be 
the final struggle came on ; and after the lapse of about seven years, the 
French and Indian or the French and English wars came to an end with 
the fall of Quebec, and the Treaty of Paris in 1763. It was a great 
victor)^ It was a great treaty. It settled the dispute which had lasted 
one hundred and fifty years. It cleared every cloud off the English 
title and made way for a consolidated empire, which never could have 
existed with New France between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi. 

How the fates of nations are decided ! Often a single battle, a single 
mistake in diplomacjf, a single failure to grasp the great situation — these 
sometimes turn nations upside down and turn the current of events the 
world over. The new world, or our part of it, was the prize between 
the Anglo-Saxon and the Latin. They were both seeking to establish 
great colonies — seeking to reproduce themselves upon the newest and 
most fertile continent the earth afforded. 

"Thus terminated a war which originated in an attempt on the 
part of the French to surround the English colonists and chain them to a 
narrow strip of countr}' along the coast of the Atlantic, and ended with 
their giving up the whole of what was their only valuable territory in 
North America." "She was utterly stripped of her American possessions, 
little more than a hamlet being left her in lower Louisiana." (Hinton's 
United States.) 


The Illinois country, after thus passing from France to England, 
was placed under the care of Captain Sterling, who was succeeded by 
Major Farmer, who in turn was succeeded by Colonel Reed in 1765; 
in which year the country was annexed to Canada. Reed was succeeded 
by Colonel Wilkins, whose administration was far more satisfactory 
than those of his predecessors. 

Few persons in America and still fewer in England supposed that this 
victorious peace of 1763 would soon be followed by war between the 
victors themselves, but it was. The lapse of thirteen years witnessed 
the opening of our war of the Revolution, and in 1783, just twenty 
years after the peace of 1763, England surrendered to her thirteen 
colonies on the Atlantic coast, well-nigh all she had claimed and fought 
for during almost two hundred years. The Canadians seemed to think 
they wanted no more war, or they felt less friendly toward their neigh- 
bors than toward their distant rulers. Be that as it may, the peace 
of 1783 took the whole Illinois country out of what had been, under 
the French, alternately a part of Canada and a part of Louisiana. 

Bare reference can only be made to the campaign of General George 
Rogers Clark, whom Virginia in 1778 had sent into the Illinois country, 
and thereby laid the foundation for the claim she subsequently asserted, 
that the country was hers by conquest as well as by virtue of those sea-to- 
sea grants. She had by her act of December 17, 1778, organized the ter- 
ritory and called it the County of Illinois, for which reason it has been 
spoken of as the mother county of all the counties in Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In another part of the book, giving 
an account of "Fort Jefferson," we give a letter of General Clark to 
Governor Jefferson, written September 23, 1779. 

The colonies no longer fearing the French or the English, turned 
their attention to the question of the ownership of the Illinois countrj^; 
and now arose a territorial dispute between them which constitutes one 
of the most interesting parts of our country's history. It is treated of 
and dwelt upon in so many histories and other works, that even partial 
enumeration of them is quite out of the question. 

Here, as in many other matters of those early days, Virginia was the 
chief actor and claimant. By the treaty of 1763, England had sur- 
rendered all of her claims to the territory west of the Mississippi. This 
gave a definite western boundary to those sea-to-sea grants under which 
Virginia claimed. But while she was willing that her southern boundary 
should be a straight east-and-west line, she desired her northern boundary 
to run northwestward after reaching the Ohio River. This gave her 
nearly the whole of the Illinois country. Those colonies without terri- 
torial possessions urged that the territories should be ceded to the General 
Government, because, they said, they had been won and secured by the 
common blood and treasure of all the colonies. Virginia, following 
New York, but not without saying New York had nothing to cede, 
ceded her Illinois country. She had long held out, insisting that if 
she ceded the northwest territory to the General Government, the latter 


should guarantee to her the territory she claimed south of the Ohio 
River — that is, Kentucky. This desire for such a guarantee seemed to 
cloud somewhat her claim or title to the territory north of the river. 
Her session was made March i, 1784; and this was followed by the 
justly celebrated ordinance of July 13, 1787. The territory was divided 
by the act of May 7, 1800, and the western part called Indiana Ter- 
ritory. The eastern part, a little later on, namely, in 1802, was 
admitted into the Union as the State of Ohio. The Indiana Territory 
was divided by the act of January 11, 1805, and the northern part 
called Michigan. It was again divided by the act of February 3, 1 809, 
and the western part of it called Illinois, and the seat of government 
fixed "at Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River" 

We need not trace the history of the remainder of the northwest ter- 
ritory, which now embraces the State of Wisconsin and that part of 
Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. 

We have thus passed rapidly over the history of the Illinois country. 
From the Virginia charter of May 23, 1609, to the act of Congress, 
February 3, 1809, organizing Illinois territory, we have the long period 
of two hundred years. 

The same form of territorial government provided for by the ordi- 
nance of 1787 was extended in turn to the territories of Indiana, Michi- 
gan, and Illinois by those acts of Congress of i8cxD, 1805, and 1809. It 
provided for a Governor, a Secretary of the territory, and three Judges 
to hold the territorial court; and when the territory was found to con- 
tain five thousand free male inhabitants, they were to have a general 
assembly, to consist of the Governor, the legislative council of five 
members, and a house of representatives of one member for each five 
hundred free male inhabitants. It will thus be seen that there were 
two forms or grades of government provided for the territory. In the 
first form or grade, the Governor and the three Judges were, from time 
to time, to adopt, publish, and report to Congress such of the law^s of 
the original states as they deemed suited to the condition of the territory, 
and these laws were to continue in force, unless disapproved of by Con- 
gress, until the organization of the general assembly ; and this carried the 
territorial government into the second grade. The five members of the 
legislative council were to be selected by Congress out of the ten persons 
nominated by the territorial house of representatives. It is worthy of 
notice that this celebrated ordinance prescribed certain property qualifica- 
tions for the holding of offices in the territory. The Governor was 
required to have a freehold estate in one thousand acres of land, the 
Secretary of the territory, the three Judges, and the members of the 
legislative council, in five hundred acres, and the members of the house 
of representatives were to be the owners in fee of t\vo hundred acres of 
land within the territory ; and an elector of a representative was required 
to have a freehold estate in fifty acres. The act of Congress of May 20, 
1812, further modified the ordinance by requiring the members of the 


council to be elected by the people; and for this purpose the Governor 
was directed to divide the territory into five districts, in each of which 
one member was to be chosen. Voters were required to be taxpayers, 
not real estate owners. The act limited the number of representatives to 
not less than seven nor more than twelve, until there should be six 
thousand free male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years in the 
territorj^ from which time the government was to proceed according to 
the original ordinance. 



THOUGH so often told, and now getting to be somewhat of an 
old story, it seems somehow naturally to fall into line with every 
account of places and points on the Mississippi River; and hence 
we beg to be allowed to refer briefly to some of the old French ex- 

M. Louis JoUet and Father Jacques Marquette, commissioned to 
accompany him, left the Mission of St. Ignace, May 17, 1673, to find 
the Mississippi and especially to find into what body of water it flowed. 
They crossed the lake and entered Green Bay, ascended Fox River, made 
the portage to the Wisconsin, and passing down that river reached the 
Mississippi June 17, 1673. Some of the incidents of this voyage on the 
great river were, their friendly reception by the Indians; their passage 
of the mouth of the Missouri, whose rushing waters filled them with 
wonder and some of them with fear; their pause, about July 1st, at the 
mouth of the Ouabache (Ohio) to reflect that the river was long and 
came from the country of the Iroquois; their arrival at the mouth of the 
Arkansas, where they became satisfied the great stream did not flow into 
the Gulf of California, but into the Gulf of Mexico ; their return, July 
17th, up the river and their passage again of the mouth of the Ohio 
about August ist; and their arrival at Kaskaskia on the Illinois the latter 
part of that month. Joliet was the leader, intent on discoveries, intent 
on finding things; Marquette, the chronicler, the observer, the missionary, 
writing much about the Indians and their superstitions. 

Father Louis Hennepin has been doubted, from time to time, by a 
number of writers, some of whom have found themselves in error and 
acknowledged the same. It would be quite out of place to enter into a 
controversy here and show why we should omit what he claims to have 
seen or discovered. We give two or three short extracts: 

"The next day, being the loth of March, 1660, we came to a river 
within forty leagues of the Tamaroa; near which, as the Illinois inform 
us, there is a nation of savages called Ouadebache. We remained until 
the 14th, because one of our men killed a wild cow as she was swimming 
over the river, whose flesh we were obliged to dry with smoke to pre- 
serve it. Being thus provided with Indian corn and flesh, we left that 
place the 14th, and saw nothing M^orth observation. The banks of the 
river are so muddy and so full of rushes and reeds, that we had much to 
do to find a place to go ashore. 

"They, the Indians, called Sicacha or Chickasas, offered to go and 



Details of Maps in Chicago Historical Library 


settle themselves upon the river Ouabache to be near Fort Crevecoeur 
in the country of Illinois, v^^hither they are traveling. This famous river 
of the Ouabache is fully as large as Meschasipi. A great many other 
rivers run into it. The outlet v^^here it discharges itself into the 
Meschasipi is two hundred leagues from the Akansa, according to M. 
de La Salle's computation. The truth is, it is not so far, across the 
country, but it may be as much in following the course of the river 
Meschasipi, which winds about very much. Start over land it is not 
above five good days' journey. They crossed the river Ouabache 
August 26, 1687, and found it full sixty leagues along the river Mescha- 
sipi to the mouth of the river Illinois." 

We are told to beware of Baron de La Hontan quite as much if not 
more than of Father Hennepin ; but we must give the little he says about 
the Ohio river: — 

"After we had spent two days with them, we pursued our voyage to 
the River Ouabache, taking care to watch the Crocodiles very narrowly, 
of which they had told us incredible Stories. The next day we enter'd 
the Mouth of that River, and sounded it, to try the truth of what the 
Savages reported of its depth. In effect, we found three Fathoms and 
a half of Water; but the Savages of our Company alledg'd that 'twas 
more swell'd than usually. They all agreed that 'twas Navigable an 
hundred Leagues up, and I wish'd heartily that my time had allow'd 
me to run up to its Source; but that being unreasonable, I sail'd up 
against the Stream, till we came to the River of the Illinese, which we 
made on the 9th of April with some difficulty, for the Wind was against 
us the first tv\^o days, and the Currents was very rapid." 

This was in 1689. (See Thwaites' La Hon tan's Voyages, Vol. i^ 
p. 205). 

Cavelier de La Salle, who, it seems in 1669, four years earlier, had 
gone as far southward as the Ohio River at the falls, was more inter- 
ested in the story of the journey of Joliet and Marquette than any one 
else. It seemed strange to him that they had stopped short of the gulf, 
but he was thankful for it, no doubt. The deterrent effect of the stories 
of Indians on the lower Mississippi aroused in him few and slight fears. 
It was an opportunity not to be lost, an opportunity furnished by others, 
who should have taken it themselves. 

La Salle, with Tonti and Membre, left Fort Miami, near where St. 
Joseph, Michigan, now stands, December 21, 1681, crossed the lake to 
the Chicago River, and, loading their canoes and baggage on sleds they 
there made, worked their way on land and frozen rivers down to a point 
at or below Lake Peoria, and from thence proceeded by water, and on the 
6th of February, 1682, they rowed out upon the Mississippi. They 
were detained at the mouth of the Missouri by the floating ice until Feb- 
ruary 15th, when they proceeded on their journey. They reached the 
mouth of the Ohio about February 20th, the bluffs north of Memphis 
the 24th, and the Gulf April 9, 1682. There they erected the standards 


of Louis XIV and of the Church, and proclaimed the whole country of 
the great valley part of the dominions of the great French king. 

Joutel, writing after the death of La Salle, speaks as follows of the 

"The 19th of August (1687), we came to the mouth of the river, 
called Houabache, said to come from the country of the Iroquois toward 
New England. That is a very fine river. Its waters are extraordinary 
clear and the current of it gentle. Our Indians offered up to it, by way 
of sacrifice, some tobacco and beefstakes, which they fixed on forks and 
left them on the bank, to be disposed of as the river saw fit." 

Father Jean Francois de St. Cosme, a Canadian Seminarian Priest, 
writing to the Bishop of Quebec, speaks of this place as follows : — 

"We left Cape St. Antoine (Grand Tower) on the 14th of December 
(1699), and on the 15th, we halted for the night one league below the 
Wabache (Ohio), a large and beautiful river, which is on the left of the 
Mississippi and comes from towards the north, and is, they say, five 
hundred leagues long, and rises near the Sonontuans (Senecas). They 
go by this river to the Chananous (Shawnees) who traded with the Eng- 
lish. On the 1 6th we started from the Wabache and nothing special 
befell us nor did we find anything remarkable until we reached the 
Acansias (Arkansas)." 

Father Jacques Gravier left Michilimackinac September 8, 1700. 
His journey was by the Illinois and the Mississippi, and with his canoes 
and companions he reached the mouth of the Ohio about October 15, 
1700. Here they were detained by the illness of one or two of their 
number until October i6th, when they resumed their voyage to the 
Gulf. While here Father Gravier was chiefly concerned about the illness 
of his companions, who seemed to have been taken \vith what the Father 
called the tertian fever, a fever coming on every third day, and for this 
severe disease he relates how he discovered a most excellent remedy. 
He says little about the two rivers or their junction, but like the few 
others who had preceded him, he looked forward anxiously to what was 
still to be found ahead of him. One point is reached only to arouse 
concern as to what is to be seen or met with further on. His account 
should be read, first to see his care for the Indians, who were then 
leaving their loved home on the Illinois for their new one on the Missis- 
sippi, where they established the second Kaskaskia, and, second, for the 
description of the wild game they saw and some of which they killed 
here and there. He speaks of the bears, and says those along the 
Mississippi were lean and those of and from the Ohio were fat, and 
that all of them seemed to be moving from the south to the north. The 
day they reached here they saw fifty of them, only four of which 
they killed — all they needed. It is interesting to read the whole account, 
found in Vol. LXV, Jesuit Relations, pp. 105-111. Of his remedy for 
the tertian fever, he says: "I found an excellent remedy for curing 


our French of their fever. A small piece of Father Francois Regis' hat, 
which one of our servants gave me, is the most infallible remedy that I 
know of for all kinds of fever." He speaks also of the fine weather. 
It was about the middle of the month of October, 1700. October is, 
perhaps, the finest month of our year. 

Sieur Charles Juchereau de St. Denis, of France, and afterwards of 
Canada, obtained a concession from his government, and came hither 
with thirty other Frenchmen, in about the year 1702, and built a fort 
and a tanner}^ here or within a few miles of the junction of the rivers. 
Pontchartrain had sought the establishment of a fort and post at this 
point. The French on the lower Mississippi claimed jurisdiction over 
everything adjoining that river on the east, throughout its entire length. 
Juchereau was, in modern phrase, a business Frenchman and prosecuted 
trade in this region with diligence and enterprise. The Canadian 
French were not friendly to his pursuits in this latitude. They wanted 
everything in the Illinois country made tributary to their St. Lawrence 
course of trade and traffic. The country here must have been swarming 
with buffaloes; for in the course of a year or tivo, Juchereau and his 
thirty Frenchmen had killed and skinned thirteen thousand of them and 
had their skins in store and ready for shipment. What a time they must 
have had hunting in this region! The country abounded in game of 
all kinds besides buffaloes. Think of the bears, the deer, the 
turkeys, the geese and ducks, and many other kinds of game. 
Father Gravter, in 1700, said the bears on the Mississippi were 
lean, but those on the Ohio were fat and well favored. Juchereau 
no doubt came down this far to be .on the Wabash (Ohio) as well as on 
the Mississippi. They hunted in all three of these states, over in Bal- 
lard County (Ky.), Mississippi County (Mo.), and in our own 
Alexander Count}', and much further and in all directions. There 
were no game laws. No licenses were required nor descriptions of the 
hunters, and all seasons were hunting seasons. They were probably 
located on the little river north of us, and it is altogether probable they 
gave it the name of Cache. This name. Cache River, appears on an old 
map of 1755, but it no doubt bore that name long before it obtained 
a place on any one's map. The Indians did not give the river one 
of their names. The French named it, and if there is any truth in the 
statements of numerous historical writers as to Juchereau, and his fort 
and tanner)', his buffaloes and buffalo skins, it is highly probable our little 
river received its name from him. 

But Juchereau was not permitted to enjoy the fruits of his labors and 
self-imposed exile here in the wilds of North America. The Indians 
were here, too, as well as abundant game. They waited until Juchereau 
had accumulated a large stock and store of skins and furs, of every kind 
and description, and selecting a convenient occasion and with united 
forces, they made an attack upon him and his men and killed almost all 
of them and seized the whole of their valuable collections. Juchereau 
himself escaped and reached Kaskaskia, then but recently established, 


where it is said he died in 1705. The news of what had befallen him 
was carried to all parts of New France. It reached Mobile and all the 
southern country and much was said about expeditions to the Wabash 
to check, if possible, the depredations of the Indians. 

In another part of the book is a list of the old maps showing a fort 
at this place. One rather peculiar feature of the matter is that one or 
two of the old maps made some years before Juchereau came here show a 
fort on the point between the rivers. 

Father Gabriel Merest wrott from "Cascaskias, November 9," 17 12, 
to Father Germon as follows: — 

"About eighty leagues below, on the side of the river Illinois, that 
is to say, on the eastern side, (for the general course of the Missis- 
sippi is from north to south), is the mouth of again another fine river 
called Ouabache. It comes from the east-northeast and has three 
branches, one of which extends to the country of the Iroquois, another 
towards Virginia and Carolina, and the third even to the Miamis. It 
is said that silver mines have been found there. This, however, is 
certain, that there are in that country mines of lead and tin, and should 
some miners by profession come to make excavations in these lands, they 
might perhaps find mines of copper and other metals. 

"Besides these large rivers which water the country to such an extent, 
there are also a great number of those which are smaller. It is on one of 
these rivers that our village is situated, on the eastern side, betw^een the 
rivers Ouabache and Pekitanoui (Missouri). We are in the 38th degree 
of latitude. Large numbers of buffaloes and bears can be seen, which 
feed on the banks of the river Ouabache. The flesh of the young bears 
is a very delicate meat." 

Father Xavier de Charlevoix^s journey was from Quebec, via 
Montreal, Niagara, Erie, Detroit, Michilimackinac and Lake Michigan 
to St. Joseph, thence a portage to the Kankakee, thence by the Illinois 
and the Mississippi to Kaskaskia. Here at "Kaskasquias," October 
20, 1 72 1, he writes as follows: — 

"The lOth of October, about nine in the morning, after we had gone 
five leagues on the Mississippi, we arrived at the mouth of the Missouri, 
which is north northward and south southeast. I believe this is the 
finest confluence in the world. The two rivers are much of the same 
breadth, each about a half league; but the Missouri is by far the most 
rapid, and seems to enter the Mississippi like a conqueror, through which 
it carries its white waters to the opposite shore without mixing them. 
Aftervi'-ards it gives its color to the Mississippi, which it never loses 
again, but carries it on down to the sea. 

"It was about the loth of November, at sun set, that I embarked on 
the little river of Kaskaskia. I had but two leagues to the Mississippi ; 
nevertheless, I was obliged to encamp at about half way; and the next 
day I could make but six leagues on the river. 

"The 15th, the wind changed to the north and the cold increased. 
We went four leagues to the south; then we found that the river 


turned four leagues to the north. Immediately after this reach, we 
passed on the left by the river Ouabache, by which one may go on up to 
the Iroquois when the waters are high. Its entrance into the Mississippi 
is a little less than a quarter of a league wide. There is no place in 
Louisiana more fit, in my opinion, for a settlement than this, nor where 
it is of more consequence to have one. All the country that is watered 
by the Ouabache (Ohio) and by the Ohio (Wabash) that runs 
into it, is very fruitful. It consists of vast meadows, well watered, 
where the wild buffaloes feed by thousands. Furthermore, the com- 
munication with Canada is as easy as by the river of the Illinois, and the 
way much shorter. A fort with a good garrison would keep the savages 
in awe, especially the Cherokees, who are at present the most numerous 
nation of this continent." 

Accompanying Charlevoix's journal is a map, upon which is found 
a mark or X on the point between the two rivers, and the words, "A 
ruined old fort." 

Father Vivier, in a lengthy letter of November 17, 1750, written no 
doubt at Kaskaskia, and to another Father of the Society of Jesus, spoke 
of the need of a fort at this place as follows: — 

"The distance from the Akansas to the Illinois is nearly one hundred 
and fifty leagues; through all that extent of country there is not a 
single settlement. Nevertheless, to ensure us its possession, it would be 
well if we had a good fort upon the Ouabache, the only place where the 
English can enter the Mississippi." 

Before getting too far along, let me note here how this immediate 
region of country was dealt with a century or more ago. 

iLLmois Land Company of 1773. — "On the 5th of July, 1773, at a public coun- 
cil held at the village of Kaskaskia, an association of English traders and mer- 
chants, who styled themselves, 'the Illinois Land Company,' obtained from ten 
chiefs of the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Peoria tribes, a deed for two very large tracts 
of land on the east side of the river Mississippi. The first tract was bounded thus: 
'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 back 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 Shawanees town, in an easterly or a little 
to the north of east course, in a direct line to the river Ohio, about four leagues, 
be the same more or less ; then down the Ohio, by the several courses thereof i 
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.' 
The purchase of these territories was made for the Illinois Land Company, by 
a certain William Murray, who was then a trader in the Illinois country; and 
from the deed of conveyance it appears that the price which the Indians by 
agreement received, was two hundred and fifty blankets, two hundred and sixty 
strouds, three hundred and fifty shirts, one hundred and fifty pair of stroud and 


half thick stockings, one hundred and fifty stroud breechcloths, five hundred 
pounds of gunpowder, four thousand pounds of lead, one gross of knives, thirty 
pounds of Vermillion, two thousand gunflints, two hundred pounds of brasskettles, 
two hundred pounds of tobacco, three dozen gilt lookingglasses, one gross gun 
worms, two gross awls, one gross of firesteels, sixteen dozen of gartering, ten 
thousand pounds of flour, five hundred bushels of Indian corn, twelve horses, 
twelve horned cattle, twenty bushels of salt, twenty guns, and five shillings in 
money. The Indian deed was attested by ten persons, and recorded, on the 2d 
of September, 1773, in the office of a notary public at Kaskaskia." — Dillon's His- 
tory of Indiana, pages 102-104. 

Soldiers' Reservation of 1787. — By an act of congress under the articles of 
Confederation, dated October 22, 1787, a tract of land was "reserved and set apart 
for the purpose of satisfying the military bounties due the late army," and the 
same was described as follo%vs: 

"Beginning at the mouth of the Ohio river; thence up the Mississippi to the 
river Au Vause (Big Muddy) ; thence up the same until it meets a west line 
from the mouth of the little Wabash; thence easterly with the said west line 
to the great Wabash; thence down the same to the Ohio, and thence with the 
Ohio to the place of beginning." 

Indian Reservation of 1803. — % the Indian treaty of August 13, 1803, made 
by William Henry Harrison and the Kaskaskia tribe of Indians, which tribe 
represented the remnants of the Mitchigamias, Cahokias and Tamarois, respec- 
tively, the following described territory was set apart to the said tribes: — 

"Beginning at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi ; thence up the Ohio 
to the mouth of the Saline Creek, about twelve miles below the mouth of the 
Wabash ; thence along the dividing ridge between the said creek and the Wa- 
bash until it comes to the general dividing ridge between the waters which fall 
into the Wabash and those which fall into the Kaskaskia river; and thence along 
the said ridge until it reaches the waters which fall into the Illinois river; 
thence in a direct course to the mouth of the Illinois river, and thence 
down the Mississippi to the beginning." Then follows the sixth article of the 
treaty, which is in the following words: — "As long as the lands which have 
been ceded by this treaty shall continue to be the property of the United States, 
the said tribe shall have the privilege of living and hunting upon them in the 
same manner as they have hitherto done." This treaty is an exceedingly inter- 
esting one, considered in the light of what had already taken place and what 
followed its conclusion, concerning the Indians. 

I need scarcely say that almost all of the foregoing quotations in this 
chapter are from Thwaites' Jesuit Relations. I have consulted also the 
following named authors and have also quoted from some of them here 
and elsewhere: — Bancroft, Parkman, Winsor, Shea, Hinsdale, Spears, 
and others writing of the Valley of the Mississippi. I may here also 
state that I have had occasion to consult many state histories, among 
them Edwards, Reynolds, Ford, Breese, Davidson and Stuve, Blancherd, 
Moses, Lusk, Dillon's Indiana, Collins' Kentucky, Houck's Missouri, 
and English's Conquest of the Northwest. Much that I have said, not 
of a strictly local nature, pertains to such general history of the country 
that citation of authors or other bibliographical reference seems almost 
out of place. 

^.7^.-.^ ^^ /^^.^ ^^.^"^^ ^^^^^'^^—^ ^ 

X^ i^t^^yditM. y>^i^ t^A^ i^^ y^^T^ 

First Government Survey, 1807 



IT would be interesting to stop here and speak of the contest in and 
out of congress to prevent the division of the Indiana territory and 
the organization of the territory of Illinois, and of the public men 
who lost or won in the heated controversy ; but space will not admit of 
this being done. 

President Madison, March 7, 1809, appointed Nathaniel Pope, of 
the territory of Louisiana, the secretary of the territory ; and April 24th, 
he appointed Ninian Edwards, of Kentucky, governor of the territory. 
The governor and the judges promulgated thirteen laws in 1809, twelve 
in 1 8 10, and five in 1811. March 14, 1812, he ordered an election to be 
held the second day of April to enable the people to express their prefer- 
ence as to whether the government should pass from the first to the second 
grade; and the vote resulting in favor of the change, on the 14th of 
September, he ordered an election to be held October 8th, 9th and lOth, 
for the purpose of choosing a delegate to congress, members of the 
legislative council and representatives to the general assembly, of the 
territory, Shadrack Bond was chosen delegate to congress, Pierre 
Menard, Benjamin Talbot, William Biggs, Samuel Judy, and Thomas 
Ferguson, members of the legislative council, and George Fisher, Alex- 
ander Wilson, Philip Trammel, John Grammer, Joshua Oglesby, Jacob 
Short, and William Jones, memljers of the territorial house of representa- 
tives. Menard became president of the council and John Thomas its 
secretary; George Fisher became speaker of the house and William C. 
Greenup its clerk. The first territorial legislature or general assembly 
convened at Kaskaskia November 25, 1812, and continued in session 
thirty-two days and enacted thirty-seven laws. The salary of the Attor- 
ney General, B. M. Piatt, was $175 per annum; those of the Auditor, 
H. H. Maxwell, and of the Treasurer, John Thomas, were $150 each. 
The pay of the members of the legislature was $2.00 per day. The 
second session of this assembly convened November 8, 1813, and enacted 
thirteen laws, among them one to prevent the sale of liquor to the 
Indians, and another to prevent the emigration of negroes and mulattoes 
into the territory. 

The second territorial legislature convened on the 14th of November, 
18 14. It made a contract with Nathaniel Pope for revising the laws 
of the territory. It also passed an act for the incorporation of Shawnee- 
town, and an act authorizing the payment of $50,00 for every hostile 
Indian killed. On the 24th of December, it adjourned until September 


4, 1815. Re- assembling, it continued in session thirty-nine days and 
enacted thirty-eight laws, one of which was to tax billiard tables $150 
per annum ; another to punish counterfeiters of bank bills by fining and 
whipping, and if they were unable to pay the fines, they were to be sold 
by the sheriff at public sale to satisfy the judgments. The third legis- 
lature sat from December 2, 18 16, to January 14, 181 7, and then took a 
recess to December ist. It enacted twenty-eight laws at that session. 
One was to establish a bank at Shawneetown with a capital of $300,000. 
Indiana had prohibited non-resident lawyers from practicing in their 
courts; and in retaliation, this legislature passed an act imposing a fine 
of $200.00 upon any Indiana lawyer found practicing in the territory, 
and a fine of $500.00 against the judge who knowingly allowed the 
Indiana lauyer to practice in his court. At this time there was no very 
friendly feeling between the people of the two territories because of the 
contest concerning the division of the territory of Indiana. The second 
session convened December ist, and enacted fifty laws, among them the 
only law it ever enacted relating to Cairo, the act to incorporate the 
City and Bank of Cairo. It passed both houses of the legislature and 
was approved by the Governor January 9, 1818. The final adjourn- 
ment of the legislature took place January 12, 1818, three days after 
the enactment of this law concerning Cairo. The state was admitted 
into the Union December 3, 18 18. 

The map of Illinois of 1822, by H. S. Tanner, Philadelphia, found 
at the beginning of Chapter I, shows very well the advancement of the 
state at about the time of its admission into the Union. 

We have thus given considerable space to our Illinois territorial 
government, extending from February 3, 1809, to December 3, 18 18, 
a period of nine years and ten months. It is a meager outline, but it 
shows something of the general condition of what is now our part of 
the state, which was indeed about all there was then of it. In 1809, her 
population was about 11,000 and in 18 18 it had increased to nearly 
50,000. The territory had become the third state of the five states 
contemplated by the ordinance of 1787. 

We cannot take leave of this subject without some suitable refer- 
ence to Kaskaskia. 

Cairo owes it existence chiefly to Kaskaskia men. Let me name 
some of them: Shadrack Bond, Elias Kent Kane, Henry S. Dodge, 
Michael Jones, Warren Brown, Edward Humphrys, Sidney Breese, 
David J. Baker, and Miles A. Gilbert. All that was done for and 
about Cairo, in 181 7 and in 18 18, was done at Kaskaskia; and the very 
first movement toward a second attempt to build a city here was 
started at Kaskaskia in 1835 and 1836, and chiefly by Breese, Baker 
and Gilbert. Kaskaskia was the seat of almost all of the earlier opera- 
tions of the Cairo City and Canal Company, although its directors 
met now and then at Alton. That company's banking operations under 
the act of January 9, 18 18, were carried on there and as late as 1839, 


1840 and 1 84 1. The Bank of Cairo, under said act, issued its notes 
there which recited on their face that they were issued at Kaskaskia. 
See two of its bank bills on another page. 

But we must not say more about Kaskaskia, about which so much 
has been said and written. One volume could not contain it ; for of and 
concerning it, Frenchmen, Englishmen and Americans have told their 
stories. Like the Indian tribe, from which it took its name, it has 
quite ceased to exist. The abrading waters of the great river, near 
to which it stood so long, cared quite as little for the Frenchmen and 
the Englishmen as for the Indian, and the old French post and town, 
standing midway between Quebec and New Orleans, is now scarcely 
more than a mere landmark in the center of a nation of almost one 
hundred millions of people. It was one of the goals of the adventurers, 
explorers, and missionary priests on their long and slow journeys be- 
tween those distant French cities. It was indeed a resting-place, and 
the society and customs, the religion and amusements, they there found 
were to them like a return to their own beloved France. It was 
civilized existence again, darkly shaded, it may be, by the aboriginal 
life that everywhere breathed over the face of the vast country. But 
to those who dwelt there, and perhaps more to the sojourners for a 
time, the shadow of Indian life served only to brighten by contrast the 
short and narrow strip of country which there skirted the great river. 

In the examination of our real-estate and court records here in 
Cairo, I have found Nathaniel Pope's name so often mentioned, that 
I trust it will not be regarded as entirely out of place to devote a 
page or two to this able man. 

He was born in Louisville in 1774; resided at St. Genevieve for a 
while, and in the year 1808 removed to Kaskaskia; became the first 
secretary of the territory; was the territory's delegate in congress from 
1 81 6 to 18 18; was the first United States judge in the state and held 
the position to the time of his death, which occurred at the home of his 
daughter, Mrs. Yeatman, at St. Louis, January 23, 1850. General Pope 
of the late Civil War was a son of the former. Judge Pope is well 
known as the compiler of an edition of our statutes. 

We make this reference to Judge Pope chiefly to show that to him 
the people of the state are indebted for the extension of the state's 
northern boundary some sixty miles north of the southern extremity of 
Lake Michigan. The 5th article of the ordinance of 1787 bounded our 
state, or the third of the proposed states, by the Mississippi, Ohio and 
Wabash rivers and by a line from the Wabash to the north boundary 
line of the territory and made its north boundary line "an east and west 
line drawn through the southern bend or extremity of Lake Michigan." 

When the territorial government applied for admission into the Union, 
Pope saw that the new state was to be shut out from the great lake, 
and hence he determined to do what he could to have congress extend 
the north boundary line of the state some distance further northward 
and thereby secure to the state the great commercial advantages which 


he was sure the lake would afford it. This desire and effort led to much 
controversy and engendered much bad feeling. The ordinance, like 
many other great instruments after it, was called a compact between 
the states and beyond the reach of congress, just as it was afterwards 
urged that the 6th article of the ordinance relating to slavery was a 
compact; but congress believed it was not bound by the lines described 
in the ordinance, and accordingly extended the north line of the state 
northward to the latitude of 42 degrees and 30 minutes, or for the 
distance of about 60 miles. It added about four millions and a half 
acres of the finest land to Illinois. Wisconsin was not a state then ; but 
its people to this day regard that act of congress as a most flagrant 
breach of law and justice. 

Prior to 1818, there were on the north bank of the Ohio, from the 
mouth of the Tennessee to the mouth of the Ohio, four or five small 
settlements, villages or clusters of houses, bearing the following names, 
Trinity, America, Caledonia, Napoleon and Wilkinsonville, and last of 
all Fort Massac. Trinity, America, Napoleon and Wilkinsonville have 
long since ceased to exist, and now few persons are living who remember 
anything about them. Dr. Reuben Gold Thwaites, in the year 1894, 
made a trip down the Ohio from Pittsburg to Cairo, described in his 
"On the Storied Ohio" and stopped at what was once the place or site 
of Wilkinsonville. It was named after General James Wilkinson, 
whom history^ connects closely with Col. Aaron Burr's scheme or sup- 
posed scheme to set up a separate government in the southwest. Dr. 
Thwaites took occasion to remark that he found no one in the vicinity 
of the old site who had ever heard of Wilkinsonville. He stopped 
there but a few hours, we suppose, and could have seen but a very few 
persons; but had he talked with many he would probably have found 
no one who could have told him much about the old post. Still it is 
somewhat remarkable; for Wilkinsonville is found in almost all of the 
old maps and gazetteers and in all of the Ohio River guides up to 1838 
and probably later. Burr passed there in 1805, and again December 
31, 1806. President Jefferson, in a message to the senate and house, 
January 28, 1807, informed them that Burr had passed Fort Massac 
December 31st with ten boats navigated by six men each. Burr and 
his boats and men passed this point no doubt on the first day of January, 
1807. He left them somewhere down the river in the state of Mississippi 
and sought to escape; but he failed in this and was arrested and taken 
to Richmond and there tried for treason and acquitted. 

General Jackson with fifteen hundred men in boats left Nashville 
on the lOth day of January, 1813, and reached here January 27th, 
where they were detained three days by ice in the Mississippi. His 
men were Tennesseeans and Kentuckians chiefly, and all of them rifle- 
men by long practice as hunters. The rivers were then low. Game of 
all kinds abounded on the point here and in Kentucky and Missouri. 
Jackson always maintained excellent discipline, but he also knew very 
well there was such a thing as too much strictness with troops like 


those freedom-loving hunters of the two states mentioned; and there 
is no doubt but that during their three days' staj' here the sharp crack 
of the rifle was heard everywhere over the point and across the river 
in Kentucky and that their camps here or over there were bountifully 
supplied with game. 

But Indians were here also. This part of the state had been set 
apart to them by the Indian treaty of August 13, 1803. Most of them 
had gone from these parts of the country, but now and then bands of 
them passed through the country and often their movements were at- 
tended with the severest cruelties to the people of the settlements which 
lay in the line of their travels. One of their most atrocious deeds took 
place on the Ohio just south of Cache River, where old Trinity was 
soon thereafter established. It was on the 9th day of February, 1813, 
that ten Indians, coming along the Ohio from the Wabash country, 
reached the three or four families resident just south of Cache River. 
They represented themselves as friendly to the white settlers and were 
kindly received and given the food they desired. Seeing that they w^ere 
stronger than the few settlers there and the latter suspecting nothing, 
they suddenly made an attack upon them and cruelly murdered in the 
most inhuman manner five or six of them. One or two of the white 
men escaped, and the Indians, fearing that others might soon come to 
the relief of the settlers, hurried away, although a very considerable 
number of persons assembled for their capture; but they crossed the 
river and escaped from their pursuers. For some little time before this 
and a few years afterwards such occurrences were not infrequent in the 
Illinois territory. One of the most notable was the Fort Dearborn 
massacre of August 15, 18 12. 

We mention these events to show something of the condition of the 
country just preceding the admission of the state into the Union and the 
commencement of the work of establishing a city here at this place. 



THE act of Congress of May 18, 1796, provided for the appoint- 
ment of a surveyor general, and prescribed fully how surveys of 
the public lands should be made and for the sale thereof at not 
less than $2.00 an acre. This price continued until its reduction to $1.25 
an acre by the act of April 24, 1820, which discontinued sales on credit. 
Rufus Putnam was the first surveyor general and held the office from 
1797 to 1803. Jared Mansfield succeeded him and filled the position 
from 1803 to 1813. He was succeeded by William Rector, who held 
the position from 1813 to 1824. In 1807, Mansfield, in pursuance of 
the said act, contracted with Archie Henry, a deputj^ surveyor, for the 
survey of our township Seventeen South, Range One, West of the 
Third Principal Meridian, and Henrj^ surveyed it that year and reported 
the acreage at 6288.08 acres or something more than one-fourth of a 
full township, which contains 23,040 acres. Henry also surveyed the 
township next north of us and the one east of that, but in the year 18 10, 
It is interesting to look at these old surveys of one hundred years ago 
as they were then mapped or platted, and to see how the river boundaries 
now compare with the old river boundaries as then given. William 
Rector surveyed Township Sixteen, Range Two, West, and he also 
surveyed and platted those four hundred acre tracts of land on the Mis- 
sissippi, known long years ago as the Flannary, McElmurry and Standlee 
tracts. To these tracts of land reference will be more fully made here- 

The Third Principal Meridian. — Our system of land surveys, 
sometimes called the Rectangular System, was first authorized by an 
act or ordinance of congress, under the articles of the Confederation, 
of the date of May 20, 1785. It is not known who planned or devised 
the system, but the members of the committee which reported the act 
were Jefferson, Williamson, Howell, Gerry and Reas. The act was 
amended in some particulars but chiefly by the act of May 18, 1796, 
which prescribed fully, as above stated, how the surveys of the public 
lands should be made. Meridian and base lines were established in 
pursuance of the above acts. The first principal meridian is the dividing- 
line between Ohio and Indiana; the second starts at the mouth of 
Little Blue River in Indiana and coincides with longitude 86° 28' ; the 
third starts at the mouth of the Ohio and coincides with longitude 
89° 10' 30", and the fourth starts at the mouth of the Illinois River 
and coincides with longitude 90° 29' 56". 



Scale in Peel 

---T - ■, - 


This third principal meridian may be said to start at the middle of 
the Mississippi River and pass northward about six or seven hundred 
feet east of the Halliday Hotel, leaving probably fifty to seventy-five 
acres of land lying east of the line and below the Halliday. It crosses 
the Ohio River, cutting some fifty to seventy-five acres off Kentucky 
near the Illinois Central railroad bridge; and again crossing the Ohio, 
it passess a little west of Mound City and on northward, through or 
near to Carbondale, Centralia, Decatur, Bloomington and Rockford, 
and reaches the Wisconsin line about eighty miles west of Chicago. 
This meridian very nearly divides equally the territorial area of the 
state. The base line from which the townships are numbered north 
and south passes across the state a few miles south of Centralia. From 
that line southward and adjoining the meridian on the west are seven- 
teen townships. The seventeenth, or last one, is the one in which the 
City of Cairo is situated ; and from that base line northward and on the 
same side of the meridian, are fort\'-six townships, the forty-sixth, or 
last one, having for its north line the south line of the state of Wis- 
consin. We thus see that there is, from Cairo to the Wisconsin line, a 
line of sixty-three townships, each six miles square, making the distance 
from the center line of the Mississippi River, Cairo's boundary on the 
south, to the Wisconsin line, three hundred and seventy-eight miles. 
This is, approximately, the actual distance. 

Although this township and others were surveyed and platted so 
early in the last century, the Indian titles had to be extinguished before 
the lands could be offered for sale. Kaskaskia was made a land office 
by the act of March 26, 1804. 

By the treaty of September 25, 1818, made by Governor Ninian 
Edwards and Augustus Chouteau, with the Kaskaskia tribe of Indians, 
and also the Peorias, which latter tribe set up claim to the territory or 
to an interest therein, all Indian rights and titles were relinquished in 
the territory above described. Among the witnesses to this treaty is the 
name of Reuben H. Walworth, who afterguards became the great chan- 
cellor of the State of New York. By the act of May 10, 1800, sales 
of public lands were to be made upon the following terms: — One- 
fourth within forty days, one-fourth within two years, one-fourth 
within three years, and one-fourth within four years, after the sale or 
purchase; and in default for one year after the last payment became 
due, the land was to be sold at public sale, and if less than what was 
due was bid, the lands were to "revert to the United States." 

Before the formal and full extinguishment of the Indian titles by the 
treaty of September 25, 18 18, namely, on the 26th and 28th days of 
July, 181 7, John G. Comegys, of Baltimore, purchased at the land 
office at Kaskaskia, at which Michael Jones and Warren Brown were, 
respectively, the register and receiver, the South fractional halves of Sec- 
tions Fourteen and Fifteen, fractional Sections Twenty-Two, Twenty- 
Three and Twenty-Four, the North fractional half of Section Twenty- 
Five, the North half of Section Twenty-Six, and the North East frac- 


tional Quarter of Section Twenty-Seven, all in Township Seventeen 
South, range One West, and all amounting to Eighteen Hundred acres, 
"or thereabouts." Comegys made the first two payments upon his pur- 
chases, and his executors made the third payment, and for default in the 
making of the last payment, the lands were, no doubt, offered for sale, 
and for want of purchasers for the amounts due, were forfeited and 
reverted to the United States. These lands were afterwards, namely, 
in August and September, 1835, again purchased and patents issued to 
the purchasers thereof, who were Sidney Breese, Miles A. Gilbert and 
Thomas Swanwick. 

Very little is now known concerning the correspondence, the con- 
ferences and other negotiations, which led up to the first attempt to 
establish a city here at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers. Sufficient, however, is known to authenticate fully the following 
account of the undertaking. 

The junction of the two rivers had long been looked upon as a geo- 
graphical point of very great importance. Its commercial features, 
great as they were, were regarded as fully equaled by the advantages it 
possessed for a military post or center, commanding so fully a widely 
extended country eastward, westward, northward and southward. 
This was the view taken by the early explorers, and since their time, 
by every traveler and writer who has spoken or written about the place. 
The strong and often extravagant language used may be seen by refer- 
ence to some of the old circulars issued by the proprietors frorn time to 
time. It is the language of those whom we, in these modern times, call 
promoters; but it is the language, also, of a great many men in nowise 
interested, and whose language the promoters merely quoted. 

But while the geographical position fully justified all that was said 
of it, its topographical features were largely the reverse; so much so, 
indeed, that the local disadvantages seemed to outweigh the advantages 
of the geographical position. The difficulty was obvious enough; a 
great central position, great rivers coming together, draining an empire 
in extent, but almost annually claiming dominion over the intervening 
land they themselves had created. It was the product or output of the 
rivers, and very naturally could not anywhere have an elevation above 
that to which the rivers themselves rose. The commingling waters 
could lift nothing higher than themselves; but the process had gone on 
for centuries, and had not the hand of man intervened, it would have 
gone on, no doubt, until the "made land" would have risen well nigh 
as high as the high-water mark of recent years, and there would have 
been little need of protective embankments or levees. There is no telling, 
of course, what the shifting Mississippi might have done with the site 
it had so largely created; but excepting that contingency, every over- 
flow would have added to the elevation of the land, and in time the 
same would have reached the high-water line of the present annual 
floods. But it is quite useless to conjecture, for that great river seems 
now quite as hard for us to know and comprehend as it was for the 


Indians, who told Joliet and Marquette of the Manitous which here 
and there infested its waters. 

The reasons for and against occupjang the site were no doubt often 
considered. They were so equally balanced that nothing was done. 
But it was not thus to go on always; for the time came when a few 
men reached a working belief that the advantages overbalanced the 
disadvantages ; and hence we are now brought to the time when the 
work of establishing a city here was actually entered upon. 

It seems to have been left to John G. Comegys, from the distant 
state of Marjdand and of the city of Baltimore, to conclude that there 
was more to justif}^ than to forbid an attempt to start a city at the con- 
fluence of the two rivers. He must have been well know^n in St. Louis, 
for we find that he was one of the witnesses to the Indian treaty made 
at St. Louis, in the territory of Louisiana, August 31, 1809. This treaty 
was signed by Peter Chouteau, and one hundred and ten chiefs and 
warriors of the Great and Little Osage Nation of Indians. The title 
of the treaty is"^n these words. 

Articles of treaty; made and concluded at Fort Clark, on the right bank 
of the Missouri, about five miles above Fire Prairie, in the territory of Louisiana, 
the loth day of November, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred 
and Eight, between Peter Choteau, Esq., agent for the Osage, and specially com- 
missioned and instructed to enter into the same by his excellency, Meriwether 
Lewis, Governor, and Superintendent of Indian affairs for the territory afore- 
said, in behalf of the United States of America, of the one part, and the chiefs 
and warriors of the Great and Little Osage, for themselves and their nations, 
respectively, on the other part." 

We make this quotation chiefly to show that Meriwether Lewis, of 
the celebrated Lewis & Clark expedition, was no doubt an acquaintance 
and friend of John G. Comegys. Confirmatory of this is the fact that 
at the sale of Comegj^s' personal effects by the executors of his will at 
Baltimore in 18 19, two miniatures were sold, one that of Comegys, apd 
the other having upon it the name "M. Lewis." 

The Act to Incorporate the City and Bank of Cairo. — The 
incorporators named in this act of the territorial legislature, of January 9, 
1818, were John G. Comegys, Thomas H. Harris, Thomas F. Herbert, 
Charles Slade, Shadrack Bond, Michael Jones, Warren Brown, Edward 
Humphre3^s and Charles W. Hunter. Comegys was a resident of Balti- 
more; Bond, Jones, Brown, and Humphreys, of Kaskaskia; Hunter of 
St. Louis; and Harris, Herbert and Slade, of Virginia, Harris of Rich- 
mond, and Slade and Herbert of Alexandria. We give here short 
biographical sketches of three or four of these men, commencing with 
Comegj^s who seems to have been the leader in the first attempt to 
establish a city here. 

John Gleaves Comegys was a native of Kent County, Maryland, 
across the bay from Baltimore. He was probably of German descent. 
The family resided near an arm of the bay into which Chester River 
runs, and in a region called "Quaker Neck." He was a descendant of 


Cornelius Comegj'S, who, w-ith his whole family and one Hans Hanson, 
was naturalized bj' a special act of the general assembly of ]\lar\land in 
the year 1672, one year before Joliet and Marquette made their 
journey down the IVIississippi and passed this point the last of June, 
1673. He was probably a Quaker in early life. There is nothing in 
his will to show that he had ever been married. He seems to have come 
West ver>- early in 1800; for he is shown to have been carn,-ing on 
business in Baltimore and St. Louis some years before he applied for 
his Cairo charter in 18 18. In a city director}- of Baltimore for 1807, 
we find C. & J. Comegv^s, Merchants, No. 190 Baltimore Street; and 
in the directories for 18 12, 18 14 and 1816, we find Comeg^'s & Falconer, 
Merchants, at the same number; and in the directories for 1818 and 1819 
we find the same firm, Comeg^-s & Falconer, IMerchants, No. 8th St. 
Charles Street. In Billon's Annals of St. Louis. 1804-182 1, page 112, 
under the heading of "Business Notices," the firm name of Falconer & 
Comeg}-s is given, and it is stated that they had just received, April 19, 

1809, a general assortment of merchandise. On page 116, February- 22, 

1810, it is stated that the firm was closing out; and on page 118. it is 
further noted that the firm had been dissolved and that the style of 
the new firm would be J. G. Comegj-s & Company. ]\Ir. Falconer, of 
Sixth Street, in our cit}', now deceased, was, no doubt, of the same 
familv of Falconers of Maryland. 

The day of his death is not given, but the will bears date January 
23, 1819. and was probated Februan,- 9th, following. The probate 
of the will was just one year and a month after the granting of the 
Cairo charter to him and the other incorporators, January 9, 1818. 

The incorporators named in the said act of Januar>^ 9, 1818, lost no 
time in proceeding with their undertaking; and accordingly, upon the 
14th day of that month they made a trust deed conve\-ing to H_enr>' S. 
Dodge and Elias K. Kane, of Kaskaskia, the same lands precisely as 
those'' described in the said act of the 9th of Januar^^ The grantors in 
the deed were Michael Jones. Shadrack Bond and Achsah Bond, his 
wife, Warren Brown and Edward Humphreys, all of Kaskaskia, in 
the territon,- of Illinois, John G. Comegv's, of Baltimore, Thomas H. 
Harris, of Richmond, Virginia, Thomas F. Herbert and Charles Slade, 
of Alexandria, Virginia, Charles W. Hunter and Martha W. Hunter, 
his wife, of St. Louis, in the territon,- of ^Missouri. (See book A 5: B, 
pp. 121 to 126.) . 

The men above named were in and by the said trust deed associated 
together for the purpose of laying out the City of Cairo, and by the 
charter were given banking privileges. The deed itself is a very lengthy 
one. It would require fifteen or twenty- pages of this book to give it 
in full. It seems to have been drawn with great care and with many 
of the details and repetitions found in the old instruments of a hundred 
years ago. It conveys the lands above described which are spoken of 
therein as eighteen hundred acres "or thereabouts," and it recites that 
the Trustees accepted the trust, which required them to convey to the 


President and Directors of the Bank of Cairo, provided for in the act 
of incorporation, so much of the said land as might be required to 
be divided into lots; and the said President and Directors were required 
to hold the land so conveyed to them in trust for the purchasers of lots. 
The incorporators reserved the right to survey and plat so much of the 
land as they deemed necessarj^, and the Trustees were to reconvey to 
them all lands not required to be conveyed to the said President and 
Board of Directors. An examination of the act of incorporation will 
show how important the banking features of the enterprise were re- 
garded. It was, no doubt, supposed that the bank, by means of the pro- 
visions of the trust deed and other securities it might obtain, would be 
able to raise the necessary^ funds with which to construct protective em- 
bankments and otherwise improve the site of the proposed city. 

Comeg\'s and the persons associated with him, or some of them, no 
doubt, visited this point and became more or less familiar with its 
location and condition. He may have made a trip or two by steamboat 
from Pittsburg on his way from Baltimore to St, Louis. Steamboats 
had come into use on the two rivers a few years before that time. He 
had made many overland trips, no doubt, between Baltimore and St. 
Louis during the years 1805 to 181 8. But whatever knowledge these 
men may have had of the site here, Comeg}-s seems to have gone to Kas- 
kaskia, or to have been there, on the 26th and 28th days of July, 181 7; 
for on those daj^s he made the purchase hereinbefore spoken of. 

He and his associates had made these purchases as the first necessary 
step in their undertaking to establish a city here. Having obtained the 
land for a site, they seem to have lost no time in arranging to obtain 
legislative authorit}^ for doing what they could not well do without it. 
Their headquarters were Kaskaskia, the capital of the territor}', and 
where the territorial legislature was to convene in the December of the 
year in which these purchases were made, the year 181 7. As we have 
elsewhere already stated, this legislature, on the 9th day of January, 
18 1 8, enacted the first law that ever had any special reference to this 
place or point at the junction of the two rivers. 

A reference to the prospectus of the proprietors will show that their 
survey and plat of the cit)^ were made as the next and very necessary 
step in their undertaking. It seems that a ALijor Duncan did this 
work for them. The plat or map was lithographed in Baltimore early 
in 1 81 8, by Cone & Freeman. According to this plat, city lots were 
offered for sale, if indeed any at all were offered, as recited in the very 
first lines of the prospectus. The map is an interesting one, indeed. 
The surveyor and maker of the map no doubt saw the plat and survey 
made by Arthur Henn' in 1807. There may have been, however, 
another survey by the Government authorities prior to 1818. This is 
spoken of in one or two places. A copy of the map introduces this 
chapter. It will be seen that all the streets, except Ohio and Mississippi, 
run at right angles and are eighty feet wide. The blocks are divided 
by alleys running North and South; and between Delaware and Carolina 
Streets is a public square lying one-half north and one-half south of 


Main Street, There are four markets, each occupying a full block; No. 
I, bounded by Boon, Harris, Edward and Hunter; No. 2, by Connecti- 
cut, Harris, New York and Hunter; No. 3, by Louisiana, Madison, 
Indiana and Jefferson, and No. 4, by Connecticut, Madison, Choteau 
and Jefferson. There are 290 blocks. The blocks fronting on Ohio 
and Mississippi Streets are not rectangular like the others, but vary in 
shape and size as those streets follow^ the river lines. Each block con- 
tains sixteen lots, except the blocks between Humphreys and North 
Streets, which contain twenty lots each. The lots are 66 by 120 feet. 
There are 4032 lots, and the numbering is from the northwest corner 
on the Mississippi to the southeast corner on the Ohio. The names and 
lengths of the streets are as follows : 

East and West streets: — South, Franklin, Monroe, Madison, JefiFerson, Herbert, 
Brown, Adams, Main, Washington, Jones, Bond, Harris, Hunter, Slade, Humph- 
reys and North. These seventeen East and West streets, running from river to 
river, vary somewhat in length, the shortest being 6100 feet and the longest, the 
most southern, 8400 feet. It will be observed that Comegys must have super- 
vised the making of this plat or map ; for eight of the streets bear the names of 
his eight co-incorporators under their act of January 9, 1818, but no street is 
given his own name. This circumstance exhibits a trait of Comegys' character 
that speaks for itself. 

The North and South streets are: Orleans, on the extreme southeast; next. 
Clay, Clark, Piatt, Howard, Wirt, Choteau, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, Carolina, 
Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Edwards, 
Boon, Breckinridge, Pope, Ames, and Short. These thirty North and South streets 
vary in length from 400 to 10,150 feet. Nine of them in the central part of 
the town, are each 10,150 feet or almost two miles. Then along the Mississippi 
River is Mississippi Street, along the Ohio River is Ohio Street, and they with 
South and North streets make one continuous street around the city of the length 
of seven miles. 

Shadrack Bond is, of course, well known as the first Governor of 
the State, and little need be said of him here. He died at Kaskaskia 
April 12, 1832, and was there buried; but in 1881, the remains of him- 
self and of his wife were removed to Chester, and the State there erected 
a monument inscribed as follows: 

"In memory of Shadrack Bond, 

The first Governor of the State of Illinois; 

Born at Fredericktown, Maryland, November 24, A. D. 1778. 

Died at his residence near Kaskaskia, April 12, A. D. 1832. 

In recognition of his valuable public services, 

this monument was erected by the State A. D. 1883. 

Governor Bond filled many ofiices of trust and importance, 

all with integrity and honor." 

Governor Ford in his history says: — "Bond was the delegate to 
Congress, and while there his portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart. 
It is now in the Historical Library at Chicago." The picture of Gov- 
ernor Bond found elsewhere is from that painting. 


Charles Slade was an Englishman, and came with his parents to 
Alexandria, Virginia. In 1816, he and his brothers, Richard and 
Thomas, came to Illinois and resided at or near what is now Carlyle, 
in Clinton County. He became a very prominent man in the politics 
of the State, and at the election for congressman in August, 1832, was 
the successful candidate. The opposing candidates were Governor 
Edwards, Sidney Breese, Charles Dunn, and Henry L. Webb. He took 
his seat in Congress in December, 1833, and upon its adjournment in 
March, 1834, after spending some months in the East, started home, 
but was taken ill of cholera, and died near Vincennes July 11, 1834. 
These few facts are taken from an excellent biographical sketch by Dr. 
John F. Snyder, of the Illinois State Historical Society. See pages 207 
to 210, Publication No. 8, 1903, of the said Society, 

Michael Jones and Shadrack Bond were, respectively, the Register 
and Receiver at the Land Office at Kaskaskia, which Vv-as established by ) 
the act of Congress of March 26, 1804. Jones and E. Backus, the 
latter of whom was the Receiver there at an early date, passed upon 
the claims to lands and reported them for confirmation under the act 
of March 3, 1791. They investigated and reported favorably the 
claims of the Flannarys, the McElmurrays, and of Standlee to those 
tracts of land lying on the Mississippi River just below Sante Fe, The 
survej^s are numbered 525, 526, 527, 528, 529, and 684 and the claims 
529, 530, 531, 680, 681, and 2564. William Rector made the surveys 
and this is noted on the government plat of Township Sixteen, South, 
Three West of the Third Principal Meridian, made in 18 10. Jones 
was adjutant of the Randolph County regiment in the war of 1812, 
and a member from Gallatin County of the Constitutional Convention 
that framed our constitution of 1818. He was a member also of the 
first State Legislature and, it seems, received a vote or two for United 
States senator. 

Warren Brown was also a Federal officer of Kaskaskia and a portion 
of the time the Receiver of Public Moneys there. The will of John G. 
Comegj'S recites the payment by Comegys to Brown, as Receiver of 
Public Moneys, upon his purchases of July 26 and 28, 18 17. Edward 
Humphreys is spoken of by Governor Reynolds as a man of fine educa- 
tion and an excellent teacher. Charles W. Hunter was a resident of 
St. Louis. He seems to have dealt extensively in lands in southern 
Illinois, and our records at the court-house, both before and after 1820, 
show many conveyances to and from him. Of the other two incor- 
porators, Thomas H. Harris and Thomas F. Herbert, we know very 
little. They and Slade had resided in Virginia. 

Eltas Kent Kane, one of the two trustees in the trust deed of January 
14, 1818, was a native of New York and a graduate of Yale College. 
From New York he Avent first to Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee, 
in 1 813, and in the following year he removed to Kaskaskia. He was a 


member of the convention which framed our constitution of 1818. He 
is spoken of as the controlling spirit of that body, and it is said that 
many of its most important provisions and in general, the whole type 
and character of the instrument were due to him. He was our first 
Secretary of State, and was appointed by Governor Bond. He was for 
a time editor and publisher of the Republican Advocate at Kaskaskia. 
He was twice chosen United States senator and was a member of the 
senate at the time of the death of our other senator, John McLean, of 
Shawneetown ; and in the congressional debates for the year 1829 will 
be found his short but very appropriate address upon the death of his 
colleague, which occurred October 14, 1829. Kane died while senator 
and at Washington, December 11, 1835. Quite a full biographical 
sketch of him by Col. George W. Smith, of Chicago, is found in the 
Report of the Illinois State Bar Association for 1895. Many notices 
of him are also to be found in the publications of the Illinois State His- 
torical Society. 

Henry S. Dodge, the other trustee or commissioner in the said deed 
of trust of January 14, 18 18, was also a lawyer, and a resident of Kas- 
kaskia and a prominent public man. He was the father of Mrs. Helen 
K. Dodge Edwards, who was born at Kaskaskia in the year 18 19, and 
who died on the i8th day of March, 1909, in her ninetieth year, at 
Springfield. She was the widow of Judge Benjamin S. Edwards, a 
son of Governor Ninian Edwards, who was long one of the most 
prominent men of Springfield and of the central part of Illinois. 




Cairo's site and place from i8i8 to 1836 

NOW taking leave of the City of Cairo of 18 18, let us note some 
of the important events which took place in the state during this 
period, from 18 18 to 1836, 

During that time the administrations of Governors Bond, Coles, 
Edwards, and Reynolds, and two years of Governor Duncan's term, 
had passed. The population of the state had increased from 55,211, in 
1820, to about 325,000, in 1836. Alexander County was the first new 
county created by the legislature. It was established by the act of March 
4, 1 8 19. Fifty other counties were established during the period above 
mentioned. The county seat w^as, by the act of January 18, 1833, 
removed from America, on the Ohio River, to Unity. The population 
of the county in 1820 was 626 and in 1830 it was 1390. The attempt 
to make Illinois a slave state was made in the year 1826, under the 
administration of Governor Coles. A number of the men who had 
been interested in the first Cairo enterprise were very prominent in that 
celebrated contest. Some of them were on the one side and some of them 
on the other. During this period the Black Hawk War took place. 
The congressional grant to aid in the construction of the Illinois 
and Michigan Canal was made March 2, 1827, and on March 2, 1833, 
the state was authorized to substitute a railroad for the canal. At 
the end of this period, the state was worrying along with this canal 
enterprise. No railroads were built or undertaken. The first railroad 
company, the Chicago and Vincennes, was incorporated January 17, 
1835; the second, the Jacksonville and Meredosia, February 5, 1835; 
and the third, the Belleville and Mississippi, December 28, 1835. Fifteen 
were incorporated in January, 1836. They were the Alton and Shaw- 
neetown, the Alton, Wabash and Erie, the Central Branch Wabash, the 
Galena and Chicago Union, the Illinois Central, the Mississippi, Spring- 
field and Carrollton, the Mt. Carmel and Alton, the Pekin and Tre- 
mont, the Pekin, Bloomington and Wabash, the Rushville, the Shawnee- 
town and Alton, the Wabash and Mississippi, the Wabash and Missis- 
sippi Union, the Warsaw, Peoria and Wabash, and the Waverly and 
Grand Prairie. 

Contrary to what has often been claimed, Comegys and his associates 
never thought of an Illinois Central Railroad nor of any railroad at all. 
When they procured their charter January 9, 181 8, there was not a 
railroad an3rwhere in the United States nor a charter for one. If there 
was one in England at that time, it would not there nor here be called 
a railroad now. They had tram roads there then, but it was not until 
1825 that a locomotive engine was used to draw cars on a railway 
track ; and it was four or five years later that the first railroad, a short 
one, was put in operation in this country. 




This period of eighteen years, so far as it relates to Cairo, is not a 
blank entirely, but it is so nearly one that little need be said of it. So 
little had been done under the Comegys charter of January 9, 18 18, 
and the enterprise seemed so wholly abandoned, that public attention 
was withdrawn from the place as seemingly unworthy of further 
notice or attention. The great rivers came more and more into use, 
and the keelboats and flatboats were in a large degree superseded by 
steam vessels almost everywhere on the rivers ; but as to Cairo, or what 
had been planned to be Cairo, it was a mere wood-yard, at which the 
steamboats would land to take on wood for their furnace fires, and 
then proceed on their journeys up or down the rivers. Besides these, 
there were trading boats, which, while trading very little at the point, 
found it a convenient place to stop for a time ; for while there was no 
town here, or anything resembling one, the point was a central one, a 
kind of half-way house, at which one would tarry a while before 
starting out on a long river journey northward, eastward, or southward. 
As Major Long and his part)^ on their way to the Rocky Mountains in 
1 8 19, observed, the grandeur of the place fell short of what one would 
suppose or expect from the conjunction of two such mighty rivers, 
draining so much of the world's surface; but while, as they said, there 
was no high elevation from which one. could view the approaching and 
uniting rivers, there was yet that strange but well-known feeling 
arising at the sight of the giant-like streams coming together and 
uniting their forces to march onward to the sea. It was the mouth 
of the Ohio River, an expression in daily use since the time of Joliet and 
Marquette. It was a great landmark, measuring off almost all river 
distances in one of the world's greatest valle5^s. 

The failure of Cairo encouraged the people of Trinity and America 
to think they might profit by the supposed proof that no city could be 
built at the point. Especially was this the conclusion at America, which 
at once set up the claim that it was the head of navigation for the 
two great rivers. We speak of this somewhat fully in the chapter on 
Alexander County, and therefore merely mention it here. Settlements 
multiplied everywhere and grew larger and stronger. All fear of the 
Indians had passed away ; but the remembrance of them long remained 
with the old settlers, who took real pleasure in recounting the trying 
and perilous times of the earlier daj'^s they remembered so well. In 
many cases, it had been burned into their memories, and it was a kind 
of relief to have occasion to tell about it. There was little to read. 
The mails were like angels' visits, and neighbors were few and widely 
separated. The Indian was therefore made the subject of conversation 
to pass away the long winter evenings ; and in this way many traditions 
had their origins. They are almost all gone now. The children's 
children of the first narrators have all gone their way, and those of the 
later generations have had so much to learn and know that there remain 
to us now only the pages of history. 




MANY years ago I was in the office of Judge Thomas Hileman, of 
Jonesboro, Illinois, for whom I had charge of important litiga- 
tion, to which he was a party, I was looking over the books 
in his office and saw a small volume which had the signature of H. W. 
Billings on the first blank page and the signature of D. B. Holbrook on 
the next page. Judge Hileman had found the book in the court-house 
yard, where it had been dumped with a barrel of old papers and 
documents. The book had probably last belonged to Mr. Cyrus G. Si- 
mons, a prominent lawyer of Jonesboro many years ago, who had also 
practiced law in Alexander County in the years 1840 to 1850, and repre- 
sented Union count)^ in the legislature. The book contained twenty-five 
separate documents or papers, all relating to Cairo. They were twenty- 
five small pamphlets, of various sizes, bound together. Some of them 
were printed by James Narine, No. 1 1 Wall Street, New York City, in 
the year 1837. Its table of contents is as follows: 


1. Report of the President and Treasurer of the Illinois Exporting Company. 

2. Resolutions passed by the Board of Directors of the Illinois Exporting 

3. Deed of Trust, Cairo City and Canal Company to the New York Life 
Insurance and Trust Company. 

4. Form of the Bonds issued in conformity with the Deed of Trust. 

5. Form of Release Deed from the New York Life Insurance and Trust 

6. Opinion of Chancellor Kent concerning the "Deed of Trust." 

7. Prospectus of the "Cairo City and Canal Company." 

8. Charter and By-Laws of the Cairo City and Canal Company. 

9. Form of Certificate of Stock Cairo City and Canal Company. 

10. Map of Township 17 and Route of Proposed Canal. 

11. Articles of Agreement, Illinois Central Rail Road with the Cairo City 
and Canal Company. 

12. Articles of Agreement, Illinois Exporting Company with the Cairo City 
and Canal Company. 

13. Letter from James Thompson, and Report of Survey. 

14. Map of Survey of Township 17, by James Thompson. 

15. Letter from Wilson Abel, Esq., respecting the site of Cairo and the 
health of the place. 

16. Communication from George Cloud, Esq., on the same subject. 

17. Letter from Hon. John S. Hacker on the same subject. 

18. Sketch of the City of Alton, referred to in the "Prospectus of the Cairo 
City and Canal Company." 



19. Internal Improvement Law of the State of Illinois. 

20. Map exhibiting the Rail Roads and Canals in Illinois. 

21. Charter of the City and Bank of Cairo, incorporated 1818. 

22. Prospectus of the City of Cairo, published by the proprietors, A. D. 1818. 

23. Charter of the Illinois Central Rail Road Company. 

24. Release by the Central Road Company to the State of Illinois. 

25. Plat of the "City of Cairo," as laid off by the Prospectus, A. D. 1818. 

As remarked about the City of Cairo of 18 18, we know very little 
about the conferences, correspondence and other negotiations which 
lead up to the second attempt to establish a city here. The first attempt 
seems to have ended with the death of Comegys. The lands he and his 
associates had undertaken to purchase from the government and for 
which they failed to pay in full, had been forfeited, as provided by the 
act under which the purchases were made, and these being now gone or 
lost, the enterprise was wholly abandoned. 

It was not until the year 1835, that the same lands again, and many 
others in the township, were entered and paid for as the law then 
required. These entries were for the same purpose as that which lead 
to the entries in 181 7. 

Following these entries, came, first of all, the incorporation of the 
first Illinois Central Railroad Company, January 16, 1836. Two days 
afterward, the legislature incorporated the Illinois Exporting Company, 
whose general place of business was at Alton or elsewhere in the State 
as might be agreed upon. The incorporators were James S. Lane, 
Thomas G. Hawley, Anthony Olney, John M. Krum, and D. B. Hol- 

By reference to the first of these two acts, it will be seen that the 
railroad provided for was to "commence at or near the mouth of the 
Ohio river and run thence North to a point on the Illinois river at or 
near the terminus of the Illinois and Michigan Canal." Following the 
incorporation of the railroad company and the Exporting Company, 
came the incorporation of the Cairo City and Canal Company, March 
4, 1837, the incorporators of which were Darius B. Holbrook, Miles 
A. Gilbert, John S. Hacker, Alexander M. Jenkins, Anthony Olney, 
and William M. Walker. — This company had a short but a very active 
career. The purchasers of those lands and the incorporators of this 
Company saw clearly how the establishment of their proposed city 
depended upon a railroad connection with the great upper country of 
the state; and, had it not been for outside interference, their under- 
taking might have fared very much better. But the spirit of enterprise 
that was in them was also in many other persons in the state whose 
actions they could not control and who thought the times required the 
state to enter upon a system of railroad construction worthy of its 
extent and the richness of its soil. One railroad from the mouth of the 
Ohio River to the end of the proposed canal on the Illinois River was a 
very small part of what it was thought the state needed ; and accordingly 
on the 27th day of Februarj'^, 1837, the legislature passed the celebrated 
act entitled, "An Act to Establish a General System of Internal Im- 


To show how small an enterprise was that of the Central Railroad 
and the Cairo City and Canal Company, compared with that under- 
taken by the state, one has but to read the eighteenth section of the last- 
named act. It provided for the construction of eight different railroads 
and for the improvement of five of the rivers of the state, and for the 
establishment of a public mail route from Vincennes to St. Louis; and 
for these purposes, appropriations amounting to ten millions two hundred 
thousand dollars were made, a very large sum for those early days. The 
two hundred thousand dollar appropriation was for the benefit of 
counties through which none of the railroads were to pass, the same to 
be expended in the improvement of public roads therein. The seventh 
clause of the section is in these words: "The Board of Commissioners 
of Public Work, provided for by this act, is required to adopt measures 
to commence, construct and complete, within a reasonable time, a rail- 
road from the City of Cairo, at or near the confluence of the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers, to some point at or near the southern terminus of the 
Illinois and Michigan canal, via Vandalia, Shelbjrville, Decatur and 
Bloomington, and from thence via Savannah to Galena; and for the con- 
struction and completion of the said railroad and appendages, the sum 
of three millions and five hundred thousand dollars is hereby appro- 

The situation the passage of this act produced was very embarrassing 
to the Cairo enterprise and its Central Railroad. The news of its in- 
troduction into the legislature must have produced in the minds of those 
Cairo people a state of feeling little short of consternation. They had 
their acts of incorporation and could well say that the act for their rail- 
road was a contract which the state could not annul ; and, no doubt, they 
made this claim and argument with great earnestness. But the whole 
state was not to be thwarted by the comparatively small part of it down 
here, and the Cairo people were soon brought to terms ; but it was with 
promises that they should have a railroad from Cairo and about on the 
same line as that called for by their own charter of January 16, 1836; 
but it was not to be their railroad, but the state's alone. On the 27th 
day of June, 1837, Alexander M. Jenkins, David J. Baker, D. B. Hol- 
brook and Pierre Menard, as directors of the railroad company and in 
its behalf, released to the state their rights and privileges under said last- 
named act, but on the condition of the restoration of their rights, should 
the state repeal the act of February 27, 1837. 

The operations of the Cairo City and Canal Company, at Cairo, and 
the work of the state in and about the construction of its internal im- 
provements and especially of its central railroad, are so connected 
together that it is not easy to give them separate treatment, and they 
will hereafter be spoken of as occasion seems to require. 

This period of ten years witnessed not only another attempt at 
establishing a city, but it was characterized by such energy and manage- 
ment as gave promise of great and most favorable results. The long 
slumber of eighteen years was followed by activities which clearly in- 


dicated that sleep and dreaming were to disappear, and give place to hard 
but hopeful work, conducted by men of ability and enterprise and 
supplied with means adequate to the great undertaking. The men and 
means were thought to be all that the situation required, and hence the 
hopes of all who were in anywise interested rose as correspondingly high 
as they had sunken low before. 

Darius Blake Holbrook, of New York, whom we may call the suc- 
cessor of John G. Comegys, of Baltimore, was the man in charge and 
what was done and probably what was not done may be traced with a 
fair degree of safety and justice to him. He has been criticised much 
and severely, but quite unjustl}^ at least in some important respects. He 
seems to have had w-hat may be called a local or home policy and a 
foreign policy as well, the former of which does not seem to have always 
been such as the real interests of the enterprise required. But, inasmuch 
as I have elsewhere given a short biographical sketch of this Cairo man 
of affairs, I will now proceed to relate what he did and caused to be 
done here at Cairo during this period. 

The building of the city and of the Central Railroad was intended to 
be largely one and the same enterprise; but the act of February 27, 
1837, iri relation to internal improvements, severed the two completely, 
and thereafter the city and the road had to proceed as separate and 
wholly independent undertakings. The road, or its construction, was 
transferred to the state, whose interest in the city was more or less 
remote, whereas, before, it was in the hands of men and a company 
whose chief interest was perhaps in the establishment and growth 
of the city. In proof of this difference in interest, we may here state 
that in January, 1839, while work on the road was going forward 
between Cairo and Jonesboro and on many other parts of the line, a 
strong effort was made in the legislature to change the line of the road 
from Vandalia southward through Salem, Mt. Vernon, Frankfort, 
Benton and Vienna, to a point on the Ohio River near Grand Chain. 
The citizens of these towns had petitioned the legislature concerning the 
matter, and committees were appointed to investigate and report, and 
January 28, 1839, there were two reports in the senate, a majority 
report in favor of the change, and a minority report against the change; 
and on January 31, 1839, a strong report was presented in the House by 
Mr. Smith, of Wabash, insisting on the retention of the line on which 
the work was going forward. The reading of these reports will show 
what an important matter this became. Those persons favoring the new 
line urged strongly that the site here was most undesirable, and especially 
did they dwell upon the encroachments of the Mississippi River on the 
western side of the town. They cited what the chief engineer of the 
railroad, Mr. Jonathan Freeman, had written about the matter in his 
letter to Kinney and Willard of December 24, 1838. Had the change 
been made, and it seemed very probable for a time, the subsequent acts 
of the legislature incorporating the second and third railroad companies 
would have likely required the same line to be followed. It was this 
well-grounded fear on the part of Holbrook and those acting with him 



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l' -^ 


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Chancellor Kent's Letter 


that led them to insist as a condition to their surrenders to the state, one 
in 1837, and one in 1849, that the road should start at and be built from 
Cairo. Had they not thus insisted, the road might never have come 
here at all, so great were the doubts of the public at large as to the 
security of the Cairo site. But it was held here stubbornly and 
tenaciously, and to the great and lasting credit of Holbrook, which 
should well nigh annul all the criticisms that were ever made against 
him. He is indeed a wise man who knows well just what he can and 
what he cannot afford to surrender. 

This act of February 27, 1837. establishing a general system of 
public improvements, gave no name to the state's railroad, nor to any of 
the others for the construction of which the act provided. 

The Board of Commissioners of Public Works, provided for in the 
act, entered upon their work, and the road was commenced at and 
built from Cairo and most of the grading was done for the distance of 
twenty-three or m.ore miles. A bridge across Cache River was partly 
constructed ; and so on, at many places along the line, all the way up to 
Galena. The line of the road in Cairo began at or near what are now 
the freight yards of the present company between Fourteenth and 
Eighteenth Streets, where the state purchased ten acres of ground for 
station or depot purposes. From this point above Fourteenth Street, the 
road extended westvi^ard, curving northward, and passing not far from 
the present court house and on through what is now the east side of St. 
Mary's Park, and thence on northward and very near the present main 
line of the road and crossing Cache River not over one hundred feet 
west of the present railroad bridge. Parts of the old earth embank- 
ment are yet visible one hundred feet or less west of the present road and 
south of Cache River and of the levee of the Drainage District. In 
many places the ridges are four feet high and all of them overgrown 
with trees. 

The seven commissioners of the Board of Public Works, one for 
each judicial district of the state, reported from time to time as the work 
progressed in their several jurisdictions. Elijah J. Willard, of Jones- 
boro, was the commissioner for this third judicial district. His report 
of December 10, 1838, sets forth many matters and things concerning 
the work, which we would like to give here did space permit. It gives 
the number of contracts made for work between Cairo and Jonesboro, 
through the latter of which the road was to run instead of over the 
site of the present city of Anna. The change of this line of the old 
Illinois Central Railroad of 1837 to the present line of 1851, running 
through Anna, occasioned a very^unfriendly feeling between the two 
places, which did not disappear for many years if entirely gone now. 
The report gives the names of the contractors and of the men on the 
work and to whom moneys were paid. Among them were Bryan 
Shannessy, who took contracts Nos. i, 2 and 3, covering the distance 
from Cairo to a point beyond Cache River. Mr. Shannessy is spoken of 
in the report as of the city of Alton. Of the two hundred or more 


names on Willard's pay-roll, many of them would be remembered by a 
few of our oldest residents. He further reports that early in 1838, 
a right of way was procured, by proceedings in our Alexander County 
Circuit Court, through or over sections 25, 26, 23, 14, 11, 3 and 2, in 
our Township 17, i West, "without any award of damages to the pro- 
prietors of the land." The foregoing information was obtained from 
a large volume of reports of committees of our legislature, entitled 
"Reports of Session, 1 838-1 839." One of the exhibits attached to 
Willard's report is the long letter dated at the Central Railroad office, 
Vandalia, December 24, 1838, and directed to the Hon. William Kinney 
and Elijah Willard, Committee of the Board of Public Works. This 
letter as above stated was written by Jonathan Freeman, the "Principal 
Engineer Central Railroad," and he therein sets forth at length the 
difficulties encountered at Cairo, selected as it had been as the southern 
terminus of the road. It is a most interesting letter and would be 
given in full did space permit. From it, those of our public men who had 
desired to have the road come to the Ohio at a point toward Grand 
Chain, obtained many of their arguments. 

This work was begun in 1838 and continued until its suspension 
throughout the state and the final abandonment of the whole scheme of 
public improvements as provided for in the said act of February 27, 
1837, ^rid its amendments. The act was finally repealed February i, 
1840, at least so far as it related to everj^ enterprise provided for therein 
except the Central Railroad. This short period of time, from February 
27, 1837, to February i, 1840, constitutes an era in the history of the 
state. We have had nothing like it since. It quite absorbed the atten- 
tion of the people and the heated discussions it engendered continued 
for years after the scheme had broken down. A general state of semi- 
bankruptcy prevailed, especially on the part of the state, and repudiation 
was talked of and written about and actually favored by some persons 
of prominence in the state. See chapter 6 of Ford's History of Illinois, 
and chapters 37 and 38 of Davidson & Stuve's history. 

To show the importance of the Central Railroad, from Cairo to 
Galena, above all the other seven the state undertook to build, we may 
again refer to the effort made to save it from the wreck while every- 
thing else was abandoned. Col. John S. Hacker, the grandfather of 
our Capt. John S. Hacker, and a member of the legislature at that time, 
urged that the state should not give up the Central Railroad whatever 
of its other enterprises it chose to abandon. In the volume of reports 
of committees of our legislature, of 1840-1841, page 167, will be found 
the report of Col. Hacker as chairman of the committee on internal 
improvements made to the legislature January 11, 1841. It is as 
follows : 

"In selecting the Central road, it will be seen that the committee have 
fixed upon the most important one in the whole system of improvements. 
By its completion, a continuous line of railroad communication will be 
made to pass through the very heart of this rich state, from the southern 
to the northern limits thereof. The southern portion of the state will 


supply the whole interior with the greatest abundance of timber for all 
time to come, which can be easily and cheaply transported on the rail- 
road. And in addition to other advantages which will be conferred upon 
the citizens of Illinois, the building of a large commercial city at Cairo 
would, of itself, amply repay the expenditures of money which must 
necessarily attend the making of the road. 

"Located at the point where the vast waters of the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi mingle in their onward course to the ocean, the city of Cairo 
possesses the advantages of commercial position which few cities of the 
earth can rival. Neglected and abused as it has been heretofore, it 
nevertheless now possesses more than two thousand inhabitants, and 
pays into the State Treasury more than one thousand dollars in taxes. 
If any man is disposed to doubt the invaluable profits to a whole state, 
derived from a single city within its borders, let him look at the cities 
of New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, St. Louis, 
&c. Does not the city of New York pay into the State Treasury an 
amount of revenue almost equal to that received from the whole state 
besides? And is not the entire character and importance of Louisiana 
dependent upon the city of New Orleans? And so with other great 
cities. And then the incalculable and innumerable advantages, other 
than those of mere revenue, will be readily suggested, upon proper 
reflections; one of which is, that all the larger class of steamboats, 
which are plying between New Orleans and the ports on the upper 
Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, on account of the lowness of the water, and 
the obstructions by ice, are now discharging their cargoes at Cairo, 
to be forwarded to the respective places of destination by a smaller class 
of boats. 

"We have no great commercial emporium in Illinois; and without 
intending to draw any invidious comparisons, or to speak disparagingly 
of other rising towns and cities, the committee must express their 
sincere belief that Cairo presents as many flattering prospects of future 
greatness as any other place in the state. History illustrates the high 
estimate which rulers have placed upon cities, in all countries ; and have 
we, in modern times, fallen among statesmen and philosophers who can 
see nothing in the example of past ages worthy of their imitation ?" 

It was not until after this surrender of their railroad enterprise to 
the state, that the Cairo City and Canal Company people issued their 
prospectus. They had found it necessary to lay aside every other matter 
until they had ascertained what was to be done concerning a central 
railroad. They had to give up their own railroad scheme; but they 
succeeded in having their city site at the junction of the two rivers 
made the southern terminus of the state's railroad. 

From the Prospectus and Engineers' Report relating to the City of 
Cairo, printed at St. Louis by T. Watson & Son, 1839, and signed by 
D. B. Holbrook, president of the Cairo City & Canal Company, Feb- 
ruary 18, 1839, we quote three or four pages as follows: — 


The President of the Cairo City and Canal Company, having made arrange- 
ments in England for the funds requisite to carry out their contemplated im- 
provements in the City of Cairo, on the most extensive and liberal scale, it is nov? 
deemed proper to give publicity to the objects, plans, and other matters connected 
with this great work, in order that every one who feels an interest, or has pride 
in the success of this magnificent public enterprise, may properly understand and 
appreciate the motives and designs of the projectors. The company from the 
commencement determined to withhold from sale, at any price, the corporate 
property of the city, until it should be made manifest to the most doubting and 
skeptical, the perfect practicability of making the site of the City of Cairo 
habitable. This being now fully established by the report of the distinguished 
engineers, Messrs. Strickland and Taylor of Pennsylvania, and also by that of 
the principal engineers of the state works of Illinois; the company are pro- 
ceeding in the execution of their plans as set forth in their prospectus, viz.: to 
make the levees, streets and embankments of the city; to erect warehouses, stores 
and shops convenient for every branch of commercial business; dry docks; also, 
buildings adapted for every useful, mechanical and manufacturing purpose, and 
dwelling houses of such cost and description as will suit the taste and means of 
every citizen, which course has been adopted as the most certain to secure the 
destined population of Cairo within the least possible time. The company, how- 
ever, wish it fully understood, that it is far from their desire or intention to 
monopolize or engage in any of the various objects of enterprise, trade, or busi- 
ness, which must of necessity spring up and be carried on with great and 
singular success at this city: — it being their governing motive to offer every 
reasonable and proper encouragement to the enterprising and_ skillful artisan, 
manufacturer, merchant and professional man to identify his interest with the 
growth and prosperity of the city. When the company make sales or leases of 
property it will be on such liberal terms as no other town or city can offer, pos- 
sessing like advantages for the acquisition of that essential means of human hap- 
piness — wealth. The President of the company is fully empowered, whenever 
he shall deem it expedient, to sell or lease the property, and otherwise to repre- 
sent the general interests and aflfairs of the Company. Information respecting the 
Company or the City, will be communicated at all times by the directors at 
Cairo; and also by: 

Hon. Sidney Breese, Hon. John Reynolds, 

Hon. Zadoc Casey, Hon. Adam W. Snyder, 

Hon. 5oseph Duncan, Hon. William Kinney, 

Hon. David J. Baker, Mr. John Tilson, 


Messrs. Thos. Biddle & Co., Mr. John Hemphill, 

Mr. Wm. Strickland, Mr. Rich'd C. Taylor, 

Mr. Joseph Coperthwait, Wm. A. Meredith, Esq., _ 


Mr. E. R. Biddle, New York Trust Co., 

Messrs. Nevins, Townsend & Co., Mr. Simeon Draper, Jr., 

Messrs. Travis & Alexander, Mr. Daniel Low, 

New York. 

Messrs. John Brown & Co., Amos Binney, Esq., 

Samuel D. Ward, Esq., Hon. Peleg Sprague, 


Col. Anthony Olney, Acting Commissioner. 

William Strickland, Architect and Engineer, Philadelphia. 
Major Wm. Gibbs McNeil, Chief Engineer of the Charleston and Cmcinnati 

E. R. Biddle, Treasurer, D. B. Holbrook, President. 

New York. 


When the company are prepared to dispose of their real estate, they 'will 
offer it on lease for a certain term of years at such rent or rents, as the business 
of the place ivill justify and ivarrant, conditioned, that if the consideration agreed 
upon is punctually paid for and during the time stipulated in the lease, the 
estate in question shall become bona fide the property of the lessee. This will 
give to every one, desirous to make Cairo his permanent place of business, the 
opportunity of becoming the possessor of a dwelling and place of business, by 
the annual payment of a sum for rent, that the profits of his business will justify 
if properly conducted — and the company may venture to say, that the rent 
which may be required will not in all probability exceed the rates now paid for 
buildings, whether for dwellings or places of business, in the city of St. Louis. 
The object of this liberal policy being to offer a sufficient inducement to men of 
enterprise, skill and industry, to identify at once their interest with the growth 
of the city, and at the same time secure to the place a desirable population as 
soon as the required and necessary buildings are erected. 

This last quotation from the company's prospectus contains an 
announcement of that policy of the company "which became the source 
of serious and long continued complaints, namely, the leasing of lots and 
lands instead of the sales thereof." 

Although seemingly very much out of place, we introduce here the 
matter of the high water of June, 1858, when a break occurred in the 
Mississippi levee and caused an inundation of the city. We do this 
chiefly because it enables us to present a concise account of the work 
and operations of the Cairo City & Canal Company after its attention 
had been fully withdrawn from its own central railroad enterprise. The 
latter part of what we will now quote is our first introduction to the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property. 

On Saturday afternoon, June 12, 1858, in the time of what has 
already been called the June rise, the Mississippi levee, at or near the 
point where it turns and connects with the cross levee, or just west of 
the present Illinois Central Railroad bridge, gave way under the pressure 
of the great flood of water and inundated the entire city. So great was 
the surprise and loss of the people, and especially of the Trustees and 
shareholders, that the latter sent a committee of their number here to 
investigate and report concerning the calamity which had come to their 
property, and to the people here. The members of the committee were 
Harvey Baldwin, of Syracuse; Charles McAlister and Josiah Randall, 
of Philadelphia; Luther C. Clark, of New York City; Lyman Nichols, 
of Boston; and John Neal, of Portland. These gentlemen had been 
selected for this purpose under two certain resolutions of the share- 
holders at a meeting held at the office of the Cairo City Property 
July I, 1858, in Philadelphia. On the 22d of July, the committee 
conferred fully with William H. Osborn, the president of the Illinois 
Central Railroad Company, which by its contracts with the said 
Trustees of June 11, 1851, and of May 31, 1855, had become almost as 
deeply interested in Cairo as were the shareholders and Trustees them- 

We cannot go further into the matter here, but will say that the 
committee made a most thorough investigation of the situation and made 
their report September 29, 1858, and gave therein at considerable length 


very many important historical facts in regard to Cairo. If there are 
any errors in it we have not been able to discover the same. It was not 
intended to be perfectly exact as to dates and many other matters and 
things, but it is quite sufficiently reliable to justify including a few 
pages thereof in this history. Did we omit these pages we would never- 
theless feel required to state the substance of them ourselves. The fact, 
however, that this investigation and report were made fifty-one years 
ago should give to it a value above anything that might be now stated 
as the result of present investigations. The members of the committee 
were shareholders and deeply interested in the situation. They were 
appointed June ist and made their report September 29th and therefore 
had an abundance of time to make a thorough investigation. They 
made it and seem to have felt that the scope of their appointment or 
duties embraced making of a full and correct statement to the share- 
holders not only of the then present situation but of the history of prior 
undertakings to do the work in which they were then engaged. Their 
report, with its accompanjdng documents, makes a pamphlet of 105 
pages, and it is entitled "The Past, Present and Future of the City of 
Cairo, in North America," published in Portland in 1858. 
We quote from pages 14 to 19: — 

As early as 1817, the great business advantages of this remarkable spot began 
to attract the attention of leading statesmen, capitalists, and men of business. 

In 1818, a liberal charter was granted to an association, by the Territorial 
government of Illinois; and the territory was laid off in conformity with the 
charter, for the "City of Cairo," with banking privileges. 

Owing to deaths, commercial paroxysms, and other hindrances, nothing more 
was done toward carrying out the sagacious and magnificent enterprise, till 1837, 
when arrangements were entered into between the Proprietors holding under a 
charter for the "City and Bank of Cairo," and the State of Illinois; and a new 
charter was granted to the "Illinois Central Rail Road Company" for the construc- 
tion of a Railroad, "to commence at, or near the confluence of the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi rivers, and terminating at Galena." 

After this company had organized, and secured a large portion of the land 
they wanted, the State of Illinois undertook a large and comprehensive system 
of internal improvements, making the Central Railroad the basis of the whole; 
and the railroad company abandoned their privileges to the State upon the ex- 
pressed condition, to be found in the law itself, that the Central Railroad should 
begin at the City of Cairo, at or near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi. 

Then followed the "Cairo City and Canal Company" incorporated March 4, 
1837, with power to purchase any part of township No. seventeen, and especially 
that portion thereof which was incorporated in 181 8, as the "City of Cairo," and 
"to make all improvements for the protection, health and prosperity of the City." 

The stock of this new Company being all taken, and the Company itself 
organized, arrangements were entered into for obtaining a loan of five hundred 
thousand dollars "to be applied to the payment and extinguishment of such 
mortgages and incumbrances as might exist on the lands purchased by the Com- 
pany, within Township numbered seventeen" and for further investments in land 
and other propert>% by conveying the whole proprietorship in Trust, on the i6th 
of Dec. 1837, to the New York Life Insurance and Trust Co., and by a sup- 
plemental deed, of June 13, 1839, to the same Company, for securing the bond- 
holders on further loans, to be employed in large improvements at Cairo; in 
protecting the city from overflow, on both sides ; in building a Turnpike to the 
State road from Vincennes to St. Louis ; and in opening a canal through the city, 
to Cache river, a distance of six miles, which, by the help of a dam, would 


The citizens of Ga)etia and vicinity are respectfully invited to meet at 
the Court-house, on Monday morning next, at 9 o'clock, for the purpose 
of celebrating the breaking giound on the northern termination of the 
great Central lailroad. The citizens of Dubuque, Mineral Point, and 
the adjoining counties, are also respectfully invited to join in the celebra- 
tion under the following order of tne committee of arrangement. 

Order of Procession* 


Marshal of the day. 

President and Trustees of the town*: 

Clergy and Orator of the day. 

Commissioners, Engineers and Contractors. 

Second Marshal, \ ^"^rpTe'™":!"^'^ | Third Marshal. 

Members of Mechanics' Institute. 

Fire Companies. 

Hook and Ladder Company. 

Members of the Bar. 

Citizens and Strangers. 

President, Vice-President, and officers of the Chamber of Commerce. 

Fourth Marshal. Fifth Marshal. 

The committee appointed the following gentlemen to act as Marshals 
on the occasioQ: 

Capt. H. H. Gear, Messrs. Philip Barry, Wm. B. Green, George M. 
Mitchell, Legrand Morehouse. 

The procession will form at the Court-house, and proceed down Main 
street to the steamboat landing, where it will embark on board of boats 
prepared for the occasion to take them to the vicinity of the place where 
the work is to commence. 

A general invitation is respectfully tendered to the ladies of Galena, 
and the surrounding country, to repair on board the boats previous to 
the time of the procession reaching it. 

OCT The businessmen of Galena are requested to close their stores 
and shops on that day. 

H. H. GEAR, 

Commillee of Arrangemeni. 
Galena, JJfor/ 23, 1838. 


secure a slack water navigation of twenty miles further, into a rich agricultural 
and timber region. 

Under this charter, the Company completed their purchases of land, amount- 
ing altogether to 9,732.4 acres, of which 3,88+ acres were appropriated to the 
City of Cairo. The titles were investigated by eminent lawyers, and after a care- 
ful enquiry, and a comparison of prices at Alton, Chicago and other places with 
fewer natural advantages, the valuation of lots under the Deed of Trust, instead 
of being $400, per front foot, for business lots, and from $50 to $100 per foot 
for house lots, the prices paid in 1837 at Alton, with a population of 2,500 only, 
was fixed at $25 per front foot for lots of 25 by 120, on streets and squares, and 
$60 per front foot, for all such lots, on levees or landings. 

Of the former there were surve3^ed 22,774 ^o^s at $625, and of the latter 
1,180 at $1,500 — being 23,954 lots, %vhich, at the valuation agreed upon, yielded 
an aggregate of sixteen millions, thirty-seven hundred and fifty dollars. 

Other loans were obtained in the progress of improvement ; and after bonds 
had been registered under the deed of Trust to the amount of £287,600 sterling, 
or nearly fourteen hundred thousand dollars, of which £155,800, or about seven 
hundred and fiftj' thousand dollars, had been sold, and while the company were 
negotiating for a further loan of £200,000, there came on that commercial crisis, 
which overthrew so many of the largest and wealthiest associations of both hemis- 
pheres, and completely paralyzed the business world. Thousands of merchant 
princes, bankers and capitalists were shipwrecked, both abroad and at home ; and 
it being found that many of the largest, wealthiest, best-informed and most willing 
of the share-holders, had gone into bankruptcy; that nothing could be done with 
their assignees; and that the large outlays upon the city of Cairo, the buildings, 
levees and embankments, amounting, with interest, to about three and a half 
millions of dollars, might become unproductive, and all the unfinished works be 
rendered worthless, if immediate measures were not taken to secure the zealous 
and hearty co-operation of all parties interested, whether as bond-holders, mort- 
gagees or share-holders, a proposition was made in the month of January, 1845, 
by the late Darius B. Holbrook, President of the Illinois Exporting Company, 
through whom a large proportion of these funds had been furnished, for all 
parties interested to unite in a sale of the whole Cairo property, unencumbered, to 
a new Company, for seven hundred thousand dollars, or about one fifth of the 
actual cost, including interest; to divide the whole stock into thirty-five thousand 
shares ; to subscribe for one-half, or seventeen thousand five hundred shares him- 
self, as President of the Illinois Exporting Company, and to throw a like number 
of shares into the market, for sale at twenty dollars a share. 

This proposition being accepted, and the preliminarj'^ arrangements completed, 
on the twenty-ninth of September, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and forty- 
six, the whole Cairo City property was put into the hands of Messrs. Thomas S. 
Taylor, of Philadelphia, and Charles Davis, of New York, for the purposes 
mentioned in their Declaration of Trust, hereunto annexed, and marked D. 

