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Full text of "Illinois in 1837 : a sketch descriptive of the situation, boundaries, face of the country, prominent districts, prairies, rivers, minerals, animals, agricultural productions, public lands, plans of internal improvement, manufacturers, &c., of the state of Illinois : also, suggestions to emigrants, sketches of the counties, cities, and principal towns in the state : together with a letter on the cultiviation of the prairies, by the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth ; to which are annexed the letters from a rambler in the West"


L I B RAR.Y 

OF THE 

U N I VLRSITY 
OF I LLI NOIS 



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1UJN$ HISTORICAL SURVEY 



ILLINOIS IN 1837; 

A SKETCH 

DESCRIPTIVE OF THE 

SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, FACE OF THE COUNTRY, 

PROMINENT DISTRICTS, 
PRAIRIES, RIVERS, MINERALS, ANIMLAS, 

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIONS, 

PUBLIC LANDS, PLANS OF INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT, 
MANUFACTURES, &c. 

OF THE 

STATE OF ILLINOIS: 

ALSO, 

SUGGESTIONS TO EMIGRANTS, 

SKETCHES OF THE COUNTIES, CITIES, AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS 
IN THE STATE: 

TOGETHER WITH 

A LETTER ON THE CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES, 

BY THE HON. H. L. ELLSWORTH. 

TO WHICH ARE ANNEXED 

THE LETTERS FROM A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 



-It is a goodly sight to see 



What Heaven hath done for this delicious land ! 
What fruits of fragrance blush on every tree ! 
What goodly prospects o'er the hills expand ! 

***** 
The vine on high, the willow branch below, 
Mixed in one mighty scene, with varied beauty glow. 

Childe Hardd',8 Pilgrimage. 



PHILADELPHIA: 
PUBLISHED BY S. AUGUSTUS MITCHELL, 

AND BY 

GRIGG & ELLIOT, No. 9, N. FOURTH STREET. 
1837. 1 



Entered according to the act of congress, in the year 1837, by S. AUGUSTUS 
MITCHELL, in the office of the district court for the eastern district of Penn 
sylvania. 



STEKEOTYPED BY J. FAGAN PHILADELPHIA. 



977.3 




CONTENTS. 



Situation, Boundaries, Extent, &c. Page 9 

Face of the Country, Soil, &c 10 

PRAIRIES 11 

Grand Prairie 12 

Origin of the 13 

Breaking up, Cost of, &c 14 

Barrens 15 

Forest or Timbered Land 16 

Bottom Land 17 

American Bottom 18 

Prominent Districts 19 

MILITARY BOUNTY TRACT 19 

Situation and Extent 19 

Climate of the 21 

Adaptation for Agriculture and 

Commerce 21 

Geological Structure of the Upland 

Prairies of the 22 

ROCK RIVER COUNTRY 22 

Fertility v 23 

Objection* to the 23 

Minerals of 24 

Health of the 25 

Prospective Improvement 25 

SANGAMON COUNTRY 25 

Rapid Settlement of '. . . 25 

Superiority of the Prairies for agri- 
cultural purposes 26 

Adaptation for raising Stock 26 

Cultivation of the Sugar Beet Root 26 

Results in France 27 

Historical Anecdote 27 

RIVERS 28 

Mississippi 28 

Rock River 31 

Kaskaskia 32 

Ohio and Tributaries 32 

Wabash and Tributaries 33 

Illinois and Tributaries 34 

Sangamon 36 

Minerals 37 

Animals, Wild '38 

Domestic 41 

Wild and Cultivated Fruits 43 

PRODUCTIONS OF THE SOIL 43 

Corn, Wheat, &c 44 

Sugar Beet Root, mode of cultiva- 
tion 44 

Climate 46 

Winds 47 

Diseases 47 

Civtl Divisions 48 

ilTable of the Area and Population of the 

Counties 48 

Government 50 



PUBLIC LANDS 51 

System of Surveys 51 

Meridian and Base Lines 51 

Diagram of a Township surveyed 
into sections, and a Section into 

halves, quarters, &c 52 

Land Districts and Offices 53 

Pre-emption Rights, Taxes, &c. . . 54 

Plans of Internal Improvement 55 

Manufactures 58 

EDUCATION 59 

Colleges, &c 61 

Religion 62 

Suggestions to Emigrants 63 

<Tra veiling Routes 64 

Location, Method of Farming, &c 68 

History 71 

COUNTIES 73 

Adams 73 

Alexander 73 

Bond 73 

Boone 74 

Calhoun 74 

Cass 74 

Champaign 75 

Clark 75 

Clay 75 

Clinton 75 

Coles 76 

Cook 76 

Crawford 76 

Edgar 76 

Edwards 77 

Effingham 77 

Fayette 77 

Franklin 77 

Fulton 78 

Gallatin 78 

Greene 7!) 

Hamilton 79 

Hancock 80 

Henry 80 

Iroquois 80 

Jackson 81 

Jasper 81 

Jefferson 81 

Jo Daviess 82 

Johnson 82 

Kane 83 

Knox 84 

LaSalle 84 

Lawrence 85 

Livingston 86 

Macon 87 

Madison 87 



iv 


CONTENTS. 




M 


88 flarrnlltnn 


... 118 


,, . P 


89 




. . . 119 




... 89 




... 121 




89 




...121 


APT 


90 




. . . 122 


Ttl 


91 




. . . 122 




92 




. . . 122 




92 




. . . 123 




92 




... 123 




93 




... 124 




94 


Mount Carmel 


.. . 124 




97 


Naples 


. . . 125 


Pike 


97 


Ottawa 


. . . 125 


Pope 


98 


Pekin 


. .. 125 




99 




. . . 126 1 




101 




. . . 127 




102 




. . . 128 




103 




. . . 128 




105 


Springfield 


. . . 129 


Shelby 


105 




. . . 129 


SL Clair . 


105 




. . . 129 




106 


Whitehall 


. . . 130 




106 


Winchester 


.. . 130 


Union 


107 




. isn 




107 


LETTERS FROM A RAMBLER IN THE WEST 133 
No. I. 
The Journey ... 1 33 


Wabash 


108 


\Varren 


108 


W^ashinffton 


109 


The " Far West" 


134 


^Vayne 


109 




134 


White 


no 


Alton 


. . 134 


Whiteside 


no 




. . . 135 


Will 


no 


No II Peru 


135 


^Vinnebajro. ' 


.... Ill 


No. III. A Snow-Storm on 
Prairie 


the 
... 136 


NEW COUNTIES 


112 




112 


No. IV. 


... 138 


Coffee 


...'.. 112 


De Kalb 


. .:. 112 


Illinois The West 


. . . 138 




113 


No. V.' 
The East The West 


139 


CITIES AND TOWNS 


113 


V, Alton 


113 




140 




115 


No. VI. 

The Acquisition of Wealth . . 


... 142 

142 


Belleville 


. . .. 116 




117 




118 




. 143 




% 





PREFACE. 



THE immense resources of the Western Country, the vast increase of 
wealth, population, and influence in the New States, have long been, but 
are more particularly at the present time, topics of great and increasing 
interest throughout the whole of our vast Republic, and are arresting the 
attention not only of our own citizens, but of the inhabitants of foreign 
countries. Such are the admirable facilities of the West for trade, such 
the variety and fertility of its soil, the number and excellence of its 
natural products, the genial nature of its climate, and the rapidity with 
which its population is increasing, that it has become an object of the 
deepest interest to every American patriot. To this region the speculator 
is attracted by the increasing value of property ; the politician anticipates 
the time when, through the ballot-box, the West shall rule ; the young and 
enterprising, turning from the eager competition of industry and talent in 
the older states, see here a less occupied field of action; the philanthropist 
feels a benevolent anxiety for the intellectual, moral, and religious condi- 
tion of a population thus collecting and increasing, and destined to fill the 
measure of our national glory. The greatness and importance of this 
region is bursting into vision in a manner scarcely less wonderful to the 
present generation than was American prosperity to the slowly progressing 
European. 

A single glance at the Map of the United States will show, that the direc- 
tion of our government will shortly be in the hands .of the people of the 
West. The thirteen old states have an area of about 390,000 square miles; 
while only eight of the new number about the same, and the whole region, 
stretching westward to the Pacific Ocean, contains not less than 1,700,000 
square miles of territory. 

No state in the Western Country has attracted more attention and eli- 
cited so many inquiries from those who desire to avail themselves of the 
advantages of a settlement in a new and rising country, as that of Illinois; 
and none is filling up so rapidly with an industrious and intelligent popu- 
lation, from every part of our extensive country. When the public works, 
which are now advancing with all possible speed, are completed and in 
successful operation, Illinois will vie with any state in our republic, and 
no doubt excel any in the West, in the amount and importance of those 
artificial channels of intercourse which serve to connect the extremities 
of our wide-spread territory, and bind our population by links stronger 
than iron, by lines extending thousands of miles. 

This state is undoubtedly the richest in soil of any in the Union, and of 



vi PREFACE. 

course holds out the greatest prospect of advantage to the agriculturist. 
Here is ample room for farmers, there being still'vast quantities of first- 
rate land extending in every direction, uncultivated, which may be had 
not only at a reasonable but a cheap rate, and one acre of which will in a 
majority of cases produce at least twice as much as the same amount of 
land in most of the eastern states. If rural occupations are pleasant and 
profitable anywhere in our country, they must be peculiarly so in Illinois; 
for here the produce of the farmer springs up almost spontaneously, not 
more than one-third of the labour being necessary on the farms here thafr 
is required on those in the east. 

To be able to judge of the extent and power of vegetation in this region, 
one must reside here through the summer, and observe with what luxu- 
riance and vigour the vegetable creation is pushed on, how rapidly the 
grain rnol fruits grow, and what a depth of verdure the forests assume. 
This state, having a vast extent of the most fertile land, must of course 
raise with the greatest ease all the articles to which her soil and climate 
are favourable. By her long line of coast on the Mississippi, rarely hin- 
dered from being navigable by the lowness of the water, Illinois has facili- 
ties for conveying her products to market which the states situated on 
the Ohio have not. From her immense prairies, and boundless summer 
range for stock, she has advantages for raising cattle and horses superior 
to those of the other western districts. 

A gentleman travelling in the state of Illinois remarks, in a letter to : a 
friend from Springfield of March 2, 1837: " Our ' far west' is improving 
rapidly, astonishingly. It is five years since I visited it, and the changes 
within that period are like the work of enchantment. Flourishing towns 
have grown up, farms have been opened, and comfortable dwellings, fine 
barns and all appurtenances, steam-mills and manufacturing establish- 
ments erected, in a country in which the hardy pioneer had at that time 
sprinkled a few log cabins. The conception of Coleridge may be realized 
sooner than he anticipated : ' The possible destiny of the United States of 
America, as a nation of a hundred millions of freemen stretching from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific, living under the laws of Alfred, and speaking 
the language of Shakspeare and Milton, is an august conception why 
should we not wish to see it realized 1' On the subject of internal improve- 
ments the young giant of the West is making herculean efforts. A bill 
passed the legislature, a few days since, appropriating eight million of dol- 
lars for rail-roads, canals, &c. ; works which when completed will cost 
twenty millions. On Monday last another bill was passed, transferring 
the seat of government from Vandalia in Fayette county to this place 
Springfield which is in the fertile district of Sangamon county, and as 
near as may be the geographical centre of the state, and soon will be the 
centre of population. There will be but one more session at Vandalia. 

" The state of Illinois has probably the finest body of fertile land of any 
state in the Union, and the opportunities for speculation are numerous. 
Property will continue to advance, admirable farms and town-lots may be 
purchased with a certainty of realizing large profits. The country here 



PREFACE. vii 

is beautiful equal in native attractions, though not in classic recollections, 
to the scenes I visited and admired in Italy. The vale of Arno is not more 
beautiful than the valley of Sangamon, with its lovely groves, murmuring 
brooks and flowery meads 

1 Oh Italy, sweet clime of song, where oft 

The bard hath sung thy beauties, matchless deemed. 

Thou hast a rival in this western land !' " 

To give, at the least possible expense, a brief and yet satisfactory ac- 
count of Illinois, its prominent natural features and productions, plans of 
internal improvement, prospects and advantages for emigrants, political 
subdivisions, cities, towns, travelling routes to and from various points, 
&c., is the object of the following sketch. Those who are about to remove 
to this state, or who, for business, pleasure, or health, intend to visit it, or 
who are interested in its welfare and expect to profit by its prosperity, 
will probably find "ILLINOIS IN 1837" occasionally useful as a work of refer- 
ence. Individuals well acquainted with the state, who have travelled 
extensively through it, and whose opportunities have enabled them to 
become conversant with its districts, counties, towns, &c., or who have 
carefully perused the various publications illustrative of it, may not meet 
with any thing that they did not know before. Those less informed, how- 
ever, will, it is hoped, find a perusal of the work add something to the 
stock of information already acquired respecting the region in question. 
Such are now the facilities of intercommunication between the eastern 
and western states, and to the most prominent points in the Mississippi 
valley, that thousands are visiting parts of this interesting section of the 
Union, every month and week. Some knowledge of the different travel- 
ling routes that lead to the various portions of it will no doubt be desira- 
ble to all who mean to journey in that direction. 

The bulk of the information hereafter detailed is quite recent, being 
derived in part from the lately published and valuable Gazetteer of Illinois, 
and the Emigrant's Guide, by the Rev. J. M. Peck ; also, from Flint's 
Geography and History of the Western States, Beck's Gazetteer of Elinois 
and Missouri, Schoolcraft's Travels, and the works of Darby, Hall, Long, 
&c. The work contains, likewise, extracts from different correspondents, 
and from various gazettes printed in the state, some of them only a 
few weeks before its publication; particularly the Peoria Register and 
North- Western Gazetteer, the attention bestowed by the editor of which 
in distributing recent geographical and local information calculated to be 
useful to emigrants, renders it undoubtedly the most interesting print of 
the kind in the state. 

The accompanying Map of Illinois is, for its scale, probably the most 
complete yet published ; it contains, it is believed, all the United States 
surveys available at this time; the whole of the counties, seventy in num- 
ber, organized in the state ; and will be found, on examination, to corre- 
spond with the descriptive part of the book, a desideratum not always 
found in publications of this kind. 



PREFACE. 



The first 72 pages are devoted to the illustration of the Natural Geogra- 
phy, Minerals, Animal and Vegetable Productions of the State, also its 
Civil Divisions, Public Lands, Plans of Internal Improvements, Manufac- 
tures, Education, &c., Suggestions to Emigrants, Travelling Routes, 
Remarks on Location and Manner of Building in newly-settled Coun- 
tries. The next 58 pages are occupied with a descriptive sketch of the 
Counties, Cities and Towns in Illinois ; the remainder of the work is filled 
up with a Letter from the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth on the Cultivation of the 
Prairies, together with the Letters of a Rambler in the West. The latter 
are from the pen of a talented young Philadelphian, who travelled in Illi- 
nois in the early part of the present year ; they are written in a pleasing 
and spirited manner, and contain a great deal of local information, inter- 
spersed with piquant remarks and interesting observations. The inform- 
ation in Mr. Ellsworth's letter on the advantages and cultivation of the 
prairie lands in the Western States, is well calculated to interest those 
whose views are turned in that direction ; and the remarks and state- 
ments are declared by those editors of Western papers who have repub- 
lished the letter, to be the most valuable and accurate that they have 
seen. 



GENERAL VIEW 



OF 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, EXTENT, &c. 

THK rich and highly favoured region forming the State of Illinois is bounded on 
the north by the Territory of Wisconsin, east by lake Michigan and the states of 
Indiana and Kentucky, south by the latter state, and west by the states of Missouri 
and the Territory of Wisconsin. It extends north and south from 37 to 42 30' 
north latitude, and east and west from 10 32' to 14 33' longitude west from Wash- 
ington City. Its extreme length is 380 miles; its breadth in the north is about 
145 miles, but it extends in the centre to 220 miles, whence it contracts towards 
the south to a narrow point. The area of the whole state, including that part of 
Lake Michigan belonging to it, is about 59,000 square miles, of which 50,000 
square miles, or thirty-two millions of acres, are considered to be capable of culti- 
vation. 

The Act of Congress admitting this state into the Union prescribes the bounda- 
ries as follows: beginning at the mouth of the Wabash river, thence up the middle 
of the main channel thereof to the point where a line drawn due north of Vin- 
cennes last crosses that stream, thence due north to the north-west corner of the 
state of Indiana, thence east with the boundary line of the same state to the middle 
of Lake Michigan, thence due north along the middle of said lake to north lati- 
tude 40 30', thence west to the middle of the Mississippi river, thence down the 
middle of the main channel thereof to the mouth of the Ohio river, thence up the 
latter stream along its northern or right shore to the place of beginning. The 
outline of the state is in extent about 1160 miles, the whole of which, except 305 
miles, is formed by navigable waters. 

As a physical section, Illinois occupies the lower part of that inclined plane of 
which Lake Michigan and both its shores are the higher sections, and which is 
extended into and embraces the much greater part of Indiana. Down this plane, 
in a very nearly south-western direction, flow the Wabash and its confluents, the 
Kaskaskia, the Illinois and its confluents, and the Rock and Wisconsin rivers. The 
lowest section of the plane is also the extreme southern angle of Illinois, at the 
mouth of the Ohio river, about 340 feet above tide-water, in the Gulf of Mexico. 
Though the state of Illinois does contain some low hilly sections, as a whole, it 
I may be regarded as a gently inclining plane in the direction of its rivers, as 
j already indicated. Without including minute parts, the extreme arable elevation 
may be safely stated at 800 feet above tide-water, and the mean height at 550. 

" In some former period," observes Mr. Schoolcraft, " there has been an obstruc- 
tion in the channel of the Mississippi, at or near Grand Tower, producing a stag- 
nation of the current at an elevation of about 130 feet above the present ordinary 
water-mark. This appears evident from the general elevation and direction of the 
hills, which for several hundred miles above are separated by a valley from 20 to 
25 miles wide, that deeply embosoms the current of the Mississippi." Wherever 
these hills exhibit rocky and abrupt fronts, a series of water-lines are distinctly 
visible, and preserve a remarkable parallelism uniformly presenting their greatest 



10 GENERAL VIEW OF 



depression towards the sources of the river ; and, at Grand Tower, these water- 
lines are elevated about one hundred feet above the summit of the stratum in which 
petrifaction of the madrepora and various fossil organic remains are deposited. 
Here the rocks of dark-coloured limestone, which pervade the country to a great 
extent, by their projections towards each other, indicate that they have, at a remote 
period, been disunited, if not by some convulsion of nature, by the incessant action 
of the water upon a secondary formation, and that a passage has been effected 
through them, giving vent to the stagnant waters on the prairie lands above, and 
opening for the Mississippi its present channel. 

The bank of the Mississippi from the vicinity of Grand Tower, extending up- 
wards on the Missouri side of the river, is sufficiently elevated above the surface 
of the State of Illinois to have formed a western shore of an expanse of water, 
covering its present area. And the alluvial deposits of which the prairies are 
formed, are composed of fine, hard, and compact layers of earth, similar to those 
at the bottom of mill-ponds of water long stagnant. 

FACE OF THE COUNTRY. 

Next to Louisiana and Delaware, Illinois is the most level state in the Union. 
A small tract in the southern part of the state is hilly, and the northern portion is 
also somewhat broken. There are likewise considerable elevations along the Illi- 
nois river, and the bluffs of the Mississippi in some places might pass almost for 
mountains. But by far the greater proportion of the state is either distributed in 
vast plains, or in barrens, that are gently rolling like the waves of the sea after a 
storm. We may travel on the wide prairies for days, without encountering an 
elevation that is worthy to be called a hill. In no part of the peopled divisions of 
the United States, are there such great sections of prairie country. One vast prai- 
rie, with very little interruption, spreads from the snores of the Mississippi to those 
of Lake Michigan. 

On the route from Cincinnati to St. Louis, the great road passes through this 
state, in its whole extent of width. More than 100 miles of it is high, dry, and 
rich prairie. In all this distance, the margins of the streams are almost the only 
places where timbered land is found ; and the streams have only narrow skirts of 
wood. The first stratum of soil in this wide extent of country, is a black, friable, 
and sandy loam, of from two to five feet in thickness. The next is a red clay, 
mixed with fine sand, and from five to ten feet in thickness. The third is a hard 
blue clay of a beautiful appearance, and a greasy feeling, mixed with pebbles, and, 
when exposed to the air, emitting a fetid smell. The soil is of the finest quality. 
In the season of flowers, the eye and all the senses receive the highest gratifica- 
tion. In the time of strawberries, thousands of acres are reddened with the finest 
quality of this delicious fruit. 

Between Carlisle and St Louis, an extent of 50 miles, we meet with woods, 
streams, lime-stone ledges, and a rolling country ; although we cross an occa- 
sional prairie, quite to the American Bottom. On the north of this road, and be- 
tween it and the Illinois, the surface is generally more irregular. Much of the 
country may be termed broken. The hills abound with stone-coal. A range of 
heights commences at the bluffs that bound the American Bottom, near Kaskaskia, 
and stretches north-east ward ly through the state towards Lake Michigan. A noble 
limestone bluff breaks off, almost at right angles to this chain, and stretches along 
the margin of the American Bottom to the point nearly opposite the Missouri. 
This bluff has, in many places, a regular front of perpendicular limestone, not un- 
frequently 30() feet high. Another line of river bluffs commences opposite the 
mouth of the Missouri, and reaches the mouth of the Illinois. Opposite Portage 
des Sioux, these bluffs shoot up into detached points and pinnacles, which, with the 
hoary colour jof the rocks, have, at a distance, the appearance of the ancient spires 
and towers of a town. This chain of bluffs marks the limits of the alluvion of 
the Illinois. As along the Mississippi, the face of this grand work of nature is 
frequently perpendicular. When the limits of the alluvion are marked on one 
side by this wall, on the opposite side they are bounded by a succession of singular 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 11 



hills, parallel to each other, called by the French mamelles. What is singular is, 
that a beautiful prairie is seen on that side which' is bounded by the perpendicular 
bluffs ; and a thick, tangled, and heavily timbered bottom on the side of the river 
that is marked with these mamelles. When the prairie is found on the right or 
the left of the river, so are all these accompaniments : and they regularly alter- 
nate, being found first on one side and then on the other. 

PRAIRIES. 

Undoubtedly the most remarkable feature of the state of Illinois is its extensive 
prairies, or un wooded tracts. They begin on a comparatively small scale in the 
basin of lake Erie, and already form the bulk of the land about lake Michigan, the 
Upper Wabash, and the Illinois ; but on the west of the Mississippi they are more 
predominant ; or rather, the whole of this tract may be described as prairie inter- 
sected by patches of woodland, chiefly confined to the river valleys. The charac- 
teristic peculiarity of the prairies is the absence of timber; in other respects, they 
present all the varieties of soil and surface that are found elsewhere ; some are 
of inexhaustible fertility, others of hopeless sterility ; some spread out in vast, 
boundless plains, others are undulating or rolling, while others are broken by hills. 
In general, they are covered with a rich growth of grass, forming excellent natural 
meadows, from which circumstance they take their name. 

The Indians and hunters annually set fire to the prairies, in order to dislodge the 
game : the fire spreads with tremendous rapidity, and presents one of the grandest 
aud most terrible spectacles in nature. The flames rush through the long grass 
with a noise like thunder ; dense clouds of smoke arise ; and the sky itself appears 
almost on fire, particularly during the night Travellers then crossing the prairie 
are sometimes in serious danger, which they can only escape by setting fire to the 
grass around, and taking shelter in the burnt part, where the approaching flame 
must expire for want of fuel. Nothing can be more melancholy than the aspect 
of a burnt prairie, presenting a uniform black surface, like a vast plain of charcoal. 
A prejudice at one time prevailed against the prairies, as not being fit for cultiva- 
tion ; but this was found to be erroneous, and they are more in request, as it \A a 
most important object to save the labour of clearing the wood. 

Prairie is a French word, signifying meadow, and is applied to any description 
of surface that is destitute of timber and brushwood,' and clothed with grass. Wet, 
dry, level, and undulating, are terms of description merely, and apply to Dairies in 
the same sense as they do to forest lands. 

The prairies of Illinois may be classed under three general divisions ; the 
healthy, or bushy; the alluvial, or wet? and the dry, or undulating. Those desig- 
nated healthy, have springs of water, and are covered with bushes of hazel and 
furze, small sassafras shrubs, interspersed with grape-vines, and in the season of 
flowers become beautifully decorated by a rich profusion of gay herbaceous plants. 
Early in March the forests are in blossom, and the brilliant red tufts of the Judas 
tree (cercis canadensis) handsomely exhibit its charms. The Lonicera Flava, or 
yellow-flowered honeysuckle, diffuses its pleasing fragrapce, and the lovely yellow 
jasmine, or Jasminum fruticans, impregnates the air with its delicious perfume; 
and a vast variety of other odoriferous plants are passively engaged in the faithful 
discharge of their offices, either of display, or of the emission of their well-flavored 
odours. The bushes are often over-topped with the Humulus Lupulus, or common 
hop. 

Of the healthy prairies these lines of the poet are highly descriptive. 

Travellers ent'ring here behoM around 

A large and spacious plaiu on every side, 
Strewed with beauty, whoee fair grassy ground, 

Mantlod with green, and goodly beautified, 

With all the ornamenfs of Flora's pride. 

The alluvial, or wet prairies, are generally on the margins of the great water- 
courses, though sometimes they art) at a distance from them ; their soil is deep, 



12 GENERAL VIEW OF 



black, friable, and of exhaustless fertility ; excellent, in apposite latitudes, for wheat 
and maize, but grapes hitherto have not been cultivated with much success, yet, as 
those that are wild grow luxuriantly, it can hardly be doubted that a hybridous 
species formed from a union of one of these natives and the exotic vine, would 
prove prolific of estimable, fruit 

From May to October, the prairies are covered with tall grass and flower-pro- 
ducing weeds. In June and July, they seem like an ocean of flowers of various 
hues, waving to the breezes which sweep over them. The numerous tall flower- 
ing shrubs and vegetables which grCw luxuriantly over these plains, present a 
striking and delightful appearance. 

The dry or undulating prairies are almost destitute of springs and of all vege- 
tation, with the exception of weeds, flowers, and grass. The undulations are so 
slight that, to the eye, the surface has almost the appearance of an uninterrupted 
level, though the ravines made by freshets show that there is a considerable degree 
of inclination. In the prairie region there arc numerous ponds, formed some from 
the surface water, the effect of rain, and the melting of the snows in the spring, 
and others near the rivers from their overflowing. In these are deposited great 
quantities of the various kinds of fishes common in the western streams, which, 
after the waters subside, are frequently taken away by cart-loads, affording to the 
residents in the vicinity abundance of animal food almost without labour: those 
that are left, when their element becomes evaporated, attract thousands of buzzards, 
who prey on and devour them. Herds of deer bound over these plains. 

These are the Gardens of the Desert these 

The unshorn- fields, boundless and beautiful, 

And fresh as the yaujig earth ere man had sinned. 

The Prairies'} -I benoM them for the first. 

And my heart swells, while the dilated sight 

Takqgjn the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch 

In airyvuudulations, far away, 

As if the oeean, in his gentlest swell, 

Stood still, with all his rounded billows fixed, 

And motionless forever. Motionless? 

No they 're all unchained again. The clouds 

Sweep over with their shadows, and beneath 

The surfacerolls and- fluctuates to the eye: 

Dark hollovw seem to glide along, and chase 

The sunny ndges. 

In the southern part of the state, the prairies are comparatively small, varying 
in size, from those of several miles in extent, to those which contain only a few 
acres. As we go northward, they widen and extend on the more elevated ground 
between the 'vater-courses to a vast distance, and are frequently from six to twelve 
miles in width. Their borders are by no means uniform, but are intersected in 
every direction by strips of forest land advancing into and receding from the prai- 
rie towards the water-courses, whose banks are always lined with timber, princi- 
pally of luxuriant growth. Between these streams, in many instances, are copses 
and groves of timber, containing from 100 to 2000 acres, in the midst of the prai- 
ries, like islands in the ocean. This is a common feature in the country between 
the Sangamon river and Lake Michigan, and in the northern parts of the state. 
The lead-mine region, both in this state and the Wisconsin Territory, abounds with 
these groves. 

The largest tract of prairie in Illinois is denominated the Grand Prairie. Under 
this general name is embraced the country lying between the waters which fall 
into the Mississippi, and those which enter the Wabash- rivers. It does not consist 
of one vast tract, boundless to the vision, and uninhabitable for want of timber, but 
is made up of continuous tracts, with points of timber projecting inward, and long 
arms of prairie extending between the creeks and smaller streams. The southern 
points of the Grand Prairie are formed in Ihe north-eastern parts of Jackson county, 
and extend in a north-eastern course between the streams, of various widths, from 
one to ten or twelve miles, through Perry, Washington, Jefferson, Marion, the 
eastern part of Fayette, Effingham, through '.he western part of Coles into Cham- 
paign and Iroquois counties, where it becomes connected with the prairies that pro- 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 13 



ject eastward from the Illinois river and its tributaries. A large arm lies in Ma- 
rion county, between the waters of Crooked creek and the east fork of the Kaskas- 
kia river, where the Vincennes road passes through in its, longest direction. This 
part alone is frequently called the Grand Prairie. 

Much the largest part of the Grand Prairie is genth^pflulating, rich, and fertile 
land ; but of the southern portion, considerable tracts 4^B0aMuid of ratfier inferior 
soil. No insurmountable obstacle exists to its 1'uUirJjj^Bflp. No portion of it 
is more than six or eight miles distant from timber; ui^fccHfl abundance is found 
in various parts. Those who have witnessed the clrt^g^JH&oduced upon a prairie 
surface within twenty or thirty years, consider these extensive prairies as offering 
no serious impediment to the future growth of the state. 

On the origin of the prairie lands it is difficult tb'decide : various speculations 
have arisen from this subject, giving rise to a diversity of opinions. The level 
surface of the state of Illinois (according to the ideas of many) was formed by 
inundations. The whole of the state, from a few miles north of the Ohio river, 
where the prairies commence, affords tolerably conclusive evidence of having been 
once covered with water, forming probably a large lake similar to Lakes Michigan, 
Erie, &c. When the lowest point near the Grand Tower perhaps was worn away, 
so as to drain the waters offj it was left with a rich soft muddy surface nearly level, 
as we may suppose is the case in the present lakes. When this soft soil' was 
drenched with rains, the waters, gathering into little rills as they descended to the 
lowest parts, would intersect the soft soil, and finally wear away much of the rich 
surface : hence we see the elevated parts the most fertile, while the lower and 
more broken and timbered land is the pooreafcjotijPt 

From whatever cause the prairies,lt firsLJK^imted, they arc undoubtedly per- 
petuated by the autumnal fires that Ifeve jHpally swept Jper them from an eja 
probably long anterior to the 'earliest recaps c<t histurjuy^ppng the streams, and 
in other places where vegetation does, n^Jsufler i'rom-thu liroi^jht of the latter part 
of summer and early autumn, and of corfHe becomes sejjrfendJlombustible less soon 
than it does in the plains which are drierithe tire flbMTOLJafc'oach much; conse- 
quently the forests prevail there, and probably gradually increase in some places 
upon the prairies. As soon as these are ploughed, and the heavy grass kept under, 
young timber begins to sprout, particularly*such as is produced by winged seeds, 
as cotton-wood, sycamore, &c. Where the soil is either too poor or too wet to 
produce a heavy annual growth of grass sufficient tonnake a strong fire, there is 
no prairie. 

It is well known that in the richest and most dry and level tracts, the aboriginal 
inhabitants, before they had the use of fire-arms, were in the habit of enclosing 
their game in circular fires, in order that it might bewilder and frighten the ani- 
mals, and thus render them an easy prey. 

When Captain John Smith visited the Chesapeake, he found extensive prairies, 
and first bore witness to the practice of circular fires as a mode of hunting among 
the savages. These tracts having been early inhabited and cultivated by the 
colonists, the prairies have long since disappeared. Probably one-half of the 
earth's surface in a state of nature consisted of prairies or barrens; much of it, like 
our western prairies, was covered with a luxuriant coat of grass and herbage. The 
steppes of Central Asia, the pampas and llanos of Buenos Ayres and Venezuela, 
the savannahs of Louisiana and Texas, and the prairies of the Western States, 
designate similar tracts of country. Mesopotamia, Syria, and Judea, had their 
ancient prairies, on which the Patriarchs fed their flocks. Missionaries in Burmah, 
and travellers in the interior of Africa and New Holland, mention the same descrip- 
tion of country. The late Mungo Park describes the annual burning of the plains 
of Manding, in Western Africa, in the same manner as the prairies of the Western 
States ; and the practice is attended with the same results, the country being, in 
short, covered with a luxuriant crop of young and tender grass, on which the cat- 
tle feed with avidity. 

Where the tough sward of the prairie is once formed, timber will not easily take 
root; destroy this by the plough or by any other method, and it is soon converted 
into forest land. There are large tracts of country in the older settlements where 

a 



14 GENERAL VIEW OF 



a number of years ago the farmers mowed their hay, that are now covered with a 
forest of young timber of rapid growth. 

As soon as timber or orchards are planted in the prairies, they grow with unex- 
ampled luxuriance. A correspondent writes from Adams county, that "locust 
trees planted, or rather sown, on prairie land near Quincy, attained in four years 
a height of twenty-five feet, and their trunks a diameter of from four to five inches; 
these grew in close crowded rows, affording a dense and arboury shade. In a few 
instances where the same kind of trees had been planted out in a more open man- 
ner, they grew in the same period to a thickness of six inches, and in from seven 
to ten years from their planting, have been known to attain sufficient bulk to make 
posts and rails." 

Dr. Beck, in his Gazetteer of Missouri, published in 1823, describes the uplands 
of St Louis county as "generally prairie;" but almost all of that tract of country 
thus described is now covered with a young growth of fine thrifty timber, and it 
would be difficult to find an acre of prairie in the county. This important change 
has been produced by keeping the fires out of the prairies. 

The first improvements are usually made on that part of the prairie which 
adjoins the timber ; and thus we may see, at the commencement, a range of farms 
circumscribing the entire prairie as with a belt The burning of the prairies is 
then stopped the whole distance of the circuit in the neighbourhood of these farms, 
to prevent injury to the fences and other improvements. This is done by plough- 
ing two or three furrows all round the settlement In a short time the timber 
springs up spontaneously on all the parts not burnt and the groves and forests 
commence a gradual encroachment on the adjacent prairies ; by-and-by you will 
see another tier of farms springing up on the outside of the first, and farther out in 
the prairie ; and thus farm succeeds farm, as the timber grows up, until the entire 
prairie is occupied.y*^,^ 

The correspondent quoted above saygj " In breaking up prairie land, &c., for 
cultivation, we usually plough with tnie or four yoke of oxen ; the shear plough 
turning up about eighteen to twenty-four inches of turf at a furrow, in breadth, 
and from three to four inches deep, the sod turning entirely over, so as to lay the 
grass down, and it fits furrow to furrow smoothly enough to harrow and sow wheat. 
It is usual to break it up in May, and drop corn along the edge of every fourth 
row. This is called sod corn. No working or ploughing is necessary the first 
season. The sod is left lying for the grass to decay ; and after the next winter's 
frost, it crumbles and becomes light and friable. The sod corn does not make 
more than half a crop, and is cut up, stalk and all together, and stacked up for 
fodder for stock. The next year the crop of corn is most abundant, averaging 50 
bushels per acre ; well cultivated wheat, 25 to 30 bushels ; rye, 25 to 35 ; and oats, 
from 40 to 60 bushels per acre. Potatoes (Irish), hay (timothy), and all the dif- 
ferent garden vegetables yet tried, yield most abundantly. A man here can tend 
double the quantity of corn that he can in newly settled timbered countries, there 
being no stumps to obstruct the plough or hoe. 

" The cost of breaking up an acre of prairie is from one dollar and fifty cents to 
two dollars; fencing, say forty acres, eight rails high, stake and rider, 6000 rails 
and stakes, $100 ; cabin, $20 ; say, forty acre field broke up and fenced, and cabin, 
$200, cost of the land $50; total, $250: then worth, in my opinion, $500. Timber, 
it is feared, will be scarce ; but I think differently. No one has yet felt the want 
of it; nor will they, because it grows so fast and also because the quantity at pre- 
sent is sufficient for twenty million acres of prairie, being the estimated quantity 
of good prairie land in this state. The prairies are generally from one to six miles 
in width; of course, about three miles is the farthest distance from timber, and the 
prairie constitutes the finest natural road possible to haul on. The settlements are 
at present chiefly confined to the margins of the timber and prairie. 

" The prairie lands are undoubtedly worth from $10 to $15 per acre more for 
forming than those that are timbered, not only because they are richer, but because 
it would take at least that sum per acre to put the timbered lands of Ohio and 
Indiana in the same advanced state for cultivation." 

The prairies are the highest as well as the most level land, and the roads gene- 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 15 



rally pass through the middle of them, from whence there is an easy slope on each 
side, at first barely sufficient to drain the waters towards the sides of the prairies, 
or to the nearest point of timber. Here all around you, in the proper season, may 
be seen the rich luxuriant grass, from two to three feet high, suitable for hay, and 
mowed by the farmers for that purpose. In the midst of the prairie, the houses 
and fields of the settlers are seen diminished like a picture along the skirts and 
points of the forest 

But few have as yet settled out in the middle of the prairie, unless where the 
road crosses, on account of the distance from timber to build fence, &c. Those 
who have done so have invariably found It to their interest; and the practice will 
no doubt in a short time become general, until the whole of the extensive prairies 
of Illinois will be covered with valuable and productive farms. The middle of the 
prairie is not only the highest and most level, but is greatly the most fertile land. 
As the surface descends towards the timber, it has an increased unevenness a^nd 
ruggedness, and the greater the descent in perpendicular depth, the less fertile is the 
soil. 

Early in the mornings, when a mist is on the ground, the fog appears all around 
the skirts of the timber in the lowest places. Hence it is not so healthful on the 
edges of the prairie, or in the forest, as on the middle or highest part of the prairie. 
Another advantage possessed by residents on the latter is the facility with which 
excellent water is procured at a depth of from not more than 15 to 20 feet; 
whereas, along the broken borders and spurs near the timber, the common flepth 
of the. wells is from 40 to 50 feet. 

The grass which covers the prairies in great abundance is tall, and coarse in 
appearance. In the early stages of ijg growth, it resembles young wheat ; and in 
this state ftirnishes a succulent and rich food for cattle. They nave been seen, 
when running in wheat-fields, where the young wheat covered the ground, to 
choose the prairie-grass on the margins^' the fields in preference to the wheat. 
It is impossible to imagine better butter than is made.-while the grass is in this 
stage. Cattle and horses, that have lived unsheltered and without fodder through 
the winter and in the spring, scarcely able to mount a hillock through leanness 
and weakness, when feeding on this grass, are transformed to a healthy and sleek 
appearance, as if by a charm. 

BARRENS. 

A description of country called " barrens," or " oak openings," prevails to some 
extent in Illinois. This term is used in the west to designate a species of land 
which partakes, as it were, at once of the character of the forest and prairie. The 
surface is generally dry and more uneven than the prairies, and is covered with 
scattered oaks, interspersed at times with pine, hickory, and other forest trees, 
mostly of stunted and dwarfish size, but which spring from a rich vegetable soil, 
admirably adapted to the purposes of agriculture. They rise from a grassy turf, 
seldom incumbered with brushwood, but not unfrequently broken by jungles of rich 
and gaudy flowering plants, and of dwarf sumach. Among the oak openings you 
find some of the most lovely landscapes of the west, and travel for miles and miles 
through varied park scenery of natural growth, with all the diversity of gently 
swelling hill and dale ; here trees grouped or standing single, and there arranged 
in long avenues, as though by human hands, with strips of open meadow between. 
Sometimes the openings are interspersed with numerous clear lakes, and with this 
addition become enchantingly beautiful. But few of these reservoirs having appa- 
rent inlet and outlet, they are fed by subterraneous springs, or the rains, and lose 
their surplus waters by evaporation. 

In the early settlements of Kentucky, much of the country below and south of 
Green river presented a dwarfish and stunted growth of timber, scattered over the 
surface, or collected in clumps, with hazle and shrubbery intermixed. This appear- 
ance led the first explorers to the inference that the soil itself iqust necessarily be 
poor, to produce so scanty a growth of timber, and they gave the name of " barrens" 
to the whole tract of country. Long since it has been ascertained that this descrip- 



16 GENERAL VIEW OF 



tion ofland is amongst the most productive soil in the state. The term " barren" 
has since received a very extensive application throughout the west. 

Wherever timber barely sufficient tor present purposes can be found, a person 
need not hesitate to settle in the barrens. These tracts are almost invariably 
healthful; they possess a greater abundance of pure springs of water, and the soil 
is better adapted For all kinds of produce, and all descriptions of seasons, wet and 
dry, than the deeper and richer, mould of the bottoms and prairies. 

When the hres are stoned, these barrens produce timber, at a rate of which no 
northern emigrant can Mye any just conception. When timber begins to grow 
on the prairies, they asgeme the character of barrens, first hazel, and other shrubs, 
and finally a thicket of young timber covers the surface. 

X 

FOREST OR TIMBERED LAND. 

In general, Illinois- is abundantly supplied with timber, and were it equally dis- 
tributed through the state there would be no part wanting. The apparent scarcity 
of timber where the prairie predominates, is not so great an obstacle to the settle- 
ment as has been supposed. For many of the purposes to which timber is applied, 
substitutes are found. The rapidity with which the young growth pushes itself 
forward, without a single effort on the part of man to accelerate it, and the readi- 
ness with which the prairie becomes converted into thickets, and then into a forest 
of young timber, shows that, in another generation, timber will not be wanting in 
any part of Illinois. 

The growth of the^ottom lands consists of black walnut, ash of several species, 
hackberry elm (white, red -and slippery), sugar-maple, honey-locust," buck-eye, 
catalpa sycamore, cotfonwood, pecan, hickory, mulberry ; several oaks as, over- 
cup, burr-oak, swamp .or water oa^J r white, red, or Spanish oak; and of the shrub- 
bery are red-bud, papaw, 'grape- vine, dogwood, spice-bush, hazel, greenbrier, &c. 
Along the margin of the streams the syctmore and cottonwood often predominate, 
and attain to an amazing size, f The cottonwood is of rapid growth, a light, white 
wood, sometimes used forVaSs, shingles, and scantlings; not lasting, and of no 
great value. Its' dry, light wood is much used in steamboats. It forms the chief 
proportion of the drift wood that floats down the rivers, and is frequently converted 
into planters, snags, and sawyers. The sycamore is the buttonwood of New Eng- 
land, is frequently hollow, and in that state procured by the farmers, cut at suitable 
lengths, cleaned but, and used as depositories for grain. They answer the pur- 
pose of large casks. The size of the cavity of some of these trees appears in- 
credible in the ears of a stranger to the luxuriant growth of the west To say 
that twenty or thirty men could be comfortably lodged in one, would seem a mon- 
strous fiction to a New Englander, but to those accustomed to this species of tree 
on the bottoms, it is nothing marvellous. 

The uplands are covered with various species of oak, amongst which is the post- 
oak, a valuable and lasting timber for posts ; white oak, black oak of several varie- 
ties, and the black jack, a dwarfish gnarled looking tree, good for nothing but fuel, 
for which it is equal to any tree we have: of hickory, both the shagbark and 
smoothbark, black walnut in some parts, white walnut or butternut, Lynn, cherry, 
and many of the species produced in the bottoms. The black walnut is much 
used for building materials, and cabinet work, and sustains a fine polish. The 
different species of oaks, walnuts, hackberry, and occasionally hickory, are used 
for fencing. 

In some parts of the state the white and yellow poplar prevails. Beginning at 
the Mississippi, a few miles above the mouth of the Muddy river, and extending a 
line across the state to the mouth of the Little Wabash, leaves the poplar range 
south, interspersed with occasional clumps of beach. Near the Ohio, on the low 
creek bottoms, the cypress is found. No poplar exists on the eastern borders of 
the state till you arrive at or near Palestine ; while on the opposite shore of the 
Wabash, in Indiana, the poplar and beach predominate. Near Palestine, in Craw- 
ford county, the poplar again commences, intermixed with beach and all the varie- 
ties of timber, and extends northward further than has been explored. A spur of it 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 17 



puts into the interior of the state, on the Little Wabasb above Maysville. Occa- 
sional clumps of stunted cedar are to be seen on the ^MLthat overhang the bot- 
toms, but no pine, unless it exists in the wild regions^^^^K Lake Michigan. 

Timber not only grows much more rapidly in this country than in the northen 
states, but it decays sooner when put in building?, fences, o^is in any way ex- 
posed to the weather. It is more porous, and \\ill shrini? and expand, as the 
weather becomes wet or dry, to a much greater etfcent than^the timber of New 
England. This may be owing partly to the atmosphere, -but it is unquestionably 
owing in part to the quality of the timber. The t'onces require to he newly laid, and 
one third of the rails provided anew, in a period of from seven to ten years. A 
shingled roof requires replacing in about twelve years.T^'rhis, however, may not 
be a fair estimate, because most of the timber is prepared hastily, and in a green 
state. Doubtless with proper care in the seasoning and in the preservation it 
would last much longer. Timber is ordinarily required for four purposes : fencing, 
building, fuel, and mechanical operations. Rails is almost the only article used 
for fencing. In making a plantation in this mode, there is a great waste of tim- 
ber; nor will a man with a moderate capital, and with the burden of an increasing 
family, stop to make experiments. He must have fields enclosed, and takes the 
quickest and cheapest method by cutting down the most convenient timber and 
making rails. * 

The first buildings put up are cabins made of logs, slightly hewrjjpn two sides, 
and the corners notched together. They are made single or double with a space 
between, according to the enterprize, ability, or taste of the owner ; and the chim- 
ney is built of sticks of wood plastered with mud <pr .clay nrortar. The next step 
in advance is a log house. This is also made of logs mqre" accurately hewn on 
two sides than those of the cabin, with a fram%d or shingle roof, and a brick or 
stone chimney; all the out-houses are .at first put up in the same manner. It is 
perfectly obvious that this mode of building- sweeps off vast quantities of timber, 
that by a more judicious and economical plan would be saved for other purposes, 
In a few years brick, and in some instances stone,, will take the place of these rude 
and misshapen piles of timber. This begins to take effect, to a considerable ex- 
tent, in those counties where the people have obtained the means, for brick and 
frame houses are fast erecting. The substratum of the, soil in any place is excel- 
lent for brick, and in many of the bluffs inexhaustible quantities of limestone exist. 
The waste of timber for buildings then will be greatly lessened, as the country 
advances in improvement, population, and* wealth. 

As in all countries where the population have been accustomed to burn excessive 
quantities of wood before they emigrate, and where they live in cold and open 
cabins, there is a great waste of timber for fuel. This will be remedied as the 
people obtain close and comfortable dwellings, and make use of proper economy in 
this article. In almost every direction through the country there are inexhaustible 
stores of stone-coal near the surface of the earth. There is fuel for domestic pur- 
poses and for steam-engines, without limits. 

It will be perceived that Illinois does not labour under as great inconveniences 
for timber, as many have supposed. If provision is made for the first fifty years, 
future supplies will be abundant Timber may be artificially produced with little 
trouble or expense, and to an indefinite extent. The black locust, a native growth 
of Ohio and Kentucky, may be raised from the seed with far less labour than a 
nursery of apple-trees ; and as it is of very rapid growth, and a valuable and last- 
ing timber for fencing, buildings, and boats, it must claim the attention of farmers. 
| Already it forms one of the cleanliest and most beautiful shades, and when in 
blossom presents a rich prospect, and a most delicious fragrance. 

BOTTOM LANDS, OR ALLUVION. 

The term "bottom" is used throughout the west to denote the alluvial soil on 
the margin of rivers, usually called " intervals" in the eastern states. Portions of 
this description of land are flowed, for a longer or shorter period, when the rivers 
are full. Probably one tenth of the bottom lands are of this description ; for though 



18 GENERAL VIEW OF 



the water may not stand for any length of time, it prevents settlement and culti- 
vation, though it does nd|^kerrupt the growth pf timber and vegetation. These 
tracts are on the bottom^Ftlie Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, and all the in- 
terior rivers. 

When the rivals ris^ above their ordinary height, the waters of the smaller ! 
streams whU>h are backed up by the freshets of the former, break over their banks, 
and cover rfu the low ground^ Here they stand for a few days, or for many weeks, 
especially towards tneikitfri; for it is a striking fact in the geology of the western 
country, that all the river bottoms are higher on the margins of the streams than 
at some distance back. Whenever increase of population shall create a demand 
for this species of soil, IK most of it can be reclaimed at comparatively small ex- 
pense. Its fertility will be inexhaustible, and if the waters from the rivers could 
be shut out by dykes or levees, the soil would be perfectly dry. Most of the small 
lakes on the American Bottom disappear in the summer, and leave a deposit of 
vegetable matter undergoing decomposition, or a luxuriant coat of weeds and grass. 

As the prairies mostly lie between the streams that drain the country, the inte- 
rior of the large ones is usually level. Here are formed small ponds and lakes 
after the winter and spring rains, which remain to be drawn off by evaporation, or 
absorbed by the soil. Hence the middle of the large level prairies arc wet, and 
for several we^ks portions of them are covered with water. To remedy this in- 
convenfencelfompletely, and render all this portion of soil dry and productive, only 
requires fl dirch or drain of two or three feet deep to be cut into the nearest ravine. 
In many instances, a single furrow with the plough would drain many acres. At 
present this species ortnundatejj land offers no inconvenience to the people, except 
in the production of miasm, and even that, perhaps, becomes too much diluted with 
the atmosphere to produce miscU.ieF before it reaches the settlements on the bor- 
ders of the prairie. Hence the inference is correct that the inundated lands pre- 
sent fewer obstacles to the settlipient and growth of the country, and can be re- 
claimed at much less expense, thkn the swamps and salt marshes of the Atlantic 
states. 

The surface of the alluvial bottoms is not entirely level. In some places it re- 
sembles alternate waves of the ocean, and looks as though the waters had left their 
deposit in ridges, and retired. The portion of bottom land capable of present cul- 
tivation, and on which the waters never stand, if, at any extreme freshet, it is cov- 
ered, is a soil of exhauetlf 3 fertility ; a soil that for ages past has been gradually 
deposited by the annual -floods. Its average depth on the American Bottom is from 
twenty to twenty-five feet. Logs of wood, and other indications, are fonnd at 
that depth. The soil dug from wells on these bottoms, produces luxuriantly the 
first year. 

The most extensive and fertile tract, of this description of soil, in this state, is 
the American Bottom, a name it received when it constituted the western boundary 
of the United States, and which it has retained ever since. It commences at the 
confluence of the Kaskaskia river with the Mississippi, and extends northwardly to 
the mouth of the Missouri ; being bounded on the east by a chain of bluffs, which 
in some places are sandy and in others rocky, and which vary from 50 to 200 feet 
in height. ' This bottom is about 80 miles in length, and comprises an area of 
about 450 square miles, or 288,000 square acres. On the margin of the river is a 
strip of heavy timber, with a rank undergrowth : this extends from a half to two 
miles in width, and from thence to the bluffs is generally prairie. No soil can ex- 
ceed this in fertility, many parts of it having been under cultivation for more than 
a century without the least apparent deterioration. 

The only objection that can be offered to this tract, is its unhealthiness. This 
arises from the circumstance of the lands directly on the margin of the river being 
higher than those under the bluffs where the water, after leaving the former, sub- 
sides, and forms ponds and lagoons, which during the summer stagnate and throw 
off noxious effluvia. These', however, might at a trifling expense be drained by 
lateral canals communicating with the rivers. 

The first settlement of this state was commenced upon the tract of land above 
described, and its uncommon fertility gave emigrants a favourable idea of the 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



1!) 



whole country. Cultivation has no doubt rendered this tract more salubrious than 
formerly : and the extension of agriculture, together with the construction of 
drains and canals, will make it one of the most eligible in the States. The old 
inhabitants advise the emigrants not to plant corn in the immediate vicinity of 
their dwellings, as its exuberant foliage prevents the sun from dispelling 'the dele- 
terious vapours. 

Coal exists in abundance on this alluvion, and the bluffs which bound it. It has 
been mined to some extent for several years past, and carried to St. Louis. The 
quantity hauled there in wagons in 1836 amounted to about 300,000 bushels. A 
rail-road is now making from the coal-mines to the Mississippi river opposite St. 
Louis, for the purpose of expediting the transportation of the mineral to that city. 
At the mine a new town is about to be laid out, called Pittsburg. Besides the 
American Bottom, there are other tracts which resemble it in its general character, 
but which are much less extensive. 

It would lead to a particularity beyond the limits of this sketch, to go into a de- 
tailed description of all the bodies of excellent land in Illinois. For not only here, 
but all over the Western Country, the lands seem to be distributed in bodies, either 
of rich or sterile, level or broken lands. The Military Bounty Tract, the country 
on Rock river, the Sangamon country, &c., are all familiarly spoken of for their 
beauty and fertility, and have each their advocates, who, swayed by various predi- 
lections, extol the advantages of thafcsectios Iff which they are attached. On the 
Illinois, the Kaskaskia, the Fox river, on the Kankakee, and the Embarras,' between 
the Great and Little VVabash, and on all the considerable streams of this state, 
there are large bodies of first-rate lands. On the Grand Prairie, the Mound Prai- 
rie, the prairie upon which the Marine Settlement is located, and that occupied by 
the society of Christians from New England*, are exceedingly rich tracts. The 
following description of the Military Bounty Lands, the Rock river country, and 
the region on the Sangamon river, will give some idea of the situation, natural fea- 
tures, productions, capacities for settlements, &c., of each district. 




MILITARY BOUNTY TR 

The region generally denominated the Military Bounty Tract, was surveyed 
during the years 1815 and 1816, and the greater part sijbseq'uciitly appropriated in 
bounties to the soldiers of the regular army, who served in the late war between 
the United States and Great Britain. It is situated between ilie rivers Mississippi 
and Illinois, and extends from their junction due .north by a nleridian line, denomi- 
nated the fourth^rincipal meridian, 169 miles, presenting an irregular curvilinear 
triangle, the acute angle of which is at the junction of these two rivers. From 
this point the tvVo rivers diverge, so as to make a distance of 90 miles between the 
extreme points of the northern boundary. Half-way between the extremes, the 
width is 64 miles. The base line running due east an$ Vlest, and commencing 
seven miles above Quincy on the Mississippi, and terminating at the Illinois, about 
four miles below Beardstown, intersects the fourth, principal meridian at right 
angles 73 miles above the junction of the' Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and is 52 
miles long. The whole tract, according to the public surveys, contains 207 entire 
townships, of six miles square, and 61 fractional townships, containing together 
5,360,000 acres, of which 3,500,000 have been appropriated in military bounties. 
The residue consists partly of fractional sections, bordering on the rivers, partly of 
fractional quarter-sections, bordering on the township lines, containing more or less 
than 160 acres, and partly of lands that were returned by the public surveyors as 
unfit for cultivation ; but there are also large reservations not coming within the 
above exception, being the overplus of lands after satisfying the military claims, 
subject to entry and purchase as other congress lands. 

this tract of country lies between 38 54', and 41 40 7 of north latitude, and 13 
west longitude from Washington City, and is bounded on the north-west for 255 
miles by the Mississippi river, and for about the same distance on the south-east by 
the Illinois. Thus do these two great rivers, in their diverging course, with Rock 
river approximating from the north, form a spacious peninsula, furnishing a border 



20 GENERAL VIEW OF 



to the bounty land^ by a sheet of navigable waters for steamboats more than 500 
miles in extent-Jeaving no part of the tract more than 45 miles, and the greater 
part not exceeding,-^ mi:es from steamboat navigation. 

The water 'communication now about to be completed between the- Mississippi 
and the lakes, by means.ot'the Illinois and Chicago canal, must eventually greatly 
increase the value of the bounty lands, by affording a choice of markets for their 
products, either at Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, New-York, Montreal, or Quebec, by 
way of the Illinois, canal and the lakes, or by the natural channels of the rivers at 
St. Louis and NewsQrleans. 

In the interior of the tract, and traversing it in various directions, are several 
rivers and creeks of les$onsequence, in a commercial point of view, than those 
great water-courses which form its boundary lines, but nevertheless of great utility 
in other respects to the settlements in their vicinity. Of these, Spoon, Henderson, 
Edwards, and Pope's rivers, and Crooked, Kickapoo or Red Bud, Copperas, Otter, 
M'Kee's, M'Craney's, Hadley's, Mill, and Bear creeks, are the most considerable. 
There are also many other smaller streams, generally tributaries to those already 
mentioned, affording sufficient power for mills and other machinery. 

Considerable bodies of timber are to be found on the margins of all these streams, 
with but few exceptions, the lands of which are generally broken, and the soil not 
so productive as that of the adjacent prairies. And it may be remarked in general, 
in relation to the bluffs of the Mississippi and Illinois, as well as those upon the 
smaller riven^ that they exhibit a surface too rough to be cultivated, and a soil too 
thin for successful tillage. The hills, or bluffs as they are called in this country, 
which are everywhere to be seen on the margins of the Mississippi and Illinois 
rivers, are generally neither very high nor precipitous, and very rarely approach 
the water's edge. The bottoms between the river and bluffs are generally alluvial, 
and expand from one to. five miles in \vklth. Two-thirds of these bottom lands are 
subject to occasional inundation from high water; and when this happens, the river 
is seen gradually to rise for several successive days, until the channel within the 
banks is no longer, capable of containing- the. Immense accumulation of waters from 
above, at which time th^y burst over the banks in all directions, extending them- 
selves from bluff" to bi: if in- all the terrific grandeur of a mighty river. Again 
they gradually recede^ until they are confined within the ordinary channel. When 
these inundations pcciur as late as the months of June and July, a sickly season, 
arising from the noxious rapfturs engendered by a decay of vegetation, may be ex- 
pected in these and^contifpeus parts of the country ; but if early, and the bottoms 
become dry before' the hot season commences, no difference in the health of the 
inhabitants is expected to' ensue on that account. 

