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From the library of 

Walter Colyer 

Albion, Illinois 

Purchased 1926 

A §77.3 


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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by 


the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of 



There are but few persons in this country who 
have not, at some time or other, felt the want of an 
accurate, well written, concise, yet clear and reliable 
history of their own or some other state. 

The want here indicated is now about being sup- 
plied ; and, as the task of doing so is no light or 
superficial one, the publishers have given into the 
hands of the two gentlemen whose names appear in 
the title-page, the work of preparing a series of Cabi- 
net Histories, embracing a volume for each state in 
the Union. Of their ability to perform this well, we 
need not speak. They are no strangers in the literary 
world. What they undertake the public may rest 
assured will be performed thoroughly ; and that no 
sectarian, sectional, or party feelings will bias their 
judgment, or lead them to violate the integrity of 

The importance of a series of state histories like 
those now commenced, can scarcely be estimated. 
Being condensed as carefully as accuracy and interest 
of narrative will permit, the size and price of the 
volumes will bring them within the reach of every 
family in the country, thus making them home-read- 
ing books for old and young. Each individual will, 


8 publishers' preface. 

in consequence, become familiar, not only with the 
history of his own state, but with that of other states : 
— thus mutual interest will be re-awakened, and old 
bonds cemented in a firmer union. 

In this series of Cabinet Histories, the authors, 
while presenting a concise but accurate narrative of 
the domestic policy of each state, will give greater 
prominence to the personal history of the people. 
The dangers which continually hovered around the 
early colonists ; the stirring romance of a life passed 
fearlessly amid peril; the incidents of border war- 
fare; the adventures of hardy pioneers; the keen 
watchfulness, the subtle surprise, the ruthless attack, 
and prompt retaliation — all these having had an im- 
portant influence upon the formation of the American 
character, are to be freely recorded. While the progres- 
sive development of the citizens of each individual state 
from the rough forest-life of the earlier day to the 
polished condition of the present, will exhibit a pic- 
ture of national expansion as instructing as it is inte- 

The size and style of the series will be uniform 
with the present volume. The authors, who have 
been for some time collecting and arranging materials, 
will furnish the succeeding volumes as rapidly as their 
careful preparation will warrant. 


The history of Illinois presents many points of 
singular interest. The villages of Cahokia, Kaskas- 
kia, and Vincennes were founded by French mission- 
aries at a very early period ; and the territory formed 
a part of the French possessions in America until it 
was ceded to Great Britain in 1763. The romantic 
expedition of George Rogers Clarke wrested it from 
the latter power during the Revolutionary War, though 
it received very little increase of population from im- 
migration until after the commencement of the present 
century. Since then its delicious climate, and the 
unexampled fertility of its soil, has been duly appre- 
ciated, while the vast works of internal improvement, 
either completed or in rapid course of construction, 
attest the energy and enterprise of its people. The 



author of this book has endeavoured to exhibit the 
progress of the State in its several stages of growth; 
and it is believed that nothing has been omitted 
that might be regarded either as interesting in itself 
or as characteristic of its inhabitants. 



The French in Canada — Samuel Champlain — The Jesuit 
missionaries form the first permanent white settlement — 
Father Claude Allouez — The Illinois — Fathers Marquette 
and Dablon — Grand Indian council at St Mary's — Mar- 
quette and Jolliet explore the Mississippi — Their visit to 
the Illinois Indians — Hospitality and kindness of the 
latter — Their manners and customs — Marquette visits 
the Arkansas — Close of the exploration — Return to Green 
Bay — Death of Marquette — His remains removed from 
the wilderness — Reverent conduct of the Kiskakon In- 
dians Page 19 


Robert de la Salle — Aided by Frontenac, obtains a patent of 
nobility and the grant of Fort Frontenac — His prosperity 
and visit to France — Schemes favoured by Colbert — First 
vessel on Lake Erie — Voyage to Green bay and Hlinois — 
Builds Fort Crevecoaur — Loss of the Griffin — Descends 
the Mississippi and takes possession of its valley in the 
name of France — Voyage of La Salle to France for mili- 
tary and naval stores — On his return lands in Texas — Dis- 
asters in Texas — Unfortunate expedition in search of the 



Mississippi — Attempts an overland journey to the French 
settlements in Illinois — Mutinous conduct of his men — 
Death of La Salle — His character — Fate of his com- 
panions Page 34. 


Progress of French colonization — Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and 
Peoria founded — Expedition of D'Iberville — Discovers the 
mouth of the Mississippi — Letter from M. Tonti to M. de La 
Salle preserved by the Indians — D'Iberville builds Fort 
Biloxi and returns to France for reinforcements — First 
meeting of France and England in the Mississippi valley 
— Return and death of D'Iberville — Fort Chartres founded 
— Expedition of D'Artaguette, governor of Illinois, against 
the Chickasas — His defeat and death — Extracts from the 
letters of Vivier, a French missionary, showing tho state 
of colonization in Illinois during this period — Territorial 
difficulties between France and England — Extract from a 
letter written by Father Marest 46 


English and French territorial claims examined — Commence- 
ment of hostilities and conduct of Colonel Washington — 
Brief sketch of the war from 1756 to 1760— Treaty of 
peace in 1763 between France and England — Native hos- 
tility to the English — Conspiracy of Pontiac — Nine forts 
captured — Failure of his attack on Detroit — Conciliatory 
policy of England — Death of Pontiac — Condition of Illinois 
under the British domination — Government proclamation 
—Annals of Illinois from 1765 to 1778 56 



Causes which brought ahout the American Revolution— Em- 
ployment of Indians hy the British — The Illinois settle- 
ments the grand sources of Indian hostilities — George 
Rogers Clarke — Sends spies into Illinois — His interview 
with Patrick Henry — Receives instructions to attack the 
British posts in Illinois — Expedition to Kaskaskia — John 
Saunders — Stratagem hy which Kaskaskia was captured — 
Cahokia surrenders Page 71 


The capture of the British post at Vincennes — Complimentary 
resolution of the Virginia legislature — Negotiations of 
Clarke with the Indians — His mode of treating them — The 
Meadow Indians attempt his life — Affecting and romantio 
Incident — Fort Vincennes recaptured by Colonel Hamil- 
ton, governor of Detroit, and the whole garrison, consist- 
ing of one officer and one private, allowed to march out of 
the fort with the honours of war — Expedition of Colonel 
Clarke against Vincennes — Incidents on the march — Fort 
Vincennes retaken by the Americans — Governor Harrison's 
letter to Colonel Clarke 


The " County of Hlinois" organized by the Virginia legisla- 
ture — North-western territory ceded to Congress — Virginia 
grants lands to Clarke and his soldiers — Claims of the 
United States on Indian lands — Indian objections to these 
claims — Agency of the British in provoking Indian hosti- 


lilies — General Harmar is appointed commander-in-chief, 
and is defeated by Little Turtle — General St Clair's di- 
sastrous defeat — Renewal of the attempt to negotiate a peace 
— Indian manifesto — General Wayne marches to subdue 
the Indians — Erects Fort Recovery — Fort Recovery at- 
tacked by Little Turtle — Fort Defiance erected — The In- 
dians finally defeated — Treaty of Greenville — Condition of 
Illinois during this period — Beneficial results of General 
Wayne's expedition against the Indians Page 106 


American settlements in Illinois — Character and mode of 
life of the Illinois backwoodsman — Annals of border 
warfare from 1786 to 1796— Anecdote of Little Turtle 
— Character and designs of Tecumseh — His interviews with 
General Harrison — Tecumseh's visit to the South — Battle 
of Tippecanoe — Frustration of Tecumseh's plans — Joins 
the British at Fort Maiden 125 


Causes which led to the renewal of war between Great Bri- 
tain and the United States in 1812 — Disastrous commence- 
ment of the war — Fort Chicago ordered to be evacuated — 
The garrison wish to remain in the fort — Captain Heald 
attends the Indian council alone, protected by the guns of 
the fort — The ammunition and liquor destroyed, and the 
goods distributed among the Indians — Arrival of Captain 
Wells — The garrison leave the fort — Attacked by the In- 
dians on their march — Mrs. Helm's account of the action 
— Cruel and faithless conduct of the Indians after the sur- 
render of the soldiers — Kindness of Wau-bee-nee-mah to 


Mrs. Helm — Heroic conduct of Mrs. Heald — Fate of the 
captives Pagt 148 


Expedition of General Hopkins and Governor Edwards 
against the Indian villages on tho Illinois — Americans 
defeated at Frenchtown — The massacre on the banks of 
the Raisin — Fort Meigs erected by General Harrison 
— General Procter attacks Fort Meigs and defeats Colonel 
Dudley — Noble and humane conduct of Tecumseh — Gal- 
lant defence of Fort Stephenson — Retreat of Procter to 
Fort Maiden — Defeat of the British fleet on Lake Erie by 
Commodore Perry — Invasion of Canada by General Har- 
rison — Battle of the Thames — Death of Tecumseh — Hli- 
nois defended against the Indians during this period by 
its native militia, under the title of "Rangers" — The 
character of the rangers — Exploits of Tom Higgins — Peace 
restored between Great Britain and the United States, and 
termination of the hostile incursions of the Indians 16-4 


Rapid increase of population in Hlinois — Hlinois admitted 
into the Union as an independent state — Its constitution — 
Indian title to possession gradually extinguished — Land, 
the origin of all the difficulties between the Indians and 
whites — Early life of Black Hawk — His account of the 
treaty of 1804 — The American government attempts to in- 
duce the Indian tribes to live in peace — Some account of 
the Sioux and Chippewa Indians — Attack on the keel-boats 
by the Indians — Black Hawk imprisoned — Treaty of Prai- 
rie du Chicn — Keokuk — Indians notified to leave the coun- 
try cast of the Mississippi — Refusal of Black Hawk — 
Correspondence between General Gaines and the Secretary 


of War — The Sao village abandoned on the approach of 
the military — Treaty between Black Hawk and General 
Gaines Page 181 


Black Hawk and his men recross the Mississippi — Defeat of 
Major Stillman and his party — Conduct of Captain Adams 
— The bodies of the Americans killed in the battle shame- 
fully mutilated by the savages — The massacre at Indian 
Creek — Major Demont's skirmish with Black Hawk — De- 
feat of Black Hawk by General Hervey — General Atkinson 
defeats him at the Mississippi — Capture and speech of 
Black Hawk — Treaty with the Indians — Progress of Black 
Hawk through the United States — Restored to his native 
country 196 


The Mormons, or " Latter-Day Saints," settle in Hlinois and 
build the city of Nauvoo — Biography of Joseph Smith, 
the founder of the Mormon sect — His discovery of the 
golden plates — Persecuted by his neighbours — Translates 
the golden plates — Description of the "Book of Mormon" 
— The Spaulding manuscript — First settlement of Mormons 
at Kirtland in Ohio — The Mormons driven from Ohio and 
Missouri — The city of Nauvoo built by the Mormons — The 
Nauvoo Legion incorporated — Attack on the Nauvoo Ex- 
positor^ — Joseph and Hyrum Smith arrested and lodged in 
Carthage jail — The citizens of Carthage attack and kill 
the prisoners — The Mormons exhorted to peace and sub- 
mission by their leaders — Tho Mormons settle in the 
valley of the Great Salt Lake — The present prosperous 
condition of tho Mormons accounted for 213 



The Illinois and Michigan canal — Its great commercial 
importance — Governor Bond brings the subject before 
the legislature of Illinois — Canal commissioners appointed 
and the first estimate made — A company chartered — The 
charter repealed — Canal lands given by Congress — A 
board of commissioners appointed and authorized to employ 
suitable engineers, surveyors, and draughtsmen to deter- 
mine the route of the canal — An act passed for the con- 
struction of the canal on a more enlarged scale — The 
work stopped through the failure of the public credit — 
The work completed by means of the " Shallow Cut" — 
The Illinois Grand Central Railroad — The public debt of 
Illinois Page 2J3 


Education among the early pioneers — The establishment 
of common schools — School funds in Illinois — Particulars 
respecting some of the principal colleges — The physical 
geography of Illinois — Its minerals and manufactures 
— Growth of towns and cities in Illinois — Springfield- 
Chicago — Alton — Kaskaskia — Climate — The climate of the 
interior of Illinois beneficial in cases of consumption — 

Population 242 





The French in Canada — Samuel Champlain — -The Jesuit mis- 
sionaries form the first permanent white settlement — Father 
Claude Allouez — The Illinois — Fathers Marquette and Da- 
hlon — Grand Indian council at St. Mary's — Marquette and 
Jolliet explore the Mississippi — Their visit to the Illinois In- 
dians — Hospitality and kindness of the latter — Their man- 
ners and customs — Marquette visits the Arkansas — Close 
of the exploration — Return to Green Bay — Death of Mar- 
quette — His remains removed from the wilderness — Reverent 
conduct of the Kiskakon Indians. 

The discoveries of Verrazani, a mariner in 
the service of France, having given that country 
a title to certain parts of the Western Conti- 
nent, in 1627 Samuel Champlain obtained from 
Louis XIII. a patent of New France, and en- 
tered upon its government. The territory so 
called included the whole basin of the St. Law- 
rence, together with Florida, or the country 
south of Virginia. The genius of Champlain, 
the founder of Quebec, could have devised no 
better method for extending the power of France 
on the American continent than by an alliance 
with the Hurons, and the establishment of mis- 



sionaries. Jesuit missionaries were therefore 
commissioned to form alliances with the savage 
tribes that inhabited the western wilds. Every 
tradition bears testimony to the worth and virtues 
of these men. They may have had faults, the 
natural result of a stringent adherence to an 
ascetic religion ; but they endured with invinci- 
ble fortitude, hunger, cold, and nakedness, under 
the influence of an irrepressible religious en- 
thusiasm. They carved the cross and the name 
of Jesus on the bark of the trees of the forest ; 
and the rise of several towns of importance amid 
the forests and prairies of the far West is histo- 
rically connected with their labours. 

In August, 1665, Father Claude Allouez 
founded the first permament white settlement 
on Lake Superior, among the kindly and hos- 
pitable Indians of the North-west. He soon 
lighted the torch of Catholicism at the council 
fires of more than twenty nations. He came in 
peace, the messenger of religion and virtue, and 
he found friends. The Chippewas gathered 
around him to receive instruction. Pottawato- 
mies, Sacs, Foxes, and even Illinois, an hospita- 
ble race, having no weapon but the bow and 
arrow, diminished in numbers by wars with the 
Sioux and the Iroquois, came to rehearse their 
sorrows in the hearing of this devoted mis- 
sionary. His curiosity was roused by their ac- 
count of the noble river on which they dwelt, 


and which flowed toward the south. " They had 
no forests, but, instead of them, vast prairies, 
where herds of deer, and buffalo, and other 
animals grazed on the tall grasses." They ex- 
plained also the wonders of their peace-pipe, 
and declared it to be their custom to welcome 
the friendly stranger with shouts of joy. " Their 
country," said Allouez, "is the best field for 
the gospel. Had I leisure, I would have gone 
to their dwellings, to see with my own eyes all 
the good that was told me of them." 

In 1668 additional missionaries arrived from 
France, who, following in the footsteps of Father 
Allouez, Claude Dablon, and James Marquette, 
founded the mission at St. Mary's Falls, on the 
shores of Lake Superior. While residing at St. 
Mary's, Father Marquette resolved to explore 
the Mississippi, of whose magnificence he had 
heard so much. Some Pottawatomy Indians 
having heard him express this resolution, at- 
tempted to turn him from his purpose. " Those 
distant nations," said they, "never spare the 
stranger — the great river abounds with monsters 
which devour both men and canoes." "I shall 
gladly," replied Marquette, "lay down my life 
for the salvation of souls." Such was the noble 
spirit of this brave and worthy missionary, such 
his entire devotedness to the sacred principles 
of that religion of which he was the humMe 


Continued and peaceful commerce with the 
French having confirmed the attachment of the 
Indian tribes inhabiting Canada and the North- 
west, a friendly alliance was now sought with 
them which was well calculated to extend the 
power of France on the continent. In May, 
1671, a grand Indian council was held at the 
Falls of St. Mary's. At this council, convoked 
by the agents of the French government, it was 
announced to the tribes assembled from the 
banks of the Mississippi, the head springs of the 
St. Lawrence and the Red River, that they were 
placed under the protection of the French king, 
formal possession being taken of Canada and 
the North-west by officers acting under his 
authority. The Jesuit missionaries were pre- 
sent to consecrate the imposing ceremonial. A 
cross of cedar was erected ; and by its side rose 
a column of similar wood, on which was engraved 
the lilies of the Bourbons. The authority and 
faith of France being thus proclaimed, " the 
whole company, bowing before the image of man's 
redemption, chantea to its glory a hymn of the 
seventh century." 

On the 10th of June, 1673, Father Marquette, 
who had long entertained the idea of exploring 
the Mississippi, the great river of the West, ac- 
companied by Jolliet, five Frenchmen, and two 
Algonquin guides, ascended to the head of the 
Fox River, and carrying their two bark canoes 


across the narrow portage which divides the Fox 
River from the Wisconsin, launched them upon 
the waters of the latter. The guides now left 
them, and for seven days they floated down the 
stream, between alternate prairies and hill-sides, 
beholding neither man nor beast — through the 
solitudes of a wilderness, the stillness of which 
overawed their spirits. At length, to their inex- 
pressible joy, their frail canoes struck the mighty 
waters of the Mississippi, rolling through ver- 
dant prairies, dotted with herds of buffalo, and 
its banks overhung with primitive forests. 

Having sailed down this noble stream for 
about sixty leagues, they discovered, toward the 
close of June, an Indian trail on its western 
bank. It was like the human footsteps which 
Robinson Crusoe saw in the sand, and which 
had not been effaced by the rising of the tides 
or the rolling of the waters. A little footpath 
was soon found, and, leaving their companions 
in the canoes, Marquette and Jolliet determined 
to brave alone a meeting with the savages. 
After following the little path for about six 
miles they discovered an Indian village. First 
imploring the protection of Divine Providence, 
they made known their presence to the Indians 
by uttering a loud cry. "At this cry," says 
Father Marquette, "the Indians rushed out of 
their cabins, and having probably recognised us 
as French, especially seeing a < black gown,' or 


at least having no reason to distrust us, seeing we 
were but two, and had made known our coming, 
they deputed four old men to come and speak 
with us. Two carried tobacco-pipes well adorn- 
ed, and trimmed with many kinds of feathers. 
They marched slowly, lifting their pipes toward 
the sun, as if offering them to him to smoke; 
but yet without uttering a single word. They 
were a long time coming the little way from the 
village to us. Having reached us at last, they 
stopped to consider us attentively. I now took 
courage, seeing these ceremonies, which are 
used by them only with friends, I therefore 
spoke to them first, and asked them who they 
were. 'We are,' said they, 'Illinois;' and in 
token of peace they presented us their pipes to 
smoke. They then invited us to their village, 
where all the tribe awaited us with impatience. 
These pipes are called in the country calumets." 

Our travellers having arrived at the village, 
an aged chief bid them welcome to his cabin 
with uplifted hands, their usual method of re- 
ceiving strangers. "How beautiful," said the 
chief, " is the sun, Frenchman, when thou comest 
to visit us ! Our whole village awaits thee ; 
thou shalt enter in peace into all our dwellings." 

A grand council of the whole tribe was now 
held, which Marquette addressed on the subject 
of the Christian religion, informing them at the 
same time that the French king had subjugated 


their enemies, the Iroquois, and questioning 
them respecting the Mississippi and the tribes 
which inhabited its banks. The missionary hav- 
ing finished, the sachem of the Illinois arose, 
and spoke thus : — " I thank thee, black gown, 
and thee Frenchman," addressing M. Jolliet, 
* for taking so much pains to come and visit 
us ; never has the earth been so beautiful, nor 
the sun so bright as to-day ; never has our river 
been so calm, nor so free from rocks, which 
your canoes have removed as they passed ; never 
has our tobacco had so fine a flavour, nor our 
corn appeared so beautiful as we behold it 
to-day. Here is my son that I give thee, that 
thou mayest know my heart. I pray thee to 
take pity on me and all my nation. Thou 
knowest the Great Spirit who has made us all ; 
thou speakest to him and hearest his word; ask 
him to give me life and health, and come and 
dwell with us that we may know him." « Say- 
ing this," says Marquette, " he placed the little 
slave near us, and made us a second present, an 
all-mysterious calumet, which they value more 
than a slave ; by this present he showed us his 
esteem for our governor, after the account we 
had given of him ; by the third he begged us, in 
behalf of the whole nation, not to proceed fur- 
ther, on account of the great dangers to which 
we exposed ourselves. I replied that I did not 
fear death, and that I esteemed no happiness 


greater than that of losing my life for the glory 
of Him who made all." 

This council was followed by a festival of 
Indian meal, fish, and the choicest products of 
the prairies. The town, consisting of about 800 
cabins, was then visited. Its inhabitants, who 
had never before seen a Frenchman, gazed at 
them with astonishment, and made them pre- 
sents. "While we marched through the streets," 
says Marquette, " an orator was constantly ha- 
ranguing, to oblige all to see us without being 
troublesome ; we were everywhere presented 
with belts, garters, and other articles, made of 
the hair of the bear, and wild cattle, dyed red, 
yellow, and gray. These are their rarities ; 
but not being of consequence, we did not burden 
ourselves with them. AVe slept in the sachem's 
cabin, and the next day took leave of him, pro- 
mising to pass back through his town in four 
moons. He escorted us to our canoes with 
nearly six hundred persons, who saw us embark, 
evincing in every possible way the pleasure our 
visit had given them." 

The following is a brief abstract from the 
account given by Father Marquette of the man- 
ners and customs of the Illinois Indians at the 
period of his visit. Happily, the Jesuits were 
men of learning and observation, who felt the 
importance of their position ; so that while faith- 
fully discharging the duties of their religious 


profession, they carefully recorded the progress 
of events around them : — 

"To say 'Illinois' is, in their language, to 
say i the men,' as if other Indians compared to 
them were beasts. They are divided into se- 
veral villages, some of which are quite distant 
from each other, and which produces a diversity 
in their language, which in general has a great 
affinity for the Algonquin. They are mild and 
tractable in disposition, have many wives, of 
whom they are extremely jealous ; they watch 
them carefully, and cut off their noses and ears 
when they do not behave well ; I saw several 
who bore the marks of their infidelity. They 
are well formed, nimble, and very adroit in 
using the bow and arrow. They use guns also, 
which they buy of our Indian allies, who trade 
with the French; they use them especially to 
terrify the nations against whom they go to war. 
These nations have no knowledge of Europeans, 
are unacquainted with the use of either iron or 
copper, and have nothing but stone knives." 
When the Illinois go to war, a loud cry is made 
at the door of each hut in the village the morn- 
ing and evening before the warriors set out. 
" The chiefs are distinguished from the soldiers 
by a scarf, ingeniously made of the hair of bears 
and wild oxen. The face is painted with red 
lead, or ochre, which is found in great quantities 
a few days' journey from the village. They live 


by game, which is abundant in this country, and 
on Indian corn. They also sow beans and 
melons. Their squashes they dry in the sun, 
to eat in the winter and spring. Their cabins 
are very large, and lined and floored with rush 
mats. They make all their dishes of wood, and 
their spoons of the bones of the buffalo. Their 
only clothes are skins ; their women are always 
dressed very modestly and decently, while the 
men do not take any pains to cover themselves. 

" It now only remains for me to speak of the 
calumet, than which there is nothing among them 
more mysterious or more esteemed. Men do 
not pay to the crowns and sceptres of kings the 
honor that they pay to it. It seems to be the 
god of peace and war, the arbiter of life and 
death. Carry it about you and show it, and you 
can march fearlessly amid enemies who, even in 
the heat of battle, lay down their arms when it 
is shown. Hence the Illinois gave me one, to 
serve as a safeguard amid all the Indian nations 
that I had to pass on my voyage." 

Such is the account left by Marquette of the 
condition of the Illinois Indians at the time of 
his visit, in 1673. Taking leave of these hos- 
pitable savages, our adventurous travellers once 
more launched forth on the broad waters of the 
Mississippi. As they floated down this noble 
river day after day, they gradually entered on 
the richer scenery of a southern climate. The 


sombre pines of the woods of Canada, the forests 
of oak and maple, were by degrees exchanged 
for the lofty cottonwood, the fan-like palmetto, 
and the noble arborescent ferns of the tropics. 
They began to suffer from the increasing heat, 
and from legions of musquitoes which haunt the 
swampy margin of the stream. At length they 
arrived at that part of the stream which, up- 
wards of a century before, had been discovered 
by De Soto and his ill-fated companions, in the 
country of the warlike Chickasaws. Here they 
were attacked by a fleet of canoes filled with 
Indians, armed with bows and arrows, clubs, and 
axes ; but when the old men got a fair view of 
the calumet or peace-pipe, which Marquette con- 
tinually held up to view, their hearts were 
touched, and they restrained the impetuosity of 
their young warriors by throwing their bows and 
arrows into the two canoes, as a token of peace 
and welcome. Having been hospitably enter- 
tained by these Indians, they were escorted the 
following day by a deputation in a canoe, which 
preceded them as far as the village of Akamsea 
(Arkansas). Here they were received most 
kindly ; the natives continually bringing wooden 
dishes of sagamity^ — Indian corn — or pieces of 
dog flesh, which were, of course, respectfully de- 
clined. These Indians cooked in earthen pots, 
and served their food on earthenware dishes ; 
were very amiable and unceremonious, each man 


helping himself from the dish, and passing it on 
to his neighbor. 

It was here that the travellers wisely termi- 
nated their explorations. "M. Jolliet and I," 
says Marquette, " held a council to deliberate on 
what we should do, — whether we should push on, 
or rest satisfied with the discoveries we had made. 
After having attentively considered that we were 
not far from the Gulf of Mexico, the basin of 
which is 31° 40' north, and we at 33° 40', so 
that we could not be more than two or three 
days' journey off; that the Mississippi undoubt- 
edly had its mouth in Florida or the Gulf of 
Mexico, and not on the east, in Virginia, whose 
seacoast is 34° north. Moreover, we considered 
that we risked losing the fruit of our voyage if 
we fell into the hands of the Spaniards, who 
would undoubtedly make us prisoners ; and that 
we were not in condition to resist the Indians 
who infested the lower parts of the river. All 
these considerations induced us to return. This 
we announced to the Indians, and after a day's 
rest prepared for it." 

On their return, they left the Mississippi at 
the thirty-eighth degree of latitude, and entered 
the Illinois river, which greatly shortened their 
voyage. The country through which this river 
flows was found to be full of fertile and beautiful 
prairies, abounding in wild ducks, swans, parrots, 
and turkeys. The tribe of Illinois living on its 

1674.] marquette's second visit. 31 

banks entreated Marquette and his companions 
to come and live with them ; but as Marquette 
intimated his anxiety to continue his voyage, a 
chosen party conducted him by way of Chicago 
to Lake Michigan ; and before the end of Sep- 
tember all were once more safely landed at Green 
Bay. Jolliet returned to Quebec to announce 
the discoveries they had made, whilst Marquette 
remained to preach the gospel to the Miamies, 
near Chicago. 

Father James Marquette having promised the 
Illinois Indians to return among them to teach 
them the gospel, had great difficulty in keeping 
his word. The hardships of his first voyage had 
brought on a disease which deterred him from 
undertaking a second. His malady, however, 
abating, and having obtained the permission of 
his superiors, he set out for this purpose in the 
month of November, 1674, with two men, one 
of whom had already made his first voyage with 
him. During a month's navigation on the Illi- 
nois lake — Lake Michigan — his health became 
partially restored ; but when winter set in, his 
old malady returned with increased violence, 
and he was forced to stop in the river which 
leads to the Illinois. Here he spent the winter 
in such want of every comfort, that his illness 
constantly increased. The ice breaking up on 
the approach of spring, and feeling somewhat 
better, he continued his voyage, and at length 


was enabled to fulfil his promise to the Illinois, 
arriving at their town on the 8th of April, where 
he was enthusiastically received. Being com- 
pelled to leave them by the return of his malady, 
he resumed his voyage, and soon after reached 
the Illinois lake. His strength gradually failed 
as he sailed along the shores of the lake, and 
his men despaired of being able to carry him 
alive to the end of his journey. Perceiving a 
little river, with an eminence on the bank not 
far from its mouth, at his request his com- 
panions sailed into it, and carried him ashore. 
Here they constructed a "wretched bark cabin, 
where they laid him a3 little uncomfortably as 
they could ; but they were so overcome by sad- 
ness that, as they afterward said, they did not 
know what they were doing." Perceiving his 
end approaching, he called his companions and 
embraced them for the last time, they melting 
in tears at his feet. He then directed that his 
crucifix, which he wore constantly around his 
neck, should be held before his eyes ; and after 
repeating the profession of his faith, he devoutly 
thanked God for his gracious kindness in allow- 
ing him to die as a humble missionary of Jesus 
Christ, and above all to die as he had always 
prayed that he might die, — in a rude cabin 
in the forests, destitute of all human aid. He 
afterward became silent, his whole appearance 
denoting that he was conversing inwardly with 


God. His countenance then suddenly bright- 
ened with a smile, and he expired without a 

His two poor broken-hearted companions, 
after shedding many tears over his inanimate 
body, carried it devoutly to the grave, and raised 
a large cross near it, to serve as a mark to pass- 
ers by. 

Did the savages respect that cross? They 
did. "VVe can pronounce no higher eulogium on 
Father James Marquette, than the fact that the 
Kiskakon Indians, to whom he had preached 
the gospel, returning from hunting on the banks 
of Lake Illinois, repaired to the missionary's 
grave, and, after mature deliberation, resolved to 
act with their father as they usually did with the 
best beloved of their own tribe. They reverently 
disinterred the remains, and putting them into a 
neatly-constructed box of birch bark, removed 
them from the wilderness to the nearest Catholic 
church, where they were solemnly buried with 
appropriate ceremonies. 



Robert de la Salle — Aided by Frontenac, obtains a patent of 
nobility and the grant of Fort Frontenac — His prosperity 
and visit to France — Schemes favoured by Colbert — First ves- 
sel on Lake Erie — Voyage to Green Bay and Illinois — Builds 
Fort Crevecceur — Loss of the Griffin — Descends the Missis- 
sippi and takes possession of its valley in the name of France 
—Voyage of La Salle to France for military and naval stores 
— On his return lands in Texas — Disasters in Texas — Un- 
fortunate expedition in search of the Mississippi — Attempts 
an overland journey to the French settlements in Illinois — 
Mutinous conduct of his men — Death of La Salle — His 
character — Fate of his companions. 

About the time of the death of Father Mar- 
quette there dwelt, at the outlet of Lake Ontario, 
Robert Cavalier de la Salle, an adventurer of 
good family, who was educated by the Jesuits. 
He was engaged in the fur trade with the In- 
dians, in the prosecution of which he had ex- 
plored Lakes Ontario and Erie. His energy and 
ability having attracted the attention of Fronte- 
nac, the French governor, he repaired to France, 
and, aided by Frontenac, obtained a patent of 
nobility, a monopoly of the trade with the Iro- 
quois, and an extensive tract of country in the 
neighbourhood of Fort Frontenac, on the condi- 
tion of his keeping the fort in an effective state. 
Around this stronghold soon clustered the huts 


of Indians and the dwellings of French traders. 
Their flocks and herds increased, pasture-land 
and corn-covered clearings opened up the forest ; 
groups of Iroquois built their cabins in the envi- 
rons ; the missionaries commenced their labours ; 
canoes multiplied upon the borders of the lake ; 
and La Salle, but yesterday a poor adventurer, 
suddenly found himself invested with all the 
power and opulence belonging to a feudal sove- 
reign in the wilderness. 

But his ambitious spirit would not let him rest 
contented with what he had acquired. Having 
heard of the mighty river of the far West, and 
the discoveries of Marquette, his imagination be- 
came inflamed, and he was induced to undertake 
schemes of colonization and aggrandizement 
which ended in disaster and death. 

In 1677 La Salle sailed to France and sought 
an interview with Colbert, then prime minister. 
To him he proposed the union of New France 
with the valley of the Mississippi, and suggested 
their close connection by a line of military posts. 
He proposed also to open the commerce of Eu- 
rope to them both. Colbert listened with delight 
to the gigantic schemes of the young enthusiast, 
and a royal commission was soon procured, em- 
powering him to explore the valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, and giving him an exclusive monopoly 
in the trade of buffalo skins. 

On the 14th of July, 1678, La Salle sailed 


from France with all needful supplies for the 
voyage, and merchandise for the Indian trade, 
and in the month of September arrived again at 
Fort Frontenac. Having built " a wooden canoe' ' 
of ten tons burden — the first that ever sailed on 
the Niagara river — he ascended that river to the 
vicinity of the great falls, and, above them, com- 
menced building a ship of 60 tons burden, which, 
in the summer of 1679, was launched on the 
waters of Lake Erie, amid a salvo from his ar- 
tillery and the chanting of the Te Deum. In 
this vessel, which was called the Griffin, La Salle 
sailed across Lake Erie, and up the Detroit or 
strait which separates it from that limpid sheet 
of water, to which he gave the appropriate name 
of Lake St. Clair ; and having escaped from 
storms on Lake Huron, and constructed a trad- 
ing-house at Mackinaw, on Lake Michigan, he 
cast anchor in Green Bay. 

In Green Bay La Salle bartered his goods 
with the natives for a rich cargo of furs, with 
which the Griffin was loaded and sent back to 
Niagara, that the peltry might be sold and a re- 
mittance made to his creditors. In the mean 
time La Salle and his companions, pending the 
return of the Griffin with supplies, ascended Lake 
Michigan to the mouth of the St. Joseph, where 
the missionary Allouez had established a station, 
and to which he now added a fort, known as the 
Fort of the Miamies. His whole fortune de- 


pended on the return of the Griffin, and of her 
no tidings were heard. Wearied with delay, he 
resolved to explore the Illinois territory; and 
leaving ten men to guard his little fort, La Salle, 
with a chosen body of thirty followers, ascended 
the St. Joseph's river, and transporting his bark 
canoes across a short portage, entered the Kan- 
kakee, a branch of the Illinois river. Descend- 
ing its narrow stream, the travellers reached by 
the end of December an Indian village on the- 
Illinois, the natives of which were absent on a* 
hunting expedition. Being in great want of 
provisions, La Salle took advantage of their ab- 
sence to help himself to a sufficiency of maize, 
of which his followers found large quantities- 
hidden in holes under their wigwams. The corn — f^~ 
having been shipped they again set sail, and on' 
the 4th of January, 1680, entered Lake Peoria. 
The Illinois Indians on the banks of this lake- 
were friendly, and here La Salle erected another 
fort. As no tidings had been received of his 
missing vessel, to proceed farther without sup- 
plies was impossible ; his followers became dis- 
couraged, and in great despondency he named 
his new fort " Crevecceur," — broken-hearted — 
in memory of his trials and misfortunes. 

La Salle now perceived that he must go back 
himself to Frontenac for supplies ; and to pre- 
vent the entire stagnation of discovery during- 
his absence, he requested the Jesuit missionary,. 


Father Hennepin, who accompanied the expedi- 
tion, to go to the Mississippi and explore that 
stream to its source, whilst Tonti, a veteran 
Italian, was chosen to command in his absence, 
with instructions to endeavour to strengthen and 
extend his relations among the Indians. He 
then, in the month of March, 1680, with only 
three companions, set off on foot to travel a dis- 
tance of at least 1200 miles through marshes 
and melting snows, through thickets and forests, 
with no supplies but what the gun afforded, a 
blanket, and a few skins with which to make 
moccasins, or Indian shoes. No record exists 
of what befel him on that long journey, which 
he, however, finally accomplished. 

La Salle found, as he fully expected, that the 
Griffin had been wrecked ; that his agents had 
cheated him; and that his creditors had seized 
his goods. His courage overcame every diffi- 
culty; and by midsummer, in 1680, he returned 
once more to his little garrison in Illinois, with 
a body of new adventurers, large supplies of 
merchandise, and stores for rigging a brigantine. 
But disasters had befallen his agents during his 
absence, and the post in Illinois was deserted. 
Having succeeded in finding Tonti, and collect- 
ing his scattered followers, he constructed a ca- 
pacious barge, and in the early part of January, 
1682, La Salle and his company descended the 
Mississippi to the sea. 