Under this arrangement, the beneficial interest in the Cairo City lands and 
property, of every description, was divided into thirty-five thousand shares, of 
the par value of one hundred dollars each. Certificates, representing twenty 
thousand shares were to be delivered by the Trustees, Taylor and Davis, to the 
order of the Illinois Exporting Company; certificates representing seven thousand 
shares, to Charles Davis, attorney in fact for certain holders of bonds issued by 
the Cairo City and Canal Company; certificates representing three thousand 
shares to Messrs. Robertson, Newbold, Cope and Taylor, Assignees in Trust, for 
the Bank of the United States, and holders of the Cairo City and Canal Com- 
pany's bonds, which were to be surrendered and cancelled; the remaining five 
thousand shares to be sold by the said Taylor and Davis, and the proceeds applied 
to the expenses of the Trust, to the payment of five thousand dollars, advanced 
by Samuel Allinson, Esq., and to improvements of the Cairo City Property. 

It was further stipulated that whenever thereto authorized in writing, by 
two-thirds of the share-holders in interest, the Trustees might enlarge the number 
of shares, and sell them, either at public or private sale, and apply the proceeds 
to further improvements of the unsold Cairo property. 




On the 2ist of Nov., 1850, ten thousand additional shares were authorized, 
making forty-five thousand in all, thirty thousand of which were received at 
par, to extinguish the liabilities of the Cairo City and Canal Company, and to 
clear off all incumbrances; while the remaining fifteen thousand shares were to 
be used for the benefit of the Trust, and for the improvement and protection of 
the property. 

Of the whole 10,000 shares authorized to be issued, for these purposes, and 
of the other 5,000 shares appropriated under the Declaration of Trust, only 8,311 
are now outstanding, and the whole number of shares now entitled to repre- 
sentation is but 36,491. 

Under this last mentioned organization it is, that all the present share- 
holders in the C. C. P., now act, and while to the bond-holders and original cash 
creditors of the Cairo City and Canal Company the actual cost of a share, with 
simple interest up to this time, is about one hundred and eighty dollars, the cost, 
with simple interest to the share-holders, who bought in at one-fifth of the 
original cost, is only about thirty-six dollars. 

Yet, a single share actually represents about one lot and one-twentieth of 
a lot, within the City, as originally laid out, with a correspondent proportion of 
the outside territory, equal to one and one-half lots more, of 25 feet by 120. 

The sales within the city had averaged up to January last, reckoning from 
December 23, 1853, when the first lot was sold, about $400 per lot; and the 
assessed value of the lots within the city limits in 1857, based upon sales for cash, 
was $1,434,679. 

This is a remarkably full and clear statement. It gives in the 
shortest possible space a comprehensive account of the origin of the Cairo 
City and Canal Company and its somewhat checkered existence, and 
of its merger into the Cairo City Property Trust. As in these present 
times, the one company had gone on as far as it could, and those in 
charge of its failing fortunes set about the organization of another 
company to take up the work the old company found too heavy to carry. 
New men were to be put in charge under supposedly more favorable 

But we may inquire, what did the Cairo City and Canal Company 
actually do and perform in the way of starting a city here? To answer 
this question we have not much reliable information. It exists some- 
where or in many different places, no doubt, but to gather it up and put 
it in shape would take weeks of hard work. But much of it is not 
needed ; an outline is about all that could be asked for. We have seen 
a number of original records, but they contain so little that should be 
stated with any kind of detail that we shall refer to them only now and 
then. All their books, papers and records, covering a period of ten 
years, if now in existence, may be in Philadelphia, or New York, or 
possibly they may now" be among the books and papers left by Col. 
Taylor here in Cairo. Were they before one and gone over with some 
care, they would present a remarkable record of corporate activity for 
that decade from 1836 to 1846. They would show, much more clearly 
than we now see it, how one man had been invested with absolute 
authority; how every one yielded to him, how hard he worked, how he 
traveled far and near and did everything to advance the enterprise. I 
have said so much about this in other places that I need not say more 
here, except to embrace it all in one comprehensive sentence, by saying 


that the Cairo City and Canal Company was D. B. Holbrook, or D. B. 
Holbrook was the Cairo City and Canal Company. 

The name of the company implied that it expected to build or start 
a city and to construct a canal. The canal was to extend from Cache 
River down to the point, a distance of about six miles, and about mid- 
way between the two rivers, and at its southern end, it was to send out 
arms or branches to each river. The map elsewhere found will show 
what was proposed. The canal part of the enterprise w^as abandoned. 
The design seems to have been to have a canal along and through the 
center of the city, which would very much better, as they supposed, 
accommodate the shipping interests than the river on either side of the 
city. Vessels of all kinds it was supposed could enter the wide canal 
either at the north on Cache or from the Mississippi or Ohio at its 
southern termini. The scheme must have soon appeared wholly im- 
practicable. How the same could have ever been carried out with the 
rise and fall of the rivers through a perpendicular distance of forty to 
fifty feet can scarcely be imagined. How the water could have been 
maintained in the canal much higher than the level of the waters in 
the rivers or how the canal could have been made deep enough and yet 
suited to loading or unloading from vessels in the canal does not appear 
to us if it ever appeared plain enough to them. 

To enable the men in charge of the Cairo enterprise to manage their 
affairs to better advantage, the legislature had incorporated the Illinois 
Exporting Company. There were, therefore, three companies here at 
Cairo on and after March 4, 1837, the day of the incorporation of the 
Cairo City and Canal Company. These companies were thought not 
only needful but sufficient to contract with and for each other in and 
about building a railroad and a city, and carrying on such other work 
or enterprises as might come within the scope of the powers of the Ex- 
porting Company, if not within the powers of either one of the other 
two; and accordingly, we find these companies entering into two con- 
tracts on the 26th day of June, 1837, relative to the construction of the 
railroad, and, in particular, relative to its being started here at Cairo 
and not elsewhere. 

The Cairo City and Canal Company, having been relieved of all its 
contemplated railroad work, had nothing to do but to devote its whole 
attention to work here at the site of the proposed city, which was little 
less than a dense forest between the rivers. Levee building was, of 
course, the first thing to receive attention. It was useless to project 
anything requiring the expenditure of money without first arranging 
for the protection of the site from overflow by the rivers. 

As elsewhere stated, they do not seem to have considered the matter 
of filling even a small portion of the ground to a height sufficient to 
dispense with levees. Their plan was to inclose a large district of 
country by earth embankments along the rivers and across the point, 
and leave the natural level of the ground just about as it was. At the 
outstart, they do not seem to have known much about what we now call 
seepage. Had they or their successors, the Cairo City Property people, 


adopted a different plan, that is, the plan of filling a comparatively 
smaJl district of territory to a reasonably high grade, which, if requiring 
levees at all would have required comparatively low ones, they nor 
we would ever have heard of seepage water. The money expended in 
building levees and in a dozen different ways, made necessary by the 
low grounds, would have gone far toward raising the general level of 
a large district to the present grade of our downtown streets and 
avenues, and in such case we would have been spared the large 
expenditures we are now making to free the city from the 
accumulated water within its levees. But all the plans and operations 
of this company seem to have presupposed a great demand for city 
lots and for such great prosperity that any comparatively slow method 
of preparing a site for a city could not be entertained ; and it is altogether 
probable that no other plan was ever seriously thought of except that 
of inclosing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of acres within levees along the 
rivers. We are impressed by nothing in all the history of those early 
years so much as by what seems to have been the views of the promoters 
of the enterprise here as to the slight depth of the water over the point 
when the rivers were at their highest. Much allowance must be made 
for men in promoting their plans and schemes, for all experience 
teaches us that the advantages are highly colored and the disadvantages 
made little of ; and hence we could hardly expect that they would repre- 
sent the site of the city as low as it really was or that the rivers 
rose as high as they really do; but making all allowances possible, it 
still seems remarkably strange how, as far back as in 1836 and from 
thence up to 1850 and even later, it was represented in every way and 
manner that the site was not so low and that the rivers did not rise and 
overflow it to any considerable depth. It is true we have a far better 
knowledge of the actual situation than they could have had. None of 
them had ever seen any very high rivers. The flood of 1844 was out of 
the Mississippi and could not have been very high here. The small 
levees then existing and inclosing 778.70 acres kept out what has always 
been represented as a very great flood. The flood of 1849 broke through 
the Mississippi levee for the distance of 1625 feet, but the record of that 
flood does not show it to have been a very great one. The flood of 
June 12, 1858, was not so high; but the levee on the west was weak 
and badly constructed and for that reason gave way. 

Returning to the Holbrook people as they were starting out with 
their work, we remark that they needed large means; first, for levee 
construction; for it was quite useless to make any considerable ex- 
penditures here on the point until they should be protected from over- 
flows from the rivers. The first question was then, as it is now, how 
much money is needed and how can it be obtained. The men in 
charge knew that the money could not be obtained in this country on 
any reasonable terms as to interest or othervvise. There was not much 
money in this country then, and in all matters of importance, requiring 
large expenditures, it was always expected that resort would be had to 
London, the money center of Europe and of the world then, if not quite 


so much so now. But to get the money anywhere, there must be good 
security for the interest thereon and its ultimate payment at the time 
stipulated. The company had only its real estate to offer as security. 
But as the enterprise was generally regarded with great favor, it had no 
great difficulty in arranging to have its monetary affairs taken in hand 
by competent men in this country; and therefore it arranged with the 
New York Life Insurance and Trust Company, in the year 1838, to 
secure the bonds which the company desired to put upon the market by 
a trust deed upon its real estate to the said trust company. That deed 
of trust, executed by the Cairo City and Canal Company on the 26th day 
of June, 1837, is found recorded in book "D" on pages 42 to 47, of our 
county records. It was easy enough to make a deed of trust and to 
prepare bonds, but to sell the bonds readily and to advantage was often 
very difficult. At that time, American securities were not sought after 
as now, and those who dealt in them abroad frequently incurred un- 
friendly treatment from their rivals in the money markets. 

As elsewhere stated, D. B. Holbrook, the president of the Cairo City 
and Canal Company and the Illinois Exporting Company, proceeded to 
London and negotiated with John Wright & Company, Bankers, of 
Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, and arranged for them to take charge 
of the sale of his Cairo bonds, secured by the trust deed to the New 
York company. To arrange with these London bankers, Holbrook had 
to present the situation here very fully, both as to the title and value of 
the company's real estate as well as to the permanency of the site of the 
proposed city. They needed little assurance as to the geographical 
situation ; but if the site was so low or otherwise largely unsuitable for 
the establishment of a city, the enterprise would be regarded with little 
favor. It was not to be treated as a real-estate investment alone. It 
was known that aside from the starting and building up of a city of some 
considerable size, the lands were of comparatively little value. Hence 
it was that Wright & Company must have been very well satisfied as to 
the outlook and prospects of a city here on the mortgaged property. 

There were then in London Daniel Webster, our ex-governor, John 
Reynolds, and our United States Senator, John M. Young. Holbrook 
laid before Webster his papers and documents, and obtained from him 
a favorable opinion as to the title to the lands here, the deed of trust, 
etc. Holbrook was successful in raising the means he thought requisite 
to their enterprise for some considerable time to come. I need not speak 
of them here again, since the matter is set forth at length in the above 
report to the shareholders of the Cairo City Property in September, 1858. 
It is quite impossible now to tell just how the large siuns of money 
obtained from the sale of bonds in London were expended. They must 
have reached New York and Cairo in various amounts from time to 
time. The lands embraced in the trust deed to secure the bonds were 
only three to four thousand acres, whereas, when the Cairo City and 
Canal Company sold to the Trustees of the Cairo City Property June 
13, 1846, there were 9734 acres, including the more recent purchases by 
the Cairo City and Canal Company. If the large sum of $1,250,000.00 


was expended here by that company, from 1838 to 1844, a period of 
six years, one can scarcely imagine for what the various expenditures 
were made. The levees built were the two extending up the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers, the one 12,320 feet in length and the other 4780 
feet, the two making an embankment of about three and one half miles. 
They were narrow and not very high, compared with our present 
levees, and could not have cost more than two or three hundred thousand 
dollars at the most and perhaps not so much. Labor was cheap, 
although in this out-of-the-way place it may have been rather high. 
The expenditures for lands were, as I have already stated, large. 
Every one thought the place had a most promising future before it, and 
owners of lands asked high prices; and Holbrook seemed willing to pay 
almost any price in order to secure well nigh exclusive ownership of 
everything here between the two rivers south of Cache River. Next to 
the purchase of lands and the construction of levees was the clearing ofE 
of a strip of ground adjoining the Ohio River, of the width of a quarter 
of a mile, and for the distance from the point to Twentieth Street. This 
expense could not have been very great. Besides these we know of 
little else than the large expenditures made for improvements along the 
line of the Ohio and on this cleared strip of land. Cottages for 
temporary and more permanent residence purposes were constructed. 
Manufacturing establishments, such as machine shops, saw mills, foun- 
dries, brick yard work, dry docks, marine ways and other appurtenances 
for steamboat building, and the furnishing of machinerj^ of all kinds 
to equip the difFerent manufacturing plants, these and others of a like 
nature required large expenditures. It is said that the most modern 
and expensive machinery was provided for the various establishments 
and that much of it came from London and other very distant points. 
These matters of the character of the machinery and its importation from 
abroad are mentioned here not as established facts, but as matters of 
report, not to say of tradition. And yet one can easily believe all such 
representations, for they comport so fully with what we know of Hol- 
brook. Everything he planned was on a large and expensive scale. 
His theory was that in this way only could the country and the world 
be convinced that what he and his company had in hand was a great 
thing and was certain of a remarkable success. It is one of those strange 
things of human experience and observation that large and lavish ex- 
penditures of money in almost any kind of an enterprise has the effect of 
Impressing so many people with the belief that the matter in hand is 
one of great merit and promise. This is somewhat natural. People 
conclude that others know more about the matter than they do and 
that the expenditures would not be made were not the enterprise a very 
sure one. 

The manufacturing establishments were started, and work carried 
on for two or three years. But it could never have been to much 
advantage or profit. The outgo was always more than the income. 
The business on the river and in the vicinity was not sufficient to sustain 
extensive operations. For a while there was great activity, such as is 


always found at the first in doubtful enterprises. All of the establish- 
ments, or what are now called plants, were put in operation. The 
sawmills turned out great quantities of lumber for all purposes, includ- 
ing the building of steamboats and other kinds of watercraft. One 
steamboat, at least, the "Tennessee Valley," was built in 1841. Its 
owners resided at Florence, Alabama, and it was registered at New 
Orleans April 23, 1842. It was equipped with machinery furnished by 
the foundrj' and machine and boiler shops near by, just as the lumber 
and timbers for it came from the sawmills there at hand. The two 
large brick-making plants in the upper part of the little city got under 
way with their improved machinery and would no doubt have done 
good work had there been good materials for brick and a good demand 
for the manufactured article. It has never been supposed, however, at 
least in these latter days, that the point here afforded a good quality of 
clay for brick making. 

One can tell something of what was done and carried on here in 
those few short years, by examining the records at the court house, found 
chiefly in Book D, where are recorded the mortgages and other liens 
given by the company to its creditors upon its property here in Cairo, 
its buildings, its machinery of all kinds and descriptions, its lumber and 
building materials generally, forms, molds, and other foundry equip- 
ment, boilers, iron of all descriptions, brick in many thousands, horses, 
oxen, wagons, chains, in fact, everything one would expect to find in and 
about such manufacturing plants. 

The day of adversity had come, and those who had given credit 
spared no effort to secure something that would somewhat prevent a 
total loss. The situation was peculiar indeed, one seldom seen in the 
world an}^where. Cairo had been started once before and failed in 
the shortest possible time. It existed just long enough to spread its 
failure everyv^^here abroad. This second attempt had promised much, j 
but when it became evident that it too must fail, a kind of frenzied 
feeling took possession of the people or of the creditors, of whom there 
were many, and the thought became general that not only the Cairo City 
and Canal Company was to go down, but that the whole large enterprise 
of building a city here was also to come to an end. It meant loss of 
debts and loss of home and removal to other parts of the country' to 
commence life anew. No wonder the people or many of them exhibited 
a kind of rapacity of conduct as the full view of the calamity of the 
situation came before them. 

Holbrook saw the fast approaching end probably long before anyone 
else, and knowing well that were he in Cairo when it arrived, he 
could do nothing for anyone, left the place before the storm broke 
upon it. He knew whom the people or most of them would look upon 
as responsible for their misfortunes, and that his presence here would 
but add violence to the probable outbreak. 




DECEMBER 23, 1853 

HOLBROOK had taken the lead in everything relating to the or- 
ganization and operations of the Cairo City and Canal Company, 
and now that it could go on no longer, he took the lead also in 
its transformation into another company or concern to take up the work 
the other had to lay down. He no doubt regretted the alternative of 
going on and into utter bankruptcy, or turning over the enterprise to 
others ; but seeing that it was unavoidable, he accepted the situation, and, 
like any other brave-hearted man, sought to make the most favorable ar- 
rangement he could for the old company and its stockholders. Their en- 
terprise had been a going one for five or six years at most, and the work 
of settlement and the change from the old to the new management seem 
to have required half of that length of time. There were many interests 
and persons to be consulted, both at home and abroad, and for that 
and many other reasons the negotiations proceeded slowly. There were 
creditors of every kind and description, both secured and unsecured ; but 
as a matter of fact, those actually and well secured were very few. The 
first news that the enterprise was in a failing condition sent down every- 
where the values of all kinds of its property. Its lands, its site for a 
city, could scarcely have depreciated faster or fallen lower in value; 
and had there been no creditors, there is no telling what could have 
been done. The geographical position of the place was all that saved 
the undertaking from complete destruction. The people interested 
could not come to the conclusion that they were wrong and that there 
was no reasonable chance to build a city here. At all events, their 
interests led them to another attempt under new and what seemed to 
be more favorable circumstances. 

The nature and terms of the final arrangement are so fully set forth 
in the report of the committee of the stockholders of the new enterprise, 
made September 29, 1858, parts of which are quoted elsewhere, that 
we need not refer to them again. 

The first thing done, in pursuance of the new arrangement, was the 
conveyance, June 13, 1846, by the Cairo City and Canal Company of 
all of its property and estate to Thomas S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, and 
Charles Davis, of New York City, preparatory to the formation of 
a trust to take charge of the property and the enterprise as described 
in the report of September 29, 1858, above referred to. This deed of 
June 13, 1846, is recorded in Register Book A, on pages 123, etc. This 


N9 II 





deed was followed by the Declaration of Trust of September 29, 1846, 
executed by Taylor and Davis, as Trustees, and thirteen other persons, 
whose names are as follows: Illinois Exporting Company, J. Robertson, 
Richard H. Bayard, James S. Newbold, Herman Cope, T. S. Taylor, 
Vincent Eyre, Thomas Barnwall, assignee of Wright and Company, 
John Hibbert, Henry Webb, Martha Allinson, James McKillop, and 
Thomas Lloyd. This Declaration of Trust is recorded in Book N, on 
pages 465, etc. 

From the time of the Declaration of Trust, September 29, 1846, to 
December 23, 1853, the date of the first sales of lots in Cairo by the 
Trustees, we have the long period of seven and a quarter years. This 
delay in offering lots and lands for sale caused many complaints. The 
people knew something of the Holbrook plan in this regard, and it 
seemed to them the management was going to follow Holbrook's policy, 
which was to retain the title to all the real estate and give only long 
leases thereof. Concerning this long delay and its effect upon the 
people, Addison H. Sanders, in his newspaper, "The Cairo Delta," of 
September 20, 1849, wrote as follows, under the heading "Cairo — 
Good Bye To It" : 

As we have before remarked, Cairo does not grow any, because no one can 
buy or build, the property being in the hands of a company who are not yet pre- 
pared to sell. The stockholders of this company are principally eastern gentlemen, 
and the company decidedly American and represented by Charles Davis, of New 
York, and Thomas Taylor, of Philadelphia, who hold the property in trust. We 
came to Cairo under the belief that the property would have been offered for 
sale last fall or spring. We believe that operations or improvements will be 
commenced next spring but can no longer await an uncertainty. If we were 
sure the property would then be offered for sale, no inducement could be offered 
enticing enough to urge our removal from Cairo, because we believe, we knonu 
in fact, that when this property is offered for sale, the lots will be snatched up 
at high prices and many of them by men who will guarantee to erect substantial 
houses on the property within a given time. From that period may be dated the 
rapid rise of Cairo from the village to the great and popular city. In one 
season the levees could be put in complete repair, and Cairo thus perfectly pro- 
tected against flood, and during the same period, the ground on the inside could 
be raised for blocks of houses fronting on the Ohio levee. 

This number of the "Delta" was the last one issued under Sanders' 
supervision, and contains his valedictory. He was dissatisfied and 
greatly discouraged, so much so that he decided to remove from the 
town. When he left, the Trustees had been in charge for three years 
and yet the people could not make purchases of real estate. He said, 
in the extract above given, that he supposed they would be ready to make 
sales in the following spring; but it was not until December 23, 1853, 
four years later, that they put their lots upon the market. I have 
already stated that this long delay may have been due to the desire of 
the Trustees to see what was to be done about a railroad. Col. Taylor 
had come west and to Chicago in the year 1846. We find his name 
entered on the roll of attorneys of the Supreme Court at its April term 
of that year, at Ottawa. At the same time the names of General Isham 
N. Haynie and General Lewis B. Parsons were entered upon the same 


roll. From that time on, Col. Taylor was hard at work in the west 
and perhaps in the east also for the Trustees and no doubt chiefly for 
and on behalf of their railroad enterprise. He had an office with Mr. 
Justin Butterfield in Chicago and with him and a number of others a 
great deal of work was done in and out of congress to further their 
plans for a railroad. The Trustees and shareholders in the Cairo 
enterprise knew very well what a railroad meant to them. They knew 
that from the very beginning in 1835 and 1836, the Cairo scheme was 
practically one and the same with, or was a part of, the Central Railroad 
undertaking. The two had gone along together until the upper part 
of the state had become able to sever them; and even then when the 
Cairo managers had been pushed aside, they worked on, both in the 
east and in the west, in season and out of season, caring only to have 
the southern terminus fixed at this point. 

Confirmatory of what we have said above about the delay in offering 
lots for sale and the interest the Trustees and shareholders had in the 
contemplated railroad, we quote here a paragraph in a lengthy paper 
written by Col. Taylor many years before his death. It traces the 
titles to the Cairo lands and gives almost every important transaction, 
with the date thereof, including deeds, acts of incorporation and other 
laws from February 25, 1816, to June 30, 1880. The somewhat 
lengthy entry under date of May 10, 1876, is as follows: 

The Trustees of the Cairo City Property having expended in making material 
improvements about Cairo $1,307,021.42, of which the sum of $184,505.64 was 
expended upon the Ohio levee, the sum of $149,973.23 upon the Mississippi levee, 
the sum of $70,455.06 upon the protection of the Mississippi River bank, the sum 
of $571,534.08 upon general improvements and $330,553.41 upon taxes and assess- 
ments, found themselves unable to pay the loans negotiated in 1863 and 1867, and 
the mortgages were therefore foreclosed and the property of the trust sold out to 
the bond holders. The entire receipts of the Trustees of the Cairo City Property, 
from sales, rents, wharfage and all other sources have been used in improvements 
and other expenditures at Cairo, except luhat was required to repay in New York 
moneys borrowed at the beginning of the trust, about 1848, to defray expenses 
connected principally with arrangements and legislation for procuring from 
congress the grant of land to the state to build the Illinois Central Railroad, and 
for payment of interest on loans negotiated in 1863 and 1867. 

This congressional grant of September 20, 1850, was followed by 
the incorporation of the Illinois Central Railroad Company February 
10, 1851; and February 17, 1851, the Holbrook people surrendered all 
their railroad rights of every kind to the state in behalf of the new 
railroad enterprise ; and at the end of two months more. Col. Taylor was 
in Cairo to take charge and push forward the matter of starting and 
building a city. It is thus clearly seen how all these matters and things 
fit together and make one and the same scheme. They could build no 
town — could not even start one until they knew certainly what could 
be told the public at large concerning a railroad. Some preliminary 
work had been done in the way of making surveys, plats, drawings, etc., 
but as for the platting or mapping for a city or for the sale of lots nothing 
could be safely done, except in a very provisional way. The Trustees 
lost no time in arranging with the railroad company for terminal 


facilities in consideration of obtaining good levees to protect the site 
from the inroads of the rivers ; nor did they think it wise to offer lots or 
lands for sale until the levee work was well under way and assurances 
given purchasers of the safety of the city's site. We are thus brought 
down to December 23, 1853, and are shown that the plan of the 
Trustees was never that of the Holbrook management. 

Little was done during this period, as already stated, besides pre- 
serving as best they could what was left over. It was during the latter 
part of this period of seven and a quarter years that an attempt was 
made in the legislature to incorporate the "Cairo City Property," 
namely, in the year 1852. 

The first section of the act is in these words : 

Section i. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois represented in 
the General Assembly that Porter William Rawle, Sidney Breese, William R. 
Porter, Robert J. Walker, Miles A. Gilbert, David J. Baker, Hamilton Brewer, 
Kenneth McKenzie, P. Strachan, Elihu H. Townsend, Darius B. Holbrook, Garret 
K. Barry, John A. Willink, Hiram Ketchum, F. R. Sherman, and their associates, 
successors and assigns, be and they are hereby made a body corporate and politic 
under the name of the Cairo City Property, and by that name and style shall be 
and are hereby made capable in law and equity to sue and be sued, plead and 
be impleaded, defend and be defended in any court or place whatsoever, to make 
and use a common seal, the same to alter and renew at pleasure and by that 
name and style be capable in law of contracting and being contracted with, 
purchasing, holding and conveying real and personal estate for the purposes and 
uses of said corporation, etc., etc. 

This section restricts the right of the company to own real estate to 
fractional township seventeen, and, in particular, authorizes them to 
purchase and hold those particular tracts of land and the improvements 
thereon known as the Cairo Citj^ Property and then held and represented 
by Thomas S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, and Charles Davis, of New 
York, as Trustees, and to lay off said lands into lots for a town to be 
known as the City of Cairo, whenever a plan of said city is made. 
Said section further authorizes the construction of dykes, canals, levees 
and embankments for the security' and preservation of the city and 
lands and all improvements thereon from all and every inundation 
which can possibly affect or injure the same. The second section 
limits the capital stock to fifty thousand shares of one hundred dollars 
each and vests the immediate government and direction of affairs in a 
board of not less than five trustees. There are twelve or thirteen 
sections in the act. The ninth one granted some favors with regard 
to taxes. The eleventh section confers the power to adopt ordinances 
and regulations in regard to the public health and to make and collect 
such charges for dockage and wharfage as the said company may deem 
proper, not exceeding the rates established at St. Louis. The twelfth 
section seems to authorize the county court of the county to erect another 
jail, the same to be within the City of Cairo and to be under the control 
of the county; but not at its expense. It seems to be implied that the 
company created by the act would pay for the erection of the jail. 

The bill seems to have passed the House of Representatives June 11, 
1 85 1. But when it reached the Senate it was so changed and amended 


as to be scarcely recognizable. The whole of section ten, authorizing 
the company to establish and maintain ferries, was stricken out. The 
senator from Johnson County, Major A. J. Kuykendall, said he would 
vote for the bill if it could be amended in some satisfactory way. He did 
not want to confer upon the company "municipal powers equal to those 
exercised by the City of Alton." Senator Odam offered an amendment 
requiring the act to be submitted to a vote of the people of the county. 
Kuykendall's amendment striking out the provision in regard to con- 
ferring upon the company the powers possessed by the City of Alton 
and Odam's amendment requiring the act to be submitted to the voters 
of the county were adopted ; and thereupon, on motion of Kuykendall, 
the bill as amended was laid on the table. On the motion to adopt 
the above amendments, eighteen senators voted for them and four 
against. The eighteen were Cloud, Grass, Gregg, Gridley, Kuyken- 
dall, Lansing, Mateson, Odam, Palmer, Parkes, Plato, Reddick, Stuart, 
Talcott, Wallace, Webster, Wood, and Wynn. Those voting the other 
way were Judd, Morrison, Osborne, and Richmond. It seems that the 
bill for an act to incorporate the City of Cairo, of which we have 
spoken elsewhere, was pending at this time and that the same failed 
of passage because of some peculiar provision relative to the selection of 
the first city council and their long term of office, which was to be 
five years. 

I would like to devote more space to this period from June ii, 1846, 
to December 23, 1853, but I cannot do so. Judging by the attempt 
of the Trustees, in 1852, to have the "Cairo City Property" and also 
the City of Cairo incorporated and their failure as to both, and judging 
also by many other matters and things, it must be inferred that they 
were, at least in one sense of the word, feeling their way along. It 
was not until the Illinois Central Railroad was well under way of con- 
struction that the Trustees and the public began to feel strong assurance 
of a prosperous future for the city. 

Showing the Southern termirtation 

® cftLe 

at CAIRO. 


Cairo's site and its abrasions by the rivers — levees and levee 
construction highest known floods 

EVER since the government survey of our township in 1807, it has 
been known that while the Ohio River shore remains fairly 
stable and unchangeable, the Mississippi, on the contrary, 
devours its banks and changes its current from place to place unless 
restrained in and by some of the various means adopted to stay its 
ravages. There is now no telling when it was first observed by persons 
in anywise interested here that the Mississippi side of this site needed 
to be watched and its cutting away by the river carefully guarded 
against. The matter received close attention at the beginning of the 
Holbrook administration in 1836. So carefully had the situation 
been examined that it was strongly urged in and out of the legislature 
that the southern terminus of the state's Central Railroad should be 
removed from Cairo to some point near Caledonia on the Ohio, twelve 
or fifteen miles above Cairo. See Chapter VI. 

The cutting by the Mississippi had the careful attention of the Trus- 
tees, and their numerous engineers made their best efforts to devise plans 
to arrest it. Resort was had from time to time to spur dikes of broken 
stone, placed at different points on the river shore and extending down 
stream at a small angle to the shore line. In this way it was sought to 
force the current away from the bank. These dikes served a good pur- 
pose, no doubt, but they failed to prove an effective remed3^ From 
failure to keep a close watch upon the situation or rather to make the 
needed repairs, the river worked in behind the ridges of broken stone, 
and it was not very long until the stone piles were found to be out in 
the stream. The situation was never ver\' good, and it finally became 
so bad as to produce some considerable anxiety not to say alarm on the 
part of the people. They had trusted the whole matter to the Trustees, 
who claimed exclusive ownership of the banks and shores from Cache 
River on the Ohio to a point on the Mississippi opposite the present 
Beech Ridge. Moreover, many of the leading men in the town insisted 
strongly that the Trustees had obligated themselves not only to build 
and maintain sufficient levees but to protect them and the city from 
the abrasions of the rivers. It is probable that the Trustees would 
have done much more than they did had not their means been very 
limited. In the year 1874, the river seemed to have entered upon a sea- 
son of unusual voracity, which it maintained steadily during the years 
1875 and 1876. It pushed the rock piles out of its way or rather worked 
In behind them and soon undermined the levee for a long distance north- 



ward from a point where the present Thirty-Third Street, if extended 
westward, would intersect the present Mississippi shore. The Cairo & 
St. Louis Railroad, then very recently finished and extending along the 
Mississippi levee, had to be moved back from time to time, thus en- 
croaching upon adjacent cornfields and other private premises. That 
company, like the Trustees, was too weak financially to resist the 
river's advances. Many of us will remember what a time it was and 
how the city in 1876 set about building what is now called the new 
levee on New Levee Street. We all then thought it was very bad ; 
but the further we get away from it, the discouraging and dangerous 
situation seems to grow upon us and to impress more and more upon us 
the vital importance of not allowing, under any circumstances, that 
treacherous river to get the start of us again. It was at this time that 
government aid was sought, and it is due to our congressmen and 
a few of our leading citizens here, who worked hard and incessantly 
and obtained that government aid which was so greatly needed and which 
has had the effect of allaying, perhaps too much, all of our fears. We 
must not depend too much upon others. Congressional aid comes very 
slowly and sometimes in small quantities, and sometimes not at all. 
This western side of the city is its vital point. It has been that, so far 
as the site is concerned, for seventy years. It is time for that feature 
of our situation to pass away or so to change that we shall cease to 
have any apprehension. The government policy is not well established 
— not up to this time. It has to do only with the interest of naviga- 
tion, it is often said, and the land-owners and others must take care of 

One of Col. Taylor's reasons for his contract with the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company of July 18, 1872, by which that company was re- 
leased from the obligations of its contracts of February 11, 1851, and of 
May 31, 1855, was that he expected to obtain from the Cairo & St. 
Louis Railroad Company a contract binding it to keep up and maintain 
not only the Mississippi levee, upon which its track was laid, but to 
protect the levee against the abrasion of the river. He failed to obtain 
such a contract or a contract upon which such construction could be 
placed; and that company, having wholly failed and all of its property 
having been sold in a foreclosure proceeding and transferred to the 
new company, the St. Louis & Cairo Railroad Company, stripped of 
all objections of any kind, that source of help or protection, whatever 
it might have been, has long since passed away. Col. Taylor knew all 
about the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad Company, for he was its first 
president. He himself knew and said it was not able to build a 
standard gauge railroad, but could only build one of a narrow or three 
foot gauge; and why he or his Trustees found it best td let out the 
Illinois Central, one of the strongest companies in the United States, 
and take in its place one of the weakest therein, is scarcely conceivable, 
excepting on the theory that the Trustees were in great need of the 
$80,000 they got from the railroad company. Those contracts were 


as levees to the city. They were plain enough as to all essential and 
vital features. The levees the railroad company was to build and 
maintain in perpetuity were to encompass the city or the site thereof 
and were to be of the width of 80 feet on the top and sufficiently 
high to keep out the highest waters known. 

To say that the railroad company overreached the Trustees would 
not be correct. The latter knew what they were doing as well as the 
former; and these contracts, which the two made at the very outstart 
of their existence and which both believed to be of the utmost impor- 
tance to their city, were mutually annulled to the mutual satisfaction of 
both of them, but to the never-ending damage and injury to the City 
of Cairo and its people. About the only answer the Trustees ever 
made to this charge was that the affair was a matter of their own busi- 
ness and of nobody else. From 1851 to i860 or later, they said the very 
contrary in their innumerable circulars and advertising pamphlets. Col. 
Taylor as much as conceded that some explanation was due the public, 
and hence what he said about what he hoped to get from the Cairo & 
St. Louis Railroad Company in lieu of his contract with the Illinois 

Capt. Henry C. Long was the civil engineer of the Trustees and 
of the Illinois Central Railroad Company for many years here at Cairo. 
The Trustees had instructed him to make a careful survey of the site 
of the present city of Cairo and to report fully in regard to the same, 
especially in regard to river abrasions and the necessary levee construc- 
tion. The work seems to have been done under the supervision of his 
father. Col. Stephen Harriman Long, United States Topographical 
Engineer and Superintendent of Western River Improvements, with 
headquarters at Louisville, Kentucky. His report bears date September 
2, 1850, and is directed to Col. Long, and the same was laid before the 
Trustees, Taylor and Davis, by a letter dated at Louisville, Kentucky, 
September 4, 1850. It is probably the most full and carefully prepared 
report that was ever made relative to Cairo, its site, its dangers from 
abrasions, the remedies against the same, and the extent, height and 
width of needed levees. It would make twenty-five pages of this book 
and is accompanied by a number of diagrams or descriptive drawings. 
We give only those pages of the report describing the drawings, as 
follows : 

Draiving No. /.—"Chart of Cairo and its Environs." This drawing is 
intended to give a general view of the position and configuration of the 
shores, islands, etc., at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers; it also 
represents the true geographical position of the city of Cairo; a general plan of 
its interior arrangement with reference to streets, public squares, levees, railroads, 
etc.; the relative distance and localities of "Ohio City," the town of "Trinity" 
mouth of "Cash" river etc. The scale is 1,000 feet to one inch. The lines of 
survey, triangulation, etc., are traced in faint dotted lines, and are sufficiently 
apparent on the drawing, without a more minute description. 

Draining No. I, Fig. 2, represents on a scale of ten feet to one inch, a, cross 
section of proposed levee, with its stone escarpment, etc., a full description of 
which will be given in an after part of this report. 


Draiving No. 2. — "Topographical sketch of Cairo." This drawing is 
constructed on double the scale of No. i, being 500 feet to one inch; it is 
consequently more minute in its details, representing accurately the appearance 
of Cairo at the time of the survey. The foundries, work shops, hotels, houses, 
etc., are assigned their true positions; the proportion of cultivated, cleared, and 
timber land is accurately given ; the length, position, and general appearance of • 
the levees are clearly defined, and in connection therewith, the true position and 
extent of the three natural ridges, extending across the city site. All of the topog- 
raphy is the result of actual survey — no attempt being made at mere embellish- 
ment, and no lines or marks introduced which a careful attention to the natural 
features of the ground would not authorize. 

The line marked Crevasse is the one to which I would call your particular 
attention, as requiring immediate consideration. At this locality the abrasion is 
taking place. The levee at this place should be repaired, or rather reconstructed 
with all possible dispatch; — the distance marked is 1,675 feet, but as it is recom- 
mended to locate the new levee further from the river bank, (in the position 
given in Drawing No. 1,) this distance will be somewhat increased — but the 
entire cost of the work is trifling, as shown in the subjoined estimates, and its 
necessity urgent. 

It may be pertinent to state in this connection, that this crevasse is said to 
have commenced in the spring of 1847, and has been suffered to increase since that 
time without any attempt at repairs. From 1843, the time of first completion of 
the chain of levees, to 1847, the enclosed portion of Cairo was secure from over- 
floods, the levees with all their imperfections having up to that time served 
as a complete protection. 

Draining No. 2, Fig. 2. — "Section on Crevasse;" scale vertical, 20 feet to one 
inch. Horizontal, 200 feet to one inch ; constructed from levels taken over natural 
surfaces, showing the amount of embankment necessary to bring the repairs of 
crevasse to level of Mississippi Levee; also showing the height of Mississippi and 
cross levees above water surface at time of surveys. 

Draiving No. 3. — "Plot of the City of Cairo." Scale 500 feet to i inch. 
This drawing gives a plan of the city on a larger scale and more in detail 
than represented on Chart No. i. The blocks generally are 420 feet square, in- 
clusive of two 20-feet alleys intersecting each block at right angles. The streets 
are 60 feet in width, Avith the exception of the avenues, which are 120 feet wide. 
From a careful study of the nature of the city site, and a comparison of most 
approved plans, this is considered the best arrangement that can be offered in 
point of economy of room, convenience for business purposes, perfect ventilation 
and drainage. From the direction given to the principal streets and avenues, 
they will generally command a fine breeze, which, during a great proportion of 
the year prevails from the south and west. The blocks designated by circles, are 
recommended as suitable positions for public squares. A commodious park may 
be obtained at the point, marked on the Plot "Crescent Park," by extending the 
lino as shown on the drawing, and reclaiming a valuable portion of land, now 
entirely useless. 

It is contemplated to introduce along the line of Commercial Avenue, a rail- 
road track, which will pass northerly from the lower extremity of Cairo to a con- 
nection with the Great Western Railroad of Illinois — the depot being located at 
the intersection of this avenue with "Adams Avenue" on the triangular block 
marked on the Plot "Main Railroad Depot." Other connections can be made 
with the Western Railroad, as distinctly shown in Chart No. i, giving to this 
city incalculable facilities of communication with the interior of the State of 

The works required in order to prevent the recurrence of the evils occasioned 
by the crevasse, and to afford a more perfect protection against overflows than 
they have heretofore imparted, are as follows, viz.: 

(Here follows a detailed statement or estimate of the expense of 
raising the Ohio levee eighteen inches and of culverts or sewers of 
masonry through the Ohio levee and of the elevation of the Mississippi 


levee the same as the Ohio and of the construction of a new levee to 
connect the Mississippi levee with the cross levee about one hundred 
and fifty yards from the margin of the Mississippi River and parallel 
thereto, and of the enlargement and increased elevation of the cross 
levee and of the restoration of the levee where the crevasse existed 
on the west as shown in drawing No. 2.) 

A copy of "Drawing No. 2, Topographical Sketch of Cairo," is found 
on another page ; and I may here remark that the copies of the maps and 
plats contained in the book contain a great deal of information which 
I have not deemed necessary to state or repeat. An examination of 
them will answer many questions which would otherwise seem very 

Col. Long must have been, in some way or other, in the service of 
the Trustees, or he must have been specially directed by government 
authority to give careful attention to the two rivers here and the site 
of the city. His son, Capt. Ivong, as above stated, was in the service of 
the Trustees and just why his report, which was for them, should be 
directed to Col. Long, 1 do not know. 

Col. Long was at the head of the expedition sent out to the Rocky 
Mountains, in 1819, by the secretary of state, John C. Calhoun, under 
President Monroe. The members of the party embarked on the Ohio 
at Pittsburg on the steamboat "Western Engineer." They reached 
Cairo on the 30th day of May, 18 19. They seem to have stopped some 
time at America, which was then starting out with strong hopes of be- 
coming quite a cit)^ claiming as it did to be the head of navigation. 
While there Col. Long purchased a number of lots and tAvo or three 
years afterwards purchased others. They passed Cairo and went on to 
St. Louis and up the Missouri River and thence to the Rocky Mountains, 
the highest peak of which was given the name of Long, and has ever 
since been called "Long's Peak." It was supposed then to be the highest 
peak of that range of mountains, and while it is put down upon the 
present maps as higher than Pike's Peak, it does not seem to be the 
highest. The occount of this expedition was written by Mr. Edwin 
James and is contained in volumes ten to fourteen of Dr. Thwaites' 
"Early Western Travels," now in our public library. We will refer 
to Capt. Henry C. Long in another chapter. 

Long entertained no fear of the Ohio side of the site causing any 
considerable trouble. I may, however, remark here that the Ohio side 
was neglected so long that very considerable inroads were made a num- 
ber of years ago upon the bank at a number of places, in particular, 
that part of the bank or shore extending from Eighth to Fourteenth 
Streets. Then, too, at points above the city, there have been from time 
to time very considerable abrasions, but none of such character as to 
attract much attention. The difference between the two rivers con- 
sists chiefly in the clearer water and the slow movement of the one and 


the more rapid and whirling current of the other, loaded down with 
sand and silt. On the Ohio side, betvveen Eighth and Fourteenth 
Streets, nothing at all was done until it became evident Ohio Street 
would be cut in two and destroyed. The same thing that had taken 
place on the Mississippi side, in 1874, 1875 and 1876, was taking place 
on the Ohio shore but to a comparatively limited extent. The similarity 
consisted in neglect to adopt and carry out remedial measures to arrest 
the abrasions. On the Ohio side the danger was perhaps a little more 
immediate. The cutting had reached the street line and just inside of 
the street, of the width of eighty feet, stood the line of business houses, 
which would no doubt have been reached in the course of a very few 
years had the supineness of the Trustees, the railroad company and the 
city continued much longer. The situation led to an investigation 
to ascertain whose duty it was to protect the levee embankment and the 
street thereon. It seems to have been concluded that the duty rested 
on the railroad company and the Trustees under their contracts of June 
II, 1 85 1 and May 31, 1855. All three of the parties, however, denied 
liability. In this matter, as in many others, the city and the people 
found the Trustees and the railroad company much disposed to act 
together; but the situation was so plainly to be seen, so much like the 
midday sun in a cloudless sky, that the three parties got together, in 
political phrase, and compromised the controversy by each agreemg to 
pay one-third of the expense. Thomas W. Halliday was the mayor 
then, and friendly to Col. Taylor, the resident Trustee, his father-in- 
law, and also to the railroad company. Tom firmly believed that more 
could be done by conciliatory means, by friendly negotiations, and by 
compromises, than by stout words and lawsuits. This was Tom's 
uniform method of procedure. He did not own the city council, but 
had he owned it, the unanimity could not have been more unanimous. 
One of our newspapers called attention, now and then, to the harmo- 
nious agreement that generally prevailed under Tom's administrations, 
of which there were five or six. While such a state of things does not 
always argue well, it is, as a general rule, far better than factious 
opposition and frequent bickerings, conditions we often see in municipal 
legislative bodies. 

These three parties took hold of the embarrassing situation, and no 
doubt did the best they could. They did nothing to the river or to the 
shore line or its slope. They simply constructed a stone wall at the 
east line or margin of Ohio Street and extended it to the height of four 
or five feet above the street level. It was to serve the double purpose 
of stopping the cutting at or near the upper line of the bank when the 
river was high, and to keep the water from coming over the levee should 
it rise above the same. It has no doubt prevented the cutting caused 
by high water, but it could serve no good purpose where there was 
under-cutting in times of low water. Fortunately there has been 
little of that for many years. How long the high stone wall will stand 
on the sloping shoulders of the river bank, no one can tell. The ever- 
existing danger is that its great weight, coupled with a softening bank 


in high water times, may carry it down. In those contracts above 
mentioned will be found provisions which, had they been enforced, 
would have saved the city its share of the expense of the stone wall and 
have stopped the cutting, which made the wall necessary or something 
else in its stead. We would quote a few paragraphs from those con- 
tracts, but it would require much space, and besides the matter is wholly 
one of history and need not be presented at length. It was the same 
old controversy that was fought over in the United States court at 
Springfield in the suit of the Trustees against the railroad company to 
recover for moneys expended which they said should have been expended 
by the company. That suit was compromised July 18, 1872, and the 
contracts annulled. The Trustees claimed that the railroad company 
should construct the levees and put a stop to the abrasions. The rail- 
road company denied everj'thing it could, especially the claim that it 
should protect the natural banks from the abrasions of the rivers. 
The two litigants seem to have cared for no one and nothing but them- 
selves, and in effect said to the people of the city, that if they wanted 
levees and river-bank protections they would have to get both in the 
easiest and best way they could. Judge Bross, in 1863, began a suit in 
equity in our circuit court against the Trustees to procure, if possible, 
an enforcement of some of the provisions of those contracts ; but he was 
taken off to the United States court at Springfield and found himself 
too weak to cope with his defendants, supported as they no doubt were 
by the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He had cited the multitude 
of circulars and other representations of the Trustees concerning the 
levees and levee protection and the perfect security the purchasers of 
lots would have against the rivers, either high or low. He insisted 
that the purchasers of lots had a right to rely upon the representations 
which had led them to m.ake their several investments, and that to deny 
them that legal right would be a great injustice. The Trustees, on the 
other hand, replied that whatever their representations were, they were 
not of a contractual nature, and that whatever became of the levees 
themselves or of the natural ground upon which they rested, the lot 
owners could have no recourse on them, and that they must bear their 
losses as best they could. I must not dwell longer on this feature of 
Cairo's history, save only to say that if such a condition ever existed 
before or anywhere else, an account of the same can nowhere be found. 
The situation was bare of any qualifying or ameliorating features. 

Returning to the Ohio River abrasion between Eighth and Fourteenth 
Streets, we remark that the stone wall would never have become 
necessary had the Trustees done what they often promised and what 
they started once or twice to do, and that was to extend the wharf from 
8th Street to 14th Street. Many years ago they did a large amount of 
work along there to stop the cutting during low water, but they never 
undertook to do any systematic work in the way of filling the slope and 
protecting it by some system of revetment. They owned the premises 


and denied the right of the city to have anything to do with the river 
banks or the levees. They were private property to be kept up or let 
go, regardless of who suffered by the inroads of the rivers. In the place 
of an extension of the wharf and the improved state of things that its 
extension would have brought about, we now have that unsightly gap 
in the river bank and the perpendicular stone wall as a perpetual re- 
minder of the needy condition in which the city was placed and of 
the parsimony of the Trustees and the Illinois Central Railroad Com- 
pany. The one owned the river bank to low-water mark, and the 
other for all practical purposes owned Ohio Street, and the river was 
destroying both subjects of ownership; but the two parties knew very 
well who was in most danger, they or the people of the city, and hence 
it was easy to get the latter to compromise. The situation was not 
unlike that which existed in 1874, 1875 and 1876, when a long stretch 
of the Mississippi levee went into the river and what is now called new 
levee had to be built. The Trustees owned the levees which the rail- 
road company had built for them ; but their interest in their construction 
and maintenance seemed to change as their sales of lots and lands 
became less and less and their conviction increased that their Cairo 
enterprise would never come up to their expectations. And, therefore, 
some years ago they signified to the city that it could have the levees or 
most of them if it would assume the burden of their maintenance. The 
city saw that it was in a strait betwixt two, and therefore accepted the 
donation, which was no doubt quite as beneficial to the donor as to the 

As bearing on the condition of the levee or river front, from Eighth 
Street to Fourteenth Street, and the matter of the stone wall, I quote 
here from Col. Tajdor's deposition taken in 1866 in a suit between the 
Trustees and the city, in the United States Circuit Court at Springfield, 
to show that it was part of the original plan, agreed upon by the Trustees 
and the railroad company, that the river front should be graded and 
paved from Eighth Street to Fourteenth Street, the same as from Fourth 
Street to Eighth Street: 

"Since the commencement of this suit about $20,000 has been ex- 
pended by the Trustees of the Cairo City Property in constructing a 
sustaining wall at the base of another portion of the same slope, which 
seemed to be necessary to preserve the river bank from abrasion. To 
complete the sustaining wall at the base of the remaining part below 
14th Street of the levee and complete the pavement and improvement 
of the slope of the levee to 14th Street, so as to finish it as a wharf, will 
still require the expenditure of $150,000, and this amount the Trustees 
of the Cairo City Property had procured and had commenced to expend 
for the purpose indicated when their operations were arrested by the 
action of the City Council of the City of Cairo in providing for the 
collection of wharfage by the City authorities. The Trustees will 
proceed to expend this or any other amount necessary to complete the 
wharf to 14th Street as soon as their right to the levee is confirmed to 
them and will extend the wharf still further up the Ohio as the public 
wants may demand." 


To much that I have said in this chapter objection will no doubt 
be made; but it must be remembered that I am writing a history of 
Cairo, and that large parts of it relate to the Trustees and the Illinois 
Central Railroad Company. It was their city by birth and should 
have been theirs for nurture and not for exploitation. I might have 
written a history of Cairo and filled it full of nice things about every- 
body, corporations, land-trusts and all; but it would not have been 
history. Cairo's history is a history of facts, hard facts, most of them 
and most of the time. 

I need not say much about levee construction in addition to what is 
here and there found in other parts of the book. 

The terminus of the Illinois Central Railroad was to be here. The 
company was greatly interested in the work of building a city, but to do 
that and to protect its own terminal property and interests it was 
equally interested with the Trustees in having the best of levees con- 
structed ; and hence those never-to-be-forgotten contracts of June 11, 
1851, and of May 31, 1855. By these contract? the railroad company, 
by the deed of October 15, 1853, had obtained extensive and very valu- 
able grounds, five hundred acres, I suppose, and for these lands and many 
important privileges, it bound itself to furnish the town of the Trustees 
with levees encompassing the §ite thereof and of the width of eighty 
(80) feet on the top and sufficiently high to keep out the highest known 

Many years ago, I procured from the Harvard College library a 
copy of the plat or survey of Cairo's site, made by James Thompson in 
1837. I handed it to Mr. Charles Thrupp, who had resided here in 
Cairo since the year 1850, and requested him to indicate thereon the 
present lines or shores of the rivers. He did so and returned it to me, 
with a line drawn thereon showing how much the shore line had moved 
inward on both sides of the city, since 1837. According to the line 
drawn by him it appeared that the rivers had made inroads almost at 
every point except those immediately below^ the city, on the south and 
southwest. The invasion was so great that I could scarcely believe that 
the line was correctly drawn. And yet it would not be so difficult to 
ascertain the loss at almost every point. The first survey of the town- 
ship was made in 1807, and the acreage given in each congressional sub- 
division or fractional part thereof. Other surveys were made prior to 
1840 and the acreage duly ascertained; and it is very probable that Mr. 
Thrupp was quite well enough acquainted with the quantity of lands 
in the different divisions to enable him to make a fairly correct estimate 

It will be observed that here and elsewhere I have said much about 
the abrasions of the rivers. I have done this in the hope of impressing 
upon the minds of the people of the city the importance of giving the 
closest attention to the action of the rivers upon the shores or banks 


adjacent to the city. It may be said that the matter is quite obvious 
enough. I think so; but it is nevertheless true that time and time again 
the beginnings of abrasions have had no attention given them until the 
expense of the needed vv^ork had increased many fold. 

In the report of the Trustees of October i, 1884, to the shareholders, 
it was stated that after the washing away of the Mississippi River bank 
in the fall of 1875, the government had expended in the protection of the 
bank up to June 30, 1880, $113,351.43, and that the expenditure was 
made upon about three miles of the river bank, commencing a short 
distance below our old cross levee and extending up stream ; and further, 
that the abrasion where the work had been done had been entirely 
arrested and that w^hatever abrasion had taken place since was below 
the government work. The report further stated that since 1851, the 
total erosion prior to the government work had amounted to 963.69 
acres, and that since the work was done most of the land had been 
restored to them, that is, the Trustees. The report went on to say that 
the government work extended but a short distance below the old cross 
levee and not down to the place where the levees came to the river bank. 

The Highest Known Floods. Elsewhere will be found an inter- 
esting table showing the greatest and smallest rainfalls, the highest and 
lowest temperatures, and the highest and lowest water in the Ohio River, 
at Cairo, since the year 1871. This table was prepared for me by Mr. 
William E. Barron, Chief of the Weather Bureau at this place, and 
extends over the period of thirty-nine years. We place it in the book 
for purposes of easy reference. 

The two rivers are so close together that the measure of the elevation 
or level of the water in the one will do also for the other. The Ohio 
River water gauge, when the Ohio is high and the Mississippi low, 
measures for the Ohio only, and when the Mississippi is high and the 
Ohio low it may be said to measure for the Mississippi only. In other 
words, the backwater from the one or the other should not be con- 
sidered as giving here the true level or height of the water in the river 
into which the backwater flows. It may also be remarked that while 
the rivers may be very high at St. Louis or at Cincinnati, Louisville or 
Evansville or even at Paducah, it does not follow that they will be high 
here at all. High water at those places seldom attracts attention here; 
and especially is this the case with the Mississippi River. It is the Ohio 
only which has ever given the city of Cairo any trouble of consequence. 
Even when both rivers are high at one and the same time, little or no 
notice is taken of the matter unless the Ohio reaches one of its very 
highest stages. It is the Ohio that claims for itself the right to rise 
and fall through a perpendicular distance of fifty feet. The Mississippi 
and its chief tributaries come from the cold regions of the north and 
their high waters do not reach Cairo until the sun is well up in the 
heavens to melt the northern snows and raise the rivers from the low 
and frozen levels of the winter. These flood waters do not reach Cairo 


as a general thing until about the first of June and sometimes consider- 
ably later. The Ohio, on the contrary, sends down its flood waters 
three or four months earlier. The highest floods ever known or recorded 
were those of 1882, 1883 and 1884, and the highest point reached each 
time did not vary twent>^-four hours from February 25th of each of 
those years. As elsewhere stated, the Tennessee is the largest of the 
Ohio's tributaries. It is a large river, coming out of Virginia, West 
Virginia and Kentucky, crossing the state of Tennessee at Knoxville 
and entering the state of Alabama near Chattanooga and then running 
for some distance in the last named state turns northward and again 
crossing the state of Tennessee, passes for the distance of fifty miles 
through the state of Kentucky and discharges its waters into the Ohio 
just fifty miles by river measurement from the citj^ of Cairo. Just 
above the mouth of the Tennessee, and at the distance of twelve miles, 
the Cumberland River also enters the Ohio. These rivers and the Ohio's 
other tributaries are filled full by the early spring rains, which are much 
heavier than further northward, and the consequence is that the Ohio 
at Cairo is seen to mount up at a rapid rate and rush forward into the 
Mississippi at a speed hardly to be expected considering its usually 
gentle flow. 

We read accounts of great floods in the Mississippi more than a 
hundred years ago; but as before stated, great floods at considerable dis- 
tances above Cairo, in either river, are not reliable indications of what 
they were here. At St. Louis and Kaskaskia or Ste. Genevieve, there 
were great overflows in 1785, 181 5 and 1844, and at many other times 
since. As to the flood of 181 5 at this place, it is said that the water was 
so high that persons rode in skiffs or other boats out as far as Charleston. 
Many times since 181 5, the water across the river in Missouri has ex- 
tended far out over the adjoining country, but none so far as Charleston, 
we suppose. In 1785, Augustus Chouteau went by skifE or other small 
boat over the American bottom from what is now East St. Louis to Kas- 
kaskia; but it is also stated that the flood of 1844 "^^'^ higher by two 
feet than that of 1785, in that region on the Mississippi. The over- 
flow of 1844 could not have been, for this region, very high; for it 
seems to be a well established fact that the Cairo levees withstood that 
flood and securely protected the citj', which by that time had been 
reduced to verj^ small proportions, but for other causes than high rivers 
or inundations. It is exceedingly difficult, if not quite impossible, to 
reconcile the accounts found here and there concerning the great floods 
in the Ohio and Mississippi from Cincinnati and St. Louis to the mouth 
of the Ohio River. When we consider the fact that we have no very 
reliable information as to the exact height of the Avater here at Cairo 
prior to 1867, we must concede the difficulty of obtaining exact informa- 
tion at other points. Such information would be found to exist only 
where immovable monuments of some kind could be found upon which 
the different heights of the water had been carefully inscribed. 


The Floods of 1832 and 1840. — The English bond-holders, in 
1840, sent to Cairo Mr. Septimus Worsley, of London, to examine and 
report the condition of things he found here; and in a letter dated 
Cairo, Illinois, July 14, 1840, he says, speaking of the levees: 

"The measures, as stated by Mr. Strickland, are perfectly correct, 
and I have practical proof that if the proposed bank had been completed, 
the site of the City of Cairo would have been perfectly protected from 
this year's flood, the greatest that has been know^n for eight years — the 
waters at their highest stage not having reached within two feet of the 
top of the levee, which has not yet in any place been carried up to its 
proposed height; it was also ascertained, that whilst the waters higher 
up the river were rapidly increasing, the waters around Cairo, after 
they had attained a certain height, did not rise more than an inch 
during the day." 

The Flood of 1844. — As elsewhere stated, Mr. Miles A. Gilbert 
came to Cairo in June, 1843, and during the remainder of that year he 
constructed the cross levee extending from a point near Eighteenth 
Street and Ohio levee out westward and then bearing northward and 
connecting with the Mississippi levee. The length of this line was 8670 
feet. That work was no doubt well done, for it and the other levees 
seem to have withstood the high water of 1844. If the reader will turn 
to the topographical map of Cairo made by Mr. Henry C. Long Septem- 
ber 2, 1850, he will see the lines of the Cairo levees and what is said 
thereon regarding the height to which the water arose. It must have 
been thought very extraordinary that Cairo should escape that flood when 
at so many other places it had caused great loss and damage. 

The Flood of 1849. — We hear nothing more of overflows or 
high rivers until the year 1849. Regarding the effect of the flood of that 
year upon Cairo, we give here an extract from the "Cairo Delta," of 
March 20, 1849, entitled "High Water": 

The rivers have been higher during the past week at this point than they 
have been since the construction of our levee. Had several hundred dollars been 
expended last winter in repairing a break in the Mississippi levee, repairing the 
sewers and elevating slightly portions of the Ohio levee, the spectacle would 
have been presented of this being the only point in this region of country on the 
rivers, not more or less inundated. The public would have beheld a place, which 
for years back has been ridiculed above all others, through unfair prejudices, as 
a point subject to frequent inundations — standing alone and singular, almost the 
only dry and perfectly protected town on the Ohio or Lower Mississippi rivers. 
But through the negligence or inattention of the company owning this valuable 
property — or probably from their ignorance of the real want of such expenditure 
— these trifling repairs and improvements were not made, and Cairo, like almost 
every other place above and below on the rivers, has suffered from the floods. 
The flood first poured through the old break in the Mississippi levee till the 
waters inside the levees became higher than the Ohio river, and finally reached 
such a height as to overflow the Ohio levee in different places. Our stores and 
the Delta office have not been much discommoded by the flood. 

We trust and hope that the repairs so much needed will no longer be^ post- 
poned. We are satisfied that if the company were fully aware of the injury 


inflicted upon their interests here, by this deferred expenditure, it would no longer 
be withheld. The expense of making repairs is now much increased. The im- 
mense value of this property, and the high prices lots would undoubtedly bring if 
offered for sale, might warrant any expenditure for its protection. 

We hear of immense destruction of propertj' on almost every western river. 
The coast below is suffering severely, and the prospects of many extensive sugar 
planters are blasted for two seasons to come. Never before have we heard of 
so great a rise in all our rivers taking place at one time. The noted floods of 
1844 cannot compare with the memorable floods of 1849. 

We have seldom heard anything much about the flood of 1849; but 
Editor Ad. H. Sanders seems to have had an excellent newspaper and to 
have treated everything he took in hand with sound judgment. But at 
this distance of time, we cannot be very certain about any such matter 
or thing occurring that far back. The Trustees of the Cairo City 
Property were in charge. They were endeavoring to perfect their 
land titles, and were doing many other matters and things of a pre- 
liminary nature. Even at that time, they had strong hopes of an Illinois 
Central Railroad, whose terminus would be here at Cairo, and which 
would aid them in putting up high and strong levees; and it may be 
that they did not care to spend considerable sums on the levees as they 
then existed. Still, we can see no good answer to what the editor has 
said regarding what might have easily been done to prevent the disaster. 

The high water of 1858, which broke through the Mississippi levee 
on the afternoon of Saturday, June 12, 1858, was not of extraordinary 
height. It is said the levee had been badly constructed, at least in 
places; that those persons having that part of the levee in their im- 
mediate charge left stumps and logs in the line of the levee and had 
used the same so far as they would go instead of well selected earth. 
Col. Taylor was here on the ground and this was his statement both to 
the public generally and to the committee of shareholders sent here to 
investigate the calamity. Col. Taylor and Mr, H. C. Long were here 
all the time during the construction of the levees by the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company. The contracts of June 11, 1851, and May 31, 
1855, provided that the engineers of each party should co-operate with 
each other in carrying forward that great and most important work of 
levee construction. Who used the logs and stumps as a part of the 
levee construction and whose duty it was to know what was being done 
and prevent the wrong, need not at this distant day be considered. But 
if there was more than a grain of truth in what Col. Taylor said was 
the cause of the inundation of the city, it should have aroused the 
indignation of the twenty-five hundred people then in Cairo. It no 
doubt led to a better supervision of the work; for since that day we 
have never heard of anything like it occurring again. 

The Flood of 1862. — On the 20th and 21st days of July, 1863, two 
large public meetings of the citizens of Cairo were held at the court 
house to consider the condition of the levees. Col. John S. Hacker was 
the chairman and David J. Baker the secretary of the meetings. Among 
the men present and taking a part were Daniel Hurd, Robert H. 


Cunningham, Dr. E. K. Hall, John W. Trover, Peter Neff, John 
Howley, Martin Egan, David T. Linegar, and Joseph McKenzie. 
The proceedings of the meetings were published in the Cairo Daily 
News of July 27, 1863. The resolutions adopted were long and wide 
in scope and ladened with severe complaints against the Trustees. Por- 
tions of the speeches are given. I quote two or three of the preambles 
and a sentence or t^vo from one of the speeches to show their references 
to the floods of 1858 and 1862. 

And whereas, this said temporary levee did, in the year 1858, give way, and 
the city was thereby submerged to an average depth of twelve feet, causing a 
loss of life and the destruction of property to the amount of hundreds of thou- 
sands of dollars, besides a vast deterioration in the value of real estate, and a 
loss of confidence in the practicability of building a city at this unrivalled com- 
mercial point; 

And whereas, the rivers did, in the j-ear 1862, rise to a height of fourteen 
inches above the present levees, and the city property' was greatly endangered, 
and was only saved by the industry of the citizens by turning out and erecting 
and guarding temporary levees on the top of the present Ohio river levee ; 

And whereas, the levee on the Ohio river, between the graded part thereof 
and the Illinois Central freight depot, has caved and is still caving to an alarm- 
ing extent, and to the great detriment of propert}' holders; * * » In 1862, the 
levee was again found to be insufficient. You all remember the consternation 
that spread among the inhabitants, and how all packed up and fled to the levee 
for safet}% You also remember how the people took the matter of defense into 
their own hands, and worked almost day and night at the false levees that 
finally saved us. Had it not been for these efforts we would have been over- 
flowed, and worse disasters and a greater destruction of property would have 
taken place than in 1858. 

It will be here seen that as far back as that early day the bad con- 
dition of the river front from Eighth Street to Fourteenth Street was 
being complained of as the source of much trouble to the city. Those 
contracts of June 11, 1851, and iMay 31, 1855, between the Trustees 
and the Illinois Central Railroad Company provided for the extension 
of the work all the way to Fourteenth Street; but it was never done, 
and after many years the situation became so bad as to necessitate some 
remedy or other, and hence the present stone zvall on the river front. 

The Flood of 1867. — Mr. Barron, in speaking of the River Gauge, 
in Chapter XI, says that the flood of March, 1867, reached a stage of 
51 feet, measured by the present gauge. This information may have 
come from Col. Taylor or from some one else who had preserved a 
mark of the same on some building or structure that was still standing 
in 1871, when the gauge was first put in or established. — It was indeed 
a trjdng time to the people, not unlike what it was in 1862, to judge by 
the proceedings of those public meetings just referred to. 

The writer had not been here long and this was the first high water 
he had seen at Cairo. But for another reason he remembers its 
occurrence. He had charge of a stock of drugs for sale, and had ad- 
vertised the same somewhat extensively, with the result that James S. 
and Philander W. Barclay, the former of Chicago, and the latter from 


Bowling Green, Kentucky, came here with a view of purchasing the 
same and locating in Cairo. They purchased the stock and thus began 
their wholesale and retail drug business which they conducted here for 
so many years. Besides recording the fact that this sale was con- 
summated only a few days after the water had reached its highest mark, 
I desire to record here also my high esteem and regard for those two 
men. The population of Cairo was long made up of people who were 
born elsewhere; but of all who came hither and made their homes here, 
it would be hard to mention citizens of higher character and standing 
than these two Kentuckians. Whether it was due to their state, or 
their town, or their parents, or the general environment in which they 
grew up or were trained, they bore the true stamp of character, to bear 
which ought to be the proudest possession of any man. James removed 
from Cairo to Oak Park in the year 1892, and there, ten years after- 
ward, he and his wife died within a few weeks of each other. The 
other brother remained in Cairo until the time of his death July 6, 
1907. He had long been a prominent Mason, and had, some years 
before his death, reached the thirtj^-third degree, a very high honor 
indeed in that ancient order. A biographical sketch of him, but all too 
meager, is found in Volume I, Templar History, Illinois, 1857-1881. 
There were six of the Barclay brothers, a picture of whom, taken in 
Louisville in 1901, is now in the possession of Mr. Phil C. Barclay. 
Of those six brothers, but one, Jo C. Barclay, is now living. Else- 
where I have spoken of the five Halliday brothers, of whom Major 
Edwin only is now living. 

With reference to those floods in the early eighties, it may be said 
that the first of the three was the only one that caused the people of 
Cairo any serious apprehension, and that arose almost chiefly from the 
fact that a part of the levee on the westerly side of the city was of recent 
construction, and was made to take the place of a portion of a much 
older levee that had been undermined by the abrading waters of the 
Mississippi. This new levee had not become sufficiently firm and solid 
as to wholly prevent the sliding down of the inside slopes here and there. 
Even this would not have occurred had not the builders of the levee 
excavated too close to it, and the consequence was that water accu- 
mulated in these excavations and so softened the foot of the levee inside 
that at one or two places very considerable portions of the inside of the 
levee slid down into the excavations below. The people were very much 
alarmed by this. The water in the Mississippi was very high and of 
the width of at least a mile or more ; and the heavy winds blowing 
northeastward pressed the waters with great force against the levee. 
The situation looked very bad indeed ; but when the flood subsided and 
the waters were withdrawn into their natural boundaries every one saw 
that the city was in much less danger than the people had supposed. 
That new levee had been constructed with a long fine slope and it was 
seen how the great flood of waters that seemed to be pressing against 


the levee was simply resting upon the long slope. But after all is 
said it was a remarkable time, such as every one hoped would not be 
seen again. Had the levee been as weak as it looked it might have 
given away entirely; but the faithful and untiring efforts of the citizens 
of the town so strengthened and fortified the weak place that all fear 
was largely removed. The strong men who had charge of that work 
were Capt. Halliday and Mayor Thistlewood, or Mayor Thistlewood 
and Capt. Halliday. I know not which of them I should name first. 

Proposed Canal Between Rivers, 1838 




WHILE our levees have effectively protected the city from over- 
flow for fifty years, we have not been able to adopt any plan 
to prevent seepage. The underlying strata of sand at and 
below a certain depth are full of river water, whose level rises and falls 
with the rise and fall of the waters in the rivers. The rivers unite in 
these subterranean waters. The natural earth surface of the city pre- 
sents a number of ridges, generally extending across the city in a south- 
east and northwest direction. One crosses 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th Streets 
diagonally; one, two or three blocks further north; one, still further 
north and extending on northwestward to and beyond block numbered 
four, in the third addition to the city ; and one from the vicinity of the 
stone depot on the Ohio at Fourteenth Street and out by the office 
building of the Trustees and Mr. J. B. Reed's residence. From thence 
up to the vicinity of Twenty-Eighth Street, the natural ground is 
generally very low. In these ridges it is claimed that much more un- 
derlying sand is found near the surface than in the much lower and 
level ground, and that these ridges are the chief sources of the seep 
water. The seepage is due to the pressure of the high waters in the 
rivers upon the water in the underlying sand, and the latter is forced 
up to the surface through the porous earth or sand or through openings 
caused by the decayed roots of trees or otherwise. If the underlying 
water is much nearer the surface in the ridges than in the low grounds, 
then indeed more water may seep from the ridges than elsewhere; but 
this is counteracted by the increased height to which the water must 
be forced or lifted. It is well remembered that in the days of driven 
wells, iron pipes of two inches diameter w^ere driven into the earth to 
the depth of sixty to eighty feet, and when the rivers were high these 
pipes would send out constant streams of water. Hence those ordi- 
nances of the city forbidding excavations in the earth for any purpose to 
any considerable depth. 

In times of very high water in the rivers, the city is much like an 
empty basin sunken almost to its brim. The minutest opening in the 
bottom of the vessel will permit a stream of water to shoot up almost 
to the level of the brim. To prevent this, there is but one effective or 
practical remedy, and that is earth filling. It is the process of stopping 
the openings in the surface of the ground within the city. The only 
other method ever suggested was to stop or keep the river water from 
getting under the city. That is undoubtedly the best of the two or 



the best of all methods or remedies; but as a working method or theory, 
it is so wholly impracticable as to be worth very little. It assumes that 
the sources of the underground supply of water from the rivers are few 
and easily reached and stopped or shut off by what is called sheet piling. 
With a river shore line of seven to ten miles and the whole site of the 
city nothing but an alluvial plain resting on sand, very much like the 
Illinois Central bridge piers which rest on nothing but sand, how one 
could expect to keep the river water from finding its way everywhere 
under the city is hard to understand. The driven wells in all parts of 
the city north and south exhibited the same water connection with the 
rivers and no doubt had hundreds of places of supply. They simply 
tapped the river water right under them and conducted it to the sur- 
face. It was forced to the surface in the city by the pressure of the 
higher water in the rivers. The water was simply seeking its level. 
The city protected itself against those sources of water from the river 
by requiring the driven well pipes to be plugged. 

In the selfsame way, the method to stop the seepage was to stop 
the innumerable openings throughout the city, reaching down to the 
waters beneath, by filling the low grounds with earth to such depth as 
would prevent the penetration thereof by the upper pressure of the water. 
Were it practicable to fill with earth all the low grounds within the 
city to a depth of four to six feet or to the grade of the filled streets in 
the lower part of town, we would be free forever from the great evil 
to which the seepage has so long subjected the people of the city. No 
one has ever seen any seepage, not the smallest quantity, making its 
appearance on any of the filled streets in the city or where the natural 
surface has been covered with earth to the depth of four or five feet. 
The expense of this process has been the only thing in the way of putting 
the city beyond the reach of this great annoyance. The low site of the 
city has always been its chief drawback. Earth filling has been the 
great need, almost the only need. Such work is the work every one 
should want done. It is simply making the site of the city just what 
every one would have it to be, — higher and higher than the rivers left 
it when they were shut out by the levees. 

Earth filling is the need, not sand. In all those parts of the city 
now filled or being filled with sand, the seepage will rise just as high as 
before the filling. The water will come up through it just as it comes 
up to the natural surface through the sandy strata extending down to 
the river waters. Were our levees sand only the waters would not be 
kept out of the city. Earth embankments are used for dams the world 
over, because the water will not penetrate them. So, also, a few feet 
in depth of earth filling will keep down the upward pressing seepage 
water. But the earth here is a poor quality even for levees. It has 
too much sand. 

The Linegar Bill. — Under Mayor Charles O. Patier's administra- 
tion, an attempt was made to test the legality of the act of our legis- 
lature passed May 19, 1883. It was called the "Linegar Bill" be- 


cause David T. Linegar, the county's representative in the lower house 
of the legislature, had drawn it. Its provisions show that it was care- 
fully drawn. It provided for the filling of the low lots and grounds 
of the city and charging the expense thereof upon the lots and grounds 
filled. Doing this, however, was dependent upon its being shown that 
the rain and seepage accumulated on such lots and grounds and became 
stagnant and injurious to the public health and that such lots and 
grounds with the stagnant waters thereon were nuisances. The people, 
with few exceptions, were heartily in favor of the bill and of proceedings 
under it to abate the evil, which was one to be gotten rid of, if it were 
possible, upon any reasonable terms or conditions. It had existed ever 
since the town and its levees had existed ; and strangers and visitors were 
amazed that we could not devise some means to rid ourselves of these 
annual invasions. 

Mayor Patier started out to ascertain whether the Linegar Bill was 
worth anything or nothing. An ordinance was adopted October 17, 
1892, describing certain very low lots and providing for their filling 
and for steps to be taken to collect therefrom the costs of the work, which 
were made a lien on the lots. Lots fourteen and fifteen, in Block 
fifty-one. First Addition, were selected for the making of a test case. 
Among the few persons in the city who opposed the bill or the doing 
of anything under it, were Col. Samuel Staats Taylor and Capt. 
William P. Halliday, in most respects the two most prominent men in 
the city. Col. Taylor's reasons for opposing it no doubt arose from the 
fact that his Trustees owned more low lots and grounds than almost 
all the other people in the city, and that the assessments thereon would 
become a heavy burden, very difficult to be borne by them. Capt. Halli- 
day could have had no such reasons for his opposition ; for he owned few 
such lots. He wrote or had written a lengthy article which he pub- 
lished in the Cairo Daily Telegram of June 20, 1891, in which was 
set forth at large his reasons for claiming that earth filling was not 
our remedy for seepage. He insisted that to prevent the water from 
the rivers entering the sand ridges in the city we should resort to sheet 
piling, cuts of which were given in the Telegram. He took the strange 
ground that filling the low grounds with earth would actually increase 
the quantity of seepage and would not keep it from coming in but 
would add to its depths in other parts of the city and send it to quarters 
where it had not formerly gone. In a word or two, his reasons were, 
first filling the low places with earth would make matters worse, and 
second, the Linegar Bill was unconstitutional. 

Patier, however, was pushing the slow proceedings along to test the 
validity of the bill, when he was succeeded in office by one of our citizens 
who cared less for the undertaking than he did ; and so the proceedings 
were not carried further; and to put a final quietus to the matter, that 
is, to the danger incident to filling the low grounds with earth, Capt. 
Halliday applied to the source from which the law emanated and had it 
repealed, April 24, 1899. We do not know what the considerations 
were which moved the legislature to this repeal; but whatever they 


were, their act was in the nature of a calamity to the city. The mem- 
bers who were solicited to procure the repeal should have said that the 
act seemed to them a good one and that if it was unconstitutional it could 
be shown before the city could proceed more than a few steps in their 

Thus came to an end one of the most important proceedings ever 
undertaken for the good of the city and its people. The principles of 
the bill had been sustained time and time again in a number of cases 
in different states, where large lots and tracts of land in and adjoining 
cities had been filled in precisely the same way and to remove the same 
evils. JViUon v. Board of Trustees, 133 111. 443; Dinghy v. City of 
Boston, 100 Mass. 544; Grace v. Board of Health, 135 Mass. 490; 
City Council of Charleston v. Werner, 38 S. C. 448; same case 17 S. 
E. R. 33; 24 S. E. R. 207; Sweet vs. Rechel, 159 U. S. 380. Other 
cases might be cited, but those given will enable anyone to trace the 
authorities. It is a little remarkable that when this matter was before 
the people men were to be found in the city who claimed that the seep 
water was a good thing to have in the city and that it was not a 
nuisance to be abated. Few persons, however, went so far as to object 
to its being pumped out of the city and into the river. We have never 
had anything in the city which developed so many queer, not to say 
absurd, theories as did this seepage question and the remedies for the 
same. The low grounds were objectionable in every view of the case, 
and to get them higher and above seepage and accumulated rain water 
was a need too plain for argument. The low site of the city has been 
the only thing which has prevented it from being four or five times as 
large as it is. 

It may be said, it serves no good purpose now to dwell at such 
length upon such a past matter as this; but the city still stands in the 
greatest need of earth filling; and it is to be earnestly hoped that it is 
not too late to obtain, in some large measure, the object the bill was 
intended to secure. As elsewhere remarked, next to protecting the site 
of the city from the abrasion of the rivers, comes the matter of raising 
the site by earth filling. 

But if earth cannot be gotten or gotten onl}'^ at too high a price, 
sand should, of course, be used. We have seen that it can be pumped 
into the city at rates much less than those required for earth, and hence 
the inducement to use it. It will not keep the seepage out or down, but 
it will keep it out of view, and it will so raise or lift the earth surface 
that for many purposes it will be as useful as the higher grounds of the 

Street Filling. — Whatever may have been thought by the people 
generally as to the need of filling with earth and raising the site of the 
town, all were agreed as to the importance of filling the streets and 
bringing them to a proper grade or level. In their natural condition 
they were and some of them are almost impassable some portions of the 
year. Very little of this kind of public work had been done prior to the 
year 1863, when the city authorities took the matter in hand, and 


July 15, 1863, contracted with Capt. William P. Halliday to fill with 
earth Commercial Avenue to 20th Street, Washington Avenue and 
Poplar Street to i8th Street and all the cross streets from 1st to i8th 
Streets, both inclusive. The contract provided that the filling should 
be made to the present grade of those avenues and streets and at the cost 
of thirt}'-five cents per cubic j^ard. The contractor gave a bond in the 
sum of $25,000.00 for the faithful performance of the work. 

It seems, however, that the contractor, after filling part of Com- 
mercial Avenue, found that he had taken the work at too low a price, and 
differences arising between him and the city, the contract, on the 23d 
day of June, 1864, was rescinded and the bondsmen released by the city 
council of the cit>^ The Trustees in their report to the shareholders, 
September 29, 1864, speak of this matter as follows: 

"So, also, from inability of the contractor to do the work at the 
contract price, the contract for filling the streets at 35 cents the cubic 
yard has been annulled, and a new contract made by the city council 
for doing the same work at 60 cents the cubic yard. This contract for 
filling the streets only embraces streets up as far as Twentieth Street." 

A short time after this, namely, on the loth day of November, 1864, 
the council let the same work to George Odiorne at 60 cents per cubic 
yard, but Odiorne does not seem to have given the required bond of 
$25,000.00, and the arrangement failed. Afterwards, and on the 25th 
day of Februar}', 1865, the council let the work to Fox, Howard & Com- 
pany, of Chicago, but at the price of 74 cents a yard. That was forty- 
five years ago and we do not know what the actual facts and circum- 
stances of the situation were which made it necessary or important to let 
go the one contract and bond and take up the others. Something over 
eighteen months elapsed from the first to the last letting. These some- 
what peculiar proceedings seem to have been entirely fair and proper, 
judging by the well known names of the persons in charge of the matter. 
David J. Baker, whom every one esteemed very highly, was the chair- 
man of the board of public works. 

Fox, Howard & Company proceeded with the work and in its prose- 
cution used a steam shovel for excavating the earth and filling their long 
line of tram cars to haul the same into the city and along the different 
streets to be filled. The work was pushed forward rapidly, and com- 
pleted late in the j-ear 1866, or early in the year 1867. The assessments 
for paying for the work were levied upon the abutting lots according to 
the frontage principle and as provided for in the laws then in force re- 
garding such matters, but this method of assessment having been held 
unconstitutional under our then existing constitution of 1848, in the case 
of Chicago vs. Larnedj 34 111. 203, the collections of the assessments 
had to be abandoned, with perhaps almost one half of the assessments 

Upon it becoming known in the city that these assessments were not 
legally made or levied, all payments of the same immediately ceased ; 
and the question at once arose as to the liability of the city to refund to 


the owners of property the assessments they had paid. Two cases were 
begun against the city to test the question, the one by Capt. Walter Falls 
and the other by Patrick Mockler. The Falls suit only was tried. 
Judge David J. Baker, our circuit judge at that time, heard the case 
without a jury, and decided that the city was not liable to refund the 
payments, chiefly on the grounds that the payments were voluntary and 
there had been no failure of consideration, for the filling had been done 
and the benefits thereof conferred upon the property upon which the 
assessments had been made and had been paid. Capt. Falls took his 
case on to the supreme court, where the judgment of the circuit court 
was affirmed. See Falls vs. City of Cairo, 58 111. 403. 

The payment of assessments having ceased, the city was without 
means to pay the contractors, and they therefore brought suit against 
the city for the balance due them, and on the 29th day of April, 1868, 
obtained judgment for the sum of $110,390.09. 

The city taking no steps to pay the judgment, they applied directly 
to the supreme court for a writ of mandamus to compel the city council 
to make a special levy of taxes to pay the same. The court awarded the 
writ, but the matter was adjusted, under Mayor John H. Oberly's ad- 
ministration, without further proceedings, by the issuance to Fox, How- 
ard & Company of eight per cent twenty year city bonds to the amount 
of $123,000,00. The interest on these bonds was paid for a few years 
only. The city in 1876 stopped payment of the interest on these bonds 
and on all of its other bonds, the larger portions of which were railroad 
bonds. Extensive litigation then ensued and continued for many years, 
resulting finally in compromises and settlements, generally by exchanging 
new city bonds for the old ones on terms agreed upon from time to time 
by the holders and the city authorities. The city had undertaken to 
carry too heavy a load. It and the county had issued to the Cairo & 
Vincennes Railroad Company and the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad 
Company (narrow gauge) bonds to the amount of $385,000.00. The 
six and eight per cent interest had accumulated rapidly; and when the 
city and county ceased payment in 1878, their bonded indebtedness 
amounted to the large sum of $765,373.30. 

This bonded indebtedness trouble of the city hung upon and clouded 
it for many years beginning with 1876. The county united with the 
city in attempts to obtain relief from burdens concededly too heavy to be 
borne; and the writer takes occasion here to remark that the services of 
the Hon. William B. Gilbert in his representation of the city and county 
in the litigation with bond-holders and in the various methods of com- 
promises and settlements were of the greatest value. With the greatest 
tenacity of purpose and the most unremitting and persistent efforts on 
his part, he brought the city and county out of one of the most 
embarrassing financial situations in which such municipalities could pos- 
sibly be placed. 



PABSSD THE S' £' ' y^^ 

'i* P?tAy, /f^d 

miihority and power confi-Trcd upon iliem by an act passed and 
approved by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois. Febru- 
ary 27th, 1811, to incorporate the CITY OF CAIRO glinting] 
and giving to said company the exoreiso of such powers, rights and i 
privileges, as aro contained m an Act to incorporate the city of 
Quincy, passed and approved February 3d, 1840,— Do hereby de- 
clare the following, and ordain iht-same as no ordinance, under (he 
charier granted said CAIRO CITV AND CANAL COMPANY 
as follows : 

Bo it ordained and enacted by ihe President and Directors of 
iho Cairo City and Canal Company. Thai the following ordinance 
for tlic City o( Cairo, according to tho provisions of article 5ih, 
section 18, under tho charter of said City, "To enact and regulate 
private wharfs and fi.i iho price of wharfage ihcront," ihat from 
and after the first day of iT"'**** f^^h there shall bo charf»cd a 
wharfage upon all Boiiis which shall remain longer than twenty. four 
hours ai Cairo City, without a permit nr licenso from ihc said Cai- 
ro City and Canal Compnn), granting them tho pruihgrio remain 

andall Roats wliicli shall he found remaining upon tho Cairo Ciiy 
River Landing or its prcimscs, lonjtor than said iweniy-four hours 
without such permit or liccn--fi from said Cairo Company, shall be 
considered as trespasses and bo subject to pay a fine of Five Dol- 
lars for each and everyday they continuo to vtolaie iheir ordnance, 
which fine or penally shall bo collected or recovered hcforo any 
Mogi&trato in tho cuuniy of Alexander, and funhor, thai ihe raie- 
of wharfage to bu charged upon all said Boacbf and iho permits o 

licences to bo granted or not granted, shall be charged at the fol- 
lowing rates afler ihe expiraiioniof said twenty-four hours viz : ns 
follows — 

For all Flat, Keel or other Boats, engaged, used or occupied in 
the business of vending, selling or retcUing merchandize, Dry 
Goods or Hardware, or othei" descriptioi of Goods, the sum of 
Five Dollai-s per each day. 

For all Flat, Keel or other boats engaged, used or occupied in 
, tho business of vending, selhng or retailing any articles of Agricnl- 
; taral Produce of any kind whatever, the sum of Three Dollars per 
\ each day. 

For all Flat, KocI or other boats engi^ed, used or occupied in 
the bus'ne s of .selling, vpndlng or retailiig any spirituous liquors 
by the dram, glass, quan or gallon m any quantity less than a bar- 
rel, the sum of Five Dollars per each day. _ 

l-'or all wluu'f, Sioro or othor boats engaged, used or occupied as 
a Wharf Boat for Steam Boats lo land at or for storage, receiving 
or forwarding merchandise, Dry Goods, Produce or for vending, 
'Clling, retailing or wholesaling Groceries, Liquors, Merchandise, 
Dry Goods or Produce, ihc sum of Twenty-Five Dollars per each 

Tho above ordinance shall bo in force and apply lo that part of 
ihc Lcvcc or Laniling, cororocncing at the junction of the Ohio and 
Mississippi Rivers and extending up the said Levee or Landing on 
iho Ohio River 'TTf • '>4u'Li^ 




HE paved wharf as it now exists extends from the south line of 
■ 4th Street to the north line of 8th Street, a distance of ten 
hundred and eighty ( 1080) feet. The paved face of it extends 
nearly to low-water mark on an angle of about eleven degrees to 
the plane or level of Ohio Street adjoining; and the distance from the 
street line to the paving at or near low-water mark is about two hundred 
and ten (210) feet. There are, therefore, about 24,000 square yards 
in its surface or about five acres or as much as two of our largest city 

Looking at the wharf now and at the river bank above and below it, 
we can easily see what the river landing was prior to the construction 
of the wharf, which was begun in the year 1857. Prior to that time and 
for thirt}' years, the flatboats, keelboats, and other like water-craft, and 
the steamboats, wharf boats, barges, &c., had to land at and be tied 
up to the bank, and there were, therefore, the most primitive and 
temporary means for loading and unloading and caring for passengers 
and freights. 

Hence, arose at a very early day in Cairo's history, the question of the 
ownership of the river banks or shores, and of the right of the owners 
to collect wharfage or dues for the privilege of landing and tying up 
to the shore for a greater or shorter time. The collection of wharfage 
seems to have begun as far back as 1843, possibly earlier. By the act 
of February 17, 1841, the Cairo City and Canal Company had been 
vested with all the powers of the City of Quincy; and on the 23d day 
of May, 1843, the Company passed an ordinance providing for the col- 
lection of such dues, a photograph copy of which, signed by D. B. Hol- 
brook, is given on another page. At this time the town had fully entered 
upon its decline. No more funds were to come from England, nor were 
they expected to come from American sources; and it may be that this 
ordinance had its origin in the hope that some small amounts might 
be obtained from water-craft, which would enable the landed proprietors 
to hold out a while longer, or until substantial aid came from other 
quarters, or until they could sell out the whole enterprise. So far as 
we know, the ordinance probably had little other effect than to prejudice 
still further the growing river interests against the town. 

Very soon after Col. Taylor's arrival here in 1851, the matter of 
collecting wharfage dues was again taken up ; and the Trustees, whom 
he represented, were proceeding to make these dues an important source 
of their needed revenues. Many of the leading people of the town 



believed the Ohio River shore or wharf, such as it was, belonged to 
the public and that the Trustees had no legal right to claim the same 
or to charge or to collect wharfage dues thereat. They seem to have 
claimed, first, that the title of the Trustees did not extend further than 
high-water mark, and, second, that the Trustees and their predecessors 
had dedicated the wharf and landing to the public by doing this and 
that, and especially by the making of maps and plats showing the river 
front and other places in the city to be public grounds and property. 

The city, or that which we have called a cit}^ all the time, became 
incorporated as a town in March, 1855 ; and on the 27th day of March 
and the 2d day of April, 1855, the trustees of the town passed two 
ordinances, the one imposing a fine of $50.00 a day for maintaining at 
the landing any wharfboat, flatboat, storeboat, floating dock, flat, barge, 
keelboat, or other water-craft, without license or permission from the 
city, and the other, a fine of $75.00 for making sales on such boats or 
keeping hotels thereon. On the i6th day of April, 1855, Solomon 
Littlefield and Samuel Wilson, the latter of whom is well remembered 
by scores of our citizens, filed their bill in chancery in the circuit court 
of the county at Thebes against the said town trustees, who were 
Samuel Staats Ta^dor, Brj^an Shannessy, Peter Stapleton, Louis W. 
Young, Moses B. Harrell, and Robert Baird, constable, to enjoin them 
from enforcing the said ordinances. The injunction was issued, and the 
case came up for a hearing on demurrer by the trustees, before Judge 
William H. Parrish, the circuit judge of our county at that time, and 
said to have been a very able man and judge. William A. Denning, 
before that time one of the judges of our supreme court, was the attorney 
for Littlefield and Wilson, and John Dougherty and Cyrus G. Simons, 
the attorneys for the town and its trustees. Among the papers in this 
chancer)' suit are printed copies of those two ordinances and of two 
others dated March 31st and April 4, 1855. The four ordinances are 
signed or attested by Edward Willett as clerk. Judge Parrish seems 
to have disposed of the suit in rather short order, and held that Little- 
field and Wilson had not stated a case entitling them to any relief, and 
dismissed their bill. 

The town trustees elected March 10, 1856, seem to have differed 
widely from those of the preceding year. They were Thomas Wilson, 
Cullen D. Finch, McGuire Phillips, Samuel S. Taylor and Charles 
Thrupp. The judges of the election were Bryan Shannessy, Robert H. 
Cunningham, and Edward Willett, and the clerks Henry H. Candee 
and John Q. Harmon. The election was by ballot and not by viva voce 
votes, and hence there was probably more freedom in voting than at the 
election the j^ear before. The issue seems to have been the same as 
that made in the Littlefield and Wilson suit, and the election must have 
gone in favor of what they represented, although they had lost in the 
circuit court. This new board of trustees had a strange habit, as Col. 
Taylor says, of frequently holding meetings without notifying him. 
On the 24th day of May, 1856, they passed an ordinance aimed at Col. 
Taylor's Trustees, just as the former board had passed the tu^o ordi- 


nances of March and April, 1855, which seemed aimed at certain citizens 
who had wharfboats at the landing. Under this ordinance, just men- 
tioned, George D. Gordon, whom a few of our citizens well remember, 
was appointed wharfmaster and was to collect the wharfage dues. 
Under the ordinance and the efforts made to enforce it, a confused state 
of things arose. Gordon was able to collect only about $400.00 of 
wharfage during his term of service, during which time as much as 
$8000.00 in dues had accrued, almost all of which was lost both to the 
city and the Trustees. The Trustees, to defeat the attempt of the 
town trustees to enforce this ordinance of May 24, 1856, obtained an 
injunction against them in the United States Circuit Court at Spring- 

This suit was no doubt still pending when the first election came on 
March 7, 1857, under the city charter of February 11, 1857, and 
which resulted in the election of Col. Tajdor as mayor and the following 
named aldermen: Peter Stapleton, Peter Neff, Patrick Burke, Rodger 
Finn, John Howley, Henry Whitcamp, Christopher M. Osterloh, Mar- 
tin Egan, Timothy N. Gaffney, C. A. Whaley, William Standing and 
Cornelius Manley. Quite a majority of these aldermen seem to have 
been favorable to Col. Tajdor and the policy of the Trustees, and they 
lost no time in wholly undoing what the last Board of Town Trustees 
had done regarding wharfage, for on March nth, four days after their 
election, they repealed all ordinances relating to wharfage, and thus 
ousted the wharfmaster, George D. Gordon. At this election Mr. 
Henry H. Candee was chosen cit}^ treasurer and John Q. Harmon 
clerk. March 9th, they were directed to demand of the town trustees 
all books and records of every kind and all moneys and funds, belonging 
to the town government. Whatever became of the books and records 
of the former town government I do not know. I have seen no record 
indicating anything concerning them. 

Whatever, also, became of the suit in the Federal court to enjoin 
the town trustees of 1856, we do not know, but we find that within 
a few weeks after the voters of the city had substituted David J. Baker 
as mayoT in place of Col. Taylor, another ordinance was passed by the 
council to take charge of the wharf or of the collection of wharfage. 
Following the passage of this ordinance, Fredolin Bross brought a suit 
against the Trustees to obtain an enforcement of the contracts of June 
II, 185 1, and of May 31, 1855, between the Trustees and the Illinois 
Central Railroad Company. (We have referred elsewhere to this suit 
of Judge Bross.) In the report of the Trustees to the shareholders, 
September 29, 1864, we find these references to this Bross suit and to 
the ordinance last mentioned: 

In May last, a bill was filed in Chancery, by F. Bross, who purchased a lot, 
in 1856, from the Trustees, praying the court to compel the performance, by the 
Trustees, of the contract entered into by them with the lot purchasers, as he 
claims, to build the levees provided for by the first agreement between the late 
Trustees and the Illinois Central Railroad Company. Our counsel are of the 
opinion, that there is no good ground for any such claim or suit. The case 


will be removed, at the proper time, from the local court in which it was in- 
stituted, into the United States Court, at Springfield. 

In April last, the City Council of the City of Cairo passed an ordinance 
providing for the appointment of a Wharf Master, and the collection of wharf- 
age at our levee wharf. The Trustees immediately restrained the operation of 
this ordinance by an injunction, issued out of the United States Court. The 
injunction was granted about three weeks before a regular term of the court, 
at which it would have been proper for the City to ask for a dissolution of the 
injunction. But at the time of granting it, the counsel for the City asked for 
time beyond the term of the court to answer the bill upon which the injunction 
was founded, and then, July ist, asked for further time, until October ist, to 
make this answer. The only foundation that the Trustees are aware of for the 
claim advanced by the City for the wharf, is set forth in a resolution adopted 
at a citizens' meeting, in July, 1863, of which the following is a copy, viz.: 
That as the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are public commercial highways, and 
the landing at this city a public landing, that can only be controlled and regu- 
lated by the public, or those authorized by the Legislature of the State; there- 
fore, the authority claimed and exercised by the Trustees of the Cairo City Prop- 
erty, in the collection of wharfage, etc., is a gross violation of the rights of the 
City, a fraud upon the city treasury and an usurpation of power. 