Of the military tract, fcbout two-thirds may be set down as prairie land, and the 
remaining one-third as timber land. The detached groves, or those which are 
found occasionally as islands in the prairies, and those at the heads or sources of 
the streams, generally pr^luce the finest timber, with a soil mostly of good quality, 
and not unfrequently very rich. The soil on the prairies is good, and a large por- 
tion of it may be considered as first-rate, having either a black vegetable mould, 
or a dark sandy loam, from 15 to 30 inches deep, generally bedded on a stiff yellow 
clay. Many of the prairies are of convenient dimensions for farming operations, 
others too large at present, and again we find many only large enough for a single 
farm. 

The emigrant, in travelling over this delightful region in the spring and summer 
months, will generally see timber either before him or to the right or left, within 
a few miles, but he will occasionally, after descending one of our beautiful slopes 
to the verdant valley beneath, through which the gentle rivulet is meandering its 
course with its flowery border, get as it were out of the sight of land, while his 
vision is bounded only by the blue horizon above, and not a tree can be discovered 
as far as the eye can reach. Again, when he approaches the summit of the oppo- 
site slope, his vision is relieved with the green forests upon his right and left, and 
a cluster of beautiful island groves immediately in the advance, with their varied 
shrubbery in full bloom, scattering its fragrance for many a mile around : the prai- 
rie, in the mean time, being covered with a smooth green coat of grass, and innu- 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 21 



merable flowers of every variety and hue, which blossom and decay in succession, 
from the first opening of spring until the severe frosts of winter. 

The bounty lands extend from north to south over about tw^and a half degrees 
of latitude, the medium of which exceeds forty degrees north, and afford a climate 
not uncongenial to the constitution of men from the northern and middle states. 
The climate seems also to be well adapted to the constitution of emigrants from 
Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, who, in the general, enjoy, as. good health 
as those from the more northern states. It is a fact, however, which' ought not to 
be disguised, that a large portion of the lands on the margins of the Mississippi and 
Illinois rivers, as well as those upon the banks of the smaller streams, including 
such also as border upon the large, flat, wet prairies, may be reckoned among the 
situations most unfavourable to health. The stagnant waters which sometimes 
remain after the overflowings of these rivers, not unfrequently produce pestilential 
vapours, proceeding from putrescent vegetable substances, which very often engen- 
der malignant fevers and agues, and prove destructive to the health and vigour of 
the newly settled emigrant and his family. Habitations should, therefore, at the 
commencement of a settlement be as far removed as convenient, from stagnant 
waters, and low, rich, alluvial grounds, which are thickly shaded by forest trees, 
and located on more open and elevated ground, where air and water can be enjoyed 
in their native purity. Lands of this description, which, in a state of nature, prove 
most injurious to health, when drained, opened to the sun, and cleared, of the trees 
and rank weeds, which generally grow upon them, have often become salubrious 
places of habitation. But the new comer should be aware before he -is acclimated, 
that it is a dangerous experiment to attempt the improvement. But of this quality, 
there is a small part only of the whole tract, most of the residue furnishing situa- 
tions as healthful as any part of the Western Country, old Kentucky not excepted. 

Taking all the Bounty Tract together, aift& fhere is no region of country in the 
west more eligibly situated for all the purposes of agriculture and commerce. The 
lands everywhere, with but few exceptions, are of the best quality, and in -a man- 
ner surrounded by a sheet of navigable' waters; and the country exhibits a climate 
of great variety for the space occupied ; whereby its productions are varied, and 
the means of traffic greatly increased and facilitated. Labels. -of excellent quality 
may yet be had at the government price of $1.25 per acce, irr desirable parts of the 
country, so that means of wealth, or at least of a omiiortMlile- competence, are still 
within the reach of the poor as well as the opulent. Wh:it motives of advance- 
ment are here held out to the industrious and skilful cultivator of the soil what 
prospects of wealth to the industrious mechanic and enterpfizing merchant what 
a wide field of speculation is not in fact here presented .tp the view of the whole 
people of the west ! 

In this region there are but few springs ; but water may be plentifully obtained 
anywhere on the smooth prairies, by digging from fifteen to forty feet below the 
surface. The well water is pure and salutary, and generally preferred to the 
spring water. The surface of the ground everywhere in this country is remarka- 
bly free from stones, except on the rivers, creeks, and branches, in which many 
good quarries are found both of lime and sandstone. With the exception of stone- 
coal, there are no mines on the Military Tract. Some specimens of iron, lead, 
and copper ore have occasionally been picked up, but not in sufficient quantities to 
justify the belief that any discoveries will be made worthy of pursuit. 

The agricultural productions of this part of Illinois are Indian corn, wheat, rye, 
oats, barley, potatoes, hemp, flax, &c. The tame grasses, such as timothy, red 
clover, red top or herd's grass, and blue grass, are also now cultivated to some 
extent, and so far succeed well. The principal articles produced for exportation 
consist of horses, beef cattle, milch cows, live hogs, barrelled beef and pork, bacon, 
lard, hides, butter, Indian corn, wheat, and flour. Some of the backwoodsmen, 
also, still continue to carry on a considerable traffic with the merchants, in deer- 
skins and furs, such as otter, muskrat, and raccoon, and in honey and beeswax. 
Some farmers have been frequently known to make more money in this way, than 
from the product of their farms. 

The disposition of so much of this fine country for military rewards, has very 



22 GENERAL VIEW OF 



much retarded its settlement Most of the titles have long since departed from the 
soldiers for whose benefit the donations were made. Many thousand quarter sec- 
tions have been sold by the state for taxes, and are past redemption. Much of it 
is in the hands of non-residents, who hold it at prices too exorbitant to command 
sale. Some have doubted the legality of these sales at auction for taxes; but able 
lawyers, and those who have investigated the business, have expressed the opinion 
that " tax titles" are valid. Within the last two years the Military Tract has 
received a great accession to its population. A large quantity of these military 
lands are now owned by a company, who have a land-office opened at Quincy, and 
offer tracts at from three to ten dollars per acre. About three-fifths of the quarter 
sections have been appropriated as military bounties. The remainder is to be dis- 
posed of in the same manner as other public lands. South of the base line, which 
passes across the, tract through Schuyler and Adams counties, the public lands 
have been offerect-tfor sale. North of that line there is much excellent land yet 
for sale. 

A scientific gentleman, who has recently examined the central parts of the 
Military Bounty Tract, has given the following as the geological structure of the 
upland prairies in that region. That the same general structure prevails through- 
out the entire peninsula (between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers)," and all the 
central and northern parts of the state, is most probable. 1st. Vegetable mould, 
formed by thje decomposition of grass upon the original clay soil, 8 to 30 inches : 
2d. Pure yellow clay, 3 to 8 feet : 3d. Gravelly clay, mixed with pebbles, 4 to 
10 feet : 4th. Limestone rock, 2 to 12 feet : 5th. Shale, covering a stratum ef 
bituminous coal generally 4 > 5 feet thick: 6th. Soapstone: then sandstone. 
The bed of limestone seems JQ be universal in this region, it having been disco- 
vered in all the wells that have been dug, and in all the banks of water-courses of 
any magnitude. 

An opinion is entertained by some persons at the east, that the prairies here are 
of a light, spongy nature; without solidity or firmness. The notion has probably 
been gathered from the boggy prairies of Ohio. But no land of this sort, we are 
assured, is to be found ib.the Military Tract, if we except the marshes upon the 
margins of rivers. The substratum being clay,-the surface is as firm and dry as 
any of the limestone lands of Pennsylvania or Maryland, and in many respects is 
of a similar character to thf -best in Frederick county, in the latter state. 

ROCK RIVER COUNTRY. 

That portion 'of Illinois^situated in the northern part of the state, watered by 
Rock river arid its branche"S,'is known by the appellation of the Rock River Country. 
It is a fertile agricultural region, combining all the advantages of a rich and fruit- 
ful soil, a healthy and temperate climate, a fine navigable river, and clear perennial 
streams, affording excellent mill-seats, together with many of the most useful and 
important minerals. 

Rock river rises in Wisconsin Territory, about midway between Lake Michigan 
and the Wisconsin river. Jts course in Illinois is nearly 180 miles in extent It 
receives its most important tributary, the Pekatonica, from the lead-mine region 
of Wisconsin Territory, a few miles below the northern boundary of the state. 
The Rock River Country may be considered as embracing not only the parts which 
border immediately upon that stream, but all those portions of the surrounding ter- 
ritory that may contribute directly to the developement and employment of the 
resources of the Rock river valley. * 

In this view may be included the mineral wealth and agricultural advantages of 
the Pekatonica and its branches, the products of which must eventually find their 
way to market on the bosom of Rock river ; but also the mineral region around 
Galena and Dubuque7*which will, sooner or later, be connected by close links of 
interest and necessity with the inexhaustible beds of coal and general manufac- 
turing advantages in the neighbourhood of the mouth of Rock river. Under the 
same general head we may also include the fine agricultural country on the west 
bank of the Mississippi, extending from the Indian reservation on the Iowa to the 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 23 



waters of the Wabepisipimecon, which will look to the east bank of the Mississippi 
and the town located near the mouth of Rock river for its market. 

The bottom-lands of these streams, most usually about a mile and a half wide, 
cannot be surpassed in fertility. Besides other causes which have combined for 
centuries to produce the same result, the wash of the bluffs enriches the plain 
below by its deposit, to such an extent that the depth of soil in places is almost 
incredible. Like the great American Bottom below the mouth of the Illinois river, 
which has been cultivated for more than a hundred years, the fertility-of most of 
the Rock river and Upper Mississippi bottoms is indestructible. On Such a soil, 
under proper cultivation, 100 bushels of corn and 40 bushels of wheat to the acre 
could be raised with facility. With the most careless kind of culture, where the 
farmers do not think of applying the hoe after planting, and ruii the plough through 
but twice, the average corn crop is about 50 or 60 bushels per acre. The soil on 
the brow of the bluffs, as might be expected from the unceasing washing of ages, is 
thin and unproductive ; but when you ascend to the elevated table-land which is 
generally characteristic of the bluffs after you leave the breaks, gullies formed by 
springs and drains on the edge of the bluffs, you will find, most usually, a soil of 
the richest kind high and dry, and fanned, in the warmest days of summer, by 
breezes of the most refreshing character. These breezes, however, are converted 
into pretty cold winds in winter. 

The greatest objection made to the Rock river country is the alleged scarcity of 
timber. What is termed the " grand prairie," commencing in the lower part of 
Illinois and reaching to Lake Superior, touches Rock river in several places, and 
some of its wide-stretching arms partially separated from the parent prairie by 
occasional groves, cross that stream. These extensive jare^idows form an obstacle 
at this time to the dense settlement of those portions where the predominance of 
prairie over timber is too great; but the time will come, and the day is not far dis- 
tant, when emigrants will rush to the large prairies with almost as much eagerness 
as they now avoid them. 

But without reference to the prospective settlement of the prairies, the existence 
of these large meadows in the neighbourhood can form no reasonable objection to 
the settlement of such portions #s are timbered. Of these there are thousands of 
situations in*the Rock river country? where plenty of timber in proximity to prairies 
will give settlers the advantage^ of timber and prairie united; and if the argument 
be a good one that the large prairies .cannot be- settled without recourse to the 
woodlands, that very fact should form a strong inducement for the early settlement 
of the more favoured portions. But reflecting and experienced men" say that no 
apprehensions need be felt about the supply of timber for the wants of the country, 
and that so far as Rock Island county is concerned, it has a greater proportion of 
timber than the counties in its vicinity. 

The portion of country south and south-east of Rock river is comparatively 
deficient in timber, except where the waters of Green river, Edwards, and Hen- 
derson, carry belts of it along their various windings. Up Rock river the timber 
is in many places of the finest character, and convenient of access to the river, 
down which it could be rafted with ease. 

The bluff which forms the principal portion of the strip of land between Rock 
river and the Mississippi, from Albany in Whiteside county down to near the 
mouth of the former stream, a distance of 35 miles, is, with one or two slight ex- 
ceptions, covered plentifully with good timber. This woodland, although broken 
in many places by gullies which carry off water to the prairie bottoms, is in gene- 
ral excellent wheat land. 

On the west bank of the Mississippi, for about ten miles above Rock Island, and 
twenty or thirty below, the bluff falls gently into bottoms of about a mile wide 
frequently intersected with spurs and groves of timber ; and altogether forming a 
succession of farm-sites as beautiful as the eye ever saw or the heart could desire. 
Immediately back of these sloping bottoms, the bluff is covered with the dense 
foliage of stately timber, forming a rich bordering for the picture of scenic loveli- 
ness below. This skirt of timber varies from one to two miles in width. Back of 
it, the timber is scattered into little patches of foliage, dotting the interminable 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



prairies as they sweep off in beautiful and ocean-like undulations, westward to the 
waters of the Iowa. The timber of this region comprises the usual variety of the 
latitude white and black oak, ash, hickory, elm, lynn, cherry, white and black 
walnut, maple, sugar tree, &c. In provision for building materials, nature has 
been bountiful to the Rock River Country. Clay for brick, limestone of the finest 
quality, and freestone, can be found in almost any neighbourhood. 

The products of this region are the same as those of the adjoining districts, and 
are raised with the same facility as in the most favoured parts of the state. A cor- 
respondent writes, " I have not seen in any place this season, crops of wheat, corn, 
and oats to surpass, and but few to equal, what I saw near Stephenson, the seat of 
justice of Rock Island county. The size to which esculent roots have grown there 
is almost incredible." 

Besides the agricultural advantages of this region of country, it must for ever be 
connected with, and interested in the mineral regions above it. The extent of the 
lead region will perhaps never be determined. The mines are considered inex- 
haustible, and each succeeding year developes new treasures, inviting the hand of 
enterprize, and exciting the eager appetite of discovery. 

The mines mostly wrought at this time, are in the vicinity of Dubuque, Galena, 
and Mineral Po.nt on the Pekatonica. Taking Rock river on one side of the Mis- 
sissippi, and the Iowa on the other, for the southern limits of the mineral region 
(although it is believed to 'extend much farther south), north of these streams, for 
perhaps hundreds of mijes. west, reaching to Lake Michigan on the east, and a 
thousand miles to the north, ,yutil you' reach the ocean-like shores and pure waters 
of Lake Superior, you- have an immense territory, already known to possess mines of 
lead, iron, copper, saltpetre, '<\, the value of which will ever be beyond calculation. 

Lead and copper ore have been found upon other tributaries of Rock river 
besides the Pekatonica. Upon' the latteB,'. mines of the richest character are 
wrought with industry and success. Copper ore has been raised already from the 
mines on the Pekatonica, to tne extent of about 200,000 pounds. Lead has been 
found by the Indians in several places west of the Mississippi, not tar from Rock 
Island. Near the Wabepfeipimecon, which empties* into the Mississippi about 30 
miles above that island, copper and- iron ore, saltgetre, epsom salts, and a fine spe- 
cies of variegated alabaster, have lately been founa. * On the shores of Lake Pepin, 
up the Mississippi, near the Falls of St. Anthony,, iron ore exists in such masses 
that the lake may almost literally be called " iron-bourld" Iron ore and stone-coal 
are found in several placed along the Upper Rapids of the Mississippi. The latter 
article, of a good quality, pervades the Rock river bluffs extensively, and will, 
before long, become a very important article of trade with the lead-mines, where 
the country is destitute of it. The recent improvement in smelting furnaces, and 
the contemplated introduction of steam-engines to drain the mines on the plan of 
the miners of Cornwall, England, which must take place before long, will cause 
the consumption of an immense quantity of stone-coal. They now send to St. 
Louis for it, and freight it up stream 500 miles. It will not be many years before 
the business of smelting will be done near the mouth of Rock river for nearly all 
the lead regions above, from the circumstance that the mineral can be much easier 
floated down to the fuel, than the fuel can be freighted up to the mineral. This 
will throw into the lately located seat of justice of Rock Island county an immense 
trade, which is not generally looked upon as being alienable from the immediate 
neighbourhood of the mines. 

The time will come when the facility with which lead can be obtained, will 
cause it indirectly to enter into the consumption of the country in a thousand differ- 
ent shapes now not thought of; and the demand becoming comparatively limitless, 
will cause every hill and valley where there are signs of "mineral" to be explored: 
and infinite developements of the resources of the country, now entering only into 
the dreams of the visionary, will greet the acute eye of enterprize. When we 
reflect that for a century and a half the gold-mines of the southern states lay hid- 
den from a comparatively dense population, it should rather be a matter of astonish- 
ment that so much has already been discovered by the sparse settlements of the 
lead rejrion. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 25 



There can be no doubt of this region being eminently healthy. The country is 
supplied bountifully with water from good springs, and the air is second only to 
mountain air in purity. It is even thought that the neighbourhood of Rock Island 
will one day be the resort of rich invalids, and the man of leisure from the south, 
on account of its double charm of salubrity of atmosphere, and picturesqueness of 
scenery. The existence of a copious white sulphur spring near Rock Island, of 
medical virtues equal perhaps to the waters of any of the celebrated springs in the 
United States, gives strength to the idea. 

The navigation of Rock river is obstructed principally by the rapids, 3^ miles 
from its mouth ; upon which, however, there is never less than about 18 inches 
water, which is more than the Ohio river affords at its lowest stages, in places. 
Several enterprizing individuals have it in contemplation to build a steamboat ex- 
pressly for navigating Rock river, which may be done for a considerable portion ot 
the year. 

A circumstance which the recent survey and settlement of the country on the 
Upper Rock river has but lately brought to view, may and will, if taken advantage 
of, no doubt, have an important bearing on the prosperity of the Rock River Country. 
It is ascertained that the distance from the city of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan 
to the navigable waters of Rock river, is only about 50 miles, and over a country 
well calculated for making either a canal or a rail-road. The improvement of this 
region by the construction of one or both of, the above public works would open a 
medium of communication from the Mississippi to the Lakes, and atibrd an outlet to 
the northern markets that would be of incalculable; benefit to the upper part of 
Illinois, and add another link to the mighty chain that is binding together the ex- 
tremities of our widely-extended republic. 

With the present possession and pro ilrol of advantages like all these, 

it does not require sanguine calculations to qpteriffme the future condition of this 
country. Easy access to market will fllways insure- to the farmer the rewards of 
industry ; and a rich agricultural community ever promotes the steadiest and purest 
prosperity to all other classes. Mechanics are/always demanded by the wants of 
an improving country; and the lack of competition in a new country, guaranties 
to such as emigrate the best of grices and the best of pay. 

The boundless resources of the great west spread fut their harvest for the sickle 
of the young and the enterprizing. "The harvest! y plenty, but the labourers 
few." He that would carve out his own fortune at the expense of temporary sac- 
rifices, in preference to frittering away his existence in the slavish occupancy of 
an overstrained competition, should turn his eyes and his footsteps westward. 

SANGAMON COUNTRY. 

The country traversed by the Sangamon river and its branches is a region sel- 
dom equalled in fertility. It is high and undulating, well watered with creeks and 
springs, and is beautifully interspersed with timber and prairie, the former of which 
consists of those descriptions which grow only on the richest soil, being principally 
locust, black walnut, hickory, maple, &c. 

The prairies frequently contain fine groves of timber : these are generally ele- 
vated above the surrounding country, and are most advantageous situations for set- 
tlement. The inhabitants reside chiefly in the margin of the timber, extending 
their plantations to any distance in the prairie. 

This desirable tract was settled with such rapidity, that it contained 5000 inhabi- 
tants before a single section had been sold ; and farms of considerable size, even 
of a hundred acres of cultivated land, had been made. It is now divided into 
several counties, containing a population of at least 40,000. The first white in- 
habitants settled here in 1819, and the first sale of public land was in November 
1823. At the present time, the borders of the prairie fire covered with hundreds 
of smiling farms, and the interior is animated with thousands of domestic animals; 
the rough and unseemly cabin is giving place to comfortable framed or brick tene- 
ments; and plenty everywhere smiles upon the labours of the husbandman. 

The objection often made by those unacquainted with a prairie country against 

D 3 



26 GENERAL VIEW OF 

the great extent of the prairies and a want of sufficient timber in the Sangamon 
and other districts in Illinois, offers no serious inconvenience for the present ; as 
timber in sufficient quantities has been found without difficulty, to meet all the de- 
mands of the population. With regard to the prairies, many persons are beginning 
to understand the superiority of that description of land for agricultural purposes ; 
and the day is not far distant when, no doubt, it will be generally preferred to all 
others. 

Late scientific examinations, as well as the practical results of settlement and 
cultivation, have determined the fact that the prairies are richer as you approach 
their middles, and in some measure in proportion to the distance from timber ; and 
that the carbonate of lime, so rich a nourisher of grasses and grains, is found in 
the soil or' the prairies to an extent of from 20 to 42 per cent. In timber lands it 
is found in a much smaller proportion, and in many cases does not exist at all. This 
fertilizing property, which renders the prairie lands so desirable, in appealing to 
'the esteem of the farmer, has only to struggle against his ide.as of convenience to 
timber. His apprehensions will be broken down by degrees. Coal, which exists 
in the bluffs of the rivers and streams in almost every part of the state, will be 
his fuel, and he will grow the hedge-thorn and the black locust for his fencing. 
There is also a certainty of the gradual self-introduction of timber of the ordinary 
growths, where the fires are kept out of the prairies. In the southern part of the 
state, which has been settled for. 15 or 20 years, and where they once had the same 
apprehensions about the prospective scarcity of timber which is now felt at the 
north, they now have a^g-peater abundance of timber than they had 20 years ago, 
notwithstanding all t!i,e consumption of a comparatively dense population ; and tim- 
ber has sprung up and 'grown large enough for farming purposes, where at the time 
of settlement were extensive an 1 monotonous prairies. 

Above ail countries, this is the land of flowers. In the season every prairie is 
an immense flower-garden. In :the -early- stages of -spring rises a generation of 
flowers, whose prevalent .tint is peachblow. " 'Ehe'next is a deeper red. Then suc- 
ceeds the yellow; and to, the latest period of autumn, the prairies 'exhibit a brilliant 
golden hue. 

The Sangamon country is one of the finest stock districts in the Western 
states, the summer range for cattle- is inexhaustible, and the amount of excellent 
hay that may be made evwr season from the rich prairies almost without limit. 
Horses, cattle, sheep, and nogs, can be raised here with but little trouble and ex- 
pense, compared with the eastern states. The mildness of the climate has not 
unfrequently relieved the owners from all care and expense of feeding them through 
the whole year ; but it is generally necessary to feed from the commencement of 
December until the latter part of March. When cattle are fed and attended to in 
the best manner by provident farmers, the expense is less by one half, than winter- 
ing the same species of stock in the eastern states. 

The shortness and moderation of the winter seasons, and the abundant forage 
which may as yet be gathered from the wild prairies, render the raising of stock 
both cheap and easy. The grass, when cut from the upland prairies and well 
cured, makes excellent hay ; and cattle will keep in good order the whole winter 
on this food alone. It has also been frequently remarked, that both horses and 
cattle fatten quite as fast in the spring and summer, on the wild grass of the prai- 
ries, as upon the tame pastures of the east. And the richness and flavour of the 
beef thus fattened, has been much esteemed at St. Louis and New-Orleans, and 
generally reckoned of the finest quality. 

This region is also admirably adapted for the cultivation of the sugar beet root, 
which besides its great value in the manufacture of the beet sugar, is about to be- 
come a most important article in the feeding of cattle. 

The following account of what has been accomplished in this way by a single 
individual, is extracted from a western paper of late date. " Jx>t Pugh, Esq. of 
Cincinnati, has cultivated most successfully the sugar beet, on his farm near that 
city. Last year he raised 50 tons of beets to the acre, and his crop is much better 
the present season. The manager of the farm says, that it requires but little 
more labour to raisa 50 tons of beets than fifty bushels of corn, while the former is 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 27 



quite as good for horses, much better for cattle, and rather better for stock hogs. 
He also asserts, that sucking calves preferred beets, when properly prepared, to 
milk. Although cattle and hogs will eat beets in a raw state, still they are much 
better when boiled. The apparatus and fixtures used by Mr. Pugh for boiling or 
rather steaming, food for 300 hogs and 40 or 50 cows, with other stock, cost about 
$150, and consumes a quarter of a cord of wood per day." 

The above will show that a new item of national wealth is about to be introdu- 
ced into the United States. The culture of the beet root has produced important 
results in France. It is well known that land in those districts where its growth 
has become general has increased 'in value from 50 to 150 per cent. ; and the clear 
annual income per acre, alter paying all expenses, ranges from 35 to 40 dollars. 
The profits would be equally great in this country ; for, although the price of la- 
bour is cheaper in France, the difference would no doubt be amply compensated by 
the superior fertility of the Illinois prairies, and the circumstance of dispensing 
with manure, which the great depth and richness of the soil of the Sangamon and 
other districts in this state will render unnecessary for a long period. A very con- 
siderable diminution of the annual profits in Europe, consists in the expense of 
manuring the land so as to make it sufficiently rich to produce a remunerating 
crop. 

The prodigious impulse which the. prosperity of a country may receive from the 
introduction of a single new plant, is illustrated by the following historical tact. 

In an early part of the reign of George the First, the culture of the turnip was 
limited in England to as few gardenstLs that of the beet is now with us, and used 
almost exclusively for culinary purposes. That monarch, in one of his visits to 
his Efectorate of Hanover, was attended by his Secretary of State, Lord Town- 
send; whilst residing there, this nobleman w^s struck by the appearance of ex- 
tensive fields-flevoted to the culture of turnips as food for cattle and sheep. Im- 
pressed with the belief that this method might, be i;ttr<j^uQed with advantage into 
his own country, he, before leaving Germany, touk good care to provide himself 
with seed, and, on his return, earnestly recommended to his tenants a practice, 
which, in Hanover, had Ve,en found to produco the most favourable results. Hia 
wishes were attended to, and the experiment spruad through the^county of Norfolk, 
which from that period dates its high reputation as ;m JILTIM uliurul district. Lands 
which rented for one or two shillings an acre, soon brought 15 or 20 ; and sterile 
barrerisj oh which were to be seen only a few half-starved rabbits, were reclaimed 
| and are now covered with rich harvests of grain. Colquhoun, in his Statistical 
Researches, computes that the annual vtiliie of a crop of turnips in Norfolk alone, 
amounts to not less than 14 millions sterliftg ! When it is considered that this root 
has been the means of bringing under culture"- lands which without it must have 
remained valueless ; that it leaves the s^il ijfc good condition to receive a crop 
of grain or grass, and that the latter is a good preparation for wheat, we may safely 
consider the benefits resulting to England from the culture of the beet as incalcu- 
lable. If it was now asked, said Col'juiioun, who was the man in modern times 
who had rendered England the most signal service, no one should hesitate to say 
it was the nobleman, whom shallow courtiers nicknamed in derision " Turnip 
Townsend." In half a century the turnips spread over the three kingdoms, and 
their yearly value at this day, says the same author, is not inferior in amount to 
the interest of the national debt ! 



A body of lands perhaps equally extensive, and nearly as fertile and productive, 
with that on the Sangamon, lies along the course of the Kaskaskia, or Okau. 
This river has a long course through the central parts of the Illinois, and a coun- 
try happily diversified with prairie and forest. The streams that flow into it, have 
sufficient fall to be favourable for the site of mills. Some well-settled parts of the 
state are watered by this river. On its banks is Kaskaskia, formerly the eeat of 
government, and Vandalia, at present the metropolis. 

Although there are extensive bodies of sterile and broken lands in Illinois, yet 
take the whole of its wide surface together, it contains a greater proportion of first- 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



rate land, than any state in the Union ; and probably as great in proportion to its 
extent, as any country on the globe. One of the inconveniences connected with 
this extent of rich country is too great a proportion of prairies, with which two- 
thirds of the surface are covered ; but the prevalence of coal and peat, and the ease 
and rapidity with which forest trees may be raised, will render even the extensive 
prairies not only habitable but desirable places of residence. 

RIVERS. 

It is only necessary to look -on the map of this great state, to see what astonish- 
ing advantages for inland navigation nature has given it. On its northern borders 
it has for some distance the waters of Lake Michigan and the various streams that 
empty into it ; and by this vast body of waters a communication is opened with the 
northern parts of Indiana and Ohio, with New-York and Canada. On the north- 
west frontier it has Rock river, a long, beautiful, and boatable tributary of the Mis- 
sissippi. On the whole western front it is washed by the Mississippi, and on its 
southern by the Ohio. On the east it is bounded by the Wabash. Through its 
centre winds in one direction the Illinois, connecting the Mississippi with Lake 
Michigan by the DCS Plaines and the Chicago rivers ; and in another direction the 
beautiful Kaskaskia flows through the state. Besides these, there are great num- 
bers of boatable streams penetrating the state in every direction. Such is the 
intersection of Illinois by these waters, that no settlement in it is far from a point 
of boatable communication, either with Lake Michigan, the Mississippi, the Ohio, 
or the Illinois. 

The Mississippi forms the western boundary of the state through its whole 
length from north to south, a distance by the meanders of the stream of not far 
from 600 miles. 

One hundred and fifty years -|f*>m. the time of its discovery by La Salle, Mr. 

Schoolcraft first reached the source %f .the Mississippi, in the little lake Itasca, on 

| a high table-land, 1500 feet abis^e. the .Gulf of Mexico, and 3160 miles from its 

' mouth by the windings of its chanmeK Its source is in, about 47, and its mouth in 

29 north latitude ; and it consequently traverses 18 degrees of latitude. This 

great river is in some respectsPpiifr noblest in the world, draining a larger valley, 

and irrigating a more fertile region, .and having, probably, a longer course, than 

any other stream. It commences in many branches, that rise, for the most part, 

in wild rice lakes; but ;it ra/erses no great distance before it becomes a broad 

stream. > 

Having acquired, in a course^ following its meanders, of three hundred miles, 
a width of half a mile, and having formed its distinctive character, it precipitates 
its waters down the Falls of St. Afcthony. Thence it glides alternately through 
beautiful meadows and deep forests, swelling in advancing march with the tribute 
of a hundred streams. In its progress it receives a tributary, which of itself has a 
course of more than a thousand leagues. Thence it rolls its accumulated, turbid, 
and sweeping mass of waters through continued forests, only broken here and there 
by the axe, in lonely grandeur to the sea. 

No thinking mind can contemplate this mighty and resistless wave sweeping its 
proud course from point to point, curving round its bends through the dark forests, 
without a feeling of sublimity. The hundred shores laved by its waters the long 
course of its tributaries, some of which already flow through the abodes of cultiva- 
tion, and others pursue an immense course without a solitary dwelling of civilized 
man on their banks the numerous tribes of savages that now roam over its bor- 
ders the affecting and imperishable traces of generations that are gone, leaving 
no other memorials of their existence or materials for their history, than their 
tombs that rise at frequent intervals along its banks the dim, but glorious antici- 
pations of the future, these are subjects of contemplation that cannot but associate 
themselves with the view of this river. 

With the common propensity of travellers to exaggerate, the Falls of St. Antho- 
ny, until very recently, have been much overrated. Instead of the extravagant 
! estimates of the first French writers, or the fall of fifty feet assigned to them by 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



2!) 



more modern authorities, the real fall of the Mississippi here is between sixteen 
and seventeen feet of perpendicular descent. Though it has not the slightest 
claim to compare with that of Niagara in grandeur, it furnishes an impressive and 
beautiful spectacle in the loneliness of the desert. The adjoining scenery is of the 
most striking and romantic character ; and, as the traveller listens to the solemn 
roar of the falls, as it sinks into feeble echoes in the forests, a thrilling story is told 
him of the love and despair of a young Dacotah or Sioux Indian woman, who, 
goaded by jealousy towards her husband, who had taken another wife, placed her 
young children in a canoe, and, chanting the remembrances of love and broken 
vows, precipitated herself and her infants down the falls. Indians are always 
romancers, if not poets. Their traditions say, that these ill-fated beings so per- 
ished, that no trace of them was seen ; but they suppose that her spirit wanders 
still near this spot, and that she is seen on sunny mornings, carrying her babes in 
the accustomed manner bound to her bosom, and still mourning the inconstancy of 
her husband. 

Below this point it is bounded by limestone bluffs, from 100 to 400 feet high, and 
first begins to exhibit islands, drift-wood, and sand-bars; its current is slightly 
broken by the Rock river and Des Moines rapids, which, however, present no con- 
siderable obstruction to navigation ; and 843 miles from the falls its waters are 
augmented by the immense stream of the Missouri from the west : the latter has, 
indeed, the longer course, brings down a greater bulk of water, and gives its qwn 
character to the united current; yet it loses its name in the inferior stream. Above 
their junction, the Mississippi is a clear, placid stream, one mile and a half in 
width ; below, it is turbid, and becomes narrower, deeper, and more rapid. 

Between the Missouri and the sea, a distance of 1220 miles, it receives its prin- 
cipal tributaries, the Ohio from the east, 'and the Arkansas and Red river from 
the west; and immediately below the mouth; of the latter, gives off, in times of 
flood, a portion of its superfluous waters by,$je'cfotlet ef the Atchafalaya. It is on 
this lower part of its course, where it should, pronerly speaking, bear the name of 
the Missouri, that it often tears away the islands' and projecting points, and at the 
season of high water, plunges great masses pf me banks, with all their trees, into 
its current. In many places it deposits imnfense heaps of drift-wood upon its mud- 
bars, which become as dangerous to the navigator as shoals and rocks at sea. 

Below the Atchafalaya, it discharges a portion of its waters by the Lafourche 
and Iberville ; but the great bulk flows on in trte main channel, which here has a 
south-easterly course, and, passing through the ftatlrapt .yf New-Orleans, reaches 
the sea at the end of a long projecting, tonft* of mud, deposited by the river. 
Near the Gulf of Mexico, it divides into several channels, here called passes, with 
bars at their mouths of from 12 to 16 feet of water. The water is white and tur- 
bid, and colours those of the Gulf for the distance of several leagues. 

The river begins to rise in the early part of March, and continues to increase 
irregularly to the middle of June, generally overflowing its banks to a greater or 
less extent, although for some years these have not been inundated. Above the 
Missouri, the flooded bottoms are from five to eight miles wide, but below that 
point, they expand, by the recession of the river hills from the channel, to a breadth 
of from 40 to 50 miles. From the mouth of the Ohio, the whole western bank 
does not offer a single spot eligible for the site of a considerable town, and hardly 
affords a route for a road secure from overflow ; on the eastern side, there are seve- 
ral points where the hills approach the river, and afford good town-sites ; but from 
Memphis to Vicksburg, 365 miles, the whole tract consists of low grounds, subject 
to be inundated to the depth of several feet; and below Baton Rouge, where the 
line of upland wholly leaves the river, and passes off to the east, there is no place 
practicable for settlement beyond the river border, which is higher than the marshy 
tract in its rear. 

The Mississippi is obstructed by planters, sawyers, and wooden islands, which 
are frequently the cause of injury, and even destruction, to the boats which navi- 
gate it Planters are large bodies of trees firmly fixed by their roots in the bottom 
of the river, in a perpendicular manner, and appearing no more than about one 
foot above the surface of the water, when at its medium height. So firmly are 

3* 



30 GENERAL VIEW OF 



they rooted, that the largest boats running against them will not move them ; but, 
on the contrary, they materially injure the boats. Sawyera are likewise large 
bodies of trees, fixed less perpendicularly in the river, and rather of a less size, 
yielding to the pressure of the current, disappearing and appearing at intervals, 
and having a motion similar to the saw of a saw-miil, from which they have taken 
their name. These obstructions to the navigation have been partially removed by 
the enterprizing captain Shreve, and his snag-boat, in the employment of the gen- 
eral government; and a great portion of the trees that form them have been cut 
away from its banks. Wooden islands are places, where, by some cause or other, 
large quantities of drift-wood have been arrested and matted together in different 
parts of the river. Formerly, all these various impediments were the cause of 
heavy losses to the merchant, and danger to the traveller; but since the introduc- 
tion of steamboats, and the improvement of the channel .to which we have just al- 
luded, accidents of this nature are not of such frequent occurrence. 

The Mississippi and its mighty tributaries, which form so striking a natural fea- 
ture of this region, give to the mode of travelling and transportion in general, a 
peculiar cast, and have created a peculiar class pf men, called boatmen. Craft of 
all descriptions are found on these w^igr;-;. There are the rude, shapeless masses, 
that denote the infancy of riavi option, 1KI ^AHBpwen'ul and magnificent steamboat 
which marks its perfection; lui ; ^all t!ie intermediate forms between 

these extremes. The most inartifia^if of all water-craft is the ark, or Kentucky 
flat, a huge frame of square tirnberp v .^ith a roof. It is in shape a parallelogram, 
and lies upon the water like a log; it hardty feels the oar, and trusts for motion 
mainly to the current. It .is 15 feet wide, from 50 to 80 feet long, and carries 
from 200 to 400 barrels. These arks are often filled with the goods and families 
of emigrants, and carry even the carriages and domestic animals. They are also 
used for shops of various kinds of goods, which are sold at the different towns; and 
some of them are fitted ups the workshops of artificers. Sometimes, also, they 
are used as museums of wax-figureS^and other raree-shows, or for travelling libraries. 

There are also keel-boats an'd barges, which are light and well built; skiffs, that 
will carry from two persons to five tons; ."dug-outs," or pirogues, made of hollow- 
ed logs, and other vessels, for which language has no name, ,aittl the sea no par- 
allel. There are a few small boats, that are moved by a crarikiurned by a single 
man: these are on the principle of steamboat paddles. Since the*ise of steamboats, 
numbers of the other craft have disappeared, and the number of river boatmen has 
been diminished by many thousands. The first steamboat on these waters was 
built at Pittsburgh, in 1811 ; since that time, in a period of 25 years, about 600 
have been built at different places, some of which are from 400 to 500 tons bur- 
then; but the greater number are from 90 to 150, 200, and 300 tons; there are at 
present not far from 300 steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries, making 
an aggregate of about 60,000 tons. 

The Mississippi is at all times navigable, except when obstructed by ice, by 
steamboats drawing three feet water, as tar up as Prairie du Chien; and frequently 
they run up to the Falls of St. Anthony, a distance of 800 miles above St. Louis. 
There are only two permanent obstructions to the easy navigation of this river, 
except at very low water, throughout this whole distance; and they occur opposite 
to different points in Illinois. The first is the Des Moines rapids, beginning a few 
miles above the outlet of the river of that name, and extending up about 14 miles, 
to a point nearly opposite the town of Commerce. In this distance there is a fall 
of 25 feet ; but the current is never too rapid for boats to stern it, and there is sel- 
dom less than three feet of depth in the channel. When the water gets very low, 
it is the practice to unload the steamboats, pass them light over the rapids, and take 
the freight over in keel-boats of less draught. These boats, when ascending, are 
towed up along the western shore by horses moving along the natural beach. This 
rapid is a source of great annoyance, expense, and delay ; and yet it is susceptible 
of being so easily improved, as to make it matter of surprise that it has not already 
been done. 

The second obstruction is the Rock Island rapids, very similar in character 10 
those below. Thoy commence at Rock Island, just above the mouth of Rock river, 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 31 



and extend eighteen miles up the Mississippi. The navigation of these rapids is 
about to be improved by the general government, tor which purpose an appropria- 
tion was made at the last session of Congress. 

The principal tributaries of the Mississippi within the state of Illinois, are Rock, 
Illinois, Kaskaskia, and Big Muddy rivers. About one hundred miles below the 
northern boundary of the state, and in 41 30' north latitude, Rock river enters the 
Mississippi. It is a beautitul limpid stream, with a course of near 400 miles, and 
is celebrated for the purity of its waters, the excellence of its fish, and the fertility 
of the lands on its banks. At a distance 'of from fifty to seventy miles lower down, 
Edwards, Pope's, and Henderson's rivers enter: these flow through fertile prairie- 
lands in the northern part of the Military Bounty Tract, and, though unavailable 
for the purposes of navigation, furnish fine mill-seats. 

In latitude 39 comes in the Illinois from the north a noble, broad, and deep 
stream, 400 yards wide at its^douth; having a course, including its head tributa- 
ries, of 450 miles, and being njfiugablc for a great distance. It is the most con- 
siderable tributary of the Mississippi above the Missouri. 

Nearly in 38, and almost 500 miles below the north line of the state, following' 
the windings of the Mississippi, the Kaskaskia river enters. It runs through a 
fertile and beautiful country, is 150 yards wide at the mouth, and has a course of 
nearly 300 miles in length. 

Upwards of forty miles lower down the stream of the Mississippi, the Big Muddy 
comes in from the north. It is a considerable river, flowing through 120 miles of 
country, and remarkable for having on -its shores fine coal-banks. 

At 37 north latitude, comes in the magnificent Ohio. It is by far the largest 
eastern tributary of the Mississippi. At the junction, and for 100 miles above, it is 
as wide as the parent stream. 

The importance of a good town-site at the union of these mighty streams, has 
for many years excited the attention of the eaterprizing. It is a feature in the 
rivers of the western country, with few exceptions, that at and near their junction 
the land is alluvion, of a recent formation, and, at the high annual floods, usually 
inundated to the depth of several feet. This is the case, particularly, at the mouth 
of the Ohio. For^velve miles along that river above its mouth, and a farther 
distance along th Mississippi, and across the point to Cash river, the country is 
subject to annual inundations. Had the Author of Nature formed here an elevated 
situation, nothing could have prevented this spot from becoming the central com- 
mercial emporium of the great western valley. .The immense trade of the Ohio 
and Mississippi, at some future day, will warrant.the expense of forming an artifi- 
cial site at this point for a commercial town. The termination of the great central 
rail-road through the state of Illinois will greatly facilitate this object, and, with 
the commerce of these great rivers, build up a splendid city. In due time, art, 
enterprize, and perseverance, will triumph over nature at this place, and a large 
commercial city will no doubt exist where now the waters of the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi occasionally spread. 

Rock River is one of the most clear and beautiful tributaries of the Mississippi. 
It has its source in Wisconsin Territory, a little to the north of latitude 43 30', 
immediately south-west of Winnebago lake, and about 130 miles, by the meanders 
of the stream, beyond the northern boundary of the state. Its general direction is 
south-west, and it enters the Mississippi not far from the commencement of the. 
Military Bounty Lands, after a course of about 300 miles. It is said to be naviga- 
ble for upwards of 200 miles; and receives in its course, about 17Q miles from its 
mouth, its most important tributary, the Pekatonica river; down wliich stream, one 
individual, some three or four seasons since, shipped nine flat-boats containing 
about 1,200,000 Ibs. of lead. 

A little above the mouth of this stream, in the Mississippi, is the beautiful 
island, called from the name of the river, on which is a military station of the 
United States, presenting one of the finest prospects on the whole range of the 
Mississippi. 

The country towards the head of Rock river is made up alternately of swamps 
and quagmires, ridges of sand and scrubby oaks, with tracts of rich, dry, undu- 



32 GENERAL VIEW OF 



lating lands. The Terre Tremblant, or trembling lands, is in this region, and is 
so called from the shaking of the surface, while crossing over it. The militia of 
Illinois suffered much, in passing their horses through this country, in 1832, while 
pursuing the army of Black Hawk. Much of the country through which this river 
flows in Illinois is prairie. About the mouth of Turtle and Sycamore creeks are 
large bodies of timber. It generally passes along a channel of lime and sand- 
stone rock, and ti'as several rapids of some extent that injure the navigation at low 
water. The first is three or four miles above its mouth, the second, twelve or fif- 
teen miles below Dixonville : the next is just below the Pekatonica river. These will 
all furnish a great amount of water-power, applicable for manufacturing purposes. 

The country generally, along Rock river north to the boundary line, is among 
the most desirable in Illinois. It is beautifully undulating. The soil is rich and 
fertile ; but the timber is rather deficient. This, however, will not prevent it from 
becoming an extensive agricultural region. 

The Kaskaskia river is a considerable stream, and is navigable, in those portions 
of the year when the water is high, to Vandalia, 150 miles from its mouth ; and 
was ascended by a steamboat last spring to Carlyle, 100 miles from the Mississippi. 
It rises in Champaign county, and, after a south-west course of about 300 miles, 
enters the Mississippi, six miles below ifrevwn of Kaskaskia. Its banks, and 
those of its tributaries, are generally fertile, ^nd contain some rich and flourishing 
settlements. The country is mostly undulating, and is well adapted to the cultiva- 
tion of corn, wheat, rye, oats, and tobacco. Cotton is sometimes raised on its 
banks, in the lower part of its course. 

The Kaskaskia is about 150 yards wide at its mouth. The left bank is high, 
and affords a fine situation for a town ; but in many places the shores are low and 
subject to inundation, which is a fruitful source of disease. 

The legislature, in its system of internal improvements, appropriated $50,000 
to improve the navigation of Kaskaskia river. The chief obstructions are logs and 
sand-banks, and short bends. The chief tributaries of the Kaskaskia are the Hur- 
ricane, Crooked, Prairie, Long, Silver, and Shoal creeks. Its lower course is known 
to the French people by the name of the Okau. 

The Big Muddy river (Riviere au Vase ou Vaseux), discovered and named b 
the French, is a considerable stream in the south-western part of the state. I 
rises in Jefferson county, between the waters of the Little Wabash and Kaskaskia 
rivers, and, after a south and south-western course of about 120 miles through Jef- 
ferson, Franklin, Jackson, and Union counties, flows into the Mississippi, about 25 
miles below the Kaskaskia river, and 8 miles below the Grand Tower ; being fed 
by several considerable branches, the chief of which are, Little Muddy river, 
Beaucoup creek, and Middle Fork or Racoon creek. It is rendered beatable for 
40 or 50 miles through a fine grazing and agricultural country. Its blufts gene- 
rally are abrupt The land along its borders and branches is undulating, and for 
most of its length well timbered. Valuable salines exist on its banks, and are 
worked about Brownsville, where there is an inexhaustible bed of bituminous coal. 
Native copper has been found on its banks, in detached masses. 

The Ohio river, which constitutes the southern boundary of the state of Illinois, 
commences at Pittsburg, where it is formed by the junction of the Alleghany and 
Monongahela. 

This stream, from the beauty of the country on its banks, early obtained from 
the French traders the name of La Belle Riviere, or beautiful river. From its 
commencement it affords most delightful prospects; rivers, of romantic and beauti- 
ful character, come in almost at equal distances as lateral canals. Its bottoms are 
of extraordinary depth and fertility, generally high and dry, and for the most part 
healthy. Between Pittsburg and the mouth, it is diversified with 100 considerable 
islands. Some of these are of exquisite beauty, and afford most lovely situations 
for retired farms. The passages between them, and the sand-bars at their heads, 
are among the difficulties of the navigation of this river. 

The Ohio at Pittsburg is 600 yards wide, at Cincinnati a little more, and below 
the Cumberland its average breadth is 1000 yards. It is bounded in ita whole 
course by bluffs, sometimes towering sublimely from the shores of the river, and 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 33 



sometimes receding two or three miles. The rapidity of its current is found, ac- 
cording to the different stages of the water, to vary between one and three miles. 
In the lowest stages of the water in autumn, a floating substance would probably 
not advance a mile an hour. It is subject to extreme elevations and depressions. 
The average range between high and low water, is fifty feet. Its lowest stage is 
in September, and its highest in March ; but it is subject to sudden and very con- 
siderable rises through the year. It has been known to rise twelve feet in a night. 
When these sudden elevations take place, at the breaking up of the ice, a scene 
of desolation sometimes occurs : boats, and every thing in its course, are carried 
away by the accumulated power of the ice and the waters 

The elevation of the river at Pittsburgh is 678 feet, and that of low water, at its 
confluence with the Mississippi, 283 feet in 949 miles, the length of the interme- 
diate channel making an average descent of a little over five inches in a mile. 
Since the Louisville and Portland canal has been completed, steamboats of small 
draft can descend at all times from Pittsburgh to the Mississippi. Flat and keel 
boats descend the river at all seasons, but in periods of low water with frequent 
groundings on the sand-bars, and the necessity of often unloading to get the boat off. 

From the rnouth of the Wabash to its confluence with the Mississippi, a distance 
of nearly 200 miles, the right bank of the Ohio forms the southern boundary of the 
state of Illinois. In this distance, its banks are generally low and subject to inun- 
dations ; but they are very fertile. 

These inundations, as on the Mississippi, are occasionally sources of disease, and 
in many cases impediments to improvement. There are, however, some elevated 
situations which afford good town-sites, and which must become places of conside- 
rable importance. It is much to be regretted, that at the confluence of the Ohio 
and Mississippi there is an extensive recently formed alluvion, which is annually 
inundated, and which cannot, without immense expense, be made an eligible 
town-site. At the mouth of the Wabash, the land is similarly situated. Below 
this, no stream of any considerable size empties into the Ohio within this state. 
The largest are Cash river, and Saline and Big Bay creeks. 

The Saline creek is the largest tributary of the Ohio within the limits of the 
state. It enters that river a few miles below Shawneetown, after a course of about 
75 miles ; and is formed of the North, Middle, and South Forks. The salines, or 
salt springs, from which the stream takes its name, are in the vicinity of the town 
of Equality, and are sources of wealth to the country, furnishing large quantities 
of salt for home consumption. To Equality, 2*0 miles, from the Ohio, the Saline is 
navigable for steamboats of a small class. This stream and its branches water 
the counties of Gallatin, White, Hamilton, Franklin, and Johnson. 

The Wabash river rises in the northern part of Indiana, and running first a 
south-west and then a south course, empties into the Ohio nearly 200 miles above 
its confluence with the Mississippi. It is a beautiful stream about 600 miles in 
length, with but one considerable fall or rapid, which is near the junction of White 
river, below Vincennes. ]ji low water, it obstructs the navigation very considera- 
bly. An act was passed in 1819, to raise funds for the purpose of improving the 
navigation at this place, by means of a canal. For more than 200 miles, the Wa- 
bash forms the eastern boundary of the state. The<character of the lands border- 
ing on it is similar to that on the Ohio and Mississippi, klthough the alluvions of 
the Wabash are more extensive, and the inundations more formidable. The bot- 
toms of the Wabash are an intermixture of prairie and woodland. The principal 
tributaries of the Wabash, in this state, are the Big and Little Vermillion, Embar- 
ras, and Little Wabash rivers. As a navigable channel, the Wabash is a most 
important stream : its course seems to be almost artificially drawn to form a part 
of the line of commarcial connexion between the Mississippi river and Lake Erie, 
by the most direct route. 

The chief branches of this river in the state of Illinois, are the Embarras and 
the Little Wabash. The Embarras rises in Champaign county : it runs at first 
south, and then south-east; and, after a course of about 140 miles, enters the Wa- 
bash about six miles below Vincennes. The country on the Embarras is of various 
qualities, though there is much good land. Towards its head the prairie greatly 

E """"' 



34 GENERAL VIEW OF 



predominates, the timber being in groves, and in narrow strips along its banks. It 
soon widens to an extent of from two to six miles, and in the lower part of its 
course, frequently from eight to ten miles. Generally the prairies through which 
it flows are second-rate for more than half its length from its mouth. Its bottoms 
are inundated in very high floods. The main stream and its branches afford many 
good mill-seats. 

The Little Wabash river rises in the large prairies towards the head-waters of 
the Kaskaskia, and, running south, enters the Wabash in the north-east corner of 
Gallatin county. It is about 110 miles in a direct line from its heads to its mouth, 
though about 150 miles, to follow its meanderings. It is navigable for flat-boats 
and small craft, at a full stage of water; about forty of the former leaving it annu- 
ally, from Wayne and White counties, with beef, pork, corn, cattle, and some to- 
bacco, for the New-Orleans market. The timber upon the banks of the Little 
Wabash is mostly heavy, and of a good quality, and is several miles in width. The 
country adjoining is fertile, but the bottoms are subject to inundation at high floods. 
Several valuable mills have been erected on this stream, in White county. 

The Illinois, which gives name to the state, may be considered the most impor- 
tant river, whose whole course is in it. It is formed by the junction of the Kanka- 
kee and Des Plaines rivers, near the towns of Dresden and Kankakee. Thence 
it flows nearly a west course,\until a hort distance above Hennepin: here it 
curves to the south, and thento i.he south-west Passing Peoria, Pekin, Havanna, 
and Beardstown, it reaches Naples. Hence to its mouth, its course is mostly due 
south. It enters the Mississippi 20 miles 'above the Missouri. At high floods the 
river overflows its banks, and covers its bottoms for a considerable extent. The 
Mississippi, at extreme high water, backs up the Illinois about seventy miles to the 
mouth of the Mauvaiseterre creeki/ 

The commerce of the river is'-extensiye, and increasing with a rapidity known 
only to the rich agricultural regimes of the Western States. Several steamboats 
are constantly employed in-jts trade, and many others make occasional trips: 
about thirty-five different boats .passed ^rid'landed at Beardstown in 1836, making 
the arrivals and departures 450. The- year 1828 was the commencement of steam 
navigation on this river. *. 

Forty miles below the junction of the Kankakee and Des Plaines, the Illinois 
receives the Fox river from the north. Both above and below the mouth of this 
stream, there is a succession of rapids in the Illinois, with intervals of deep and 
smooth water. From the mouth of Fox river to the foot of the rapids is nine 
miles, the descent, in all, eight feet ; the rock soft sandstone mixed with gravel and 
shelly limestone. Nine miles above Fox river, the grand rapids commence, and 
extend ten or twelve miles. They are formed by ledges of rocks in the river and 
rocky islands. The whole descent from the surface of Lake Michigan at Chicago 
to the foot of the rapids, a distance of 94 miles, is 141-^ feet 

At the foot of the rapids the Vermillion river enters the Illinois from the south, 
by a mouth of about fifty yards wide : it is an excellent mill-stream, and runs 
through extensive beds of bituminous coal. About 60 miles down the Illinois 
from the termination of the rapids, commences Peoria Lake, an expansion of the 
river, and about twenty miles in length by two in width. Such are the depth and 
regularity of the bottom, that it has no perceptible current whatever. Its waters 
are very transparent its margin exhibits a beautiful scenery, and its surface is fre- 
quently covered with innumerable flocks of pelicans, swans, geese, and ducks. It 
also abounds with every variety of fish to be found in any of the western waters. 

A few miles below Lake Peoria, the Mackinaw'river comes into the Illinois on 
the east side from the south : it is about 100 miles in length, and is boatable a con- 
siderable distance. It rises in the prairie, near the eastern part of M'Lean 
county; and, running south-westwardly through Tazewell county, enters the Illi- 
nois about three miles below Pekin. About twenty-five miles below, and directly 
opposite the town of Havanna, the Spoon river enters the Illinois from the west: 
it is a beautiful stream, the most considerable of those which water the interior 
of the Military Bounty Tract It is navigable only a short distance. It has a 
course of about 140 miles. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 35 

About eight miles above Beardstown the Sangamon river enters the Illinois from 
the east. It is one of the most prominent branches of the Illinois, and has a 
course of about 180 miles, with a boat navigation of 120 or 130 miles. From its 
position, and the excellence of its lands, it is one of the most important streams 
of the state. Crooked creek, next to Spoon river, is the most considerable stream 
that waters the Military Bounty Tract. From its volume and length of course, 
it deserves the name of river, but is mostly designated by the interior title. It 
enters from the west, a few miles below Beardstown, and has a course of about 
100 miles. 

Below Crooked creek, and on the east side of the river, are Indian, Mauvaise- 
terre, and Sandy creeks in Morgan, and Apple and Macoupin creeks in Greene 
county : these are all beautiful streams, and meander through some of the best 
populated and fertile tracts of country in the state. M'Kee's creek, emptying on 
the west side, is the lowest of the tributaries of the Illinois of any note that waters 
the Military Bounty Tract: the land on this creek and its branches is excellent, 
and well proportioned into timber and prairie, which is gently undulating, and 
rich. The settlements are already large, and increasing from emigration. 

In the Illinois river there are but few sand-bars and impediments of any conse- 
quence until we reach the Starved Rock, about one mile above the town of Utica. 
Here we meet with the first permanent obstruction, being a ledge of sandstone 
rocks immediately at the foot of the lower rapids, and extending entirely across 
the bed of the river. This point is 210-miles by the course of the Illinois from 
the Mississippi. The town of Utica uftay therewe be justly considered as the 
head of steamboat navigation of the Illinois river, although steamers at high 
water frequently ascend nine miles farther to Ottawa. The sum of 100,000 dol- 
lars has been appropriated by the legislature of the state to improve the navigation 
of the Illinois, which may be made good at all stages of the water. 

For a great distance above its mouth, the .river is almost as straight as a canal. 
It has in summer scarcely a perceptible current; and the waters, though transpa- 
rent, have a marshy taste, to a degree to be almost unpotable. The river is wide 
and deep, and, for the greater part of its'* yrid'tli, is filled with aquatic weeds, to 
such a degree that no person could swim a^mong them. Only a few yards width, 
in the centre of the stream, is free from them. It enters the Mississippi, through 
a deep forest, by a mouth 400 yards wide. Perhaps no river of the Western 
Country has so fine a boatable navigation for the same distance, or waters a richer 
and more luxuriant tract of country. 

On the banks of this river the first French emigrants from Canada settled them- 
selves ; and here was the scenery on which they founded their extravagant pane- 
gyrics upon the Western Country. 

By the Chicago and Illinois Canal^ now in progress, the waters of this stream 
will be united to those of Lake' Michigan, and will form one of the most important 
links in the chain of internal navigable waters of the United States. Nature 
seems to have accomplished a great share of the necessary labour to effect at this 
grand improvement. The canal distance from the foot of the rapids to Lake 
Michigan will be near 100 miles. 

The principal tributaries of the Illinois river are the Kankakee, Des Plaines, 
Fox, Spoon, and Sangamon rivers. These are all considerable streams, and are, 
after the Illinois, Kaskaskia, and Rock river, the most important in the state. 

The Kankakee, or Thcakiki, is the eastern head branch of the Illinois. It rises 
in the north-east part of the state of Indiana, two or three miles from the south 
bend of St. Joseph's river, from whence running in a westerly and north-westerly 
direction through the north-eastern part of Illinois, it unites with the Des Plaines 
and forms the Illinois, forty miles above the mouth of Fox river. The Kankakee 
has a course of about 150 miles, and is upwards of 200 yards wide at its mouth. 
The prairie country through which it passes is generally of good soil. This river 
was discovered at an early period by the French, and was one of the principal 
routes used by them in passing to the Mississippi. Navigation for small craft can be 
effected, in high stages of the water, from t!ie St. Joseph's river into the Kankakee. 
The latter, for the first fifty miles of its course, flows through an extensive swamp. 