They landed on the bank of the most western 
channel, about three leagues from its mouth. On 
the 7 th, La Salle -went to reconnoitre the shores 
of the neighbouring sea, while Tonti examined 
the great middle channel. They found there 
two outlets, beautiful, large, and deep. On the 
8th they reascended the river a little above its 
confluence with the sea, to find a dry place be- 
yond the reach of inundations. Here they pre- 
pared a column and a cross, and to the said 
column they affixed the arms of France, with 
this inscription: 

"Louis le Grand, Roi de France et de Na- 
varre, REGNE NEUVIEME AVRIL, 1682." 
The Te Deum was then sung, and after a salute 
of fire-arms the column was erected by La Salle, 
who laid claim to the whole of the Mississippi 
valley for the French king, with the usual for- 
malities. After erecting another fort, called St. 
Louis, and giving the title of Louisiana to the 
newly discovered territory, La Salle, in the 
autumn of 1683, returned in triumph to France. 

The account given by him of the extraordinary 
beauty of the Mississippi valley created the ut- 
most enthusiasm among the French people. Pre- 
parations were immediately commenced by the 
agents of the king to provide an extensive 
outfit, and on the 24th of July, 1684, four ves- 
sels, having on board two hundred and eighty 
persons, ecclesiastics, soldiers, mechanics, and 

40 niSTORY or Illinois. [1685. 

emigrants, left Hochelle full of ardour and ex- 
pectation for the far-famed country of Louisana. 
The soldiers had for their commander Joutel, a 
man of courage and truth, who afterward be- 
came the historian of this disastrous expedition. 
Misfortunes overtook them from the very 
commencement of their voyage. Difficulties 
arose between La Salle and the naval com- 
mander, which impeded the voyage; and on 
the 10th of January, 1685, they unfortunately 
passed the mouth of the Mississippi. La Salle 
soon perceived their error, and wished to return ; 
but this the commander of the fleet refused to 
do, and they continued their course until they 
arrived at the Bay of Matagorda, in Texas. 
Completely tired of disputes with Beaujeau, the 
naval commander, and conjecturing that the 
numerous streams which had their outlet in the 
bay might be branches of the Mississippi, or 
might lead to its discovery, La Salle resolved to 
disembark. As the vessels entered the harbour, 
the store-ship, on which the infant colony mainly 
depended, was completely wrecked by the care- 
lessness of the pilot. Calming the terrible 
energy of his grief, La Salle, by the aid of boats 
from the other vessels, succeeded in recovering 
a part of the cargo, but night coming on, and 
with it a gale of wind, the store-ship was utterly 
dashed to pieces. To add to their distress, a 
party of Indians came down to the shore to 


plunder the wreck, and murdered two of the 

Several of the men who had now landed be- 
came discouraged, and returned to the fleet, 
which immediately set sail, leaving La Salle 
with a desponding company of two hundred and 
thirty souls, huddled together in a miserable 
fort, built with fragments of the wreck. Stimu- 
lated to extraordinary efforts by the energy and 
example of La Salle, a beautiful spot was select- 
ed, and a more substantial and comfortable fort 
constructed. La Salle was the architect, and 
marked the beams, mortices and tenons himself. 
This was the first settlement made in Texas. 
Desperate and destitute as was the situation of 
the settlers, they still exceeded in numbers those 
who landed in Virginia, or who embarked on 
board the Mayflower, and possessed "from the 
bounty of Louis XIV. more than was contributed 
by all the English monarchs together, for the 
twelve united colonies on the Atlantic." 

The summer of 1685 was spent in the con- 
struction of this second fort, which was named 
Fort St. Louis, and La Salle, having finished its 
erection, set out with a selected party in canoes, 
in search of the Mississippi. After an absence 
of about four months, he returned in rags, hav- 
ing lost twelve or thirteen of his men, and com- 
pletely failed in his object. His presence, how- 
ever, as usual, inspired hope; and in Aprils 


1686, another expedition was attempted, which 
was lured into the interior by brilliant fictions 
of exhaustless mines on the borders of Mexico. 
This expedition returned without effecting any 
other discovery than that of the great exuberance 
and fertility of the soil in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the fort. La Salle had succeeded 
in obtaining a supply of maize and beans and 
five horses from the Indians, but had suffered 
greatly ; and of the twenty men he had taken 
with him only eight returned, the remainder 
having either fallen sick, died, or deserted. 
Affairs had been equally unprosperous at Fort 
St. Louis during his absence. The only remain- 
ing ship was a wreck, and the colony had been 
rapidly thinned by privation, misery, and expo- 
sure, until there remained nothing but a mere 
handful of desperate, disappointed men. 

Amid the ruin of all his prospects, once so 
proud and flourishing, La Salle alone remained 
undaunted; and, as a last resource, determined 
to visit the French settlements in Illinois, or, if 
.necessary, his feudal domain in Frontenac, in 
order to bring aid to his perishing colony. On 
the 12th of January, 1687, La Salle set out on 
his last expedition, accompanied by Joutel, across 
the prairies and forests of Louisiana. In his 
company were two men, Duhaut and L'Arche- 
Veque, who had both embarked capital in this 
enterprise. Each regarded the other for imme- 


diate purposes as his friend ; and both were ac- 
tuated by a spirit of bitterness and animosity 
against La Salle, whom they regarded as the 
author of all the calamities that had befallen 
them. Moranget, a nephew of La Salle, was 
also one of the party following the tracks of buf- 
faloes, who choose by instinct the best routes, y*- 
La Salle marched through groves and plains of 
astonishing fertility and beauty; now fording 
the rapid torrents, and now building a bridge by 
throwing some monarch of the forest across the 
stream, until he had passed the Colorado and 
came to a branch of the Trinity River. 

On the 17th of March, 1687, the whole party 
engaged in a buffalo hunt. Duhaut and L'Ar- 
cheveque, having been successful, sent their com- 
mander word, who immediately despatched his 
nephew Moranget to the camp. When Moran- 
get came to the spot where Duhaut and the rest 
were stopping, he found they had reserved for 
themselves the very best parts of the buffaloes ; 
and hasty and passionate, not considering where 
he was, nor with whom he was dealing, he "took 
from them their choice pieces, threatened them, 
and spoke harsh words." This enraged the mu- 
tinous spirits of Duhaut and his companions, 
who secretly took counsel together how to effect 
the destruction of Moranget and his associates. 
Night came on apace, and Moranget and his 
party having supped, wearied with their day's 


travel, laid themselves down to sleep on the 
prairie. Liotot, the surgeon, now took an axe, 
and with a few strokes killed Moranget and his 
comrades. Having good reason to fear the re- 
sentment of La Salle, the murderers next resolv- 
ed to kill him also. Surprised at his nephew's 
delay, La Salle went forth on the 20th to seek 
him. Perceiving at a distance hirds of prey, 
hovering as if over carrion, and suspecting him- 
self to be in the immediate neighbourhood of his 
men, La Salle fired a gun, which was heard by 
the conspirators, who were thus made aware of 
his approach. Duhaut and his associate hasten- 
ed secretly. to meet their victim — the former 
skulking in the grass, the latter showing himself. 
"Where," said La Salle to L'Archeveque, "is 
my nephew?" Before an answer could be re- 
turned, Duhaut fired, and La Salle fell dead on 
the prairie. The murderers then approached, 
and, with cruel taunts, stripped the corpse, leav- 
ing it naked and unburied, to be devoured by the 
wild beasts of the wilderness. 

Thus perished La Salle, and with him that 
colonial settlement which he had attempted to 
form. His fortitude and bravery must ever com- 
mand admiration, while his cruel and undeserved 
death awakens feelings of pity and indignation. 
Although he was not the discoverer, yet he was 
certainly the first settler of the Mississippi val- 
ley, and the father of colonization in the "far 


West." As such his memory is imperishable, and 
will ever be honoured. The Illinois settlements 
of Peoria, Kaskaskias, and Cahokia, are the 
fruit of La Salle's labours. It is true he did 
not found these places, yet he gave them their 
inhabitants, for it was by those whom he led into 
the West that they were peopled. Perseverance 
and courage, combined with a noble ambition to 
promote the interests of his country, led him 
into a gallant but unsuccessful career of enter- 
prise. He did what he could to benefit his 
country; and if he had lived he might have 
achieved much more splendid results. 

Duhaut now assumed the command, seized on 
the effects of La Salle and his friends, and took 
up his line of march toward the Indians. At- 
tempting to grasp at an unequal share of the 
spoils, Duhaut and Liotot were themselves mur- 
dered, and their reckless and blood-stained asso- 
ciates, unfit for civilized life, took refuge, among 
the savages. Joutel, the brother of La Salle, 
the surviving nephew, and four others, after 
daring countless dangers, reached the Arkansas, 
where they found two Frenchmen left there by 
Tonti on his return from a fruitless research 
after La Salle. 

The handful of men who were in the fort 
erected by La Salle in Texas appear to have 
been murdered by the Indians. The fort itself 
was afterward dismantled by the Spaniards. 




Progress of French Colonization — Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and 
Peoria founded — Expedition of D'Iberville — Discovers the 
mouth of the Mississippi — Letter from M. Tonti to M. de 
La Salle preserved by the Indians — D'Iberville builds Fort 
Biloxi and returns to France for reinforcements — First meet- 
ing of France and England in the Mississippi valley — Re- 
turn and death of D'Iberville — Fort Chartres founded — Ex- 
pedition of D'Artaguette, governor of Illinois, against the 
Chickasas — His defeat and death — Extracts from the let- 
ters of Vivier, a French missionary, showing the state of 
colonization in Illinois during this period — Territorial diffi- 
culties between France and England — Extract from a letter 
written by Father Marest. 

The village of Kaskaskia, in Randolph county, 
is probably the oldest European settlement in Il- 
linois, and in early times was a place of consi- 
derable importance, being the very centre of 
French colonization. It is not easy to fix the 
date of its foundation, but it appears to have 
been established by the French as early as 1683. 
Father Gravier may be properly regarded as 
the founder of the Illinois mission, he having 
been the first to form a grammar of their lan- 
guage. Soon after the settling of Kaskaskia, 
the missionary Pinet gathered a flock at Caho- 
kia, while Peoria rose near the ruins of Fort 

1699.] EXPEDITION of d'iberville. 47 

In 1698 the bold and energetic D'iberville, 
having obtained authority to establish a colony 
in Louisiana, sailed from France with two ships, 
having on board a number of emigrants, and 
well provided with supplies and munitions of 
war. On the 31st of January he anchored in 
the Bay of Mobile. In two barges, each carry- 
ing twenty-four men, and commanded by himself 
and his brother Bienville, he sailed westward 
along the coast in search of the Mississippi. Its 
deep and turbid flood, bearing on its waters vast 
quantities of timber, the spoils of western forests, 
guided them to its mouth, and on the 2d of 
March, 1699, the Mississippi was entered for 
the first time from the sea. D'iberville, who 
had expected a more expanded outlet, at first had 
his doubts, which were however soon dissipated 
as he ascended the majestic ocean stream, and 
met with certain memorials of the visit of his 
unfortunate predecessors. These were a portion 
of a Spanish coat of mail, a relic of De Soto's, 
and the following letter written by Tonti to La 
Salle, which had been carefully preserved by the 
Indians, and on which for thirteen years they 
had looked with wonder and awe. 

"At the Village of the Quinipissas, 20th of April, 1685. 

" Sir : — Having found the column on which you 
had placed the arms of France overthrown by 
the driftwood floated thither by the tide, I caused 
a new one to be erected about seven leagues 


from the sea, where I left a letter suspended 
from a tree. All the nations have sung the ca- 
lumet. These people fear us extremely since 
your attack upon their village. I close by say- 
ing that it gives me great uneasiness to be 
obliged to return under the misfortune of not 
having found you. Two canoes have examined 
the coast thirty leagues toward Mexico and 
twenty-five toward Florida." 

After exploring the country, D'Iberville re- 
turned to the Bay of Biloxi, between the Missis- 
sippi and the Mobile waters. Here he built a 
fort, with four bastions and twelve cannon, and 
leaving Bienville, his brother, in command, re- 
turned to France for reinforcements. 

During his absence, De Bienville, in the 
month of September, 1699, while engaged in 
taking soundings in the Mississippi, about twen- 
ty-five leagues from its mouth, beheld, to his 
great chagrin, a British corvette of twelve guns 
slowly ascending the stream. He immediately 
sent notice to the intruder that he was within 
the limits of a country discovered by the French, 
who had erected strong defences a few miles 
farther up the river. This intimation had its 
effect. The ship was put about and stood to sea 
again, but not until its captain had protested 
against the encroachment, asserting that the 
English "had discovered that country fifty years 
before, that they had a better right to it than 

1706.] DEATH OF d'iberville. 49 

the French, and would soon make them know 
it." The bend in the river where this interview 
took place is still called the "English Turn." 
This was the first meeting of England and 
France in the Mississippi valley, and from that 
period till the termination of the war in 1763, 
these rival nations were almost constantly en- 
gaged in hostilities. 

D'iberville died at Havana on the 9th of July, 
1706, his excessive toils in the service of his 
country having brought on a fever from which 
he never afterward recovered. The French na- 
tion, and the colonists, sustained in his death a 
loss which was irreparable. 

The success of a colony depends altogether on 
the energy of the colonists and a prudent em- 
ployment of their resources. Two descriptions 
of settlers came out with D'iberville. The first, 
unaccustomed to manual labour, thought only of 
making their fortunes by the discovery of gold 
and silver mines, or by the Indian trade. The 
second, which were by far the most numerous, 
were not only poor, but idle ; and looked for as- 
sistance to the bounty of France, instead of to 
their own industry. Hence, thirteen years after 
D'Iberville's first expedition to the Mississippi, 
although two thousand five hundred settlers had 
been transported into Louisiana, yet, in 1712, 
the whole country contained only four hundred, 



the rest having perished, principally through 
their own folly and improvidence. 

The settlements in Illinois were more pros- 
perous. The French in that country had im- 
bibed a love for the chase, in common with the 
Indians, who had also taught them how to culti- 
vate maize or Indian corn. In their turn the 
French introduced the cultivation of wheat ; and 
the climate being mild, and the soil fertile, the 
settlements slowly and gradually advanced in 
population, while they appear to have somewhat 
retrograded in civilization. 

Father Marest, writing from Kaskaskia, to- 
ward the close of 1712, describes the Illinois as 
"much less barbarous than the other Indians. 
Christianity, and their intercourse with the 
French, have by' degrees somewhat civilized 
them. This is particularly remarked in our vil- 
lage, of which the inhabitants are almost all 
Christians, and has brought many French to 
establish themselves here, three of whom we 
have recently married to Illinois women." 

The French who had domiciliated themselves 
among them were at first regarded by the sa- 
vages with suspicion and distrust; but conciliated 
by their conduct, and by the labours of the mis- 
sionaries, they gradually became so attached to 
the new comers, that a Frenchman could travel 
anywhere without fear and in perfect safety. 
The French villages, although upward of one 


hundred leagues from each other, were built with 
such narrow streets, that their inhabitants could 
carry on an easy conversation with each other 
across the way. The pursuits of the young men 
consisted in ascending the rivers for furs and 
peltries, and in negotiating marriages. On their 
return, dances and narrations of their adventures 
signalized their holiday of repose. 

During the years 1718 and 1719 the French 
settlements of Cahokia and Kaskaskia beinor i n - 


creased by emigration from Canada, and from 
France by way of New Orleans, M. de Bois- 
briant was commissioned by the French govern- 
ment to build Fort Chartres, for the use of the 
"Mississippi Company," an association which 
after bringing pecuniary ruin on France resigned 
its charter to the crown in 1732. 

The French had now constructed missionary 
stations along the Mississippi from Canada to 
New Orleans. So determined were they on the 
acquisition of territory that, where they were un- 
able to take formal possession of the soil, they 
endeavoured to establish their title to its pre- 
occupation by sinking plates of metal with suita- 
ble inscriptions in the ground, or by carving the 
Bourbon lilies on the bark of the forest trees. 
The English had long viewed these continental 
acquisitions of territory with jealousy and alarm. 
The commercial spirit of the French, however, 
did not keep pace with their ambition. Failing 


to furnish the Indians with articles suited to 
their wants, the English traders took advantage 
of this error, and drew the traffic to themselves 
by offering better supplies of goods at lower 

Louisiana having come again under the charge 
of the French government, after the failure of 
the Mississippi Company, it was determined to 
punish the Chickasas, who, devoted to the 
English, constantly interfered with the trade on 
the Mississippi. Accordingly, the forces of 
France, from New Orleans to Detroit, were sum- 
moned, and on the 10th of May, 1736, D'Arta- 
guette, governor of Illinois, led a body of French 
and Indians to the appointed place of rendez- 
vous. Having waited for ten days without the 
other forces arriving, D'Artaguette, fearful of 
exhausting the patience of his Indian allies, or- 
dered the onset. Two Chickasa stations were 
successfully carried, but in attacking the third 
unhappily D'Artaguette was dangerously wound- 
ed. The Illinois Indians seeing their commander 
fall, instantly took to flight, leaving him, Yin- 
cennes, a brave Canadian, and the Jesuit Senat 
in the hands of the enemy. The latter could 
have fled, but refused to do so ; and regardless 
of danger, mindful only of duty, remained to 
offer the consolations of religion to his dying 
commander. After the Indian custom, the 
wounds of the captives were staunched and they 


were received into the cabins of the Chickasas 
and feasted bountifully. 

Five days afterward Bienville arrived from 
the south, but too late to be of any service. He 
found the Chickasas on their guard and well 
defended in a log-house, which the English- 
traders had aided them to fortify, and in vain 
attempted to drive them from their position. On 
the 27th of May, having failed in the assault, he 
commenced an inglorious retreat. The Chic- 
kasas now brought forth their captives, whose 
valour, friendship, and piety could not save 
them. It was the hour of barbarian triumph, 
and the ferocious savages danced around the 
flames which slowly consumed their victims. 

In 1739 a renewal of the war was attempted. 
A French army nearly four thousand strong 
took up its quarters at Fort Assumption, on the 
site of Memphis. But from the summer of 
1739 to the spring of 1740 this force was 
wasted by sickness ; and a detachment sent into 
the country of the Chickasas meeting with mes- 
sengers from the enemy, who supplicated for 
peace, the calumet was gladly accepted, and the 
troops withdrawn. 

During the next ten years the settlers of 
Illinois enjoyed almost uninterrupted peace and 
prosperity. Religious in their habits and mo- 
derate in their desires, they lived in close friend- 


ship with the surrounding Indians, an<i at har- 
mony among themselves. 

In the summer of 1750, Vivier, a missionary, 
writing from Fort Chartres, says : — 

" We have here whites, negroes, and Indians, 
to say nothing of cross-breeds. There are five 
French villages, and three villages of the natives, 
within a space of twenty-one leagues, situated 
between the Mississippi and another river called 
the Karkadiad, (Kaskaskia.) In the five French 
villages are perhaps eleven hundred whites, three 
hundred blacks, and some sixty red slaves or 
savages. The three Illinois towns do not con- 
tain more than eight hundred souls, all told. 
Most of the French till the soil; they raise 
wheat, cattle, pigs, and horses, and live like 
princes. Three times as much is produced as 
can be consumed ; and great quantities of grain 
and flour are sent to New Orleans." 

The style of living in all the French settle- 
ments at this time was exceedingly simple. An 
arrangement something like a community sys- 
tem existed among them. Two things appear to 
have chiefly entered into consideration in the 
construction of their villages, social intercourse 
and protection from the incursions of the In- 
dians. All their settlements were required to 
be in the form of villages or towns, and every 
village had two tracts of land situated at a 


convenient distance, a " common field" and a 

The first was a piece of land comprising an 
area of several hundred acres, enclosed by the 
villagers, within which each family possessed its 
own particular plat, fenced off from the rest. 
The "common" was a still more extensive tract 
of land, allowed the village for wood and pas- 
turage, in which each family had a general right. 
In some cases this tract embraced several thou- 
sand acres. 

Some pleasant customs existed in these French 
villages. If the head of a family was sick, or 
absent, or had met with any casualty, the mem- 
bers of his household sustained but little incon- 
venience. His plat in the common field was 
cultivated by his neighbours, and the crops 

Another was not less beautiful. At the close 
of his daily toil the weary husbandman was 
usually met by his affectionate wife at the little 
wicket gate which led to the door of his humble 
dwelling, and his return home welcomed with a 
kiss ; the children next ran forward to claim from 
their father a similar salutation — none venturing 
into the house to invoke a blessing upon the 
frugal meal until this tender observance was 



English and French territorial claims examined — Commence- 
ment of hostilities and conduct of Colonel Washington — 
Brief sketch of the war from 1756 to 1760— Treaty of 
peace in 1763 between France and England — Native 
hostility to the English — Conspiracy of Pontiac — Nine forts 
captured — Failure of his attack on Detroit — Conciliatory 
policy of England — Death of Pontiac — Condition of Illinois 
under the British domination — Government proclamation — 
Annals of Illinois from 1765 to 1778. 

We have traced the progress made by France 
in colonization, and the establishment of her 
power and influence in North America. In 
1750 France,' besides being possessed of Canada 
in the North, claimed the vast countries watered 
by the Mississippi and its tributaries by right of 
discovery. In defence of these claims against 
the counter claims of England, she had erected 
a line of forts from Canada to New Orleans, to 
prevent the encroachment of the English colo- 
nists, who were beginning to cross the Alleghany 
mountains and build picketed stations in the 
Ohio valley. 

Previous to the formation of that body of Vir- 
ginia land speculators and London merchants, 
known as the "Ohio Company," incorporated 


for the express purpose of settling the valley of 
the Ohio, the colonists had not ventured beyond 
the mountains. But when the " Ohio Company" 
began to execute their projects, and to send first 
settlers to survey the lands beyond the Alle- 
ghanies, and then settlers to take possession, 
the question of ownership no longer admitting 
of peaceful discussion, it was determined to de- 
cide it by the sword. 

England from the very first claimed the coun- 
try from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, on 
the ground that the discovery and possession of 
the seacoast was a discovery and possession of 
the country. But her principal claim rested on 
actual purchases, alleged to have been made 
from the Indians, of portions of land situated 
beyond the Alleghanies. 

Previous to glancing at the history of the col- 
lision which ensued between these two countries, 
it is but natural to inquire which party had the 
most equitable claim. It is almost needless to 
add that neither party had a title to the lands, 
since they had never been ceded by the natives, 
who, when appealed to as arbitrators, shrewdly 
asked, "Where lay the Indian lands? for the 
French claim all on one side of the river, and 
the English all on the other!" 

Owing to its geographical position, and the 
peaceful character of its Indian population, the 
territory of Illinois continued undisturbed during 


the long and harassing war which followed soon 

From the commencement of hostilities in 1752, 
when the French burnt down the first English 
trading-house established beyond the Allegha- 
nies, until 1758, the repeated campaigns under- 
taken by the British and colonial troops proved 
uniformly unsuccessful. The French continued 
to hold command of the lakes, a complete ascen- 
dency over the North-western tribes, and pos- 
session of the disputed territories. 

It was in these wars that the soldiers of the 
Revolution were formed. When first commenced, 
Washington was chosen to negotiate with the 
enemy. He was present at the disastrous defeat 
General Braddock in 1755, and by his coolness 
and decision, aided by the heroic bravery of 
the Virginia troops under his command, he was 
enabled to save the army from almost hopeless 
destruction by covering the retreat of the fugi- 
tives. But the year 1758 opened under far 
different auspices. William Pitt, now the Eng- 
lish Secretary of State, had determined on a 
rigorous prosecution of the war. He saw the 
difficulties by which his country was surrounded, 
and roused the whole nation by his energy and 
genius. He demanded supplies ; they were freely 
granted. He rescinded those odious army regu- 
lations, which had caused a just discontent among 
colonial officers, and allowed all, from the rank 


of colonel downward, an equal share of authority 
with the British. To despair now succeeded 
hope ; to hope, energy and victory. Soldiers en- 
listed freely ^ and fought with enthusiasm. Louis- 
burg yielded to Boscawen, Fort Frontenac was 
taken by Bradstreet, Du Quesne was abandoned 
on the approach of Forbes, and in 1759 Ticon- 
deroga, Crown Point, Niagara, and at length 
Quebec itself, yielded to the British arms. The 
war was now terminated, and nothing remained 
for France but negotiation with her conqueror. 

By the treaty of peace signed at Paris in 
1763, France ceded to England Canada and its 
dependencies, the French posts and settlements 
on the Ohio, and all that portion of Louisiana 
east of the Mississippi River, with the exception 
of the Island of Orleans. Illinois was of course 
included in the above cession, and after the 10th 
of February, 1763, acknowledged the supremacy 
of England. But although the English had suc- 
ceeded to the power they soon found that they 
did not possess the influence of their predeces- 
sors over the native population. 

After Canada and its dependencies had sur- 
rendered to the British arms in 1760, General 
Amherst, of Montreal, despatched Major Rogers 
to take possession of Fort Detroit. It was here 
he first encountered the celebrated Pontiac. 

" As I approached Detroit at the head of a 
military force," writes Rogers, «I was met by 


an embassy from one who came to let me know 
that Pontiac was at a small distance, coming 
peaceably ; and that he desired me to halt until 
he could see me with his own eyes. His ambas- 
sador had also orders to inform me < that he was 
Pontiac, the king and lord of the country I was 
in.' When we afterward met, 'he demanded 
my business into his country, and how I dared 
to enter it without his leave.' I informed him 
that it was not with any design against the In- 
dians that I came, but to remove the French 
out of the country, who had prevented a friendly 
intercourse between the English and the Indians. 
He thereupon told me < that he stood in the path 
I travelled in till morning;' and gave me a 
string of wampum, as much as to say, < You need 
not march further without my leave.' When he 
departed for the night, he inquired if <I wanted 
any thing that his country afforded ; and if I did 
he would send his warriors to fetch it.' I as- 
sured him that any provisions they brought 
should be paid for ; and the next day we were 
supplied with parched corn and other necessa- 
ries. At our second meeting we smoked the 
calumet together ; and he assured me that he had 
made peace with me and my detachment, and 
that I might pass through his country unmolested, 
and relieve the French garrison — that he would 
protect me and my party ; and as an earnest of 
his friendship, he sent one hundred warriors to 


protect and assist us in driving a large herd of 
fat cattle we had brought from Pittsburg for the 
use of the army. He sent also to several Indian 
towns to inform them that I had his consent to 
enter the country. He attended me constantly 
till I arrived at Detroit, and was the means of 
preserving the detachment from the fury of the 
Indians, who had assembled at the mouth of the 
strait to cut us off." 

But although Major Rogers, by moderate and 
kind words, and a respectful treatment, suc- 
ceeded in quieting the suspicion and suppressing 
the rising indignation of this savage, yet Pontiac 
afterward attempted to carry all the British 
posts by treachery, and to massacre their garri- 
sons. His attachment to his " Great Father," 
the French king, which does him honour, pre- 
disposed him to believe that the English had 
done his ancient ally great injustice. "When 
the French came hither," said a Chippewa chief, 
"they came and kissed us — they called us chil- 
dren, and we found them fathers : we lived like 
children in the same lodge." Pontiac saw, or 
thought he saw, a want of cordiality in the Eng- 
lish toward the Indians. He looked into futurity 
and foresaw the gradual extinction of his race, 
the result of the growing power of the English. 
He therefore laid a plan for a sudden and con- 
temporaneous attack on all their forts, and sought 
to drive them from the soil of his fatherland. 


He despatched runners with a belt of wampum, 
which he pretended had been sent him by the 
King of France, to all the Indian tribes on the 
English frontier, a thousand miles in extent. 
His measures were taken with so much precau- 
tion, that the storm burst on the English unex- 
pectedly ; and in the month of May, 1763, nine 
out of twelve forts were captured by the Indians, 
and their garrisons either partially or wholly 

The circumstances connected with the surprise 
of Fort Mackinaw by these savages are some- 
what remarkable. The Ottawas encamped in 
the vicinity, and invited the British officers to a 
game at ball, of which almost all the garrison 
became spectators. In the heat of the contest, 
the ball was hurled as if by accident over the 
pickets into the fort, and the Indians were suf- 
fered to enter and procure it. This was done 
several times, and the British not suspecting any 
treachery, at last allowed the Indians to enter 
in large numbers. They immediately com- 
menced an attack on the fort, the troops were 
butchered, and the fort destroyed. Niagara and 
Pittsburg, being regular fortifications, were suc- 
cessfully defended; and /the garrison in Fort 
Detroit were saved by being previously made 
acquainted with the treachery and plans of their 

Pontiac attacked the latter fort in person. 


On the 8th of May he sought an interview with 
Major Gladwyn, and told him that " the Indians 
desired to take their new father, the King of Eng- 
land, by the hand. ' ' Gladwyn, unsuspicious of his 
designs, consented to hold a council in the fort 
the following day. The Indians were now or- 
dered to shorten their rifles, so as to be able to 
conceal them under their blankets ; and Pontiac 
told them that when he presented to the British 
commander a belt of wampum, they were to slay 
the officers, and next, being reinforced by the 
warriors without, they were to fall upon the gar- 
rison and demolish the fort. Happily this 
treachery was revealed in time to baffle it. 
Gladwyn ordered the fort to be strengthened, 
the arms examined, ammunition prepared, and 
every man, civil or military, to be in readiness. 
Night came, and as the officers walked the ram- 
parts, the songs and dances of the exulting Ot- 
tawas came surging up from their distant camp. 
In the morning, when Pontiac and his subordinate 
chiefs approached the gates of the fort, they 
were admitted. Finding the garrison under 
arms, Pontiac inquired the reason of this warlike 
display. He was told that it was necessary to 
keep young men to their duty, lest they should 
become ignorant and idle. Reassured by this 
reply, Pontiac proceeded to the council-cham- 
ber, where he startled the assembled officers by 
the fierceness of his speech and the vehemence 


of his gestures. He was, however, suffered to 
proceed until about to present the wampum belt, 
when the drums beat an alarm, the guards le- 
velled their muskets, and the officers unsheathed 
their swords. While Pontiac stood uneasy and 
disconcerted at this extraordinary display of 
energy, Major Gladwyn drew aside his blanket, 
and discovering the shortened gun, reproached 
him for his treachery. With a display of generosity 
almost culpable under the circumstances, the 
baffled savages were ordered to leave the fort. 

On the 3d of June, 1763, intelligence was re- 
ceived at Detroit of peace between France and 
England. General Bradstreet soon after arrived 
with an army of three thousand men, and Pontiac, 
who had kept Detroit in a state of siege, relaxed 
his efforts. The confederated tribes, united 
merely by the hope of immediate success, pre- 
sently separated from each other ; and old enmi- 
ties reviving, Pontiac was deserted by all but a 
few trusty followers. 

The English now adopted a conciliatory policy 
with the natives; and on the 7th of October, 
1763, a proclamation was issued by the king, 
declaring it to be his royal will and pleasure, 
that no governor or commander-in-chief — 

" Grant warrants of survey, or pass patents, 
for any lands beyond the heads or sources of any 
of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic ocean 
from the west or north-west, or upon any lands 


whatever, which, not having been ceded to or 
purchased by us, are reserved by the Indians." 

The spirit of this proclamation is well seen 
in the concluding paragraph, which we copy en- 
tire : — 

"And whereas great frauds and abuses have 
been committed in purchasing lands of the In- 
dians, to the great prejudice of our interests, 
and to the great dissatisfaction of the said In- 
dians ; in order, therefore, to prevent such irre- 
gularities for the future, and to the end that the 
Indians may be convinced of our justice and de- 
termined resolution to remove all reasonable 
cause of discontent, we do, with the advice of 
our privy council, strictly enjoin and require, 
that no private person do presume to make any 
purchase from the said Indians, of any lands 
reserved to the said Indians within those parts 
of our colonies where we have thought proper to 
allow settlements. But that if at any time any 
of the Indians should be inclined to dispose of 
the said lands, the same shall be purchased for 
us only in our name, at some public meeting or 
assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that 
purpose by the governor or commander-in-chief 
of our colony respectively, within the limits of 
any proprietary, conformably to such directions 
and instructions as we or they shall think proper 
to give for that purpose." 

This proclamation did much towards allaying 


the distrust and animosity of the Indians ; and 
as they were afterward liberally supplied by 
English traders with arms, ammunition, and 
such other commodities as their mode of life re- 
quired, they became for a time the firm allies 
of the British government. 

Pontiac, deserted by his confederates, and 
baffled in his attempts to save his country, with- 
drew in disgust even from his own tribe. When, 
on the 21st of August, 1764, a treaty of peace 
was made by General Bradstreet with twenty 
or more tribes at Detroit, Pontiac refused to 
negotiate. He abandoned his country, and de- 
parting for the west, lived for some years in 
Illinois, where he repeatedly attempted, but in 
vain, to bring about a new union and a new 
war. He was finally assassinated by a Kaskaskia 
Indian. This savage, who was much attached to 
the English, attended Pontiac as a spy; and 
being convinced from a speech which the latter 
made in council, that he still retained a secret 
animosity against those for whom he professed a 
friendship, plunged a knife into his heart and 
laid him dead at his feet. 

At the period when Illinois passed from under 
the jurisdiction of France to that of Great Britain, 
the population of all classes, exclusive of the abori- 
gines, could not have exceeded three thousand 
persons. The cession took place in 1763 ; but 
Illinois still remained in possession of the French 


till 1765, at which time Captain Sterling of the 
Royal Highlanders arrived, assumed its govern • 
ment in the name of the king, and established 
his head-quarters at Fort Chartres. His right 
to assert the English authority over the territory 
was made known to the inhabitants by the fol- 
lowing proclamation : — 

"Whereas, by the peace concluded at Paris 
the 10th of February, 1763, the country of the 
Illinois has been ceded to his Britannic majesty, 
and the taking possession of the said country of 
the Illinois, by the troops of his majesty, though 
delayed, has been determined upon, we have 
found it good to make known to the inhabitants — 

"That his majesty grants to the inhabitants 
of the Illinois the liberty of the Catholic reli- 
gion, as it has already been granted to his sub- 
jects in Canada. He has consequently given 
the most precise and effective orders, to the end 
that his new Roman Catholic subjects of the Illi- 
9 nois may exercise the worship of their religion, 
according to the rites of the Romish church, in 
the same manner as in Canada. 

" That his majesty, moreover, agrees that the 
French inhabitants or others, who have been 
subjects of the most Christian king, (the King 
of France,) may retire in full safety and freedom 
wherever they please, even to New Orleans, or 
any other part of Louisiana, although it should 
happen that the Spaniards take possession of it 


in the name of his Catholic majesty, (the King 
of Spain,) and they may sell their estates, pro- 
vided it be to subjects of his majesty, and trans- 
port their effects as well as their persons, with- 
out restraint upon their emigration, under any 
pretence whatever, except in consequence of 
debts or of criminal processes. 

" That those who choose to retain their lands 
and become subjects of his majesty, shall enjoy 
the same rights and privileges, the same security 
for their persons and effects, and the liberty of 
trade, as the old subjects of the king. 

" That they are commanded by these presents 
to take the oath of fidelity and obedience to his 
majesty, in presence of Sieur Sterling, Cap- 
tain of the Highland regiment, the bearer here- 
of, and furnished with our full powers for this 

"That we recommend forcibly to the inha- 
bitants to conduct themselves like good and 
faithful subjects, avoiding, by a wise and pru- 
dent demeanour, all cause of complaint against 

"That they act in concert with his majesty's 
officers so that his troops may take peaceable 
possession of all the forts, and order be kept in 
the country. By this means alone they will 
spare his majesty the necessity of recurring to 
force of arms, and will find themselves saved 
from the scourge of a bloody war, and of all the 


evils which the march of an enemy into their 
country would draw after it. 

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

" Done and given at head-quarters, New York — 
signed with our hand — sealed with our seal-at- 
arms, and countersigned by our secretary, this 
30th of December, 1764. 

"Thomas Gage. 

" By h% Excellency, G. Maturin." 
The Catholic missionaries, with their attend- 
ants, returning presently to France, many 
French families directed their course to the vi- 
cinity of New Orleans, preferring a country 
where the Catholic religion was predominant to 
one under Protestant rule. English emigrants, 
however, arrived, but not in any considerable 
number, so that the population of the country 
was about stationary, and but little change was 
produced in the condition of the colony until the 
| expedition of Colonel Clarke in 1778. 