Our counsel have not a doubt of the abilit>^ of the Trustees to maintain their 
right to the wharf, and to defeat the City in its pretended claim. 

In this Springfield suit, brought b}^ the Trustees in April, 1864, there 
was filed as an exhibit to Col. Taylor's deposition, a large map or plat 
of the City of Cairo, made by William Strickland, architect and 
engineer, and Richard C. Taylor, engineer and geologist, probably in 
1838, to which exhibit was attached the following affidavit, subscribed 
and sworn to before John W. Ash, Notar\^ Public at Alton, February 
22, 1866. 

"My name is Miles A. Gilbert. My age is 56 and my present 
residence is in Saint Mary, state of Missouri. I moved to Cairo, Illinois, 
in the year 1843, and took possession and charge of all the property there 
belonging to the Cairo City and Canal Company, acting as their agent 
up to June, 1846, the time the property' was transferred to the Trustees, 
Thomas S. Taylor and Charles Davis. From that period, I acted as 
agent for said Trustees up to April 18, 185 1, the time S. Staats Taylor, 
Esqr., came and took charge of the trust. I resided at Cairo from 1843 
to the latter part of 1846; from 1846 till 1851 was at Cairo a con- 
siderable portion of the time. During the aforesaid periods, as agent, 
I exercised control and authority over the high river bank and strips 
of land lying between Levee Street in the Cit\' of Cairo and the Ohio 
River, and during the whole time made and asserted continuous public 
and notorious claim to said ground. As agent had notices stuck up in 
several of the most public places in Cairo, requiring trading, boarding, 
family and flat boats and other similar water craft landing at or moored 
to the shore to pay wharfage. In some cases I collected wharfage and 
in others remitted it when business was dull and they could not afford 
to pay. As agent I pointed out places for trading boats, flat boats 
and other water craft to land at and use for the time being. Also 
pointed out a certain location to be used especially for steamboats to 
land at, and often, when trading boats and flat boats would land at 


the place, assigned for steamboats I required such trading and flat 
boats to remove to some other place, which I pointed out, they usually 
doing so without trouble. I frequently employed men to clear off logs, 
drift wood and other obstructions lodged on the levee, and generally 
during the entire period spoken of exercised exclusive control and owner- 
ship over the entire river bank and levee at Cairo, from the confluence 
of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for about three miles up the Ohio. 

"1 was one of the incorporators and also a director of the Cairo City 
and Canal Company from its inception, during the entire period of its 
existence and was familiar with its operations. I was and am familiar 
with the map made by Mr. William Strickland, the engineer of that 
company. He never made but one plan and no plat. The plan accom- 
panied a report made by him to the company in 1838 and was made to 
illustrate his recommendations as to the best method of building a city 
and improving and developing the property at Cairo. This report was 
printed and the map was engraved on different scales and some attached 
to the printed reports. I hereto annex one of the plans and reports 
marked Exhibit Y ; also one of the plans on a large scale marked Exhibit 
X. This plan was never adopted by the company as a plat of the city ; 
the city was never laid out according to it; no survey was made by 
authority of the company under it, and no lots sold under it. It was a 
sketch of a proposed plan for a city, to be adopted or not as the company 
might thereafter determine. 

Miles A. Gilbert." 

This suit also seems to have determined nothing, for Col. Taylor, 
with the aid of certain influential friends here, prevailed upon the z\Xv 
council to withdraw its defense to the suit. This action of the council 
only put off the day of the decision of the question ; for it came up again 
in the quo warranto suit brought in the name of The People on the 
relation of John W. Trover against Marmaduke S. Ensminger, wharf- 
master, in 1868. This suit finally settled the question of the right 
of the Trustees, as riparian owners, to the wharf and to collect wharfage, 
after the matter had been pending in one form or another since 1855. 
This ruling of our supreme court in the Ensminger case was, by the 
Supreme Court of the United States in Barney vs. Keokuk, 94 U. S. 384, 
held applicable only in those States where it had become a rule of 
property' or where the restrictions of the riparian owner to high-water 
mark would be an interference with vested rights. 

With the exception of certain river frontage or lands fronting on 
the one or the other of the two rivers which have been sold, the Trustees 
must be now regarded as the owners of all the river frontage on the 
rivers. Their titles extend on the west, to the middle thread of the 
Mississippi, and on the east, to low-water mark on the Ohio. In the 
old city charter of February 11, 1857, the legislature extended the city's 
boundaries to the middle of the main channels of both rivers, but this 
it could not lawfully do as to the Ohio. See "The Ohio River as a 
Boundary" in a subsequent part of the book. 




THE geological formations of that part of the valley of the Missis- 
sippi extending from a point or line a few miles north of Cairo 
to the Gulf, and of the width of a few miles at Cairo and of 
many miles at the Gulf, is well known. This long strip of land or 
country is a kind of widening trough, into which the flowing waters 
have carried an ocean of sand and silt for ages. It is said that an arm 
or bay of the Gulf, in very early times, extended to the chain of hills a 
few miles north of us and constituting a part of the present Ozark range 
of mountains. It is further said that the Ohio River once ran some miles 
north of its present course from the hills in Pope County, and following 
somewhat the course of the little French River, the Cache, united 
with the Mississippi some distance above its present place of union with 
that river; and also, that the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers united 
at Paducah, and followed the present course of the Ohio from there to 

May it not be reasonably well supposed that the tendency of uniting 
rivers is to extend the point of junction further and further in the direc- 
tion of their resultant course? Be that as it may, it is well established 
that this part of the great valley for hundreds of feet in depth consists 
for the most part of alternating strata of sand and gravel of varying 
degrees of fineness, that is, of very fine to very coarse sand and gravel. 
Many of us remember the first driven wells we had in Cairo and of the 
one or two very deep wells sunken by Mr. Jacob Klein, one of which 
was of the depth of 300 feet or more. Mr. Gerould, of the gas company, 
had charge of this work for Mr. Klein. It was indeed interesting to 
see the character of the pure and almost white sand brought from the 
depths below, varying in little else besides its degree of fineness. For 
a few feet more or less it was very fine and then very coarse. 

We cannot devote much space to this matter, but beg the privilege 
of quoting a few pages from the report of Mr. L. C. Glenn, of the 
United States Geological Survey, entitled "Under-ground Waters of 
Tennessee and Kentucky West of Tennessee River, and of an Adjacent 
Area in Illinois." It is Water-Supply and Irrigation paper No. 164, 
Government Printing Office, Washington, 1906. The theory of the 
course of the Ohio River ages ago is regarded as probably but not cer- 
tainly true, as therein given. 

Embayment Area in Illinois. — "In Illinois, the Gulf Embayment 
Area includes the south-eastern part of Alexander County, all of Pulaski 








, -^i;°" 

Upland loess , 

V/A \ 


Lafayette 1 

^n 1 



County south of the chain of swamps in its northern portion, and a very 
narrow strip in Pope County along its southern boundary. 

"This area in Illinois may be divided into two portions that differ 
from each other in their surface topography and elevation. One por- 
tion comprises the low, flat alluvial plains of the Mississippi and Ohio 
rivers. The other portion is a rolling to hilly upland. 

"Flood plain. — The alluvial plains extend as a broad belt from Santa 
Fe down the Mississippi to Cairo and thence as a narrow belt up the 
Ohio to a poin^ a few miles above Mound City, where the upland 
bluffs on the Illinois side close in on the river and continue with but 
slight interruption to a point a short distance north of Metropolis. 
There the flood plain again begins and widens as it extends up the river 
until it attains a width of several miles in the bend at Paducah. This 
flood plain extends up the Ohio beyond the limits of the gulf embayment 

"The elevation of this low plain is about 320 feet at Cairo and 
about 340 or 350 feet along the edge bordering the upland. In places 
the alluvial plain and the upland meet along a sharply defined line, the 
upland surface rising abruptly as a steep-sided bluff. In other places, 
the two types of surface meet and merge with gentler slopes. 

"Cache River Valley. — The flood plain of Cache River below Ullin 
is a part of this alluvial plain and is covered by backwater during floods. 
Above Ullin, the valley of the Cache is a continuation of the same plain, 
though it is bordered on the south by a rolling upland that rises a 
hundred feet or more above it. 

"The Cache River valley is an abandoned valley of Ohio River, and to 
this fact it owes its width, flat surface, and low grade. The Ohio form- 
erly turned westward three or four miles below Golconda and followed 
the valley of Big Bay Creek for some distance, then continued westward 
to the present Cache River through the depression now occupied by the 
chain of swamps in northern Massac County. The Cumberland and 
Tennessee rivers then united at Paducah and followed the present 
course of the Ohio from there to Cairo. 

"Uplands. — The upland region includes all of Pulaski County lying 
southeast of the Cache River valley and north of the Mississippi and 
Ohio flood plain, which extends, as has been stated, a short distance 
north of Mound City. It also includes all of Massac County south 
of the chain of swamps which crosses its northern part, except the strip 
of Ohio flood plain in its southwestern part, and a small area of Pope 
County adjacent to the Massac Countj^ line. The upland has a rolling 
to hilly surface whose average elevation is 375 to 450 feet above sea 

As to other geological features of this locality, the reader is referred 
to the tables or logs taken from the above described government pub- 
lication. They relate chiefly to the artesian wells in the citj^ and 
in the Cairo Drainage District. I am indebted to Major Edwin W. 
Halliday for the pamphlet containing the above information and table. 


For information about almost everything of a practical nature, most of 
us have been accustomed to go to Major Halliday. 

The Signal Station. — ^The two following papers were very kindly 
furnished me by Mr. William E. Barron, the local forecaster of the 
Weather Bureau of Cairo. 

"The Weather Bureau is a branch of the U. S. Department of 
Agriculture, established July i, 1891, to take charge of the meteorolog- 
ical work of the Government which had grown up since 1870, under 
the Signal Service of the War Department. 

"The first reports of this service were gathered Nov. i, 1870, from 
twenty-four stations. The station at Cairo, Illinois, was established 
June I, 1 87 1. At that time there were only forty-nine stations; now 
(1910) there are over two hundred regular observing stations, besides 
a large number of special and co-operating stations of various kinds. 
Sergeant Henry Fenton was the first officer in charge at Cairo and the 
office was located in the old City National Bank building on the Ohio 
levee. It has been in the present location in the Custom House since 
July I, 1877- 

"Cairo is situated in latitude 37° 00.8' N., longitude 89° 11.6' W. 
Local mean time is three minues faster than Central Standard or 90th 
meridian time. 

"The instruments in use at the Cairo station are as follows: 
Maximum and minimum thermometers, dry-bulb and wet-bulb ther- 
mometers, psychrometer, Richards thermograph, mercurial barometers, 
Richards barograph, anemometers, anemoscope or wand vane, self-re- 
cording rain gauge, snow gauge, electric sunshine recorder, and meteoro- 
graph or triple register." 

Accompanying this paper was a very interesting table giving the 
highest and lowest temperatures and the dates thereof, the highest and 
lowest water in the rivers and the dates thereof, and the rainfalls, since 
the establishment of the Station in 187 1, up to the present year, a period 
of thirt}^-nine years. It will be found in the last chapter of the book. 
I am sure it will be found very useful to almost every person of this 
section of the country. 

The River Gauge. We have to thank Mr. Barron, also, for the 
following paper concerning the River Gauge : 

"The river gauge is located on the Ohio levee at the foot of Fourth 
Street. It was established in 1871 by Col. William E. Merrill, Corps 
of Engineers, U. S. A. The high water of March 20, 21, and 22, 
1867, was equivalent to 51.O feet on this gauge. The portion of the 
gauge above the 9-foot mark was reconstructed by the Weather Bureau 
in 1903, and from 9 to 50 feet consists of steel I beams laid in a bed 
of concrete nearly flush with surface of the levee, making an angle of 
about 11° 15' with the horizontal. The zero of the gnugc is 270.9 
feet above mean tide level at Biloxi, Mississippi. The gauge is gradu- 
ated in feet and tenths of elevation from — 2 to 55 feet." 




In and near Cairo several deep wells have been sunk. The loca- 
tion and logs of several of them are as follows: 

The first deep boring is at the power station of the Cairo Electric 
Light and Power Company, on lot 29, city block 26, and was drilled 
in 1896-97 to a depth of 1,040 feet. The diameter is 10 inches at the 
top and decreases to 6^2 inches at the bottom. The log is as follows: 





Sandy blue clay 

Sand and gravel, similar to river deposit 

Sand with kaolin partings 


Sand with a few thin layers of kaolin and traces of shale and 


Shale or marl, slate colored 

Very soft sand 

Partings of shale and lignite 

Chert of "Elco" gravel 

Chert pebbles 

Hard, reddish calcareous sandstone; no water in it 












From the sand at 498-518 feet water rose to the surface and flowed about a 
gallon a minute. The following sanitary analysis of this water was made at the 
University of Illinois by Prof. A. W. Palmer; 


Parts per million 

Nitrogen as free ammonia 0.35 

Nitrogen as albuminoid ammonia .023 

Nitrogen as nitrites .009 

Nitrogen as nitrates .204 

Chlorine as chlorides 83 

Oxygen consumed 3.4 

Total solids by evaporation 365 

Fixed residue 348 

Volatile matter (loss on ignition) 17.1 

Comments of analyst: "Too much time — ten days — had elapsed between col- 
lection of analysis to be sure of sanitary condition, though it is probably satis- 
factory. The mineral matter consists mainly of carbonate of lime, with some 
sodium chloride and very little sulphate. Not excessively hard. Not likely to 
form a hard scale in boilers." 

Professor Palmer also analyzed the water from the 7os-foot level, with the 
following results: 





(Parts per million) 

Nitrogen as free ammonia 

Nitrogen as albuminoid ammonia 

Nitrogen as nitrites 

Nitrogen as nitrates 

Chlorine as chlorides 

Oxygen consumed 

Total solids by evaporation 

Fixed residue 

Volatile matter (loss on ignition) 




















Comments of analyst: "Of exceptional purity and perfectly safe and whole- 
some for drinking. Hardness is quite moderate." The two samples were taken 
at the same time. 

The Halliday Hotel well, on lot 24, hotel addition to city of Cairo, has 
practically the same log as the one given above. The boring went to 824 feet, 
but there was no increase of water below the 700-foot level. It was drilled in 
1897; diameter at the top 8 inches, at the bottom 4^/2 inches; temperature 62° F. ; 
head 12 feet above the surface. 

A well on the W. P. Halliday estate, near the mouth of Cache River, in 
about the center of the NE. 14 sec. 2, T. 17 S., R. i W., in Alexander County, 
had the following log: 





























Soil and blue clay (buckshot) 

Sand and gravel; drift with kaolin partings. 

Brown shale or marl 

Gray sand 

Chert, fractured — "flint rock" 

Dark brown sand 

Chert fractured — "flint rock" 

White sand 

Flint rock with slight fractures 

Flint pebbles 

Flint Rock 

From the last 7 feet water with a head of 12 feet flows at an estimated rate 
of half a million gallons a day. There was no increase in water below 735 feet. 
Drilled in 1898; temperature 62° F. 

Another well at E. W. Halliday's residence on lot 16, block 70, between Ninth 
and Tenth and Walnut and Cedar Streets, in Cairo, had the following log: 























Soil and friable blue clay (loess or terrace) 

White sand with thin partings of kaolin (Lagrange) 

Gray shale or marl (Porters Creek) 

Fine, closely compacted white sand (Ripley) 

Flint rock, but slight fractures (Paleozoic) 

Flint pebbles 

Hard calcareous sandstone 

From the 753-foot level there is a flow of 60 gallons per minute, with a head 
of 12 feet above the surface. The temperature is 62° F. Four hundred gallons 
per minute may be pumped. 

There are other similar wells at several manufacturing establishments in 
Cairo and the records run much the same. The temperature seems to be 62° F. 
in each case, and the static head is the same. The material described as flint 
is a ver}^ light colored chert of Mississippi age that is exposed in a 150 or 200 
foot face at a quarry between Tamms and Elco, from which it is extensively 
shipped for railroad ballast and road material. In this locality it is highly 
fractured, so that it is virtually of macadam size without crushing. As struck 
in wells it is in some places massive and solid, while in others it is seamed and 
broken, and is then called gravel by the drillers, though in neither wells nor in 
the Elco gravel quarry is the material waterworn or rounded, being simply me- 
chanically disintegrated chert still in place. 

We know very little concerning the site of the city, save that it is 
of very recent origin. The point between the rivers may have had a 
very slow southward movement or been now and then cut off and moved 
back northward. Certain it is, that what was the point sixt}^ years 
ago was the point one hundred and three years ago when the first 
government survey was made. From the most southern east and west 
line of that survey, within a few hundred feet of the point, to the foot 
of the yellow clay and gravel hills at Mounds, we have the distance of 
seven or eight miles. These hills, which extend north of Villa Ridge 
and over to the Ohio River, are old compared to the alluvial plain 
south of Mounds. They have, no doubt, the same origin as that of the 
Wickliffe and Columbus hills in the so-called Gulf embayment area. 
At no distant time in the past the two rivers may have united just 
south of Mounds. Their present general direction at Mound City 
and at or near Beech Ridge, where the distance between them is about 
six miles, would indicate that they may have once united just below 
Mounds or some six or seven miles north of us. The site of the city 
may have existed a number of centuries, save that it has been narrowed 
and widened from time to time and elevated somewhat by the rivers. 
The grounds south and west of the Mississippi levee afford us a good 
illustration of made land, as it is sometimes called. None of it is one 
hundred j-ears old. It would require a hundred j-ears yet to make it 
what the site of the city was in 1818, so far as the timber growth 
is concerned. 



IT may be said we need nothing more concerning the early history 
of the Illinois Central Railroad, so much having been already 
written. We think, however, that what we shall say herein about 
the road and especially about its origin, will be found neither superfluous 
nor inappropriate. 

A full and complete history of the road might be written which 
would contain little about the city of Cairo ; but a history of Cairo with 
little therein about the road would be unworthy of its title. As I 
have before remarked and shown, the present Cairo owes its origin to the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property and the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company. To make the statement a little more complete and accurate, 
it may be said it owes its origin to Darius B. Holbrook and his Cairo 
City and Canal Company of March 4, 1837. But this leads us still a 
little further back and requires the statement to be made that Cairo and 
the Illinois Central Railroad, in their respective origins, were largely 
Kaskaskia enterprises. Nor must I fail to notice in this chapter the 
part taken by the Trustees of the Cairo City Property in the work of 
procuring government aid to build the railroad. 

This close connection of the starting of the city of Cairo with the 
origin or starting of the Illinois Central Railroad, I will now proceed to 
set forth as briefly as a clear understanding of the matter will allow. 
I cannot do this, however, without frequent references to Judge Breese 
and Senator Douglas, whose correspondence, in December, 1850, and 
January, 1851, furnishes quite an outline history of legislation con- 
cerning this railroad. So much has been said about the congressional 
land grant of September 20, 1850, and so little about the many years 
of hard and persistent work which led up to the grant, that one would 
suppose the road had its origin in that enactment; and hence a very 
imperfect view of the matter has been quite too generally taken and 
credit given and credit withheld contrary to and against the actual facts 
of the history of the enterprise. 

It now and then occurs that in the hour of exultant success they are 
forgotten who had borne the burden and heat of the day and made 
possible the success credited to others. Lapse of time may separate the 
first movers in the enterprise from those last in it and present at the 
finish ; but when the clouds and dust of noisy triumph have lifted and 
cleared away, the final award will go without dissent to those in whose 
minds the great undertaking first took shape and by whose hands it was 
first started towards an actual existence. 




That a magnificient donation of lands was obtained instead of pre- 
emption rights merely, that it was to the state and not to a private 
corporation, were matters of importance; and that the work and man- 
agement bestowed upon their procurement deserve high marks of recog- 
nition no one would deny ; but in looking around to find to whom credit 
and honor should be given for the completed enterprise, it was very un- 
just that the award should extend no further than the finishing workmen. 
The man who plans and builds up to the laying of the corner-stone, 
if no further, should not be forgotten when the capstone is hoisted into 
its place and the celebration begins. Even if some changes were made 
in his plans as the work progressed, and even though he may have died 
and been years in his grave, yet the injunction still obtains that tribute 
and honor must go to whom tribute and honor are due. But I must 
not delay showing Judge Breese's connection with the starting of Cairo 
and with the beginning and growth of the Illinois Central Railroad 

Judge Sidney Breese was the originator of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road. Others completed the great undertaking; but he had carried it 
on so long and faithfully that the work remaining to be done was neither 
very long nor very difficult. He had gone from New York to Kas- 
kaskia a j^ear or two prior to the admission of the state into the Union, 
and there began the reading of law in the office of Elias Kent Kane. 
He must have been familiar with all of the proceedings of the legislature 
then taking place, and especially with the preparation of the act of 
January 9, 1818, incorporating the city and bank of Cairo, and also 
with the proceedings of the convention which there drafted our state 
constitution of 18 18 and in the making of which Kane took so promi- 
nent a part. We read how he and his ox team conveyed the state 
records from Kaskaskia to Vandalia in 1821, and of the numerous offices 
he filled in early life and of his steady advancement in the esteem and 
favor of the people. He was no doubt well acquainted with John G. 
Comegys and his Kaskaskia associates and with what they did and 
were unable to do with their Cairo enterprise of 1818, at which early 
day there was no railroad anj^vhere in the United States nor in Eng- 
land, if anywhere else. 

Passing over a few years and many events, and premising that Breese 
kept well and fully abreast of the times with their then very promising 
outlook, we come to the year 1835, in the months of August and 
September of which he and Miles A. Gilbert and Thomas Swanwick, 
of Kaskaskia, entered the south halves of sections fourteen and fifteen, 
the east half of section twenty-two, all of sections twenty-three and 
twenty-four, the northeast quarter of section twenty-six and the west 
half of the northwest quarter of section twenty-five, of township seven- 
teen south, range one west of the third principal meridian. A month or 
two later Anthony Olney and Alexander M. Jenkins entered other lands 
in the same and other sections, and David J. Baker still others in the 
same and other sections. The whole of the entries amounted to about 


twenty-three hundred acres. Quite a large part of these lands are now 
embraced in the present city of Cairo. 

I must not proceed further before joining the name of Darius B. 
Holbrook with the names of the men already mentioned, — Breese, Baker, 
Jenkins, Gilbert, Olney and Swanwick. I will let Judge Breese tell us 
how Holbrook came to be one of the Cairo men of whom I am now 
speaking. In his letter of January 25, 185 1, to Senator Douglas, we 
find the following: 

"At the called session of the legislature which followed it in '35-'36, 
I found Mr. Holbrook at Vandalia, then a stranger to me, endeavor- 
ing to procure charters for manufacturing purposes, as I understood. 
Believing him to be the man of great intelligence and expanded views, 
I unfolded my plans to him and seizing upon the project, which had 
been started in 18 18 to build a city at the mouth of the Ohio, which 
the projectors. Gov. Bond, and others, had then denominated 'Cairo,' 
he fell into my views, and being a man of great energj^, he proposed the 
formation of a company to construct the road and build the city." 

These entries of lands may be said to be the beginning of the second 
attempt to start a city here; and we shall now see how closely the 
starting of the Illinois Central Railroad followed the entry of the lands; 
for in the state senate, at Vandalia, on the 29th day of December, 1835, 
Col. John S. Hacker, representing Alexander and Union Counties, 
introduced a bill to incorporate the Illinois Central Railroad Company. 
The persons named therein as incorporators were Alexander M. Jenkins, 
David J. Baker, John S. Hacker, Henry Eddy, Wilson Able, Richard 
G. Murphy, Pierre Menard, Miles A. Gilbert, Francis Swanwick, John 
Reynolds, Harr\^ Wilton, Sidney Breese, John M. Krum, D. B. Hol- 
brook, Simon M. Hubbard, James Hughes, Albert G. Snyder, and forty 
other persons, all of whom with a few exceptions lived in the southern 
part of the state as it was then known. Some amendments were made to 
the bill, but it soon passed both houses and was approved January 16, 
1836, a day on which eight other railroad companies were incorporated 
by the legislature. 

No time seems to have been lost by the men who made these land 
entries and procured this incorporation of the railroad company; for on 
the 13th day of the February following, the board of directors held a 
meeting at Alton, and no doubt having in mind that canal donation act 
of March 2, 1827, and its allowance by the act of March 2, 1833, 
for a railroad in lieu of a canal, proceeded at once to draw up a memorial 
to congress for aid in their railroad undertaking, and deputed the 
president of the company, Alexander M. Jenkins, and the treasurer of 
the board, D. B. Holbrook, to proceed at once to Washington to present 
their application for government aid. At that meeting of the directors, 
Breese was no doubt present ; nor can there be any doubt as to the part 
he took in the preparation of the memorial. Miles A. Gilbert was the 
secretary of the company and of that meeting and his name is affixed to 
the papers accompanying the memorial, one of which is his certificate of 


the appointment of Jenkins and Holbrook to present the memorial to 
congress. It is an able paper and would probably fill eight or ten pages 
of this book. It is Document No. 121 of House Reports of the second 
session of the 24th congress, pages 305, 519, etc. 

This memorial was very probably the first request ever made of the 
general government for aid in the construction of a railroad. The act 
of March 2, 1833, granting to the state the right to use the grant of 
March 2, 1827, for the construction of a railroad in lieu of the canal, 
is not a like case. There the donation had already been made. Jenkins 
and Holbrook proceeded to Washington almost immediately, and placed 
the memorial and accompanying papers in the hands of the Illinois mem- 
bers, who at once laid the same before congress and had the proper 
reference made; and on March 31st, only two and a half months after 
the act of incorporation had been passed, a favorable report was made 
and a bill presented to congress making a pre-emption grant. Consid- 
ering the means of travel at that early day, it will be seen that these 
Southern Illinois and Illinois Central railroad men pushed forward their 
scheme for government aid with a zeal seldom equaled. The prayer 
of the memorial is in these words: "In conclusion, your memorialists 
for the foregoing reasons, and many more which the subject itself will 
suggest to the wisdom and foresight of congress, pray that such a dona- 
tion of lands as the importance of the subject may indicate as reasonable 
and proper may be made to said company ; and that a pre-emption right 
to the whole or a portion of the public lands lying immediately on the 
route of said road, within a distance to be specified on each side thereof 
may be secured to them for a reasonable time within which it may be 
practicable to complete the same." (Signed) "A. M. Jenkins, President 
of the Illinois Central Rail Road Co." (and) "D. B. Holbrook, Treas- 
urer of the Illinois Central Rail Road Co." 

The bill was printed, but congressional action w^as soon arrested 
by the state's embarking upon a system of railroad construction for 
itself and this led our members of both houses of congress to withhold 
their support from this particular enterprise. Douglas and Breese 
knew all about the internal improvement scheme. Douglas always 
led, seldom followed; and it is altogether probable that to him more 
than any one else that ruinous policy of state railroad building was un- 
dertaken. He voted for the bill of Februaiy 27, 1837. 

I have neither time nor space to take up and consider the various 
bills introduced by Breese and by Douglas, and possibly one or two 
other persons at the instance of the one or the other senator. It is 
sufficient to say that Douglas reached the senate in December, 1847, 
and that he worked diligently for government aid for an Illinois rail- 
road. That there were jealousies between them and others interested 
in the work, is somewhat fully set forth in Wentworth's Congressional 
Reminiscences in Fergus's Historical Series No. 24. This is an ex- 
ceedingly interesting paper, giving his account of this railroad enterprise 
in congress during his service of eight years in the lower house. 


But Senator Douglas neither wanted nor sought an Illinois central 
railroad. The road he wanted was a Chicago road, a road running 
direct from the mouth of the Ohio to Chicago, and which would have 
had four-fifths of the state west and north of it; a road which would 
have left Vandalia, Decatur, Bloomington, and LaSalle far to the west- 
ward. The road he insisted upon all the time was one from Cairo direct 
to Chicago and thence to the upper Mississippi. That was the way he 
desired to connect the upper and lower Mississippi with the Lakes. 
He and his Chicago associates, strongly supported by their eastern 
friends, wanted to draw all the business to Chicago, whence, after reach- 
ing there, it would go eastw'ard, and little if any of it towards the Gulf. 
They would have succeeded with this plan had not our other members 
in congress plainly said that they would not stand for such a road, which 
could not in any view be called a central railroad. The old line of 
road from Cairo to Galena had been before the people too long, and 
had been insisted upon so strongly that to give up the line wholly for 
another which had in view only the interests of one city in the state was 
quite out of the question. Douglas' constant insistance on the Chicago 
road weakened the enterprise of a central railroad all the time. He 
and Breese had found their plans in whatever shape presented meeting 
with successful opposition all the while. One wanted more, and the 
other less because of the great doubt as to their being able to get any- 
thing at all. Breese believed in asking less and getting something, 
rather than asking more and getting nothing. 

This leads to the inquiry, how did Douglas at last get his donation 
of September 20, 1850? The history of it is told by his brother-in- 
law, Col. J. Madison Cutts, of the Army, in that large government 
volume entieled "Public Domain, 1884, by Thomas Donaldson, 262- 
264." Douglas seems to have come finally to Breese's belief and to have 
found that government aid would have to be given up unless the scheme 
could be so presented as to look like something entirely new. He knew 
quite as well as any one else how solid the Democratic-South was 
against his railroad land grant and that unless he could fall upon a plan 
that would appeal to their self interest, there was little use of keeping 
the matter longer before congress. He, therefore, went south, to 
Mobile and tw-o or three other cities, and laid before the proper parties 
his Illinois railroad scheme, so modified as to take in the entire country 
from the Ohio River to Mobile, although there were no government 
lands either in Kentucky or Tennessee. This was something that had 
never been offered before. The southern senators, especially those in 
Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky, were kept in ignorance of the 
object of Senator Douglas' visit to the south; and it was only after they 
were importuned by many of their constituents that they consented to 
abandon their long continued opposition to a government grant. It 
was something new to these southern men in and out of congress and 
it led to a new view of the matter of government aid. All Douglas had 
to do and all he did do was to take some one of his or Breese's old and 
beaten bills, change its title and add section seven to bring in Mississippi 


and Alabama as donees, and the work was done. In this way the old 
status in quo of fifteen years was so immediately changed that one must 
have wondered why it had not been thought of long before. The short 
and simple title of the old bill, making a grant of lands in Illinois in 
aid of a central railroad was changed to "An act granting a right of 
way and making a grant of land to the states of Illinois, Mississippi, and 
Alabama in aid of the construction of railroad from Chicago to Mobile." 
This title of Senator Douglas' donation act of September 20, 1850, is a 
fair and just representation of his attitude towards an Illinois central 
railroad. All he wanted was a road to Chicago. This bill would have 
been, throughout, just what its title indicates, had not our other mem- 
bers of congress insisted that the grant should be for a railroad sub- 
stantially as provided for in the acts of 1836, 1843 and 1849. 

But we must submit proof of Douglas' opposition to a central rail- 
road. In his letter of January 5, 1851, to Breese, he says: "You can 
learn, if you will take the trouble to inquire of the Hon. Thomas Dyer, 
who is now a member of the Legislature with you, that in the month of 
September, 1847, I urged him and many other citizens of Chicago to 
hold public meetings and send on memorials in favor of a donation of 
lands to the state to aid in the construction of a central railroad, with 
one terminus in Chicago. It was necessary that the road connect with 
the Lakes, in order to impart nationality to the project and secure 
northern and eastern voters. The old line from Cairo to Galena 
parallel with the Mississippi, with both termini on that stream, was re- 
garded as purely a sectional scheme, calculated to throw the whole trade 
upon the Gulf of Mexico at the expense of the Lakes and the Atlantic 
Sea Board." 

Did this statement of Senator Douglas as to the line he desired the 
road to follow need confirmation, it is found in the proceedings of a 
public meeting at Chicago January 18, 1848, presided over by the Hon. 
Thomas Dyer, just mentioned in his letter. The proceedings were 
published in a small pamphlet, a copy of which is now in the possession 
of the Hon. William B. Gilbert, who received it from Col. Taylor. 
The following is a copy of one or two of its pages: 

"Proceedings and resolutions of a public meeting held at Chicago 
on the subject of a railroad to connect the upper and lower Mississippi 
with the great lakes, printed at Chicago by R. L. Wilson, Printer, Daily 
Journal Office, 1848. 

"A public meeting was held at the court house January 18, 1848. 
Thomas Dyer, Chairman; Dr. D. Brainard, Secretary; Col. R. J. 
Hamilton, J. Butterfield, M. Skinner, A. Huntington and E. B. 
Williams were appointed by the chairman a committee to report resolu- 
tions ; which were reported and unanimously adopted. John S. Wright, 
M. Laflin, J. Frink, J. Rogers and William Jones were appointed a 
committee to confer with citizens. [The last resolution of the five 
offered is in these words:] 

"Resolved that our senators and representatives in the congress of 


the United States, be requested to use their best exertions to secure the 
passage of a law granting to the State of Illinois the right of way and 
public lands for the construction of a railroad to connect the upper and 
lower Mississippi with the lakes at Chicago, equal to every alternate 
section for five miles on each side of said road." 

The remainder of the pamphlet of i6 pages is taken up with Mr. 
Butterfield's address. In that address is found the following: 

"It is proposed to construct a railroad, to connect the upper and lower 
Mississippi with the great lakes. This railroad to commence at the con- 
fluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers at Cairo; thence to proceed to 
Chicago, the head of lake navigation, and from thence to Galena on the 
upper Mississippi" 

Let us now show what connection the Trustees of the Cairo City 
Property Trust had with the above Chicago meeting and the general 
work then going on to secure government aid for an Illinois central 
railroad. This land trust company was an association of New York, 
Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, Syracuse and other men, owning about 
ten thousand acres of land between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and 
at their junction, and who were lavishly spending their money east and 
west to obtain national aid for a central railroad, which they well knew 
was necessary to their Cairo enterprise. 

The western representative of these men was Samuel Staats Taylor, 
of New Brunswick, New Jersey, long connected with the United States 
Bank. His headquarters were at Chicago, where he remained from 1846 
to April, 1 85 1, and until the hard and long protracted work at Wash- 
ington and Springfield had been brought to a close. The Cairo men, 
or men interested in Cairo, beginning with Breese, Holbrook, Jenkins, 
Gilbert and others, and ending with the Cairo City Property people, 
had been working, many of them continuously, for fifteen years, to 
obtain a central railroad, in furtherance of their city enterprise here at 
the junction of the two rivers. To show what Taylor was doing at 
Chicago as the representative of the Cairo City Property, I give here 
two separate statements made in his own handwriting fifty years ago. 
They were entered by him on the large sheets of an abstract of the title 
to the lands of the trust here, and are as follows : 

"Public meeting of citizens of Chicago held January 18, 1848, at 
the Court House, pursuant to public notice, to consider the feasibility 
of constructing a railroad to connect the upper and lower Mississippi 
with the Great Lakes, recommending that a grant of public lands be 
made to the State of Illinois for the purpose. This meeting was gotten 
up at the instance of Justin Butterfield, who prepared and delivered 
at it an elaborate speech (a copy of which see on file), copies of which 
and of the proceedings were sent to the diliferent County Seats along the 
proposed line of the road, and public meetings held at them advocating 
the project and instructing their representatives in Congress to support 
it. Mr. Butterfield in this acted upon the suggestion of S. S. Taylor, 


agent of the Trustees of the Cairo City Propert)^ who occupied an 
office in Chicago with Mr. Butterfield ; and those Trustees paid all the 
expenses attendant upon the movement." 

"The entire receipts of the Trustees of the Cairo City Property, from 
sales, rents, wharfage, and all other sources have been used in improve- 
ments and other expenditures at Cairo, except what was required to 
repay in New York moneys borrowed at the beginning of the trust, 
about 1848, to defray expenses connected principally with arrangements 
and legislation for procuring from Congress the grant of land to the 
State to build the Illinois Central Railroad." 

The receipts of money from the sources above enumerated were 
probably a million and a half to two million dollars, and all of it was 
expended here at Cairo, "except what was required to repay in New 
York^ etc." This excepted amount is not given, but it would not have 
been mentioned at all, had it not been up in the tens of thousands. 
Holbrook was one of the very largest shareholders, and never expected 
to do or effect much without the use of money. He and his Trustees 
of the Cairo City Property, from the time of their appointment, Sep- 
tember 29, 1846, worked on and constantly for the road, being very 
willing to get a Chicago road, if not an Illinois central road. They 
did very little at Cairo during the intervening four or five years and not 
until they were assured of a great road to the north. Just how much 
money they spent, or how it was spent, or to whom or where it was 
paid, there is no one now living who can tell much about it; but 
Breese's letter to Douglas above referred to, contains this significant 
passage : 

"In the passage of the present law, I had no share, nor have I claimed 
any; but you know and I know how it was passed. * * * As great 
as may be the credit to which you are entitled, and I will not detract from 
it, you know that it received its most efficient support in the house, from a 
quarter where neither you nor any of your colleagues, save one perhaps, 
had much if any influence. It was the votes of Massachusetts and New 
York that passed the bills, and you and I know how they were had. 
I venture to say, the much abused Mr. Holbrook and Col. Wentworth 
contributed most essentially to its success." 

This language of Judge Breese's is most suggestive. Observe some 
of its clauses: You know and I know hoiu it was passed * * * 
from a quarter where neither you nor any of your colleagues, save one, 
perhaps, had much if any influence * * * It was the votes of Mass- 
achusetts and New York that passed the bills, and you and I knoiu how 
they were had. I venture to say the much abused Mr. Holbrook and 
Col. JVentworth contributed most essentially to its success. 

We will now let in a little more light on these suggestive state- 
ments of Breese to Douglas. For their illumination, we will refer to 
Wentworth, Holbrook, Webster, Congressman Ashmun and possibly 
one or two others. 


Wentworth was in congress from December, 1843, to September, 
1850; and in his Reminiscences, we are giving much concerning the 
last days of the congressional struggle for aid for an Illinois central 
railroad. It seems to come from one who knew much about what was 
going on for and against the scheme. He enlarges on the part the 
great Massachusetts senator took in the matter; how the eastern men 
going to Washington inquired for him, then Secretary of State under 
President Fillmore ; how Webster gave them assurances and turned them 
over to Ashmun, whom he regarded as equal to almost any emergency; 
and then how things moved on rapidly under Ashmun's lead to the 
triumphant end. Back of it all were Webster and Ashmun, and a 
few other Massachusetts and New York men, with none of whom, 
Breese says, Douglas had much, if any, influence. But there was another 
man there, a member of the third house, Darius B. Holbrook, as smart 
and as wise as almost any of them and far shrewder than most of them. 
He had known Douglas long and well; he knew Ashmun, a Massa- 
chusetts man like himself; he knew everybodj'^ worth knowing in such 
an enterprise as they had in hand ; but above all, he knew Webster, had 
known him as a client knows his la\^yer for fifteen years, perhaps many 
more. He had paid Webster a good round fee in London, August 23, 
1838, for his opinion as to the validity of the Cairo bonds Holbrook 
was putting on the London market. See the opinion at the end of this 
chapter. Holbrook was far better acquainted with the whole history 
of the railroad enterprise than Douglas. He had been with it all the 
time, fifteen years, instead of three or four, and a directly interested 
party. He could reach the Whigs in congress easier than Douglas, a 
bitter partisan all his life. Holbrook went to the fountain-head of 
whiggery, and enlisted a simon-pure section of it in his behalf, which 
Douglas never could have done. He had no doubt spent all of his 
London money of 1838, but its place was well supplied by money from 
Cairo men, that is, men of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Portland 
and Syracuse, shareholders in Cairo City Propert}'^ Trust, whose western 
representative in Chicago was Col. Samuel Staats Taylor, of New 
Brunswick, who arranged the Butterfield public meeting there January 
18, 1848, and who knew all about the expenditures of the Trustees from 
September 29, 1846, to February 10, 1851, and from that time to 1896. 
From the one date to the other, these Cairo trust gentlemen did nothing 
at all at Cairo besides preserving their Cairo property and working for 
the railroad land grant, on which they knew their Cairo city so largely 

No one can be found who would desire to detract from the credit 
or honor due Senator Douglas for his work and management which 
brought the long drawn out matter to a successful end. But almost 
every award or suggestion of honor to him has somehow seemed a 
denial of honor to all others. He seemed quite willing to accept the 
tender of exclusive honor and credit, although in his correspondence with 
Judge Breese in 1851 he seemed willing to accord the latter a fair 
share of what was being lavishly bestowed upon him. He knew all 


about Breese's commencement of the work, his efEorts in and out of 
congress and that only the vicissitudes of politics removed him from 
his cherished work in that body. He well knew that he had only taken 
up and carried through successfully the undertaking Breese had planned 
and carried forward a decade before he took hold of it. He knew that 
the chief difference between them was that Breese did not believe a 
donation of lands to the state could be gotten and both knew that one 
of the bed-rock principles of their party was opposition to such govern- 
ment aid or aid of any kind for such enterprises. In Judge Breese's 
letter of January 25, 1851, in reply to Douglas' of the 5th of that 
month, he presents at some length this difference between himself and 
Douglas as to the line to be adopted for the road. Douglas failed to 
draw the whole road over to Chicago and had to content himself with 
a branch, which differed very little from the branch road provided for 
in Breese's and Holbrook's act of February 10, 1849, which was for a 
road from Cairo to Chicago, via the southern terminus of the canal. 
Breese and Holbrook were compelled to yield to Chicago's demand 
that the road should not go on northward to Galena or Dubuque ; but 
in the final outcome, the other members of congress were able to draw 
the line back to the old route. 

Col. Wentvvorth either knew nothing about the senator's trip to 
the south or credited it with no great results. At all events, his account 
so fully corroborates what Breese said to Douglas, in his letter of January 
25, 185 1, as to whence the needed aid came, that we must be pardoned 
for quoting somewhat at length from the same. 

I have alluded to the superior confidence which all capitalists had in the 
opinions of Mr. Webster. This was of inestimable service to the Illinois dele- 
gation in the House of Representatives in securing our early railroad grant. I 
accent the word early because, since the census of 1850, the numerical strength 
of the Western States has been so greatly increased that liberal grants have been 
secured without difficulty. During the period in v/hich we were struggling for 
our grant, we had, at different times, for senators, four able and influential 
men who had been upon our Supreme Bench together, James Semple, Sidney 
Breese, Stephen A. Douglas, and James Shields. But, as the new States had 
the same number of senators as the old ones, they did not meet with the same 
obstacles that we did in the House. Yet they were very sensitive as to any one's 
having superior credit over the others for extra efforts. Gen. Shields, at his last 
visit to Chicago, complained to his friends, that, as a member of the committee 
upon public lands having charge of the bill, he had not had sufficient credit for 
his efforts in the matter. "But," said he, "so thought each of the others, and no 
one was upon speaking terms with all the others at the time of his death." There 
was never any serious controversy in the Senate about the passage of the Illinois 
Central Railroad Grant, as the Senate journals and the congressional Globe will 
show. The jealousy of our senators in respect to each other's credit for the 
passage of the bill in the Senate, arose from the indiscretion of friends in claim- 
ing too much for their favorite, and yet with no disposition to injure the others. 
But in the House we could secure nothing of this kind to quarrel about. We 
labored, and labored, and labored ; but it did no good. There was a great 
sectional and political barrier which we could not overcome. Members from 
the old States opposed offering governmental inducements for western emigra- 
tion, and the Whig party wished the lands sold and the proceeds distributed. 
Thus matters had continued from my entrance into Congress, in 1843, up to 


September, 1850. Fortunately, our canal had been intrusted to a company upon 
terms which caused our canal indebtedness to appreciate and secured its ultimate 
payment. As some of the holders of our canal-bonds were also holders of our 
other bonds, and as they mostly were residents of the older states and members 
of the Whig party, whence came the opposition to our grant, the thought oc- 
curred to me that we could utilize such bond-holders in securing our land grant. 
A correspondence ensued, which resulted in a committee being sent to Washing- 
ton. I met them at the depot, and their first inquiry was for Mr. Webster. I 
could receiv^e no encouragement from them until a consultation with Mr. Web- 
ster was had. I afterwards found out that their original designs were to have 
the grant made directly to a company; but Mr. Webster satisfied them that a 
provision in a charter, like that which was inserted eventually, making the 
money payable to the State solely applicable to "the payment of our interest — 
paying State indebtedness until the extinction thereof," could not be repealed. I 
went with them to the Secretary of State's department, and Mr. W. received us 
very cordially. He knew all about our contract with the canal company, and he 
had been consulted as to its irrepealability. He said there were a great many 
measures that ought to be adopted by Congress, and which could be if a spirit 
of compromise could be brought about. He said the new States wanted land 
grants and the old States wanted some modification of the tariff laws; but there 
were members who cared for neither, and who could defeat both unless the 
friends of both would adopt that spirit of concession and compromise that had 
been so happily brought to bear in the adjustment of the slavery question. "Now," 
said he to me, "my friend George Ashmun is a man of remarkably practical 
good sense and discretion and, if men of conflicting interests would rally around 
him in a spirit of compromise, he is capable of doing a great deal of good. I 
will advise him lo call upon you," and then he made an appointment for the 
gentlemen at his residence. I knew Mr. Ashmun's relation to Mr. Webster from 
seeing him take Mr. Webster's seat in the Senate when he arose to make his cele- 
brated yth-of-March speech, in that year ; and Mr. Ashmun handed him his books 
of authority, opened at the appropriate page, as he progressed. He will be re- 
membered as the president of the national convention which first nominated Mr. 
Lincoln. One Saturday, Mr. Ashmun says: "Mr. Webster thinks that you and I, 
by acting in concert, can do our respective people and the country at large a 
great deal of good. What do you say?" I said: "You know what we Illinois 
men all want. Lead off." "Now," he says, "help us upon the tariff where you 
can, and where you can not, dodge. And have all your men ready for Tues- 
day." Promptly upon that day, 17th September, 1850, Mr. Ashmun made the 
motion to proceed to business upon the speaker's table, and when our bill was 
reached, so well did I know our original force, I could estimate the value of 
recruits. And when I saw our old opponents voting for the bill in such num- 
bers, I was so confident of the result that I ventured to telegraph the bill's pass- 
age to Chicago, and it was known there quite as soon as the speaker declared the 
result — 101 to 75. But for Mr. Webster and Mr. Ashmun, I am confident we 
should have had to wait for a new apportionment, and then our company would 
have had to compete with the owners of other land-grant roads in the loan 
market. And Webster would have been dead. 

But I must bring this chapter to a close, already too lengthy for a 
local history like this. I cannot do so, however, without stating some 
of the conclusions which the foregoing pages clearly establish. 

1835. First: — The present city of Cairo and the Illinois Central 
Railroad were started at the same time and by the same men, Breese, 
Baker, Jenkins, Gilbert, Olney and Swanwick, who entered the Cairo 
lands in August and September, 1835. In the December and January 
following, they joined Holbrook with them and procured the Illinois 
Central Railroad charter of January 16, 1836. The second day after- 
wards, namely, January 18, 1836, Holbrook procured his charter for 
the Illinois Exporting Company, the incorporators of which were 


James S. Lane, Thomas G. Hawley, Anthony Olney, John M. Krum, 
and himself, Holbrook. Breese says that in those months, he found 
Holbrook at Vandalia, and that he there unfolded his plans to him, and 
that the result was the proposal to " form a company to construct the 
road and build the city." 

1836. Second: — Within the first three months of the year 1836, 
the board of directors of the railroad company met at Alton, prepared 
their memorial to congress for government aid, sent Jenkins the president, 
and Holbrook the treasurer, of the company, to Washington, who pre- 
sented the same and had a favorable report thereon, and had a bill in- 
troduced for aid, as prayed for ; and all this within less than three months 
after the passage of the railroad charter of January 16, 1836. 

1837 a"d 1838. Third: — Following this railroad work came the 
purchase of other Cairo lands and the incorporation March 4, 1837, 
of the Cairo City & Canal Company, which was to Cairo what the act 
of January 16, 1836, was to an Illinois Central railroad. The inter- 
vention of the state, February 27, 1837, with its scheme of internal 
improvements, arrested and well nigh upset all these plans for railroad 
and city building by those Cairo men. It halted everything in congress 
for government aid ; but while the Cairo men were pushed aside as to 
their own railroad plans, they accepted the situation and did all they 
could for the state central railroad from Cairo to Galena, and went on 
with their city work here at home and in London. 

1839 and 1840. Fourth: — The State's railroad and river improve- 
ment work was tottering to its fall when John Wright & Company, 
of London, financing the Cairo enterprise, failed November 23, 1840; 
and then ensued a general state of business illness almost everywhere and 
especially in Cairo, followed by a protracted convalescence of three 
or four years. 

1843 to 1846. Fifth: — Breese entered the senate and Douglas 
the house in December, 1843, and the former at once set to work again 
for government railroad aid, the latter doing little else than opposing 
the former's plans. Holbrook was at work to get his Cairo city work 
again under way and arranged for the transfer, September 29, 1846, 
from the Cairo City & Canal Company of everything it represented, to 
the Cairo City Property Trust, composed of New York, Philadelphia, 
Boston, Portland, and Syracuse men, thus making the enterprise largely 
American instead of English. 

1846 to 1 85 1. Sixth: — During part of this time Breese and 
Douglas were together in the senate, still differing about the kind of 
government aid they should ask. Shields succeeded Breese in December, 
1849, and the Illinois senatorial differences ceased. The Trustees of 
the Cairo City Property, one in New York and one in Philadelphia, 
by direction of those eastern share-holders, sent Samuel Staats Taylor, 
of New Brunswick, to Chicago, and he there occupied one of Butter- 
field's offices, and managed the western branch of the business of 
getting a railroad land grant. Holbrook devoted his time to the same 
work in New York, his home, in Philadelphia, Boston and Wash- 
ington, supervising almost everything that was done and seeing that there 


was no lack of money where money was really needed. He and Went- 
worth enlisted Webster and Ashmun in their railroad and city scherne 
and thereby reached Massachusetts and New York men, sufficient in 
number and ability to assure the passage of the bill. If we are to accept 
what these two men have said about the matter, the great railroad land 
grant of September 20, 1850, became a law because of aid which was 
brought to it from Massachusetts and New York, rather than from the 

I have thus established the fact that the work of securing an Illinois 
central railroad and that of building a city here, were but the two parts 
of one enterprise, carried on almost continuously from August, 1835, to 
February, 185 1, and chiefly by men east and west interested in the cit>' 
here. It is also further shown and clearly proven that Judge Sidney 
Breese was the originator of what is now the great Illinois Central 

Daniel Webster, as before remarked, knew all about Holbrook's 
scheme of city and railroad building, knew it as far back as 1839; and 
when the matter was again brought to his attention in 1850, when he 
was Secretary of State, he pointed out the way to success. Holbrook 
knew Webster's great influence with eastern public men and of their 
advocacy of internal improvements as well as of a protective tariff. 
Following the advice of Webster, Holbrook and Wentworth sought and 
obtained the aid of Ashmun, and the long pending and almost hopeless 
bill for government aid became a law. Breese said to Douglas: "I 
venture to say, the much abused Mr. Holbrook and Col. Wentworth 
contributed most essentially to its success." 

Webster and Holbrook's acquaintance and relations are shown by the 
following letter: 

London Augt 3rd 1839 
I have perused and considered two Indentures of deeds of trust, as 
printed in a book laid before me, which book is marked on one side 
"Citv of Cairo," and on the other "Messrs. Wright & Co," (and on 
which book I have written my own name, at the end of one of the deeds 
of trust, page lo) viz 

One Indenture made and executed on the Sixteenth day of December 
One thousand eight hundred and thirty seven, between the Cairo City 
and Canal Company, and the New York Life Insurance and Trust 
Company, and to which Indenture the Illinois Exporting Company also 
became party: 

And on the other Indenture called a "Deed Supplemental," made and 
executed on the thirteenth day of June One thousand eight hundred and 
thirty nine, betw'een the said Illinois Exporting Company, the said 
Cairo City and Canal Company and the said New York Life Insurance 
and Trust Company 

And I am of opinion: 

1st. That the conveyance made to the said New York Life Insur- 
ance and Trust Company by the said Cairo City and Canal Company 


by virtue of said Indentures and deeds, is a good and valid conveyance, 
and effectually vests the property intended to be conveyed in the said 
New York Life Insurance and Trust Company for the purposes and 
the trusts in said Indentures mentioned and set forth. 

2nd. That by these Indentures and deeds, the said New York Life 
Insurance and Trust Company has become bound, and is legally obligated 
to all holders of bonds, issued in pursuance of said Indentures, for the 
faithful administration and fulfillment of said trust, by the payment of 
the interest and principal of such bonds, according to their terms, to 
the full extent of all the proceeds of the property conveyed as aforesaid 

Danl Webster 

Legation of the U States 
London Augt 3rd 1839 
This certifies that the foregoing signature is known to me to be the 
proper handwriting of the Hon. Daniel Webster, Counseller at Law, 
and a member of the Senate of the United States now in London 

In the absence of the Minister 
Benjamin Rush 
(Seal) Secretary of Legation 

We attest the foregoing as being a true copy of the original 

10 September 1839 

P. O. Donohoe ( ^^^'^' '° ^ Sdctrs^'"^ ^ ^ 
Chas Marshall ( ^ ^ r-- j t j 

) Uovent Lrarden London 

Aliens by the Statute laws of the State of Illinois can purchase and 
hold real Estate (Land) and may afterwards dispose of it by Will, 
Deed of Conveyance, or otherwise, without any limitation or restriction 
whatever and if the purchaser should chance to die intestate, it would 
descend to his heirs or next of kin of equal degree in equal proportions 
(the law of primogeniture not being in force in that Country) saving 
to the Widow, if any, in such cases the one third part of the land as 
dower during her natural life, and in respect to heirship, it makes no 
difference whether the children or next of kin of such Purchaser are at 
the time of his decease citizens of the United States, or subjects of Great 
Britain. It may not be unimportant also to know that land purchased 
originally from the United States at any of the Government Land 
offices in Illinois (there yet being a large portion of the public domain 
in that State unsold) is not subject to taxation for any purpose what- 
soever until the expiration of five years from the day of the purchase. 
This exemption is in consequence of a special compact between the United 
States and the State of Illinois, in consideration of certain immunities 
granted by the former to the latter. 

Richard M. Young 

of Quincj'^ — Illinois 
and at present a Senator from that State 
to the Congress of the United States 
London Oct 25th 1839 
267 Regent Street 


Honor to Whom Honor is Due. — This scriptural injunction was 
forgotten when some of Senator Douglas' Chicago friends proposed 
a celebration in his honor for the great work he had accomplished. It 
was to be for him and him only. Douglas himself saw this and pro- 
tested somewhat in favor of others. He did not, however, even mention 
Breese, who, in any view of the history of the great work, should have 
been mentioned along with himself if not first of the two. Breese 
seeing the slight put upon him, like any other man of spirit, addressed 
to Douglas the letter of January 25, 185 1, a few lines of the introductory 
part of which are as follows: 

"I thought I had discovered a studious endeavor on your part, and 
on the part of those with whom you have acted, to conceal from the 
public my agency in bringing the measure into favor, and in opening the 
way for successful legislation in regard to it. In none of the speeches 
and letters you and others who have your confidence, have made and 
written, has there been the least allusion to the part I have acted in 
the matter, nor in any of the papers in the state, supposed to be under 
your influence. Seeing this, and believing there was a concerted effort to 
appropriate to yourselves, exclusively, honors, to which I knew you were 
not entitled, I deemed it my duty, for the truth of history, to assert my 
claim, and in doing so, have been compelled, much against my will, 
to speak of myself, and of my acts in regard to it." 

In the language of lawyers, I respectfully sumbit that all that Judge 
Breese ever claimed for himself in regard to the Illinois Central Railroad 
has been fully established in the foregoing pages. 


Plan of Cairo, 1S3S 



BEFORE referring to the maps and plats of Cairo as made by the 
land companies which desired to start and establish a city here, 
I desire to call attention to a list of old French and English 
maps which show the early existence here of a French fort, probably the 
very first structure ever erected at this point or place. These old maps 
might have been very properly given in that part of the book where I 
have spoken of Sieur Charles Juchereau de Saint Denis and his fort 
and tannery, but I have thought it best to include them herein. 

I have made a very careful investigation of the matter of the exis- 
tence of an old French fort here or within a few miles of the place, not 
further off, certainly, than the hills which approach close to Cache 
River about six miles north of us. I have done this in order to ascertain 
if the old fort could probably have been the later Fort Massac, forty 
miles up the Ohio River from us. In volume No. 8, pp. 38 to 64, of 
the Publications of the Illinois Historical Society, is found an able 
paper by Mrs. Mathew T. Scott, of Bloomington, entitled "Old Fort 
Massac." In this paper Juchereau is frequently spoken of and his fort 
mentioned as the early or first Fort Massac. Mrs. Scott's quotations 
from the Margry papers, especially her quotations in the original French, 
pp. 57 and 58, tend strongly to show that Juchereau's fort was not 
on the Ohio River forty miles from its mouth, but w^as at or very near 
to the mouth of the river; otherwise, it is very hard to account for such 
language as this: "A la riviere de Ouabache dans le lieu ou elle se 
descharge dans le Mississippi" and "a la embouchere de la riviere 
a Ouabache sur la Mississippi." 

Fort Massac was, of course, at first and for a long time, a French 
fort or post; and the generally accepted authority about the matter is 
that it was established at that place or point on the Ohio to protect 
the French northwestern country from the strong and warlike tribe of 
Cherokee Indians. These Indians dwelt along the line of the Tennessee 
River, which, for a long time in the earliest history of the country, was 
called and put down on the maps as the Cherokee River. The fort was 
on the first high ground below the mouth of that river and was well 
located to defend against incursions of these Indians into the northwest 
country. I have made inquiries at many places and have been uniformly 
told there can be little doubt as to this old fort being at or near the 
mouth of the Ohio River and not at the site of Fort Massac. 

The site of the old French fort is indicated on the old maps by a 
cross or star on the point where the two rivers unite. The list of 


thirty-five to fortj^ old maps, procured by me from the Library of 
Congress and the Historical Library of Chicago, show an old fort 
here, with such descriptive words as these: Old Fort; Vieu Fort; 
French Fort Ruined; French Ft.; Ancient Fort; Fr. Ft.; Altes Fort; 
The Fort; Ancient Fort; Fort; The Fort; French Fort; French Fort 
Destroyed; Ruined Fort; Ancient Fort Francois; 1755, An. Ft., R., a la 
Cache; 1765, Lieut. Ross, Ancient Fort Destroyed; Delisle, 1718; Ho- 
mann, 1730; Popple, 1733; Le Roque, 1742; Scale, 1744, D'Anville, 
1746; Jeffreys, Bellin, London Magazine, 1755; Rocque, Overton and 
Sayer, 1755 to 1766; Rhode, 1758; Homann, 1759; Bowen and Gibson 
and Bowles, 1763; Kilian, 1764; Delarochette, 1765; D'Anville and 
Scale, 1771; Pingeling, 1776; 1777, 1778, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1796 
and 1798, D'Anville Lodge, Beaurain, Walker, Boudet, Gussefeld, 
Wilkes, Sa3^er and Bennett, and Phelipean. 

The first map or plat of Cairo was made in the city of Baltimore 
in 1818 by Cone & Freeman. John G. Comegj^s no doubt had charge 
of the work. A Major Duncan had made, it is supposed, the necessary 
surveys; but it is not certain that surveys w^ere made. They may 
have made the plat to represent what they thought would represent 
the plan of the city when the surveys were made for streets, blocks, 
lots and public grounds. We present elsewhere an exact copy of this 
plat, which is also somewhat fully described in Chapter IV. 

The Cairo City and Canal Company made a few maps of the site 
as they proposed to lay it out for a city; but it is said no actual surveys 
were made and that all that was done was the making of outline plans, 
showing streets, blocks and public grounds, but no lots. Their first civil 
engineers were William Strickland and Richard C. Taylor. The 
former styled himself architect and engineer, and the latter engineer 
and geologist. A copy of one of these maps is found elsewhere, and a 
copy of the survey by James Thompson, made in 1837, ^^r that com- 
(pany, and also a copy of a map showing the line of their proposed 
canal. This company never in fact reached a stage of platting for 
the sale of lots or other property. This seems always to have been a 
matter of the future; and their long delay in offering property for 
sale was the cause of many complaints and kept the people who were 
here in a very unsettled condition. The situation or site did not admit 
of an easy platting into satisfactory subdivisions for a city; and hence 
the divers kinds and descriptions of plats made by the different 

It is not until w-e reach the Cairo City Propert\^ people that we 
find almost a penchant for cit\' map-making. Col. Taylor in his dep- 
osition, already referred to, states that their first plat was filed and 
became a public record December 10, 1853, and that all maps or 
plats made before that time were merely provisional affairs and bound 
no one. In the suit in which that deposition was taken, the citj^'s 
attorneys produced a map which they claimed showed that the wharf 
or river frontage and certain other grounds were public property or had 
been dedicated to the public. The proof on this point does not seem 


to have been very strong, and Col. Taylor's testimony seems to have 
been quite sufficient to overcome it. The earlier maps of Col. Taylor's 
Trustees exhibited many features which did not appear on the one 
filed for record in 1853, or on any others subsequently filed. On 
the earlier ones, a number of public parks were indicated, among them 
Crescent Park, at what was then the southern point of the city ; Town- 
send Park, of considerable size, north of 17th Street and adjoining 
Cedar Street on the west; Delta Park, in the curve of the Mississippi 
levee as it turns northward out near the river; and St. Mary's Park 
extended from the present Park Avenue all the way over to Washington 
Avenue. As thus laid out or marked on the plat, this park was more 
than twice its present size ; but the Trustees seem to have felt that 
their lands were too valuable to admit of so much thereof being devoted 
to the uses of the public. 

Holbrook Avenue once bore the name of Schuyler Avenue, after 
Robert Schuyler, the first president of the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company ; but Schuyler having fallen into disrepute, the name of the 
avenue was changed to Holbrook. On one of these early plats the lines 
of the old Holbrook levees up the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are indi- 
cated, and the cross levee built under the supervision of Mr. Miles A. 
Gilbert from a point near the intersection of 18th Street and Ohio Street 
on the Ohio River to a point where Thirty-fourth Street, if extended, 
would intersect the Mississippi shore. The land inclosed by these 
three levees seems to be spoken of as the original city or the first 
division thereof. 

West of Holbrook, Park Street extended to the Park and from 
thence it was called Park Avenue. Further on West were Mulberry 
Street, Cypress Street, Oak Street, Papaw Street, and last of all was 
Metropolitan Avenue. On this plat there was no street east of Com- 
mercial Avenue. The cross streets extended to what is now the rail- 
road bridge embankment and the last of them was platted 4yth Street. 
Maps with these parks indicated thereon as above described and 
attached to the lengthy notices advertising ther city were circulated 
all over the country as late as 1855 and 1856; and is it to be thought 
strange that the people, when they saw that these public places, sup- 
posedly dedicated to the public, were one by one being withdrawn or 
erased from the city plats, were more and more confirmed in their 
opposition to the policy and management of the Trustees? This 
feature of the situation furnished one of the chief grounds for the suit 
instituted by Judge Fredolin Bross against the company in the year 
1864. and which is more fully referred to elsewhere. 

One map, a very large one and which Mr. Miles A. Gilbert, in 
his affidavit given in the chapter on the "Wharf and Wharfage," says 
is a copy of the small one made by Strickland & Taylor, was on file 
in the circuit court of the United States at Springfield in the suit 
begun by the Trustees against the City of Cairo in 1864. I have 
obtained leave from the Hon. J. Otis Humphrey, judge of the said 
circuit court, to withdraw the same for presentation to the A. B. 
Safford Memorial Library. 


Explanations of Maps. — Henrie's survey of our township was 
made in 1807, and when it was a part of the Randolph County of In- 
diana Territory, and when the Indians were to be seen almost every- 
where. The frightful massacre in the township just this side of the 
mouth of the Cache River took place February 9, 1813. Some of the 
Birds were probably here then and very near the point. Col. Taylor, 
in his deposition taken in 1866 in his suit against the city in the United 
States court at Springfield, said that when he came here in April, 
1 85 1, only about fifty acres of the land on the Ohio and near the point 
had been cleared and that the remainder of the country in this vicinity 
was covered with very dense woods. 

Comeg>'s' or Major Duncan's map of 181 8 was made in Baltimore 
that year by Cone and Freeman, and is fully explained in Chapter IV. 

James Thompson's survey of the township in 1837 was accompanied 
with the fullest possible field notes and explanations, contained in the 
small book described in Chapter VI. 

Strickland and Taylor's map of the city and the map showing the 
plan of the canal of the Cairo City and Canal Company, both of the 
year 1838, need no explanation further than to say that they were 
provisional representations of what the city was to be as planned by the 
Holbrook administration, from 1836 to 1846. They are interesting 
for a number of reasons, chiefly, perhaps, for showing the line of the 
state's Illinois Central Railroad under the act of February 27, 1837. 

Long's topographical map of July, 1850, is but one of the four which 
were on file in the War Department at Washington. The other 
three could not be found. I regret ver)^ much I was not able to get 
trace of the one which showed the full and complete plan of the 
city as laid out by Long in 1850. It no doubt differed very materially 
from the official map of the Trustees filed at the court house December 
10, 1853. The topographical map shows what the cit}' of Cairo was 
when it came into possession of the Trustees of the Cairo City Prop- 
erty. Long was here at work tvvo or three years before Col. Taylor 
came. One of his letters to Taylor & Davis at Philadelphia is numbered 
149 and is dated October 10, 1854. The map shows the old hotel 
nearest the point, the post-office and stores, the foundation of the great 
warehouse, sometimes called the London warehouse, the machine shop, 
the saw-mills, the foundry, the brickyards, the taverns and the groceries, 
and the cottages of the company standing back somewhat from the 
Ohio levee. I need not go further. The map speaks for itself. You 
see the small space of cleared land and the wide extended and dense 
woods; the three levees of 12,320 feet, 4,789 feet and 8,670 feet, re- 
spectively, the latter built by Judge Gilbert in 1843, all inclosing 
778.75 acres of land ; also the crevasse in the Mississippi levee of the 
length of 1,675 feet, made by the great flood of March, 1849, of which 
Editor Sanders speaks in his Cairo newspaper, " The Cairo Delta," of 
March 20, 1849. 

The Picture of Cairo in 1841 — This picture is the earliest repre- 
sentation of what is set forth in Long's map of July, 1850. It is taken 



from " The Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated," December number 
1 841, published at St. Louis, Missouri, by J. C. Wild, at the Republi- 
can Printing Office. This publication was in magazine form and con- 
tained from time to time series of views of the principal cities, towns, 
public buildings and picturesque scenery on the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers. The literarj- department was under the charge of Mr. Lewis 
F. Thomas and the drawing and lithographing under that of Mr. J. C. 
Wild. Mr. S. R. A. Holbrook, of Boston, sent this particular number 
to Mr. M. Easterday some years ago, and to the latter I am indebted 
for its use here. This number contains three other fine cuts, a splendid 
river view at Grand Tower, a view of Selma, Missouri, and one of 
Prairie Du Rocher and Darbeau's Creek where it enters the Mississippi 
in Illinois. The picture shows most of the buildings as they appear 
on Long's map. It also shows that few changes had taken place from 
December, 1841, to the time Long made his map. In both the picture 
and map are seen the old and noted hotel at the point spoken of by Mr. 
D._ S. Crumb as being there May 29, 1836; then above, the postoffice 
building and stores; the large long house fronting the Ohio, no doubt 
Holbrook's, or erected by him; then the low cottages; next the three- 
story machine shop, which Judge Gilbert defended so strongly against 
Cairo's first mob; then the saw-mills with their slanting log-ways to 
the river; then the large foundry; then in the picture, the steamboat 
"Tennessee Valley," built the latter part of 1841 and early in 1842, 
and enrolled at the New Orleans custom house April 23, 1842. This 
vessel was built and equipped at Cairo, the timbers furnished directly 
from the saw-mills and the machinery from the foundn^, there and 
nearby. The owner and Captain, Samuel G. Patton and M. W. Irwin, 
lived at Florence, Alabama. (See the certificate from the Bureau of 
Navigation at Washington, dated the 3d day of February, 1910.) This 
steamboat was on the ways, as seen in the picture, or had but left them a 
short time before Charles Dickens arrived at Cairo on the steamboat 
" The Fulton," Saturday, April 9, 1842. He undoubtedly saw what is 
seen in the picture, except possibly the steamboat. Almost everything seen 
in the picture was there when Long made his map. There was indeed 
not much of a city here in April, 1842; but Dickens' representation as 
to what he saw is so far from the truth that it cannot be accounted 
for on any other theory than that he did not want to state the situation 
as he actually saw it for the hour or two he was here. 

The other cuts, pictures and representations in the book so fully 
explain themselves that I need not say anything in reference thereto. 

I take the liberty of suggesting to the purchasers of this book the 
careful preservation of the maps. Some of them can be easily torn in 
the folding and the unfolding. They are very important and valuable 
parts of the history because they show the actual situation and con- 
dition of things at the various times they were made. They set forth 
clearly and fully a great deal in the citj^'s historj^ that could not be so 
well presented by merely written descriptions. To remove them from 
the book would leave it in many respects very incomplete. 




IN July, 1847, the Trustees of the Cairo City Property issued their 
first pamphlet circular, entitled " Circular and other Docu- 
ments Relating to the Cairo City Property at the Con- 
fluence OF THE Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, Illinois;" New 
York: H. Cogswell, Printer and Stationer, 19 & 21 Merchants Ex- 
change, 1847. The pamphlet contains 41 pages, and its table of contents 
is as follows: ist, Skeleton Map of the United States; 2nd, Circular by 
the Trustees, 14 pages; 3rd, Map of the Site of Cairo, 2 pages; 4th, 
Report of William Strickland and R. C. Taylor, engineers, 5 pages; 5th, 
Extract from a Report by J. Freeman, engineer, to Legislature of 
Illinois, 2 pages; 6th, Extract from Report of Committee of Congress, 
I page; 7th, Extract from Report of Committee of Legislature upon 
Central Railroad and Cairo as the terminus, 2^ pages ; 8th, S. Worsley, 
engineer. Report to English Proprietors, 4 pages; 9th, Letter of H. 
Baldwin, Esq., to Trustees, i^ pages; loth, Another Letter by him to 
same, i page; nth, Extract from Western Review, 6 pages; 12th, Ex- 
tract from S. A. Mitchell's work on Illinois, i page; 13th, Names and 
lengths of western rivers, i page. 

The following is the last page, page 41, of the pamphlet with the 
names and spelling just as given therein. 


CITY OF CAIRO, (a. D. 1 847.) 

Rivers and Recipient. Miles. Rivers and Recipient. Miles. 

Alleghany, Ohio 300 Missouri, Mississippi 3>2i7 

Cumberland, Ohio 45° Ohio, Mississippi 945 

Grand Kanawha, Ohio 327 Ouisconsin, Mississippi 380 

Grand Miama, Ohio I74 Rock, Mississippi 285 

Green Run, Ohio 3°^ Rum, Mississippi 127 

Guyandot, Ohio 134 St. Peters, Mississippi 400 

Hocking, Ohio 100 Salt, Mississippi 200 

Kentucky, Ohio 3^2 Turkey, Mississippi 135 

Licking, Ohio 204 Upper Iowa, Mississippi 180 

Little Kanawha, Ohio 127 Big Sandy, Tennessee 160 

Monongahela, Ohio 216 Clinch, Tennessee 230 

Muskingum, Ohio 203 Duck, Tennessee 185 

Salt, Ohio no Elk, Tennessee 125 

Sciota, Ohio 2CX5 Halston, Tennessee 230 

Tennessee, Ohio 850 Caney Fork, Cumberland 100 

Wabash, Ohio 477 S. Fork Cumberland, Cumberland 105 



MAP sniwlMi 


Ohio axd Mississippi Rivers at Cairo 



Rivers and Recipient. Miles. 

Au Canoe, Missouri 100 

Chariton, Missouri 143 

Crow Wing, Missouri 115 

East Fork, Missouri 145 

Gasconade, Missouri 204 

Grand, Missouri 272 

Grand Nemanha, Missouri 220 

Konzas, Missouri 1,200 

Nodaway, Missouri 115 

Osage, Missouri 293 

Wood, Missouri 120 

Chippewa, Missouri 200 

Des Moines, Mississippi 400 

Forked Deer, Mississippi 114 

Great Maquanguetois, Mississippi 120 

Illinois, Mississippi 400 

Kaskaskia, Mississippi 250 

Lower Iowa, Mississippi 237 

Maramic, Mississippi 184 

Nolicuchy, French Broad 125 

Pickamink, Kankakee 100 

Powells, Clinch 105 


Rivers and Recipient. Miles. 

Des Plaines, Illinois 100 

Fox, Illinois 104 

Kankakee, Illinois 143 

Mackinaw, Illinois 113 

Sangamon, Illinois 175 

Spoon, Illinois 125 

Embarras, Wabash 135 

Little Wabash, Wabash 200 

Missineway, Wabash 100 

White, Wabash 260 

East Fork, White (In.) 228 

West Fork, White (In.) 225 

French Road, Holston (Tenn.) .. 176 

Grand, Osage 134 

North Fork, Osage 130 

Greenbrier, Kanawha 130 

Kaskiminetos, Alleghany 103 

Long Beach, Grand 130 

Miss. Gulf of Mexico 3,000 

New, Great Kanawha 115 

Pine, Ouisconsin 125 

Rufus, Chippewa 100 

Total miles 22,799 

The rivers less than 100 miles long are omitted. 

It may be remarked that there are other rivers, longer than 100 miles, 
whose names are not given; for instance, the Youghiogheny River, 
which rises in Maryland and flows 150 miles to its junction with the 
Monongahela, some little distance southeast of Pittsburg. The Alle- 
gheny rises in Potter County, Pennsylvania, flows northward into 
New York, then southward into Pennsylvania again and reaches Pitts- 
burg, 350 miles from its source. This river is regarded as the extension 
of the Ohio from Pittsburg northward. 

Waters from fourteen states reach the Mississippi and pass Cairo, 
namely, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, Mon- 
tana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, 
Illinois and Indiana. Waters from thirteen states reach the Ohio 
and pass Cairo, namely, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, 
Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. These make t\\^entj'-five states, 
counting Illinois and Indiana but once. Waters from some of these 
states flow in other directions; but making all due allowances, it will 
be seen what a drainage area is here presented ! And is it any wonder 
that almost always in the springtime and at other times, now and then 
occurring, we may expect these tw^o vast water-sheds to pour down 
upon us, or at our very feet, their accumulated floods? If we were 
upon a rock-ribbed promontor\' instead of a tongue of alluvium and 
sand, we might defy their threatenings. We are not so situated, how- 
ever, and hence it is a vital condition to our existence that these monster 


rivers, fed from the mountains and the skies, should be kept always and 
safely at bay. 

The Ohio River as a Boundary. — The word northwest, 
as applied to this territorial district of our country, has come 
down to us from the old Virginia charter of 1 609. The grant 
was of " all that space and circuit of land, lying from the 
sea coast from the precinct aforesaid, up to the land throughout from 
sea to sea, west and northwest." The territory was west and northwest, 
and embraced what is now Kentucky and what has always been known 
as the northwest territory. The Kentucky country was afterwards 
known as the southwest territory, to distinguish it from the territory 
north of the Ohio River. Virginia retained the southwest or Kentucky 
territory or country, and granted to the Federal Government the territory 
northwest of the Ohio. This left the Ohio River wholly within her 
own territorial boundaries. In all the acts of congress and of the 
states, in reference to the matter, the south or southeastern boundary 
lines of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois have been spoken of as the Ohio 
River or the "northwestern shore" thereof. 

The question as to what jurisdiction the states north of the Ohio 
River had upon or over the same arose at a very early day, and the de- 
cisions of the Virginia and Kentucky courts tended strongly to establish 
an exclusive jurisdiction on the part of those two states respectively. 
The very first reference was, of course, to the nth section of the Vir- 
ginia act of December 18, 1789; 13 Hening's Va. St. At Large, 
jg. This act is entitled an act concerning the erection of the district of 
Kentucky into an independent state, and the nth section thereof is in 
these words: 

" Sec. II. The use and navigation of the river Ohio, so far as the 
territory of the proposed state, or the territory which shall remain 
within the limits of this commonwealth lies therein, shall be free and 
common to the citizens of the United States. And the respective juris- 
dictions of this commonwealth and of the proposed state, on the river 
as aforesaid, shall be concurrent only with the states which may possess 
the opposite shores of the said river." 

The Virginia and Kentucky courts held that this section of the 
Virginia act gave jurisdiction to the three states north of the river, but 
they made so much of the Virginia and Kentucky jurisdictions that 
what was left to the states north of the river could serve few practical 
purposes of any kind. In some of their decisions, it was said that the 
concurrent jurisdiction was legislative only and that the courts of the 
states on the north side had no jurisdiction at all. The arguments were 
elaborate and the reasons various. The later cases cited the constitutions 
of Illinois of 18 18, 1848 and 1870, and called attention to the differ- 
ence in the language of the first from that in the other two. The result, 
however, was the same in almost all cases; and it was not until 1896 
that a case arose which reached the supreme court of the United States 
in 1903, and which resulted in a decision of that court February 23, 
1904, which practically annulled one or two score of state cases on the 
subject. It is the case of Wedding vs. Meyler, ig2 U. S. 573. Wedding, 


of Indiana, sued Meyler, of Kentucky, in the Vanderburg County 
superior court, May 27, 1896, and the summons was served on Meyler 
on a steamboat on the Ohio and beyond low-water mark on the Indiana 
side and within the county of Henderson in the state of Kentucky. The 
Indiana court sustained the service and rendered judgment against 
Meyler; and Wedding having sued Meyler on this judgment in the 
circuit court of Warren County, Kentucky, said court sustained the 
Indiana judgment and rendered judgment against Meyler, and the 
latter appealed to the court of appeals of Kentucky, which reversed 
the circuit court. Wedding, thereupon, appealed from this judgment 
of the court of appeals to the supreme court of the United States, which 
reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and sustained the rulings 
of the said superior and circuit courts. The decision of the Federal 
supreme court was without dissent. Judges Hobson and Burnham of 
the court of appeals dissented from the other five members of that 
court. The supreme court, near the conclusion of the opinion, quotes 
and adopts Chief Justice Robertson's definition of jurisdiction as given 
in Arnold vs. Shields, 5 Dana (Ky.) page 18. 

It is not easy, always, to state the extent and operation of a judicial 
decision ; but it seems that if civil process may be properly served on 
the Ohio River and beyond low-water mark fifty or one hundred feet 
and within the territorial jurisdiction of a Kentucky or West Virginia 
county, there is little reason why it may not be served anywhere on the 
river within fifty or one hundred feet or less of low-water mark on 
the Kentucky or West Virginia side. And if civil mesne and final 
process may be so served and executed, why may not criminal process, 
also? It must be observed, however, that the jurisdiction is on the 
river and does not extend to the bed of the river or to permanent struc- 
tures attached thereto. In the briefs of counsel in this Federal case 
are cited almost all of the decisions of the state and Federal courts on 
this subject. 

Mr. Justice Holmes, speaking for the Federal supreme court, con- 
cludes his opinion as follows: 

" But so far as applicable, we adopt the statement of Chief Justice 
Robertson in Arnold vs. Shields, 5 Dana, 18, 22; 30 Am. Dec. 669, 673: 
' Jurisdiction, unqualified, being, as it is, the sovereign authority to 
make, decide on, and execute laws, a concurrence of jurisdiction, there- 
fore, must entitle Indiana to as much power — legislative, judicial, and 
executive — as that possessed by Kentucky over so much of the Ohio 
river as flows between them.' 

" The conveniences and inconveniences of concurrent jurisdiction 
both are obvious, and do not need to be stated. We have nothing to do 
with them when the law making power has spoken. To avoid misun- 
derstandings, it may be well to add that the concurrent jurisdiction 
given is jurisdiction ' on ' the river, and does not extend to permanent 
structures attached to the river bed and within the boundary of one or 
the other state. Therefore, such cases as Mississippi & M. R. Co. vs. 
Ward, 2 Black, 485, 17 L. Ed. 311, do not apply. State v. Mullin, 35 
Iowa, 199, 206, 207. 



LIKE many other things which were once true of the city but 
which have largely passed away, the health of the place, in early 
times, was by no means good ; but it was never as bad as was rep- 
resented. The ground was low and the point for six or eight miles up the 
Ohio River and twelve to fifteen up the Mississippi was covered with a 
very dense growth of trees of all sizes and kinds known to this section of 
the country. The undergrowth was almost impenetrable, so much so that 
one wonders how Arthur Henrie and his assistants worked their way 
over the point in 1807 when they made the first government survey 
and plat of the township. Such was the growth upon this tongue of 
land that the hot sun of the summer was needed to dry up effectually 
the fallen rain water and that which might be left by the receding rivers. 
But this was not so extreme as has been generally supposed. The 
nature of the ground was such that when the rivers reached their lower 
stages, the surface water sank rapidly through the sandy soil and soon 
reached the level of the water in the rivers. Just as the high rivers 
force the subterranean waters through the porous soil and up to the 
surface, so the falling rivers no longer sustain the surface water in 
place but allow it to pass back freely the way it came. The rain water 
follows in the same way. To this is due in large part the healthfulness 
of the city now. The sandy and gravelly nature of the whole site of 
the city, for hundreds of feet in depth, permits the easy passage of the 
water through the ground and to the level of the river waters, and in 
this way the unhealthful accumulations on the surface are dissolved and 
to a great extent carried away. In very wet seasons or years, the water 
may have stood here and there possibly for the whole season or year; 
but Cairo was never a marsh or anything like one. The pervious 
nature of the ground would not admit of it. But there were and are 
low grounds and some marshy lakes in Missouri and Kentucky, across 
the two rivers, and these with the dense growth upon the point could 
not fail to cause ill health to a greater or less degree; but when the 
Cairo proprietors began cutting out lanes and roads through the woods 
for streets through which a free circulation of air was obtained across 
and along the neck of land between the rivers, the health of the place 
became very much improved. Col. Taylor, who came here in April, 
1 85 1, and remained here until his death in 1896, frequently spoke of 
this matter as the reason for the improved health of the town. 

When the troops came here in 1861, there was still considerable 
standing timber and under-growth ; but contrary to the expectations of 



the whole army force here, the soldiers were found to have no cause 
to complain further than as to the ordinary risks incident to soldier 
life. The troops in Cairo had better health than those on the higher 
grounds near the rivers, north and south of Cairo. 

Then, too, it must be remembered that the two rivers are great 
bodies and streams of water of very different temperatures. The Missis- 
sippi up to the very point of junction often freezes over hard and solid, 
but the Ohio never. The water in the one comes from the distant 
north while that in the other comes largely from the south. The 
Tennessee is the largest of the Ohio's tributaries and comes out of 
north Alabama, crosses Tennessee and, flowing for a short distance 
through Kentucky, empties into the Ohio at Paducah, forty miles on 
an east and west line from Cairo. The winds are uniformly from the 
southwest to the northeast, and crossing the Mississippi and then the 
Ohio must in the nature of things carry away from the city exhalations 
which Would otherwise, at least to some extent, produce ill health. 

But however we may reason about the matter, the writer can say 
that he has now resided in the city forty years, and that having before 
resided many years in one of the best counties of central Illinois, he is 
strongly of the belief that there is not anjru^here in the state a more 
healthful place or city than the city of Cairo. He would not, however, 
'have any one believe that the climate here is all that could be 
desired. For a northern town, Cairo is far south, as far as Richmond 
and Norfolk. The summers begin early and end late, making the long 
or hot season a long one comparatively. There is, also, malaria here, 
quite sufficient for home consumption. One feels less active here and 
must take things somewhat more moderately than further north. In 
a word or two, the geography and topography of the place make it more 
of a southern than a northern town. It must be added, however, that 
so far as the diseases of typhoid fever, pneumonia, and consumption are 
concerned, there is not one case here to four or five in central Illinois, 
supposedly a healthful part of the state. 

In March, 1856, the Trustees published and circulated extensively 
an interesting pamphlet of twenty pages of large letter sheet size, 
printed on blue paper, a copy of which was sent to me from Cleveland. 
Besides its two pages of introduction, it contains eleven different head- 
ings as follows: 

( 1 ) Railroad facilities possessed by Cairo. 

(2) The advantages possessed by Cairo by her river communication 
with the Gulf of Mexico. 

(3) Cairo as a commercial city. 

(4) Identification of the interests of the Illinois Central Railroad 
with those of Cairo. 

(5) Immunit)^ of Cairo from inundation. 

(6) Drainage of Cairo. 

(7) Health of Cairo. 

(8) Supply and quality of water at Cairo. 


(9) Abundance of building materials at Cairo. 
(10) Cairo as she is. 
(11) The future of Cairo. 

That part of the pamphlet relating to the health of Cairo is as follows : 

Health of Cairo. — So much has been written on the unhealthiness of the 
Western cities; so many terrible pictures have been painted of the fever-stricken 
and ague-suffering inhabitants; so many fancy sketches have been drawn of the 
fearful mortality which has attended the pioneers of civilization on the banks 
of the Mississippi, — that truth has a hard battle with misrepresentation and 
prejudice in her efforts to establish the facts. Yet we can scarcely wonder at 
this, when we see a writer like Charles Dickens, who, in his descriptions of the 
springs which actuate the lower strata of English society, is unequaled and un- 
approachable, — deliberately, to gain the applause of the bigoted portion of his 
countrymen, misapply his talents by seeking to vilify and abuse our rising cities 
of the West. From the personal testimony of all who have resided there, and 
who, by their connection with the city, are the best qualified to judge, we un- 
hesitatingly assert that not only is this point one of the healthiest in the valley 
of the Mississippi, but that Cairo is as healthy as NeAV York. The salubrity of 
the climate will compare favorably with the healthiest cities of the West. This 
is proved by the testimony of residents, whose families present a picture of 
robust health, not exceeded by the inhabitants of any other district, West or East; 
and a short acquaintance with the locality will not fail to satisfy every one of 
the fact. 

Dr. James C. Cummings, now of Portland, Maine, who resided in Cairo for 
some years, practicing there as a physician, says, — "Yellow fever and consump- 
tion are unknown. There is not a swamp within miles of the city, and the rivers 
being a mile or more in width, Cairo has nothing to fear from the miasma of 
the Kentucky or Missouri shores. There is, generally, a refreshing breeze from 
one river to the other. The climate is delightful. The summers are long and 
by no means extremely hot. The atmosphere is generally clear, and there are 
usuall}' refreshing breezes. The winters are short and mild; snow is seldom 
seen and lies but a short time. The water is excellent. Shippers say it is the 
best in the world. After a heavy rain of days even, twenty-four hours of clear 
weather will generally make the walking good in any direction." 

Since the departure of Dr. Cummings, the Trustees have cut down the timber 
on the flats, from river to river, for a considerable space, and this permits of 
the free circulation of air, and has driven away the miasma, which might have 
produced chills and fever. Last summer, when there was so much cholera in 
the other towns on the Ohio and Mississippi, there was not one case of it among 
the inhabitants of Cairo. In fact, Cairo is far enough north to avoid the dis- 
comforts and fevers of a southern climate; and far enough south to avoid the 
frost, which, during a portion of each winter, binds in fetters the giant streams 
of the great West. The salubrity and healthiness of Cairo is officially recognized 
by the United States Government, and steps are now taking for the establish- 
ment of a U. S. Marine Hospital at this point, to humanely meet and protect 
diseased emigrants, and sailors navigating the Mississippi from below, during 
the summer season. 

The Yellow Fever: The ten days beginning with July 9, 1878, 
were probably the hottest ten successive days in the history of the city. 
During that time the writer was kept at home by an attack of illness 
and was treated by Dr. W. R. Smith, whom most of us remember as 
one of our most prominent citizens and physicians. On entering the 
room one of those days and while wiping the perspiration from his face, 
he said, " John, we are likely to have yellow fever in the south within 
a month or two." The doctor's prophecy came true. The first case 


occurred in the south about the first of August. It moved on northward 
and soon appeared at Natchez, Vicksburg, Memphis, and Hickman, and 
reached Cairo September 12th. It is said by many persons that Mr. 
Oberly, the father of the Hon. John H. Oberly, died of the fever a few 
days before the 12th. On the 12th there were tvvo deaths; one of them 
Mr. Thomas Nally, editor of the Bulletin, and the other Mr. Isaac 
Mulkey, a son of Judge John H. Mulkey, and also of the Bulletin 
ofBce. Those deaths caused a panic in the city, and the afternoon and 
evening of that day witnessed the departure of hundreds of people from 
the city. For some three or four weeks prior to that time there had 
existed in the city an unseemly controversy as to whether the fever would 
probably reach Cairo or not. Were one to turn to the files of the 
Bulletin and the Cairo Evening Sun for the last half of August and the 
first twelve days of September of that year, he would see what a state 
of feeling existed in the city; the one party insisting that there was 
little or no danger and the other that there was very great danger and 
that ever>- possible effort should be put forth to keep the dreaded disease 
out of the city. The Bulletin led off as was its custom and criticised 
with unnecessary severity every one who chose to differ with it. It 
was strongly supported by a few of our prominent citizens who felt 
that it was their duty to maintain our supposed immunitj^ I can best 
describe that peculiar state of things preceding September 12th by 
saying that it was not quite as bad as the yellow fever itself. I had 
been attending court at Jonesboro and was told by the conductor, on 
offering to go aboard the train at Jonesboro to come home, that he 
could not take me on account of the quarantine at Cairo. I prevailed 
upon him and came, and on reaching the northern part of the city I 
saw the levees patrolled by armed guards. One or two of them went 
through the train to ascertain who might and who might not be per- 
mitted to go on into the cit>'. When I reached the city, I was sur- 
prised beyond measure to see the state of things prevailing. On every 
hand were seen all kinds of vehicles carr\'ing trunks and ever}' other 
description of baggage to the railroad stations. They were driven, some 
of them, almost at furious rates of speed. In a word, there was a panic, 
which I need not attempt further to describe. I left on the same 
Illinois Central train about eight o'clock that evening, on which were 
Mr. Oberly and hundreds of other citizens of the town. I remained 
away until the 2d day of October, when I returned home, having seen 
in the Cairo Evening Sun, of September 24th, the following notice: 

" The Cairo public schools will open on Monday, September 30th, 
under the superintendency of Prof. G. G. Alvord. Mr. F. Korsmeyer, 
clerk of the Board of Education, furnishes us \\ath the following list 
of persons who are to teach this coming year. Misses A. Rogers, K. A. 
Thompson, N. J. McKee, L. M. Walbridge, E. F. Armstrong, Henri- 
etta Foss, E. Kratzinger, Mary Hogan, S. N. French, H. W. French, 
Mary Burnham, and Mrs. P. A. Taylor; Mr. Jesse Newsome, Miss 
Newsome, Miss Sarah Rose, Miss Ida Christ}' and James Nott. The 
last five are the names of the colored teachers." The schools opened at 


the time announced, but were discontinued October 4th. On Sunday 
and Monday, October 6th and 7th, there were six deaths, among them 
Miss Maroe Powers, one of the public school teachers. These deaths oc- 
casioned another exodus, not quite so panicky nor quite so large; and it 
was not until the latter part of October that the people began returning 
home, and it was not until far into November that all had gotten back. 

The Bulletin had suspended publication with its issue of September 
1 2th, and did not resume publication until the first day of November. 
Mr. D. L. Davis, the editor of the Cairo Evening Sun, and his family 
had also gone from the city, and had left Mr. Walter F. McKee in 
charge of the paper. Walter, for most of us were accustomed to 
address him by that name, remained at his post and gave the city a 
very faithful account of what was daily taking place. As bad as 
the news often was which it contained, the residents were eager for 
its appearance in the evening, and most of them forwarded copies to 
their friends who had gone from town and who were anxious to know 
the state of things at home. Mr. Davis removed from Cairo to 
Chicago a few years afterwards, and kindly handed to me all the num- 
bers of the " Sun " which covered that yellow fever period. Of the 
one hundred or more cases there were about fifty deaths. The names of 
those who died are as follows: 

Thomas Nally, Isaac Mulkey, John Crofton, John Bloom (Blohim), 
Mr. Reice, Richard Nason, Mrs. R. Nason, Miss Nason, Mr. Clark, 
Michael Dugan, Miss Dugan, Mrs. P. Corcoran, John Petry, Mrs. 
John Petry, Miss Louise Petry, Patrick O'Laughlin, child of Mr. and 
Mrs. Stapleton, child of John Oakley, child of J. J. Balfry, Mrs. J. 
J. Balfry, Robert Hart, Thomas Cook, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Murphy, 
and child, Thomas Healy, Miss Kate Healy, Miss Maroe Powers, Mrs. 
Fitzpatrick, Huston Dickey, W. H. Wilcox, D. William Hamlin, Phillip 
K. Howard, Mrs. Shurburn, John McEwen, Dr. Roswell Waldo, Tim- 
othy Conners, Anthony McTigue, John Warren (colored), Annie 
Davis, Clara Keno, Mrs. W. H. Stoner, Mary A. Sampson, John 
Keho, Mrs. Stephens, Samuel Nealy, John Stanton, Miss Sullivan, Miss 
Anthony, John Sullivan, and Miss Mary Sweney. The seven last 
names were not found in the Dailj'' Evening Sun from September ist 
to November 12th, but it is said the whole list as above given was made 
up by Drs. William R. Smith, J. J. Gordon and Mr. Alonzo Daniels. 

I give here the number of cases and the number of deaths in a few 
of the southern cities during the months of August, September, October 
and November ; for the disease prevailed in the south far into November. 
At Baton Rouge, number of cases 2,716, deatlis 201 ; Greenville, Miss., 
cases, 1,137, deaths 387; Grenada, Miss., cases 1,468, deaths 367; 
Holly Springs, Miss., cases 1,240, deaths 346; Memphis, cases 17,600, 
deaths 5,150, ratio of mortality to cases, I in 3.3; Hickman, Kentucky, 
cases 454, deaths 180; Gallopolis, Ohio, above Cincinnati, population 
3,700, cases 51, deaths 31. 

The above statistics are taken from the history of the " Yellow Fever 
Epidemic of 1878 in Memphis," by Mr. J. M. Keating. It is a volume 


of 454 pages and contains a full history of yellow fever, beginning as 
far back as the year 1600. It says that on the 14th of August in that city, 
the panic among its citizens first began, and that the last week of that 
month the panic was over and that all had left who could, and that 
all were in camp who would go; and further, that on the 14th day of 
September, the second day after the fever reached Cairo, the heaviest 
mortality occurred. It gives the names of the persons who died in 
Memphis and other cities and places in Tennessee. Necessarily many 
errors would occur in the collection of such information. For instance, 
the population of Cairo is given as 6,300, the number of cases 43, the 
number of deaths 32. This is a higher rate of mortality than any 
occurring at any of the other seventy-five to a hundred places mentioned. 
The fact is just as above given. There were about one hundred cases 
and about fifty deaths. This book gives a full account of the tow-boat 
John D. Porter, which it calls a floating charnel house, all the way from 
New Orleans to Gallopolis or Pittsburg. A number of our citizens 
will remember when it passed Cairo. 