36 GENERAL VIEW OF 



The Des Plaines river is the northern head branch of the Illinois. It rises in 
Wisconsin Territory, a few miles west of the town of Racine, on Lake Michigan, 
and flowing through the north part of the state, it joins the Kankakee at the bound- 
ary line between La Salle and Will counties, where they form the Illinois river. 
The Dee Plaines, in its course of 150 miles, runs generally over a bed of limestone. 
The country along its borders is populating rapidly, notwithstanding the apparent 
deficiency of timber. About forty-two miles above the mouth of this stream is a 
swamp connecting it with the Chicago river, through which boats of some burden 
have often been navigated into Lake Michigan. This route was used by the 
traders as a medium of communication between the great lakes and the Mississippi, 
from the first discovery of the country by Europeans; this circumstance first 
suggested the idea of an artificial connexion by means of a canal at this point. In 
the bed of the Des Plaines, about forty rods above its junction with the Kankakee, 
there is a fossil tree, of a very considerable size. It is a species of phytolites, and 
is embedded in a horizontal position in a stratum of newer floetz sandstone, of a 
gray colour and close grain. There are fifty-one feet six inches of the trunk visi- 
ble. It is eighteen inches in diameter. 

The Fox river is one of the principal tributaries of the Illinois, and rises in 
Wisconsin Territory, about twenty miles north-west from Milwaukee, on Lake 
Michigan. Its general direction is south, inclining to the west ; and, after a course 
of about 170 miles, it enters the Illinois river at Ottawa, 219 miles from the Mis- 
sissippi. 

At the rapids, five miles above its mouth, are extensive water-privileges. Here 
the river is from 80 to 100 yards wide. The rapids are sixteen feet descent, and 
both sides of the stream will admit of mills and machinery for three-fourths of a 
mile, with inexhaustible supplies of water. This, stream flows through a fine 
prairie country, of a dark rich soil. Nearly the whole range of Fox river in Illi- 
nois is through unsurveyed land : for nearly the entire distance, it is thickly settled. 
Towns and villages are springing up as if by magic. Its chief tributaries are 
Indian, Somonauk, Rock, and Blackberry creeks. 

The Sangamon is one of the most important tributaries of the Illinois : it enters 
that river about 100 miles above Hs mouth, and ten miles above Beardstown. It 
rises in the attached part of Venailjipn county, and heads with the Mackinaw, the 
Vermillion river of the Illinois, the^pig Vermillion, and other streams. Its length 
of course is about 180 miles, and, it is navigable for small steamboats, when the 
waters are high, to the junction of the north and south forks, a distance from the 
Illinois of about 75 miles; and, at a small expense in clearing out the principal 
branches, they might be made boatable for small craft a considerable distance fur- 
ther than they have yet been navigated. In the spring of 1832, a steamboat of the 
larger class arrived within five miles of Springfield, and discharged its cargo. 
Arrangements are in progress for running permanently, this fall (1837), a small 
class steamboat from the towns on the Illinois to Petersburg, on the leil bank of 
the Sangamon, and about 45 miles from its mouth. 

All the streams that enter this river have sandy and pebbly bottoms, and clear and 
transparent waters. The Sangamon bottoms have a soil of extraordinary fertility, 
and rear from their rich black mould a forest of enormous sycamore and other 
forest trees ; huge overgrown masses, towering to a great height above the head of 
the passer-by. The Sangamon river and its branches flow through one of the rich- 
est and most delightful portions of the great West The beautiful and fertile 
prairies on its banks will aftbrd range for thousands of cattle, for many years. 
The general aspect of the Sangamon country is level ; yet it is sufficiently undu- 
lating to permit the water to escape to the creeks. It will soon constitute one of 
the richest agricultural districts in the United States, the soil being of such a 
nature that immense crops can be raised with little agricultural labour. 

The principal branches of the Sangamon are the South Fork and Salt creek. 

The latter is a fine stream of about 90 miles in length : it heads near the mam 

stream of the Sangamon, and receives in its course several considerable tributaries, 

j of which the chief are Kickapoo and Salt creeks. The South Fork is about 70 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 37 



miles in length of course. It rises in Shelby county, and, flowing west and north- 
west, enters the Sangamon about seven miles east of Springfield. 

Spoon river is a considerable tributary of the Illinois, and is the largest stream 
that waters the Military Bounty lands. It rises in the north-eastern part of the 
tract, and after a course mostly south-west, through the counties of Putnam, Peo- 
ria, Knox, and Fulton, of about 140 miles in extent, it enters the Illinois river by 
a mouth 40 yards wide, directly opposite the town of Havanna in Tazewell county, 
and about 125 miles from the Mississippi. The lands on Spoon river and its 
branches are considered among the most eligible for settlement in this section of 
the state ; being high, undulating, well watered, and handsomely diversified with 
prairie and timber. Of the latter, large bodies line the banks of the river and its 
tributaries. They also furnish many excellent mill-seats. This stream can be 
navigated for only a few miles; but, at a trifling expense in clearing out the trees 
and rafts of timber, it might be made navigable for one-half of the year to the 
Forks. These, which are the principal head branches of Spoon river, are called 
the East and West Forks, and constitute, with the South Fork, the chief tributa- 
ries of this stream. 

The East Fork rises in the western part of Putnam county, and, after a course 
of between 40 and 50 miles, is joined by the West Fork. There is much excellent 
land on this fork and its branches; prairie predominates, but it is generally dry and 
rich, with groves and points of timber, and many fine springs. 

The West Fork rises in the south-east part of Henry county, runs a south-east- 
erly course, and unites with the East Fork near the boundary line between Putnam 
and Peoria counties. The country adjoining is similar to that on the East Fork, 
except that the surface is more undulating. The timber is good, and in consider- 
able bodies. Near the junction of these streams is much excellent timber, with a 
strip of fertile prairie between. Here is a considerable settlement, called Essex's 
Settlement, containing a grist and saw-mill, and a post-office. 

The South Fork rises in Warren county, near the head-of Ellison creek, runs a 
south-easterly course, and unites with the main stream about 50 miles from the 
Illinois river. Some of the best land in the state lies on this stream. This is 
frequently called the West Fork. 

MINERALS * 

Coal, salt, lime, lead, iron, and copper, are among the known mineral productions 
of Illinois; but the soil has not yet been much exploited for its hidden treasures. 
Coal, secondary limestone, and sandstone, exist in almost every quarter. 

Lead is found in the north-western part of the state in vast quantities : the lead 
diggings extend from the Wisconsin to the vicinity of Rock river, and on both 
sides of the Mississippi. The Indians and French had been long accustomed to 
procure small quantities of the ore, but it was not until 1822 that the process of 
separating the metal was begun to be carried on. Since that time, up to the end 
of 1835, 70,420,357 pounds of lead have been made here, and upwards of 13,000,000 
pounds have been smelted in one year ; but the business having been overdone, the 
product has since been much less. In 1833, it was 7,941,792 pounds; in 1834, 
7,971,579; and in 1835, only 3,754,290. This statement includes the produce of 
Wisconsin Territory, as well as of Illinois. The rent accruing to government for 
the same period, is a fraction short of 6,000,000 pounds. Formerly, the government 
received ten per cent, in lead for rents. Now it is six per cent. 

A part of the mineral land in the Wisconsin Territory has been surveyed and 
brought into market, which will add greatly to the stability and prosperity of the 
mining business. It is expected that the mineral lands in Illinois will soon be in 
market. 

Iron ore has been found in the southern parts of the state, and is said to exist in 
considerable quantities in the northern parts. 

Native copper, in large quantities, exists in the northern part of the state, espe- 
cially at the mouth of Plum creek, and on the Pekatonica. It is also found in 
small quantities on Muddy river, in Jackson county, and back of Harrisonville, in 



38 GENERAL VIEW OF 



the bluffs of Monroe county. A shaft was sunk 40 feet deep in 1817, in search of 
this metal, but without success. 

Silver is supposed to exist in St. Clair county, two miles from Rock Spring, 
whence Silver creek derives its name. In the early times, by the French, a shaft 
was sunk here, and tradition tells of large quantities of the precious metal being 
obtained. In the southern part of the state, several sections of land have been re- 
served from sale, on account of the silver ore they are supposed to contain. Mar- 
ble of a fine quality is found in Randolph county. Crystallized gypsum has been 
found in small quantities in St. Clair county. Quartz crystals exist in Gallatin 
county. 

Bituminous coal abounds in this state, and may be found in nearly every county. 
It is frequently perceived without excavation in the ravines and at the points of 
bluffs. Vast beds of this mineral exist in the bluffs adjacent to the American' Bot- 
tom in St. Clair County, of which large quantities are annually transported to St. 
Louis for fuel. A rail-road is now constructing by a private company, from the 
bluffs to the ferry, six miles, for the purpose of transporting coal to St. Louis. 

A large vein of coal, several feet thick, and apparently exhaustless, has been 
struck in excavating the Illinois and Michigan canal, a few miles below Ottawa. 
A bed of anthracite coal, it is said, has been discovered on Muddy river in Jackson 
county. 

Muriate of soda, or common salt, has been found in various parts of the state, 
held in solution in the springs. The manufacture of salt by boiling and evapora- 
tion is carried on in Gallatin county, 12 miles west-north-west from Shawneetown ; 
in Jackson county, near Brownsville ; and in Vermillion county, near Danville. 
The springs and land are owned by the state, and the works leased. A coarse 
freestone, much used in building, is dug from quarries near Alton, on the Missis- 
sippi, where large bodies exist. 

Medicinal waters are found in different parts of the state. These are chiefly 
sulphur springs and chalybeate waters. There is said to be one well in the south- 
ern part of the state strongly impregnated with the sulphate of magnesia, or Epsom 
salts, from which considerable quantities have been made for sale, by simply evapo- 
rating the water, in a kettle, over a common fire. There are several sulphur 

springs in Jefferson county, to which persons resort for health, 
,*V; i, 

ANIMALS. 

There are several kinds of wild animals in the state of Illinois: of these, the 
principal and most numerous are deer, wolves, raccoons, opossums, &c. Several 
species formerly common have become scarce, and are constantly retreating before 
the march of civilization ; and some are no longer to be found. The buffalo has 
entirely left the limits of the state, and indeed all the settled parts of the Western 
Country, and is now found only on the head-waters of the Mississippi and its tribu- 
taries, and on the vast prairies west of the Missouri river. This animal once 
roamed at large over the plains of Illinois ; and, so late as the commencement of 
the present century, was found in considerable numbers ; and traces of them are 
still remaining 1 , in the buffalo paths, which are to be seen in several parts of the 
state. These are well-beaten tracks, leading generally from the prairies in the 
interior of the state to the margins of the large rivers, showing the course of their 
migrations as they changed their pastures periodically, from the low marshy allu- 
vion, to the dry upland plains. Their paths are narrow, and remarkably direct, 
showing that the animals travelled in single file through the woods, and" pursued 
the most direct course to their places of destination. 

Deer are more abundant than at the first settlement of the country. They in- 
crease, to a certain extent, with the population. The reason of this appears to be, 
that they find protection in the neighbourhood of man from the beasts of prey that 
assail them in the wilderness, and from whose attacks their young particularly can 
with difficulty escape. They suffer most from the wolves, who hunt in packs, like 
hounds, and who seldom give up the chase until the deer is taken. 

Immense numbers of deer are killed every year by the hunters, who take them 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 39 



for the hams and skins alone, throwing away the rest of the carcase. Venison 
hams and hides are important articles of export. Fresh hams usually sell at from 
75 cents to $1.50 a pair, and when properly cured, are a delicious article of food. 

There are several ways of hunting deer, all of which are equally simple. Most 
generally the hunter proceeds to the woods on horseback, in the day-time, select- 
ing particularly certain hours which are thought to be most favourable. It is said, 
that during the season when the pastures are green, this animal rises from its lair 
precisely at the rising of the moon, whether in the day or night ; such is the uni- 
form testimony of experienced hunters. If it be true, it is certainly a curious dis- 
play of animal instinct. This hour, therefore, is always kept in view by the hun- 
ter, as he rides slowly through the forest with his rifle on his shoulder, while his 
keen eye penetrates the surrounding shades. On beholding a deer, the hunter 
slides from his horse, and while the deer is observing the latter, creeps upon him, 
keeping the largest trees between himself and the object of pursuit, until he gets 
near enough to fire. An expert woodsman seldom fails to hit his game. 

Another mode is, to watch at night, in the neighbourhood of the salt-licks. These 
are spots where the earth is impregnated with saline particles, or where the salt- 
water oozes through the soil. Deer and other grazing animals frequent such 
places, and remain tor hours licking the earth. The hunter secretes himself here, 
either in the thick top of a tree, or, most generally, in a screen erected for the 
purpose, and artfully concealed, like a masked battery, with logs or green boughs. 
This practice is pursued only in the summer, or early in the autumn, in cloudless 
nights, when the moon shines brilliantly, and objects may be readily discovered. 
At the rising of the moon, or shortly after, the deer, having risen from their beds, 
approach the lick. Such places are generally bare of timber, but surrounded by 
it, and as the animal is about to emerg'e'Trom the shade into the clear moonlight, 
he stops, looks cautiously around, and snuffs the air. Then he advances a few 
steps, and stops again, smells the ground, or raises his expanded nostrils, as if he 
'snuffed the approach of danger in every tainted breeze.' The hunter sits motion- 
less, and almost breathless, waiting until the animal shall get within rifle-shot, and 
until its position in relation to the hunter and the light, shall be favourable, when 
he fires with an unerring aim. A few deer only can be thus killed in one night, 
and after a few nights these timorous animals are driven from the haunts which 
are thus disturbed. 

Many of the frontier people dress deer-skins, and make them into pantaloons 
and hunting-shirts. These articles are indispensable to all who have occasion to 
travel in viewing land, or for any other purpose, beyond the settlements, as cloth 
garments, in the shrubs and vines, would soon be in strings. 

It is a novel and pleasant sight to a stranger, to see the deer in flocks of eight, 
ten, or fifteen in number, feeding on the grass of the prairies, or bounding away 
at the sight of a traveller. 

The elk has disappeared. A few have been seen in late years, and some taken; 
but it is not known that any remain at this time, within the limits of the state. 

The bear is seldom seen. This animal inhabits those parts of the country that 
are thickly wooded, and delights particularly in the cane-brakes, where it feeds in 
the winter on the tender shoots of the young cane. The meat is tender and finely 
flavoured, and is esteemed a great delicacy. 

Wolves are numerous in most parts of the state. There are two kinds the 
common or black wolf, and the prairie wolf. The former is a large fierce animal, 
and very destructive to sheep, pigs, calves, poultry, and even young colts. They 
hunt in packs, and after using every stratagem to circumvent their prey, attack it 
with remarkable ferocity. Like the Indian, they always endeavour to surprise 
their victim, and strike the mortal blow without exposing themselves to danger. 
They seldom attack man, except when asleep or wounded. The largest animals, 
when wounded, entangled, or otherwise disabled, become their prey ; but in gene- 
ral they only attack such as are incapable of resistance. Their most common prey 
is the deer, which they hunt regularly; but all defenceless animals are alike ac- 
ceptable to their ravenous appetites. When tempted by hunger they approach the 
farm-houses in the night, and snatch their prey from under the very eye of the 



40 GENERAL VIEW OF 



farmer; and when the latter is absent with his dogs, the wolf is sometimes seen 
by the females lurking about in mid-day, as if aware of the unprotected state of 
the family. 

The smell of burning assafoetida has a remarkable effect upon this animal. If a 
fire be made in the woods, and a portion of this drug thrown into it, so as to satu- 
rate the atmosphere with the odour, the wolves, if any are within reach of the 
scent, immediately assemble around, howling in the most mournful manner ; and 
such is the remarkable fascination under which they seem to labour, that they will 
often suffer themselves to be shot down rather than leave the spot 

The prairie wolf is a smaller species, but little larger than a fox, and takes its 
name from its habit of residing entirely upon the open plains. Even when hunted 
with dogs, it will make circuit after circuit round the prairie, carefully avoiding 
the forest, or only dashing into it occasionally when hard pressed, and then return- 
ing to the plain. In size and appearance this animal is midway between the wolf 
and the fox, and in colour it resembles the latter, being of a very light red. It 
preys upon poultry, rabbits, young pigs, calves, &c, .The most friendly relations 
subsist between it and the common wolf, and they constantly hunt in packs to- 
gether. Nothing is more Common than to see a large black wolf in company with 
several prairie wolves. 

The tbx abounds in some places in grt numbers, though, generally speaking, 
the animal is scarce. It will undoubtedl^ncrease with the population. 

The panther and wild cat are occasionally found in the forests. The open coun- 
try is not well suited to their shy habits, and they are less frequently seen than in 
the neighbouring states. 

The beaver and otter were once numerous, but are now seldom seen, except on 
the frontiers. 

There are no rats, except along the large rivers, where they have landed from 
the boats. 

Wild horses are found rangifig the prairies and forests in some parts of the state. 
They are small in size, of the Indian or Canadian breed, and very hardy. They 
are caught in pens, or with rdj>es having nooses attached to them, and broken to 
the saddle and harness. The French, who monopolize the business of catching 
and breaking these horses, make them an article of traffic ; their common price is 
from 20 to 30 dollars. They are found .chiefly in the lower end of the American 
Bottom, near the junction qf-the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers, called the Point. 
They are the offspring of the*,llorses brought there by the first settlers, and which 
were suffered to run at large. The Indians of the West have many such horses, 
which are commonly called Indian ponies. 

The gray and fpx squirrels often do mischief in the corn-fields, and the hunting 
of them makes fine sport for the boys. It is a rule amongst the Kentucky rifle- 
men to shoot a squirrel only through his eyes, and that from the tops of the highest 
trees of the forest. It is evidence of a bad marksman, for a hunter to hit one in 
any other part. 

The gophar is a singular little animal, about the size of a squirrel. It burrows 
in the ground, is seldom seen, but its works make it known. It labours during 
the night, in digging subterranean passages in the rich soil of the prairies, and 
throws up hillocks of fresh earth, within a few feet distance from each other, and 
from 12 to 18 inches in height. They form these by removing the earth from 
their holes, by means of a pouch with which nature has furnished them on each 
side of their mouth ; a dozen of these hillocks has been seen, the production of 
one night's labour, and apparently from a single gophar. The passages are formed 
in such a labyrinth, that it is a difficult matter to find the animal by digging. 
They are very mischievous in corn and potatoe fields, and in gardens they prey 
upon all kinds of bulbous roots. Their bite is said to be poisonous. 

The polecat is very destructive to poultry. 

The raccoon and opossum are very numerous, and extremely troublesome to the 
farmer, as they not only attack his poultry, but plunder his corn-fields. They are 
hunted by boys, and large numbers of them destroyed. The skins of the raccoon 
pay well for the trouble of taking them, as the fur is in demand. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 41 



Rabbits are very abundant, and in some places extremely destructive to the 
young orchards and to garden vegetables. The fence around a nursery must 
always be so close as to shut out rabbits, and young apple-trees must be secured at 
the approach of winter, by tying straw or corn stalks around their bodies, for two 
or three feet in height, or the bark will be stripped off by these mischievous ani- 
mals. 

The ponds, lakes and rivers, during the spring and autumn, and during the mi- 
grating season of water-fowls, are literally covered with swans, pelicans, cranes, 
geese, brants, and ducks, of all the tribes and varieties. Many of these fowls rear 
their young on the islands and sand-bars of the large rivers. In the autumn, mul- 
titudes of them are killed for their quills, feathers, and flesh. 

The prairie fowl is seen in great numbers on the prairies in the summer, and 
about tUe corn-fields hi the winter. This is the grouse of the New- York market 
They are easily taken in the winter, and when fat are excellent for the table. 

Partridges (the quail of New-England) are taken with nets, in the winter, by 
hundreds in a day, and furnish no trifling item in the luxuries of the city market. 

Bees are to be found in the trees of every forest. Many of the frontier people 
make it a prominent business, after the frost has killed the vegetation, to hunt 
them for the honey and wax, both of which find a ready market. Bees are profit- 
able stock for the farmer, and are kept to a considerable extent. 

Poisonous reptiles are not so common as in unsettled regions of the same lati- 
tude, where the country is generally timbered. Burning the prairies undoubtedly 
destroys multitudes of them. 



;STIC AN 



DOMESTIC ANIMALS. 

The domestic animals are the same as elsewhere in the United States. The 
wild prairies, everywhere covered with grass, jnvite the raising of cattle. Many 
of the farmers possess large droves, and tfyey may be multiplied to an almost 
indefinite extent. 

The neat cattle are usually inferior in size to $ ose of the old states. This is 
owing entirely to bad management: the cWs are not penned up in pasture-fields, 
but suffered to run at large over the commons. Hence all the calves are pre- 
served, without respect to quality, to entice cows homeward at evening. They 
are kept up through the day, and oftentimes witfeput much pasture, and turned to 
the cows for a few minutes at night, and thto p^irinitted to graze through the 
night over the short and withered grass around the plantation. In autumn their 
food is very scanty, and during the winter they are permitted to pick up a preca- 
rious subsistence amongst fifty or a hundred head of cattle. With such manage- 
ment, is it surprising that the steers and cows are much inferior to those of the old 
states 1 

Common cows, if suffered to lose their milk in August, become sufficiently fat 
for table use by October. Farrow heifers and steers are good beef, and fit for the 
knife at any period after the middle of May. A cow in the spring is worth from 
twelve to twenty dollars. Some of the best quality will sell higher. Cows, in 
general, do not produce the same amount of milk, nor of as rich a quality as in 
older states. Something is to be attributed to the nature of the pastures, and the 
warmth of the climate, but more to causes already assigned. If ever a land was 
characterized justly as "flowing with milk and honey," it is Illinois and the adja- 
cent states. From the springing of the grass till September, butter is made in 
great profusion. It sells at that season in market for about twenty cents, and in 
the interior of the state for twelve cents per pound. With proper care, it can be 
preserved with tolerable sweetness for winter's use. Late in autumn and early in 
the winter, sometimes butter is not plenty. The feed becomes dry, the cows 
range further off, and do not come up readily for milking, and dry up. A very 
little trouble would enable a farmer to keep three or four good cows in fresh milk 
at the season most needed. 

Cheese is made by many families, especially in the counties bordering on the 
Illinois river. Good cheese sells for eight and sometimes ten cents, and finds a 

F 4*"~ 



42 GENERAL VIEW OF 



ready market. The most important arrangement for the dairy business in Illinois, 
and especially for cheese-making, is to persuade a few thousand families, from the 
dairy regions of New England, to emigrate, and continue their industrious habits 
after settling here. 

The beef of this state is the finest in the world. It bears the best inspection of 
any in the New-Orleans market By the first of June, and often by the middle of 
May, young cattle on the prairies are fit for market. They do not yield large 
quantities of tallow, but the fat is well proportioned throughout the carcase, and 
the meat tender and delicious. Nothing is more common than for an Illinois 
farmer to go among his stock, select, shoot down, and dress a fine beef, whenever 
fresh meat is needed. This is often divided out amongst the neighbours, who, in 
turn, kill and share likewise. It is common at camp and other large meetings, to 
kill a beef and three or four hogs for the subsistence of friends from a distance. 
Limits can hardly be placed upon the amount of beef cattle that Illinois is capable 
of producing. A farmer calls himself poor, with a hundred head of horned cattle 
around him. 

But little has been done to improve the breed of horses in Illinois: common riding 
or working horses average about fifteen hands in height. When the same atten- 
tion is bestowed here upon raising the finest kind of horses that is given to the 
subject by the Pennsylvania farmer, that noble animal will be raised in the great- 
est perfection. Horses are much more used here than in the eastern states, and 
many a farmer keeps half-a-dozen or more. Much of the travelling throughout 
the western country, both by men and women, is performed on horseback ; and a 
large proportion of the land-carriage is by mepns of large wagons, with from four 
to six stout horses for a team. . ) 

Breeding mares are profitable stock for every farmer to keep, as their annual 
expense in keeping is but trifling, their labour is always needed, and their colts, 
when grown, find a ready market. Some farmers keep a stallion, and eight or ten 
brood mares. Horses are more subject to diseases in this country than in the old 
states, which is thought to be occasioned by bad management, rather than by the 
climate. A good farm-horse can be purchased for fifty dollars. A great proportion 
of the ploughing in Illinois is performed by horse labour. 

Mules are raised in Missouri, and aije also brought from the Mexican dominions 
into Illinois. They are hardy animals, grow to a good size, and are used by some 
both for labour and riding. 

Sheep generally thrive well in this country, especially in the older settlements, 
where the grass has become short, and they are less molested by wolves. But few 
are kept. The people from the south are more accustomed to cotton for clothing, 
than to wool, which sells for fifty cents per pound. Little is said or done to 
improve the breed of sheep, or introduce the Merino or Saxony breed. 

Swine may be called a staple in the provision of Illinois. Thousands of hogs 
are raised without any expense, except a few breeders to start with, and a little 
attention to hunting them on the range, and keeping them tame. This kind of 
pork is by no means equal to that raised and fatted on corn, and in a domestic way. 
It is soft, oily, and will not bear inspection at New-Orleans. It usually sells for 
three dollars per hundred. Pork that is made in a domestic way, and fatted on 
corn, will sell for from four to five dollars, according to size, quality, and the time 
when it is delivered. With a pasture of clover or blue grass, a well-filled corn- 
crib, a dairy, and slop-barrel, and the usual care that a New-Englander bestows on his 
pigs, pork may be raised from the sow, fatted, and killed, and weigh from two hun- 
dred to two hundred and fifty, within twelve months, and this method of raising 
pork would be profitable. 

Few families in the west and south put up their pork in salt, pickle. Their 
method is to salt it sufficiently to prepare it for smoking, and then make bacon of 
hams, shoulders, and middlings or broadsides. The price of bacon, taking the hog 
round, is about ten or twelve cents. Good hams command twelve cents in the 
m * rl l et Stock h ? 8 ' weighing from sixty to one hundred pounds, alive, usually 
from two dollars to two dollars and fifty cents per head. Families consume 
much more meat in Illinois, in proportion to numbers, than in the old states. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 43 



Poultry are raised in great profusion, and large numbers of fowls taken to mar- 
ket. It is no uncommon thing for some farmers' wives to raise three or four hun- 
dred fowls, besides geese, ducks, and turkeys, in a season. Young fowls, butter, 
and eggs, are the three articles usually mustered from every farm for the market. 
Eggs, when plenty, as at the close of winter and spring, usually sell for ten and 
twelve cents per dozen. 

PRODUCTIONS OF THE SOIL. 

This state, having a vast extent of the most fertile land, must of course raise 
with great ease all the articles to which her soil and climate are favourable, to an 
amount far beyond her consumption. All the grains, fruits, and roots of the tem- 
perate regions of the earth grow luxuriantly : the wheat is of excellent quality, 
and there is no part of the Western Country where corn is raised with greater 
ease and abundance. Garden vegetables of all kinds succeed well. No country 
can exceed this, in its adaptedness for rearing the finest fruits and fruit-bearing 
shrubs. Wild fruits and berries are in many places abundant, and on some of the 
prairies the strawberries are remarkably fine. 

In most parts of the state, grape-vines, indigenous to the country, are abundant, 
yielding grapes that might advantageously be made into excellent wine. Foreign 
vines are susceptible of easy cultivation. These are cultivated to a considerable 
extent at Vevay, Switzerland county, Indiana, and at New Harmony on the Wa- 
bash. The indigenous vines are prolific, and produce excellent fruit They are 
found in every variety of soil, interwoven in every thicket in the prairies and bar- 
rens, and climbing to the tops of the very highest trees on the bottoms. The 
French in early times made so much wine as to export some to France; upon 
which the proper authorities prohibited, about the year 1774, the introduction of 
wine from Illinois, lest it might injure the sale of that staple article of the king- 
dom. 

Plums, in the prairies of various sizes, and flavour somewhat tart, grow in great 
abundance; their colour is generally 'red, and their' taste delicious. In some loca- 
tions, acres of these trees exhibit a surface of the colour of rubies : the quantities 
of fruit are prodigious ; by some, two bushels a tree are yielded. 

Crab-apples are also very prolific, and make fine preserves with about double 
their bulk of sugar. Wild cherries are equally productive. The persimmon is 
a delicious fruit, after the frost has destroyed its astringent properties. The black 
mulberry grows in most parts, and is used for the feeding of silk-worms with suc- 
cess. They appear to thrive and spin as well as on the Italian mulberry. The 
gooseberry, strawberry, and blackberry grow wild and in great profusion. Of nuts, 
the hickory, black walnut, and peccan, deserve notice. The last is an oblong, 
thin-shelled, delicious nut, that grows on a large tree, a species of the hickory. 
The pawpaw grows in the bottom, and rich timbered uplands, and produces a 
large, pulpy, and luscious fruit 

Of domestic fruits, the apple and peach are chiefly cultivated. Pears are tole- 
rably plentiful in the French settlements, and quinces are cultivated with success 
by some Americans. Apples are easily cultivated, and are very productive. They 
can be made to bear fruit to considerable advantage, in seven years, from the seed. 
Many varieties are of fine flavour, and grow to a large size. Apples, the growth 
of St. Clair county, have been measured that exceeded thirteen inches in circum- 
ference. Some of the early American settlers provided orchards ; and they are 
now reaping the advantages. But a large proportion of the population of the 
frontiers are content without this indispensable article in the comforts of a Yankee 
farmer. Cider is made in small quantities in the old settlements. In a few years, 
a supply of this beverage can be had in most parts of Illinois. Peach-trees grow 
with great rapidity, and decay proportionably soon. From ten to fifteen years may 
be considered as the duration of this tree. The peaches are delicious, but they 
sometimes fail by being destroyed in the germ by winter frosts. The bud swells 
prematurely. 

The cultivated vegetable productions in the field are Indian corn, wheat, oats, 
barley, buckwheat, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rye for hovse-feed and 



44 GENERAL VIEW OF 



distilleries, tobacco, cotton, hemp, flax, the castor-bean, and every other production 
common to the middle states. Indian corn is a staple production. No farmer can 
live without it, and hundreds raise little else. This is chiefly owing to the ease 
with which it is cultivated. Its average yield is fifty bushels to the acre. Often- 
times the product amounts to seventy-five bushels to the acre, and in some in- 
stances has exceeded one hundred. Corn is planted about the first of May. The 
white and yellow flint are the best adapted to the climate. When ready to gather 
in, the ears are commonly plucked off by the hand, hauled to the vicinity of the 
crib, and the people in the settlement invited to the corn-shucking. Ordinarily 
these gatherings end in sobriety and good feelings, but occasionally (if whiskey is 
plenty) they prove scenes of unbridled merriment. In slave-holding states, these 
annual corn-shuckings are the seasons of fun and frolic to the negro. A fat ox or 
cow, and two or three shoats, are killed, pones of corn bread smoking hot are 
brought forward, the bottle of whiskey circulates, and the woods and hills are 
made to ring with negro songs and shouts of merriment. It is the real harvest- 
home of the slaves. 

Wheat yields a good and sure crop, especially in the counties bordering on the 
Illinois river, and through the northern parts of the state. It weighs upwards of 
60 pounds per bushel ; and flour from this region has preference in the New-Or- 
leans market, and passes better inspection than the same article from Ohio or Ken- 
tucky. In 1825, the weavel, for the first time, made its appearance in St. Clair 
and the adjacent counties, and has occasionally renewed its visits since. Within 
the last two seasons, some fields have been injured by the fly. 

Wheat is sowed about the middle of September ; sprung wheat, as soon as the 
ground can be ploughed in the spring. The harvest is about the middle of July, for 
winter wheat ; for spring wheat, in August Prairie ground teAhe best for this 
grain, the crop being sometimes 35 bushels; though about 25 is the average pro- 
duct in good seasons. The "average price of wheat is one dollar to one dollar and 
twenty-five cents per bushel, varying a little according to the competition of mills 
and facilities to market. In.. many instances a single crop of wheat will pay the 
expenses of purchasing the laad, fencing, breaking the prairie, seed, putting in the 
crop, harvesting, threshing r and taking it to market. Wheat is now frequently 
sown on the prairie land as aHftrst crop, and a good yield obtained. Flouring-mills 
are now in operation in mhy of the wheat-growing counties. Steam-power is 
.getting into extensive use both' for sawing and manufacturing flour. 

Oats have not been much raised till lately. They are very productive, often 
yielding from forty to fifty bushels on the acre, and usually sell at from twenty to 
thirty cents the but-hel. The demand for the use of stage and travellers' horses is 
increasing. Hemp is an indigenous plant in the southern part of this state, as it is 
in Missouri. It has not been extensively cultivated, but wherever tried, is found 
very productive, and of excellent quality. It might be made a staple of the 
country. 

Tobacco can be produced in any quantity, and of the first quality, in Illinois ; 
the soil and climate being in every respect congenial to its growth. 

Cotton, for many years, lias been successfully cultivated in this state for domes- 
tic use, and some for exportation. Two or three spinning factories are in operation, 
and produce cotton yarn from the growth of the country with promising success. 
This branch of business admits of enlargement, and invites the attention of east- 
ern manufacturers with small capital. Much of the cloth made in families who 
have emigrated from states south of the Ohio, is from the cotton of the country. 
Flax is produced, and of a tolerable quality, but not equal to that of the northern 
states. It is said to be productive and good in the northern counties. There is an 
oil-mill to manufacture oil from the seed, in Sangamon county. The palma christi, 
or castor-oil bean, is produced in considerable quantities in Madison, Randolph, and 
other counties, and large quantities of oil are expressed and sent abroad. Sweet 
potatoes are a delicious root, and yield abundantly, especially on the American 
Bottom, and rich sandy prairies. 

The cultivation of the sugar beet root, and the manufacture of the sugar, can 
without doubt be carried on to advantage in this state. Gentlemen who have had 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 45 



an opportunity of examining personally the land in France on which that root is 
grown, consider the prairie land of Illinois much superior for that purpose. In the 
tbrmer country, from eight to twelve dollars rent per acre is annually paid, and yet 
large profits are made. An acre of good land will produce 44,000 pounds of beet 
root, from which 2400 pounds of sugar can be extracted, which, at 10 cents a pound, 
amounts to 240 dollars per acre. The annexed extracts on the cultivation of the 
sugar beet root, are from a letter written by D. L. Childs, Esq., who went to Europe 
under the auspices of a company incorporated by the legislature of Illinois, with a 
capital of 200,000 dollars, for the purpose of introducing the manufacture of beet 
sugar into this state. The letter is dated from Arras, in France, Jan. 9th, 1837. 

" The most interesting aspect of the beet sugar business, is its bearing upon 
agriculture and rural economy : 

" 1. It enriches the land both as an excellent substitute for fallowing, and as pro- 
ducing an immense quantity of capital manure. 

"2. It has the latter effect in various ways, but principally by feeding a large 
number of cattle and sheep. The former are fatted in from three to three and a 
half months in a manner really superb. So fine specimens of beef-creatures are 
seldom seen in the United States, after six months of the best pasturing and stall- 
feeding. The sheep are fatted in six weeks. At the manufactory where I have 
been, they pay on an average about six louis for cattle, and sell them for about ele- 
ven. A louis is about $4.37. I suppose that this branch of the business would be 
quite as tycrative in the United States, where stock animals may be bought some- 
what cheaper. This you see is doubling capital three times a year, with the help 
however of the pulp or pumice of the beet. This can be kept good any desirable 
length of time; It is sold here at 10 cents the cwt. 

"3. The prom of raising the beets is very great, according to estimates which I 
have from intelligent sources. My data makes the net gain in France, after pay- 
ing rent, ploughing, weeding, hoeing, digging, and preserving, 404 francs per hec- 
tare. This measure is a trifle over two English "acres.. Consequently the profit 
of cultivating beets on an acre, will be 202 francs, about '$38. Can you wonder 
that land has risen from 50 to 150 per cent, in the districts of the sugar manufacto- 
ries 1 The wages of labour for cultivating and manufacturing the produce of a 
hectare, amount to $56.81. This would give for jOO'acres $2840 nearly ; and for 
400, which would be the quantity required for the 'largest establishments, $11,830, 
to say nothing of the proprietor or leaseholder, wftpn he and the labourer are one 
and the same. In this case, besides getting pay for his labour, and the rent or in- 
terest of his land, he would receive the $38 profit per acre. 

" The most material point in the culture of the beet root, is the manner of pre- 
paring the land. It must be ploughed eight inches deep at least, and this ought to 
be done in the month of August. Still, fine crops of beets have been obtained by 
breaking up grass-ground in the spring, immediately before the seeding. The land 
should be turned up'handsofcely, and all the grass and other vegetable matter fairly 
deposited underneath. Then it must be harrowed deep and fine, but the same way 
with the furrows. If the furrows be disturbed, it spoils or greatly injures the crop. 
The seed is to be sown in rows, 20 inches apart, on the top of the furrows, and the 
same way with them. No plough must enter after the sowing, but the land must 
be dressed from two to four times, according to its tendency to weediness, with the 
hand and hoe. The vegetable matters decay, and give their whole nourishment 
to the beets. I suppose these remarks may be of less consequence to the proprie- 
tors of rich prairies of the west, than to those of the lands in France, and in the 
northern and middle states of America. There can be no doubt, however, that 
the decomposition of fresh vegetable matter will afford a more active stimulus to 
vegetable life than old mould, however rich. The land for beets must be food, 
but it may be too good. In this case, it will produce beets of an enormous size, but 
hollow and decayed, and affording less saccharine matter than smaller ones. Very 
poor land made rich by high manuring, is said to yield large beets, containing a 
great deal of potash and sal ammoniac, but very little sugar. At the first weeding, 
when the beets are about 1 or 1| inches high, they must be thinned so as to 
leave one plant to every 12 or 13 inches of row. If there be spaces where the 



46 GENERAL VIEW OF 



seed has not come up, some of the plants pulled up should be transplanted into 
those spaces." 

But little has been done to introduce cultivated grasses. The prairie grass 
looks coarse and unsavoury, and yet horses and cattle thrive well on it. It is well 
known that this grass disappears when the settlements extend round a prairie, and 
the cattle eat oft' the young growth in the spring. Consequently, in a few years, 
the natural grass no longer exists. To produce timothy with success, the ground 
must be well cultivated in the summer, either by an early crop, or by fallowing, 
and the seed sown about the 20th of September, at the rate often or twelve quarts 
of clean seed to the acre, and lightly brushed in. If the season is in any way fa- 
vourable, it will get a rapid start before winter. By the last week in June, it will 
produce two tons per acre, of the finest hay. It then requires a dressing of stable 
or yard manure, and occasionally the turf may be scratched with a harrow, to pre- 
vent the roots from binding too hard. By this process timothy meadows may be 
made and preserved. There are meadows in St. Glair county which have yielded 
heavy crops of hay in succession, for several years, and bid fair to continue for an 
indefinite period. Cattle, and especially horses, should never be permitted to run 
in meadows in Illinois. Tne fall grass may be cropped down by calves and colts. 
There is but a little more labour required to produce a crop of timothy than a crop 
of oats : and as there is not a stone or a pebble to interrupt, the soil may be turned 
up every third or tburth year for corn, and afterwards laid down to grass again. 
A species of blue grass is cultivated by some farmers for pastures. Iftpwell set, 
and not eaten down in summer, blue grass pastures may be kept green and fresh 
till late in autumn, or even in the winter. The English spire grass has been cul- 
tivated with success in the Wabash country, 

Of the trefoil, or clover, there is but little cultivated. A prejudice exists against 
it, as it is imagined to injure horses by affecting the glands of the mouth, and 
causing them to slaver. It grows luxuriantly, and may be cut for hay early in 
June. The white clover comes in naturally, where the ground has been cultivated, 
and thrown by, or along the sides of old roads and paths. Clover pastures would 
be excellent for swine. 

CLIMATE. 

The climate of Illinois is such as would be naturally expected from the latitude. 
The thermometer does not range more widely here than in similar parallels east 
of the Allegheny mountains; nor perhaps as much so as in those districts beyond 
the influence of the sea-breeze. There is every day a breeze, from some quarter 
of the broad prairies, almost as refreshing as that from the ocean. The region is 
exempt, too, from the effects of the easterly winds, so chilling and so annoying 
along the Atlantic sea-board ; but in lieu of them, there are fluently cold blasts 
from the prairies, sufficiently annoying to the travellbr, whdb the mercury is at 
zero. 

The winter commences with December, and ends the second week of February. 
Its duration and temperature are variable ; sometimes warm, and at others cold. 
The winters generally exhibit a temperature of climate somewhat milder than 
that of the northern Atlantic states. Snow rarely falls to the depth of six inches, 
and as rarely remains more than ten or twelve days. There are, however, occa- 
sional short periods of very cold weather ; but they seldom continue longer than 
three or four days at a time. The Mississippi is sometimes frozen over and passed 
on the ice at St. Louis, and occasionally for several weeks together. The year 
1811 was remarkable for the river closing over twice, a circumstance which had 
not occurred before within the memory of the oldest inhabitant What may be 
considered winter weather does not usually continue longer than from ten to 
twelve weeks; during more than half of which period, the ground frequently 
remains unfrozen. 

Near the Mississippi, the wind often blows alternately from the north and south, 
producing a succession of snow, neither deep nor of long continuance, frost, sleet, 
and a relaxing mildness; when the beautiful red bird, the cardinal grosbeak, shows 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 47 



himself, and in singing, his charming lays resemble the lofty notes of the fife, being 
nearly as loud and as sonorous. From actual observation, Fahrenheit's thermome- 
ter, both at St. Louis and Harmony on the Wabash river opposite the southern part 
of the state, the mercury has sometimes fallen below zero. 

It may be noticed, that in making observations with the thermometer, they are 
made too often almost exclusively whilst the sun is above the horizon, and therefore 
do not give the mean of all the astronomical day, but that of daylight only ; and 
consequently the far greater number of places are represented as having a mean 
temperature too high. It is doubtful whether any part of Illinois has in reality a 
mean temperature of more than 54 of Fahrenheit, and that the mean of the whole 
state is not ojer 51. From a series of observations made at St Louis during the 
years 1817-18r-19, the mean temperature of the different seasons was as follows : 
winter 34.53.spring 54.17, summer 74.34, autumn 60.77: mean for the whole 
year, 56.09. %*his will form a criterion for the southern half of Illinois. July is 
invariably the hottest month, and in a few instances the thermometer has been 
known to rise for a short time to 100, and sometimes in June and August to 96; 

The rains which succeed the breaking up of the Mississippi generally continue 
at intervals through the greater part of February and March, and constitute what 
is called the rainy months. The first spring months are therefore frequently disa- 
greeable and cheerless ; and the emigrant who arrives in Illinois during this time 
forms ajnost unfavourable opinion of its climate ; but as soon as the rains subside, 
he is deSifchted with the contrast. The forests now put forth their foliage, the 
prairies are covered with their brilliant carpets, and all nature around him appears 
to smile : he is fanned by a gentler and more fragrant breeze, and is covered by a 
bluer and more beautiful sky than those to which he has been accustomed. 

The summers are warm, though during the sultry months the intensity of heat 
is modified by a free course everywhere afforded to a fine genial breeze, constantly 
giving to the atmosphere a refreshing elasticity. During this season, the appear- 
ance of the country is gay and beautiful, being clothed with grass, foliage, and 
flowers. 

Of all the seasons of the year, the autumn is tha most delightful. The heat of 
the summer is over by the middle of August ; and from that time till December, 
there is almost one continuous succession of bright, clear, delightful sunny days. 
Nothing can exceed the beauty of summer and autumn in this country, where, on 
one hand, we have the expansive prairie strewed with flowers still growing ; and 
on the other, the forests which skirt it, presenting all the varieties of colour inci- 
dent to the fading foliage of a thousand different trees. 

About the middle of October or beginning of November, the Indian summer 
commences, and continues from fifteen to twenty days. During this time, the 
weather is dull and cheerless, the atmosphere is smoky, and the sun and moon are 
sometimes almost totally obscured. It is generally supposed that this is caused by 
the burning of the Withered grass and herbs on the extensive prairies of the north 
and west, which also accounts for its increased duration as we proceed westward. 

Winds. During the spring, summer, and autumn, south-westerly winds are the 
i most prevalent ; these are sometimes warm and arid, at others cool and humid. 
They seldom, however, cause heavy rains. In the spring and during the rise of 
the Missouri, they are frpm a more westerly direction, and rains are often more 
frequent. West and north-west winds prevail during the months of December and 
January. Although these are generally dry and piercing, they frequently accom- 
pany storms of hail and snow. North and north-east winds are comparatively rare. 
The latter usualfy bring heavy rains. 

DISEASES. 

The more common diseases of Illinois are intermittents, frequently accompanied 
with bilious symptoms. Those which prove fatal in sickly seasons are bilious re- 
mittents. More than one-half of the sickness endured by the people is caused by 
imprudence, bad management, and the want of proper nursing. Emigrants from 
the northern states or from Europe will find it advantageous to protect themselves 



48 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



from the cool and humid atmosphere at night, to provide close dwellings, yet, 
when the atmosphere is clear, to have their rooms, and especially their sleeping 
rooms, well ventilated, and invariably wear thin clothing in the day, and put on 
thicker apparel at night or when exposed to wet. 

Families are seldom sick who live in comfortable houses with tight floors and 
well-ventilated rooms, and who upon a change of weather, and especially in a time 
of rain, make a little fire in the chimney, though it may be in the midst of summer. 
There are but few cases of genuine consumption. Affection of the liver is 
more common. Pleurisies, and other inflammatory diseases, prevail in the winter 
and spring. Ophthalmia prevails at some seasons. Dysentery is not uncommon. 
Fewer die in infancy than in the old states. * ,. 

In several parts of the west, and occasionally in Illinois, a dj.Jy^e prevails, 
which has received the appellation of " sick stomach," fiom its JJrThninent symp- 
toms, nausea and frequent vomiting, especially on taking exercise. ^1 is also called 
"milk sickness," from an opinion that it is produced by the- milk of cows, which 
have fed on some poisonous plant It has likewise been ascribed to the water of 
certain springs, and to marshy exhalations. The cause, however, seems not to be 
exactly known, and the disease appears to be vanishing. 

That the Western States are not unfavourable to human life, may be inferred 
from the unprecedented increase in their. population. The number of inhabitants 
in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, is proba- 
bly near four millions. Had they been unhealthy, it is quite incredible^tilrt in the 
short period of half a century, so gteat a number could have congregated within 
those commonwealths. Were the climate especially fatal to emigrants, the num- 
ber cut off, and the number repelled, must have given a ratio of increase far be- 
neath that which has actually existed. As to a seasoning or acclimation, it is 
doubtful whether in the temperate Mississippi states, it has any existence. At Cin- 
cinnati, it can seldom be perceived. When formidable and fatal diseases have pre- 
vailed, they have as often attacked those long resident in the city, as the ' new 
comers ;' and nothing is more common, than to see persons arrive at all periods 
of the spring, snmmer, and early autumn, and still enjoy as good health as if they 
had entered its atmosphere at the winter solstice. 

Travellers and * movers' should be cautious against much journeying in Septem- 
ber and early October, when bilious fevers prevail; for, however secure they 
might be, if they could be transferred, without a journey, to a western town, the 
usual process of reaching it in autumn, over land, the necessary mode when the 
waters are low, is apt to generate serious diseases. 

CIVIL DIVISIONS. 

There are seventy counties within the state, in sixty of which courts are held. 
In the others, the judge of the circuit where they lie is authorized to organize 
them, by appointing an election for county officers whenever in his opinion there 
are three hundred and fifty inhabitants within their boundaries. Their names, 
dates of formation, number of square miles, population according to the state census 
of 1835 (with the estimation of certain counties since formed, marked thus *), 
and seats of justice, are given in the following table. 



Counties. 


Date. 


Square 
Miles. 


Population 
in 1835. 


Seats of Justice. 


Adams, .... 

Alexander, - - - 
Bond, - - - - 
Boone,* - - - - 
Calhoun, ... 
Cass,* .... 
Champaign,* - - 


1825 
1819 
1817 
1837 
1825 
1837 
1833 


800 
378 
360 
504 
264 
260 
1008 


7,042 
2,050 
3,580 
600 
1,091 
6,500 
1,250 


Quincy. 
Unity. 
Greenville. 
Not established. 
Guilford. 
Beardstown. 
Urbanna. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. , . 49 


TABLE continued. 


Counties. 


Date. 


Square 
Miles. 


Population 
in 1835. 


Seats of Justice. 


Clark, - - - - 


1819 


500 


3,413 


Darwin. 


Plav . 


1824 


6^0 


1,648 


Maysville. 




Clinton, - - - - 


1824 


504 


2,648 


Carlyle. 


Coles, .... 


1830 


1233 


5,125 


Charleston. 


Cook, .... 


1831 


1220 


7,500 


Chicago. 


Crawford, - - - 


1816 


400 


3,540 


Palestine. 


Edgar, - - - /* 


1823 


660 


6,668 


Paris. 


Edwards, - - - 


1814 


355 


2,006 


Albion. 


Effingham, - - - 


1831 


486 


1,055 


Ewington. 


Fayette, - - - - 


1821 


684 


3,638 


Vandalia. 


Franklin, - - - 


1818 


864 


5,551 


Frankfort. 


Fulton, --.- 


1825 


864 


5,917 


Lewistown. 


Gal latin, - - - 


1812 


750 


8,660 


Equality. 


Greene, - - - - 


1821 


!WO 


12,274 


Carrollton. 


Hamilton, - - - 
Hanfeeck, - - - 


1821 
1825 


432 , 

800 


' 2,877 
3,249 


M'Leansborough. 
Carthage. 


Henry,* - - - - 


1825 


840 ' 


600 


Not established. 


Iroquois,* ... 


1833 


1423 


1,800 


Not established. 


Jackson, .... 


1816 


565 


2,783 


Brownsville. 


Jasper,* - ... 


1831 


506 


375 


Newton. 


Jefferson, - - - 


1819 


576 


3,350 


Mount Vernon. 


Jo Daviess,* - - 


1827 


950 


4,350 


Galena. 


Johnson, - - - - 


1812 


486 


2,166 


Vienna. 


Kane,* - - - - 


1836 


1297 


1,500 


Geneva. 


Knox, - - - - 


1825 


792 


1,600 


Knoxville. 


La Salle, - - - 


1831 


1872 


4,754 


Ottawa. 


Lawrence, - - - 


1821 


560 


4,450 


Lavvrenceville. 


Livingston,* - - 


1837 


1152 


. 750 


Not established. 


Macon, - - - - 


1829 


1404 


3,022 


Decatur. 


IMacoupin, - - - 


1829 


864 


5,554 


Carlinville. 


Madison, ... 


1812 


750 


9,016 


Edwardsville. 


Marion, .... 


1823 


576 


2,844 


Salem. 


M'Donough, - - 


1825 


576 


2,883 


Macomb. 


M'Henry,* - - - 


1836 


1100 


1,200 


Not established. 


M'Lean, .... 


1830 


1296 


5,311 


Bloomington. 


Mercer,* - - - 


1825 


550 


800 


New Boston. 


Monroe, - - - - 


1816 


360 


2,660 


Waterloo. 


Montgomery, - - 


1821 


954 


3,740 


Hillsborough. 


Morgan, - - - - 


1823 


800 


16,500 


Jacksonville. 


Ofrlp - 


1836 


1440 


2,000 


Oregon City. 


vjgie, - 


Peoria,* - - - - 


1825 


612 


7,000 


Peoria. 


Perry, .... 


1827 


432 


2,201 


Pinckneyville. 


Pike ..... 


1 -'! 


780 


( 107 


I'itt^fii .]J 


Pope, .... 


XO>C.l. 

1816 


Ovl 

576 


O,UO / 

3,756 


1 IUMH HI. 

Golconda. 


Putnam, .... 


1825 


1548 


4,021 


Hennepin. 


Randolph, ... 


1795 


520 


5,695 


Kaskaskia. 


Rock Island,* - - 


1831 


432 


1,500 


Stephenson. 


Sangamon, ... 


1821 


2160 


17,573 


Springfield. 


Schuyler, ... 


1825 


864 


6,361 


Rushville. 


Shelby, .... 


1827 


1080 


4,848 


Shelbyville. 


St Clair, - - - 


1795 


684 


9,055 


Belleville. 


Stephenson, - - 


1837 


567 


400 


Not established. 


Tazewell, - - - 


1827 


1220 


5,850 


Tremont. 



50 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



TABLE continued. 



Counties. 


Date. 


Square 
Miles 


Population 
in 1835. 


Seats of Justice. 


Union, - - - - 


1818 


396 


4,156 


Jonesborough. 


Vermillion, -,.-.- 


1826 


.1008 


8,103 


Danville. 


Wabash, - - - 


1824 


180 


3,010 


Mount Carmel. 


Warren, - - - - 


1825 


900 


2,623 


Monmouth. 


Washington, - - 


1818 


540 


3,292 


Nashville. 


Wayne, - - - - . 


1819 


576 


2,939 


Fairfield. 


White, ..-- 


1815 


476 


6,489 


Carrni. 


Whiteside,* - - 


1836 


712 


1,500 


Not established. 


Will,* .... 


1836 


1320 


3,500 


Juliet 


Winnebago,* - - 


1836 


504 


1,200 


Not established. 



The present population of Illinois (September 1837) may be estimated at 400,000. 
For the purpose of electing representatives to Congress, the state is divided into three 
districts, each of which sends one representative. For judiciary purposes tlw state is 
divided into seven circuits, in each of which a circuit judge is appointtSJT Coun- 
ties are not subdivided into townships, as in Indiana, Ohio, and the more eastern 
states. For the convenience of holding elections, the county commissioners' court 
is required to divide the county into "precincts" and designate the house or place 
in each precinct where the polls shall be opened. Electors throughout the county 
vote at which precinct they please. 

* GOVERNMENT. 

The constitution of Illinois was formed by a convention held at Easkaskia, in 
August, 1818. It provides for the distribution of the powers of government into 
three distinct departments, the legislative, executive, and judiciary. The legis- 
lative authority is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate and house 
of representatives. Elections are held biennially, as are the ordinary sessions of 
the legislature. Senators are elected for four years. The executive power is 
vested in the governor, who is elected every fourth year by the electors for repre- 
sentatives, but the same person is ineligible for the next succeeding four years. 
The lieutenant-governor is also chosen every four years. The judicial power is 
vested in a supreme court, and such inferior courts as the general assembly from 
time to time shall establish. The supreme court consists of a chief justice and 
three associate judges. The governor and judges of the supreme court constitute 
a council of revision, to which all bills that have passed the assembly must be sub- 
mitted. If objected to by the council of revision, the same may become a law by 
the vote of the majority of all the members elected to both houses. 

The right of suffrage is universal. All white male inhabitants, twenty-one 
years of age, who have resided within the state six months next preceding the 
elections, enjoy the right of electors. Votes are given viva voce. The introduc- 
tion of slavery is prohibited. The constitution can be altered only by a convention. 
The whole ordinary annual expenditurse of the state are about 53,700 dollars. 
The revenue of the state is derived principally from land taxes. The tax on lands 
of residents goes into the county treasuries, for county purposes, while the tax on 
the lands of non-residents goes into the state treasury for state purposes. The 
quantity of land subject to taxation on the first of August, 1836, was 5,335,041 
acres. And the quantity subject to taxation 

In 1837 will be 5,674,452 

In 1838 5,902,127 

In 1839 6,262,367 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 51 



In 1840 ' 6,616,380 

In 1841 7,837,218 

And in 1842 about 12,000,000 

Lands sold by the general government are not subject to taxation under five 
years after purchase. 

PUBLIC LANDS. 

The greater portion of the unoccupied lands of the United States constitute the 
national domain, and is of course under the control of the general government. 
These lands consist of tracts of country ceded to the nation by the several states ; 
of the lands in the territory of Louisiana purchased from France, and of those in 
Florida obtained by purchase from Spain. After thus acquiring a claim to wild 
lands, from the individual states or foreign powers, the Indian title to the soil is 
next extinguished, by purchasing it from the native tribes by whom it is respec- 
tively occupied. 

The lands are then surveyed on an accurate plan, and according to a general 
system ; afterwards they are offered for sale by proclamation of the President, and, 
by law, must be sold by public auction, the minimum price being one dollar twen- 
five cents an acre, ready money. One section in each township is reserved for the 
support of schools in the township, and all salt-springs and lead-mines are reserved 
from sa^, unless by special order of the President. The minimum price of the 
public lands was at first fixed at two dollars per acre, one-half to be paid within 
thirty days, the residue one year after the sale ; in 1800, the term of credit was 
very much extended, and in 1820 the purchasers were in debt to the government 
more than 22,000,000 dollars. At that period the present system of cash payments 
was adopted, under which the annual proceeds of the sales have increased from 
1,167,225 dollars to 6,099,981 in 1834, to upwards of 12,000,000 in 1835, and in 
1836 they had increased to the astonishing sum of 24,000,000 dollars. The in- 
crease of population in the Western States, the extensive introduction of steam- 
vessels on the rivers and lakes, and the increased facilities of intercourse and 
transportation by rail-roads and canals, have concurred with the extraordinary high 
price of cotton, in producing this wonderful result. 

The surveys of the public lands of the United States are founded upon a series 
of true meridians which run north principally from the mouth of some noted river. 
These are intersected at right angles with lines running from east to west, called 
base lines. There are five principal meridians in the land surveys of the west. 
The " first principal meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Miami 
river, which also forms the boundary line between the states of Ohio and Indiana. 
The " second principal meridian" is a line north from a point on the Ohio river 
ten miles below the mouth of Little Blue river, in Indiana. The "third princi- 
pal meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Ohio. The ."fourth prin- 
cipal meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of the Illinois. The "fifth 
principal meridian" is a line due north from the mouth of White river in Ar- 
kansas. 

Each of these meridians has its own base line, which forms the base of a series 
of surveys of which lines are made to correspond, so that the whole country is at 
last divided into squares of one mile each, and townships of six miles each, and 
these subdivisions are distributed with mathematical accuracy into parallel ranges. 