Captain Sterling remained only a short time 
in Illinois. He was succeeded by Major Farmer, 
of whose administration little is known. Colonel 
Reed was the next governor. life made himself 
odious by a series of military oppressions, against 
which the inhabitants made complaints, but with 
very little success. Colonel Reed having left 
the country, he was succeeded by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Wilkins, who arrived at Kaskaskia on 


the 5th of September, 1768 ; and on the 21st of 
November following, issued a proclamation, in 
which he stated that he had received orders, as 
military commandant, to establish a court of 
justice in Illinois for the trial of civil and cri- 
minal causes. Seven judges were accordingly 
appointed, who held their first court at Fort 
Chartres, December 6th, 1768. Courts were 
subsequently held once in each month. 

This system, although greatly preferable to 
the military tribunal which had preceded it, and 
which had created so much dissatisfaction, was 
very far from satisfying the claims of the people. 
They wanted trial by jury, which, being denied 
them, the court became unpopular. In 1772 
Fort Chartres was abandoned by the British 
garrison in consequence of being undermined by 
the encroachments of the Mississippi, and the 
seat of government was removed to Kaskaskia. 
It is not known at what period Colonel Wilkins 
left the country, or whether any British officer % 
succeeded him. When Illinois was captured by 
the Americans under Colonel Clarke, in 1778, 
M. Rocheblave, a Frenchman, was commandant. 



Causes which brought about the American Revolution — Em- 
ployment of Indians by the British — The Illinois settlementa 
the grand sources of Indian hostilities — George Rogers 
Clarke — Sends spies into Illinois — His interview with Patrick 
Henry — Receives instructions to attack the British posts in 
Illinois — Expedition to Kaskaskia — John Saunders — Strata- 
gem by which Kaskaskia was captured — Cahokia surrenders. 

The authority of England was now, to all 
human appearance, permanently established in 
Illinois ; but causes soon came into operation 
■which effected its overthrow. 

The enormous expenses incurred by England 
in the war with France had embarrassed her 
finances ; and as this expense was brought on 
partly by the defence of her colonial possessions 
in America, she claimed the right to draw from 
them in future a revenue sufficient to defray the 
cost of their support and protection. Accord- 
ingly, in 1765, a bill was passed by Parliament, 
entitled the Stamp Aot, by which all bonds, 
deeds, notes, and various other business papers 
in America, were required to be drawn on stamped 
paper, this stamped paper to be purchased only 
of agents appointed by the British government. 
Against this the colonists loudly protested. They 
denied the right of Parliament to tax them in 


any shape whatever; and declared that they 
would submit to no imposts that did not emanate 
from their own representatives. These remon- 
strances had a temporary effect, and on the 19th 
of March, 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed. 

But the right of the English government to 
tax her colonies was still insisted on, and a se- 
cond attempt was made to raise a revenue by the 
imposition of duties on paper, glass, lead, paint, 
and tea. As the duties were laid on these goods 
without the consent of the colonists, popular in- 
dignation was once more aroused. To allay its 
fury, the British ministry promised a repeal of 
all the duties with the exception of a nominal 
one on tea. But the principle involved was re- 
tained. When the ships arrived with the ob- 
noxious article, the tea was allowed to be landed 
and stored in some of the ports ; while in others 
the vessels were ordered to return without dis- 
charging their cargoes. At Boston the ships 
were boarded by a party disguised as Indians, 
who broke open the tea-chests and poured their 
contents into the sea ; and at Annapolis the owner 
of a ship partly freighted with tea was compelled 
to set fire to his own vessel. Public meetings 
were now called, and a congress of colonial dele- 
gates met in Philadelphia on the 1st of Septem- 
ber, 1774, the members of which, after long and 
grave deliberation, adopted a declaration of 
colonial rights and a petition to the king. 


But in addition to the tyranny of taxation 
without representation, every position assumed 
by British ministers in reference to the justice 
of the imposition of these duties was false. 
"Will these Americans," said one of them, 
"children planted by our care, nourished by our 
indulgence till they are grown up to a degree of 
strength and opulence, and protected by our 
arms, — will they grudge to contribute their mite 
to relieve us from the weight of that heavy bur- 
den under which we lie ?" The reply of ColoneL 
Barrd was prompt and emphatic : — " Theyr 
planted by your care ! No ; they were planted 
hy your oppressions. They fled from your ty- 
ranny to an uncultivated, inhospitable country,, 
where they exposed themselves to all the hard- 
ships to which human nature is liable, and r 
among others, to the cruelty of a savage foe — 
the most subtle, and, I will take it upon me to- 
say, the most formidable people on the face of the 
earth ; and there, at their own cost and by their 
own toil and energies, erected their dwellings in 
the wilderness. They nourished by your indul- 
gence ! They grew up by your neglect. As 
soon as you began to extend to them your care, 
that care was displayed in sending persons to 
rule them : men who were sent to spy out their 
liberties, to misrepresent their actions, and to- 
prey on their substance : these men you pro- 
moted to the highest seats of justice, — some who> 


to my knowledge, were glad, by going to a foreign 
country, to escape being brought to the bar of a 
court of justice in their own. They protected 
by your arms ! They have nobly taken up arms 
in your defence ; have exerted a valour amid 
their constant and laborious industry, for the 
defence of a country whose frontier was drenched 
in blood, while its interior parts yielded all its 
little savings to your emoluments. And believe 
me, the same spirit of freedom which actuated 
these people will accompany them still. God 
knows that I do not at this time speak from any 
motives of party heat. I deliver the genuine 
sentiments of my heart. However superior to 
me in general knowledge and experience the re- 
spectable body of this house may be, yet I claim 
to know more of America than most of you, — 
having seen that country and been conversant 
with its people." Such was the state of the 
question between England and her colonies at 
the commencement of the war. 

From an early period in the revolutionary war, 
an alliance with Indians had been contemplated 
•by both parties. We have seen that they were 
employed by both France and England in the 
contest between them. It is a well-known his- 
torical fact, that the question about the employ- 
ment of Indians was discussed not only in the 
British Parliament but in Congress. Washing- 
ton himself advised this step in a letter to Con- 


gress on the 19th of April, 1776,* in which he 
said, that as the Indians would soon be organized 
in support of one side or the other, he would 
suggest that they be engaged for the colonies ; 
and on the 3d of June Congress empowered him 
to raise two thousand of them for service in 
Canada. On the 17th of June, Washington was 
authorized to employ them where he pleased, and 
to offer them rewards for prisoners. f That In- 
dians were present as the allies of England on 
the field of battle cannot be denied. 

We have seen that, up to the period when the 
British gained possession of the Illinois country, 
its forests and prairies had been exempted from 
the evils of war. But at the commencement of 
the revolutionary struggle, those once peaceful 
wilds became the nurseries of hostile bands of 
Indians, who, instigated by the British, and sup- 
plied by them with arms and ammunition, deluged 
the American frontiers with blood. The first 
American settlements west of the Alleghanies 
were made in Kentucky, the early history of 
which abounds in the most thrilling narratives 
of border warfare. The character of Boone is 
well known ; but we have now to introduce to the 
notice of the reader George Rogers Clarke, who, 
although a Virginian by birth, is deservedly cele- 

* Sparks's Washington, vol. iii. p. 364. 
t Secret Journals, vol. i. pp. 43-47. 


brated, not only as one of the ablest defenders 
of the Kentucky frontier, but as having most 
successfully arrested the ravages of the Indians. 

Col. Clarke comprehended, at an early day, 
the whole policy of the British. He found that 
the sources of Indian devastation were Detroit, 
Vincennes, and Kaskaskia. Arms and clothing 
were supplied at these military stations as stimu- 
lants to the bloodthirsty warriors ; and he rightly 
judged that, by the capture of the British posts, 
the evil would be remedied. Such being the 
conclusions of Clarke, in the summer of 1777 
he sent two spies to Kaskaskia, who reported 
that great activity prevailed among the French 
population of that place ; that the Indians were 
encouraged in their predatory excursions by the 
inhabitants generally, and more especially by 
English agents ; and that the French and Indians 
had been told by English traders and others that 
the Virginians and Kentuckians were the most 
cruel and barbarous people on earth. They also 
reported that strong evidence of affection for 
the Americans existed among some of the inha- 

In December, 1777, Col. Clarke hastened to 
Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, and sub- 
mitted to Governor Patrick Henry his plan of 
attack on the Illinois settlements. His scheme 
received the approval of the governor and council. 
The preliminary arrangements were soon made. 

1778.] ORDERS TO CLARKE. 77 

Twelve hundred pounds were advanced to defray 
the expenses of the expedition, and orders were 
issued to the Virginia commandant at Fort Pitt 
to supply Clarke with ammunition, boats, and all 
other necessary equipments. 

On the 4th of February, 1778, Col. Clarke 
commenced his march, furnished with two sets of 
instructions — one public, authorizing him to pro- 
ceed to the Kentucky frontier for its defence ; 
and the other private, ordering an attack on the 
British post at Kaskaskia, from which we make 
the following extract : — 

" You are to proceed with all convenient speed 
to raise seven companies of soldiers, to consist 
of one hundred and fifty men each, officered in 
the usual manner, armed and properly equipped 
for the enterprise ; and with this force attack 
the British force at Kaskaskia. 

"It is conjectured that there are many pieces 
of cannon, and military stores to a considerable 
amount at that place, the taking and preserva- 
tion of which would be a valuable acquisition to 
the State. If you are so fortunate, therefore, 
as to succeed in your expedition, you will take 
every possible measure to secure the artillery 
and stores, and whatever may advantage the 

"For the transportation of the troops, provi- 
sions, &c. down the Ohio, you are to apply to 
the commanding officer at Fort Pitt for boats ; 


and, during the whole transaction, you are to 
take especial care to keep the whole destination 
of your force secret; its success depends upon 
this. Orders are therefore give to Captain Smith 
to secure the two men from Kaskaskia. Similar 
conduct will be proper in similar cases. 

" It is earnestly desired that you show humanity 
to such British subjects, and other persons, as 
fall in your hands. If the white inhabitants at 
that post and neighbourhood will give undoubted 
evidence of their attachment to this State (for it 
is certain they live within its limits) by taking 
the test prescribed by law, and by every other 
way and means in their power, let them be 
treated as fellow-citizens, and their persons and 
property duly secured. Assistance and protec- 
tion against all enemies whatever shall be afforded 
them, and the commonwealth of Virginia is 
pledged to accomplish it. But if these people 
will not accede to these reasonable demands, 
they must feel the miseries of war under the 
i direction of that humanity that has hitherto dis- 
tinguished Americans, and which it is expected 
you will ever consider as the rule of your con- 
duct, and from which you are in no instance to 

These instructions, considering the provoca- 
tions that existed, are in the highest degree 
honourable to the governor and council. It was 
found impossible, however, to raise more than 


three companies ; and with these Colonel Clarke 
descended the Ohio, where he took possession of 
and fortified Corn Island, opposite the present 
city of Louisville, Kentucky. Here he was 
joined by Captain Bowman, and a company from 
Kentucky under Captain Dillard. He now dis- 
closed to the troops their real destination, many 
of whom received the tidings with unbounded 
applause. These gallant sons of Kentucky 
thought with their commander that the secret 
of Indian hostilities lay somewhere in the West, 
and the whole detachment was eager to be con- 
ducted thither. There were others, however, to 
whom the perils of the expedition were less in- 
viting. On the morning appointed for starting, 
Captain Dillard discovered, to his great mortifi- 
cation, that a number of his men had deserted. 
The disappointment was cruel, and its conse- 
quences alarming. A party on horseback sent 
after the fugitives captured seven or eight of 
them, but the rest had dispersed through the 
woods. These fugitives, after enduring more 
hardships than those who followed Clarke, finally 
obtained shelter in a fort, into which they were 
for some time indignantly refused admission. 

After reviewing his little army, and equipping 
it after the Indian fashion for a march across 
the country, on the 24th of June, during a total 
eclipse of the sun, Colonel Clarke sailed down 
the Ohio, and landed on an island at the mouth 


of the Tennessee River. Here he encountered 
a party of hunters who had recently come from 
Kaskaskia, and from whom he learned that the 
garrison was commanded by one M. Rocheblave, 
that the militia were well disciplined, and that 
spies were stationed along the Mississippi River, 
who were directed to keep a sharp look-out for the 
Kentuckians. The hunters also informed Clarke 
that the fort which commanded the town was 
kept in order as a place of retreat, but had nc 
regular garrison, and that the military defences 
of the place were attended to merely as a matter 
of form, and not from any belief in the necessity 
of being prepared for any sudden attack, which 
was not at all expected in that quarter. The 
hunters thought that by a sudden surprise the 
place might be easily captured, and having 
offered their services as guides, John Saunders 
was chosen to conduct the expedition. The 
boats were now dropped down to a point on the 
Illinois shore, and concealed a little above the 
place where Fort Massac was afterward built, 
and the little army took up its line of march 
through the wilderness. 

Having travelled upward of one hundred miles, 
on the third day their guide became so bewil- 
dered that he could no longer direct their course. 
A suspicion immediately arose among the men 
that he intended to betray them, and they de- 
manded his instant death. He begged, however, 


to be allowed to go a short distance and try to 
find the way. Permission was granted by the 
commander-in-chief, and a guard ordered to ac- 
company him, by whom he was told that if he 
did not conduct the army into the hunter's road 
to Kaskaskia, which he had so frequently tra- 
velled, and which led through a country that no 
woodsman could well forget, he should be hanged. 
After searching for some time, the poor fellow 
exclaimed, "I know that clump of timber," and 
immediately pointed out the direction of Kas- 
kaskia, his innocence being at once clearly esta- 

On the 4th of July, 1778, Clarke's party, 
with their garments torn and soiled, and a three 
weeks' growth of beard, approached Kaskaskia, 
and secreted themselves in the woods in its neigh- 
bourhood. Here they halted till dark, detach- 
ments having been sent forward to reconnoitre 
the village ; these soon returned and reported 
that " the militia had been called out the day 
before ; but as no cause for alarm apparently 
existed, they had been dismissed, and that every 
thing was quiet — that there was a number of 
men in the town, and but few Indians, the 
greater part having recently left." 

Clarke now determined to turn to good account 
the terror with which the English had inspired 
the minds of the Kaskaskians against the Vir- 
ginians and Kentuckians. He rightly judged 


that if lie was fortunate enough to gain posses- 
sion of the town, and then endeavoured bj his 
conduct to confirm the fears of the Kaskaskians, 
that when undeceived there would be a natural 
revulsion of feeling, and they would become 
valuable friends and allies. This policy was com- 
pletely successful. The assailants were formed 
into three divisions, two of which received orders 
to cross the river and invest the town, while the 
third, which was commanded by Colonel Clarke 
himself, took possession of the fort. This plan 
of attack succeeded admirably. The fort was 
immediately taken, and its governor, M. Roche- 
blave, made prisoner, while the other two divi- 
sions, having crossed the river, entered the town 
and intimidated the inhabitants by a succes- 
sion of Indian yells. In a moment men, women, 
and children ran screaming in all directions, "Les 
long couteaux! Les long couteaux!" The long 
knives ! the long knives ! and the streets were 
immediately cleared. In about two hours the 
inhabitants were all disarmed and the town com- 
pletely at the mercy of its invaders. 

During the night the troops, in obedience to 
orders, continued to patrol the place in small 
parties, in every possible direction, yelling and 
whooping in the most approved Indian fashion, 
while the people remained quiet in their houses. 
Next day the soldiers were removed to the sub- 
urbs, and the inhabitants allowed to walk about 


the streets. As soon, however, as they were 
seen congregating together, Clarke had some of 
them arrested and put in irons without allowing 
them to speak a word. This display of military 
despotism entirely subjugated the Kaskaskians, 
who, filled with the utmost consternation, ex- 
pected neither mercy nor compassion. 

At last M. Gibault, the village priest, and five 
or six elderly gentlemen, obtained permission to 
wait on Clarke. If they were surprised at the 
sudden capture of their town, they were much 
more astonished at the personal appearance of 
the captors. The clothes of Clarke and his 
men were ragged and dirty, and their aspect 
frightfully savage and disgusting. So com- 
pletely had the expedition confounded all ranks 
and distinctions, that the deputation were at a 
loss whom to address as the commander-in-chief. 
Colonel Clarke being pointed out, the priest, in 
a subdued and humble voice, which indicated 
what he felt, said: — "That the inhabitants ex- 
pected to be separated, never to meet again on 
earth, and they begged for permission through 
him to assemble once more in the church to take a 
final leave of each other." Colonel Clarke, aware 
that he was suspected of hostility to their reli- 
gion, carelessly replied that the Americans never 
interfered with the religious opinion or practices 
of others, but left every man to worship God as 
he pleased, and that they might hold a meeting 


in their church if they pleased, but on no account 
must a single person leave the town. An at- 
tempt at further conversation was sternly re- 
pelled, and the deputation abruptly dismissed. 

The priest and people presently assembled in 
the church, and the houses were all deserted. 
The solemn, mournful chant ascended. The af- 
fecting service closed after being protracted to 
an unusual length, and the priest with a second 
deputation waited on the stern conqueror to ex- 
press, in the name of the village, " their thanks 
for the indulgence they had received." The de- 
putation now sought to plead with Clarke on the 
subject of their separation, and endeavoured to 
apologize for their conduct. They assured him 
that they did not understand the nature of the 
contest between the English and the Americans ; 
that they were precluded by the remoteness of 
their situation from obtaining accurate informa- 
tion; that some of their number had expressed 
themselves in favour of the Americans, and 
others would have done so if they dared; and 
that their conduct had been influenced by the 
British commandant, whom they supposed they 
were bound to obey. " They were sensible," 
they said, " that their present situation was the 
fate of war, and they could submit to the loss of 
property, but they begged not to be separated 
from their wives and children, and requested to 

1778.] CLARKE'S ADDRESS. 85 

be permitted to retain some clothes and provi- 
sions for their future support !" 

Colonel Clarke having gained his object, and 
seeing them overcome by their fears, now re- 
solved to try the effect of that lenity and gene- 
rosity of conduct which had been all along se- 
cretly intended as the ultimatum of this stern, 
painful, though necessary policy. He therefore 
suddenly addressed them thus : — 

" What do you take us to be ? Do you think 
we are savages — that we intend to massacre you 
all ? Do you think Americans will strip women 
and children, and take the bread out of their 
mouths? My countrymen disdain to make war 
on helplessness and innocence ! It was to pro- 
tect our own wives and children from Indian 
barbarity and cruelty that we have penetrated 
this wilderness. We have conquered this, and will 
subjugate every other British post where savages 
are supplied with arms and ammunition to murder 
us. We do not war against Frenchmen. The 
King of France, your former master, is our ally. 
His ships and soldiers are fighting for the Ame- 
ricans. Go and enjoy your religion, and wor- 
ship where you please. Any insult offered to it 
will be immediately punished. Your friends in 
confinement shall be released. Your fellow- 
citizens may dismiss all apprehensions, and are 
quite at liberty to conduct themselves as usual. 
No man's property shall be molested. We are 


convinced that you have been misinformed, and 
have been prejudiced against Americans by Bri- 
tish officers. We are your friends, and have 
come to deliver you from British authority and 

The effect this speech was electric. The air 
immediately resounded with the joyous huzzas 
of the inhabitants for freedom and the Ameri- 
cans. The people once more assembled in the 
church, not with tears, but with grateful and 
happy countenances. The Te Deum was sung. 
The cannon roared. The bells rang a merry peal, 
and the utmost hilarity everywhere prevailed. 
Thus, by a happily concerted plan, the town of 
Kaskaskia was conquered, the authority of the 
British overthrown, and the government of the 
Americans, and those principles of liberty for 
which they contended, established firmly in the 
affections of its inhabitants. 

Colonel Clarke, having effected this most desi- 
rable revolution, next turned his attention to the 
small village of Cahokia, situated about sixty 
miles higher up the Mississippi. Some gentle- 
men of Kaskaskia who were apprized of his in- 
tentions, offered to accompany the detachment 
which, with Major Bowman at its head, was or- 
dered to surprise that post. They assured Colo- 
nel Clarke that the people of Cahokia were their 
relations and friends, and they had no doubt of 
their acting in unison with them when the cir- 


cumstances in which they were placed should be 
explained. Several Kaskaskia gentlemen pre- 
ceded the detachment to announce to the Caho- 
kians the change of government. This expedi- 
tion was also successful, and the post was taken 
without bloodshed. Indeed, there was not a 
dozen British soldiers in the garrison. The Ca- 
hokians were at first very much alarmed when the 
cry of " Les longs couteaux" was raised, but their 
fears were speedily "allayed. The people took 
the oath of allegiance, and in a few days the ut- 
most harmony prevailed. Cahokia was at this 
time a place of considerable trade, it being a 
depot for the distribution of ammunition and 
arms to the Indians. A considerable body of 
the latter were encamped in the neighbourhood, 
but they dispersed on the approach of the Ame- 



The capture of the British post at Vincennes — Complimentary 
resolution of the Virginia legislature — Negotiations of Clarke 
with the Indians — His mode of treating them — The Meadow 
Indians attempt his life — Affecting and romantic incident — 
Fort Vincennes recaptured by Colonel Hamilton, Governor 
of Detroit, and the whole garrison, consisting of one officer 
and one private, allowed to march out of the fort with the 
honours of war — Expedition of Colonel Clarke against Vin- 
cennes — Incidents on the march — Fort Vincennes re-taken 
by the Americans — Governor Harrison's letter to Colonel 

Notwithstanding his brilliant and almost 
unexpected success at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, 
Colonel Clarke felt that there was no certainty 
of his retaining these places so long as the Bri- 
tish military station at Fort Vincennes remained 
unconquered. His force was too small to allow 
him to throw a garrison into Kaskaskia and Ca- 
hokia, and leave him a sufficiency of military 
strength with which to attempt the subjugation 
of Fort Vincennes. In this state of perplexity, 
Colonel Clarke resolved to advise with M. Gi- 
bault, the Roman Catholic priest of Kaskaskia, 
who was also the priest of Vincennes, and to 
obtain from him a knowledge of the defences of 
the fort, and of the best way to effect its re- 


duction. M. Gibault informed him that Governor 
Abbot had gone to Detroit on business ; that a 
military expedition against the fort was wholly 
unnecessary ; that the inhabitants were mostly 
French, and pledged himself to bring them over 
to the side of the Americans if Colonel Clarke 
would permit him to use his influence for that 
purpose. The offer of M. Gibault was accepted, 
and through his agency and influence the inha- 
bitants threw off their allegiance to the British, 
the garrison was overpowered and expelled, and 
the American flag displayed from the battle- 

Colonel Clarke had now by policy rather than 
by force effected the reduction of all the British 
posts in Illinois ; and on the 23d of November, 
1778, the legislature of Virginia passed the fol- 
lowing complimentary resolution : — 

" Whereas, authentic information has been 
received that Lieutenant-Colonel George Rogers 
Clarke, with a body of Virginia militia, has re- 
duced the British posts in the western part of 
this commonwealth, on the river Mississippi and 
its branches, whereby great advantage may ac- 
crue to the common cause of America, as well 
as to this commonwealth in particular : — 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this house are 
justly due to the said Colonel Clarke, and the 
brave officers and men under his command, for 
their extraordinary resolution and perseverance, 



in so hazardous an enterprise, and for the im- 
portant services thereby rendered their coun- 

The British posts in the West having been 
reduced, Clarke next endeavoured to conciliate 
and win over to the American cause the numerous 
and powerful Indian tribes inhabiting this ex- 
tensive region. It was in this wild and danger- 
ous diplomacy that his genius especially displayed 
itself. He had carefully studied the Indian 
character. His policy was not to invite the In- 
dians to form treaties, because he was satisfied 
that they always interpreted such invitations as 
an evidence of fear and weakness on the part of 
those who gave them. He therefore maintained 
the strictest reserve, let the Indians make the 
first overtures ; and when he made presents, did 
it with an apparently parsimonious hand, as if 
he gave them away unwillingly. His first coun- 
cil with the red sons of the forest was held at 
Cahokia in September, 1778 ; and as it is some- 
what remarkable, a brief account of it deserves 
to be given. 

The parties having met, both white and red, 
Clarke waited for the Indians to make the first 
offer of alliance. When this was done, and the 
bloody belt of wampum and the flag sent them 
by the British stamped upon in token of rejec- 
tion, Clarke guardedly replied that he would 
think over their proposal, and give them an 


answer the next day. He advised them not 
to shake hands with the Americans, as peace 
was not concluded, and it would be time enough 
to fraternize when they could give them their 
heart also : the council was then adjourned. The 
following day the Indians having collected to- 
gether to hear the answer of the "Big Knife," 
as they termed the Americans, Clarke addressed 
them as follows : 

" Men and warriors, pay attention to my words. 
I am a man and a warrior, not a councillor ; I carry 
war in my right hand, and in my left peace. I am 
sent by the great council of the Big Knife and 
their friends, to take possession of all the towns 
occupied by the English in this country, and to 
watch the motions of the red people. I know 
there is a mist before your eyes. I will dispel 
the clouds, that you may clearly see the causes 
of the war between the Big Knife and the Eng- 
lish ; then you may judge for yourselves which 
party is in the right. And if you are warriors, 
as you profess to be, prove it by adhering 
faithfully to the party which you shall believe 
to be entitled to your friendship, and not show 
yourselves to be squaws." Colonel Clarke then 
explained, at some length, the cause of the diffi- 
culty between the English and Americans, and 
concluded his harangue in the following inde- 
pendent strain : — 

" You can now judge who is in the right. I 


have already told you who I am. Here is a bloody 
belt and a white one ; behave like men, and don't 
let your being surrounded by Big Knives cause 
you to. take up one belt with your hands while 
your hearts take up the other. If you take the 
bloody path, you shall leave the town in safety, 
and may go and join your friends, the English. 
We will then try, like warriors, who can put the 
most stumbling-blocks in each other's way, and 
keep our clothes longest stained with blood. As 
I am convinced you never heard the truth before, 
I do not wish you to answer until you have taken 
time to consult. We will therefore part this 
evening, and when the Great Spirit shall bring 
us together again, let us speak and think like 
men with but 'one heart and one tongue.' " 

This speech produced the desired effect. The 
next day, the Indian council fire having been re- 
kindled with more than usual ceremony, the Red 
men united with the " Big Knife," and promised 
to fight no more for the English against the 
Americans. In this and other negotiations there 
is no doubt that the success of Clarke with the 
Indians depended mainly on the fact that France 
was the ally of the United States, the Indians 
always retaining a profound regard for their first 
" Great Father," the French king. 

The negotiation of Colonel Clarke with the 
Meadow Indians is so characteristic and romantic 
that we must not omit to narrate a few circum- 


stances connected with it. These Indians at- 
tempted the life of Clarke in consequence of 
having been proffered a very large reward in 
case of success. Their plot was detected, and 
the leading Indians, having been secured, were 
every morning led to the council-house in chains, 
where he whom they had attempted to kill was 
daily engaged in forming friendly alliances with 
their red brethren. By this means they were 
led to see the futility of their project. After 
a while the American commander ordered their 
irons to be struck off, and in his quiet way, full 
of scorn, said : — 

" Everybody thinks you ought to die for your 
treachery upon my life, amid the sacred deli- 
berations of a council. I had determined to in- 
flict death on you for your base attempt, and you 
yourselves must be sensible that you have justly 
forfeited your lives ; but, on considering the 
meanness of watching a bear and catching him 
asleep, I have found out that you are not war- 
riors, only old women, and too mean to be killed 
by the Big Knife. But as you ought to be 
punished for putting on breech-clothes like men, 
when you have acted like women, they shall be 
taken off, and plenty of provisions shall be given 
you for your journey home, as women don't know 
how to hunt ; and during your stay you shall be 
treated in every respect as squaws." Having 
thus addressed them, Clarke turned away without 


noticing them further, and commenced a con- 
versation with his surrounding friends. 

The children of the prairie were unaccountably 
stirred by this treatment. They had looked for 
anger, not contempt — confinement, not liberty. 
They took counsel together, and presently a chief 
came forward, made a speech, and offered the 
belt and calumet. The interpreter was about to 
translate the words of friendship, but Clarke 
sternly forbid him, and a sword lying on the 
table, he took it up, and with one blow severed 
the calumet, the sacred symbol of proffered peace, 
accompanying the stroke with the cutting remark 
that "he did not treat with women." The of- 
fending Indians now asked the intercession of 
their red brethren who had been admitted to 
friendship, and several chiefs belonging to those 
tribes arose and pleaded in their behalf. But 
the anger of the American commander was not 
to be thus assuaged, and aware of the vulnerable 
points of Indian character he replied, "that the 
Big Knife had never made war upon the Indians ; 
and that when Americans came across such peo- 
ple in the woods, they commonly shot them as 
they did wolves, to prevent their eating the deer." 
All this wrought more and more on the offending 
tribe. Again they took counsel, and then two 
young men came forward, and covering their 
heads with their blankets, sat down before the 
impenetrable commander. Then two aged chiefs 


arose, and while one of them explained to Colonel 
Clarke that these two young men offered their 
lives as an atonement for the offences of their 
tribe, the other once more proffered him the 
calumet. Colonel Clarke, his officers, soldiers, 
and the assembled tribes beheld in silence those 
two young Indian patriots. Anxiety and sym- 
pathy with the proffered victims who thus nobly 
presented themselves as a sacrifice to appease 
the wrath of the "Big Knife," was now depicted 
on every countenance. With difficulty suppress- 
ing his emotions, Colonel Clarke approached the 
young men, and bade them be uncovered and 
stand up. "I am glad to find," said he, warmly, 
"that there are men among all nations. With 
you, who alone are fit to be chiefs of your tribe, 
I am willing to treat ; through you I am ready 
to grant peace to your brothers ; I take you by 
the hands as chiefs worthy of being such !" He 
then introduced the two young Indian patriots 
to the American officers as well as to the French 
and Spanish gentlemen who were present, and 
afterward to the chiefs of the other tribes. This 
clemency on the part of Clarke, together with 
his high appreciation of Indian merit, caused the 
name of the white negotiator to be everywhere 
respected, while the tribe in question became the 
firm allies of the Americans. 

Colonel Clarke now began to be apprehensive 
for the safety of Fort Vincennes. Although he 


had appointed Captain Helm commandant of 
that place, on being apprized by M. Gibault of 
its capture, he had never been able to afford it a 
garrison. On the 29th of January, 1779, Colo- 
nel Vigo brought intelligence that Governor 
Hamilton of Detroit had reduced the inhabit- 
ants, re-established the British power, and was 
only awaiting the return of spring to attempt 
the recovery of Kaskaskia and Cahokia, preli- 
minary to a general assault along the whole line 
of the Kentucky frontier. 

The intelligence brought by Col. Vigo about 
the recapture of Fort Vincennes was in sub- 
stance as follows : — Governor Hamilton appeared 
before the fort on the 14th of December, 1778, 
with an army of thirty regulars, fifty French 
volunteers, and four hundred Indians. The peo- 
ple living in the neighbourhood of the fort made 
no effort to defend it; and the only garrison 
within its walls was Captain Helm and a private 
soldier called Henry. Seeing the troops at a 
distance, they loaded a cannon which they placed 
in the open gateway, and the commandant of 
the fort, Captain Helm, stood by the cannon with 
a lighted match. When Governor Hamilton and 
his military approached within hailing distance, 
Helm called out with a loud voice, "Halt!" 
This show of resistance made Hamilton stop and 
demand a surrender of the garrison. "No man," 
exclaimed Helm with an oath, » enters here until 



I know the terms." Hamilton replied, "You 
shall have the honours of war." Helm hereupon 
surrendered the fort, and the whole garrison, con- 
sisting of the American commandant and one 
private, marched out, and received the customary 
mark of respect for their brave defence. 

The situation of Clarke now became perilous. 
There was little probability of his maintaining 
his position in Cahokia and Kaskaskia, as his 
army was too small to stand a siege, and he was 
in too remote a part of the country to obtain as- 
sistance. Detached parties of hostile Indians 
sent out by Captain Hamilton began to appear 
in Illinois. As the only means of escape from 
the difficulties of his position, Clarke determined 
to anticipate his enemy by striking the first blow. 
Having learned from Colonel Vigo that a portion 
of the army at Fort Vincennes was absent on 
marauding expeditions with the Indians, that the 
garrison consisted of about eighty regular sol- 
diers, three brass field-pieces, and some swivels, 
Clarke immediately proceeded to make prepara- 
tions for an expedition against the fort. 

On the 7th of February, 1779, he commenced 
his march with a force of one hundred and 
seventy-five men, Captain Rogers having been 
previously despatched in a boat, with forty-six 
men and two four-pounders, with orders to sail 
up the Wabash, station themselves a few miles 
below the mouth of the White River, suffer no- 


thing to pass, and wait there for further instruc- 
tions. For six days Clarke and his men pur- 
sued their toilsome course over the drowned 
lands of Illinois ; and on the 13th, after enduring 
the greatest privations that could possibly ex- 
haust the spirits of men, they arrived at the 
Little "Wabash. The forks of the stream at this 
point are three miles apart, and the opposite 
heights of land five miles even in the ordinary 
state of the water. The winter had been unu- 
sually wet, and at the time of Clarke's arrival, 
the whole of this country was submerged, gene- 
rally "three feet deep, never under two, and 
frequently four." Through this dreadful country 
the expedition was compelled to make its way 
until the 18th, when they arrived so near Vin- 
cennes that they could hear the morning and 
evening guns of the fort. 

There was a little Irish drummer in the party 
who possessed an uncommon talent for singing 
comic Irish songs. Colonel Clarke, ever fertile 
in expedients, while his men were wading up to 
their arm-pits in mud and water, in order to 
divert them, placed the Irishman on his drum, 
which readily floated, and the tallest man in the 
company was ordered to be his pilot, while he 
entertained the exhausted and toiling soldiers 
with his comic and musical powers. 

On the evening of the 18th they encamped 
within nine miles of the town below the mouth 


of the Embarrass river. Here they were detained 
till the 20th, having no means of crossing the 
river. On that day a boat was captured, and 
her crew detained, and in it the men and arms 
were safely transported to the opposite shore. 
From the crew of this boat they learned that the 
French population of Vincennes were favourable 
to the Americans, and that not even a suspicion 
of the expedition had reached the British gar- 

The last day's march, February 21st, was the 
most toilsome. Another sheet of water had to 
be crossed, which, from the soundings, was as- 
certained to be up to the arm-pits. "Here," 
says Clarke, " I unfortunately spoke in a serious 
manner to one of the officers ; the whole were 
alarmed without knowing what I said. I viewed 
their confusion for one minute — whispered to 
those near me to do as I did — immediately put 
some water in my hand, poured on powder, black- 
ened my face — gave the warwhoop, and marched 
into the water without saying another word. The 
party gazed, fell in one after another without a 
murmur, like a flock of sheep. I ordered those 
near me to give me a favourite song of theirs ; it 
soon passed through the line, and the whole 
went on cheerfully." 

Colonel Clarke had intended to have had the 
troops transported across the deepest part of 
the water, but when about waist-deep, one of the 


men said that he thought he felt a path. On 
examination it was found to be so ; and concluding 
that it passed over the highest ground, it was 
carefully followed, and the march was continued 
to a place called "the Sugar Camp" without 
the least difficulty, where there was about half 
an acre of dry ground, at least not under water, 
where they took up their lodgings for the 

In the morning Clarke addressed his followers 
in a spirited manner, and led the way into the 
water as before, up to his middle. "As we ge- 
nerally marched through the water in a line, 
before the third entered, I halted and called to 
Major Bowman, ordered him to fall in the rear 
with twenty-five men, and to put to death any 
man who refused to march ; as we wished to have 
no such person among us." This order was re- 
ceived with a shout and huzza, and every man 
followed his commander, cheered on by the cry 
of the advance guard, that the water was getting 
shallower, and sometimes with the favourite cry 
of seamen, "Land! land!" "Getting to the 
woods on the other side, where the men expected 
land, the water was up to their shoulders. But 
gaining the woods was of great consequence ; all 
the shorter men and weakly hung to the trees, 
and floated on the old logs, until they were taken 
off by the canoes. The strong and tall got ashore 
and built fires. Many would reach the shore and 


fall with their bodies half in the water, not being 
able to support themselves without it. This was 
a delightful dry spot of ground of about ten 

An Indian canoe was captured soon after, on 
board of which was found nearly half a quarter 
of buffalo-beef, some corn, tallow, kettles, &c, 
which to men in so exhausted a state proved a 
most invaluable acquisition. "Broth was imme- 
diately made and served out to the weakly, with 
great care ; most of the army got a little ; but 
a great many gave their part to the weakly, 
jocosely saying something cheering to them. 
This little refreshment, and fine weather in the 
afternoon, gave renewed life and energy to the 
whole party." 