I have devoted these few pages to the epidemic of the fever because 
it was an era in the city's histor}^ One third of the people left the city. 
Many remained who could and should have gone. Their reasons for 
remaining were various; and sometimes they could give none at all. 
It was a simple disinclination to leave home. There was a continuing 
hope that the danger would soon pass, but it persisted instead. To 
some it was a question of means; for to go and remain away even for 
a short time required money for the trip and board. Many had no 
friends or relatives to whom they could go. Few persons in the sur- 
rounding country desired to see any one from Cairo. Many whole 
families would not go because they could not decide who should remain, 
and they feared leaving their homes unprotected. Business was sus- 
pended; only just enough done as seemed actually necessary for the 
people at home. The daj^s were unusually bright, in sharp contrast 
with the doubly dark and silent nights. Part of the time persons could 
not be abroad at night without passes of some kind from the author- 
ities. In a word, ever3^thing spoke plainly of the reign of pestilential 
disease. The city government of course went on. It had to. Mayor 
Winter was equal to the occasion, and to be equal to such an occasion 
seems capability for almost anything, but he seemed made for it as for 
some special occasion. Jack, like so many public men of the country, 
liked to do things in a kind of showy \A-ay, not exactly spectacularly, 
but that word expresses something of the idea. Jack had been so har- 
rowed by the Bulletin and others about the fever, that he seemed 
somehow to be glad that they and not he had been proven false prophets ; 
and when the fever came he met it with an undaunted face. He could 
not rescue its victims; but he and the few trusty men he had buried 
them in the shortest possible time and yet with all the care and ceremony 
of which the deadly situation would admit. But I must not go on 


further or attempt to describe the pestilence that walked in darkness 
or the destruction that wasted at noonday. 

Jack Winter was no better than many of the rest of us ; but if at the 
end of all things there is a balancing of accounts for every man, Jack's 
account will have opposite September and October, 1878, a very large 
credit. Of the rather few persons on whom he relied for attention to 
families in need and for other aid to the city authorities, I may mention 
Mr. William H. Schutter. I do so because of my personal knowledge 
of much of his work. Of the many persons who remained out of a 
sense of duty to those who could not go or did not choose to go, I may 
mention the Rev. Benjamin Y. George, of the Presbyterian Church, and 
Father Zabel, of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, of whose constant care 
and devotion to the stricken families of the town it would be impossible 
to say too much. Doctor Roswell Waldo, of the Marine Hospital, 
gave up his life in the work he did, which extended alike to all persons 
needing his services. He died at St. Mary's Infirmary October i8th, 
after a long illness which kept the community alternating between 
hope and fear for his life. The Sisters of St. Mary's Infirmary did 
everything in their power, as they always do. It may not be so, but it 
sometimes seems that they take pleasure in such times as those were. 
They look upon every opportunity for doing good as a blessing to them- 
selves. Did not this happiness come to them, how could they devote their 
lives to such work ? 

The Sun of Monday, November 25, 1878, gives an account of the 
presentation to Dr. J. J. Gordon of a gold medal in recognition of his 
very faithful services during the prevalence of the fever. The presen- 
tation took place at the Arlington House, afterward The Illinois, and 
now The Marion. It gives the names of the thirty-five donors, and 
speaks of Mayor Winter, the Rev. Mr. George, and other persons 

Many of the older residents of the city remember that during the 
yellow fever epidemic that prevailed in many cities of the south in 
September and October, 1873, we had six or seven deaths here in 
Cairo, which were probably the result of that disease. Keating says 
there were seventeen deaths here from yellow fever. This is another 
error in what seems to be a valuable publication. Among those who 
died were Christian Pitcher, James C. Arrick, James Hughes, Francis 
M. Hundley, Mr. Powers, and Mr. Fielding. Almost all of the persons 
who died were employed upon some one of the wharf boats, or were in 
some way engaged in work on or near the river. At that time, as well 
as in 1878, there was quite a controversy as to whether the disease was 
yellow fever. The funeral of Hundley was held at the Methodist Church 
and quite a large number of persons attended the same. The funeral 
of young Arrick, who died September 16, 1873, was held at the residence 
of his father, Mr. A. A. Arrick, on 20th Street, and a large number of 
persons attended the same and went to the burial, which was at Beech 
Grove. It seems, however, that by the last of September the Bulletin 
came finally to the conclusion that the disease was yellow fever. 


It is supposed that the yellow fever has been banished from the United 
States, if not also from Cuba. If this claim is well founded, or reason- 
ably well supported, why may we not also hope for the banishment of 
other diseases? If one so deadly as this one which has penetrated even 
into the heart of the country may be permanently expelled, how is it that 
the expulsion or prevention may not sooner or later extend to other 
diseases — others prevailing almost all the time and almost everywhere ? 




IT is quite impossible to say much concerning Cairo during this period 
of four years without also saying much about the war. Those years, 

however, were so full of events relating directly to the city as to 
require a separate if not a somewhat full account. 

The census of the year i860, one of the most remarkable years in the 
country's history, shows the population of Cairo to have been 2,188, of 
whom 55 were negroes. It had no doubt increased a few hundred and 
probably had reached 2,500 in the month of April, 1861. Its population 
in 1870 was but 6,267. At the very opening of the war, it was seen that 
Cairo was to become one of the most important points on the long line 
of division between the revolting and the adhering states. The two 
great arteries of commerce united here and took their course southward 
through almost the heart of the then hostile country. Charlevoix, 
Governor Hamilton, of Canada, General George Rogers Clark and many 
others had spoken of the importance of the position as a means of defense 
against foreign foes; but few, if any, had ever spoken or thought of its 
strategic advantages in case of civil or domestic war. It is true, the 
Mississippi River had now and then been cited as a kind of bond of union 
between the states, but such references were little more than mere figures 
of speech, and when it became apparent that we were likely to have a 
civil war, the country turned at once to a careful study of the geographi- 
cal features of the border states. Illinois extends far down into the 
Southern country and Cairo was and is about on a line with the 
south line of Kansas, the old well-known Missouri compromise line 
of 36-30, which was -less than forty miles north of the south line of Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky. The tvvo slave states of Virginia and Missouri 
extended north of Cairo 200 and 300 miles, respectively, and three- 
fourths of the state of Kentucky lay north of it. But its chief importance 
lay in its position at the junction of the two great rivers, from which it 
was supposed large control might be obtained and exercised over the 
united streams flowing into the Gulf and almost equally dividing the 
country in revolt. 

At the general election November 6, i860, Lincoln received 76 votes in Cairo, 
and 106 in the whole county; Douglas 347 in the city and 684 in the county; 
Bell 91 in the city and 178 in the county, and Breckinridge 73 in the city and 79 
in the county. In Union County, Lincoln's vote was 157, Douglas' 996, Bell's 
58, and Breckinridge's 819. In Pulaski, Lincoln 220, Douglas 550, Bell 45, and 
Breckinridge 9. In Johnson, Lincoln 40, Douglas 1,563, Bell o, and Breckinridge 
9. In Pope, Lincoln 127, Douglas 1,202, Bell 83, and Breckinridge i. In Jackson, 


Generals Grant and McClernand. IsOl 

CAIRO DURING THE WAR, 1861-1865 129 

Lincoln 315, Douglas 1,556, Bell 147, and Breckinridge 29. In Williamson, 
Lincoln 173, Douglas 1,835, Bell 166, and Breckinridge 40. In Massac, Lincoln 
121, Douglas 873, Bell 84, and Breckinridge o. In Hardin, Lincoln 107, Doug- 
las 499, Bell 62, and Breckinridge o. In Saline, Lincoln 100, Douglas 1,338, 
Bell 113, and Breckinridge 15; and in Perry, Lincoln 649, Douglas 1,101, Bell 
138, and Breckinridge i. 

In the twenty-seven counties lying along the line and south of the railroad 
from East St. Louis to Vincennes, the whole vote for the four candidates was 
about 60,000, of which Lincoln received a little less than one-third. The only 
counties in which he received more votes than any other candidate were Ed- 
wards, Madison, and St, Clair, Breckinridge's vote in Union County of 819 was 
about three times as great as his vote in all the other twenty-six counties. In 
Edwards, Hamilton, Hardin, Lawrence, Monroe, Massac and Washington, he 
did not receive even one vote. 

It is well known that the people generally, or a large majority of 
them, in the southern and southeastern part of the state, sympathized 
with the south but not largely to the extent of disunion. They had 
voted for Douglas, who had in some vital matters broken with the 
southern leaders, and when he, seeing that war was inevitable, declared 
that there was but one thing for lo3^al men to do and that was to support 
the government, these southern Illinois people laid aside their radical 
democratic views and with remarkable unanimity rallied to the support of 
the Union. The Illinois and other troops who first came to Cairo in 
April and May, 1861, came there with the belief that its residents were, 
with a very few exceptions, southern sympathizers if not rebels at heart. 
They had known of the town only as a very hard and a very unhealthy 
place, and seeing the low site, the unfilled and muddy streets, the poor 
houses and still poorer sidewalks, their impressions, which they wrote 
back home, were in substance much like those of Dickens, if not always 
expressed in the same fine language. For a time the officers and men 
treated the people as if they were across the Ohio and in Kentucky. The 
little city government, with Samuel Staats Taylor at its head as mayor, 
became smaller and smaller and shrank almost into invisibility. It seems 
all the while, however, to have maintained itself de jure, but as for a de 
facto existence it had little if any at all in the midst of so many captains, 
colonels, generals, and armies of soldiers, equipped with muskets and 
cannon of every description. In the midst of arms the laws were silent. 
But this unavoidable state of things soon settled down into a condition 
or type of administration that seemed entirely natural, and to which the 
people of the little city adjusted themselves with becoming grace and 
contentment. It was soon seen, because practically demonstrated, that 
to carry on war much money was needed, and Cairo having become a 
great military station and depot, money soon began to make its appear- 
ance in a way never dreamed of by any one in the town, nor, for that 
matter, by any of the somewhat visionary founders of the place. Rents 
went up higher and higher, new but rather temporary buildings rose in 
great numbers and in every quarter. Prices of all kinds of goods 
advanced beyond precedent, and it was supposed that the future of Cairo 
was now well assured. This change in values and advance in prices 
were seen and felt everywhere in the country, with the fall in the face 


\'alue of all currency and the constant and unlimited demands by the 
war for all products and manufactures. Many persons became com- 
paratively wealthy who had never expected to attain unto more than 
a comfortable competency. It was a time of great prosperity, and very 
naturally sympathy with the south and opposition to the war became 
things of the past. The two newspapers here then received from time 
to time friendly suggestions from the generals commanding the 'post, 
who for the most part were treated as editors in chief. The city jail 
or calaboose now and then contained a soldier, but the coming morning 
generally witnessed his transfer to the proper military authorities, which 
in most cases was regarded as best for all parties, especially the city and 
its people. 

Fort Sumter was fired upon April 12, 1861, and was surrendered the 
next day. On the 15th President Lincoln called for the 75,000 three 
months' soldiers and on the 23rd, the first soldiers of Illinois arrived 
in Cairo. This is what is said about their arrival by Mr. A. H. Burley, 
of Chicago, in his account of'The Cairo Expedition." 

April 21 (i86i), the expedition started from the Illinois Central Railroad 
station (Chicago) .... The military train passed unheralded the length 
of the State, and rolled into Cairo to the astonishment of all and rage of many 

of its citizens Knowing the sentiment of the people, the fear was 

that they would destroy the long, wooden trestle-work across the Big Muddy 
River, which they could have rendered impassable, in an hour, by burning it. 
There was also fear that the rebels would seize Cairo, as being a point of 
great strategic importance. It was afterwards learned that Cairo would have 

been seized in forty-eight hours, had its occupation been delayed 

The first armed force sent out in the West was that sent to Cairo, and it was 
sent from Chicago. 

The following three or four pages are from the report of Allen C. 
Fuller, adjutant general, for 1861-1862, dated January ist, 1863, and 
addressed to Governor Richard Yates : 

On the evening of April 15, 1861, the following dispatch was received: 

"Washington, April 15, 1861. His Excellency, Richard Yates: Call made on 
you by to-night's mail for six regiments of militia for immediate service. 
Simon Cameron, Secretary of War." .... Washington, April 19, 1861. 
Governor Yates: As soon as enough of your troops is mustered into service, send 
a Brigadier General with four regiments at or near Grand Cairo. Simon 
Cameron, Secretary of War. 

The importance of taking possession of this point was felt by all, and that, 
too, without waiting the arrival and organization of a brigade. Accordingly, 
the following dispatch was sent to Brigadier General Swift, at Chicago: 

"Springfield, April 19, 1861. 
General Swift: 

As quick as possible have as strong a force as you can raise, armed and 
equipped with ammunition and accoutrements, and a company of artillery, 
ready to march at a moment's warning. A messenger will start to Chicago 
to-night. Richard Yates, 


At eleven (11) o'clock on the twenty-first, only forty-eight hours after this 
dispatch was delivered. General Swift left Chicago with a force of 595 men 
and four six pounder pieces of artillery. Capt. Houghtaling's battery, of 

CAIRO DURING THE WAR, 1861-1865 131 

Ottawa; Capt. Hawley's, of Lockport; Capt. McAllister's, of Plainfield, and 
Capt. Can's, of Sandwich, did not arrive in Chicago in time to join the 
expedition, but followed it the next day. The expedition consisted of the fol- 
lowing forces: 

Brig. Gen. Swift and Staff 14 

Chicago Light Artillery, Capt. Smith 150 

Ottawa Light Artillery, Capt. Houghtaling 86 

Lockport Light Artillery, Capt. Hawley S3 

Plainfield Light Artillery, Capt. McAllister 72 

Co. A, Chicago Zouaves, Capt. Hayden 89 

Co. B, Chicago Zouaves, Capt. Clyborne 83 

Capt. Harding's Company 80 

Turner Union Cadets, Capt. Kowald 97 

Lincoln Rifles, Capt. Mihalotzy 66 

Sandwich Company, Capt. Carr 102 

Drum Corps 17 

Total 908 

Captain Campbell's Ottawa Independent Artillery, with about twenty men 
and two six-pounder cannon, joined the force about the 28th of April." 

This expedition, indifferently armed with rifles, shot-guns, muskets and 
carbines, hastily gathered from stores and shops in Chicago, arrived at Big 
Muddy bridge, on the Illinois Central Railroad, at five o'clock, A. m., April 
22d, and detaching Capt. Harding's company at that point, arrived at Cairo 
at eight o'clock the following morning. The batteries were unprovided with 
shell or canister, but slugs hurriedly prepared — and some of which were sub- 
sequently used at a critical time, and with terrible effect, by one of these bat- 
teries at Fort Donelson — answered the purpose of all. 

This command ^vas reinforced, on the twenty-fourth, by seven companies 
from Springfield, under the command of Col. Prentiss, who relieved Gen. 
Swift, except as to that portion — who did not desire to muster into the United 
States service — commanded by Captains Harding, Hayden and Clyborne, who 
returned to Springfield on the second of May, to join a regiment organizing 
here. These last companies, however, arrived too late, and were mustered 
out of the State service, with allowance of one month's pay, under an act of 
the Legislature then in session. 

The importance of an early occupation, by our forces, of Cairo, was not 
overestimated. Situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, 
and commanding the navigation of these waters, its possession in a strategical 
point of view, was absolutely necessary to our safety. The state governments 
of Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky were controlled by disloyal men. Gov- 
ernor MagoflSn had, on the i6th of April, said to the President, in reply to 
his call on that state for troops: "Your dispatch is received. In answer, I 
say emphatically, Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of 
subduing her sister Southern states." Governor Harris, of Tennessee, on the 
i8th, in reply to the call upon his state said: "Tennessee will not furnish a 
single man for coercion;" and on the same day Governor Jackson, of Mis- 
souri, said: "Requisition is illegal, unconstitutiona,!, revolutionary, inhuman, 
diabolical, and cannot be complied with." 

By taking possession of this point, at so early a date, our forces were enabled 
to prevent a traffic with the rebellious states in contraband property. This 
traffic was being actively carried on between Galena and St. Louis, with 
towns on the Mississippi below Cairo. The execution of the following tele- 
graphic order was the first arrest made to this traffic: 

"Springfield, April 24, 1861. 
Col. B. M. Prentiss, Cairo: 

The steamers C. E. Hillman and John D. Perry are about to leave St. 
Louis, with arms and munitions. Stop said boats, and seize all the arms and 
munitions. Richard Yates. 



On the evening of the 24th and morning of the 25th, as these boats, bound 
for southern ports, neared Cairo, Col. Prentiss directed Captain Smith, of the 
Chicago Light Artillery, and Captain Scott, of the Chicago Zouaves, to board 
them and bring them to the wharf. His orders were executed, and large 
quantities of arms and munitions of war were seized and confiscated. Though 
this seizure was not expressly authorized by the War Department, the act of 
seizure and subsequent confiscation was approved. Further shipments were all 
forbidden soon after, as appears from the following dispatch: 

"Washington, May 7, 1861. 
Governor Yates : 

Circular has been sent to collectors forbidding shipments intended for ports 
under insurrectionary control. Stop such shipments from Cairo. 

S. P. Chase." 

The Legislature having met on the 23d of April, proceeded at once to pro- 
vide for the organization of these six regiments, and, on the 25th, an "act to 
organize six regiments of volunteers from the State of Illinois and provide for 
the election of regimental officers and a Brigadier General," was approved 
and became a law. Under the old militia laws of the state a company of 
infantry consisted of one captain, one first, one second and one third lieu- 
tenant, four sergeants, four corporals, one drummer, one fifer, and not less 
than forty-six nor more than one hundred and sixteen rank and file. A regi- 
ment consisted of one Colonel, one, two or three Majors (as the case might be), 
the senior to be Lieutenant Colonel, with a regimental staff, to be appointed 
by the Colonel, to consist of one Adjutant, who should act as regimental judge 
advocate, one Quartermaster, one Paymaster, to rank as Captains, respectively; 
one Surgeon and Surgeon's Mate, one Sergeant Major, one Quartermaster 
Sergeant, one Drum Major and one Fife Major. 

The regulations of the Secretary of War for organizing these regiments 
required each regiment to consist of one Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel, one 
Major, one Adjutant (a Lieutenant), one regimental Quartermaster (a Lieu- 
tenant), one Surgeon, one Surgeon's Mate, one Sergeant Major, one Drum Major, 
one Fife Major, ten Captains, ten Lieutenants, ten Ensigns, forty Sergeants, 
forty Corporals, ten drummers, ten fifers and six hundred and forty privates. 

The law provided that "in token of respect to the Illinois regiments in 
Mexico," these regiments should be numbered seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, 
and twelve; and that when organized they should be known as the "First 
Brigade Illinois Volunteers." Under the provisions of this law they were 
organized and mustered into service and ordered to duty as follows: 

The Seventh, Colonel Cook, was mustered at Springfield, April 25th, and 
ordered to Alton the 27th. 

The Eighth, Colonel Oglesby, was mustered the same date, and ordered to 
Cairo the 27th. 

The Ninth, Colonel Paine, was mustered at the same place, April 26th, 
and ordered to Cairo May ist. 

The Tenth, Colonel Prentiss, was, with a part of his command, ordered to 
Cairo, April 22d, and was, on the 29th, mustered at Cairo. 

The Eleventh, Colonel Wallace, was mustered at Springfield, April 30th, 
and ordered to Villa Ridge, May 5th. 

The Twelfth, Colonel McArthur, was mustered at Springfield, May 2d and 
ordered to Cairo, May loth. 

As has already been remarked, Cairo was soon seen to be one of the 
most important points on the dividing-line between the northern and 
southern states. It was the most important point in the whole Missis- 
sippi valley and in many respects a key to the wide extended country, 
and both sides, seeing the advantages of its possession, sought to occupy 
it. The Confederates pushed up into central Kentucky and at the same 

CAIRO DURING THE WAR, 1861-1865 133 

time occupied Columbus, only twenty miles below us, and they would 
have been in Cairo and have held it, at least for a time, had not Governor 
Yates rushed his very first soldiers to its defense against the Confederate 

As illustrating the view taken of this important position at Cairo, I 
quote a few lines from General Clark E. Carr's book, " The Illini," on 
page 357, where he says: 

"Governor Yates received a telegram from the Secretary of War 
requesting him, as soon as enough Illinois troops were mustered in, 
to send a force to occupy Cairo. He did not wait for troops to be 
mustered in. In less than, forty-eight hours, he had General Swift, of 
Chicago, flying down, upon a special train of the Illinois Central Rail- 
way, with four batteries of artillery and six companies of infantry, and 
the most important strategic point west of the Alleghanies was safe in 
our possession. Cairo was from that time forward the central point 
of all the movements of our armies on the western rivers. The move- 
ment for its occupation was not made a day too soon." 

Major General George B. McClellan was, in April, 1861, assigned 
to the department of the Ohio, consisting of the states of Ohio, Indiana, 
and Illinois, and in his book entitled "McClellan's Own Story," he says, 
on page 45 : 

"In the course of May and June, I made several tours of inspection 
through my command. Cairo was visited at an early day and after a 
thorough inspection, I gave the necessary- orders for its defense, as well 
as that of Bird's Point which I also visited. Cairo was then under the 
immediate command of Brigadier General Prentiss, and, considering all 
the circumstances, the troops were in a remarkably satisfactory condition. 
The artillery, especially, had made very good progress under the instruc- 
tion of Colonel Wagner, a Hungarian officer, whom I had sent there for 
that object." 

In Col. Taylor's lengthy letter of September 6, 1858, to the Trustees 
of the Cairo City Property, concerning the inundation of June 12, 1858, 
wherein he states that the break in the levee occurred near where it 
curves into the cross levee towards the Ohio River, there occurs this 
passage: "When the levee broke, no one was in sight of it that I can 
ascertain. Captain McClellan, the Vice-President and General Engineer 
of the Illinois Central Railroad, and myself, had passed over it on foot 
within two hours before it occurred, and the watchman whose duty it was 
to look after it was over it about twenty minutes before, but to none of 
us was there any appearance of weakness. After leaving the location 
about twenty minutes and being distant less than one- fourth of a mile, the 
watchman heard the roaring of the waters running through the crevasse, 
and when I reached it, three-fourths of an hour afterward, the water 
was running through to the full width of three hundred feet and in 
an unbroken stream, as if it was to the full depth of the embankment. 
The probability is, I think, that, aided by the stumps and roots in the 
embankment and it is possible some other extraneous substances, the water 
had found its way through the base of the embankment, and had so far 



saturated it as to destroy its cohesion with the natural ground below, 
and then the weight of the water on the outside pushed it away." 

Less than three years from this time, the great Civil War, the greatest 
of modern times, had begun, and Captain McClellan was at the head 
of the Union army as Major General. 

In saying much about Cairo during the war one would likely say 
much more about the war than about Cairo. The Cairo of that time 
could be disposed of in a few pages more than Dickens used in 1842, 
although its population in April, 1861, was just about ten times what it 
was in April, 1842. Anthony Trollope was here two or three days in 
February, 1862, and he wrote much more and much more painfully 
about the town than did his facile penned countryman. (Trollope's 
"North America," vol. 2, chapter 6.) This much, however, can be said in 
palliation of Trollope's description of Cairo, and that is, it must have 
looked even worse in 1862 than in 1842. Cairo during the war was 
hardly Cairo at all. It was a great military camp, set down in a low flat 
plain and surrounded by high levees from which you descended to the 
town's level by long flights of wooden steps at the intersection of the un- 
improved and often very muddy streets. Trollope never tired of talking 
of the mud. The town was, as now, in a basin, whose rim was a high 
earth embankment, seven or eight miles in circuit, and over which one 
could not see either river unless upon a building or other elevation. In- 
side of these levees and along the same were the camps or barracks of the 
soldiers. At the junction of the rivers they constructed Fort Defiance. 
It was not of great extent. It was simply a large flat-topped mound, 
on which the cannons were placed, so as to command effectually the 
junction of the tw'O great streams. Two or three miles lower down and 
on the Kentucky side of the Ohio and at a point very near where the 
waters of the Mississippi first push over to the Kentucky shore. Fort 
Holt \\'as erected. It was named for the judge advocate 
general of the United States army, General Joseph Holt, of 
Kentucky. This point or place was subsequently called Fill- 
more. Fort Holt commanded not only the mouth of the Mississippi 
but commanded also the approach from the south on that river. Fort 
Defiance was also well situated to defend against vessels coming up the 
Mississippi and entering the Ohio. There was also a fort, for a time, 
at Bird's Point or rather at the site of Ohio City, somewhat east or 
further down the river. These three forts were intended to protect 
Cairo by commanding the adjacent parts of Kentucky and Missouri. 

During the early part of the war the expression "Border States" 
meant very much indeed. These border states were slave states. The free 
states just north of them were scarcely ever spoken of as border states. 
These border states were a sort of neutral zone or a zone in which the 
people were pretty equally divided bet\^'een union and secession. This 
equality of division led to a desire for neutrality, that is, freedom from 
invasion by either side. Had this been carried out or been assented to, 


River Gunboats. Cairo. 1S61 

CAIRO DURING THE WAR, 1 861-1865 135 

we would have had no war; but the neutral zone could not be main- 
tained. The Confederates pushed up into Kentucky as a kind of 
matter of course or of right, she being a slave state ; and before the year 
1 86 1 closed, they had secured and fortified Columbus twenty miles 
below us, the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and Bowling Green, 
all in that state. They had two forts on the Tennessee, Fort Hieman 
on the west side and Fort Henry on the east side, just a little below; 
and just across the narrow space of ten or twelve miles, they had their 
Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, inclosing one hundred acres of 
ground, and occupying a high position on that river. At Columbus 
they had the advantage of the very high bluffs just above the town. 

With this well-selected line of advance toward the north, it was 
quite impossible, so long as it was maintained, for the northern forces 
to proceed a foot southward in this region of country. On their way 
northward, the Confederates would not have stopped at Columbus 
but would have occupied and held Cairo with all the advantages the 
place afforded, had they moved a month sooner or had moved with a 
stronger force either by land or by river. This early advance into 
Kentucky had for its main object the drawing of that important state 
into the Confederacy. Had not General Grant come this way, there 
is no telling how far the enemy's line would have gone northward, per- 
haps to the Ohio River. Grant not only stayed its advance but pushed 
it far southward as we will now proceed to show. 

Ulysses Grant was born in Ohio April 27, 1822 ; graduated at West 
Point in 1 843 ; was for many years in the regular army and was in the 
Mexican War; was a farmer near St. Louis in the years 1855-57; i" 
the real estate business in St. Louis in 1858; moved to Galena in 1859, 
and there was a clerk in his father's tannery that year and i860; ap- 
pointed colonel of the twenty-first regiment of Illinois volunteers in 
May, 1861 ; brigadier-general of volunteers at Mexico, Missouri, in 
July, 1 86 1, and major general of volunteers at Fort Donelson February, 
1862; had his headquarters at Cairo from September, 1861, to April, 
1862; was appointed major general in the regular army on the capture 
of Vicksburg July 4, 1863, and lieutenant general in 1864, and general 
of the army in 1867; and was elected President in November, 1868. 
Few men at home or abroad, at any time in history, have risen through 
so many grades and so high as this; from a clerkship in a tannery to 
the presidency of the United States within less than eight years. 

Captain Grant was appointed colonel of the twenty-first regiment 
of Illinois Infantry in May, 186 1, and leaving Springfield with his 
regiment, he entered the state of Missouri in the vicinity of Quincy or 
Hannibal, and was first stationed at JeflEerson Cit}'. In a very short 
time, he was transferred, and given the command of southeastern 
Missouri and southern Illinois. He made his headquarters at Cape 
Girardeau. At this time, July and August, 1861, Jeff. Thompson and 
other Confederate officers were operating all over the southern part of 


Missouri and to them the Federal commanders were giving more or 
less attention. On the 4th day of September, 1861, Grant came to 
Cairo, and this place remained his headquarters until the northern line 
of the Confederate forces had been pushed far southward. Col. Oglesby 
was in command at Cairo when Grant arrived. On the second or 
third day after his arrival, he assembled a few vessels and hurried up to 
Paducah and took possession of the place. Had he delayed as much 
as eight or ten hours, the Confederates would have had possession of 
that city. Three to four thousand of their soldiers were on their 
way from Columbus and were within a few miles of Paducah when 
Grant entered and took possession. He had sent Oglesby with three 
thousand men into the state of Missouri, along the line of the 
present Iron Mountain Railroad, and on the 6th of November he pro- 
ceeded down the Mississippi, as far as or near Columbus and Belmont, 
with two or three gun-boats and about three thousand men. This 
movement, which led to the battle of Belmont November 7, 1861, was 
intended to detain at Columbus the Confederate forces and thereby 
protect Oglesby and his troops. Grant says that had not this move- 
ment been made Oglesby's forces would no doubt have been captured. 

The entrance of the Confederates into Kentucky at different points 
was but an invitation to the Union forces to enter and occupy the 
state so far as they might be able. To break this central hold of the 
Confederacy on Kentucky, Grant saw that the rivers afforded him the 
very best available means. By the close of the year 1861 quite a large 
number of war vessels suitable for river service had been assembled at 
Cairo and Mound City, where, under the supervision of Captain 
Williami L. Hambleton, the government had built eight or ten gun- 
boats, one of which Commodore Foote named The Cairo. These and 
many other vessels were ready for service late in 1861. They were 
first brought into service at Belmont November 7th; then at Fort 
Henry February 7th; then at Fort Donclson February 16, 1862. The 
capture of Forts Henry and Donelson led to the evacuation of Bowling 
Green; and as the vessels proceeded on up the Cumberland to Nash- 
ville, the latter was also evacuated by General Albert Sidney Johnson. 
Then came the evacuation of Columbus. Following these events came 
the great battle of Pittsburg Landing or Shiloh and the retreat of 
the Confederates to Corinth. Before the end of the month of May, 
Corinth was given up to the Federals, and this was followed, June 6th, 
by the evacuation of Memphis. Thus within the short space of four 
months, Grant had pushed the Confederate line from central Kentucky 
down to the south line of the state of Tennessee. 

Following Nashville, Memphis and Corinth, came Knoxville and 
Chattanooga; and though the progress southward was or seemed slow, 
yet by the end of another year, namely, July 4, 1863, fifteen months 
from the battle of Pittsburg Landing, Vicksburg had fallen. This led 
to the junction of the Union forces from the north and from the south 
and the full and complete possession of the Mississippi River from its 
source to its mouth; and along with this came the possession also of 

CAIRO DURING THE WAR, 1861-1865 137 

all the states on the river south of Cairo, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missis- 
sippi, and Louisiana on the east, and on the west, Louisiana, Arkansas, 
and Missouri. The Confederacy was thus severed in twain, divided as 
along the median lines. 

Although the red line of war moved southward from Cairo, she con- 
tinued to be the great point of departure for everything bound south- 
ward, as she was the point of arrival for everything going northward. 
The southern armies were pushed backward, but the people within the 
reclaimed territory were as a general thing no friends of the Union 
cause, and hence everything south of the Ohio had to be held by arms. 
Cairo thus continued to be throughout the war the most southern point 
in the great valley adhering heartily to the Union. Through the city 
there was almost a constant stream of soldiers bound northward or 
southward. A few days after the battle of Fort Donelson fifteen 
thousand Confederates were brought to Cairo and sent northward to 
the different prison camps. Over thirty thousand came also from 
Vicksburg. Some of our older citizens remember how the steamboats 
or other transports seemed covered and alive with them, dressed as 
they all were in their brown or butternut suits. And so it continued 
throughout the war. 

Before closing this chapter I must speak of the gun-boat The Cairo, 
so named October 29, 1861, by Commodore Foote, who was so long 
here and held in such high esteem by our citizens. This vessel was one 
of six or eight built at Mound City, as above stated. Her commander 
was Lieutenant Nathaniel C. Bryant. He was assigned to the com- 
mand of this vessel by Commodore Foote. It was badly disabled at 
Fort Holt by an accident. It was at Fort Henry and also at Fort 
Donelson and went on up the river to Nashville. It was also at the 
siege of Vicksburg, and was destroyed while in the mouth of the Yazoo 
River about the 12th of July, 1863, by a torpedo, which it encountered 
in moving about in that river. 

I cannot say much of the town itself during this period of four or 
five years, for the soldiers were here and passing and repassing far 
up into the year 1865, and perhaps later. Had we the registers of the 
old St. Charles Hotel from April 15, 1861, when the war began, to 
April 15, 1865, when the President was assassinated, how many scores 
of distinguished names we would see therein written. In number 
and prominence they would be exceeded only by those at the capital 
of the Nation for the same period. 

I cannot devote more space to this subject; nor is it necessary. 
Cairo's importance during the war was due to her situation at the 
junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and perhaps more relating 
to the city will be found in the records of the navy than of the army. 
See especially vol. 22, series I, of the records of the Union and Con- 
federate Navies, in our Public Library. 



\ supervision of Rev. C. M. Collins, C. M., of Cape Girardeau, who 
^^ occasionally visited Cairo to minister to the Catholic people here, a 
frame church building, about thirty-six feet square, was erected upon posts 
at the intersection of i8th and Ohio Streets, in 1838. The bell was hung 
in the forks of a tree in front of the church. This was no doubt the 
first church building of any kind erected in Cairo. The records of 
St. Patrick's parish show that Father Collins baptized nineteen persons 
in 1840, eighteen in 1841, four in 1842, and three in 1843. This 
falling off was due to the failure of the Cairo company and the conse- 
quent abandonment of the town, practically, in 1843. On Christmas 
day 1844, the Rev. J. P. McGerry, C. M., baptized Mary Ann Lefco- 
vitch, John Shannessy and John Corcoran. There seems to be no 
record of Catholic church matters in Cairo from February, 1845, to 
November, 1853; and from this last date the same records show that 
Rev. P. McCabe had charge here until December, 1858. From the 
"Cairo Times" of 1854, it appears that St. Patrick's church building, 
thirt}^-five by sevent>^ feet, with a large roomy basement, was com- 
pleted under the supervision of Father McCabe and services held therein 
on Sunday, June 25th, of that year. The contractor was John Saxton, 
of St. Louis, and the cost of the building about five thousand dollars. 

Father McCabe was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Walsh, who con- 
tinued as pastor until his death, March 15, 1863. Rev. Louis A. 
Lambert was assistant to Father Walsh from April, 1859, to the Sep- 
tember following, and upon the death of Father Walsh, he, then pastor 
at Shawneetown, was transferred to St. Patrick's church here. In 
May, 1868, he resigned his charge and went to New York, and was 
succeeded by the Rev. P. Brady, his assistant, who remained until 
October, 1869, when he was transferred to Springfield. Rev. P. J. 
O'Halloran was next in succession and continued until November, 
1873, when he and Rev. Francis H. Zabel, D. D., of East St. Louis, 
exchanged places. Father Zabel remained until September, 1879. Our 
older citizens remember him and especially his devoted self-sacrificing 
labors during the yellow fever of 1878. He was a man whom every 
one in the city esteemed very highly. Rev. Thomas Masterson came 
from Mound City to take his place and remained until July, 1882. 
He was succeeded by Rev. J. Murphy, who remained until November, 
1885. Rev. Charles Sweeney succeeded him and remained until Novem- 
ber, 1889. Then came Rev. James Eckerle, who was pastor until Decem- 



ber, 1890, and who was succeeded by the Rev. T. Day. The latter 
was transferred in November, 1891, and upon his departure the Rev. 
Charles J. Eschman took charge of the parish. During Father Esch- 
man's pastorate, and in 1894, the present fine stone church was built. 
In March, 1902, Father Eschman and Rev. James Gillen, of Prairie 
du Rocher, exchanged places. Father Gillen remained in charge until 
May, 1904, when he was assigned to St. Joseph's parish, and Rev. 
James J. Downey succeeded Father Gillen as pastor of St. Patrick's, 
and he is now in charge. Shortly after he came he built the new 
rectory, and later on installed the fine pipe organ now in the church. 

Until 1879, St. Patrick's had a large congregation, being attended 
by all but the German Catholics of the city. In that year the bishop 
divided the city into two parishes, making Fifteenth Street the boundary 
line. This division reduced the size of the congregation by more than 
half, as most of the Catholic people resided in the upper part of the cit)^ 

The Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal). — Origin of Parish: A 
letter, December i, 1840, Rt. Rev. Philander Chase, bishop of Illinois, 
to J. P. T. Ingraham, appointing him "a lay reader among the Episco- 
palians of Cairo;" a meeting April 18, 1841, the bishop presiding, at 
which was formed the "Parochial Association of Christ Church Cairo;" 
organization of "Church of the Redeemer" November 3, 1862; incor- 
porated April 25, 1864, under the title "Rector, Wardens, and Vestry- 
men of the Church of the Redeemer, Cairo, Illinois." Subscription 
started May 2, 1858, to erect church; foundation partly laid and 
destroyed by high water; enclosed fall 1862, occupied several weeks for 
government hospital, then finished ; occasional services by Rev. S. Y. 
McMasters and other army chaplains; first regular services February 
8, 1863. Building substantial frame 44x70 feet, wooden tower, cost 
$3,000.00, erected on 14th Street (lots 35 to 39, block 44, City, donated 
by Trustees of the Cairo Trust Property' ) ; sold July 2, 1886, to Rt. 
Rev. George F. Seymour, bishop of Springfield, in trust for "St. 
Michael Mission" (colored Episcopal) now occupying same. Present 
Church of the Redeemer, N. E. corner of Washington Avenue and 
Sixth Street (lots 24 to 39, Block 24, City) a beautiful brown stone 
edifice, slate roof, cupola, gold gilt cross, cost including furnishings 
and memorials, $30,899.49, commenced September 28, 1886; corner- 
stone laid December 7, 1886; finished April 9, 1888; first services April 
10, 1888; consecrated by Bishop Seymour November 13, 1892. Rectors 
of the parish, with time of service: Isaac P. Labagh, November 16, 
1862, to January 18, 1864; Thomas Lyle, May 2, 1864, to February 
I, 1867; W. W. Rafter, April 29, 1867, to September 16, 1867; J. 
W. Coe, September 21, 1867, to October 30, 1869; Edward Coan, 
April 10, 1870, to March 9, 1873; Charles A. Gilbert, November i, 
1873, to Januan^ i, 1877; David A. Bonnar, November 2, 1879, to 
December 11, 1880; Frederick P. Davenport, June i, 1 881, to November 
28, 1891; Fr. A. De Rosset, October 31, 1892, to September 3, 1901 ; 
E. L. Roland, November 12, 1902, to November 12, 1906; A. H. W. 


Anderson, May i, 1907, to December i, 1908; George M. Babcock, 
present rector since May 5, 1909. Wardens: Samuel S. Taylor, 
Henry S. Candee, 1864 to 1867; Horace Wardner, Samuel B. Halli- 
day, 1867; Horace Wardner, W. W. Thornton, 1868; W. W 
Thornton, Henrj^ L. Halliday, 1869; Horace Wardner, Henry L. Halli- 
day, 1870 to 1872; Henry H. Candee, William B. Gilbert, 1872 to 
1897; William B. Gilbert, Miles Fredk. Gilbert, 1897 to present time. 
Vestrymen: (Six elected annually since 1862 in addition to the 
wardens) have included many substantial citizens, among whom, for 
want of space, can only be mentioned the old familiar names of Robert 
Jennings, Alfred B. Safford, Wm. P. Halliday, Charles Thrupp, Jesse 
B. Humphrey, Wm. H. Morris, David J. Baker, Alex. H. Irvin, John 
Q. Harmon, C. W. Dunning. Present incumbents are Henry S. 
Candee, Joseph W. Wenger, Frank Spencer, Henry E. Halliday, John 
T. Brown, C. Fred Galigher. Present communicants 222. 

The Presbyterian Church. — On the 20th day of December, 1882. 
this church celebrated the twent}^-fifth anniversary of its organization. 
On that occasion Mr. George Fisher, then the editor and publisher 
of the "Weekly Citizen," presented to the congregation an historical 
sketch of the church. At the annual meeting of the congregation in 
1885, he added a supplemental account, together with a very short 
manual prepared by the Rev. Albert H. Trick, then the pastor of the 
church. All these Mr. Fisher caused to be printed in a pamphlet of 
35 pages; and it is from this pamphlet that almost all of the following 
information is obtained. 

The church building was erected in the year 1855, and dedicated 
the first Sabbath of January, 1856, but the lots, 31, 32, 33 and 34, block 
50, in the city, were not conveyed to the trustees of the church by the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property until February 12, 1856. The 
Rev. Robert Stewart, through whose efforts the building had been 
erected, preached the sermon at the dedication. Most of the money 
for the erection of the church came from Presbyterians of the city of 
St. Louis. The ladies of the Presbyterian church at Alton gave the 
funds for the furnishing of the church. The names of the pastors of 
the church and the length of their terms of service are as follows: 
Rev. Charles Kenmore, October, 1856, to June, 1857; Rev. A. G. 
Martin, December, 1858, to March 1861 ; Rev. Robert Stewart, June, 
1862 to November, 1864; Rev. H. P. Roberts, January, 1865, to Feb- 
ruary, 1867; Rev. C. H. Foote, February, 1867, to November, 1871; 
Rev. H. B. Thayer, Januarj^ 1872, to March, 1875; Rev. Benjamin 
Y. George, October, 1875, to October, 1883. From that time to 
November, 1884, the church Avas without a pastor, but was supplied 
almost all the time by ministers from other places. The Rev. Albert 
H. Trick was pastor, December, 1884, to November, 1890; Rev. 
Charles T. Phillips, April, 1891, to September, 1897; Rev. J. T. M. 
Knox, January, 1898, to May, 1905. The Rev. A. S. Buchanan 
became pastor in November, 1905, and is now the pastor of the church. 

The names of the elders of the church and when chosen are as 


follows: Edward P. Wilcox and James McFerran, 1861 ; William 
Cunningham, 1863; Daniel W. Munn and Walter Hyslop, 1865; 
Joseph B. Reed and John M. Lansden, 1868; George Fisher and 
Reuben S. Yocum, 1880; Edmund S. Dewey, William White and 
Slater S. Bossinger, 1890; M. Easterdaj^, 1893; Charles P. Simons, 
1896; William H. Gibson and Julius G. Holman, 1904; William S. 
Dewey and Rollo H. Spann, 1906; and Jesse W. Rule, 1908. The 
present elders are William White, M. Easterday, William H. Gibson, 
William S. Dewey, Rollo H. Spann and Jesse W. Rule. The present 
trustees of the church are Charles Cunningham, William S. Dewey, 
William J. Buchanan, William H. Sutherland, Arthur B. Turner, 
Walter H. Wood and Quinton E. Beckwith. 

In 1893, the congregation decided to erect a new church building, 
and many of the members residing in the upper part of the city, it was 
thought best to build further up town, and accordingly lots 14, 15, 16, 
17 and 18, in block 51, in the First Addition to the cit)^, on the south- 
east corner of Eighteenth Street and Washington Avenue, were pur- 
chased June 10, 1893; and on the 23d day of December of that year, 
the lots on Eighth Street and the building thereon were sold and the 
proceeds, with the subscription moneys, used in the erection of the 
church on the lots named. The Eighth Street lots had been conveyed 
to the church for church purposes, with a clause in the deed providing 
for a reversion. To extinguish this right so as to enable the congre- 
gation to sell, they paid the sum of one hundred dollars per lot. The 
new building and the manse property were completed in the year 1894, 
under the pastorate of the Rev. T. C. Phillips, who took up the work 
of the new church enterprise with great earnestness and carried it on 
to a successful and speedy completion. The present membership of 
the church is three hundred and ten. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church. — The few early Methodist 
families in Cairo were served by missionaries who made occasional 
visits in 1852 and 1853. The earliest of these were Revs. Henry C. 
Blackwell and T. C. Lopas, who held services and preached to the 
six or eight Methodist families at that period. 

Rev. Ephraim Joy visited Cairo and preached a few times later. 
The First Methodist Episcopal Church society was organized in 1855, 
and proceeded to raise funds for the erection of a church. They were 
successful in their efforts and work on the building was begun in the 
summer of 1856. It was used for services in Februarys, 1857. The 
church was of Gothic stj'le, .38 feet wide by 60 feet in depth, with a 
20 foot ceiling. A Mr. Van Ness was the architect, and McKenzie 
& Carnahan were the builders. 

Rev. G. W. Hughey was pastor during the building of the church. 
He was succeeded by Rev. R. H. Manier in 1856. A revival was held 
in the new church beginning in February, 1857. 

The church was dedicated on March i, 1857, i" the presence of a 
gathering of about two hundred persons. Rev. Dr. Akers preached 
the dedicatory sermon from the text, "And he was afraid and said this 


is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 
Rev. Mr. Shumate followed in a short sermon, in which he appealed 
to the sympathies of his audience regarding the church debt. He suc- 
ceeded in raising a collection of $43. Subscriptions were also made 
amounting to $375.00. 

During the Rev. Mr. Hughey's pastorate, toward the close of the Civil 
War, a frame parsonage was built at a cost of $2,300. In 1891, the 
present brick church edifice was erected at a cost of nearly $11,000. 
The building committee in charge at that time was composed of George 
Parsons, Wilton Trigg and W. H. Oakley. 

The pastors of the church from the organization of the society up 
to the appointment of the present incumbent have been as follows, viz. : 
G. W. Hughey, in 1855; R. H. Manier, 1856; J. A. Scarritt, 1857; 
C. Babbitt, 1858; G. W. Jenks, 1859; L- Hawkins, i860; J. W. Lowe, 
1861; G. W. Hughey, 1863 to 1865; M. A. Bryson, 1866; John Van- 
cleve, 1867; Erastus Lathrop, 1868; F. M. Van Treese, 1869-70; F. 
L. Thompson, 1870-73; J. L. Waller, 1873-75; J- D. Gillham, 1875- 
77; A. P. Morrison, 1877; W. F. Whitaker, 1878-80; J. A. Scarritt, 
1881-83; E. A. Hoyt, 1884-86; J. W. Phillips, 1887-89; S. P. Groves, 
1890-93; F. M. Van Treese, 1894-97; J. A. Scarritt, 1898- 1905; and 
W. T. Morris, 1905-08; Rev. J. G. Dee, the present pastor, succeeded 
Rev. Mr. Morris on September 22, 1908. In 1909, the present par- 
sonage was built at a cost of about $3,000.00. 

The present church membership is 250, with a Sunday-school enroll- 
ment of 400 and an average attendance of 250. Prof. T. C. Clendenen 
is president of the board of trustees, and Edwin Bond, Sunday-school 

The Immanuel Lutheran Church. — The Immanuel Lutheran Con- 
gregation of Cairo was organized in October, 1866, by Andrew Lohr, 
Christian Schulze, Robert Bribach, Henry Harris, Gustave Beland, 
Henry Miesner and Fred and Henry Whitcamp. Services were at 
first held in the hall of the Relief Fire Engine House on Seventh Street, 
the first pastor having been Rev. J. Dunsing. About five years after 
the society was organized, it purchased a frame building on Douglas 
Street, west of Washington Avenue, which had previously been used 
as a Baptist church. The congregation occupied this building until 1896, 
when the present handsome brick church was erected. This edifice 
is 30 by 50 feet, a semi-circular altar recess in the rear, an organ 
recess on the left, and a library room on the right. The cost of the 
building, and its furnishings, was $10,000. Two years after the church 
was erected, a primary class Sunday-school room, 16 by 30 feet, was 
built in the rear of and connected with the church. This was a gift 
from Mr. and Mrs. A. Lohr. 

The first service in the new church was conducted by Rev. J. G. 
M. Hursh. The dedication of the building took place on May 9, 
1897. R^v. S. S. Barnitz officiated, and was assisted by Revs. H. L. 
McGill, E. H. Kitch and D. C. Hurst. 

Rev. G. P. Heilbig, the second pastor, assumed charge in January, 


1870, and remained until December, 1872. Rev. C. Duerschner was 
pastor from April, 1873, until January, 1879. Next came Rev. E. 
Knappe in May, 1879, and remained until November, 1881. Rev. 
Carl Schuart was in charge from July, 1882, until his death on August 
4, 1885. Rev. W. Englebracht served from September, 1885, to 
November, 1888; and Rev. J. F. Moenkemueller, the last of the 
German pastors, from July, 1889, to July, 1892. At this time the 
congregation decided to become English speaking and it united with the 
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Southern Illinois. 

Rev. H. C. Grossman, the first English-speaking pastor, assumed 
charge in January, 1894, ^"d resigned in November, 1895. Then came 
Rev. W. C. Seidel, serving until July, 1896. Rev. J. G. M. Hursh 
was pastor from January, 1897, until February, 1903. He was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. George A. Bowers, D. D., who resigned in April, 1904. 
In August, 1904, Rev. C. H. Armstrong accepted a call and continued 
until December, 1909. 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. — St. Joseph's church was 
built by the German Catholics of Cairo, and was completed in the 
spring of 1872. Lots were secured in the summer of 1871, on the 
southeast corner of Walnut and Cross Streets. In September the con- 
tract for building the church was let to R. M. Melcher and Son, of 
St. Louis, for $15,500. The corner-stone was laid on Sunday, October 
22, 1 87 1, Rev. D. S. Phelan, of St. Louis, preaching the sermon. The 
first mass was celebrated in the new church on Sunday, April 22, 1872, 
it being a solemn high mass. Rev. C. Hoffman was the first pastor, 
and remained about two years. William Kluge and Peter Saup were 
the first lay trustees. St. Joseph's continued as a German church until 
1879, when Bishop Baltes divided the city into two parishes, making 
Fifteenth Street the boundary line. He then designated St. Joseph's 
as the parish church for all Catholics, regardless of nationality, residing 
north of the boundary line. Several years later. Seventeenth Street 
was made the dividing line. Since Father Hoffman's departure, the 
successive pastors have been : Rev. G. Hoppe for two years ; Rev. 
Louis Lammert for three years; Rev. Thos. Hogan, one year; Rev. 
O. O'Hare, three years, having died in 1883; Rev. C. Sweeney, two 
years; Rev. L. Hinsen, one year, and Rev. J. B. Diepenbrock from 
November, 1886, to May, 1904. Rev. James Gillen, the present 
pastor, succeeded Father Diepenbrock in May, 1904. During Father 
Gillen's pastorate, a fine modern two-story brick school-house has been 
built in the rear of the church at a cost of $18,000. It was com- 
pleted in the winter of 1905-6. In 1907, the congregation purchased 
a modern residence for the pastor adjoining the church property. 

The Christian Church. — The Christian church in Cairo was or- 
ganized in May, 1866, with the following charter members: Mr. 
and Mrs. S. R. Hay, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Fenton, Mr. and Mrs. 


Morrison, Mr. and Mrs. McCauley, Mr. and Mrs. Trumbo, Mr. J 
C. Talbot, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Cundiff, Mrs. Mary E. Clark 
Mrs. White, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Gilkey, Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Seely 
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Layton, Miss Gilkey and Miss Smith. Rev. G 
G. Mullins, of Chicago, was the organizer. S. R. Hay, A. B. Fen ton 
and Mr. Cyrus were made overseers, and J. C. Talbot and R. J 
Cundiff, deacons. The Trustees of the Cairo City Property donated 
the society four lots on the north side of Eighteenth Street, between 
Washington Avenue and Walnut Street. A frame church building 
36 by 55 feet was soon erected at a cost of $4,500. 

In 1894, the congregation secured a new site on the northwest 
corner of Sixteenth and Poplar Streets, and the church was moved 
there. In 1909, work was begun on the new brick church. For 
various reasons work has been delayed, and the church is yet in an 
unfinished condition. It is estimated that the cost of the new church 
will approximate $25,000. 

The former pastors of this church have been as follows: Revs. L, 
S. Brown, John Friend, R. B. Trimble, F. A. Sword, C. W. Mar- 
low, C. S. Townley, E. W. Simmons, W. G. McColley, Clark Braden, 
L. D. Hill, W. F. Wieland, R. A. Sickles and Mr. Carpenter. Rev. 
Frank Thompson is the present pastor. 

The Cairo Baptist Church was organized on Monday evening, 
Oct. 26, 1880. The council was composed of Rev. W. F. Kone, 
of Huntsville, Ala., and Revs. Geo. L. Talbert and A. J. Hess, of 
Columbus, Ky. The organizers were George W. Strode, Mrs. Mary 
P. Strode, C. B. S. Pennebaker, Isaac N. Smith, Mrs. Louise E. 
Smith, A. J. Alden, Mrs. B. E. Alden, Hasen Leighton, Mrs. Sarah 
E. Parks, Mrs. M. J. Dewey, Mrs. Martha Whitaker, Mrs. William 
Martin, W. C. Augur, Mrs. Julia C. Augur, Mrs. N. E. Caster, and 
Mrs. Sarah S. Stickney. Elder A. J. Hess was the first pastor and 
remained until January, 1883. Elder A. W. McGaha served as 
pastor from March, 1883, to October, 1883. He was succeeded by Elder 
John F. Eden, who remained one year. 

The church was without a regular pastor from Elder Eden's de- 
parture until June, 1886, when Elder A. J. Brown v/as secured, and 
he continued as pastor until June, 1887. In September, 1887, Elder 
R. H. McNemer took pastoral charge and remained four years. Elder 
W. B. Morris was next in service, and served the church from August, 
1 89 1, to October, 1893. Elder Geo. P. Hoster was pastor from March, 
1894, to September, 1897; Elder W. Sanford Gee, D. D., from Jan- 
uary, 1898, to January, 1903; and Elder T. J. Porter, from April, 
1903, to September, 1906. The present pastor. Elder S. C. Ohrum, 
assumed charge in Januar_v, 1907. 

Soon after the church was organized, the trustees purchased the 
Turner Hall property, a frame building and three lots on the north- 
east corner of Tenth and Poplar Streets for $2,500.00. 


The building was converted into a church edifice and so used until 
1894, when it was removed to the rear of the lots and a new brick 
church erected. 

On June 8, 1897, a fire destroyed the frame house and left only a 
portion of the walls of the brick building. The brick church was re- 
constructed during the fall and winter of 1897, and was opened for 
worship on January i, 1898. In the spring of 1903, the church pur- 
chased a house and lot on Poplar Street, adjoining, and remodeled the 
building for a parsonage. In 1 908-9, an annex was built to the church 
at a cost of $7,000.00. A fine pipe organ was placed in the church 
in January, 19 10, at a cost of $2,000.00. 

The present officers of the church are: Trustees, C. B. S. Penne- 
baker. Dr. A. A. Bondurant and George A. Hilburn; clerk, F. W. 
Cox; and treasurer, John C. Gholson. The present membership is 
about 400. 

The Calvary Baptist Church. — This church was organized Sep- 
tember 8, 1897, in the hall room of the Hibernian Engine House at 
the corner of Washington Avenue and Douglas Street, by Elder J. W. 
Hunsaker, of Anna, as moderator, and Elder E. B. Sullivan, pastor of 
the Lake Milligan church, as clerk, and assisted by J. B. Anderson, 
F. D. Atherton, and W. R. Lane, as Deacons, also of the Lake Milli- 
gan church. Eighty-one persons became members at the organization — 
charter members, as they are sometimes called — almost all of them being 
M'ell-known citizens of Cairo. Quite a majority of these persons had 
been members of the Cairo Baptist church, the first Baptist church 
organized in the city, whose church building is at the corner of Tenth 
and Poplar Streets. 

The following named ministers have been pastors of the Calvary 
church, for the times stated: The Rev. Geo. P. Hoster, D. D., until 
October, 1900; the Rev. W. C. Rutherford from thence until March, 
1903; the Rev. R. A. Sickles until August, 1904; the Rev. S. P. Ma- 
honey until February, 1907; the Rev. L. D. Bass, D. D., until March, 
1908, at which time he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. 
L. G. Graham. 

The first board of trustees were J. L. Sarber, J. W. Burns, and 
F. W. Koehler ; financial secretary, J. A. Cox ; treasurer, W. F. Gibson, 
and church clerk, John C. Gholson. The congregation continued to 
worship in the hall of the said engine house until August, 1898, when 
they removed to their new church building at the corner of Poplar 
and Sixteenth Streets. 

The present officers, besides the pastor, are : J. A. Cox, E. G. Hoppe, 
W. F. Gibson, W. T. Landon, T. W. Benson, Henry H. Stout, and 
J. D. Gill, deacons; trustees, T. O. Webster, Claude C. Stanley, 
and O. B. Archibald; treasurer, E. G. Hoppe; clerk, J. L. Benson; 
Sunday-school superintendent, J. E. Neff; assistant, T. W Benson. 

I have not been able to secure any account of the Southern Metho- 


dist Church, whose place of worship is in the upper part of the city, 
and hence its absence. 

Besides the eleven foregoing church organizations, there are also 
eleven organizations of and for the colored people. These are given 
on page 20, of our present city directory. Almost all of them have 
their own church buildings, some of which are a great credit to their 
congregations, such as the First Missionary Baptist Church, at the cor- 
ner of Walnut and Twelfth Streets; the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church, on Seventeenth Street between Washington Avenue and Wal- 
nut Street; the Missionary Baptist Church, at the corner of Nineteenth 
and Walnut Streets, and St. Michael's Episcopal Church, on Fourteenth 
Street betw^een Washington Avenue and Walnut Street. 

One will see in Chapter XXV how the colored population of the 
city and county has increased since the year 1861. They are as likely 
to remain here and grow in number just the same and as long as they do 
further south. So far as the churches are concerned, the colored people 
have received little aid or guidance from the white people, notwith- 
standing their great need. The former have not repelled the latter. 
It has been a matter of aloofness, rather, on the part of the white people. 

Cairo is a southern city, not only geographically but racially. In 
the latter respect, it is not much more likely to change than in the 
former. The colored people are here to stay, just as they are through- 
out the South. The situation is not of our nor of their making. To 
make the best of it, both races should do all that can be reasonably 
expected of them. The white people claim to be the superior race. 
Let them prove their superiority by showing that they can do more 
than the other race for the situation, concededly more or less difficult 
and embarrassing. If the colored people of our city, with all the advan- 
tages of education provided for them by the white people, if they, their 
church members and preachers included, have been bought and sold 
at election times until the elective franchise in their hands seems to be 
a travesty, they can very truthfully reply that the white people, the 
office-seekers and the so-called politicians, have been their purchasers. 
Whatever may be said of their weakness or of their ignorance or of 
their poverty, one thing at least can be safely said, and that is, quite 
too many white people among us have sought by the use of money and 
other like inducements to take advantage of their weakness, their ig- 
norance, and their poverty. Too much of the influence of the white 
race upon the colored has been debasing instead of elevating. More 
to the same effect and tenor might be said, but the above is broad 
enough to sustain very many specific charges. 

On the other hand, the colored people have scarcely furnished any 
kind of a man or leader to rise up and utter a protest that would reach 
the ears of his own people or those of the other race. Few white people 
seek to help them and they seem to be \\athout any real leaders to con- 
duct them on to a better state of things. What they most need seems 


to be protection against office seekers. Self-protection is best and most 
needed. But it is scarcely to be hoped for. Is it not clear that this 
rising up and protesting against the widespread venality of our elections 
should come first from us who are most at fault? 

There are a large number of worthless and debased negroes in our 
population. The occurrence of last November, resulting in the lynch- 
ing of James, should not be unduly charged to the colored race; but 
the demeanor of a great many of them as exhibited just following the 
crime and during the presence of the soldiers here indicated quite too 
much a sort of indifference to the situation instead of indignation 
against the crime and the criminal. It will be well for both peoples, 
especially for the colored people, to observe that the experiences of our 
city during the last eight or ten months have separated them still further 
apart. It has come to be generally believed that the white women of 
the city must exercise more care. There may be a little more risk or 
danger than during years past, but the one dreadful occurrence has 
effected a great and perhaps a needed change. It is very manifest that 
this whole matter to which I have thus briefly alluded furnishes an 
important not to say a striking lesson to both races in our community-, 
more especially to the colored race or people, who perhaps find them- 
selves quite too often the greater sufferers. 

Note. — A number of the sketches of the churches, contained in this chapter, 
were prepared, at my request, by members of the organizations. I asked for 
very condensed statements; hence their brevity. I may also here state that the 
church property of St. Patrick's Church represents an expenditure of not less 
than fifty thousand dollars, that of the Presbyterian Church of about thirty 
thousand, that of the Cairo Baptist of about twenty thousand, and that of St. 
Joseph's Church, including its school property, of fifty-five thousand. 



DURING the existence of the Holbrook administration from 1836 
to 1842, when the population of the town ranged from less 
than a hundred to two thousand people, there were no doubt 
one or two schools in Cairo. They were private schools, sustained by 
the individual subscriptions of the parents of the pupils. We have not 
been able to find any record or writing about such schools; but Mr. 
Moses B. Harrell, in his short history of 1864, names one or two indi- 
viduals who taught school here then. As in many other cases, a very 
thorough search would no doubt bring to light information now deemed 
as non-existent; but it is quite impossible to devote more than a reason- 
able amount of time and labor to going over and through sources which 
might be supposed possibly to contain historical facts of some impor- 
tance. We must gather diligently that we may have the opportunity 
of choice, and we must sift carefully that the best only may be preserved. 

We have a fairly full record of what was done for the maintenance 
of schools in Cairo commencing with the year 1853. Much of it is 
found in a large book called the "Journal," containing pages 632, which 
was opened for the Trustees of Schools for that year by Mr. Moses B. 
Harrell their treasurer and secretary. The Trustees were Bailey S. 
Harrell, William Dickey and P. Corcoran. At the commencement of 
that year they had no school-house, and their first step was to apply to 
the legislature for leave to use the interest on the funds obtained by the 
sale of school lands above town for the erection of a school house "for 
the inhabitants of the township." On the lOth day of Februarj^ 1853, 
the legislature passed the act they requested ; but it required the Trus- 
tees to conform to section 81 of the act of February 12, 1849, which 
provided that when the trustees desired to have a school-house built 
they should have a public meeting of the voters and ascertain their 
wishes in regard to the matter. This was done, and on the 21st day 
of May, 1853, the voters assembled and held their meeting, of which 
Samuel S. Taylor was the chairman and J. J. Rutter the secretarj-. 
The resolution drawn up and offered for the building of the school- 
house at the cost of not exceeding five hundred dollars, was unanimously 
adopted; and on the 31st day of May, 1853, Bryan Shannessy was 
given the contract to build a school-house, twenty-five by forty-five 
feet and twelve feet high, for five hundred and seventy-five dollars. 
The specifications for the building, furniture, etc., are all found set out 
in full in the said Journal, as are also the notices and all other proceed- 


ings. Shannessey was required by the written contract to complete 
the house by the 15th of October, 1853. 

The trustees, Bailey S. Harrell, William Dickey and P. Corcoran, 
on the 27th of August, of the same year, entered into a contract with 
Charles T. Lind to teach the school for one year, commencing Septem- 
ber 1st, for six hundred and twenty-five dollars, payable in quarterly 
instalments. He was to furnish all the fuel, and was to insure the 
house for one jear for the use of the trustees. He taught the school 
and was paid, as required by the contract. The record of all these pro- 
ceedings, as entered in the said Journal, shows that the school-house 
was to be built upon a lot to be donated by the Trustees of the Cairo 
City Property. The deed was made December 22, 1853, the day before 
the Peter Stapleton and John Howley deeds were made for lots down 
on Third Street near Commercial Avenue, and is for lot numbered 
thirty, in block numbered forty-seven, in the city of Cairo. It is 
on the north side of Eleventh Street about one hundred and fift>' feet 
east of Walnut Street. The building at this time standing there and 
used for colored children is the same one contracted for and built in 
1853; and the first school taught therein was by Charles T. Lind, 
commencing September i, 1853. It has been used almost continuously 
for the long period of fift.v-six years. Few of us know of the memories 
and associations connected with the little building. We must call at- 
tention, however, to the strong provision in the deed to the effect that 
the lot was convej-ed to the Trustees of Schools of the township " for 
the purpose of establishing and maintaining a common school in the 
city of Cairo," and for no other purpose or use whatsoever and only so 
long as the same should be used by the inhabitants of the said district 
for said purpose and use aforesaid and no longer. While this restricted 
use is stated in strong language, there is no provision or language for 
its reversion to the grantors or any one else in case it should be used 
for other than school purposes. The whole of the property of the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property was sold in 1876 and a new trust 
formed, called the Cairo Trust Property'. We do not remember that 
the decrees and conveyances made at this time provided in any way 
that reversionary interests in property like this should go to the new 
trust or to any one else; and we venture to say that it is highly prob- 
able that the Trustees of Schools now have and hold an absolute and 
indefeasible title to the said lot, and that they may deal with it as with 
any real estate conveyed to them without any conditions whatsoever. 

The record book above spoken of, called the "Journal," contains 
nothing more regarding the emplo_vment of teachers. It seems that 
there M'ere no school directors at that time and that the trustees acted 
as directors. We have found a number of old schedules kept by teach- 
ers, beginning with the year 1855. Some of the teachers seem to have 
been employed for two or three or more j'ears. We give their names 
up to the year 1865, although it may be there were some whose names 
we have not obtained. 

Some time ago I had prepared a number of pages in outline, expecting 


to fill the blanks therein with information I supposed I could easil}'^ 
obtain. The pages commenced with the Douglas School building on 
Walnut Street between Douglas and Fourteenth Streets, which was 
erected in 1864 by Messrs. Rankin, Wood and Wickwire, under the 
supervision of directors Daniel Hurd, William J. Yost and Moses B. 
Harrell, and came on up to the Elmwood School building, erected in 
1908-1909 by Mr. Frank Ferguson, under the supervision of Mr. 
Casper Kusener, architect, and the Board of Education, composed of 
the Hon. Walter Warder, president, Edward L. Gilbert, H. H. Halli- 
day, P. H. Smyth, Mary B. Wenger, E. D. Carey, J. H. Galligan, 
Anna G. White, C. B. S. Pennebaker and W. F. Gibson; but I have 
found it so difficult to obtain the necessary information that I have not 
been able to complete the statements. Mr. Edward L. Gilbert, a mem- 
ber of the present board, and for many years its secretary, informed 
me that he had made a long and diligent search but could not find the 
record or minute book or books of the board prior to April, igo2, at 
which time the present book began. I regret this very much ; for the 
people of Cairo have taken a very great interest in their public schools, 
and I desired to embrace in this history as much concerning them as 
their importance would seem to require. Not being able to present a 
reasonably full account, I have thought best not to undertake to present 
one in a very imperfect form. 

The members of the board from its establishment, almost forty 
years ago, have uniformly endeavored to do the very best they possibly 
could for the people of the city in the support and maintenance of our 

There has been a steady and wholesome growth in the schools all 
the time. The expense of their maintenance has been comparatively 
large, not to say heavy, especially when the ordinary expenses have had 
to be increased by large svims required for new buildings. It is well 
known that the expenditures have been larger because of the fact that 
the colored people are not possessed of property subject to taxation to 
such an extent as to meet what would be regarded as their proportionate 
share of the burden under ordinary circumstances. The white people 
have had in large measure to maintain schools for both races. The law 
made it their duty, and it is only simple justice to them to have it said 
that they have cheerfully borne the burden of the additional expense. 
If there has ever been any lack upon the part of our boards of educa- 
tion to discharge fully the duties owed by the public to the colored 
people we do not know when it has occurred. All our citizens have 
felt that it was a matter of very great importance that all of the children 
in the city, without distinction of race, should be afforded ample op- 
portunity for securing an education. They have looked upon it as 
absolutely necessary in any view that might be taken of the needs of 
the city and the public at large. Under these circumstances, with so 
large a proportion of colored people in the city, our boards of education 
have had no easy task to perform. They have endeavored to please, 
so far as it was in their power, both the white and the colored people, 


the latter of whom have at times made complaints, but it is believed 
that in very few cases, if any at all, was there any just ground for dis- 

It was not until the year 1865 that the directors chose a superin- 
tendent of schools. Our first superintendent of schools was Mr. E. A. 
Angel, who had charge of the schools from the summer of 1865 to the 
summer of 1866. The superintendents succeeding him with the terms 
of service are as follows: E. P. Burlingham, 1866- 1869; Joel G. 
Morgan, 1869-1870; H. S. English, 1870-1871; W. H. Raymond, 
1871-1872; George G. Alvord, 1872-1881 ; M. Biglev, 1881-1882; E. 
S. Clark, 1882-1883; B. F. Armitage, 1883-1886; and Taylor C. 
Clendenen, 1886 to the present time, a period of twenty-four years. 
Of these nine superintendents, whose services have extended over a 
period of forty-five years, only four served more than one year. They 
were E. P. Burlingham, three years; Prof. Alvord, nine years; Prof. 
Armitage, three years, and Prof. Clendenen, twenty-four years as above 
stated Prof. English died here while superintendent. Only a very 
few of our people remember Professors Angel, English and Raymond. 
Professors Burlingham and Alvord are remembered by a great many. 
Prof. Burlingham seemed to be a great favorite with all the teachers 
and the pupils. He seemed to have given character to the schools, 
which continued for some time. It was of a kind that seemed to meet 
with pretty general approval, but was somewhat criticized by others. 
It was remarked that on all public occasions his pupils appeared to 
great advantage. This was true, but I do not suppose that persons 
so speaking of the schools meant to imply that they were in any other 
respects inferior. Prof. Alvord, here nine years, seemed to impress 
upon the schools something of his own individuality. He was a re- 
markably affable and well-appearing man, and I have no doubt that 
under his supervision the schools w^ere well conducted. Mrs. Alvord 
was a very talented lady and a fine teacher. Prof. Armitage left us 
and went to Mattoon in 1886. He was also liked very much, but for 
reasons of health, I believe, he desired to go elsewhere. Prof. Clen- 
denen has been here almost three times as long as any of the former 
superintendents. This speaks much more for him than anything I 
might say. He has gone forward, year after year, in his own way of 
management and according to his best judgment, and that he has been 
successful in his long and arduous work, no one can doubt. No one 
knows better than the superintendent what the duties are which such 
a position imposes. To have been at the head of schools, such as we 
have had here for a quarter of a century with the children of the two 
races to be educated and trained, signifies hard and exacting work and 
faithful service. 

The names of the present Board of Education are as follows: H. 
H. Hallida3% President; Edward L. Gilbert, Secretary; Mary B. 
Wenger, Anna G. White, C. B. S. Pennebaker, James H. Galligan, 
W. F. Gibson, Walter Wood, W. M. Hurt, P. T. Langan, Herman 


C. Schuh and J. J. Rendleman. The names of the present teachers in 
the public schools are as follows: Superintendent, Taylor C. Clen- 
denen; Supervisor of Music, Laura A. Miller; Supervisor of Drawing, 
Pauline Vanderburgh. Cairo High School: J. Earl Midkiff, Com- 
mercial; Margaret Wilson, English; Elizabeth Smith, History; G. 
Pearl Mulberry, Domestic Science; Clara B. Way, Latin; C. O. 
Gittinger, Mathematics; Sheldon R. Allen, Manual Training; Maude 
Hastings, Latin and English; and E. H. Carlson, Science. Douglas 
School: Henry E. Alvis, Principal; assistants, Margaret Leuschen , 
Zulima M. Smith, Allie Chambers, Ethel Barry, Reta Cohn, Jennie 
E. Dewey, and Anna Riley Redman. Safford School: Ella Hogan, 
Principal; assistants, Maude Ehlman, Pearl Cohen, Julia Farrin, 
Maude Palmer and Carrie J. Miller. Lincoln School: I. H. Hook, 
Principal; assistants, Laura I. Milford, Katherine Walbaum, Alice 
Wenger , Emma Carey , Bessie Batterton , Helen Lippitt and Frances 
W. Bennett. Elmwood School: Ralph W. Jackson, Principal; assist- 
ants, Mabel Lancaster, Margaret Whitaker, Ella Armstrong Blauvelt 
and Ellen B. Fisher. Woodside School: Delia Hurst. 

Sumner High School: John C. Lewis, Principal; Ben H. Mosby, 
English, History, and Athletics; Mabel C. Warrick, History and 
Domestic Science; assistants, Cordelia O. Lewis, Eva C. Self, Mattie 
E. Guy Lott, F. F. Bowlar, Alma Partee, Lydia Amos, Lida Tyler, 
and Ida M. Bedford. Garrison School: Emma L. Minnis, Myra V. 
Scott, Josie Ruffin and Nancy A. Bugg. Greeley School: Ernestine 
Jenkins, Principal; assistants. Azalea Dumas, Georgia Bugg and Ara- 
minta Taylor. Bruce School: H. S. Sanders, Principal; assistants, 
Edmonia A. Watkins and Amelia Pearson. Phillips School: Hannah 
M. Harper. 

During the last thirty or more years, there have also been one or 
more private schools in the city. For many years the Catholics main- 
tained a " Female Academy of the Sisters of Loretto." The prospec- 
tus of the institution will be found in the "Cairo Morning News" of 
September, 1864, setting forth that the institution would open on the 
first Monday in October. They purchased block seventy-eight in the 
First Addition to the city of Cairo and erected on the westerly end 
thereof excellent buildings for their school purposes. It was patronized 
largely by Cairo people and also by many persons living in the adja- 
cent parts of the country. It was discontinued many years ago, but 
for what reasons I am not able to state. It may have been because of 
the influence and growing strength of other similar institutions which 
drew from the same fields of support. 

The Germans also maintained for many years a school for the 
teaching of German to their own children and such others as their 
parents desired to send to their school. The Catholics have always 
had one or more private schools, and they have now two flourishing 
schools, the one under the care of St. Patrick's church, and the other 
under the care of St. Joseph's church. 



THE Woman's Club and Library Association was organized in 
1875, and in 1877 it established a subscription library in one of 
the rooms of what is now the First Bank and Trust Company 
Building. In 1882, the club tendered the library to the city for the use 
of the people as a free library; and the city, highly appreciating the 
offer thus made, accepted the same by the passage of ordinance No. 88, 
July I, 1882, entitled "An ordinance to establish and maintain a 
public library and reading room in the City of Cairo, for the use and 
benefit of the inhabitants of said city," — and July 6, 1882, Mayor 
Thistlewood appointed the following named persons members of the 
board of directors: Mrs. Anna E. Safford, Mrs. Henry H. Candee, 
Mrs. William R. Smith, Mrs. Philander W. Barclay, Mrs. P. A. 
Taylor, and Rev. Benjamin Y. George, the Hon. William H. Green, 
Mr. William P. Halliday, and Mr. Wood Rittenhouse. 

Mrs. Safford, seeing the great need of a suitable home for the new 
public library and earnestly desiring to honor the memory of her 
deceased husband, Mr. Alfred B. Safford, purchased the easterly end 
of block forty-two, fronting tv^^o hundred feet on Washington Avenue, 
i6th and 17th Streets, had the ground filled to the city grade, 
erected thereon the present handsome library building, and at once 
conveyed the property to the city for the purpose for which the first 
gift was made. The corner-stone was laid October 30, 1883, by the 
Alexander Lodge I. O. O. F., of which Mr. Safford had long been 
an earnest and honored member. The building was dedicated July 
19, 1884, on which occasion Mrs. Safford delivered an interesting 
address, at the conclusion of which she tendered the property to the 
city. The same was accepted on behalf of the city by the Hon. 
Thomas W. Halliday, mayor, in a very appropriate address of thanks. 
On the tablet, set in the wall on the stairway, is the following inscription : 
"This A. B. Safford Memorial Library Building was erected in mem- 
ory of Alfred B. Safford, born Januan^ 22, 1822, died July 26, 1877, 
by his wife, Anna E. Safford, A. D. 1883." 

At the time of the gift of the library to the city, it contained 1583 
volumes. At the present time, it contains 16,157 volumes. The library 
occupies the south side of the main floor, and across the hall are the 
reading and reference rooms. The lecture hall on the south side of 
the second floor is a fine room. The north side of this floor is occu- 
pied by the museum and club room of the Woman's Club. 

It would be hard to find such an institution which has been more 



useful to the community in which it exists. The people of the city 
regard it as one of the greatest means of education and entertainment 
which could in any way have been procured for them. They look 
upon the building and beautiful grounds as a great credit not only 
to the donor and the city but in a measure to themselves. This is 
due no doubt to the fact that the property is the gift of one of our 
own citizens whom they esteem so highly. Mrs. Safford in erecting 
this memorial to her husband has erected in the hearts of the people 
of Cairo an equally enduring memorial. 

The present directors of the library are: Mrs. Anna E, Safford, 
president; Michael J. Howley, vice-president; Mrs. Samuel White, 
secretary; Mrs. Walter H. Wood, Mrs. Isabella L. Candee, Mrs. 
Kate F. Miller, Reed Green, Herman C. Schuh and Philander C. 
Barclay. Mrs. P. E. Powell, the librarian, has held this position 
continuously since the establishment of the librarj^ as a public insti- 
tution. Misses Effie A. Lansden and Marie C. Glauber are her 

The Woman's Club and Library Association, as above 
stated, was organized in 1875. Its charter members were Mesdames 
Anna E. Safford, Isabella L. Candee, Kate B. Gilbert, Charles Thrupp, 
Phillip H. Howard, Charles Pink, Amarala Martin, Carrie S. Hud- 
son, John H. Oberly, Horace Wardner, William R. Smith, Cath- 
erine C. E. Goss, William Winter, Samuel P. Wheeler, Al Sloo, and 
C. C. Alvord. The first ofEcers were Mrs. Oberly, president; Pvlrs. 
Candee, vice-president, and Mrs. Goss, secretary and treasurer of 
the club. The club was incorporated Februray 9, 1877, under the 
general act of the legislature for the incorporation of such bodies. Mrs. 
Candee, Mrs. Goss, and Mrs. Ford made the necessary certificate for 
its incorporation. The trustees for the first year were Mrs. Oberly, 
Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Wardner, Mrs. Winter, Mrs. SafEord, and Mrs. 
Adele Korsme3'er. (See record book No. 8, page 28, at the court-house.) 

I do not know how I can better express the good this club has 
done for the people of the city than by asking what our condition 
would now be had it never existed. What we could or would have 
had in its place I do not know. Perhaps nothing. Too many of us 
do not stop to consider the influence it has had upon the people of the 
city. The roll of its members is indeed an honored one. I know of 
nothing that can be pointed to, in our city, which can approach it in 
this respect. They have placed it upon a firm foundation, as enduring, 
I hope, as the city itself. It will, I am sure, interest all the members 
of the association to give here the names of the deceased members. 
They are as follows: 

Mrs. Mary J. Adams Mrs. N. R. Casey 

Mrs. M. a. Arter Mrs. Jennie M. Dewey 

Mrs. Mary C. Barclay Mrs. Edith Ellis 

Miss Ida Barrett Mrs. Susan G. Fisher 

Mrs. I. N. Carver Mrs. Emma B. Frank 


Mrs. Jennie M. Galligan Mrs. F. J. Peter 

Mrs. C. C. E. Goss Mrs. P. A. Taylor 

Mrs. Mamie H. Gordon Mrs. W. W. Thornton 

Mrs. Emma Goldsmith Mrs. Christine Woodward 

Mrs. Annie Holmes Mrs. Adele Korsmeyer 

Mrs. John H. Oberly Mrs. J. A. Scarritt 

Mrs. Ada V. Parsons Mrs. Herman Meyers 

Mrs. W. H. Stratton Mrs. John M. Lansden 

Miss Hattie Smith Mrs. W. B. Gilbert 

Mrs. Herman C. Schuh jVIrs. E. M. Starzinger 

Mrs. J. D. Ladd 
Nothing can stay this growing list; but as name by name is added 
thereto, the honored roll will reflect honor, more and more, upon 
the institution of which they were members. 

St. Mary^s Infirmary. — In 1861, on a call from Governor Mor- 
ton, of Indiana, the superior of the Order of the Holy Cross at Notre 
Dame sent out sisters to act as nurses, some of whom were stationed 
at hospitals at Cairo and Mound City. At the close of the war, 
many citizens of Cairo, including Dr. Horace Wardner, who had 
been associated with the sisters in their hospital work, urged the 
Order to establish a permanent infirmary in the city; Mother Angela, 
then mother-general of the Order, came to Cairo in October, 1867, 
and with the assistance of Dr. Wardner secured a temporary location 
on Eleventh Street, between Commercial Avenue and Poplar Street, 
and placed Sister M. Augusta and Sister M. Matilda in charge. On 
January i, 1868, they removed to a larger building, known as the 
Pilot House, on Washington Avenue, where thie present Armory 
building now stands. In 1869, the Trustees of the Cairo City Prop- 
erty donated to the Order block numbered eighty-nine, in the First 
Addition to the city, on upper Walnut Street, for hospital purposes; 
and that year they erected a large frame building thereon, and fur- 
nished and equipped it as St. Mary's Infirmary. In 1870, Sister 
Augusta was recalled for promotion, and Sister M. Edward succeeded 
her, and continued in charge until the summer of 1877, when she was 
succeeded by Sister Anthony. In 1866, Sister Anthony was recalled, 
and Sister M. Adela, who had been an assistant in the infirmary for 
some years, was made superioress. 

In 1892, a handsome three-storj' brick addition was erected in 
front of the main building, at a cost of seven thousand dollars. In 
1 901, the present three-story brick addition, extending almost the 
entire width of the block, was built at a cost of twenty thousand 
dollars. Rev. Charles J. Eschman, then pastor of St. Patrick's church, 
superintended the construction of the building, and the same was dedi- 
cated February 18, 1892, by Right Rev. John Janssen, bishop of 
Belleville, assisted by the local pastors, Rev. C. J. Eschman, Rev. J. 
D. Diepenbrock and by Rev. F. Pieper, Rev. William Van Delft, Rev. 
C. Goeltz and Rev. William Goeltzhauser. 

The chapel in the infirmary was the gift of Rev. C. J. Eschman, as 


were also the altar, pews, organ, and stained glass windows. Dr. W. 
F. Grinstead has furnished two private rooms, a surgical ward and an 
ambulance, and has also added a new operating room and furnished 
the same, at the cost of about two thousand dollers, and borne one 
half the cost of the fine and substantial iron fence around the grounds. 
Dr. W. C. Clarke has given a fine X-ra}' apparatus, as a memorai 
to the late Dr. W. W. Stevenson, who was a strong friend of the 
mfirmary; among the many others who have remembered the institu- 
tion in a very substantial manner may be named Dr. A. A. Bondurant, 
Dr. John T. Walsh and Dr. James McManus, Mrs. Eliza Halliday, 
Mrs. M. E. Feith, Mr. John S. Aisthorpe, Mr. P. T. Langan, Mr. 
Frank Howe, and the Rhodes-Burford Company. 

At present Sister M. Asteria is superioress, besides whom there 
are eighteen other sisters in the infirmary. Five hundred and thirty- 
nine patients were treated in the infirmary during the year 1909. All 
the leading physicians of Cairo comprise the medical staff. 

United States Marine Hospital. — Capt. John R. Thomas, our 
congressman in 1882, procured, in that year, the enactment of a law 
appropriating sixty thousand dollars for the purchase of grounds and 
the erection of buildings for the hospital, and in September of that 
year, Surgeon-General Hamilton came here and he, together with Mr. 
George Fisher, the surveyor of the port, and General C. W. Pavey, 
the collector of internal revenue, looked over the city with a view to 
choosing a site for the same. The matter was not definitely decided, 
it seems, until some time in 1883, when the present grounds between 
Tenth and Twelfth Streets and Cedar Street and Jefferson Avenue 
were chosen and purchased of the Trustees of the Cairo Trust Prop- 
erty for the sum oi $14,000.00. The grounds include seventy- two lots. 
The buildings, practically as they now stand, were finished in 1885, 
but the hospital was not formally opened until some time in Februarj', 
1886. Up to that time patients had been taken care of by the Sisters 
of the Holy Cross; and they for a time conducted the new hospital, 
under the supervision of Dr. Carmichael, who was the first surgeon 
in charge. The names of the surgeons and passed assistant surgeons 
in charge are as follows: Duncan A. Carmichael, Passed Assistant, 
January 25, 1885, to January 25, 1888; James M. Gassaway, Surgeon, 
January 25, 1888, to June 14, 1890; Rell M. Woodward, Assistant 
Surgeon, June 14, 1890, to March 18, 1894; Ezra K. Sprague, Assist- 
ant Surgeon, March 18, 1894, to November 24, 1894; James M. 
Gassaway, Surgeon, November 24, 1894, to July 25, 1897; Parker 
C. Kallock, Surgeon, July 25, 1897, to January 9, 1899; W. A. 
Wheeler, Surgeon, January 9, 1899, to May 4, 1899; H. C. Russell, 
Assistant Surgeon, May 4, 1899, to December 5, 1899; John M. Holt, 
Assistant Surgeon, December 5, 1899, to April 25, 1901 ; James H. 
Oakley, Passed Assistant, April 25, 1901, to June 11, 1903; Gregorio 
M. Guiteras, Surgeon, June 11, 1903, to April 30, 1907; Julius O. 
Cobb, Surgeon, May 9, 1907, to April 22, 1908, and Robert L. Wilson, 
Passed Assistant, April 22, 1908, to the present time. 





WITH the exception of Col. Samuel Staats Taylor, none of the 
Trustees have ever resided in Cairo. All of the others have re- 
sided in New York City, except Thomas S. Taylor, one of the 
first two, who resided in Philadelphia. The trustees, or some of them, 
may have visited the place now and then ; but we have nowhere seen any 
notice of the fact. Mr. Miles A. Gilbert was in charge here from June, 
1843, to April, 1 85 1, about eight years, although during the last three 
or four years of the time he resided at St. Mary's but visited the place 
from time to time to see that affairs were going on properly. After 
building the cross levee in 1843, Mr. Gilbert could not have done a 
great deal here besides taking care of the lands and other property of 
the Trustees. It was a period of waiting, and it seems to have taken a 
long time to finish the preliminary work and make the necessary sur- 
veys and plats for starting the city again. Mr. Gilbert's lengthy stay 
here enabled him to become perfectly familiar with everything about 
the place during those important years from 1843 to 1851, and had 
we from him a somewhat full and detailed account of that period I 
am sure it would be very interesting. It began with the failure of the 
Holbrook administration, the ruin of business and the dispersion largely 
of the people, and ended with the actual beginning of what is now our 
City of Cairo. 

We have before remarked that no city in the country has been so 
identified with a land trust and a corporation as has been the City of 
Cairo with the Trustees of the Cairo City Propert}^ and Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad Company. The first of the two bought all of the lands 
here between the rivers, and the other having had this point made the 
southern terminus of its railroad, the two very properly undertook the 
task of building the city. The land company owned nearly ten thou- 
sand acres of land, and depended chiefly upon the sales of the same in 
city lots for the profits of their investment. The railroad company 
could not deal in lands, but to have a prosperous city at its southern 
terminus in Illinois meant large profits in the transportation business. 
Not to dwell here and to express the thought in a word or two, Cairo 
was their town, and it is for this reason that I have had so much to 
say about the two in this historical narrative of the place. 

Thomas S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, was Trustee from September 
29, 1846, to April 6, 1859, when he was succeeded by Mr. John H. 



Wright. Charles Davis was Trustee from September 29, 1846, to 
September 29, i860, when he and Wright were succeeded by Samuel 
Staats Taylor and Edwin Parsons. The court and other records here 
seem to show proceedings for the removal of both Davis and Taylor 
and the matter as to the former seems to have been pending for some 
time, but I have not deemed it of sufficient importance to search out 
the details and give them here. We may remark, however, that his 
widow, who subsequently married a Mr, Ma3^o, sued the Trustees, 
Samuel Staats Taylor and Edwin Parsons, in the United States Court 
at Springfield, and recovered a judgment for $12,957.57. The Trus- 
tees appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the United States and 
that court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court February 4, 1884. 
The case, entitled " Taylor and Another vs. Davis' administratrix," is 
found in no U. S. 530. 

It seems that on the 21st day of December, 1875, Edwin Parsons 
conveyed all his interest as Trustee to Samuel Staats Taylor. This 
was no doubt done as a preliminary step to the subsequent proceedings 
in the United States Court at Springfield to foreclose the Ketchum 
mortgages. The Trustees by authority of the shareholders issued bonds 
to the amount of two hundred thousand dollars in October, 1863, and 
secured the same by the execution of a mortgage to Hiram Ketchum, 
as Trustee, upcn the property of the trust; and again in October, 1867, 
they issued other bonds to the amount of fifty thousand dollars and 
secured the same by another mortgage to the same Trustee, upon the 
same lands and lots; and in 1875, Charles Parsons, who had succeeded 
Ketchum as Trustee for the bond holders, began his suit in the United 
States Circuit Court at Springfield against Samuel Staats Taylor, 
Trustee, and at the Januarj- term of the court, 1876, a decree of fore- 
closure was entered, and on the loth day of May of that year the 
mortgaged property, excepting such lots and lands as had been in the 
meantime released from the liens of the mortgages, were sold by Mr. 
John A. Jones, Master in Chancery of that court, to Charles Parsons 
as Trustee on behalf of the said bond holders. This deed is recorded 
in book 7, on pages 214, etc. 

On the 20th day of June, 1876, Charles Parsons, as such Trustee, 
conveyed the property' to Samuel Staats Taydor and Edwin Parsons as 
Trustees of the Cairo Trust Property, and on the same day they as 
individuals executed a declaration of trust showing that the lots, tracts 
and parcels of land had been conveyed to them for and on behalf of the 
uses, purposes and trusts in the said instrument set forth. This dec- 
laration of trust is recorded in said book 7, on pages 270, etc., and 
shows that the beneficial interest in the trust property was divided into 
thirty-six thousand (36,000) shares of the par value of ten dollars 
each, but subject to assessment to an amount not exceeding in the ag- 
gregate five dollars per share. 

Let us recur for a moment to the Cairo City and Canal Company 
and the Trustees of the Cairo City Property and compare their respec- 


tive high capitalizations with the capitalization of the Cairo City Trust 

The capital stock of the Cairo City and Canal Company was two 
million dollars, divided into twenty thousand shares, of one hundred 
dollars each. The lands the company owned, as the sole basis of the 
value of the stock, amounted to about four thousand acres. These 
lands were mortgaged December 16, 1837, to the New York Life In- 
surance and Trust Company to secure the former company's bonds, 
from the sales of which it expected to obtain all the funds it needed 
for starting and establishing a city here. The four thousand acres 
would have to have been worth five hundred dollars per acre to justify 
a capitalization of two million dollars; but from that day to this the 
property, exclusive of the city proper, has never been worth any such 

As before stated, this company was succeeded in 1846 by the Cairo 
City Property Trust, which purchased more land, and issued stock 
to the amount of three million, five hundred thousand dollars, half of 
which Holbrook agreed to take in behalf of the Illinois Exporting 
Company. On November 21, 1850, ten thousand additional shares 
were authorized, thus making forty-five thousand shares in all, thirty 
thousand shares of which were to be received at par to extinguish the 
liabilities of the Cairo City and Canal Company and to clear off all 
incumbrances; and the remaining fifteen thousand shares were to be 
used for the benefit of the trust and for the improvement and protection 
of the property. Just what the circumstances were that seemed to 
require or justify this increase in the stock we do not know. It seems 
to have been a mere matter of more water; and yet the outlook in 
1850 may have been very promising. One is almost amazed at the 
extravagant language used by the proprietors in 1818 and again in 
1836 and 1837; but that of the proprietors of 1846 seems to have 
been of the same tenor and effect. One would suppose that twenty 
or more years of experience here with the low site and the ever threat- 
ening rivers would have tended to some moderation in the description 
of the situation. This capitalization in 1846 and 1850 of four million, 
five hundred thousand dollars was at the rate of four to five hundred 
dollars per acre for the 9743 acres. 

We do not get down to anything like actual values for safe capitaliz- 
ing purposes until we reach the year of 1876, when the present trust 
was created and which since June 30, 1876, has been known as the Cairo 
Trust Property. While a large number of city lots had been sold by the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property, very small quantities of its lands 
above town had been disposed of at the time of the foreclosure 
of the Ketchum mortgages. There was then on hand almost all 
of the lands, probably nearly seven thousand acres, and also the 
wharf property and almost every foot of the river frontage on both 
rivers; and at the time of the sale, in the foreclosure suit in May, 


1876, there was due upon the first mortgage of two hundred thousand 
dollars the sum of $39,305.00; upon the second mortgage of fifty 
thousand dollars the sum of $58,375.00, and there was also due to the 
Trustees about $27,831.00. These sums made the whole amount of the 
indebtedness for which the remaining real estate was sold $125,511. 
At the sale May 10, 1876, Charles Parsons, as Trustee for the mort- 
gage bond holders, bought the property for $80,000.00 free and clear 
of all rights of redemption. The whole proceeding from beginning to 
end must have been in the nature of a friendly suit by and for the 
immediate parties in interest, otherwise it is hard to account for the 
absolute sale for $80,000.00, and the immediate capitalization of the 
property at many times that amount. 

We have before spoken of the protracted efforts of Holbrook to 
arrange for the taking over of the assets and estates of the Cairo City 
and Canal Company by the Trustees of the Cairo City Property. His 
work culminated in the deed of June 13, 1846, and the declaration of 
trust of the 29th of the September following. This trust instrument 
executed by Thomas S. Taylor, of Philadelphia, and Charles Davis, 
of New York City, will be found recorded in the book " N " on pages 
465, etc., of our county records. It is a very interesting document made 
sixty-four years ago, and constituting, for all practical purposes, the 
foundation of all our real estate titles. No one now seeks to trace 
his title beyond this instrument or rather that of June 13, 1846. When 
the United States government, in 1871, purchased from the Trustees 
block thirty-nine (39), for the erection of the custom-house and post- 
office building, Colonel Taylor was required to make a showing of 
title beyond those instruments, and the same has been required by pur- 
chasers in one or two other instances. 

The land described as held in trust amounted to 9,743.01 acres. 
Something more than half of this was in township sixteen, most of 
the latter in Pulaski County. The instrument described by metes and 
bounds that somewhat noted ten-acre tract of land, a part of which 
is now embraced in the Illinois Central Railroad freight yards on the 
Ohio River between Fourteenth and Eighteenth Streets. 

Let me stop here and speak of that ten-acre tract of land. Jere- 
miah Diller, on the first day of April, 1835. entered the northeast 
fractional quarter (5.55 acres), and the east fractional half of the 
northwest fractional quarter (54-99 acres), of section 25-1 7-1 west. 
The first tract lies in a triangle on the Ohio just below the stone depot 
of that railroad company, and the other now embraces its freight yards 
and the Halliday milling property, between Fourteenth and Twentieth 
Streets. September 14, 1837, Diller sold ten acres of the last described 
tract to William Day, a captain of the United States Army at St. 
Louis. Day seems to have sold to Ethan A. Hitchcock, also of the 
United States Army at St. Louis, and on the 7th day of August, 1838, 
the latter sold the ten-acre tract to Elijah Willard, commissioner of 
the board of public works of the third judicial district of the state 
under the general improvement act of February 27, 1837. The rail- 


road enterprises of the state having broken down within a year or two, 
the state seems to have held this ten-acre tract of land and the right- 
of-way of the old Illinois Central Railroad in the county in trust for 
a number of years; and finally in the incorporation, February lo, 185 1, 
of the present Illinois Central Railroad Company, it was provided that 
these lands should be transferred to the latter company. The state, 
had, some years before, arranged for their conveyance to the Great 
Western Railway Company incorporated in 1843 and 1849, to build 
a central railroad. 