The greatest divisions of land marked out by the survey is called a township, 
and contains 23,040 acres, being six miles square. The township is subdivided 
into thirty-six equal portions or square miles, by lines crossing each other at right 
angles. These portions are called sections, each containing 640 acres, which are 
subdivided into four parts called quarter-sections, each of which, of course, con- 
tains one hundred and sixty acres. The quarter-sections are finally divided into 
two parts, called half-quarter-sections, of eighty acres each ; these again are under 
certain conditions sold in equal subdivisions of forty acres each, which is the 
smallest amount of the public lands disposed of by the general government. Any 
person, whether a native-born citizen or a foreigner, may thus purchase forty acres 
of the richest soil, and receive an indisputable title, for fifty dollars. The sectional 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



and quarter-sectional divisions are designated by appropriate marks in the field, 
which are of a character to be easily distinguished from each other. If near tim- 
ber, trees are marked and numbered with the section, township, and range, near 
each sectional corner. If in a large prairie, a mound is raised to designate the 
corner, nnd a billet of charred wood buried, if no rock is near. 

Sections are divided into halves by a line drawn north and south, and into quar- 
ters by a transverse line. The half-quarter and quarter-quarter-sections are not 
marked in the field, but are designated on the plot of the survey by the Surveyor- 
General marking the distance on one of the ascertained lines, in order to get the 
quantity of such half-quarter-sections as exhibited by his plot of survey. 

Fractional sections are parts of quarter-sections intersected by streams, confirmed 
claims, or Indian boundaries. The parts of townships, sections, quarters, &c. made 
at the lines of either townships or meridians, are called excesses or deficiencies. 
The fractional sections which contain less than 160 acres are not subdivided. The 
fractional sections, which contain 160 acres and upwards, are subdivided in such 
manner as to preserve the most compact and convenient forms. A series of con- 
tiguous townships, laid off from east to west, is called a range. These are num- 
bered east and west from the principal meridian running due north and south. 
Townships are counted either north or south from their respective base lines. 

Sections, or miles square, are numbered, beginning in the north-east corner of 
the township, progressively west to the range line, and then progressively east to 
the range line, alternately, terminating at the south-east corner of the ^township, 
from one to thirty-six, as in the annexed diagram : 



6 


5 


4 


3 


2 


1 


7 


8 


9 


10 


11 


12 


18 


17 


16* 


15 


14 


13 


19 


20 


21 


22 


23 


24 


30 


29 


'28 


27 


26 


25 


31 


32 


33 


34 


35 


36 



The following will serve as a specimen of the nomenclature by which lots of 
land may be indicated in the system of the public land surveys : The north-east 
division in the larger diagram would be designated as Section one, say of Town- 
ship four, in Range three, east from the third principal meridian, and would con- 
tain 640 acres. The smaller diagrams numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4, represent sections 
divided into portions of 320, 160, 80, and 40 acres each, respectively. The dark- 
ened division in No. 1 would be designated as the east half of Section one, of 
Township four, in Range three east from the third principal meridian, and would 
contain 320 acres; the darkened division in No. 2 would be the north-east quarter 
of Section one, Township and Range as before, and would be a tract of 160 acres. 
The darkened division in No. 3 would be styled the east half of the north-east 
quarter of Section one, Township and Range as before, and would contain 80 acres ; 
the darkened division in No. 4 would be the north-east quarter of the north-east 
quarter of Section one, Township and Range as before, and would be a tract of 
40 acres. This is the smallest portion of the public lands sold by the general go- 
vernment 

The foregoing explanation will serve to exhibit the simplicity of a system, that 
to strangers unacquainted with the method of numbering the sections, and the va- 
rious subdivisions, appears perplexing and confused. 

By this admirable system, all the townships and subdivisions are in regular 



* Appropriated for schools in the township. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 53 



mathematical forms, precluding the fruitful source of litigation, arising from the 
uncertainty of butts and bounds, in forms with curve, meandering or zigzag lines. 
These forms, so universal in farms of the old settlements, are not only difficult 
matters of adjustment between contiguous owners, and exceedingly inconvenient 
for fencing, but are unsightly and offensive to the eye. It is inconceivable that 
the beautiful square forms of the present land system should not have been sug- 
gested to the first settlers of the United States. 

The land sales unite three essential objects ; the right of selection by the high- 
est bidder at the public sales, extreme cheapness at the private sales, and a title 
of clearness and unquestionable surety commensurate with the stability of the 
government The convenience and excellence of this system constitute an essen- 
tial element in the rapid population of the new states. The surveys connected 
with the third and fourth meridians, and a small portion of the second, embrace 
the state of Illinois. The bf^e line for both the second and third principal meri- 
dians commences at Diamond Island, in the Ohio, opposite Indiana, and runs due 
west till it strikes the Mississippi, a few miles below St. Louis. 

All the townships in Illinois, south and east of the Illinois river, are numbered 
from this base line either north or south. The third principal meridian terminates 
with the northern boundary of the state. The fourth principal meridian commen- 
ces on the right bank, and at the mouth of the Illinois river, but immediately 
crosses to the east shore, and passes up on that side, (and at one place nearly 14 
miles distant,) to a point in the channel of the river, 72 miles from its mouth. 
Here its base line commences and extends across the peninsula ya the Mississippi, 
a short distance above Quincy. The fourth principal meridian is continued north- 
ward through the military tract, and across Rock river, to a curve in the Missis- 
sippi at the upper rapids, in Township 18 north, and about 12 or 15 miles above 
Rock Island. It here crosses and passes up the.'jvest side of the Mississippi river 
53 miles, and recrosses into Illinois, and passes through the town of Galena to the 
northern boundary of the state. It is thence continued to the Wisconsin river and 
made the principal meridian for the surveys of 'the territory, while the northern 
boundary line of the state is constituted its base.,line for that region. A large tract 
of country in the north and north-eastern portion 6 this state is yet unsurveyed. 
This does not prevent the hardy pioneers of the west from taking possession, where 
the Indian title is extinct, as it is now to all lands within this state. They risk 
the chance of purchasing it when brought into market 

The public lands are laid off into districts, in each of which there is a land-of- 
fice under the superintendence of two officers appointed by the President and Se- 
nate, called the Register of the land-office, and the Receiver of public moneys. 
The Register and Receiver each receive a salary of 500 dollars per annum, and a 
commission of one per cent, on the moneys paid into their office. In the state of 
Illinois there are ten land-offices in as many districts, open for the sale or entry of 
public lands. 

The Land District of Shawneetown embraces that portion of the state, bounded 
north by the base line, east and south by the boundaries of the state, and west by 
the third principal meridian. Office for the entry and sale of lands at Shawnee- 
town. 

The Land District of Kaskaskia is bounded north by the base line, and compre- 
hends all that part of the state that lies between the third principal meridian and 
the Mississippi. Land office at Kaskaskia. 

The I^and District of Edvvardsville extends south to the base line, east to the 
third principal meridian, north to the line that separates the thirteenth and four- 
teenth Townships, north and west to the Mississippi. Land office at Edwardsville. 

The Land District of Vandalia extends south to the base line, east to the line 
between Ranges eight and nine, east of the third principal meridian, north to the 
south line of Springfield district, and west to the Range line between Ranges 
second and third west of the third principal meridian. Land-office at Vandalia. 

The Land District of Palestine extends south to the northern boundary of the 
Shawneetown district west to the eastern boundary of Vandalia district, north to 



54 GENERAL VIEW OF 



the dividing line between Townships sixteen and seventeen north, and east to the 
boundary of Indiana. 

The Land District of Springfield extends south to Edwardsville district, east to 
the Palestine and Danville districts, and north and west to the Illinois river. 

The Land District of Quincy embraces all the tract of country between the Illi- 
nois and Mississippi rivers to the line between Townships twelve and thirteen 
north and west of the third principal meridian. 

The Land District of Danville includes that part of the state to its northern 
boundary, which lies north of Palestine, to the line between T. 30 and 31 N. of 
the third meridian, and east of Springfield district. 

North-west District is in the north-western portion of the state, and bounded 
south by the line between Townships twelve and thirteen north, on the military 
tract, and east by the line between Ranges three and four east of the third princi- 
pal meridian, and north by the northern boundary 'of the state. Land-office at 
Galena. 

North-east District is in the north-east portion of the state, and bounded south 
by the line between Townships thirty and thirty-one, on the third principal meri- 
dian, east by lake Michigan, and north by the boundary of the state. Land-office 
at Chicago. 

The land, by proclamation of the President, is first offered for sale at auction, by 
half-quarter-sections. If 110 one bids for it at $1.25 per acre or upwards, it is sub- 
ject to private entry at any time after, upon payment at time of entry. No credit 
is allowed. In special cases Congress has granted pre-emption rights, where set- 
tlements and improvements have be^n made on public lands previous to the public 
sale. 

Pre-emption rights confer the privilege only of purchasing the tract containing 
improvements at $1.25 per acre, by the possessor, without the risk of a public 
sale. 

All lands in this state, purchased of the general government, are exempted 
from taxation for five years after purchase. All lands owned by private citizens or 
corporate bodies, and not exempted as above, are divided by law into two classes 
for taxation, called "first and second rates." First-rate lands are taxed $3.20 per 
quarter-sectioa ofiJUJO acres per annum. Second-rate lands are taxed $2.40 per 
quarter-section, ^njsiqes a county tax for roads. Resident and non-resident land- 
holders are taxed equally. 

Residents owning lands in the different counties may list the same and pay 
taxes in the counties where they reside, or in the auditor's office, at their option. 
Non-residents must list their lands in the auditor's office. Taxes of non-residents 
are required to be paid m^the state treasury, annually, on or before the first of 
August If not paid at mat time, a delinquent list of all lands, owned by non-resi- 
dents, on which taxes have not been paid, is sent to the clerk of the county com- 
missioners' court of the county where the land lies, and a transcript of this list is 
to be published in some newspaper, printed within the state, at least sixty days pre- 
vious to sale. If the taxes are not paid to the clerk of the county by the first 
Monday in March, so much of the land, as is necessary to pay taxes and costs, is 
sold at the seat of justice of the county. 

Lands sold for taxes may be redeemed within two years from the time of sale, 
by paying to the clerk of the county, for the use of the purchaser, double the 
amount of taxes, interest, and costs for which the same may have been sold. 
Lands belonging to minor heirs may be redeemed at any time before the expira- 
tion of one year from the time the youngest of said heirs shall become of lawful 
age. 

If persons have held lands in the Military Tract, or in the state, and have not 
.attended to paying taxes for more than two years, the land is sold and past re- 
demption, unless there are minor heirs. Every non-resident landholder should 
employ an agent within the state to pay his taxes, and take the oversight of his 
property. All deeds, conveyances, mortgages, or title-papers whatsoever, must be 
recorded in the " recorder's office" in the county where the land is situated. Deeds 
and title-papers are not in force until filed in the recorder's office. The words 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 55 



" grant, bargain and sell," whatever may be the specific form of the instrument 
in other respects, convey a full and bona fide title, to warrant and defend, unless 
express orovision is made to the contrary in the instrument 

PLANS OF INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT. 

Those undertaken by the state are embraced in two divisions : the Illinois and 
Michigan canal, and the internal improvement system adopted by the legislature 
last winter. 

The project of uniting the waters of Lake Michigan and the Illinois, by a canal, 
was conceived soon after the commencement of the Erie canal of New- York; and 
a board of commissioners, with engineers, explored the route and estimated the 
cost, in 1823. Provision, by a grant of each alternate section of land within five 
miles of the route, having been granted by Congress, another board of commis- 
sioners was appointed in 1829, a new survey was made, and the towns of Chicago 
and Ottawa laid off, and some lots sold in 1830. Various movements have since 
been made, but nothing effectually done. 

At a special session of the legislature held in the winter of 1835-6, an act was 
passed for the construction of the Illinois and Michigan canal ; the Governor was 
authorized to negotiate a loan on the faith and credit of the state, not exceeding 
$500,000, a board of three commissioners was organized, with full power to employ 
engineers, let contracts, dispose of property, and carry on the whole business, on 
behalf of the state. The dimensions of the canal were fixed as follow : Sixty feet 
wide at the top water-line, thirty-six feet wide at the bottom, and six feet deep. 
The irregular fluctuations or tides in the lakes, occasioned by the action of high 
winds, rendered the depth agreed upon indispensably necessary to insure a naviga- 
tion of at least four feet. 

This great work commences on the north fork of the south branch of Chicago 
river, four miles to the south-west of the city of Chicago (the river itself forming a 
deep and natural canal from this point to the harbour), and from thence extends to 
the Des Plaines river seven and a half miles, at a, place called "the Point of Oaks." 
From thence down the valley of the Des Plaines to the running out of the lake 
level, 25 miles. On section 23, T. 36 N. R. 70, E. of the third principal division, 
the commissioners have laid out a town on state property, one mile square, called 
LockporL Here are to be two locks, ten feet lift each, placed in conjunction, so 
as to create twenty feet fall, and an immense water-power /rom the surplus water 
drawn from Lake Michigan. Here, also, will be constructed a basin for three- 
fourths of a mile, and 120 feet wide. From Lockportth^ canal proceeds down the 
valley of the Des Plaines to Juliet, where it crosses %w*_dam ; its line runs past 
Marseilles, and crosses Fox river by an aqueduct ttjfwixt the main bluff and 
Ottawa. A navigable feeder will connect it with the^rapids of Fox river, four 
miles above Ottawa, and extend through the town..o the Illinois river, where a 
natural basin, of deep water, is at the mouth of Fox river. Below Ottawa, the 
canal passes down the right bank of the Illinois, near the bluffs of the Little Ver- 
million, and enters the Illinois river, in the corner of fractional section 21, in town- 
ship 33, north Range one, east of the third principal meridian. To this point the 
Illinois is navigable for steamboats at all stages of water. A steamboat basin, or 
harbour, is to be constructed, and a large town laid off on section 15, near the ter- 
mination of the canal. The whole length of the canal, including Fox river feeder, 
will be 100 miles and 28 chains, to which add Chicago river, of 5 miles and 44 
chains, and it gives 105 miles and 72 chains for the entire length of the navigable 
line. The canal is estimated to cost 8,654,337 dollars. 

The legislature, at its last session, authorized a survey of the Calumet, and the 
Sauga-nas-ke valley, with the view of constructing a lateral canal, to open a navi- 
gable communication from the main canal to the Calumet, from which it is ex- 
pected a water communication will be made in the state of Indiana to the Wabash 
and Erie canal.' 

The resources of the state to meet the cost of this stupendous work arise from 
the sale of town lots and lands along the line of this work. Each alternate section, 



56 GENERAL VIEW OF 



along the line of the canal, and ten miles in width, has been granted by Congress 
or the purpose. During last year, 375 lots were sold in Chicago for 1,355,755 
dollars. In Ottawa, 78 lots sold for 21,358 dollars. The unsold lands tor canal 
)urposes, belonging to the state, amount to 270,182 acres, which, including the 
own lots laid off, are estimated equal to the expense of the canal. Amount of sales 
'or lands and town lots previous to 1833, $18,798 08. The estimated value of 
.he lots in the town of Lockport, and the town laid off at the termination of the 
canal, is one million and a half dollars. The remainder of the canal lands may be 
estimated at twenty dollars per acre. 

The project of this canal is a vast enterprize for so young a state, but truly na- 
tional in its character, and will constitute one of the main arteries in eastern and 
western communication. The work is going forward, and from five to eight years 
is the period estimated for its completion. Already commerce, in no small extent, 
is passing along that line. Merchants from St. Louis, from along the Illinois river, 
from Galena and the Wisconsin Territory, and especially from the Wabash river as 
far south as Terre Haute, bring their goods that way. Were a communication 
opened between the navigable waters, the distant* from New- York to St. Louis 
would be passed in from sixteen to twenty days. 

The following result is founded upon information gathered by the commission- 
ers: From New- York to Buffalo, 5 days. From Buffalo to Chicago, by steamboats 
fitted for lake navigation, 8 days. From Chicago to the foot of the rapids on the 
canal, estimating the speed- at three miles an hour, 33 hours. From the foot of the 
rapids to St. Louis, by steamboats, 48 hours. The whole distance can be passed 
over in sixteen days ; but giving four days additional time, and the transportation 
on this route can be made in twenty days. 

The commercial, and consequently the agricultural interests of the whole valley 
of the Mississippi, are concerned. in the result of this undertaking. For whatever 
amount of produce is thrown off through this channel to the Canadas and New- 
York, it increases the advantages of a market for .the commerce that floats down 
the Mississippi. The Missouri. and the Wisconsin Territory are no less interested 
in opening this communication, jn accepting the donation of land made by the 
general government, the honour ^nd credit of Illinois are pledged for the success 
of this enterprize. 

At the late session of the legislature (1836-7), an act was passed to establisl 
and maintain a general" system of internal improvement It provides for a " Board 
of Fund Commissioners," of three persons, and a "Board of Commissioners of Pub- 
lic Works," of seven persons one in each judicial circuit. The Board of Fund 
Commissioners are authorized to negotiate all loans authorized by the legislature 
on the faith and credit of the state for objects of internal improvement; to receive, 
manage, deposit, and app^y all sums of money, and to manage the whole fisca: 
concerns of the improvement system. The Board of Public Works are authorizet 
and required to locate, superintend, direct, and construct, on behalf of the state, al! 
works of internal improvement which are or shall be authorized to be undertaken 
by the state (except the Illinois and Michigan canal, which is managed by a dis- 
tinct board). Each member has specific charge of that portion of the works that 
falls within his own district They are required to execute the works by letting 
out contracts, except in special cases. The Fund Commissioners are authorizec 
to contract loans by issuing state stock at a rate not exceeding six per centum per 
annum, and to an amount not exceeding eight millions of dollars, redeemable after 
1870. 

The following are the works of improvement provided for : 1. The Great Wa- 
bash river in co-operation with the state of Indiana, in that part over which both 
states have concurrent jurisdiction; appropriated $100,000. 2. Illinois river 
$100,000. 3. Rock river, $100,000. 4. Kaskaskia river, $50,000. 5. Little 
Wabash river, $50,000. 6. On the great western mail route leading from Vin- 
cennes to St Louis, $250,000. 7. A rail -road from a point at or near the junction 
of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, via Vandalia, Shelby ville, Decatur, and Bloom- 
ington ; to cross the Illinois river, at the termination of the Illinois and Michigan 
canal, and from thence to Galena appropriated $3,500,000. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



57 



8. A southern cross rail-road from Alton, via Edwardsville, Carlyle, Salem, Fair- 
field, and Albion, to Mount Carmel ; whence it is expected a line will be extended 
through Indiana to New Albany, and become connected with the great rail-road 
chartered and surveyed from the Ohio river to 'Charleston, South Carolina. Also a 
rail-roal from Alton to Shawneetown, to diverge from the aforesaid southern cross 
rail-road at Edwardsville, and pass through Lebanon, Nashville, Pinckneyville, 
Frankfort, and Equality. And further, a rail-road from Belleville, via Lebanon, 
and to intersect the road from Alton to Mount Carmel. This last will pass near 
Rock Spring, appropriated, $1,750,000. 

9. A northern cross rail-road from Quincy on the Mississippi river, to cross the 
Illinois river at Meredosia, and to Jacksonville, Springfield, Decatur, Sydney, Dan- 
ville, and thence to the state line in the direction of Lafayette, Indiana, and thus 
form a line of communication with the great works in Indiana, and to the eastern 
states appropriated, $1,850,000. 

10. A rail-road from Alton, via Upper Alton, Hillsboro, Shelbyville, Charleston, 
Paris, and thence to the state line in the direction of Terre Haute, Indiana, where 
it will be connected with rail-road and canal communications through that state, 
both in an eastern and southern direction appropriated, $1,250,000. 

11. A rail-road from Peoria, vi Canton, Macomb, &c., to Warsaw, on the Mis- 
sissippi, at the foot of the Des Moines rapids appropriated, $700,000. 

12. A rail-road from Bloomington to Mackinaw, and thence two branches to the 
Illinois river ; one through Tremont to Pekin, the other to Peoria appropriated, 
$350,000. An appropriation of $200,000 was made to those counties through 
which no rail-road or canal is made at the cost of the state, to be in a rateable pro- 
portion to the census of 1835, and to be applied in the improvement of roads, 
bridges, and other public works, by the counties. 

The funds to meet the expenses of these plans are as follow : The special fund 
for the purpose shall consist'of all moneys raised from state bonds, or stock, or other 
loans, authorized by law ; all appropriations made from time to time out of the 
revenue of the state arising from land taxes ; all tolls and rents of water privi- 
leges and other tolls from the works when constructed ; all rents, profits, and issues, 
from lands to be purchased on the routes ; the proceeds of all donations of lands 
from the general government, or from individuals, companies, or corporations ; a 
portion of the proceeds of the surplus fund distributed by Congress ; together with 
the net proceeds of all bank and other stocks subscribed and owned by the state, 
after liquidating the interest on loans contracted for the purchase of such bank or 
other stocks. A subsequent enactment authorized the fund commissioners to sub- 
scribe 2,000,000 dollars stock to the State Bank of Illinois, and 1,400,000 dollars to 
the Illinois bank at Shawneetown, by the creation of six.per cent, stock. The net 
proceeds of this stock, after paying interest on the loans, will equal six per centum 
per annum, or produce an annual revenue to the Internal Improvement Fund of 
$180,000. 

The interest of the state in all these works, all their proceeds, with the faith of 
the state, are irrevocably pledged for the payment of the interest and the redemp- 
tion of the principal of all stock and loans for Internal Improvement. The improve- 
ment of the great western mail route from Vincennes to St. Louis, and the special 
appropriation to the counties, are to be provided for from the first loans made. The 
improvement of the rivers is to be for steam, keel, and flat boats; to be commenced 
at their mouths, and continued up as far as the appropriations admit. The rail-roads 
are to be commenced at their intersection with navigable rivers and commercial 
towns, and as soon as five miles of any one line is completed, the commissioners 
are required to place thereon locomotives and facilities of transportation, to estab- 
lish tolls, etc. 

Congress has made an appropriation to improve the navigation of the Mississippi 
at the rapids a work of immense importance to the northern part of this state, and 
the Wisconsin Territory. The improvement of the navigation' of the Mississippi 
should be regarded and urged as strictly a national work. There are two rapids 
in the Mississippi river, which, in times of low water, impede the progress of 
steamboats. One is near the mouth of the Des Moines, and adjoining Hancock 

II 



58 GENERAL VIEW OF 



county, where the water descends over sand-rocks twenty-five feet five inches in 
11 miles. The other commences at Rock Island, and extends about 15 miles. The 
descent of the water in that distance is 21 feet 10 inches. In both of these rapids 
there are ledges of rocks, with intervals of deep water, extending across the river. 

The harbour at Chicago, nearly completed by the general government, will be of 
immense benefit to that place, and all the northern portion of the state. It will 
form one of the finest harbours in all the northern lake country. The National 
Road is in progress through this state, and considerable improvement has been 
made on that portion which lies between Vandalia and the boundary of Indiana. 
It runs from Vincennes in a south-westerly course to Vandalia, a distance of 90 
miles. The road is established 80 feet wide. But little has been done on this 
road during the last two years. About $220,000 of appropriated funds now remain 
on hand, and arrangements are in progress to work out this fund during the present 
season. From Vandalia westward the road is not yet located, but the legislature 
of Illinois, with great unanimity, have consented to its passage through the state, 
only on the contingency that it shall pass Alton and cross the Mississippi, above 
the mouth of the Missouri. 

Many companies have been incorporated for the construction of short canals, 
rail-roads, and turnpike roads. A rail-road from Naples to Jacksonville, now under- 
going construction ; another rail-road from Jacksonville, via Lynnville and Win- 
chester, to the Illinois river opposite Augusta, A third railway has been com- 
menced from Chicago to the Des Plaines, 12 miles- over level prairies, and design- 
ed to extend across the state to Galena. Another rail-road is now under contract 
and working from the Mississippi, opposite to St. Louis, across the American Bot- 
tom to the coal-mines in the bluffs of St. Clair county. 

No state in the Union possesses such facilities for intercommunication by canals 
and railways, at so cheap a rate, and which can be so equally distributed to its 
population, as Illinois. 

MANUFACTURES. 

/ 
In the infancy of a state, little 6an be expected in machinery and manufactures; 

and in a region so much deficient in water-power as some parts of Illinois are, still 
less may be looked for. Yet Illinois is not entirely deficient in manufacturing en- 
terprize. The principal salines of this state have been mentioned under the head 
of minerals. 

Steam Mills for flouring and sawing are becoming very common, and in general 
are profitable. Some are now in operation, with four runs of stones, and which 
manufacture one hundred barrels of flour in a day. Mills propelled by steam, 
water, and animal power, are constantly increasing. Steam-mills will become nu- 
merous, particularly in the southern and middle portions of the state ; and it is de- 
serving remark, that while these portions are not well supplied with durable water- 
power, they contain, in the timber of the forest, and the inexhaustible bodies of 
bituminous coal, abundant supplies of fuel; while the northern portion, though 
deficient in fuel, has abundant water-power. A good steam saw-mill, with two 
saws, can be built for 2000 dollars ; and a steam flouring mill, with two runs of 
stones, elevators, and other apparatus complete, and of sufficient force to turn out 
forty barrels of flour per day, may be built for 6000 dollars. 

The northern half of the state will be most abundantly supplied with water- 
power, and ordinary mills for sawing lumber and grinding grain are now in opera- 
tion on the various streams. Probably in no part of the great West does there 
exist such an immense water-power, as is to be found naturally, and which will be 
created artificially along the rapids of the Illinois and Fox rivers, and the Illinois 
and Michigan canal. Incorporated companies with ample means are now construct- 
ing hydraulic works at Ottawa, Marseilles, and other points along the rapids of the 
Illinois. Fox river rapids have a descent of sixteen feet at Green's mills, four 
miles above Ottawn, with abundant supplies of water at its lowest stage; and the ; 
river itself, from thence to M'Henry county, is a rapid stream, with rocky banks, 
admirably suited for hydraulic purposes. On the Kankakee are some fine sites for 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 59 

water privileges. Rock river furnishes abundant facilities, especially at Grand 
Detour and Rockford. A company engaged in the establishment of a large town 
at the mouth of Rock river, has been recently chartered by the legislature, for the 
purpose of cutting a canal from a point on the Mississippi at the upper rapids, to 
Rock river, by which they expect to gain eighteen feet fall and immense hydraulic 
power. 

It is expected that the improvement of the Kaskaskia and Little Wabash rivers, 
as provided for by the recent law of the state, will create valuable water privileges 
along these streams. Certainly, in connexion with the improvement of the Great 
Wabash river by the joint operation of Indiana and Illinois, hydraulic power to any 
desirable extent will be created. Such will be the effect, too, upon Sangamon and 
other rivers within the state. Des Plaines river, and also the Calumet, furnish 
extensive hydraulic privileges ; and the surplus water provided by the construction 
of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and which may be conveniently applied to 
manufacturing purposes, is estimated to be equal to that required for running 700 
pairs of mill-stones four and a half feet in diameter. 

Incorporations for companies for various manufacturing purposes have been 
granted by the legislature within the last four or five years, some of which have 
been organized and commenced operations. The conclusion is, that Illinois will 
furnish as great facilities for manufacturing purposes, as soon as the circumstances 
and wants of the community shall call for their operation, as can be found in any 
western state. 

Large quantities of castor oil are annually manufactured in Illinois from the 
palma christi, or castor bean. A number of presses for expressing the oil are in 
operation in Madison, Greene, Macoupin, St. Clair, Randolph, Edwards, and per- 
haps other counties. The most extensive establishment is at Edwardsville, where 
from thirty to forty thousand gallons are made annually. 

A few factories for spinning cotton yarn have been put into operation in several 
counties on a small scale of from one hundred to two hundred spindles each. They 
are carried on by animal power on the inclined plavwe. 

Coarse clothing from cotton is manufactured in&Jthe southern portion of the 
state, where the article is raised in small quantities, ^Woollen cloth, and jeans, a 
mixture of wool and cotton, is made for ordinary wear, as is cloth from flax. 

Boat building will soon become a branch of business in this state. Some steam- 
boats have already been constructed within its limits, along the Mississippi. It is 
thought that Alton and Chicago are convenient sites fotjhis;. business. 

There is in this state, as in all the western sfci.KM, a -large amount of domestic 
manufactures made by families. All the trades, needful to a new country, are in 
existence. Carpenters, wagon-makers, cabinet-makers, blacksmiths, tanneries, 
&c., rnay be found in every county and town. At Mount Carmel and Springfield, 
there are iron foundries for castings. 

There has been a considerable falling off in the manufacture of whiskey with- 
in a few years, and it is sincerely hoped by thousands of citizens that this branch 
of business, so decidedly injurious to the morals and happiness of the community 
and of individuals, will entirely decline. 

Ox-mills on the inclined plane, and horse-mills by draught, are common through- 
out the middle and southern parts of the state. 

EDUCATION. 

The Congress of the United States, in the act for admitting the state of Illinois 
into the Union, granted to it the section numbered sixteen in every Township, or 
one thirty-sixth part of all the public lands within the state, for the use of schools. 
The avails of this section are understood to constitute a fund for the benefit of the 
families living within the surveyed township, and not the portion of a common fund 
to be applied by the state for the general purposes of education. Three per cent, 
of the net proceeds of all the public lands, lying within this state, which shall be 
sold after the 1st of January, 1819, is to be paid over by the general government 
and constitute a common fund for education, under the direction of the state au- 



60 * GENERAL VIEW OF 



thority. One sixth of this three per cent fund is to be exclusively bestowed upon 
a college or university. Two entire townships, or 46,080 acres, selected from 
choice portions of the public lands, have likewise been given to education. Part 
of this land has been sold by state authority, and the avails funded at six per cent 
interest 

The amount of funds realized from these sources, and under charge of the state, 
(independent of the sixteenth sections,) is about $384,183, the interest of which 
is now distributed annually to such schools as make due returns to the proper au- 
thority. By a recent act of the legislature, a moiety of the " surplus fund," re- 
ceived from the national treasury, is to be converted into bank stock, and the in- 
come to be distributed to common schools. The income of the three per centum 
from the sales of public lands, will continue as long as there are public lands to 
be sold. 

The unsold lands in this state belonging to the general government, may be 
estimated at 18,000,000 of acres. Were this sold at the present minimum price, 
it would produce $22,500,000, of which three per cent would be 675,000 dollars. 
But it is highly probable that this immense domain will not all be sold at its pre- 
sent price; averaging it, therefore, at 75 cents per acre, it would amount to 
$13,500,000, of which three per cent belonging to this state, would give $405,000 
for education purposes. 

The amount of the sections numbered sixteen, and reserved for schools in the 
respective townships, was estimated by the commissioner of public lands, and re- 
ported to Congress in April, 1832, at 977,457 acres in Illinois. This tract is not 
usually sold until the township in which it lies is somewhat populated, and hence 
commands a higher price than other lands. The section in the vicinity of Chicago 
was sold in November, 1833, (after reserving twelve acres,) for $38,705. Other 
tracts in settled portions of th^ state have been sold for from five to ten dollars 
per acre. Estimating the whole at two dollars per acre, the value is $1,954,914. 

Present fund at i; Merest, - $384,183 

Value of Seminary lands unsold, ....... 20,000 

Value of sections numbered sixteen, ------ 1,954,914 

Estimate of ^tjie three per cent, fund on all public land 

now unsold" in the state, at 75 cents per acre, - - - 405,000 




^^^ $2,764,097 

To this add the moiety .of the surplus fund to be invested in bank stock and the 
income to be distributed with' the interest on the school fund, equal to 318,500 dol- 
lars ; but as it is liable to be demanded by the general government, it has not been 
considered as any portion of the permanent school fund. The funds and claims 
of Illinois for education purposes may be estimated at $3,000,000. 

Provision now exists by law for the people to organize themselves into school 
districts, and to conduct the affairs of the school in a corporate capacity by trus- 
tees, and they can derive aid from public funds under control of the state. Upon 
petition from the inhabitants of a township, the section numbered sixteen can be 
sold, and the proceeds funded, the interest of which may be applied annually to the 
teachers of such schools within the township as conform to the requisites of the 
law. To some extent the people have availed themselves of these provisions, and 
receive the interest of the fund. 

A material defect in all the laws that have been framed in this state, on this 
subject, has been in not requiring the necessary qualifications on the part of teach- 
ers, and a previous examination before a competent board or committee. Without 
such a provision, no school law will be of much real service. The people have 
suffered much already, and common school education has been greatly retarded by 
the imposition of unqualified and worthless persons under the name of school 
teachers ; and were funds ever so liberally bestowed, they would prove of little real 
service, without the requisites of sobriety, morality, and sufficient ability to teach 
well on the part of those who get the pay. 

A complete common school system must be organized, sooner or later, and will 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 61 



be sustained by the people. The lands, education funds, and wants of the country, 
call for it. Many good primary schools now exist, and where three or four of the 
leading families unite and exert their influence in favour of the measure, it is not 
difficult to have a good school. In each county a school commissioner is appointed, 
to superintend the sales of the sixteenth sections, loan the money, receive and ap- 
portion the interest received from this fund and from the state funds, receive sche- 
dule returns of the number of scholars that attend each school, and make report 
annually to the secretary of state. 

The people in any settlement can organize themselves into a school district, em- 
ploy a teacher, and obtain their proportion of the income from the school funds, 
provided the teacher keeps a schedule of the number of scholars who attend, the 
number of days each one is present, and the number of days each scholar is ab- 
sent, a copy of which must be certified by the trustees of the district, and returned 
to the school commissioners of the county semi-annually. If the school is made 
up from parts of two or more townships, a separate schedule of the scholars from 
each township must be made out. The term "township" in the school laws 
merely expresses the surveys of 36 sections, and not a civil organization. 

Several seminaries, and institutions for colleges, have been established, and pro- 
mise success. 

Illinois College is located in the vicinity of Jacksonville, and one mile west of 
the town. Its situation is on a delightful eminence, fronting the east, and over- 
looking the town, and a vast extent of beautiful prairie country, now covered with 
well-cultivated farms. The buildings are as follows : a brick edifice, 104 feet in 
length, 40 feet in width, five stories high, including the ftasement; containing 32 
apartments for the accommodation of officers and students. To this main building 
are attached two wings, each 38 feet long and 28 feet wide, three stories high, in- 
cluding the basement; for the accommodation of the families of the Faculty. The 
chapel is a separate building, 65 feet long and 36 feet wide, two stories high, in- 
cluding-rooms for public worship, lectures, recitations, library, etc. and eight rooms 
for students. There are also upon the premises a farm-house, barn, workshops for 
students who wish to perform manual labour, and other out-buildings. The farm 
consists of 300 acres of land, all under fence. The improvements and stock on 
the farm are valued at several thousand dollars. 

Students who choose are allowed to employ a portion of each day in manual 
labour, either upon the farm or in the. workshop. Some individuals earn $150 
each, during the year. The library consists of about 1500 volumes. There is 
also a valuable chemical and philosophical apparatus. The year is divided into 
two terms, of twenty weeks each. The first term commences eight weeks after 
the third Wednesday in September. The second term commences on the Wednes- 
day previous to the 5th of May ; leaving eight weeks vacation in the fall, and four 
in the spring. 

There are 42 students connected with the college classes, and 9B students in 
the preparatory department. Of this number, several are beneficiaries, who are 
aided by education societies, with a view to the gospel ministry. The Faculty of 
Illinois College consists of a Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and 
Political Economy, who is also President of the Institution ; a Professor of Mathe- 
matics and Natural Philosophy, and lecturer on chemistry ; a Professor of the 
Greek and Latin languages, a Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, and an 
Instructor in the preparatory department. The pupils in the different classes are 
as follows : Senior, 3 ; Junior, 11 ; Sophomore, 12 ; Freshman, 16 ; Total 
Collegiate department, 42. In the Preparatory department, 22 : Total, 64. The 
course of instruction is intended to be equal to the first-rate colleges in the eastern 
states. 

Shurtleff College of Alton, Illinois, is pleasantly situated at Upper Alton. It 
originated in the establishment of a seminary at Rock Sprin?, in 1827, and which 
was subsequently removed. At a meeting held June 4th, 1832, seven gentlemen 
formed a written compact, and agreed to advance funds for the purchase of about 
360 acres of land, and put up an academical building of brick, two stories high 
with a stone basement, 40 feet long, and 32 feet wide. A large stone building for 

6 



62 GENERAL VIEW OF 



a Refectory, and for Professors' and Students' rooms, has since been erected. A 
Preparatory school was commenced in 1833. In 1835, building-lots were laid off 
within the corporate bounds of the town, a part of which was sold, and a valuable 
property still remains for future sale. The same year, funds to some extent were 
obtained in the eastern states, of which the liberal donation of ten thousand dol- 
lars was received from Benjamin Shurtleff, M. D., of Boston, which gives name to 
the institution. Of this fund 5000 dollars is to be appropriated towards a College 
building, and 5000 dollars towards the endowment of a Professorship of Oratory, 
Rhetoric, and Belles-Lettres. Regular college classes are not yet organized. The 
Preparatory department is in regular progress and contains about 60 students. 
Measures are in progress to put up a large college building, and to complete the 
organization of the College Faculty. 

Alton Theological Seminary is an organization distinct from Shurtleff College, 
and is under the charge of a Theological Professor, with seven or eight students, 
licentiates of Baptist churches. 

M'Kendreean College, under the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
is located at Lebanon, St. Clair county. It has a commodious framed building, and 
about 50 students in the Preparatory department, under the charge of two compe- 
tent instructors. 

M'Donough College, at Macomb, has just commenced operations. It is identi- 
fied with the interests of, the " old school" Presbyterians, as the Illinois college at 
Jacksonville is with the " new school" Presbyterians. 

Canton College in Fulton county has recently been chartered as a college by 
the legislature, and is t a respectable academical institution, and has 70 or 80 
students. A literary Institution, modelled somewhat after the plan of the Oneida 
Institute in the state of New- York, is in progress at Galesboro', Knox county. 

Belvidere college, in Winngbago county, has been recently chartered, and an 
effort is about being made to establish a respectable literary institution in this new 
and interesting portion of the -state. SeTeraJ respectable academies and semina- 
ries are also in operation, established chiefly j)y individual effort, where good 
schools are taught. Amongst these we notice the following, though some of equal 
importance may be overlooked. 

The Jacksonville Academy is* established for the convenience of those whose 
studies are not sufficiently advanced to enter the Preparatory department of Illinois 
College. The Jacksonville Female Academy is a flourishing institution. A re- 
spectable academy is in operation at Springfield ; another at Princeton, Putnam 
county ; a third at Griggsville ; and a fourth at Quincy. 

The Alton Female Seminary is an institution projected for a full and useful 
course of instruction, on a large scale, and is designed wholly as a boarding-school. 
The business of instruction will be in the hands of competent ladies. The system 
of instruction will be extensive. 

The project of establishing a seminary for the education of teachers, at Waverley 
in the south-eastern part of Morgan county, is entertained by several gentlemen. 
A seminary is about being established in a settlement of Reformed Presbyterians 
in the eastern part of Randolph county. The "Reformers," or Campbell ites, as 
some term them, have a charter, and contemplate establishing a college at Hano- 
ver, in Tazewell county. Thus, a broad and deep foundation is about being laid 
in Illinois for the promotion of education. Several lyceums and literary associa- 
tions exist in this state, and there is in almost every county a decided expression 
of popular opinion in favour of education. 

RELIGION. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church is the most numerous. The Illinois Confer- 
ence, which embraces this state and a portion of Wisconsin Territory, in 1835 had 
61 circuit preachers, 308 local preachers, and 15,097 members of society. They 
sustain preaching in every county, and in a large number of the settlements. 

The Baptist denomination includes 22 associations, 260 churches, 160 preach- 
er?, and 7,350 communicants. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 63 



The Presbyterians have one Synod, eight Presbyteries, and about 80 churches, 
60 ministers, and 2,500 members. 

There are 12 or 15 Congregationalist churches, united in an association, and 
several ministers. 

The Methodist Protestant denomination has one conference, 22 ministers, and 
344 members. 

The Reformers, as they term themselves, or " Campbellites," as others call them, 
have several large, and a number of small societies, a number of preachers, and 
several hundred members, including the Christian body, with which they are in 
union. They immerse all who profess to believe in Christ for the remission of 
sins, but differ widely from orthodox Baptists on some points of doctrine. 

The Cumberland Presbyterians have two or three Presbyteries, twelve or fifteen 
preachers, and several hundred communicants. 

There are two churches of Reformed Presbyterians, or Covenanters, one minis- 
ter, and about 280 communicants, with a few families scattered in other parts of 
the state. There are also two or three societies- of Associate Reformed Presbyte- 
rians, or Seceders. 

In M'Lean county is a society of United Brethren, or, as some call them, Dutch 
Methodists. 

The Dunkards have five or six societies and some preachers in this state. 

There are several Lutheran congregations with preachers. 

The Protestant Episcopal Church has an organized diocese, eight or ten congre- 
gations, and seven or eight ministers. 

There are small societies of Friends or Quakers in Tazewell and Crawford 
counties ; and a few Mormons, scattered through the state. 

The Roman Catholics are not numerous. They have a dozen congregations, 
eight or ten priests, and a population between five and six thousand including old 
and young. A convent and boarding-school for young ladies is in operation at Kas- 
kaskia. The Roman Catholics are mostly about the old French villages, and the 
labourers along the line of canal. 

There is considerable expression of good feeling^amongst the different religious 
denominations, and the members frequently hear the preachers of each other, as 
there are but few congregations that are supplied every Sabbath. The qualifica- 
tions of the clergymen are various. A number of them are men of talents, learn- 
ing, influence, and unblemished piety. Others have had but few advantages in 
acquiring either literary or theological information, and yet are good speakers and 
useful men. 

In general there are as many professors of religion, of some description, in 
proportion to the population, as in most of the states. The number will not vary 
far from 40,000, or one to ten. 

SUGGESTIONS TO EMIGRANTS. 

Extracted from Mr. Peck's " Emigrant'i Guide." 

Canal, Steam-Boat and Stage Routes. Other Modes of Travel Expenses 
Roads, Distances, iSf-c. ej-c. 

Persons in moderate circumstances, or who would save time and expense, need 
not make a visit to the West, to ascertain particulars previous to removal. A few 
general facts, easily collected from a hundred sources, will enable persons to de- 
cide the great question, whether they will emigrate to the Valley. By the same 
means, emigrants may determine to what state, and to what part of that state, 
their course shall be directed. There are many things that a person of plain com- 
mon sense will take for granted without inquiry, such as facilities for obtaining 
all the necessaries of life, the readiness with which property of any description 
may be obtained for a fair value, and especially farms and wild land, that they can 
live where hundreds of thousands of others of similar habits and feelings live; and 
above all, they should take it for granted, that there are difficulties to be encoun- 



GENERAL VIEW OF 



tered in every country, and in all business ; that these difficulties can be sur- 
mounted with reasonable effort, patience, and perseverance; and that, in every 
country, people sicken and die. 

Having decided to what state, and part of the state, an emigrant will remove, 
let him then conclude to take as little furniture and other luggage as he can do 
with, especially if he comes by public conveyances. Those who reside within 
convenient distance of a sea-port, would find it both safe and economical to ship 
by New-Orleans, in boxes, such articles as are not wanted on the road, especially 
if they steer for the navigable waters of the Mississippi. Bed and other clothing, 
books, &c. packed in boxes, like merchants' goods, will go much safer and cheaper 
by New-Orleans, than by any of the inland routes. I have received more than 100 
packages and boxes from eastern ports, by that route, within 20 years, and never 
lost one. Boxers should be marked to the owner or his agent at the river port 
where destined, and to the charge of some forwarding house in New-Orleans. The 
freight and charges may be paid when the boxes are received. 

If a person detSigns to remove to the north part of Ohio and Indiana, to Chicago 
and vicinity, or to Michigan or Green Bay, his course should be by the New-York 
canal, and the lakes. The following table, showing the time of the opening of 
the canal at Albany and Buffalo, and the opening of the lake, from 1827 to 1835J 
is from a report of a committee at Buffalo to the common council of that city. It 
will be of use to those who wish to take the northern route in the spring. 



...,. 


Canal opened 


Canal opened 


Lake Erie opened 


car. 


at Buffalo. 


at Albany. 


at Buffalo. 


1827 


April 21 


April 21 


April 21 


1828 


1 




1 


1 


1829 


25 




29 


May 10 


1830 




15 




20 


April 6 


1831 




16 




16 


May 8 


1832 




18 




25 


April 27 


1833 




22-. 




22 


" 23 


1834 




16 




17 


6 


1835 




15 




15 


May 8 



The same route will carry emigrants to Cleaveland, and by the Ohio canal, to 
Columbus, or to the Ohio river, at Portsmouth; whence, by steamboat, direct com- 
munications will offer to any river port in the Western States. From Buffalo, 
steamboats run constantly (when the lake is open) to Detroit, stopping at Erie, 
Ashtabula, Cleaveland, Sandusky, and many other ports, whence stages run to 
every prominent town. Transportation wagons are employed in forwarding goods. 



Route from Buffalo to Detroit, by water. 



Miles. 

Dunkirk, N. Y. - - - - 39 

Portland, " - - - - 18 57 

Erie, Pa. 35 92 

Ashtabula. Ohio, - - - 39 131 

Fairport " - 32 163 



Cleaveland, Ohio, 
Sandusky, " - 
Amherstburg, U. C. 
Detroit, Mich. - 



Miles. 

- 30 193 

- 54 247 

- 52 299 

- 18 317 



From Detroit to Chicago, Illinois. 



Miles. 

St Clair river, Mich. - - 40 

Palmer, 17 57 

FortGratiot, .... 14 71 

White Rock, - - - - 40 111 

Thunder Island, - ... 70 181 

Middle Island, - - - - 25 206 

Presque Isle, - - - - 65 271 



Miles. 

Mackinaw, 58 329 

Isle Brule, 75 404 

Fort Howard, Wisconsin 

Ter. 100 504 

Milwaukee, W. T. - - - 310 814 

Chicago, 111., .... 90 904 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



65 



From Cleveland to Portsmouth, via the Ohio Canal. 



Miles. 
22 



Cuyahoga aqueduct, 

Old Portage, - - - - 12 34 

Akron, ------ 

New Portage, - - - - 



Massillon, 
Bethlehem, 
Bolivar, - 



4 
5 
11 
11 
6 
8 



New Philadelphia, - - - 4 
Newcomers'town, - - - 
Coshocton, ----- 



38 

49 

54 
66 
71 
79 
82 
89 
93 

22 115 
17 132 



Irville, ...... 

Newark, ------ 

Hebron, ------ 

Licking Summit, - - - 
Lancaster Canaan, - - - 
Columbus, side-cut, - - 
Bloomfield, - .... 

Circleville, ..... 

Chillicothe, - - - \ - 
Piketon, ...... 

Lucasville, - - - - - 

Portsmouth, (Ohio river,) 



Miles. 

26 158 

13 171 

10 181 
5 186 

11 197 
18 215 

8 223 

9 232 
23 255 
25 280 

14 294 
13 307 



The most expeditious, pleasant, and direct route for travellers to the southern 
parts of Ohio and Indiana; to the Illinois river, as far north as Peoria; to the 
Upper Mississippi as far as Quincy, Rock Island, Gaina'and Prairie du Chien ; to 
Missouri, and to Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Natchez and New-Orleans, is one 
of the southern routes. These are, 1. From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, by rail- 
roads and the Pennsylvania canal; 2. By the Baltiml 1 Ohio rail-road and 
stages, to Wheeling; or, 3. For people living to the south of Washington, by 
stage, by the way of Charlottesville, (Virginia,) Staunton, the Hot, Warm, and 
White-Sulphur Springs, Lewisburg, Charleston, to Guyandotte, whence a regular 
line of steamboats runs three times a week to Cincinnati. Intermediate routes 
from Washington city to Wheeling, or to Harper's Ferry, to Fredericksburg, and 
intersect the route through Virginia, at Charlottesville. 

From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, by the rail-road and canal. 



Columbia, on the Susque- 
hanna river, by rail-road, 
daily, ------ 

By canal packets to 
Bainbridge, - - - - - 

Middletown, - - - - - 

Harrisburg, - - - - - 

Juniata river, .... 

Millerstown, - - - - - 

Mifflin, 

Lewistown, - - - - - 
Waynesburg, 
Hamiltonville, 
Huntingdon, - 



Miles. 



81 

11 92 

17 109 

10 119 

15 144 

- - - 17 151 

- - - 17 168 

- - - 13 181 

- - . 14 195 

- - - 11 206 

- - - 7 213 



Miles. 

Petersburg, 8 221 

Alexandria, 23 244 

Frankstown and Hollidays- 

burg, 3 247 

Thence, by rail-road, across 
the mountain, to 

Johnstown 38 285 

By canal, to 

35 320 

18 338 

Warren, 12 350 

Allegheny river, ... 16 366 

Pittsburgh, - - - - - 28 394 



The Pioneer line, on this route, is exclusively for passengers, and professes to 
reach Pittsburgh in four days, but is sometimes behind, several hours. Fare through, 
$10. Passengers pay for meals. 

The Good Intent line is also for passengers only, and runs in competition with 
the Pioneer line. 

Leech's line, called the "Western Transportation line," takes both freight and 
passengers. The packet-boats advertise to go through, to Pittsburg, in five days, 
for $7. Midship and steerage passengers in the transportation line, in six and a 
half days ; merchandise delivered in eight days. Generally, however, there is 
some delay. Emigrants must not expect to carry more than a small trunk or two, 
on the packet-lines. Those who take goods or furniture, and wish to keep with it, 



I 



6 



66 GENERAL VIEW OF 


had better take the transportation lines, w 
board the boats is about thirty-seven and 
In all the steamboats on the western 
cabin passengers for meals ; and the tab 
order is observed, and the waiters and off 

Steamboat route from Pittsbi 
Miles. 

Middletown, Pa. - - - 11 
Economy, " - - - - 8 19 
Beaver, - - - - 10 29 
Georgetown, - - - - 13 42 
Steubenville, Ohio, - - 27 69 
Wellsburgh, Va. - - - 7 76 
Warren, Ohio, - - - - 6 82 
Wheeling, Va. - - - - 10 92 
Elizabethtown, Va. - - - 11 103 
Sistersville " - - - 34 137 
Newport, Ohio, - - - - 27 164 
Marietta, " - - - - 14 178 
Parkersburg, Va. - - - 11 189 
Belpre and Blannerhasset's 
Island, O., - - - - 4 193 
Troy, Ohio, - - - -|t- 10 203 
Belleville, Va. - - ^ 7 210 
Letart's Rapids, Va. - - 37 247 
Point Pleasant, " - - 27 274 
Galhpolis, Ohio, - - - 4 278 
Guyandotte, Va. - - - , 27 305 
Burlington, Ohio, - - - 10 315 
Greensburg, Ky. - - - 19 334 
Concord, Ohio, - - - - 12 346 
Portsmouth (Ohio canal), 7 353 
Vanceburg, Ky. - - - 20 373 
Manchester, Ohio, - - - 16 389 
Maysville, Ky. - - _- - 11 400 
Charleston," -- - - 4 404 
Ripley, Ohio, ... - 6 410 
Augusta, Ky. - - - - 8 418 
Neville, Ohio, .... 7 425 
Moscow, " .... 7 432 
Point Pleasant, Ohio, - - 4 436 
New Richmond, " - - 7 443 
Columbia, " - - 15 458 
Fulton, " - - 6 564 
CINCINNATI, " - - 2 466 
North Bend, " - - 15 481 
Lawrenceburg, Ind., and 
mouth of the Miami, - 8 489 

Persons who wish to visit Indianapolis 
the stage conveyance. From .Louisville, 
stage, every alternate day, 273 miles, tl 
seventeen dollars. Stages run from Vii 
up the Wabash river. At Evansville, 
Vincennes and Terre Haute ; and at Sh 
nois, where it intersects the line from Lc 
Nashville by steamboats, passengers land 
river, unless they embark direct for JN 


ith more delay. The price of meals on 
i half cents, 
waters, no additional charge is made to 
es are usually profusely supplied. Strict 
cers are attentive. 

irg to the mouth of the Ohio. 
Miles. 


Petersburg, Ky. ... 2 - 493 
Bellevue, " - - - 8 501 
Rising Sun, Ind. - - - 2 503 
Fredericksburg, Ky, - - 18 521 
Vevay, Ind., and Ghent, Ky. 11 532 
Port William, Ky. --- - 8 540 
Madison, Ind. - - - - 15 555 
New London, Ind. - - - 12 567 
Bethlehem, - - - 8 575 
Westport, Ky - - - - 7 582 


Transylvania, Ky. - - - 15 595 
LOUISVILLE, " - - - 12 609 

Shippingport, through the 

ranal 21 fill i 


New Albany, Ind. - - - l| 613 
Salt River, Ky. - - - - 23 636 
Northampton, Ind. - - - 18 654 
Leavenworth, " - - 17 671 
Fredonia, ... 2 673 
Rome, " --- 32 705 
Troy, " .-- 25 730 
Rockport, "--- 16 746 
Owenburg, Ky. ... 12 758 
Evansville, Ind. - - - 36 794 
Henderson, Ky. - - - - 12 806 
Mount Vernon, Ind. - - 28 834 
Carthage, Ky. - - - - 12 846 
Wabash river, Ky. - - - 7 853 
Shawneetown, 111. - - - 11 864 
Mouth of Saline, 111. - - 12 876 
Cave in Rock, " - - 10 886 
Golconda, " - - 19 905 
Smithland, mouth of the 
Cumberland river, Ky. - 10 915 
Paducah, mouth of the 
Tennessee river, Ky. - 13 928 
Caledonia, 111. - - - - 31 959 
Trinity, mouth of Cash 

rivpr Til 1(1 OfiQ 


MOUTH OF THE OHIO RIVER, 6 975 

will stop at Madison, Indiana, and take 
by the way of Vincennes, to St Louis by 
irough in three days and a half. Fare, 
icennes to Terre Haute and other towns 
[ndiana, stage lines are connected with 
iwneetovvn twice a week to Carlyle, Illi- 
misville to St. Louis. From Louisville to 
at Smithland at the mouth of Cumberland 
ashville. In the winter, both stage and 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



G7 



steamboat lines are uncertain and irregular. Ice in the rivers frequently obstructs 
navigation, and high waters and bad roads sometimes prevent stages from running 
regularly. 

Farmers who remove to the west from the northern and middle states, will find 
it advantageous, in many instances, to remove- with their own teams and wagons. 
These they will need upon their arrival. Autumn, or from September till Novem- 
ber, is the favourable season for this mode of emigration. The roads are then in 
good order, the weather usually favourable, and feed plenty. People of all classes, 
from the states south of the Ohio river, remove with large wagons, carry and cook 
their own provisions, purchase their feed by the bushel, and invariably encamp out 
at night. 

Individuals who wish to travel through the interior of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, 
Missouri, &c., will find that the most convenient, sure, economical, and independ- 
ent mode, is on horseback. Their expenses will be from seventy-five cents to one 
dollar fifty cents per day, and they can always consult their own convenience and 
pleasure, as to time and place. 

Stage fere is usually 6 cts. a mile, in the west Meals, at stage-houses, 37^ cts. 

Steamboat Fare, including Meals. 

From Pitteburg to Cincinnati, $10 

" Cincinnati to Louisville, .------------ 4 

" Louisville to St. Louis, -------------- 12 

And frequently the same from Cincinnati to St Louis, varying a little, however. 

A deck passage, as it is called, may be rated as follows : 

From Pittsburg to Cincinnati, ---------.-.-.$3 

" Cincinnati to Louisville, -------------- 1 ^ 

" Louisville to St Louis, -------------- 4* 

The deck for such passengers is usually in the midship, forward of the engine, 
and is protected from the weather. Passengers furnish their own provisions and 
bedding. They often take their meals at the cabin-table, with the boat hands, and 
pay twenty-five cents a meal. Thousands pass up and down the rivers as deck 
passengers, especially emigrating families, who have their bedding, provisions, and 
cooking utensils, on board. 

The whole expense of a single person from New-York to St Louis, by the way 
of Philadelphia and Pittsburg, with cabin passage on the river, will range between 
$40 and $45; time, from twelve to fifteen days. Taking the transportation lines 
on the Pennsylvania canal, and a deck passage in the steamboat, and the expenses 
will range between $20 and $25, supposing the person buys his meals at twenty- 
five cents, and eats twice a day. If he carry his own provisions, the passage, &c. 
will be from $15 to $18. 

The following is from an advertisement of the Western Transportation, or Leech's 
line, from Philadelphia : 

Miles. Days. Fare. 

Fare to Pittsburg, 400---- 6 - - - - $6 00 

" Cincinnati, ---- 900---- 8A----850 

" Louisville, - - - - 1050 - - - - 9$ ... - 9 00 

Nashville, - - - - 1650 - - - - 13| - - - - 13 00 

" St. Louis, 1750 - - - - 14 - - - - 13 00 

The above does not include meals. 

Packet-boats for Cabin Passengers (same line). 

Miles. Days. Fare. 

Fare to Pittsburg, 400 - - - - 5 - - - - $7 00 

Cincinnati, - - - - 900 - - - - 8 - - - - 17 00 

" Louisville, - - - - 1050 - - - - 9 .... 19 00 

Nashville, - - - - 1&50 - - - - 13 - - - - 27 00 

St. Louis, 1750 .... 13 - - - - 27 00 



68 GENERAL VIEW OF 



Emigrants and travellers will find it to their interest always to be a little scep- 
tical relative to statements of stage, steamboat, and canal-boat agents ; to make 
some allowance in their own calculations for delays, difficulties, and expenses; and 
above all, to feel perfectly patient and in good humour with themselves, the offi- 
cers, company, and the world, even if they do not move quite as rapidly, and fare 
quite as well, as they desire. 

LOCATION, METHOD OF FARMING, BUILDING, &c. 

Upon emigrating to this country, it would be well for an eastern farmer to throw 
off and forget many of his former habits and practices, and be prepared to accom- 
modate himself to the nature of the soil, and the circumstances of the country ; 
else he will throw away much labour uselessly, and expend money unprofitably. 
The first object is to find a suitable situation; or, in the language of the country, 
to locate himself. An entire stranger can hardly be expected to judge correctly 
in relation to soil, and the advantages and disadvantages of location. If he arrives 
in the dry season of autumn, he will be likely to select a level spot of prairie, 
with a deep black soil, determined to have rich land at any rate, and perhaps in 
the spring find himself ploughing in mud and water. If he looks at the appear- 
ance of the timber, he will probably be deceived, and overlook some of the best 
tracts. Advice from those who have long been residents in the country, would 
save many inconveniences in location. 