The invaders having captured one of the in- 
habitants of the town, who was shooting ducks in 
its neighbourhood, Clarke sent by him a letter to 
the citizens, informing them "that he should 
take possession of their town that night," and 
desiring those friendly to the Americans to re- 
main in their houses, and those who were the 
friends of the British to retire to the fort and 
" fight like men." This letter, from its imposing 
character, had a wonderful effect. It increased 
the confidence of those friendly to the cause of 
the Americans, and the dismay of those who 
regarded them with hostile feelings. It was 
thought that the expedition was from Kentucky, 


no one dreaming that it could possibly be 
from Kaskaskia, in the flooded condition of the 

On the 23d of February, a little before sun- 
set, the whole detachment advanced toward the 
fort. After marching and countermarching 
around an eminence on the prairie in front of 
the town and garrison, and displaying several 
sets of colours, in order to enhance their appa- 
rent numbers as much as possible, Lieut. Bayley, 
with fourteen men, were sent to attack the fort. 
The assailants approached within thirty yards, 
where, concealed by a bank, and safe from the 
guns of the enemy, they immediately opened fire 
on the fort. This, however, was attributed by the 
British to some drunken Indians, who had saluted 
the fort in that way before ; and until a British 
soldier was actually shot down through a port- 
hole, no one even suspected the attempt to be in 

On the morning of the 24th, at 9 o'clock, Col. 
Clarke sent a flag of truce with the following 
characteristic letter : — 

"Sir, — In order to save yourself from the 
impending storm that now threatens you, I order 
you immediately to surrender yourself, with all 
your garrison, stores, &c. &c. For if I am 
obliged to storm, you may depend upon such 


treatment as is justly due to a murderer. Be- 
ware of destroying stores of any kind, or any 
papers or letters that are in your possession, or 
hurting one house in town. For, by heavens, 
if you do, there shall be no mercy shown you, 

" G. R. Clarke. 

" To Gov. Hamilton." 

The response of the British commander was 
as follows : — 

" Governor Hamilton begs leave to acquaint 
Colonel Clarke, that he and his garrison are not 
disposed to be awed into any action unworthy 
British subjects." 

The attack was now renewed with vigour, and 
the whole American force advanced within fifty 
yards of the fort. The cannon of the besieged, 
owing to the awkward elevation of the platforms, 
were perfectly useless, every shot flying far over 
the heads of the assailants, while, no sooner was 
a port-hole opened, than a dozen rifles were di- 
rected toward it, and every thing swept away 
before them. The garrison, becoming discou- 
raged, could no longer be kept to their guns ; and 
the British commandant, apprehensive of being 
taken at discretion if he continued the contest, 
sent a flag, asking a truce for three days. This 
was refused, and on the same day the fort was 


surrendered, and the garrison made prisoners 
of war. On the 25th, the star-spangled banner 
once more waved on the battlements of the cap- 
tured fort, Captain Helm was reinstated as 
commandant, and thirteen British cannon fired 
in commemoration of the victory. 

The British power in Illinois was thus over- 
thrown by the efforts of Colonel Clarke in 1778 
and 1779, and little more remains for us to 
record. The history of Illinois, between the 
surrender of Vincennes in 1779 and the treaty 
of peace between England and the United States 
in 1783, is a blank, and contains nothing worthy 
of notice. 

Colonel Clarke remained in command of the 
territory he had conquered until the peace of 
1783, when his official duties ceased, under the 
following order from the executive of Virginia : 

Sir, — The conclusion of the war, and the dis- 
tressed situation of the state with regard to its 
finances, call on us to adopt the most prudent 
economy. It is for this reason alone I have 
come to a determination to give over all thought 
for the present of carrying on an offensive war 
against the Indians, which, you will easily per- 
ceive, will render the services of a general officer 
in that quarter unnecessary, and will therefore 
consider yourself as out of command. But, be- 



fore I take leave of you, I feel myself called 
upon, in the most forcible manner, to return you 
my thanks and those of my council for the very 
great and singular services you have rendered 
your country, in wresting so great and valuable 
a territory from the hands of the British enemy ; 
repelling the attacks of their savage allies, and 
carrying on a successful war in the heart of 
their country. This tribute of praise and thanks, 
so justly due, I am happy to communicate to 
you as the united voice of the executive. 
I am with respect, sir, 
Yours, &c. 

Benjamin Harrison. 



The "County of Illinois" organized by the Virginia legislature 
— North-western territory ceded to Congress — Virginia grants 
lands to Clarke and his soldiers — Claims of the United States 
on Indian lands — Indian objections to these claims — Agency 
of the British in provoking Indian hostilities — General Har- 
mer is appointed commander-in-chief, and is defeated by 
Little Turtle — General St. Clair's disastrous defeat — Re- 
newal of the attempt to negotiate a peace — Indian manifesto 
— General Wayne marches to subdue the Indians — Erects 
Fort Recovery — Fort Recovery attacked by Little Turtle 
— Fort Defiance erected — The Indians finally defeated — 
Treaty of Greenville — Condition of Illinois during this period 
— Beneficial results of General Wayne's expedition against 
the Indians. 

The conquest of Illinois by Colonel Clarke in 
1778 brought that territory under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Virginia commonwealth, to whom the 
inhabitants cheerfully took the oath of allegiance, 
and an act was passed by the legislature in Oc- 
tober, 1778, to establish the "County of Illi- 
nois." Colonel John Todd received the appoint- 
ment of civil commandant. In the spring of 
1779, bearing his commission, he visited Kaskas- 
kia and Cahokia, organized a temporary govern- 
ment, and for the first time administered jus- 
tice in the name and by the authority of the 
republic. The administration of Colonel Todd 


in Illinois was both patriotic and popular. He 
was killed at the battle of Blue Licks, fought 
against the Indians in 1782. Timothy de Mon- 
brum succeeded Colonel Todd, whose official sig- 
nature is found to land grants and other docu- 
ments in the archives of Randolph county. 
How long he administered the civil affairs of 
Illinois we know not, and whether any other 
person immediately succeeded him is equally 

At the close of the American revolution, the 
confederated states were without any special 
bond of union. It was necessary to adjust as 
speedily as possible the conflicting territorial 
claims of the states, to endeavour to liquidate 
that debt in which the whole of them were so 
deeply involved, and by wise and just negotiation 
with the Indian tribes, for lands on which to 
form settlements, to prevent the desolating hor- 
rors of border warfare. To meet the wants of 
the period a government more suitably adapted 
to the times than the "Old Continental Con- 
gress" became requisite. Happily that patriot- 
ism which had enabled the states to fight side by 
side for their mutual independence, now drew 
them together into those closer bonds of union 
which we trust are destined to be indissoluble. 

By the treaty of peace made by the United 
States with England in 1783, large territories 
which had not been granted to individuals were 


ceded to the United States. But these lands 
were included within the limits of particular 
states which had been chartered by English 
law, and were then in the actual possession of 
the aborigines. The first step toward the con- 
solidation of the Union was the cession of these 
public lands, by the several states which claimed 
them, to the government of the United States. 
The states thus became more firmly united to- 
gether by mutual interests, having this property 
held by the United States government in com- 
mon for the benefit of all. By the gradual 
sale of the lands means were provided for the 
liquidation of the revolutionary debt. The most 
important cession was the immense region known 
as the "North-western Territory." This tract 
of country of course included the " County of Il- 
linois,' ' organized by the Virginia legislature, 
and ceded to Congress in 1784. 

The commissioners sent as delegates to Con- 
gress, to make this cession of the " County of 
Illinois," were Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, 
Arthur Lee, and James Monroe ; and the deed 
of cession contained, among other conditions, the 
following: — f 

"That the necessary and reasonable expenses 
incurred by Virginia in subduing any British 
posts, or in maintaining forts and garrisons 
within and for the defence, or in acquiring any 
part of the territory so ceded or relinquished, 

1790.] lands to Clarke's regiment. 109 

shall be fully reimbursed by the United States. 
That the French and Canadian inhabitants and 
other settlers of the Kaskaskias, Fort Vincennes, 
and the neighbouring villages, who have pro- 
fessed themselves citizens of Virginia, shall have 
their possessions and titles confirmed to them, 
and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights 
and liberties. That a quantity, not exceeding, 
one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land: 
promised by Virginia, shall be allowed and 
granted to the then Colonel, now General. 
George Rogers Clarke, and to the officers and 
soldiers of his regiment who marched with him 
when the posts of Kaskaskia and Vincennes> 
were reduced, and to the officers and soldiers 
that have been since incorporated in the said 
regiment, to be laid off in one tract, the length 
of which not to exceed double the breadth, in 
such place on the north-west side of the Ohio as 
a majority of the officers shall choose; and to be 
afterward divided among the officers and soldiers, 
in due proportion, according to the laws of Vir- 

But although this cession of Illinois to Con- 
gress was made in 1784, the ordinance to organ- 
ize the north-western territory, which provided 
for a territorial government, was not passed 
until 1787; and the Illinois country remained 
without any regular government till March,. 
1790, when Governor St. Clair organized tho- 



county that bears his name. Hence for a period 
of six years there was no executive, legislative, 
or judicial authority in the country. The peo- 
ple were a "law unto themselves," and good 
feeling, harmony, and fidelity to engagements 

In order to give the reader an intelligible 
view of those causes which contributed to the 
progress and settlement of Illinois, it is neces- 
sary to refer to the annals of Indian warfare, or 
the contests which took place between the United 
States and the aborigines from 1790 to 1795. 

We have seen that most of the tribes adhered 
to England during the revolutionary struggle. 
When the war ceased, however, England made 
no provision for them, and transferred the terri- 
tory north-west of the Ohio and the Alleghanies 
to the United States without any stipulations as 
to the rights of the natives. The United States, 
regarding the lands of the hostile tribes as for- 
feited, proceeded not to buy the lands of the 
savages, but to grant them peace, and dictate 
their own terms as to boundaries. These pro- 
ceedings produced discontent, and brought about 
a war between the United States and the In- 

To render the nature of this war clearly un- 
derstood, it is necessary to remind the reader 
that the French made no large purchases from 
the Indians, so that the treaty of Fontainebleau 


in 17G3 transferred to England only small 
grants about the various forts, Detroit, Vin- 
cennes, Kaskaskia, &c. ; and when at the close 
of the revolutionary war Great Britain made 
over her western claims to the United States, 
she made over nothing more than she had re- 
ceived from France. At this period, therefore, 
1790, with the exception of the old French vil- 
lages of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, 
Fort Chartres, Village k Cote, Prairie du Pont, 
and a few families scattered along the Wabash 
and Illinois Rivers, the whole of the territory 
north-west of the Ohio and the Alleghanies, in- 
cluding the Illinois country, was the abode of 
the untamed savage. How to throw open these 
immense regions to the American settlers with- 
out driving the natives to desperation was now a 
problem which engaged the ablest minds. 

Before, however, any movement beyond the 
Ohio was attempted, efforts were made to secure 
settlements by treaties with the north-western 
tribes, and the treaty of Fort Stanwix was made 
with the Iroquois in 1784, that of Fort Mcin- 
tosh with the Delawares, Wyandots, &c. in 1785, 
and in 1786 the treaty of Miami was made with 
the Delawares, Wyandots, and Shawanese. By 
these treaties these several Indian tribes sur- 
rendered a large tract of country north-west of 
the Ohio, on condition of their enjoying the 
friendship of the United States and a regular 


supply of merchandise. But the other Indian 
tribes objected to the treaties on the ground 
that the consent of a general council was abso- 
lutely necessary to convey any part of the 
lands to the United States. The Chippewas, 
Ottawas, Kickapoos, Potawatomies, Kaskaskias, 
and above all, the Miamies, wished the Ohio to 
be a perpetual boundary between the white and 
red men of the West, and would not sell a rod 
of the region north of it. 

While negotiations were going forward, the 
frontier settlements were held in daily alarm 
and terror by the hostile and murderous incur- 
sions of the savages; and, between 1783 and 
1790, it was proved by documents laid before 
Congress that not less than fifteen hundred and 
twenty white men, women, and children were 
either murdered or carried into captivity by the 
Indians. Negotiations having failed, Congress 
finally resolved to put a stop to these barbari- 

On the 30th September, 1790, General Har- 
mar commenced his march from Fort Washing- 
ton to attack the Miami towns. After a march 
of seventeen days he reached the great Miami 
village, which he found deserted by its inhabit- 
ants. Two strong detachments being subse- 
quently defeated by Little Turtle, Harmar re- 
turned to Fort Washington on the 14th of De- 

1791.] DEFEAT OF ST. CLAIR. 113 

In 1791 an additional force was raised, and 
Major-General St. Clair, governor of the "North- 
western Territory," was invested with the com- 
mand. General St. Clair, though a veteran of 
the Revolution, and possessed of talents and 
experience, was old and infirm, and exceed- 
ingly unpopular with part of his army. After 
the campaign had commenced, he was so affected 
by the gout that he could neither mount nor 
dismount his horse without assistance. His 
army, at first consisting of two thousand regu- 
lars and a large body of militia, rapidly dimi- 
nished in numbers by desertion and sickness 
during its march through the wilderness. On 
the 3d of November he reached a small tributary 
stream of the Wabash, about twelve yards in 
width; here the army encamped for the night. 
On the 4th of November, about half an hour be- 
fore sunrise, and immediately after the American 
troops had been dismissed from parade, Little 
Turtle, at the head of fifteen hundred warriors, 
commenced a furious attack on the encampment. 
Lurking under such cover as the woods afforded, 
they poured a continuous and destructive fire 
into the ranks of the Americans. The troops 
were raw, but the officers were veterans; and for 
three hours they strove to maintain the honour 
of their arms with a bravery which deserved a 
better fate. St. Clair himself, despite of his 
illness, was borne on a litter into the thickest of 


the fight, from whence he issued his orders with 
coolness and determination. Gallant and re- 
peated charges were made with the bayonet, and 
always with a temporary success. But almost 
every officer in the American army, and nearly 
one-half of the regulars and militia, being either 
killed or wounded, a retreat was ordered. 

"It was in fact a flight," says St. Clair. 
"The camp and the artillery were abandoned — 
but that was unavoidable, for not a horse was 
left alive to have drawn it off had it otherwise 
been practicable. But the most disagraceful 
part of the business is, that the greatest part of 
the men threw away their arms and accoutre- 
ments, even after the pursuit, which continued 
about four miles, had ceased. I found the road 
strewed with them for many miles, but was not 
able to remedy it ; for, having had all my horses 
killed, and being mounted on one that could not 
be pricked out of a walk, I could not get forward 
myself; and the orders I sent forward either to 
halt the front, or to prevent the men from part- 
ing with their arms, were unattended to. The 
rout continued quite to Fort Jefferson, twenty- 
mine miles, which was reached a little after sun- 
setting." The troops were afterward marched 
back to Fort Washington, in good order, where 
they arrived on the 8th of November. The loss 
of the Americans in killed and wounded during 
-this disastrous battle was nearly six hundred; 

1792.] WAYNE'S CAMPAIGN. 115 

that of the Indians only fifty-six. It was, in 
fact, a second Braddock's defeat. 

The whole country, and particularly the fron- 
tier, was now filled with terror and despondency. 
The victorious savages could not now be expect- 
ed to exercise any forbearance or make terms, 
and would naturally attack the settlements with 
a greater degree of boldness and ferocity. Gene- 
ral St. Clair earnestly requested to be tried by 
court-martial; but the want of a sufficient num- 
ber of surviving officers to constitute such a 
court, prevented his request from being granted. 
His case was, however, referred to a committee 
of the House of Representatives in Congress, by 
whom he was exculpated; and as Washington 
continued to extend to him his esteem and con- 
fidence, he escaped the effects of popular resent- 

In 1792 Washington submitted a plan for an- 
other campaign. General Wayne was appointed 
commander-in-chief. The number of troops in- 
tended for this service was considerably aug- 
mented, and efforts were made to give them a 
thorough military training before they took the 
field. In the mean time the justice of the war 
was arraigned ; and it was urged, that if the in- 
tentions of government were just and humane, 
those intentions ought to be made fully known 
to the Indians, among whom the opinion exten- 


lively prevailed, th?t the sole object of the war 
was to deprive them of their lands. 

On the other hand, it was urged that it was 
too late to inquire into the justice of the war ; 
that the war existed; that many innocent per- 
sons were exposed to savage butchery ; and that 
it was better, by the proper organization of a 
more effective force, to bring the contest to a 
speedy close, than to protract it from year to 
year. While preparations were making, Con- 
gress, however, once more •determined to try to 
bring about an adjustment of the difficulties by 
peaceful negotiations with the tribes ; and Colo- 
nel Harden and Major Trueman, two brave 
Kentuckians, were sent to them, both of whom 
were barbarously murdered. General Rufus 
Putnam, of Ohio, was also appointed a commis- 
sioner, with the following instructions : — 

"You will make it clearly understood, that we 
want not a foot of their land, and that it is theirs, 
and theirs only; that they have the right to sell 
and the right to refuse to sell, and the United 
States will guarantee to them the said just right. 

" That it is not only the sincere desire of the 
United States to be at peace with all the neigh- 
bouring Indian tribes, but to protect them in 
their just rights against lawless, violent white 
men. If such should commit any injury on the 
person or properties of a peaceable Indian, they 
will be regarded equally as the enemies of the 


general government as the Indians, and will be 
punished accordingly." 

That the same conciliatory spirit of humanity 
and justice pervaded the instructions given to 
Colonel Trueman, is evident from the following 
passage : — 

"Brothers, — The President of the United 
States entertains the opinion that the war which 
exists is founded in error and mistake on your 
parts. That you believe the United States want 
to deprive you of your lands, and drive you out 
of the country. Be assured this is not so : on 
the contrary, that we should be greatly gratified 
with the opportunity of imparting to you all the 
blessings of civilized life ; of teaching you to 
cultivate the earth and raise corn ; to raise oxen, 
sheep, and other domestic animals ; to build 
comfortable houses, and to educate your chil- 
dren, so as ever to dwell upon the land." 

In the mean time the hostile Indians held a 
grand confederacy, at which it was settled that 
the Ohio must for the future be the boundary 
line between the white men and the Indians ; 
they also denied the validity of the treaties made 
with the Indian tribes, on which the United 
States rested her claims to Indian lands beyond 
those boundaries. This council was one of the 
largest ever held by the Indians. The answer 
of the head warriors to the American commis- 
sioners clearly expresses their ground of com- 


plaint, and the real sentiments which actuated 
the Indians : — 

" Brothers, — A general council of all the In- 
dian confederacy was held, as you well know, in 
the fall of the year 1788, at this place, (Fort 
Harmar;) and that general council was invited 
by your commissioner, Governor St. Clair, to 
meet him for the purpose of holding a treaty 
with regard to the lands mentioned by you to 
have been ceded by the treaties of Fort Stanwix 
and Fort Mcintosh. 

"Brothers, — We are in possession of the 
speeches and letters which passed on that occa- 
sion, between those deputed by the confederated 
Indians and Governor St. Clair, the commis- 
sioner of the United States. These papers prove 
that your commissioner, after having been in- 
formed that no bargain or sale of any part of 
these Indian lands would be considered as valid 
or binding, unless agreed to by a general coun- 
cil, nevertheless persisted in collecting together 
a few chiefs of two or three nations only, and 
with them held a treaty for the cession of an 
immense country, in which they were no more 
interested than as a branch of the general con- 
federacy, and who were in no manner authorized 
to make any grant or concession whatever. 

" Brothers, — How then was it possible for you 
to expect to enjoy peace, and quietly to hold 
these lands, when your commissioner was in- 


formed that the consent of a general council was 
absolutely necessary, to convey any part of them 
to the United States ? 

"Brothers, — You say, < the United States wish 
to have confirmed all the lands ceded to them by 
the Treaty of Fort Harmar, and also a .small 
tract at the rapids of the Ohio, claimed by 
General Clarke for the use of himself and his 
warriors. And in consideration thereof, the 
United States would give such a large sum of 
money or goods as was never given at any one 
time for any quantity of Indian lands.' 

"Brothers, — Money to us is of no value, and 
to most of us unknown ; and, as no consideration 
whatever can induce us to sell the lands on which 
we get sustenance for our women and children, 
we hope we may be allowed to point out a way 
by which your settlers may be easily removed, 
and peace thereby retained. 

"Brothers, — We know that* these settlers are 
poor, or they would never have ventured to live 
in a country which has been in continual trouble 
ever since they crossed the Ohio. Divide, there- 
fore, this large sum of money which you have 
offered to us among this people. 

" Brothers, — You have talked to us about con- 
cessions. It appears strange that you should 
expect any from us, who have been defending 
our just rights against your invasions. We want 


peace. Restore to us our country, we shall be 
enemies no longer. 

"Brothers, — You have talked also a great 
deal about pre-emption, and your exclusive right 
to purchase Indian lands, as ceded to you by the 
king at the treaty of peace. 

"Brothers, — We never made any agreement 
with the king, nor with any other nation, that 
we would give to either the exclusive right of 
purchasing our lands ; and we declare to you 
that we consider ourselves free to make any bar- 
gain or cession of lands, whenever and to whom- 
soever we please. If the white people, as you 
say, made a treaty that none of them but the 
king should purchase of us, and that he has given 
that right to the United States, it is an affair 
which concerns you and him, and not us ; we 
have never parted with such a power. 

"Brothers, — We desire you to consider that 
our only demand isthe peaceable possession of a 
small part of our once great country. Look 
back, and review the lands from whence we have 
been driven to this spot. We can retreat no 
farther, because the country behind hardly af- 
fords food for its inhabitants ; and we have there- 
fore resolved to leave our bones in this small 
space to which we are now confined. 

"Brothers, — We shall be persuaded that you 
mean to do us justice, if you agree that the Ohio 
shall be the boundary line between us. If you 


will not consent thereto, our' meeting will be al- 
together unnecessary. 

"Done in general council, at the foot of the 
Maumee rapids, the 13th day of August, 1793. 




Seven Nations < 

3F Canada, 












Senecas of the 



This of necessity closed the negotiations. The 
United States would not consent to make the 
Ohio the boundary line, and both sides now pre- 
pared for a renewal of hostilities. 

On the 13th of October, 1793, General Wayne 
marched about six miles in advance of Fort Jef- 
ferson, and established his head-quarters for the 
winter at Greenville. Having fortified his camp, 
he sent a detachment to take possession of the 
battle-ground on which St. Clair had been de- 
feated, and to erect a fort on the spot, which was 
called "Fort Recovery." 

On the 30th of June, 1794, Fort Recovery 

was attacked by Little Turtle, at the head of 

fifteen hundred warriors. Although repelled, 

the assailants rallied and returned to the charge, 



and kept up the attack through the whole of the 
day and a part of the following. 

On the 26th of July, General Wayne was re- 
inforced by a body of sixteen hundred volunteers 
from Kentucky, and on the 28th moved forward 
into the heart of the hostile country. On the 
8th of August he arrived at the junction of the 
Auglaize and the Miami rivers, and there erected 
Fort Defiance. Here he receiyed full and accu- 
rate information about the Indians, their num- 
bers, and the nature of the ground they occupied ; 
and considering the spirit of his troops, officers, 
and men, he determined to march forward and 
settle matters at once. Yet, acting under orders 
from President Washington, Wayne once more 
endeavoured to bring the Indians to a peaceful 
treaty. He therefore sent Christopher Miller, 
who had been naturalized among the Shawanese, 
with a flag, offering to confer with deputies ap- 
pointed for that purpose. Unwilling to waste 
time, however, the troops moved forward on the 
15th of August, and on the 16th met Miller re- 
turning. He brought word that if the Ameri- 
cans would wait ten days, the Indians would 
decide for peace or war ; to which Wayne only 
replied by resuming his march. 

On the 18th of August, the army being in the 
immediate neighbourhood of the enemy, General 
Wayne ordered a slight fortification to be erected, 
wherein to place the heavy baggage during the 

1794.] wayne's victory. 123 

expected battle. Early on the morning of the 
20th of August, the position of the enemy hav- 
ing been previously reconnoitred, the army moved 
toward the Indian encampment. The Indians 
had shown considerable military judgment in 
selecting their position. They had formed their 
lines in a dense forest, which, having been over- 
whelmed by a tornado, was impracticable to 
artillery and cavalry, while at the same time it 
afforded the savages a very suitable covert for 
their mode of warfare. After a march of about 
five miles, the advance, under Major Price, was 
briskly attacked by the Indians concealed in a 
thicket of tall grass and underwood, and com- 
pelled to retreat. General Wayne immediately 
ordered the mounted riflemen to make a circuit 
far to the left, and operate upon their right flank 
and rear, and the infantry to advance and rouse 
the Indians from their coverts at the point of 
the bayonet; when they were up, to deliver 
a well-directed fire, and then charge with the 
bayonet, so as not to give the savages time to 
load again. These orders were promptly exe- 
cuted ; and so irresistible was the bayonet charge, 
that the Indians were driven from their position 
and completely routed before the mounted rifle- 
men could take part in the action. The action 
was fought almost under the guns of a British 
fort — all the houses and stores around the fort 
being destroyed, notwithstanding the remon- 


strances of the British commandant. General 
Wayne presently burnt the Indian villages and 
cornfields for upward of fifty miles on either 
side of the Miami river ; and this, more than the 
battle, brought them completely into subjection. 
During the winter their cattle and dogs died, and 
they were themselves half famished. An ex- 
change of prisoners took place soon after the 
battle, and finally a treaty of peace and friend- 
ship with the United States was signed at Green- 
ville, on the 7th of August, 1795, which the In- 
dians faithfully observed till the war of 1812. 

The historical annals of Illinois during this 
period only record a series of Indian incursions, 
which were bravely repelled by the settlers. 
The subjugation of the Indians in the Miami 
country by General Wayne, in 1794, and the 
treaty that grew out of it, brought peace to the 
borders of Illinois. Indeed, the beneficial re- 
sults of Wayne's expedition can hardly be over- 
rated. It opened a fine region of country to a 
civilized population. It quieted the Indian ex- 
citement, and stopped their inroads into the set- 
tlements. It allayed factious feelings at home, 
while abroad it hastened a pending negotiation, 
by which a treaty of friendship and commerce 
was made between England and the United 
States advantageous to both countries. 



American settlements in Illinois — Character and mode of life 
of the Illinois backwoodsman — Annals of border warfare 
from 1786 to 1796— Anecdote of Little Turtle— Character 
and designs of Tecumseh — His interviews with General 
Harrison — Tecumseh's visit to the South — Battle of Tippe- 
canoe — Frustration of Tecumseh's plans — Joins the British 
at Fort Maiden. 

The romantic exploits of General Clarke in 
1788, and his conquest of the British military 
stations in the West, made known the fertile 
plains of Illinois to the people of the Atlantic 
states, and excited a spirit of emigration to the 
banks of the Mississippi and the Wabash. Some 
of the soldiers who accompanied Clarke subse- 
quently returned and settled on the lands allot- 
ted them by the United States. Illinois was at 
this time, to a considerable extent, in the posses- 
sion of the aborigines ; and during the Indian 
war, the origin and history of which has been 
given in the previous chapter, the American set- 
tlements were greatly distressed by hostile in- 

Of all the Indians the Kickapoos were the 
most formidable and dangerous neighbours, and 
from 1786 to 1796, a period of ten years, kept 


the settlements in a state of continual alarm. 
Owing to the remoteness of their situation, the 
borderers were thrown entirely on their own de- 
fences. They had to carry their rifles while 
labouring in their cornfields, and often at night 
had to keep guard over their own houses. As 
none but the most vigorous and athletic ven- 
tured to establish themselves in the neigh- 
bourhood of hostile Indians, the Illinois back- 
woodsmen were remarkable for their great physi- 
cal strength and courage, which was nerved into 
tenfold hardihood by their continual struggles 
with the savages. These western pioneers, in 
their half-civilized condition, adopted a costume 
greatly resembling that of the Indians them- 
selves. A fur cap, buckskin pantaloons or leg- 
gings of dressed deer-skin, ornamented after the 
Indian fashion, with a loose hunting-shirt, the 
capacious bosom of which, sewed as a wallet, 
contained a store of jerked beef and bread, tow 
for wiping the barrel of the rifle, and other 
sylvan requisites — girt around the waist with a 
belt, to which was constantly attached a toma- 
hawk and scalping-knife, with mocassins or In- 
dian shoes to his feet, and a rifle over his shoul- 
der : such was the ordinary costume of an Illi- 
nois backwoodsman. The habitations of the 
Illinois settlers were log huts, surrounded by 
palisades, which were made bullet proof for pro- 
tection against their Indian foes, and in close 


proximity to a strong timber fort called a block- 
house, to which they retired in cases of emer- 
gency. As the forest clearing expanded around 
the log hut of the settler, many were the fari- 
naceous delicacies that covered his table ; promi- 
nent among these were the Johnny or journey- 
cake, made of corn meal; hominy, or pounded 
maize thoroughly boiled, and other savoury pre- 
parations of flour and milk, in addition to the 
rich variety of game afforded by the chase. The 
furniture of their dwellings was of the simplest 
description. Most of the articles in common 
use were of domestic manufacture. Utensils of 
metal were extremely rare. The table furniture 
usually consisted of wooden vessels, and their 
bedding of the shaggy skins of the deer, bear, 
and buffalo. The use of stoves was unknown; 
and the huge fireplaces, filled with bright 
blazing logs, were favourite nestling places dur- 
ing the long winter evenings, when the snow- 
storm swept gustily around the rude dwelling, or 
the forest trees swayed heavily to and fro in the 
wintry blast. 

The opportunities of the pioneers to educate 
their children were very scanty. If the mother 
could read, while the father was in the cornfield, 
or with his rifle on the prairie, she would barri- 
cade the door as a security against prowling 
savages, gather her little ones around her, and 
by the light that came in from the crevices in 


the roof and sides of the cabin, teach them the 
rudiments of knowledge from the fragments of 
some old book. 

During the whole period from 1786 to 1796 
the people were under the jurisdiction of the 
North-western Territory. Their morals were 
pure, and there was but little necessity for the 
administration of either civil or criminal law. 
Notwithstanding the rough points in their cha- 
racter, these backwoodsmen were proverbial for 
hospitality and kindness to strangers. There is 
something peculiarly interesting in the rural 
simplicity of these settlers. The grosser vices 
were unknown among them. Ardent spirits, 
that outrage on morals, social order, and religion, 
had been introduced among them only in small 
quantities. Thefts and other crimes were ex- 
tremely few, and fraud and dishonesty in deal- 
ings seldom practised. The Moores, Ogles, Le- 
mens, and other families, were of unblemished 
morals, and were impelled by a love of freedom 
to leave the banks of the Potomac for the 
prairies of Illinois. 

These hardy borderers, when they visited the 
cities on the Atlantic seaboard, were regarded 
by the inhabitants as a sort of barbarians, while 
they in their turn despised the citizen as one 
sunk in softness and effeminacy. Those from the 
North-western Territory, when introduced into 
the more settled countries east of the Allegha- 

1786.] BORDER WARFARE. 129 

nies, were surprised to find that all houses were 
not made of logs and chinked with mud, and 
that all dishes and tableware were not of pewter 
and wood. To them the luxuries of tea and 
coffee were unknown ; they " wondered how peo- 
ple could show a fondness for such slops, and 
regarded cups and saucers as indications of a de- 
praved taste and unmanly luxury, or, at most, 
only adapted to the effeminate or the sick." 

In 1786 the Indians attacked an American 
settlement near Bellefontaine, Monroe county, 
killed James Andrews, his wife, and daughter, 
James White and Samuel McClure, and took 
two girls, daughters of Andrews, prisoners. 
One of these died with the Indians, the other 
was ransomed by the French traders. The In- 
dians had previously threatened the settlements, 
and the people had built and garrisoned a block- 
house, but this family was out and defenceless. 
This was the first settlement formed by emi- 
grants from the United States, and was esta- 
blished by Mr. James Moore in 1781. 

Early in the spring of 1788, William Biggs, 
John Vallis, and Joseph and Benjamin Ogle, 
were attacked by Indians near Bellefontaine. 
John Vallis was killed and William Biggs taken 
prisoner. The Kickapoo warriors treated the 
latter kindly, offered him the daughter of a 
brave for a wife, and proposed to adopt him into 
their tribe. He was finally liberated by the 


French traders, and afterward became a resi- 
dent of St. Clair county, a member of the terri- 
torial legislature, and judge of the county court. 
The following year the settlements were greatly 
harassed by the Indians, who frequently stole 
the horses and killed the cattle of the settlers. 
Six of them attacked three boys when only a 
few yards from a block-house. One of the boys 
was struck with a tomahawk in three places, 
scalped, and yet recovered; the others escaped 
unhurt. Two men were attacked on a load of 
hay, one of them being killed, and the other 
scalped. Several other massacres took place in 
the same year in the American bottom, and on 
the road to St. Louis. 

In 1790 the Illinois settlers were attacked by 
a party of Osage Indians, who stole their horses. 
They pursued the Indians and fired upon them. 
One of the Americans getting in advance of his 
party was killed and scalped. The same year 
James Smith, a Baptist preacher from Kentucky, 
was taken prisoner by the Kickapoo Indians. 
A female and her child, who were with him, were 
despatched with the tomahawk. Having retreat- 
ed a few yards down the hill, he fell on his 
knees in prayer for the poor woman they were 
murdering, and in that attitude was taken by 
the Indians. They immediately loaded him 
with the plunder they had collected, which they 
compelled him to carry, until the heat of the day 

1791.] BORDER WARFARE. 131 

and the weight of his burden finally overpowered 
his strength, and he sank in a state of exhaustion 
at their feet. They then consulted together to 
destroy him, and as they frequently pointed 
their guns toward him, Smith bared his breast, 
and pointed upward to signify that the Great 
Spirit was his protector. Seeing him in the at- 
titude of devotion, and hearing him sing hymns, 
which he did to relieve his mind from despond- 
ency, they came to the conclusion that he was 
a "great medicine," holding daily intercourse 
with the Great Spirit, and must not be put to 
death. They accordingly relieved him of his 
burdens and treated him kindly. He was taken 
to the Kickapoo towns on the Wabash, from 
whence he was in a few months ransomed by 
the inhabitants of New Design, who greatly va- 
lued and respected his ministerial labours. 

In May, 1791, one John Dempsey was at- 
tacked by the savages, but made his escape and 
gave the alarm. A small party of settlers, com- 
manded by Captain Hall, started soon after in 
pursuit. The Indians took to the trees, the 
whites did the same, fighting with great pru- 
dence and bravery. The Indians being double 
the number of their adversaries, a sharp run- 
ning fight was kept up for several hours, the 
Americans pursuing from tree to tree until night 
put an end to the conflict. Five Indians were 


killed, without the loss of a man or of a drop of 
blood on the other side. 

The settlements in Illinois were strengthened 
during the year 1793 by the arrival of emigrants 
from Kentucky, and among them was a family 
of the name of Whiteside. A party of Kicka- 
poos, during a predatory excursion into the Ame- 
rican bottom, stole nine horses from the settlers. 
William Whiteside, accompanied by eight of his 
neighbours, started in pursuit, and followed the 
trail of the depredators as far as the Indian 
camp on Shoal Creek. Here they found three 
of the horses, which they immediately secured. 
The party then, small as it was, divided into 
two bodies, four men in each, and agreed to at- 
tack simultaneously the Indian camp from oppo- 
site sides. The signal of attack was to be the 
firing of Whiteside's gun. Two Indians were 
immediately killed, and several others slightly 
wounded. Believing themselves surrounded by 
a large force, an old chief approached in their 
behalf, and begged for quarter. But as soon as 
the chief discovered the insignificant number of 
the whites, when compared with his own party, 
he became indignant and called aloud on his 
braves to return and retrieve their honour. But 
they had fled beyond the reach of his voice ; and 
Captain Whiteside, although the Indian exerted 
all his force and sought to get possession of his 
gun, deeming it dishonourable to destroy an un- 

1795.] BORDER WARFARE. 133 

armed man who had previously surrendered, 
compelled him to retreat without serious injury. 
The intrepid band being at this time in the heart 
of the Indian country, where hundreds of Indian 
warriors could be raised in a few hours time, 
Captain Whiteside prudently resolved to retire 
with the horses they had recovered; and after 
travelling night and day, without halting to eat 
or sleep, they reached the settlements in safety. 
Two of the Whiteside family fell victims to the 
Indians during the following year. 