It seems that on the 13th day of July, 1876, for the consideration 
of fifteen thousand dollars, Samuel Staats Taylor, as Trustee of the 
Cairo City Property, conveyed certain property to Charles Parsons, 
trustee for the second mortgage bond holders of the Cairo City Property 
and the same is recorded in book 9, page 193. On the 31st day of 
October, 1895, Samuel Staats Taylor conveyed his interest as Trustee 
under the declaration of trust to Henry Parsons and Edwin Parsons, 
Trustees; and on the 9th day of November, 1895, Mary Llewellyn 
Parsons, administratrix, and Charles Parsons, administrator, conveyed 
to Henry Parsons and Edwin Parsons, as Trustees of the Cairo Trust 
Property. The instrument recites the death of Edwin Parsons August 
21, 1895, and the resignation of Samuel Staats Taylor, and that the 
shareholders had chosen Henry Parsons and Edwin Parsons, the latter 
a son of Mr. Charles Parsons, successors of the said Samuel Staats 
Taylor and the former Edwin Parsons ; and these gentlemen, the cousins 
of our present Mayor, the Hon. George Parsons, are now the present 
Trustees of the Cairo Trust Property and have been such since the 9th 
day of November, 1895. 

It will be remembered that on the 13th day of June, 1846, the Cairo 
City and Canal Company conveyed its property to Thomas S. Taylor 
and Charles Davis, Trustees as above stated, and that in the following 
September the latter made the declaration of trust above referred to. 
It will therefore be seen that from the formation of the trust of the 
Cairo City Property September 29, 1846, to the formation of the trust 
of the Cairo Trust Property of June 20, 1876, we have the period of 
about thirty years and that from the formation of the last named trust, 
namely, the trust of the Cairo Trust Property, to the present time we 
have the period of thirty-four years. To the public the change in the 
trust has been wholly personal. The trust has been continuous from 
September 29, 1846, to the present time, a period of sixty-four years. 
At the outset it owned the whole country here, except one or two small 
lots or tracts of land. It sold nothing until December, 1853, since 
which time it has from year to year sold more or less of its property. 
For the first few years after 1853 many sales were made and generally 
for good, not to say high, prices. Much of the property on the levee 
and in other parts of the town in 1856 and 1857 sold for very high 
prices. The most desirable lots and property having been sold within 
the first few years, the sales thereafter became fewer in number and the 


prices very much lower. Prices advanced from time to time as the out- 
look for the city became now and then brighter, but as a general 
thing, the situation was not encouraging if we except the stimulus 
which war times gave the town. Many years ago it became evident 
that the growth and prosperity of the town had ceased largely to depend 
upon the Trustees and that the people must look to themselves and make 
the most out of the growth which the city had attained. The trust 
still owns a large amount of property, the most valuable being, we 
suppose, the levee and frontage along the two rivers, carrying an exclu- 
sive right to wharfage charges. It seems somewhat remarkable, if not 
unfortunate, that the city nowhere owns a foot of river frontage. This 
is a fair representation of the city's environment, a cramped one indeed ; 
but it has been that so long, that were enlargement or freedom to come 
to it now, it would feel that somehow or other something strange had 
happened to it, and that it was not in its natural and proper position. 

The Civil Engineers of the Trustees. — Going back to 1818, 
we have elsewhere shown that the first map or plat of the City of Cairo 
was probably made by a Major Duncan for Mr. John G. Comegys 
and his associates. I have not been able to find anything concerning 
him further than what is said in the Prospectus of those early pro- 

Coming on down to 1836 and 1837, ^^'^ ^^^ that Mr. James 
Thompson made a survey and plat of the township, an exact copy of the 
plat being found elsewhere in this book. The field notes accompanying 
this plat or map were very full and complete indeed. They are part 
of the small book mentioned in Chapter IV as given me by Judge 
Thomas Hileman. I have not been successful in ascertaining whether 
Mr. Thompson was a resident of southern Illinois or of the west 
anywhere or of the east. I have not made as careful a search for in- 
formation concerning him as I would like to have made. 

William Strickland and Richard R. Taylor, both probably of Phila- 
delphia, were the first and perhaps only engineers and surveyors here 
during the Holbrook administration. The reader is referred to other 
parts of the book for information as to the work done and maps made 
by them. They may have done some work before the Trustees of 
the Cairo City Property came into possession here about the middle 
of the year 1846. 

Mr. Henry Clay Long, a son of Stephen Harriman Long, was in 
charge of the engineering department of the Trustees for many years. 
He seems to have been an able man in his line of work and profession. 
Other parts of this book will show much about him and his father. 
Col. Long, chief of the corps of topographical engineers of the govern- 
ment, whose headquarters were, in 1850, at Louisville. I have referred 
to the report made by Henry C. Long to S. H. Long concerning the 
site of the city as probably the most important engineering work 
ever done for the city. It was in many respects the basis for all 
other plans, plats and work of the Trustees from 1852 or 1853 onward. 


In 1884 Mr. Harvey Reid published a biographical sketch of Enoch 
Long, an Illinois pioneer, which seems to have been taken from Apple- 
ton's American Cyclopedia. In this account it is stated that Henry 
Clay Long was born near Philadelphia February 18, 1822, and that he 
became a civil engineer, and died while in the employ of the United 
States government on board the United States steamer Montana at 
LaCrosse, Wisconsin, April 10, 1871. In the sketch of Enoch Long 
referred to, the names of other members of the Long family are 
mentioned as living at Alton, Illinois, where Stephen Harriman Long 
died. While Long was here at work helping the Trustees to start 
their city, Mr. Charles Thrupp came here, probably in the year 1850, 
and was assistant to Long for some years. Mr. Thrupp, whose death 
occurred on the 15 th day of July, 1900, was probably better acquainted 
with the City of Cairo in all its somew^hat varied features than any 
other person, excepting Colonel Taylor. He was for a long time 
in the service of the Trustees after that early period, and was almost 
the first man to be inquired of concerning corners and boundary lines 
and other like matters in our city. He and Mrs. Thrupp were English 
people and up to the time of their respective deaths they were well 
known and highly esteemed in the city. 

There were a number of other persons who occupied the position of 
civil engineers for the Trustees, but their terms of service were generally 
of limited duration and arose long after most of the important work 
of that nature had been fully completed. 

I have elsewhere spoken of Mr. John Newell, who was for a year 
or two in the service of the Trustees, embracing the year 1855; and I 
have also in another place told of General McClellan's presence here 
so often when the levees were in the course of construction and when 
he was vice-president and chief engineer of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company. I have often spoken of the offices of the Trustees 
as containing so many documents and records of a highly important 
nature. They often seem to me as in the nature of public offices; and 
I am quite sure that so far as historical facts or information are con- 
cerned they contain a hundred-fold more material than can be found at 
any or all other places in the citj^, excepting possibly the court-house, 
where the records are far more complete from the time of the organi- 
zation of the county, in 1819, than can be found in almost any other 
of the older counties. 

Cairo Newspapers. — The whole of Chapter VI of that part of 
the "History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties" which relates 
to Cairo is devoted to Cairo newspapers. It begins with the first one 
published in 1841 for a short time under the Holbrook administration, 
the name of the paper not being given, and ends with the "Cairo Daily 
Argus." The chapter is very full and we suppose complete, and were 
we to go over any part of that period from 1841 to 1883, it would 
be but to copy from that history. 

Since that time, we have had published here "The Citizen," "The 



Evening Citizen," a daily, "The Cairo Telegram," "The Peoples' Paper" 
and "The Weekly Star." If there were other papers started and pub- 
lished for a time, I am not able to recall the names thereof. Mr. 
Henry F. Potter continued the publication of the "Cairo Daily Argus" 
up to about the first of October, 1907, at which time he was com- 
pelled to discontinue its publication solely on account of failing health. 
Few persons can realize the verj^ exacting duties imposed by the pub- 
lication of a daily paper. The daily demand, while not always severe, 
sooner or later becomes verj'^ trying where so much of the responsibility 
falls upon one person. Mr. Potter's experience as a publisher and 
editor at Mound City and Cairo made him one of the best of writers. 
An able and forceful man naturally, his newspaper training developed 
all his intellectual faculties and gave him a strength of character which 
no other training probably would have afforded him. 

"The Cairo Telegram" was established by Mr. Eugene E. Ellis in 
the year 1887. He conducted it along with his long established job- 
bing office, but in the year igo6, after nineteen years of existence, he dis- 
continued the paper. Different persons were its editors from time to 
time, but he always exercised a direct supervision over its columns 
and made the paper a strong force in the community and a great credit 
to the city. It was with the "Telegram" that Miss Bessie M. Turner 
began her newspaper work. She was also with the "Bulletin" a number 
of years and until she became Mrs. Jean M. Allen. It was with regret 
that the public gave her up. 

"The Peoples' Paper" was edited, and I believe published, by Mr. 
Solomon Farnbaker, whose psfrents were among the ver}- oldest residents 
of the city. It w^as started in June, 1886, and was published a number 
of years. It was a kind of free lance, cutting in almost all directions, 
but not alwaj^s with fine discrimination. Like many of the newspapers 
found in almost all the cities of the country, it seemed to .be most at 
home or in its proper line of duty when criticising some one or some- 
thing. We found a large number of clippings from it among Col. 
Taylor's papers, which were and are as innumerable as the sands of the 

"The Citizen" was established October i, 1885, by Mr. George 
Fisher, who had been for a number of years and up to that time the 
surveyor of the port of Cairo and long a practicing lawyer of our city. 
He began the publication of "The Evening Citizen," a daily, October i, 
1897, ^^^ carried on the publication of the two papers up to the time 
of his death, which occurred on the 19th day of December, 1900. 
Since then, his son, Mr. John C. Fisher, has continued the publication 
of the two papers, and it is believed with a success that is a credit alike 
to him and the people of the cit}^ who have supported the papers. They 
have always been strongly republican, strong party papers, but their 
management has seldom, if ever, been subject to just criticism. As 
favorably as "The Citizen" is regarded as a newspaper it cannot be said 
that it is not fully deserved. Its value to the people of the city can in 
no sense of the word be measured by its cost to them. 


Mr. Thomas W. Williams, long connected with "The Cairo Bulle- 
tin," purchased in 1905 "The Weekly Star," at Thebes. The "Star" was 
the successor of "The Thebes Record." Mr. Williams continued the pub- 
lication of the paper at Thebes until 1906, when he removed it to 
Cairo, and since that time he has continued its publication here. Its 
circulation is confined largely to the county, and, we are glad to say, 
it seems to be well sustained. Mr. Williams has become well and 
favorably known throughout the city and county and is at present 
a member of our city council and represents the third ward. 

"The Cairo Bulletin," first published in 1868, is still one of our 
city papers. It is now in its forty-second year. This says so much for 
the paper that little more is needed. Sometime before the year 1883, 
when Mr. Bradsby wrote, Mr. Oberly had sold out his interest in 
the "Bulletin" to Mr. E. A. Burnett, now of St. Louis, and removed to 
Bloomington, where he began the publication of the "Bloomington Bulle- 
tin." Mr. Burnett, in the year 1903, sold the "Bulletin" establishment 
to Harry E. Halliday, Henry S. Candee and David S. Lansden, and 
they continued its publication up to the year 1908, when Mr. Lansden 
disposed of his interest. In 1904 they published for six to nine months 
an evening paper called "The Evening News." Mr. Samuel J. Stockard 
was the editor of the "Bulletin" for a year or two. He was a good 
writer and esteemed very highly not only as a writer but as a man and 
citizen. Mr. Edward W. Thielecke has been in charge of the editorial 
department of the "Bulletin" longer than any one else. He was in the 
city of St. Louis during the editorship of Mr. Stockard and returned 
here in the year 1905. He has been connected with the "Bulletin" in his 
present capacity for the period of twenty-four years. He has shown him- 
self an able writer, and I think an able editor. My first recollection of him 
extends back to the time when he had not even thought of becoming a 
writer or an editor. If any one supposes his position, or the position of 
editor of "The Citizen," or of any other such paper, is easy to fill 
he is very much mistaken. Few persons are qualified for such posi- 
tions. We are too often ready with our criticisms when, if we 
would but take the places of the persons criticized, we would soon see 
how unequal we were to the demands of the places we had assumed to 
fill. Many of us might, in a kind of flabby way, edit a mere newspaper, 
but to make the paper anything like what it ought to be in a community 
we would find ourselves largely, if not totally, insufficient. What- 
ever may be said for or against Mr. Thielecke's general course as an 
editor this at least can be safely said that he has learned to write 
clearly, strongly and fearlessly. Without the latter qualification the 
so-called editor is little else than a mere excuse. His long editorial 
connection with the "Bulletin" is far better evidence of his standing as 
an editor than anything I might say. 

Now leaving this subject of Cairo newspapers, may I not be per- 
mitted to say that we have perhaps a better state of things regarding 
them than has existed in Cairo for many years? Most of the time 


have we not had too many -newspapers; too many for the people to 
take and too many among which newspaper support had to be divided ? 
As a general rule our Cairo newspapers, whether many or few, have 
been quite as good as could possibly be expected, considering the sup- 
port due them from the public. With our daily morning paper and 
daily evening paper, the people of the city get all the city news, and 
their support enables the publishers to do better for their readers, 
and in this way the people are sen''ed to the best advantage. They obtain 
the best newspaper service at lowest reasonable rates. 



IN law we have what are called dominant and serviant estates. 
Cairo's existence, both corporate and otherwise, has always been 
that represented by the latter of these conditions. The limitations 
upon her corporate life and action and upon her people have been of 
a peculiar nature, and have to a greater or less degree interfered with 
her growth and prosperit}^ These have changed somewhat from time 
to time, but have not yet disappeared. She never had a civil govern- 
ment of her own until 1855, when she was thought entitled to become 
a town or village. This form of civil administration was superseded, 
about two years later, with a city government, whose fifty-three years 
of experience under its limitations ought to be of considerable municipal 

Cairo was started by a land company three several times. To a 
limited extent, at least, this explains why it had to be started so often. 
It is very true, the natural difficulties of the situation were great, and 
it may be that the enterprise could not have gotten under way at all 
except by means and methods in the nature of corporate initiatives. 
This, however, is but accounting for a condition of the things necessary 
in itself though unfortunate. The lands were entered in 181 7 for the 
purpose of building a city. They were soon forfeited to the govern- 
ment and the attempt abandoned. In 1835, the lands were again 
entered for the same purpose; and with the year 1836, began an actual 
and most earnest attempt to build a city, worthy somewhat, at least, 
of its remarkable geographical position. This decade of years, ending 
with 1846, was in many respects the most important of all in the history 
of the city. It was in many respects a stirring time, a time of great 
things, under the lead of a man of character and great enterprise, above 
any one, no doubt, who has ever had the interest of the place in his 
charge. But it was a land company, a company that did not want to 
sell any of its lands until after it had gotten its city under way; and 
during the whole period of its ten years of existence, it sold neither 
lands nor lots, until it found that it also had to retire out of being, 
and turn over all it had, both real and personal, to another and third land 
company, which likewise found it necessary to invest no one else with 
ownership of real estate until the lapse of eight years, ending with 
December, 1853. We thus have the long period of eighteen years, 
ending with the year 1853, during which these land companies of 1836 
and 1846 held all the lands and country here as in a kind of mortmain 
or dead hands. No protest or remonstrance could avail anything at 



all. The land companies had mapped out their policies, which were 
essentially one and the same, and that was to hold on to everj^thing 
they had until they had a city of tenants who might be induced to buy 
on terms largely dictated by the landed proprietors. I have carefully 
examined the real estate records of the county from 1836 to 1854, ^i^d 
with the fewest possible exceptions, I have been unable to find that the 
Cairo City and Canal Companj^ during its life of ten years, or the 
Trustees of the Cairo City Propert)^ from 1846 to 1854, sold any 
town or city lot or land to any one. 

As much as they may have desired to see the place grow and prosper 
and to induce people to become residents, they retained in their private 
ownership the whole river frontage on both rivers, aggregating a 
distance of twelve to fifteen miles, over which no one scarcely might or 
could pass for water or for any other purpose whatsoever, without 
becoming a trespasser, either in an actual or legal sense. This exclusive 
dominion over approaches to the rivers has always enabled them to 
lay under tribute all the commerce of the rivers; and this became a 
matter of serious complaint by the river interests, which demanded 
free or cheap wharfage. Their complaints often degenerated into 
abuse, but it was against the city itself, between which and the landed 
proprietors they made no distinction ; for as a general rule they knew of 
none. These complaints, of every kind and nature, were carried up 
and down these great rivers and their tributaries and were thus widely 
disseminated; and to them is due, in no small part, the reputation in 
which the city was so long held. These landed proprietors, with one 
or two possible exceptions, were merely foreign landlords, whose in- 
terests somehow seemed to be one thing while that of the people here 
seemed to be quite another. Very naturally, there arose at the very 
outset a want of sympathy and co-operation, to remove or change 
which the landed interests made little or no effort. 

In the last days of the Cairo City and Canal Company, when the 
proprietors, or their representatives, were taking their departure, what 
they had left here was seized upon and made way with without ceremony 
or any form of legal proceedings. The people were little or no part of 
the enterprise. This they well knew and fully realized. They had 
acquired no lands nor lots — could acquire none; and now that the city, 
or what was left of it, was to be abandoned, they found themselves 
unexpectedly fortunate in not being incumbered with anything but 
movables to prevent their departure to other parts of the country; and 
so it was easy enough for the number of people in the place tO' fall in a 
comparatively short time from tv^'O thousand to the two hundred 
which was the population of Cairo when Col. Taylor arrived here 
April 15, 1851. 

To further establish what is said above about the policy of the land 
companies, we refer to the editorial in the "Cairo Delta," of September 
20, 1849, quoted in Chapter VII. Judging from what Editor Sanders 
said, the people had hoped that the administration of the Trustees of 
the Cairo City Property would differ widely and favorably from that 


of the Holbrook administration ; but they seem to have been disap- 
pointed. The change was but from one land company to another, and 
the end and means thereto seemed strikingly alike. The Holbrook 
enterprise of 1836 to 1846 was largely western; that of the Trustees 
was more largely eastern. The Trustees tightened their hold on the 
river frontage and brought the river interests into satisfactory sub- 
jection to their demands of wharfage dues. This seems to have been 
their legal right, and the matter could only be questioned on the ground 
that it was most unfavorable to the public and to the general interests 
of the city. 



CHARLES DICKENS landed at Boston the 21st of Januaty, 
1842, and returned home from New York about the same date 
in the following June. He was, therefore, in the United States 
five months. He came in a steamer and returned in a sailing vessel. 
His reception at Boston was altogether a hearty one. The banquet 
given him at New York on the eve of his departure was all that he 
and his closest friends could have hoped for. He came to lecture and 
to stimulate the sale of his books, but chiefly in the interest of inter- 
national copyright. His early letters home were friendly enough ; but 
by the time he left Baltimore for his western trip he had found it 
difficult and probably impossible to arouse in the public mind the interest 
he felt in copyright matters, and the tone of his letters changed to 
accord with his feeling of disappointment. His unfavorable impressions 
of the country deepened as he dwelt on the obstinacy of the American 
people; and to this is due, largely, the spirit the notes everywhere 
manifest. It was to be expected, of course, that he would on his return 
home write a book — an account of his experiences and impressions while 
in the United States; but it was not supposed that the volume would 
be filled with sneers and caricatures. 

In a letter to Macready, written at Baltimore March 22nd, he 
named the cities he expected to visit on his western trip. He was to 
go from Baltimore to Harrisburg, and thence by canal and railroad to 
Pittsburg, thence do^^■n the Ohio to Cincinnati and Louisville, and 
to the Mississippi, up the same to St. Louis, over the prairies to Chicago, 
and thence east\vard, through Canada, to New York. He left Pitts- 
burg on the IVIessenger April ist, Cincinnati on the Pike April 6th, 
Louisville on the Fulton April 7th and reached Cairo the forenoon 
of Saturday, April 9th. He arrived at St, Louis Sunday evening, 
April lOth, at about ten o'clock. He was not detained at Cairo by 
low water or by ice. He was here but an hour or two. His account 
of what he saw here was colored much more by his feelings 
than by his vision. There were then 1500 to 2000 people here. A 
million and a quarter dollars of English monej' had been spent in the 
purchase of lands and the making of improvements, all of which was 
then beginning to be lost by the failure, November 23, 1840, of his 
countn-men, John Wright & Company, Bankers, of Henrietta Street, 
Covent Garden, London. The Cairo improvements had been planned 
by Holbrook and his associates on the faith and belief that Wright & 
Company would furnish all the means necessary to make their enter- 






A 4il 


prise a success. The bonds which Wright & Company handled were 
secured by a trust deed to the New York Life Insurance & Trust 
Company on all the lands of the company here between the two rivers. 
But other London financiers, disliking Wright & Company's handling 
of American securities, turned against them, broke them down entirely 
and forced them into bankruptcy and out of business ; and with their 
retirement went down also the Cairo enterprise. Dickens kept along 
with the times too closely to be ignorant of these facts when he reached 
Cairo. The American publishers were, he said, growing rich on the 
sale of his books and he getting nothing, and the sight of Cairo only 
brought to mind the fact that many other Englishmen had fared badly 
in this country. He was in such temper of mind that nothing was 
needed to stimulate to unfriendly and unjust criticism. 

The following letter of May i, 1842, to Henry Austin, his brother- 
in-law, will show his degree of ill humor when here April 9th, — three 
weeks before the letter was written. 

"Is it not a horrible thing that scoundrel booksellers should grow 
rich here from publishing books, the authors of which do not reap one 
farthing from their issue by scores of thousands ; and that every vile 
blackguard and detestable newspaper, so filthy and bestial that no honest 
man would admit one into his house for a scullery doormat, should be 
able to publish those same writings side by side, cheek by jowl, with the 
coarsest and most obscene companions, with which they must become 
connected, in course of time in people's minds? Is it tolerable that 
besides being robbed and rifled an author should be forced to appear in 
any form, in any vulgar dress, in any atrocious company; that he should 
have no choice of his audience, no control over his own distorted text, 
and that he should be compelled to jostle out of the course the best 
men in this countr}', who only ask to live by writings? I vow before 
high Heaven that my blood so boils at these enormities that when I 
speak about them, I seem to grow twenty feet high, and to swell out 
in proportion. 'Robbers that ye are,' I think to myself when I get upon 
my legs, 'here goes.' " 

The following are extracts from the Notes : 

"Nor was the scenery, as we approached the junction of the Ohio 
and Mississippi Rivers, at all inspiriting in its influence. The trees 
were stunted in their growth; the banks were low and flat; the settle- 
ments and log cabins fewer in number; their inhabitants more wan 
and wretched than any we had encountered yet. No songs of birds 
were in the air, no pleasant scents, no moving lights and shadows 
from swift passing clouds. Hour after hour, the changeless glare of 
the hot, unwinking sky, shone upon the same monotonous objects. 
Hour after hour, the river rolled along, as wearily and slowly as the 
time itself. 

"At length, upon the morning of the third day, we arrived at a 
spot so much more desolate than any we had yet beheld, that the for- 
lornest places we had passed, were, in comparison with it, full of 
interest. At the junction of the two rivers, on ground so flat and low 


and marshy, that at certain seasons of the year it is inundated to the 
house-tops, lies a breeding-place of fever, ague, and death; vaunted 
in England as a mine of Golden Hope, and speculated in, on the faith 
of monstrous representations, to many people's ruin. A dismal swamp, 
on which the half-built houses rot away; cleared here and there for the 
space of a few yards; and teeming, then, with rank unwholesome vege- 
tation, in whose baleful shade the wretched wanderers who are tempted 
hither, droop, and die, and lay their bones; the hateful Mississippi 
circling and eddying before it, and turning off upon its southern course 
a slimy monster hideous to behold ; a hotbed of disease, an ugly sepulchre, 
a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise; a place without one single 
quality, in earth or air or water, to commend it; such is this dismal 

"But what words shall describe the Mississippi great father^ of 
rivers, who (praise be to Heaven) has no young children like him! 
An enormous ditch, sometimes two or three miles wide, running liquid 
mud, six miles an hour; its strong and frothy current choked and ob- 
structed everywhere by huge logs and whole forest trees; now twining 
themselves together in great rafts, from the interstices of which a 
sedgy lazy foam works up, to float upon the water's top; now rolling 
past like monstrous bodies, their tangled roots showing like matted hair ; 
now glancing singly by like giant leeches; and now writhing round 
and round in the vortex of some small whirlpool like wounded snakes. 
The banks low, the trees dwarfish, the marshes swarming with frogs, 
the wretched cabins few and far apart, their inmates hollow-cheeked 
and pale, the weather very hot, mosquitoes penetrating into every crack 
and crevice of the boat, mud and slime on everything; nothing pleasant 
in its aspect, but the harmless lightning which flickers every night upon 
the dark horizon. 

"For two days we toiled up this foul stream, striking constantly 
against the floating timber, or stopping to avoid those more dangerous 
obstacles, the snags, or sawyers, which are the hidden trunks of trees 
that have their roots below the tide. When the nights are very dark, 
the look-out stationed in the head of the boat, knows by the ripple of 
the water if any great impediment be near at hand, and rings a bell 
beside him, which is the signal for the engine to be stopped ; but always 
in the night this bell has work to do, and after every ring, there comes 
a blow which renders it no easy matter to remain in bed." 

Dickens after his arrival at St. Louis decided to return the way he 
came, at least as far as Cincinnati, and journey thence to Sandusky and 
thence into Canada, but before doing so, he went over to Belleville, 
which he described with much the same temper and language as that 
shown and used about Cairo. He went as far as Lebanon, in St. Clair 
County, to get a better view of the prairies. From Lebanon he re- 
turned to St. Louis and there took the same steamboat, the Fulton, 
for Cincinnati. Passing Cairo on his return trip he gave it a parting 
shot in these miasmatic words: 


"In good time next morning, however, we came again in sight of 
the detestable morass called Cairo; and stopping there took in wood, 
lay alongside a barge, whose starting timbers scarcely held together. 
It was moored to the bank, and on its side was painted 'Coffee House' ; 
that being, I suppose, the floating paradise to which the people fly for 
shelter when they lose their houses for a month or two beneath the 
hideous waters of the Mississippi. But looking southward from this 
point, we had the satisfaction of seeing that intolerable river dragging 
its slimy length and ugly freight abruptly off towards New Orleans; 
and passing a yellow line which stretched across the current, were again 
upon the clear Ohio, never, I trust, to see the Mississippi more, saving 
in troubled dreams and nightmares." 

What Dickens wrote about Cairo was no more true than the fol- 
lowing he wrote about Belleville : 

"Belleville was a small collection of wooden houses, huddled to- 
gether in the very heart of the bush and swamp. Many of them had 
singularly bright doors of red and yellow ; for the place had been lately 
visited by a traveling painter, 'who got along, as I was told, by eating 
his way.' The criminal court was sitting, and was at the moment 
trjang some criminals for horse-stealing; with whom it would most 
likely go hard; for live stock of all kinds being necessarily very much 
exposed in the woods, is held by the community in rather higher value 
than human life; and for this reason, juries generally make a point of 
finding all men indicted for cattle-stealing, guilty, whether or no. 

"The horses belonging to the bar, the judge, and witnesses, were 
tied to temporary racks set up roughly in the road; by which is to be 
understood, a forest path, nearly knee deep in mud and slime. 

"There was an hotel in this place which, like all hotels in America, 
had its large dining-room for the public table. It was an odd, sham- 
bling, low-roofed out-house, half cow-shed and half kitchen, with a 
coarse brown canvas table-cloth, and tin sconces stuck against the walls, 
to hold candles at supper-time." 

"The American Notes" is one of the poorest of his books. Macaulay 
was requested to write a notice of the book, but after reading it 
declined, saying: 

"I cannot praise it, and I will not cut it up. I cannot praise it, 
though it contains a few lively dialogues and descriptions; for it 
seems to me to be, on the whole, a failure. It is written like the worst 
parts of ' Humphrey's Clock." What is meant to be easy and sprightly 
is vulgar and flippant. What is meant to be fine is a great deal too 
fine for me, as the description of the Fall of Niagara. A reader who 
wants an amusing account of the United States had better go to Mrs. 
Trollope, coarse and malignant as she is. A reader who wants in- 
formation about American politics, manners, and literature had better 
go even to so poor a creature as Buckingham. In short, I pronounce 
the book, in spite of some gleams of genius, at once frivolous and dull." 


In "Martin Chuzzleivit " we find Dickens still caricaturing the 
United States and its people; and Cairo especially, under the name of 
"Eden," comes in for a large share of attention. It would seem that 
the one book, the "American Notes," would have been sufficient to 
satisfy his resentment, for such it seems to have been. Every one must, 
however, admire his wonderful writing. Then, too, we must remember 
that when he was here and for many years afterwards, Great Britain was 
hated and abused everj^where and by fully one-half of the people of the 

In the will of Lieutenant-Governor William Kinney, dated August 
9, 1843, and probated in St. Clair County October i8th of that year, we 
find this clause: "I give R. K. Fleming, in consideration of his copying 
and writing for me a pamphlet against Charles Dickens, and other 
articles, one hundred dollars in cash." See volume IX, pp. 441-444, of 
the Historical Publications of the Illinois Historical Societ}'. A certified 
copy of the will was filed in the recorder's office of Alexander County, 
October i, 1909. 

NoM^, taking leave of Dickens, let us say that in his letters to Forster 
and others, he made it clear that when he reached home he would, to 
use his own language, stretch himself "twenty feet high and 
swell out in proportion," in railing at the American people. 

After twenty-five years, he came back to lecture, or rather to read. 
He landed at Boston, as before, but with feelings of anxiety about the 
reception that would be accorded him. What he had written in 1842 
was much in his way in 1867. The incongruity of his second visit 
with his account of the first one was apparent ; but his desire for money 
was too strong to forbid him asking the favor of the people whom he 
had so deliberately and maliciously traduced and insulted. 

If in man there are two natures, the one good and the other evil, 
it may be safely affirmed that out of the latter in Dickens " The 
American Notes" issued. 

But Cairo had a hard name before Dickens saw it. It had a 
hard name because it was a hard place. On the rivers vt'ere and always 
have been many hard characters. The central location of the place 
drew many of them here. River craft of every existing kind and 
pattern and doing all kinds of trading and business landed here. The 
site was low and often overflowed, and hence the long absence of im- 
provements and settled inhabitants. The failures of land companies 
to overcome the natural obstacles in the way of establishing a town 
or city added to the unfavorable reputation the place bore. It was a 
low and a decidedly uninviting point, and the travelers upon the rivers 
never spoke well of it. They could not. They all seemed to think 
that at the junction of two such great rivers as the Ohio and Mississippi 
there ought to be a fine, not to say a grand city. 

The hard name arose in part from a hard state of things, but 
quite as much from the temper and disposition of some of the early 
Cairo inhabitants, who were jolly good fellows in their off-hand and 


don't-care sort of a way, and who, instead of trying to improve the 
reputation of the town, seemed to have sought to keep alive the un- 
favorable opinions of it by all sorts of remarkable stories and accounts 
of crimes and offenses which never had any existence save in their 
fertile brains. 

I might close this chapter without saying anything more concerning 
the reputation which our city has so long borne; but to do so would 
not be correct historical treatment. Historical silence is not allowable 
save in cases of want of information. It is seldom attributed to ignor- 
ance or oversight. Most of us who live here know better than other 
people what has so generally been said of our citj^ and is still often if 
not quite so generally said. The person spoken of is much more likely 
to remember what was spoken than the speaker where what was said 
or spoken is of an uncomplimentary nature. Cities, large and small, 
are not unlike individuals ; but an individual may live down, so to 
speak, the bad reputation he has borne ; but for this much time is often 
required. May not cities do the same? The public is often very in- 
credulous and often demands a long period of probation. It is not 
admitting too much to say that our city should have made more prog- 
ress in getting a good or a better name. The change has been slow 
but most of the time hopeful. It may be that the ground gained has 
all been lost by reason of the recent mobs and lynchings and their at- 
tendant circumstances; but if so, it is only another evidence that a re- 
established name is much easier lost than one which had never needed 
re-establishment. The hindrance to our acquiring a better reputation 
has generally been ourselves. We have persistently denied that any- 
thing was needed here that was not equally needed in almost all other 
cities — river cities, especially. This is but saying that if Cairo is not 
worse than other places, there is no ground for complaint or need of 
improvement, nor is there any reason for being told we ought to be 
better. This fatal view of the matter hinders every effort for advance- 

If one's reputation is what one's neighbors say of him, why may 
we not say a city's reputation is what its neighbors and the people 
generally, elsewhere, say of it? Whether they speak the truth or not 
is not very material in law or in the courts. There is absolutely no 
remedy other than the adoption and the faithful following of such 
course of conduct as will convince the public generally that we are 
better than we once were and deserve a better name. Some of our 
citizens lose all their patience when this matter is spoken of. Some 
say it is a falsehood and that Cairo is all right. Others say it has always 
been rather a wide open town, and it is useless to try to make it any- 
thing else. Others say Cairo is a citj^, and we must expect to have 
the usual city characteristics, and that vices of all kinds exist every- 
where, and one hurts the town and business by talking about it; and 
that if it is such a place as is represented, one should not publish it 
abroad and keep people from coming here and investing in business 


enterprises and making the city the home of their families. And 
finally, others say, we don't care, Cairo is good enough for us; if one 
does not like the town as it is, let him go elsewhere; the world is 

But not to pursue the matter further, Cairo is not the hard place it 
is so often represented to be. Many towns and cities in the state 
desen^e no better name or reputation than our citj^ Let us cease, how- 
ever, enjoining silence about evils whose existence or extent we should 
be able to deny. Let us, along with our great material improvement, 
seek also to improve, in corresponding degree, those other features of 
city administration which every one knows are of far greater importance 
than are matters of a wholly material nature. 

Mayors of Cairo 



ALTHOUGH generally spoken of as a city, Cairo never became 
a city until the passage of the act of February ii, 1857. An 
attempt was made in 1852 to incorporate the town or village as 
a city, . but the Trustees, having the bill in charge, desired to include 
in it a clause requiring the first board of aldermen to be chosen by the 
legislature and to hold their positions for five years. The member of 
the legislature who presented and urged the bill, C. G. Simons, of 
Jonesboro, admitted that this requirement was a very unusual one, 
but he said it was regarded as a necessary protection to foreign real 
estate owners. This reference could only have been to the Trustees or 
to those whom they represented. The bill failed of passage. Andrew 
J. Kuykendall, then in the senate from Vienna, seems to have been the 
chief opponent of the bill. He subsequently became our member of 
Congress. He seems to have been interested in Cairo; for on the first 
sale of city lots by the Trustees, namely, the 23rd day of December, 
1853, he bought lots one and two, in block fifty-one, in the city. He 
paid $500.00 for the lots. The Alexander Club now owns these lots. 

On tliat somewhat celebrated day, seven years and a half after the 
Trustees acquired their title, June 13, 1846, from the Cairo City and 
Canal Company, they began their first sale of real estate to the people. 
Is it any wonder that the people lost patience and that the editor. Add. 
H. Sanders, took himself and his newspaper, "The Cairo Delta," to 
another part of the country? But the circumstances must alwa3^s be 
considered. The Trustees had indeed undertaken a seven-year task. 

Cairo under the Town Government. — Under the Holbrook ad- 
ministration, from 1836 to 1846, the people had no kind of civil local 
government except such as came from the county and state. There may 
have been some kind of township, school or road district government, 
but we have not come upon anything of the kind. The county records 
may, however, show something of that description. How the people 
managed to get along from 1846 to 1855, it is not very material now to 
inquire. They did not seem to have needed or wanted anything besides 
what the county and state could afford them until 1855 ; for in that year, 
at an election held in the railroad station house, it was decided that 
they would establish a town government, and on the 8th day of March 
they held an election for town trustees. The law then applicable to 
such matters provided for a vote viva voce at the polls; and at the 
election, 135 voters went to the polls and openly announced their 



respective preferences or votes. There were five Trustees to be elected, 
and each voter was required to give the names of the five persons he de- 
sired to become Trustees. The persons chosen were S. S. Taylor, 
Brj^an Shannessy, Peter Stapleton, Louis W. Young and M. B. Har- 
rell. Only two of the voters declined to v^ote for Col. Taylor. They 
were I. Lj^nch and E. Babbs. 

It is altogether probable Col. Taylor was strongly in favor of this 
movement for a local government for the town. At all events, a majority 
of the Trustees were favorable to his policies or that of the Trustees. 

The next j^ear, however, the election held March 10, 1856, resulted 
in a choice of men, a majority of whom were not kindly disposed toward 
the management of the Trustees. The men chosen Trustees at this 
election were Thomas Wilson, Samuel Staats Taylor, Cullen D. 
Finch, Moses B. Harrell and Charles Thrupp. 

We have been unable to find the records or papers of the town 
Trustees for either of the years of 1855 or 1856, except the poll book 
of the election just mentioned, and possibly one or two other papers 
which were of little or no interest. These records should have passed 
to the city government, which began in March, 1857; but the present 
city clerk, Mr. Robert A. Hatcher, has told me that he had made a 
careful search for the same but found none. 

The most important matter with which the town Trustees, of both 
years, seem to have had to deal was the wharf and wharfage question. 
We have presented this matter somewhat fully under that heading and 
need not refer further to it here. 

It seems highly probable that the town government scheme was taken 
up by the Trustees upon their failure to procure the incorporation of the 
cit}' of Cairo and the Cairo Cit}- Propert}' or the Cairo City Propert}^ 
trust; and the experience of the Trustees under the second year of the 
town government, when Thomas Wilson was president of the board, 
was so unsatisfactory^ that they were led to seek an incorporation of 
the city in the usual way, and hence the act of February 11, 1857, ^^'^s 
passed, the city's first charter. 

The citj^ made its start under this act by holding an election March 
10, 1857, the poll book of which is found elsewhere. With this poll 
book, the reader, if acquainted in Cairo, can see who of the voters of 
1857 are still with us. 

This act remained in force ten j^ears, or until it was superseded by 
the act of February 18, 1867, drawn by David J. Baker. An impor- 
tant amendment was made to it February 10, 1869, by which the city 
was provided with two legislative bodies instead of the one only. The 
new or upper body was called the select council, and the lower the 
board of aldermen. This amendment of twenty-eight sections was 
prepared by Judge H. K. S. O'Melveny, Judge William J. Allen, and 
Mr. Louis Houck, under the general supervision of Col. Taylor, who 
always took the greatest interest in all legislative matters relating in 
anywase to the city. Mr. Houck was then Judge O'Melveny's part- 
ner. The need of this amendment arose out of the setting aside by the 


supreme court of the city's method of making assessments for street 
filling and other local improvements. (The City of Chicago vs. Earned, 
34 111., 203.) Very little, however, if anything at all, was done under 
this amendment; for within a year or two, the legislature adopted 
an entirely new method for making assessments for local improve- 
ments. It was article nine, of the act of April 10, 1872, for the in- 
corporation of cities and villages. The city adopted the article before 
it became incorporated under the act, which was January 7, 1873. It 
may be here remarked that neither of the charters of 1857 or 1867 or 
the amendment of 1869, required the mayor or aldermen to be citizens 
or electors of the state. A property qualification only was required. 
This general act of April 10, 1872, has been adopted by almost all of 
the cities of the state, and the same, amended from time to time, has 
been found very satisfactorj' indeed. The city is still incorporated 
under that act. 

Under the first and second citj^ charters, the mayor was elected 
annually, and Col. Taylor, the first mayor, succeeded himself five 
several times, beginning with the election in March, 1857, ^"d end- 
ing with the election in March, 1862. H. Watson Webb was chosen 
mayor in March, 1863, without opposition. At the election in March, 
1864, Col. Taylor again became a candidate for the office, but was 
defeated by David J. Baker. This contest is said to have been a very 
unusual one and the result very unexpected to Col. Taylor's friends. 
Baker, however, was a very popular man with the Democrats as well as 
with Republicans. Moreover, from the earliest time in the cit>''s 
history to the present time, politics have never played any very' im- 
portant part. It may also be stated that the people probably thought 
that Col. Taylor had been quite sufficiently honored by his prior six 

At the risk of taking too much space, I give here the number of 
votes Col. Taylor and his competitors received at each of the elections 
of 1857 to 1864, and the names and lengths of terms of all subse- 
quent mayors. 

1857 — Samuel S. Taylor, 211; W. J. Stephens, 159. 

1858 — Samuel S. Taylor, 382; Barney Mooney, 10. 

1859 — Samuel S. Taylor, 290; John Howley, 200. 

i860 — Samuel S. Taylor, 299; Jno. W. Trover, 230. 

1861— Samuel S. Taylor, 361; W. R. Burke, 319. 

1862 — H. Watson Webb, 345; no opposition. 

1863 — Samuel S. Taylor, 389; Thomas Wilson, 298. 

1864 — Samuel S. Taylor, 354; David J. Baker, 380. 

Thomas V/ilson, mayor from February, 1865, to February, 1867. 

John W. Trover, mayor from February, 1867, to February, 1868. 

Alexander G. Holden, mayor from February, 1868, to February, 


Jno. H. Oberly, maj'or from Februarj^, 1869, to Februarj', 1870. 
Thomas Wilson, mayor from February, 1870, to February, 1871. 
John M. Lansden, mayor from February, 1871, to April, 1873. 


John Wood, mayor from April, 1873, to April, 1875. 

Henrj^ Winter, mayor from April, 1875, to April, 1879. 

N. B. Thistlewood, ma3'or from April, 1879, to April, 1883. 

Thomas W. Halliday, mayor from April, 1883, to September, 1892. 

Chas. O. Patier, mayor from September, 1892, to April, 1895. 

Corodon R. Woodward, mayor from April, 1895, to April, 1897. 

N. B. Thistlewood, mayor from April, 1897, to April, 1901. 

Marion C. Wright, mayor from April, 1901, to April, 1903, 

Claude Winter, mayor from April, 1903, to April, 1905. 

George Parsons, mayor from April, 1905, to present time. 

The city has, therefore, had seventeen several mayors during a 
period of fifty-three years, beginning with Col. Taylor's election in 
March, 1857, ^"d ending with the election of George Parsons in April, 
1909. Thistlewood, Woodward, Parsons, and the writer are now 
living. Of Col. Taylor I have elsewhere given a somewhat lengthy 
biographical sketch. 

H. Watson Webb was city attorney two or three times after serv- 
ing one term as mayor. He lived many years in the city. He was a 
son of Col. Henry L. Webb, a very prominent man in his day, and 
was born at Trinity, the now almost forgotten town on the Ohio just 
south of the mouth of Cache River. The Webbs were of the cele- 
brated family of Webbs in New York, one of whom was James Webb, 
for years prominent in New York politics. Mr. Webb left Cairo 
many years ago and wxnt to San Francisco and there remained some 
considerable time. Subsequently he removed to Portland, Oregon, 
and there died a few years ago. In both cities, as here, he practiced 
his profession of the law. 

David J. Baker succeeded Mr. Webb and was mayor from 1864 to 
1865. He was liked by every one, just as he seemed to like every one 
else, such was his good nature. He was a good lawyer and an 
able judge. He served on the circuit and appellate court benches 
many years, and one full term of nine years on the bench of the supreme 
court of the state. If any trait of his character seemed in anywise 
to be above or superior to his intellectual abilities as a lawyer and a 
judge, it was shown in his great desire to get at the truth and the 
right of matters and to decide fairly and justly. He was not a brilliant 
man as the phrase goes. He was something more and better than 
that. While he enjoyed eloquent speech and fine writing, he liked 
best those simpler methods of speech by which truth is brought to 
light and error disclosed. Somewhat like Judge John H. Mulkey, 
whom he succeeded on the supreme court bench, he was distrustful of 
first impressions, and always waited until his mind had obtained a full 
view of the whole matter in hand before he proceeded to pronounce 
judgment. His opinions while supreme judge extend through forty- 
two volumes of reports. 

Thomas Wilson succeeded Judge Baker and was mayor from 1865 
to 1867 and from 1870 to 1871. He was a large, fine looking man. In 
natural abilities and force of character, he was not behind any one of 


those seventeen. He was as strong mentally as he was large and 
strong physically. Had he been favored with the advantages of a 
thorough educational training, and had sought wider fields of activit}^ 
he would have stood in the very front rank in the political world, if 
not also in the business world. I am not speaking of him when I 
say some men like a little education, a little better than much. Much 
is dangerous and should be avoided. We hear this quite too often. A 
little learning with them is not a dangerous thing. The danger is in 
much. They reverse Pope, and say that the danger is in drinking 
deep of the Pierian spring. This view that one may know too much, 
may be too well informed, may have his mind broadened and strength- 
ened too much, may be too much of a man mentally, sets a premium 
on ignorance and would level to the ground well nigh every high 
institution of learning in the country. I would say, "Do not be afraid 
of getting too much education. It is like the fresh air; one cannot 
get too much of it." Wilson was fairly well educated ; but had he 
gotten anj^where, or by any means, a good college education or its 
equivalent, he could have stood before kings. It would have developed 
all of his splendid natural faculties. It would have given him con- 
fidence, without which men never can do their best. It would have 
lifted him higher in his own good and sound judgment, and 
have equipped him well for successful work with great men almost 
anywhere. He never came to a full knowledge of the extent and char- 
acter of his natural endowments. It may have been best. It is some- 
times. Feeling strongly what one might be, yet never being it, can 
never be a happy thought. 

John TV. Trover succeeded Wilson and was mayor from 1867 to 
1868. He formerly lived in the central part of the state, perhaps in 
Cass County, the count}' from which Robert W. Miller came. He 
was president of the First National Bank of Cairo. He was a Re- 
publican in politics and was successful in his race for maj'or against 
Judge H. K. S. O'Melveny, who ran as a Democrat. Judge O'Mel- 
veny judged the Cairo democracy by the Marion County democracy. 
Up there they always voted the ticket, and he supposed the same was 
the rule down in Alexander. But he had been here but a short time 
and did not know the habits of the people in their local elections. 
Trover was one of the boys, and the boys and Trover won. Judge 
O'Melveny's defeat wounded him severely. He had not sought the 
office and did not want it at all ; but a number of his Democratic friends 
said he must make the race and he did, with the result stated. He 
removed to Los Angeles in November, 1869; and after I had been 
elected city attorney in February, 1870, he wrote me and said he 
could not see how I could get the consent of my mind to trust my 
chances for an office to such unreliable voters as we had here in Cairo. 
At that election in 1870, Fountain E. Albright was the candidate 
against me. It was known that ver}' soon the colored people of the 
city were to have the right to vote, and on the day of the election 
Fountain went about telling his friends that they must come out and 


vote, for this election, he said, was to be the last white man's election 
we would have. Since that time, about thirty-eight years ago, we 
have not indeed had a white man's election — an election at which only 
white men could vote. I must not omit to say that Judge O'Melveny 
was a splendid man, an able lawyer, and an able circuit judge, and 
one would have to go very far and inquire very diligently to find a man 
of superior character or more exemplar}' personal conduct. 

Alexander G. H olden succeeded Trover, and was mayor from 1868 
to 1869. Like Judge O'Melveny, Doctor Holden did not want the 
office ; but his friends insisted that there was nothing that could pos- 
sibly be said against him and that he must make the race. He yielded. 
His friends judged rightly, and he was elected. He gave all the time 
he could to the discharge of his official duties. He was careful and 
painstaking and ventured little without first getting the best advice 

John H. Oberly succeeded Dr. Holden, and was mayor from 1869 
to 1 87 1. He came to Cairo from Memphis soon after the war began. 
It seems that his views concerning secession and the war were not 
favorable to his longer remaining there. He became identified with 
the "Cairo Democrat" soon after leaving Memphis. In 1868 he started 
the "Cairo Bulletin" ; and after editing and publishing that paper a 
number of years, he removed to Bloomington and there engaged in 
editing the "Bloomington Bulletin." He was also a member of the 
legislature from this county in the years 1872-1874; and in the years 
1877-1881 he was a member of the Board of Railroad and Warehouse 
Commissioners. Still later, he became commissioner under President 
Cleveland, of the Indian schools. He was a man of versatile talents. 
He had been an editor almost all his life. He wrote well, few editors 
better. He was much given to severity of criticism, so much so that 
his friends did not always escape. It seemed sometimes to be a mere 
matter of exercising his pen. Even Secretary Vilas came in for a share, 
and he was so affected by it that President Cleveland said there was 
no use appointing Oberly to another office while Vilas was in the 
senate. He had gone there soon after he left the cabinet. This trait 
of Oberly's character was much in his way to the success he should 
have won ; for he was indeed a man of brilliant endowments. Nature 
had not stopped short of making him a genius. He was of a happy 
and genial temperament and exceedingly interesting in conversation. 
He made a good mayor, but complaints were made that he was too 
strongly inclined toward Col. Taylor and the Trustees of the Cairo City 
Property. Let me add that Mrs. Oberly was equally talented. The 
whole family, indeed, was one of unusual intelligence. 

John M. Lansden succeeded Oberly, and was mayor two terms, 
that is, from February, 1871, to April, 1873. By the city's changing its 
incorporation, under the act of 1867, to incorporation under the gen- 
eral act of 1872, his second term of office was extended two months, 
that is, from February to April, 1873. 

Col. John Wood succeeded Lansden, and was mayor from 1873 to 
1875, one term. He had been in the war, and came to Cairo a short time 

— ^ 

George PARSONi/ 

Mayors of Cairo 


before its close. He was a contractor for some years before he went 
into the milling and wholesale grocery business. He was a member 
of the city council two or three or more terms before he became mayor. 
He was regarded as one of the most independent and outspoken coun- 
cilmen and mayors the city ever had. The most serious objection any 
one ever heard made to him as a man, councilman or mayor, was that 
he was so hard to move from any position he had taken. He was a 
Scotchman. His term of office was so satisfactory to the people 
that had there been a higher position for bestowment on any one, he 
would have received it. 

Henry Winter succeeded Wood, and was mayor from 1877 to 188 1, 
two terms. He, was an Englishman, and came to Cairo in 1856. He 
carried oin many branches of business; was highly public spirited; was 
the father and promoter of the whole business of fire protection; was 
kind and charitable in every way and manner, and took great interest 
in all public matters. He had not much use for strict laws in infringe- 
ment of personal liberty in this democratic country of ours. He was 
an anti-Taylor man, and yet thought a great deal of Col. Taylor and 
Taylor of him. He was tenacious enough, and had run for mayor 
two or three times before his election in 1877. He had a strong per- 
sonal following, more than any of the others ever had. He was 
mayor in the epidemic of the yellow fever in 1878, and had the mayor 
been any one else, there is no telling how the city or the people thereof 
would have fared. 

N. B. Thistlezuood, our present congressman, succeeded Winter 
and was mayor from 1881 to 1885, and again, from 1897 to 1901, 
four terms. He had not been here a great many years when he was 
first elected, but he took such great interest in the public matters of 
the city and of the people that they felt they could not do better than 
to intrust him with the chief charge of its affairs. What he undertook 
he always did well. He was never satisfied with half-way or half- 
done work. He soon became a Cairo man and has always been that. 
He looked upon the town as so situated that the rules applicable to most 
places not larger could not be closely applied to it. As to city govern- 
ment, he has always thought that strict laws of a sumptuary nature 
often defeated themselves. Had he chosen the Latin with which to 
express his idea about the matter, he would have said medio tutissitnus 
ibis, that is to say, the middle course is the safest. Of all who have 
come here in these many years, few, if any of us, could name a more 
desirable or public-spirited citizen. I have before referred to Mayor 
Thistlewood when speaking of the flood of 1882. 

Thomas W. HalUday succeeded Thistlewood at the expiration of his 
second term, and was mayor from April, 1883, to August, 1892, almost 
nine and one-half }^ears. He was chosen mayor five successive times, 
one less than his father-in-law. Col. Samuel Staats Taylor, whose 
terms, however, were only one year each. On two or three occasions, 
Halliday had no opposition. He died in August, 1892. Had he lived 
there is no telling how long he would have been continued in the 
office. Frequent elections to office generally indicate the high regard 


of the people. His must be attributed largely to the easy and friendly 
terms he alvvaj^s succeeded in maintaining with almost every member 
of his various city councils. He knevi^ and fully realized that without 
the hearty co-operation of the members of the legislative body of the 
city, he himself could not do much. Hence, his constant endeavor was 
to obtain and keep the friendly feeling of the city's ward representa- 
tives. And it therefore followed, very naturally, that these ward 
representatives were generally for him when the mayor's election came 
on. He was very successful in making it appear that almost every- 
thing that came up and went through, was really the measure of some 
one of the councilmen. He kept himself somewhat in the background, 
but not so much so as to be quite out of sight of a clear-visioned man. 

Halliday took great pleasure in being mayor, although it added 
largely to his other rather hard work. He laudibly liked to have the 
good will and approval of the people of the city. I cannot enumerate 
the measures he started and carried through for the material im- 
provement of the cit}\ I can only say that he was a strong friend of 
public improvements, and that too, when our laws were in a poor 
shape to facilitate public work. Tom was a Halliday man and a 
Taylor man, of course. To outsiders, this may not mean much, but 
to Cairo people it is a little volume. Tom steered his official craft 
around among the breakers and reefs with a success that surprised 
both sides, and thereby largely obtained their favor. It was adminis- 
trative ability of the highly useful variety, which is the only kind 
really ever needed. He was a member of the lower house of our 
legislature in 1879; and the writer has often heard members from 
the upper part of the state speak in the highest terms of his services in 
that body. 

Charles O. Patier was selected by the cit>' council to fill out the 
unexpired portion of the term of Halliday, that is, from August, 1892, 
to April, 1893, when he became a candidate for election to that office. 
He was successful, and gave the city his very best services. Although 
disagreeing with his immediate predecessor in many things, he never- 
theless admired him, and more especially his successful management of 
city council work. Halliday had become so familiar with cit\^ matters 
that many of the aldermen looked to him for guidance, if I may be 
permitted to use such a word. Patier liked Halliday and yet he did 
not, very much as Captain Halliday liked David T. Linegar and 
Linegar him, and yet they did not. Patier diligently sought informa- 
tion ; that is but saying he wanted to be right. He thought the town 
was too low and that if it needed anything at all that thing was earth 
filling; and he accordingly decided to try^ his mayor's hand on the im- 
portant matter of filling the low lots with earth under the Linegar 
bill, of which we have before spoken. He knew that Linegar had 
worked hard to draw up a good and sound bill, and thought it should 
at least be given a fair trial. This he started out to do, as we have 
already set forth in Chapter IX ; but he was succeeded in office by one 
of our citizens, who was lukewarm about the matter, although quite 
active about many other things; and so the work Patier started was 


dropped ; and shortly afterwards Capt. Halliday gave the act itself its 
death-blow up at Springfield, that is to say, he procured its repeal by 
the legislature. I need not repeat it here, but concerning Patier it 
may be well and truly said that he undertook to do one of the very best 
things that was ever undertaken in Cairo, and that he failed was not 
his fault; it was the city's misfortune. Charlie justly prided himself 
on his military record, which extended through the war. I might say 
the same as to his being one of the 306 delegates who voted in the 
Chicago convention for a third nomination of General Grant for Presi- 

Corodon R. Woodward succeeded Patier, and was mayor from 1895 
to 1897. He had resided in Cairo a long time, but had never cared 
much for office. His business had grown under his careful and wise 
management and to such proportions that he felt he could safely under- 
take the duties of the mayor's office. He ran and was elected, to 
the surprise of some and to the joy of others; for many persons thought 
that a new man in a place new to him might bring about a change, 
productive of good to the city. He took hold of city affairs in his own 
way, that is, very much as though no one had ever been mayor before. 
He did not care to be bound by what is called precedents or old methods. 
In a word or two, ever}^ one expected that he would turn over a new 
leaf of some kind. I cannot stop to enter into details, but will speak 
of one change he made, a change back to a former state of things in 
the city. 

In 1865 and 1866, the city expended ver}^ many thousand dollars 
at the intersection of Ohio and Tenth Streets for pumps to lift the 
seepage water over the levee and back into the river; but after a few 
years of use and owing to the great expense of operation and main- 
tenance, they were abandoned and the valuable machinerj^ and imple- 
ments sold. The writer well remembers hearing Capt. Halliday say 
at the time that the city would some time regret the destruction or 
abandonment of its pumping plant. Woodward returned to the work 
of pumping our seepage water into the river, but with new and far 
better pumping machinery, and the success of the work was such that 
one had but to go up to the intersection of those streets to see a great 
stream of water five or more feet wide and one or more deep, plunging 
over the levee and back into the river, whence it had stealthily come. 
It was a kind of revelation ; and although Woodward himself has gone 
away, yet the system will no doubt be m.aintained until we have banished 
the seepage water by filling up the places which it annually invades. 
Before passing on to another mayor, let me say that the pump has now 
been running ten years, when needed, and no one now doubts its 
efficiency. It is no doubt a patented machine, but with us it ought 
to be called Woodward's pump. 

Capt. Thistleivood succeeded Woodward, and was again maj^or, 
and from 1897 to 1901, as above stated. He thus held and filled out 
four full terms of two years each. I need not repeat here what I have 


before said of him. By his frequent elections one would suppose, and 
no doubt very properly, that the only condition to his election to the 
chief office of the city was his allowance of his name to be used as a 

Marion C. Wright succeeded Capt. Thistlewood, and was mayor 
from 1901 to 1903. He had long been a resident of Cairo and a very 
busy man. For much of his life, he had charge of important branches 
of Capt. Halliday's extensive business enterprises, and no one supposed 
that he had any kind of a taste or turn for public office. He, however, 
took the office and held it but one term, declining to be persuaded into 
standing for the place again. He had found the duties of the office 
so out of keeping with everything with which he ever had anything 
to do in a business way, that he wanted no more of office-holding. 
Before the close of the term of his office, he undertook a reform move- 
ment in the city, and cleared out, at least for the time being, a certain 
central location in the city. His motives were challenged and said to 
be bad, just as would have been the case of any one else who had under- 
taken to do and had done what he did. I am not able to speak of 
Wright's motive, but whatever it was, the thing done was little, if 
any, short of the very best thing ever done in the city, in a moral 
sense. When a good thing is done, it is generally a poor and silly 
thing to say the motive was bad. A blind man, whose sight had been 
given back to him, once said in substance, that he did not know who 
he was who healed him nor what his motive was, but one thing he 
knew and that was, whereas, he was once blind, he now could see. I 
need not speak of the undoing of what Wright did, with his goodor 
bad motive, whichever it was, nor of the majority by which the undoing 
was ordered. The straight-forw^ard and honest thing for his critics 
to say was that what Wright did was wrong and should be undone, 
and the former condition re-established, just as it was. It was not 
a question of motives at all. 

Claude Winter succeeded Wright, and was mayor from 1903 to 
1905. He was Cairo born and has been an industrious and hard 
working boy and young man, always cheerful, friendly_ and accommo- 
dating. He made friends easily and retained them quite as well and 
probably better than most persons. His father had been mayor, and 
a more or less prominent man in Cairo for verj^ many years ; and Claude 
was justly ambitious to reach the mayor's office. He was full of 
energy, and pushed everything he took hold of, and became very suc- 
cessful in business, and very naturally with this success came the desire 
to obtain some formal recognition of himself and his faithful attention 
to his duties as a citizen and as a business man of the city. _ It was to 
be supposed that his views of city government would not differ widely 
from those of his father, whose views concerning the same, as we have 
before stated, wxre of a very liberal character. Claude's administration 
of the office accorded fully with the views of his supporters and tended 


strongly to show the kind of a city government he thought the people 
of Cairo wanted. I must not omit to say that Claude Winter did 
everything he possibly could to start and carry on public improvements. 
Just as soon as the legislature provided for the making of public im- 
provements without petitions of property holders, he took hold of the 
matter and was getting very much of the preliminary work done for 
a large number of the streets in the upper part of the city, when the 
supreme court held the law unconstitutional, and thus put an end to 
the improvement work going on under him. 

George Parsons succeeded Claude Winter as mayor in April, 1905. 
He was re-elected in April, 1907, and again in April, 1909, and is now 
entering upon the sixth year of his terms of service. It is said by 
many persons that his pledges of reform secured him his first election. 
Some persons do not like the word reform. The expressions, reform 
movement, reform party, platform of reform, sound badly in their ears. 
They say the word repels people. The reason for this, if there is any, 
is that so many reform movements turn out to be no reforms at all. 
The word is a good one and does not deserve to be thus thrown into 
the scrap heap of desuetude. People who are scared off from any good 
movement because of the words by which it is described might as well 
be openly against it. And yet, I suppose, there is something in a name. 
It ought to be a reasonable something, however. 

The writer does not recall the fact that Mayor Parsons was elected 
as a reform mayor. If he was, the reform never came. Matters 
concerning which the word reform is generally used went on in the 
city the same as before ; nor has there been up to this time any change 
worth mentioning. The fact is, there has never been much of a change 
in the general character of the city's police administration. At times 
it has been better and at times worse, but its general tenor has never 
been of a high grade. The people, or a great many of them, have 
wanted a rather free and easy administration of police matters, a kind 
of administration that is likely to become entirely too free and easy, 
even for the advocates of the free and easy policy. A sound head and 
a strong hand are needed to administer city affairs where the police 
policy is of the free and easy order. To see just where liberty ends 
and license begins requires discrimination. Some see the boundary 
line and some do not; but whether seen or not, the line is quite too 
often disregarded and passed over with impunity^ Mayor Parsons and 
his chiefs of police have said they were giving the people of the city 
the kind of police government they wanted, and that they were serving 
the people, or a large majority of them, vtxy acceptably. It has not 
been a question of what was really best for the people generally or 
what was lawful under the city laws or whether the laws of the city 
should be enforced, but what did the people or a majority 
of them want. This, however, has left them pretty much the sole 
judges of what the people wanted. They have failed to remember 
that what the people wanted, or are supposed to want, is found in the 


laws of the city and state. Outside of these, it is difficult, if not im- 
possible, to ascertain what the people want. They, the mayor and 
the police, have not wanted a wide open town but one that was some- 
what open. The door somewhat open, or the lid somewhat lifted is 
the proper figurative expression. But as above remarked, to open the 
door just enough and keep it from being pushed wide open requires 
sound judgment, great strength and inflexible purpose. These are 
qualifications not often found in combination. 

I have said this much about our present cit)^ administration now in 
its sixth year, because so much has been said about it during the past 
year or two, and because, too, I have desired to express my own views 
of such matters without any regard to particular persons. It would 
be quite unjust for me to close this short notice of Mayor Parsons 
without presenting some other features of his administration besides 
the important one above given. In every city, in ever\^ communit>', 
the moral and the material must go along side by side. The im- 
portance of each requires both to be kept ever in mind. In every 
city there should be good schools and other institutions of learning, 
good churches, good societies and other means and sources of culture 
and entertainment, the least of drinking or drunkenness, of gambling 
and of other evils, and on the other hand, plenty of good water, good 
lighting, good streets, good street cars, and other like improvements. 
These all seem to be the needs of satisfactory city life. In Cairo, our 
greatest and longest existing material want has been good streets, the 
ven^ first distinguishing features of the city after the houses are built. 
The streets, more than almost anything else, speak for or against the 
city. Mayor Parsons fully realized this and at once entered upon a 
policy of street improvement. To judge somewhat of the work done 
we have but to look at Ohio Street, Twenty-Eighth Street, Sycamore 
Street, Washington Avenue, Poplar Street, Thirt>'-Fourth Street, 
Elm Street, Second Street, Walnut Street and Tvi^enty-First Street, 
all now paved, and it is believed in the most substantial and permanent 
manner. Then, too, we have had the very large sewer on Commercial 
Avenue from Second to Thirty-Eighth Street and the outlet sewer on 
Tenth Street to the river and the various lateral sewers connecting 
with the main sewer on said avenue. Other w^orks and improvements 
of an important nature I need not enumerate here ; but it is_ well 
worthy of mention that what he has done has resulted in establishing 
a most satisfactory spirit of public improvement in the people of the 
city, and now with the important works already projected and under 
way, we may be well assured that this important matter of city im- 
provements will go on to completion, when, for the great change made 
in the appearance of the city, it will scarcely be recognized as the place 
it was five or six years ago. It will, perhaps, add something to what 
I have already endeavored to express by saying that the expenditures 
for lasting and permanent improvements made during the last five 
years exceeds very considerably all of the expendituresthat were made 
in the city for like improvements during the preceding forty-five or 
fifty years, or since the city's organization in 1857. 


While the chief credit for all this very desirable work must be set 
down to Mayor Parsons, yet it must not be forgotten that he has been 
highly seconded by the Board of Local Improvements, the city council 
and their legal adviser, Mr. Angus Leek, to whose skillful and 
painstaking attention large credit is due. Nor does it detract from the 
work of any of these gentlemen to saj^ that m.uch also is due to the 
spirit and wishes of the people of the city, who so far and during the 
entire time have in every way encouraged the carrying on of the good 

Then, too, Mayor Parsons has added about thirty-five thousand 
dollars to the city's annual revenues by obtaining an increase of the 
saloon license fee from five hundred to one thousand dollars. I cannot 
admit that this was a bad thing to do, considering the strongly ex- 
pressed desire of the people to have saloons and not prohibition in the 
city. If we are to have them at all, the higher the license the better, 
even if raising it to the maximum should reduce the number of saloons 
to the minimum. Many persons think that every community should 
have its proper complement of saloons and that without them men 
cannot secure happiness or even contentment. I cannot agree with 
this view; but I am but one of many thousand, and cannot complain 
if other persons differ with me and are in the majorit>\ 

Although I have extended this notice of Mayor Parsons' adminis- 
tration further than I had intended, I may be permitted to say that 
while he has done so much, as I have above set forth, the inquiry very 
naturally arises, could he not have done it all and at the same time 
not have incurred the somewhat severe criticism which has been made 
upon his more recent management of city aflfairs? 

Of the 135 voters at the election for town trustees March 8, 1855, 
mentioned on page 177, I know of none now living. Of the 391 voters 
who voted at the first city election March 7, 1857, I know certainly of 
but six who are now living, or living here: Thomas Meehan, James 
Quinn, Captain William M. Williams, John Sullivan, Jacob Lehning, 
and Charles W. Henderson. These 391 names are found on pages 273 
and 274. 



DARIUS BLAKE HOLBROOK.— The second attempt to 
establish a city here seems to have been begun by Darius Blake 
Holbrook, of whom we have already frequently spoken. He 
was not an adventurer, a dreamer, or a man of schemes merely. Force 
of character, strong will, ceaseless activity and enterprise, initiative, 
ability to bring others to see things as he saw them, were only some of 
his remarkable endowments. These characteristics were noticeable at 
all times. Nothing within the bounds of reason seemed too hard for 
him. Where others drew back he pushed forward. He had no patience 
with men who floated with the current. He would take advantage 
of it if it carried him tow^ard the goal of his plans but if in the other 
direction, he turned against it and buffeted its waves with a faith and 
belief that seemed unconquerable. 

He must have known all about this place or geographical point 
before he came here. He knew of the attempt and failure of 1818. 
He knew or soon ascertained who were the owners of the lands between 
the rivers; for nothing could be safely done without first acquiring 
good titles to the lands. He knew the low site, the river floods, the 
abrasions and inroads upon the shores, the need of strong levees and 
of the clearing off of the dense woods. He knew that while the 
geographical point was all that could be desired, the proposed city must 
have a secure foundation, a safe and enduring site. It was more than 
starting and building a city. A site had to be first provided. But he 
seems to have firmly believed that he and those associated with him 
could bring moneyed men to such a belief in the feasibility of the 
enterprise as would lead them to make all necessary advances of means. 
It was then as it was in 1818 and is now, a question of money. As 
the first promoters in 18 18 left everything to the control and manage- 
ment of Comegj^s, so in 1836 to 1846, Holbrook seems to have been 
invested with unlimited authority'. He was said to be not merely the 
chief representative of the companies but the companies themselves. 
If such was the case, it must have been due to the verj^ general belief 
that what he wanted was needed and what he did not want was to be 
laid aside. He made two or three trips to London, and the great bank- 
ing house of John Wright & Company became his company's financial 
representative in that city. These bankers were at the same time the 
agents of our state for the sale of its canal bonds. Besides Holbrook, 
there were in London Richard M. Young, then one of our United 



States senators, and Ex-Governor John Reynolds, agents for the state 
and arranging with Wright & Company to take charge of the state's 
bond sales. Daniel Webster was also there, and while there gave his 
written opinion to Holbrook regarding his company's title to the lands 
it had mortgaged to the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company 
to secure the payment of its Cairo bonds. 

Holbrook did everj'thing, was everj-where, saw ever>'body, legis- 
lators and capitalists and other men of prominence and influence whom 
he supposed might aid him. He secured in London large sums of 
money and must have used, here in Cairo, m.ore than a million of dol- 
lars. He paid large prices for the lands he bought from the Kaskaskia 
people or their heirs or grantees. The old record books "D" and "E," 
of 1836, 1837 and 1838, now at the court-house, show very large sums 
as the considerations for the various deeds taken by Holbrook. He 
and his company had great faith in their enterprise, and they deter- 
mined to obtain titles to the land almost regardless of the price de- 

We cannot go very fully into this matter here, but will hurry on 
to its close by saying that Holbrook worked on faithfully even after 
the failure of Wright & Company. He must have known, however, 
long before the end came that his attempt must meet a fate not wholly 
unlike that which came to the Kaskaskia people in 18 18. The great 
London bankers had turned against Wright & Company and brought 
them to bankruptcy, and he knew that if he could not raise money on 
his Cairo bonds at the outstart in this country, he certainly could not 
do it now that the whole financial world was in a state of suspense as 
to what would be the outcome of the monetary depression almost the 
world over. 

Holbrook, seeing that he could go no further, set about finding what 
entirely new arrangements might be made by which he and those asso- 
ciated with him might save something out of the failed enterprise. 

A number of writers about Cairo have criticized him and some of 
them very severely. We do not know enough of the facts and cir- 
cumstances, running through a number of years, to enable us to express 
a very satisfactorj^ opinion as to those matters about which he was 
criticized. The work which he had undertaken was difficult in the 
extreme; but as we have before stated, he seems to have firmly believed 
that he could accomplish it. After the first two or three years he 
must have seen more clearly the difficulty of the situation. These 
called forth only greater efforts on his part ; but when it became more 
and more evident that the situation was growing more and more doubt- 
ful, he may have resorted to measures which seemed more or less in- 
consistent with that straightforward kind of conduct about which all 
men speak well but which many of them find it exceedingly difficult 
to follow when overtaken by unexpected embarrassments. Obsena- 
tion shows that most men in times of severe financial trial and when 
failure seems impending, will turn aside here and there and do this 


or that and the other thing which they would have before severely 
criticized. Holbrook was determined that his enterprise should not 
fail, and it was a long time before he could see anything but success 
ahead of him. What he did at Washington and Springfield_ and New 
York, even as late as 1849, shows that his hope was not entirely gone, 
although his Cairo City and Canal Company had already sold out to the 
Cairo City Property Trust. 

It may not be strictly accurate to speak of Holbrook as having 
begun the second attempt to start a city here. Breese, Gilbert and 
Swanwick seem to have first moved in the matter and to have sold 
to Holbrook, late in 1835 or early in 1836, an interest in their land 
entries here of August and September, 1835, and this seems to have 
been the first introduction of Holbrook to the proposed scheme. From 
that time forward, he became the leading spirit of the enterprise, long 
drawn out and beset with many difficulties. 

Nothing shows more clearly Holbrook's influence than the closing 
months of Senator Douglas's efforts to obtain the land grant of Sep- 
tember 20, 1850, for the Illinois Central Railroad. Douglas knew 
Holbrook well, and their interviews at Washington and elsewhere left 
no doubt upon his mind that Holbrook was all the while looking after 
the interests of Cairo and the railroad enterprise represented by the 
Great Western Railway charter of March 6, 1843. The legislature 
at Springfield, at the instance of Holbrook, amended the Great Western 
charter February 10, 1849, to the great disappointment of Douglas, 
who, fearing that his own plans might be seriously interfered with, left 
Washington for Springfield and there addressed the members of the 
legislature, whom he found more or less disinclined to accept his view 
of the situation; and there is no telling what shape the matter would 
have assumed had not Holbrook yielded his personal preferences. He 
seems to have done so only after obtaining an explicit promise that the 
act of the legislature incorporating the new central railroad company 
should contain a clause requiring it to start at and be built from Cairo. 
He remembered well the great effort made in 1838 to change the 
southern terminus of the state's central railroad from Cairo to a point 
near Grand Chain; and he put forth every effort to guard against 
another attempt of a like nature with the new road; and hence it is 
recited in the charter of February 10, 185 1, that the road should run 
"from the southern terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal to a 
point at the city of Cairo," and again, that it should "run from the 
city of Cairo to the southern terminus of the Illinois and Michigan 

We have elsewhere presented somewhat fully the early history of 
the Illinois Central Railroad, and have shown that it was originally a 
southern Illinois enterprise, if not in fact a Cairo enterprise. In con- 
sidering Judge Breese's connection with the great undertaking, Hol- 
brook must not be forgotten; nor should Jenkins, Gilbert and others, 
who assisted in the great work, although less prominently. As else- 

JK) Ujl^ Jh^M^^ 


where stated, the New York and Chicago men did not care much 
whether the terminus should be at Cairo or fifteen or twenty miles up 
the Ohio River. It is probable that many of them preferred the Grand 
Chain location ; but Holbrook stood in the way. He had many strong 
friends, and controlled two or three charters, which Senator Douglas 
felt should be gotten out of the way before he could rest easy regarding 
Holbrook and his fertility of expedients. Holbrook told him he would 
surrender his charters, but only upon condition that it should be plainly 
expressed in the act incorporating the railroad company that the southern 
terminus of the railroad should be at the city of Cairo. 

From January 16, 1836, to February 10, 1851, we have the period 
of something over fifteen years, during all of which Holbrook never 
swerved an inch in his devotion to the city of Cairo. The very best 
years of his life he had put into his attempt to establish it; and if we 
follow along and note with some care the steps marked out plainly 
from 1836 to this time, we must readily agree that the Cairo of to-day 
owes its existence more to Darius Blake Holbrook than to any other 

The following short sketch of her father was furnished me by his 
daughter. Baroness Caroline Holbrook Von Roques. 

"Darius Blake Holbrook was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. 
The Holbrooks were from Shropshire, England. His mother was a 
Ridgeway. Her family came to the United States in 1628. Richard 
Ridgeway was the brother of Sir Thomas Ridgeway, the first Earl 
of Londonderry, 1622, which title lapsed and passed to the Tempests, 
on failure of male heirs in England. The Ridgeways came to the 
United States on the ship Jacob and Mary in November, i679- They 
landed in the Delaware River and settled in Springfield township, 
Burlington County, New Jersey. 

"He was a prominent man in the city of New York for many years, 
and had great ability and large personal influence with all with whom 
he was associated. Besides his work in establishing the city of Cairo, 
Illinois, and in securing the great land grant for the Illinois Central 
Railroad, he was associated with Cyrus W. Field in laying the first 
Atlantic cable. He died in NeAv York City, January 22, 1858. His 
wife was Elizabeth Thurston Ingraham; and their only child, now 
Baroness Caroline Holbrook Von Roques, married William Chandler, 
of the banking house of St. Johns, Powers & Company, of Mobile, 
Alabama. To them were born Holbrook St. John Chandler, who 
died in Paris unmarried, and Florence Elizabeth Chandler, who mar- 
ried James Maybrick in St. James, Picadilly, London, and whose 
children are James C. Maybrick and Gladys Maybrick." 

Miles A. Gilbert. — Miles A. Gilbert was born in Hartford, Con- 
necticut, January i, 18 10. After he had finished his education in 
1829, he went into the wholesale store of Peas & Company in Middle- 
town, Connecticut, where he remained two years. In the autumn of 


1 83 1, having an advantageous offer made him, he went to New Orleans 
as head salesman in a large wholesale dry goods establishment and 
remained there until May, 1832, when the weather becoming very hot 
and fearing yellow fever, he purchased a general assortment of goods 
suitable for the country trade and went to Kaskaskia, where he arrived 
June 8th, of that year, and where he engaged in merchandising for 
eleven )^ears, having two stores in the country and one in town. He 
went east once a year to purchase dry goods and to New Orleans to 
purchase groceries. On the 17th day of November, 1836, he married 
Ann Eliza Baker, eldest daughter of the Hon. David J. Baker, senior. 
In the spring of 1843 he was appointed sole agent of the Cairo City and 
Canal Company and moved to Cairo in April of that year. During 
that year he had the cross levee built, which kept out the great flood 
of 1844. After remaining here for three years, he asked the Trustees 
to be relieved and some one else appointed in his place. This was 
promised but not fulfilled for several years. In the spring of 1847, 
having spent most of the previous fall and winter at Alton with his 
family, he moved to St. Mary's Landing on the Mississippi, where he 
owned about three thousand acres of land ; and in the latter part of 
1848, he had a portion of the same surveyed and laid out in town lots, 
and called the place "Ste. Mary, Mo." He continued to act as agent 
for the company, going to Cairo two or three times every month, until 
finally Samuel Staats Taylor, in April, 1851, was appointed to suc- 
ceed him as agent. 

He was an active union man and did much to keep the state of 
Missouri in the union. In 1866 he was elected county and probate 
judge of St. Genevieve County and was twice elected thereafter and 
held that ofl^ce for the period of twelve years. He died at his home, 
Oakwood, Ste. Mary, January 21, 1901. In one of the obituary 
notices in the "Ste. Genevieve Herald" of January 26th, a few days after 
his death, it is said that Judge Gilbert was a man of clear judgment 
and of singular justness and fairness in all the relations of life, and was 
loved by his many friends and respected by all who knew him. 

To show the relationship between the Gilberts, the Bakers and the 
Candees, it may be stated that Judge Gilbert's sister, Eunetia, married 
Stephen S. Candee. They were the parents of Mrs. Anna E. Safford 
and of Mr. Henry H. Candee, now deceased. We know of no families 
now in Cairo who have been so long and so prominently connected 
with our city and its varied interest as these I have just mentioned. 
I need not say they have ever been held in very high esteem. "I have 
a number of times herein referred to Cairo as being in its origin largely 
a Kaskaskia town. Here is another illustration of the fact. 

In the "History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties," often 
referred to herein, is a somewhat lengthy biographical sketch of Judge 
Gilbert; and we take from the same an account of some of the events 
which took place in 1843, when he was placed in charge of the affairs 
of the Cairo City and Canal Company, which had then been forced to 
suspend all its work and operations of every kind. It gives us a clear 


view of the very unfortunate condition of things which followed the 
failure of that company. The account is dated May 11, 1883, and is 
as follows: 

"The company having failed in the spring of 1843, I was selected 
as its agent to take charge of all of its property at Cairo. A large 
number of men were thrown out of employment and were in a wild, 
ungovernable state of confusion, clamoring for their pay. Many of 
them wanted me to sell the splendid machinery in the machine and 
carpenter shops, a building one hundred and fifty by two hundred feet, 
which was full of the most expensive machinery, most of which was 
attached to the building. I had no authority to remove the machinery 
and so told them, and thereupon they made all kinds of threats that 
they would break into the buildings and take out what they wanted. 
The leaders went off to gather up their mob forces and I at once 
secured four or five good laboring men on whom I could rely and 
barricaded the doors and windows and was ready for them when they 
returned. I had shot guns and pistols, all I wanted. They first tried 
the main front door, then the windows, but not successfully. Then 
they went for ladders, when I went to a window upstairs and told 
them I was put there to protect the property and protect it I would ; and 
that if they got one piece of it it would be over my dead body; but 
that if they would wait until matters could be arranged in New York, 
where the president of the company was raising money to pay off all 
the laboring men, their interests would be fully protected, I further 
told them they had no lawful right, or right of any kind, to break in 
and take any of the property, and that if they injured me, or should 
kill me in my effort to protect the property, it would be murder. I 
plead with them to refrain from violence, the evil consequence of which 
would fall upon themselves, and that if they would go away and be 
peaceful and quiet they would receive their pay in due time. They 
went off about a hundred yards and held a consultation, and came back 
tO' the charge more furious than before. The building back of the levee 
was about ten feet above the ground, and in its center was a very large 
trap door for taking in machinerj^ and lumber and putting out the same. 
The mob succeeded in breaking this trap door open, and then attempted 
to boost their men up into the building. I stood over the trap door 
with a pistol in one hand and a good effective club in the other, and 
called some of them by name and stated that I did not want to hurt 
them but that I would kill the first man that put his head above the 
floor. Several of them put their hands up over the floor and I gave 
them each a good blow with my club. Finally, after every imaginable 
way had been tried, they had one man who was somewhat intoxicated 
agree to get in. He tried it, I warned him, and when his hands came 
above the floor I hit them a good rap but he did not mind it. They 
kept pushing him up and I gave him another severe blow. They still 
kept on forcing him up into the room, when, I renewing my attack upon 
him with greater force and strength than ever, he called out to them 
to let him down and out and they did so. They could find no other 


to take his place, and I had the men with me block up the trap door 
and further barricade the windows. They came to the charge ofE and 
on that whole day. They smashed up the doors and windows but did 
not succeed in obtaining entrance, and finally after dark went away. 
I kept watch with my men all the night, and kept guard for many days 
until the better men of the mob, finding that they were likely to get 
into great trouble, influenced the others to desist from further attempts." 
We have elsewhere referred to this incident and experience of the 
Cairo City and Canal Company, but here we have the account from first 
hand and from one of the company's leading representatives. 

Samuel Staats Taylor came to Cairo as the agent of the Trustees 
of the Cairo City Property, April 15, 185 1. He remained here until 
his death at his home in Cairo, May 14, 1896. He was here, there- 
fore, forty-five years. On his arrival he took immediate charge and 
supervision of all the trust property and continued in its management 
under the directions of the Trustees until near the time of his death. 
There were a few changes in the personnel of the Trustees ; and in the 
year 1876 the trust property was sold in proceedings in the United 
States court at Springfield to foreclose the Hiram Ketchum mortgages 
given in 1863 and in 1867, and a new trust formed under the name 
and style of the Cairo Trust Property, and he and Edwin Parsons 
became the Trustees of the new trust. 

It is quite impossible to give an account, in any kind of detail, of 
Col. Taylor's long and hard work during the forty-five years of his stay 
here. I have called it hard work. It was such work, such care, such 
management, that had he known what the work would be, its long 
continuance and its disappointing results, he would not have consented 
to undertake it. But he and his Trustees and the shareholders, one 
and all, seemed to have had strong hopes that the third attempt to 
establish a city here would certainly prove successful. On no other 
theory can we account for their purchase of the Holbrook interests, 
and their subsequent endeavor to bring order out of disorder and con- 
fusion, and infuse into the public mind the trust and belief so remark- 
ably disappointed twice before. 

Their undertaking was more than the building of a city. The 
site it was to occupy was to be protected against the abrading currents 
of the great rivers and from their overflowing waters. 

Their very first important contracts related directly to the con- 
struction of levees to keep out the high waters and to securing the 
banks upon which the levees stood. It does not now seem that they 
ever contemplated gradually filling the town to high-water mark 
instead of inclosing a large district of country with levees and pro- 
tecting the same from the cutting of the rivers. They expected the 
town would grow rapidly and that all their lands would be needed to 
supply the demand for town lots. Hence they, from the very first, 
economized space, and made their lots 25 by lOO feet only, and their 
streets 50 and 60 feet in width, with a few exceptions, and dispensed 
with alleys altogether. 



The Trustees and the stockholders must have looked upon Col. 
Taylor as the man for the place and the undertaking ; and he must have 
known that his selection indicated what they expected of him. He 
came in the faith and belief that their and his work was reasonably 
practicable and promising of success, whatever else it had been in 18 18 
and in 1836. They and he well knew of the former failures and the 
causes thereof. These must have afforded no inconsiderable light in 
deciding in favor of the third attempt or venture. Their eyes were 
fully open to the geography and topography of the situation. One 
thing only was required, and that was money. Men to plan and man- 
age the enterprise and use wisely the funds provided were within easy 
reach, comparatively. They could not have been blinded by the shining 
of the outlook. The experiences of their predecessors were sufficient 
to temper any exuberance of spirit and to indicate what errors and 
mistakes were to be avoided. 

Col. Taylor came here as the representative of a new company. 
It was not a corporation but a land trust; but for all practical pur- 
poses it was a corporation, a foreign corporation. It owned or con- 
trolled almost every acre of land from the junction of the two rivers to 
an east and west line north of Cache River. These lands amounted to 
9732 acres. 

Eastern men, under the lead of Senator Douglas, had procured 
their charter of February 10, 1851, for their Illinois Central Railroad. 
This was but two months before the arrival of Col. Taylor at Cairo. 
The road was this time certainly to be built, and as in former cases, it 
was to be built to a point at the city of Cairo. This requirement of 
the charter, therefore, at once brought the railroad company and the 
Trustees together to negotiate as to the terms upon which the company 
might enter Cairo and establish its southern terminal facilities. Col. 
Taylor had been here less than three months when the contract of 
June II, 1 85 1, was entered into by the railroad company and the 
Trustees. A supplemental contract was made by the same parties 
May 31, 1855, to make clearer some of the provisions of the first con- 
tract, and to provide for other features of the situation not before con- 

We recite these matters and things here to show the importance of 
the situation with which Col. Taylor was expected to deal. He was 
on the ground and soon came to know more than any one else about 
the needs of the Trustees and of the land enterprise in which they had 
embarked. The Trustees needed their city site protected from floods ; 
so also did the railroad company; but the latter needed lands and 
rights-of-way and could not build upon the natural surface but upon 
earth embankments only; and hence it was naturally provided that 
the embankment should extend around the city and be and become pro- 
tective levees upon which the railroad company's tracks should be 
placed and its trains run. Wide embankments were not needed for 
railroad purposes but were for protection against the rivers; and hence 
the embankments were to be eighty feet w^de on the top and sufficiently 
high to keep out the highest known waters in the rivers. These con- 


tracts are not recorded, for what reason I do not know, but they have 
been printed in three or four editions of our city ordinance books, com- 
mencing with that of 1872. 

Col. Taylor, time and time again, complained of the failure of the 
railroad company to observe the requirements of these contracts, and he 
carefully kept an account of its shortcomings and made a record of the 
moneys he had to spend to make good what it should have done. In the 
course of time, the Trustees sued the company in the United States Court 
at Springfield to recover what they claimed to be due from the company. 
Whether or not it was so intended, the suit, it seems, became much like 
a suit to obtain a proper construction of a contract. One important 
branch of the controversy related to the duty to protect the site of the 
city or the river banks, where the levees were, or were to be, from 
abrasion and destruction. The railroad company said its dut)^ was to 
build the levees, but that under the contracts the Trustees were to 
maintain the site or foundations upon which the levees were, or were to 
be built. We cannot pursue this matter further than to say that July 18, 
1872, the long pending suit was compromised by a release of the rail- 
road company from the two contracts and its conveyance back to the 
Trustees of its 1 00- foot strip of ground around the city and the pay- 
ment to the Trustees of $80,000.00. (See book No. 7, page 287, in the 
recorder's office.) With this exception and possibly one or two others, 
the Trustees and the railroad company have been in accord, — too much 
so, some have thought, for the good of the city. Col. Taylor's super- 
vision here extended for many years to levee building and repairing, 
to river bank protection, to clearing off the dense woods which every- 
where covered their extended acreage, to laying out, surveying and 
platting the town itself, a most difficult undertaking, — to fixing the 
prices of lots and lands and making sales thereof, to wharf construction 
and the collection of wharfage, to preparing as best he could, with the 
means at his command, for river floods, and to looking after the health 
of the city and largely to the general welfare and government of the 
people. The town or city was in large measure the town and city of 
the Trustees, and his duty extended almost to everything that in any 
way related to them or to the people of the community. To attend 
to and properly supervise all these divers matters and things and report 
them annually and fully to the Trustees and stockholders a thousand 
miles away, was, as we have already said, hard work and labor. Most 
men would have fled from such exacting duties, but Col. Taylor per- 
formed them very faithfully for forty- years. 

But Col. Taylor's faithful service extended, in one or two respects, 
beyond reasonable bounds. The alternative could have been loss of 
position only, which could never have been a very great loss to him. 
The Trustees seldom, if ever, required him to do anything which he 
personally thought he ought not to do. Let us explain : 

It was to be expected that the Trustees would have litigation of 
greater or less importance. They were non-residents and citizens of 
New York and Philadelphia; and when they were sued they uniformly 


removed the case to the United States Circuit Court at Springfield. 
Col. Taylor was here and had charge generally of the situation, in- 
cluding the litigation, and when it became necessary to remove a case 
from a state to a Federal court, he generally made the requisite 
affidavits and executed the other necessary papers. Until 1888, if the 
suit involved as much as $500.00, a removal could be had. In that 
year the amount was increased to $2000.00. This uniform custom of 
the Trustees gained them no favor with the people of Cairo. But 
on the contrary, it removed the Trustees farther from the people of 
the town and separated the latter farther from Col. Taylor, although 
a resident and citizen with them. From 1 851 to 1864, Col. Taylor 
had been a resident of Cairo and a citizen of the state and had been 
town Trustee for the two years' term of the town's existence and mayor 
of Cairo six several times; but in the 3^ear 1864 he changed his citizenship 
from Illinois to Missouri and took up his residence in St. Louis. 
Scarcely any one knew this. He and his family remained here at 
his residence on Washington Avenue and Sixth Street and afterwards on 
Washington Avenue and Twentj^-Eighth Street. He had no home 
or residence in St. Louis, but claimed to have a room or rooms at the 
Southern Hotel. This change in citizenship was due, no doubt, to a 
desire to render better service to the trust in respect to litigation. 
Under the city acts of incorporation of 1857 3"d 1867, and the amend- 
ment of 1868, none of the higher officers of the city were required to 
be citizens or residents of Illinois. Col. Taylor no doubt supervised 
this feature of the enactments. No change came until the city became 
incorporated under the general act of April 10, 1872, for the incor- 
poration of cities and villages, which was in January, 1873. 

We refer to this here for the purpose of accounting in some degree 
for the increasing want of sympathy and co-operation between the 
people of the town and the Trustees and their representative. Some- 
thing of this kind had no doubt come over from the Holbrook administra- 
tion. It seems to have had a steady growth until there arose in the 
city two parties, the one the Taylor party and the other the anti- 
Taylor party. It made its appearance, in a small way, almost as far 
back as 1851, the year Col. Taylor came here. It arose chiefly from 
the first efforts of the Trustees to control the wharf and collect wharf- 
age from all water craft of every description. There were all kinds 
of boats at the landing, flat boats, keel boats, trading boats and steam- 
boats, and many of the Cairo people were largely interested in the 
business done on the rivers. 

This state of feeling between the people and the Trustees is further 
seen in the charge Col. Taylor made against the four other town Trustees 
in 1856, which was that it was their custom to hold meetings and 
transact town business without letting him know anj^thing about the 
meetings. And so the little breach widened more and more, until in 
the year 1864 the people put up David J. Baker for maj^or against 
Col. Tajdor, who had been elected mayor six several times, beginning 


with 1857. H. Watson Webb was elected mayor in 1863 without 
opposition. Judge Baker's father was David J. Baker, senior, who 
was a very able man, lawyer and judge and had long been a man of 
the Trustees' own right hand ; and it was hardly to be supposed that 
David J. Baker, junior, also an able man and a lawyer, would yield 
to entreaties to make the race for mayor against Col. Taylor, who up 
to that time had been very successful in vanquishing his opponents. 
Judge Baker made the race, however, which he would not have done 
had he not known of the very strong feeling against the Trustees and 
their Cairo policies. It was a heated contest, such as never had 
occurred before in Cairo and probably not since. In a vote of 734, 
Judge Baker received a majority of 26 votes. Even at this time, you 
will find a few men in Cairo who can tell all about that city election. 
It was a kind of landmark, a fixed date from and to which many things 
were referred or calculated. It was at this time that Col. Taylor 
changed his citizenship from Illinois to Missouri. 

There were no politics in this situation of things in the city. It 
was a Taylor party and an anti-Taylor party. Col. Taylor was on the 
ground and was regarded as representing, in the highest degree and 
in every sense, the Trustees and their management. There was some- 
thing of a personal nature in it, arising from the belief that Col. Taylor 
entered heartily into the plans of the Trustees and had just as little 
sj^mpathy for the people as the Trustees themselves, the one in Phila- 
delphia and the other in New York. 

Since that election there has never been another at which there was 
such a drawing of the Taylor and the anti-Taj'lor line; but the Trustees 
are still with us, with a change of name and some changes in interest. 
Many years ago the city began to pass out of their hands and to enter 
upon self-control. It is a better state of things, and it would no doubt 
have been better had it commenced earlier. 

It may be thought that I have devoted too much space to these 
matters. But I reply that few towns or cities in the country have 
been so peculiarly situated as Cairo. About this I need only refer to 
the chapter on Cairo in "Servitude to Land Companies." It may be 
also very properly remarked that the Trustees, and Col. Taylor as their 
immediate and most important representative, became to the people of 
Cairo public men or officials whose acts and doings in very many re- 
spects affected the general public interests. The people were here and 
interested in the city and its growth and prosperity, and they believed 
the Trustees could do more than all others for the city which they had 
started out to build. Persons bearing such relations to public interests 
cannot reasonably expect the same exemption from comment and criticism 
as may one whose interests and duties are wholly personal or individual. 
The party spirit, so long existing in the cit}% was of such nature and 
extent that to omit reference to it in a history of the city could scarcely 
be justified. It was talked of and written about here at home and in 
other parts of the country, and the town was spoken of frequently as 


owned and controlled by a few persons, and they living at a distance. 
It was a custom of the people of the place to notice somewhat care- 
fully whether the new arrivals in the city for residence here would ally 
themselves with the one or the other party. And as still further show- 
ing what the condition of things was in this respect it may be stated 
that an election of no kind could be held without this spirit openly 
making its appearance. In these more modern times we often hear it 
enjoined upon the business and leading men in the community to get 
together; but in Cairo for three or four decades such an expression was 
never heard. The one party generally felt too strong to talk about 
such a thing, and the other was never in a sufficiently good humor to 
mention the matter. It was not a feud, — no, not at all; but it is ex- 
pressing the thing rather mildly to say that it was a constant state of 
strained relations. 

Col. Taylor was never a man of the people. His birth, his training, 
his tastes, his life, were away from and in a sense above them. They 
looked upon him as without sympathy for them and as caring nothing 
for their interests. His life here seemed in keeping with his claim of 
citizenship elsewhere. There were exhibited all those appearances of for- 
eign landlords; for such were the actual relations of the Trustees to the 
people. Col. Taylor's manner and carriage all indicated, perhaps too 
much but yet naturally, that he dwelt apart and not among the people, 
who thought he ought to be more of a servant to them and less of a 
lord over them. They would have welcomed his advances, but none 
seem ever to have been made. He did not seem to know this because 
he did not feel it. It was out of keeping with his strong nature, which 
did not appear to need those associations and that friendly social inter- 
course which most men desire and seek. 