No emigrant need deceive himself with the notion that he can find a spot which 
will combine all the advantages, and none of the disadvantages, of the country. 
On every spot he examines, some indispensable thing will appear to be wanting. 
Nor is it of any use for a man to travel the country to any great extent, to find as 
many natural advantages as may satisfy moderate desires. The best policy for an 
emigrant, after arriving in the Western Country, and fixing upon the district or 
county in which he intends to reside, is to settle himself on the first spot he finds 
that he thinks may answer hispurpose, and resolve to abide there contentedly. 

Let an emigrant purchase mwnore cattle, Jiorses, hogs, &c., than those for which 
he has immediate use, unless. iWs for breeders, and calves, in the fall, at eight or 
nine months old : these are profitable stock to purchase. If an emigrant locate on 
the frontiers, or in the newly settled portions of the country, his first object will 
be to provide cabins for his family ; and the less labour and expense in preparing 
these, the better. Let a man and family go into any of the frontier settlements, 
get a shelter, or even encamp out, call upon the people to aid him, and in three 
days from the start he will have a comfortable cabin, and become identified as a 
settler. No matter how poor he may be, or how much an entire stranger, if he 
makes no apologies, does not show a niggardly spirit by contending about trifles, 
and especially if he does not begin to dole out complaints about the country, and 
the manners and habits of the people, and tell them the difference and superiority 
of these things in the place whence he came, he will be received with blunt frank- 
ness and unaffected hospitality. But if a man begins by affecting superior intelli- 
gence and virtue, and catechizing the people for their habits of plainness and sim- 
plicity, and their apparent want of those things which he imagines indispensable 
to comfort, he may expect to be marked, shunned, and called in the way of sarcas- 
tic reproach, a Yankee. 

A principal characteristic of the western population is a blunt, unaffected hospi- 
tality. They will make every stranger welcome, provided he will accept of it in 
their own way. But he must make no complaints, throw out no insinuations, and 
manifest an equal readiness to be fmnk and hospitable in turn. Enter whatever 
house or cabin you may, if it is the time of meals, you are invited to share a por- 
tion ; but you must eat what is set before you, asking no questions, and making no 
invidious comparisons. Nor must you offer remarks on the accommodations you 
have had, or the unpleasant things you may have encountered at other places where 
you have tarried ; as such remarks are considered as reflections upon the people, 
and those by whom you are now hospitably entertained will infer that you will 
thus slander them when you have departed. 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 69 



When an emigrant has fixed his location, he next selects his building spot. 
Much will depend upon a judicious choice, in regard to health. An elevated spot 
of ground, remote from lakes and marshes, and where the air circulates freely from 
all points of the compass, is desirable. If a river bottom is chosen, the house should 
be as near the stream, on the highest ground, as is possible, without risk from the 
washing in of the banks. Settlements directly on the margins of the Mississippi 
and Missouri are healthy, compared with situations a few hundred yards distance, 
in the interior of the bottom. Where all other circumstances a,re v equal, the south 
or south-west side of the timber is the most desirable, as tlirouftfe^t the heat of 
summer the winds are usually from the south-west and west, andfhe timber affords 
protection from the cold north-winds of winter. But an exposure ro the north or 
north-west is far less disagreeable than would be imagined. In a very few years, 
by means of orchards and shade trees, sufficient protection can be had. 

All confined places should be avoided, such as ravines, and even coves, or points 
of prairie surrounded by dense timber, unless an opening can be mfede immediately. 
The currents in the atmosphere appear to act on the same principles as currents in 
the water. Where eddies and counter-currents are formed, there impure vapour 
will concentrate. This is not only true in theory, but holds good in practical ob- 
servation. When sickness prevails in a family, or a little settlement, the intelli- 
gent and observing physician immediately looks about for the cause ; and if he de- 
tects nothing in the immediate vicinity to generate miasmata, he will probably dis- 
cover circumstances that cause an eddy or a current of impure air, around the 
dwelling. The remark has been .made by observant physicians, that severe sick- 
ness has prevailed in a family located at the head of a small ravine, while other 
families at a few rods' distance have entirely escaped. Physicians and philosophers 
have not yet determined the nature of that miasma which invariably produces yel- 
low, bilious, intermittent, and other summer and autumnal fevers ; but if it is a 
species of carbonic gas, as some think, it is heavier than the surrounding atmo- 
sphere, is more dense on low grounds and bottoms, and in ravines, and naturally 
concentrates in confined places. Bat whatever may be its nature as a remote cause 
of disease, it is enough for practical purposes to know, that any spot where the air 
is confined, as a cove in the timber or bluff, or where it is forced through a passage, 
as the head of a ravine, is always less healthy than a spot freely ventilated or on 
elevated ground. 

Having fixed on the spot, the next step is to provide cabirts or temporary build- 
ings. These, and all other dwellings, should be so arranged as to promote venti- 
lation in the summer. The door and other apertures should be opposite each other, 
the chimney at the end ; and if a double cabin or one of two rooms is designed, a 
space of 10 or 12 feet between them should be left, and roofed over. Forks may 
be set in the ground, and porches or sheds may be made on the sides, eight feet in 
width. The cost is trifling, and they add greatly to the coolness of the dwelling 
in summer, and its warmth in winter, besides protecting the body of the house 
from rains. Hundreds of cabins are made without a nail or particle of iron about 
them, or a single piece of sawed plank. 

The first buildings put up are cabins made of logs, which are constructed after 
the following manner : Straight trees are felled of a size that a common team can 
draw, or, as the phrase is, 'snake' them to the intended spot. The common form 
of a large cabin is that called a ' double cabin ;' that is, two square pens, with an 
open space between, connected by a roof above and a floor below, so as to form a 
parallelogram of nearly triple the length of its depth. In the open space the fami- 
ly take their meals, during the pleasant weather ; and it serves the threefold pur- 
pose of kitchen, lumber-room, and dining-room. The logs of which it is composed 
are notched on to one another in the form of a square. The roof is covered with 
thin splits of oak, not unlike staves. Sometimes they are made of ash, and in the 
lower country, of cypress ; and they are called clapboards. Instead of being 
nailed, they are generally confined in their place by heavy timber, laid at right 
angles across them. This gives the roof of a cabin a unique and shaggy appear- 
ance ; but if the clapboards have been carefully prepared from good timber, they 
form a roof sufficiently impervious to common rains. The floors are made from 



70 GENERAL VIEW OF 



short and thick plank, split from the yellow poplar, cottonwood, black walnut, and 
sometimes oak. They are confined with wooden pins, and are technically called 
'puncheons.' If an emigrant can furnish a few pounds of nails, and a dozen panes 
of glass, he may add to his comforts ; and if a saw-mill is near, and plank or boards 
cheap, he may save himself the labour of splitting puncheons or slabs for floors 
and doors. In addition to the cabin, he will need a meat-house, a corn-crib, and 
stables, all built of Idgs in the same rough manner. If an emigrant has plenty of 
money, and sawe4 lumber can be gotten conveniently, he may put up a frame barn 
as soon as he pleases. If he has not the advantage of a good spring, he should dig 
a well immediately, which will cost four or five days' labour, and will stand some 
time without wulling. In making all these improvements, all cash expenses should 
be avoided as much as possible, unless a man has money to spend freely. The next 
step is to prepare a farm. If the settler locate himself in barrens, or in timbered 
land, he has to grub out the small'' growth, preparatory to ploughing ; that is, dig 
them up by the roots with an instrument called a mattock. It is true, that land 
covered with bushes can be ploughed, and the stumps left in the ground, HS well 
or better than in the north ; but it will require more labour in the end to subdue 
the sprouts that will strive for the mastery, than to clear the land at once. It usu- 
ally requires from three to six days' labour to grub an acre. .The small growth in 
timbered lands is taken out ii^ the same manner/ If a settler has located himself 
in a timbered tract, which in this prairie country is wretched policy, he grubs up 
the small growth, girdles th& trees, and puts in the plough. 

Prairie land requires a strong team, and a large plough kept very sharp, to break 
it up thoroughly. "'This must be done well, and every particle of the sward turned 
over ; or it had better be let alone. 

Farms somewhat improved are almost daily exchanging owners, and a consider- 
able spirit of enterprize has been Wakened within a year or two past. The prices 
of farms and improvements vary greatly, and are influenced much by factitious and 
local circumstances. From St Glair county ,j}orth ward, they average probably 
from five to ten dollars per acre, arid arer rising- in value. In some counties, farms 
will cost from two to five dollars per acre". A farm in Illinois, however, means a 
tract of land ; much of it is in a state of nature, with some cheap and frequently 
log buildings, with 20, 40, 60, 80, of 100 acres, fenced and cultivated. Good dwell- 
ings of brick, stone, or wood, begin to be erected. Amongst the older residents 
there have been but few barns made. 

The want of adequate supplies of lumber, and of mechanics, renders good build- 
ings more expensive than in the country parts of New-England or New- York. 

Merchants' goods, groceries, household-furniture, and almost every necessary 
and comfort in housekeeping, can be purchased here ; and many articles retail at 
about the same prices as in the Atlantic States. 

The following table will exhibit the cost of 320 acres of land, at Congress price, 
and preparing 160 acres for cultivation or prairie land : 

Cost of 320 acres, at $1,25 per acre, - $400 

Breaking up 160 acres prairie, at $2 per acre, -------- 320 

Fencing into four fields, with a Kentucky fence of eight rails 'high, 

with cross stakes, - - ------------- 175 

Add cost of cabins, corn-cribs, stable, &c. - -------- 250 

Making the cost of the farm, ------------- $1145 

In many instances, a single crop of wheat will pay for the land, for fencing, 
i breaking up, cultivating, harvesting, threshing, and taking to market. All kinds 
of mechanical labour, especially those in the building line, are in great demand ; 
and workmen, even very coarse and common workmen, get almost any price they 
ask. Journeymen mechanics get two dollars per day. A carpenter, bricklayer, or 
mason, wants no other capital to do a first-rate business, and soon become indepen- 
dent, than a set of tools, and habits of industry, sobriety, economy, and enterprize. 
Common labourers on the farm obtain from twelve to fifteen dollars per month, 
including board. Any young man, with industrious habits, can begin here with- 
out a dollar, and in a very few years become a substantial farmer. A good cradler 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 71 



in the harvest-field will earn from one dollar and a half to two dollars per 
day. 

The most affectionate counsel (says Mr. Flint) we would give an immigrant, after 
an acquaintance with all the districts of the Western Country of sixteen years, 
is to regard the salubrity of the spot selected, as a consideration of more impor- 
tance than its fertility, or vicinity to a market; to supply himself with a good 
manual of domestic medicine, if such a manual is to be found ; still more, to obtain 
simple and precise notions of the more obvious aspects of disease?, an acquisition 
worth a hundred times its cost; and, more than all to a backwoodsman, to have a 
lancet and sufficient experience and firmness of hand to open a vein ; to have a 
small but well-labelled and well-supplied medicine-chest ; and to be, after all, very 
cautious about either taking or administering its contents, reserving them for 
emergencies, and for a choice of evils ; to depend for health, on temperance, mode- 
ration in all things, a careful conformity in food and dress to circumstances and the 
climate, and particularly let him observe a rigid and undeviating abstinence from 
that loathsome and murderous western poison, whiskey, which may be pronounced 
the prevalent miasm of the country. Let every immigrant learn the mystery and 
provide the materials to make good beer. Let him also, during the season of ac- 
climation, especially in the sultry months, take medicine by way of prevention, 
twice or thsice, with abstinence from labour a day or two afterwards. Let him 
have a Bible for a constant counsellor, and a few" good books for instruction and 
amusement. Let him have the dignity and good sense to train his family religious- 
ly, and not to be blown about by every wind of doctrine in religion, politics, or 
opinions. Let his rifle rust, and let the game, unless it come into his field, live 
on. Let him cultivate a garden of choice fruit, as well as a fine orchard. Let 
him keep bees, for their management unites pleasure and profit. Let him prepare 
for silk-making on a small and gradual scale. Xet him cultivate grapes by way 
of experiment. Let him banish unreal wrfts, and learn the master secret of 
self-possession, and be content with such things as he has, aware that every posi- 
tion in life has advantages and trials: Let him assure himself that if an indepen- 
dent farmer cannot be happy, no man can. Let him magnify his calling, respect 
himself, envy no one, and raise to the Author of all good constant aspirations of 
thankfulness as he eats the bread of peace and privacy." 

HISTORY. 

% 

The name which now belongs exclusively to this state was, during a great part 
of the last century, bestowed upon all that vast tract of country which lies north 
and west of the Ohio, and was derived from the Illini or Illinois, a tribe which 
appears to have possessed the country situated on the banks of the Illinois river. 
They were noted for their hospitality, generosity, and kind treatment of strangers. 
The name is said by Hennepin to signify a full-grown man. The first settlements 
within the present limits of Illinois, were, like those of Indiana, made by the 
French, and were the consequence of the adventurous enterprize of M. De la 
Salle, in search of the Mississippi. This traveller set out from Canada, in the 
year 1670, in company with Father Hennepin and a few followers, and, passing up 
the lakes to the head of Lake Michigan, descended the Illinois river. After re- 
maining some time, he returned to Canada; from whence he set out with a num- 
ber of volunteers in 1673, for Illinois, and shortly afterwards founded the settle- 
ments of Kaskaskia and Cahobia. Here La Salle left his colony, and descended 
the Mississippi to' its mouth. At the commencement of the eighteenth century, 
the settlements in Illinois are represented to have been in a flourishing situation. 
The descriptions given by French writers of the country at this time, were of the 
most captivating kind ; its beautiful scenery, fertile prairies, and supposed mineral 
wealth, were painted in glowing colours, and a new paradise seemed to open to 
Frenchmen on the banks of the Illinois. 

At the termination of hostilities between the French and English, in 1763, the 
Illinois country, with Canada, was ceded to the British government : and in 1765, 
Capt. Sterling, of the royal Highlanders, took possession of Illinois. He was sue- 



GENERAL VIEW OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



needed by Major Farmer, who was relieved by Col. Reed in 1766. The principal 
military post and seat of government during these changes, was at fort Chartres. 

The administration of Col. Reed was extremely unpopular with the inhabitants, 
md is said to have been a course of military oppression. In 1768 he was succeed- 
ed by Lieut. Col. Wilkins, who established a court of justice amongst the people, 
ind appointed seven judges to settle all matters relative to debts and property. 

During the revolutionary war, the Virginia militia, under command of General 
eorge Rodgers Clarke, made an excursion through the Indian country, subjugated 
brt Chartres, Kaskaskia, and other posts on the Mississippi, and then conducted a 
successful expedition against Port Vincent, now Vincennes. This was in 1778. 
The same year, the legislature of Virginia organized a county in this remote re- 
gion, called ' Illinois" and appointed a magistrate over it with extensive powers, 
tyled lieutenant-goveror. Timothy Demonbrun was appointed to this office. 
This territory was afterwards ceded by Virginia to the United States, and formed 
a portion of the North-western Territory, by whose authority the county of Illinois 
was divided, and the names of St Clair and Randolph given. In 1800, it was in- 
cluded within the limits of Indiana territory, and at that time the country that 
forms the present state of Illinois contained about 3000 inhabitants. Many of the 
officers and soldiers that accompanied General Clarke in his expedition became 
enamoured with the country, returned with their familiesand formed the early 
American settlements. Other persons settled in Kaskaskia about the same time 
to engage in the Indian trade. 

After the year 1800, the population increased considerably from emigration. In 
1809, a territorial government was formed, and the population the next year 
amounted to 12,282. During the last war between Great Britain and the United 
States, Illinois, in common with other frontier districts, felt the calamities of war- 
fare. The defence of the long line of frontier, from the mouth of the Missouri 
across the territory to ShawneetowA, depended upon the energy and vigilance of 
the citizens, under the able and indefatigable governor, the late Ninian Edwards. 

In 1812, the territory, which had been under the government of the governor 
and judges, entered upon the second grade of territorial government, with a legis- 
lature, and a delegate in Congress. In 1818, the constitution was framed, and 
Illinois was received into the Union as the twenty-second state. 

The constitution of this state does not admit involuntary servitude, or the tenure 
by which masters hold slaves. Some unsuccessful efforts were made by the immi- 
grants from the slave-holding states to have it amended to admit of slavery. The 
question was casually agitated in the papers, and a convention for the purpose was 
proposed. But the moderation and good sense of the people allowed this irritating 
investigation to sleep undisturbed. This great state, with unoccupied and fertile 
soil, to support millions of agriculturalists in affluence, must ultimately become 
populous and powerful. 

By different treaties the Indians have ceded the whole of their territorial claim 
to lands in Illinois to the general government. The country experienced almost 
entire freedom from their depredations after the late war with Great Britain, until 
1832. In that year the savages, under their celebrated chief, Black Hawk, com- 
mitted many cruel murders, and for a time excited considerable alarm in the 
northern parts of the state ; but being effectually reduced, the remnant have been 
since settled in the country west of the Mississippi river, and all apprehensions of 
danger from the same cause in future entirely removed. 



SKETCHES OF EACH COUNTY 



THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



ADAMS County is bounded north by Hancock, south by Pike, east by Schuyler 
and Pike counties, and west by the Mississippi river, which forms its boundary for 
about 36 miles : it was organized from Pike county in 1825, and contains about 800 
square miles, or upwards of half a million acres, and is in length 30 miles, with 
an average breadth of about 25. 

This county is well proportioned into prairie and timber land, and is inferior to 
none in the state in the quality and fertility of its soil. The population in 1835 
was 7042, and consists mostly of industrious and enterprizing farmers. Its streams 
are Bear creek and branches, M'Kee's creek, Mill, Fall, and Pigeon creeks. 

Its county town is Quincy, situated on a bluff of the Mississippi: it is the seat 
of the land office for the sale of the public lands north and east of the Illinois river, 
and is a place of considerable business. The other places in Adams county are 
Columbus, Clayton, Guilford, Fairfield, and Payson, r which are all small villages. 
The latter, about 15 miles south-east from Quincy, is a thriving place, surrounded 
by a well settled country; it contains several stores, which transact a considerable 
amount of business. 

ALEXANDER is the most southern county in the state, and comprises the 
peninsula situated between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. It is bounded north 
by Union, and east by Johnson county, on the west and south by the Mississippi, 
and south-east by the Ohio river; it is 24 miles long, with an average width of 18 
miles; the area is about 378 square miles. This county is generally well tim- 
bered, and its soil fertile. It is watered by Cash river, aWmall stream emptying 
into the Ohio river seven miles above its junction with the Mississippi. 

This county, although so favourably situated at the junction of two large and 
important rivers, derives from this circumstance little or no advantage. Here, 
where we should naturally expect to find a large and flourishing town, the entrepot 
of produce and merchandise passing to and from the north, east, south, and west, 
we have little else than the remains of a deserted warehouse. It unfortunately 
happens that at, and for a considerable distance above the junction of these streams, 
their banks are low, and subject to annual inundations; and such is the height to 
which the water rises on them, that they could not, without much expense, be 
made safe, and, far less, comfortable places of residence. ' The importance of a 
good town site immediately at the junction of these two streams, has for many 
years excited the attention of the enterprizing ; and accordingly various plans have 
been suggested to accomplish this object by artificial means, but as yet without 
success. The population of this county in 1835, was 2050. 

Its seat of justice is Unity, a small place lately laid out on Cash river. Trinity, 
Caledonia, and Napoleon, are villages on the Ohio river. 

BOND County is watered by the Kaskaskia river and its tributaries. Its sur- 
face is generally level or gently undulating, and duly proportioned into timber and 
prairie. This county was taken from Madison in 1817, and was formerly more 
extensive than at present ; its area is 360 square miles ; length 20, and breadth 18 
miles : it is watered by Shoal creek and its branches, and is bounded on the north 



74 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



by Montgomery, eas^ by Fayette, south by Clinton, and west by Madison county. 
The population in '1835, was 3580. 

Its seat of justice is Greenville, a pleasant village on the east fork of Shoal 
creek: it contains about 200 inhabitants. It has four stores, three taverns, three 
physicians, one lawyer, and mechanics of various trades. 

BOONE is one of the most northern counties in the state. It is bounded on 
the nortii by .Rock and Wai worth counties of Wisconsin territory, south by Kane, 
east by M'Henry, and West by Winnebago county. It contains an area of 504 
square miles, and is in length 24, and in breadth 21 miles, and was formed in 1837 
from portions of Winnebago and M'Henry counties, and contains a population 
estimated at 600. 

Most of the land in this and the adjoining counties, is yet unsurveyed, and of 
course has not been offered for sale by the general government. It is, notwith- 
standing, rapidly settling up with an enterprizing population. The soil is fertile, 
and well adapted to raising all the different kinds of agricultural produce common 
to this part of the state : the surface is mostly a rich undulating prairie, with a 
considerable quantity of timber scattered over the county, principally in groves 
and oak openings, of which the chief of the former is Norwegian Grove. Boone 
county is, for judicial purposes, attached to Jo Daviess. Its county seat is not yet 
laid off. 

The only town in the county is Belvidere, a small settlement on the stage road 
from Chicago to Galena. It is in the western part of the county, on Squaw prairie, 
and has a' delightful appearance. Near the town site is a mound, fitly rods long 
and about thirty rods wide, elevated seventy feet above the bottom lands of Rock 
river. On the top of this mound is the cemetery of an Indian called Big Thunder. 
He died about the period of the Sauk war in 1831 or 1832, and was placed in a 
sitting posture on a flag mat, wrapped in blankets, his scalping-knife by his side to 
cut the plugs of tobacco that are offered him. Over the body is constructed a cof- 
ering of wood and earth, with an opening in front, where Big Thunder may be 
seen sitting, with his tobacco lying before him. The Indians still visit the place 
to replenish his stores of tobacco, whiskey, &c. 

The citizens of this region are about to erect a college edifice on this spot, in a 
vault under which the bones of Big Thunder will repose unmolested. A charter 
was granted for the purpose at the recent session of the legislature. 

CALHOUN County occupies the most southern part of the Military Bounty 
tract, and is a long narrow piece of land lying between the Mississippi and Illinois 
rivers, about 37 miles in length, and from 4 to 12 miles in breadth, containing an 
area of about 264 square miles. ,On the rivers considerable tracts are subject to 
inundation, and in the interior are bluffs, ravines, and sink holes ; still there are 
considerable portions of good land, and the bottoms furnish excellent range for 
stock. Cattle, beef, pork, corn, honey and beeswax are its exports. Coal in large 
bodies is found on the Mississippi in the southern part of the county. 

Guilford, on the west side of the Illinois river, and about 15 miles from its 
mouth, is the seat of justice ; it has been but lately settled, and is said to be well 
situated for business purposes. A company has been chartered to cut a canal from 
the Illinois river at Guilford, to the Mississippi, near Gilead ; the distance does not 
exceed three miles, and by tunnelling a short distance under the bluff, it is said 
the work can be accomplished, and a steamboat canal constructed at comparatively 
small expense. This communication would save fifty miles navigation from the 
Illinois river to the upper Mississippi ; and as the latter is elevated considerably 
above the former, would create an immense water-power, which is the object of 
the company. The other towns are, Gilead, the late seat of justice, three-fourths 
of a mile from, and Milan and Hamburg on, the Mississippi, and Belleview on Bay 
river. 

CASS County is, next to Wabash, the smallest in the state. It was laid off 
from the north part of Morgan county in 1837, and contains a little more than seven 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 75 



full townships, or about 260 square miles. It is 29 miles in extent from east to 
west, and averaging about 11 broad. It is bounded on the north by Sangamon 
county, from which it is separated from the river of the same name, south by Mor- 
gan, east by Sangamon, and west by Schuyler, the Illinois river forming the bound- 
ary. The land is about equally divided into timber and prairie, the surface undu- 
lating, and the soil generally very rich. It is well settled, the population being 
estimated at about 6500. 

The towns are Beardstown, Virginia, Monroe, and Richmond. The first is the 
seat of justice, and one of the most thriving places on the Illinois river ; its com- 
merce is extensive, and it is the depot for die produce of a large region of country. 
Virginia is a town lately laid off, nearly in the centre of the county, on the main 
road from Beardstown to Springfield, 12 miles from the former and 33 from the 
latter ; the site is high and dry, partly prairie and partly timber, and very healthy. 
It contains already three storey, a tavern, a school for females, and another for boys a 
short distance from the town ; a church, and several public improvements are in 
progress. 

CHAMPAIGN County is bounded on the north by the attached part of Ver- 
million, on the south by Coles, east by Vernrillion, and on the west by Macon and 
M'Lean counties, and is 36 miles in length, by SO in breadth; area 1080 square 
miles. It is watered by the head streams of the Sangamon, Kaskaskia, and Big 
Vermillion, The ceonty contains extensive prairies, indented with beautiful 
groves of fine timber, with a rich and fertile soil; it is well adapted to the growth 
of stock, and will prove undoubtedly a healthy region. This county was organized 
from Vermillion in 1833 ; inhabitants in 1835, 1045. 

The county town is Urbanna, a small village, situated on the Salt Fork of Ver- 
million river. 

CLARK County is bounded, north by Edgar, south by Crawford, west by Coles 
county, and east by Wabash river and the state of Indiana. It is from 28 to 20 
miles in extent from east to west, and 21 from north to south; area about 500 
square miles. Its streams are, ^j^ north fork of *he Embarras river, Mill Creek, 
and Big Creek. The surface is toleraWy.well proportioned into timber and prairie, 
with some first-rate soil, although tde main part of it is but second-rate. This 
county was formed from Crawford, in 1819, and contained in 1835, 3413 inhabitants. 

Its seat of justice is Marshall, on the National Road. The other towns are Dar- 
win, Livingston, Martinsville, and Melrose. Livingston is on the National Road, 
112 miles north-east from Vandal ia, and 14 south-west from Terre Haute. It has 
three stores, three groceries, three taverns, one physician, two ministers of the 
gospel, various mechanics, and about 150 inhabitants. 

CLAY Connty is bounded on the north by Jasper and Effingham, south by 
Wayne and Edwards, east by Lawrence, and west by Marion and Fayette coun- 
ties. It is in length about 30 miles, and in breadth 21 miles, containing an area 
of about 620 square miles. Its streams are the Little Wabasli and its tributaries. 
About two-thirds of the surface is prairie of an inferior quality. This county was 
formed from Wayne, Lawrence, Crawford, and Fayette, in 1824, and contained in 
1835, 1648 inhabitants. 

The towns are Maysville and Louisville. The former is the county town, and 
is situated in Twelve-mile Prairie, not far from the right bank of the Little Wabash 
river. 

CLINTON County is bounded north by Bond, south by Washington, east by 
Marion, and west by St. Clair and Madison counties. It is 30 miles long, and 18 
wide, with an area of 504 square miles. The streams which water this county 
are the Kaskaskia river, and its tributaries Crooked, Shoal, and Sugar creeks. It 
is about equally proportioned into prairie and timber land, with an undulating sur- 
face ; the soil is mostly second-rate. Clinton was formed in 1824, from Washing- 
ton and Bond counties, and contained in 1835, 2648 inhabitants. 



76 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



Its county town is Carlyle, a village of about 200 inhabitants, situated on the 
west bank of the Kaskaskia river, 100 miles from its mouth, and contains five 
stores, three taverns, and a grist and saw mill. 

COLES County is situated in the eastern part of the state, and is bounded north 
by Champaign, south by Jasper and Effingham, east by Edgar and Clark, and west 
by Shelby and Macon counties. It is 48 miles long, and from 28 to 24 wide, 
containing 1233 square miles. It it watered by the Kaskaskia and Embarras 
rivers and their branches; these generally run over a bed of sand, and afford many 
good mill-sites. Most part of the land is excellent, in some parts prairie predomi- 
nates, but in general the surface is well proportioned into prairie and wood land. 
This county was formed in 1830, from Clark and Edgar, and contained in 1835, 
5125 inhabitants. Most of the settlements are of recent formation ; but its agri- 
cultural productions must soon exceed those of any other county near the Wabash, 
and will find their way to that river for market. 

The county town is Charleston, a village situated on the border of Grand Prairie, 
two and a half miles from, and on the west side of the Embarras river, containing 
about 200 inhabitants. 

COOK County is bounded north by M'Henry, south by Will, east by lake 
Michigan and part of the state of Indiana, and west by Kane county ; it extends 
from north to south 42 miles, and from east to west 33 miles, and contains an area 
of about 1220 square miles. It is watered by the Des Planes, Calumet and Chicago 
rivers, and embraces a tract of country tolerably level, of a rich soil, with large 
prairies, and the timber mostly in groves. This county was organized in 1831, and 
has been settled with great rapidity, numbering in 1835, 9826 inhabitants. 

Its seat of justice is Chicago: the other towns have all been recently settled, 
and are quite small; they are Canal Port, Napiersville, Des Planes, Keepotaw, 
and Thornton. 

CRAWFORD County is 21 miles long, arid from 22 to 16 broad, and contains 
about 400 square miles. It is bounded north by Clark, south by Lawrence county, 
east by the Wabash river and the state of Indiana, and west by Jasper county. It 
contains a large proportion of prairie land, of which La Motte Prairie is a level and 
rich tract, well adapted to the growth of corn. The streams which water this 
county are tributaries of the Wabash and Embarras rivers; of the former are Rac- 
coon, Hutson, Sugar, and La Motte creeks. Crawford county was laid off in 1816, 
and was formerly much more extensive than at present It contained in 1835, 
3540 inhabitants. 

The seat of justice is Palestine, situated about three miles west of the Wabash 
river. Here are the offices of the receiver and register for the land district of 
Palestine : the inhabitants are about 220 in number. The other towns in the 
county are Le Roy, Hutsonville, and York. York is situated on the west bank of 
the Wabash river, about 50 miles by the stream above Vincennes, and in the north- 
east corner of the county. It contains four stores, one steam saw and flouring 
mill, and a population of about 300 inhabitants. Its exports amount to $40,000. 

EDGAR County is bounded north by Vermillion, south by Clark, east by the 
state of Indiana, and west by Coles county. It extends from north to south 27 
miles, and from east to west 25 miles; area, about 660 square miles. It contains 
much prairie land in the western and southern sections ; the remainder is tolerably 
well timbered. The soil is in general fertile, and well adapted to the various pro- 
ductions of this state. Edgar was formed from Clark county in 1823, and contained 
in 1835, a population of 6668. 

The chief town is Paris, the county seat, a pleasant village on the borders of a 
rich prairie, surrounded with good farms, with a population of 200 inhabitants. 
The other towns are Grand View, and Bloomh'eld ; the former is a small village 12 
miles south-east from Paris ; it is on, and surrounded by, a beautiful rolling rich 
prairie. 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 77 

EDWARDS County is watered by the Little Wabash, Bon Pas, and their 
branches. It contains a considerable proportion of prairie land, most of which is 
very fertile. The prairies are principally small, high, undulating-, and bounded by 
heavy timber; thus presenting every inducement to the agriculturist. It is on 
one of these that the English settlement formed by Messrs. Birkbeck arid Flowers 
is located. This county is 22 miles long from north to south, and 16 from east to 
west, with an area of about 355 square miles. It was formed in 1814 from Galla- 
tin, and is bounded north by Lawrence, south by White, east by Wabash, and west 
by Wayne county : inhabitants in 1835, 2008. 

The county-town, Albion, is situated on a high and healthy situation, being little 
subject to those diseases which are so prevalent in many parts of this state during 
the summer and autumn. The surrounding country is very fertile, and is hand- 
somely diversified with woodland and prairie ; it contains about 200 inhabitants. 

EFFINGHAM County is bounded north by Shelby and Coles, south by Clay 
and Fayette, east by Jasper, and west by Fayette county. Area, 486 square miles; 
length 24 miles, and breadth 21. It is watered by the Little Wabash and its tri- 
butaries, and contains good second-rate land nearly level. The bottom lands on the 
Little Wabash are tolerably rich, and heavily timbered. This county was taken 
from Fayette in the year 1831 : its inhabitants in 1835 numbered 1055. Ewington, 
the county town, is on the National Road, 29 miles north-east from Vandalia, and 
is situated on the west bank of the Little Wabash river, on an elevated site, sur- 
rounded with timber. ,^- 

FAYETTE County was created in 1821, and at the time of its first formation 
was nearly 200 miles in length, but has since, been divided into several counties. 
It is bounded north by Shelby, south by Marion and Clinton, east by Effingham, 
and west by Bond and Montgomery counties. It is from 33 to 27 miles long, and 
24 broad ; and contains 684 square miles. It is watered by the Kaskaskia river 
and its tributaries, the principal of which in this county are Hurricane Fork, Ram- 
sey's, and Beck's, on the west, and Hickory and Big creeks on the east. The banks 
of the Kaskaskia are generally low, and subject to inundation : a rise in this stream 
is frequently occasioned by slight rains, in consequence of the numerous tributaries. 
This, however, is only of short duration. There is in this county a heavy growth 
of timber along the Kaskaskia river and Hurricane Fork ; there is also a good por- 
tion of prairie land. The soil is mostly second-rate. In 1835, the population 
amounted to 3638. 

The Seminary Township is a settlement in the south-west corner of the county, 
being township five north and one west of the third principal meridian. It is a 
township of land, 36 miles square, granted by congress to Illinois for purposes of 
education. It has since been relinquished to the general government, and in 
place thereof, an equal quantity is to be selected from unsold lands within the state. 
The Kaskaskia river crosses its south-eastern part, and the Hurricane Fork runs 
through it near its western boundary. 

It is proportioned into timber and prairie, contains much good land, and about 
35 families. 

The seat of justice is Vandalia, the present capital of the state. 

FRANKLIN County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded 
north by Jefferson, south by Johnson and Union, east by Hamilton and Gallatin, 
and west by Jackson and Randolph counties. It is 36 miles in length, and 24 in 
breadth : its area is 864 square miles. This county is watered by Big Muddy river 
and the branches of Saline creek. It is well timbered ; the prairies are generally 
small and fertile ; sand predominates in the soil. The banks of the streams are 
low, and subject to annual inundations. Franklin is similar in character and pro- 
ductions to the neighbouring counties; and is capable of being made a rich agri- 
cultural district. This county was organized in 1818, and in 1835 contained 5551 
inhabitants. Frankfort, the county town, is a small village, situated on a tributary 



78 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



of the middle fork of Big Muddy creek, an elevated ground, on the main stage- 
road from Shawneetown to St. Louis. 

FULTON County is situated in the Military Bounty Tract, on the west bank 
of the Illinois river. It is bounded north by Knox and Peoria, south by Schuyler, 
east by Peoria, Tazewell, and Sangamon, and west by Warren, M'Donough, and 
Schuyler counties. It is in its greatest length 36 miles, and greatest breadth, 30; 
containing an area of 864 square miles. The streams which water it are the 
Illinois and Spoon rivers, and Otter and Copperas creeks. About half of the 
county is heavily timbered ; the residue is rich undulating prairie. This county 
was laid off from Pike in 1825, and contained in 1835 a population of 5917. 
Lewistown, the seat of justice, is situated about six miles west of the Illinois river, 
and four miles north-east of Spoon river: it is surrounded with a heavy body of 
timber, and contains a population of about 200. The other towns are Tuscumbia, 
Middletown, Utica, Liverpool, Ellisville, Bernadotte, Farmington, and Canton: 
the latter is a thriving town, and the largest in the county. Liverpool is a small 
town recently laid out on the right bank of the Illinois, six miles above the mouth 
of Spoon river, and about twelve from Canton, of which it is the landing-place, and 
will be the commencing point for the Liverpool, Canton, and Knoxville rail-road. 

Farmington is situated in the north-east corner of the county, 25 miles due west 
from Peoria: it was laid off in 'August 1835, and now contains between twenty 
and thirty houses, besides four stores, one physician, and a number of mechanics. 

OALLATIN County 4s situated in the south-western part of the state: its 
greatest length is about 37 miles, with a medium breadth of 25; and its area is 
750 square miles. It is bounded north by White and Hamilton counties, south by 
Pope county, east by the states of Kentucky and Indiana, and west by Franklin 
county. Situated as it is at the junction of the Wabash and Ohio rivers, its east- 
ern boundary is washed by those streams. .The interior is watered by Saline creek 
and its tributaries. 

This county contains a large proportion of timbered land, which is particularly 
valuable on account of its contiguity to the salt springs : these are situated on 
Saline creek, about 20 miles above its junction with the Ohio river. The principal 
spring was formerly possessed by the Indians, who valued it highly, and called it 
the Great Salt Spring; and it appears probable, from a variety of circumstances, 
that they had been long acquainted with the method of making salt Large frag- 
ments of earthen-ware are continually found near the Works, both on and under 
the surface of the earth. They have on them the impression of basket or wicker 
work. These salines now furnish large quantities of salt for home consumption, 
as well as for exportation. 

In a treaty between the United States, and the Delaware, Shawanee, Pottawa- 
tomie, Eel River, Weea, Kiekapoo, and Piankasaw tribes, at Fort Wayne, on the 
7th of June, 1803, this saline iva*s, ceded to the United States, with a quantity of 
land, not exceeding four miles, su/rtAmding it, in consideration of which, the United 
States engaged to deliver annually to the said Indians, a quantity of salt not ex- 
ceeding 150 bushels, to be divided among the several tribes in such a manner as 
the general council of chiefs may determine. For a number of years, it was pos- 
sessed by the United States, with a reservation of 161 sections of land in the vicinity, 
the whole of which were ceded in 1818 to the state of Illinois, by whom it was 
leased to different individuals for about 10,000 dollars per annum. The works are 
situated on section 20, township 9, south range 8, east of the third principal me- 
ridian. Saline creek* is navigable to the works, and the surplus salt is thus shipped 
to southern markets. 

This part of Illinois is well adapted to the growth of stock : large amounts of 
horses, beef, pork, cattle, lumber, and tobacco, are sent out of the county. Gallatin 
county was organized in 1812 : its population in 1835 amounted to 8660. 

The seat of justice for this county is Equality, a town with a population of four 
or five hundred, on the east side of Saline creek. It is situated in the midst of 
the salt manufactories, fourteen miles north-ewet from Shawneetown. The latter 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 79 



is the principal commercial town in the southern part of the state. It is situated 
on the west bank of the Ohio river, about ten miles below the mouth of the 
Wabash. 

GREENE County, on the Illinois river, is 41 miles in length, and 24 in breadth ; 
area, about 900 square miles. It is bounded north by Morgan, south by Madison 
and Calhoun counties and the state of Missouri, east by Maeoupin, and west by 
Calhoun and Pike counties, from which it is separated by the Illinois river. This 
is one of the richest districts in the state. Fine water-courses, a fertile soil, and 
contiguity to navigable streams, are some of the many advantages which it pos- 
sesses. It contains a large proportion of timbered land, and is diversified with 
gently undulating prairies, some of which are beautiful beyond description. The 
banks of the Mississippi, in the southerly parts of the county, are generally com- 
posed of perpendicular cliffs, varying in height from 80 to 100 feet, consisting of 
horizontal strata of lime and sandstone, frequently imbedded in coal. The latter 
does not show itself at the face of the cliffs, but is found in great abundance a 
short distance from it These cliffs commence at Alton, and, extend along the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers to the northern part of the county ; sometimes, how- 
ever, receding several miles east, leaving a low and fertile alluvion, which is usually 
timbered on the banks of the river, and a prairie surface towards the bluffs. Greene 
county was erected from Madison in 1821. The inhabitants in 1835 numbered 
12,274. 

The Prairies in this county are generally very rich, fertile, and well settled : the 
principal of them are String, Macoupin, and Lorton's Prairies. 

String Prairie lies between Macoupin and Apple creeks, commencing four miles 
west of Carrollton, and extending fifteen miles east, and from half a mile to three 
miles in width. It is a rich, level tract, and most of it iff ,a state of cultivation. 

Macoupin Prairie, in the southern part of the county? between the Piasau and 
Macoupin, is moderately undulating, rich, and rapidly settling. The road from 
Alton to Carrollton passes through this prairie. 

Towards the Illinois river on the west, and the Macoupin creek on the east, are 
extensive bodies of fine timbet. Emigrants from Vermont, and other northern and 
eastern states, are covering over this part of the county with fine fa'rms. The 
settlement in the south part of this prairie is sometimes called South Greene. 

Lorton's Prairie is on the. north -side of Apple creek, in the upper part of the 
county. It is a tract of excellent land, has good timber, and contains about eighty 
families. 

Piper's Point settlement is 16 miles north-east from Carrollton, adjoining String 
Prairie, and the timber of Apple creek. The land is tolerably level, rich, and pro- 
portionably divided into timber and prairie. There are sixty or seventy families in 
this settlement. 

Bluffdale is a flourishing settlement, ten miles west of Carrollton, and under the 
bluffs that overhang the Illinois bottom. The land is rich, dry, and beautifully 
situated for six miles in extent, under overhanging bluffs and precipices from which 
springs of " crystal waters" gush forth. The settlement is generally arranged 
along the bluffs from Apple creek to the Macoupin, from three to four miles from 
the Illinois river, and consists of fifty or sixty families. The settlement of Bluft- 
dale has two stores, one grocery, one tavern, one minister of the gospel, and a 
Baptist congregation, one post-office, one school, and various mechanics. 

Carrollton, the seat of justice, is situated nearly midway in the county. It is 35 
miles from Alton, 106 north-west from Vandalia, and 887 from Washington City. 
It is surrounded by rich and fertile districts of country, densely populated. The 
other towns in the county are Whitehall, Albany, Newport, Bluffdale, Fayette, 
Greenfield, Jerseyville, Camden, and Grafton. 

HAMILTON County is bounded north by Wayne, south by Gallatin, east by 
White, and west by Franklin and Jefferson counties. It is in length 24, .and in 
breadth 18 miles; area, 432 square miles. This county is watered by branches 
of Saline creek and Little Wabash river, and contains about JK equal proportion of 



80 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



prairie and timbered land : the soil is mostly second and third rate. Hamilton 
county was formed from White county in 1821, and contained in 1835 a popula- 
tion of 2877. 

M'Leansboro', the seat of justice, is a small village of about 120 inhabitants, 
situated on high ground, on the head waters of the north fork of Saline Creek. 

HANCOCK County is bounded on the north by Warren county and the Mis- 
sissippi river, south by Adams county, east by M'Donough county, and west by the 
Mississippi. It contains near 800 square miles. It was formed from Pike county 
in 1825, but was not organized as a county for several years afterwards. In 1834, 
Hancock only gave 357 votes, and had a population of 1785 inhabitants ; now, its 
population cannot be much short of 5000, and is steadily and rapidly increasing 
with enterprising farmers and industrious mechanics. Carthage, the county seat, 
was laid off about four years ago, on the borders of a large and beautiful prairie, 
known as Hancock Prairie, and about half a mile from the timber, skirting one of 
the head branches of Crooked creek. The population of Carthage must be now 
(July, 1837,) 350 or 400, with 40 or 50 houses. There are four stores, two public 
houses, one saddler, several carpenters, one or two shoemakers, two practising 
physicians, three lawyers, one wheelright, two blacksmiths, two or three cabinet- 
makers, and three groceries. There, are in Carthage a small society of Congre- 
gationalists, and one of Methodists, and one of Baptists in the vicinity ; and, what 
is perhaps worthy of remark, they all hold meetings in the same house. There is 
a temperance society here, numbering forty or fifty members, and a female benev- 
olent society, numbering ten or fifteen. There is also a good school generally kept 
here. 

There are several other towns of some importance in Hancock county, among 
which are the following : Warsaw, five miles below the foot of the rapids, on the 
Mississippi, is thriving rapidly, and is destined to attain a high rank among the 
towns of the west The advantages of its situation are obvious, being opposite the 
mouth of the Des Moines river, and the point of termination for the contemplated 
rail-road connecting the Illinois with the Mississippi. It has a steam-mill, several 
stores, and about 300 inhabitants. St. Mary's, Augusta, and La Harpe, are all 
flourishing towns, and are situated in the midst of excellent neighbourhoods. The 
other towns are, Montebello, Commerce, and Apanooce, all on the Mississippi river. 

HENRY County has been laid off, and the boundaries specified; but, for judi- 
cial purposes, it is attached to Knox county. It is bounded on the north by Rock 
river and Whiteside county, south by Knox, east by Putnam, and west by Mercer 
and Rock Island counties. It is thirty miles in extent from east to west, and the 
same in breadth, except at the north-west corner, where it touches Rock river : 
area, about 850 square miles. It is watered by Rock and Green rivers, and the 
head branches of Edward's, Pope's and Spoon rivers. This county contains some 
rich undulating prairies and groves, with a good deal of wet and swampy land ; 
but generally it is not equal in fertility of soil to those around it. The population 
is small, amounting in 1835, only to 118 persons. 

Andover, Lagrange, and Morristown, are small villages, recently settled. 

IROQUOIS County is 42 miles long, and 34 broad, containing an area of 1428 
square miles. It is bounded on the north by Will county, south by Vermillion, 
east by the state of Indiana, and west by the attached part of Vermillion county. 
It is watered by the Iroquois river, and by Sugar and Spring creeks, and other tri- 
butaries of that stream. The surface of this county is mostly prairie, some of it 
very rich, with here and there sand ridges and plains. The timber is rather scanty, 
and is found chiefly in groves, and in strips along the water-courses. There are 
considerable settlements on the Iroquois river, and also along Sugar creek. The 
county was laid off in 1833, and contained in 1835, 1164 inhabitants. 

Its seat of justice is Montgomery, situated on the south bank of Iroquois river. 
The other villages are Concord on the opposite side of the river, and Plato on the 
left bank of the same stream, and about fifteen miles nearly west from the former. 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 81 



Iroquois City has been lately laid off, near the centre of the county, and will pro- 
bably become the seat of justice. 

JACKSON County is in the southern part of the state, and is bounded on the 
west by the Mississippi river and part of Randolph county, north by Perry and 
Randolph, east by Franklin, and south by Union county. Its length from north to 
south is 24 miles, and from east to west from 18 to 28 miles. The area is about 
565 square miles. . It is watered by the Big Muddy river and its tributaries. The 
surface of the county is mostly timbered, although it contains many prairies. 
Muddy river, which meanders through the interior of the county, is navigable for 
a considerable distance, and affords to the inhabitants every facility for exporting 
their surplus produce. On this stream there is a saline or salt spring, where con- 
siderable quantities of salt are manufactured. A large body of excellent coal ex- 
ists about twenty-five miles up this stream. The bed is said to be inexhaustible, 
and it is worked to some extent. This county was formed in 1816, and contained 
in 1835 a population of 2783 inhabitants. 

The Fountain Bluff, frequently called the " Big Hill," in the south-west corner 
of the county, is a singularly formed eminence, or rocky bluff, on the river Missis- 
sippi, eight miles above the mouth of the Big Muddy river. It is of an oval shape, 
eight miles in circumference, and with an elevation of 300 feet. The western 
side is on the river, and the top is broken, full of sink holes, with shrubs and scat- 
tering timber. The north side is nearly perpendicular rock, but the south side is 
sloping, and ends in a fine rich tract of soil, covered with farms. East is an exten- 
sive and low bottom with lakes and swamps. Fine springs of limpid water gush 
out from the foot of this bluff on all sides. 

North, and along the bank of the Mississippi, is dry and rich alluvion, with a 
line of farms known by the name of the " Settlement under the Bluff." 

Brownsville, the seat of justice, is a small village, nearly in the centre of the 
county, and on the north bank of the Big Muddy river. It is about twelve miles 
by land, and twenty-five by water, to the Mississippi river. The population is 
about 120 persons. 

JASPER County is bounded north by Coles, south by Lawrence and Clay, east 
by Crawford, and west by Effingham and clay counties. It is in extent from north 
to south 22 miles, from east to west 23, and contains an area of 506 square miles. 
This county was formed in 1831, and in 1835 contained 415 inhabitants. It is 
watered by the Embarras river and its tributaries, and also the streams flowing into 
the Little Wabash. It contains some fertile tracts, but much of both the prairie 
and timber land is level, wet, and of an inferior quality. 

Newton, the seat of justice, is a small place, on the right bank of the Embarras 
river. 

JEFFERSON County is situated centrally between the Mississippi and Wa- 
bash rivers. It was organized in 1819, and forms a square of 24 miles, with an 
I area of 576 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Marion, south by Frank- 
lin, east by Wayne and Hamilton, and west by Perry and Washington counties. 
It is watered chiefly by the branches of the Big Muddy river, and also by streams 
flowing into the Skillet fork of Little Wabash river. The surface of the country 
is about one-third prairie; the remainder, timber. The soil is tolerable second- 
rate land. It was organized in 1819, from Edwards and White counties. The 
inhabitants in 1835 amounted to 3350. 

There are several compact settlements in different parts of the county : the 
principal are, Moore's, Gun, Long, and Jordan's Prairie Settlements. 

Moore's Prairie Settlement is from six to twelve miles south-east of Mount Ver- 
non. It consists of about 75 families. The prairie is eight miles long, and from 
two to three miles wide. Some portions of it are flat and wet, and other parts 
dry and undulating. 

Gun Prairie is six miles south of Mount Vernon. It is two miles long, and one 
wide. The land is good, and the settlement contains twenty families. 



82 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



Long Prairie is five miles west of Mount Vernon. It lies between the Middle 
and West forks of Big Muddy river, is tolerably fertile, and is four miles long and 
one mile and a half wide. The settlement contains forty families. 

Jordan's Prairie, six miles north of Mount Vernon, is five miles long, and one 
mile and a half wide. The land is second-rate, and the settlement contains fifty 
families. 

Mount Vernon, the seat of justice, is near the centre of the county, on a branch 
of the Big Muddy river. It is pleasantly situated, on the north side of Carey's 
Prairie, and surrounded with a considerable settlement. The population is about 
150. It has six stores, three groceries, one tavern, two physicians, two ministers, 
a court-house and jail, a Methodist Episcopal and a Baptist society, besides various 
mechanical establishments. 

JO DAVIESS County occupies the north-west corner of the state, and includes 
the best settled part of the lead-mine region within the limits of Illinois. It is 
bounded on the north by Wisconsin Territory, south by Whiteside county, east by 
the counties of Stephenson and Ogle, and west by Wisconsin Territory, from 
which it is separated by the Mississippi river. It comprised until lately all the 
country lying north-west of Rock river, but has been divided into several counties. 
It now extends from east to west from 34 to 15 miles, and from north to south 36, 
containing an urea of about 950 square miles. Besides the Mississippi, it is 
watered by the Pekatonica, Fever, and Apple rivers, and Rush and Plum creeks, 
on which there are many good mill-sites. This is a rich county, both for agricul- 
tural and mining purposes. The surface is mostly undulating prairie, and occa- 
sionally hilly. Timber is scarce. Lead and copper are found in abundance, of 
which the first forms the chief staple and article of export Jo Daviess county 
was laid off in 1827, and contained in 1835, 403$ inhabitants. 

About twelve miles east of tGalena, the surrounding country rises to the height 
of seven or eigb hundred feet above* the general level of the mining district. 
From the centre of this elevation* Mount St. Charles shoots up like a pyramid, 150 
feet high. The base of the whole mount includes two or three square miles ; the 
base of the pyramid is one-fourth of a mile fn length, and 250 yards in breadth. 
Its top is long and quite narrow. The whole mound, as is the case with many 
smaller ones, is a natural formation. 

Galena, the seat of justice of the county, is on the right bank of Fever river, a 
few miles from the Mississippi, and is the most important town in the lead-mine 
district. 

The other towns are, Gratiot's Grove, about 15 miles north-east from Galena ; 
Wapeto, at the falls of Apple river ; and Savannah, on the east bank of the Mis- 
sissippi river, at the mouth of Plum creek. 

JOHNSON County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded 
north by Franklin, south by the Ohio river, east by Pope, and west by Union and 
Alexander counties. It is from 31 to 25 miles in length, and in breadth 18, with 
an area of about 486 square miles. The interior of the county is watered by the 
heads of Cash river and Big Bay creek. The southern boundary is washed by the 
Ohio, the banks of which are generally fertile. Occasionally they consist of ledges 
of perpendicular rocks, which, by extending across the river, form what is called 
the Little and Grand Chain, so much dreaded by those who navigate this river. 
Near these, however, are pilots who are acquainted with the channel, and who 
generally conduct the boats through in safety. This county has a large proportion 
of level land, which is generally well wooded and inclining to a sandy soil. Some 
portions of it are but thinly populated, owing in some measure, no doubt, to the un- 
healthiness occasioned by the overflowing of the Ohio, and the marshes which ex- 
ist near the southern boundary. Johnson county was organized in 1812, and in 
1835 contained 2166 inhabitants. On the dividing line between this and the ad- 
joining county of Pope, and on the left bank of the Ohio river, about ten miles 
below the mouth of the Tennessee river, stood Fort Massac, a military post of some 
importance in the earlier settlement of the country. A fort was erected here by 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 83 



the French when in possession of the western country. The Indians, then at war 
with them, laid a curious stratagem to take it A number of them appeared in the 
day-time on the opposite side of the river, each of whom was covered with a bear- 
skin and walked on all fours. Supposing them to be bears, a party of the French 
crossed the river in pursuit of them. The remainder of the troops left their 
quarters to see the sport. In the meantime a large body of warriors, who were 
concealed in the woods near by, came silently behind the fort, entered it without 
opposition, and very few of the French escaped the massacre. They afterwards 
built another fort on the same ground, and called it Massac, in memory of this dis- 
astrous event. In 1750 they abandoned the position. After the revolutionary war 
the Americans repaired or rebuilt it, and kept a garrison here for several years. 
The buildings are now destroyed. 

There are, in different parts of the county, compact settlements, chiefly agricul- 
tural : these are named, Bridge's, Elvira, M'Fatridge's, and Buncombe Settlements. 

Bridge's Settlement is about ten miles west of Vienna : it contains some tolera- 
bly good land. Population, about 60 families. 

Elvira Settlement is on Lick creek, a branch of Cash river. It is about 15 miles 
north-west from Vienna, and contains 30 or 40*families. The land is rich and 
level. 

M'Fatridge's Settlement is about 8 miles "north-east from Vienna, on the old road 
from Golconda to Kaskaskia, and on the Caters of Cedar creek. The surface is 
rather broken, and the soil thin. The settrement contains 50 or 60 families. 

Buncombe Settlement is about eight miles northwest from Vienna : it contains 
40 families. The soil is rather thin, broke"u, and rocky. 

Vienna, the seat of justice, is a small village, situated about 13 miles nortli of 
the Ohio river, on the east fork of Cash river, and in the main road from Golconda 
to Jonesborough and Jackson, Missouri. It contains from 130 to 160 inhabitants. 

KANE County is situated in the northern part of the state, and is*bounded north 
by Boone and M'Henry, south by La Salle, east by Cook, and weet by Ogle county. 
It was formed in 1836, and is estimajed^tt? contain a population of 1500, although 
no part of it is yet survejjpd, and consequently has not been sold by the govern- 
ment It contains an area of 1296 square miles, and is 36 miles in extent from 
north to south, and the same from east to west. Fox river extends through its 
eastern division, in a direction nearly south-west : the other streams are Mill, 
Blackberry, Rock, Somonauk, and Indian creeks, entering Fox river on the right- 
hand side; and Wabonsie and Morgan creeks on the opposite banks: on its west- 
ern and north-western portion, it receives several smaller streams, and the south 
main branches of the Kishwaukee or Sycamore creek that enters Rock river. 
These are all good mill-streams, and already saw and flouting mills are built or in 
progress. The banks are usually skirted with pleasant groves of timber, occasion- 
ally interspersed with barrens only. There are for the most part contiguous set- 
tlements on all these streams ; and in some places they are quite compact and 
pleasant. 

A large proportion of the county is rich prairie, with some deficiency in the 
amount of timber, which is found mostly in groves : the largest of these is the 
Big Woods. They lie on the east side, and adjoining Fox river, and are about 10 
miles in length, and from two to four miles wide, containing about 30 sections of 
good timbered land. This tract (provided the surveys were run) would lie mostly 
in township 30 and 39 north, range 8 east from the third principal meridian. Its 
timber consists chiefly of white, black, yellow, and burr oaks, sugar maple, lynn or 
bass wood, black and white walnut or butternut hickory, ash of various species, 
poplar, iron-wood, &c. The soil is generally a dark sandy loam, sometimes clay ; 
generally a little undulating, but sometimes quite level. The " Big Woods" is 
thickly settled on all sides, and the Four-mile Prairie, between that and Du Page 
river, is all claimed and considerably settled, as is the country opposite, betwixt 
Fox river and Blackberry creek, west. 

The " Little Woods" is a tract of timber, about four miles north of Big Woods, 
also, on the east side and adjoining Fox river, divided from Big Woods by a gap 



84 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 

of prairie, interspersed in places with little groves of small timber and barrens. 
It is about half the size of the latter; its timber and soil, similar; and is surrounded 
with compact settlements. 

The whole range of Fox river in this county is thickly settled : towns and vil- 
lages are springing up as if by magic, Commencing at the south end of Kane 
county, a few miles above the boundary, is the new village of Yorkville. The 
Fox river there, is to be dammed, and a saw and grist mill already contracted to be 
built. Opposite the Big Woods, dams are thrown across Fox river in five places, 
and saw-mills erected. At the prairie in the " Woods," three miles above the 
" Foot," at the Galena stage ford, is the pleasant village of Aurora. A flouring 
mill is here in operation. Lowell, at the " Head" of Big Woods, and Charleston, 
at the " Foot" of Little Woods, are growing business places ; have saw-mills on 
Fox river, and flouring-mills going up at the present season. Geneva, on the west 
bank of Fox river, and nearly equi-distant from Lowell and Charleston, is a plea- 
sant place, and the county seat of this county. At the " Head" of Little Woods, 
and five miles farther up, is the new village of Elgin. Here is a dam, and mills 
are building. Eight miles further, is a flouring-mill, nearly ready to run. On the 
whole, Fox river is one of the best, if not the best stream in the state for extensive 
hydraulic operations. It can easily bfe rendered navigable by slack-water, abounds 
with excellent quarries of limestone for building purposes, and beds of coal have 
already been discovered some miles above its m'outh. The first white man's cabin 
erected in this county, was built in the vicinity of Big Woods, on Fox river, but 
three years ago last fall ; and the principal settlements and improvements have 
been made within the last two years, and by a population from most of the states 
in the union. The predominant character, however, is eastern. As in the coun- 
tries from whence they have emigrated, there is a diversity of religious sentiment. 
The Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist, are the most prevailing denominations; 
probably the former and latter are the most numerous. 