In the year 1795 the family of Mr. McMahan 
was attacked by Indians, who killed his wife and 
four children before his face, and laid their 
bodies in a row on the floor of his own dwelling. 
Making prisoners of McMahan and his only 
daughter, they departed for their towns. On 
the second night of their encampment, McMa- 
han, finding the Indians asleep, put on their 
moccasins and made his escape. He arrived at 
the settlement just as the neighbours were bury- 
ing his family. They had enclosed the bodies 
in rude coffins, and were engaged in putting the 
sods on their grave as he came in sight. He 
looked on the newly-formed hillock, and raising 
his eyes to heaven in pious resignation, said, 
"They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, 
and in their death they were not divided." His 
remaining daughter was afterward ransomed by 
the charitable contributions of the settlers. The 


same year the Whitesides and others, to the 
number of fourteen, attacked an Indian encamp- 
ment at the foot of the bluffs west of Belleville. 
In the skirmish Captain William Whiteside re- 
ceived a shot in the side, and was wounded, as 
he thought, mortally. As he fell, he exhorted 
his sons to fight bravely and not let the Indians 
touch him. One of his sons, who was disabled 
by a shot in the arm, sat down and examined the 
wound of his father. Finding that the ball had 
glanced along the ribs and lodged against the 
spine, he gashed the skin with his knife, and 
having extracted the bullet, held it up exultingly, 
exclaiming, " Father, you are not dead yet !" 
The old man instantly jumped on his feet, saying, 
" Come along, boys, I can still fight them !" 
Such were the instances of indomitable energy 
and courage which distinguished the men who 
defended the frontiers of Illinois in those days 
of peril. 

The defeat of the confederated Indians in 
1794, by General Wayne, brought peace to the 
frontiers of Illinois. A few horses were occa- 
sionally stolen, and in 1802 two Americans were 
killed, but no attack was made on the settle- 
ments. Families again took up their abodes on 
the prairies — emigrants from the states cluster- 
ed around them, and the cultivation of the soil 
was pursued without fear of molestation. During 
the period which elapsed between 1802 and 1810 


no events of an important character occurred to 
interrupt the quiet routine of peaceful life upon 
the frontiers. 

While Illinois was a part of the North-western 
Territory, it was divided into only two counties, 
Randolph and St. Clair. In 1800, by an act of 
Congress, the whole of the North-western terri- 
tory, including Illinois, with the exception of 
the state of Ohio, was named Indiana, and Wil- 
liam H. Harrison, subsequently President of the 
United States, was appointed its governor. Il- 
linois continued a part of Indiana until Febru- 
ary 3d, 1809, when, by another act of Congress, 
all that part of the Indiana Territory which lies 
west of the Wabash River, and a direct line 
drawn from that river and Fort Yincennes due 
north, to the territorial line between the United 
States and Canada, was formed into a separate 
territory by the name of Illinois. Ninian Ed- 
wards, then Chief-justice of Kentucky, was ap- 
pointed governor, and Nathaniel Pope, Esq., a 
resident of Kaskaskia, secretary of the territory. 
In 1810 new settlements had been formed in 
Gallatin, Johnson, Union, and Jackson counties, 
and the census gives the population of the terri- 
tory at 12,284 inhabitants. 

Although the quietude of the Illinois settle- 
ments was undisturbed between 1802 and 1810, 
yet mischief was gathering in other quarters, 
which ultimately brought on a renewal of Indian 


hostilities. Notwithstanding the treaty of Green- 
ville ceded to the United States an extensive 
tract of country north-west of the Ohio, and 
although settlers had located themselves on the 
tract thus ceded, the project of making the 
Ohio a boundary line between the white men and 
the Indians was still entertained by a consider- 
able portion of the Indian tribes. 

Little Turtle, the Miami warrior, at one time 
strenuously supported this project ; but after his 
defeat by General Wayne, frequent visits to 
Philadelphia and Washington had convinced him 
of the utter impossibility of effecting his object. 
He had, therefore, become an advocate for 
peace, and a friend of the whites ; and, at the 
time of which we are speaking, was living quietly 
and comfortably on Eel River, in Indiana, in a 
house erected for him by the American govern- 
ment. Among the many characteristic anecdotes 
of this celebrated chief, the following will be 
read with interest : — 

On the 6th of November, 1792, Little Turtle 
defeated Major Adair, who commanded a de- 
tachment of mounted volunteers from Kentucky. 
The Miami chief directed the attack with his 
usual skill, and a large party of Indians rushed 
on the encampment with great fury. A bloody 
conflict ensued. The Indians were driven through 
and about six hundred yards beyond the Ame- 
rican camp, but were again rallied by Little 


Turtle, and fought desperately. At this moment 
about sixty Indians made an effort to turn the 
right flank of the Americans. Major Adair, 
foreseeing the consequence of this manoeuvre, 
ordered a retreat, which was effected with great 
regularity ; and, as was expected, the Indians 
pursued them to their camp, where a halt was 
made, another battle fought, and the Indians 
finally driven from the ground. Some year^ 
afterward, in 1805-6, when General Adair was 
register of the land-office in Frankfort, Captain 
Wm. Wells, the Indian agent, passed through 
that place on his way to Washington, attended 
by a deputation of warriors, among whom was 
Little Turtle. General Adair called on his old 
antagonist, and in the course of conversation the 
incident above related being alluded to, General 
Adair attributed his defeat to his having been 
taken by surprise. Little Turtle immediately 
remarked with great pleasantness, "A good ge- 
neral is never taken by surprise." This famous 
chief died at Fort Wayne, on the 14th of July, 
1812, and was buried with the honours of war. 

But although Little Turtle had discovered the 
futility of attempting to make the Ohio the 
boundary line between the white and Indian 
population, and had become the advocate of 
peace, it was otherwise with the Shawancse chief 
Tecumseh, who, from his boyhood to the period 
when he fell in the prime of life, nobly fighting 



for his country, fostered an invincible hatred to 
the whites. This hatred was not confined to the 
Americans. Circumstances induced him to fight 
under English colours, but he neither loved nor 
respected them. He knew their professions of 
sympathy were hollow, and that they cared no- 
thing for the rights of the Indians. Tecumseh 
was a patriot. He loved his country, and this 
made him a statesman and a warrior. He saw his 
countrymen driven from their hunting grounds, 
their morals debased, and their means of sub- 
sistence taken from them. He sought to ascer- 
tain the cause of these evils, and traced it to 
that flood of white immigration which, having sur- 
mounted the Alleghanies, was now pouring suc- 
cessive waves of population into the Mississippi 
valley, above whose dense and peaceful forests 
had curled for innumerable ages the smoke of 
the rude wigwams of his ancestors. 

The habits of intoxication acquired by the 
Indians having totally unfitted them for making 
heroic exertions, Tecumseh sought to effect a 
reformation in this respect, and to unite them 
together into a grand confederacy, so as to ren- 
der the purchase of land by the United States 
impossible, without the consent of all the tribes. 
Knowing his countrymen to be prone to super- 
stition, he determined, through the agency of 
his brother, to employ its influence in effecting 
his purpose. 


Suddenly his brother began to dream dreams 
and see visions, and to profess himself inspired 
by the Great Spirit to direct the Indians in the 
way they ought to go to preserve to them the 
hunting grounds of their ancestors, and to re- 
store them to their former condition of happi- 
ness and independence. The work of reforma- 
tion and union now went on rapidly. Pilgrims 
came from the most distant tribes to the head- 
quarters of the prophet, whose fame, and the di- 
vine character of whose mission, was spread far 
and wide, until, at length, a combination of In- 
dians more formidable than any which this con- 
tinent has ever witnessed, was nearly completed. 
But the battle of Tippecanoe, fought during the 
absence of Tecumseh, and in violation of his or- 
ders, completely frustrated all his designs, and 
rendered him, to the close of his gallant though 
unsuccessful struggle, a mere accessory to Eng- 
land in the war which followed. 

It was in the year 1805 Tecumseh entered on 
the great work he had so long contemplated. 
He was then about thirty-eight years of age. 
General Harrison was at this time governor of 
Indiana and superintendent of Indian affairs, 
and in both capacities had difficult and arduous 
duties to perform. In 1807, Governor Harrison, 
hearing of extraordinary movements among the 
savages, charged them with an attempted insur- 
rection, but was assured by the Prophet that 


their only object was to effect a reformation 
among the Indians. In 1808 Tecumseh and his 
brother were still quietly extending their influ- 
ence among the Indian tribes ; and in the month 
of June they removed from Greenville to the 
banks of the Tippecanoe, a tributary of the Up- 
per Wabash. In 1809 Tecumseh met Governor 
Harrison, and claimed the lands which had been 
previously ceded by the Miamies, "because they 
belonged to all the tribes, and could not be parted 
with except by the consent of all." Governor 
Harrison took no notice of his claim, and the 
chief departed to redouble his exertions in the 
formation of the Indian confederacy. In 1810 
the hostile intentions of Tecumseh and his fol- 
lowers were placed beyond a doubt. General 
Harrison was revisited, and notified of the con- 
federacy, and of the determination of the In- 
dians to resist any further cession of territory 
to the United States, unless made with the con- 
sent of all the tribes. The governor replied, 
"that he would make known those views to the 
president, but there was no probability of their 
being attended to." "Then," said Tecumseh, 
" the Great Spirit must determine the matter. 
It is true the president is so far off that he will 
not be injured by the war. He may sit still in 
his town and drink his wine, while you and I will 
fight it out." It was then proposed to Tecumseh 
that in the event of a war, he should use his in- 


fluence to prevent those cruelties which were 
usually practised by the Indians. To this Te- 
cumseh cheerfully assented, and it is due to his 
memory to say that he kept his word. 

In 1811 Tecumseh again sought an interview 
with General Harrison, to whom he announced 
his intention of going south to induce the tribes 
to unite with the northern and western Indians 
in the confederacy. He also promised to visit 
the president and settle all difficulties with him 
on his return, and requested that the Americans 
would not survey a certain tract of land which 
had been ceded to them, as the Indians who were 
coming to settle at Tippecanoe would want it for 
a hunting ground. He apologized for the mur- 
ders which the Indians had committed in 1810, 
and said they ought to be forgiven, and that the 
Indians had set the whites an example of for- 
giveness. The governor replied, " That the moon 
which they beheld (it was then night) would 
sooner fall to the earth, than the president suffer 
his people to be murdered with impunity. And 
that he would put his warriors in petticoats 
sooner than give up the country which he had 
fairly acquired from the rightful owners." 

After many conferences with British officers 
at Detroit, Tecumseh left that post, and with a 
party of thirty warriors, mounted on horses, 
shaped his course for the south. Passing through 
the country of the Choctaw and Chickasa In- 


dians, among whom his mission was unsuccessful, 
he continued his journey to Florida, where he 
met with complete success among the Seminoles. 
From their boyhood the warriors of that country 
had heard of Tecumseh, of his feats in the buf- 
falo chase, of the bloody wars which he had 
conducted, and of his fierce and transcendent 

At this time Colonel Hawkins was holding a 
grand council with the Seminoles at Tookabatcha, 
the Indian capital of Florida. It was evening, 
and an autumnal sun shone on the bronzed faces 
of five thousand Indians gathered within that 
ancient town, which never looked so gay and 
populous as then. Colonel Hawkins had just 
finished his address when Tecumseh and his party 
marched into the square. They were entirely 
naked, except their flaps and ornaments. Their 
faces were painted black and their heads adorned 
with eagle plumes, while buffalo tails trailed after 
them, suspended by bands which went around 
their waists. Similar appendages were also at- 
tached to their arms, and were made to stand out 
by means of thongs. Their appearance was hi- 
deous, and their bearing stately and ceremonious. 
After making the circuit of the square they ap- 
proached the chiefs, and cordially shaking them 
with the whole length of the arm, exchanged 
tobacco, a common ceremony with the Indians, 
denoting friendship. For several consecutive 


days Tccumseh appeared in the square to de- 
liver his "talk," and all ears Were anxious to 
listen to it; but he refused to explain the object 
of his mission until Colonel Hawkins had con- 
cluded his business, and departed. 

That night, at a grand Indian council, held in 
the great Round House, Tecumseh recounted, in 
a long speech, full of fierce, fervid eloquence, 
the wrongs of the Indians, and the object of his 
mission. He exhorted his hearers to return to 
their primitive customs, to throw aside the 
plough and the loom, and to abandon an agricul- 
tural life, which was unbecoming Indian war- 
riors. He told them that after the whites had 
obtained possession of their country, cut down 
its beautiful forests, and stained the clear waters 
of their rivers with the washings of their manu- 
factories, the Indian would be subjected to in- 
sult and oppression, and be rendered a toiling 
and servile slave on the soil of which he was 
once the proprietor and master. He exhorted 
them to assimilate in no way whatever with the 
grasping, unprincipled American race, who de- 
spised their alliance, and only sought in every 
treaty to defraud them of their hunting grounds. 
He concluded by announcing that the British, 
their former friends, had sent him from the big 
lakes to procure their services in expelling the 
Americans from all Indian soil, and that the 

144 niSTORY OF ILLINOIS. [1811. 

king of England was ready to handsomely re- 
ward all who would fight for his cause. 

A prophet, who composed one of the, party of 
Tecumseh, next addressed the council. He said 
that he frequently communed with the Great 
Spirit, who had sent Tecumseh to their country 
upon this mission, the nature of which that great 
chief had just explained. He declared that the 
Indians who joined the war party should be so 
perfectly shielded from all harm, that none 
would be killed in battle, and that the Great Spi- 
rit would surround them with quagmires which 
would swallow up the Americans as they ap- 
proached. A short time after daylight the 
audience adjourned, more than half of them 
having already resolved to go to war against 
the Americans. 

While at Tookabatcha, Tecumseh took up his 
residence with a chief called the "Big "Warrior," 
who, despite of the entreaties of his guest, re- 
mained true to the United States; more, how- 
ever, from fear of the consequences of a war 
than from any love of the Americans. Tecum- 
seh, after talking with him for some time to no 
purpose, pointed his finger in his face and em- 
phatically said, "Tustinuggee Thlucco, your 
blood is white. You have taken my red sticks 
and my talk, but you do not mean to fight. I 
know the reason. You do not believe the Great 
Spirit has sent me. You shall believe it. I 


will leave directly, and go straight to Detroit. 
When I get there, I will stamp my foot upon 
the ground, and shake down every house in 
Tookabatcha." The Big Warrior said nothing, 
but puffed his pipe, and enveloped himself in 
clouds of smoke. Afterward he thought much 
upon this remarkable speech. 

The common Indians, believing that Tecum- 
seh actually possessed the power to fulfil his 
threat, began to count the time it would take 
the Shawanese chief to reach Detroit. One day 
a mighty rumbling was heard in the earth ; the 
houses of Tookabatcha reeled and tottered, and 
reeled again. The people ran out, vociferating, 
"Tecumseh has got to Detroit! Tecumseh has 
got to Detroit! We feel the shake of his foot!" 

Such was the manner in which the mission of 
Tecumseh was conducted. His persuasive voice 
was listened to one day by the Wyandots on the 
plains of Sandusky ; on the next, his commands 
were issued on the banks of the Wabash; 
at one time he was seen paddling his canoe on 
the waters of the Mississippi, and visiting the 
different nations on its shores; at another bold- 
ly confronting Governor Harrison in the council 
house at Vincennes. ^e continued his labours, 
neither elated by success nor discouraged by 
failure, until his plans for a gigantic confede- 
racy, when on the eve of completion, were frus- 
trated by the rashness of his brother. 



While Tecumseh was thus actively engaged at 
the south, the Prophet's town on the Tippe- 
canoe became the grand rallying centre for the 
restless and dissatisfied among the Indian tribes. 
The Prophet had neither the caution, the talent 
for command, nor the judgment and wisdom of 
his brother. Hence, when Tecumseh, the mas- 
ter-spirit, departed, and he was left to himself, 
he was incapable of controlling the bold and 
reckless savages who assembled around him ; and 
rash and presumptuous himself, he allowed them 
to rob and murder the settlers in the neighbour- 
hood of the town, until he brought upon himself 
the armies of the United States, and by his de- 
feat destroyed all confidence in the sacredness 
of his character, and crushed into irretrievable 
ruin that grand confederacy which it had cost 
'Tecumseh years of toil, suffering, and privation 
■to establish. 

The battle of Tippecanoe was fought on the 
'7th of November, 1811, only a few days before 
Tecumseh returned from the south. Nothing 
could exceed his grief and indignation, when his 
brother attempted to palliate his conduct. Te- 
cumseh seized him by the hair of his head, and 
threatened to take his life. He immediately an- 
nounced to Governor Harrison that he had 
returned, and was ready to make the proposed 
visit to the president. The governor gave him 
.permission to go, but not at thp head of a large 


delegation The haughty chief, who, in his in- 
terviews with the governor, was always accom- 
panied by several hundred Indians, completely 
armed, had no wish to appear before "his great 
father the president" stripped of his power, and 
therefore declined going at all. 

In June, 1812, Tecumseh had an interview 
with the Indian agent at Fort Wayne, in which 
he disavowed his intention to make war on the 
United States, and reproached General Harri- 
son for having marched against his people dur- 
ing his absence. After listening with frigid 
indifference to the response of the agent, he 
quitted the council house, and departed for Fort 
Maiden, in Upper Canada, where he joined the 
British standard. 



Causes which led to the renewal of war between Great Britain 
and the United States in 1812 — Disastrous commencement 
of the war — Fort Chicago ordered to be evacuated — The 
garrison wish to remain in the fort — Captain Heald attends 
the Indian council alone, protected by the guns of the fort 
— The ammunition and liquor destroyed, and the goods dis- 
tributed among the Indians — Arrival of Captain Wells — The 
garrison leave the fort — Attacked by the Indians on their 
march — Mrs. Helm's account of the action — Cruel and faith- 
less conduct of the Indians after the surrender of the soldiers 
—Kindness of Waubeeneemah to Mrs. Helm — Heroic con- 
duct of Mrs. Heald — Fate of the captives. 

The angry international feelings, occasioned 
by the war of independence, were not quieted by 
the peace of 1783. Mortification on the one 
hand and resentment on the other continued 
long after the war had terminated. The break- 
ing forth of the French revolution involving all 
Europe in hostilities, it was impossible for the 
United States to avoid feeling the effects of the 
terrible struggle which then agitated the civil- 
ized world. The extraordinary efforts of Eng- 
land, by sea and land, called for all her resources 
of men and money, and she claimed the right 
of impressing her own seamen wherever they 
might be found. American merchantmen were 

1812.] war of 1812. 149 

frequently stopped by British cruisers on the 
high seas, and such seamen impressed into ser- 
vice as English subordinate officers thought pro- 
per to claim as Englishmen, Scotchmen, or Irish- 
men; a proceeding perfectly unjustifiable, and 
involving not unfrequently the liberty of native 
American citizens. 

These wrongs were endured for a considerable 
time, for the sake of the profitable carrying 
trade; and the United States was rapidly rising 
in importance as a neutral power, when England, 
by her Orders in Council, and Napoleon, by his 
Berlin Decrees, at once swept her commerce 
from the ocean. Every American merchant- 
man, laden with French merchandise, being 
liable to be seized by British cruisers, and 
a considerable quantity of the shipping of the 
United States having been thus taken, all com- 
mercial intercourse between the two countries 
was at length suspended, and on the 20th of 
June, 1812, Congress authorized a declaration 
of war. 

A particular account of all the events of this 
war belongs to the history of the United States ; 
a general notice of its progress is, however, 
necessary, and without which no history of Illi- 
nois would be complete. At the commencement 
of the war, the armies of the United States sus- 
tained a succession of defeats and losses. An 
abortive attempt having been made to invade 



Canada, the British retaliated by capturing De« 
troit and all the American posts in Michigan. 
With the loss of Michigan, the United States 
lost all control over the north-western tribes; 
who, scattering themselves among the frontier 
settlements, committed the most horrible atro- 

While the British army, under General Brock, 
lay before Detroit, a terrible tragedy was enact- 
ed at Chicago, Illinois. By the treaty of Green- 
ville, a tract of land six miles square was ceded 
to the United States, at the mouth of the Chi- 
cago River. In 1804 a small fort was erected 
there, which was garrisoned by a company of 
United States troops, about fifty in number, 
many of whom were invalids. A few French 
and Canadian families settled in the vicinity of 
the fort; and this little community, who were 
almost isolated from the rest of the civilized 
world, previous to the war of 1812, furnished no 
incidents worthy of notice. 

When war was declared, the commandant 
at Chicago received orders to evacuate the 
fort. The garrison consisted at this time 
of a single company, commanded by Cap- 
tain Heald, the subordinate officers being Lieu- 
tenant Helm and Ensign Roman, and Dr. Van 
Voorhees, its surgeon. The orders came from 
General Hull, who was commander-in-chief of 
the north-western army, and were sent to the 

1812.] FORT CHICAGO. 151 

garrison through the agency of Winnemeg, or 
Catfish, a friendly Indian of the Pottawatomie 
tribe. General Hull's despatch directed Cap- 
tain Heald "to evacuate the fort at Chicago if 
practicable, and in that event to distribute all 
the United States property contained in the 
fort, and the United States factory or agency, 
among the Indians in the neighbourhood, and 
repair to Fort Wayne." By the conquest of the 
American posts in Michigan, the English had 
obtained complete command of that territory; 
and as the United States could no longer con- 
trol the savages, the necessity of withdrawing 
the garrison from Fort Chicago was obvious. 

When Captain Heald read General Hull's de- 
spatch to the garrison next morning, on parade, 
Lieutenant Helm and Ensign Roman hazarded 
a remonstrance. "We do not," said they to 
Captain Heald, "believe that our troops can 
pass in safety through the country of the Potta- 
watomies to Fort Wayne. Although a part of 
their chiefs were opposed to an attack upon us 
last autumn, they were actuated by motives of 
private friendship for some particular individuals, 
and not from a regard to the Americans in 
general ; and it can hardly be supposed that in 
the present excited state of feeling among the 
Indians, those chiefs will be able to influence 
the whole tribe, now thirsting for vengeance. 
Besides, our march must be slow, on account of 


the women and children. Our force, too, is 
small. Some of our soldiers are superannuated, 
and some of them are invalids. We think, there- 
fore, as your orders are discretionary, that we 
had better fortify ourselves as strongly as possi- 
ble, and remain where we are. Succour may 
reach us before we shall be attacked from Macki- 
naw; and, in case of such an event, we had 
better fall into the hands of the English, than 
become victims of the savages." Captain Heald 
replied that his force was not sufficiently strong 
to contend with the Indians; and that he should 
be censured if he did not evacuate the fort, when 
the prospect of a safe retreat to Fort Wayne 
was so apparent. He had the utmost confidence 
in the Indians, and deemed it advisable to as- 
semble them, and distribute the public property 
among them, and ask them for an escort to Fort 
Wayne, under the promise of their receiving a 
considerable sum of money if they should con- 
duct the garrison there in safety. The officers 
and soldiers said but little more upon the sub- 
ject, and kept aloof from their commander, con- 
sidering his project as little short of madness. 

The Indians presently began to assemble from 
the neighbouring villages, in answer to the sum- 
mons of Captain Heald; and on the 12th of 
August, 1812, a council was held in the neigh- 
bourhood of the fort. It was attended, how- 
ever, only by Captain Heald on the part of the 

1812.] FORT CHICAGO. 153 

garrison. His officers and soldiers refused to 
accompany him, although requested to do so. 
They had heard that a massacre was intended, 
and when Captain Heald left the fort, they 
opened its port-holes, and pointed the loaded 
cannon in the direction of the Indian encamp- 
ment, so as to command the entire council. 
This circumstance and their absence caused the 
savages to postpone their meditated design. 
Captain Heald, after informing the assembly 
that he should distribute among them the goods 
in the storehouses, together with the ammunition 
and provisions with which the garrison was sup- 
plied, requested them to furnish him with an 
escort to Fort Wayne, promising them a liberal 
reward for this service, in addition to the pre- 
sents he was about to make them. The Indians 
were profuse in their professions of friendship 
and good-will, and immediately promised him 
the desired escort. 

The soldiers, alarmed at the danger by which 
they were menaced, urged the impolicy of fur- 
nishing the Indians with arms and ammunition 
to be used against themselves, and the argument 
struck Captain Heald with so much force, that 
he resolved to destroy the military stores and 
liquors. On the next day, August 13th, the 
remaining articles in the storehouses were dis- 
tributed among the Indians, but the ammunition 
was thrown into a well, and the liquor poured 


into the river. Notwithstanding all the pre- 
cautions taken to avoid suspicion, the Indians, 
ever watchful, beheld with indignation the de- 
struction of the muskets, and the loss of their 
much-loved "fire-water." 

On the 14th the desponding garrison were 
somewhat cheered by the arrival of Captain 
Wells, with fifteen friendly Miamies. He had 
heard at Fort Wayne of the order to evacuate 
Fort Chicago, and knowing the hostile intentions 
of the Indians, had made a rapid march through 
the wilderness to protect, if possible, his sister, 
Mrs. Heald, and the officers and garrison from 
certain destruction. But he came too late. The 
ammunition had been destroyed, and on the pro- 
visions the enemy were rioting. His only alter- 
native was to hasten the evacuation of the post, 
and every preparation was made for the march 
of the troops on the following morning. In the 
afternoon of the 14th, a second council was held 
with the Indians, at which they expressed great 
indignation at the destruction of the promised 
ammunition and liquor by the garrison, and 
murmurs and threats were heard on every side. 
Attempts were made to appease their anger by 
several chiefs, who, although they participated 
in the hostile feelings of their tribe against the 
Americans generally, still retained a personal 
regard for the troops and the settlers in the 
vicinity; but all their efforts were in vain. 


The reserved ammunition, twenty-five rounds 
to a man, having been distributed, and the bag- 
gage wagons prepared for the sick, the women, 
and children, the whole party, anticipating a 
fatiguing if not a disastrous march through the 
wilderness, retired for a little rest, the sentinels, 
as usual, keeping watch and ward during the 

The fatal morning of the 15th at length 
dawned brightly on the world, and the sun shone 
in unclouded splendour upon the glassy surface 
of Lake Michigan. Very soon a message was 
received from To-pee-na-bee, a friendly chief of 
the St. Joseph's band, warning the garrison, that 
the Indians who had promised to be their escort 
contemplated mischief. About nine o'clock the 
troops left the fort with martial music, and in 
military array. Captain Wells, with his face 
blackened, after the manner of the Indians, led 
the advance guard at the head of his friendly 
Miamies; the garrison with loaded arms, and 
the baggage wagons with the sick, the women, 
and children, followed, while the Pottawatomie 
Indians, about five hundred in number, who had 
pledged their honour to escort them in safety to 
Fort Wayne, brought up the rear. The party 
took the road along the lake shore. On reach- 
ing the point where a range of sandhills sepa- 
rate the prairie from the beach, about a mile 
and a half from the fort, the Pottawatomies, in- 


stead of continuing in the rear of the Americans, 
defiled to the right into the prairie, to bring the 
sandhills between them and the troops. This 
divergence had scarcely been effected, when 
Captain Wells, who was considerably in advance 
with his Miamies, rode furiously back, and ex- 
claimed, "They are about to attack us; form 
instantly, and charge upon them." These words 
had scarcely been uttere^ before a volley of 
balls from Indian muskets behind the sandhills 
was poured in upon them. The troops were in- 
stantly formed into lines, and charged up the 
bank. One man, a veteran of seventy, fell as 
they ascended. The Miamies fled at the com- 
mencement of the action. Their chief, brandish- 
ing his tomahawk, charged the Pottawatomies 
with treachery, and declared that he would be 
the first to head a party of Americans, and 
punish them for their duplicity. He then gal- 
loped after his companions, who were scouring 
over the prairie. The American troops behaved 
most gallantly, and sold their lives dearly. 
They fought desperately till two-thirds of their 
number were slain ; the remainder, twenty-seven 
in number, surrendered, having first stipulated 
for their own safety, and for that of their wives 
and children. The heroic resolution of one of 
the soldier's wives deserves to be recorded. She 
had frequently heard that the Indians subjected 
their prisoners to tortures worse than death, and 

1812.] mrs. helm's narrative. 157 

resolving not to be taken alive, continued fight- 
ing until she was literally cut to pieces, although 
assured by the savages who sought to effect her 
capture, that she would be well treated. 

The narrative of Mrs. Helm, the wife of Lieu- 
tenant Helm, is exceedingly graphic. "Our 
horses pranced and bounded, and could hardly 
be restrained, as the balls whistled around them. 
I drew off a little, and gazed on my husband 
and father, who were yet unharmed. I felt that 
my hour was come, and endeavoured to forget 
those I loved, and prepare for my approaching 
fate. While I was thus engaged, the surgeon, 
Dr. Voorhees, came up, badly wounded. His 
horse had been shot under him, and he had re- 
ceived a ball in the leg, and every muscle of his 
countenance was quivering with the agony of 
terror. He said to me: 'Do you think they 
will take our lives ? lam badly wounded, but I 
think not mortally. Perhaps we might purchase 
our lives by promising them a large reward. 
Do you think there is any chance?' 

"'Dr. Voorhees,' said I, «do not let us waste 
the few moments that still remain to us in such 
vain hopes. Our fate is inevitable. In a few 
moments we must appear before the bar of God. 
Let us endeavour to make what preparation is 
yet in our power.' ' Oh, I cannot die !' exclaimed 
he; 'I am not fit to die — if I had but a short 
time to prepare — death is awful!' I pointed to 

158 niSTORY OF ILLINOIS. [1812. 

Ensign Roman, who, though mortally wounded, 
and nearly down, was still desperately fighting 
with an Indian, on one knee. 'Look at that 
man,' said I; 'at least he dies like a soldier!' 
'Yes,' replied the unfortunate man, with a con- 
vulsive gasp, 'but he has no terrors of the 
future — he is an unbeliever.' 

"At this moment a young Indian raised his 
tomahawk at me. By springing aside, I avoided 
the blow, which was aimed at my skull, but 
which descended on my shoulder. I seized him 
around the neck, and while exerting my utmost 
efforts to get possession of his scalping-knife, 
which hung in a scabbard over his breast, I was 
dragged from his grasp by another and an older 
Indian. The latter bore me, struggling and re- 
sisting, to the lake. Notwithstanding the rapi- 
dity with which I was hurried along, I recog- 
nised, as I passed them, the lifeless remains of 
the unfortunate surgeon. Some murderous to- 
mahawk had stretched him upon the very spot 
where I had last seen him." 

Though plunged by her captor into the lake, 
and held there, she soon perceived that it was 
not his intention to drown her, as she at first 
supposed, because he held her in such a position 
as to keep her head constantly above the water. 
She became reassured, and looking at him earn- 
estly, recognised, despite of his paint, a cele- 
brated chief called the Black Partridge, the 

1812.] mrs. helm's narrative. 159 

"white man's friend." When the firing ceased, 
she "was borne from the water, and conducted up 
the sandbank. It was a beautiful day in Au- 
gust, but the sun was intensely hot, and walking 
through the sand in her drenched condition was 
inexpressibly painful. She stopped and took off 
her shoes, to free them from the sand with which 
they were nearly filled, when a squaw seized and 
carried them off, and she was obliged to proceed 
without them. When they gained the prairie, 
she was met by her father, who told her that her 
husband was safe, and only slightly wounded. 
She was then led gently back to the Pottawa- 
tomie encampment. As she approached one of 
the wigwams, the wife of Wau-bee-nee-mah, a 
chief from the Illinois River, was standing near, 
and seeing her exhausted condition, seized a 
kettle, dipped up some water from a little 
stream that flowed near, threw into it some 
maple sugar, and stirring it up with her hand 
gave it to Mrs. Helm to drink. This act of 
kindness, in the midst of so many atrocities, 
touched her most sensibly, but her attention 
was soon diverted to another object. The fort 
had become a scene of plunder to such as re- 
mained after the troops had marched out. The 
cattle had been shot down as they ran at large, 
and lay dead or dying around. 

"An old squaw, infuriated by the loss of 
friends, or excited by the sanguinary scenes sc 


lately enacted, seemed possessed by a demoniacal 
ferocity. She seized a stable fork, and assaulted 
a wounded soldier, "who lay groaning and writh- 
ing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by 
the heat of the sun. With a delicacy of feeling 
scarcely to have been expected under such cir- 
cumstances, Wau-bee-nee-mah stretched a mat 
across two poles between me and this dreadful 
scene. I was thus spared in some degree a view 
of its horrors, although I could not entirely 
close my ears to the cries of the sufferer. But 
why dwell upon this painful subject? Why de- 
scribe the butchery of the children, twelve of 
whom, placed together in one baggage wagon, 
fell beneath the merciless tomahawk of a young 
savage ?" This atrocious act was committed after 
the whites had surrendered. 

Captain Wells, who was a prisoner, and as yet 
unharmed, when he beheld this murderous trans- 
action, declared that the Indians had violated 
the conditions o** surrender. Enraged beyond 
measure, he exclaimed, "If this be your 
game, I will kill too;" and turning his horse's 
head, started for the place where the Indians 
had left their squaws and children. Several 
warriors immediately followed in pursuit, and 
discharged their rifles at him, as he galloped 
across the prairie. He laid himself flat on the 
neck of his horse, and was apparently nearly out 
of the reach of his pursuers, when a ball from 


one of the rifles took effect, killing his horse, 
and severely wounding himself, so that he was 
again taken prisoner. As the savages came up, 
Winnemeg and Wa-ban-see, two of their number, 
and both his friends, endeavoured to protect 
him ; they had already disengaged him from his 
horse, and were supporting him, when a Pot- 
tawatomie Indian, drawing his scalping-knife, 
stabbed him in the back, and he fell dead in the 
arms of his friends. The heart of Captain Wells 
was afterward taken out, cut in pieces, and dis- 
tributed among the tribes. After having been 
scalped, his mutilated remains were left un- 
buried, as were also those of the children mas- 
sacred, as above stated, and the soldiers and 
women slain in the battle. The next day, Billy 
Caldwell, an Indian chief, collected the dismem- 
bered remains of Captain Wells, and buried 
them in the sand. 

Captain Heald and his wife were both taken 
prisoners, and were sent across the lake to St. 
Joseph's, the day after the battle. Captain Heald 
had received two wounds, and his wife seven. 
Mrs. Heald fought like a heroine. The horse 
on which she rode during the engagement was 
a fine, spirited animal, and the Indians were 
anxious to obtain it uninjured, so that their shots 
were principally aimed at the rider. Her captor 
being about to pull off her bonnet, in order to 
scalp her, young Chaudonnaire, an Indian of the 



St. Joseph's tribe, who knew her, came to her 
rescue, and offered a mule he had just taken for 
her ransom, to which he added a promise of ten 
bottles of whisky. The latter temptation was 
too strong to be resisted. Her captor, how- 
ever, perceiving her to be wounded, observed 
that she might die, and asked if he would give 
him the whisky any how ; this Chaudonnaire pro- 
mised to do, and the bargain was concluded. 
Captain Heald was taken prisoner by an Indian 
from the Kankakee River, who, seeing the 
wounded and enfeebled state of Mrs. Heald, 
generously released his prisoner, that he might 
accompany his wife. The Indian who had so 
nobly released Captain Heald, on returning to 
his tribe, found them so dissatisfied with his con- 
duct, that he hastened back to reclaim his pri- 
soner. News of his intentions, however, pre- 
ceded his appearance; and Chaudonnaire and 
other friendly Indians put Mr. and Mrs. Heald 
into a bark canoe, which a Pottawatomie chief 
paddled a distance of three hundred miles along 
the eastern coast of Lake Michigan to Macki- 
naw, where they were kindly received by the 
British commander, and on being sent as pri- 
soners to Detroit, were finally exchanged. 

Mrs. Helm received a slight wound in her 
ankle, had her horse shot under her, and after 
passing through the scenes already described, 
accompanied the family of Mr. Kenzie to De- 


troit. Her husband, though wounded and taken 
prisoner, was subsequently liberated from his 
captivity through the kindness of Mr. Thomas 
Forsyth, an Indian trader. 