While the policies of the Trustees may not always have been what 
the interest of the city and the people at large required or needed or 
thought they needed, Col. Taylor himself was ever watchful of the 
interest of the town and its peculiar site and situation. Under his 
administration of the trust, for he seemed to administer it, no one 
ever tinkered with the levees. To him they were as the very life of 
the city. He had gone through all the trying experiences of river 
floods, beginning with 1858, and knew far better than any one else 
what the levees meant to the city ; and no one could remove a shovel 
of earth from them or excavate an inch near these citv^ life securities 
or dream of piercing through them with any kind of an opening, with- 
out the most formal permission, signed, sealed and delivered before- 
hand. And when any levee was to be pierced or cut anywhere or for 
any purpose, the engineers were examined, cross-examined and minutely 
instructed, and supplementing it all we would see him personally present 
to make sure all was going on just right. This is a fair illustration of 
the attention he gave to everything he had in hand which was of any 

We have often heard of men who in a marked degree attracted the 


attention of others when appearing in public. Col. Taylor Avas such 
a man. No one could meet or see him without at once feeling that he 
was in the presence of a strong, not to say great, character. His stature, 
his mould, his brow, his eye, his steady look and expression, in a word, 
his commanding presence, told, plainer than words could tell, that here 
nature had been lavish of her splendid gifts. And is it strange that 
here in this small city one should be found so much above most men? 
Why not? Greatness such as that to which I have referred is not 

Is it true that almost all men of great character and spirit at last 
find life a disappointment? Col. Taylor did. The hope that brought 
him here and kept him here so long and until it was too late to look 
or go elsewhere, failed him at last. He had spent many years in the 
service of the United States Bank at Philadelphia in times as stirring 
as any that have ever occurred in the historj.' of the country, some years 
in New York, some years also in Chicago, and his coming here to take 
charge of almost a barren situation or site upon which to build a city 
must have arisen from a belief that there were great things before him. 
Some persons may disagree with me, but Col. Taylor was a great man 
and could never, in his maturer or later years, have felt that he had 
come into his own or had in a large measure made out of his life what 
he had hoped. He lived in some respects a far-off life, if we may be 
allowed such an expression. He may have been happier than he seemed ; 
but it may well be doubted that, could the offer have been made, he 
would have chosen to live over again the same life. That, too, is 
not strange; for the number is not large that would so choose. 

The following is from the biographical notices of officers and gradu- 
ates of Rutgers College, deceased during the year ending June, 1896: 

"Samuel Staats Taylor was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 
November 18, 181 1, and died at his home in Cairo, Illinois, on May 
14, 1896. His father's name was Augustus FitzRandolph Taylor, an 
eminent physician of that place. His grandfather, John Taylor, was 
Professor of Languages in Queen's College at the outbreak of the 
Revolutionary War and recruited a company from among the students, 
which he led to the field. The original ancestor of the family came 
to America from England with Sir George Cartwright in 1640, and 
settled the province of New Jersey. His mother's name was Cath- 
arine Schuyler Neilson, daughter of Colonel John Neilson, a native 
of New Brunswick. 

"He graduated in 1829 with the second honor of his class. From an 
early period of his life he was designed by his parents for the legal 
profession, his own inclination tending in the same direction. He 
read law in the city of New York with an older brother, John N. 
Taylor, and was admitted to the bar as an attorney at the age of 
twenty-one, and three years later he was admitted to the higher degree 
of counselor, and was considered one of the most promising and brilliant 



lawyers of the period. His career at the bar, however, was short. 
In 1836 he accepted a confidential position as Secretary of the Board of 
Directors of the United States Bank of Philadelphia, a position of 
great responsibility, which he retained until the memorable failure of 
that corporation in 1841. He was then appointed by the trustees to 
assist in winding up the complicated affairs of the company. In this 
capacity' he operated until 1851, having supreme control of the interests 
of his employers in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
Missouri and Iowa, and transacting all the business incident to the 
most gigantic enterprise of the kind in the nation and requiring 
executive talent and ability of the very highest order. In April, 1851, 
he removed to Cairo, where he assumed charge of the Cairo city prop- 
erty, and in 1861 was made a Trustee of the property by the stock- 
holders, which relation he sustained till his death. He was elected the 
first mayor under the charter of 1857, a"^ '^^'ss re-elected to this posi- 
tion for five consecutive terms. From 1865 till 1875 he was president 
of the Cairo and St. Louis Railroad Company, was a director of the 
City National Bank since 1865, and, in fact, was identified with every 
interest of the city after his arrival there." 

William Parker Halliday. — Capt. Halliday was so long and so 
prominent a citizen of Cairo that I may very properly follow the 
sketches of Holbrook, Gilbert and Taylor with a short sketch of his 
life. One reason for this is that I have not found in any book or 
pamphlet any notice of him. I infer this want of reference to him 
was due to his own choice, insisted upon, no doubt, when solicited for 
information about himself. There are many men and not a few 
women, long well known in Cairo about whom I should like to leave 
here some fitting words of remembrance; but to select them from 
others, with or without their permission, and say just what the public 
would expect or desire me to say, would be so difHcult an undertaking 
that I found I could not enter upon it. The few of whom I have 
spoken have been largely public characters, and concerning them I have 
felt at liberty to speak somewhat freely, though I hope always candidly, 
if not always justly. 

Capt. Halliday was born in Meigs County, Ohio, July 21, 1827. 
He received such an education as was then generally given boys and 
young men in the community where the family lived. It was good 
enough, or supposed to be good enough, for all practical purposes. 
Wherein it may have been wanting his native talent largely supplied 
the want. At an early time in life, he sought employment on the Ohio 
River. He was clerk first and afterwards captain on steamboats 
navigating that stream. Possessing rare business talents, and the war 
coming on, he improved the opportunities it afforded to prosecute suc- 
cessful business enterprises, and as a result he became very prosperous. 
So uniformly were his business ventures successful that in a compara- 
tively short time, his property and means had so accumulated as to 
greatly reinforce his naturally fine business abilities. Natural talents 


for business and the possession of means were as leverage to each other, 
and the increase in wealth was something in the nature of a geometrical 

To express the above in fewer words, it may be said, Capt. Halliday 
was first, last and alwa3'S a business man. His life was devoted to 
business, that is to the acquisition of money, propert}-, wealth. Natur- 
ally this absorbed almost all his time and thoughts. It could not have 
been otherwise. It was not different with him from others whose chief 
object and constant aim were the transaction of business. As in other 
cases and alwaj'S, one becomes molded into a t>'pe, and life is lived 
on and out in the accomplishment of the same unvarying object or 
purpose. It is so in everj^thing to which men turn attention. Suc- 
cess, marked success, comes only to those who set but one goal before 
them. Capt. Halliday may not have said so, may not have thought so, 
but he had beyond doubt determined early in life to acquire wealth ; and 
to this ever>'thing else was made to tend. No mechanism could have 
worked with greater precision. He was a strong man, a gifted man, 
and everything in and about him focused upon this one thing, the 
acquisition of wealth. Just what he expected it to bring him, no one 
can tell. Perhaps he never thought much about what it would or could 
afford him. He cared nothing for office, not much for politics, not 
ver3' much for religious matters, and not much for societ)^ All these 
were subordinate, some of them ven^ much so. How else could it be? 
Few men are able to fill many spheres of energ\^ In proportion as 
there are many, the success in any one is not often very great. Ordi- 
narily life must be centered upon some one thing, in order to achieve 
high or great results. To be a statesman, one must study politics; 
to be a scientist, the most painstaking work for years must be entered 
upon and unremittingly pursued ; to be a professional man of any kind, 
with hopes for success therein, almost everything else, outside of the 
chosen profession, must be laid aside. Captain Halliday had no doubt 
obser\-ed this and applied it strictly in the prosecution of his chosen 

In these business times, Capt. Halliday was one of a thousand. 
His sphere of activity was by no means broad. The small city of his 
residence and life was not fruitful of opportunities; but he had laid 
hold of so many branches of business, that combining the same would 
have put him alongside of many of the great business men in the cities. 

His whole life was one of practical education. He saw very early 
the importance of attention to details. He knew better than any one 
in his emploj^ment that if the apparently small things are neglected 
there will be no large results. He carried on no business about which 
he did not soon know more than any one else in his service. To him 
almost all the details of salt making, coal mining and transportation, 
cotton growing, banking, and many other branches of business were as 
familiar as are the ordinary' details of the simplest business enterprises. 

He had a few maxims about which he said little, but they were 
all of a practical and business-like nature. Having come to Cairo 


before the war, and the war having opened, opportunities multiplied. 
He improved them, and his success and prosperity were beyond his 
expectations. As he grew in wealth, he grew even faster in capabilities 
for management, and hence his spheres and branches of business multi- 
plied and widened. There was little competition in his business enter- 
prises anywhere. This was greatly to his advantage. The little op- 
position he met with in business did not have the best effect upon him ; 
nor would it have had on any one. He was restive when unexpected 
obstacles appeared in his way. This was natural. Strong men often 
fire up when opposition appears. They regard it as useless and in- 
tended only to annoy; whereas, they should treat it as the exhibition of 
the same spirit and prowess they themselves possess and exercise freely. 
Capt. Halliday acquired large wealth, considering the size of his town 
and the amount of the business done here. His business, however, 
represented that of many places. Had he lived in some one of our 
great cities and taken hold of business as he did here, he would prob- 
ably have acquired tens of millions, instead of a few here at home. 
This may be said to be very doubtful ; but what he actually did here 
is a fair indication of what he could and would have done where busi- 
ness transactions of great magnitude were carried on. 

Capt. Halliday had more than a fair degree of caution. It was not 
generally known that he ever ventured much, except in some of his 
earlier operations. If he ever made much or lost considerable in stock 
or other like transactions in the large cities, few persons were told of 
it. He always kept his own counsels ; and if he seemed at times more 
ready to let matters get abroad, it was the better to conceal the actual 
matter in hand. Ambitious as he was to gain wealth and the promi- 
nence it is generally supposed to give, he had seen so many overtaken by 
calamity, that he seems to have set very definite boundaries to his 

I might extend this description of this remarkable man ; but how- 
ever long it might be made, it would all be in further illustration only 
of those features of his character and life I have above endeavored to 
set forth. 

I must be permitted to say here of Capt. Halliday something of what 
I have elsewhere said of Thomas Wilson. Wilson had fought Taylor 
and Halliday for many years; but after a long lapse of time, the fires 
of local election strife began to burn low, and William reached out 
his strong right hand and took hold of Tom's and the hatchet was 
buried. Each admired the other for the grit that was in him. Nature 
had made them giants, — local giants it may be, but nevertheless giants. 
They would have been that any\vhere, I suppose. And so I say of 
Halliday as I have said of Wilson, that had he obtained or taken 
the education and training he might have had or taken in early life, 
the great business world of this great country would everywhere have 
stopped for a while to note the fact of his death. But it is said, had 
these two men been trained in college life or something equivalent thereto, 


if there is any equivalent, they might never have attained to what they 
did here. This is possible, probably probable. As heretofore stated, 
this view puts a discount on education of all kinds and everywhere. 
Had Lincoln, Douglas and Logan been college men, so called, it is 
altogether probable they never would have become the great public 
men they were. A very little thing often turns the current of one's 
life; but how superficial, how illogical, how flimsy is such a line of 
argument as this against the claims of higher education. Once, when 
Capt. Halliday returned from Chicago where he had attended a meet- 
ing of the board of directors of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, 
I had a talk with him in his office in the City National Bank. I 
noted his expression of countenance as he spoke of Stuyvesant Fish, the 
president of the company, and of his acts and management in their 
meeting. Especially did he speak of the fact that Fish was a Yale 
man ; and it seemed to me that he thought Fish's college training had been 
of immense advantage to him. And may he not himself have felt 
that had he received the training Fish had, he would have felt him- 
self possessed of a strength and confidence that were now beyond his 

A few years before Mr. Lincoln came very prominently before the 
country, he went to Cincinnati to assist in the trial of certain insurance 
cases, on his side of which Edwin M. Stanton was the leading counsel. 
Stanton's management and exhibition of learning and knowledge were 
a kind of revelation to the Springfield lawyer, who, when he returned 
home, spoke of his impressions of the great Pennsylvanian, and of the 
amazing advantage college life and training gave men, as it seemed to 
him. Lincoln saw in Stanton what Halliday saw in Fish. 

But in emphasizing Capt. HalHday's talents and taste for business, 
I must not be understood as disallowing to him other excellent and 
great qualities, which often co-exist with close attachment to some one 
great moving purpose of life. He was, I think, on the right side in 
all the important moral and charitable questions and enterprises to 
which his attention was drawn. He did much for the poor of the 
community, but without ostentation or trumpet-blowing of any kind. 
Persons who knew him better than I did I am sure will say a great 
deal more to this effect than I have said. No one went to him for any 
worthy purpose who was turned away without aid. What he did for 
the public library, will, in its careful and wise management, live far 
into the distant future when all of us have gone and most of us have 
been forgotten. I have spoken of him as a remarkable man ; and while 
his great abilities were devoted so exclusively to the acquisition of 
wealth, they would, in other conditions and times, have lifted him 
high above most men in whatever sphere of life they had been exercised. 
He, like and yet unlike Col. Taylor, was a great man, as little as the 
world may have known the fact. Greatness of another kind, to 
which he might have easily attained, would have carried his name far 


beyond the ordinary boundaries of wealth-giving fame. He seemingly 
possessed all the elements of a great general, whether in war or in 
the great business battles of the world. While he knew his limitations 
better than any one else, yet he could have been placed in few positions 
where he would not have risen fully to the exacting demands of the 
hour and achieved victories of lasting renown. 

The Halliday Brothers. — There were five of them, a some- 
what exceptional number: William P. Halliday, Samuel B. Halliday, 
Edwin W. Halliday, Henry L. Halliday, and Thomas W. Halliday. 
Of the eldest and the youngest I have elsewhere spoken at some length ; 
of the former, because so prominent in the financial world, and of 
the latter, because so long in official life. Of them all, I may be 
permitted to say that while they differed from each other, they all 
exhibited features of character and conduct that would have given 
them prominence anywhere in the business world. No doubt in some 
one or two important respects, each one excelled the others. This 
was shown in those matters and things to which they gave their 
chief attention. Speaking of them and their families, so well rep- 
resented here with us and elsewhere, it can be said that they have 
always stood for the better things, not with assumption or pharisaically, 
but openly and firmly. They pushed their business enterprises with 
diligence, and had there been more of such men it would have been 
better for the city and for them also, I have no doubt. It will not 
detract from them nor from old Scotland, to say they were and are 
Scotch people, although native Americans. Possibly, this may account 
somewhat for the solidity of character so uniformly exhibited by them. 
Of the five brothers, William and Samuel came here before the war; 
and in 1862, Henr}^ and Thomas came. Major Edwin W. Halliday 
came here after the close of the war. He is the only brother of the 
five now living; and I regret to say that he seems to have found it 
best for the health of Mrs. Halliday to remove to San Diego, where 
relatives of the family have long resided. In the " Memoirs of the 
Lx)wer Ohio Valley " are found interesting biographical sketches of 
Major Edwin W. Halliday and Mr. Henry L. Halliday. There are 
also therein biographical sketches of Henry E. and Douglas Halliday, 
sons of Henry L. Halliday, deceased, and of William R. Halliday, a 
son of Samuel B. Halliday, deceased. The one of Major Halliday 
contains perhaps more of family history than any of the others. 



THE taking of the census every ten years by the general govern- 
ment has come to embrace so many things besides an enumera- 
tion of the inhabitants of the several states and territories that 
it seems there is now no telling to what it will not hereafter extend. 
It is to be hoped that it will not become so encumbered that its use- 
fulness will be materially impaired. Whatever it was or has been, it 
ought now to be fairly reliable, at least as to the numbering of the 
people. Few of us know or appreciate what the work of its making 
has become. It is now one of the great administrative features of the 
government, and it is to be regretted that so few people care to know 
of the wonderful amount and variety of very useful information the 
census reports afford them. 

We here give the population of the three adjacent states of Ken- 
tucky, Illinois and Missouri, beginning with the year 1810, when Illinois 
and Missouri wxre territories. We give this chiefly to show the compar- 
ative conditions of these great divisions of our country in 1810 and 1820. 
It will be seen that Kentucky had become quite a populous district of 
country when Illinois was almost uninhabited, and that the Ohio 
River was the outer and almost abrupt boundary of our civilization. 

Year Kentucky Illinois Missouri 
1775 300 

1784 30,000 

1790 73,679 . 

1800 220,955 2,458 

1810 406,511 12,282 20,845 

1820 564,317 55,211 66,586 

1830 687,917 157,445 140,455 

1840 779,828 476,183 383,702 

1850 982,405 851,470 682,044 

i860 1,155,684 1,711,951 1,182,012 

1870 1,321,011 2,539,891 1,721,295 

1880 1,648,690 3,077,871 2,168,380 

1890 1,858,635 3,826,351 2,679,184 

1900 2,147,174 4,821,550 3,106,665 





Year County Cairo Year County Cairo 

1820 626 i860 4,707 2,188 

1830 1,300 1870 10,564 6,267 

(supposed) 1880 14,809 9,011 

1840 3,313 2,000 1890 16,563 10,324 

1850 2,484 242 1900 19,384 12,566 


In 1890 and 1900, on the announcement of the city's population 
the people of the citj^ were very much surprised and disappointed, and 
in both cases succeeded in having the census of the place retaken. In 
both instances four or five hundred were added to the number first found ; 
but still the additional number was regarded as much too small. This 
of course, is a very common occurrence throughout the country; but 
as to the city of Cairo it is probable an unusually large number of 
residents are absent from the city on the rivers and in the railroad 

About the close of the year 1864, the city council ordered a 
census of the citj^'s population to be taken, and for that purpose 
appointed William J. Yost, whom many of us well remember as then 
and af ten\^ards one of the city's best citizens and whose ^ character 
and standing assured the people of the doing of the work with proper 


On the 14th day of January, 1865, he filed his report which was 
sworn to by him and is now found on record in Journal C, pp. 503-505 
of the city records. He says he did not himself go above 34th Street 
or along the levees because of the bad roads, but as to those places not 
actually visited, he had consulted others and made careful estimates. 
The following shows the result of his work. 

White Colored Total 

ist ward 1552 447 I999 

2nd ward 2328 567 2895 

3rd ward 934 442 1376 

4th ward 1672 627 2299 

Totals 6486 2083 8569 



Year White Colored Total 

1850 2,464 20 2,484 

i860 4,652 55 4,707 

1870 8,268 2,296 10,564 

1880 10,239 4,568 14,807 

1890 11,672 4,891 16,563 

1900 13,084 6,300 19,384 



These figures show the relative increase in the white and colored 
people since the year i860. 

By the Federal census the population in i860 was 2,188. Yost's 
census January 14, 1865, made it 8,569, an increase of 6,381 in four 
years. It will be remembered, however, that our four years of war 
had added largely to our population; and that in 1870 the population 
had fallen from 8,569 in January, 1865, to 6,267, ^ decrease of 2,302. 




THE territory of the county was a part of St. Clair County, 
when that county was organized by Governor Arthur St. Clair 
March 27, 1790, It became a part of Randolph County, which 
was organized by him October 5, 1795. It became a part of Johnson 
County, when that county was organized by Governor Ninian Edwards 
September 12, 18 12. It continued a part of Johnson County until 
January 2, 18 18, when it became a part of Union County, then or- 
ganized, but only by attachment thereto until it should be formed into 
a separate county, which was done March 4, 18 19. It was, therefore, 
a part of or attached to Union County from January 2, 1818, to 
March 4, 18 19. Its boundaries were the two rivers, and on the east, 
a north and south line between ranges one and two east, and, on the 
north, an east and west line bet^veen townships thirteen and fourteen, 
south range. These boundaries embrace about three hundred and 
seventy-eight square miles. 

The first section of this act of March 4, 18 19, fixed the boundaries 
of the county and gave it the name of Alexander County, for William 
M. Alexander, who lived at America, the county seat. I have not 
been able to obtain much information concerning Doctor Alexander. 
He was a practicing physician in America and its vicinity, and also 
something of a politician and public man. He represented the count}^ 
in the lower house of the legislature in 1820 and 1822. He was also 
speaker of the house in 1822 and 1824. In the "Historical Encyclopedia 
of Illinois," of 1900, is a short sketch of him. He is there said to have 
gone from America to Kaskaskia and subsequently to some part of the 
south where he died, but the date and place of his death could not be 
given by the writer of the sketch. In Chapter I of that part of the 
"History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties" which relates to 
Alexander County are found extracts from the diary of Col. Henrj^ 
L. Webb, of Trinity, at the mouth of Cache River. Col. Webb 
speaks of Doctor Alexander and of his being in co-partnership with 
him in certain business enterprises. In Chapter II Doctor Alexander 
is again spoken of. I regret very much that I am not able to say 
more concerning this man whose name our county bears. The second 
section of the act appointed Levi Hughes, Aaron Atherton, Daniel 
Phillips, Allen McKenzey, and Nesbit Allen, commissioners to locate 
the permanent seat of justice or countj^ seat. The third section re- 
quired the courts, elections, etc., to be held " in the house of Wm. 
Alexander, in said county, until the public building should be erected." 


His house was very probably at America on the Ohio River. The 
commissioners located the county seat at America, where it remained 
until it was removed to Unity by the act of January i8, 1833. 

The county of Pulaski was organized March 2, 1843, and all of 
Alexander County east of the west bank of Cache River and east of 
Mill Creek was taken off and included in Pulaski County. This 
left no part of the river in Alexander County, and reduced the area 
of Alexander from three hundred and seventy-eight square rniles to 
about two hundred. The county seat remained at Unity until Feb- 
ruary 4, 1845, when the legislature enacted a law removing and per- 
manently locating it at Thebes, in the southeast quarter of section 
eight, township fifteen south, range three west, "commonly called 
Sparhawk's Landing " on the Mississippi River. 

On the 1 8th day of February, 1859, the legislature passed a law 
providing for the holding of an election on the first Tuesday of Novem- 
ber, 1859, to determine whether the people of the county desired to 
remove the county seat from Thebes to Cairo. The election was held 
on the 8th day of November and resulted in a vote of five hundred 
and seventy for removal and three hundred and ninety against removal. 
The polls were open at Cairo, Unity, Thebes, Santa Fe, Clear Creek, 
Dog Tooth, and Hazlewood. The judges of the election at Cairo 
were Daniel Hannon, John Ryan and Hugh Dolan; and the clerks 
were J. W. Timmons and John H. Robinson. 

It will, therefore, be seen that America was the county seat of the 
county fourteen years; Unity twelve years; Thebes fourteen years, 
and Cairo now fift}^ years. The court-house at Thebes, a stone struc- 
ture, still occupies the hillside just as it was built in 1845. The 
property now belongs to Isaac D. Dexter. 

The courts of the county, after 1859, were held at different places 
in Cairo until the erection and completion of the present court-house 
on Washington Avenue and Twentieth Street. The contract for its 
erection was let March 2, 1863, to Mr. J. K. Frick, whom a few of 
our citizens will remember very well, for $28,000.00. It seems that 
Mr. Frick surrendered his contract after he had done a large part of 
the work. He was released, his sureties discharged, and the contract 
for the completion of the building let to John Major for $32,000.00. 
The building was not completed until the early part of 1865, and the 
first court held therein was the July term 1865 of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas, presided over by Judge John H. Mulkey, the judge of that 
court. (The writer was present at that term of court and obtained 
from the court the requisite certificate, which he subsequently pre- 
sented with his New York license to the clerk of the supreme court 
at Mount Vernon and obtained an Illinois license. At that time he 
had not decided to locate in Cairo.) The lots now constituting the 
court-house grounds were conveyed by the Trustees of the Cairo 
City Property by deed of October 20, 1862, recorded in Book D, 
pp. 291, etc. The lots are 13 to 27, block 48, First Addition to the 
city. The deed is upon condition as to the use of the property; but no 


reversion is provided for, as in the case of lot 30, block 47, in the city, 
on which the first school-house was erected in 1853. 

In the "Historj^ of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties," will be 
found interesting notices of America, the first county seat, and of 
Trinity on the Ohio at the mouth of Cache River. Besides these old 
towns, which no longer exist, there was the town of Marseilles laid 
out by Dr. Daniel Arter and Benjamin F. Echols, located on the east 
half of the northeast quarter of section three, township sixteen one 
west. The plat was acknowledged March 6, 1839, and recorded in 
Book D, pages 60, 61, and 62. The town embraced part of the im- 
mediate neighborhood of our present Villa Ridge. The Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad of 1837 ran across the northeast corner of the town as 

There was also the town of Alexandria on the Mississippi River 
just below the present Sante Fe. It was laid out by Alexander M. 
Fountaine and Chas. M. Thurston, of Louisville. The plat was re- 
corded in Book D, on pages 46, 47 and 48, March 23, 1838. It con- 
tained eighty-nine blocks or squares, and 1038 lots. It embraced part 
of those claims and surveys, of four hundred acres each, which, with 
other claims and surveys, will be found fully described hereafter. 

The public and business men of those early days kept up with the 
times quite as well as our public and business men do now, perhaps 
even better. There was so much less going on and so much more 
leisure, that what was comparatively easy then would be quite impos- 
sible now. It was well known at Kaskaskia and all over the state, 
which was then what is southern Illinois now, that the Cairo enter- 
prise (of 1818) had failed and the effect of this was to cause other 
men acquainted with this region to seek another and a better site for 
a city, near enough to the confluence of the tv\^o rivers to avail of all 
advantages the same afforded. The site chosen was America on the 
Ohio, about twelve miles from its mouth. Comegj^s and his associates 
were quite pretentious enough in choosing the name of a city in Africa 
for the name of their city at this point; but these other men who 
chose their site further up the Ohio were still more pretentious, it 
seems, and gave the name of a continent to their proposed town and 
called it America. Trinity became a rival of America and to a large 
extent supplanted it, so far as the river business was concerned. Both 
claimed to be the head of navigation. Trinity had the best harbor and 
was closer to the junction of the two rivers. 

The earliest settlers in what is now Alexander County, of which 
we have any account, were the families of Joshua, Abraham and Thomas 
Flannary, John McElmurry and Joseph Standlee. Their settlements 
were on the Mississippi River just south of Sante Fe. They established 
there a " Station Fort," and the same was known far and near as 
McElmurry's Station. Governor John Reynolds, in his historj^ of 
Illinois, speaks of this station fort; and in another place, he gives the 


names of the early settlers, in southern Illinois, whose claims to land 
had been investigated, allowed and confirmed. When these settle- 
ments were first made we have not been able to ascertain. All we 
know is that they were made prior to September 3, 1783, the date of 
our treaty of peace with Great Britain at the close of our war of the 
Revolution; and it may be that they were made prior to the treaty of 
February 10, 1763, when the French surrendered the Illinois country 
to Great Britain. In other words, these settlements may have been 
made under grants of some kind from the French prior to 1763, or 
under grants from England prior to 1783. Our government was re- 
quired by the fifth clause of the treaty of 1783 to protect all settlers 
in districts of country surrendered by Great Britain to our govern- 
ment and which had not been in actual arms against it; and as early 
as 1788, it took steps to secure to such settlers their rights to lands 
occupied and cultivated by them. The acts of congress of March 3, 
1 791, and of March 26, 1804, prescribed the course to be pursued 
by claimants desiring to establish their rights to the lands occupied 
by them. These acts and certain prior resolutions of 1877, limited 
the quantity to be claimed by heads of families, their heirs or assigns, 
to four hundred acres, and claimants were required to show actual 
occupancy and cultivation as conditions to the allowance and confirma- 
tion of their claims. The act of March 26, 1804, established a land 
oi^ice at Kaskaskia, and the claimants were required to present their 
claims and the evidences thereof to the register and receiver of public 
moneys there, who were called commissioners, and who investigated 
each claim and allowed or disallowed the same, and reported all claims 
to congress for confirmation or for such m.odification of their action 
as congress might choose to make. 

We do not know how many claims were presented to the com- 
missioners for lands in what is now our county; but of those presented, 
six were allowed and confirmed, as follows: 

To John McElmurry, Jr., Claims 680 and 681, Surveys 525 and 
526; to Joseph Standlee, Claim 2564, Survey 684; to Abraham Flan- 
nary, or his heirs. Claim 531, Survey 529; to Joshua Flannary, or 
his heirs, Claim 530, Survey 528; to Thomas Flannary, or his heirs, 
Claim 529, Survey 527. These four hundred acre tracts of land will 
be found outlined on all of our county maps. 

By the treaty of Paris of February 10, 1763, Spain acquired from 
France and from Great Britain all their claims to territory west of 
the Mississippi River, and she retained all that territory until October 
I, 1800, when she ceded it to France, and the latter on the 30th day 
of April, 1803, ceded it to the United States. Under the French and 
Spanish a number of settlements had been made on the Mississippi 
River in what is now the state of Missouri ; at New Madrid, at Cape 
Girardeau, at Ste. Genevieve and at some other points. As late as 
1795, Gayoso de Lemos built a station fort at what is now Bird's 
Point. He had come there to meet a delegation from Kentucky and 
probably to confer with representatives of General James Wilkinson. 


He was the governor of Louisiana and was endeavoring to further 
Spanish interests in this part of the country. Houck's ("Missouri.") It 
will be remembered that during our war of the Revolution, General 
George Rogers Clark and man}^ other public men of that time feared 
that Spain, being so near us on the west, might make some movement 
or other which would require strong measures to counteract or resist, 
as is shown by General Clark's letter of September 23, 1779, given 
elsewhere. We cite these historical facts to show that there were no 
doubt ver)^ early settlements on the easterly side of the Mississippi 
River from the mouth of the Ohio to Cahokia, besides those at or near 

When we recall the fact that Kaskaskia was settled as early as 1700 
and that John Laws' operations twentj' years later extended up the 
river as far as Fort Chartres where he expended probably a million 
of dollars in the construction of the fort and other works and that hun- 
dreds of slaves were carried there and to other points to do the work 
required by their various enterprises, we cease to regard it as strange 
to find that settlements were made here and there on the river but 
of such small extent as to have well nigh escaped the searches of his 
torians. It is verj^ interesting indeed to read of the extent and nature 
of the intercourse between the French settlements in upper and lower 
Louisiana, from the years 1700 to 1763, when the French relinquished 
to Great Britain well nigh eveiything they had in America. The 
Mississippi was the great bond or rather the artery between the Cana- 
dians and Louisiana French. All north of the Ohio was Canadian 
and all south Louisianaian. 

This is quite a digression; but it is given here as evidence of the 
earliest settlements on our side of the Mississippi and near to the mouth 
of the Ohio, and also strengthening what has been said elsewhere 
about Juchereau's settlement here in 1702. 

Returning to the Flannarys, we have only to add that the following 
letter from the General Land Office shows the source of our informa- 
tion regarding those four hundred acre tracts of land. 

General Land Office, 
Washington, D. C, April 5, 1909. 
Miss Edna L. Stone, 

Stoneleigh Court, Washington, D. C. 
Madam : — 

In response to your recent personal inquiry, I have to advise you that the 
claims Nos. 681, 680, 529, 530, 531 and 2564, mentioned in the letter of 
Mr. John M. Lansden to you, which letter Is herewith returned to you, were 
confirmed by the act of Congress of May i, 1810 (2 Stat., 607), to the persons 
whose names are shown on the surveys thereof on the plats of Tps. 16 S., Rgs. 
2 and 3 W., photolithographic copies of which were secured by you. These 
claims are embraced in the statement of claims in virtue of improvements 
affirmed by Commissioners Michael Jones and E. Backus, register and receiver 
at Kaskaskia, said statement being dated December 31, 1809. This statement 
may be found in printed form in the American State Papers, Duff Green's 
Edition, Vol. 2, pages 132 to 134, inclusive. This statement does not contain 
a transcript of the evidence introduced in support of these claims, but in their 
general report, found on page 102, said Commissioners state: 


There are four species of claims upon which, as commissioners for this dis- 
trict, we have had to act, . . . 3d. Those founded on the having actually 
improved and cultivated land in the country, under a supposed grant of the 
same by court or commandant. . . . 

Relating to these claims, there have been passed by Congress the following 
laws, viz: ... A law of the 3d of March, 1791, ordaining, thirdly, 
that where lands have been actually improved and cultivated, under a sup- 
posed grant of the same, by any commandant or court claiming authority to 
make such grant, the Governor of said territory be empowered to confirm to 
the person who made such improvements, their heirs and assigns, the land 
supposed to have been granted as aforesaid, or such parts as he may judge 
reasonable, not exceeding to any one person four hundred acres. 

III. Of Improvement Rights. 

From the proclamation of Colonel Todd, the first commandant under Vir- 
ginia after the conquest, and from the many proofs we have had of verbal 
permission having been given by him and succeeding commandants to indi- 
viduals to settle on the public lands, we have raised the presumption, that in 
all cases where we have found an actual improvement and cultivation upon 
vacant lands, it was made under what the law of 1791 terms a "supposed 
grant;" as we fully believe every individual settling upon such lands thought 
himself authorized to do so by the then existing authority of the country. 

In our own construction of the term "actual improvement and cultivation," 
we have supposed it to mean, not a mere marking or deadening of trees; but 
the actual raising of a crop or crops, it being in our opinion a necessary proof 
of an intention to make a permanent establishment; and we have allowed but 
one improvement claim to the same man, in which we are clearly warranted 
by the 4th section of the law of 1791. 

For the authority of the said commissioners to make report on these claims, 
reference is had to the act of March 26, 1804 (2 Stat., 277), and the act of 
March 3, 1805 (2 Stat., 343). Very respectfully, 

Fred Dennett, 


HARRELL's short history and "the history of ALEXANDER, UNION 

IN the preface I have spoken of the short history of Cairo, written 
by Moses B. Harrell in 1864, and constituting the first fifty pages 
of a city directory of that year. It is an excellent history, con- 
densed, of course, almost to the utmost limit. 

Mr. Harrell was perhaps the only man in Cairo who could turn 
out such a piece of work in the short time he speaks of, and at the 
same time touch almost everything and that, too, in so connected a way 
as to impress one with the thought that the work of arrangement and 
condensation was his most difficult task. He had come to Cairo at 
a very early day, namely, July 8, 1848. He had been engaged almost 
all the time in newspaper work. His fine memory, his extensive 
knowledge of all local matters, his large store of general information, 
his easy use of his pen, and his fluent style, enabled him to do with 
ease what other men could do only with much effort and much time. 

Let me introduce here a short account of the coming of the Harrells 
to Cairo, given me by Mr. Wm. Harrell a month or two before his 
death, which occurred here, August 11, 1909, in his eighty-ninth 
year. There were four brothers, Bailey S., born in 1 809; William, 
in 1820; Isaac L., in 1826; and Moses B., in 1828. The family had 
come from Virginia to Boone County, Kentucky. They removed across 
the river to Cleves, Ohio. Bailey made a trip down the river in 1833. 
He did not stop here. There w^as nothing here then but one or two 
cabins. William passed Cairo about the 25th of December, 1837, 
on a flatboat, about 18x85 feet, loaded with apples, cider, flour and 
meats, and a great many other kinds of produce. There were five men 
abroad. The boat and cargo belonged to Nathan Sidwell, of Cin- 
cinnati. They stopped a few days at Caseyville on account of the ice. 
They did not stop at Cairo, but went on south to New Orleans, where 
they remained a week. He went back as far as Vicksburg on a steam- 
boat and from thence coasted along the river for a considerable distance, 
when he took another steamboat and went on to Cleves, where he 
arrived about the first of April, 1838. The old log hotel at the point 
and some shanty houses were all that he saw here at that time. A few 
acres of ground were cleared in the vicinity of the hotel. The river 
was high enough so that he could get a pretty good view of the place. 
On his trip to New Orleans they met three or four steamboats, one 
the Diana, one the Shippen and another the Hutson, all of them side- 
wheel boats. Bailey and he made a trip to New Orleans in 1840, on 



the Steamer General Morgan, on which they shipped a large number of 
sheep. They sold out very soon and returned on the steamboat 
Southerner. In the same year he made another trip on a flatboat owned 
by Scott Harrison, the father of President Harrison. They did not 
go further than Natchez, where they sold their shipment. 

In the fall of 1841, Bailey and he came here with two flatboats, 
cattle in one, and a general assortment of produce in the other. They 
sold all they had to Howard and Hylan, who built the first levees here. 
Their cargoes brought them about two thousand dollars. Six hundred 
of it was paid in the bills of the Cairo bank at Kaskaskia. On the way 
home, on a steamboat, they heard that the bank was "a little shaky," 
and a man told them if they would discount the bills at six per cent 
he would take them. They did so and had been home not more than 
a week or two when they heard that the bank had failed. This was 
the bank authorized by the act of January 9, 1818, entitled, "An Act 
to incorporate the City and Bank of Cairo," granted to John G. Comegys 
and others by the legislature of Illinois territory. At this time a frame 
addition had been built to the old hotel, and the building was full of 
people, who came to buy real estate. Straw beds had to be put down 
on the floor, so great was the number of people here. There were 
twelve or fifteen houses north of the hotel, up along the Ohio, and a 
few houses back of the levee. The company had put up a few good 
houses. There w-as a foundry and a machine shop, large buildings, 
and two saw-mills. There were three stores, one of which was occupied 
by Captain Falls. Howard & Hylan had built the Ohio levee, a 
small levee from the point up to Eighteenth or Nineteenth Street. 
They also built a cross levee, or part of one, extending from Seven- 
teenth or Eighteenth Street out westward near the office building of the 
Trustees. He described somewhat fully the large warehouse, or stone 
foundation for a warehouse, built on or adjoining the levee near Fourth 
Street and extending back to or near Commercial Avenue. He said 
it seemed impossible to purchase real estate in Cairo then. He heard 
some men talking about the matter, and one said to the other that he 
had offered $20,000.00 for some property, but the fools would not sell. 
At that time the steamboats, or almost all of them, ran between the 
island and the Misissippi levee and came around close to the point. 
Lawyer Gass went over on the island and endeavored to make a settle- 
ment, that is, to acquire a pre-emption right, but the water came up so 
high around him that the calking came out of his boat and he had to 
leave the place. Bailey and he came again in 1844. They remained 
here after that time. There was little change in the town from 1841 
to 1844. In 1 841, Howard and Hylan were anxious to buy all they 
had. Their men, who were chiefly Irishmen, were almost starving 
and they needed supplies for them. Everything was going to wreck 
and people leaving the town, so much so that the population was re- 
duced to two or three hundred. There was a strip of land cleared, 
extending back a quarter of a mile from the Ohio side, probably not so 
far around the saw-mills, the foundry and the machine shops. Beyond 
the cleared places, the timber was generally very heavy. 


The other history spoken of in the preface is the "History of Alex- 
ander, Union, and Pulaski Counties," published in 1883. It is a large 
work, containing nine hundred and tAvent>'-six double column pages. 
The three parts of it relating to Alexander County and Cairo, were 
written by Mr. H. C. Bradsby, also a resident of Cairo many years. 
Like Harrell, he was a newspaper man and a good writer. He was 
connected with the Cairo newspapers many years, and was a corre- 
spondent of a number of the newspapers in the large cities. His part 
of this large book was well done. 

While it might be allowable to reproduce in this book almost all 
of what is contained in Harrell's short history, because of the very few 
copies in the city, the other one, in any view, would have to be left as 
an independent history up to the time of its publication, twenty-seven 
years ago. With this historj' in so many libraries and families in the 
city, I have felt it my duty to omit many matters and things which are 
set forth and often very fully presented in this large history of those 
three counties. One will find that it presents many matters not re- 
ferred to by me at all, or only very briefly. I have omitted them or 
merely mentioned them, because found in the other book; and hence 
persons who may not find herein what they are searching for should 
refer to the other work. It is to be regretted that it has nothing that 
can properly be called an index. Its value is greatly impaired by this 
omission. It would be much more useful, at least for us here, were 
those parts of it relating to Cairo and Alexander County brought 
together and, with a good index, bound in a separate volume. Two 
hundred and ten pages of the book relate to Cairo, tvvo hundred and 
thirteen to Union County, fifty-seven to Alexander County, eighty-six 
to Pulaski County, sixty to biographical sketches of Cairo men, and two 
hundred and seventy-eight to biographical sketches of men of Union 
and Pulaski Counties. 

To facilitate reference to this large volume of 1883, I have given 
further on a list of the citizens of Cairo whose biographical sketches 
appear therein. 




RAILROAD Companies — Cairo has become quite a railroad center. 
The roads together with the rivers reaching southward and north- 
eastward and northwestward give us transportation facilities 
equaled by very few other places in the country. The railroads centering 
here are of such importance to the city as to require a short account of 
each one of the same. Besides the Illinois Central Railroad, so fully 
spoken of elsewhere, we have now the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, the 
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway or Railroad, com- 
monly called the Big Four, and across the river in Missouri, the St. Louis, 
Iron Mountain & Southern Railway and the St. Louis, Southwestern 
Railway. Besides these we have the Cairo & Thebes Railroad which will 
soon be completed and put in operation. 

The Illinois Central Railroad Company was chartered February 
lO, 185 1, and its construction extended through the years 1852 to 1855. 
There has been some little controversy as to when the Illinois Central 
Railroad was finished and first opened for operation. In the "Cairo 
City Times" (volume 1 number 17, edited by William A. Hacker 
and Len. G. Faxon) of September 20, 1854, is found a communication 
from William P. Burrall, the president of the railroad company, to 
the executive committee of the company, dated at Chicago, September 
7, 1854, in which he says that 

Since the ist instant I passed in company with our chief engineer, R. B. 
Mason, Esq., over the entire line between Cairo and La Salle, 308 miles, and 
find its condition to be as follows: — The track is laid and ready for operation 
from Cairo north 88 miles, with the exception of the bridge over the Big 
Muddy River, 60 miles north of Cairo. . . . From La Salle south the track 
is laid 134 miles, with the exception of a piece of 10 miles north of Decatur. 
. . . The limit work to complete the main line is, therefore, the track 
laying over the space between the point 88 miles north of Cairo and that of 
134 miles north of La Salle, which is a distance of 86 miles, at the end of 
which is a strong party now employed in laying track and approaching each 
other. When they meet the entire main line will be ready for operation. . . . 
North of La Salle our track is laid 16 miles to the Aurora junction. From that 
junction to Freeport, 60 miles, the grading is now substantially ready for the 
track. ... I think, therefore, that on the ist day of January next we 
may expect the whole line, from Cairo to Galena to be ready for operation 
by regular trains, giving us by Chicago and Galena road, a line from Chicago 
to Galena, by Aurora extension road a line from Cairo to Chicago, and by the 
Ohio and Mississippi road a line from St. Louis to Cairo. . . . On the 
Chicago branch the track is laid from Chicago south 143 miles and the grading 
is complete, ready for the rails for a further distance of 33 miles. . . . 
We have, therefore, now actually laid 409 miles of track. 



The first time-table of the Cairo trains appears in a number of 
issues of the said newspaper in which it is stated that on and after 
"Monday, January 8th (1855), passenger trains will leave Cairo at 
six o'clock A. M., connecting at Sandoval with the Ohio and Mississippi 
Railroad for St. Louis; at Decatur with the Great Western Railroad 
for Springfield, Jacksonville and Naples; at Bloomington with the 
Chicago and Mississippi Railroad ; at La Salle with the Rock Island 
Railroad for Rock Island and Davenport; and at Mendota with the 
Chicago and Aurora Railroad for Chicago." 

There are a number of other references in this newspaper to work 
on the Central, but I can find no statement as to the time when 
trains were first in operation over the whole line of about 710 miles 
of railroad. It must have been as late as the first of October, 1855, 
when the road was fully completed and in operation. As late as 
August I, 1855, the travel to Chicago was still by the main line to 
Mendota and thence by what is now the C. B. & Q. See "Times" of 
August 8, 1855. 

The Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company was chartered by the legis- 
lature of Alabama February 3, 1848, by the legislature of Mississippi 
February 17th, by the legislature of Tennessee February 28th, and 
admitted to the state of Kentucky on the terms of its Alabama charter 
by an act of the legislature of Kentucky of February 26th, of that year. 
The road was finished to Columbus, Kentucky, twenty miles south of 
Cairo, two or three or more years after the Central was finished to 
Cairo. The congressional land grant of September 20, 1850, was to 
aid in building a railroad from Chicago to Mobile, and these two rail- 
road companies, the Central and the Mobile & Ohio, were to receive 
and did receive the benefits of that act; and there was, therefore, some 
two or three years before the Civil War a railroad from Chicago to 
Mobile, with the exception of the gap of twenty miles between Cairo 
and Columbus. These two companies for many years filled this gap, 
as it were, by the running of steamboats for transfer purposes between 
those two cities. 

On the 28th day of February, 1870, the legislature of Kentucky 
incorporated the Kentucky & Tennessee Railroad Company, the in- 
corporators of which were A. B. SafEord, Rufus P. Robbins, George 
W. Eggleston, Jacob L. Martin and Thomas H. Corbett; and on the 
5th day of June, 1872, this company agreed with the Mobile & Ohio 
Railroad Company to build the road and to lease the same in perpetuity 
to the latter company. The Kentucky company was authorized to 
build a road from a point opposite Cairo to some point on the Mobile 
& Ohio between Columbus and the Tennessee line, and was authorized 
by its charter to make a lease in perpetuity to any other railroad com- 
pany. This arrangement having been made, the Mobile & Ohio Com- 
pany, in the year 1880, constructed a road from what is now South 
Columbus, a mile or a mile and a half east of Columbus, up to what 


is now called East Cairo. From that time until 1886, it operated its 
road as a single line from Mobile to East Cairo. 

A little before or after this, the Illinois Central acquired a road or 
two constituting a line from New Orleans to Jackson, Tennessee, and 
thereupon extended the line from Jackson to Fillmore, some two or 
three miles south of East Cairo and at the place where Fort Holt 
existed during the war. The company operated its car ferryboat be- 
tween Fillmore and its railroad incline just south of its present elevator 
in Cairo until a few years afterwards, when the company extended 
the road to a point in Kentucky almost opposite the elevator and the 
ferriage was thereafter almost directly across the river. The Mobile 
& Ohio Railroad ferried its cars directly across the river to the incline 
of the Wabash Railway Company below the Halliday Hotel for a num- 
ber of years. 

The Cairo & St. Louis Railroad Company was chartered Feb- 
ruary 16, 1865, the incorporators of which were Samuel Staats Taylor, 
William P. Halliday, Isham N. Haynie, Sharon Tyndale, John 
Thomas, William H. Logan, and Tilman B. Cantrell. The companji 
found it very difficult to arrange for the construction of its road, and 
when it did so it was only for a narrow gauge road or one of the 
width of three feet only. Its construction was not undertaken until 
1 87 1, and the road not finished and put in operation until early in 1875. 
It was operated with varj-ing degrees of success until proceedings were 
instituted in the United States court at Springfield to foreclose the 
mortgage given to secure the bonds issued to obtain moneys to build 
the road. The property' was sold under the decree entered in the suit 
and purchased on behalf of the bond-holders, and on the ist day of 
June, 1 88 1, a new company, called the St. Louis & Cairo Railroad Com- 
pany, was organized, and to it all the property was conveyed. That 
company continued to operate the road up to the ist day of February, 
1886, when it leased its property to the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Com- 
pany for the period of fort>'-five years from January i, 1886, on the 
condition that the lessee would reconstruct the road and make it of 
the standard gauge and pay certain annual rentals. The lessee entered 
upon the work at once and completed it at a comparatively early day, 
and from that time to this, the latter company has operated the road, 
to the great advantage, it is said, of both the lessor and the lessee. It 
may be here remarked that in all the experiences of railroads the world 
over, few have gone through more trying or distressing times than those 
gone through by the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company during the 
war. The road had been bonded, as were and are almost all roads, 
and consequently it came out of the war burdened with a very heavy 
indebtedness. It was like beginning existence over again but under 
the most trying circumstances. About this time, it was taken charge 
of by Mr. William Butler Duncan, of New York, whose very careful 
and wise management brought the road steadily up from its depressed 
condition to one of prosperity' and assurances for the future. He has 
been with it continuously, and it is due largely to his judicious manage- 
ment that the road now occupies a position so favorable and so sharply 


in contrast with what it was when he took hold of it. His extension 
of the road from Cairo to St. Louis, by obtaining the lease upon the St. 
Louis & Cairo Railroad, has proven to have been one of the most for- 
tunate things which could have been done for either company, and 
shows a foresight and judgment of a high order in railroad manage- 
ment. A number of j'ears ago, the Hon. E. L. Russell, of Mobile, 
became the president of the company and among the many other things 
inaugurated and carried out by him, may be mentioned the discontinu- 
ance of the very expensive method of the transfer of the company's 
cars across the Ohio River by railroad ferryboats. One of the large 
boats used for such purposes was the railroad ferryboat the W. Butler 
Duncan. The company's ferriage contract was with the Big Four 
people or their predecessors, and the expense to the company was large. 
In place of this, Mr. Russell found it best to effect an arrangement with 
the Illinois Central Railroad Company by which the company's trains 
could have the use of the Illinois Central bridge ; and it is now under- 
stood that this arrangement for the joint use of the bridge is to con- 
tinue until the expiration of the lease of the St. Louis & Cairo Rail- 
road to the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company, which occurs January 
I, 1 93 1. It is said that this change in the method of transfer across 
the Ohio River has been of a very great advantage to the company, 
giving as it does an all rail line from Mobile to the great city of St. 
Louis. Mr. Russell seems to have had full faith in the propriety 
of making this change; and I am sure it has been a matter of great 
pleasure to him that the results have so clearly proven the wisdom of 
the new method. One cannot overestimate the importance in rail- 
road building or management of lessening the cost of getting over or 
across a great river. It is said this particular railroad bridge has fully 
justified its construction. More than this might no doubt be said. 

After the acquisition by the Illinois Central Railroad Company 
of the roads south of the Ohio River and extending to New Orleans, 
the connection of Chicago with Mobile changed to a connection of that 
city with New Orleans ; and on the other hand, by the lease above 
mentioned. Mobile has become connected with St. Louis. These cross 
connections can hardly be said to have been in the contemplation of 
the great land grant of September 20, 1850, in aid of a railroad from 
Chicago to Mobile. 

The Cairo & Vincennes Railroad Company was incorporated by 
our legislature March 6, 1867, the incorporators of which were, among 
others: D. Hurd, William P. Halliday, Isham N. Haynie, S. Staats 
Taylor, D. T. Linegar, N. R. Casey, Green B. Raum, A. J. Kuyken- 
dall, George Mertz, John M. Crebs, Walter L. Mayo, John W. 
Mitchell, William R. Wilkinson, Robert Mack, Samuel Hess, Aaron 
Shaw, James Fackney, Jesse B. Watts, W. W. McDowell and B. 
Rathbone. The work of constructing the road began in 1868, but 
after considerable grading had been done at different places along the 
line, the work was suspended and was not resumed until certain im- 


portant county and city bond matters had been rearranged because of 
forfeitures. The road was completed and through trains began to be 
operated in January, 1873. For a number of years the company occu- 
pied Commercial Avenue, throughout its whole length, with its tracks, 
under an ordinance approved by John H. Oberly, April 16, 1869. This 
use of Commercial Avenue continued until a change was made by a 
city ordinance approved on the 23d day of March, 1886. This road 
and company followed about the same course as that shown above in 
the case of the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad. It led to the organization 
of the Cairo, Vincennes & Chicago Railroad Company, which leased 
the property to the Wabash Railway Company; and after a number of 
years the property came into the hands of the Big Four people, that 
is, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Lx)uis Railway Company, 
which is now operating the road and its northern extensions from 
Vincennes or from St. Francisville just this side. This road, like the 
Cairo & St. Louis, was in the hands of receivers for a considerable time 
during foreclosure proceedings. For a part of the time the same was 
under the management of Mr. Samuel P. Wheeler, whom most of us 
well remember as having resided here verj- many years until his removal 
to Springfield. He had been the general solicitor of the company 
almost from its organization. He came from New York to Mound 
City in 1859, and from thence to Cairo in 1865. He was one of the 
ablest lawyers we have ever had, and was with all the members of his 
family very highly esteemed. About the same time, that is, in the 
earlier days of this railroad, there were also here Mr. Roswell Miller, 
who has long been one of the leading railroad men of the countr}^ and 
Mr. Thomas W. Fitch, the auditor of the compan_v, now doing busi- 
ness in New York City, and whose place of residence is Summit, New 
Jersey. The writer spent a week at his home a year or two ago, 
and can never forget the many kindnesses then shown him by Mr. and 
Mrs. Fitch. 

I cannot say much concerning the roads across the river in Missouri, 
save that the Iron Mountain road is the somewhat distant successor 
of the old Cairo & Fulton Railroad, which away back in the early 
fifties received a land grant very similar to that of September 20, 1 850. 
The road has quite a history, and there were many acts of congress 
passed in regard to the same. The Cotton Belt Railroad is now a 
well-known road constructed many years ago, running from Bird's 
Point down through the cities of Maiden, Paragould, Pine Blufif to 
Texarkana in Arkansas on the Texas and Arkansas line. It now ex- 
tends on into Texas and with its branches, reaches Sherman, Fort 
Worth, Gatesville and other points in that state. The Cairo & Fulton 
road was to extend from Bird's Point through Poplar BlufF and Little 
Rock on to Fulton, Hempstead County, Arkansas. 

The Cairo & Thebes Railroad Company was organized on the 
25th day of September, 1905. It seems to have arisen out of a desire to 


obtain better facilities for trade between Cairo and the southeastern 
part of Missouri. While the Illinois Central had a direct connection 
with Thebes, there was a pretty general feeling that it was very de- 
sirable to have another and a more direct connection with Thebes and 
the excellent means there afforded by the great bridge for crossing the 
Mississippi River. The company set out at once and vigorously to 
prosecute the work of constructing the road. It is said that many 
difficulties were encountered which were not expected. Then, too, 
the financial depression of 1907 seems to have almost arrested the work, 
which has now been resumed with a good prospect of its early comple- 
tion. Just how, or by whom, or in what connection the road will be 
operated, has not been as yet made known; but those in charge of the: 
enterprise will no doubt adopt such plans and measures as will make 
its operation of mutual advantage to both the company and the people 
it was intended to serve. It is to be regretted that the company de- 
sired and that the public authorities allowed the tracks to extend into 
the city as far as Washington Avenue, where the passenger and freight 
stations have been established. The advantage of reaching the avenue 
over that of stopping at Walnut Street is not apparent. Both are in 
the center of the city. Had they come no further than Walnut Street, 
every legitimate purpose of the company would have been fully served, 
and on the other hand other public interests would not have suffered. 
The city authorities seem to have forgotten they had valuable public 
property in that block. A railroad yard with its smoking engines and 
its noise close to a public library will certainly not suffer by the presence 
of the library; but that the librarj' will escape detriment from the 
presence of the railroad yard is scarcely believable. It is greatly to be 
hoped that the effect will not be so bad as many of us fear. It was a 
great thing, of course, to have the block filled, but balancing the advan- 
tages and disadvantages, the library property will be found to be on the 
losing side. 

The present officers of the company are: Egbert A. Smith, presi- 
dent; J. Bruce Magee, vice-president; Edward G. Pink, treasurer; 
and William S. Dewey, secretary and general attorney. President 
.Smith has worked hard and faithfully to secure the construction of 
this road for the city, as he has for every other enterprise which seemed 
to be for its interests. 

It is now less than eighty-five years since the first railroad 
was constructed in the United States or in America. How many 
have been built within that time and when and the mileage 
of each and the approximate cost thereof, might be ascertained, 
I suppose, by a very laborious search of books and records. A full 
and accurate account of the moneys expended, of bonds issued and sold, 
of municipal aid sought and obtained, of land grants made, of interest 
accrued and paid and not paid, of losses to persons at home and abroad, 
to municipalities, to corporations, to states and to nation, would require 
more volumes than President Eliot's five-foot bookshelf would hold. 


Seventy-five years of the general business experience of our country 
w^ould be interesting could it be condensed into a volume or two and 
proper space given to what has been lost and won in what the world 
persists in calling gambling in railroad stocks. 

But over against the vast sums of money which have been expended 
and lost in railroad building and wrecking in the United States, we 
must place the wonderful development of the country which never 
could have come about but for the existence of the railroads. What- 
ever may be said the one way or the other, no chapter in our country's 
financial or business histor}^ will present so many features of wisdom 
and folly as will the chapter relating to our railroads since the first 
construction of the same began. 

Illinois Central Railroad Bridge. — It is said that after the 
southern line of the Illinois Central Railroad Company had been ex- 
tended up to the Ohio River, there arose and continued for a number 
of years something in the nature of a controversy in the company's 
board of directors as to whether they should undertake to build a 
bridge across the Ohio River. It is further said that on the Kentucky 
side, the company sought to ascertain whether a solid rock foundation 
for piers could be found at such depths as would justify the under- 
taking. Nothing was done, however, until engineering skill had 
assured the company that it was entirely practicable to rest the piers 
on the sand in the river bed. This view of the matter could hardly 
have been in the nature of an experiment; although in the case of the 
great Eads bridge at St. Louis, and we suppose of all bridges up to that 
time, solid rock foundations had always been sought and reached. Fol- 
lowing the construction of the Cairo bridge, with its piers so supported, 
came next the construction of the great Memphis bridge across the 

The company, on the 29th day of March, 1886, obtained from the 
Kentucky legislature a charter for the construction of a bridge across 
the Ohio River, either by the Illinois Central Railroad Company or 
by the Chicago, St. Louis & New Orleans Railroad Company, or by 
both. All of the bridge, except the Illinois approach was constructed 
by or in the name of the latter company, and the Illinois approach by 
the Illinois company. The first bill passed was vetoed by the governor 
because it permitted the bridge to be built from any point in Ballard 
County, Kentucky, to the Illinois shore. The act approved by him 
required its construction from the Kentucky side to the Illinois side 
at any point below the mouth of Cache River. The bridge was begun 
in 1886, and opened for traffic October 29, 1889. It is called a truss 
bridge and is of the length of a little less than a mile across the river 
proper; and each of the approaches is about one and a half miles in 
length. The whole length of the bridge is a little under four miles. 
The original cost of the bridge was three to four millions of dollars; 
but the filling of the approaches added largely to the cost of the struc- 
ture, and at this time the outlay for the same as it now stands has 
probably been four to five millions. Bridges may be built across the Ohio 




Thebes Bridge 


River in conformity to the acts of congress of December 17, 1872, 
and February 14, 1883, but under the supervision of the secretary 
of war. For bridges across the Mississippi special acts must be ob- 
tained from congress. Owing to the great height to which the Ohio 
River rises at Cairo at certain times in the year, this bridge was re- 
quired to be fift3^-three feet above high-water mark, which is con- 
siderably above the level of the adjoining lands. This made necessary 
the very long approaches. The piers, therefore, of the bridge are of 
great height from the caissons to the floor of the bridge. The width 
of the first two river spans on the Illinois side is five hundred and 
eighteen feet each, and of the other seven spans four hundred feet 
each. From the bottom of the lowest foundation of any pier to the 
level of the steel work on the two longest spans is two hundred and 
fifty feet (or exactly 248.94 feet). From low-water mark to the 
floor of the bridge it is 104.42 feet. (See cut of river bed elsewhere.) 

The Thebes Bridge. — Mr. Charles S. Clarke, the vice-president 
and general manager of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company, very 
kindly furnished me with one of the beautiful souvenirs of the opening 
of this noted bridge, and from the same I have taken the first cut of the 
four of the bridge. The second one is of the whole bridge taken from 
the upper Illinois side; the third one of the east or Illinois approach, 
and the fourth is of the Missouri or west approach. Mr. Clarke is 
now one of the board of directors of the bridge company. Ground 
was broken on July 8, 1902, and the first train passed over the bridge, 
going, from east to west, April 18, 1905. 

The Southern Illinois and Missouri Bridge Company was incorpo- 
rated under the laws of the state of Illinois on the 6th day of December, 
1900. On the 26th day of January, 1901, the act passed by congress, 
authorizing the construction of the bridge, was duly approved by the 

The bridge is a steel, double-track structure, cantilever type, of five 
spans, the cantilever or channel span being 671 feet long, each of the 
other spans being 521 feet long. 

The approaches to the bridge are of concrete. The western ap- 
proach consists of six 65-foot arches and one of 100 feet. The eastern 
approach consists of five 65-foot arches. 

The entire length of the bridge, including the concrete approaches 
on either side, is 3,910 feet. 

Nine hundred and forty-five thousand cubic feet of concrete were 
used in the construction of the approaches, and twenty-seven million 
pounds of steel were required for the superstructure. 

The spans are sixt>'-five feet in the clear above high water, 108 feet 
above low water. 

The distance from extreme bottom of channel pier, which rests on 
bed rock, to the top of the cord, is 231 feet. 

The Cairo Harbor. — The Cairo harbor is one of the very best 
on either of the two rivers. It is never diflficult for the largest vessels 


navigating the rivers to move about therein with comparative ease. 
The only collision of any consequence that has taken place in the 
harbor within the last thirty or forty years was that between the rail- 
road ferryboat W. Butler Duncan and the steamboat The New South. 
The New South was backing out from the landing opposite Sixth Street 
and the Duncan was going down the river keeping well over to the 
Kentucky side, when The New South struck her a severe blow and 
caused her to sink. The matter was litigated a long time and The 
New South found to be at fault. 

On the 1st day of November, 1909, the river gauge showed the stage 
of water to be eight and a half feet, a low stage, and at my request Air. 
William McHale, now deceased, on that day ascertained for me the 
depths of the water in the river from Second to Thirty-eighth Streets. 
The depths were taken some little distance from the Illinois shore, 
then about the middle of the channel, and then considerably further 
over toward the Kentucky shore. The width of the river examined 
must have been a quarter of a mile, at least, and probably more. The 
depths, counting from the Illinois side toward Kentucky, were as 
follows : 

Opposite 2d Street, 40, 36 and 24 feet; 6th Street, 43, 34 and 30 
feet; loth Street, 37, 32 and 24 feet; 14th Street, 34, 28 and 20 feet; 
1 8th Street, 24, 32 and 18 feet; 22d Street, 32, 26 and 20 feet; 26th 
Street, 34, 26 and 18 feet; 30th Street, 37, 27 and 15 feet; 34th Street, 
37, 32 and 15 feet; and 38th Street, 40, 25 and 12 feet. 

It is observed that at ever)- point, except one, iSth Street, the deep- 
est water is on the Illinois side and that much the lowest water is on 
the Kentucky side, and yet deep enough at that low stage of water to 
serve all ordinary' purposes. We have but to add to the above figures 
the readings on the gauge to get the depths at any stage of water. It 
will be seen that when the gauge reads 30 to 50 feet, the depths will 
range from 55 to 80 feet, on the Illinois side. The contour of the 
bed of the river, as seen in the cut of the railroad bridge elsewhere 
found, establishes the substantial correctness of the above figures. 

Bacon Rock. — In July, 1874, Captain R. W. Dugan removed 
from the mouth of the Ohio River a dangerous obstruction to navi- 
gation, called up to that time Bacon Rock. The "Cairo Bulletin" of 
July nth of that year states that the government had contracted with 
Captain Dugan for the removal of the obstruction. It was a con- 
glomerate and was removed by blasting, which continued for some 
weeks. Many of our citizens will remember hearing the loud ex- 
plosions that occurred during the progress of the work. It was out 
some little distance from the Illinois shore and but a short distance 
north of the strongly marked water-line between the waters of the two 
rivers. Divers were sent down to explore the base of the obstruction 
and to see its character and extent. They found it to be of the length 
of about seventh' feet and of the width of thirty, and its general shape 
to be that of a whale's back. We have no account of the character 
or nature of the surrounding materials, nor how far in any direction 

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the conglomerated material extended, nor of its connection, if any, with 
other or kindred formations. At that time the river was very low and 
a considerable portion of the rock exposed. This occurred very seldom. 
To persons standing on the Ohio levee, the appearance of the rock 
rising out of the water was quite a sight. This is due somewhat to 
the fact of the apparent absence in our vicinity' of anything like rock 
formations. It was a dangerous obstruction, but only in low-water 
times. It is a little remarkable that the government did not take hold 
of the matter long before that time. Large pieces of the blasted 
materials were brought up to Cairo and the "Cairo Bulletin" of August 2, 
1874, noted the fact that Mr. Jewett Wilcox, of the St. Charles Hotel, 
now the Halliday, forwarded some large pieces to the Southern Normal 
School at Carbondale. 

In the "Cairo City Times" of Wednesday, February 21, 1855, we 
find the following: 

Last Sunday, the H. D. Bacon, from St. Louis to New Orleans, struck 
"that rock" a few yards from the wreck of the Grand Tower and sunk within 
three or four minutes. After her boiler deck was under water she floated down 
about a mile and is now lying on the Kentucky side. A number of yawls, 
skiffs, etc., started immediately for her, and as soon as the steamer Graham 
could get up steam she went down and took off the passengers, who numbered 
some twenty-five or thirty. No lives were lost. She was heavily laden with 
whiskey, flour, cattle, etc. She went down so suddenly that there was no 
time to cut the cattle loose and they were all drowned. Her cargo consisted 
of freight taken from the James Robb, which sunk near Cape Girardeau last 
Friday. The Bacon was insured in three different offices in St. Louis, for 
$15,000. We could learn nothing in relation to the insurance on her freight. 

In the same column of the "Times" the arrival and departure of 
steamboats are given, and it seems that the Bacon arrived from St. 
Louis on Sunday, the i8th of February, and departed the same day for 
New Orleans, but did not get further than the obstruction to which 
it gave its name. 

Ferries: Cairo's Need of. — By the act of February 21, 1845, 
Bryan Shannessy and Patrick Smith were authorized to establish and 
maintain a ferry across the Ohio River, "and land passengers, baggage 
and stock at the depot at Cairo." The fourth and last section of this 
act repealed the act to incorporate the Great Western Railway Com- 
pany, approved March 6, 1843. Why this repealing act was placed 
in the ferry act, I do not know. By the act of February 14, 1861, 
the ferry act of 1845 was amended. We know very little as to what 
was done under the act. 

The Cairo City Ferry Company was chartered February 13, 1857, 
the incorporators of which were Samuel Staats Tajdor, Ninian W. 
Edwards, John A. McClernand, John A. Logan, Brj^an Shannessy and 
Calvin Dishon. The charter authorized the company to establish and 
maintain a ferry over the Ohio River to Kentucky and over the 
Mississippi River to Missouri within three miles of the junction of 
the two rivers; and the right was made exclusive for ten years. The 
legislature retained the right to alter, amend or repeal the act as the 


public good might require, after twenty 3'ears. This company, or those 
persons representing it, have for fortj- to fifty years done almost all 
the ferrying we have had. 

By an act of March 6, 1867, the Valley Ferr\' Company was 
chartered, the incorporators of which were David T. Linegar, Patrick 
H. Pope, James S. Morris, J. Reed, John Hodges, Alexander H. Irvin 
and H. Watson Webb. The ferry was to be across the Ohio and 
Mississippi Rivers to Kentucky and Missouri and within three miles 
of the junction of the rivers. This company soon after its incorporation 
began the operation of a ferry here between the three states. Capt. 
John Hodges seems to have been in charge of their ferryboat, the 
Rockford, which was brought by him from Metropolis to Cairo in 
April, 1867. Controversies arose betw^een the two companies con- 
cerning exclusive rights of ferriage, and there not being business enough 
for the two, the Valley Company discontinued its ferry. 

A person seeing Cairo so nearly surrounded by the two great wide 
rivers, would very naturally expect the city to have reasonably good 
ferries for passage to and from the city and to and from the outlying 
country districts. As for bridges for other than railroad purposes, 
that is not to be thought of. So far from our having good ferrying 
facilities, the rivers have seemed as walls or barriers across which pass- 
age could be made only in the most primitive way. We have here 
within the city eight to ten miles of river frontage, entirely surrounding 
the city, excepting the rather narrow neck of Illinois land of the 
width only of som.ething over a mile. We have never had anything 
like good ferriage facilities. This is due to the difficulties of the situa- 
tion, that is, to the extreme distance of the rise and the fall of the rivers, 
and the unstable river shores, especially on the Mississippi. It seems 
impossible to construct permanent landing-places. Those we have had 
have been shifted from place to place so that they have never been any- 
thing but of the poorest kind. I cannot dwell upon this matter, but desire 
to say that the absence of good ferrying facilities has been a great and 
ever-continuing drawback to the prosperity of the city. Perhaps the 
time has gone by for regaining the ground that might have been gotten 
and held, had the city been strong enough to do so. Towns of a more 
or less prosperous growth have grown up near us and have well supplied 
the people who might have come to Cairo had they been able to get 
here easily. The city, it seems, has never been able to offer free 
ferriage; but were it able to do so and to make the approaches reason- 
ably easy and free from danger, our people would be astonished at the 
local trade which could still be drawn to the city. I have elsewhere 
referred to local trade as the main support of many of the best cities 
of the state. The now less useful rivers are the same effective barriers 
to local trade they have alwaj's been. I do not know what the city 
could now do; but at the earliest practicable time it should, with the 
hearty co-operation of the people, arrange in some way to reduce to 
the minimum the expense of reaching the city from across the two 
rivers. If it could be made free, it would be far better. 

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Cairo-Kaskaskia Bank Bills 





CAIRO Banks. — On the 2d day of March, 1839, the legislature 
granted to the Cairo City & Canal Company the right to use 
the banking privileges granted by the Territorial Act of Jan- 
uary 9, 1818, to the City and Bank of Cairo, the tenth section of 
which required the banking business of the corporation to be trans- 
acted at Kaskaskia; hence, the reason why the bank bills represented on 
the opposite page were issued at Kaskaskia. Bills were issued from 
time to time and to such an extent that the legislature thought best 
to interfere; and on March 4, 1843, it repealed the act of January 9, 
1 81 8, so far as it related to banking. 

The City Bank of Cairo was organized in the year 1858 under the 
general banking law of the state, by Mr. Lotus Niles, of Springfield. 
Of this bank Mr. James C. Smith was president and Mr. Alfred B. 
Safford was the cashier. It carried on its business in Cairo up to 
the time of the organization of the City National Bank. 

The Planters Bank of Cairo was organized under the same general 
banking act in the same year and by a Mr. Trimble, of McCracken 
County, Kentucky. It did business here for a few years and seems to 
have been succeeded by the First National Bank of Cairo. 

The First National Bank of Cairo was organized on the 24th 
day of July, 1863, under the National Banking Act of February 25, 
1863. The first board of directors were John W. Trover, Daniel 
Hurd, Robert W. Miller, and the president, cashier and teller were 
John W. Trover, Daniel Hurd and William H. Morris. The bank 
continued to do business for many years; but its experience was some- 
what varied, and its stock depreciating, Capt. William P. Halliday 
acquired the controlling interest in the stock, and after having carried 
on the business of the bank for a year or two, found it best to dis- 
continue the institution. 

The City National Bank of Cairo was organized February 7, 1865, 
under the same National Banking Act. The first board of directors 
were William P. Halliday, Samuel B. Halliday, A. B. Safford, S. 
Staats Taylor, and G. D. Williamson. The first of these became its 
president, the second its vice-president, and the third its cashier. They 
continued in these positions up to the times of their respective deaths. 
This bank continued to transact a large business in Cairo for over 
forty years, and until merged into the present First Bank & Trust 



The Enterprise (Savings) Bank of Cairo was chartered March 3, 
1869, the incorporators of which were William P. Halliday, William H. 
Green, and Alfred B. Safford. It was conducted chiefly as a savings 
bank and did a large business until its merger, with the City National, 
into the First Bank & Trust Company. 

The First Bank & Trust Company was organized on the 2d day 
of January, 1907, and is the successor of the City National Bank and 
the Enterprise (Savings) Bank above mentioned. The present officers 
and board of directors of the bank are as follows: John S. Aisthorpe, 
president; Henry S. Candee, Walter H. Wood, and William P. Halli- 
day, vice-presidents; H. R. Aisthorpe, cashier and secretary; Thomas 
P. Cotter, Reed Green, H. E. Halliday, Andrew Lohr, Peter Saup, 
Paul G, Schuh and Thomas J. Smyth. 

There was no other bank in Cairo besides the two National Banks 
from the year 1865 until the year 1875, when Thomas Lewis, long a 
resident of Cairo, organized the Alexander Count>^ Bank under the state 
banking law of February 15, 1851, and only a short time before that 
act was repealed by the adoption of the state constitution of 18 70. 
The officers of that bank were P. C. Canady, president; Henry Wells, 
vice-president; Thomas Lewis, cashier; and Thomas J. Kerth, assist- 
ant cashier. About one year later, the bank was reorganized, with 
Judge Fredolin Bross as president; Peter Neff as vice-president; 
Henry Wells, cashier; and Thomas J. Kerth, assistant cashier. It 
continued its banking business until July i, 1887, w^hen it was changed 
to a national bank, and called the Alexander County National Bank. 
Its present board of directors and officers are as follows: Edward A. 
Buder, president; Charles Feuchter, vice-president; James H. Galli- 
gan, cashier; Charles O. Patier, Calvin V. Neff, William Kluge, N. 
B. Thistlewood, David S. Lansden, George Parsons, and Thomas 
Boyd. In the year 1889, the Alexander County Savings Bank was 
organized. Its officers and directors are those of the Alexander County 
National Bank. 

The Cairo National Bank was organized in August, 1903, under 
the same national banking act. It has done a prosperous business and 
seems to have fully justified its establishment. The present board of 
directors and the officers are as follows: Egbert A. Smith, president; 
W. F. Grinstead, vice-president; E. E. Cox, cashier; and Q. E. 
Beckwith, assistant cashier; Daniel Hartman, M. J. Howley, E. J. 
Pink, T. J. Kerth, P. I. Nassauer, Oscar L. Herbert, and F. Teichman. 

Building and Loan Associations. — These associations might 
properly be called institutions of the city. That would be saying a 
great deal for them, but not more than they deserve. The evil of 
waste and prodigality is all prevailing. Anything that tends to teach 
frugality, economy, saving, thrift, should stand in great favor. Any- 
thing that tends to afford means or methods by which homes may be 
procured is certainly a very great thing in any civilized community. 
By means of these associations hundreds of homes have been secured in 



our city; and besides this, the invaluable lesson of economy has been 
widely and strikingly taught. 

The Cairo Building and Loan Association was established in 
the year 1880. Esq. Alfred Comings has been at its head all the time, 
and to him, more than to any other man, its success has been due. It 
is the pioneer society and should have the credit accorded all pioneers. 
I would be glad to give some statistics here, all of which v^^ould be 
strongly confirmatory of what I have said of the above associations. 
The present officers and directors of this association are: Henry Kasen- 
jager, president; Wm. Schatz, vice-president; A. Comings, secretaty; 
J. H. Galligan, treasurer; P. A. Conant, L. H. Myers, W. P. 
Greanej^, John C. Gholson, Charles F. Miller, and Paul G. Schuh. 

The Citizens' Building and Loan Association was established 
in the year 1887. Its present officers and directors are: E. A. Buder, 
president; M. J. Howley, vice-president; J. C. Crowley, secretaty; 
E. E. Cox, treasurer; John W. C. Fry, E. G. Pink, G. T. Carnes, 
Charles Feuchter, and G. P. Crabtrce. 

The Home Building and Loan Association was established in 
1890. Its present officers and directors are: Alexander Wilson, presi- 
dent; C. R. Stuart, vice-president; E. C. Halliday, secretary; George 
T. Carnes, treasurer; Miles Fred'k Gilbert, attorney; E. J. Stuart, 
G. P. Crabtree, C. B. Dewey, and T. L. Pulley. 

The Central Building and Loan Association was established 
in 1899. Its present officers and directors are: J. B. Magee, presi- 
dent ; C. S. Carey, vice-president ; Edward L. Gilbert, secretaty ; 
Thomas J, Kerth, treasurer; William S. Dewey, attorney; Frank 
Thomas, H. S. Antrim, T. J. Pryor, A. T. DeBaun, A. J. Rees, W. 
P. June, and Ira Hastings. 

The Greater Cairo Building and Loan Association was estab- 
lished in the year 1905. Its present officers and directors are: Paul 
G. Schuh, president; Bernard McManus, Jr., vice-president; Matt 
C. Metzger, secretaty; Wm. P. Greaney, treasurer; Frank Fergu- 
son, Walter Denzel, Reed Green, Ed. Hall, and Peter Day. 

The capital stock allowed to each of the above five associations is 

The Custom House. — Cairo was made a port of delivety by the 
act of congress of August 3, 1854. It ^'^^ discontinued August 31, 
1885, and re-established September 4, 1890. The following named 
persons were surveyors of the port in the order named : 

Col. John S. Hacker, 1854 to 1858; Levi L, Lightner, 1858 to 
1861 ; Col. James C. Sloo, in 1861 ; Daniel Arter, 1861 to 1869; 
George Fisher, 1869 to 1885; John F, Rector, 1890 to 1894; Frank 


Cassiday, 1894 to 1898; Thomas C. Elliott, 1899, to the present time. 
Cairo was never a port of entry. We suppose no place or point in 
southern Illinois was made a port of entry since the old act of February 
28, 1799, the 14th section of which created a collection district, called 
the District of Massac. The territory embraced in the district in- 
cluded the lands "relinquished and ceded to the United States by the 
Indian nations at the treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, lying near 
the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and on the north 
side thereof and from the mouth of the Ohio to the eastern side of the 
river Wabash." Fort Massac, or such other place as the President 
might designate, was made the sole port of entry for the district, and 
a collector was to be appointed who should reside thereat. Ports of 
entry are those ports established by law at which imported goods are 
fully described, that is, entered in and according to the form prescribed 
therefor. The entries are made by the owner of the vessel, a consignee 
of the goods, or other properly authorized person. Ports of delivery are 
those at which goods may be delivered and unloaded after having passed 
ports of entry. 

On the 1 8th day of February, 1859, the legislature ceded to the 
United States jurisdiction over block thirty-nine in the city for the 
construction of a building for a United States court, a post-office and 
a custom house. The Trustees of the Cairo City Propert)^ on the 
28th day of April, 1866, conveyed to the United States the said block, 
bounded by Washington Avenue, Poplar Street and Fourteenth and 
Fifteenth Streets; and in the years 1868 to 1871, various appropriations, 
amounting to one hundred and eighty-four thousand dollars, were 
made by congress for the erection of the present building on the block. 
The entire cost of the property is said to have been as much as two 
hundred and t\vent}^-five thousand dollars. The government began 
the erection of the building in the year 1869, and the same was com- 
pleted in the year 1872. The building was planned by the supervising 
architect at Washington, Mr. A. B. Mullett, who, when he came here 
and saw that the main floor of the structure was to be on a level with 
the then existing levees, ordered so much of the stone courses of the 
walls removed as would bring it down to the present grade. This 
recalls the fact that long before that time, it was the desire of a great 
many persons to have all the buildings of a permanent character erected 
to the grade of the levees ; and I believe the city established such a grade. 
Winter's block building on the corner of Seventh Street and Com- 
mercial Avenue, now the property of Mr. Edward A. Buder, was 
built to this high grade ; but it appearing that a lower grade was likely 
to come into general use, especially as the city government favored the 
lower grade, the owners of the building at very great expense lowered 
the same to the present grade. The beginning of the construction of 
the custom house building to the high grade was about the last im- 
portant attempt made in the city to build to that grade. The fine 
property of the Trustees on the east side of Washington Avenue, be- 
tween Eighteenth and Nineteenth Streets, is another example of high- 
grade construction. It is a matter of great regret that this high-grade 


method of building and street filling could not have been carried out. 
I do not suppose the city will ever return to it. Too much has been 
done and too much money expended to allow of the change. As here- 
tofore stated a number of times, it was a question of money, but Super- 
vising Architect Mullett could not have regarded the matter of ex- 
pense as important in the case of the Cairo custom house. As else- 
where remarked, the government could not accept the transfer of the 
block above mentioned and erect thereon an expensive building without 
the strongest assurances as to the title of the Trustees. This was 
perhaps the most important instance in which the Trustees undertook 
to show a title back to the government itself, or as we generally say, 
a perfect title. Mr. James C. Rankin was for a time superintendent 
of the construction of the custom house. He was succeeded by Mr. 
George Sease. Although forty years ago many of our citizens will 
remember those gentlemen. 

The Halliday Hotel. — The "Commercial Gazetteer of the Ohio 
River," with a map of the river from Pittsburg to Cairo, and published 
at Indianapolis in 1861, by G. W. Havves, contains quite a long list of 
Cairo advertisers, a few of whom only can be mentioned. There is 
not a word in any of its four hundred and forty-six pages to indicate 
that the war had then opened. The following are some of the adver- 
tising cards in the book: I. & W. Adler, clothing; John Antrim, 
wholesale and retail dealer in clothing, hats, caps, etc. ; Atlantic Hotel, 
F. E. Wilson, 15 Ohio Levee; Blelock & Co., booksellers; H. H. 
Candee and M. S. Gilbert, wholesale grocers, forwarding and com- 
mission merchants. No. i Springfield Block; John Cheek, hay, corn, 
oats, etc.; The City Bank of Cairo, A. B. Safford, cashier; Charles 
Galigher & Co., Cairo City Mills, Premium Eagle Flour; Graham, 
Halliday & Co., forwarding merchants and wharfboat proprietors; 
Hamilton & Riley, dry goods; Planters Bank, Bank Building, Ohio 
Levee, Walter Hyslop, cashier; G. F. Rasor, International Saloon, 
Ohio Levee; A. B. Safford, general insurance agent and cashier of 
City Bank of Cairo; Smyth & Brother, wholesale and retail grocers; 
J. Q. Stancil, butcher and meat market. Commercial Avenue ; A. F. & 
J. B. Taylor, wholesale grocers, commission and forwarding merchants. 
No. 9 Springfield Block; Trover & Miller, forwarding commission and 
grocery merchants. No. 11 Ohio Levee; F. Vincent, wholesale and 
retail dealer in produce, provisions, etc., 18 Ohio Levee; I. Walder & 
Co., wholesale and retail dealers in clothing; Williamson, Haynes & 
Co., commission and forwarding merchants on their new wharfboat; 
Wilson & Co., forwarding and commission merchants. No. 4 Spring- 
field Block; William Winter, hardware, Commercial Avenue, and 
restaurant, Ohio Levee. 

Among the numerous hotels named are the St. Charles, the Lamothe 
House, the Louisiana House, the Virginia Hotel and the Central 
House. The St. Charles Hotel twenty years afterwards became the 
Halliday Hotel. 

I may speak of the Halliday Hotel as one doing and having long 


done great credit to our cit}\ Were almost everything else in the city 
made to correspond with it, we would have a fine city of fifty to one 
hundred thousand people. If we could "grow twenty feet high and 
swell out in proportion," in the language of Dickens, so as to corre- 
spond with the hotel, the Illinois Central Railroad bridge would be 
at the center of the city instead of being on its north boundary line. 

On the 9th day of February, 1857, the legislature of the state in- 
corporated the Cairo City Hotel Company. The incorporators were 
Ninian W. Edwards, John T. Smith, John E. Ousley, Hiram Walker, 
William Butler, Daniel Hannon, Thomas Ragsdale, James C. Conk- 
ling, John Cook, Philip Wineman, Thomas H. Campbell, Benjamin 
F. Edwards, W. J. Stephens and Abraham Williams. The hotel was 
in the course of construction when the inundation of June 12, 1858, 
occurred; and the water coming in all around the foundation and 
reaching a large storage of lime, the effect was such as to cause a part 
of one of the w^alls to fall. The work went on at once after the sub- 
sidence of the water, and the hotel w^as finished and named the St. 
Charles and opened about the first of Januar}', 1859. It was conducted 
by different persons from time to time, under leases from its owners; 
and like almost everything else in Cairo, had a somewhat varied ex- 
perience, especially after the war closed. During the war its business 
was up to its full capacity all the time. Afterw^ards it shared largely 
in the general shrinkage which took place. The ownership of the 
hotel changed but two or three times, and in the year 1880, Halliday 
Brothers acquired the property, and so improved it as to make it almost 
a new" building. Its name was changed to "The Halliday" and opened 
under the new management July 1, 1881. New improvements were 
made from time to time, until in 1908, the very large addition was 
made on the south side, greatly enlarging its capacity and rendering it 
in every respect a first-class modern hotel. The property now belongs 
to the estate of Capt. Halliday, and with the Gayoso Hotel, of 
Memphis, has been under the management of Mr. L. P. Parker for a 
number of years. Mr. Parker has long stood in the front rank of 
hotel managers. If the reader will turn to Chapter XXX and read the 
account there given by a Frenchman he will see what the Frenchman 
said of the hotel about the time it was first opened. The Frenchman's 
language is extravagantly commendatory; but the fact is that this hotel 
from the day it w^as first opened to the present time has been far above 
the character and standing of almost any hotel anywhere in the country 
in a city not larger than ours. 

The Springfield Block. — This block when it first received its 
name extended from 6th to 8th Streets and fronted on what is now 
Ohio Street. The buildings were erected by Springfield men, including 
Governor Joel A. Matteson, and almost all of the hotel men above 
mentioned. Governor Matteson erected the City National Bank build- 
ing, changed considerably in the last few years and now the property 
of the First Bank & Trust Company. The rooms on the second and 


third floors of this building were occupied during the war by many 
distinguished army men. General Grant, while here in 1861, occupied 
the second-floor rooms on the north side of the building, rooms now 
constituting the law offices of the Hon. Miles Frederick Gilbert. In 
that pamphlet of 105 pages, entitled "Past, Present and Future of 
Cairo," frequently referred to herein, those Springfield men set forth 
the fact that they had invested three to four hundred thousand dollars 
in Cairo in the purchase of lots and in the making of improvements 
thereon, and claiming that for the damages done them by the inundation 
of June 12, 1858, the Trustees, or the Illinois Central Railroad Com- 
pany, or both together, should reimburse them. 

The Court of Common Pleas. — This court was established by 
our legislature for the city by the act of February 6, 1855. It was 
amended in many important particulars by the act of Februarj^ 14, 
1859. It had jurisdiction to the amount of fifty thousand dollars and 
of all crimes except those of treason and murder. Its first judge, the 
Hon. Isham N. Haynie, was appointed by Governor Joel A. Matteson 
February 13, 1856, and again January 8, 1857. The law provided 
that in 1861, and every six years thereafter, the judge of the court 
should be elected by the people of the cit^^ Judge John H. Mulkey 
was elected judge of the court June 12, 1861, and again June 27, 1867. 
He held the office until it was abolished by the act of February' ig, 1869. 
H. Watson Webb was appointed prosecuting attorney of the court 
April 24, 1856, and served in that capacit>^ until June 26, 1867, when 
Fountain E. Albright was elected to succeed him. 

Judge Haynie was born at Dover, Tennessee, November 18, 1824. 
He worked on a farm to obtain means to study law and was licensed 
in 1846. He was a lieutenant in the 6th Illinois volunteers in the 
Mexican War. On his return, he resumed the practice in 1849, and 
in 1850, was elected to the legislature from Marion County. He 
graduated from the Kentucky law school at Louisville, in 1852. In 
i860 he was presidential elector on the Douglas ticket for this con- 
gressional district. In 1861 he became colonel of the 48th regiment 
Illinois volunteers. He was at the battles of Fort Donelson and 
Shiloh, and was severely wounded in the latter battle. In 1862, he 
was defeated for congress by the Hon. William J. Allen, and the 
same year he was made brigadier general in the Union army. He 
resumed the practice of the law at Cairo in 1864, and in 1865 was 
appointed by Governor Oglesby, adjutant general of the state. He 
died while holding that oflfice at Springfield in November, 1868. He 
was the senior member of the firm of Haynie, Marshall & Gilbert for 
a while before his removal to Springfield, the junior member having 
been the Hon. William B. Gilbert, who has been somewhat longer 
than the writer a member of the Cairo bar. Most of the above facts 
regarding General Haynie are taken from the "Historical Encyclopedia 
of Illinois." 

Judge Mulkey lived many years in Cairo and was well known, 


not only here in southern Illinois, but all over the state. He stood very 
high as a lawyer and jurist, and few such men have a better established 
reputation with the bar and the judges of our courts throughout Illinois, 
Quite a full biographical sketch of Judge Mulkey is found in volume 
eleven of the publications of the Illinois Historical Society, now in 
our public library and owned by a number of our citizens. There 
was more of politics in the repeal of the act creating the court of 
common pleas than there was of good to the city. It may be here 
stated that many real-estate titles in the city are based on judgments of 
this court. 

Alexander M. Jenkins. — I have delayed speaking of Judge 
Alexander M. Jenkins, in the hope of obtaining answers to my letters 
to a number of persons for information concerning him, but for some 
reason the letters seem to have been neglected, and hence the appear- 
ance here of what I have relating to this somewhat noted man, who held 
our circuit court here during the years 1859-1863. The following very 
brief account of him I have taken from the "Historical Encyclopedia 
of Illinois" : 

Alexander M. Jenkins, Lieutenant Governor (1834-36), came to Illinois 
in his youth and located in Jackson County, being for a time a resident of 
Brownsville, the first county seat of Jackson County, where he was engaged 
in trade. Later he studied law and became eminent in his profession in 
southern Illinois. In 1830, Mr. Jenkins was elected representative in the 
seventh general assembly; was re-elected in 1832, serving during his second term 
as speaker of the house; and took part the latter year in the Black Hawk 
War as captain of a company. In 1834, Mr. Jenkins was elected lieutenant 
governor at the same time with Governor Duncan, though on an opposing 
ticket, but resigned, in 1836, to become President of the first Illinois Central 
Railroad Company, which was chartered that year. The charter of the road 
was surrendered in 1837, when the state had in contemplation the policy of 
building a system of roads at its own expense. For a time he was Receiver 
of Public Moneys in the Land Oflice at Edwardsville, and in 1847, was 
elected to the State Constitutional Convention of that year. Other positions 
held by him include that of Justice of the circut court for the third judicial 
circuit, to which he was elected in 1859, and re-elected in 1861, but died in 
office February 13, 1864. Mr. Jenkins was the uncle of General John A. 
Logan, who read law with him after his return from the Mexican War. 

I may here say that it has been stated a number of times that 
Judge Jenkins, as far back as 1832 or 1833, when in our state legisla- 
ture, proposed the survey of a line for a railroad from the mouth of 
the Ohio River to Peru on the Illinois River. I have tried very hard 
to verifj^ this statement or claim but have been unable to do so. It 
is said that the records of the proceedings of the legislature of that 
early day are so incomplete or so lack fullness that the mere absence of 
anything therein relating to such action on his part would not at all 
justify the conclusion that no such action had been taken. 

We have already seen how Jenkins and Holbrook were associated 
together in 1836 and subsequent years in efforts to build a cit>^ here 
and an Illinois Central Railroad. We know very little of their mutual 
dealings either as individuals or as representatives of their companies; 

.^ ^. .x^/^^^. 


but our circuit court records here show that Joel Manning, as assignee 
of Jenkins, on the 15th day of November, 1845, sued Darius B. Hol- 
broolc on a promissory note under seal and in the words and figures 
following : 

"Alton, III, May 26, 1837. 
For value received, I promise to pay to the order of Alexander M. 
Jenkins the sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars in three years from date, 
at the Branch of the State Bank of Illinois at Alton. 
$20,000. D. B. Holbrook (Seal)" 

On the back of the note is the following: "Received city of N. York 
June, 1839, one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) on the within note;" 
and also the following endorsement: "For value received of him I 
hereby make over and assign and transfer the within note to Joel 
Manning, May 20th, 1840. A. M. Jenkins." On the back of the 
summons is the following return: "Served by reading the same to 
D. B. Holbrook on the 23rd day of November, 1845. A. W. Ander- 
son, Sheriff, Alex., 111." 

Judgment was recovered on this note for the amount due thereon ; 
and it seems there was also a foreclosure suit based on a mortgage 
given to secure the note, and the mortgaged propertj^ sold and the 
proceeds of the sale credited on the note. This entry of credit con- 
sists of four or five lines and seems to be in the handwriting of Col. 
S. Staats Taylor; but he was not here at that early daj^, and the entry 
seems to have been made a long time ago. 

When the writer came to Cairo many years ago he frequently heard 
Judge Jenkins spoken of as a very able man. The Hon. Monroe C. 
Crawford, of Jonesboro, I am sure, would speak in the highest terms of 
Judge Jenkins, both as to his excellency as a man and his great ability' as 
a judge. 

Besides Judge Jenkins, there were a number of other men of strong 
character who were associated with Jenkins, Holbrook, Breese, Gilbert 
and others, of whom I have not been able to say more than a word. 
There were David J. Baker, senior, Thomas Swanwick, Anthony 
Olney, Kenneth McKenzie, John M. Krum, who became and was for a 
long time a very prominent lawyer and citizen of St. Louis, and a 
number of others whom I would like to mention more or less fully. 
Joel Manning, above mentioned, was long a resident of Brownsville, 
quite a celebrated old town of Jackson County, Illinois, the site of 
which is now in a cornfield. Manning was secretary of the Illinois 
& Michigan Canal Board and was in public life many years. With 
reference to the Holbrook-Jenkins note above described, we may 
say that the promoters of the Cairo of 1836 were active business men 
and took hold of their enterprise wMth great energy; and it is no 
wonder that some of them became heavily involved. The outlook 
was so bright and promising that they ventured quite too much in 
many cases. 



THERE has never been, in all probability, a time since the year 
1750 when there was not a small settlement of some kind here, 
a house or cabin or two or three of them and now and then 
more of them. They were erected, of course, on timbers high enough 
to be above the spring floods. Trees of all kinds and suitable for every 
purpose were near by, and to the hardy woodsmen it was easy enough 
to construct suitable cabins to shelter their families and the few 
strangers who called at the point on their voyages up and down the 
rivers. There were no doubt small cleared patches of ground where 
were grown a few vegetables for their use; and it is not quite out 
of the question to suppose that some of them threw up small embank- 
ments to protect their possessions from the usual high water which 
they well knew must be expected at almost any time in the early part 
of the j^ear. We must not forget that in those very early days there 
were adventurers enough, considering the state of the country. We 
must not suppose that there were none except those who kept accounts 
or journals of their travels. For every one who kept a diary or 
journal and preserved it for the use of himself and others, there were 
five or ten who scarcely thought of posterity or how they might hand 
their names down to coming generations. Even some of the voyagers 
of high degree and standing seem to have noted very few of the 
wonders they saw. We read their very meager accounts, and get just 
enough to cause us to want more. But it was the new world and 
everything was wild and strange, and there were few and slight chances 
to examine carefully and write fully about what they saw or heard 
in the ever changing scenes the rivers afforded. We may speak of a 
single instance: 

General Clark's letter, found elsewhere, of September 23, 1778, 
tells of his having to keep an armed boat at the point to watch both 
the English and the Spanish. His men were no doubt encamped on 
the point, and near by them were very probably woodsmen, hunters 
and others, although Clark said the ground was too low for the estab- 
lishment of a secure and permanent fort. 

The travelers were almost alwaj^s voyagers, and most of them were 
upon the Ohio, in the later times. The river reached into the Alle- 
ganies and near the regions of settled habitations. The landing on the 
Ohio side here was always good. There was no trouble with low 
water and seldom with high water, except for a month or two in the 
spring time. The current was always near to this shore, and whatever 




kind of boat or vessel was used, it naturally came closer to the landing 
on the Ohio side bewteen the two rivers. The little cutting of the 
banks here has always been on our side, and for a hundred years or 
more none at all has been known on the Kentucky shore just opposite 
our city. 

Can we in any better way use a reasonable number of pages than 
by giving a page or two from the travelers and writers who passed 
along the rivers as well before as after there was a settlement here? 

From Fortesque Coming's "Sketches of a Tour of the Western 
Country"; 1807-1809. — Of this Englishman, Thwaites speaks in his 
preface as follows in "Early Western Travels," Vol. IV, pages g-io: "In 
plain dispassionate style he has given us a picture of American life in 
the west, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, that for clear-cut 
outlines and fidelity of representation has the effect of a series of photo- 
graphic representations. In this consists the value of the book for 
students of American history. We miss entirely those evidences of 
amused tolerance and superficial criticisms that characterize so many 
English books of his day, recounting travels in the United States — a 
state of mind sometimes developing into strong prejudice and evident 
distaste, which has made Dickens' 'American Notes' a caricature of con- 
ditions in the new country." 