KNOX County is in the Military Bounty Tract, and nearly central between 
the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is bounded north by Henry, east by Peoria 
and Putnam, south by Fulton, and west by Warren and Mercer counties. It is 
thirty miles long, and from thirty to thirty-four in breadth, containing 792 square 
miles. This county is watered by Spoon river and its tributaries, and also by the 
head streams of Henderson's and Pope's rivers. The surface is generally prairie, 
moderately undulating, and of first-rate quality of soil, with considerable tracts of 
excellent timber along the water-courses. The inhabitants amounted in 1835 to 
1600. 

The seat of justice, Knoxville, is pleasantly situated at the head of Haw creek, 
a tributary of Spoon ri\er, on a rich and elevated prairie. It was laid off a few 
years ago : it contains about 200 inhabitants, and bids fair to become a thriving 
inland town. The surrounding district is rich, and settling fast with industrious 
farmers. Hendersonville and Galesboro' are small villages, a few miles from 
Knoxville. 

LA SALLE County comprises a fine tract of country, 48 miles in length, and 
from 48 to 36 in breadth, containing an area of 1872 square miles. It is bounded 
north by Kane and Ogle, south by M'Lean and the attached part of Vermillion, 
east by Will, and west by Putnam county. It is watered by the Illinois river and 
its tributaries, the Big and Little Vermillion, and Fox and Au Sable rivers ; also 
by Mason, Indian, and Rock creeks. These streams run generally on a bed of 
sand or limestone rock, and have but little alluvial bottom lands. 

La Salle, like most of the counties in the northern part of the state, is deficient 
in timber, but contains abundance of rich undulating, dry prairie, fine mill-streams, 
and extensive coal-beds, and must eventually become a rich country. Its situation 
will enable the people to send off their produce either by the Illinois river to a 
southern market, or by the lakes to the Atlantic section of the union. This county 
was organized in 1831, and in 1835 contained a population of 4754. 

The Starved Rock, or Rock Fort, near the foot of the rapids, and on the right 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 85 



bank of the Illinois river, is a perpendicular mass of lime and sandstone, washed 
by the current at its base, and elevated 150 feet Its perpendicular sides, arising 
from the river, are inaccessible. It is connected with a chain of heights that ex- 
tend up the stream, by a narrow ledge, the only ascent to which is by a winding 
and precipitous path. The diameter of the top of the rock is about 100 feet: it is 
covered with a soil of some depth, which has produced a growth of young trees. 
The advantages which it affords as an impregnable retreat, induced a band of Illi- 
nois Indians, who sought a refuge from the fury of the Potawatomies, with whom 
they were at war, to intrench themselves here. They repulsed all the assaults of 
their besiegers, and would have remained masters of their high tower, but for the 
impossibility of obtaining supplies of water. They had secured provisions, but their 
only resource for the former was by letting down vessels with bark ropes to the river. 
Their enemies stationed themselves in canoes at the base of the clifls, and cut off 
the ropes as fast as they were let down. The consequence of this was the entire 
extirpation of the band : many years afterwards, their bones were whitening on the 
summit An intrenchment, corresponding to the edge of the precipice, is distinctly 
visible; and fragments of antique pottery, and other curious remains of the vanished 
race, are strewn around. From this elevated point, the Illinois may be traced as it 
wmds through deep and solitary forests or outspread plains, onward to the Missis- 
sippi, until it disappears from the vision in the distance. In the opposite direction, a 
prairie stretches out and blends with the horizon. 

On Indian creek, in the northern part of the county, a most horrible tragedy was 
enacted at the commencement of the Indian war of 1832. On the 20th of May 
of that year, fifteen persons belonging to'the families of Messrs. Hall, Daviess, and 
Pettigrew, were barbarously massacred by the Indians. Two young ladies, Misses 
Halls, were taken prisoners, and afterwanfe redeemed, and two young lads made 
their escape. The bodies of men, women, and children, were shockingly mutilated, 
the houses of the settlers burned, their furniture destroyed, and their cattle killed 
all in daylight, and within twenty miles of a laSfe force of the militia. This 
was done by the Indians under the infamous Black Hawk. A portion of that band 
were exterminated during the same season by the combined forces of United States 
troops and Illinois militia, and the remainder dispersed over the prairies west of the 
Mississippi. 

The seat of justice of La Salle county is Ottawa, at the junction of the Illinois 
and Fox rivers. This is considered a very eligible site for a commercial town. 
The canal now in progress of construction from lake Michigan to the Illinois river 
will pass through it, and add greatly to its prosperity. The other towns are Dres- 
den and Kankakee, both at the junction of the Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers; 
Marseilles and Mechanicsville above, and Utica, Rockwell, Peru, and Enterprize, 
below, Ottawa : these are all on the Illinois. There are also Lowell on the Ver- 
million river, and Vermillionville, about a mile east of the same stream. Of these 
towns, Peru, on the north bank of the Illinois, and at the western termination of 
the Michigan and Illinois canal, bids fair to become of importance. Steamboats 
can reach it at all stages of the river ; and on the completion of the canal, an easy 
and safe transmission to and from this place may be had at all times, except when 
the waters are bound with ice. 

Marseilles is a post town on the north side of the Illinois river : at the Grand 
river, eight miles above Ottawa, a chartered company is engaged in constructing 
dams, mills, &c. Flour and lumber are made here, and the water-power is immense 
and easily commanded. The Illinois and Michigan canal will pass through it, and 
it already assumes the aspect of a bustling, enterprizing village. 

LAWRENCE County, erected in 1821 from a part of Edwards and Crawford, 
is situated in the eastern part of the state, and adjoining Indiana, from which it is 
separated by the Wabash river. It has on the north Crawford and Jasper, on the 
south Wabash and Edwards counties, on the east the Wabash river, and on the 
west Clay county. From east to west its greatest extent is 31, and from north to 
south 19 miles; containing an area of about 560 square miles. This county is 
watered by the Embarras river and its tributaries, as well as by the head waters 

8 



86 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



on the Bon Pas, and the Fox river of the Little Wabash. The banks of all these 
streams are low and subject to inundations. This is the case particularly with re- 
spect to the Embarras and the branches of the Little Wabash. It not unfrequently 
occurs, that the bottoms of those streams, which are more than two miles in width, 
are covered with from four to eight feet of water, so as to render them entirely 
impassable; of course, travelling during these seasons is rendered difficult and un- 
pleasant. In the low prairies near the Wabash, there are quagmires, called by the 
common people purgatory swamps, or demVs holes ; the surface of these appears 
dry and level, but it generally rests on quicksands. Over some of these, bridges 
and levees are now constructed. In a dry season, the water evaporates, and the 
ground becomes firm. A great proportion of the land in the interior, and at a short 
distance from the stream, is prairie, most of which is fertile. The inhabitants of 
this county, in 1835, amounted to 4450. 

Lawrenceville, the county seat, is situated on the west bank of the Embarras 
river, about ten miles west of Vincennes, on the direct road to Vandalia, from 
which place it is distant eighty-four miles. It is on an elevated ridge, in the cen- 
tre of a fertile and well-settled country, and contains three stores, two groceries, 
two taverns, and sixty or seventy families ; the court-house is of brick, and is a 
respectable building. A saw and grist mill is in operation on the Embarras, ad- 
joining the town. Lawrenceville exports annually to the value if about 50,000 
dollars, and imports 30,000 dollars. 

The other towns in the countyare Stringtown, on the Embarras river, above Law- 
renceville ; Russellville, on the Wabash, in the north-east corner of the county ; 
and Smallsburg, a few miles below Lawrenceville, on the Embarras. There are 
several populous settlements in different parts of the county ; such as, Allison's 
Prairie, French, Lukens' Prairie, and River Precinct settlements. 

Allison's Prairie, five miles north-east from Lawrenceville, is ten miles long, 
and five broad. The eastern part, towards the Wabash, contains some wet land 
and purgatory swamps, but the principal part is a dry, sandy, and very rich soil, 
covered with well-cultivated farms, Few tracts in Illinois are better adapted for 
the culture of corn than this. The population is about 200 families. This prairie 
was settled in 1816 and 1817, by emigrants from Ohio and Kentucky, and mostly 
of the religious sect known in the west by the name .of Christians ; and the settle- 
ment is sometimes called by that name. In a few years, death had thinned their 
numbers. The purgatory swamps, as they are called, around the prairie, had a 
deleterious influence, and - retarded the progress of population. In later years, but 
little sickness has existed; and this settlement furnishes one of many evidences 
that upon the subjugation of the luxuriant vegetation with which our rich prairies 
are clothed, and the cultivation of the soil, sickly places will be changed to healthy 
ones. 

French settlement, in the south-east part of the county, is ten miles from Law- 
renceville. It is a timbered tract, and rather broken. Of the population, which 
consists of about sixty families, one-half are French. 

The Indian Creek settlement is on Indian creek, a branch of the Embarras river, 
which rises in the prairies west, runs south-east, and enters that stream five miles 
below Lawrenceville. It has much good land in its vicinity, both timber and 
prairie, and a population of one hundred and fifty families. 

Lukens 1 Prairie Settlement is in the south-western part of the county, from 
twenty to twenty-five miles from Lawrenceville. It has a population of from sev- 
enty to eighty families. 

The River Precinct Settlement extends along the Wabash river, opposite Vin- 
cennes. It is on a rich bottom heavily timbered, and contains sixty or seventy 
families. 

LIVINGSTON County was formed in 1837 from La Salle, M'Lean, and part 
of the attached portion of Vermillion county. It is in extent from east to west 
from 30 to 36 miles, and from north to south 30, and contains an area of 1152 
square miles. It is watered by the Vermillion river of the Illinois, and its tribu- 
taries, which flow through the northern half of the county from south-east to north- 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 87 

west. This is a fine mill-stream of about 50 yards wide, and runs through exten- 
sive beds of bituminous coal. Its bluffs contain immense quarries of lime, sand, 
and some freestone excellent for grindstones. The other streams are, the Mack- 
inaw and its branches, and some of the tributaries of Mason's creek. This county 
contains a large quantity of rich undulating prairie, and some fine tracts of .valua- 
ble timber land, mostly oaks of various kinds, walnut, ash, sugar-maple, hickory, &c. 
The principal minerals are limestone and coal. 

Its seat of justice is not yet laid off. The only towns in the county are Webster 
and Lexington : the former has been recently located in the north-west part,of the 
county, about two miles south-west from Vermillion river. Lexington is situated 
about 18 miles north-east from Bloomington, on the road to Chicago. 

The population of Livingston county is estimated at from 700 to 800. 

MACON County is bounded north by M'Lean, south by Shelby, east by Cham- 
paign and Coles, and west by Sangarnon county. It extends from north to south 
39 miles, and from east to west 36, forming an area of 1404 square miles. It is 
watered by the north fork of Sangamon river and its tributaries ; also, by some of 
the head branches of Kaskaskia river, and by Salt creek. This county is mostly 
covered with prairies, some of which are extensive, and in the interior level and 
wet, but generally dry, rich, and undulating, near the timber. Macon county was 
formed from the attached part of Shelby in 1829, and in 1835 contained a popula- 
tion of 3022 inhabitants. 

Decatur, the seat of justice, is situated on the right bank of the North Fork of 
Sangamon river, and on the borders of an extensive, dry, and elevated prairie, 
about 70 miles north from Vandalia, and 770 from Washington City. 

Clinton, 24 miles north of Decatur, and about half-way between that place and 
Bloomington, is a thriving town, and beautifully situated on the prairie, which over- 
looks a large district of country. The Salt cjeek timber approaches near the town 
on the south, from which it diverges in a north-easftrn direction till it passes be- 
yond the reach of vision. Both sides of the creek are well settled. The timber 
is excellent and sufficient, and the prairies beautifully rolling. The country adja- 
cent will, of course, admit of dense settlement. r Clinton is on the line of the 
Central rail-road, and probably in a short time it will become a county seat for a 
new county, comprising parts of the present counties of Macon and M'Lean. The 
convenience of the inhabitants of the country adjacent would seem to call, at a 
proper time, for such an arrangement Of such importance has this town site been 
considered, that speculators from a distance have entered all the land in its neigh- 
bourhood. Clinton is among the few new towns which have started up in this 
town-speculating age, that will grow into importance. The site of the town, the 
heavy settlements around it, the beautiful, fertile, and healthy country adjacent, all 
seem to unite in demonstrating this truth. 

Franklin, on Salt creek, about 20 miles in a north-north-west direction, and 
Murfreesborough, on the Sangamon river, 16 miles north-east from Decatur, are 
small towns, lately settled. Okau Settlement, in the south-eastern part of the 
county, 20 miles from Decatur, lies on the West Fork of the Kaskaskia, and con- 
tains 20 or 30 families. Salt creek Settlement, 20 miles north from Decatur, con- 
sists of about 100 families. The land is good, with plenty of prairie. 

MADISON County is situated in the western part of the state, and opposite 
the mouth of the Missouri river. It was organized in 1812, and at first was much 
more extensive than at present. It is bounded north by Greene, Macoupin, and 
Montgomery counties ; south by St. Clair, east by Bond and Clinton, and west by 
the Mississippi river, which separates it from the state of Missouri. It extends in 
an east and west direction from 36 to 30 miles, and from north to south 24 ; area, 
about 760 square miles. This county, both on account of its soil and situation, pos- 
sesses great advantages. Part of it lies in the American Bottom, which is a low 
alluvion of great fertility, but subject to inundation. It extends from the mouth 
of the Kaskaskia river to Alton, a few miles above the mouth of the Mississippi : 
above this, the bank is high, watered by fine springs, and contains building stone, 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



and coal of the best quality. The interior of the county is generally elevated and 
undulating, though not hilly. On the banks of the Mississippi, below Alton, it is 
low and wet, and in many places very marshy. No soil, however, can exceed it 
in fertility. Upon ascending the bluff which bounds this bottom upon the east, 
there is a district of country which continues eastward to the Kaskaskia river, and 
is called the Table-Land. This is also very fertile, and is considered one of the 
most desirable tracts in the state. The banks of the streams which run through 
the interior of this county are generally well wooded, leaving between them prai- 
ries of considerable size, though very fertile, and very advantageously situated for 
settlement. Wheat, corn, beef, pork, horses, cattle, and almost every production 
of Illinois, are raised in this county, and find a ready market Madison county, in 
1835, contained 9016 inhabitants. 

Monk Hill, situated on the American Bottom, is eight miles north-easterly from 
St. Louis. The circumference at the base, is about 600 yards, and its height about 
90 feet On the south side, about half-way down, is a broad step, or apron, about 
15 feet wide. This hill, or mount, was the residence, for several years, of the 
monks of the order of La Trappe, the most rigid and austere of all the monkish 
orders. Their monastery was originally situated in the district of Perche, in 
France, in one of the most lonely spots that could be chosen. They fled from the 
commotions of that kingdom to America, lived for a time in Kentucky, and came 
to Illinois in 1806 or 1807, and settled on this mound. They cultivated a garden, 
repaired watches, and traded with the people, but were generally filthy in their 
habits, and extremely severe in their penances and discipline. In 1813, they sold 
off their personal property, and left the country for France. 

Ridge Prairie commences near Edwardsville, and extends south to St. Clair 
county. It is on the dividing ridge, between the waters that fall into the Missis- 
sippi west, and those that flow to the Kaskaskia east. Originally this prairie 
extended into St. Clair county as far south as Belleville ; but long since, where 
farms have not been made; it has been intersected by a luxuriant growth of timber* 
Its surface is gently undulating, the soil rich, and is surrounded and indented with 
many fine farms. 

Marine Settlement, between the east and west forks of Silver Creek, and 12 
miles east of Edwardsville, was commenced in 1819. The settlement is large, and 
spread over an undulating, rich, and beautiful prairie, and is healthful and well 
watered. 

Paddock's Settlement is on the Springfield road, seven miles north of Edwards- 
ville. The prairie is undulating, fertile, and healthy. 

Edwardsville is the seat of justice of this county, and is situated in the centre 
of a fertile, well watered, and well timbered district, settled with enterprizing 
farmers. It is 21 miles north-east from St. Louis, and 12 miles south-east from 
Alton. 

The other towns are, Alton, Upper Alton, Collinsville, Troy, Chippewa, Clifton, 
and Randolph. The latter is situated at the mouth of the Piasau, on the Missis- 
sippi, about equal distance between Alton and Grafton. It is laid out above the 
Piasau, and betwixt that stream and the Mississippi, on table-land, above the 
highest floods. Abundance of limestone and good timber, water privileges and 
never-failing springs, a good landing for steamboats, and other advantages, are 
found here. Lots to the value of $20,000 have been sold this spring, and buildings 
are in process of erection, especially a large hotel. 

Clifton is on the bank of the Mississippi, four miles above Alton, and has been 
recently laid out Collinsville is situated in the south part of the county. It con- 
tains a store, a large mill for sawing and grinding, and several mechanics. A 
meeting-house, and Presbyterian church of fifty members, a large Sabbath-school, 
and a body of sober, moral, and industrious citizens, render this an interesting set- 
tlement Chippewa is directly opposite the mouth of the Missouri, two miles below 
Alton, and has been but lately laid out. A steam-mill, and several other buildings, 
are now erecting. 

MACOUPIN County is bounded on the north by Sangamon and Morgan, south 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



by Madison, east by Montgomery, and west by Greene. It ia 36 miles in length, 
and 24 in breadth ; area, 864 square miles. The county is watered by Macoupin 
creek and its branches, as well as by the head-waters of Apple, Cahohok, Silver, 
and Piasau creeks, and Wood river. This is a fine agricultural country, settled 
by enterprizing and industrious farmers. The surface consists mostly of prairies, 
slightly undulating, of which the chief part is of an excellent soil, and contains a 
due proportion of timber, mostly along the water-courses. Macoupin county was 
organized from the attached portion of Greene county in 1829, and in 1835 con- 
tained a population of 5554 persons. 

Carlinville, the seat of justice, is pleasantly situated in a handsome prairie, about 
two miles north-west from Macoupin creek : it is 35 miles north-east from Alton, 
and 55 miles north-west from Vandalia; containing about 350 inhabitants, with 
several stores, one grocery, two lawyers, and two physicians. The other towns 
are small, and but recently settled : they are, Girard, Staunton, Woodburn, and 
Brooklyn. 

MARION County was formed from Jefferson and Fayette counties, in 1823: 
it is 24 miles square, and contains an area of 576 square miles: it is situated about 
midway between the Mississippi and Wabash rivers, and is bounded north by Fay- 
ette and Clay counties, south by Jefferson, east by Clay and Wayne, and west by 
Clinton and Fayette. Marion coonty is watered by the East P'ork of Kaskaskia 
river and Crooked creek, also by the Skillet Fork of the Little Wabash and its 
tributaries. It embraces the southern part of the Grand Prairie, which constitutes 
about two-thirds of its surface: the remainder is timber, much of which is post 
oak. The soil is for the most part of second-rate quality, the surface slightly un- 
dulating, with some of the prairies level, and inclining to the west. 

Walnut Hill Settlement is in the south-west part of the county, from 12 to 14 
miles distant from Salem. It is on the Walnut Hill Prairie, and contains a popu- 
lation of about 75 families. Some parts of the prairie are tolerably good ; others, 
rather flat and wet It is about four miles long, and three broad. The population 
in 1835 amounted to 2844. 

Salem, the seat of justice, is situated on the eastern border of the Grand Prairie, 
on the Vincennes and St. Louis stage-road : it is a pleasant village, of about 160 
inhabitants. 

MDONOUGH County is situated in the. Military Bounty Tract, and at nearly 
an equal distance from the Mississippi and Illinois rivers : it forms a square territory 
of 24 miles each way, containing an area of 576 square miles. It is bounded on 
the north by Warren county, south by Schuyler, east by Fulton, and west by Han- 
cock. The streams which water this county are Crooked creek and its branches, 
Drowning Fork, Troublesome creek, Turkey creek, and others : most of these 
have good mill-seats for a portion of the year. The soil is chiefly a rich and fertile 
prairie, not excelled by any in this region. About one half of the eastern and 
northern part of the county is prairie ; the remainder is suitably proportioned into 
timber and prairie. M'Donough county was laid off from Pike in 1825, but was 
not organized till 1829: in 1835, it contained 2883 inhabitants. 

Macomb, the seat of justice, is pleasantly situated in a fertile prairie in the cen- 
tre of the county, about two miles south of the Drowning Fork of Crooked creek. 
It contains a population of about 100 persons, and has three stores, and one grocery. 

Carter's Settlement is near the south part of the county, 12 miles from Macomb, 
on the joad to Rushville. The land is gently undulating, soil rich, timber and prai- 
rie proportioned, and an extensive settlement. It is in the south part of four north, 
two west, between the heads of Sugar creek and Grindstone fork. This is the 
oldest settlement in the county. Edmonson's Prairie, six miles south-west from 
Macomb, is from one to two miles wide, ten miles long, and contains 25 or 30 
families. 

]\F HENRY County occupies the north-eastern corner of the state, and is 
bounded on the north by Walworth and Racine counties of Wisconsin Territory, 

M 8* 



90 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



south by Cook and Kane counties, east by lake Michigan, and west by Boone coun- 
ty. It contains an area of about 1100 square miles, and is in extent from east to 
west from 47 to 42 miles, and from north to south 24. It is watered by the Fox, 
Des Planes, and Chicag9 rivers and their branches, together with several small 
lakes, of which some have limpid waters in gravelly beds, with ridges of gravel 
and sand around them. Groves of fine timber are found along the lake shores and 
on the banks of the streams, and also distributed through the prairies. The county 
is well watered, the streams perennial, and the soil rich and covered with luxuri- 
ant herbage. The county is filfmg up rapidly with an enterprizing population, now 
estimated at from 1000 to 1200 souls. The seat of justice is not yet located. The 
only town in the county is M'Henry, situated on the west side of Fox river, and 
about 12 miles south of the northern boundary of the state. It is surrounded with 
excellent prairie and timber in groves, and oak openings or barrens.' 

]\FLEAN County was organized in 1830, and was tmtil lately one of the larg- 
est counties in the state. It is in extent from north to south from 48 to 24 miles, 
and from east to west from 1$ to 42, having an area of 1296 sqnare miles. It is 
bounded on the north by La Salle and Livingston counties, south by Macon and 
Sangamon, east by Champaign afld J;he attached part of Vermillion, and west by 
Tazewell. The streams which npw through this county are the western branch 
of the north fork of Sangamon river, and the head-waters of Mackinaw, Sugar, 
Kickapoo, and Salt creeks ; thesa all take their rise in the county, and furnish, 
when the waters are not too low, good mill-seats. A considerable portion of the 
eastern and northern part of the county is one vast prairie, with the surface ele- 
vated, moderately undulating, and the soil dry and fertile. Large tracts of fine 
timber land, beautifully arranged in groves of varjpus shapes and dimensions, are 
found, from those of 15 or 18 square miles dow/fto those of a few acres. Of the 
minerals, limestone and coal abound in several settlements ; granite, in detached 
masses, or boulders, called by the settlers lost rocks, are plentifully scattered over 
the country, and are used for millstones. M'Lean county contained, in 1835, a 
population of 5311 individuals. 

From Salt creek, 26 miles south of Bloomington, following the road from Deca- 
tur to the former place, the country is beautifully undulating. Elegant elections 
for farms and dwellings are constantly arresting the attention of the traveller; and 
he only regrets that the beautiful coqntry around him should remain in its native 
wilderness, while thousands upon thousands ot farmers in the eastern states, in- 
telligent, industrious, and most excellent citizens, are expending their best ener- 
gies upon a comparatively sterile soil, foe an almost bare support ; while here, with 
the same application to business, they would secure competence and independence, 
and lay the foundation for the future wealth and happiness of their children. To 
secure these advantages, however, enterprize is necessary sufficient, at least, to 
bring them hither. True, wSJ cannot but appreciate the feelings which prompt 
them to remain on spots whion are rendered almost sacred by the thousand associa- 
tions which all generous hearts are sure to feel ; but with the aspiring youth, or 
the father of a family, there are considerations of a still more elevated character, 
which might well lead them to seek to better their condition by emigrating to the 
west. 

There are in the county several groves of timber, fertile and desirable tracts, 
well settled with an industrious and thriving population. The chief of them are 
Big, Blooming, Cheyney's, Dry, Funk's, and Randolph's groves. 

Big Grove is formed of several groves of timber connected, for 12 miles in 
length, in the south-western part of the county, on the third principal meridian, 
and township 21 north. It is a fine tract of country, rich in soil and well timbered, 
on the Kickapoo creek. Bloomington, the county seat, is 18 miles from the heart 
of the settlement, which contains from 150 to 200 families. 

Blooming Grove adjoins Bloomington. It is about six miles long from north- 
west to south-east, and varying in width from one to four miles, containing about 
12 square miles of beautiful timber, with a large settlement of industrious farmers 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 91 

around it Nearly all the land is already occupied with settlers, a majority of 
whom are from Ohio. JJoth timbered land and prairie are first-rate. 

Cheyney's Grove settlement is near the head-waters of the Sangamon, in the 
east part of the county, twenty-three north, six east. This timber is an island in 
the great prairie of three or four square miles, 25 miles east of Bloomington, and 
on the \road to Danville. The population is 24 families. 

Dry Grove is in township twenty-four north, range one east, and about six miles 
north of west from Bloomington, and lies at the head of Sugar creek. It is about 
10 miles long from east to west, high, dry, and undulating, and contains a settle- 
ment of about 50 families. 

Funk's Grove settlement is 12 miles south-west from Bloomington. The grove 
is roundish in form, contains about eight square miles, and lies on the main branch 
of Sugar creek. It has an excellent soil, fine water, and is monopolized by a 
family connection of the name of Funk, from Ohio, who raise large numbers of 
cattle. 

Randolph's Grove, on Kickapoo creek, above Big Grove, is about 12 miles south 
from Bloomington. In shape it is almost circular, and is a valuable tract of land, 
containing limestone, and a population of about 40 families. The grove comprises 
about 12 sections of timbered land. 

Bloomington, the county town, occupies an elevated position on the margin of a 
fine prairie, 120 miles north from Vandalia, an3 820 from Washington City. The 
other towns in the county have been butjately*\aid off, and are as yet inconsidera- 
ble : they are, Hudson, Le Roy, Lytleville, Charleston, and Waynesville. The 
latter is in the south-west corner of the county, on the road from Springfield to 
Bloomington, and on the south side of the timber of Kickapoo creek. It has six 
stores, two groceries, two physicians, a Methodist and a Presbyterian society, a 
good school, and a charter for a seminary of learning. It has a fine body of timber 
on the north, and a rich, undulating, and beautiful prairie south. Population in the 
village, about 150. 

' -.'- 

MERCER County is situated in the ntkthern part of the Military Bounty 
Tract It lies north of Warren, south "of RSk. Island, west of Henry, and east 
of Louisa and Musquitine counties, Wisconsin Territory, from which it is separated 
by <fte Mississippi river. Edwards and. Pope's rivers, and the north fork of Hen- 
derson's river, ar%the streams which water this county, along the Mississippi and 
the borders of its w^er-cours'es. There is a great abundance of excellent timber : 
its middle and eastern portions have extensive tracts of fertile prairies. Mercer 
was laid off in 1825, and contained in 1835 a population of 497 inhabitants. 

The town of Mercer is located in the exact geographical centre, and with the 
express view of its becoming the county seat of Mercer county. It is situated 
mid-way between Pope's and Edwards rivers, which run through the county paral- 
lel to each other, and at this point are not more than five miles apart. The site 
is healthy and elevated, commanding a beautiful view of the surrounding country, 
which is as rich and well adapted to the culture of wheat, and indeed all kinds ol 
jjrain as any in the state. The county is settling rapidly with .1 moral, industrious, 
and enterprizing population. The water-power afforded by Pope's and Edwards 
rivers is equal to that of any county in the state ; a circumstance of much impor- 
tance, not only on account of furnishing lumber for building, but for the erection 
of grain and flouring mills. There is one saw-mill now in operation within two 
and a half miles of Mercer, and several others will be built the approaching sea- 
son, also within a few miles of the town. The situation of Mercer admits of con- 
venient access to the timber, stone, and stone-coal, of both Pope's and Edwards 
rivers and their branches. Mercer is situated about 14 miles from New Boston, on 
the Mississippi ; at which there is an excellent landing. It is also on the direcl 
route from the latter place to Hennepin, and from Oquawka to Rock Island. 

New Boston, the seat of justice, is the only other town in the county, and is 
situated at the Upper Yellow Bank, just above Edwards river, nearly opposite the 
mouth of the Lower Iowa, a considerable stream of the Wisconsin Territory, as 
extensive ( os the Illinois. This place has a good landing, and a fine harbour ; and 



92 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



when the opposite territory becomes settled, it cannot fail to become a town of con- 
siderable importance, as it will be the commercial entrepot for a large extent of 
fertile country. 

MONROE County, in the south-western part of the state, is situated north of 
Randolph, south of St. Clair, and west of the state of Missouri, from which it is 
separated by the Mississippi river. The interior of this county is watered by Prai- 
rie du Long-, Horse, and 1'Aigle creeks, and their branches. The western part, 
bordering on, and parallel to, the Mississippi river, is occupied by the American 
Bottom, a rich and fertile alluvion, subject to overflow from the river. East of this, 
the country is generally broken and hilly. On the eastern border of the county, 
there is a considerable proportion of good land, with a due mixture of timber and 
prairie. This is a rich county, and exports a considerable quantity of produce. 
Here is abundance of limestone, coal, and some copper. 

Waterloo, the seat of justice of Monroe county, situated on elevated ground, 
about 12 miles east of the Mississippi river, is a small village of about 120 inhab- 
itants. Columbia and Harrisonville are the only other villages. This county was 
formed out of Randolph and St. Clair in 1816, and in 1835 contained 266C> inhabit- 
ants. English Settlement, in the eastern part of the county, contains about 40 
families, among whom are a number of English Catholics. It is in township three 
south, and range eight west, on Prairie du Long creek. 

MONTGOMERY County is situated north of Bond and Fayette, south of San- 
gamon, east of Macoupin, and west of Shelby and Fayette counties, and extends 
m length from 36 to 21 miles, and in breadth from 30 to 24 ; containing an area 
of 954 square miles. This county is watered by branches of the north fork of the 
Sangamon river, also by Shoal, Macoupin, and Ramsey creeks, and their tributaries, 
It contains a considerable proportion of prairie land, which is generally high and 
undulating. It was erected from Bond county in 1821, and in 1835 the inhabitants 
amounted to 3740. 

Hillsborough, the county town, is a healthful and thriving place, of about 300 
inhabitants, on the main road from Vandalia to Springfield, 28 miles north-west 
from the former. It is situated in an elevated country, near the middle fork 'of 
Shoal creek. 

MORGAN is the most thickly settled county in Illinois, aUd contained in 1835, 
which then included the lately created county of Cass, 19,214 inhabitants : the 
population 43 now estimated at 16,500. The county was formed in 1823, and is 
bounded north by the new county of Cass, south by Greene and Macoupin, east by 
Sangamon, and west by Pike and Schuyler, from which it is separated by the Illi- 
nois river. It is in length from 34 to 27 miles, and in breadth 27, containing an 
area of about 800 square miles. The Illinois river washes the western borders of 
the county. The other streams are Indian, Mauvaiseterre, Apple, and Sandy 
creeks, and their branches : these furnish many good mill-seats. This county is 
duly proportioned into timber and prairie, is well watered, and contains many exten- 
sive and well cultivated farms. There are also numerous mills for sawing and 
grinding, propelled by animal or water power, besides seveiul large steam-mills. 
Emigration, attended with industry and enterprize, in a few fleeting years, has 
changed a region, that was until lately seen in all the wildness of uncultivated 
nature, into smiling villages and luxuriant fields, and rendered it the happy abode 
of intelligence and virtue. 

The Diamond Grove is a most beautiful tract of timber, two miles south-west 
from Jacksonville. It is elevated above the surrounding prairie, contains 700 or 
800 acres, and is surrounded with beautiful farms. Adjoining the above is Diamond 
Grove Prairie, south of, and adjacent to, Jacksonville. It is four miles in extent, 
with a rich soil, undulating, dry surface, and mostly covered over with fine farms. 
The English Settlement is situated west of Jacksonville, on Cadwell's, Walnut, 
and Plum creeks. There are about 100 families, mostly from Yorkshire, England, 
and farmers. They appear to be well pleased will) the country, and to be accumu- 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 93 



lating property. The Jersey Prairie settlement is on a beautiful and rich prairie, 
in the northern part of the county, 10 miles from Jacksonville. The land is rich, 
timber adjoining excellent, the people moral and industrious, the settlement exten- 
sive, populous, and healthful. 

Morgan county contains a number of towns. Of these, Jacksonville, the seat 
of justice, is the principal, and is one of the most thriving places in the state. The 
others are, Meridosia, Naples, and Brussels, on the Illinois river ; Princeton, Lex- 
ington, Franklin, Waverley, Exeter, Geneva, Lynnville, Winchester, and Man- 
chester. 

Meridosia is a place of considerable business. It is six miles above Naples, and 
22 from Jacksonville. It is situated on an elevated sand ridge, with a good land- 
ing, when the water is not too low. Here are two mills, several stores, and near 
300 inhabitants. The great rail-road, extending from the Wabash river across the 
state to the Mississippi, will pass through this town. 

Winchester, 16 miles south-west from Jacksonville, is a thriving village, with a 
population of nearly 400. It was laid off in 1831, on elevated ground, and is in- 
creasing rapidly. It has several stores, and a number of mechanics of various 
descriptions. The Baptists, Methodists, and Congregationalists, have societies 
here. There are excellent lime and freestone quarries in the vicinity, and several 
mills. A rail-road from Jacksonville through Lynnville and this place, will strike 
the Illinois river opposite Augusta, in Pike county. 

OGLE County is situated on both sides of Rock River, in the northern part of 
the state, and is bounded on the north by Stephenson and Winnebago, south by 
Putnam, east by Kane, and west by Jo Daviess and Whiteside counties. It is from 
36 to 42 miles in extent from north to south, and 36 from east to west, and contains 
an area of 1440 square miles. It was formed in 1836 from Jo Daviess and a part 
of the attached portion of La Salle. Rock river passes diagonally through its 
north-western portion. Winnebago swamp and several other swamps are in its 
southern part Pine, Leaf, Big Bend, and Dogs-head creeks, and several smaller 
streams, all of which empty themselves into. Rock river, furnish good mill-seats. 
The timber is chiefly in groves, many of which are peculiarly beautiful, and of 
various shapes and atzes. Much of the surface is undulating, the soil calcareous, 
deep and rich, and trie country is rapidly settling. 

Stillman's run*; formerly called Mud creek, is a small stream that runs west and 
enters Rock river a few miles below Sycamore creek, where, on the 14th of May, 
1832, a battalion of militia, consisting of about 275 men, under the command of 
Major Isaiah Stillman, of Fulton county, were attacked, defeated, and eleven men 
killed, by a portion of the Indian army under the celebrated Black Hawk. 

This county has been surveyed by townships, but is not yet subdivided into sec- 
tions ; the land, consequently, not in market The flow of emigration is very 
great fr6m all the states north of Tennessee. First-rate claims are selling from 
$500 to 10,000. Second and third rate claims can yet be made in great numbers, 
the county containing 1400 square miles, and two fifths only as yet taken up. 
About two-thirds of the land is prairie ; the other, timber of superior quality. 
Population of county, 2000. It is said that there is no better watered country on 
our continent Scarcely a mile square of land can be found without one or more 
fine springs upon it. The soil is adapted to all kinds of grain ; corn, 75 bushels to 
the acre, without tending; wheat, 35 to 40 bushels; oats, 100. Of potatoes, the 
crop is almost incredible. Of three acres planted last year, the hills about two 
feet apart, the growth was so abundant as to force the potatoes out of the ground 
nearly as large as a pint measure. The crop was a thousand bushels. 

Ogle county is connected in its representation with Jo Daviess and several other 
counties: its seat of justice is Oregon city, a flourishing town, situated on the 
bank of Rock River, 100 miles above the mouth. It was laid out in July, 
1836, and one house then erected. There are now eleven, embracing three stores, 
one tavern, one grocery, and several mechanics' shops. Two saw-miUs moved by 
water-power, are in the immediate vicinity, so that lumber may be readily obtained. 



94 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



All kinds, including pine, sell at the mills for 22 dollars a thousand. Pine creek, 
which contains a fine body of pine timber, is but three miles distant 

The following notice of Oregon city, and the country in its vicinity, is from the 
letter of a traveller, published in the New- York Star. 

"This place of course (as well as others on Rock river) ja in its very infancy ; but 
a more lovely site for an important town could not have been selected, and soon 
the noise and clamour of steamboats and extensive traffic will give it life and ani- 
mation. The bluff, which follows the river until it reaches the city, leaves it and 
falls back for a mile, forming the half of a circle, and meets it again just below in 
picturesque grandeur. The situation of Oregon itself has forcibly reminded me 
of Palermo, the capital of Sicily, surrounded on the land side by a chain of moun- 
tains, forming a complete amphitheatre, which has been poetically called the 
" Conco FOra" or Golden Shell. The banks of Rock river are not so high as 
those in the Sicilian landscape ; but, contrasted with the wide expanse of country 
around, are quite as effective, and more rich in fertile charms. The swelling of 
the prairies, gemmed with wild flowers of every hue, the stately forest, and val- 
leys interspersed with shady groves on the opposite side of the river surrounding 
Hyde Park, from which we started the wild and bounding deer in great numbers, 
form features rarely to be met with in a single glance of the eye, either in this 
or any other country ; and amidst all these beauties, 

" The river nebly foams and flows, 

The charm of this ehchanted ground, 
And all its thousand turns disclose 
Some fresher beauty varying round." 

This fairy-land was the scene of the bloody atrocities and human slaughter du- 
ring the war of 1832 and '33, with the Sac and Fox Indians and the United States, 
conducted by the celebrated chief Black Hawk and the Prophet, who, after their 
capture, ceded the country east of the Mississippi to the United States, including 
the Rock river from its mouth, or nearly so, to the dividing line between Illinois 
and Wisconsin territory. Above this are scattered along the western shore of the 
river a line of mounds, more ancient than^gyen the wild and fabulous traditions of 
the Indians. A hardy class of NeWrEnglarid settlers are now tilling these exten- 
sive plains. The Indian gardens are now grown up with tall rank weeds, and the 
war-cry is only heard beyond the Mississippi. The last ofrhe savages left in 
May, 1836, and left a paradise indeed. Since I have seen thiajair field, this noble 
river, I am no longer surprised that the Indian, whose eloquence is the poetry of 
nature, clung with such tenacity to this country, so passing lovely in itself, and 
containing their homes and the sepulchres of their dead warriors. 

Dixonville is a town site at Dixon's ferry, on the south side of Rock river, about 
90 miles from the Mississippi. It contains two stores, two taverns, one grocery, a 
steam saw-mill, ten or twelve families, and is a pleasant situation. Here, the 
stage-roads from Chicago by Napiersville, from Ottawa by Troy Grove, and from 
Peoria by Windsor and Princeton, all concentrate, and pass on to Galena. Rock 
river here is 206 yards wide, and is crossed by a rope-ferry-boat 

At the Grand Detour of Rock river, five miles above Dixonville, a town of the 
same name has been laid off; and by cutting a canal across the neck of the bend 
for a short distance, a valuable hydraulic power will be gained. An enterprising 
company is engaged in the project 

PEORIA County. The following account was taken from the Peoria Register 
and North-western Gazetteer of April 8th, 1837 ; and, being written on the spot 
and inserted in one of the most respectable papers in the State, is in all probability 
an accurate representation. " This county holds a central position on the east 
side of the Bounty Tract, having Fulton and Knox on the west, Putnam on the 
north, and the Illinois river for its south-eastern boundary for a distance of 36 miles. 
It contains 13 entire, and 8 fractional townships of land, making in all a little less 
than 17 whole townships, 612 sections, 2448 quarter sections, or 391,680 acres. 
Of the 2448 quarters, 763 have been appropriated as ' bounty lands,' and mostly 
are held by speculators. A few are owned and occupied by actual settlers, and a 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 95 



very small part still remain in the hands of the original patentees. More than 
two-thirds of Peoria county is congress land (including what has been secured to 
settlers by pre-emption, as also the purchases made at the land sales,) and subject 
to entry in the land office at Quincy, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. 

" The proportion allotted to ' bounties,' taking the military tract together, is 
seven-tenths of the whole ; and, from the mistaken policy of those into whose 
hands the ownership has generally fallen, these bounty lands may be considered 
as virtually out of market ; consequently they must remain to a great extent un- 
settled, until the owners are willing to be known through disinterested agents, or 
disposed to treat the emigrant with the same liberality he receives from govern- 
ment. But, fortunately for Peoria, her proportion of military land is small, and 
we may safely calculate that the tide of emigration will continue to flow in upon 
us with undiminished strength, for years to come. To the man of industry and 
enterprize we extend a hearty welcome to our rich and salubrious county, not 
doubting but an application of his perseverance in any part of it will insure an 
abundant reward for his toil. 

"Peoria is well divided into prairie and timber land of about equal quantities of 
each. To have a correct idea of the form, beauty, and peculiar adaptation of our 
prairies to farming purposes, the reader will recollect that five streams of no in- 
considerable magnitude water this county, all of which, with the exception of 
French creek, run a southerly direction into the -Illinois river. Snatchwine ("El- 
bow") passes through the north-east part of the county ; Kickapoo, with its east, 
north and west forks, through the centre ; and Lamarche and Copperas creeks 
through the west. Spoon river runs along near the northern border, and French 
creek has a westward course through the north part of the county. All of these 
streams are bordered by timber from one to two miles wide, (save the interval bot- 
toms;) the prairies occupying the balance of the space between, and descending 
in delightful slopes towards the timber, from the dividing ridge in the centre. 
Thus it will be seen at a glance that the whole county is admirably divided into 
alternate tracts of timber and prairie land. No county in the state has more 
facilities for speedily 'enriching the industrious farmer than Peoria. 

"Snatchwine, French, and Lamarche "creeks, are good mill-streams for two- 
thirds of the year. The balance of the time they are, in ordinary seasons, too dry. 
An excellent grist and saw mill has been put up on the Snatchwine, and prepara- 
tions are making for mills on the Lamarche. Kickapoo is an invaluable mill- 
stream, and furnishes a sufficiency of water at all times to carry one run of stone 
for nine months of the year it is sufficient for two run below the 'Forks.' Some 
years since a flouring mill was erected on that stream, which is in successful op- 
eration still, within two and a half miles of Peoria village. Two saw-mills in the 
vicinity of the flouring-mill are in profitable business. There are two saw-mills 
above and one grist-mill below. 

A very convenient bridge has been erected for some years across Kickapoo, four 
miles below the village. Three more bridges have been built where roads leading 
from Peoria westward and northward cross the Kickapoo. The stock for a bridge 
across the Illinois river at Peoria has been subscribed, amounting to fifty thousand 
dollars. Measures have been taken by the citizens of Peoria to erect it forthwith. 

" Two steam saw-mills in this village, and one 12 miles below, in a finely tim- 
bered region, are in operation. A steam-mill six miles above here, and a saw-mill 
on Spoon river, in the north-west part of the county, are nearly completed. 

"These constitute the mills and bridges of importance completed or in contem- 
plation in the county of Peoria. They certainly indicate an increasing prosperity 
in this section of the country ; a prosperity which the character of our soil, and 
the physical advantages we so eminently enjoy, are well calculated to sustain. 
Judging from personal observation in every corner of the county, the writer is of 
opinion that out of 2448 quarter sections of land in Peoria county, not more than 
500 are unfit for cultivation by being ' too wet, or broken and hilly.' Nor would 
even half this number be so considered in any other state than Illinois. What is 
here looked upon as hilly barrens, would, on the east side of the mountains, be es- 
teemed excellent arable land. But admitting that we have 500 quarters unsus- 



96 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



ceptible of cultivation, still we have 1948 which are tillable : these would support 
as many families in ease and comfort, or an agricultural population (allowing 10 
persons to a family) of 19,480. It is not to be presumed that the farming interest 
of this county will ever comprise more than two thirds of its entire population ; 
consequently, when we shall have settled all our good lands, and have 19,480 in- 
habitants engaged in agriculture, our whole population will amount to 30,000. In 
1830, the number of inhabitants in this and Putnam counties, was 1310. Probably 
our own number was about 500. The population at present, in Peoria county 
alone, is estimated at 7000, consisting of emigrants from every state in the Union, 
from England, Ireland, Germany, and France. Nine-tenths of the whole are na- 
tive-born citizens of the United States. Of these, probably a fourth are from New- 
England, the same proportion from New- York, a fourth from Pennsylvania and 
Ohio, and the remainder from other states. During the present season, we are re- 
ceiving the greatest number of emigrants from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New- 
York. Those from the latter state come on generally by way of the lakes. From 
the other two states, emigrants usually reach here in steamboats by way of the 
rivers. At least two-thirds of the emigrants to this region, arrive by this last 
named route. 

" In addition to the advantages of having an extremely well watered and fertile 
soil, we have inexhaustible beds of stone-coal, limestone and sandstone, in almost 
every part of the county. The Kickapoo and its branches, the Lamarche and 
Copperas creek bluffs, particularly abound in these important articles. Some of 
the stone on Kickapoo have, on trial, been found to make good grindstones, and a 
quarry has lately been discovered near the ' Forks,' which appears of superior 
quality. The stone-coal is said to be little inferior to that of Pittsburg, and is found 
in the bluffs of all the creeks and Illinois river. It is generally used for fuel at 
Peoria in winter ; is hauled from one to three miles, and is worth 12 cents per 
bushel. The sandstone is of fair quality, and is used for the underpinning of 
buildings, for door and window sills, &c. Iron ore is also said to have been found 
in the county ; and ' floating' mineral, supposed to contain zinc, has been discovered 
in various places. From some recent discoveries, and other strong indications, it is 
quite probable that the mineral resources of this county have been but very par- 
tially developed. 

"The principal productions of the soil are, wheat, corn, oats, rye, potatoes, beans, 
peas and flax, all of which arrive to great perfection. The average quantity of 
each, per acre, is as follows wheat about 25 bushels, corn 65, oats 30, rye 35, and 
potatoes 300. Garden vegetables, of all kinds, attain a most luxuriant growth. 
Apples, pears, cherries, and plums, do well, but the winters are rather severe for 
the successful cultivation of the peach-tree. Wheat is worth, at this time, $1 75 
cents per bushel, and very scarce. Corn, 50 cents; oats, 37 cents; potatoes, 33. 
Of the above named articles of produce, very little surplus for exportation is now 
raised in this county, owing principally to the unusual quantity required to supply 
the immense emigration constantly flowing in upon us. Nearly 140,000 pounds 
of pork, and 10,000 pounds of lard, over and above the amount required for home 
consumption, were shipped from this county, for the lower market, in February 
1835. Besides the downward trade of the river, a considerable traffic in live cat- 
.tle and hogs, was carried on with the Galena lead-mines. 

"The landing places and places of deposit on the Illinois in Peoria county, are 
Peoria, Rome, Allentown, and Chillicothe. The three latter are inconsiderable 
points in the north-east part of the county, but possessing much natural beauty, 
and surrounded by a fine growing country. Peoria is situated at the outlet of lake 
Peoria, about equidistant from the north-east and south-west extremes of the county. 
This place has been so often described, and is so well known by every citizen of 
the state, that a particular notice of it here is deemed unnecessary. Suffice it to 
say, that had nature herself attempted to give any ' nice touches and finishings,' 
to what is already so perfect, she might have exhibited no additional evidence of 
skill. 

" In concluding this description of Peoria county, the writer feels authorized to 
say, that in excellency of soil, abundance of water, timber, stone, stone-coal, lime- 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 97 



stone, freestone, &c. this county is unsurpassed by any portion of the Bounty 
Tract, and holds out, at this time, strong inducements to the emigrating farmer or 
mechanic to make this his permanent, his prosperous, his happy ' home.'' " 

The seat of justice is the town of Peoria, now the most important place in the 
Military Bounty Tract : the others are mostly small villages, lately settled : they 
are, Rome, containing 15 or 20 houses, 18 miles north-east of Peoria, at the head 
of lake Peoria, on Illinois river; Chillicothe, 3 miles above Rome, on Illinois river, 
with about 30 houses and mills in the vicinity on Snatchwine creek ; Detroit, on 
Illinois river, six miles above Peoria ; Northampton, 25 miles north-east of Peoria, 
on the Galena and Chicago roads; Allentown, on Illinois river, between Rome and 
Chillicothe ; Kickapoo, twelve miles west of Peoria ; Hudson, nine miles west of 
Peoria; Kingston, on Illinois river, with abundance of stone-coal and building stone 
in its vicinity ; Harkness, having excellent limestone for building, splendid prairie, 
and first-rate timber, 20 miles west from Peoria ; Wheeling, two miles east of 
Harkness ; Caledonia, one mile south-east from Harkness ; Aurora, on the head- 
waters of Copperas creek, four miles south-east of Harkness; Charleston, 18 miles 
north-west of Peoria ; Lower Peoria, three miles from Peoria, and half a mile from 
Illinois river. 

PERR Y County is one of the smallest in the state, and is situated between 
Washington on the north, Jackson on the south, Jefferson and Franklin on the 
east, and Randolph county on the west. . It is in extent from east to west 24, and 
from north to south 18 miles ; containing an area of 432 square miles. The sur- 
face of the county is tolerably level, about one third prairie, and chiefly a good 
second-rate soil. It is watered mostly by the Beaucoup creek and its branches, 
and the Little Muddy creek which touches its eastern border: both these streams 
traverse the county from north to south. The agricultural products and exports 
are considerable for its population : they consist of the usual staples of this sec- 
tion of the state. 

Elk Prairie lies between the little Muddy and Beaucoup creeks, and is about five 
miles in extent. It is dry and tolerably level ; soil second-rite, and the settlement 
contains about 25 families. 

Lost Prairie, seven miles west of Pinckneyville, is three miles long, and one 
mile and a half wide. It has a rich soil, high undulating surface, and a good set- 
tlement. 

Pinckndyville, the seat of justice, is a small village, situated at the head of Four- 
mile Prairie, on the west side of Beaucoup creek. It is surrounded by a large 
settlement of industrious farmers, and contains a population of about 100 persons. 

PIKE County is situated in the southern part of the Military Bounty Tract, 
and extends from the Mississippi to the Illinois river. At its first formation in 
1821, it comprised not only the Military Bounty Tract, but likewise the whole of 
the state lying north of the Illinois river, and extending from the Mississippi to 
lake Michigan, and which is now divided into upwards of twenty counties. It is 
bounded north by Adams and Schuyler, south by Calhoun, east by Greene and 
Morgan counties, from which it is separated by the Illinois, and west by the Mis- 
sissippi river. It varies in extent from east to west from 17 to 36, and from north 
to south from 24 to 30 miles, and contains an area of about 780 square miles. Pike 
county is washed on its western boundary by the Mississippi river, and on the east- 
ern by the Illinois ; in the interior it has the Snicartee Slough, which runs paral- 
lel to the Mississippi through the whole of its western border: this affords a steam- 
boat navigation to the town of Atlas, at a full stage of water. It is also watered 
by Bay, Pigeon, Hadley, Key's, Black, Dutch Church, and Six-mile creeks, which 
fall into the Mississippi, and M'Kees, and others, which fall into the Illinois : these 
all furnish good mill-seats. The land in this county is various ; much of it is gently 
undulating, with a good soil on the rivers. Considerable tracts are subject to inun- 
dation at the spring floods, particularly between the Mississippi and the Snicartee 
Slough. In the interior are considerable tracts of table-land, high, rolling, and 
rich, with a due proportion of timber and prairie. In a pleasant vale on Key's 
- 9 






98 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



creek, is a salt-spring, 20 feet in diameter, which boils from the earth , and throws 
off a stream of some size, forming a salt pond in its vicinity. Salt has been made 
here, though not in great quantitiea This county contained in 1833 a population 
of 6037 persons. 

Pittsfield, the seat of justice, is situated on a high and healthful prairie, about 
11 miles west of the Illinois river. The country around it is fertile, and propor- 
tionably distributed into timber and prairie, and is rapidly settling. The other 
towns are Montezuma and Augusta on Illinois river, Griggsville, Perry, Pleasant 
Val6, Kinderhook, and Atlas : these are all small villages, lately located. 

Augusta is on the west bank of the Illinois river, 10 miles east of Pittsfield, and 
22 miles from Jacksonville. It is opposite the termination of the Jacksonville, 
Lynnville, and Winchester rail-road, which is now under contract Another com- 
pany hasjaeen chartered to extend this line from Augusta, by Pittsfield and Atlas, 
to Louisiana, Mo., whence another line of rail-road has been projected, and a char- 
ter granted by the legislature of Missouri, across to Columbia and the Missouri 
river. 

Perry is situated on section twenty-one, township three south, three west. It 
has two or three stores, several families, and is a pleasant village, surrounded with 
a fine country, diversified with timber and prairie. 

POPE County lies in the southern part of the state, and is washed on the south 
and east by the Ohio river, which separates it from the state of Kentucky ; on the 
north, it is bounded by Gallatin, and on the west, by Johnson county. Its greatest 
length from north to south is 36 miles, and it varies in width from 30 to 11 miles. 
Its area is about 576 square miles. The interior of the county is watered by Big 
Bay, Lusk's, Grand Pierre, and Big creek. It is generally well timbered with all 
the variety of trees that abound in the southern part of the state. The surface is 
generally level, except on the banks of the Ohio. The soil is mostly sandy, but 
yields good crops. This county was formed from Gallatin and Johnson in 1816, 
and contained in 1835 a population of 3756. 

The natural curiosity, called the Cave in Rock, is well known to all the navi- 
gators of the Ohio river: it is situated on the bank of the Ohio, where the dividing 
line between Pope and Gallatin counties strikes the river, about 30 miles below 
the mouth of the Wabash. It a large cave, supposed by the Indians to be the 
habitation of the Great Spirit 

The following description of this cave 'is given by Thaddeus M. Harris, an 
English tourist, who visited it in the spring of 1803, a writer who has done justice 
to the West in his descriptions generally. " For about three or four miles before 
you come to this place, you are presented with a scene truly romantic. On the 
Illinois side of the river, you see large ponderous rocks piled one upon another, of 
different colours, shapes, and sizes. Some appear to have gone through the hands 
of the most skilful artist ; some represent the ruins of ancient edifices : others 
thrown promiscuously in and out of the river, as if nature intended to show us with 
what ease she could handle those mountains of solid rock. In some places you see 
purling streams winding their course down their rugged front ; while in others, the 
rocks project so far, that they seem almost disposed to leave their doubtful situa- 
tions. After a short relief from this scene, you come to a second, which is some- 
thing similar to the first; and here, with strict scrutiny, you can discover the cave. 
Before its mouth stands a delightful grove of cypress trees, arranged immediately 
on the bank of the river. They have a fine appearance, and add much to the 
cheerfulness of the place. 

" The mouth of the cave is but a few feet above the ordinary level of the river, 
and is formed by a semicircular arch of about 80 feet at its base, and 25 feet in 
height, the top projecting considerably over, forming a regular concave. From the 
entrance to the extremity, which is about 180 feet, it has a regular and gradual 
ascent On either side is a solid bench of rock ; the arch coming to a point about 
the middle of the cave, where you discover an opening sufficiently large to receive 
the body of a man, through which comes a small stream of fine water, made use 
of by those who visit this place. From this hole, a second cave is discovered. 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 99 

whose dimensions, form, etc., are not known. The rock is of limestone. The 
sides of the cave are covered with inscriptions, names of persons, dates, etc." The 
trees have been cut down, and the entrance into the cave exposed to view. 

In 1797, this cave was the place of resort and security to Mason, a notorious 
robber, and his gang, who were accustomed to plunder and murder the crews of 
boats, while descending the Ohio. It still serves as a temporary abode for those 
wanting shelter in case of shipwreck, or other accidents, which frequently happen 
to emigrants. Families have been known to reside here for a considerable space 
of time. The rock is of limestone, abounding with shells. 

Irish Settlement is on the Ohio river, about 15 miles above Golconda : it is on a 
rich alluvial soil, and contains about 100 families. 

Lewis's Settlement is in the southern part of the county, above and opposite the 
mouth of Cumberland river. This is the oldest settlement in this part of the state, 
and contains 60 or 70 families. 

Whitesides' Settlement is 12 miles west of Golconda, on Big Bay creek and 
the state road, and contains a population of 100 families. 

Golconda, the county town, is%ituated on the west bank of the Ohio, at the 
mouth of Lusk's creek, about 80 miles above the mouth of the Ohio : it contains 
several stores, the county buildings, &c., and about 150 inhabitants. 

PUTNAM County is situated on both sides of the Illinois river, the greater 
portion being on the western side of that stream. It is among the largest counties 
in the state, comprising an area of about 43 full townships, or 1548 square miles, 
and is 45 miles in extent from north to south on the eastern boundary, and 42 on 
the western, and from east to west 36 miles. The county is bounded north by 
Ogle and Whiteside, south by Tazewell and Peoria, east by La Salle, and west by 
Henry and Knox counties. 

The streams which water this county are the Illinois and its branches, Bureau, 
Crow, and Sandy creeks, &c. ; also, the head-waters of Spoon river, which traverse 
the western border : these furnish many excellent mill-seats. Some of the finest 
lands in the state are in this county : there are beautiful groves of timber, and rich 
undulating and dry prairies ; a few tracts of prairie are level and wet, and there 
are some small lakes and ponds, and sornQ swamps, in the northern part. 

The timber comprises most of the varieties common to this part of the state : 
besides oaks of several species, there are black and white walnut, sugar-rnaple, 
blue, white, and hoop ash, elm, cherry, aspen, iron-wood, buck-eye, linden, locust, 
mulberry, &c. Various mineral productions exist, and are found in sufficient quan- 
tities : the chief are limestone, sandstone, freestone, and bituminous coal. 