The captive soldiers with their wives and 
children were dispersed among the different vil- 
lages of the Pottawatomies, upon the Illinois, 
Wabash, Rock, and Milwaukee Rivers. The 
greater part of them were ransomed at De- 
troit the following year. Those that remained 
among the Indians experienced moie kindness 
than was to be expected from an enemy so 



Expedition of General Hopkins and Governor Edwards against 
the Indian villages on the Illinois — Americans defeated at 
Frenchtown — The massacre on the banks of the Raisin — 
Fort Meigs erected by General Harrison — General Procter 
attacks Fort Meigs and defeats Colonel Dudley — Noble and 
humane conduct of Tecumseh — Gallant defence of Fort 
Stephenson — Retreat of Procter to Fort Maiden — Defeat of 
the British fleet on Lake Erie by Commodore Perry — Inva- 
sion of Canada by General Harrison — Battle of the Thames 
— Death of Tecumseh — Illinois defended against the Indians 
during this period by its native militia under the title of 
"Rangers" — The character of the Rangers — Exploits of Tom 
Higgins — Peace restored between Great Britain and the 
United States, and termination of the hostile incursions of 
the Indians. 

The success of the British and Indians in the 
North-western Territory in the campaign of 1812 
excited the Americans to renewed and vigorous 
efforts. Such was the martial spirit enkindled, 
that a call for fifteen hundred volunteers was 
answered by more than two thousand, who as- 
sembled at Louisville, under General Hopkins, 
to vindicate the honour of their country. This 
force was designed to operate against the Indian 
villages on the Wabash and Illinois Rivers. Some 
of the resident warriors of these localities had 
participated in the massacre at Chicago, and the 
cries of the murdered children and women called 


for vengeance. On the 14th of October, 1812, 
the army of General Hopkins crossed the Wa- 
bash, and commenced its march over the prairies 
of Illinois. The country traversed by the troops 
abounded with game, and nothing could restrain 
them from firing at it. Their insubordination 
increased with the difficulties of their march. 
Encountering a prairie fire, they became alarm- 
ed for their safety; and, despite the remon- 
strances of their general, returned home. 

About the same time Colonel Russel, with 
three companies of United States Rangers, and 
Governor Edwards of Illinois, with a party of 
mounted riflemen, moved toward the frontiers of 
Illinois. These troops were under orders to act 
in conjunction with General Hopkins. Though 
disappointed by the desertion of the volunteers, 
they persevered in their enterprise, destroyed 
one of the Indian towns, pursued the Indians 
into a swamp, and after killing about twenty 
of them, returned in safety to the American 
camp. • 

The campaign of 1813 opened disastrously. 
The Americans were defeated at Frenchtown, 
many of those who surrendered being subse- 
quently massacred by the Indians. Of the en- 
tire detachment, eight hundred strong, one-third 
were killed in the battle, and only thirty-three 
escaped the massacre which followed, on the 
shores of the river Raisin. 


Throughout the winter of 1812 General Har- 
rison was encamped at the rapids, nearly desti- 
tute of troops, the time for which the volunteers 
enlisted having expired. Foreseeing that the 
British would attempt to seize the favourable 
military position he occupied, he employed the 
winter in building Fort Meigs. After the dis- 
aster at Frenchtown, reinforcements were imme- 
diately sent forward, under General Clay, to 
strengthen the position of Harrison at the rapids. 
It was not until the latter part of April that 
General Procter commenced military operations 
against Fort Meigs. Having been advised of 
the approach of General Clay, Harrison sent 
orders to the latter to send a strong detachment 
across the river, with directions to carry the 
British batteries, spike the cannon, and retreat 
in their boats to Fort Meigs, before the main 
army of the British, encamped a few miles above, 
could be put in motion. Colonel Dudley, having 
under him some eight hundred men, was charged 
with the execution of this order. Possibly from 
misunderstanding the object of Harrison, he 
never communicated the precise nature of his 
instructions to his subordinates. The troops 
were landed, the batteries and the cannon spiked, 
but instead of returning to the boats, they eagerly 
gave chase to a small party of Indians and Ca- 
nadians, who showed themselves on the skirts of 
the woods. The result was that their retreat was 


intercepted by Procter with the entire British 
force, and the whole detachment, with the ex- 
ception of about one hundred and fifty men, was 
either killed or taken. 

The unfortunate prisoners, huddled together 
in a ruined fort, were soon after attacked by the 
Indians, who, breaking through the feeble guard, 
commenced an indiscriminate massacre. " While 
this carnage was raging, a thundering voice was 
heard in the rear and in the Indian tongue, and 
Tecumseh was seen advancing on horseback with 
the utmost speed to where two Indians were in 
the act of killing an American. The indignant 
chief sprang from his horse, caught one by the 
throat, the other by the breast, threw them to 
the ground, and then drawing his scalping-knife 
and tomahawk, interposed between the Americans 
and Indians, daring any one of the hundreds 
that surrounded him to attempt the murder of 
another American. Awed by this vigorous con- 
duct, the savages immediately desisted from their 
work of slaughter. He then demanded where 
the British general was, and eying him at a 
distance, sternly demanded why he had not put 
a stop to the barbarities of the Indians. < Sir,' 
said Procter, i your Indians cannot be command- 
ed.' * Begone !' retorted Tecumseh with disdain. 
i You are unfit to command, go and put on petti- 
coats !' " 

On the 9th of May, General Procter, having 


heard of the success of the American arms in 
other quarters, raised the siege of Fort Meigs, 
and moved off with all his forces. Subsequently 
he attacked Fort Stephenson, which was defended 
by Major Croghan, then in the 21st year of his 
age, at the head of one hundred and fifty men. 
After making such a disposition of his troops as 
to prevent the escape of the garrison, he sum- 
moned Croghan to surrender, threatening the 
garrison with an Indian massacre in case of re- 
fusal. Major Croghan replied, "When the fort 
shall be taken there will be none left to massa- 
cre, as it will not be given up while a man is 
able to fight." The fort in fact was so totally 
indefensible, in the opinion of General Harrison, 
that he had ordered it to be evacuated. But the 
bearer of the despatch missed his way; and when 
the order was received, a large party of Indians 
had already surrounded the works, rendering it 
more hazardous to retreat than to remain. 

No sooner was Croghan' s reply received by 
the British general, than a brisk fire was imme- 
diately concentrated against the north-west angle 
of the fort. The intention being evidently to 
make a breach in that quarter, Major Croghan 
caused it to be strengthened by bags of sand and 
flour ; while, under cover of night, he placed his 
single six-pounder, well charged with slugs and 
grape-shot, in such a position as to command 
the point of attack. The fire of the besiegers 


was kept up during the night of the 1st of Au- 
gust and till late in the evening of the 2d, when 
a storming party of three hundred and fifty men 
advanced to the assault under cover of smoke 
and darkness, and approached unseen to within 
twenty paces of the walls. The musketry now 
opened upon them, but with little effect; the 
ditch was gained, and in a moment filled with 
men. At that instant the masked cannon, only 
thirty feet distant, opened upon the assailants, 
killing twenty-seven and wounding as many more. 
The broken column was reformed, and the ditch 
again filled, but the cannon being again discharg- 
ed with similar effect, the besiegers became dis- 
heartened, and abandoned the attack, and the 
little fort was saved with the loss of a single 

Procter hastily retreated into Canada, and was 
followed on the 27th of September, 1813, by 
General Harrison, who landed on the Canadian 
shore a little below Fort Maiden. At his ap- 
proach the British general retreated to the Mo- 
ravian towns, having first set fire to Fort Maiden, 
and destroyed the stores. 

After a march of five days, the troops under 
Harrison reached the spot where the British and 
Indians had encamped the night before, on the 
banks of the Thames. Colonel Wood, having 
been ordered to reconnoitre the enemy, soon re- 
turned with the intelligence that the British and 



Indians were awaiting their approach in battle 
array, a few miles beyond. Procter's force con- 
sisted of about eight hundred regulars and two 
thousand Indians, the latter being commanded by 
Tecumseh. The British regulars were drawn up 
with considerable skill and judgment on a narrow 
strip of timber land, their right resting on a 
swamp, their left on the river. Still farther to 
the right were the Indian allies under Tecumseh. 
Procter, however, committed a serious error in 
drawing up his men with intervals of three or 
four feet between the files, as troops thus posted 
are rarely able to resist a charge of cavalry. 

When the American troops, amounting in 
number to about three thousand men, had made 
their preparations for battle, General Harrison 
ordered a cavalry charge on the regulars, and 
Colonel Richard M. Johnson to confront the In- 
dians. The British regulars, broken at the first 
onset, immediately surrendered, while Procter 
fled from the field as soon as he saw the effect 
of the charge, and escaped by the swiftness of 
his horse. It was, however, a more serious af- 
fair with the Indians. The battle was begun by 
Tecumseh with great fury, and on account of the 
nature of the ground, and the impervious cha- 
racter of the thickets, the cavalry charge was 
unsuccessful. Colonel Johnson immediately or- 
dered his men to dismount, and placing himself 
at their head, succeeded after a desperate con- 

1813.] BATTLE OF THE THAMES. . 171 

test in breaking through the ranks of the In 
dians and gaining their rear. The warriors 
however still refused to yield, and Colonel John- 
son now directed his men to fight them in then- 
own way. Collecting their strength on the 
right, the Indians attempted to force a passage 
through Desha's brigade, and were beginning to 
make some impression when a regiment of Ken- 
tuckians, under the aged but gallant Shelby, drove 
them with great slaughter from the field. But 
the combat was not yet over. The voice of Te- 
cumseh was distinctly heard in every part of the 
battle animating his warriors, and around him 
they gathered to the number of fifteen hundred, 
resolved to conquer or die by the side of their 
chief. Colonel Johnson now advanced at the 
head of his column to the spot where Tecumseh 
and his devoted followers still maintained the 
desperate conflict. Being conspicuous by his 
uniform and the white horse on which he rode, 
Johnson was dangerously wounded, and at the 
same time the brave and gallant Tecumseh was 
slain. The Indians now gave way on all sides. 
Near where Tecumseh had fallen, about thirty 
Indians were found literally cut to pieces. They 
left one hundred and twenty warriors on the 
field, but the death of Tecumseh was more weak- 
ening to them than the loss of half their nation. 
They no longer attempted to renew the war, and 


peace having been granted, they became the al- 
lies of the Americans. 

Tecumseh fell respected by his enemies as a 
great and magnanimous chief. He was unques- 
tionably the most formidable savage that ever 
lifted a tomahawk against the Uuited States. 
Of a most dignified and commanding aspect, 
brave in war and eloquent in council, he was 
well fitted to gain the affections of the Indians, 
and to stimulate their courage during the most 
desperate encounters. General Harrison used 
to say of him that " he possessed the two most 
essential characteristics of a gentleman — self- 
respect and self-possession." Born without a 
title to command, such was his native greatness 
that no one disputed his precedence. Had his 
lot been cast in a different state of society, he 
would have been its ornament and its head. He 
fell nobly battling for the rights of the Indians. 
The British government, having previously ap- 
pointed him a brigadier-general, afterward grant- 
ed a pension to his widow and family. 

During the whole of this period the Illinois 
settlements, being greatly harassed by the hos- 
tilities of the Indians, were defended by a local 
force of "rangers." The military strength 
of the United States was engaged in the de- 
fence of the older states of the Union, and 
Illinois was left to rely on the patriotism and 
courage of its local forces. Governor Edwards 

1812.] INDIAN MURDERS. 173 

deserves to be commemorated as having contri- 
buted greatly to the safety of this remote terri- 
tory, by his prompt and vigorous exertions. His 
patriotism and magnanimity of soul impelled 
him to employ his own wealth in the service of 
his country ; and he relieved the necessities of 
the rangers by advancing their pay out of his 
own private funds. 

The year 1813 opened with gloomy prospects 
to the far-off and exposed territory of Illinois. 
On the 9th of February, ten Indians, despite 
of the vigilance of the rangers, contrived to 
murder two families at the mouth of Cache 
River, on the Ohio, seven miles from the Missis- 
sippi. In the month of March, David McLain, 
a minister of the gospel, and a Mr. Young, 
were attacked by Indians at Hill's Ferry, on the 
Kaskaskia River. Mr. Young was killed and 
scalped, but Mr. McLain, disengaging himself 
from his horse, which had been shot under him, 
made his escape into the woods, pursued by se- 
veral Indians. All the savages presently gave 
up the chase but one, who, being an athletic fel- 
low, continued the pursuit, apparently deter- 
mined not to lose his prey. Mr. McLain was at 
this time encumbered with a thick overcoat, 
having wrappers on his legs and spurs on his 
feet. Perceiving himself followed by a solitary 
Indian, he halted, made signs of surrender 
until his pursuer had approached within a 



few feet. Evading the bullet which the latter 
fired at hirn, he suddenly assumed an air of de- 
fiance, and put forth all his strength to make his 
escape. The contest continued in this manner 
for upward of an hour, during which time the 
Indian fired at the fugitive no less than seven 
times, in one instance wounding him in the arm. 
During the intervals between the shots, Mr. 
McLain contrived to throw off first his overcoat, 
and then his boots, and having made some con- 
siderable distance in a timbered bottom adjacent 
to the river, as a last resource he plunged into 
stream and swam across it diagonally, thus ef- 
fecting his escape. 

At this time, and within a period of six weeks, 
sixteen men, women, and children fell victims to 
savage ferocity in Missouri and Illinois. To 
protect themselves from these sanguinary incur- 
sions, the inhabitants constructed a chain of 
forts. "We have now," they write, "nearly 
finished twenty-two family forts, extending from 
the Mississippi, nearly opposite Bellefontaine, to 
to the Kaskaskia River, a distance of sixty miles. 
Between each fort, spies are to pass and repass 
daily, and communicate throughout the whole 
line which will be extended to the U. S. Saline, 
and from thence to the mouth of the Ohio. 
Rangers and mounted militia, to the amount of 
five hundred men, constantly scour the country 
from twenty to fifty miles in advance of our set- 


tlements, so that we feel perfectly easy as to an 
attack from our <red brethren,' as Mr. Jefferson 
very lovingly calls them." 

During the summer and autumn campaign of 
1813, General Howard commanded the rangers, 
and drove the marauding Indians who had col- 
lected about Lake Peoria from the settlements. 
Fort Clark was built at Peoria, and the country 
traversed by the troops so effectually as to over- 
awe the savages, and afford at least six months 
quiet to the inhabitants. 

Governor Edwards had predicted, that, should 
the British and Indians be defeated, when 
Canada was invaded, as was the case at the 
battle of the Thames, — the hostile Indians would 
be driven to the Mississippi; and this pre- 
diction was verified. In August the American 
fort at Prairie du Chien was captured by the 
British and Indians, and its garrison made pri- 
soners of war. A battle was also fought at 
Rock Island, where a detachment of three hun- 
dred and thirty-four men, commanded by Major 
Zachary Taylor, was attacked by a party of 
British and more than one thousand Indians, 
having with them two pieces of artillery brought 
from Prairie du Chien. As the enemy was at 
least three to one, Major Taylor very prudently 

A little fort, or rather block-house, had been 
erected about twenty miles from Vandalia, late 


the capital of Illinois, and some eight miles south 
of the present village of Greenville. It was one 
of the points of rendezvous of the rangers, and 
Lieutenant Journey and eleven men were sta- 
tioned there as a garrison. On the 30th of Au- 
gust, 1814, signs of Indians were detected ; and 
toward night a party of them were seen hovering 
in the neighbourhood of the fort. On the morn- 
ing of the 81st, Lieutenant Journey, with his 
whole command, issued from the fort before 
daylight, and were very soon on the trail of the 
enemy. They had not proceeded far before 
seventy or eighty concealed savages suddenly 
discovered themselves ; and at the first fire, the 
lieutenant and three of his men were killed and 
another wounded. Six of the men immediately 
fled to the fort ; but a ranger, by the name of 
Higgins, remained on the field, as he said, "to 
have one more pull at the enemy." He there- 
fore sought a tree, from behind which he could 
shoot with safety. A small elm, scarcely suffi- 
cient to protect his body, was the only one near ; 
but before he could reach it, the Indians had ob- 
served him. One of them now commenced load- 
ing his gun, and Higgins deliberately aiming, 
the foremost savage fell. Having performed 
this feat, he remounted his horse, and turned to 
retreat, when he was hailed by a wounded ran- 
ger from the grass. "Tom, you wont leave 
me?" said Burgess, — for that was the name of 


the fallen man. "Come along," said Higgins ; 
"I can't come," replied Burgess, "my leg is 
smashed to pieces." Higgins immediately dis- 
mounted ; but in attempting to raise his comrade 
on the horse, the animal took fright and ran off, 
leaving then both behind. "This is too bad," 
said Higgins, "but don't fear; move off as well 
as you can, while I stay behind the Indians, and 
keep them off. Get into the tallest grass, and 
crawl as near the ground as possible." Burgess 
did so, and escaped. 

It would have been decidedly safer to have 
followed the same path as Burgess had taken ; 
but thinking that by so doing he would endanger 
his friend, Higgins took a different direction, 
concealing himself behind a thicket. As he 
passed it, he discovered a stout savage near by, 
and two others approaching. He therefore 
started for a small ravine, in order to separate 
and so fight the savages apart, but found one of 
his legs fail him, it having been wounded in the 
first encounter, of which wound, till now, he was 
totally unconscious. The largest Indian pressing 
him closely, Higgins turned round to fire, when 
his pursuer halted and danced about to prevent 
his taking aim. Higgins, perceiving it would be 
unsafe to fire, resolved to halt and let the Indian 
have the first shot. The Indian raised his rifle, 
and Higgins, watching his eye, turned suddenly 
as he pulled the trigger, and received the ball 


in his thigh. He fell, rose again, received the 
fire of others, and again fell, severely wounded. 
The Indians now threw away their guns, and 
rushed forward with their spears and knives. As 
he presented his rifle first at one, and then at 
the other, each fell hack. At last the stout In- 
dian, supposing the gun to he empty, advanced 
"boldly to the charge, when Higgins fired, and 
the savage fell. 

Higgins had now four hullets in his body, an 
empty gun in his hand, two Indians still unharm- 
ed before him, and a large party of their com- 
panions in the ravine a short distance off. Still 
he did not despair ; and when the two remaining 
Indians raised the war-whoop and rushed at 
him, a bloody conflict ensued. They gave him 
numerous flesh wounds, as his scars sufficiently 
testified ; none of them very deep, as their spears 
were only thin poles, hastily prepared for the 
occasion, and bent whenever they struck a rib 
or muscle. At last one of the savages threw his 
tomahawk, which struck Higgins on the cheek, 
severed his ear, laid bare his skull to the back 
of his head, and stretched him upon the prairie. 
Again the Indians rushed at him, but Higgins 
kept them off with his feet. Getting hold of one 
of their spears, the Indian, in attempting to pull 
it from him, raised Higgins up ; when, with one 
blow of his rifle, Higgins dashed out his brains, 
but broke his rifle, the barrel remaining in his 


hand. The other Indian, who had hitherto fought 
with great caution, now came forward manfully, 
uttered his yell, and attempted to stab the ex- 
hausted ranger with his knife, but Higgins warded 
off the blow, and the Indian gradually retreated 
from the glare of his untamed eye, to the spot 
where he had thrown his rifle. Higgins knew 
that if he recovered that, his own case was des- 
perate. Drawing his hunting-knife, he therefore 
rushed upon his foe ; a desperate struggle ensued, 
during which deep gashes were inflicted on both 
sides. Faint and exhausted by the loss of blood, 
the ranger was no longer a match for his adver- 
sary, who succeeded in throwing him off, and 
started in search of his rifle. The main body 
of Indians being now discerned advancing from 
the ravine, the brave ranger at length gave him- 
self up for lost. 

The whole of this unequal contest had been 
seen from the fort. But the little garrison were 
afraid to sally forth to his assistance, as the In- 
dians were ten to one. At this moment, Mrs. 
Pursley, wife to one of the rangers, urged them 
to attempt a rescue ; this they refused. Exas- 
perated at their refusal, she taunted them with 
cowardice, snatched her husband's rifle from his 
hand, and declaring that "so fine a fellow as 
Tom Higgins should not be lost for want of 
help," mounted a horse and rode out. The 
rangers, ashamed of evincing less courage than 


a woman, galloped after her, reached the spot 
where Higgins had fallen and fainted, and before 
the Indians came up, succeeded in bearing their 
wounded companion to the fort. 

For several days his comrades despaired of his 
recovery. In the absence of a regular surgeon 
they extracted two of the balls, and a third, 
which greatly retarded the convalescence of the 
bold forester, Higgins subsequently, with his 
usual hardihood, cut out himself with a razor. 
The remaining bullet he carried with him to his 
grave. Open-hearted, generous, and brave, this 
noble specimen of a borderer finally recovered 
from the terrible effects of this severe conflict, 
and survived to a great age, honoured and re- 
spected by all who knew him. 
' A few months subsequent to this affair, a treaty 
of peace was concluded between Great Britain 
and the United States. The savages, deprived 
of the support of their powerful ally, withdrew 
to their fastnesses, leaving the frontier settle- 
ments once more free from their sanguinary 



Rapid increase of population in Illinois — Illinois admitted into 
the Union as an independent state — Its constitution — Indian 
title to possession gradually extinguished — Land, the origin 
of all the difficulties between the Indians and whites — Early 
life of Black Hawk — His account of the treaty of 1804 — The 
American Government attempts to induce the Indian tribes- 
to live in peace — Some account of the Sioux and Chippewa 
Indians — Attack on the keel-boats by the Indians — Black 
Hawk imprisoned — Treaty of Prairie du Chien — Keokuk — 
Indians notified to leave the country east of the Mississippi 
— Refusal of Black Hawk — Correspondence between Gene- 
ral Gaines and the Secretary of War — The Sac village 
abandoned on the approach of the military — Treaty batween 
Black Hawk and General Gaines. 

After the termination of hostilities with 
England in 1815, Illinois experienced rapid and 
continuous accessions to its population. The 
campaigns of the rangers, and the moirated 
volunteers from neighbouring states served to 
make known the rich delightful lands on the 
waters of the Wabash, the Kaskaskia, and the 
Illinois; and the very men who had traversed' the 
prairies and groves of Illinois in a warlike- ca- 
pacity, now came in the more peaceful character 
of settlers with their wives and families. Between 
1815 and 1818 many families immigrated into the 



southern part of Illinois, principally from Ken- 
tucky, Virginia, and North Carolina. 

In consequence of this large increase of popu- 
lation, Congress, on the 18th of April, 1818, 
passed a law to enable the people of the Illinois 
territory to form a constitution and state govern- 
ment. The preliminary steps for that purpose 
having been taken, the territorial delegates met 
in convention at Kaskaskia in July, and closed 
their labours by signing and adopting the pre- 
sent state constitution, on the 26th of August, 
1818. It was unnecessary to refer this consti- 
tution to the people for their adoption, as they 
were perfectly satisfied with the labours of their 

By the constitution of Illinois the governor is 
elected for four years, and cannot serve two 
terms in succession. He must be thirty years 
of age, and a resident of the state for two years 
preceding his election. The lieutenant-governor 
(who is ex officio president of the Senate) and 
tlie senators are also elected for four years. The 
members of the House of Representatives are 
elected for two years, and the popular elections 
and legislative sessions are held biennially. All 
white males above the age of twenty-one years, 
and who have resided six months within the state, 
are qualified voters. Slavery is prohibited by 
flie constitution. Elections are decided by a 
plurality of votes. The judicial power is vested 

1818.] BOUNDARIES. 183 

in a Supreme Court consisting of nine judges, 
five of whom constitute a quorum. The state is 
divided into nine circuits, each having a resident 
judge and a state's attorney. These circuit 
judges hold the Supreme Court. They are 
elected by the General Assembly, and hold office 
during good behaviour. They also compose a 
council of revision, having the power to disap- 
prove bills passed by the General Assembly, 
subject, however, to further legislative action ; 
whereby a bill rejected by them may, neverthe- 
less, become a law, when re-enacted by a major- 
ity of members elect in both branches. Inferior 
courts are also held by probate judges and jus- 
tices of the peace. The governor receives a 
salary of two thousand dollars per annum ; the 
annual salary of the judges being fixed at fifteen 
hundred dollars. 

The boundaries of the State of Illinois by the 
act of Congress of April 18th, 1818, were fixed 
as follows : — Beginning at the mouth of the 
Wabash River, thence up the same, and with 
the line of Indiana to the north-west corner of 
said state ; thence east, with the line of same 
state, to the middle of Lake Michigan ; thence 
north along the middle of said lake to north lati- 
tude 42° 30' ; thence west to the middle of the 
Mississippi River ; thence down along the middle 
of that river to its confluence with the Ohio river ; 
and thence up the latter river, along its north- 


western shore, to the place of beginning. These 
boundaries were recognised by the Convention at 
Kaskaskia, and have since been regarded by the 
legislature of Illinois as final and conclusive. 
The extreme length of the state of Illinois is 
about three hundred and eighty miles ; its breadth 
varies from one hundred and forty-five to two 
hundred and twenty miles, being widest in the 
centre, and narrowest in the northern and south- 
ern points. Its area is computed at fifty-five 
thousand four hundred square miles, of which 
nearly fifty thousand are believed to be well 
adapted to agricultural purposes. The name of 
the state is derived from that of its great central 
river, the Illinois. The word Illinois is partly 
Indian and partly French, and signifies literally 
the river of men. The Illinois River took its 
name from the Indian tribe which inhabited its 
banks, who called themselves " lenno" or 
"lenni," men. 

From 1818 till the breaking out of the Black 
Hawk war in 1832, little occurred beyond the 
ordinary routine of events in newly-settled coun- 
tries. The most prominent of these were the 
treaties made with the Indians by the United 
States, by which the whole state of Illinois was 
purchased from them, and their title to it gra~ 
dually extinguished. 

In tracing the wars between the Indians and 
white settlers to their sources, we find them in- 

1818.] TREATY OF 1804. 185 

variably originating in the intrusion of the latter 
on the lands of the former. The relation between 
the civilized white settler and the Indian savage 
was at first friendly. The white settler required 
lands for cultivation. These were bought and 
paid for, and every thing went on harmoniously. 
But, as the settlements extended, the forests fell 
and the game retired, and the country, valueless 
to the Indian was by him evacuated. Other 
cessions were made as population increased. The 
Indian saw his danger, and sought to recover the 
lands which he had ceded ; but was met on the 
threshold, and driven back deeper into the wil- 
derness. In this manner the Indian wars origi- 
nated. The conspiracy of Pontiac, the hostilities 
of Little Turtle, the battles with Tecumseh, and 
the war with Black Hawk, all originated in con- 
troversies about land. 

Black Hawk was born at Rock River in Illi- 
nois about the year 1767. At the age of fifteen 
he was admitted to the rank of "a brave," be- 
cause he had taken the scalp of an enemy. Soon 
after he joined a war-party against the Osages, and, 
becoming distinguished for his valour, frequently 
led war-parties against the enemies of his tribe, 
and in almost every instance was victorious. 

In 1804 a treaty was negotiated at St. Louis 
by Governor Harrison with the chiefs of the. 
united nation of the Sacs and Foxes, for their 
claim to the immense tract of country lying be-* 



tween the Illinois and Mississippi livers. The con- 
sideration given was the protection of the United 
States, and goods delivered of a value exceeding 
two thousand dollars, and a perpetual annuity 
of one thousand six hundred to the Sacs, and 
four hundred to the Foxes. An article in the 
treaty provided, that as long as the United 
States remained the owner of the land, "the 
Indians belonging to the said tribes shall enjoy 
the privilege of living and hunting" on the land. 
After the formation of Illinois into an independ- 
ent state in 1818, this territory became sur- 
rounded by the dwellings of white settlers, and 
to hasten the departure of the Sacs and Foxes, 
outrages were committed on their persons and 

The treaty of 1804 was violated by the Sacs 
of Rock River when they joined the British in 
the war of 1812 ; the other portion of the tribe 
remained peaceable throughout the war, and re- 
confirmed the treaty of 1804 at Portage des 
Sioux, September 13th, 1815. The hostile war- 
riors subsequently professed repentance for their 
misdeeds, obtained forgiveness, and at St. Louis, 
on the 13th of May, 1816, renewed the treaty 
of 1804. A small party, however, led by Black 
Hawk, refused to attend these negotiations, and 
indignantly protested against the treaty of 1804. 

Concerning this treaty, Black Hawk says : — 
"One of our people killed an American, and was 


confined in the prison of St. Louis for the offence. 
We held a council at our village to see what 
could be done for him — which determined that 
Quash-qua-me, Pa-she-pa-ho, Ou-che-qua-ha, and 
Ha-she-quar-hi-qua should go down to St. Louis, 
and see our American father, and do all they 
could to have our friend released, by paying for 
the person killed; thus covering the blood, and 
satisfying the relations of the man murdered. 
This being the only means with us of saving a 
person who had killed another, and we then 
thought it was the same way with the whites. 

" The party started with the good wishes of 
the whole nation, hoping they would accomplish 
the object of their mission. The relations of the 
prisoner blacked their faces and fasted, hoping 
the Great Spirit would take pity on them, and 
return the husband and the father to his wife and 

" Quash-qua-me and his party remained a long 
time absent. They at. length returned and en- 
camped a short distance below the village, but 
did not come up that day, nor did any person 
approach their camp. They appeared to be 
dressed in fine coats and had medals. From 
these circumstances we were in hopes that they 
had brought us good news. Early next morning 
the council-lodge was crowded. Quash-qua-me 
and party came up, and gave us the following 
account of their mission. 


"On their arrival at St. Louis, they met 
their American father, explained to him their 
business, and urged the release of their friend. 
The American chief told them he wanted land, 
and they agreed to give him some on the west 
side of the Mississippi, and some on the Illinois 
side opposite the Jefferson. When the business 
was all arranged, they expected to have their 
friend released to come home with them. But 
about the time they were ready to start, their 
friend was led out of prison, ran a short distance, 
and was shot dead. This is all they could re- 
collect of what was said and done. They had 
been drunk the greater part of the time they 
were in St. Louis. 

" This is all myself or nation know of the 
treaty of 1804. It has been explained to me 
since. I find by that treaty, all our country 
east of the Mississippi and south of the Jefferson, 
was ceded to the United States for one thousand 
dollars a year. I will it to the people of 
the United States to say, whether our nation 
was properly represented in this treaty; or 
whether we received a fair compensation for the 
extent of country ceded by these four individuals. 
I could say much more about this treaty, but I 
will not at this time. It has been the origin of 
all our difficulties." 

It appears, however, that the treaty of 1804 
was signed not only by the four chiefs Black 


Hawk mentions, but by Layowvois, or Laiyuva, 
another chief, and representative of the tribe ; 
and Pa-she-pa-ho, who was at that time the great 
head chief of the Sac nation. The United States 
commissioner, therefore, had a right to suppose, 
and unquestionably did suppose, that the chiefs 
who signed the treaty had full power and author- 
ity to do so, and subsequent events proved that 
he was not mistaken. This treaty, instead of 
being disavowed by the Sacs and Foxes, was. re- 
cognised by them as binding, and the annuities 
therein mentioned were paid to and received by 
them. Black Hawk himself was never consi- 
dered as a chief by the Sacs and Foxes ; he was 
regarded only as a brave, who had gathered 
around him a number of adherents who were 
dissatisfied with the treaty of 1804 and subse- 
quent cessions. 

On the 19th of August, 1825, William Clarke 
and Lewis Cass, commissioners on behalf of the 
United States, held a treaty at Prairie du Chien 
with the Sacs, Foxes, Winnebagoes, Chippewas, 
Sioux, and other north-western tribes, for the 
purpose of composing the disputes between these 
several tribes. 

The Sioux and Chippewas, whose respective 
numbers may be estimated at twenty-five thou- 
sand souls, had been engaged from time imme- 
morial in cruel and exterminating wars against 
each other. By this treaty at Prairie du Chien, 


the American government attempted to restore 
pacific relations, by the establishment of a per- 
manent boundary between them. They agreed 
on territorial limits marked by the prominent 
natural features of the country, the falls of the 
Chippewa River, the standing cedars below the 
falls of St. Croix, the Sauk Rapids of Mississippi, 
&c. This, however, did not prevent them from 
invading each other's territory and recommencing 
hostilities. In 1837, the land contiguous to 
their international boundary was purchased by 
the United States, and the tribes removed to a 
greater distance from each other. But, notwith- 
standing the increase of distance between them, 
their hereditary animosity still provoked them 
to continue a predatory warfare upon each other. 
The mediation on the part of the United States 
government consequently proved a signal failure, 
and collisions not unfrequently took place, even 
in the vicinity of the American outposts. In 
1827, a party of twenty-four Chippewas, on a 
visit to Fort Snelling, were attacked by a band 
of Sioux, and eight out of their number killed. 
The commander of Fort Snelling caused four of 
the Sioux to be delivered to the Chippewas, by 
whom they w T ere shot. Red Bird, a Sioux chief, 
resenting the affront, led a war-party against 
the Chippewas, and was defeated. Returning 
home, he was derided by his nation as being "no 
brave." This led him to plan an attack on the 


■whites who had aided the Chippewas in their 
hostility ; and, on the 24th of July, 1827, two 
Americans in the vicinity of Prairie du Chien 
were killed and another •wounded. About the 
same time, two keel-boats, conveying military 
stores to Fort Snelling, were attacked by hostile 
Sioux, Winnebagoes, and Sacs, two of the crew 
being killed and four wounded. Black Hawk 
was charged, among others, with this last offence. 

To punish these outrages, General Atkinson 
marched a detachment of troops into the Win- 
nebago country, captured Red Bird, Black Hawk, 
and six others, and committed them to prison 
for trial at Prairie du Chien. A part of those 
arrested were acquitted, but three or four were 
convicted. Red Bird died in prison. Black 
Hawk was kept confined for more than a year 
before he could be brought to trial ; and impri- 
sonment was to him more insufferable than any 
punishment that could have been inflicted. Such 
a delay of justice exceeded his comprehension. 
He could not understand why, if he was guilty, 
he w r as not punished immediately ; and why, if 
innocent, he was not acquitted. He was at last 
brought to trial, and discharged for want of proof, 
though there was but little doubt of his guilt. 

Soon after this, Black Hawk, although pos- 
sessing neither the talent nor influence of Te- 
cumseh, attempted to form a confederation 
among the Indian tribes, by uniting all the 


border nations from Mexico to the Rock River 
in a war against the United States. In his 
memoirs of himself, he says: — "Runners were 
sent to the Arkansas, «Red River, and Texas 
— not on the subject of our lands, but on 
a secret mission, which I am not permitted at 
present to explain." In this scheme, however, 
he was wholly unsuccessful. In his subsequent 
contest with the United States he had no allies. 
He once expected aid from the Pottawatomies, 
the "Wmnebagoes, the Kickapoos, and even from 
the English. But, when the time came, they 
evaded their promises, and left him to bear the 
shock of war alone, with that portion only of his 
tribe which adhered to him. 

By the terms of the treaty of 1804, the Sacs 
and Foxes were permitted to reside and hunt on 
the lands they had parted with so long as those 
lands remained the property of the United States ; 
but by the treaty of 1830, the Sacs and Foxes 
ceded all their country east of the Mississippi to 
the United States, and promised to remove from 
Illinois to the country west of the Mississippi. 
The Sioux, Iowas, and several other tribes, par- 
ticipated in the sale ; but Black Hawk had no- 
thing to do with it, Keokuk being the head chief 
of the Sac nation. When Black Hawk heard of 
it, he was greatly excited, and denounced Keo- 
kuk as a friend of the whites, and as having sold 
his country for nothing. 


Black Hawk now organized a party in opposi- 
tion to Keokuk, and soon collected five hundred 
followers, well provided with horses and arms. 
The United States having notified the Indians to 
leave the country east of the Mississippi, Keo- 
kuk made known the proclamation to the Sacs 
and Foxes, who, with their regular chiefs, peace- 
ably retired. But Black Hawk and his party 
would not go. The Sac village was on the point 
of land formed by the Rock River and the Mis- 
sissippi. Here were about seven hundred acres, 
which had usually been planted with corn. This 
little peninsula had been a favourite dwelling- 
place of the tribe for one hundred and fifty 
years ; and when the indignant Black Hawk first 
learned that it had been ceded to the Americans, 
he reproached Keokuk, and finally obtained his 
promise to attempt its retrocession. 