He and a friend left Pittsburg July 18, 1807, in a "battau or flat 
bottomed skiff, twenty feet long, very light, and the stern sheets roofted 
with very thin boards, high enough to sit under with ease and long 
enough to shelter them when extended on the benches for repose, should 
they be benighted occasionally on the river, with a side curtain of tow 
cloth as a screen for either the sun or the night air." They spent many 
months at different points along the river and did not reach this part 
of the country until the month of May, 1808. The following is from 
pages 226-278 of Vol. IV: 

" May 22nd, at 6.zy break we gladly cast off, and at a mile below 
Wilkinsonville, turned to the left into a long reach in a S. W. and S. 
direction, where in nine miles farther, the river gradually narrows to 
a half a mile wide, and the current is one fourth stronger than above. 
Three miles lower we saw a cabin and small clearing on the right 
shore, apparently abandoned, five miles below which we landed in the 
skiff, and purchased some fowls, eggs, and milk, at a solitary but 
pleasant settlement on the right just below Cash Island. It is occupied 
by one Petit with his family, who stopped here to make a crop or two 
previous to his descending the Mississippi, according to his intentions 
on some future day. 

"Two miles and a half from hence, we left Cash River, a fine har- 
bor for boats, about thirtA^ yards wide at its mouth, on the right, and 
from hence we had a pleasant and cheerful view down the river, and 
a S. S. E. direction five miles to the Mississippi. 

" First on the right just below the mouth of Cash River, M'Mullin's 


pleasant settlement, and a little lower a cabin occupied by a tenant who 
labored for him. A ship at anchor close to the right shore, three miles 
lower down, enlivened the view, which was closed below by Colonel 
Bird's flourishing settlement on the south bank of the Mississippi. 

"We soon passed and spoke the ship, which was the Rufus King, 
Captain Clarke, receiving a cargo of tobacco, &c., by boats down the 
river from Kentucky, and intended to proceed in about a week, on a 
voyage to Baltimore. It was now a year since she was built at Mari- 
etta, and she had got no further yet. 

" At noon we entered the Mississippi flowing from east above, to 
east by south below the conflux of the Ohio, which differs considerably 
from its general course of from north to south. 

"We had thought the water very turbid, but it was clear in com- 
parison of the Mississippi, and the tw^o rivers being distinctly marked 
three or four miles after their junction. The Ohio carried us out 
almost into the middle of the Mississippi, so that I was almost de- 
ceived into thinking that the latter river ran to the west^vard instead 
of to the eastward ; by the time, however, that we were near mid- 
channel the Mississippi had gained the ascendanq', and we were forced 
to eastward with increased velocity, its current being more rapid than 
that of the Ohio. We soon lost sight of the labyrinth of waters formed 
by the conflux of the two rivers, and quickly got into a single channel, 
assuming gradually its usual southerly direction. Wi now began to 
look for Fort Jefferson, marked in Mr. Cramer's Navigator as just 
above Mayfield Creek on the left, but not seeing either we supposed 
they were concealed by island No, i acting as a screen to them." 

In the "Recollections, of the Last Ten Years in the Valley of the 
Mississippi" by the Rev. Thomas Flint, which is a collection of let- 
ters by the author to the Rev. James Flint, we find in letter twelve, pp. 
85 and 86, the following: 

" The 28th of April, 1816, we came in sight of what had long been 
the subject of our conversation, our inquiries and curiosity, the far- 
famed Mississippi . . . turning the point, and your eye catches the 
vast Mississippi rolling down her mass of turbid waters, which seem, 
compared with the limpid and greenish colored waters of the Ohio, 
to be almost a milky whiteness. ... A speculation w^as gotten up 
to form a great city at the Delta, and in fact they raised a few houses 
upon piles of wood. The houses were inundated and when we were 
there, ' they kept the town,' as the boatmen phrase it, in a vast flat 
boat, a hundred feet in length, in which there were families, liquor 
shops, drunken men and women and all the miserable appendages 
to such a place. To render the solitude of the pathless forest on the 
opposite shore more dismal, there is one gloomy looking house there." 

Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains; 1819. — This expedition 
was sent out by the Hon. John C. Calhoun, the Secretan^ of War under 
President Andrew Jackson. The men who went were Major S. H. 


Long, of the United States Corps of Topographical Engineers, John 
Riddle and William Baldwin, both of Pennsylvania, Thomas Say, 
Augustus E. Jessup, Titian Ramsey Beale, James D. Graham, of Vir- 
ginia, and William H. Swift, of Massachusetts. They were well 
equipped and had delayed their start somewhat for better preparation. 
In this respect, they were in better condition than were Lewis and Clark, 
fourteen years before. Calhoun's instructions to them showed he had 
in mind the honor and success which came to Jefferson in sending out 
the expedition he did to the Oregon coast. 

They left Pittsburg on the steamboat Western Engineer, May 
3, 1819, and reached the mouth of the Ohio River the afternoon of 
May 30. Edwin James, botanist and geologist of the expedition, 
wrote the account of the journey and of the work accomplished, and 
the same makes four volumes of Thwaites' "Early Western Travels," 
beginning with Vol. XIV, 

Major Stephen Harriman Long, whose name was given to one of 
the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Long's Peak; 14,000 feet 
high, was the father of Henry C. Long, who was for many years the 
chief engineer of the Cairo City Property management and also an 
engineer here for the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He pre- 
pared the very valuable topographical map of Cairo, dated July 2, 1850, 
which shows the whole face of the point as it existed when the Hol- 
brook people turned over the abandoned city to the Trustees of the 
Cairo City Froptrty. This was almost a year before Col. Samuel 
Staats Taylor came here, which was April 15, 185 1. A photograph 
copy of Long's topographical map, made from the original now on 
file in the War Department at Washington, is found on another page. 

Major S. H. Long had become Col. Long before the year 1850, 
and we find that in that year he caused a very full and complete survey 
to be made of this place and its immediate vicinit}^ The work was done 
under his direction and supervision but by his son, Henry C. Long, who 
addressed his report to "Col. Long, U. S. Top'l Engineer, Supt. Western 
R. Improvements, &c, Louisville, Kentucky." The report is dated 
at Louisville, September 2, 1850, and Col. Long submitted the same 
to Messrs. Davis and Taylor, Trustees of the Cairo City Property, City 
of New York, by a letter dated at Louisville, September 4, 1850. A 
part of the report is found in Chapter VIII. 

James describes fully their journey down the Ohio. Nearly every 
city, town, village and hamlet comes in for its proper share of 
attention, getting just about what every one would suppose it ought 
to have. On pages 84 and 85, we read as follows: 

" On the 30th, we arrived at a point a little above the mouth of 
Cash river, where a town has been laid out, called America. It is on 
the north bank of the Ohio, about eleven miles from the Mississippi, 
and occupies the first heights on the former, secure from an inunda- 
tion of both rivers, (If we except a small area three and a half miles 
below, where there are three Indian mounds, situated on a tract con- 
taining about half an acre above high-water mark.) The land on both 


sides of the Ohio, below this place, is subject to be overflowed to va- 
rious depth, from six to fourteen feet in time of floods ; and on the 
south side, the flat lands extend four or five miles above. The aspect 
of the countrj', in and about the town, is rolling or moderately hilly, 
being the commencement of the high lands between the two rivers; 
but below it, however, the land is flat, having the character of the low 
bottoms of the Ohio. The growth is principally cottonwood, sycamore, 
walnut, hickor}', maple, oak, &c. The soil is first-rate, and well 
suited to cultivation. Here follows quite an account of America and 
the adjacent country, in which it is said, 'This position may be con- 
sidered as the head of constant navigation for the Mississippi.')" . . . 
"In the afternoon of the 30th (May, 1819), we arrived at the mouth 
of the Ohio river. 

" This beautiful river has a course of one thousand and thirty-three 
miles, through a country surpassed in fertilitj^ of soil by none in the 
United States. Except in high floods, its water is transparent, its 
current gentle and nearly uniform. For more than half of its course, 
its banks are high and its bed gravelly, 

"The confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi is in latitude 37° 22' 
9" north, according to the observations of Mr. Ellicott, and in longi- 
tude 88° 50' 42" west, from Greenwich. The lands about the junction 
of these two great rivers are low, consisting of recent alluvion, and 
covered with dense forests. At the time of our journey, the spring 
floods having subsided in the Ohio, this quiet and gentle river seemed 
to be at once swallowed up, and lost in the rapid and turbulent cur- 
rent of the Mississippi. Floods of the Mississippi, happening when 
the Ohio is low, occasion a reflux of the waters of the latter, perceptible 
at Fort Massac, more than thirty miles above. It is also asserted, that 
the floods in the Ohio occasion a retardation in the current of the 
Mississippi, as far up as the Little Chain, ten miles below Cape Gir- 
ardeau. The navigation of the Mississippi above the mouth of the 
Ohio, also that of the Ohio, is usually obstructed for a part of the winter 
by large masses of floating ice. The boatmen observe that soon after the 
ice from the Ohio enters the Mississippi, it becomes so much heavier by 
arresting the sands, always mixed with the waters of that river, that it 
soon sinks to the bottom. After ascending the Mississippi about two miles, 
we came to an anchor, and went on shore on the eastern side. The 
forests here are deep and gloomy, swarming with innumerable mosqui- 
toes, and the ground overgrown with enormous nettles. There is no 
point near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi from which a 
distant prospect can be had. Standing in view of the junction of these 
magnificent rivers, meeting almost from opposite extremities of the 
continent, and each impressed with the peculiar character of the regions 
from which it descends, we seem to imagine ourselves capable of com- 
prehending at one view all that vast region between the summits of the 
Alleghanies and of the Rocky Mountains, and feel a degree of im- 
patience at finding all our prospects limited by an inconsiderable extent 
of low muddy bottom lands, and the unrelieved, unvaried gloom of 
the forest. 


" Finding it necessary to renew the packing of the piston in the 
steam-engine, which operation would require some time, most of the 
gentlemen of the party were dispersed on shore in pursuit of their 
respective objects, or engaged in hunting. Deer, turkeys, and beaver 
are still found in plenty in the low grounds, along both sides of the 
Mississippi; but the annoyance of the mosquitoes and nettles preventing 
the necessary caution and silence in approaching the haunts of these 
animals, our hunting was without success. 

" We were gratified to observe many interesting plants, and among 
them several of the beautiful family of the orchidae, particularly the 
orchis spectabile, so common in the mountainous parts of New England. 

" The progress of our boat against the heavy current of the Missis- 
sippi, was of necessity somewhat slow. Steam-boats in ascending are 
kept as near the shore as the depth of water will admit; and ours often 
approached so closely as to give such of the party as wished, an oppor- 
tunity to jump on shore. On the first of June, several gentlemen of the 
party went on shore, six miles below the settlement of Tyawapatia 
bottom, and walked up to that place through the woods. They passed 
several Indian encampments, which appeared to have been recently 
tenanted. Under one of the wigwams they saw pieces of honeycomb, 
and several sharpened sticks that had been used to roast meat upon ; 
on a small tree near by was suspended the lower jaw-bone of a bear. 
Soon after leaving these they came to another similar camp, where they 
found a Shawanee Indian and his squaw, with four children, the 
}'Oungest lashed to a piece of board, and leaned against a tree. 

" The Indian had recently killed a deer, which they purchased of 
him for one dollar and fifty cents — one-third more than is usually paid 
to white hunters. They afterwards met with another encampment, 
where were several families. These Indians have very little acquaint- 
ance with the English language, and appeared reluctant to use the few 
words they knew. The squaws wore great numbers of trinkets, such 
as silver arm-bands and large ear-rings. Some of the boys had pieces 
of lead tied in various parts of the hair. They were encamped near 
the Mississippi, for the purpose of hunting on the islands. Their 
village is on Apple Creek, ten miles from Cape Girardeau. 

" June 2d. As it was only ten miles to Cape Girardeau, and the 
progress of the boat extremely tedious, several of the party, taking a 
small supply of provisions, went on shore, intending to walk to that 

"About the settlement of Tyawapatia, and near Cape a la B ruche, 
is a ledge of rocks, stretching across the Mississippi, in a direct line, 
and in low water forming a serious obstacle to the navigation. These 
rocks are of limestone, and mark the commencement of the hilly 
country on the Mississippi. Here the landscape begins to have some- 
thing of the charm of distant perspective. We seem released from the 
imprisonment of the deep monotonous forest, and can occasionally over- 
look the broad hills of Apple Creek, and the Au Vaise, or Muddy river 
of Illinois, diversified with a few scattered plantations, and some small 
natural meadows. 


"About five miles above Cape Girardeau we found the steam-boat 
Jefferson, destined for the Missouri. She had been detained some 
time waiting for castings which were on board the Western Engineer. 
Several other steam-boats, with stores for the troops about to ascend 
the Missouri, had entered that river, and were waiting to be overtaken 
by the Jefferson and the Calhoun, which last we had left at the rapids 
of the Ohio. On the 3d of June we passed that insular rock in the 
middle of the Mississippi, called the Grand Tower. It is about one 
hundred and fifty feet high, and two hundred and fifty in diameter. 
Between it and the right shore is a channel of about one hundred and 
fifty yards in width, with a deep and rapid current." 

" The Grand Tower, from its form and situation, strongly sug- 
gests the idea of a work of art. It is not impossible that a bridge may 
be constructed here, for which this rock shall serve as a pier. The 
shores, on both sides, are of substantial and permanent rocks, which 
undoubtedly extend across, forming the bed of the river. It is probable, 
however, that the ledge of rocks called the Two Chains, extending 
down to Cape a la Bruche, presents greater facilities for the construc- 
tion of a bridge than this point, as the high lands there approach nearer 
the river, and are less broken than in the neighborhood of the Grand 
Tower. The Ohio would also admit of a bridge at the Chains, which 
appear to be a continuation of the range of rocks here mentioned, 
crossing that river fifteen miles above its confluence with the Missis- 
sippi. We look forward to the time when these great works will be 

Alexander Phillip Maximilian, prince of Wied-Neuwiedj made a 
journey down the Ohio from Pittsburg in the years 1831 and 1832. 
The following is what he says of his trip from Smithland at the mouth 
of the Cumberland to the mouth of the Ohio, which he reached March 
20, 1832. (Thwaites' "Early Western Travels," Vol. XXII, pp. 200- 

" At this place the Paragon took in wood and provisions. Not far 
from Smithland is the mouth of the Tennessee River, which is said 
to be more considerable than the Cumberland, and to have a course of 
1,200 miles. The little village, Paduca, on the left bank of the Ohio, 
appeared to have much traflSc, and a number of new shops had been 
built. The Western Pilot of the year 1829 does not mention this 
place — a proof of its recent origin. From hence we came to the spot 
where Fort Massac formerly stood, stones of which are still found. 
We lay to some hundred paces below to take in wood, of which our 
vessel consumed twelve cords daily. The grass on the banks was al- 
ready of a bright green colour, and a race of large, long-legged sheep 
were grazing on it. We lay to for the night. 

" Early in the morning of the 20th of March we approached the 
mouth of the Ohio, where it falls into the Mississippi, 959 miles from 
Pittsburg, and 129 3-4 miles from St. Louis. The tongue of land on 


the right, which separates the two rivers, was, like the whole of the 
country, covered with rich woods, which were partly cleared, and a 
few houses erected, with an inn and store, and the dwelling of a planter, 
where we took in wood. In this store we saw, among heaps of skins, 
that of a black bear, lately killed, of which one of the three cubs, a 
very comical little beast, had been kept alive. This young bear had on 
his breast a semicircle of white hair. The settlement, at which we 
were now, has no other name than Mouth of the Ohio. We now 
entered the Mississippi, and ascended it, keeping to the left or eastern 

The following is from the diary of Mr. Caleb B. Crumb, fur- 
nished me by his son, Mr. D. S. Crumb, of St. Louis, through Mr. 
Robert P. Bates, of Chicago. It is one of the most interesting papers 
to be found an)avhere relating to the early historj^ of this locality. In 
a letter of October 15, 1909, to Mr. Bates, accompanying the extract, 
Mr. Crumb says of his father, " That on the trip spoken of, he met, 
by accident, a Mr. Sanford, the recorder of deeds and the clerk of the 
Circuit Court at Jackson, the county seat of Cape Girardeau County, 
Missouri, who became interested in the young fellow, evidently in 
rather rough company on the raft, and offered him, off hand, a position 
in his office, and that on his return up the river he stopped over and 
did some work in his office, and that he then returned home, but that 
twent}^-two years later, after some reverses at Morris and Chicago, he 
went to Jackson on the invitation of Mr. Sanford; and from that time 
dates the establishment of the Crumb family in Missouri." 

" Mouth of the Ohio River, May 29, 1836. 

"I am a raftsman now and can much more skillfully wield the oar 
than the pen. At this time I ardently desire language to suitably de- 
scribe this neglected place, which evidently awaits a high destiny. 

" While I stand in this southwest corner of the State of Illinois on a 
beautiful point of land commanding a full view of the majestic ' Father 
of Waters ' on the right and the limpid Ohio on the left, I seem to 
see in the place of the two houses which at present constitute this 
un-named village, a noble and flourishing city, containing thousands 
of inhabitants, enjoying the unparalleled advantages of an unbounded 
expanse of fertile country around it and a water communication alike 
uninterrupted by the parching heat of summer or the fettering cold 
of winter. I confidently believe that this almost desert point of land is 
susceptible of greater improvement than any other equal portion of land 
in America. 

" Mr. Bird's is the only family residing here at present. The Union 
Hotel is a fine building as also the store which is set up about ten 
feet above the ground on wooden piles. Both buildings are of wood." 

From "Eight Months in Illinois'' by William Oliver, Neiucastle 
upon Tyne, 1843: 


" Before arriving at the mouth, we looked out anxiously for the 
Father of Waters; but could not, even after we were told he was in 
sight, distinguish him, until we came very near, and then it was more 
from the quantity of ice floating on his surface than from any local 
feature, that we became aware of his presence. This results from the 
Ohio gradually bending, particularly on the left shore, in the direction 
of the course of the Mississippi. One might readilj'- suppose it only a 
bend in the river. The place of junction has the appearance of a large 
lake; and from the landing-place, at Bird's Point (Cairo), there is a 
view of seven or eight miles down the Mississippi, and of nearly as 
much up the Ohio. The Mississippi is here one mile and the Ohio 
one mile and three quarters, wide. 

" As the boat was bound for New Orleans, and I intended to ascend 
the Mississippi, I was set ashore to wait for some boat which should 
pass for St. Louis. The appearance of the rivers was grand, but the ad- 
juncts were anything but agreeable. The place had a bad name, and 
certainly did not seem very captivating or safe, from the number of 
idle, vagabond-looking boatmen who were strolling about its desolate 
shores. These were some of the crews of a great number of flat boats 
or scows, which lined the shores of the Ohio, and who durst not, with 
such unwieldy things, venture into the ice on the Mississippi. For- 
tunately, there were five of us travelling the same route, and as we 
had become in some measure acquainted during our voyage down the 
Ohio, we felt the more confident. Whilst one watched the luggage, 
the rest went about to see if they could procure accommodation at any 
place besides the inn, as it had anything but a good character. We 
might have saved ourselves the trouble, however, as there was no other 
dwelling, except a log hut, full of the choppers of wood for the steam- 
ers. We walked about the bank till near dark, in the expectation of a 
boat for St. Louis, or some other town up the Mississippi ; but night 
approached without any boat appearing, and we reluctantly had our 
things carried to the house, which aspired to the distinction of hotel. 
Two of our part5% however, foiind one of the owners of a Hat boat 
whom they knew, and got themselves huddled into his boat, amongst a 
cargo of horses, fowls, Yankee bedposts, &c. I looked down into their 
den, and how they contrived to stow themselves away at night along 
with four or five people belonging to the boat, I do not pretend to 
guess. On going into the bar-room of the inn, I was somewhat sur- 
prised to find it very much like the bars of other inns; there were, to 
be sure, two or three strange outlandish-looking gentry sitting around 
the stove; but such visions are verj' frequently met with in all the 
taverns and boats on those rivers. 

"The prospect had now become rather drearj\ The ice on 
the Mississippi was so dense, that it was very doubtful if any 
boat would venture into it; it was certain that no boat, except one of 
the strongest and most powerful, would make the attempt, and equally 
certain that there would be some danger and risk of losing the boat. 


There was no road from the point in any direction; no such thing 
dreamed of as a stage, nor so much as a wagon for love or money. 
Taking it on foot, with the chance of bivouacking in the woods for two 
or three nights, was the only chance of getting away. To be sure, the 
landlord had a horse, which he very politely offered us for three times 
its value, but when he 'obnoxiously made his approaches,' we declined 
the proffered favour. 

"All went on very well till a short time after supper, when, as 
we were sitting in the bar-room, two men, Kentucks, came in; one of 
them desiring to write a letter, the other, as ugly a looking fellow as 
I ever saw, standing by. The scribe had scarcely commenced, when 
the landlord went up to him, and enquired if he was not the person 
who had lately insulted him at the wood-yard. The Kentuck denied 
that he had done anything to insult him. ' Do you not reckon it an 
insult, sir,' said the landlord, a tall, thin fellow, with an agueish look, 
and a dreadful cough, * to moor your flat boat at my wood-yard, where 
you have no right to bring it, and when I merely mentioned it to you, 
and cautioned you that j-ou might get your boat staved by some of the 
steamers which came to the yard for firewood, do 3^ou call it no insult 
to threaten to put a bullet through me? If it had not been that I was 
alone, sir, I would have pitched you into the river.' ' Well, sir — now, 
sir,' edged in the little Kentuck, ' hear me, sir, will you, sir, give us the 
usage of a gentleman, sir — speak to us as one gentleman ought to 
speak to another, sir.' 'Yes, sir, treat us like gentlemen, sir — treat us 
genteelly, &c., &c.,' said the tall, ugly Kentuck. After an immense 
deal of palaver, and the most horrible swearing on both sides, for about 
a quarter of an hour, the writer tore his letter to pieces, saying he 
found this was no place for gentlemen, that he would disdain to stay 
in it any longer, and that he would report the landlord's behaviour, 
and do all in his power to injure his custom. The brawl had now 
come to such a height, and there was so much gesticulation, that I 
looked everj"^ moment for the long knives, which are very generally 
carried, and had serious apprehensions that the fray would end in 
bloodshed. The Kentucks had been gradually retreating towards the 
door, on attaining which, they said somewhat I did not hear, but which 
so enraged our landlord that he rushed after them in the dark, and such 
a shrieking and shouting arose, that I thought some of them had got 
stabbed, particularly when one cried murder. There had been no 
harm done, however, but the affair did not look much better when the 
landlord came into the bar-room, took up his rifle and carefully exam- 
ined the priming, and the bar-keeper and he began hastily to load two 
or three other guns and some pistols. The Kentucks, having been 
joined by their companions at the boat, now commenced shouting and 
firing guns in bravado, to see, as I understood, if they could induce 
their opponents to com.e out and have a regular battle; our landlord, 
however, merely went to the door and fired off a pistol, to let them 
know that he was prepared for them. Nothing more took place, and 
in a' short time all was quiet. 


" Next morning (it was Sunday) when 1 awoke, the sun was just 
rising over the forest of Kentucky, and through two windows on op- 
posite sides of the room I could lie in my bed and look out on the two 
mighty rivers, the Ohio glittering in the rays of the sun, and studded 
with immense quantities of driftwood, and the Father of Waters cov- 
ered with an almost entire mass of ice, moving steadily along with a 
sort of mysterious hurtling noise, the dense, dark forest lining the dis- 
tant shore of each. There was the stillness of death, save that sound 
proceeding from the ice-clad river, and now and then the report of a 
gun, rolling on till lost in the woods. 

" The boatmen of the numerous flat boats were mostly provided 
with guns, and shot ducks on the river, or went to the woods to shoot 
deer, which were in great abundance, particularly on the Kentucky 
side of the Ohio. After breakfast, the whole forest far and near 
seemed to be alive with men, cracking and shooting in all directions ; its 
being Sunday, not seeming to influence in the slightest degree these 
almost lawless denizens of the western wilderness. 

"There was, on this day, an occurrence at Bird's Point (Cairo), which 
I was inclined to suspect would not be frequent. A priest, of what per- 
suasion I know not, happened to be amongst us, who, having intimated 
a desire to preach, was permitted by the landlord to occupy a room in 
the hotel. A considerable number, I think about thirty, attended, and 
it was strange to look round on the rough, weather beaten, and, in 
some instances, savage-looking faces of the hearers. The preacher de- 
livered a very appropriate and sensible discourse. 

" Another day passed in tedious expectation. The frost having be- 
come less intense, and the influence of the sun being very considerable, 
so much so, indeed, that some of the people walked about through the day 
with their coats off, the ice had grown somewhat thinner. It takes a 
severe frost to preserve the ice from being thawed before it reaches this 
latitude, 37° north. This day two boats came down the Mississippi 
from St. Louis, and their report of the diflSculty and danger of coming 
down made our case almost hopeless. The boats had come in company 
all the way, the one in the wake of the other, and that which had 
sailed foremost had not a board left on her paddle wheels. When 
there was such difficulty in getting down, it may easily be conceived 
that there would be still greater difficult}^ in ascending against a current 
of five or six miles an hour. 

" A boat came up the river from New Orleans, for Cincinnati, 
whose report rather revived us again, as she had been able, though with 
considerable difficulty, to make way against the ice, which, however, 
was thinner below than above the junction of the rivers. There was 
no ice on the Ohio. This boat told us of one which we might expect 
in a few hours, on her way to St. Louis; but night came and no boat. 
" This must be a very unhealthy place, as it lies so low, that when 
the Mississippi rises in June, from the melting of the snow on the 
Rocky Mountains, it overflows almost everj^ foot of land, all around 
far into the forest, and on the Mississippi, at frequent intervals, for 


about 30 miles up the river. The inn is set upon posts of seven or 
eight feet high, and is placed on the highest point of ground in the 
neighborhood, and a sort of gangway, also raised on posts, and cross 
logs, connects the house and store, at which is the landing place for 
passengers and goods, when the water is high. The landing is on the 
Ohio, the Mississippi being nearly a quarter of a mile from the inn. 

" To those who do not know the locality, it may appear singular 
that there is no town on this point — a fact, however, of itself sufficient 
to indicate the impracticability of such an undertaking. No doubt a 
town might be built, but the whole point is composed of an alluvion 
so very friable, that if the Mississippi, in one of his ordinary freaks, were 
to change his course, the whole affair might be swept away in a few 
days. Some may think of embankments, but that is a dream, the baseless 
fabric of a vision. For a long way up the river there is no shore, but a 
perpendicular mud bank, which is constantly being undermined and 
tumbled into the river; besides, the whole point is liable to periodical 

" On the afternoon of next day (Christmas) the long-looked-for 
boat arrived, and we were gratified to hear her captain say he was 
determined to proceed. So much time, however, was put off in fixing 
some trees to the bows of the boat, to ward off the ice, that night ap- 
proached, and the captain thought proper not to venture into the ice 
till next morning. 

" Early next morning we started. A considerable number of people 
had collected on the extreme point to witness the attempt. It certainly 
was with some anxiety that we saw the bows of the boat enter the ice, 
and the shaking and agitation caused by the striking of the paddles on 
the large pieces, were very considerable; we found, however, that the 
boat could make way, though slowly, and in a short time nobody 
seemed to care much about it." 

In January, 1849, Col. Henry L. Webb, of Trinity, at the mouth 
of Cache River, or possibly at that time of Cairo, was making up a 
company for a trip to California by way of New Orleans, Brownsville, 
Mexico and Arizona, and John Woodhouse Audubon, a son of John 
James Audubon, the great ornithologist, arranged to join Col. Webb 
with a large number of men and to proceed from Cairo on their 
journey. They came down the Ohio from Pittsburg and reached 
Cairo about February 12th, and New Orleans February i8th. He 
speaks of Col. Webb and his wife and son, the latter of whom was 
H. Watson Webb, we suppose. Here is an account of his arrival and 
short stay at Cairo: 

"Large flocks of geese and ducks were seen by us as we made the 
mouth of the Ohio, and the numbers increased about Cairo. The ice 
in the Mississippi was running so thick that the 'J. Q. Adams' returned 
after a fruitless effort to ascend the river. All Cairo was under water, 
the wharf boat we were put on, an old steamer, could only accommodate 
thirty-five of our party, so that the other thirty had to be sent to 


another boat of the same class; the weather was extremely cold, with 
squalls of snow from the north with a keen wind. There was no plank 
from our boat to the levee of Cairo, the only part of the city out of 
water. Will it be wondered at that a slight depression of spirits 
should for an instant assail me? But when a man has said he will do 
a thing it must be done if life permits, and in an hour we found our- 
selves by a red hot stove, the men provided with good berths for the 
place, cheerfulness restored, and after an hour's chat, while listening 
to the ever increasing gale outside, we parted for the night to wake 
cold, but with good appetities even for the horrible fare we had, and 
as young Kearney Rodgers said, as we looked at the continents of 
coffee stains, and islands of grease here and there, with lumps of tallow 
and peaks of frozen butter on our once white table cloth, ' Is it not 
wonderful what hunger will bring us to?' 

" Here we found Col. Webb with his wife and son. I was much 
pleased with the dignified and ladylike appearance of Mrs. Webb; 
once she had been very beautiful, now she was greatly worn, and had 
a melancholy expression, under the circumstances more appropriate than 
any other, for her husband and only son were about to leave her for 
certainly eighteen months, and perhaps she was parting with them 
for the last time. We chatted together in rather a forced conversation, 
until the * General Scott ' for New Orleans came by, and then went 
on board, paying eight dollars for each man and five dollars each for 
Col. Webb's three horses. So much for Cairo; I don't care ever to 
see it again." 

The flood of which Audubon here speaks was the same one written 
about by Editor Sanders in his "Cairo Delta," of March 20, 1849. It 
was the same flood that broke through the Mississippi levees, the crev- 
asse in which is seen on the large map of July, 1850. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Cunynvhame, in his "Glimpse of the 
Great Western Republic," London, 1851, says, on pp. 2 and 3: 

" My absence from Montreal was to be seven weeks, and I pro- 
posed, in the first instance, to travel about a thousand miles west, and 
to strike the Mississippi well to the northward, in the State of Iowa, 
to enjoy a few days' grouse shooting; thence to travel about fifteen 
hundred miles down the Mississippi to New Orleans, visiting any 
places worthy of attention on the way; passing through the Southern 
States, to Savannah, Charleston, and returning to Montreal through 
the most flourishing cities of the Union — Washington, Baltimore, 
Philadelphia, New York and Boston. 

" On the evening of the 26th, (October, 1850) we at length arrived 
at Cairo. Here I found several steamboats, bound both up and down the 
river, waiting for cargo, and for passengers. I was particularly struck 
with the neat and cleanly appearance of the 'Lexington,' and as she was 
advertised to sail on the following day for New Orleans, and her draught 
of water was considerably less than that of the 'Atlantic,' of which I was 


by this time heartily tired, I determined to engage a berth on board 
her. The owner of the ' Atlantic ' was exceedingly unwilling that I 
should do so, assuring me that the ' Lexington ' would not leave Cairo 
for some days, whereas the clerk of that vessel stated that she would 
certainly depart the following morning. Amongst all these contradic- 
tory assertions I was somewhat puzzled, but determined to abandon 
the 'Altantic'; I therefore sacrificed a few dollars, and obtained an 
exceedingly good stateroom in my new boat. 

" The site of the town of Cairo was purchased many years since 
by an English company, of which, I understand, the Rothschilds were 
to be the principal shareholders. Geographically speaking, there is perhaps 
no position in the whole of the United States which would promise better 
for the site of a large city than that of Cairo. It is situated at the 
fork of the Ohio and Mississippi. The navigation for large boats dur- 
ing a low state of water commences here. The mid-winter navigation 
when the upper waters of both these rivers are choked with ice, is 
free to this point; from its position, it would naturally be the spot 
where the great railroads from north to south of the western parts of 
the United States would traverse. These advantages have, however, 
been as yet paralj^zed by the fearful floods which annually lay all this 
country under water, frequently rising much above an embankment, 
here called a 'levee,' which some years since has been thro\\Ti around 
the site of the intended cit3^ The enterprise of the west, however, 
has now grown to such a pitch, as to overcome all natural obstacles 
where any chance of gain exists; and this winter the whole site of 
Cairo city is to be placed in the market, the company having deter- 
mined, as an inducement to purchasers, to build a dike around it that 
will bid defiance even to this mighty stream. No doubt, on the sub- 
siding of the waters, that is, during the summer, an unhealthy miasma 
will invade its precincts. Yet this will not deter thousands from occu- 
pying this position, nor will there be any want of persons to supply 
the places of those who may succumb to its effects; for a species of 
Californian yellow fever, which rages in parts of the United States, 
never abates in consequence of the innovations of any other; and thus 
Cairo, though now insignificant, may in a few years excel, both in 
wealth and in size, as it speedily will in intelligence, its older namesake, 
Cairo on the Nile, whose propensities to overflow her banks are the same 
as the Mississippi. Another cause, I was informed, which has retarded 
Cairo, was that the company, following the English custom, declined 
to sell the lots, and were only willing to let them on long leases. 
When so much land and city lots are in the market, property under 
these restrictions will rarely attract purchasers; but now that they are 
to be for bona fide sale, no doubt they will find purchasers." 

From " Guide Americain," by Jules Rouby, Paris, i8^g. — There is 
some error in the date, but the reference is to the Halliday Hotel. The 
Illinois Central, however, was completed about three or four years before 
the hotel. The translation is sufficiently literal to show its French orio-in. 


" Cairo, five and a half miles below, in the State of Illinois, is the 
site of Eden, according to the celebrated English novelist, Charles 
Dickens. This insignificant village, which comprises as yet only two 
hundred and fifty to three hundred inhabitants, and whose beginning 
goes back several years, occupies from the commercial point of view, a 
situation almost unrivaled in the entire world ; thus no mediocre ambi- 
tion is there cherished. Seated at the confluence of the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi, at the apex of the delta formed by those two powerful water- 
courses, it aspires to become some day an eminent city, a colossal center 
of progress and of business; in a word, to become the key of all the 
commerce of the south, west, and northwest of the United States. It 
is true that this enterprise presents unimaginable difficulties for its 
realization, and that up to the present time, the town of Cairo has 
marked its ambitious pretensions only by superhuman efforts to arise 
from a small estate and to defend its alluvial flats against the two 
streams which constantly threaten it with inundation and unhealthful- 
ness. These two streams are not, however, invincible, and it is en- 
tirely probable that American ability will in the end triumph over 
them by means of perseverance, labor, and expenditure of money. The 
results, howsoever obtained by this intrepid ability, permit one to dream 
for Cairo the brilliant destiny that its incomparable geographical situ- 
ation promises, and that the indefatigable activity of its populace is 
preparing. Let us note, in passing, that this tinj'^ village gives itself, 
as much as possible, anticipatory airs of a great city. Already there 
are to be seen several buildings for business purposes of a monumental 
aspect, and an hotel which would honor the finest city of both worlds. 

"Cairo will soon become the terminus of the Illinois Central Rail- 
way, now in course of construction, and at this point must occur some 
future day the welding of a continuous transportation route on the 
perimeter of the great federal republic." 



TO the people of Cairo, Fort Jefferson has so long been one of 
their very few places for outings that we are justified in giving 
a short sketch of it here. 

It seems that the matter of the establishment of a fort at or near 
the mouth of the Ohio River was taken up by General George Rogers 
Clark and Col. John Todd with Governor Patrick Henry and then 
with Governor Thomas Jefferson, in 1778 and 1779, and that the 
fort and block-houses were constructed early in 1780. In the Virginia 
State Papers, Vol. I, will be found the correspondence relating to the 
matter. Among the letters are the following: Lieutenant Governor 
John Page to Col. Todd, at Kaskaskia, Aug. 16, 1779; General Clark 
to Governor Jefferson, Sept. 23, 1779; General Clark to Capt. Silas 
Martin, Sept. 30, 1779; General Clark to Col. Todd, March, 1780; 
and Col. Todd to Governor Jefferson, June 2, 1780. 

The other letters, not above referred to, show the low state to 
which the post had become reduced ; the starving condition of the 
troops and the settlers assembled there; the constantly threatened 
dangers from the Indians; the frequent request for aid and its tardy 
arrival; the attacks upon the fort by the Indians under the lead of 
James Colbert, a Scotchman; the repulses and the final abandonment 
of the place as a post and settlement, probably in 1781. Some of the 
settlers returned eastward and others removed to Kaskaskia. 

The following is the letter from General Clark to Governor Jeffer- 
son above referred to: 

Louisville, September 23, 1779. 
Dear Sir: — I am happy to find that your sentiments respecting a Fortifica- 
tion at or near the mouth of the Ohio is so agreeable to the Ideas of every 
man of any judgment in this Department. It is the spot that ought to be 
strong and Fortified, and all the Garrisons in the Western Country Depend- 
ent on it, if the ground would admit it, but the misfortune is, there's not an 
acre of ground nearer the Point than four miles rise the Ohio, but what is 
often Ten feet under water. About twelve miles below the Point there is a 
beautiful situation, as if by nature designed for a Fortification by every obser- 
vation that has been taken, which lays a quarter of a degree within the 
State of Virginia. Its elevation is such that a small expense would render it 
very strong and of greater advantage than one four miles up the Ohio. In 
case you have one built, a few years will prove the propriety of it. It would 
immediately become the Key of the whole Trade of the Western Country and 
well situated for the Indian Department in General. Besides many Salutary 
Effects it would render During the War, by awing our Enemies, the Chicke- 
saws, and the English Posts on the Mississippi. The strength of the Garrison 
ought not to be less than Two Hundred men, when built. A Hundred fami- 



lies that might easily be Got to Settle in a Town would be a great advantage 
in promoting the place. I am sensible that the Spaniards would be fond to 
settle a Post of Correspondence opposite to it, if the ground would admit. 
But the country on their side is so subject to inundations, that it is impossible. 
For the want of such a Post I find it absolutely necessary to station an armed 
boat at the Point so as to command the navigation of both rivers, to defend 
our Trading Boats and stop the great concourse of Tories and Deserters that 
pass down the River to our Enemies. The Illinois, under the present circuni- 
stances, is by no means able to supply the Troops that you Expect in this 
department with provisions, as the crops at Vincennes was so exceedingly bad 
that upwards of Five Hundred Souls have to depend on their Neighbors for 
Bread. I should be exceedingly glad that you would commission some Per- 
son to furnish the Troops in this Quarter with provisions, as the greater Part 
must come from the Frontiers for the ensuing year, as I can't depend on the 
Illinois for supplies more than will be sufficient for two hundred and_ fifty 
men. There is an easy conveyance down the Tennessee River and Provisions 
more plenty on Holsten than in the neighborhood of F. P. H. [Fort Patrick 
Henry]. Colonel John Campbell, who promised to deliver this letter to Your 
Excellency I believe would undertake the task at a moderate salary, and a 
gentleman of undoubted veracity. But pray, sir, order as much Provisions 
Down as will serve the Troops you intend sending out, at least six months. 
I am. Sir, with the greatest respect, your humble servant, 

Geo. Clark. 

It will be observed that General Clark desired to establish the fort 
here at the point, but the low ground and the frequent inundations 
forbade it. It will also be noticed that he speaks of maintaining an 
armed boat at the point. At that time the whole country west of the 
Mississippi was owned by Spain. Our Revolutionary War was then 
going on ; and it was not expected that the Spanish government would 
be very friendly to the cause of the colonies, and hence Clark's desire 
to keep his eye on the Spanish territoiy lying just across the river. 

In the letter of Clark to Martin of Sept. 30, 1779, Clark suggests 
the granting of forty or fifty thousand acres of land to persons who 
would come and settle in the vicinity of the fort; and Todd in his 
letter to Jefferson of June 2, 1780, says: " I therefore granted to a 
certain number of families 400 acres, to each family, at a price to be 
settled by the general assembly." These two letters throw considerable 
light upon the origin of such land claims as those of the Flannerys, 
the McElmurrays, and of Standlee in this county- of ours. 

I am indebted to Col. Emmet W. Bagby, of Paducah, for the fol- 
lowing account of the fort, taken chiefly, it seems, from Vol. II, pages 
39 and 40, of Collins' "History of Kentucky," ed. of 1882. 

Fort Jefferson. — "Under intimations from Governor Patrick Henry, 
dated January 2, 1778, that 'it was in contemplation to establish a post near 
the mouth of the Ohio, with cannon to fortify it,' coupled with express instruc- 
tions from Thos. Jefferson, next Governor of Virginia, dated June 28, 1778, 
and repeated in January and April, 1780, Gen. Geo. Rogers Clark, with about 
200 soldiers, left Louisville early in the summer of 1780, and proceeding 
down the river to a point on the Mississippi called the Iron Banks, five miles 
below the mouth of the Ohio, then in the State of Virginia, there erected a 
fort with several block-houses, which he called Fort Jefferson.^ One object 
was to fortify the claim of the United States to the Mississippi River as its 
■western boundary, south of the Ohio. Governor Jefferson had engaged a 
scientific corps, with Dr. Thomas Walker at its head, to ascertain by celestial 


observations the boundary line between Virginia and North Carohna, or the 
point on the Mississippi River intersected by the latitude of 36° 30', the 
southern limit of Virginia. Gen. Clark was instructed 'to select a strong posi- 
tion near the point, and there establish a fort and garrison; thence to extend 
his conquests northward to the lakes, erecting forts at different points, which 
might serve as monuments of actual possession, besides affording protection to 
that portion of the country.' The result of Clark's bold operations, thus au- 
thorized, was the addition to the chartered limits of Virginia, and so recog- 
nized by the treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1783, of that immense 
region — afterwards called the 'North Western Territory,' and ceded by 
Virginia to the United States— which now comprises the five great states of 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

"The Chickasaw Indians were in 1770 the undisputed owners of the territory 
on the west of the Tennessee River, including the ground at the mouth of May- 
field Creek, where Fort Jefferson was built. By some unexplained oversight or 
neglect of positive instructions, or inability to comply with them, this site had 
not been purchased of the Indians, nor their consent obtained to the erection of 
the fort, thus arousing their most bitter resentment. After awhile they began 
marauding and then murdering individuals of the isolated families who had 
settled around the fort, thus dfiving them into the fort, and butchering many, 
including the whole family of Mr. Music, except himself. In their skirrnishes, 
they captured a white man whom they compelled, at the risk of his life, to 
reveal the true condition of the garrison and families, already reduced, by 
sickness and absences, to about thirty men, of whom two-thirds were sick 
with fever and ague. These were commanded by Capt. George, according to 
Mann Butler, and others, and according to Gov. John Reynolds, by Capt. 
James Pigott. The Indians, who now came a thousand or twelve hundred 
strong to 'the work of bloody extermination, were led by Colbert, a Scotchman, 
who had gained great control over them. The siege lasted five or six days, 
the inmates of the fort being reduced to terrible extremities by famine, sick- 
ness, scarcity of water, watching and fighting. Their principal food was 
pumpkins with the blossoms yet on them. They had sent for spccor, but the 
distance was great. They refused a demand for a surrender within an hour, 
although notified that a strong force had been sent to intercept the small assist- 
ance expected. A desperate night assault was made, but as they crowded on, 
Capt. Geo. Owen, commander of a block-house, raked them with great slaughter, 
with a swivel loaded with rifle and musket balls. Other efforts to storm the 
fort, and to set fire to it, were bravely resisted. At last Gen. Clark arrived from 
Kaskaskia, with provisions and reinforcements, and the baffled savages sullenly 
withdrew, still threatening vengeance The fort was abandoned shortly after, 
from the difficulty of supplying it because so remote. 

"During the late civil war, a long six-pounder iron cannon buried beneath 
the fort was partially exposed by the caving in of the Mississippi River. Jos. 
Dupoyster, who owns the site of the fort, dug it out, but was robbed of it by 
Federal soldiers then stationed at Cairo. 

"Among the soldiers of Gen. Clark at Fort Jefferson, were Wm. Biggs, James 
Curry, Levi Teel, David Pagon, John Vallis, Pickett, Seybold, Groots and many 
others." — (See also English's "Conquest of the Northwest," Vol. II.) 

The following is the commission given James Colbert, Nov. 23, 
1780, by Major General John Campbell, commanding his Majesty's 
forces in the Province of West Florida. 

"Reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, zeal and attach- 
ment to his Majesty's Person and Government, and by virtue of the powers 
and authorities in me vested, I do hereby constitute and appoint you a leader 
and conductor of such volunteer inhabitants and Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek 
or other Indians as shall join you, for the purpose of annoying, distressing, 
attacking or repelling the King's enemies, when, where and as often as you 


shall judge proper for the good of his Majesty's service, subject always to 
such further orders and instructions as you shall from time to time receive 
from me or any other person or persons duly authorized for the purpose." 
— Virginia State Papers, Vol. I. 

Bird's Point and the Birds. — This point or place, now Cairo, 
for some considerable time, and probabl}^ at different times, bore the 
name of Bird's Point. The family of the Birds were originally Vir- 
ginians. One or more of them, it is said, came west as early as 1779 
and 1780, when those families or settlers came to the vicinity of Fort 
Jefferson at the solicitation of Governor Jefferson and General George 
Rogers Clark. Clark had impressed upon Jefferson that as a part of 
the plan of establishing the fort, an attempt should be made to get a 
hundred families or more to come and settle on the lands adjacent to it. 
It was supposed that a permanent post could be thus established which 
would greatly aid in protecting the frontier country. One or more of the 
Birds were here on this point between the rivers as early as 1795. 
There were then few settlers anywhere in this region of the country. All 
of the Fort Jefferson people had dispersed, as it were, after the aban- 
donment of the fort. Many of them had gone back east\vard. They 
were too far from their old homes and had gotten too near the borders 
of what seemed to them the exclusive domain of the Indians. The 
Birds could make no entries of land at that time, and it seems they 
went on to the Cape Girardeau settlement, where many of their rela- 
tives named Byrd were. The change in the spelling of the name was 
no doubt comparatively recent. Many of our citizens remember George 
W. Henricks, the contractor and builder. His sons, the lawyers Wm. 
E. and George W., insisted that there should be a letter "d" in the 
name, and they put it there for themselves and their families, but their 
father never adopted the new spelling, 

Abram Bird purchased land on the Missouri side as early as 1798; 
and their operations there and here resulted in the use of the same 
name for each place at different times; but so far as the point goes it 
was more applicable to the Illinois than to the Missouri side. 

The large tract of land, about 800 acres, just south of town and 
now owned by Mr. Egbert A. Smith, owes its origin to a small island 
up where the river turns eastward and towards the present Bird's Point 
and Kentucky shore. It was far out in the river, and its growth was 
chiefly eastward and toward the Illinois shore. In 1850 it had reached 
half the distance to the Ohio, and within a few years it threw out a 
sand bar which extended so far toward the Kentucky shore that boats 
which did not come out of the Illinois channel, but passed down the 
Missouri channel, had to run close to the Kentuckj^ shore and then 
turn around the sand bar and come on up to the Cairo landing. This 
island was put down on the old river guides as Bird's Island. After- 
ward it took and held for a long time the name "Cairo Island." This 
point was also once called Willow Point. An early English traveler 
making a trip down the Ohio and writing about the place, said it had 
no other name beside Willow Point. Bird's Point, and Ohio City near 


by, once seemed to be ver}' hopeful of a prosperous growth. This was 
chiefly in the years of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, 1855 up to 

In Houck's recent and valuable "Historj' of Missouri," Vol. II, p. 164, 
where the prairie on which Charleston now stands is spoken of, it is 

" This prairie was known during the Spanish occupancy as 'Prairie 
Carlos,' but afterwards among the American settlers became known as 
'Mathews' Prairie.' It was a favorite pasture of buffalo and in 1781, 
when Fort Jefferson was besieged by the Indians, Joseph Hunter, cross- 
ing the river, hunted and killed buffalo here, and carrying the meat to 
the river thus supplied the starving garrison. The first pioneer settler 
was Charles Finley, in 1800. He sold his claim to Abram Bird, senior. 
Edward Mathews came to this prairie in the same year; so also Edward, 
junior, Joseph and Charles Mathews. Abram Bird in 1798 received 
a grant from De Lassus on the Mississippi, opposite the mouth of the 
Ohio and which thus became known as "Bird's Point." He and his 
brother Thompson were related to the 'Byrds' of the Cape Girardeau 
district, although spelling their names differently. The original grant 
has long since been carried away by the Mississippi and much other 
land belonging to the family." 

It was not until 181 7 that William and Thompson Bird made a 
trip to Kaskaskia, the seat of the land office, and entered the lands they 
desired and which they had long known and no doubt lived upon. 
Thompson Bird, in the name of Thompson Bird & Company, on the 
26th day of July, 181 7, entered the southwest quarter of section 25, 
containing 160 acres, and on the same day William Bird entered the 
southeast fractional quarter of the same section containing 112.29 
acres and on July 28, 181 7, William Bird entered fractional section 36, 
containing 46.47 acres. This shows that at that time there was no 
island adjoining or near to the Illinois shore; otherwise it would have 
been embraced in William Bird's purchase of fractional section 36. 
Nor does the government survey of 1807 show anything south of the 
main land or shore. This small strip of land of 46.47 acres lay just 
south of an east and west line running through block 56 in the city. 
William and Thompson Bird together paid for these lands $637.52, 
which was at the rate of $2.00 an acre, the price then required to be 
paid. These lands embraced what is now the whole_ of the southern 
part of the city, lying south of an east and west line just south of the 
stone depot at 14th and Ohio Streets, and east of a north and south 
line running just east of the Saf¥ord school building in block 80, in 
the First Addition to the city. It embraced all of the city as first 
platted, all of the second and third additions and part of the first 

Some of us have often heard Kentuckians speak of the Jackson 
Purchase, reference always being had to western Kentucky, between 
the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. This descriptive phrase arose in 


this way: President Monroe appointed Isaac Shelby and Andrew 
Jackson to make a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians for all that 
part of the country lying north of the south line of Tennessee and be- 
tween the Tennessee, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The treaty was 
concluded October 19, 18 18, and was signed by Shelby and Jackson 
and a number of the Indian chiefs of that nation, among them Major 
General William Colbert, Col. George Colbert, Levi Colbert and 
Tames Colbert, half-breeds, and descendants of the James Colbert 
mentioned above. This treaty seems to have been somewhat supple- 
mental to the treaty of September 20, 1816, signed by Andrew Jackson, 
D. Meriwether and J. Franklin for the United States and the Col- 
berts and other Indians for the said tribe. In the treaty of October 
19th, and among the amounts of money the government was to pay 
the tribe was "the sum of ten hundred and eighty-nine dollars to 
Major James Colbert, interpreter, for that amount of money taken 
from his pocket in the month of June, 1816, at the theatre in 

Concerning Fort Jefferson much additional information is contained 
in vol. V, Illinois Historical Collections "Kaskaskia Records," Alvord. 




Fire of December 8, 1858. — On the 8th day of Decem- 
ber, 1858, about six months after the disastrous inundation of 
1858, the city hall or court-room and the ofKce of the register of 
deeds on Ohio Street, between Sixth and Eighth Streets, was destroyed 
by fire; and on the i8th day of the February following, the legislature 
passed an act for the restoration of the records as far as possible, the 
preamble of which is in these words : 

"Whereas the city hall, court-room and office of the register of deeds, 
at, in and for the city of Cairo, was, on the eighth day of December, A. 
D. 1858, consumed by fire, with all the records and proceedings of 
the corporate authorities of said city, the records of judgments, decrees 
and files of the court of common pleas of said city, and the records of 
deeds registered and recorded by the said register of deeds therefor, 
together with all other documents relating to the offices aforesaid or 
contained in the archives thereof; therefore, Section i, be it enacted, etc." 

This fire accounts largely for the absence of early city records, such 
as ordinances and proceedings of the Trustees of the town of Cairo 
from March, 1855, to March, 1857. '^^ doubt this fire made way with 
very much that would have possessed great historic interest. 

The Cemetery of the Lotus. — On the 3d day of February, 
1853, the legislature incorporated the Cairo Cemetery Association, 
The incorporators were Samuel Staats Taylor, Henry Clay Long, 
George D. Gordon, Patrick Corcoran, Thomas S. Taylor and Charles 
Davis. It was authorized to purchase and hold not exceeding fifteen 
acres of land for cemetery purposes. 

A tract of land five hundred feet in width and thirteen hundred and 
seven feet in length and amounting to fifteen acres, situated about a 
quarter of a mile, more or less, east of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad and 
about two miles, or a little less, above the Illinois Central bridge was 
surveyed and platted into blocks, lots and avenues, on the 2gth day of 
November, A. D. 1855, for a cemetery, for the use of the people of the 
city of Cairo. The tract of land is a part of the northwest quarter 
and the southwest quarter of section ten and a part of section nine, 



in our township. The cemetery was used for a number of years; and 
among Col. Taylor's papers are quite a number relating to it. A very 
interesting one is the original certificate of survey made under the hand 
and seal of Mr. John Newell, "Deputy Count}^ Surveyor in and for 
Alexander County, State of Illinois." Mr. Newell afterwards became 
and was for a number of 5^ears the president of the Illinois Central 
Railroad Company and was still later the president of the Lake Shore 
Sc Michigan Railway Company. He was one of the very noted rail- 
way officials of the country, long after his residence here in this county. 

"The Orphan Asylum of Southern Illinois at Cairo." — 
On the 1 8th day of August, 1866, the Trustees of the Cairo Cit>' 
Property, Taylor and Parsons, conveyed to Captain Daniel Hurd, 
trustee for the Protestant Orphan Asylum of Cairo, Illinois, for the 
consideration of one thousand dollars ($1000) , lots 14, 32, 33, 34 and 
35, in block 42, in the First Addition to the City of Cairo; and about 
that time those persons who were associated with him arranged for the 
erection of a building upon the lots and the incorporation of the society ; 
and on the 25th day of February, 1867, the same was incorporated by 
an act of our legislature and the above name given to the society. The 
names of the incorporators are the follo\\ang: Mrs. D. Hurd, Mrs. H. 
W. Wardner, Mrs. A. B. Fenton, Mrs. G. D. Williamson, Miss 
Jennie Sloo, Mrs. J. C. Rankin, Mrs. D. T. Parker, Mrs. A. B. 
Safford, Mrs. William Stratton, Mrs. Rachel Slack, Mrs. H. W. 
Webb, Mrs. J. M. Morrow, James C. Sloo, Daniel Hurd, Henry W. 
Webb, Henry H. Candee, Charles Galigher, A. B. Fenton, Samuel R. 
Hay, Alfred Comings, William J. Yost, John Olney, and Charles 

Some time during the war, the Christian Commission people erected 
on the south side of Fourth Street, between Ohio Street and Com- 
mercial Avenue, a building for the prosecution of their army work. 
This building was purchased by the Orphan Asylum people and re- 
moved to the lots above described, and the structure stands there now 
just about as it was placed forty-three years ago. On the 29th day of 
Januar}^ 1883, they purchased from the Trustees, for the consideration 
of four hundred and fifty dollars, lots 15, 16 and 17, immediately west 
of said lot 14. The first deed is recorded in Book O on page 360; and 
the second deed in the same book, on page 41254. For many years the 
society was conducted as originally established; but after a time it was 
deemed best to close the institution and rent the property. This was 
done for quite a length of time. A few years ago, however, it was 
thought best to make an effort to open and conduct the same as was 
originally intended by the act of incorporation. I remember very well 
Mrs. Louise R. Wardner coming here from La Porte many years ago 
and severely criticizing many of us for leaving the institution shut up 
so long ; but those in charge of its interests did not for a year or two, or 
more see their way clear to open it. It is believed that since it has been 
again opened it has been fairly well maintained ; but the credit thereof 


is largely due to the earnest and faithful women of the organization 
and to a few men. 

The Cairo Drainage District. — The Cairo Drainage District 
was established in 1889. It is inclosed by what we may call levee 
embanlcments of fourteen or fifteen miles in length ; that is, by the city's 
cross levee on the south, by the levee embankment of the Cleveland, 
Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company on the east or Ohio 
side, by the levee embankment of the St. Louis & Cairo Railroad Com- 
pany, or its lessee, the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company, on the west 
or Mississippi side; and by a levee or embankment along Cache River 
on the north. It contains about 4,000 acres of very fertile and valuable 
land, quite a portion of which still belongs to the Trustees of the Cairo 
Trust Propert>^ For the reclamation of this extensive track of land 
from the annual invasions of the rivers we are indebted chiefly to Col. 
Samuel Staats Taylor. 

I have before spoken of our great need of local trade. Here is 
indeed the creation of a large district which will for all time to come 
add largely to the trade and business of the city. It is as a monument 
to Col. Taylor; for none could have seen more clearly than he the 
city's need of adjacent supporting territorj^ 

Steamboat "Tennessee Valley" 

Bureau of Navigation, 
Washington, February 3, 1910. 
Mr. John M. Lansden, 

614 Commercial Ave., Cairo, 111. 

This office has received your letter of the 31st ultimo relative to the steam- 
boat 'Tennessee Valley.' P. E. 61, granted at New Orleans April 23, 1842, 
shows that at that time M. W. Irwin was her master and part owner; that 
Samuel G. Patton of Florance was part owner; that she was built at Cairo, 
111., in 1841 ; that she was measured by Seth W. Nye, Surveyor; that her 
length was 204 feet and 2 inches; that her breadth was 33 feet and 4 inches; 
that her depth was 7 feet and 8 inches; that she measured 495 and 41-95 tons, 
and that she had a square stern with cabin above. No record is found of 
the surrender of the enrolment and the Bureau is unable to state whether 
she was 'burned or otherwise destroyed.' The name of her builder is not 
specified on the record here. It may be that you will be able to obtain further 
information regarding her from the Custom House at New Orleans. 

E. G. CHAMBERLAIN, Commissioner. 

Memorandum of Information Obtained at Coast and Geodetic Survey, 
in Regard to Cairo. 

The magnetic declination decreases at rate of one minute per annum at 
Cairo. At date 1910 4-10, it stands East 4° 35'. 

In regard to the station of the Geodetic Survey at Cairo: 
The station is on the new city levee, between the Illinois Central and the 
Mobile and Ohio Rairoad tracks, west of the west end of West 33d Street. 
This levee extends northeast from an iron post which was set by the levelling 
survey as a bench mark, and which is 250 feet southeast of the Mobile and 
Ohio signal station. The magnetic station is about 705 feet northeast along 
the city levee from this bench mark and 12 feet north of the center of the 


levee on the slope. The station is marked by a Bedford limestone post 5 x 5 x 30 
inches, projecting six inches above the ground and lettered, U. S. C. and G. S. 
1908. The following true bearings were determined: 

Steeple of St. Joseph's Catholic Church 64° 25' .8 east of south 

A cupola 65° 06' .8 east of south 

Base of flagstaff of Redman & Magee Co. elevator 15° 09' .1 east of north 

Bench mark of river survey 52° 30' .7 west of south 

The following are magnetic observations made June 11 and 12, 1908: 
Lat. Long. Declination^ Dip^ 

37° 00.8' 89° 1 1.6' 4° 47.2' 67° 49.6" 

Commercial Bodies^ Clubs, Fraternal Orders and Other 
Organizations. — I have not had the time to speak of these organiza- 
tions in detail, and it is quite impossible to say much of them in any 
other way. They are as numerous, and I have no doubt quite 
as efficient and successful, as are the like societies and organizations of 
other cities of the size of Cairo. I have not the means at hand and 
am not able to give anything like a satisfactory account of them ; and a 
partial account would be so unsatisfactory to the members of the 
various bodies that they would not excuse me for the errors and 
omissions which would probably appear in the several accounts. The 
commercial bodies, with which so many of our business men are identi- 
fied, have been working hard and faithfully for many years for the 
advancement of the interests of the city. Every one recognizes their 
great usefulness. 1 would like to say here a few words in regard to 
a number of the business men who have taken leading parts in the good 
work of upbuilding the city; but every one will recognize the difficulty 
of making just the right selections and of saying just the right things 
concerning particular individuals. I would be glad to have it under- 
stood that it is from no oversight or forgetfulness on my part that this 
omission occurs. The work I have bestowed upon this book has been 
much more than I expected ; and more recently I have found it abso- 
lutely necessary to bring it to an end, whatever errors or omissions may 
appear therein. 

It would require no little time and work to go over all these matters 
with any degree of fullness, and to add thereto accounts of our water 
works, established in 1885, and furnishing us an abundant supply of 
good water, our gas and electric lighting, our street car and interurban 
railroad service, our extensive manufacturing interests and other large 
and important business enterprises, our shipping facilities by river and 
rail, our extensive and fine street improvements, and our great advance- 
ment in the matter of the erection of better buildings of all kinds, pub- 
lic and private ; — all these matters, and many others, have been so fully 
set forth from time to time by our commercial bodies in illustrated 
pamphlets and descriptive circulars, that it is quite unnecessary^ to 
present them in a book like this which reaches the hands of compara- 
tively few persons, and they chiefly residents of the city. 

^The angle between the magnetic meridian shown by the compass, and the 
geographical meridian. 

2The angle the needle makes with the plane of the horizon. 


Besides this, our city directories contain so much relating to ver>' 
many of these matters that to give them here would be almost a use- 
less repetition. Our last city directory, the one for 1 908- 1909, by 
Mr. George B. Walker, is a very useful city book indeed. Besides 
the general information it contains about our societies, fraternities, 
commercial and other organizations, etc., it contains so many names of 
persons now resident in the city that it will likely increase in value 
the further we get away from the time of its publication. I know of 
no one having Harrell's directory of 1864, and all subsequent direc- 
tories. A complete set of them would be exceedingly valuable, chiefly 
for the names of the people of Cairo resident here about the dates of 
the respective publications of the books. 

Historical Places in the City; Some Distinguished Per- 
sonages. — 1 might cut the first one of these subjects very short by 
saying there are no historical places in the city, and give as a reason 
that Cairo is but a few years old, not over fifty-seven. It was started 
in 18 18, but only on paper. It was started again in 1836, but lived 
out scarcely ten years. At best, it was in a state of suspended anima- 
tion from 1843 to 1853, when in December of the latter j^ear the first 
opportunity was given for the purchase of lots or other real estate. 
The federal census of 1850 gave the place two hundred and forty-two 
inhabitants. It was without any kind of town, village or city govern- 
ment. It was little more than what Maximilian, Prince of Wied- 
Neuwied, said it was in March, 1832. He said it had no other name 
than the "Mouth of the Ohio." On the ist day of October, 1853, the 
Trustees published their first notice that they were ready to offer 
lots for sale; but they offered none until December 23d of that year; 
and the first lot sold was lot eight, block twenty, in the city, at the 
southwest corner of Third Street and Commercial Avenue. It was 
sold to Peter Stapleton, vi'hose family is still well represented here in 

This may be said to be the time of the starting of the present city 
of Cairo. It will be fifty-seven years ago, December 23, 1910. We 
have here nothing now which came over to us from the decade of 1836 
to 1846, the Holbrook regime; nor have we here now any building or 
structure that was here in December, 1853, save the little school 
house building on Eleventh Street. There are a few old houses 
now claiming existence along with the Springfield block, the 
stone depot and one or two other places, but they have been moved 
about and so repaired as to be now past recognition. About all we 
have are a few sites of old but long since perished buildings, a few of 
which merit brief notices. I have elsewhere spoken of the Halliday 
Hotel. Let me here mention two or three others. The Rev. Timothy 
Flint, who passed here in the year 18 16 (18 18), recorded the fact that 
the hotel then here was kept in a large boat one hundred feet long. I 
need not repeat what is elsewhere said by him in Chapter XXX. The 
old hotel, built and maintained so long at the point, and a little outside 


of the point of junction of our present levees, must have been built as 
far back as 1830, probably earlier. Before that time one or two or 
more houses had been erected in that immediate vicinity. Mr. Crumb, 
quoted in the same chapter, gives us an account of w^hat he called the 
fine hotel there on the 29th of May, 1836. The same hotel was there 
during the whole of the Holbrook administration. Mr. William 
Harrell speaks of it and tells how it was crowded with guests in the 
early forties, and of a large addition having been built to accommodate 
the greatly increased custom. The Englishman, William Oliver, who 
stopped there three or four days in 1841, tells us of his experience while 
here and at the hotel, waiting for the arrival of a steamboat to take 
him up the Mississippi. We cannot realize the extent of the travel 
down the Ohio and down the Mississippi from here, and up the 
Mississippi to St. Louis and other points at that early day. They, 
the two rivers, were then the great highways of travel, and it was not 
until much later times that other courses and means of travel took the 
place of the rivers. 

About the last official reference we have to that old hostelry is found 
in ordinance No. 65, adopted March 7, 1858, wherein a license was 
granted for the erection and operation of a distillery for ten years upon 
two or more acres of ground in the southern part of the city outside 
of the levees and including the "Old Cairo Hotel site." The old 
distillery building, seen in the picture of the point, gave way in 1861 
to the construction of Fort Defiance, the successor, after one hundred 
and sixty-nine years, of the fort of Sieur Charles Juchereau de St. Denis. 
Fort Defiance lived out the war of four years. It defied the Confed- 
erates successfully for that length of time, but had to yield to the 
demands of peace and trade and was supplanted by the first station 
buildings of the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad Company. These dis- 
appeared in a few years, and there now stands, only a few rods north 
of the old site, Mr. Henry E. Halliday's grain elevator, like some tall 
sentinel guarding faithfully the oldest of the historic sites our city 
affords. But older than them all, and adding to their interest, is the 
foot of the Third Principal Meridian, planted almost on that very 
spot more than a hundred years ago. 

Next to that old hotel was the Taylor House, on four or five lots, 
at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Commercial Avenue, 
where Mr. Henry Hasenjaeger now resides. It was completed early 
in the year 1855, and opened on the 9th day of May of that year. It 
was a large building and no doubt took its name from Col. Samuel 
Staats Taylor, who at that time owned the lots. A Mr. Grimes, of 
Paducah, seems to have been the first proprietor of the hotel; and the 
"Cairo City Times" of September 12, 1855, notes the sale of the hotel 
business by him to a Mr. Swinney, formerly of the Walnut Street 


House, of Cincinnati. About the time of the opening of the hotel, a 
large number of the members of the state legislature and other guests 
of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, probably three hundred 
persons, visited Cairo, and most of them were entertained at the Taylor 
House. Among them were Governor Joel A. Matteson, Ex-Governor 
John Reynolds, Judge Lyman Trumbull, and many other persons of 
note. With the mention of these somewhat noted men visiting Cairo 
in the bright dawn of its third attempt to become a city, I may here also 
mention a number of persons who were here before and since that year, 
1855, and all of them very distinguished indeed. It may be going 
back somewhat too far, but it is history, and that is what we are 
endeavoring to write. As I have already stated. General Andrew Jack- 
son was here with fifteen hundred soldiers, two or three days, in Janu- 
ary, 1813. Abraham Lincoln no doubt landed his well ladened flat- 
boat here on his two trips down the Sangamon, the Illinois and Missis- 
sippi Rivers to New Orleans, in 1831. Zachary Taylor was here in 
February, 1849, after his election to the presidency, but before his 
inauguration. Vice-President John C. Breckinridge was here in April, 
1858. James A. Garfield was here in October, 1868. Ulysses Grant 
was here in 1861 and 1880. Jefferson Davis was here June 8, 1881. 
Theodore Roosevelt was here in October, 1907, and William H. Taft 
was here in October, 1909. It is to be hoped that some one will pre- 
pare a suitable account of these two last occasions, in which most of 
the others just mentioned might also be given their proper places. I 
have said nothing as to the distinguished persons here during the Hol- 
brook administration in which so many Englishmen were interested ; 
nor have I undertaken to refer to the great number of distinguished 
persons who were here during the war. 

The Chamber of Commerce of 1865. — The hopes of the people of Cairo were 
perhaps quite high enough when the war began, but they rose much higher during 
its continuance. Every one seemed assured of a bright future for the city. 
One of the evidences of this is found in the incorporation, February i6, 1865, 
two months before the close of the war, of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, 
the incorporators of which were George D. Williamson, D. Hurd, Henry Winter, 
James W. Musson, John N. Patton, John M. Cyrus, William P. Halliday, Corne- 
lius O'Callahan, A. B. Safford, James McKenzie, Ward L. Smith, John Clancy, 
Dyas T. Parker, H. H. Johnson, Thomas Wilson, and James S. Rearden. 

Further along will be found a list of the officers and members of the body, 
taken from a pamphlet of twenty-five pages, printed early in that year by the 
Cairo Democrat Company. The pamphlet contains the charter of the com- 
pany, approved by Richard J. Oglesby, governor, and the somewhat extensive 
rules and regulations of the association. I have given the list of officers and 
other members chiefly because it will recall to many persons now in Cairo so 
many of the more prominent men of Cairo of forty-five years ago. 




From March, 1865, to March, 1866. 

Wm. P. Halliday. 

Vice President, 
Jno. M. Cyrus. 

F. G. Chapman. 

A. B. Safford. 


S. N. Fullinwider, 
D. T. Parker, 
A. B. Safford, 
J. W. Musson, 
C. R. Woodward, 

Jno. N. Patton. 
Committee of Appeals 

D. Kurd, 

E. D. Trover, 
Joseph McKenzie, 
G. D. Williamson, 
S. S. Homans, 

D. Hurd, 
J. B. Reed, 

S. N. Fullinwider, 
P. T. Mitchell, 

C. Schultz. 

J. K. Frost, 

D. T. Parker, 

E. Maxwell, 
J. W. Musson, 

Committee of Arbitration, from March to September, 1865 

Samuel Payne, Ward L. Smith, 

A. H. Powers, C. R. Woodward, 
S. S. Homans. 

Committee of Arbitration from September, 1865, to March, 1866 
A. B. Safford, A. Comings, 

J. Cushing, P. Chapman, 

G. D. Williamson. 

Names of the Other Members 
C. M. Osterloh, D. H. Philips, William Lonergan, E. Hodge, John C. 
White, J. B. Humphreys, John Walters, L. T. Bonaceua, Isaac Mooney, J. 
McDonald, J. D. Huntington, P. G. Schuh, F. Bross, J. S. Rearden, C. C. 
Davidson, J. F. Noyes, H. M. Evans, William Stratton, James Kooken, Andreas 
Doll, F. M. C. DeVassa, C. Close, A. J. Harrison, A. A. Arrick, Thomas Lewis, 
T. G. Lansden, Jewett Wilcox, Wm. G. Priest, R. I. Condiff, O. P. Lyon, Jno. 
Wilson, J. G. Haydock, R. G. Furguson, Dan Able, J. P. Prather, J. S. 
Byington, James S. Swayne, A. Nuernberger, P. Grossmuck, Peter Neff, Wm. 
Simpson, A. Williams, I. Williams, M. D. Picard, B. Smyth, Chas. Galigher, 
Al. Amiss, S. P. McGuire, A. R. Whitaker, Thos. Winter, Chas. Scudder, 
Henrv Johnson, David J. Baker, Sol. A. Silver, Fred. Foster, W. N. Swayne, 
H. W. Hubbard, Wm. Truesdail.— See the "Daily War Eagle" of April 
17, 1865, for the names of Irwin Maxwell, William H. Schutter and others. 


The Judges of the Supreme, Circuit and County Courts, 
AND Members of the Legislature and of Other Bodies. — Alex- 
ander County was part of the third judicial circuit until 1857, when 
other circuits were established and the county included in the nine- 
teenth circuit. In 1873, it became part of the first judicial circuit, 
where it still remains. The judges who have held our circuit court 
since the organization of the county in 18 19, are as follows: Richard 
M. Young, Henry Eddy, Alexander F. Grant, Jeptha Hardin, Walter 
B. Scates, William A. Denning, William K. Parrish, John H. Mulkey, 
William H. Green, Monroe C. Crawford, Wesley Sloan, John Olney, 
David J. Baker, John Doughertj^ Oliver A. Harker, Daniel M. 
Browning, Robert W. McCartney, George W. Young, Joseph P. 
Robarts, Alonzo K. Vickers, Warren W. Duncan, William N. Butler 
and A. W. Lewis. The following are the names of Cairo citizens who 
have been judges of our courts here and elsewhere: William A. 
Denning, judge of the supreme court from January 19, 1847, to 
December 4, 1848; David J. Baker, judge of the supreme court from 
June, 1878, to June, 1879, by appointment of Governor Shelby M. 
CuUom, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Judge Breese, 
which occurred June 28, 1878; John H. Mulkey, judge of the supreme 
court from June, 1879, to June, 1888; David J. Baker, from June, 
1888, to June, 1897; John H. Mulkej^ William H. Green, John 
Olney, David J. Baker, Joseph P. Robarts and William N. Butler, 
judges of our circuit court; Levi L. Lightner, Alexander C. Hodges, 
Fredolin Bross, Reuben S. Yocum, John H. Robinson, and William 
S. Dewey, judges of our county court. 

Our county has had but one member of Congress and that is our 
present member, the Hon. N. B. Thistlewood. The following are the 
names of the members of the legislature from our county in the order 
given : Daniel W. Munn, Reed Green and Walter Warder, mem- 
bers of the senate; William M. Alexander, Henry L. Webb, Wilson 
Able, William A. Denning, John Hodges, F. M. Rawlins, Henry W. 
Webb, John H. Oberly, Claiborne Winston, Alexander H. Irvin, 
Thomas W. Halliday, Harmon H. Black, D. T. Linegar, Reuben S. 
Yocum, Charles F. Nellis, Reed Green, Walter Warder, William Q. 
McGee, S. B. Miller and Richard E. Powers, members of the house. 
Members of the Constitutional Convention of 1862, William A. 
Hacker. Member of the Constitutional Convention of 1870, William 
J. Allen. ^Member of the State Board of Equalization, 1868 to 1872, 
Thomas Wilson. Presidential elector on the Republican ticket, 1868, 
Daniel W. Munn; on that ticket, 1872, David T. Linegar. 

The names of the present city and county officers are as follows: 
George Parsons, maj^or; Robert A. Hatcher, city clerk; Frank B. 
Armstrong, city treasurer; Hunter Bird, city attorney; Angus Leek, 
special city counsel; Ernest Nordman, city comptroller; Andrew Whit- 
camp, police magistrate ; J. G. Cowell, chief of police or city marshal. 

City aldermen: First Ward, Patrick C. SculHn and Calvin V. 
NeflE; Second Ward, George G. Koehler and Tom L. Faudree; Third 


Ward, Thomas W. Williams and Edward A. Burke; Fourth Ward, 
Leo McDaniel and Frank Ferguson; Fifth Ward, Fred D. Nellis 
and Dr. John T. Walsh ; Sixth Ward, Daniel E. Kelly and Frank E. 
Cannon; Seventh Ward, William M. Magner and William P. 

County officers. Board of Cotnty Commissioners: Dr. John J. 
Jennelle, chairman; Dr. Edwin Gause and Calvin V. Neff; Jesse E. 
Miller, county clerk; Alfred Brown, circuit clerk; Fred D. Nellis, 
sheriff; Alexander Wilson, state's attorney; Professor S. E. Gott, 
county superintendent of schools; William D. Lippitt, assessor and 
treasurer; Dr. James McManus, coroner. 

The present judges of the first judicial circuit are William N. 
Butler, Cairo; Warren W. Duncan, Marion; and Albert W Lewis, 
Harrisburg. The present judge of our county court is William S. 

Postmasters of the "Mouth of the Ohio" and of the City of Cairo. — 
The records of the postoffice department at Washington show the following 
named persons to have been postmasters here at this place, with the dates of 

27, 1839; Thomas L. Mackoy, November 30, 1841; Bryan Shannessey, April 
14, 1842; Addison H. Sanders, July 10, 1847; Moses B. Harrell, September 
26, 1849; Bailev S. Harrell, March 14, 1850; Henry Simmons, February 18, 
1852; Brvan Shannessey, June 16, 1853; Samuel S. Brooks, August 23, 1853; 
Leonard G. Faxon, June 14, 1858; Alexander G. Holden, January 10, i860; 
David T. Linegar, March 27, 1861 ; James C. Sloo, November 7, 1863; Wil- 
liam A. Looney, June 6, 1865; John M. Graham, July 23, 1866; George 
W. McKeaig, July 9, 1870, held until February 12, 1883, when William M. 
Murphy was appointed; Thomas Wilson, August 9, 1885; Alexander H. 
Irvin, January 7, 1889; John Wood, June 27, 1889; Michael J. Howley, 
December 12, 1893; John F. Rector, January 21, 1898, and Sidney B. Miller, 
the present postmaster, December 12, 1901. 

Although this list was said to be complete, yet it seems that Walter Falls 
was postmaster here at a very early day. 

The following are the names of the law^^ers, physicians, and den- 
tists now resident in the city : 

Lawyers: Hunter Bird, Wm. N. Butler, Wm. S. Dewey, Miles Frederick 
Gilbert, William B. Gilbert, Miles S. Gilbert, Reed Green, Harry Hood, John 
M. Lansden, David S. Lansden, Angus Leek, Frank Moore, Michael J. O'Shea, 
Walter Warder, Walter B. Warder, and Alexander Wilson. 

Physicians: A. A. Bondurant, S. B. Carey, R. E. Clancy, W. C. Clarke, 
H. A. Davis, Samuel Dodds, James W. Dunn, E. E. Gordon, W. F. Grinstead, 
J. B. Hibbitts, James McManus, G. H. McNemer, J. J. Rendleman, D. A. 
Stevens, J. E. Strong, John T. Walsh, Charles Weber and J. E. Woelfle. 

Doctors E. S. Dickerson and W. H. Fields are worthy representatives of the 
colored people of the city. 

Dentists: N. W. Cox, J. H. Davis, F. M. Harrell, Bert Harris, J. J. Jennelle, 
T. D. Morrison, and E. D. Morrow. 


The Arab Fire Company of Cairo was incorporated by a special act of 
the legislature February i6, 1865, and the names of the incorporators were as 
follows: Henry Winter, H. Watson Webb, George Cushing, James Capritz, 
A. G. Holden, John H. Robinson, George W. Weldon, David J. Baker, Jr., 
George Winter, Wm. Smith, D. Webster Baumgard, Charles D. Arter, Wm. 
Sandusky, Joseph Meigler, Henry Lattner, C. H. Wentz, John Hayward, Van 
R. Hall, Edward Mansford, John H. Gossman, Wm. Tell, John Major, Wm. 
J. Yost, John Myers, Casper Hock, Fred Keiler, Henry Franken, Henry 
Messner, John Hodges, Jr., E. F. Davis, A. H. Irvin, Wood Rittenhouse, John 
Jaquish, David T. Linegar, Henry Harris, Wm. B. Miller, James Gordon, 
George Stormer, Jerry Cantrell, Wm. Alba, Philip Theobold, John C. White, 
George W. Burrows, L. D. Jones, August Kramer, Chas. W. Henderson, 
Jacob G. Lynch, Charles Bromback, Edward Koblatz, Fred Whitcamp, Joseph 
K. Frick, Charles Pfifferling, Joseph Kosminski, W. W. Villito, A. Wittig, 
Edward Wittig, George Van Brocklin, Frederick Theobold, Cornelius Cafferty, 
and J. Parker Timmony. 

The Rough and Ready Fire Company was incorporated by a special act 
of the legislature March 7, 1867, and the names of the incorporators were as 
follows: B. M. Munn, Fredolin Bross, William T. Beerwort, John Scheel, 
Joseph B. Taylor, Ferdinand Amon, Henry Sigfried, Charles Eble, John Harst, 
Charles Frank, Henry F. Goodyear, Joseph Helen, Sr., August Bieland, James 
Kinnear, John Maxey, Philip Schmitt, R. G. Jameson, Andrew Dentinger, 
Michael Ruggaber, John Ritter, John Schmitt, Martin Strauhal, Hiram Walker, 
Peter Zimmerman, James S. Swayne, Niles Swayne, Peter Ehs, William Seifried, 
John Sackberger, Adam Neff, August Veirun, Joseph Farquar, John Royaker, 
Christian Orth, Peter Kuhn, Sr., J. G. Steinhouse, Joseph Lehmes, Charles 
Mehner, Joseph M. Veirun, James Axley, Charles Feuchter, F. M. Stockfleth, 
Henry Brown, John Koag, Fred Sheeler, George G. Smith, Frank Swoboda, 
Philip Howard, Louis Blattau, Joseph Steagala, Alexander Wittig, August 
Homann, and John Goetgen. 

The Hibernian Fire Company No. 4 was incorporated January 5, 1877, 
under the general act for the incorporation of such companies, approved April 
18, 1872, and the names of the incorporators were as follows: Henry Stout, 
Patrick O'Loughlin, Smith Torrence, Michael J. Howley, William McHale, 
James F. Miller, Albert Susanka, Harmon Able, Patrick Fitzgerald, Frank 
Gazzola, Patrick H. Corcoran, Thomas R. Shook, Martin Gannon, James 
Greaney, James Garland, Thomas Stack, Richard Murphy, Benj. F. Blue, James 
Powers, Phil K. Howard, Stephen T. McBride, Phillip J. Thistlewood, Wm. 
M. Williams, Jesse Mahaffie, Michael Stapleton, Robert Smyth, Patrick Burke, 
James Ross, Richard Fitzgerald, John A. Powers, Martin Coffey, Thomas 
Boyle, John M. Hogan, Felix Cross, and Richard R. Hurd. 

After these there were one or two other fire companies but all of them 
were practically discontinued when, under the lead of Mayor Charles 
O. Patier, the council established the paid fire department of the city. 
All of the three companies above named were in existence for some con- 
siderable time before their incorporation. Before their time there was 
a fire company called the Relief Fire Co. No. One ( i ) , whose engine 
house was on the north side of Seventh Street between the two avenues. 
It was the first fire company of the city. 

We have given the names of the incorporators of these companies 
for the reason that among them are so many names which many of the 
present residents of Cairo will be glad to recognize. Of the Arab Fire 
Company, Mr. Henr)^ Winter was from the beginning to the end 
the leading spirit. Of the Rough and Ready Company, Mr. William 


Beerwort was in many respects the most prominent member. Of the 
Hibernian Fire Company, almost every one would speak of Mr. 
William McHale as probably its chief and most prominent represent- 
ative. It is indeed interesting to look over the names of these mem- 
bers of the old but no longer existing companies, and recall their lives 
in our community. Those companies were favorites of our citizens, 
much above, I am inclined to think, what was generally noticed else- 
where. They were well supported during their entire existence, and 
nothing they asked at the hands of the public was probably ever denied 
to them. 

The Old Cairo Veteran Club was Organized February 13, 1891. — We 
quote from its small pamphlet containing a statement of its object, together 
with its by-laws, list of members, etc.: 

"The Old Cairo Veteran Club, citizens of Cairo, in the year 1857, was 
organized at the hall of the Arab Fire Company, in the City of Cairo, 111., 
on the night of February 13, 1891, by the following named gentlemen to wit: 
Hon. David J. Baker, Judge F. Bross, John Howley, John McNulty, John 
Antrim, Joseph Brankle, R. H. Baird, Captain William M. Williams, F. Vin- 
cent, Henry Winter, Jacob Lehning, John Clancy, Hank Goodyear, John O'Shea, 
William Lonergan, James Summerwell, Nat Prouty, John Sackberger, William 
M. Downs, Andrew Lohr, James Quinn, William Garren, Richard Murphy, 
Martin O'Shea, John Barry, Edward Jones, Pat Cahill, Martin Driscoll, Thomas 
Mehan, C. Osterloh, R. H. Cunningham, Charles Thrupp, Michael Glynn, Au- 
gust Marqued, Joseph McKenzie, Isaac Farnbaker, Charles Frank, Albert 
Susanka, Henry Loflin, Dennis Stapelton, H. H. Candee, W. F. Raefesnider and 
James Mehan. 

"There are forty-three in number, the object being for a yearly fraternal 
gathering of not only the present resident citizens of Cairo, who were here in 
1857, but all those non-residents, who were here then and who are living now, 
to meet and mingle with us at our yearly banquets and talk over old times, 
one with another, and drink a toast to the departed ones, and a toast to the liv- 
ing ones, for soon we all must go; the main object being to keep up the memories 
of by-gone days." 

"Officers: President, Robert H. Baird; vice-president, John Howley; treas- 
urer, F. Bross; secretary, Henry Winter; sentinel, James Summerwell. 

"Cairo Citizens Eligible for Membership. — S. S. Taylor, John Kelly, George 
Zeller, Matt Walsh, Bat Cashman, Henry Drake, Doct. Wm. Wood, John Sul- 
livan, Con Sheehan, Michael Horrigan, Michael Galvin, John Pollock, J. Y. 
Turner, F. Malinski, Peter Neff, C. W. Henderson, Thomas Sullivan, Peter 
Ehs, John Dillon, M. Kobler, Pat Coladine, Charles Gayer, Frank Cocheran, 
Nicholas Williams, Peter Donnelly, L. S. Marshall, Dennis Coleman, and Geo. 

"Non-Residents Eligible for Membership. — Christopher Ledwidge, Hickman, 
Ky. ; Capt. Wm. H. Sandusky, Central City, Ky.; Capt. W. J. Stephens, Spring- 
field, Mass.; Isaac Clarke, Nashville, 111.; Henry Rudolph, Evansville, Ind. ; 
Paul W. Allen, Chicago, 111.; Joseph Fellenbaugh, Beech Ridge, 111.; Prest. 
Ex. Norton, L. & N. R. R., Brooklyn, N. Y. ; E. F. Davis, Birmingham, Ala.; 
David Wright, DuQuoin, 111. ; H. Watson Webb, San Diego, Cal. ; Solomon 
Fairinbach, Unity, 111.; Bailey S. Harrell, Cleves, O.; Moses B. Harrell, Chi- 
cago, 111.; N. W. Graham, Carbondale, 111.; Moses Foss, Los Angeles, Cal.; 
Thomas Leary, Kansas City, Mo.; George W. Kendrick, Charleston, Mo.; 
James Morris, Ullin, 111. ; George McKenzie, Dyersburg, Tenn. ; Julius Shess- 
ler, Niagara Falls, N. Y. ; L. G. Faxon, Paducah, Ky. ; Isaac Adler, Cin- 
cinnati, O.; Thomas Wilson, Villa Ridge, 111.; John O'Neil, Odin, 111.; 
John H. Mulkey, Metropolis, 111.; John W. Trover, Birmingham, Ala.; J. B. 
Humphreys, Chicago, 111. ; Wm. Lyerley, America, 111. ; Geo. W. Reardon, Den- 
ver, Col.; John Myers, Birds Point, Mo.; James Ross, Kansas City, Mo.; Ed- 



ward Gray, Cape Girardeau, Mo.; W. P. Tiramons, Springfield, Mo.; Isaac 
W. Timmons, Winona, Minn.; Wm. Thomas, Chicago, 111.; Gid. Phillips, 
Louisville, Ky. ; Henry To. Aspin, Champaign, 111.; Wm. Hunt, St. Paul, Tex.; 
Samuel Tilden, Kinmundy, 111.; Harry Ketchum, New York City; Robert J. 
Hunt, Louisville, Ky. ; Henry Brown, St. Louis, Mo. ; James Powers, Villa 
Ridge, 111. ; Joseph Lufkin, Villa Ridge, 111. ; Richard Noyes, San Francisco, 
Cal. ; Capt. Ned Kearney, Natchez, Miss.; George Bellows, Olrastead, 111.; 
John Henry, Topeka, Kan.; John Moley, Kansas City, Mo.; J. H. Knicker- 
bocker, Springfield, 111.; W. S. Lane, Mounds, 111.; B. F. Parker, Chicago, 111.; 
Mat P. Tilden, Centralia, 111.; Gotlieb Kobler, Grand Tower, 111.; Andrew 
Dole, Grand Tower, 111. ; Andrew Ritter, Murphysboro, 111. ; Fred Koehler, 
Murphysboro, 111.; Peter Zimmerman, Kansas City, Mo.; Charles Clarke, St. 
Louis, Mo. ; Frank Bedard, St. Louis, Mo. ; John Devine, Chester, 111. ; John 
Newell, Pres't N. Y. Central; Cornelius Willett, Washington, D. C. ; and Capt. 
P. S. Drown, St. Louis, Mo. 

Poll List City Election 

F. B. Dicken 
James Martin 
Richard Ives 
P. Smith 
Patrick Green 
T. N. Gaffney 
Pat Calahan 
Jno. Mitton 
Thos. Sullivan 
N. C. Bridges 
Andrew Gary 
John Conner 
James Riley 
D. Mahanny 
Mike Fitzpatrick 
James Mahony 
Thos. Roach 
Mike Gallaghan 
Wm. H. Scott 
Andr. Gray 
John Foley 
M. O'Brien 
Thos. Handy 
Levi Stancill 
B. Shannessy 
Henry Devlin 
Thos. Smith 
Martin Egan 
Pat Conner 
James Degear 
Mike Gary 
James O'Conner 
Richard Dugan 
George Sloan 
R. H. Cunninghanc 
Mike Fitzgerald 
F. C. Huber 
John Stewart 
Pat Burke 

John O'Calahan 
James Garland 
R. Garland 
David Warner 
T. Hibbard 
William Brown 
John Lance 
Chas. Dotton 
Rich'd Nann 
David Wright 
John McDonald 
Moses Foss 
James Summerwell 
E. Wood 
Thos. Mehan 
C. Buckley 
James Dinan 
Robt. Fisher 

E. Hay 

F. Cowhan 
John Ryan 
T. Calahan 
Mike Gannon 
Mike Sullivan 
Pat Galvin 
T. Roach 

J. Sullivan 
I. Walls 
W. Crownan 
Geo. Maguire 
Ed. Conner 
C. Manly 
Grundy Bryant 
John McGhee 
Thos. Ryan 
Dan Connelly 
Thos. Devin 
John Fitzpatrick 
Thomas Green 

B. Golden 

D. Lahanahan 
W. Clavin 

I. A. Kooken 
W. I. Morgan 
Jos. Brankel 
Pat. Fitzsimmons 
L. G. Faxon 

E. Willett 
S. Guthrie 
James Quinn 
M. Fitzgerald 
I. M. Moore 
James Todd 
H. Walker 
Wm. Lee 
John Powell 
J. Twohig 
James Crowley 

B. Mooney 

C. Brice 
John Cahil 
W. B. Clark 
R. Murphy 
N. Devore 

G. W. McKenzie 
C. Mornlngstar 
E. Burns 
J. Hogan 
John Kelly 
J. Johnson 
Thos. Lane 
I. Callett 
James Egan 
W. Banks 
P. McMannanry 
W. Cashman 
R. Motherway 
W. Newell 

P. Fay 

C. Boyle 
P. Clevin 
J. Dunseith 
P. Griffin 
J. Cain 

P. H. Wheeler 
W. R. Burke 
J. Connell 
R. Pyburn 
P. C. Cossey 
J. Haden 
B. Cashman 
J. B. Dean 
J. Cothnie 
M. Norris 
J. Sullivan 

D. McKinney 
John Lane 

P. Egan 
T. Calahan 
John D alley 
H. Derick 
T. Mulroy 
John Cullen 
P. Doud 
P. Dolan 
J. Sullivan 
P. Sweney 
W. M. Williams 
Charles Johnson 
T. J. Wood 
John Kahler 
A. W. McKay 
J. G. Cormick 
James Handlin 
F. Seavery 
John Broderick 
Wm. Hank 



p. Cope 
A. McTigue 
Con Conners 
Wm. Hunt 
Wm. Elliott 
T. Manley 

C. Shunhge 
T. Murphy 
Jos. Smith 
M. Long 
Wm. Shea 

D. Roach 

J. Calleghan 
James Caton 
J. Lyons 
John Sullivan 
John Whaley 
L L. Harrell 
Wm. Lonergan 
J. W. O'Neal 
L Adler 
P. W. Allen 
M. McKay 
P. Neff 
P. Doud 
Pat O'Brien 
Mike Welsh 
Thos. Flynn 

A. Kiawinkel 
S. F. Rand 
Jonathan Peck 
H. Barringer 
J. D. Plause 
Peter Stapleton 
W. Farnnur 

C. Egeny 

J. D. G. Pettijohn 
M. Ryan 
R. B. Rollf 
P. McCabe 

D. Burke 

L H. Viney 
C. Petras 
C. Knitz 
L Farnbaker 
Wm. Carroll 
P. Mcllvay 
P. Egan 
Chas. Coons 

C. D. Finch 
M. Dignan 
M. Thornton 

D. Cochoran 
James Moore 
D. Manahan 

B. Leifler 
Thos. White 
D. Stapleton 
M. Fitzgerald 

G. W. Rearden 
Wm. Simpson 
Thos. McDeviney 
Henry Riccord 
D. McMurtry 
L L. Smith 
John McNulty 
C. Schmitzdorff 
F. Osterloh 
J. Farrell 
M. Welsh 
S. Crow 
James Welsh 
H. BourgrafiF 
A. Mulcott 
J. E. Lynch 
John Cotter 
Thos. Mulroney 
M. Towers 
J. White 
M. Mahanny 
C. C. Willitt 

F. Whitcamp 
J. Wilkins 

J. Antrim 

J. W. Strawhaul 

M. Shea 

A. Towers 

Jno. T. O'Shea 

W. Crum 

G. L. Rattlemiller 
M. P. Tilden 

M. Griffie 

F. Eble 
J. White 

S. J. Littlefield 
Wm. Garen 
W. A. Jonte 
S. Fahrenbach 
M. R. Hopper 
J. Kennedy 
Jno. Q. Harmon 
W. T. Finch 
J. J. Miles 
Jno. Myers 
L. W. Young 
Thos. M. Keagny 

C. M. Osteloh 
M. Reagen 

P. Smidt 

G. D. Gorden 
L. Lockeryear 
W. Stratton 

D. Hurd 

M. Leftcovitch 
F. Malinski 
T. McCarthy 
R. J. Yost 
Jno. Potts 

Arthur James 
Benj. Smith 
John Greenwood 
M. Kobbler 
Peter Mayo 
J. Manahan 
M. Galvin 
E. Burrows 
J. W. Green 
John Gill 
V. R. Hall 
M. W. Parker 
H. Gilo 
John Maxey 
D. C. Stewart 
J. H. Kitchill 
J. W. Henry 
Frank Wall 
G. Cable 
T. Standing 
A. Kelly 
A. Phelps 
M. C. Learey 
John Rady 
M. McCarty 
M. Hunt 
H. H. M. Butts 
Jos. Lattinker 
W. D. Finch 
James Mullitt 
Jacob Witchett 
L Maxwell 
Dan McLaughlin 
Chas. Gayer 

D. B. Powers 
Robert Miller 
M. Ruggaber 
Fiddle Fry 

John Petercumber 
M. G. Stokes 
A. H. Fletcher 
H. Doyle 
K. Brophey 
Julius Schusler 
Henry Myers 
Jacob Fry 
J. H. Lufkin 
C. F. Watson 
C. Steigler 
Jno. Howley 
Jno. Reed 
Jno. Costin 
A. Pickman 
T. Radigan 
C. A. Whaley 
T. Smith 
W. C. Lewis 
A. Ritter 

E. Babbs 

G. R. Hunt 
Roger Finn 
J. W. Ritter 
H. Rodoflf 
N. Yocum 
M. Hogan 
H. H. Davis 
W. Pinkston 

F. Knowles 

O. P. Carnahan 
L Lee 

J. C. White 
John King 
A. Slick 
R. J. Billington 
R. D. Campbell 
John Cannon 
James Eightman 
D. Divine 
M. Phillips 
R. C. Kieley 
W. C. Sanders 
A. T. Smith 

G. A. Phillips 
W. Drumer 
Mike Quinn 
L Lehning 
John Hendricks 
H. Whitcamp 
C. Benjamin 

O. Sullivan 
S. Rhino 
A. Mann 
A. Williams 
Henry Harris 
Fred Tobener 
J. F. Aubry 
J. Wehn 
Wm. Little 
G. Gattin 
P. Broderick 
John Billings 
Jno. W. Stewart 
Jno. Scheel 
J. Rigney 
R. T. Napoleon 
W. J. Stephens 
F. Bross 
C. Kobler 
S. O'Conner 
Geo. Poor 
C. Henderson 
A. D. Finch 
Jacob Grunder 
P. Corcoran 
S. Tilden 
Thos Wilson 
H. H. Candee 


At an election held in the City of Cairo, in the County of Alexander and 
State of Illinois, on the Seventh day of March, in the year one thousand eight 
hundred and fifty-seven the following named persons received the number of 
votes annexed to their respective names, for the following described offices to- 
wit: For mayor S. S. Taylor received 211 votes, W. J. Stephens 159 votes, and 
I. N. Haynie i vote. For alderman for first ward, John Howley received 121 
votes, P. "Stapleton 75 votes, P. Burke 65 votes, C. M. Osterloh 64 votes, T. Wil- 
son 63 votes, J. Cotter 61 votes, G. W. McKenzie 50 votes, J. Greenwood 31 votes, 
H. H. Candee 70 votes, J. Littlefield 9 votes, W. D. Finch 3 votes, A. Williams 2 
votes, D. Burke i vote, W. M. Williams i vote, S. S. Taylor i vote, H. F. Aspen 
I vote, H. Barringer 1 vote, Jas. Stewart i vote, and Pat. Smith i vote. For 
alderman for second ward H. Whitcamp received 49 votes, P. Neff 51 votes, 
H. H. Cunningham 44 votes, R. Frim 44 votes, J. Antrim 41 votes, and G. W. 
Rearden 39 votes. For alderman for third ward C. A. Whaley received 65 
votes, C. Manley 43 votes, M. Egan 43 votes, L. G. Faxon 31 votes, Jas. Sum- 
merwell 27 votes, and M. Foss 18 votes. For alderman for fourth ward Wm. 
Standing received 47 votes, T. N. Gaffney 44 votes, and L. B. Perkins 3 votes. 