The religious denominations in Putnam county are Methodists, Presbyterians, 
Baptists, and Congregational ists: there is a county Bible society, a temperance 
society, a county Sunday School Union, a number of Sunday Schools, a county 
lyceum, and several other philanthropic societies. The towns are Hennem'n, the 
seat of justice, for the county, Princeton, Windsor, Providence, Floria, Henry, Dor- 
chester, Wyoming, and Lacon. 

Hennepin is situated in the great bend of tl^e Illinois, on the east side of the 
river : it is about 50 mileaiabove Peoria. Its site is an elevated prairie, the surface 
gently ascending from the river, with an excellent body of rich land adjacent : 
steamboats ascend to Hennepin, at a moderate stage of the water. This place was 
laid out in 1831, and now contains ten stores, four groceries, three taverns, three 
lawyers, four physicians, a Presbyterian and a Methodist congregation, a court- 
house and jail, a good school, and about 500 inhabitants. 

Lacon, on the east side of the Illinois, 30 miles above Peoria, and 20 below Hen- 
nepin, is a thriving little town, built on the second bank of the river, and contains 
four stores, a large steam flouring and steam saw mill, and 150 inhabitants. The 
country in its vicinity, especially on the east side of the Illinois river, is well set- 
tled, and is a fine agricultural district, of which Lacon will be the place of busi- 
ness. There is in the vicinity of the town an abundance of fine timber, building- 
stone, and stone-coal. The state legislature recently passed acts for the location 
of three stato roads to and through this place ; two to connect with the ferry, and 



100 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



one running from north to south ; and also chartered the Lacon academy, and the 
Lacon manufacturing company. 

Windsor is a small town on Bureau creek, 10 miles west from Hennepin, and 
on the main state road from Peoria by Princeton to Galena. It has two stores, two 
groceries, one tavern, one lawyer, one physician, one minister of the gospel, and 
about 100 inhabitants. A grist and saw mill are in the vicinity. 

The subjoined notice of Putnam county is from a late number of the Hennepin 
Journal : 

" Almost every county in the state has had its topography and history published to 
the world, in some one or more of the public journals of the day; while to ours, which 
is one of the most important in the northern part of the state, there has been no- 
thing said ; and at a distance, there are few who have heard that there is such a coun- 
ty in the state as Putnam. And in order to obviate this, and let the readers of the 
Journal at a distance know something of this region, and its progress of improve- 
ment, we will attempt a brief account of the history and topography of Putnam 
county. 

" Putnam county was organized in the year 1831, but did not increase rapidly 
in population until after the termination of the Black Hawk war in 1S32 and '33. 
But after the conclusion of hostilities, and when security was restored to the settler, 
immigrants came in from every quarter of the union, and spread over the country 
in every direction like a flood, so that nearly every grove of timber soon found an 
inhabitant of a very different stamp from the native red man, who, but a short time 
since, was lord of the grove and the prairie, and who roamed over these fair plains 
unmolested, having none to dispute his right to the soil, or disturb him in his scenes 
of pleasure at his wigwam, and enjoyments of the chase. 

" And every year since has added large numbers to the enterprizing population 
who first planted themselves around the beautiful groves of Putnam ; and so rapid 
has been the increase, that not only immediately around the groves is the settler 
found, but the large prairies to a very considerable extent are studded over with 
houses and farms, presenting to the eye of the beholder a scene of singular beauty 
and grandeur. Putnam county now contains about 1500 voters, and will in a short 
time, in point of population and political strength, vie with any county in the state, 
except the county of Sangamon. Putnam county is situated on both sides of the 
Illinois river, and composed of rich and beautiful undulating prairies, interspersed 
with fine groves of excellent timber, and abounding in bituminous coal of good 
quality, together with a sufficient supply of rock for building purposes, and is 
watered by a number of fine streams, possessing a large amount of hydraulic power, 
which on several of them is now pretty well improved, particularly on Bureau and 
Crow creeks. 

' We have no hesitation in saying that Putnam county possesses agricultural 
and commercial advantages equal to those of any county in the state, and that it 
has as beautiful a surface and as ricli a soil, with as good a supply of timber, as is 
found anywhere in the west. The land being dry and rolling, is pleasant and easy 
to cultivate, and yields to the industrious fanner an abundant reward for his labour, 
producing every thing incident to the climate in the greatest profusion, and with 
an ease to the cultivator that would appear almost incredible to the people of the 
states farther east, who are accustomed to a hard and sterile soil, when compared 
with ours. 

" The inhabitants of this county are enterprizing and intelligent, having emi- 
grated mainly from Ohio, New-York, and New England, and coming here with 
their accustomed habits of industry, they soon succeed in subduing these fertile 
prairies to a state of high cultivation. And such is the comparative ease with 
which land can be brought into cultivation, that the farmer will accomplish here 
in three years, what could not be attained in the timbered parts of Ohio and Indi- 
ana, with the same labour, in ten ; which circumstance alone, when duly considered 
by him who is about to emigrate to the west to find a home, is an inducement 
amply sufficient to give a decided preference to a prairie country. And we would 
be glad to see the enterprizing citizens of the older states, particularly farmers and 
mechanics, coming in amongst us by hundreds, and purchasing the rich prairies, 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 101 



and spreading over them their luxuriant fields of grain, and herds of cattle and 
sheep, which will soon reward them amply for the labour and difficulties attending 
the settlement of a new country. On account of the great pressure in the eastern 
states, we anticipate a heavy emigration to the west this season, and as we have 
an abundance of room, we will welcome those who may come, hoping that they 
will find a desirable home amongst us." 

RANDOLPH County is bounded north by Monroe, St. Clair, and Washington ; 
east by Perry and Jackson, and west by Monroe county and the Mississippi river. 
Its greatest length is 29 miles, and greatest breadth 26 ; but it is rendered irregu- 
lar by the curvatures of the Mississippi river, and contains an area of 520 square 
miles. This county is traversed by the Kaskaskia river and its branches, Horse, 
Nine-mile, and Plum creeks ; also by St. Mary's and Gagnic creeks. At the 
mouth of the Kaskaskia commences the American Bottom, which extends along 
the banks of the Mississippi northwardly upwards of 80 miles. It is the most fer- 
tile tract of land in the state. Upon this the first settlements were made by the 
French of Canada. The villages still retain much of their antique appearance. 
Below the mouth of the Kaskaskia, the bank of the Mississippi is generally high 
and rocky, affording good sites for towns. In the interior of the county, the surface 
is frequently undulating, and sometimes hilly. Randolph is one of the oldest 
counties in Illinois, having been formed in 1795 ; and it contained in 1835 a popu- 
lation of 5695 individuals. 

In the north-western part of the county are the ruins of Fort Chartres, a large 
stone fortification, erected by the French while in possession of Illinois. It is situ- 
ated half a mile from the Mississippi, and three miles from Prairie du Rocher. 

It was originally built by the French in 1720, to defend themselves against the 
Spaniards, who were then taking possession of the country on the Mississippi. It 
was rebuilt in 1756. The circumstances, character, form, and history of this fort, 
are interesting, as it is intimately connected with the early history of this country. 
Once it was a most formidable piece of masonry, the materials of which were 
brought three or four miles from the bluffs. It was originally an irregular quad- 
rangle, the exterior sides of which were 490 feet in circumference. Within the 
walls were the commandant's and commissary's houses, a magazine for stores, bar- 
racks, powder-magazine, bake-house, guard-house, and prison. 

This prodigious military work is now a heap of ruins. Many of the hewn stones 
have been removed by the people to Kaskaskia. A slough from the Mississippi 
approached and undermined the wall on one side in 1772. Over the whole fort is 
a considerable growth of trees, and most of its walls and buildings have fallen 
down, and lie in one promiscuous ruin. 

Kaskaskia, the seat of justice, was formerly the seat of government of the terri- 
tory of Illinois: it is situated on the right bank of the Kaskaskia river, seven miles 
above its junction with the Mississippi. The other towns are Prairie du Rocher, 
Chester, Liberty, and Columbus. 

Prairie du Rocher is an ancient French village, in the north-west part of the 
county, on the American Bottom, near the rocky bluffs, from which it derives its 
name, and 14 miles north-west of Kaskaskia. It is in a low, unhealthy situation, 
along a small creek of the same name, which rises in the bluffs, passes across the 
American Bottom, and enters the Mississippi. The houses are built in the French 
style, the streets very narrow, and the inhabitants preserve more of the simplicity 
of character and habits peculiar to early times, than any village in Illinois. Prairie 
du Rocher in 1766 contained 14 families ; the population at present is estimated 
at 35 families. 

Chester, just below the mouth of the Kaskaskia river, on the bank of the Mis- 
sissippi, is situated on an elevated strip of bottom land at the foot of the bluffs, and 
is a commercial dep6t for the country back. Exports by steamboats for 1836, 
$150,000 ; imports, $130,000. It has five stores, three groceries, one tavern, one 
physician, two ministers of the gospel, four warehouses, one steam saw and grist 
mill, one castor-oil factory, and 280 inhabitants. 

Liberty is on the left bank of the Mississippi, about 10 miles below the mouth 

9* 



102 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



of the Kaskaskia river : it contains 150 inhabitants, has a steam, saw, and flouring 
mill, six stores, three groceries, two taverns, one minister of the gospel, and two 
physicians. 

Columbus is near the Flat Prairie, in the north-east part of the county, 18 miles 
from Kaskaskia : it contains an academy and a congregation of Reformed Presby- 
terians or Covenanters, who have a resident minister and a respectable society. 

ROCK ISLAND County is situated in the north-west part of the state, on both 
sides of Rock river, and is an irregularly shaped district, extending along the Mis- 
sissippi, following the current of the stream, for upwards of 60 miles. It was or- 
ganized from parts of Jo Daviess and Mercer counties in 1831, and contains an 
area of about 432 square miles. Its population in 1835 amounted to 616 individu- 
als, but is now estimated at from 1200 to 1500. 

The interior of the county is watered by Rock river, Copperas creek, Lake 
creek, &c. The soil along the Mississippi for 25 miles is alluvion, somewhat 
sandy, and rich : in the interior of the county, there is much good land between 
the water-courses, with some bluffs, knobs, ravines, and sink holes. South of Rock 
river, a portion of the county is rather inferior, with some wet prairie and swamps. 
Rock Island, in the Mississippi river, is in this county : it commences three miles 
above the mouth of Rock river, and is three miles long, and from one half to one 
mile wide, with limestone rock for its base. Fort Armstrong is on its south end : 
on two sides, the rock is twenty feet in perpendicular height above the river, and 
forms the foundation wall uf tlig fort A portion of the island iS cultivated. 

The towns in the county are Stephenson, the seat of justice, Rock Island City, 
Milan, Rockport, and Port Ijyron. 

Stephenson is situated on the. Mississippi, opposite the lower end of Rock Island, 
two miles above the rflb.Uh of Rock River, and about 330 above St. Louis. It has 
20 or 30 families, and several stores, at which a considerable amount of business is 
transacted. The fine situation of this place, its natural commercial advantages, 
I and the rapidly increasing population of the fertile country around it on both sides 
of the Mississippi, will no doubt render it in a short time one of the most con- 
siderable towns in this section of Illinois. 

Rock Island city is laid out on a magnificent scale, at the junction and in the 
forks between Rock river and the Mississippi. In connexion, a company has been 
chartered to cut a canal from the MiBsissippi, near the head of the upper rapids, 
across to Rock river, by which, it is said, an immense hydraulic power will be 
gained. The town site, as surveyed, extends over a large area, and includes Ste- 
phenson the seat of justice.. 

Milan (formerly known as M'Neal'a Landing) is situated on the east bank of 
the Mississippi, 12 miles above Fort Armstrong, and 90 below Galena. The town 
has a fine steamboat landing, and contains two stores, two taverns, a new one 
building, and a good school-house in progress of erection. There are four saw- 
mills within a short distance, and twelve within ten miles. 

The country in the vicinity is abundantly supplied with timber, limestone, and 
coal. There have been several boat-loads of coal taken from there this season to Ga- 
lena, it being the nearest coal to that point yet discovered. The company who 
own this site obtained a charter at the last session of the legislature for a canal to 
run from Rock river to the Mississippi, terminating at this point, leaving Rock 
river at the head of the rapids, avoiding the only serious obstacle to the navigation 
of that stream by a canal of only four miles in length. This will open through 
Milan all the trade of the Pekatonica and Rock river country, which is one of the 
best agricultural districts in the state. The transportation of coal alone would 
make the stock of this canal good property, there being inexhaustible beds along 
the whole length of it. It is also surrounded with an excellent farming country, 
which is rapidly filling up with an enterprising population. Four colonies have 
settled back in Henry county ; and this is their nearest point on the river, and the 
commissioners of some of them are interested in Milan. 

Rockport and Port Byron are both situated on the left bank of the Mississippi 
river, and are small and recently settled places : the latter is in the northern part 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 103 I 



of the county, about 25 miles above the mouth of Rock river, and the former about 
seven miles below that stream. 

SANGAMON County was formed from Bond and Madison counties, in 1821 ; 
and although considerably reduced from its original dimensions, is the largest and 
most populous in the state : it is 48 miles in extent from north to south, 42 miles 
from east to west on its southern, and upwards of 60 on its northern boundary ; 
containing an area about equal to sixty foil townships, or 2160 square miles. The 
county is bounded north by Tazewell and a small part of M'Lean, east by Macon, 
south by Montgomery and Macoupin, and west by Morgan and Cass counties. 

The county of Sangamon, ever since its first settlement, has been justly esteemed 
the most desirable tract in the state, and it consequently has been settled with great 
rapidity. Previous to 1819, there was not a single white inhabitant on the waters 
of the Sangamon river : at the last census, the inhabitants numbered 17,573 : they 
doubtless now amount to upwards of 20,000. The county is watered by the San- 
gamon and its tributaries : the chief of these are the south fork of Sangamon, Salt 
creek and its branches, Sugar and Kickapoo creeks: these all rise without the 
limits of the county. In addition, there are a number of small and beautiful streams 
which have their rise and course within the county ; these empty into the Sanga- 
rnon on both sides of the river, and furnish the inhabitants not only with excellent 
water, but with numerous valuable mill-seats, besides being lined with extensive 
tracts of first-rate timbered land. 

The whole territory, watered by the Sangamon river and its branches, is an Ar- 
cadian region, in which nature has delighted to bring together her happiest combi- 
nations of landscape. With the exception of the Qre^k bottoms, and the interior 
of the large prairies, it has a beautiful undulating-' surface, sufficient to drain the 
surface of surplus water, and to render it one of" the finest agricultural districts in 
the United States. The prairies are not so extensive as to be incapable of settle- 
ment from want of timber. The Sangamon itself is a fine boatable stream of the 
Illinois, entering it on the east side, 100 miles above the mouth of the Illinois. All 
the tributaries that enter this beautiful river have sandy and pebbly bottoms, and 
pure and transparent waters. There is in this district a happy proportion of tim- 
ber and prairie lands : the soil is of great fertility, being a rich calcareous loam, 
from one to three feet deep, intermixed with fine sand. The climate is not very 
different from that of the central parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the lati- 
tude being about the same. The summer range for cattle is inexhaustible. The 
growth of forest trees is similar to that of the rich lands in the western country in 
general. The proportion of locust, black walnut, peccan, and other trees that in- 
dicate the richest soils, is very great All who have visited this fine tract of coun- 
try admire the beauty of the landscape which nature has here painted in primeval 
freshness. So delightful a region was early selected by immigrants from New 
England, New- York, and North Carolina: more than 200 families had settled them- 
selves here before it was surveyed. It now constitutes several populous counties, 
inhabited by thriving farmers. 

" Arcadian vales, with vine-hung bowers, 

And grassy nooks, 'neath beechen shade, 
Where dance the never-resting hours, 

To music of the bright cascade; 
Skies softly beautiful, and blue, 

As Italy's,. with stars as bright; 
Flowers rich as morning's sun-rise hue, 

And gorgeous as the gemm'd mid-night. 
Land of the West ! green Forest-Land, 
Thus hath Creation's bounteous hand 
Upon thine ample bosom flung 
Charms such as were her gift when the gray world was young !" 

The prairies frequently contain fine groves of timber, some of which, from their 
appearance, have received the names of Elk-heart Grove, Buffalo-heart Grove, &c. 
These groves are generally elevated above the surrounding prairie, and are most 
advantageous situations for settlement. The inhabitants chiefly reside on the mar- 



104 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



s of the timber, extending their plantations to any distance into the prairie. 
Besides the groves above-mentioned, there are Irish Grove, Spring Island Grove, 
Sugar Grove, &c. 

Elk-heart Grove lies north of Sangamon river, and about 20 miles north-east 
from Springfield, in eighteen north, three west It is a beautiful grove of timber, 
containing 600 or 700 acres, on the right hand of the great road leading to Peoria, 
Ottawa, and Chicago. The timber is oak, walnut, linden, hickory, sugar-tree, etc. 
The prairie adjoining is rich soil, rather wet, and furnishes fine summer and winter 
range for cattle. Several femilies are settled here. 

Buffalo-heart Grove lies 14 miles north-east from Springfield, and six miles south- 
easterly from Elk-heart Grove, which it resembles. It is about three miles long, 
and one mile and a half wide, containing about four sections of timber, and 25 or 
30 families. The rushes, which cover the prairies around, furnish winter food for 
cattle. 

Irish Grove is on the road from Springfield to Peoria, 18 miles from the former 
place. It is two miles from Salt creek, and is three miles long, and one mile and 
a half wide, and contains a settlement of about 50 families. The land is good, 
and the timber is chiefly oak of various kinds. 

Spring Island Grove is from 14 to 20 miles west of Springfield, on the road to 
Jacksonville. It lies at the head of Spring creek, and is an excellent timbered 
tract, surrounded with rich prairie, from six to ten ttiiles long, and from two to 
three miles wide, and has a flourishing settlement. Many excellent springs are 
found in this tract of country. 

Sugar Grove, in the north part of the county, is about 20 miles north of Spring- 
field. It is a fine tract of timber surrounded with fertile prairie, about three miles 
long, and one mile wide, with a respectable settlement. 

On the head-waters of $ichland creek is a fine settlement of 50 or 60 families, 
in township seventeen north, seven west, and fourteen miles north-west from 
Springfield. The land is high, dry, undulating, and rich. Here is an excellent 
flouring-mill by ox-power, and a carding machine and clothier's works, for dressing 
cloth. 

The products of Sangamon county are beef, cattle, pork, wheat, flour, corn-meal, 
butter, cheese, &c. ; and soon will include almost every article of a rich agricul- 
tural country. The principal part of the surplus produce is sent from Beardstown ; 
but much of its imports will be received, and its exports sent off by its own river, 
which has already been navigated by steam to the vicinity of Springfield, and when 
some of its obstructions are removed, will afford convenient navigation for steam- 
boats of the smaller class. 

The county seat of Sangamon is Springfield, one of the most thriving towns in 
Illinois, and recently selected by the legislature as the permanent capital of the 
state after the year 1840. The other towns are, Huron, Petersburg, New Salem, 
Salisbury, Athens, Sangamon, Berlin, Auburn, Edinburg, Rochester, Mechanics- 
burg, George Town, Mount Pulaski, and Postville. Of these, after Springfield, 
the most important are Athens and Petersburg : the former is about fifteen miles 
west of north from Springfield, and two from the Sangamon river ; it contains seve- 
ral stores, one steam-mill for sawing and flouring, and about 75 families. Peters- 
burg, situated on a beautiful dry prairie bottom on the west bank of the Sangamon 
river, and 22 miles from Springfield, contains seven stores and one grocery, a steam, 
saw, and grist mill, and 150 inhabitants. The river is navigable to this point for 
steamboats of 100 tons burthen, two such having already been navigated thus far. 
The natural advantages of Petersburg will no doubt make it in time a town of im- 
portance, and the place of export and import for Sangamon county. The first sale 
of lots took place in 1835, and these have in many cas.es been resold at an advance 
of from 100 to 600 per cent. New Salem, on the west side of the Sangamon, and 
19 or 20 miles north-west from Springfield, has three or four stores, a grist and 
saw mill, and about 30 families. 

It is proposed to erect a new county from the north-western part of Sangamon. 
This will contain about 15 full townships, or 540 square miles of surface, and will 
include within its boundaries 60 miles of the lower part of Sangamon river, with 






SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 105 



a part of Salt creek. It will be bounded north by Tazewell, south by part of San- 
gamon, and on the northwest by the north-east corner of Schuyler and the extreme 
south-east corner of Fulton county : from the two last it will be separated by'the 
Illinois river. Its towns'will be Huron, Petersburg, New Salem, and Athens, be- 
fore noticed. No legislative action has yet taken place in relation to the above ; 
but the great extent and rapidly increasing population of Sangamon county, will, 
no doubt, render a division of its territory necessary in a short time. 

SCHUYLER County lies west of the Illinois river, which forms its eastern 
boundary, and separates it from Morgan and Cass counties ; on the north are Fulton 
and M'Uonough, on the south and on the west, Adams and Hancock counties. It 
extends from north to south 30 miles, and from east to west from 36 to 18 ; con- 
taining about 830 square miles. It is watered by the Illinois river, and by Crook- 
ed, M'Kee's, and Sugar creeks. Along the Illinois river is a considerable amount 
of land inundated at high floods, generally heavily timbered, which is the case 
with more than one-half the county. The middle and northern portions are divi- 
ded into timber and p^oirie of an excellent quality. Along Crooked creek is an 
extensive body of fiyjlnbe/. Sugar creek also furnishes another body of timber, 
eight or ten.in.iles Differ Rich mines of iron ore have lately been discovered on 
Crooked creelv. The' towns in this county are Rushville, Mount Sterling, Erie, 
La Grange, Brooklyn, and Schuyler. 

The county seat is Rushville, which is situated on a beautiful prairie, ten miles 
from the Illinois river, and about north-west from BeanTstown. 

Mount Sterling, 12 miles from the Illinois and 17 south-west from Rushville, is 
a thriving village of about 50 houses. It was laid off in the fall of 1833, but did 
not improve much until 1836: it now contains five stores, 3 taverns, a church, 
a school-house, a number of mechanics, and about 200 inhabitants. Coal of a good 
quality is found within one mile of the town. 

SHELBY County extends 36 miles from east to west, and 30 from north to 
south, containing 1080 square miles; and lies north of Fayette and Effingham 
counties, south of Macon, east of Coles, and west of Montgomery and Sangamon 
counties. The population is now estimated at 6,500. It is watered by the Kas- 
kaskia and its branches, also by the head streams of the south fork of the Sanga- 
mon and Little Wabash rivers. This county has a large amount of excellent land, 
both timber and prairie, with a good soil, and the surface moderately undulating. 

Shelbyville, the County Town, is situated near the centre of the county, on an 

elevated site, on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, 40 miles north-east of 

Vandalia, and about 60 south-east of Springfield. It contains several stores and 

groceries, and a population of about 250 inhabitants. The settlements around it 

i are extensive, and the country fertile and productive. 

ST. CLAIR County is bounded, north by Madison county, south by Randolph 
and Monroe, east by Clinton and Washington, and west by M'onroe county and the 
Mississippi river. It is from 12 to 30 miles in length and thfljfeame in breadth, and 
contains an area of about 6S4 square miles. This county is watered by the Kas- 
kaskia river, and Silver, Richlnnd, and Cahokia creeks; on the west, it is washed 
| by the Mississippi. The surface is generally undulating, and sometimes hilly. The 
! ?oil is various; much of it is firt-t-rate, and is proportionably divided into timber, 
| prairie, and barrens. On the banks of the Mississippi, the low and fertile alluvion 
of the American Bottom extends through the county, parallel to the river. Ex- 
tensive coal-banks exist a-log the bluffs, from which St. Louis is partially supplied 
with fuel. This is the oldest county in the state, and was formed by the legisla- 
ture of the North- Western territory in 1794: it then included all the settlements 
on the eastern side of the Mississippi. Its inhabitants in 1835 amounted to 9055. 
Looking-Glass Prairie is a large, rich, beautiful, and undulating tract, lying be- 
tween Silver and Sugar creeks, and on the eastern border of the county. It com- 
mences near the base line, in range six west, and extends northward about twenty 
miles into Madison county, and is from six to ten miles in width. Few prairies in 




106 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



the state present more eligible situations for farms than., this. Extensive settle- 
ments are on its borders, and project into its interior. &, f . 

Ogle's Prairie, five miles north of Belleville, is about^ve miles long, and from 
one to two miles wide, surrounded, and partly covered, fcith a flourishing settle- 
ment and fine farms. It is a rich, rolling, and fertile tract 

Union Grove is on the borders of Looking-Glass Prairie, and on the east side of 
Silver creek. The land is excellent, and the settlement extensive. It is some- : 
times called, Padfield's Settlement. s. 

Belleville, the seat of justice, is a neat and thriving vijgge, situated on elevated 
ground, 13 miles south-east from St. Louis. The other towns are, Lebanon, Illi- 
nois Town, Cahokia, and Prairie du Pont. 

STEPHENSON County extends along the northern boundary of the state, 
and is in length from east to west 27, and from north to south 21 miles in extent ; 
containing an area of 567 square miles. It was formed in 1837 from Jo Daviess 
and Winnebago counties, and is bounded north by Wisconsin Territory, south by 
Jo Daviess and Ogle, east by Winnebago, and west by Jo J)aviess county. It is 
traversed by the Pekatonica (a fine navigable water, of WtYt.b() JHjrds in width) 
and its branches on "the north, and the heads of Plum creeWahdWheCi(Dall streams 
in the south-west The surface of the county is mostly a rich and umhjlating prai- 
rie, with tracts of hilly barrens and oak openings. The population is estimated at 
frem 400 to 500, and is rapidly increasing. Its county seat is iiQt.yet established. 

TAZEWELL County is bounded on the north by Putnam, south by Sangamon, 
east by M'Lean, and west by Peoria and pulton counties, from which it is sepa- 
rated by the Illinois river. Its. extent from north to south is 48 miles; from east 
; to west, on the southern boundary, 45, and on the northern, 10 miles. Area in 
square miles, about 1220. Much of the soil is rich, with the surface undulating, 
in which prairie land predominates. On the bluffs of the Mackinaw and other 
streams, the land is broken, and the timber mostly oak. Tazewell is watered on 
the west by the Illinois river, and the creeks which flow into it; in the central and 
northern parts of the county, by the Mackinaw river and its branches ; and on the 
south-east by Sugar creek, a tributary of the Sangamon river. 

Tremont is the seat of justice, and is pleasantly situated in a beautiful prairie, 
almost half-way between Pekin and Mackinaw, ten miles from the Illinois river, 
and nearly in the centre of tjie county. It was laid off in 1835, and now contains 
several stores, about 70 houses, and upwards of 300 inhabitants. The other towns ( 
are Pekin, Wesley City, Havanna, ^ikckinaw, Dillon, Bloomingdale, Washington, 
Little Detroit, and Hanover. 

Mackinaw, formerly the >^at of justice of the county, is situated about eight 
miles east of Tremont. The situation is beautiful, and the scenery about the town 
highly picturesque. Mackinaw river, half a mile distant, furnishes a permanent 
and extensive water-power. The town contains about 100 inhabitants, and has five 
stores. The advantages which Mackinaw possesses have attracted the attention 
of speculators to this place, and large investments have been made in the town and 
its vicinity. The excellent and well-settled country around, the eligibility of the 
site, its important position on the great chain of internal improvements, and, 
above all, its valuable water-power, so much needed in this section of the state, 
must ultimately render this town a place of importance. 

Havanna is on the Illinois, opposite the mouth of Spoon river. It has an eligible 
situation on a high sand ridge, fifty feet above the highest floods of the river, and 
is well situated to receive the trade of a pretty extensive country on both sides of 
the Illinois, it being on the great thoroughfare from Indiana, by Danville and 
Springfield, to the counties that lie to the west and north. 

Washington is a handsome village in township twenty-six north, three west, and 
14 miles north of Tremont. It is situated on the south side of Holland's Grove, on 
' the border of a delightful prairie, and contains five stores, two groceries, four phy- 
sicians, various mechanics, a steam saw-mill, and about 300 inhabitants. 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



107 



UNION County is situated in the southern part of the state, and is bounded 
north by the counties of Jackson and Franklin, east by Johnson, south by Alexan- 
der, and west by the Mississippi river. Its greatest length is 24 miles, and ita 
breadth 18; area, 398 square miles. This county is washed on the west by the 
Mississippi river ; the. interior is watered by Big- Muddy river, Clear creefc, and the 
sources of Cash uvef. Much of this county is high rolling timber land the soil 
is mostly second JK. third rate, with some rich and fertile alluvial bottom. It was 
formed from Johnson in 1818, and in 1835 contained 4156 inhabitants. 

The Grand Tower is-a-perpendicular sand rock, rising from the bed of the Mis- 
sissippi in the north-west corner of the county, and a short distance above the 
mouth of the Big Muddy river. The top is level, seventy or eighty feet high, and 
supports a stratum of soil on which are found a few stunted cedars and shrubs. 
Here are indications that a barrier of rock once extended ucross the Mississippi, 
and formed a grand cataract. The bed of the river, at a low stage of water, still 
exhibits a chain of sunken rocks. The "Devil's OVM," "Tea Table," "Back 
Bone," &c., are names given by the boatmen of the Mississippi to the singularly 
formed, abrupt, and romantic precipices that line the banks of that river in the 
vicinity of the. Grand Tower. 

Evans's Settlement is on the north side, and near the head of Cash river, and on 
the eastern bprder^or tlie county. It has about forty families. Ridge Settlement 
lies on the road to Brownsville, and extends into|}&^son county. It is a high, 
hilly, timbered tract of good land, well watered, and... b.M^-om one hundred to one 
hundred and fifty families. Stokes's Settlement, in thftfestern part of the county, 
near the head, and on the south side of Ca>ii 'river, c<xmjj& one hundred families. 
The surth.ce of the land is rolling, and thi.-^oil good. > 

Jonesborough, the seat of justice, is situated in a$fflfc -roll ing tract of country, 
nine miles from the Mississippi river. The surrounding* country is undulating and 
healthful, containing several good settlements. *K contains the county buildings, 
several stores, &c., and about one hundred and twenty'inhabitants. 

VERMILLION County lies in the eastern part of the state, and adjoining the 
neighbouring state of Indiana. It is situated north of Edgar, south of Iroquois, 
east of Champaign county, and west of the state of Indiana. Its extent from north 
to south is 42 miles, and from cast to west 24 ; area, 1008 square miles. The Big 
Vermillion river, with its North, Middle and Saline Forks, and Little Vermillion 
river, water the county. There we large bodies of excellent timber along the 
streams, and rich prairies between them, the surface of- which is undulating and 
dry, and the soil rich, deep, and calcareous. Large amounts of the agricultural 
produce common to Illinois are exported to the towns on the Wabash, and thence 
to New-Orleans. Salt, manufactured at the salt-works on the Saline fork of Big 
Vermillion, and six miles west of Danville, is also exported to the adjacent districts. 

This county was organized in 1826, and in 1885 numbered 8103 inhabitants. 
Between this county aud Iroquois on the east, and M'Lean on the west, and north 
of Champaign, extends a strip of territory mostly 18 miles wide and 48 in length, 
and comprising an area of 780 square miles, which has notJMt received any dis- 
tinctive appellation, but is at present attached to VermilliorwRunty : it is nearly 
all prairie, some of it wet and marshy, containing the ponds and swamps giving 
rise to the Vermillion river of Illinois, the north fork of Sangamon, the middle fork 
of Saline river, and others. It is but thinly settled, and will probably remain so for 
some time to come. 

Danville, the county seat of Vermillion, is situated on the left bank of the Big 
Vermillion river, on a dry, sandy, and elevated surface, surrounded with heavy tim- 
ber on the east, north, and west, but open to the prairie on the south. The coun- 
try around is populous, and the land rich. It contains a number of stores and gro- 
ceries, several professional men, various mechanics, and the land-office for the 
Danville Land District; together with Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian 
churches, and about 350 inhabitants. It is a thriving town, and, on the completion 
of the Wabash and Mississippi rail-road, which will pass through it, will no doubt 
receive a great accession of business and population. 



108 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



The other towns in Vermillion county are all small, having been but lately 
settled : they are George Town, Chillicothe, Greenville, Shepherds Town, and 
Salem. 

WABASH County, the smallest in Illinois, is situated in the south-eastern sec- 
tion of the state, on the W abash river. It was formed from Edwards in 1824, and 
lies south of Lawrence, east of Edwards county, and west of ffcfc^tate of Indiana. 
Its greatest length is about 23 miles, and breadth from 10 to 18 miles; area, about 
180 square miles. This county is watered by the VVabash river "on its eastern, 
and Bon Pas creek on its western border, and several small creeks in the central 
parts. It contains a considerable amount of good land, both timber and prairie, 
and a full proportion of industrious and thriving farmers. The inhabitants, in 1835, 
amounted to 3010. 

Long Prairie settlement is 13 miles north-west from Mount Carmel. The land 
is undulating, and the soil ocond-rate. The population of the settlement amounts 
to about 25 or 30 families. The Timbered Settlement includes the north-east 
quarter of the county, and is ten miles from Mount Carmel. It contains 60 or 70 
families. The timber is excellent. 

The county seat, Mount Carmel, is situated on the west bank of the Wabash 
river, a short distance below the Grand Rapids, and nearly opposite to the mouths 
of the White and Patoka riv&s of Indiana. It is 109 miles south-west from Van- 
dal ia, and 716 from Washington City. 

Selma, adjoining Mount Carmel, is a new town, lately laid out. A number of 
lots have been sold, and some improvements have takeu place. 

WARREN County is : in the western part of the Military Bounty Tract. It lies 
on the Mississippi river, north of Hancock and M'Donough counties, south of Mer- 
cer, east of Knox and Schiiyler, west of Des Moincs and Louisa counties, Wiscon- 
sin Territory. It is from 36 to 26 miles in extent from east to west, and 30 from 
north to south ; and contains about 900 square miles. 

This county was formed from Pike in 1825, and in 1835 contained 2623 inhabit- 
ants. It has a large amount of first-rate land, both prairie and timbered : the latter 
is supposed to comprise about one-fifth of the whole, and is generally well distrib- 
uted. The most extensive forests are found on the Mississippi, and on Henderson 
river ; but timber exists more or less on all the streams in the county. Much of 
the bottom-land that lies on the Mississippi is low, subject to inundation, and has a 
series of sand ridges back of it, with bold and pointed bluffs further in the rear. 

The streams which water the interior of the county are Henderson river and 
its branches, also Ellison, Honey, and Camp creeks, which flow into the Mississippi, 
and the South and Cedar forks of Spoon river. Limestone exists in great abund- 
ance, and extensive beds of good stone-coal have been found in the eastern parts 
of the county. About five miles north-west from Monmouth, there has been dis- 
covered, and worked to some extent, a quarry of freestone, which is susceptible 
of a handsome polish, and answers well for the sills of doors and windows, tomb- 
stones, &c. Two or^three grindstone quarries have been discovered, and are now 
all successfully worked. 

Monmouth, the seat of justice, is situated in the prairie, two and a half miles 
south of the Cedar fork of Henderson's river. It was laid off in 1831, but advanced 
so slowly that until 1835 only seven buildings had been erected. It now contains 
80 houses, and about 400 inhabitants. The land in the vicinity is very fertile, and 
produces abundantly all the staples of this region. 

The other towns are Oquawka or Yellow Banks, Benton, and Shokokon, all on 
the Mississippi ; Little York, Savannah, Bowling Green, Greenfield, Geneva, New 
Lancaster, and Olean. 

Oquawka, or Yellow Banks, is a town recently settled. It is situated on the 
Mississippi river, about midway between the Des Moines and Rock Island Rapids, 
and is the principal depot for freight between those points. The town is laid out 
in two sections, on an extensive scale. The soil is sandy ; and the surface, gently 
undulating, is sparsely covered with a stinted growth of oaks, extending to the 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 109 



bluff, two miles back. Henderson river, a fine stream for milling purposes, passes 
along the foot of these, and is crossed by a neat and substantial bridge* There are 
two large ware-houses in the town, one store, one grocery, two taverns, and several 
dwelling-houses. There is a good flouring and eaw-mill about two miles distant ; 
and a steam-mill is about to be erected. 

The site of this place was sold by the original to the present proprietor for 200 
dollars, by whom a fourth part of it was transferred last autumn to an enterprising 
land dealer for 24,000 dollars, who has since realized from the sale of individual 
lots the full amount paid for the whole, and yet has parted with only a small part 
of his purchase. The lots sold a year ago have in many cases changed hands at 
an advance of one hundred per cent The proprietors of the town purpose making 
a rail-road from hence to Peoria, on the Illinois river. By far the greater portion 
of this distance is over a nearly level prairie, admitting of the contemplated con- 
struction at a very moderate expense. 

WASHINGTON County is situated between Clinton county on the north, 
Perry and Randolph on the south, Jefferson on the east, and St. Clair on the west 
It forms a parallelogram of 30 miles in length and 18 in breadth, with an area of 
560 square miles. This county is watered by the Kaskaskia river (which traverses 
its extreme north-west quarter), and its tributaries Crooked, Elkhorn, and Mud 
creeks ; also by Beaucoup and Muddy creeks, which flow into Big Muddy river. 
The banks of all these streams are generally well timbered ; but in the interior 
the prairies are extensive, and sometimes sterile. The surface is generally level, 
and the soil mostly second-rate. Some of the southern points of the Grand Prairie 
pass through the north-east corner of the county. It was organized in 1818, and 
in 1835 contained 3292 inhabitants. 

Nashville, the seat of justice, is a pleasant village, 48 miles nearly south-east 
from St Louis, and on the main road to Shawneetown. It is situated on a beautiful 
and elevated prairie, near the head of Little Crooked creek, two and a half miles 
south-east from the centre of the county. It has several stores and mechanics, a 
steam-mill, and a population of from 100 to 120. 

The Grand Point settlement is on a creek about six miles north-east from Nash- 
ville, and contains about 20 families. The creek runs north, and enters Crooked 
creek. 

WAYNE County forms a square of 24 miles each way, and contains an area 
of 576 square miles. On the north it is bounded by Clay county, south by Hamil- 
ton and White, east by Edwards, and west by Jefferson and Marion. The streams 
which water this county are Elm creek and Skillet Fork, both tributaries of the 
Little Wabash river. It is handsomely interspersed with woodland and prairie, 
and contains several saline springs. The soil is mostly second-rate. This county 
was organized from Edwards in 1819, and contained in 1835 a population of 2939 
individuals. 

Hargrave's Settlement is on the Prairie adjoining Fairfield, which is about seven 
miles long and two wide ; rolling, and thin soil. Population about 100 families. 

Herrington's Settlement, about eleven miles north-west from Fairfield, is on 
Herrington's Prairie, which is eight miles long and from two to four miles wide ; 
surface rolling, soil second-rate ; population about 50 families. 

Hickory Hill Settlement is 18 miles west from Fairfield, and on the west side 
of the Skillet Fork. The land is a mixture of timber and prairie, soil second qual- 
ity, and a population of about 50 familiea 

Indian Prairie lies ten miles north-westerly from Fairfield ; surface level, soil 
of an inferior quality, with a scattering settlement of 15 or 20 families. 

Martin's Creek Settlement is situated on a creek of the same name, five miles 
north of Fairfield. The settlement consists of 50 or 60 families. The creek is a 
branch of Elm river. 

Fairfield, the seat of justice of Wayne county, is on the border of Hargrave's 
Prairie, 69 miles south-east from Vandalia, and 36 west from Mount Carmel. It 
contains several stores, a handsome court-house, and about 160 inhabitants. 

10 



110 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



WHITE County is situated in the south-eastern part of the state. It extends 
from east to west from 27 to 22 miles, and from north to south 23 miles ; con- 
taining a superficies of about 476 square miles. -It is bounded north by Edwards 
and Wayne counties, south by Gallatin, east by the Wabash river, which separates 
it from the state of Indiana, and west by Hamilton county. The Wabash river 
washes the eastern boundary of this county, and the interior is watered by the Lit- 
tle Wabash and its tributaries. The banks of all these are generally well timber- 
ed ; in the interior are many prairies, most of which are now well cultivated. A 
large amount of agricultural produce is annually exported from this and the ad- 
joining counties to the southern parts of the Mississippi valley. White county 
was organized from Gallatin in 1815, and in 1835 contained 6489 inhabitants. 

In the north-eastern part of the county is a bayou called Fox River that puts out 
from the Big Wabash, runs a few miles, and again enters that river. The late 
Morris Birkbeck, Esq., known as one of the English emigrants to Edwards county, 
and author of " Letters from Illinois" was unfortunately drowned in attempting to 
swim this stream on horseback. 

The county seat, Carmi, is situated nearly in the centre of the qounty, on the 
west bank of the Little Wabash river, about 20 miles above its mouth, and 80 miles 
south-east from Vandalia. It is surrounded by land of a good quality, and is a 
flourishing village, containing several stores, &c., a neat court-house, and about 
250 inhabitants. - ^^1 

WHITESIDE Countif, waaiormed from Jo Daviess in 1836, and lies south o 
that county, north of Henry, west of Ogle, and east of Rock Island county and the 
Mississippi river. It extends from north to south 24 miles, and from east to west 
from 27 to 36 miles ; containing an area of about 712 square miles. It is watered 
by Rock river, which passes through it from north-east to south-west, Little Rock 
river, Wood creek, &c. It has some tracts of heavy timber along Rock river and 
Little Rock, besides groves, copses, and bushy swamps. Some of its prairie land 
is flat, while other portions are beautifully undulating and rich. 

One mile below Albany, the Marais de Ogee, or the Meridosia, puts into the 
Mississippi, or rather, as is the fact at present, the Mississippi runs through the 
Meridosia into Rock river. The Meridosia is a portion of bottom-land, from five 
rods to five miles in width, running from the Mississippi to Rock river in a direc- 
tion nearly south, with a deep channel some part of the way. To the east of it, 
the bluff is covered with beautiful groves. TJie country in the vicinity of Albany, 
and along Rock river, is well known as being unsurpassed. Indeed, the whole 
country, except the swamps, is destined to support a dense population. Two years 
since, it was not known, and there were but a few individuals within its present 
boundary : now, it is estimated to contain a population of 1500 persons, a large 
majority of whom have been here but a few months. 

The towns, or rather villages, in this county, have been only recently laid off, 
and are hardly yet settled. They are, Illinois City on Little Rock river, and Van 
Buren and Albany, both on the Mississippi. Albany was laid out last October, on 
the Great Eastern Bend of the Mississippi, thirty-five miles from Stephenson, and 
sixty from Galena, The town site, and the country in the immediate vicinity, are 
highly picturesque and beautiful, in some parts quite romantic. The landing is 
good, the water increasing in depth from the shore as half to one, until it is from 
twelve to twenty-five feet. From the river the ground rises at an angle of some 
twenty to thirty degrees, until it reaches the height of the surrounding country. 
One hundred and thirty-three blocks of lots have been laid off. Thirteen streets, 
in width from 66 to 100 feet, run at nearly right angles from the river. Liberal 
reserves are made for public benefit, for churches, and schools. There are now 
built and building some fifteen dwelling-houses, stores, &c., and twice that num- 
ber under contract. A steam saw-mill, now erecting, will soon be completed, 
which will much facilitate building. 

WILL County is situated in the north-eastern part of the state, and is bounded 
north by Cook, south by Iroquois, and west by La Salle county ; on the east it has 



SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. Ill 



Lake and Newton counties, Indiana, from which it is separated by the eastern 
boundary of the state. It is in length from north to south on the western side 42, 
on the east 30 miles, and varies in breadth from east to west from 12 to 38 miles; 
and containing an area of 1320 square miles. It was formed in 1836, and is esti- 
mated to contain 3500 inhabitants. 

The streams which water this county are the Kankakee and its tributaries, also 
the Des Plaines and Du Page, together with some branches of the Calumet river 
and Mason creek. Much of the land is of first-rate quality : there are prairies of 
considerable extent, and a good deal of timber in many parts, lying chiefly in 
groves, and along the banks of the rivers and creeks. The Illinois and Michigan 
canal will pass through the county in a south-westerly direction along the valley 
of, and parallel to, the Des Plaines river. 

In the north-west part of the county, on the west bank of the Des Plaines river, 
and about 16 miles above its junction with the Kankakee, is Mount Joliet. It is 
in the midst of a large plain, covered in summer with short, thin grass, and which 
bears striking marks of having been once inundated. Its size is variously esti- 
mated. Beck, in his Gazetteer, states, "It is three or four hundred yards in length, 
north and south, and two or three hundred in breadth, east and west, and is in the 
form of a pyramid." Several gentlemen, who have passed this mound without 
stopping particularly to measure it, have estimated its length one mile, its breadth, 
at the base, half a mile, and its height one hundred and fiity feet. It appears to 
be an immense pile of sand and pebbles, similafjta tfoe;sand ridges along the Illinois 
river. This name was given by the companion^ of Joliet, who visited this country 
in 1673. , 

About two miles below Mount Joliet, and on 'f he snipe side of the river, there is 
a similar elevation called Mount Flatheaa. It extends near two miles in length; 
the north end is rounded the south end irregularly shaped its contents sand, 
gravel, and coarse pebbles, worn smooth by water frietion. 

The towns in Will county are all of recent origin, and mostly small : they are, 
Juliet, the seat of justice, Plainfield, Lockport, Winchester, Lancaster, &c. 

Plainfield is in the north-west part of the county, about nine miles from Juliet, 
and on the direct mail road, nearly half-way between Chicago and Ottawa. It is 
beautifully situated on the east side of the Du Page river, on a fine and undulating 
prairie, and contains about 400 inhabitants. It has two stores, two taverns, several 
mechanical trades, a Methodist and a Baptist congregation. 

Lockport is a town site lately laid off on the Illinois and Michigan canal, at the 
termination of the lake level, thirty-four and a half miles frorh Chicago. Here 
will be two locks established, each often feet lift, which will give twenty feet fall 
for the immense quantity of surplus water that can be brought from Lake Michi- 
gan, equal to 10,000 cubic feet every minute, after supplying the canal, and 
making full allowance for leakage, evaporation, &c., enough to drive 234 pairs of 
millstones, four and a half feet diameter. A large town, and extensive manufac- 
turing operations, will doubtless arise here, as soon as the canal is completed. 
Near this place, the Des Plaines river has fifteen feet fall. Adjoining to Lockport, 
the town of East Lockport has been lately laid off. 

Winchester is on the right bank of the Kankakee river, about nine miles from 
its mouth, and eighteen nearly south from Juliet. It is at the junction of Fork 
creek with the Kankakee, and is a lately settled town, containing only a few 
houses, a store, a tavern, two saw--mills, &c. Yankee Settlement is in the north- 
east part of the county, from six to eight miles north-east from Juliet. It is in a 
rich undulating prairie, and contains a considerable population of thriving and 
industrious New England farmers. Emmettsburg is on the left bank of the Des 
Plaines river, and on the line of the Illinois and Michigan canal, a few miles north 
of Juliet. It is a settlement inhabited by Irish and German Roman Catholics. 

WINNEBAGO County is one of the most northern counties of Illinois, lying 
immediately south of the state line. It is bounded north by Rock and Iowa coun- 
ties of Wisconsin Territory, south by Ogle, east by Boone, and west by Stephen- 
son county. It extends from east to west 24, and from north to south 21 miles, 



112 SKETCHES OF ILLINOIS. 



containing an area of 504 square miles. It was formed from Jo Daviess and the 
attached portion of La Salle county, in January 1836; from which parts of Ste- 
phenson and Boone counties have since been detached. 

The county extends on both sides of Rock river, which traverses it nearly from 
north to south, and furnishes an immense water-power, especially at the rapids, 
where the town of Rockford, or Midway, is laid off: here there are mills, store- 
houses, and dwellings erecting. The other streams are the Pekatonica or the 
Peekatonokee and its branches, which also abound in good mill-seats. The lands 
granted to the Polish emigrants by Congress are situated in this county. There 
is much excellent land here : the timber is in groves and detached portions, and 
the prairies undulating and abundantly rich. This, in common with all the north- 
ern counties, is filling up rapidly with an* industrious and enterprizing population. 
The inhabitants of Winnebago county are estimated at from 1200 to 1500. 

Its seat of justice is not yet established, but will probably be fixed at the town 
of Winnebago, just laid out. This town is on the west bank of Rock River, on a 
beautiful, high, and dry prairie, about half-way between Galena and Chicago. The 
river is navigable to this place for steamboats, and a free ferry is established. Some 
buildings are now in progress of erection. 

______^_ 

NEW COUNTIES. 

IN addition to the foregoing counties, noticed in alphabetical order, provision was 
conditionally made by law, at the last session of the state legislature, for the or- 
ganization of several new counties, provided that, at an election to be held subse- 
quently, a majority of the votes of the people belonging to the counties from which 
they were detached should be given in favour of such formation. The proposed 
new counties are BUREAU, COFFEE, DE KALB, and MICHIGAN. 

BUREAU County, to be formed from the northern part of Putnam county, will 
be bounded north by Whiteside and Ogle, south by Putnam and Coffee, east by 
La Salle, and west by Henry county. The streams which traverse this district 
are the head branches of Spoon river, and Bureau and Little Bureau creeks : these 
are all beautiful clear streams, and furnish excellent mill-seats. It contains fine 
tracts of land, beautiful groves of timber, and rich, undulating, and dry prairies. 
There are several considerable settlements in this region of country, inhabited by 
industrious and thriving farmers. 

The county seat will probably be at Princeton : this place is about ten miles 
north-west from Hennepin, the seat of justice of Putnam county : it was located 
by colonists from Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1833 ; contains a post-office of 
the same name, and is in the heart of the Bureau Settlement, which is in a flour- 
ishing condition, and surrounded by a considerable body of rich and fertile land. 

COFFEE County will be formed from Putnam, Knox, and Henry counties, 
chiefly from the former : it will be bounded north by Bureau and Henry, south by 
Peoria, east by Putnam, and west by Henry county. This district consists chiefly 
of beautiful rolling prairies, which contain a great amount of excellent land, with 
much valuable timber, scattered in groves and along the banks of the larger 
streams. It is watered by the main and western branches of the Spoon river, and 
their tributaries. 

The towns, which are both quite recent and small, are La Fayette and Wyo- 
ming: the latter, situated on the east bank of Spoon river, will probably be the 
seat of justice. It is about 35 miles north-north-west from Peoria, on the road 
from that place to the mouth of Rock river. 

DE KALB will contain the western part of Kane county. This tract is mostly 
a fine undulating prairie country, with a rich soil, and but sparingly wooded. The 



SKETCHES OF. ILLINOIS. 113 



timber is chiefly in groves and scattered portions of oak openings; resembling that 
of the adjacent counties, of which oaks of various kinds, sugar-maple, Walnut, 
white and black, hickory and ash of different species, are the principal varieties. 
The streams all furnish excellent mill-seats, and in some of them saw and flouring 
mills are already built. They are Rock, Somonauk and Indian creeks, all branches 
of Fox river, and the southern tributaries of Sycamore or Kishwaukee creek, 
which runs into Rock river. The county will be bounded by Boone on the north, 
and La Salle on the south, Kane east, and Ogle west. 

MICHIGAN County, to be formed from the western part of Cook, will be sit- 
uated north of Will, south of M'Henry, east of Kane, and west of Cook counties. 
The rivers which run through this district are the Des Planes and its branches on 
the east side, and the Du Page on the west. It is a fine region of country, in 
which the streams are perennial, and the soil rich and covered with luxuriant her- 
bage. The surface is tolerably level, with large prairies, and the timber in groves 
scattered through them and along the banks of the streams. 

The towns in this district are small, and of recent formation : they are, Napiers- 
ville, Warrenton, and Lyons. The first-named place is situated about 24 miles 
west-sou th-we^tfrom Chicago, and contains about 250 inhabitants, four stores, a 
saw and grist mm and a school. The country around is dry, with an undulating" 
surface and ricV$pik Warrenton is four miles north of Napiersville. Lyons is on 
the Des Plaines river; about twelve miles north-west from Chicago : it contains a 
tavern, saw-mill, and a few dwelling-houses. A 



SKETCHES 

OF 

THE CITIES AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS 

IN 

THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. 



THE City of ALTON is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, two 
miles above the Missouri, 18 miles below the Illinois river, and about 1200 from 
New Orleans. This place was laid out in 1818, but it is only within the last three 
or four years that public attention has been turned to it as an emporium of trade. 

Up to the year 1832, it contained only two or three dozen houses and a steam- 
mill : in that year the State Penitentiary was erected here. The population is 
now estimated at 2500, and the number of houses is 300. Since the spirit of im- 
provement began, it has met with nothing to retard it; but employment has been 
given to every building mechanic that could be procured. A large proportion of 
the buildings are of the most substantial kind, 'massive stone ware-houses. Many 
of the private residences are of finely wrought stone or brick, and highly orna- 
mental, though the larger portion of both business and dwelling-houses are tempo- 
rary frames of one story. The streets are generally 40 and 60 feet wide, and 
State street (the principal one running at right angles from the river) is 80. The 
rates of building are as high, probably, as in any part of the union ; yet rents are 
much higher in proportion ; every house bringing from 15 to 30 per cent upon its 
cost, including the price of the lot. 

P 10 * 



114 SKETCHES: OF THE CITIES 



The following enumeration will give some idea of the business of the place : 
There are 20 wholesale stores, one of which imports directly from Europe, besides j 
32 retail stores, some of which sell also at wholesale. The various branches of the 
mechanic arts are also carried on, though the greater portion of the articles used 
is brought from abroad. There are here eight attorneys, seven physicians, and 
eight clergymen, attached to the following denominations, viz : three Protestant 
Methodist, two Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Episcopal, and one Episcopal Metho- 
dist. These have a church for each denomination, some of which, in their appear- 
ance, would do credit to the oldest towns in'the west. There are four hotels, and 
two others building; one of which, of stone, will be 60 feet by 175. Besides these, 
there are nine boarding-houses, all of which are crowded with sojourners, either 
temporary or permanent. The public institutions are a bank (branch of the State 
Bank of Illinois), insurance office, lyceum, masonic lodge, lodge of independent odd 
fellows, and two schools. The lyceum attracts the greater portion of the young 
men of the town, who engage in the public discussion of questions, and hear lec- 
tures from gentlemen of science, -Who are also its members. 

There are two temperance societies, one on the total abstinence plan, which is 
the most popular, and is daily becoming more so. There are four newspapers, viz : 
the Alton Spectator, Alton Telegraph, Alton Observer, Temperance Herald. 

The legislature of Illinois have memorialized Congress repeatedly to have the 
great national road, now^pnstructing through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, cross the 
Mississippi at this place ;^ and sanguine hopes are entertained that the wishes of 
Illinois in this particular \yill be (July regarded. 

Building mechanics of all kinds are constantly wanted. The following wages 
are paid : bricklayers, 'J.50 to 3 dollars per day ; stone-masons, 2 to 2.50; labour- 
ers, 1.50. Where the men are boarded by the employer, a deduction of 50 cents 
per day is made from these rates. Board at the hotels is 3 to 4 dollars per week, 
without lodging; for lodging, 1 to 1.50 additional: at the boarding-houses, 2.50 to 
3, lodging included. Brick at the kiln sell for 7 to 9 dollars per 1000 ; pine boards, 
25 to 40 per 1000, (they are brought from the Ohio river) ; wood for fuel, $3 per 
cord ; coal, 20 cents per bushel. The latter is obtained from the hills, one mile in 
the rear of the town ; and both wood and coal can be got for very little more than 
the cost of cutting, digging, and hauling. The comparatively high price at which 
both sell, will furnish another evidence of the high prices of labour, and assure 
eastern labourers, who are working at this season of the year for 40 cents a day, 
that here they may soon realize a little fortune. 

This city is surrounded for several miles in extent with one of the finest bodies 
of timber in the state, from which vast quantities of lumber may be produced. 
Bituminous coal exists in great abundance at only a short distance from the town. 
Inexhaustible beds of limestone for building purposes, and easily quarried, are with- 
in its precincts. A species of freestone, easily dressed, and used for monuments 
and architectural purposes, and that peculiar species of lime, used for water cement, 
are found in great abundance in the vicinity. The corporate bounds extend two 
miles along the river, and half a mile back. The city plat is laid out by the pro- 
prietors upon a liberal scale. There are five squares reserved for public purposes ; 
and a large reservation is made on the river for a public landing and promenade. 

The prices of lots in Alton depend upon their location. Best business stands 
command 400 dollars a front foot; lots more retired, for private dwellings, from 
100 to 50, and 25. Stores rent from 1500 to 400; dwelling-houses, from 600 to 
200. Some of the stores do a very large business, their transactions amounting to 
half a million dollars a year: others sell to the amount of 200,000 dollars. Clerks 
and professional men only are not wanted. Of all these, there seems to be no 
scarcity in any part of the west. 

Eight steamboats are owned here in whole or in part, and some of them are 
heavily freighted at each departure with the exports of the town alone. These 
exports must increase as the back country continues to fill up. To add to its re- 
sources, two rail-roads will shortly be made, one leading to Springfield, 70 miles, 
the stock of which has been subscribed ; the other leading to Mount Carmel, on the 
Wabash, the stock of which has been taken in part Land, five miles back of the 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 115 



town, sells at from 10 to 40 dollars per acre, according to the improvements. At a 
greater distance, it is much cheaper, and settling rapidly. The productions are 
wheat, corn, beef, pork, horses, and cattle. Real estate has risen in Alton more 
than 1000 per cent within two years. The in habitants -are principally from New 
York and New England ; and this may be said of all the business men, with two 
or three exceptions. Next to these in number, are Virginians. The natural sur-" 
face of much of the town site of Alton is broken by bluffs and ravines ; but the 
enterprise of its citizens and the corporation is fast removing these inconveniences, 
by grading down its hills, and filling up its ravines. A contract of 60,000 dollars 
has recently been entered upon to construct a culvert over the Little Piasau creek 
that passes through the centre of the town, over which will soon be built one of the 
most capacious and pleasant streets. Since its settlement, the citizens of Alton 
have enjoyed as good health as those of any river town in the west 

The market is well supplied with provisions from the back country ; prices, those 
of St Louis. The meats and vegetables are excellent, and cultivated fruit is pret- 
ty abundant. The wild fruits are plums, crab-apples, persimmons, pawpaws, hick- 
ory nuts, and pecons. Wild game is also abundant, viz : deer, pheasants, prairie 
hens, partridges, with the various kinds of water-fowl. The fish are cat, perch, 
and buffalo. , i 

Such is a hasty^iew of Alton as it now is. Its rapid growth is an evidence of 
what enterprize can effect in contending against Nature herself. Scarcely a town 
site could have been selected on the Mississippi originally more unpromising in its 
appearance; and yet in five years, probably, it will attract the admiration of every 
beholder. Already the "little hills have fallen. on every side;" the valleys have 
been raised ; and within the time mentioned, the city will present to the spectator 
from the river the idea of a vast amphitheatre, the streets ranging above each 
other in exact uniformity, while from each mountain top in the distance will glitter 
the abodes of wealth and independence. The foundations of its prosperity are laid 
on the broad basis of public morals and Christian benevolence. Its churches are 
its most prominent and costly edifices, and claim the tribute of praise from every 
beholder. 