Relying on this promise, Black Hawk and his 
adherents set out in the fall of 1830 on their 
usual winter's hunt ; but on returning early in 
the spring, they found the whites in possession 
of their village, and their own wives and children, 
on the banks of the Mississippi, without a shelter. 
Their resolution was instantly taken. They 
quietly settled down in their ancient territory, 
and resumed the occupation of their lands. The 
whites, becoming alarmed, averted the danger for 
a season by offering to share the land with the 
Indians. They, however, took care to appro- 



priate the best ground to themselves. But to this 
Black Hawk and his followers submitted; and 
also bore, with a greater or less degree of patience, 
various insults and injuries, being determined, 
if possible, not to be the first aggressors. 

The lands they occupied being soon after sold 
to private adventurers, the Indians were ordered 
off ; but Black Hawk and his party refused to 
move. On the 28th of May, 1831, Governor 
Reynolds wrote to General Gaines for military 
assistance, his object being, as he said, to pro- 
tect the Americans by removing the Indians 
"peaceably, if they could; forcibly, if they 
must." Gen. Gaines at once proceeded to the 
disputed territory, where, on the 7th of June, he 
was met by Black Hawk, who told him he would 
not remove. This resolute refusal, joined to sub- 
sequent information, induced Gen. Gaines to 
address the following letter to the Secretary of 
War, under date of the 20th of June, 1831 : — 

"I have visited the Rock River villages, to 
ascertain the localities and dispositions of the 
Indians. They are resolved to abstain from hos- 
tilities, except in their own defence. Few of 
their warriors were to be seen. Their women, 
children, and old men appeared to be anxious, 
but none attempted to run off. I am resolved 
to abstain from firing a shot without some blood- 
shed, or some manifest attempt to shed blood on 
the part of the Indians. I have already induced 


nearly one-third of them to cross the Mississippi. 
The residue say they will not cross; and their 
women urge their husbands to fight rather than 
abandon their homes." 

On the 25th of June the Illinois militia ar- 
rived, and the Indians fled across the Mississippi, 
the army taking possession of the Sac village 
without firing a gun. Black Hawk, alarmed at 
this state of things, raised a white flag, to indi- 
cate his wish for a parley. A conference ensued, 
and a treaty was made, in which Gen. Gaines 
promised to supply the Indians with corn as an 
equivalent for that which they were compelled 
to abandon, provided they would observe the 
conditions of the treaty, and neither settle nor 
hunt on the lands east of the Mississippi. The 
supply, however, proving insufficient, the poor 
houseless savages began to feel the effects of 
hunger. In this state of things, they went 
over the river to steal corn from their own land ; 
and a new series of troubles commenced. 



Black Hawk and his men recross the Mississippi — Defeat of 
Major Stillman and his party — Conduct of Captain Adams 
■ — The bodies of the Americans killed in the battle shame- 
fully mutilated by the savages — The massacre at Indian 
Creek — Major Demont's skirmish with Black Hawk — De- 
feat of Black Hawk by General Hervey — General Atkinson 
defeats him at the Mississippi — Capture and speech of 
Black Hawk — Treaty with the Indians — Progress of Black 
Hawk through the United States — Restored to his native 

In the spring of 1832, notwithstanding the 
admonitions of General Atkinson, "who com- 
manded at Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, 
Black Hawk and his adherents recrossed the 
Mississippi, and commenced their march up the 
Rock River. The regulars and militia were im- 
mediately mustered, and ordered in pursuit. 
Among the troops was a party of volunteers, 
commanded by Major Stillman, who were per- 
mitted, at their own solicitation, to make a tour 
of observation up the river as far as the " Old 
Man's Creek," about fifteen miles north of the 
American encampment. When they arrived at 
the spot, instead of returning as they were 
directed to do, they continued their march some 
twelve or fifteen miles beyond, to a small 


stream called Sycamore, where, on the 14th of 
May, 1832, a little before sundown, they dis- 
mounted, and made preparations to encamp for 
the night. Their encampment was judiciously 
selected in a beautiful oak grove, destitute of 
any undergrowth, on the ndrth side of the 
stream. While they were thus engaged, a small 
party of Indians were discovered, five only in 
number, on an elevated portion of the prairie. 
Black Hawk says that they bore a white flag, 
and were sent by him to invite the Americans in 
a friendly way to his camp; this, however, is de- 
nied by Major Stillman. It is possible that 
Black Hawk may have been correct; and that 
the Americans, excited by the prospect of an 
Indian fight, did not perceive the flag. Those 
whose horses were unsaddled immediately re- 
mounted, and, without awaiting orders, gave 
chase. Others followed, until about three- 
fourths of the detachment were actively engaged 
in the pursuit. Three of the five Indians hav- 
ing been taken, the pursuit of the remaining 
two was continued to the edge of the forest, 
when Black Hawk and his men, with a terrific 
war-whoop, rushed upon the assailants. They 
were immediately filled with consternation, faced 
about, and fled. Major Stillman ordered them 
to retreat across fhe marsh to a more elevated 
position on the prairie, and there make a stand. 
But they continued their flight without stopping, 



until they reached the American encampment, 
thirty miles from the scene of action. In pass- 
ing through their own encampment, they com- 
municated their panic to those they left behind, 
all of whom, seeing their comrades at full speed, 
with savages at their heels, mounted their horses 
as quickly as possible, some without bridles, 
others without saddles, and many without either, 
leaving tents, camp equipage, baggage-wagons, 
provisions, and ammunition to whoever might 
claim them, and joined their companions in their 
flight. The place where this shameful rout 
occurred was near a little creek, since called 
"Stillman's Run," not from the rapidity of the 
current, but in commemoration of so disgraceful 
a flight. 

To their honour be it said, there were some 
brave men in Major Stillman's detachment. Cap- 
tain Adams endeavoured to rally his command, 
and twelve or fifteen obeyed his call; with these 
he made a brave and gallant stand, until the 
whole of the detachment had passed him. He 
then retreated, but was pursued by a party of 
savages for about five miles, when he and two 
of his brave companions were killed. His body 
was found the next day, pierced by an Indian 
spear, which had been hacked all over, evidently 
with a sword, and by his side was laid an In- 
dian whom he had apparently encountered and 


Some of the fugitives reached the American 
encampment about twelve o'clock at night, and 
from that time till morning they continued to 
arrive in small parties of three, four, and five, 
and not unfrequently alone, each reporting that 
the Indians, in great force, were in close pur- 
suit. Preparations to receive them were imme- 
diately made; the soldiers were drawn up in 
order of battle, and kept ready for action until 
morning. But no enemy appeared. The roll 
of Major Stillman's command was then called, 
and one-fourth of their number being reported 
missing, it was supposed they had fallen by 
the hands of the savages. The whole of the 
detachment, however, presently returned, except 
twelve, of whom eleven were found, and buried 
the next day. 

The main body of the American troops were 
now ordered to march for the battle-ground. 
They found the slain scattered over the prairie, 
most shamefully mutilated. The ghastly remains 
were gathered up, .and reverently interred in one 
common grave. The army then encamped for 
the night, under arms, expecting every moment 
an attack. The morning dawned, however, with- 
out any alarm from the enemy, and scouting 
parties, sent out in all directions, failed to dis- 
cover any trace of them. 

The surprise of the detachment at Stillman s 
Run created indignation and uneasiness through- 

200 . HISTORY OF ILLINOIS. [1832. 

out the whole country, and Governor Reynolds, 
the next day, issued orders for three thousand 
Illinois militia to rendezvous at Hennepin by 
the 10th of June, "to subdue the Indians, and 
drive them out of the state." In the mean 
time, Black Hawk retired to the neighbourhood 
of the four lakes in Wisconsin, the head-waters 
of Rock River, whither he was followed soon 
after by the American army, largely reinforced. 

War having now fairly commenced, it was not 
long before exposed settlements were attacked 
by wandering bands of hostile Indians, and their 
inhabitants murdered; not, however, without 
various skirmishes taking place between the 
Indians and parties of armed volunteers, who 
scoured the country in every direction. The 
most sanguinary incursion was that against the 
settlement at Indian Creek, in La Salle county, 
in which fifteen whites were massacred. 

The account given by two young girls, who 
were made prisoners, relates, that on the 21st 
of May, 1832, at about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, a large party of Indians, about twenty in 
number, were seen crossing the fence, a short 
distance from the house of Mr. William Davis ; 
the families of Mr. Hall and Mr. Pettigrew be- 
ing also in the house at the time. As the In- 
dians approached, Mr. Pettigrew attempted to 
close the door, but was shot down in the act. 
The savages then rushed in, and massacred 


every one present except the two Misses Hall. 
They were sitting at the door, sewing, when the 
Indians entered. They immediately got on the 
bed, and stood there during the massacre. 
Their confusion and terror, created by the 
shrieks of the dying, and the firing of guns in 
the house, was so great, that they retained no 
recollection of the manner in which their friends 
were murdered. The time occupied in this 
butchery was but brief, and as soon as it. was 
accomplished, they were dragged from the 
house, and hurried rapidly off, on foot, in a 
northern direction, for about two miles, until 
they came to a place where the Indians had left 
their horses before making the attack. The 
youthful prisoners were placed, without con- 
straint, upon two of the poorest horses, each of 
which was led by an Indian, and escorted by 
about thirty warriors. The whole party con- 
tinued travelling till midnight, and after resting 
for two hours, the march was resumed, and kept 
up during the remainder of the night, and until 
noon of the next day. The Indians then halted, 
and having boiled some beans, and roasted some 
acorns, desired the captives to eat, which they 
did, to avoid giving offence. After the meal, 
the Indians busied themselves in dressing the 
scalps they had taken. Among them the 
elder Miss Hall recognised, by the colour of the 
hair, that of her own mother, and fainted at the 


sight. Having refreshed themselves, and re- 
cruited their horses, the Indians continued their 
journey, but more leisurely, until they reached 
the Sac camp, which was on the bank of a small 
creek, surrounded by low marshy ground, scat- 
tered over with small burr oak trees. 

The captives were assisted from their horses 
by squaws, who conducted them to the camp, 
and placed before them some parched corn, meal, 
and maple-sugar, mixed. Having partaken of 
this fare, though more through fear than hunger, 
they were then invited to lie down and take 
some rest, which they did, enjoying a confused 
and disordered kind of slumber, till after sun- 
rise. Their fears of massacre and torture now 
abating, they broke their fast with boiled beans 
and sugar, of which they ate sparingly, having 
as yet no appetite for food, although nearly ex- 
hausted. About ten o'clock the Sacs decamped, 
and moved about five miles across the creek, 
halting again in an elevated clump of woods 
near another creek. They arrived at this new 
encampment a little before sundown. Here a 
white pole was erected, and the scalps being 
hung on it as trophies, the warriors commenced 
a dance, to the music of a drum and the rattle 
of gourds. This dance, in which the Misses 
Hall were invited to join, but refused, was 
repeated daily while they continued with their 
captors. The latter then came to the lodge to 


which their captives were restricted, and after 
parading them through the camp, made them lie 
down while their faces were being painted red 
and black. The warriors then danced round 
them with war-clubs, tomahawks, and spears. 
In the evening, they were presented with a sup- 
per, consisting of coffee, fried cakes, boiled corn, 
and fried venison with fried leeks, of which they 
ate more freely than before. 

These young girls continued with the Indians 
four days, during which time they fared in a 
similar manner. The two squaws who had them 
in charge were the wives of Black Hawk, who 
treated the captives as their adopted children. 
On being delivered to these squaws, they were 
separated, but permitted to see each other every 
day, and remain together about two hours. They 
were kindly treated, but narrowly watched, so 
as to prevent their escape, and their fare was 
generally better than that of others in the same 

On the fifth day after their arrival at the Sac 
camp, the captives were ordered to go with some 
Winnebago chiefs, who had come for them, the 
latter endeavouring to make them understand 
that they were commissioned to conduct them to 
their own people. They departed in charge of 
their new protectors the same evening, and after 
travelling for about fifteen miles, reached the 
Winnebago encampment. It was more comfort- 


able than the one they had so lately left, and 
they slept sounder and better. Early the next 
morning they were taken up the river in canoes. 
The Indians continued their course until near 
sundown, when they landed, and encamped on 
the bank of the river. They were in number 
about one hundred warriors. The next day the 
captives were asked if they thought the whites 
would hang the Indians who should venture to 
take them to the fort, and whether any ransom 
might be expected. Having received assurances 
of good treatment and a reward, about twenty 
Winnebago warriors, well mounted, crossed the 
river, and conducted the captives toward a fort 
in Wisconsin Territory. When about three miles 
from the fort, the cavalcade was halted: and a 
white handkerchief, belonging to one of the 
young girls, being tied to a pole, three Indians, 
accompanied by the prisoners, proceeded to the 
fort. About a quarter of a mile from the fort, 
the advance party was met by a Frenchman, 
who, after a short conversation, took charge of 
the captives, and led them to the fort, where 
they were most kindly received by the ladies of 
the garrison. 

/ The next day, attired in a costume more ap- 
propriate than that they had previously worn, 
they took leave of their generous friends, and 
started for Galena. On reaching a little fort at 
White Oak Springs, they met their eldest bro- 


ther, who, together with a younger one, was at 
at work in a neighbouring field when the massa- 
cre commenced, but gained by a timely flight the 
protection of the fort. During the further pro- 
gress of their journey these orphan girls attract- 
ed an unusual degree of public and private 
sympathy. Governor Clarke extended to them a 
liberal hospitality; and finally, in the house of 
the Rev. Mr. Horn, they found the comforts of a 

On the 20th of June the Illinois militia, called 
out by Governor Clarke, assembled at the mouth 
of the Little Vermilion, and were organized 
into three brigades, of about one thousand men 
each, under the command of Generals Henry, 
Alexander, and Porey. These forces presently 
marched to Rock River, where they joined the 
United States troops under General Atkinson. 

On the 24th of June, 1832, Major Demont, 
with about one hundred and fifty Illinois militia, 
were attacked by two hundred warriors, led by 
Black Hawk in person. The battle was vigor- 
ously contested, several being killed on both 
sides. Major Demont, though finally compelled 
to retreat, was justly praised for his gallantry. 
Repossessing himself of the block-house he had 
quitted in the morning, he was soon after be- 
sieged by the Indians, who made several attempts 
to take the place, but without success. 

As it was understood that Black Hawk had 



located himself near the head-waters of Rock 
River, the army continued moving up that 
stream. Provisions being scarce, and difficult of 
carriage in such a country, Generals Henry and 
Alexander were despatched with about one hun- 
dred and sixty men, and a battalion commanded 
by Major Dodge, to procure supplies at Fort 
Winnebago. On arriving at the fort, General 
Henry was informed that Black Hawk and his 
entire force were encamped in the vicinity of the 
White Water, about thirty miles distant. A 
council of war was immediately called, at which 
it was decided to commence a pursuit. Accord- 
ingly, General Henry, by forced marches of four 
days' continuance, on the 21st of July, 1832, 
overtook the enemy a little before sundown, se- 
creted in a low ravine near the Wisconsin. An 
attack on the second battalion, forming the ad- 
vance, afforded the first evidence of the neigh- 
bourhood of savages. This battalion, command- 
ed by Major Ewing, maintained its position until 
reinforced by the main body under Henry and 
Dodge, when the whole army was formed into a 
hollow square, open to the rear. After two un- 
successful attempts had been made on their right 
and left flanks by the Indians, the whole line 
was ordered to charge, and the savages were 
driven completely from the field. Night coming 
on the pursuit ceased, and the army encamped. 
The next morning sixty-two of the enemy were 


found dead in the ravine. The loss of the Ame- 
ricans was one killed and eight wounded. 

Before this action, General Henry had sent 
expresses to General Atkinson, giving an account 
of his movements ; and on the 28th of July he 
was joined hy the latter, with the remaining di- 
vision, at the Blue Mounds. The American 
troops now crossed the Wisconsin in pursuit of 
Black Hawk, who was retiring toward the Mis- 
sissippi. Discovering the trail on the 29th, 
they advanced through a difficult and mountain- 
ous region till the morning of the 2d of August, 
when Black Hawk and his entire force were 
overtaken on the the left bank of the Missis- 
sippi, nearly opposite the mouth of the Iowa. The 
battle which followed, from the superior numbers 
of the Americans, was not for a moment doubt- 
ful. The Indians were speedily defeated, and 
dispersed, with a loss of about one hundred and 
fifty in killed, and thirty-nine women and child- 
ren taken prisoners. 

It is much to be regretted that very little dis- 
crimination appears to have been made in the 
slaughter, and that the dead were of both sexes, 
and, sadder still, of all ages. 

Some of the women, who sought refuge in the 
Mississippi, were shot down by the soldiers. A 
Sac woman, by the name of Nawase, the sister 
of a distinguished chief, succeeded in reaching 
the river after having been in the very thickest 


of the fight. Wrapping her infant in her blanket, 
and holding it between her teeth, she plunged 
into the water ; and by the aid of a horse, whose 
rider was swimming to the opposite shore, was 
carried safely across the stream. 

Black Hawk himself fled. His power being 
entirely broken, he was now an exile in the land 
of his fathers. Although he escaped, yet he took 
nothing with him. Even the certificate of good 
character, and of his having fought bravely 
against the Americans in the war of 1812, signed 
by a British officer, it is said, was picked up 
afterward on the field. He was finally taken 
prisoner by the Winnebago Indians, on the 27th 
of August, 1832, and by them delivered to the 
officers of the United States. 

On this occasion he said: — "My warriors fell 
around me ; it began to look dismal. I saw my 
evil day at hand. The sun rose clear on us in 
the morning, and at night it sunk in a dark 
cloud, and looked like a ball of fire. This was 
the last sun that shone on Black Hawk. He is 
now a prisoner to the white man ; but he can 
stand the torture. He is not afraid of death. 
He is no coward. Black Hawk is an Indian ; 
he has done nothing of which an Indian need to 
be ashamed. He has fought the battles of his 
country against the white men, who came, year 
after year, to cheat them, and take away their 
lands. You know the cause of our making war 


— it is known to all white men — they ought to 
be ashamed of it. The white men despise the 
Indians, and drive them from their homes. But 
the Indians are not deceitful. The white men 
speak bad of the Indian, and look at him spite- 
fully. But the Indian does not tell lies ; Indians 
do not steal. Black Hawk is satisfied. He will 
go to the world of spirits contented. He has 
done his duty — his Father will meet him and re- 
ward him. The white men do not scalp the 
head, but they do worse — they poison the heart ; 
it is not pure with them. His countrymen will 
not be scalped, but they will in a few years be- 
come like the white men, so that you cannot 
hurt them ; and there must be, as in the white 
settlements, nearly as many officers as men, to 
take care of them, and keep them in order. 
Farewell to my nation ! Farewell to Black 
Hawk !" 

It will not excite surprise that the author of 
such a speech should have been caressed on his 
tour through the Atlantic states. He who be- 
lieves his country oppressed, and bravely defends 
it both by word and deed, will excite admira- 
tion notwithstanding he may be but a savage. 
x\t the close of the Indian war, in September, 
1832, the United States made treaties with the 
Winnebagoes, and with the Sacs and Foxes, by 
which the former ceded four millions, and the 
latter twenty-six millions of acres to the Ame- 



rican government. An annuity of twenty 
thousand dollars was paid for these lands. Keo- 
kuk and his party were awarded a reservation 
of forty miles square, including their principal 
village, in consideration of their fidelity. 

On the 9th of September the captive Indians, 
including Black Hawk, were conveyed on board 
the steamboat Winnebago to Jefferson Barracks, 
ten miles below St. Louis ; and on the 22d of 
April, 1833, after making a tour of the states, 
they arrived at Washington. Here they were 
introduced to the president, whom Black Hawk 
addressed. At the close of his speech he thus 
apologizes for taking up the hatchet : — 

"We did not expect to conquer the whites — 
they had too many houses, too many men. I 
took up the hatchet, for my part, to revenge in- 
juries which my people could no longer endure. 
Had I borne them longer without striking, my 
people would have said, < Black Hawk is a wo- 
man — he is too old to be a chief — he is no Sac' 
These reflections caused me to raise the war- 
whoop. I say no more of it ; it is known to 
you. Keokuk once was here — you took him by 
the hand, and when he wished to return to his 
home you were willing. Black Hawk expects 
that, like Keokuk, we shall be permitted to re- 
turn too." 

On the 26th of April the captive chiefs were 
taken to Fort Monroe, situated on the Chesa- 


peake Bay. Here they remained till the 4th of 
June, 1833, when they were set at liberty, and 
allowed to return to their own country. Black 
Hawk became ardently attached to the command- 
ant at Fort Monroe ; and on taking leave of him 
said, " The memory of your friendship will re- 
main till the Great Spirit says it is time for 
Black Hawk to sing his death-song." He then 
presented him with some feathers of the white 
eagle and a hunting-dress, saying: — "Accept 
these, my brother : I have given one like them to 
the White Otter ; accept it as a memorial of 
Black Hawk. When he is far away, this will 
serve to remind you of him. May the Great 
Spirit bless you and your children. Farewell." 
Black Hawk, although a brave and fearless 
man, was greatly inferior in talent to Tecumseh 
or Little Turtle. He fought bravely and some- 
times victoriously, but he did not show any very 
remarkable talents as a leader. That he was 
injured cannot be denied; and that he displayed 
the white flag, and gave notice of his willingness 
to surrender, with his little band of warriors, on 
several occasions, and was met and answered by 
the rifle, is also true. Much of the blood shed 
in this war was the result of a too great precipi- 
tancy on the part of the whites, who, confident in 
their superior numbers, were eager to do battle 
with the Indians. Black Hawk was conscious 
of his weakness, and from the commencement of 


the contest had nothing to gain and every thing 
to lose by hazarding hostilities with the Ameri- 
cans. But his haughty spirit spurned the insults 
with which he had been met. He fought bravely 
against superior numbers, and without allies, al- 
though he once expected them. The other In- 
dian tribes having shunned the unequal contest, 
he was left dependent on his own resources. 
" Farewell !" said he afterward to his nation. 
" Black Hawk tried to serve you and to avenge 
your wrongs. He drank the blood of some of 
the whites. His plans, however, are stopped ; he 
can do nothing further. He is near his end. His 
sun is setting, and he will rise no more. Fare- 
well to Black Hawk!" 

1840.] LATTER-DAY SAINTS. 213 


The Mormons, or « Latter-Day Saints," settle in Illinois and 
build the city of Nauvoo — Biography of Joseph Smith, the 
founder of the Mormon sect — His discovery of the golden 
plates — Persecuted by his neighbours — Translates the golden 
plates — Description of the " Book of Mormon" — The Spauld- 
ing manuscript — First settlement of Mormons at Kirtland in 
Ohio — The Mormons driven from Ohio and Missouri — The 
city of Nauvoo built by the Mormons — The Nauvoo Legion 
incorporated — Attack on the Nauvoo Expositor — Joseph and 
Hyrum Smith arrested and lodged in Carthage jail — The 
citizens of Carthage attack and kill the prisoners — The 
Mormons exhorted to peace and submission by their leaders 
— The Mormons settle in the valley of the Great Salt Lake 
— The present prosperous condition of the Mormons ac- 
counted for. 

In April, 1840, the "Latter-Day Saints," or 
Mormons, came in large numbers to Illinois, and 
purchased a tract of land on the east bank of 
the Mississippi, at a point formerly known by 
the name of Commerce. Here they commenced 
building a city which they called Nauvoo, a He- 
brew word, signifying, according to Mormon 
interpretation, "peaceable," or "pleasant." Na- 
ture has not formed along the "Great River," a 
more picturesque or eligible site for a large city. 
The succession of terraces ascending from the 
river until the high land is reached, furnish a 
gradual slope of remarkable beauty ; noble groves 


of tall oaks, interspersed by winding vistas, clothe 
the ground to the summit ridge, from whence an 
immense undulating prairie is visible. No shrub- 
bery or undergrowth obstructs the view of the 
open forest. Near the river, on the right, was 
the beautiful residence of Dr. Isaac Galland, 
where art had combined with nature to form one 
of the most delightful of country seats. On this 
fine tract of land, in 1834, he laid off the town 
of Commerce. In an evil hour he sold it to the 
Mormons, who, having been driven from Mis- 
souri, sought refuge here with "their little ones 
and their cattle." 

The origin, rapid development, and prosperity 
of this religious sect, is one of the most re- 
markable and instructive historical events of the 
present century. That an obscure individual, 
without money,education, or respectability, should 
persuade hundreds of thousands of people to be- 
lieve him inspired of God, and cause a book, con- 
temptible as a literary production, to be re- 
ceived as a continuation of the sacred revela- 
tions, appears almost incredible. Yet, in twenty 
years, the disciples of this obscure individual 
have increased to six hundred thousand, have 
founded a State in the distant wilderness, and 
have compelled the government of the United 
States, practically, to recognise them as an in- 
dependent people, with the right of self-govern- 
ment. The emissaries of this religious sect are 

1840.] THE MORMONS. 215 

even now successfully preaching its doctrines, 
not only in pagan countries, but among the most 
enlightened nations of Europe ; and converts are 
flocking to the Mormon settlement, in the valley 
of the Great Salt Lake, from all parts of the 
earth. These are facts worthy the researches 
of the philosopher, the consideration of states- 
men, and the pen of the historian. As much of 
the early history of the Mormons is connected 
with their movements in Illinois, an account of 
the origin and progress of this singular sect may 
he very properly introduced here, and cannot 
fail to interest the reader. 

The founder of Mormonism was Joseph Smith, 
a native of Vermont, who emigrated, when quite 
young, with his father's family, to Western 
New York, and lived for a time in the vicinity 
of Rochester. Like all the rest of his family, 
the future prophet was idle, superstitious, illite- 
rate, and of doubtful reputation. 

About 1827, young Smith pretended, that 
under the direction of an angel, he had discover- 
ed some curious golden or brass plates, like the 
leaves of a book, hidden in a box, which was 
buried in the side of a hill, in the neighbourhood 
of Palmyra, in the state of New York. These 
plates he asserted were about seven inches in 
width by eight in length, not quite so thick as 
common tin, and were covered with Egyptian 
characters or letters, beautifully engraved. These 


plates were fastened together at one edge, like 
the leaves of a book, by means of three rings run- 
ning through the whole. The volume, he said, 
was about six inches in thickness, and exhibited 
many marks of antiquity in its construction as 
well as much skill in the art of engraving. In 
the same box he claimed to have found two 
transparent stones, which he called Urim and 
Thummim, set in two rims of a bow ; by looking 
through which, he became miraculously qualified 
to read and even translate the contents of the 
plates into his vernacular, from the "Reformed 
Egyptian language." 

The news of these discoveries spreading 
through the country, the inhabitants of the 
vicinity began to annoy the charlatan by their 
ridicule. In giving an account of this persecu- 
tion, Smith complained that his neighbours 
sought to capture the "gold plates," to prevent 
which, he concealed them in a barrel of beans. 
He at length concluded to leave the place and 
go to Pennsylvania. On his reaching the resi- 
dence of his father-in-law, in the northern part 
of the latter state, near the Susquehanna River, 
he commenced translating the plates, and writing 
what has since been known as the " Book of 
Mormon," or the Mormon Bible. Being an in- 
different scribe, he was under the necessity of 
employing an amanuensis, who wrote from his 

1840.] THE MORMONS. 217 

After the translation was completed, Smith 
succeeded in inducing Oliver Cowdery, Daniel 
Whitman, and Martin Harris, to bear testimony 
" unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peo- 
ples," that they "had seen the plates and the 
engravings thereon;" and that these plates had 
been shown them "by the power of God, and not 
of man." Eight other witnesses, to wit, Chris- 
tian Whitman, Jacob Whitman, Peter Whitman 
Jr., John Whitman, Heman Page, Joseph Smith 
Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith, cer- 
tify that "Joseph Smith, the translator of this 
work, has shown them the plates herein spoken 
of, which have the appearance of gold : and as 
many of the leaves which the said Smith has 
translated, we did handle with our hands ; and 
we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which 
have the appearance of ancient work, and of 
curious workmanship." 

Martin Harris was a man of a religious and 
superstitious temperament, and credulous in the 
extreme. He used to place implicit confidence 
in dreams, and was a believer in them as com- 
munications from the spiritual world. Though 
an exceedingly avaricious man, Smith proposed 
to him to mortgage his farm to obtain the means 
of printing the translation. Partly prompted by 
his credulity, and partly by the prospect of making 
money by an extensive sale of the book, he agreed 
to the proposal. He lived to repent his folly; 



ami having lost his farm, died in poverty, with 
many misgivings concerning the value of his new 

The "Book of Mormon" was printed in 1880, 
in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York ; and when 
first published, attracted no attention, either on 
account of literary merit or its claims to inspira- 
tion. It consists of a series of extravagant le- 
gends concerning two races of people who cross- 
ed the Pacific Ocean from the Asiatic to the Ame- 
rican continent, at two remote periods of time. 
The first race, who came here shortly subsequent 
to the building of Babel and the confusion of 
tongues, after many generations became divided 
into hostile parties, and fought until they ex- 
terminated each other. The migration of this 
race is one of the marvels of the book. They 
built "eight barges," both air-tight and water- 
tight, and had sixteen stones " molten out of the 
rock," to illuminate their craft. Two of these 
stones were those subsequently alleged to have 
been found by Smith ; having been put in the 
box with the plates by Moroni, the "last of the 
Mormons," for the purpose of enabling the pro- 
phet to translate them. 

The second race, according to this silly fiction, 
migrated to America in " ships," about six hun- 
dred years before the Christian era, from Jeru- 
salem, by way of the Red Sea, and became the 
progenitors of the Indian tribes.- 

1840.] TIIE MORMONS. 210 

The story runs thus : — Lehi, with his wife and 
four sons, and their families, under the direction 
of the prophet Nephi, the youngest, left Jerusa- 
lem in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah ; and 
after wandering eight years, built a ship, and, 
guided by a "curious brass ball with pointers," 
crossed the ocean to the American continent. 
Here the family had a quarrel, and became divided 
into two clans, which from the leaders were called 
Lamemites and Nephites. The Lamemites be- 
came corrupt and idolatrous, but the Nephites 
continued to reverence their high priests, their 
temple service, and Jewish worship. Three or 
four hundred years after the Christian era, and 
long after Christ had descended and organized 
the Mormon church in America, the Nephites 
and Lamemites were engaged mutually exter- 
minating each other by wars. More were slain, 
according to the "Book of Mormon," in these 
wars than in the wars of Alexander, Caesar, and 
Napoleon united, until all the Nephites were 
killed except Moroni, "the last of the Mormons," 
who buried the plates "in the hill of Cumorah," 
Palmyra, New York, for the special purpose of 
being found by Joseph Smith, who was to re- 
organize the Mormon church as the " Latter- 
Day Saints." 

A laudable desire to prevent ignorant and 
credulous persons from being deluded by the 
artifices of designing men, having prompted 


an investigation into the authorship of these 
writings, the following facts were established. 

About eighteen years before the appearance 
of the "Book of Mormon," a person by the 
name of Spaulding, of moderate abilities and in 
straitened circumstances, then living in the 
north-eastern part of Ohio, was seized with the 
idea of writing a series of historical romances, 
to account for the ruined cities and temples dis- 
covered in Central America. 

Mr. Spaulding, in 1812, removed with his 
family to Pittsburg, where he formed an ac- 
quaintance with one Patterson, a publisher, who 
had the manuscript in his possession for several 
months, and proposed to the author to publish 
it as an historical romance ; nothing, however, was 
done, and Spaulding subsequently removed to 
Washington county, Pa., where he died in 1816. 
After his death, his widow returned to Onondago 
county, New York, near to her early residence, 
carrying with her a trunk containing the writings 
of her deceased husband. During a part of the 
time between 1817 and 1820, when she again 
married and moved to Massachusetts, this trunk 
was at her brother's in Onondago Hollow, near 
the residence of the Smith family. When the 
"Book of Mormon" was published, and its iden- 
tity with the Spaulding fiction recognised, 
search was made for the MS., but it had dis- 
appeared, and the "Manuscript Found," as 

1840.] THE MORMONS. 221 

Spaulding designated his work, has ever since 
been the " Manuscript Lost." From these facts, 
it is believed that Smith obtained possession of 
it, and moulded it into the "Book of Mormon," 
arranging and altering it, with the assistance 
of others, to suit his own purposes. 

On the 6th of April, 1830, the first Mormon 
church was organized at Manchester, New York, 
consisting of only six members, the father of 
Smith, his two brothers, and Oliver Cowdery, a 
schoolmaster, being among the number. At that 
time an extraordinary religious excitement per- 
vaded the state of New York and the northern 
part of Ohio, and Smith and his adherents pro- 
ceeded to make proselytes. Their effrontery was 
successful, and the Mormon church gradually 
increased in numbers. 

In the following August, Parley P. Pratt, a 
Campbellite preacher in Ohio, who was preach- 
ing wild notions on prophecy, the restoration of 
the children of Israel, and the millennium, read 
the "Book of Mormon" during a visit to New 
York, and became a convert. On his return, he 
won over to the new faith a still more enthusi- 
astic person named Sidney Rigdon. These were 
important additions to the Mormon Society. 
Both were men of talents, learning, and elo- 
quence. Rigdon had been teaching the literal 
interpretation of Scripture prophecies, the se- 



cond coming of Christ, and the use of miraculous 
gifts in the church. 

The first Mormon settlement was formed at 
Kirtland, in Ohio, in January, 1831. To this 
place the prophet and his people removed, and 
were received by Pratt and Rigdon at the head 
of a thousand converts. In the month of June, 
Smith professed to have received a revelation 
which resulted in the sending forth of a mission 
of elders into Missouri. The site was selected 
for a city, which was called Zion. Proclamations, 
as coming from the holiest of sources, were is- 
sued, inviting the "brethren" to repair to this 
"land of promise;" and there soon collected in 
Jackson county, Missouri, about thirteen hun- 
dred Mormons, whom their leaders proclaimed 
the lawful possessors of the land, threatening 

rwith extermination all the " Gentiles" whc> 
would not hear and obey their teachings. It \ 
having been discovered about this time thatr^ 
boxes of fire-arms were transported into the 
country, the speeches and proceedings of the 
Mormons finally led many to suspect that a 
clandestine and unlawful movement was about 
being made to arm the native Indians, and en- 
list them in a war against the whites. Under 
this impression, the inhabitants of Jackson 
county armed themselves in 1834, and drove the 
Mormons from their midst. The association at 

1840.] THE MORMONS. 223 

Kirtland, however, continued to flourish; a costly 
temple was erected, and a bank established, 
which, after obtaining credit to a considerable 
amount, failed in 1838, and its managers were 
prosecuted for swindling. 

The explosion of the Mormon bank at Kirt- 
land having involved Smith, Rigdon, and others 
in inextricable difficulties, these leaders migrated 
to Missouri with a large proportion of the mem- 
bers of their church to escape the indignation 
of the people they had duped. Soon after their 
arrival, a military corps, called the "Danite 
Band," was organized. The members of this 
band had their pass-words and secret signs, by 
means of which they could easily recognise each 
other, and were bound under a solemn oath to 
" do the prophet's bidding," and to drive off or 
"give to the buzzards" all Mormons who dis- 
sented from the revelations of the prophet. On 
the 4th of July, 1838, Rigdon delivered an ad- 
dress, in which he denounced all recusants, and 
predicted an exterminating war with the people 
of Missouri. This fanatical address caused a 
tremendous excitement, and involved the Mor- 
mons in a civil war with the state. Smith, with a 
party of "Danites," went into Davies county, to 
put down a mob, as they said ; but their object 
turned out to be to "take the spoils of the Gen- 
tiles." The citizens of Davies county, having] 


gathered in defence of their property, were driven 
off by the Mormons, who were the more numerous 
party. At the bidding of the prophet, two hun- 
dred head of swine were killed, and several fields 
of corn destroyed. A post-office was broken 
open, and a store robbed and burned, together 
with several dwelling-houses, from which the 
owners had fled. "^-The spoils of the Gentiles," 
consisting of a large amount of furniture, bed- 
ding, and clothing, were taken after the battle to 
"Far West," a town which had been fortified by 
the Mormons^ Three thousand militia were now 
called out by the governor of the state, who, 
under the command of General J. B. Clark, sur- 
rounded "Far West," took the leading Mor- 
mons prisoners, and made peace without blood- 
shed. The terms dictated by the authorities 
were, that the Mormons should quit the state ; 
that five commissioners should be appointed to 
sell their property, from the proceeds of which 
their debts were to be paid, and the damages 
done by the "Danites" satisfied. 