Certified by P. Corcoran, Thos. Wilson and Samuel Tilden, Judges of the 
Election. Attested by H. H. Candee and Geo. Killogg, Clerks of the Election. 

Citizens of Cairo, Biographical Sketches of Whom are Contained in the 
Following Books: 

In "Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois," /575.— Judge William J. Allen, 
Judge David J. Baker, Judge Fredolin Bross, George Fisher, Judge William H. 
Green, David T. Linegar, Daniel W. Munn, Alfred B. Safford and Horace 

In the "United States Biographical Dictionary for Illinois," 1876. — Judge 
David J. Baker, Judge Fredolin Bross, Robert H. Cunningham, George Fisher, 
Charles Galigher, Judge William H. Green, William B. Gilbert, Miles F. Gilbert, 
John D. Gillham, James Johnson, George E. Lounsbury, John H. Oberly, Charles 
O. Patier, Joe M. Phillips, Horace Wardner, Samuel P. Wheeler and Henry 

In General John M. Palmer's "Bench and Bar of Illinois," 1899. — Judge Wil- 
liam N. Butler, Judge William S. Dewey, Miles F. Gilbert, Judge William H. 
Green, John M. Lansden, Ju3ge John H. Mulkey and Judge Joseph P. Robarts. 

In "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois," /poo.— Judge William J. Allen, 
Judge William H. Green, Judge Isham N. Haynie and Daniel W. Munn. 

In "Memoirs of the Loijaer Ohio Valley," /poj.— Belfield B. Bradley, George J. 
Becker, Edv.'ard A. Buder, Eberhard Bucher, Christopher Beck, Judge William N. 
Butler,' Lee B. Davis, Edmund S. Dewey, Anthony P. Ehs, Charles Feuchter, 
Mrs. M. E. Feith, James H. Galligan, William B. Gilbert, Miles F. Gilbert, 
Miles S. Gilbert, William C. Gilbert, Barry Gilbert, Reed Green, William P. 
Greaney, John B. Greanev, Charles E. Gregory, Major Edwin W. Halliday, 
Henry L. Halliday, Henry E. Halliday, Douglas Halliday, John Hodges, Samuel 
Hastings, John J. Jennelle, William Kluge, John M. Lansden, John A. Miller, 
L. P. Parker, George H. Pendleton, Joseph B. Reed, John T. Rennie, Ernest H. 
Riggle, James S. Roach, H. T. Stephens, Elmer Smith, Joseph Steagala, Joseph 
W. Wenger and Benjamin F. Woodward. 

Names of Citizens of Cairo, Biographical Sketches of Whom are Found 
IN the Large County History. A Few of Them are in Part I, and the Re- 
mainder IN Part V, in Alphabetical Order as Given Therein: 

Willliam Alba, Conrad Alba, George M. Alden, Judge William J. Allen, 
John Antrim, Dr. Daniel Arter, Robert H. Baird, Sanford P. Bennett, Adolph 
Black, Byron F. Blake, Henry Block, Herman Bloms, Walter L. Bristol, Edward 



A. Buder, Henry Hinsdale Candee, Andrew J. Carle, William G. Gary, Ben- 
jamin E. Clark, Jefferson M. Clark, Albert C. Coleman, William M. Davidson, 
Gideon Desrocher, Charles W. Dunning, William Eichhoff, Eugene E. Ellis, Isaac 
Farnbaker, George Fisher, Nicholas Feith, Judge Miles A. Gilbert, Hon. Wil- 
liam B. Gilbert, Hon. Miles F. Gilbert, Jacob A. Goldstine, J. J. Gordon, Judge 
Wiliam H. Green, Horace A. Hannon, A. Halley, Edgar C. Harrell, George 
W. Henricks, Jesse Hinkle, John Hodges, John Howley, Cicero N. Hughes, 
Jacob Klein, Francis Kline, William Kluge, Michael Kobler, Christian Koch, 
John Koehler, John A. Koehler, Frederick Korsmeyer, Frank Kratky, Charles 
Lame, Charles Lancaster, Thomas Lewis, Hon. David T. Linegar, Andrew Lohr, 
William Lonergan, William Ludwig, Jacob Martin, James S. McGahey, James 
W. McKinney, Herman Meyers, Judge John A. Mulkey, William M. Murphy, 
Peter Neff, Judge H. K. S. O'Melveny, George F. Ort, Christopher M. Osterloh, 
Miles W. Parker, Charles O. Patier, Alamanzer O. Phelps, George B. Poor, 
Thomas Porter, Nathaniel Prouty, John T. Rennie, Wood Rittenhouse, Joseph H. 
Rittenhouse, John H. Robinson, Samuel Rosenwater, James Ross, Alfred Board- 
man Safford, Herman Sander, William G. Sandusky, Peter Saup, Sol. A. Silver, 
Paul G. Schuh, James R. Smith, Robert Smyth, George W. Strode, Frank W. 
Stophlet, Simpson H. Taber, James M. Totten, Francis Vincent, Harry Walker, 
Judge George W. Wall, Tacob Walter, Henry Wells, Samuel P. Wheeler, 
Charles W. Wheeler, Scott White, Dr. E. W. Whitlock, William M. Williams, 
George D. Williamson, Thomas Wilson, Henry Winter, Maj. William Wolfe, 
William Wood, John Wood, C. R. Woodward, Judge Reuben S. Yocum. 

Persons Resident in Cairo January First, 1910, Who Were Residents Prior 

TO 1861 
Mrs. Mary Axley, Mrs. Elizabeth Arter, Charles F. Arter, John M. Antrim, 
Mrs. Marie Bouchet, Jean Bouchet, Mrs. Mary A. Byrne, Mrs. Fransina Baird, 
Henry Baird, Mrs. Mary Barry, Herman F. Brinkmeyer, Frank Bemis, Chris 
Bemis, Mrs. George Clark, Mrs. Mary Cannon, Mrs. Mary Cuhl, Mrs. M. Ca- 
hill, Pat Cahill, Mrs. Lizzie Collins, Dan. Callahan, John Clancy, John C. Crow- 
ley, Frank Carle, Mrs. Julia Davis, Mrs. Peter Donnelly, Michael Driscoll, Mrs. 
Mary Ehlman, Charles Eichhoff, Mrs. Angeline Fry, Frank Fry, George M. 
Fry, John W. C. Fry, Mrs. Anna Feuchter, Mrs. Wilhelmina Frank, Maurice 
J. Farnbaker, Sol. Farnbaker, Mrs. Annie M. Guion, Mrs. John Glade, 
Mrs. Anastasia Gayer, Mrs. Josephine Gilhofer, Mrs. Ann Gorman, Charles 
Galigher, John P. Glynn, William B. Gilbert, Mrs. Henry Hixon, Henry Hixon, 
Mrs. Mary A. Howley, Mrs. A. Halley, Mrs. Fred Hofheinz, Mrs. Lizzie Hub- 
bard, Horace A. Hannon, Charles W. Henderson, Daniel Hartman, John Hogan, 
John P. Hogan, John S. Hacker, James Higlen, John Haffley, Mrs. A. M. Koch, 
Mrs. Louisa Kleb, Mrs. Mary Kline, William Kluge, George G. Koehler, Louis 
H. Kaha, Mrs. Catherine Lincoln, Mrs. Margaret Lampert, Mrs. Mary A. 
Loflin, Mrs. Georgia Lippitt, Phil Lehning, Sr., Jacob Lehning, Andrew Lohr, 
Mrs. Xavier Martin, Miss Anna Malinski, Mrs. Susan Malinski, Mrs. Isabel 
Marston, Thomas Meehan, Patrick Mahoney, A. McTigue, Calvin V. Neff, A. 
William Neff, Mrs. John O'Shea, Mrs. Catherine Osterloh, Charles Osterloh, 
Samuel Orr, Mrs. Henry C. Partee, Henry C. Partee, Patrick J. Purcell, Nathaniel 
Prouty, James Quinn, Mrs. Katherine Smith, Mrs. Frances Stewart, Mrs. Hannah 
Sullivan, Mrs. Anna E. Safford, Mrs. Hulda Steagala, Mrs. M. Summerwell, Mrs. 
Kate Stapleton, Mrs. Hermine Schulze, Mrs. Margaret Smith, John Sullivan, John 
Sheehan, William H. Sexton, Con Sheehan, Peter Saup, Thomas J. Sloo, Egbert 
A. Smith, Cyrus Smith, Julius Serbian, Mrs. James Tuttle, Mrs. Kate Thomas, 
John Y. Turner, Mrs. Virginia Vincent, Henry Vincent, Minnie Vincent, Mrs. 
Felitza Walder, Mrs. Elizabeth Walsh, Miss Josie Winter, Gus Winter, Claude 
Winter, William Winter, Mrs. L. E. Williamson, Mrs. Kate Wentworth, Mrs. 
Nick Williams, Gus Williams, William M. Williams, George Wilson, William 
White, Isaac Walder, George Yocum. Mrs. Elizabeth (Smith) Walsh has the 
distinction of having resided in Cairo longer than any other person now here. 
According to the records of St. Patrick's Church, she was born July 14, 1843. 


The Lynchings of William James^ a Colored Man^ and of 
Henry Salzner, a White Man, on the Night of November ii, 
1909, James for assaulting and then murdering Anna Pelly, a young 
white woman, on the night of November 8, 1909, and Salzner for the 
alleged murder of Mary Salzner, his wife, on the i8th day of August, 
1909. This occurrence so revived in the minds of the public every- 
where the fact that Cairo had long borne a hard name that it seems 
proper for me to speak of it in this chapter, much as I would like to pass 
it by. Such an event, adding to the notoriety of the city and followed 
so soon by its very natural results, could not be left unnoticed by any 
one pretending to write a history of the city. I cannot do more, how- 
ever, than to give a very condensed statement of the facts. James 
had lived in Cairo a number of years and was at the time engaged in 
driving a team for one of the business houses of the city. He was an 
unusually muscular and strong man, and above the average in intelli- 
gence for one of his race. He seems to have lain in wait for his victim 
and to have seized her within a rod or two of her home and carried 
her into an unfrequented alley, two or three hundred feet distant, and 
there choked her to death by the use of pieces of a flour sack. She 
was employed as a saleswoman in a dry-goods store in the city, and was 
last seen as she alighted from a street car two or three blocks from her 
home. It was early in the evening, but dark and raining. The family 
supposed she had gone to spend the night with one of her young lady 
friends and the crime was not discovered until the next morning. I 
cannot give the details of the search with the aid of blood-hounds nor 
of the arrest of James and of the two colored women at whose houses 
he spent parts of Monday night, nor of the statements of one of them 
respecting pieces of flour sacks similar to those found at the place of 
the crime and at the undertaker's. For very full information, see the 
"Cairo Bulletin" and the "Evening Citizen" of November 9th, lOth, nth 
and 1 2th, 1909. He and the colored women denied knowledge of 
the crime. He was held by the police the remainder of Tuesday and 
until the evening of Wednesday, when they delivered him into the 
custody of Sheriff Frank E. Davis, who, fearing mob violence, at once 
took him from the city on an Illinois Central train. He left the train at 
Dongola, twenty-seven miles north of Cairo, fearing violence from 
assemblying people at Anna, where Miss Pelly had formerly lived. 
He went eastward with the intention of reaching and taking a train 
on the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway; but before 
he could do so, he was intercepted by a mob from Cairo, which had 
seized a train of the railroad company and gone up the road to the 
place they were told he was approaching. They found the sheriff, his 
deputy, Thomas A. Fuller, and the prisoner in the woods near the 
railroad, and taking the prisoner from them brought him to Cairo and 
to the intersection of Commercial Avenue and Eighth Street, and there, 
after trying to hang him to the steel arches spanning the intersection 
of those streets and finding it slow and difficult work, they shot him to 
death, and then dragged the body to the place of the crime, a mile 


distant, and there burned it. Proceeding thence to the court-house, 
on Twentieth Street, where Salzner was confined on an indictment 
charging him with the murder of Mrs. Salzner, they broke down his 
cell and took him a square or two distant and there hung him to a 
telegraph pole, and then after shooting the body many times, they dis- 
persed. It may be stated here, but of course for no purpose of extenua- 
tion, that no one else was molested, nor was any property injured, save 
the injury and damage at the court-house. 

The news of the crime and the search for the criminal spread rapidly 
over the adjacent country' and brought to Cairo large numbers of people, 
too many of whom were quite ready to join the Cairo contingent for 
purposes of vengeance. The numbers increased during the Jong three 
days, but little was done to counteract the constantly growing feeling 
that the severest punishment should be dealt out to the criminal and in 
the most summary way. The number of the leaders and active mem- 
bers of the mob was very large and probably about equally composed 
of men of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. 

James seems to have confessed to no one but members of the mob, 
and not fully to any of them. The most he said seems to have been 
that he was not the only guilty person. He may have named Alexander 
as a partner in his crime. No large number of people in the city 
regretted the mob's disposition of James. A like, but a somewhat 
modified statement, may be made relative to Salzner, The horror 
of James' crime seemed to touch everj^ home in the city. What processes 
of reasoning hurried through the minds of the people it is useless to 
conjecture. What they thought about the law taking its course,^ or 
about the thwarting of the law, or the slow and uncertain proceedings 
of the courts and the failures of justice therein, or of the dangers 
white women were in from the debased negroes of the town, is also 
conjectural. To their one question, what would you do had she been 
your daughter they wanted no reply nor did they often get any. Many 
persons think themselves able to state the one single cause of an event, 
when in fact there may have been many. In this case, there were 
probably many causes tending to produce the mob-like feeling in the 
minds of many people; but the fact that the victim was a young white 
woman and the assailant and murderer a black brute of the cit)^ would 
have put a strain upon any community not altogether congealed in its 
own complaisant self-sufliciency. 

After a calamity, it is always easy to tell what should have been 
done to prevent it. Had the persons criticized been given the oppor- 
tunity of viewing the matter just as their critics had, there would have 
been little or no room for criticism. This was the first occurrence of 
the kind in the c'm of Cairo. The Joe Spencer affair of 1855, detailed 
in Moses B. Harrell's history and the "History of Alexander, Union 
and Pulaski Counties," could not be called a lynching in any sense of the 


All that can be justly said in criticism of the cit)^ and county officers 
is that they should have expected a mob almost from the outstart. They 


were intent on finding the criminal but seem to have overlooked the 
matter of his protection when found. This should have gone along 
with everj^ step of their search. They should have known better than 
others the state of feeling in the city. James could not have been 
gotten away too soon. His arrest and detention here three days and 
then his taking from the city convinced the gathering mob that the officers 
regarded him as the criminal. The crime was so horrid, so fiendish, 
so like the crime of Seay J. Miller, the Springfield negro, who killed 
the two Ray daughters down in Kentucky just north of Bardwell July 
7, 1893, that they should have known the impossibility of their pro- 
tecting James when it became known that he was probably the guilty 
person. Governor Deneen, it may also be remarked, might have been 
called upon much sooner. 

We need not comment upon the evil that comes to communities which 
tolerate or connive at mob violence. Salzner, who had been in jail for 
a long time and whose crime, whatever it was, was generally and fully 
known, would not have been lynched had not the mob lynched James; 
nor would the attempted lynching of the negro John Pratt have taken 
place in Februarj^ 1910, and the consequent loss of life in the attempt, 
had not the lynchings in November occurred. These occurrences of No- 
vember and February, and the divers and sundry results growing out of 
them, together with the opprobrium cast upon our city, set before us 
in the clearest light the evil that flows from a community taking or 
allowing others to take the law into their own hands. The solecism 
of attempting to enforce the law by its most flagrant violation is too 
obvious for comment. 



THE geographical position of Cairo is certainly as favorable for 
business purposes as nature has anywhere afforded the people of 
the country, at least so far as inland points are concerned. The 
low site and the abrading rivers have been great drawbacks. As to 
these features of our situation, it has always been a question of money, 
much money, to put us on an equality with other places. They have 
no doubt turned away men and capital, which would have sought the 
place time and time again, had these deterrent causes not existed. They 
have always been with us and will so continue, until we attain such 
strength in population and wealth as will make the burden to counter- 
act them comparatively light. They are great disadvantages, clearly 
seen to be such, when we consider what the situation would be, had 
there been a higher and an unyielding point of land here. This was the 
reason given by General George Rogers Clark in 1779 for establishing 
Fort Jefferson on the Kentucky side just below us instead of at this 
place. But after all, the advantages of the location will always out- 
weigh its disadvantages, although the same have long seemed to be 
about equally balanced. 

A sufficient time has elapsed to show that Cairo is a good business 
point. Its trade has been and is chiefly with the south. It is largely 
a southern city. Its local trade has never been large. What the 
prosperous and strong cities of other parts of the state have had as 
their chief and sometimes their sole reliance, we have had here in the 
minimum. The rivers have their advantages. They make Cairo what 
it is; but they have been as walls encompassing the city and shutting 
out local trade, which would otherwise have been a constant source 
of growth and prosperity. Every stranger remarks upon the fine, not 
to say the wonderful geographical position, and ask why there isn't a 
largei even a great city here. Cairo business men express different 
views about the matter. The)' concede that the question is a very per- 
tinent one, but their answers are sometimes far from satisfactor\\ Let 
me give here a few lines from a man who was here during the Avar, 
and who a few years since wrote a fine book in which Cairo is often 
mentioned. General Clark E. Carr, in "The Illini," heretofore quoted 
from, writes as follows, on pages 19, 20 and 418 : 

" 'So you think. General, that Chicago will be the great city of 
Illinois,' my father asked. 'Not at all, sir, not at all. Chicago will 
be a great city, but Cairo will be the great city. Look at her position, 



on the great Father of Waters, at its confluence with the Ohio ! Think 
of the trade and commerce that is already coming up the Mississippi 
from New Orleans and all the parts of the south. Think of all that 
comes down the Ohio from Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and Louisville, and 
the other cities, besides what comes from the Tennessee and Cumber- 
land. Think of all that will come down from the upper Mississippi 
and the Missouri; — and all this to meet at Cairo! It will be the 
largest city on this continent; and the time is sure to come when Cairo 
will be the largest city in the world.' " 

"As we rounded the point at Cairo into the Ohio River, I asked the 
General if he remembered prophesying, on our boat trip around the 
lakes, that Cairo would be a great city. 'That was before the days of 
railways,' he replied. 'Had there been no railways, my prophesy would 
have proven correct. Cairo possesses more natural advantages for 
inland water transportation than any other of the west ; but the railways 
have taken the business elsewhere. There is another thing in which I was 
mistaken. I thought the great prairies could never be settled, and if 
they were, the prairie land would be worth far less than the timber 
land. It now seems that we were all mistaken, and that the prairies 
could all be brought under cultivation, and that the best lands are the 
prairie lands.' " 

How much of General Carr's book is matter of fact and how much 
is matter of fiction I do not know. I give the above simply as another 
strong evidence of what the expectations of the public were regarding 
our city of Cairo, which has proved such a disappointment to so many 
people and for so long a time. The time has probably passed for rna.k- 
ing Cairo a great or a relatively large city. Time and opportunities 
for cities, like time and opportunities for individuals, pass by. Large 
cities absorb, not to say exhaust, the population of large districts of 
country and therefore large cities are found only at considerable dis- 
tances apart. There are too many large cities, comparatively, near us 
now to justify any hope that Cairo will ever attain to anything like 
what was expected of it half a century ago. All that can be hoped for 
now is a wholesome steady growth, which will assure a population and 
business that can give it something of a commanding place among the 
more important cities of the valley of the Mississippi. 

Further than as just stated, we cannot venture an opinion about the 
future of the city, except only to point to the picture of^ the Concord 
facing the beginning of this chapter. That war vessel in the harbor 
means only one thing to us, and that is, that if_ the Mississippi River 
were deepened or otherwise improved, as the interests of this great 
valley seem to require, instead of one sea-going vessel seen in our harbor 
here, there would be a score of them. The river should be what it 
is not now, a great commercial highway, worthy of the twenty-five 
states whose waters it carries to the sea. 


There is now no probability that the site of the city will ever be 
raised to or near to the level of the surrounding levees, as was urged 
by Judge Miles A. Gilbert and was for a while intended fifty to sixty 
years ago; and hence the imperative need of their maintenance to a 
grade above any and all floods. What these may be, or how high they 
may rise, no one can tell. There are many contingencies. For the 
maintenance of the levees we may regard ourselves as amply able; but 
there is another matter of much greater importance; and that is, the 
safe maintenance of the site of the city against abrasion by the rivers. 
I have spoken of this once or twice elsewhere. It should be kept 
constantly in mind as the first of all things concerning our city. While 
we will be able to bear, from time to time, a certain part of the expense 
incident to the preservation to the river banks or shores, the erosion 
may at times become so great as to require government aid. We hardly 
know what we would have done or how we would have escaped, had 
not the government come to our aid thirty to thirty-five years ago, and 
at later times. We can in most cases depend, I suppose, upon such aid ; 
but that we should need it at all or at any time is not a ver>' pleasant 
contemplation. Our interests may now and then be regarded by the 
government authorities as differing from the interests of navigation or 
river improvement. Our stone wall fronting the Ohio reminds us that 
our whole attention must not be given to the Mississippi ; but the latter 
river is by far the chief source of concern. Its long straight stretch 
toward us, for miles above the city, presents a kind of threatening 
aspect that we would be glad to see changed. It has moved backward 
and forward, now away from us and again toward us, but its general 
tendency, for seventy-five years, has been to the eastward. Pushed 
over to the west or prevented from moving eastward, the great river 
has turned somewhat aside and to the south and has been for years 
devouring the Missouri shore and uniting with the Ohio further down. 
I do not know that it is so; but it would seem that there is a tendency 
of uniting rivers to move their point of junction further in the direc- 
tion of the united streams. If this is true, and there are no other inter- 
vening causes, the Mississippi will continue to draw the junction point 
further to the southward, leaving the Egbert A. Smith possessions entirely 
undisturbed This may somewhat relieve the pressure upon our western 
and most threatened border. But it is very conjectural, indeed. 
When one takes a map or chart of the Mississippi River, he will see 
both above and below us that there is no discoverable rule of movement 
in that great river. Bend after bend, of varying lengths, even^^here 
appear, defying all reasons for their existence. 

There are, however, so many interests represented here now that 
we can safely hope that all the needed aid will be forthcoming in 
ample time. The large interests of the government and those of the 
great railroad companies, not to mention any other sources of power and 
influence, ought to forbid any serious apprehension of danger. And 
yet our location or situation is highly peculiar, and requires from us an 


attention and care, from which almost all other places in the country 
are free. 

If we discharge faithfully our duty in respect to our levees and 
river banks, we can safely depend upon the general movement of things 
elsewhere and quite beyond us for our much greater growth, if such 
we are to have. River improvement on a large scale is seemingly grow- 
ing in favor, and should it materialize in proportion to its importance, 
Cairo may well hope to share more largely in its benefits than almost 
any other city in the great valley. It is not, however, very clear, at 
this time, that a depth of fourteen feet, or anything close thereto, can 
be had and maintained to points north of us, or even to this place, to 
the satisfaction of the country at large, whose means are to be devoted 
to the enterprise. It will be a great valley movement in which our 
own interests here will be regarded as merely incidental — incidental, 
it is true, but great, nevertheless. It will not be long until the valley 
of the Mississippi contains a population as large as the present popula- 
tion of the whole countrj^ — a hundred millions and Illinois ten millions 
thereof. This may be too far hence to be made much of now; but we 
hope this for the future of our city. 

It would be wrong for me to omit saying that Cairo's future depends, 
in one important sense at least, upon the people of the city themselves. 
They cannot change its geographical features, nor its topographical 
features very much ; but they can and should make it a place from which 
good and desirable people will not turn away except for business rea- 
sons or supposed business disadvantages. 

I have desired to keep the size of this book down to verj^ moderate 
proportions, but have not been able to do so. It seems large for the 
size of the city; but it must be remembered that while a small city it 
has had quite a remarkable history. Few cities of the state have been 
the objects of more legislation or of more documentary transactions of 
almost every kind. It is the history of three several attempts to start 
a city, one in 18 18, one in 1836, and one in 1846, out of the latter of 
which the present city has grown. Had I used all the materials col- 
lected and which might well have found a place in the book it would 
have been very much larger. I may also add that I have probably, 
here and there, devoted too much space to certain matters and too little 
or perhaps none at all to others of greater importance. Whether this 
be so or not, I can truly say that there are ver\^ many matters of more 
or less importance which have had to remain unnoticed in order to keep 
the book within the desired limits. 

























S94 IOC Ai 



99 Aug- aS» ^ 
96|}ulj 15 
Aug. lo-i; 

96 July IP 

97 July I o 

94 July 5 
96 July Q 
96 July 10, 1 1 

94 July 14,15 
103 Aug. I a 
94 J»«»e as 
9a Aug. aa 
9a June 13 July 3 

96 July 30 
Aug. 17 

98 July 30 

97 Aug. a 
July 13 

96 June 30 

93 J«oe 3 

ug. 13 
98 July 30 
98 July 31 
94 Juhr 3 

1899 97 Sept. 6 

190c 97 Aug. at 

190a 9S Aug. 3 
1903 95 July II 
Aug. as 

-"Dec. 14 
-S ].v.:. 10 

•^"D.v. o. ; 
-*■ T.i". o 
■i-D;V. is- 

-vDtv. ;o 

ibcc. - 
Jan. ii 
It Jan. 5 
yan. aa 
Jan. a 
o Jan. 16 
6 Feb. a; 
Mil. I 
1 4 Nov. aq 
Jan. ao 
Jan. 15 


1905 94 June 

1906 9a June 39 

1907 97 July as 

1908 96 Aug. 17 

1909 99Aug. :? 

fan. a^ 

-<)|Feb. S' 

Jan. 4 

Jan. a6 

Dec 14 

Feb. 13 

oFeb. I- 

-4 Dec. 20 

Jan. 27 

t Feb. 17 

Jan. 26 

Feb. 1 3 

Feb. 6" 

10 Jan. 26 

ic Feb. 2 

Joec. ;c 

47- 6.5 

.St- 2 



2 . 5c{.Apr. 8 

Jan. 15. 16 
Feb. ao, 21 
Mar. 5. 6 
4 Nov. 22, 23 
Jan. I-. iS 
July 29 
Apr. iq, 20 
June 2-. 2S 
\lay 2C 21 
Dec. i; 



4 . 24|M.iy Q 
Oct. iS 
Si.b^b.qciSept. iq 




I . TO Dec. S, q 

Nov. 16, 1^ 
Dec 31 

.90 a. 04 July I' 
.74 3.9* Nov. 7, S 
Feb. 24, 25 
Nov. 16 
.\ug. II, 12 
June a, 3 

a -4 





i.6«?|Feb. 7, S 
June 15 
ay 16, 17 
une 23, 33 

6 Ma 









664.42 Jsept. 20 

Oct. I 
une i; 


June 7, S 
July 29, ;o 
Dec 14, 15 

I+. 15 
Jan. 31, 33 
June aS 
Nov. 1- 
Feb. 23, 34 
Feb. 13, 14 












6|Feb. 36 
Apr. 26-27 

Aug. 7 
Apr. b 
b|.\pr. 14 
Apr. 20 
Dec. 31 
Mar. 21-23 
Apr. iq, 20 
Feb. 25, 26 
Feb. It, 27 
Feb. 21, 22, 24 
Jan. 25, 26 
c|.\pr. iS, iq 
t)|\Iar. q, 10 
Apr. 3-6 
June 24 12, 13 
Mar. 4-6 
Apr. aS 
Mav q-i; 

7.ciFeb. 16 
Jan. 32 





46. q 


[45 -6 

Mar. 25- 28 
Apr. 6 

Mar. 30 

Apr. 4 

Mar. 17 

ay 2 
Mar. 17 

ar. 15-17 
Apr. 5 

ay 24 

Apr. q 

Jan. 2- 

Mar. iS 

Mat. I- 




Dec. 24 
Dec. 32 
Oct. 16, 17 
Nov. 10. 13 

• oIN 



2.6 Oct. 


8.4 Oct. 

2.cDec. ;i 




q, IC 



18, 19 

Nov. II, I a 



3. 9 Oct. 


3 . 9 Nov. 

2 . 5 Oct. 

23, 23 






o Oct. 1 5,16,37 

Sept. 31, 33 
Sept. a6 
olDec 30 
Dec. 3?, a6 
Feb. 4" 
Nov. 12-5-7 
Not. I 
Oct. 1--19 
Oct. Is. 16 


IN almost all cases I have given the names of the authors from whom 
I have quoted. Where they are not given, it will be observed that 
the matters stated are of such a general historic nature as to require 
no reference to authors. Hence it is, there are no footnotes nor any- 
thing in the nature of a bibliograph3\ 

I am indebted to many persons for favors shown me in the prosecu- 
tion of my work. Mayor George Parsons gave me every opportunity 
to examine the books and records of the Trustees of the Cairo City 
Property and of the Trustees of the Cairo Trust Propert}', the former 
extending back as far as the year 1846, and embracing some papers and 
records coming over from the Holbrook administration of 1836 to 
1846. The Hon. William B. Gilbert, whose father. Judge Miles A. 
Gilbert, knew all about Cairo from 1836 to 1851, furnished me the 
photograph of his father from which the picture herein was made; also 
the map of Cairo, of 1838, showing the line of the proposed canal from 
Cache River down to the point, and also the blank certificate of stock, 
such as was issued by the old Cairo Citj' & Canal Company. Mr. 
Michael J. Howley has rendered me invaluable services in a great many 
matters and ways. His work has so aided me that but for it I 
would have had much more to do or the work would probably have 
been left undone. I am indebted to the following named persons for 
pictures of the persons named from which their photogravures were 
made: To Mrs. Joseph W. Wenger, for the photograph of her 
grandfather, Col. Samuel Staats Taylor; to Mrs. John S. Aisthorpe, 
for the photograph of Captain William P. Halliday, taken probably 
in the year 1874, when Mr. William Winter, whom so many of us 
remember, had his art rooms on Sixth Street between the two avenues; 
to Dr. B. N. Bond, of Bellingham, Washington, for a photograph copy 
of the oil painting of his father, Governor Bond, painted by Gilbert 
Stuart, of Washington, D. C, in 1812; to Dr. W. W. Kane, of 
Pinckne3^ille, for the picture of Senator Elias Kent Kane, his grand- 
father; to Mrs. General John A. Logan, of Washington, for the por- 
trait from which the picture of Judge Alexander M. Jenkins was taken ; 
to Mr. Sidney S. Breese, of Springfield, for the photograph from which 
the picture of Judge Sidney Breese, his grandfather, was taken. Bar- 
oness Caroline Von Roques, who, in the month of September, 1909, was 
residing temporarily at Stamford, Connecticut, and who is now deceased, 
sent me a beautiful small picture of her father, Darius Blake Holbrook, 
and it was from that picture that the fine picture herein of him was taken. 
The pictures of the two old gunboats are copies from old photographs 



kindly furnished me by Mr. E. C. Halliday; and the pictures of the 
Cairo-Kaskaskia bank bills are from the original bills, now the property 
of Mr. James H. Galligan. 

I hope it will not be regarded as out of place for me to speak of the 
collection of books, maps, papers, documents, clippings, etc., now in 
Mayor Parsons' offices as the representative of the Trustees. Though 
given every opportunity for examination, 1 found the work entirely 
too hard to admit of very extensive or thorough searches. It would 
take two persons a month or two or more to go over them and select 
and catalogue all that they might find deserving of preservation. Many 
of us knew what Col. Taylor's custom or habit was in this respect, but 
no one would suppose that the collections were so extensive and all in 
such a good state of preservation. I do not know what Mayor Parsons 
or the Trustees will be able to do with them. I only know that when 
he or any one else undertakes the work of assortment it will be found 
an exceedingly laborious one. 

In the course of my work I have collected a large number of in- 
teresting documents which I had hoped to include in an appendix; but 
I found that to do so would enlarge the book to twice its present size, 
and hence their omission. Among them are a number of maps and plats. 
Could the city or the public library management take charge of them 
and have the same printed and bound in some comparatively cheap form, 
it would well justify the work and expense. At all events, those I have 
and the large number belonging to the Trustees ought to be preserved 
in our public library in some suitable shape or manner. I am sure Mr. 
Parsons would heartily favor such a course. Such matters can be post- 
poned only at the risk of partial or entire loss of interesting historical 
information. Mr. Michael J. Howley, who has for a long time done 
so much in the way of gathering and printing in our city papers in- 
teresting matters of local histor>% could perhaps do more than any one 
else in furthering such an undertaking as this. 



Able, Wilson, 41, 98, 269 

Abrasions of River Banks, 63 

A. B. SaiTord Memorial Library, 113, 


Acknowledgments, 285 

Adams, Mrs. Mary J., 154 

Adler, Isaac, 235 

Aisthorpe, H. R., 232 

Aisthorpe, John S., 156, 232 

Aisthorpe, Mrs. John S., 285 

Akers, Rev. Dr., 141 

Alba, Conrad, 275 

Alba, Wm., 275 

Albright, Fountain E., 181, 237 

Alden, A. J., 144 

Alden, Mrs. B. E., 144 

Alden, George M., 275 

Alexander, William M., 211, 269 

Alexander Club, 177 

Alexander County, 211 

Alexander County National Bank, 232 

Alexander County Savings Bank, 232 

Allen, James D., 270 

Allen, Mrs. Jean M., 164 

Allen, Nesbit, 211 

Allen, Sheldon R., 152 

Allen, Judge William J., 178, 269, 275 

Allinson, Samuel, 51 

Alvis, Henry E., 152 

Alvord, George G., 123, 151 

Alvord, Mrs. G. G., 154 

America, Town of, 28, 40, 213 

American Notes, 170, 241 

Amos, Lydia, 152 

Anderson, Rev. A. H. W., 140 

Anderson, A. W., 239 

Anderson, J. B., 145 

Angel, E. A., 151 

Anthony, Miss, 124 

Antrim, H. S., 233 

Antrim, John, 235, 275 

Apple Creek, 245 

Arab Fire Company, and First Mem- 
bers of, 271 

Archibald, O. B., 145 

Arlington House, 126 

Armitage, B. F., 151 

Armstrong, Rev. C. H., 143 

Armstrong, Miss E. F., 123 

Armstrong, Frank B., 269 

Arrick, A. A., 126 

Arrick, James C, 126 
Arter, Daniel, 213, 233, 275 
Arter, Mrs. M. A., 154 
Artesian Wells, 93, 94 
Ashmun, George, 103, 106 
Atherton, Aaron, 211 
Atherton, F. D., 145 
Audubon, John James, 251 
Audubon, John Woodhouse, 251 
Audubon, Journal of, 251 
Augur, Mrs. Julia C, 144 
Augur, W. C, 144 
Austin, Henry, 171 
Au Vaise River 


Babbitt, Rev. C, 142 

Babbs, E., 178 

Babcock, Rev. George M., 140 

Backus, E., 215 

Bacon Rock, 228 

Bagby, Col. Emmet W., 256 

Baird, Robert H., 86, 275 

Baker, Ann Eliza, 194 

Baker, David J., Jr., 75, 83, 140, 178, 

179, 180, 199, 269, 275 
Baker, David J., Sr., 26, 43, 48, 6i, 97, 

98, 194, 239 
Baldwin, Harvey, 49 
Baldwin, William, 243 
Balfry, Mrs. J. J., 124 
Banks, Cairo, 231 
Baptist Church, Cairo, 144 
Baptist Church, Calvary, 145 
Baptist Church, First Missionary, 146 
Baptist Church, Missionary, 146 
Barclay, James S., 76 
Barclay, Mrs. Mary C, 154 
Barclay, Philander C, 154 
Barclay, Philander W., 76 
Barclay, Mrs. Philander W., 153 
Barnitz, Rev. S. S., 142 
Barrett, Miss Ida, 154 
Barron, William E., 72, 92 
Barry, Ethel, 152 
Bass, Rev. L. D., 145 
Batterton, Bessie, 152 
Bates, Robert P., 247 
Beale, Titian R., 243 
Beck, Christopher, 275 



Becker, George J., 275 

Beckwith, Quinton E., 141, 232 

Bedford, Ida M., 152 

Beerwart, William T., 271, 272 

Beland, Gustave, 142 

Bench and Bar, 275 

Bennett, Sanford P., 275 

Bennett, Frances W., 152 

Benson, T. W., 145 

Biddle, E. R., 48 

Biggs, William, 25, 257 

Bigley, M., 151 

Billings, H. W., 41 

Binney, Amos, 48 

Biographical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 

Bird, Abram, Sr., 259 
Bird Family, 258 
Bird, Hunter, 269, 270 
Bird, Thompson, 259 
Bird, William, 259 
Bird's Point, 258 
Black, Adolph, 275 
Black, Harmon H., 269 
Blackwell, Rev. Henry C, 141 
Blake, Byron F., 275 
Blauvelt, Ella Armstrong, 152 
Block, Henry, 275 
Bloms, Herman, 275 
Bloom, John, 124 
Bond, Dr. B. N., 285 
Bond, Edwin, 142 

Bond, Shadrack, 25, 26, 33, 34, 36, 285 
Bondurant, Dr. A. A., 145, 156, 270 
Bonnar, Rev. David A., 139 
Bossinger, Slater S., 141 
Boundaries, 118, 211 
Bowers, Rev. George A., 143 
Bowlar, F. F., 152 
Boyd, Thomas, 232 
Braden, Rev. Clark, 144 
Bradley, Belfield B., 275 
Bradsby, Mr. H. C, 5, 165, 219 
Brady, Rev. P., 138 
Breckinridge, John C, 267 
Breese, Judge Sidney, 26, 32, 37, 48, 61, 

96, 97, 98, 105, 108, 269 
Breese, Sidney S., 285 
Bribach, Robert, 142 
Bristol, Walter L., 275 
Brooks, Samuel S., 270 
Bross, Fredolin, 87, 232, 269, 275 
Brown, Mrs., 144 
Brown, Alfred, 270 
Brown, Rev. A. J., 144 
Brown, John T., 140 
Brown, John & Co., 48 
Brown, Rev. L. S., 144 
Brown, Warren, 26, 31, 33, 37 
Browning, Daniel M., 269 

Bruce School, 152 

Bryant, Lieut. Nathaniel C, 137 

Brj'son, Rev. M. A., 142 

Buchanan, Rev. A. S., 140 

Buchanan, William J., 141 

Bucher, Eberhard, 275 

Buder, Edward A., 232, 233, 234, 275, 

Bugg, Georgia, 152 
Bugg, Nancy A., 152 . . 
Building & Loan Associations, 232 
Bulletin, The Cairo, 165, 277 
Burke, Edward A., 270 
Burke, Patrick, 87 
Burke, W. R., 179 
Burley, A. H., 130 
Burlingham, E. P., 151 
Burnett, E. A., 165 
Burnham, Miss Mary, 123 
Burns, J. W., 145 
Burr, Col. Aaron, 28 
Burrall, William P., 220 
Butler, Mann, 257 

Butler, William N., 236, 269, 270, 275 
Butterfield, J., loi, 104, 107 

Cache River, 21, 46 

Cache River Valley, 91 

Cairo as a Business Point, 280 

Cairo Banks, 231 

Cairo Baptist Church, 144 

Cairo Building & Loan Ass'n, 233 

Cairo Bulletin, The, 165, 277 

Cairo City and Canal Company, 41, 58 

Cairo City Property, 49, 58 

Cairo City Property, Organization of 

Trust, 59 
Cairo City Times, 220, 229, 266 
Cairo Daily Argus, 163, 164 
Cairo Daily News, 76 
Cairo Delta, The, 59, 74. 168, 252 
Cairo Drainage District, 263 
Cairo during the War, 1861-1865, 128 
Cairo Evening Sun, 123, 124 
Cairo from 1836 to 1846, 41 
Cairo from June 13, 1846, to December 

23, 1853, 58 
Cairo Geodetic Survey, 263 
Cairo, Gunboat, 137 
Cairo Harbor, 227 
Cairo High School, 152 
Cairo in Servitude to Land Companies, 

Cairo Island, 258 
Cairo-Kaskaskia Bank Bills, 286 
Cairo National Bank, 232 
Cairo Newspapers, 163 
Cairo, of 1818, 30 



Cairo, of 1818, Incorporated, 33 

Cheek, John, 235 

Cairo, of 1818, Plat of, 30 

Chickasaw Indians, 18, 257, 260 

Cairo, Site of, from 1818 to 1836, 


Chouteau, Augustus, 31, 73 

Cairo Site and its Abrasions b} 

' the 

Chouteau, Peter, 33 

Rivers, 63 

Christian Church, 143 

Cairo Telegram, The, 81, 164 

Christy, Miss Ida, 123 

Cairo under Town Government, 


Church of the Redeemer, 139 

Cairo, Veteran Club and First Mem- 

Churches, 138 

bers of, 272 

Citizen, The, 163 

Cairo & Fulton Railroad, 224 

Citizen, The Evening, 164, 277 

Cairo & St. Louis Railroad Co., 222 

Citizen, Weekly, 140 

Cairo & Thebes Railroad, 224 

City and Bank of Cairo, 26, 33 

Cairo & Vincennes Railroad Co., 223 

City Bank of Cairo, 231, 235 

Caledonia, Town of, 28 

City, Election of 1857, 87, 273 

Calhoun, John C, 67, 242 

City Government of 53 years, 177 

Calvary Baptist Church, 145 

City Indebtedness, 79 

Campbell, Maj. Gen. John, 256, 257 

City National Bank, 231 

Campbell, Thomas H., 236 

City of Cairo of 1818, 30 

Canady, P. C, 232 

Citizens' Building & Loan Ass'n, 233 

Candee, Henry H., 86, 87, 140, 153 


Civil Engineers of Trustees, 162 

262, 276 

Clancy, John, 267 

Candee, Henry S., 140, 165, 232 

Clanc}', Dr. R. E., 270 

Candee, Mrs. Isabella L., 154 

Clark, Mr., 124 

Candee, Stephen S., 194 

Clark, Benjamin E., 276 

Cannon, Frank E., 270 

Clark, E. S., 151 

Cantrell, Tilman B., 222 

Clark, Gen. George Rogers, 15, 128, 

Carey, C. S., 233 

215, 255, 256, 258, 280 

Carey, E. D., 150 • 

Clark, Jefferson M., 276 

Carey, Emma, 152 

Clark, Lewis and, 33 

Carle, Andrew J., 276 

Clark, Luther C, 49 

Carlson, E. H., 152 

Clark, Mrs. Mary E., 144 

Carmichael, Dr. Duncan A., 156 

Clarke, Capt., 242 

Carnes, George T., 233 

Clarke, Charles S., 227 

Carpenter, Mr., 144 

Clarke, Dr. W. C, 156, 270 

Carr, Gen. Clark E., 133, 280 

Clendenen, Taylor C, 142, 151 

Cartwright, Sir George, 202 

Cloud, George, 41 

Carver, Mrs. I. N., 154 

Club, Cairo Veteran, 272 

Cary, Dr. S. B., 270 

Club, Woman's, 153, 154 

Cary, William G., 276 

Coan, Rev. Edward, 139 

Casey, N. R., 223 

Cobb, Dr. Julius 0., 156 

Casey, Mrs. N. R., 154 

Coe, Rev. J. W., 139 

Casey, Hon. Zadok, 48 

Cohen, Pearl, 152 

Cassiday, Frank, 233, 234 

Cchn, Reta, 152 

Caster, Mrs. N. E., 144 

Colbert, Col. George, 260 

Catholic Churches, 138, 143 

Colbert, James, 257, 260 

Cemetery of the Lotus, 261 

Colbert, Levi, 260 

Census of County and City, 208 

Colbert, William, 260 

Central Building & Loan Ass'n, 


Coleman, Albert C, 276 


Collins, Rev. C. M., 138 

Central House, 235 

Collins' History of Kentucky, 256 

Chamber of Commerce of 1865, Mem- 

Colonial Grants, 13 

bers of, 267, 268 

Comegys, John G., 31, 33, 34, 44, 97, 

Chamberlain, E. G., 263 

112, 162, 2l8 

Chambers, Allie, 152 

Comegys & Falconer, 34 

Chandler, Florence Elizabeth, 193 

Coming, Fortesque, 241 

Chandler, Holbrook St. John, 193 

Comings, Alfred, 233, 262 

Chandler, William, 193 

Commercial Bodies, Clubs, Fraternal 

Charlevoix, Father Xavier De, 22 


Orders and other Organizations, 264 

Chase, Rt. Rev. Philander, 139 

Conant, P. A., 233 

Chase, S. P., 132 

Concord, The, 281 



Conkling, James C, 236 

Conners, Timothy, 124 

Conquest of the North West, English's, 

Cook, John, 236 
Cook, Thomas, 124 
Coperthwait, Joseph, 48 
Corbett, Thomas H., 221 
Corcoran, John, 138 
Corcoran, P., 148, 149, 261 
Corcoran, Mrs. P., 124 
Cotter, Thomas P., 232 
Cotton Bek Railroad, 224 
County, City and Other Officers, 269, 

Court of Common Pleas, 237 
Cowell, J. G., 269 
Cox, E. E., 232, 233 
Cox, F. W., 145 
Cox, Dr. N. W., 270 
Crabtree, G. P., 233 
Cramers' Navigator, 242 
Crawford, Monroe C, 239, 269 
Crebs, John M., 223 
Crofton, John, 124 
Crowley, John C, 233 
Crumb, Clabe B., 247 
Crumb, D. S., 247 
Cullom, Shelby M., 269 
Cummings, Dr. James C, 122 
Cundifl, Mr. & Mrs. Robert J., 144 
Cunningham, Charles, 141 
Cunningham, Robert H., 76, 86, 275 
Cunningham, William, 141 
Cunynghame, Lieut. Col. Arthur, 252 
Curry, James, 257 
Custom House, 233 
Cyrus, Mr., 144 
Cyrus, John M., 267 


Daniels, Alonzo, 124 

Davenport, Rev. Frederick P., 139 

Davidson, William M., 276 

Davidson & Stuve's History, 46 

Davis, Annie, 124 

Davis, Charles, 51, 58, 61, 158, 160, 261 

Davis, D. L., 124 

Davis, Frank E., 277 

Davis, H. A., 270 

Davis, Jefferson, 267 

Davis, Dr. J. H., 270 

Davis, Lee B., 275 

Day, Peter, 233 

Day, Rev. T., 139 

Day, William, 159 

De Baun, A. T., 233 

De Lassus, 259 

Dee, Rev. J. G., 142 

Deneen, Governor, 279 

Dennett, Fred, 216 

Denning, William A., 86, 269 

Dentists, 270 

Denzel, Walter, 233 

De Rosset, Rev. Fred. A., 139 

Desrocher, Gideon, 276 

Dewey, Edmund S., 141, 275 

Dewey, Miss Jennie E., 152 

Dewey, Mrs. Jennie M., 154 

Dewey, Mrs. M. J., 144 

Dewey, William S., 141, 225, 233, 269, 

270, 275 
Dewey, C. B., 233 
Dexter, Isaac D., 212 
Dickens, Charles, 115, 122, 170, 241, 254 
Dickerson, Dr. E. S., 270 
Dickey, Huston, 124 
Dickey, William, 148, 149 
Diepenbrock, Rev. J. B., 143, 155 
Diller, Jeremiah, 160 
Dishon, Calvin, 229 
Distinguished Personages, 265 
Documents, Relating to Cairo, 41 
Dodds, Dr. Samuel, 270 
Dodge, Henry S., 26, 34, 38 
Dolan, Hugh, 212 
Dougherty, John, 86, 269 
Douglas, Senator, 96, 103, 105 
Douglas School, 150, 152 
Downey, Rev. James J., 139 
Drainage District, Cairo, 263 
Draper, Simeon, Jr., 48 
Duerschner, Rev. C, 143 
Dugan, Michael, 124 
Dugan, Capt. R. W., 228 
Dumas, Azalea, 152 
Duncan, Governor, 238 
Duncan, Major, 35, 112, 162 
Duncan, Joseph, 48 
Duncan, Warren W., 269 
Duncan, William Butler, 222 
Dunn, Dr. James W., 270 
Dunning, Charles W., 140, 276 
Dunsing, Rev. J., 142 
Dyer, Thomas, loi 


Earliest Settlers of the County, 211 

Early Residents of Cairo, 276 

Early Western Travels, 67, 241, 243, 

Easterday, M., 115, 141 
Echols, Benjamin F., 213 
Eckerle, Rev. James, 138 
Eddy, Henry, 98, 269 
Eden, John F., 144 

Edwards, Judge Benjamin F., 38, 236 
Edwards, Helen K. Dodge, 38 



Edwards, Gov. Ninian, 25, 31, 37, 38, 

Fisher, Mrs. Susan G., 154 

211, 229, 236 

Fitch, Thomas W., 224 

Egan, Martin, 76, 87 

Fitzpatrick, Mrs., 124 

Eggleston, George W., 221 

Fleming, R. K., 174 

Eblman, Maude, 152 

Flannary, Abraham, 213, 214 

Ehs, Anthony P., 275 

Flannary, Joshua, 213, 214 

Eichhoff, William, 276 

Flannary Survey, 214, 215, 256 

Eight Months in Illinois, 247 

Flannary, Thomas, 213, 214 

Election, Presidential, i860, 128 

Flint, Rev. Timothy, 242, 265 

Election of 1855, 86, 177 

Flood Plain, 91 

Election of 1857, 87, 273 

Floods, Highest Known in Rivers, 72 

Elliott, Thomas C, 234 

Foote, Rev. C. H., 140 

Ellis, Mrs. Edith, 154 

Ford's History of Illinois, 46 

Ellis, Eugene E., 164, 276 

Fort Chartres, 215 

Elmwood School, 150, 152 

Fort Crevecoeur, 19 

Embaj'ment Area, 90 

Fort Dearborn, 29 

Engineers, Civil, 162 

Fort Defiance, 266 

Englebracht, Rev. W., 143 

Fort Donelson, 135 

English, H. S., 151 

Fort Duquesne, 14 

Ensminger, Marmaduke S., 89 

Fort Henry, 135 

Enterprise (Savings) Bank, 232 

Fort Hieman, 135 

Episcopal Church, 139 

Fort Holt, 134, 137 

Episcopal Church, St. Michael's, 146 

Fort Jefferson, 15, 255, 257, 258 

Eschman, Rev. Charles J., 139, 155, 156 

Fort Massac, 28, 29, 244 

Evening Citizen, The, 164, 277 

Fort Miami, 19 

Extracts from Books, etc., 240 

Fort Patrick Henry, 256 

Foss, Miss Henrietta, 123 


Fountaine, Alexander M., 213 

Frank, Mrs. Emma B., 154 

•Fackney, James, 223 

Franklin, J., 260 

Falconer, L. E., 34 

Fraternal Orders, 264 

Falls, Capt. Walter, 84, 218, 270 

Freeman, Jonathan, 44, 46 

Farnbaker, Isaac, 276 

French, Miss H. W., 123 

Farnbaker, Solomon, 164 

French, Miss S. N., 123 

Farrin, Julia, 152 

French and English Wars, 14 

Faudree, Tom L., 269 

French Explorers, 18 

Faxon, Leonard G., 220, 270 

French Fort, 18, m, 112 

Feilding, Mr., 126 

Frick, J. K., 212 

Feith, Mrs. M. E., 156, 275 

Friend, Rev. John, 144 

Feith, Nicholas, 276 

Frink, J., loi 

Female Academy of the Sisters of Lor- 

Fry, W. C, 233 

etta, 152 

Fuller, Allen C, 130 

Fenton, Mr. & Mrs. A. B., 143, 262 

Fuller, Thomas A., 277 

Ferguson, Frank, 150, 233, 270 

Future of Cairo, 280, 283 

Ferguson, Thomas, 25 

Ferries, Cairo's Need of, 229 


Feuchter, Charles, 232, 233, 275 

Fever, Tertian, 20 

Gaffney, Timothy N., 87 

Field, Cyrus W., 193 

Galigher, Charles, 235, 262, 275 

Fields, Dr. W. H., 270 

Galigher, C. Fred, 140 

Finch, Cullen D., 86, 178 

Galligan, James H., 150, 151, 232, 233, 

Finley, Chas., 259 

27s, 286 

Finn, Rodger, 87 

Galligan, Mrs. Jennie M., 155 

Fire of December, 1858, 261 

Garfield, James A., 267 

First Bank & Trust Co., 153, 231, 232 

Garrison School, 152 

Fish, Stuyvesant, 206 

Gassaway, Dr. James M., 156 

Fisher, Ellen B., 152 

Gause, Edwin, 270 

Fisher, George, 25, 140, 141, 156, 164, 

Gayoso Hotel, 236 

233, 275, 276 

Gee, Rev. W. Sanford, D. D., 144 

Fisher, John C, 164 

Geodetic Survey, 263 



Geological Formations, 90 

George, Rev. Benjamin Y., 126, 140, 

Gholson, John C, 145, 233 
Gibson, W. F., 145, 150, 151 
Gibson, William H., 141 
Gilbert, Barry, 275 
Gilbert, Rev. Charles A., 139 
Gilbert, Edward L., 150, 151, 233 
Gilbert, Miles A., 26, 32, 42, 61, 74, 88, 

97. 98, "3. 157. 193, 235, 276, 282, 

Gilbert, Miles Fred'k, 140, 233, 237, 

270, 275, 276 
Gilbert, Miles S., 270, 275 
Gilbert, Mrs. W. B., 154, 155 
Gilbert, William B., 84, loi, 140, 237-, 

270, 275, 276, 285 
Gilbert, William C, 275 
Gill, J. D., 145 
Gillen, Rev. James, 139, 143 
Gillham, Rev. J. D., 142 
Gillham, John D., 275 
Gilkey, Miss, 144 
Gilkey, Mrs., 144 
Gittinger, C. O., 152 
Glauber, Miss Marie C, 154 
Glenn, L. C, 90 
Goeltz, Rev. C, 155 
Goeltzhauser, Rev. William, 155 
Goldsmith, Mrs. Anna, 155 
Goldstine, Jacob A., 276 
Gordon, Dr. E. E., 270 
Gordon, George D., 87, 261 
Gordon, J. J., 124, 126, 276 
Gordon, Mrs. Mamie H., 155 
Goss, Mrs. Catherine C. E., 154, 155 
Gott, S. E., 270 
Graham, Halliday & Co., 235 
Graham, James D., 243 
Graham, John M., 270 
Graham, Rev. L. G., 145 
Grammer, John, 25 
Grand Tower, 240 
Grant, Alexander F., 269 
Grant, Ulysses, 135, 267 
Gravier, Father Jacques, 20 
Greaney, John B., 275 
Greaney, William P., 233, 270, 275 
Greater Cairo Building & Loan Ass'n, 

Greeley School, 152 
Green, Reed, 154, 232, 233, 269, 270, 

Green, Hon. William H., 153, 232, 269, 

275, 276 
Greenup, William C, 25 
Gregory, Charles E., 275 
Grinstead, Dr. W. F., 156, 232, 270 
Grossman, Rev. H. C, 143 

Groves, S. P., 142 

Growth of "The Three States," 208 

Guide, American, 253 

Guiteras, Dr. Gregorio M., 156 

Gunboat, Cairo, 137 

Guy, Lott, Mattie E., 152 


Hacker, Col. John S., 41, 42, 46, 75, 98, 

Hacker, William A., 220, 269 
Hall, Dr. E. K., 76 
Hall, Ed, 233 
Halley, A., 276 
Halliday Brothers, 207 
Halliday, Douglas, 207, 275 
Halliday, E. C, 233, 286 
Halliday, Major Edwin W., 91, 207, 

Halliday, Mrs. Eliza, 156 
Halliday, H. H., 150, 151 
Halliday, Harry E., 165, 207, 232, 266, 

Halliday, Henry L., 140, 207, 275 
Halliday Hotel, 31, 235, 253, 265 
Halliday, Samuel B., 140, 207, 231 
Halliday, Thomas W., 153, 180, 183, 

207, 269 
Halliday, Capt. William P., 81, 83, 140, 

153. 203, 207, 222, 223, 231, 232, 267, 

Halliday, William R., 207 
Hambleton, William L., 136 
Hamilton, Gov., 128 
Hamilton, Col. R. J., loi 
Hamilton, Surgeon-General, 156 
Hamlin, D. William, 124 
Hannon, Daniel, 212, 236 
Hannon, Horace A., 276 
Harbor, Cairo, 227 
Hardin, Jeptha, 269 
Harker, Oliver A., 269 
Harmon, Jno. Q., 86, 87, 140 
Harper, Hannah M., 152 
Harrell, Bailey S., 148, 217, 270 
Harrell's Directory, 265 
Harrell, Edgar C, 276 
Harrell, Dr. F. M., 270 
Harrell, Isaac L., 217 
Harrell, Moses B., 5, 86, 148, 149, 150, 

178, 217, 270 
Harrell, Wm., 217, 266 
Harrell's Short History, 217, 278 
Harris, Dr. Bert, 270 
Harris, Henry, 142 
Harris, Thomas H., 33, 34 
Harrison, Scott, 218 
Hart, Robert, 124 
Hartman, Daniel, 232 



Hasenjaeger, Henry, 266 

Hastings, Ira, 233 

Hastings, Maude, 152 

Hastings, Samuel, 275 

Hatcher, Robert A., 178, 269 

Hawes, G. W., 235 

Hawkins, Rev. L., 143 

Hawlev, Thomas G., 107 

Hay, Mr. & Mrs. S. R., 143 

Hay, Samuel R., 262 

Haynie, Isham N., 222, 223, 237, 275 

Health of the City, 120, 122 

Healy, Miss Kate, 124 

Healy, Thomas, 124 

Heilbig, Rev. G. P., 142 

Hemphill, John, 48 

Henderson, Mrs., 144 

Henderson, Charles W., 189 

Hendricks (Henricks) Geo. W., 258, 276 

Hendricks (Henricks) William E., 258 

Hennepin, Father Louis, 18 

Henrie, Arthur, 30, 35, 120 

Henry, Gov. Patrick, 255, 256 

Herbert, Oscar L., 232 

Herbert, Thomas F., 33, 34 

Hess, Rev. A. J., 144 

Hess, Samuel, 223 

Hibbitts, Dr. J. B., 270 

Hibernian Fire Company and First 

Members of, 271 
High School, Cairo, 152 
Highest Water, 284 
Hilburn, George A., 145 
Hileman, Judge Thomas, 41, 162 
Hill, Rev. L. D., 144 
Hinkle, Jesse, 276 
Hinsen, Rev. L., 143 
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 275 
Historical Places in the City, 265 
History Alexander, Union, and Pulaski 

Counties, 5, 163, 194, 211, 213, 217, 

History of Missouri, Houck's, 24, 259 
Hitchcock, Ethan A., 160 
Hodges, Alexander C, 269 
Hodges, John, 230, 269, 275, 276 
Hoffman, Rev. C, 143 
Hogan, Ella, 152 
Hogan, Miss Mary, 123 
Hogan, Rev. Thos., 143 
Holbrook, Darius B., 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 

51. 53, 96, 98, 103, 190, 193, 285 
Holbrook, S. R. A., 115 
Holden, Alexander G., 179, 182, 270 
Holman, Julius G., 141 
Holmes, Mrs. Annie, 155 
Holt, Fort, 134, 137 
Holt, Dr. John M., 156 
Home Building & Loan Ass'n, 233 
Honton, Baron De La, 19 

Hood, Harry, 270 

Hook, L H., 152 

Hoppe, E. G., 145 

Hoppe, Rev. G., 143 

Hospital, St. Mary's, 155 

Hospital, United States Marine, 156 

Hoster, Rev. Geo. P., 144, 145 

Houck, Louis, 178 

Houck's Missouri, 24, 259 

House Report 24th Congress, 99 

Howard, Mrs. Phillip K., 154 

Howard, Phillip K., 124 

Howard & Hylan, 218 

Howe, Frank, 156 

Howley, John, 76, 87, 179, 276 

Howlev, Michael J., 154, 232, 233, 270, 

285, '286 
Hoyt, Rev. E. A., 142 
Hubbard, Simon M., 98 
Hudson, Mrs. Carrie S., 154 
Hughes, Cicero N., 276 
Hughes, James, 98, 126 
Hughes, Levi, 211 
Hughey, Rev. G. W., 141, 142 
Humphrey, J. Otis, 113 
Humphrey, Jesse B., 140 
Humphreys, Edward, 26, 33 
Hundley, Francis M., 126 
Hunsaker, Rev. J. W., 145 
Hunter, Charles W., 33, 34 
Hunter, Joseph, 259 
Huntington, A., loi 
Hurd, Mrs. D., 262 
Hurd, Daniel, 75, 150, 223, 231, 262, 

Hursh, Rev. J. G. M., 142, 143 
Hurst, Rev. D. C, 142 
Hurst, Delia, 152 
Hurt, W. M., 151 
Hyslop, Walter, 141, 235 

mini. The, 133, 280 

Illinois, Boundaries of, 27 

Illinois, Geographical Position of, 32 

Illinois, Map of 1822, 13 

Illinois, Population of, 208 

Illinois Central Railroad, History of, 

49, 220 
Illinois Central Railroad Bridge, 226 
Illinois Central Railroad of 1836, 41 
Illinois Country, 13 
Illinois Exporting Company, 41, 42, 55, 

Illinois Historical Society, 176, 238 
Illinois Land Company of 1773, 23 
Illinois Territorial Government, 25 
Immanuel Lutheran Church, 142 
Indian Reservation of 1803, 24 



Indian Treaties, 31, 33 
Indians, 29, 33 
Infirmary, St. Mary's, 155 
Ingraham, Elizabeth Thurston, 193 
Ingraham, James M., 270 
Inundation, Investigation of, 49 
Iron Mountain Railroad, 224 
Irvin, Alexander H., 140, 230, 269, 270 
Irwin, M. W., 263 


Jackson, General Andrew, 28, 242, 260, 

Jackson, Ralph W., 152 
Jackson Purchase, 259 
James, Edwin, 67 
James, William (col.) 277 
Janssen, Rev. John, 155 
Jeflferson, President Thomas, 28, 255, 

256, 258 
Jenkins, Alexander M., 42, 43, 97, 98, 

238, 285 
Jenkins, Ernestine, 152 
Jenks, Rev. G. W., 142 
Jennelle, Dr. John J., 270, 275 
Jennings, Robert, 140 
Jessup, Augustus E., 243 
John Wright & Company, 55, 170 
Johnson, Gen. Albert Sidney, 136 
Johnson, H. H., 267 
Johnson, James, 275 
Joliet, M. Louis, 18 
Jones, John A., 158 
Jones, Michael, 26, 31, 33, 34, 37i 2^5 
Jones, Thomas I., 270 
Jones, William, 25, loi 
Joutel, 20 

Joy, Rev. Ephraim, 141 
Juchereau, Sieur Charles, 21, iii, 266 
Judges of the Supreme, Circuit and 

County Courts, 269 
Judy, Samuel, 25 
June, W. P., 233 

Kallock, Dr. Parker C, 156 

Kane, Elias Kent, 26, 34, 37, 97, 285 

Kane, Dr. W. W., 285 

Kaskaskia, Town of, 16, 26 

Keating, J. M., 124 

Keho, John, 124 

Kelly, Daniel E., 270 

Kenmore, Rev. Charles, 140 

Keno, Clara, 124 

Kentucks, The, 249 

Kerth, Thomas J., 232, 233 

Ketchum, Hiram, 61, 158 

King, Rufus, Ship, 242 

Kinney, Lieut. Gov. William, 46, 48, 

Kitch, Rev. E. H., 142 
Klein, Jacob, 90, 276 
Kline, Francis, 276 
Kluge, William, 143, 232, 275, 276 
Knappe, Rev. E., 143 
Knox, Rev. J. T. M., 140 
Kobler, Michael, 276 
Koch, Christian, 276 
Koehler, F. W., 145 
Koehler, George G., 269 
Koehler, John, 276 
Koehler, John A., 276 
Kone, Rev. W. F., 144 
Korsmeyer, Mrs. Adele, 154, 155 
Korsmeyer, Frederick, 123, 276 
Kratky, Frank, 276 
Kratzinger, Miss E., 123 
Krum, John M., 98, 107, 239 
Kusener, Casper, 150 
Ku3'kendall, Major Andrew J., 62, 177, 



Labagh, Rev. Isaac P., 139 

Ladd, Mrs. J. D., 155 

Laflin, M., loi 

Lambert, Rev. Louis A., 138 

Lame, Charles, 276 

Lammert, Rev. Louis, 143 

Lamothe House, 235 

Lancaster, Charles, 276 

Lancaster, Mabel, 152 

Land Entries in Township, 31, 42 

Land Companies, Cairo in Servitude to, 

Land Company, 23 

Land Grant of September 20, 1850, 96 
Landon, W. T., 145 
Lane, James S., 107 
Lane, W. R., 145 
Langan, P. T., 151, 156 
Lansden, David S., 165, 232, 270 
Lansden, Miss Effie A., 154 
Lansden, John M., 141, 179, 182, 215, 

263, 270, 275 
Lansden, Mrs. John M., 155 
Lansden, T. G., 268 
LaSalle, Cavalier de, 19 
Lathrop, Rev. Erastus, 142 
Latimer, Charles, 262 
Latitude of Cairo, 92, 264 
Laws, John, 215 
Lawyers, 270 
Layton, Mrs., 144 
LeBruche, Cape, 245 
Leek, Angus, 189, 269, 270 
Lefcovitch, Mary Ann, 138 
Lehning, Jacob, 189 



Leighton, Hasen, 144 

Lemos, Gayoso de, 214 

Leuschen, Margaret, 152 

Levee and Levee Construction, 63 

Lewis, A. W., 269, 270 

Lewis, Cordelia O., 152 

Lewis, John C, 152 

Lewis, Meriwether, 33 

Lewis, Thomas, 232, 276 

Lewis & Clark, 33 

Library, A. B. Safford Memorial, 153 

Lightner, Levi L., 233, 269 

Lincoln, Abraham, 206, 267 

Lincoln School, 152 

Lind, Charles T., X49 

Linegar, David T., 76, 81, 184, 223, 

230, 269, 270, 27s, 276 
Linegar Bill, 80 
Lippitt, Helen, 152 
Lippitt, William D., 270 
Littlefield, Solomon, 86 
Logan, General John A., 229 
Logan, Mrs. Gen. John A., 285 
Logan, William H., 222 

Lohr, Mrs. A., 142 

Lohr, Andrew, 142, 232, 276 

Lonergan, William, 276 

Long, Enoch, 163 

Long, Henry Clay, 65, 74, 162, 163, 243, 

Long, Stephen Harriman, 65, 162, 243 

Longitude of Cairo, 92, 264 

Long's Expedition, 242 

Long's Peak, 67, 243 

Looney, William A., 270 

Lopas, Rev. T. C, 141 

Lotus, Cemetery of, 261 

Louisiana House, 235 

Lounsbury, George E., 275 

Low, Daniel, 48 

Low Lots and Grounds, 79 

Lowe, Rev. J. W., 142 

Lowest Water, 284 

Ludwig, William, 276 

Lutheran Church, Immanuel, 142 

Lyle, Rev. Thomas, 139 

Lynch, I., 178 

Lynching of James and Salzner Nov, 
II, 1909, 277 


Mack, Robert, 223 
Mackoy, Thomas L., 270 
Madison, President, 25 
Magee, J. Bruce, 225, 233 
Magner, William M., 270 
Mahoney, Rev. S. P., 145 
Major, John, 212 
Manier, Rev. R. H., 141, 142 

Manley, Cornelius, 87 

Manning, Joel, 239 

Mansfield, Jared, 30 

Maps, Explanation of, 114 

Maps and Plats, 65, m 

Marest, Father Gabriel, 22 

Marlow, Rev. C. W., 144 

Marquette, Father Jacques, 18 

Marsh, John D., 270 

Martin, Rev. A. G., 141 

Martin, Mrs. Amarala, 154 

Martin, Jacob, 276 

Martin, Jacob L., 221 

Martin, Mrs. William, 144 

Masterson, Rev. Thomas, 138 

Mathews, Charles, 259 

Mathews, Edward, 259 

Matteson, Gov. Joel A., 236, 237, 267 

Matthews, Prairie, 259 

Maximilian, Alexander Phillip, 246, 265 

Maxwell, H. H., 25 

Maybrick, Florence Elizabeth, 193 

Maybrick, Gladys, 193 

Maybrick, James, 193 

Maybrick, James C, 193 

Mayfield Creek, 242 

Mayo, Walter L., 223 

Mayors, the Seventeen, 179 

Meehan, Thomas, 274, 189 

Melcher, R. M. & Son, 143 

Members of the Legislature and other 
Bodies, 269 

Membre, 19 

Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, 207, 

Menard, Pierre, 25, 43, 98 

Meredith, Wm. A., 48 

Meridian, Third Principal, 30 

Meriwether, D., 260 

Merrill, Col. William E., 92 

Mertz, George, 223 

Methodist, African Episcopal Church, 

Methodist Episcopal Church, 141 

Methodist, Southern Church, 145 

Metzger, Matt C, 233 

Meyers, Mrs. Herman, 155 

Midkiff, J. Earl, 152 

Miesner, Henry, 142 

Milford, Laura I., 152 

Miller, Carrie J., 152 

Miller, Charles F., 233 

Miller, Jesse E., 270 

Miller, John A., 275 

Miller, Mrs. Kate F., 154 

Miller, Laura A., 152 

Miller, Robert W., 181, 231, 235 

Miller, Roswell, 224 

Miller, Seay J. (col.) 279 

Miller, Sidney B., 269, 270 



Minnis, Emma L., 152 

Miscellaneous Papers, 261 

Missionary Priests, 18 

Mississippi River, 116 

Mitchell, John W., 223 

Mitchell, S. A., 116 

Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., 221 

Mockler, Patrick, 84 

Moenkemueller, Rev. J. F. W., 143 

Monroe, President, 260 

Mooney, Barney, 179 

Moore, Frank, 270 

Morgan, Joel G., 151 

Morris, James S., 230 

Morris, Rev. W. B., 144 

Morris, Rev. W. T., 142 

Morris, Wm. H., 140, 231 

Morrison, Mr. & Mrs., 144 

Morrison, Rev. A. P., 142 

Morrison, Dr. T. D., 270 

Morrow, Dr. E. D., 270 

Morrow, Mrs. J. M., 262 

Morton, Governor, 155 

Mosby, Ben H., 152 

Mother Angela, 155 

Mouth of the Ohio, 265, 270 

Mulberry, G. Pearl, 152 

Mulkey, Isaac, 123, 124 

Mulkey, John H., 123, 212, 237, 269, 

275, 276 
Mullins, Rev. G. G., 144 
Mullitt, A. B., 234 
Munn, Daniel W., 141, 269, 275 
Murphy, Rev. J., 138 
Murphy, Mr. & Mrs. Jerry, 124 
Murphy, Richard G., 98 
Murphy, William M., 270, 276 
Musson, James W., 267 
Myers, L. H., 233 

McAlister, Charles, 49 
McCabe, Father, 138 
McCartney, Robert W., 269 
McCauley, Mr. & Mrs., 144 
McClellan, Gen. George B., 133, 163 
McClernand, Gen. John A., 128, 229 
McColley, Rev. W. G., 144 
McDaniel, Leo, 270 
McDowell, W. W., 223 
McElmurray, John, 213, 214 
McEwen, John, 124 
McFerran, James, 141 
McGaha, Rev. A. W., 144 
McGahey, James S., 276 
McGee, William Q., 269 
McGerry, Rev. J. P., 138 
McGill, Rev. H. L., 142 
McHale, William, 228, 272 
McKeaig, George W., 270 
McKee, Miss N. J., 123 

McKee, Walter F., 124 
McKenzey, Allen, 2n 
McKenzie, James, 267 
McKenzie, Joseph, 76 
McKenzie, Kenneth, 239 
McKenzie & Carnahan, 141 
McKinney, James W., 276 
McManus, B., 233 
McManus, Dr. James, 156, 270 
McMasters, Rev. S. Y., 139 
McNeil, Major Wm. Gibbs, 48 
McNemer, Dr. J. H., 270 
McNemer, Rev. R. H., 144 
McTigue, Anthony, 124 


Nally, Thos., 124 

Names of Voters of 1857, 273 

Napoleon, Town of, 28 

Nason, Mr. & Mrs. Richard, 124 

Nassauer, P. I., 232 

Neal, John, 49 

Nealy, Samuel, 124 

Neff, Calvin V., 232, 269, 270 

Neff, J. E., 145 

Neff, Peter, 76, 87, 232, 276 

Neilson, Catharine Schuyler, 202 

Neilson, Col. John, 202 

Nellis, Charles F., 269 

Nellis, Fred D., 270 

Nevins, Townsend & Co., 48 

New York Life Insurance & Trust Co., 

55, 159, 170, 191 
New York Trust Co., 48 
Newell, John, 163, 262 
Newsome, Miss, 123 
Newsome, Jesse, 123 
Newspapers, Cairo, 163 
Nichols, Lyman, 49 
Niles, Lotus, 231 
Nordman, Ernest, 269 
Northwest Territory, 13 
Nott, James, 123 
Nye, Seth W., 263 


Oakley, Dr. James H., 156 

Oakley, John, 124 

Oakley, W. H., 142 

Oberly, Mayor John H., 84, 123, 165, 

179, 182, 224, 269, 275 
Oberly, Mrs. John H., 154, 155 
O'Callahan, Cornelius, 267 
Officers, County, City and Other, 269, 

Oglesby, Joshua, 25 
Oglesbv, Richard J., 267 
O'Hall'oran, Rev. P. J., 138 



O'Hare, Rev. 0., 143 

Phelps, Almanzer O., 276 

Ohio River as a Boundary, 89 


Phillips, Rev. Charles T., 140, 141 

Ohio" and Mississippi Rivers, 116 

Phillips, Daniel, 211 

Ohrura, Rev. S. C, 14+ 

Phillips, Rev. J. W., 142 

O'Laughlin, Patrick, 124 

Phillips, Joe M., 275 

Old Cairo Veteran Club, 272 

Phillips, McGuire, 86 

Oliver, William, 247, 266 

Phillips School, 152 

Olney, Anthony, 42, 97, 107, 


Phvsicians, 270 

01ne3% John, 262, 269 

Piatt, B. M., 25 

O'Melveny, Judge H. K. S., 

178, 181, 

Picture of Cairo in 1841, 114 


Pieper, Rev. F., 155 

Ordinance of 1787, 16 

Piggott, Capt. James, 257 

Orphan Asylum, 262 

Pink, Mrs. Charles, 154 

Ort, George F., 276 

Pink, Edward G., 225, 233 

Osborn, William H., 49 

Pitcher, Christian, 126 

O'Shea, Michael, 270 

Planters Bank of Cairo, 231, 235 

Osterloh, Christopher M., 87, 


Plats of Cairo, 11 1 

Ouabache (Ohio) River, Chapter II 

Poor, George B., 276 

Ousley, John E., 236 

Pope, Nathaniel, 25, 27 

Overflow, Investigation of, 49 

Pope, Patrick H., 230 

Overflow of 1858, 49 

Population, White and Colored, of the 

Owen, Capt. George, 257 

Countv', 209 

Population of Alexander County 



Cairo, 209 

Population of Kentucky, Illinois, 


Page, Lieut.-Gov. John, 255 

Missouri, 208 

Pagon, David, 257 

Porter, John D., 125 

Palmer, Gen. John M., 275 

Porter, Thomas, 276 

Palmer, Maude, 152 

Postmasters of the "Mouth of 


Parker, Mrs. D. T., 262 

Ohio" and of the City of Cairo, 


Parker, Dyas T., 267 

Potter, Henrv F., 164 

Parker, L. P., 236, 275 

Powell, Mrs.' P. E., 154 

Parker, Miles W., 276 

Powers, Mr., 126 

Parks, Mrs. Sarah E., 144 

Powers, Miss Maroe, 124 

Parrish, William H., 86, 269 

Powers, Richard E., 269 

Parsons, Mrs. Ada V., 155 

Pratt, John (col.) 279 

Parsons, Charles 158, 160, 161 

Precipitations, Annual, 284 

Parsons, Edwin, 158, 161 

Prentiss, Gen. Benjamin M., 131 

Parsons, George, 142, i6i, 180, 

187, 232, 

Presbyterian Church, 140 

269, 285, 286 

Presidential Election of i860, 128 

Parsons, Henry, 161 

Prospectus of Cairo City & Canal 


Parsons, Mary Llewellyn, i6i 

47. 48. 49, 52 

Past, Present & Future of the 

City of 

Prouty, Nathaniel, 276 

Cairo, in North America, 50 


Pryor, T. J., 233 

Patier, Mayor Charles 0., 80, 

180, 1 84, 

Publications Illinois Historical Society, 

271, 275. 276 

176, 238 

Patier, Charles O., Jr., 232 

Pulley T. L., 233 

Patton, John N., 267 

Purchase, The Jackson, 259 

Patton, Samuel G., 263 

Putnam, Rufus, 30 

Pavey, General C. W., 156 

Pearson, Amelia, 152 


Peck's Gazetteer, 116 

Pelly, Anna, 277 

Quinn, James, 189, 274 

Pendleton, George H., 275 

Pennebaker, C. B. S., 144, 145, 



People's Paper, 164 

Peter, Mrs. F. J., 155 

Rafter, Rev. W. W., 139 

Petry, Mr. & Mrs. John, 124 

Ragsdale, Thomas, 236 

Petrv, Miss Louise, 124 

Railroad Companies, 220 

Phelan, Rev. D. S., 143 

Railroads, first ones, incorporated, 




Railway Company, Great Western, 229 

Russell, Hon. E. L., 223 

Rainfalls, 284 

Russell, Dr. H. C, 156 

Randall, Josiah, 49 

Rutherford, Rev. W. C, 145 

Rankin, Mrs. J. C, 262 

Rutter, J. J., 148 

Rankin, James C, 235 

Ryan, John, 212 

Rankin, Wood & Wickwire, 150 


Rasor, G. F., 235 

Rathbone, B., 223 

SaflFord, Alfred Boardman, 

140, 153. 

Raum, Gen. Green B., 223 

221, 231, 232, 267, 275, 276 

Rawle, Wm., 61 

SaflFord, Mrs. Anna E., 153, 

154, 194. 

Rawlins, F. M., 269 


Ray Daughters, 279 

SaflFord School, 152 

Raymond, W. H., 151 

St. Charles Hotel, 235 

Rearden, James S., 267 

St. Clair, Gov. Arthur, 2U 

Recollections, Flint's, 242 

St. Cosme, Father Jean, 20 

Rector, John F., 233, 270 

St. Ignace, 18 

Rector, William, 30, 37 

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic 


Redman, Anna Riley, 152 

143, 264 

Reed, J., 230 

St. Mary's Infirmary, 155 

Reed, Joseph B., 79, 141, 275 

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic 


Rees, A. J., 233 


Regis, Father Frangois, 21 

Salzner, Henry, 277 

Reice, Mr., 124 

Sampson, Mary A., 124 

Reid, Harvey, 163 

Sander, Herman, 276 

Relief Fire Co. No. i, 271 

Sanders, Addison H., 59, 75, 

168, 177, 

Rendleman, Dr. J. J., 152, 270 


Rennie, John T., 275, 276 

Sanders, H. S., 152 

Reservation, Indian, 24 

Sandusky, William G., 276 

Reservation, Soldiers, 24 

Sanford, Mr., 247 

Residents in January, 1910, Who Were 

Sarber, J. L., 145 

here before 1861, 276 

Saup, Peter, 143, 232, 276 

Reynolds, Gov. John, 48, 98, 191, 213, 

Say, Thomas, 243 

257, 267 

Scarritt, Mrs. J. A., 155 

Rhodes-Burford Co., 156 

Scarritt, Rev. J. A., 142 

Ridgeway, Sir Thomas, 193 

Scates, Walter B., 269 

Riggle, Ernest H., 275 

Schools of the City, 148 

Riparian Rights, 85 

Schuart, Rev. Carl, 143 

Rittenhouse, Joseph H., 276 

Schulze, Christian, 142 

Rittenhouse, Wood, 153, 276 

Schuh, Herman C, 152, 154, i 


River Gauge, 92 

Schuh, Paul G., 232, 233, 276 

Rivers, Ohio and Mississippi, 116 

Schutter, William H., 126 

Roach, James S., 275 

Schuyler, Robert, 113 

Robarts, Joseph P., 269, 275 

Scott, Mrs. Mathew T., iii 

Robbins, Rufus P., 221 

Scott, Myra L., 152 

Roberts, Rev. H. P., 140 

Scullin, Patrick C, 269 

Robinson, John H., 212, 269, 276 

Seely, Mrs., 144 

Rodgers, Kearney, 252 

Seepage, 79 

Rogers, Miss A., 123 

Seidel, Rev. W. C, 143 

Rogers, J., loi 

Self, Eva C, 152 

Roland, Rev. E. L., 139 

Semple, James, 105 

Roosevelt, President Theodore, 267 

Seymour, Rt. Rev. George F., 


Rose, Miss Sarah, 123 

Shannessy, Bryan, 45, 86, 148, 

178, 229, 

Rosenwater, Samuel, 276 


Ross, James, 276 

Shannessy, John, 138 

Rouby, Jules, 253 

Shaw, Aaron, 223 

Rough & Ready Fire Co. and First 

Sheilds, James, 105 

Members of, 271 

Shelby, Isaac, 260 

Ruffin, Josie, 152 

Short, Jacob, 25 

Rule, Jesse W., 141 

Shumate, Rev., 142 

Rush, Benjamin, 109 

Shurburn, Mrs., 124 



Sickles, Rev. R. A., 144, 145 
Sidwell, Nathan, 217 
Signal Station, 92, 263 
Silver, Sol. A., 276 
Simmons, Rev. E. W., 144 
Simmons, Henry, 270 
Simons, Charles P., 141 
Simons, Cyrus G., 41, 86, 177 
Sister Anthony, 155 
Sister M. Adela, 155 
Sister M. Asteria, 156 
Sister M. Augusta, 155 
Sister M. Edward, 155 
Sister M. Matilda, 155 
Size of the Book, 283 
Skinner, M., loi 
Slade, Charles, 33, 34, 37 
Sloan, Wesley, 269 
Sloo, Mrs. Al, 154 

Sloo, James C, 233, 262, 270 

Sloo, Miss Jennie, 262 

Smith, Miss, 144 

Smith Egbert A., 225, 258, 282 

Smith, Elizabeth, 152 

Smith, Elmer, 275 

Smith, Col. George W., 38 

Smith, Miss Hattie, 155 

Smith, Isaac N., 144 

Smith, James C, 231 

Smith, James R., 276 

Smith, John T., 236 

Smith, Mrs. Louise E., 144 

Smith, Ward L., 267 

Smith, Dr. Wm. R., 122, 124 

Smith Mrs. William R., 153, 154 

Smith, Zulima M., 152 

Smithland, Town of, 246 

Smyth, P. H., 150 

Smyth, Robert, 276 

Smyth, Thomas J., 232 

Smyth & Brother, 235 

Snyder, Hon. Adam W., 48 

Snyder, Albert G., 98 

Snyder, Dr. John P., 37 

Soldiers' Reservation, 1787, 24 

Spann, Rollo H., 141 

Spencer, Frank 140 

Spencer, Joe, 278 

Sprague, Dr. Ezra K., 156 

Sprague, Peleg, 48 

Springfield Block, 236 

Stancil, J. Q., 235 
Standing, William, 87 
Standlee, Joseph, 213, 214 
Stanley, Claude C, 145 
Stanton, Edwin M., 206 
Stanton, John, 124 
Stapleton, Peter, 86, 87, 178 
Starzinger, Mrs. E. M., 155 
Steagala, Joseph, 275 

Steamboat, "Tennessee Valley," 57, 

115, 263 
Steamboat, "The Fulton," 115 
Stephens, Mrs., 124 
Stephens, H. T., 275 
Stephens, W. J., 179, 236 
Stevenson, Dr. W. W., 156 
Stewart, Rev. Robert, 140 
Stickney, Mrs. Sarah S., 144 
Stockard, Samuel J., 165 
Stone, Miss Edna L., 215 
Stoner, Mrs. W. H., 124 
Stophlet, Frank W., 276 
Stout, Henry H., 145 
Stratton, Mrs. William H., 155, 262 
Street Filling, 82 
Streets, names of, 35, 36, 113 
Strickland, William, 48, 112, n6, i6a 
Strode, George W., 144, 276 
Strode, Mrs. Mary P., 144 
Strong, Dr. J. E., 270 
Stuart, C. R., 233 
Stuart, E. J., 233 
Stuart, Gilbert, 285 
Sullivan, Miss, 124 
Sullivan, Rev. E. B., 145 
Sullivan, John, 124, 189, 274 
Sumner High School, 152 
Survey, Rectangular System of, 30 
Survey of Township Seventeen, 30 
Surveyors, Early Government, 30 
Sutherland, William H., 141 
Swanwick, Francis, 98 
Swanwick, Thomas, 32, 97, 239 
Sweeney, Rev. Charles, 138, 143 
Sweney, Miss Mary, 124 
Swift, William H., 243 
Swinney, Mr., 266 
Sword, Rev. F. A., 144 

Taber, Simpson H., 276 

Taft, President William H., 267 

Talbert, Rev. Geo. L., 144 

Talbot, Benjamin, 25 

Talbot, J. C, 144 

Tanner, H. S., 13, 26 

Taylor, A. F. & J. B., 235 

Taylor, Araminta, 152 

Taylor, Augustus FritzRandolph, 202 

Taylor House, 266 

Taylor, John, 202 

Taylor, John N., 202 

Taylor, Mrs. P. A., 123, 153, 155 

Taylor, Richard R., 162 

Taylor, Richard C, 48, ii2, 116 

Taylor, Samuel Staats, 81, 86, 102, 104, 
107, 129, 140, 148, 157, 161, 178, 179, 
195, 222, 223, 243, 261, 263, 285 



Taylor, Thomas S., 51, 58, 61, 157, 160, 

161, 261 
Taylor, Zachary, 267 
Teel, Levi, 257 
Teichman, F., 232 
Temperatures, 284 
Territory Drained by Rivers, 116 
Tertian Fever, 20 
Thayer, Rev. H. B., 140 
Thebes Railroad Bridge, 227 
Thielecke, Edward W., 165 
Third Principal Meridian, 30, 266 
Thistlewood, N. B., 180, 183, 185, 232, 

Thomas, Biddle & Co., 48 
Thomas, Frank, 233 
Thomas, John, 25, 222 
Thomas, Capt. John R., 156 
Thomas, Louis F., 115 
Thompson, Rev. F. L., 142 
Thompson, Rev. Frank, 144 
Thompson, James, 41, 71, 162 
Thompson, Miss K. A., 123 
Thornton, W. W., 140, 155 
Three States, The Growth of, 208 
Thrupp, Charles, 71, 86, 140, 163, 178 
Thrupp, Mrs. Charles, 154, 163 
Thurston, Charles M., 213 
Thwaites, Dr., 28, 241 
Tilson, John, 48 
Timmons, J. W., 212 
Tcdd, Col. John, 216, 255 
Tonti, 19 

Totten, James M., 276 
Tour of the Western Country, 241 
Town Election of 1855, 86, 177 
Town Government of two years, 177 
Townley, Rev. C. S., 144 
Trammel, Philip, 25 
Travis & Alexander, 48 
Treaty of Paris, 14 
Tributaries of Ohio and Mississippi 

Rivers, 116 
Trick, Rev. Albert H., 140 
Trigg, Wilton, 142 
Trimble, Mr., 231 
Trimble, Rev. R. B., 144 
Trinity, Town of, 28, 40, 213 
TroUo'pe, Anthony, 134 
Trover, John W., 76, 89, 179, 181, 231 
Trumbo, Mr. & Mrs., 144 
Trumbull, Lyman, 267 
Trustees of the Cairo City Property, 157 
Trustees of the Cairo Trust Property, 

Turner, Arthur B., 141 
Turner, Miss Bessie M., 164 
Tyawapatia, 245 
Tyler, Lida, 152 
Tyndale, Sharon, 222 


Underground Waters of Tennessee, etc., 

United States Biographical Dictionary 

for Illinois, 275 
United States Marine Hospital, 156 
Uplands, 91 


Vallis, John, 257 

Vancleve, Rev. John, 142 

Van Delft, Rev. William, 155 

Vanderburgh, Pauline, 152 

Van Nees, 141 

Van Treese, Rev. F. M., 142 

Veteran Club, 272 

Vickers, Alonzo K., 269 

Vincent, Francis, 235, 276 

Virginia Hotel, 235 

Virginia State Papers, 255 

Vivier, Father, 23 

Von Roques, Baroness Caroline Hol- 

brook, 193, 285 
Voters, 1857, 179, 273 
Votes, 128, 179 


Wabash River, Chapter H 

Walbaum, Katherine, 152 

Walbridge, Miss L. M., 123 

Walder, Isaac, 235 

Waldo, Dr. Roswell, 124, 126 

Walker, George B., 265 

Walker, Harry, 276 

Walker, Hiram, 236 

Walker, Dr. Thomas, 256 

Vv'alker, William M., 42 

Wall, George W., 276 

Waller, Rev. J. L., 142 

Walsh, Dr. John T., 156, 270 

Walsh, Rev. Thomas, 138 

Walter, Jacob, 276 

Walworth, Reuben H., 31 

Ward, Samuel D., 48 

Warder, Walter, 150, 269, 270 

Warder, Walter B., 270 

Wardner, Dr. Horace, 140, 155, 275 

Wardner, Mrs. Horace, 154, 262 

Warren, John (col.), 124 

Warrick, Mabel C, 152 

Water, Highest and Lowest in Rivers, 

Watkins, Edmonia A., 152 
Watts, Jesse B., 223 
Way, Clara B., 152 
Webb, Mrs. H. W., 262 
Webb, H. Watson, 179, 180, 200, 230, 

237, 251 
Webb, Henry W., 262, 269 



Webb, Col. Henry L., 37, 180, 211, 251, 

Wilson, Samuel, 86 


Wilson, Thomas, 86, 178, 179, 180 


Weber, Dr. Charles, 270 

267, 269, 270, 276 

Webster, Daniel, 55, 103, 105, 108, 191 

Wilson & Co., 235 

Webster, T. 0., 145 

Wilton, Harry, 98 

Weekly Star, 165 

Wineman, Philip, 236 

Wells, Artesian, 93 

Winston, Claiborne, 269 

Wells, Henry, 232, 276 

Winter, Claude, 180, 186 

Wenger, Alice, 152 

Winter, Henry, 125, 180, 183, 267, 


Wenger, Joseph W., 140, 275, 285 

275, 276 

Wenger, Mary B., 150, 151 

Winter, William, 235, 285 

Wentworth, Col. John, 103, 105 

Winter, Mrs. William, 154 

Western Engineer, 243 

Woelfie, Dr. J. E., 270 

Western Pilot, 246 

Wolfe, Maj. William, 276 

Whaley, C. A., 87 

Woman's Club and Library Ass'n, 


Wharf and Wharfage, 113 


Wheeler, Charles W., 276 

Wood, Col. John, 180, 182, 270, 276 

Wheeler, Samuel P., 224, 275, 276 

Wood, Walter H., 141, 151 

Wheeler, Mrs. Samuel P., 154 

Wood, Mrs. Walter H., 154 

Wheeler, Dr. W. A., 156 

Wood, William, 276 

Whitaker, Margaret, 152 

Woodside School, 152 

Whitaker, Mrs. Martha, 144 

Woodward, Benjamin F., 275 

Whitaker, Rev. W. F., 142 

Woodward, C. R., 180, 185, 276 

Whitcamp, Andrew, 269 

Woodward, Mrs. Christine, 155 

Whitcamp, Fred, 142 

Woodward, Dr. Rell M., 156 

Whitcamp, Henry, 87, 142 

Worsley, Septimus, 74 

White, Anna G., 150, 151 

Wright, John H., 157 

White, Mrs. Samuel, 144, 154 

Wright, John S., loi 

White, Scott, 276 

Wright, John, & Company, 108, 


White, William, 141 


Whitlock, Dr. E. W., 276 

Wright, Marion C, 180, 186 

Wieland, Rev. W. F., 144 

Wilcox, Jewett, 229 


Wilcox, W. H., 124, 141 

Wild, J. C, 115 

Yates, Gov. Richard, 130 

Wilkinson, Gen. James, 214 

Yellow Fever, 122 

Wilkinson, William R., 223 

Yocum, Reuben S., 141, 269, 276 

Wilkinsonville, Town of, 28 

Yost, William J., 150, 209, 262 

Willard, Elijah J. 45, 46, 160 

Young, George W., 269 

Willett, Edward, 86 

Young, John M., 55 

Williams, Abram, 236 

Young, Lewis W., 86, 178 

Williams, E. B., loi 

Young, Richard M., 109, 190, 269 

Williams, Thomas W., 165, 269 

Williams, William M., 189, 274, 276 


Williamson, Mrs. G. D., 262 

Williamson, George D., 231, 267, 276 

Zabel, Rev. Francis H., 126, 138 

Williamson, Haynes & Co., 235 

Note: Pages 268 and 271 to 276 


Willow Point, 258 

tain lists of names of several hun 


Wilson, Mrs., 144 

other residents of Cairo, most of 


Wilson, Alexander, 25, 233, 270 

of many years ago. To have given 

Wilson, F. E., 235 

them in the Index would have been but 

Wilson, Margaret, 152 

a repetition of the same.