Between forty and fifty of the prisoners, who 
had acted a conspicuous part in the rebellion, 
were tried and found guilty of various offences. 
About thirty were committed to prison in the 
counties of Clay and Carrol, and the rest libe- 
rated on condition of their leaving the state. To 
assist in the removal of destitute Mormon fami- 

1840.] THE MORMONS. 225 

lies, two thousand dollars were appropriated by 
the state for their relief; and the citizens of 
Howard, and the adjacent counties, generously 
contributed supplies of provisions and clothing. 

Having been driven out of Ohio and Missouri, 
the Mormons, twelve thousand in number, re- 
treated to Illinois, arriving on the banks of the 
Mississippi in a destitute condition. Their tale 
of distress touched the hearts of the neighbour- 
ing settlers, who received them hospitably, fur- 
nished them with food and clothing, and assisted 
them in the selection of a suitable place to esta- 
blish a city. 

In the mean time, missionaries having been 
sent through the United States and Europe, with 
an exaggerated narrative of persecution and suf- 
fering, the number of converts to Mormonism 
was greatly multiplied. These were ordered by 
their leaders to repair to Nauvoo, and build the 
"temple of the Lord;" and in the short space 
of two years a spacious city was built, the houses 
of every form, and of all kinds of material, from 
mud huts to handsome dwellings of stone and 
brick. The state sympathizing with the exiles, 
at the first session of the legislature acts were 
passed for their especial benefit, all tending to 
establish a government within a government, and 
to confer on an isolated community dangerous 
powers and prerogatives. In the struggle of 


I political parties to obtain an influence over so 
; large a body of voters, six charters were, granted 
to the citizens of Nauvoo, one of which authorized 
them to incorporate a standing army, called the 
"Nauvoo Legion," and loaned them the arms 
of the state. Accordingly, about four thousand 
Mormons, well drilled in military exercises, were 
organized as a standing army, with the prophet 
as lieutenant-general. Boastful threats were 
now made of vengeance on the people of Mis- 
souri, and on all who should molest them. 

In the mean time preparations had been making 
for the erection of a spacious temple. The plan 
for this immense structure followed no particular 
order of architecture, although it more promi- 
nently resembled the Egyptian. In the base- 
ment was erected an immense laver, in imita- 
tion of the brazen sea of Solomon. It was 
supported by twelve gilded oxen, hewn from the 
trunks of large trees, with their faces projecting 
outward. This font was specially designed for 
the baptism of the dead, one of the peculiarities 
of the Mormon faith. The temple was never 
finished. After the expulsion of the Mormons 
from Nauvoo, commissioners were permitted to 
remain to dispose of this and other property. 
Several attempts were made to sell it for educa- 
tional, manufacturing, and other purposes, but 
they all failed, and the temple stood as waste 

1844.] the mormons. 227 

property until the torch of the incendiary reduced 
it to ashes. 

From 1838 to 1844, Mormonism was in a 
state of continuous prosperity at Nauvoo. It 
was during this flourishing interval that the reve- 
lation, allowing to the chiefs of the Mormon 
hierarchy as many wives as they could support, 
was alleged to have been received. This ex- 
traordinary manifesto caused divisions in the 
ranks of the "faithful," and led to the establish- 
ment of a rival newspaper at Nauvoo, called 
the Expositor, in May, 1844. The Expositor 
having exposed various acts of criminality on 
the part of Smith and his friends, a number of; 
Mormons, acting under an order from the muni-; 
cipal authorities, attacked the printing office, 
broke the press to pieces, and scattered the 
type in the streets. This gross outrage led the 
opposition to unite with the opponents of Mor- 
monism in the county, and warrants were served 
upon Joseph Smith, and Hyrum his brother, 
together with several other prominent Mormons, 
for the illegal destruction of the press, which 
they refused to obey, and under a writ of habeas 
corpus from the city authorities, discharged 
themselves from arrest. 

The excitement now became fearful, and the 
question was raised, whether the prophet and his 
followers should set aside the authority of the laws 
of the state and nation. The officer who had 


served the warrant summoned a "posse comi- 
tatus" from the adjacent counties to renew the 
arrest, but they were met by the armed " Legion," 
in command of the prophet, with artillery. The 
city of Nauvoo was now declared under martial 
law. The sheriff called on Governor Ford for 
military aid to sustain the law, who immediately 
ordered out the militia, and proceeded in person 
to Hancock county, to examine into the state of 
affairs. After several unsuccessful attempts at 
negotiation, warrants were issued against Smith 
and others for treason, and levying war against 
the state; and the officer with the writs was 
ordered to enter Nauvoo with a strong force, 
carrying an order from the governor to disband 
the "Legion." 

At first the Smiths fled across the river into 
Iowa, but returned to the city the same day ; and 
having received assurances from Governor Ford 
of protection, left Nauvoo for Carthage, the seat 
of justice for Hancock county, in order to 
answer the warrants issued against them. About 
four miles from Carthage, they were met by 
Captain Dunn and a company of cavalry, on their 
way to Nauvoo, with an order from Governor Ford 
for the state arms in possession of the Nauvoo 
Legion. The prophet and his brother immedi- 
ately retraced their course, gave up the arms, 
and again left for Carthage. Such prisoners as 
had been accused of promoting a riot were held 

1844.] THE MORMONS. 229 

to bail to answer at court ; but the Smiths, with 
Richards and Taylor, leading men among the 
Mormons, were lodged in Carthage jail on a 
charge of treason. 

As tranquillity appeared to be restored, the 
governor disbanded the troops, and with his 
suite left Carthage for Nauvoo, where he made 
a public address to the Mormons, and urged 
them to maintain their allegiance to the state. 
While he was thus employed, a very different 
scene was enacting at Carthage. 

After the militia were discharged, many of 
them entertaining the belief that the Smiths 
would be released, and the Mormons be per- 
mitted to continue their depredations and out- 
rages, conspired with the citizens of Carthage 
to attack the jail, and take justice into their own 
hands. Accordingly, early on the morning of 
the 27th of June, 1844, about one hundred and 
forty disguised men assaulted the door of the 
room in which the prisoners were confined. 
To prevent their entrance, Richards and Taylor 
threw themselves across the floor, the feet of one 
against the shoulders of the other, and kept the 
door from fully opening. Upon guns being pro- 
truded through the narrow aperture and dis- 
charged, Smith, with a revolver, returned two 
fihots, hitting one man in the elbow. About the 
same time a ball struck Hyrum the patriarch, and 
he fell, exclaiming, "I am killed!" to which Joseph 



replied, " brother Hyrum !" Smith then threw 
up the window, and in leaping through, was killed 
by balls fired from without. The people in the 
hall then forced their way into the room and 
wounded Taylor. Richards escaped unhurt. 

It is proper here to state that no principle is 
more deeply implanted in the American mind 
than that entire freedom in religious belief is 
the birthright of every human being. The rela- 
tionship of man to man, and not of man to God, 
is the limitation of human laws ; and this prin- 
ciple is recognised not only in the national but 
in every state constitution. But when, under 
the imposing sanction of religion, or under any 
pretext whatever, the rights of men as citizens 
and neighbours are invaded, resistance neces- 
sarily follows. All the difficulties with the Mor- 
mons arose from their attacks on the private 
property and lives of the "Gentiles," as they 
call all who are without the pale of the Mormon 
church. In no instance were they persecuted 
for their peculiar religious dogmas, but only when 
their fanaticism could not be restrained within 
reasonable bounds. 

" The Mormons," said Governor Dunklin, in an 
address to the people of Missouri, « have the right 
constitutionally guarantied to them, to believe 
and wo? ship Joe Smith as a man, or an angel, 
or even as the True and Living God, and to 
call their habitation Zion, the Holy Land, or 

1847.] THE MORMONS. 231 

even heaven itself. Indeed, there is nothing so 
absurd and ridiculous that they have not the 
right to adopt as their religion, so that in its 


Expectations prevailed through the country 
that the Mormons would revenge the death of 
their prophet. The effect, however, was far 
otherwise. Disheartened and appalled, they made 
no attempt at retaliation. The bodies were car- 
ried to Nauvoo, and the funeral attended by an 
immense concourse of people. Addresses were 
made by leading Mormons, in which the people 
were exhorted to abstain from all violence, and 
quietly submit to the persecution of their ene- 
mies. The struggle for the leadership followed, 
and Brigham Young was elected. As the people 
of Illinois threatened to expel the Mormons from 
Nauvoo and the surrounding country, it was an- 
nounced by revelation that the whole church 
must retire into the wilderness to grow into a 
multitude, aloof from the haunts of civilization. 
The valley of the Great Salt Lake was selected 
for a settlement ; and on the 21st of July, 1847, 
the pioneer party reached that remote station in 
the wilderness; where they were joined, three 
days after, by the elders of the church and the 
main body of the people. 

Experience has shown that Mormonism cannot 
exist in these States. It must conquer or die. 


The Mormon settlement is at present rendered 
harmless by its geographical position. The 
valley of the Great Salt Lake is situated midway 
between the Mississippi states and California, 
and is hemmed in on all sides by inhospitable 
deserts, upward of a thousand miles in extent. 
It is in fact a journey of three months, with the 
present conveniences for travelling, from the 
nearest civilized community to the new territory 
of Utah. 

Since their expulsion from Nauvoo the Mor- 
mons have continued to prosper. They have, by 
their industry, fertilized a barren region; and 
bidding defiance to their persecutors, are ready to 
fight for the undisputed possession of their secluded 
valleys. They are a peculiar people. They have es- 
tablished a government on the model of a republi- 
can state ; adopted a constitution liberal, free, 
and tolerant of conscience in religion, and have 
a criminal code which applies to their peculiar 
situation and feelings. They demand a recogni- 
tion of their independence as a state, on the 
ground that they know better than all the world 
besides what is most suited to their condition. 
"Gentile judges" are regarded by Mormons as 
an imposition; and it is not to be expected that 
judges and lawyers, however eminent in their 
profession at home, can appreciate the statutes 
of this community in the wilderness. 

That polygamy is practised among the Mor- 

1840.] CANAL PROJECT. 233 

mons is undeniable. Their prosperous condition 
is attributable to their admirable system of com- 
bining labour, while each has his own property 
in lands and tenements. The success of the 
Mormon prophet shows that much of the dark- 
ness and superstition of past ages still clouds 
the understandings of men ; and that, in religion 
as in politics, unprincipled men may elevate 
themselves to places of honour and dignity by 
means of the ignorance and credulity of the 


The Illinois and Michigan canal — Its great commercial import- 
ance — Governor Bond brings the subject before tbe legisla- 
ture of Illinois — Canal commissioners appointed, and the 
first estimate made — A company chartered — The charter 
repealed — Canal lands given by Congress — A board of com- 
missioners appointed, and authorized to employ suitable en- 
gineers, surveyors, and draughtsmen to determine the route 
of the canal — An act passed for the construction of the ca- 
nal on a more enlarged scale — The work stopped through 
the failure of the public credit — Completed by means of 
the "Shallow Cut" — The Illinois Grand Central Railroad 
— The public debt of Illinois. 

Next to the formation of a good government, 
it is unquestionably the highest interest of a 
people to adopt such a system of internal im- 
provement as is calculated to develop the natural 


advantages of their position ; to give increased 
facilities to commerce and agriculture by the 
construction of railroads and canals; to encou- 
rage education and science, and, by wise and 
well-administered laws, protect all men in the 
exercise of their rights. 

A glance at the map of Illinois will readily 
convince any one that the union of Lake Michi- 
gan and the Illinois River, by a canal, is an ob- 
ject not only easy of accomplishment, but also, 
of great practical importance. By this means 
an uninterrupted water communication can be 
established between the river St. Lawrence and 
the Mississippi, and between the commerce of 
the great lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. 

The attention of the first settlers of Illinois 
at an early day was directed to this subject, and 
trading establishments were erected by the French 
along the line of route. All talked of the mat- 
ter as easy and practicable, but the country was 
not scientifically examined. At the first session 
of the Illinois legislature in 1818, Governor 
Bond, in his opening address, called the attention 
of the general assembly to a survey preparatory 
to opening a canal between the Illinois River 
and Lake Michigan ; and he suggested an early 
application to Congress for a certain per centage 
from the sales of the public lands, to be appro- 
priated to that object. 

In December, 1822, Governor Bond, in his va- 


ledictory address, again referred to the canal. 
" It is believed," said he, "that the public sen- 
timent has been ascertained in relation to this 
subject, and that our fellow-citizens are pre- 
pared to sustain their representatives in the 
adoption of measures subservient to its com- 

On the 14th of February, 1823, a board of 
five commissioners were appointed " to consider, 
devise, and adopt measures to effect the commu- 
nication by canal and locks between the naviga- 
ble waters of the Illinois and Lake Michigan," 
and "to make, or cause to be made, estimates, 
surveys, and levels for completing said canal, 
and report to the next general assembly of the 
authorities of the state ;" and the sum of six 
thousand dollars was appropriated to defray the 
expense. Surveys and estimates were accord- 
ingly made, varying from six hundred and forty 
to seven hundred and sixteen thousand dollars; 
and on the 17th of January, 1825, a company 
was chartered by the legislature of Illinois, with 
a capital of one million of dollars, in ten thou- 
sand shares of one hundred dollars each. But 
the stock was not taken ; and, therefore, at the 
next session of the legislature, the charter was 
repealed. These efforts on the part of the state 
legislature induced Congress, on the 2d of March, 
1827, to place at the disposal of the legislature 
of Illinois each alternate section of land, five 


miles in width, on each side of the projected line 
of canal. 

The emharrassments of the state in finance 
prevented any thing being done till January, 1829, 
when the legislature passed an act to organize a 
board of commissioners, with power to employ 
surveyors, engineers, and draughtsmen, to de- 
termine the route of the canal. The surveys and 
estimates were again made ; but this time it was 
ascertained that the project of obtaining a full 
supply of water on the surface level was doubt- 
ful, and it was found that the rock approached 
so near the surface in certain parts of the route 
as to increase considerably the estimates of 
cost. The prior estimates handed in to the le- 
gislature had been made on the supposition that 
the construction was to be on the same scale as 
that of the grand canal between New York and 
Lake Erie, then in process of completion. The 
engineers having declared this mode of con- 
struction to be impracticable, it was finally de- 
cided to construct it as a ship canal for the 
largest class of vessels on the lakes. 

On the 9th of January, 1836, an act was 
passed by the state legislature for the excavation 
of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, according to 
the scale of magnitude laid down by the engi- 
neers, although an estimate exceeding eight 
millions and a half of dollars had been given in, 
making the cost of excavation eighty-six thou- 


sand dollars and upward per mile — the length 
of the canal being about one hundred miles. On 
the 4th of July, 183(5, the first ground was ac- 
tually broken up, and this event was accompanied 
by a public celebration at Chicago. Contracts 
having been made, the excavation of the canal 
commenced from a point in the Chicago River 
five and a half miles west of the city, through 
indurated clay and compact limestone to the 
depth of from eighteen to twenty feet, and was 
carried forward for a distance of thirty miles 
until over five millions of dollars were expended. 
The credit of the state failing in 1841, the work 
was suspended. The contractors ceased opera- 
tions ; and in 1843 a law was passed to liquidate 
and settle their damages at a sum not exceeding 
two hundred and thirty thousand dollars. 

The sole reliance of the state at this time was 
on loans, without any finances of its own, or any 
means to pay annual interest and liquidate the 
principal. This great and important public work 
was commenced at an unfortunate time, and on 
too grand a scale. Provisions and wages were 
both high, flour being worth at Chicago from 
nine to twelve dollars per barrel; oats and pota- 
toes seventy-five cents per bushel ; pork from 
twenty to thirty dollars per barrel, and other 
things in the same ratio. The first labour con- 
tracts were predicated on the above prices. 

The credit of the state having sunk so low that 


no further loans could be obtained, the board of 
commissioners was dissolved and the works re- 
mained in a dormant state for about two years. 
This condition of things was, however, only of 
brief duration. The interest, the honour, and 
the welfare of the state required its completion ; 
and accordingly, in 1843-4, a plan was adopted 
to complete the canal by making the " Shallow 
Cut," or carrying the excavation to the depth of 
only six feet for the remainder of the route, and 
introducing the Fox River as a feeder. About 
a million and a half of dollars would complete 
the work on this plan. The resources were the 
canal lands, the canal tolls, several hundred city 
and village lots, and other property. It was im- 
mediately seen that these resources would com- 
plete the work, pay the interest on the loans al- 
ready advanced, and eventually redeem the stock. 
The security offered being accepted by the stock- 
holders, a board of trustees was appointed, the 
money advanced, the work resumed in 1846, and 
brought to a state of completion in 1848. The 
grandeur and magnificence of the plan have been 
diminished, but the financial embarrassments of 
the state rendered it necessary to economise ; and 
if, after a few years' experience, it should be found 
that the deep cut is preferable, and the necessary 
funds can be raised, it will be easy to carry on 
the work without interfering with the navi- 

1849.] RAILROADS. 239 

In 1849 the first vessel was reported at New 
Orleans as having arrived from the St. Lawrence, 
by way of the "Welland Canal, the great lakes, 
the Illinois Canal and River, and the Mississippi. 
Since then the flourishing town of La Salle has 
arisen around the spot where the canal enters 
the Illinois River. This is a new town, which, 
from being situated at the terminus of the canal, 
is destined to become a place of considerable im- 
portance. Steamboats on the river, and canal 
boats from the lake, are continually arriving and 
departing ; and a number of steamers are always 
lading and unlading at the wharves. 

In 1837, in addition to the Illinois and Michi- 
gan Canal, a number of extensive and important 
railroads were projected, the work on most of 
which has been commenced, and some few are in 
travelling order. Public attention was especially 
directed to the formation of a grand central 
railroad between Chicago and Cairo, at the 
junction of the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. 
This railroad, which is now in course of construc- 
tion, will constitute the most direct and expedi- 
tious mode of communication between the com- 
merce of the lakes and that of the Gulf of 
Mexico. For the furtherance of this important 
enterprise, Congress, by an act passed in 1850, 
granted to the state of Illinois the right of way 
for the construction of this road through all 
the public lands where it may pass, and also 


" every alternate section of land designated by 
even numbers, for- six sections in width, on each 
side of said road and branches," to be sold for 
the purpose of its construction. The grants 
were made on conditions that the work shall be 
begun and carried on simultaneously from both 
ends of the route, and that the whole shall be 
completed within ten years from the date of 
their enactment. The construction of the Illi- 
nois Central Railroad has been undertaken with 
spirit by the state, and will doubtless be com- 
pleted within the time designated. 

These public works having been commenced 
and prosecuted on the credit system, at a time 
when the pecuniary resources of the state were 
inadequate to meet the current expenses, an 
amount of public debt was incurred, from which 
Illinois is only slowly recovering. In 1841 the 
demands against the state, including accumula- 
tions of interest due, exceeded fifteen millions of 
dollars. The total amount of public debt on the 
1st of January, 1851, was sixteen millions six 
hundred and twenty-seven thousand five hundred 
and seven dollars, nearly one-half of which grew 
out of the construction of the Illinois and Michi- 
gan Canal. Heavy as this debt may appear, 
Illinois has resources, and has made provision to 
liquidate it. 

At the close of 1846, Governor Ford, in his 
address to the legislature, said : — " A very con- 


siderable portion of the state debt has been paid 
or provided for ; about three millions of dollars 
have been paid by a sale of the public property, 
and by putting the banks into liquidation ; and 
five millions more have been effectually provided 
for, to be paid after the completion of the canal : 
being a reduction of eight millions of the state 
debt which has been made, or effectually provid- 
ed for, within the last four years. The state 
itself, although broken, and discredited at one 
time throughout the civilized world, has been en- 
abled to borrow, on the credit of its property, 
one million six hundred thousand dollars to 
complete the canal. The people abroad have 
once more begun to seek our highly favoured 
land as the home of the emigrant. Our popula- 
tion has rapidly increased, and is now increasing 
faster than it ever did before ; our people at 
home have become more contented and happy. 
They have ceased to be terrified by the magni- 
tude of the state debt, and the imagined inability 
of the state to pay it ; they have cheerfully sub- 
mitted to taxation, as far as they were able, to 
meet the public liabilities; and have thereby 
manifested to the world that they possess an he- 
roic virtue, capable of any sacrifices demanded 
by integrity and patriotism ; and it is with un- 
bounded satisfaction that I now announce to the 
general assembly that the former discredit rest- 
ing upon our people in other states, for supposed 



delinquences in paying in their debts, no longer 
exists; and the reputation of Illinois and its 
citizens now stands proudly fair and honourable 
among her sister states and the great family of 
nations in the civilized world. However, it 
must be acknowledged, that much more credit 
for this altered state of things, is due to the 
gallant spirit and the recuperative energies of 
the people, than to any agency of law or govern- 


Education among the early pioneers — The establishment of 
common schools — School funds in Illinois — Particulars re- 
specting some of the principal colleges — The physical geo- 
graphy of Illinois — Its minerals and manufactures — Growth 
of towns and cities in Illinois — Springfield — Chicago — Alton 
— Kaskaskia — Climate — The climate of the interior of Illi- 
nois beneficial in cases of consumption — Population. 

It has been shown that the early pioneers had 
very few opportunities to educate either them- 
selves or their children. If the mother could 
read, while the father was in the cornfield, or 
with his rifle on the range, she would barricade 
the door, to keep off the Indians, gather her 
little ones around her, and by the light that 
came in from the crevices of the roof and 

1825.] COMMON SCHOOLS. 243 

sides of the cabin, would teach them the rudi- 
ments of spelling from the fragments of some 
old book. 

The first school in Illinois, after the conquest 
of the territory by Clarke, was opened near 
Bellefontaine, by Samuel Seely, in 1783. In 
1785 he was succeeded by Francis Clark, a man 
addicted to intemperance. Clark was followed 
by an inoffensive Irishman, by the name of Half- 
penny, who persevered in his vocation for seve- 
ral sessions. The only branches attempted to 
be taught were spelling, reading, writing, and 
arithmetic ; and these in a very imperfect man- 
ner. Afterward, the youth of the settlement 
were instructed gratuitously by John Clark, a 
pious and eccentric clergyman, but an excellent 
scholar. He taught, besides the rudiments of an 
ordinary English education, mathematics, natu- 
ral philosophy, and the Latin language. 

In 1825 a law was passed, providing for the 
incorporation of common schools. In its pre- 
amble, the great principles of legislative autho- 
rity in educational matters are thus beautifully 
expressed : — 

"To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must 
understand them. Their security and protection 
ought to be among the first objects of a free 
people. And it is a well-established fact, that 
no nation has ever continued long in the enjoy- 
ment of civil and political freedom, which was 


not both virtuous and enlightened. And be- 
lieving that the advancement of literature al- 
ways has been, and ever will be, the means of 
developing more fully the rights of man; that 
the mind of every citizen of every republic is 
the common property of society, and constitutes 
the basis of its strength and happiness; it is 
considered the peculiar duty of a free govern- 
ment like ours, to encourage and extend the im- 
provement and cultivation of the intellectual 
energies of the whole." 

Notwithstanding the many obstacles which 
have interposed themselves to prevent the 
spread of knowledge among the masses, no 
state in the union has a more ample fund for 
educational purposes than Illinois. When the 
North-western Territory was organized in 1T87, 
three per cent, on all lands sold within the state 
was appropriated for the encouragement of 
learning. So also the act of admission to the 
Union, made in 1818, provides for a reservation 
of one thirty-sixth part of all the public lands 
for school purposes ; and section numbered six- 
teen has accordingly been designated, and set 
apart in each township, for the benefit of its in- 
habitants. Other funds, to a very generous 
extent, have been provided; from all which 
sources a large annual income is derived. It 
is a source of regret to add, that even yet the 
subject of common schools has not received that 

1850.] COLLEGES. 245 

degree of regard and attention which is demand- 
ed by its immeasurable importance. There are, 
however, in many of the Illinois towns and 
cities, primary schools of a fair character, and 
occasionally a seminary of a higher grade. 

Several seminaries and institutions of learning 
have also been established by the private re- 
sources of individuals. The greater part of 
these have been founded, supported, and are 
controlled by clergy of various religious denomi- 
nations ; and all have been commenced, compa- 
ratively speaking, within a very recent date. 
Among the principal seats of learning at pre- 
sent in Illinois, are : — 

Knox College, opened in 1837, at Galesburg, 
about fifty miles west of Peoria, the township 
having been originally purchased with a view to 
its endowment. In 1850 it had five instructors 
and fifty-eight students. Its library contains 
about three thousand volumes. 

McKendree College, founded at Lebanon, in 
St. Clair county, in 1835, under the direction of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1850 it 
had four teachers and sixty students. Its 
library contains eighteen hundred volumes. 

Shurtleff College, so called after Doctor Shurt- 
leff, of Boston, Massachusetts, by whom it was 
liberally endowed. It was founded in 1835, at 
Upper Alton, in Madison county, and is under 



the direction of the Baptists. In 1850 it had 
six teachers, a small number of students, and a 
library, containing sixteen hundred volumes. 

Illinois College was founded in 1829, at Jack- 
sonville, in Morgan county, thirty-three miles 
west from Springfield, the capital of the state of 
Illinois, in the midst of a fertile and beautiful 
prairie. The college buildings are situated on 
an elevation, about a mile from the centre of 
Jacksonville, and overlook the surrounding flat 
country to a great extent. In 1850 it had seven 
teachers, thirty-four students, and ninety-three 
alumni. Its library contains about four thou- 
sand volumes. 

The physical geography of Illinois exhibits no 
lofty mountains, although the land is consider- 
ably elevated, and occasionally broken, at its 
northern and southern extremities. In general, 
the surface is level, or slightly undulating, about 
two-thirds consisting of immense prairies, richly 
clothed with grass, and resplendent with flowers. 
Isolated clumps of woodland are met with occa- 
sionally in these prairies, some of them covering 
an extent of several acres. In some parts of 
the state, however, there is an abundance of 
forest. The most common native trees are the 
locust, beech, ash, elm, maple, oak, hickory, 
poplar, and sycamore. The soil being of great 
depth and singular fertility, every variety of 
grain and of edible vegetables, together with 


cotton, flax, hemp, and tobacco, is successfully 
cultivated. All the fruits common to temperate* 
latitudes are produced in abundance, and native 
grapes, of a fine quality, capable of yielding ex- 
cellent wine, are remarkably plentiful in most 
parts of the state. The fruitfulness of the soil 
maybe inferred from the fact, that in almost 
all parts of the state an average crop of fifty 
bushels of Indian corn to the acre can be ob- 
tained; and instances are by no means rare 
-where the product has reached from seventy-five 
to one hundred bushels. 

The prairies are now being brought rapidly 
under cultivation, and amply repay the labours 
of the farmer. The soil is peculiarly favourable 
to the growth of the various kinds of grain, and 
tobacco and hemp yield a liberal return to the 
cultivator. The meadow lands of the prairie are 
not surpassed by those of any other state. But 
although nothing can present a more beautiful 
aspect in the spring and summer, yet its loveli- 
ness vanishes in the fall, and in winter the 
prairie becomes terribly bleak and lonely. The 
farm-houses scattered over its vast unbroken 
surface are much exposed to the wintry winds, 
and greatly need the shelter of trees, of which 
the prairie is in general entirely destitute. As 
much of the prairie land is well adapted for 
sheep-walks, the growth of wool promises to be 
more successfully carried on there than in the 


other states; and this branch of trade is daily 
becoming of greater and increased importance. 
In the agricultural districts of New York, Penn- 
sylvania, &c, many proprietors of small farms 
have sold out, in order to purchase more exten- 
sive tracts in middle Illinois, for this purpose. 

On the Illinois shore of the Ohio Kiver, 
twenty-four miles below Shawn eetown, there is 
a curious natural cavern in the rock, called the 
House of Nature. Passengers on the boats 
never fail to have it pointed out to them as they 
pass, and sometimes the captains are so obliging 
as to stop the boats for a short time, to allow an 
opportunity of visiting the cave. The names of 
many visitors have been carved on its entrance, 
which is just above high water mark, twenty 
feet in height, and leads into a spacious chamber 
with an arched roof, thirty feet high, and ex- 
tending back one hundred and twenty-five feet. 
It has occasionally furnished an asylum for the 
winter to families of emigrants descending the 
river. Mason, the noted pirate and outlaw, 
who, about the year 1800, subsisted, with his 
banditti, for some time, by robbing and murder- 
ing the boatmen on the river, made this cavern 
his rendezvous. He was finally shot by one of 
his own comrades, to obtain the reward of five 
hundred dollars offered by the Governor of Mis- 
sissippi for his head. 

First among the principal rivers by which 

1850.] 4 rivers. 240 

this fine state is intersected is the Illinois, which 
traverses the largest portion of the state, cours- 
ing, with its numerous tributaries, through most 
of the central counties. Starved Rock, near 
the foot of the rapids of the Illinois, is a per- 
pendicular mass of lime and sandstone, washed 
by the current at its base, and rising to an 
elevation of one hundred and fifty feet. The 
diameter of its surface is one hundred feet, with 
a slope extending to the adjoining bluff, from 
which alone it is accessible. According to tra- 
dition, when the Illinois Indians had killed Pon- 
tiac, the great Indian chief of the Ottawa?, 
the latter made war upon them. A band of 
Illinois, in attempting to escape, took shelter on 
this rock, which they soon made inaccessible to 
their enemies, by whom they were closely be- 
sieged. They had secured provisions, but their 
only resource for water was by letting down 
vessels with bark ropes to the river. The 
wily besiegers, gliding secretly in canoes under 
the rock, cut off the buckets, and the unfor- 
tunate Illinois were starved to death. Many 
years after, their bones were whitening on this 
summit. The Peoria Lake, an expansion of the 
Illinois River, extends twenty miles in a south- 
west direction to Peoria village. It has a gra- 
velly bottom, very little current, and is much 
wider than the river. It abounds with various 
kinds of fish. The whole length of the Illinois 


River, exclusive of its windings, is about two 
hundred and sixty miles. It is navigable two hun- 
dred and ten miles, to the foot of the rapids. 
During a high stage of water, vessels succeed in 
ascending to Ottawa, nine miles beyond. The 
Wabash and Kaskaskia Rivers are large and 
navigable streams ; while the whole of the west- 
ern boundary is washed by the mighty Missis- 
sippi, the Ohio forming a portion of its southern 

The Kaskaskia River is navigable at time of 
high water as far as Vandalia, situated about 
one hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. 
There are numerous navigable and important 
streams besides these. Rock River, on the 
banks of which the famous Indian chief, Black 
Hawk, was born, has its rise in a region of 
swamps and lakes. Much of the country through 
which it passes consists of fertile prairie, and 
some timber land. It derives its name from the 
character of its channel, which consists, for the 
most part, of lime and sandstone rocks. The 
Sangamon River is a branch of the Illinois, and 
with its numerous tributaries waters the plea- 
santest and most fertile portion of the state. 

Lime, salt, and coal are the most plentiful 
productions of Illinois. For many miles along 
the banks of the Mississippi, limestone ledges 
of considerable extent exist, sometimes rising 
abruptly and perpendicularly in huge bluffs to 

1850.] MINERALS, ETC. 251 

the height of three hundred feet. There are 
numerous saline springs in the south and east 
parts of the state, so strongly impregnated as 
to render profitable the manufacture of salt on 
an extensive scale in their vicinity. Exhaustless 
veins of bituminous coal are contained in the 
elevated and broken regions toward the north, 
particularly in the neighbourhood of Rock 
River; treasures of this valuable mineral are 
also found on the bluffs and ravines of the river 
banks in Madison and St. Clair counties. In 
addition to these mineral riches, copper and 
iron are found in abundance; and, at the north- 
west angle of the state, immense beds of lead 

Hydraulic power to a considerable extent can 
be commanded in different parts of the country, 
and has been scantily applied to manufacturing 
purposes. There are a few cotton, woollen, and 
flax factories, tanneries, potteries, and distil- 
leries. The exports are whisky and castor oil, 
some fifty or sixty thousand gallons of the latter 
being annually expressed at a single establish- 

Springfield was made the capital of Illinois in 
1840, and since then has had a rapid growth. 
It is about four miles south from the Sangamon 
River, and is situated on the confines of a beau- 
tiful prairie. It was first laid out in 1822, on a 
regular plan, with a public square in the centre, 


and wide streets, crossing each other at right 
angles. The state-house, erected in the centre 
of the square, is an elegant building, in the 
Doric style of architecture, for the erection of 
which the state appropriated fifty thousand dol- 
lars. The court-house and the state bank are 
also beautiful buildings. There are several 
handsome churches, and spacious, well-built 
stores and hotels. Springfield is surrounded 
with a rich agricultural district, and is connected 
with Naples, on the Illinois River, by a railroad, 
which is now in operation. 

The rapid progress of Illinois in population 
and wealth is well illustrated in the growth of 
Chicago. This town, one of the largest and 
most important in the Mississippi valley, is 
situated on the west shore, and toward the 
south end of Lake Michigan, at the point where 
the river of the same name enters the lake. It 
has had a rapid growth, and from its position 
in the great line of communication between the 
east and west, is destined to become a large 
city. In 1832 it contained only five small 
stores, and two hundred and fifty inhabitants. 
Four vessels, which arrived there the preceding 
year, two brigs and two schooners, from the 
lower lakes, were sufficient for all the com- 
merce of north-eastern Illinois, and north- 
western Indiana. In 1836 the arrivals of brigs, 
ships, and schooners, amounted to four hundred 


and seven, exclusive of twenty-nine steamboats. 
Though much depressed during the suspension 
of the canal operations from 1841 to 1846, the 
growth of Chicago continued. Its streets are 
laid out in right lines, and intersect each other 
at right angles. They are of good width, and 
some of them are planked, stone pavements not 
being used to any great extent. This city is 
well supplied with water, by means of an aque- 
duct from the lake. It has six or seven churches, 
situated on a public square, some of which are 
fine edifices. Its population in 1850 was thirty 

Alton, after a long period of depression, is 
now in a flourishing condition, and will soon 
become a place of considerable commerce. This 
town, which has an excellent steamboat landing, 
is situated on the Mississippi, eighty-two miles 
west by south from Springfield. It extends 
along the river for about two miles, and is in 
depth from half a mile to a mile. The streets 
are from sixty to one hundred and eighty feet 
wide, and are laid out with great regularity. 
Two or three newspapers are published in this 
place, which also contains a number of churches 
belonging to the Presbyterian, Baptist, Metho- 
dist, Episcopal, Evangelical, Lutheran, and Uni- 
tarian denominations. The various steamboats 
owned here do an extensive business on the Mis- 
sissippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. The sur- 


rounding country is rich in fine timber, limestone, 
and bituminous coal; the latter, in remarkable 
abundance, is obtained within from four to six 
miles of the town, and affords a ready source of 
supply to the steamboats trading on the Illinois 
River and the Upper Mississippi. 

Kaskaskia, the oldest settlement in Illinois, 
having been founded by the French in 1683, is 
situated on the river of the same name. It was 
formerly a place of considerable importance, but 
is now greatly surpassed in magnitude and com- 
mercial prosperity by other cities in the state. 

The climate of Illinois is much the same as 
that of the other states (lying within the same 
parallels) east of the Alleghany Mountains. 
Snow seldom falls to a great depth, or continues 
upon the earth many days in succession, and the 
ground is commonly free from frost throughout 
half the winter. The early spring months are 
rainy and unpleasant; but they are soon suc- 
ceeded by a milder season, a warm and cheering 
summer, with an invigorating atmosphere; and 
the year finally closes with a delightful autumn, 
of some months' duration, rarely disturbed by a 
cloudy day or a stormy hour. Physicians, whose 
opportunities for observation have been ample, 
assert that the climate of the interior of Illinois 
affords relief to consumptive patients. At Hills- 
boro', a large and flourishing town, a single case 
of pulmonary consumption has not been known 

1850.] population. 255 

for years, with but with one exception, and that 
was involved in considerable doubt. Persons 
whose lungs are weak, and subject to an occa- 
sional hemorrhage, have been restored to health 
by removing to an Illinois town, situated on the 
border of a prairie. 

The progress of population in Illinois has been 
very great within the last few years. During 
the thirty years prior to 1840, the population 
of Illinois increased from twelve thousand two 
hundred and eighty-two, to four hundred and 
seventy-six thousand and eighty-three, of whom 
three thousand six hundred were persons of 
colour. In 1850 the population was eight hun- 
dred and fifty thousand; five thousand three 
hundred and sixty-six were coloured people.