' These temples of His grace, 

How beautiful they stand ! 
The honours of our native place, 

And bulwarks of our land.' . . . 

No people cherish the sentiment conveyed in these lines more than do those of 
Alton : not a town in the Union, of its population,, has been so liberal in its contri- 
butions to every measure of Christian benevolence. The amount subscribed the 
present year probably exceeds 10,000 dollars ; one item in which is the subscrip- 
tion, by two gentlemen, of 1000 dollars each, to employ a temperance lecturer for 
this portion of the state. In addition to this, one of the same gentlemen has given 
10,000 dollars towards the erection and endowment of a female seminary at Mon- 
ticello, five miles north of the town, to the superintendence of which a most ac- 
complished lady has been called from the celebrated institute at Ipswich, Massa- 
chusetts. 

BEARDSTOWN, the seat of justice for Cass county, is situated on the east 
bank of the Illinois, and about 90 miles from the mouth of the river. It is one of 
the chief places of import and export on that stream, and is at the head of naviga- 
tion for the largest class of New-Orleans steamboats. It is never overflowed, and 
the landing is excellent 

The town, which was laid off in 1829, and then contained but one log cabin, has 
now 200 dwelling-houses, frame and brick, and a population estimated at 1000. It 
has thirteen stores, eight groceries, one drug-shop, two tanneries, two forwarding 
houses, two steam flouring-mills, one distillery, one brewery, and three pork esta 
lishments. Of master mechanics there are four house-carpenters, one cabinet 
maker, two blacksmiths, one silversmith, three tailors, one baker, one turner, one 
bricklayer, stonemason and plasterer, one wagon maker, one shoemaker, three 
coopers, and one barber. It has one church only, which is occupied by the Metho- 



116 SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 



dists, though there is sometimes Presbyterian worship in town. There is an 
insurance company here. A fair proportion of the houses are two stories high, and 
all, with three exceptions, are frame, mostly painted white ; the exceptions are 
those of brick. The streets are 80 and 60 feet wide. 

The exports are considerable, and consist of corn, pork, hides, and whiskey. 
Flour was exported a few years ago ; but is now as high here as at New-Orleans, 
all that can be made being required for home consumption. The chief article of 
export is pork, of which, in the winter of 1835-te,T2,0()0 head were put up ; in the 
succeeding winter (the last), 15,000. Two hundred were frequently slaughtered 
in a day. Corn, about seven years ago, sold generally at 12k cents per bushel ; 
the price now is 30 cents. 

The navigation of the river is obstructed by ice, from one to two and a half 
months in winter. During the last season, the suspension continued the latter 
period. The last boat left, Dec. 5th ; the first arrived, Feb. 21st. The departures 
and arrivals of steamboats in the year 1836 amounted to 450. The prices of 
freight from St. Louis and Alton vary from 25 to 75 cents per 100 Ibs., according 
to the state of navigation. 

Of the inhabitants, the much greater portion are males. From its situation on 
the Illinois river, and very nearly in the centre of the state, families collect here 
in the winter and remain till the spring, when they scatter throughout the country. 
As a winter residence it is very agreeable, the soil being sandy, and of course 
never muddy; but in the summer and fall, the fever and ague prevails to some 
extent Since 1834, however, the health of the place has improved considerably. 
The inhabitants are from all the states of the union. 

Dwelling-houses, containing two rooms and a kitchen, rent for one hundred dol- 
lars a year. The cost of building them is about $500. To this may be added 
the cost of the lot, which is from 200 to 500 more. Lots fronting the river sell at 
about 30 dollars per front foot; on Main street, from 18 to 20. 

The view from the river is imposing, and the general appearance of the town 
exceedingly attractive. The river bank, for two or three miles in length, and one 
in width, is eight pr ten feet above high-water mark. Beyond this is a narrow 
slough, or sloo, which is about to be drained by an incorporated company ; two and 
a half miles further, commences a fine, rich, cultivated prairie, which extends five 
miles to the bluffs. Some farms upon it have been sold at forty dollars per acre, 
and sixty has been offered for others and refused. The price of improved farms 
beyond the bluffs is from ten to twenty dollars per acre. 

Beardstown is the terminating point of the contemplated Beardstown and Spring- 
field rail-road, and the Beardstown and Sangamon canal. 

BELLEVILLE is a flourishing town, and the seat of justice of St. Clair county. 
It is situated on the east bank of Richland creek, four miles east of the bluffs which 
bound the American Bottom, and 15 miles east of St. Louis, 71 miles south-west 
from Vandalia, and 843 from Washington. It is surrounded with a rich and exten- 
sive agricultural country, and a fine body of timber. It is in the centre of the Tur- 
key Hill Settlement, which is one of the most flourishing in the state. 

Belleville is a place of considerable business, and contains a number of stores and 
groceries. The public buildings are, a handsome court-house of brick, finished in 
a superior style, a brick jail, a clerk's office, a public hall which belongs to a 
library company, and a framed Methodist house of worship. It has two select 
schools; one for boarders, half a mile distant. 

There are two large merchant steam flouring-mills, with six pairs of stones, a 
brewery, a steam distillery, a wool carding machine, eight carpenters, one cabinet 
maker, five blacksmith's shops, one tinner's shop, two silversmiths, three wagon 
makers, one turner and wheelwright, two shoemaker's shops, one millwright, two 
coopers, two saddlers, two tailors, one bakery, one high school, one common school, 
a Presbyterian, a Baptist, and a Methodist congregation, and about 700 inhabitants, 
of whom about one hundred are Germans, twenty French, and the residue Ameri- 
cans. There are three lawyers, four physicians, four resident ministers of the gos- 
pel, and a printing-office, which issues the " St. Clair Gazette." 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 117 



BLOOMINGTON, the seat of justice for M'Lean county, is situated on the 
margin of a fine prairie, in the midst of a beautiful and fertile district The town 
is on the north side of Blooming Grove, which comprises a large and valuable tract 
of timber, of all the varieties of the country desirable for building, consisting chiefly 
of lime, maple, ash, oak, and black and white walnut 

Bloomington has eight or ten stores, which do a general and extensive business, 
three groceries, two taverns, two lawyers, three physicians, an academy for young 
gentlemen, which is highly commended, and an institution for the education of 
young ladies; also two steam-mills, a Presbyterian and a Methodist meeting-house 
and ministers, a number of various mechanics, and an intelligent population of 
about 700. 

This town is a point on the great central rail-road, &c. ; and, surrounded as it is 
by a most desirable farming country, must increase in importance with its age. 
The facilities for building furnished by the steam saw-mills situated in the town, 
must be felt in the rapid growth of the place. It can scarcely be considered a com- 
pliment to say of Bloomington, that it is among the most beautiful towns in Illinois. 

CAHOKIA is a post-town in St Clair county, three-fourths of a mile east of the' 
Mississippi river, and five miles south of St. Louis. It is one of the oldest settle- 
ments in the state. The Caoquias, a considerable tribe of the Illinois, had, for a 
long time previous to the discovery of the Mississippi, made it a resting place, pro- 
bably on account of the game with which the river and the ponds in the vicinity 
abounded. We have no distinct account of the first settlement of this place by the 
French ; but it is probable that it occurred shortly after La Salle descended the 
Mississippi in 1633. Pleased as some of his followers were with the apparent ease 
and happiness which the savages enjoyed, it is probable that they chose rather to 
remain among them, than return to their own country. Instances of this kind are 
frequently mentioned byTonti and Hennepin; and as the object of the adventurous 
La Salle was to settle and civilize the country, their choice seldom met with oppo- 
sition. Father Charlevoix, who visited this place in 1721, observes: "I was 
astonished that they had pitched upon so inconvenient a situation (being so far from 
the river), especially as they had so many better places in their choice ; but I was 
told the Mississippi washed the foot of that village when it was built; that in three 
years it has lost half a league of its breadth, and that they were thinking of seek- 
ing out another habitation." The Indians gradually abandoned Cahokia, as the 
French settlers increased : they were, however, always on the most friendly terms 
with them. 

In 1766, Cahokia contained forty families ; and at the commencement of the 
revolution, their number had increased to about fifty, which is about their present 
number. The majority of the houses are built of pickets, one story high: they 
generally have piazzas on every side, and, being whitewashed on the outside, have 
a lively appearance. Here is also a Roman Catholic chapel, in which service is 
regularly performed. The inhabitants are principally French. These preserve 
all their ancient manners and customs ; with few exceptions, they are poor, indo- 
lent, and illiterate. The utmost extent of their industry is to raise a few acres of 
corn, and procure a few loads of prairie hay. 

By an act of Congress passed in 1788, 400 acres of land adjoining the village 
was granted to each family ; and by a subsequent act, the lands used by the inha- 
bitants of Cahokia and Prairie du Pont in common, were appropriated to the use 
of said inhabitants, until otherwise directed by law. 

Both the Spanish and French governments, in forming settlements on the Mis- 
sissippi, had special regard to convenience of social intercourse, and protection 
from the Indians. All their settlements were required to be in the form of vil- 
lages or towns ; and lots of a convenient size for a door-yard, garden, and stable- 
yard, were provided for each family. To each village were granted two tracts of 
land at convenient distances, for " common fields," and " commons." 

A " common field" is a tract of land, of several hundred acres, enclosed in com- 
mon by the villagers, each person furnishing his proportion of labour, and each 
family possessing individual interest in a portion of the field, marked off, and 



118 SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 

bounded from the rest. Ordinances were made to regulate the repairs of fences, 
the time of excluding cattle in the spring, and the time of gathering the crop and 
opening the held for the range of cattle in the fall. Each plat of ground in the 
common field was owned in fee-simple by the person to whom granted, subject to 
sale and conveyance, the same as any landed property. 

A " common" is a tract of land granted to the town for wood and pasturage, in 
which each owner of a village lot has a common, but not an individual right. In 
some cases, this tract embraced several thousand acres. The " common" attached 
to Cahokia, extends up the prairie opposite St. Louis. 

This place formerly enjoyed, on account of its proximity to the Indians, an exten- 
sive and valuable fur trade; but at present it has few or no advantages, and from the 
number of decayed and deserted houses appears to be on the decline. The situa- 
tion, although somewhat elevated, is damp and disagreeable : in high water, it is 
frequently inundated. The Americans seldom pass a season without suffering from 
the effects of the miasma arising from the ponds in the vicinity. The French, 
whether on account of their being inured to the climate, their manner of living, or 
from their possessing more hardy constitutions, are little affected by it, but gene- 
rally enjoy good health. Coal is found in the vicinity of this place. Its discovery 
was singular, and is thus noticed in Breckenridge's View of Louisiana : " Some 
years since, a tree, taking fire, communicated to its roots, which continued burn- 
ing for some time. Upon examination,- they were found to have "passed through a 
bed of coal. The fire continued burning until it was completely smothered by the 
falling in of large masses of incumbent earth." 

CANTON is a pleasant and thriving town in the north-east part of Fulton 
county, on the main road from Lejvistown to Peoria, 15 miles north-north-east of 
the former, and 25 south-west from the latter, and about 10 miles from the nearest 
point on the Illinois river. The town is situated on the borders of a large prairie, 
and has eight or ten stores, a number of industrious mechanics, a.pd a due propor- 
tion of professional men ; also ? a large academy, recently chartered by the legis- 
lature as a college : this is a respectable institution, under the direction of compe- 
tent officers, and contains 70 or 80 students. The population of Canton amounts 
to from 500 to 600. The country around is' high, undulating, fertile, and health- 
ful, with a proper mixture of timber and prairie. 

This town will be intersected by two rail-roads ; one of which will extend from 
Peoria on the Illinois, to Warsaw on the Mississippi river, opposite the mouth of 
the Des Moines river : length, upwards of 100 miles. The other will commence 
at Liverpool, on the Illinois river, 12 miles from Canton, pass through the latter, 
and terminate at Knoxville, the county seat of Knox county. Extent, about 40 
miles. The completion of either or both of these public improvements will add 
greatly to the prosperity and importance of Canton. The prairie on which the 
town is located commences near Spoon river, and runs northward, dividing the 
waters that fall into Spoon river on the west, from those that enter the Illinois on 
the east, till it becomes lost in the interminable prairies on Rock river. At Can- 
ton it is from two to three miles in width, dry, undulating, and inexhaustibly rich. 
Further north, it becomes inferior. 

CARROLLTON, the seat of justice of Greene county, was laid out in 1821, 
and is situated about half-way between Alton and Jacksonville, being 35 miles 
from the former and 36 from the latter place, and 10 miles east from the Illinois 
river. This is a flourishing and pleasant town, lying on the borders of String 
Prairie, between Macoupin and Apple creeks, in the midst of a beautiful level 
country, with a rich soil, suitably proportioned into timber and prairie, and densely 
populated with industrious and thriving farmers. Improved farms around Carroll- 
ton sell for ten, fifteen, and twenty dollars per acre. The houses are framed or of 
brick, built in a plain but convenient style. 

Carrollton has a population of about 1000 inhabitants, with seventeen stores, six 
groceries, two taverns, seven lawyers, six physicians, four ministers of the gospel, 
two male and two female schools, two steam flouring-mills, two steam saw-mills, 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 119 



and one tannery. The court-house is neatly built of brick, forty-four by forty-six 
feet, two storiea, with a handsome spire. The religious denominations are Bap- 
tists, Methodists, Reformers, and Presbyterians. The first three have houses of 
worship, and the latter are preparing to build. 

The city of CHICAGO is the largest place in the state of Illinois, and has 
grown up almost entirely within the last seven years. It is the seat of justice for 
Cook county, and is situated on the wqst side of lake Michigan, at the mouth of 
Chicago river, and at the eastern end of the Illinois and Michigan canal. Its 
growth, even for western cities, has been unexampled. In Dr. Beck's Gazetteer, 
published in 1823, Chicago is described as a village of 10 or 12 houses, and 60 or 
70 inhabitants. In 1832, it contained five small stores, and 250 inhabitants ; and 
now (1837) the population amounts to 8000, with 120 stores, besides a number of 
groceries ; of the former, twenty sell by wholesale. It has also twelve public 
houses, three newspapers, near fitly lawyers, and upwards of thirty physicians. 

Chicago is connected by means of the numerous steamboats, ships, brigs, 
schooners, &c., that navigate the great fresh water seas of the north, with all the 
different trading ports on lakes -Michigan, Huron, and Erie, and especially with 
Buffalo, to and from which city various lines of regular packets are constantly de- 
parting and arriving. Some of the steamboats are of .great power and burthen. 
The James Madison, built last winter at Erie, Pennsylvania, expressly for the Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee, and Buffalo trade, on her first trip in May of the present year, 
carried over 4000 barrels freight, and upwards of 900 adult .passengers, besides a 
large number of children ; and the receipts for the voyage were estimated at 
18,000 dollars. It is intended to have this vessel leave Chicago and Buffalo every 
18 days. The James Madison is 185 feet in length, 31 feet beam, and 45 feet in 
width on deck including the guards, 12 feet depth of hold, 720 tons burthen, and 
propelled by a high-pressure horizontal engine of 180 horse power. 

The merchandke imported into Chicago in the year 1836 amounted in weight 
to 28,000 tons, and in value to upwards of three millions of dollars, beside a vast 
number of immigrants with their familieg, provisions, &c. There arrived in the 
same year 456 vessels, including 49 .steamboats, 10 ships and barques ; the rest, 
brigs, schooners, and sloops. During the last winter, 127 teams, loaded with mer- 
chandize for the country, were counted in the street in one day. 

The Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics, 
each have houses of worship. There are likewise one or more insurance compa- 
nies, fire companies, water-works for the. supply of water from the lake, several 
good schools, and a respectable academy. A large ship-yard has been commenced 
near the city. An extensive brewery, a stearn saw and grist mill, and a large fur- 
nace, are all in successful operation. The building of an Academy of Fine Arts 
is likewise contemplated, and measures are about being taken to obtain for it a 
collection of paintings. The care which the original surveyors took to give the 
prairie winds a full sweep through this city, has distinguished it as the most health- 
ful place in the western country, and has made it the resort of a large number of 
people during the sickly season. The natural advantages of the place, and the 
enterprize and capital that will concentrate here, with the favourable prospects for 
health, must soon make this the emporium of trade and business for all the northern 
country. The completion of the canal will give Chicago a water communication 
with all the principal cities in the country : the high prices given for produce, and 
the ready market, will make it the grand resort of the western farmers. 

Chicago is built on level ground, but sufficiently elevated above the highest floods 
to prevent overflow ; and on both sides of the river, for a mile in width, along the 
shore of the lake, the land is a sand-bank : but back of the city, towards the Des 
Plaines river, is a rich and fertile prairie, and for the first three or four miles dry 
and elevated. The following description of the country in the vicinity of this 
place is from the pen of Mr. Schoolcraft : 

" The country around Chicago is the most fertile and beautiful that can be ima- 
gined. It consists of an intermixture of woods and prairies, diversified with gen- 
tle slopes, sometimes attaining the elevation of hills, and irrigated with a number 



120 



SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 



of clear streams and rivers, which throw their waters partly into lake Michigan, 
and partly into the Mississippi river. As a farming country, it unites the fertile 
soil of the finest lowland prairies, with an elevation which exempts it from the in- 
fluence of stagnant waters, and a summer climate of delightful serenity ; while its 
natural meadows present all the advantages for raising stock, of the most favoured 
part of the valley of the Mississippi. It is already the seat of several flourishing 
plantations, and only requires the extinguishment of the Indian title to the lands, 
to become one of the most attractive fields for the emigrant. To the ordinary ad- 
vantages of an agricultural market-town, it must hereafter add that of a depot for 
the inland commerce between the northern and southern sections of the union, and 
a great thoroughfare for strangers, merchants, and travellers." 

Along the north branch of the Chicago, and the lake shore, are extensive bodies 
of fine timber. Large quantities of white pine exist in the regions towards Green 
Bay, and about Grand river in Michigan, from which lumber in any quantities is 
obtained, and conveyed by shipping to Chicago. Yellow poplar boards and plank 
are brought across the lake from the St Joseph's river. The mail in post-coaches 
from Detroit, arrives here tri-weekly, and departs for Galena, for Springfield, Alton, 
and St Louis, and for Danville and Vincennes. 

The United States has a strip of elevated ground between the town and lake, 
about half a mile in width, on which Fort Dearborn and the light-house are situated, 
but which is now claimed as a pre-emption right, and is now in a course of judicial 
investigation. 

Fort Dearborn was for a considerable period occupied as a military station by the 
United Slates, and garrisoned generally by about three companies of regular troops ; 
but the expulsion of the Indians, and the rapid increase of settlements at all parts 
of this region, have rendered its further occupancy as a military post unnecessary : 
in consequence, the troops have been recently withdrawn. It consists of a square 
stockade, inclosing barracks, quarters for the officers, a magazine, provision store, 
&c., and is defended by bastions at the northern and south-east angles. 

During the last war with Great Britain, this place was the scene of a most foul 
and bloody tragedy. In 1812, in consequence of the disgraceful surrender of gene- 
ral Hull at Detroit, it was determined to abandon the fort. A number of the 
troops, shortly after leaving it, were inhumanly murdered by the savages, who lay 
in ambush on the margin of the lake. 

The following account of this affair is extracted from M'Afee's History of the 
late war in the western country. " On the morning of the 15th (Aug.) at sunrise, 
the troops, consisting of about 70 men, with some women and children, marched 
from the fort with pack-horses in the centre, and captain Wells with his Indians 
in the rear. They had proceeded about a mile from the fort, when the front guard 
was fired on by the savages, who were posted behind a sand-bank on the margin 
of the lake, and in a skirt of woods which the party were approaching ; the rest 
of the country around them being an open prairie. At the same time, they saw a 
body of Indians passing to their rear, to cut off their retreat to the fort. The firing 
now became general, and the troops, seeing nothing but death and massacre before 
them, formed in line of battle, and returned the fire of the enemy with much 
bravery and success, as they slowly retreated in the prairie. The Indians made 
several desperate efforts to rush up and tomahawk them ; but every charge was 
repulsed by the firmness of the troops, who fought with desperation, determined to 
sell their lives as dear as possible. Captain Wells being killed, his Indians retired 
from the party and joined the others. Several women and children were also 
killed; and our ranks were at last so reduced, as scarcely to exceed twenty effec- 
tive men : yet they continued resolute, and stuck together, resolved to fight while 
one remained able to fire. But the Indians now withdrew some distance, and sent 
a small French boy to demand a surrender. The boy was captain Heald's inter- 
preter, who had run off to the Indians at the commencement of the action. He 
advanced cautiously ; and Mr. Griffith, who was afterwards a lieutenant in a com- 
pany of spies in colonel Johnson's regiment from Kentucky, advanced to meet him, 
intending to kill him for his perfidy. But the boy declared, that it was the only 
way he had to save his life, and appeared sorry that he had been obliged to act in 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 



121 



that manner. He then made known his business ; the Indians proposed to spare 
the lives of our men, provided they would surrender. The proposal being made 
known to the surviving soldiers, they unanimously determined to reject if. The 
boy returned with this answer to the Indians ; but in a short time he came back, 
and entreated Mr. Griffith to use his influence with captain Heald, to make him 
surrender, as the Indians were very numerous. The captain, his lady, and Mr. 
Griffith, were all wounded. He at last consented to surrender ; and the troops 
having laid down their arms, the Indians advanced to receive them ; and notwith- 
standing their promises, they now perfidiously tomahawked three or four of the men. 
One Indian, with the fury of a demon in his countenance, advanced to Mrs. Heald, 
with his tomahawk drawn. She had been accustomed to danger ; and knowing the 
temper of the Indians, with great presence of mind, she looked him in the face, 
and smiling said, " Surely you would not kill a squaw." His arm tell nerveless ; 
the conciliating smile of an innocent female, appealing to the magnanimity of a 
warrior, reached the heart of the savage, and subdued the barbarity of his soul. 
He immediately took the lady under his protection. She was the daughter of 
general Samuel Wells of Kentucky. The head of captain Wells was cut off, and 
his heart was cut out and eaten by the savages. 

" The Indians having divided their prisoners, as usual in such cases, it was the 
fate of captain Heald, his lady, and Mr. Griffith, to be taken by the Ottawas on 
the lake beyond the mouth of the river St. Joseph. Their wounds being severe, 
they looked upon destruction as inevitable; but Heaven often smiles when we least 
expect it. Griffith had observed a canoe, which was large enough to carry them ; 
and they contrived to escape in it by night. In this frail bark they traversed the 
lake 200 miles to Mackinaw, where the British commander afforded them the 
means of returning to the United States." 

After the war, this fort was repaired, and again taken possession of by the Ameri- 
can troops ; since which time, it has always been, until lately, occupied by a gar- 
rison. 

DECATUR, the seat of justice for Macon county, is situated on the west side 
of the North Fork of Sangamdn river, on the borders of an extensive prairie, and 
on a dry, elevated, and healthful site. This place contains at present a population 
of about 300 or 400, and promises eventually to be one of the first inland towns 
in the state. Its future growth and greatness are predicated on the surest grounds. 
It is eo far from any river towns, that it can never be overshadowed by their pros- 
perity ; while the internal improvements now going into effect, must place it in the 
first rank as an interior trading town. 

The rail-road from the Mississippi to the Wabash, which, by the act of the last 
session, is to take precedence of the other rail-roads in the time of its construction, 
is to pass through Decatur ; this place is also a point in the great central rail road, 
which is to connect the Ohio with the northern part of the state. Decatur, being 
thus at the intersection of these two rail-roads ; being also far in the interior, and 
in the midst of a section of country fertile and rapidly increasing in population, 
enjoys every advantage for a first-rate trading town. It is probable that no town 
in the state will be more, and hardly any one as much benefited by the present 
system of internal improvements, as Decatur. The place too is decidedly healthy, 
it is in a rich and important county, and surrounded by extensive settlements. 

The town contains several stores, and has a number of mechanics' and profes- 
sional men. 

EDWARDSVILLE, the seat of justice for Madison county, is on the south bank 
of Cahokia creek, and is pleasantly situated on the high ground which bounds the 
American Bottom. It is in the centre of a fertile and healthful country, well wa- 
tered and timbered, and gently undulating ; presenting at once to the agriculturist 
a most desirable place for residence. The vicinity of the town is settled with 
thrifty and enterprizing farmers. 

Edwardsville is composed of the old town, laid out in 1815; and the new town, 
which was laid out about five years afterwards. It is situated 21 miles north-east 

Q. 11 ~~ 



122 SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 



from St. Louis, on the Springfield road, 12 miles south-east from Alton, 55 from 
Vandalia, and 836 from Washington city. It has a court-house and jail of brick, 
a land-office for the Edwardsville district, seven stores, two taverns, two physicians, 
four lawyers, a castor-oil factory, various mechanics, and about 400 inhabitants. 
Here is also an academy and a commodious building. The Baptists and Metho- 
dists have each a house of worship. The inhabitants are generally industrious, in- 
telligent, moral, and a large proportion professors of religion. 

GALENA is the principal town in the lead-mine district in the north-west part 
of the state, and the county seat of Jo Daviess county. It is pleasantly situated 
on Fever river, a few miles above its mouth, and has a population of about 1200 
inhabitants, with 18 or 20 stores, a dozen groceries, 4 taverns and hotels, a printing- 
office that publishes a weekly paper, called the Gazette, four lawyers, three phy- 
sicians, two schools, two ministers of the gospel, a pipe and sheet lead manufac- 
tory, a flour and saw-mill, a gunsmith, silversmith, saddler, tailor, several carpen- 
ters, blacksmiths, brick and stone masons, &c. 

This place was first settled in 1826, and was originated by the extensive and 
rich lead-mines in its vicinity. It was an outpost of between 300 and 400 miles ad- 
vance into the wilderness north of St Louis. The amount of byguras transacted 
here is very considerable, as it is the place of import and e?MK^t a jj[ extensive 
and rich region of country. There is constant intercourse l^Rv^^y* means of 
steamboats with St. Louis, New-Orleans, Louisville, Cincinnati, ftc. 

Fever river, on which Galena is placed, is navigable at a nines foV steamboats 
of any size ; and in high water two miles above, for this distance it is deep and 
sluggish. Above this point it runs with a swift current over a rocky and gravelly 
bottom, is full of fine fish, and, like all the streams in this region, it is te/1 with 
perennial springs. This river rises near the Platte mounds, in Wiscorifein Terri- 
tory, in two branches, the East and West forks, runs a south-westerly course past 
Galena, and enters the Mississippi seven miles south of that place. 

In the East Fork settlement, which is twelve miles east from Galena, the tim- 
ber is scarce, but there is much, excellent prairie, wid the lead-mines are the best 
in Illinois. Population of farmers and miners, abopt fifty families. 

On the West Fork or main <creek is a considerable settlement, and some good 
farms. The alluvion on the stream ,j%fine, and there is a tolerable supply of tim- 
ber. This settlement is eight miles in*a direct course, and twelve miles the trav- 
elled way north-east from Galena. 

Fever river has been incorrectly called Bean river (Riviere au Feve, Fr.) Its 
proper name has been derived from two traditionary accounts. The first is, that 
in early times the Indians were carried off by a mortal sickness, supposed to be the 
small-pox. This circumstance gave rise to the name of another creek now called 
Small Pox. The other tradition, and the correct one, is, that it derived its name 
from a French trader by the name of Le Fevre, who settled near its mouth. 

GRAFTON, in the southern part of Greene county, is a thriving town, con- 
taining about 500 inhabitants. It is on the north bank of the Mississippi river, 
two miles below the mouth of the Illinois, 24 miles south of Carrollton, 15 miles 
north-west from Alton, and ten miles north from St. Charles in Missouri. The 
town is situated on an elevated strip of land under the bluffs, and has a good 
steamboat landing. Several islands in the Mississippi make this point the real 
junction of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, as to navigation. 

The country a few miles back is rich, and becoming densely populated. This 
place must soon become a thoroughfare for travelling from the Sangamon country 
across the Mississippi to St. Charles, and the regions along the Missouri river. It 
has a post-office, several stores and ware-houses, and promises to be a place of con- 
siderable business. A charter for a rail-road from this place through Carrollton to 
Springfield has been obtained, the company organized, and a portion of the stock 
taken. A chartered company is about to erect a splendid hotel. 

JACKSONVILLE, the seat of justice for Morgan county, is situated about 22 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 123 

miles east of the Illinois river, and one and a half miles south of Mauvaiseterre 
creek. This town was laid off in 1825; but it is only within the last three or four 
years, that its present advancement can be dated. Its site is a broad elevated knoll, 
in the midst of a beautiful prairie, and, from whatever point it is approached, few i 
places present a more delightful prospect The neighbouring prairie is undulating, 
and is accounted uncommonly rich and fertile even in this land of fertility. It is 
mostly under high cultivation, and in its northern and western edge is environed 
by pleasant groves. 

Jacksonville contains a population of about 2500, with 16 stores, several groce- 
ries and druggists' stores, two hotels, and a considerable number of mechanics of 
various trades ; also eleven lawyers and ten physicians. It has one steam flour- 
mill, one saw-mill and two oil-mills, a manufactory for cotton-yarn, two carding fac- 
tories, a tannery, and three brick-yards. 

The public square in the centre of the town is of noble dimensions, occupied by 
a handsome court-house and market, both of brick ; and its sides filled up with 
dwelling-houses, stores, offices, a church, bank, and hotel. From this point radiate 
streets and avenues in all directions. The public buildings, in addition to the 
court-house, are a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Methodist, and a Congregation- 
alist church, a lyceum, a mechanics' association, a male and female academy, and 
a county jail. 

There are two printing-offices that publish weekly papers, the Patribt, and the 
News, and also a, book 'and job printing-office with a book-bindery attached, and a 
monthly religious periodical. 

Illinois college is situated on an eminence one mile West of the town, formerly 
known as Wilson's Grove. The site is delightful : in the rear lies a dense clump 
of oaks-, and in front is spread out the village with a boundless extent of prairie 
beyond, povered for miles with cultivation. Away to $he south, the beautiful wild 
flowers jlash as gaily in the sunlight, aafl wave as gracefully when swept by the 
breeze, as centuries ago, when BO eye of civilized ttM> looked upon its loveliness. 
Connected with the college buildings, are extensWT grounds; and students, at 
their option, may devote a portion of each day to S^nual labour in the work-shop 



>rtion 

or on the farm. Some individ&ls have, it is said, IK this manner defrayed all the 
expenses of their educatjji. "^ 

JULIET, the seat of justice for Will county', is situated on both sides of the 
River Des Plaines, at the point where Aat stream is crossed by the Illinois and 
Michigan canal, about 16 miles above its junction with the Kankakee river, and 
40 miles south-west from Chicago. This town has been laid off only a few years, 
and has already a population of about 600 persons. Its position on the canal will 
add much to its commercial importance, and increase its business facilities ; while 
its great command of water-power will render it a suitable place for carrying on 
various branches of manufacture. It has fourteen stores, two groceries, one drug- 
store, three taverns, a saw and grist-mill, various mechanics, six lawyers, five phy- 
sicians, a Methodist and an Episcopalian society. 

KASKASKIA is the seat of justice of Randolph county, and was formerly the 
capital of the Territory of Illinois. It is situated on the right bank of the river of 
the same name, seven miles above its junction with the Mississippi, from which it 
is about three miles east. It is near the, 1 southern extremity of the American Bot- 
tom. The first settlement made here was by the French of Canada, shortly after 
the visit of I& Salle in 168-3 ; and so long as the French continued in possession 
of the Illinois country, Kaskaskia was its capital, and was flourishing and populous. 
When Charlevoix visited it in 1721, it contained a Jesuit college, the ruins of 
which only remain. In 1763, this place, as well as the country east of the Mis- 
sissippi, was ceded by France to Great Britain. In 1766, it contained about 100 
families, which number it retained until the revolutionary war. In 1778, the fort 
situated on the east side of the Kaskaskia river was taken by Col., afterwards Gen., 
George Rogers Clarke. After that time, and until within a few years, this town 
continued gradually to decline ; owing chiefly to the ordinance of 1787, which pro- 



124 SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 



hibited slavery and involuntary servitude in what was then denominated the North- 
Western Territory. The slave-holders were disposed to preserve this species of 
property, and in order to do it effectually, they abandoned their ancient habitations, 
and joined their friends in the new dominions of Spain, on the west side of the 
Mississippi. 

At present this place contains about 60 families, a majority of which are de- 
scended from the French. The houses are scattered over an extensive plain ; and 
the greatest proportion are built of wood, in the French style. Many of them have 
fine gardens in front and rear, which give them a rural appearance. Here is a 
Catholic church, a court-house and jail, and a land-office for the sale of public lands 
in this district; also a nunnery and a female boarding-school. 

On the east side of the river, directly opposite the town, the bluffs approach the 
river, and continue parallel with it to its junction with the Mississippi, when they 
follow the coftrse of that stream in a southerly direction, and terminate thirty-five 
miles above the mouth o/ the Ohio, forming the southern boundary of the highlands 
on the Mississippi. From the town to the junction of the Kaskaskia with the Mis- 
sissippi, there is a body of land, called " the Point," which is low, and subject to 
inundation, but well timbered. It abounds in wild horses, many of which are 
annually caught. 

By an act of Congress, passed in 1788, t* larye tract of land was granted to the 
different French villages on Ifee east side of the Mississippi, and a separate tract 
to the inhabitants o,f Kaskaskia, tb be used as a common. It is situated on the Mis- 
sissippi, and contains twenty thousand a'cres It is under the direction of the 
trustees of the town, in con tbrmity' with the special acts of the legislature. 

LEBANON is in St. Clair county, and is beautifully situated on the west bank 
of Little Silver creek, abot^-20 miles east from St. Louis, 12 miles north-east from 
Belleville, 59 from Vandalia, and about &M. from ^Vashington City. The town is 
located on the edge of a &^tll prairie. T,fee,gfreets cross each other at right 
angles, and are from GO t^WJeet wide. It' is pn etevated ground, surrounded 
with a beautiful, populous, andwell cultivated disUdct of country, and on the Vin- 
cennes and St. Louis stage-rocffl {Br 

Lebanon has a steam-milLfiw manufacturin^^nnn >$m ox-mill, for flouring, on 
an inclined plane; a post-omcV, IJfcMsublic houses, several stores, one grocery, 
' three physicians, mechanics' shopplf various kinds, and about sixty families. 
M'Kendreean College is located in the immediate vicinity of the town. It is under 
the supervision of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a commodious frame 
building, with about fifty students in the preparatory department, under the charge 
of two competent instructors. The Methodist society embraces the largest propor- 
tion of the religious community about Lebanon. There is a large society of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, and a small society of the Methodist Protestant 
Church. 

MOUNT CARMEL was laid off in 1818, by Rev. Thomas S. Hinde, of Ohio, 
with the view of establishing a moral, temperate, and industrious community. It 
is the seat of justice for VVabash county, and is situated on high ground on the 
west bank of the Wabash river, and just below the junction of that stream with the 
White river of Indiana, about 80 miles from its mouth by water, 109 south-east 
from Vandalia, and 716 from Washington Cirity. This place is immediately below 
the Grand Rapids of the Wabash river, the "prospective improvement of which is 
thought to give it peculiar importance as a place of business. The country around 
is high, undulating, healthy, and contains an extensive settlement of industrious 
farmers. The court-house and jail are brick. The Methodist society, which is 
large, has a house of worship. 

In Mount Carmel are ten stores, two groceries, two taverns, and a third in course 
of preparation, one stationed preacher and four local preachers of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, one German Reformed preacher, two physicians, one steam- 
doctor, three lawyers, and from 1000 to 1200 population. The religious denomina- 
tions are, Methodists (Episcopal), Evangelical Lutherans, associated with the 



AND PRINCIPAL TOW^TS OF ILLINOIS. 125 



German Reformed, Presbyterians, some Baptists, and Episcopalians three steam- 
mills, one ox tread-mill, mechanics and trades of various descriptions, a foundry 
for castings for machinery, &c. The commerce of this place is considerable, and 
from the 31st of March to the 12th of April, 1837, 26 steam-boats arrived and de- 
parted. 

NAPLES, the most commercial town in Morgan county, is on the east bank of 
the Illinois river, two miles above the mouth of the Mauvaiseterre creek, and 22 
miles west from Jacksonville. It is laid off on a level prairie at the foot 6f a sand 
ridge, and above ordinary high water. It is in a most delightful situation, w'ith good 
landings for steamboats. There are one or two rirst-rate hotels in the town, and 
some large wholesale stores. Several ^aw and grist steam-mills, together with its 
contiguity to the surrounding timber, afford ample facilities for building; its free 
ferry across the river ; its daily line of stages to Jacksonville ; the many addi- 
tional buildings to be erected this season ; and the acknowledged enterprize of its 
inhabitants, all go to make up a flourishing town, and hold out solid inducements 
to capitalists. 

The commerce of Naples is considerable. In 1835, the arrivals and 'departures 
of steamboats were 302. The exports in produce, during the same year, amounted 
to nearly one million of dollars. A r,ail-road to Jacksonville is now in progress of 
construction, and will soon be completed, as arrangements were made to lay about 
half a mile of rails every week during the present season. Naples contains about 
600 inhabitants. 

OTTAWA, the seat of justice for La Salle county*, was laid off by the canal 
commissioners, in 1830, at the Junction of Fox river w^i the Illinois, and is thought 
by many to be an important loo^tien^for^busiqess. IWWaid off on both sides of the 
Illinois river, about 80 miles sqyth-wesvfrotn Chicajy, 175 nearly due north from 
Vandalia, and 219 miles from^l^* mouth of the IUud^ river. The country around 
is pleasant, undulating, and well adapted to farmn^ fThe timber is in small quan- 
tities, chiefly in groves ; the.'Aairie land generaiydry and rich soil. 

At the town site, the wa(*rg|he Illinois *is deep, and the landing convenient. 
Steamboats reach this placejifripk spring, ajjdjxt'^ther seasons when the water is 



high. 

Below, for the distance of eight or ninjJSruTes; are rapids and shoals, formed by 
barriers of sand and limestone rock. Ottawa has eight or ten stores, two taverns, 
three physicians, five lawyers, and 75 or 80 families. Large additions have been 
made to the town plat, by laying off additional lots on lands adjoining. It is 
expected a lateral canal from the Illinois and Michigan canal will pass through -the 
town to the Illinois river. This, by means of a feeder to the rapids of Fox river, 
will open a navigation into Kane county.? Fox river is susceptible of improvement 
by slack-water at a small expense, intf) the Wisconsin Territory, and from thence 
by a short canal of fifteen miles may become connected with Milwaukee. Hence 
Ottawa may be regarded as one of the most important sites for commercial busi- 
ness in the state. Near it dams are already projected across the Illinois river, and 
an immense water-power thus created, The Ottawa Republican, a weekly paper, 
is published here. 

4 

PEKIN is in Tazewell county, ahd-on the east side of the Illinois river, 12 miles 
below Peoria, and 158 miles from the mouth of the river. The landing is tolerably 
good at a moderate stage of the river, but too shoal at a low stage. 

Pekin contains twelve stores', three groceries, two taverns (and a splendid hotel 
building by a company), seven lawyers, four physicians, four ministers of the gos- 
pel, one drug-store, three forwarding and commission houses, two houses for 
slaughtering and packing pork, one auction house, a printing-office which issues 
the Tazewell Telegraph, and about eight hundred inhabitants. 

There is also one steam flouring-mill that manufactures two hundred barrels of 

flour per day, a steam saw-mill and two steam distilleries, an academy, and a com- 

______ -. 



126 SKETCHES* OF THE CITIES 

% ; - 

mon school. The religious denominations are Presbyterian, Methodist, and Uni- 
tarian, which have houses of worship. 

PEORIA is situated on the west side of the Illinois river, at the foot of Peoria 
lake, and about 170 miles from the mouth of the river. It is the county town of 
Peoria county. The situation and country in the vicinity are thus described by Dr. 
Beck, in his Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri : 

"The situation of this place is beautiful beyond description. From the mouth 
of the Kjckapoo or Redbud creek, which empties into the Illinois, two miles below 
the old fort, the alluvion is a prairie, which stretches itself along the river in a 
north-westerly direction, three or four miles. The shore is chiefly made up .of 
rounded pebbles, and is filled with springs of the finest water. The first bank, 
\vhich is from six to twelve feet above high-water mark, extends west about a 
quarter of ar mile from the river, gradually ascending, when it rises five or six feet 
to the second bank. This extends nearly on a level to the bluffs, which are from 
sixty to one hundred feet in height. These bluffs consist of rounded pebbles, over- 
laying strata of limestone and sandstone, rounded at the top, and corresponding in 
their course with the meanders of the river and lake. The ascent, although steep, 
is not perpendicular. On the bluffs the surface again becomes level, and is beau- 
tifully interspersed with prairie and woodland. 

" From the bluffs the prospeet is uncommonly fine. Looking towards the east, 
you first behold an extensive prairie, which in spring and summer is covered with 
grass, with whose green the brilliant hues of a thousand flowers form the most 
lively contrast. Beyond this, the lake, clear and calm, may be seen emptying itself 
into, or by its contraction forming, the river, whose meanders, only hid from the 
view by the beautiful groves of timber which here and there arise, can be traced 
to the utmost extent of vision " 

Peoria now has twenty-nw stores, two wholesafe and five retail groceries, two 
drug-stores, two hotels and several boarding-houses, two free schools and an incor- 
porated academy, two Presfljtatian houses of worship and congregations, one 
Methodist, one Baptist, one' UMjrian, and one Episcopal congregation, six law- 
yers, eight or ten physicians, one brewery, two stejjn saw-mills, the usual propor- 
tion of mechanics, a court-house and jail, and a pote^lioA of from fifteen to eighteen 
hundred, which is rapidly increasing^* The " P^i^Legister and North- Western 
Gazetteer" is issued weekly, by SJJ. .Davis, Esq. Vhe religious people of this 
place have contributed no less than ablbt twenty-three thousand dollars, the past 
year, for philanthropic purposes. 

There are four lines of stages leading from Peoria, viz. : one to Galena, Sundays, 
Tuesdays, and Thursdays, distance 160 miles, fare $12; one to Chicago, same 
days, distance 160 miles, fare $12; one to Springfield, same days, distance 70 
miles, fare $6 ; and one to Knoxville, on Thursdays, distance 46 miles, fare $4. 
Some of these are fine Troy post-coaches ; others are open wagons, on lifeless 
springs, which do very well on smooth ground in dry weather. 

The old village of Peoria was situated about one mile and a half above the lower 
extremity or outlet of the Peoria lake. This village had been inhabited by the 
French, previous to the recollection of any of the present generation. About the 
year 1778 or 1779, the first house was built in what was then called La Ville de 
Maillet, afterwards the new village of Peoria, and which has recently been known 
by the name of Fort Clark, situated about one mile and a half below the old village, 
immediately at the lower point or outlet of the lake. The situation being preferred 
in consequence of the water being better, and its being thought more healthful, the 
inhabitants gradually deserted the old village, and, by the year 1796 or 1797, had 
entirely abandoned it, and removed to the new village. 

The inhabitants of Peoria consisted generally of Indian traders, hunters, and 
voyagers, and had long formed a link of connexion between the French residing 
on the waters of the great lakes and the Mississippi river. From that happy 
facility of adapting themselves to their situation and associates, for which the 
French are so remarkable, the inhabitants of Peoria lived generally in harmony 
with their savage neighbours. It appears, however, that about the year 1781 they 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS. 127 



were induced to abandon the village, from the apprehension of Indian hostility ; 
but soon after the peace of 1783, they again returned, and continued to reside 
there until the autumn of 1812, when they were forcibly removed from it, and the 
place destroyed, by a Captain Craig, of the Illinois militia, on the ground, as it was 
said, that his company of militia were fired on in the night, while at anchor in 
their boats before the village, by Indians with whom the inhabitants were suspected 
by Craig to be too intimate and friendly. The poor inhabitants, being thus deprived 
of shelter, fled for refuge to the different villages on the Mississippi. 

In September, 1813, General Howard marched with about 1400 men from Por- 
tage des Sioux, for Peoria. The regulars who manned the boats, arrived and 
commenced building a block-house, which they named Fort Clark, in honour of 
Gen. George Rogers Clark. General Howard, with his mounted rangers, ascended 
the Mississippi as high as Two Rivers, and then crossed over to the Illinois. By 
this judicious plan, the whole frontier was swept of the enemy, who was continually 
harassing them. 

On the 29th of September, the general arrived at Fort Clark. The Indians had 
attacked it two days before, but Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas, who commanded, 
gave them so warm a reception, that they soon retired. It was concluded that 
they had gone to Gomo's town, about thirty miles distant. The general immediately 
made arrangements, and marched the next morning to attack it. When he arrived, 
he found the enemy had taken to the water, and ascended the Illinois. He burnt 
the village and two others, and remained in the vicinity for two nights. He then 
marched back to Peoria, to assist the regulars in building Fort Clark, which had 
been commenced and named previous to his arrival. 

With considerable labour, they cut and hauled the necessary timber across the 
lake ; and the fort was in a complete state of defence in twelve days. While they 
were engaged about the fort, Majors Christy and Boone were detached on separate 
commands. The former was ordered to ascend the river, in two armed boats, to 
the foot of the rapids (about 80 miles), to ascertainJP the Indians had embodied, or 
formed any new establishments in that quarter. Major Boone was sent over in the 
direction of Rock river, to collect every necessary information concerning their 
traces, &c. Both these officers* returned in five or six days, and reported that the 
enemy had fled on all points. 

Soon after this, the weather became cold ; Sad, as no provision had been made 
for a winter campaign, General Howard determined on returning, and accordingly 
took up his line of march on the 15th of October, leaving a small garrison in the 
fort. About the termination of the war, Fort Clark was abandoned by the Ameri- 
cans ; and, a short time afterwards, it was burnt by the Indians, as they assert, 
through the instigation of the traders. 

QUINCY, the seat of justice of Adams County, is situated on the east bank of 
the Mississippi river, about 125 miles above the mouth of the Illinois by water, 
193 miles north-west from Vandalia, and 974 from Washington city. This town 
is only twelve years old, and now has a population of about 1500. It stands on a 
beautiful elevation, 125 feet above the limestone-bound shore of the Mississippi. It 
commands a fine view of the river for five or six miles in each direction, and has 
one of the best steamboat landings to be found on the Mississippi. The first 
cabin erected on the site of this town is still in existence, and affords, by contrast 
with the newly erected habitations, a pleasing example of the progress and refine- 
ment of the place. 

Quincy contains an enterprizing and intelligent community, suitably impressed 
with the importance of religious and moral habits, among whom the principles and 
practice of temperance generally prevail. In the town there are about 25 stores, 
four or five land-offices, including the United States land-office for the sale of pub- 
lic lands in the Quincy district ; three taverns, several gunsmiths, blacksmiths; 
and cabinet shops, besides a number of other mechanics, eight or nine lawyers and 
five physicians, also two steam saw-mills and a flouring-mill. The public square 
is large, and may be made as beautiful as Washington Square in Philadelphia. On 
the east side of it, a brick court-house is nearly completed, at an expense of 20,000 



128 SKETCHES OF THE CITIES 



dollars. The religious denominations are Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists, 
Episcopalians, German Lutherans, and Roman Catholics. The Methodists and 
Congregationalists have each erected churches, and the Baptist and Episcopalian 
societies are now building places of worship. The sabbath-schools are exerting an 
important influence on the rising generation: of daily schools, there are several of 
respectability. 

The annual exports of flour and pork amount to about $100,000. Many new 
buildings are rising, indicative of an increase of wealth and prosperity. The prai- 
rie in the vicinity of the town is beautifully rolling and rich, and the whole county 
forms one of the best agricultural districts in the state. There are generally at 
Quincy about 300 arrivals of steamboats in the year, and there is no impediment 
to the navigation of the river at any time, except by the freezing of the Mississippi, 
which generally continues only for a brief period. 

Property has increased, in a short period, from 100 to 1000 per cent, in value. 
With all its natural and moral advantages, Quincy must increase, and eventually 
become a place of importance. 

RUSHVILLE, the seat of justice for Schuyler county, is situated in the central 
part of the' county, at the south end of a beautiful prairie, ten miles from the Illi- 
nois river at the nearest point, and twelve from Beardstown. The settlements 
around are large ; and the town itself i exhibits a quietness and neatness in its ex- 
ternal appearance, that is highly pleasing to the traveller. 

This town was laid out in 1827, when the county was formed, and two years 
afterwards contained only seven nouses: they now amount to near 400, with a 
population of about 1200 persons. It contains five churches, twelve stores, besides 
several groceries and other establishments, a considerable variety of mechanics, 
(more of whom are much wanted,) and a number of professional gentlemen. The 
court-house is of brick, two stories high ; and the people have erected a brick 
school-house. Good building stone, and plenty of coal, are found in the vicinity. 
A rail-road from Rushville to A* town of Erie on the Illinois, ten miles in length, 
is contemplated : most of the srock has been subscribed. This improvement will 
give Rushville all the advantages of a river situation, free from the diseases to 
which some of the river towns are subject. , v . 

SHAWNEETOWN occupies a 'beautiful situation on the western bank of the 
Ohio river, nine miles below the mouth of the Wabash, and 120 above the junction 
of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Its distance from Pittsburg by water is about 
900 miles, and from New Orleans about 1200. 

The town stands on a level plain, and embraces a view of the river of two or 
five miles in each direction. There was formerly a village of Shawnee Indians at 
this spot ; but it was forsaken before the whites attempted a settlement, and no 
vestige of it now remains, except two small mounds. A few cabins were after- 
wards built by the French traders; but these had also disappeared, and the ground 
was covered with bushes when the present town was established. As recently as 
the year 1808, there was not a house on the ground. In February 1812, an office 
for the sale of public lands was established at this place; and in March 1814, an 
act was passed by Congress, providing that two sections of land adjoining Shaw- 
nee Town should be laid out into two lots, streets, avenues, and outlets, and sold 
in the same manner as other public lands. . . -, 

The bank of the Ohio at this place has a gradual ascent, but is subject to inun- 
dation at the extreme floods. Between the town and the bluffs the surface is still 
lower, and more frequently submerged. Though no considerable sickness has pre- 
vailed in this town for some years past, it cannot but be regarded as less healthful 
than the more elevated portions of the state. 

Shawnee Town is the principal commercial place in the southern part of Illinois, 
and a good deal of business is transacted both in the wholesale and retail line. It 
has eight or ten stores, several groceries, two public houses, and 600 or 700 inhabi- 
tants. The land-office for the district is in this place ; and there is a printing- 
office, which publishes a weekly paper called the Illinois Advertiser. There is 



AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS OF ILLINOIS, 129 



likewise a bank here, which was chartered by the territorial legislature, and which 
has recently recommenced doing business, after a suspension of several years. 

SPRINGFIELD, the seat of justice of Sangamon county, is very nearly in the 
centre of the state of Illinois; being 197 miles ;a little west of north from the 
junction of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and 185 miles due south of the north- 
ern boundary of the state, 114 miles west of the eastern boundary, and 91 east of 
the Mississippi river. The town is situated four miles south of the Sangamon river, 
on the border of a beautiful and extensive prairie, adorned with ^excellent and well- 
cultivated farms, and stretching away on every side to the blue line of distant 
forest 

Springfield was laid out about fifteen years ago : but for nine or ten years, it 
contained only a few scattered log cabins. All its present wealth or importance 
dates from the last six years. Its geographically central situation fits it most admi- 
rably for the future capital of the state ; while its location by nature in the heart 
of the most fertile region in the western country, and the important public works 
contemplated to intersect it, cannot fail of rendering it a place of extensive business 
and crowded population. 

The public square, a green pleasant lawn inclosed by a railing, contains the 
court-house and a market, both fine structures of brick ; and the sides surrounding 
the square are lined with handsome edifices. Many of the buildings, however, are 
small ; and the humble log cabin, the abiding place of some of the first settlers, 
not unfrequently meets the eye. Among its public structures are a jail, and houses 
of worship for two Presbyterian churches, one Baptist Reformer, one Methodist, 
one Episcopalian, and one Baptist society, all of which have ministers and respect- 
able congregations. 

The town contains excellent schools for both sexes.and an academy : there are 
also nineteen dry-goods stores, one .wholesale and six retail groceries, four public 
houses, four drug-stores, one book-store, two clothing stores, eleven lawyers, eigh- 
teen physicians, including steam-doctors, one foundry for casting, four carding 
machines, mechanics and trades of various descriptions, and two printing-offices, 
from which are issued weekly the Illinois Republican, and the Sangamon Journal. 

By a recent act of the legislature, Springfield is to be the permanent seat of 
government after 1840 ; and an appropriation has been made of $50,000, and com- 
missioners appointed to build a state-house. 

UPPER ALTON is a delightfully situated town in Madison county, built on 
elevated ground, two and. a half miles back from the river, and east from Alton. 
The situation of the town is high and healthy. The country around was origin- 
ally timbered land, and is undulating: the prevailing growth consists of oaks of 
various species, hickory, walnut, etc. 

Upper Alton was laid off by the proprietor in 1816; and in 1821, it contained 50 
or 60 families. In 1827, it had dwindled down to a few, from several causes. But 
since the commencement of Alton, the flourishing mercantile town on the river, it 
has experienced a rapid growth, and will doubtless continue to advance proportion- 
ate to the progress of the town and country around. There are eight stores, five 
groceries, two lawyers, five physicians, mechanics of various descriptions, a steam 
saw and flour mill, and about 300 families, or 1500 inhabitants. The Baptists, 
Methodists, and Presbyterians, each have houses of worship. The Baptist and 
Presbyterian houses are. handsome stone edifices, with spires, bells, &c., and pro- 
vided with ministers. There are sevei) or eight ministers of the gospel, residents 
of this place, some of whom are connected with the college and the Theological 
seminary ; others are agents for some of the public benevolent institutions, whose 
families reside here. Good morals, religious privileges, the advantages for educa- 
tion in the college, and in three respectable common schools, with an intelligent 
and agreeable society, make this town a desirable residence. 

VANDALIA, the capital of the state, and the seat of justice for Fayette county, 
was laid out in 1818, by commissioners appointed for that purpose, under the au- 

R 



130 CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES. 



thority of the state. It is situated on the west bank of the Kaskaskia river, about 
82 miles north-east from St. Louis, 138 north of the j unction .of the Mississippi and 
Ohio rivers, and 781 from Washington City. The site is high, undulating, and 
was originally a timbered tract. The streets cross at right angles, and are SO feet 
in width. The public square is on elevated ground. The public buildings are, a 
state-house of brick, and sufficiently commodious for legislative purposes, unfinish- 
ed ; a neat framed house of worship for the Presbyterian society, with a cupola 
and bell ; a framed meeting-house for the Methodist society ; another small public 
building open for -all denominations, and for schools, and other public purposes. 
There are in the town two printing-offices that issue weekly papers, the State 
Register and the Free Press, four taverns, eight stores, two groceries, one clothing 
store, two schools, four lawyers, four physicians, one steam and one water saw-mill, 
one minister of the gospel, and about 850 inhabitants. Near the river the country 
generally is heavily timbered, but a few miles back are extensive prairies. The 
national road has been permanently located and partially constructed to this place. 
Vandalia will continue to be the capital of Illinois until the year 1840 ; after 
which period, as decided by a late act of the state legislature, the seat of govern- 
ment will be removed to Springfield, in Sangamon county, where the sum of 
$50,000 has been appropriated to build a state-house for the accommodation of the 
legislature, and for other public purposes. 

WHITEHALL is a recently settled town in the northern part of Greene county, 
on the main road from Carrollton to Jacksonville, about 10 miles north of the former 
place, and 12 miles east of the Illinois river : it is in the midst of a fertile and 
well-settled tract of country, and contains nine stores, two groceries, two taverns, 
three physicians, one school, and an incorporation for a seminary, a steam-mill in 
the vicinity, framed houses of worship for Methodists and Baptists, and 600 inhab- 
itants. 

WINCHESTER is situated in Morgan county, 14 miles from Naples, and 16 
from Jacksonville. Its population is already estimated at 600 ; and it enjoys the 
advantages of good schools, mills, and manufacturing establishments. It was laid 
off in 1831, on elevated ground, and is a thriving town, increasing rapidly, has 
several stores, and a number of mechanics of various descriptions. The Baptists, 
Methodists, and Congregationalists, have societies here. It has excellent lime and 
freestone quarries in the vicinity, and several mills. 

Winchester is one of the chief points on the line of the rail-road from Jackson- 
ville to Augusta on the Illinois river. A distance of seven and a half miles on this 
road, from Winchester to Lynnville, is now under contract, and in a state of great 
forwardness. 



CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES. 



The following letter from the Hon. H. L. Ellsworth, superintendent of the patent 
office at Washington City, gives a better idea of the cost of cultivating the 
western prairies than we have before seen, and we think our readers generally 
will be pleased with a perusal of it -Sangamo Journal. 

Washington, Jan. ], 1837. 

DEAR SIR You doubtless expect some further statement than has been received 
respecting the investment made for you in the valley of the Wabash. A desire 
to meet my son, who was daily expected from Lafayette, has delayed my writing 



CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES. 131 



until this time. And now, let me say, generally, that the west has grown, and 
will continue to increase beyond the most sanguine calculation. Nor will any 
action of the general government materially check the advancement of the lands 
which are judiciously located on the great western canals or rail-roads. Very little 
is yet known of the valley of the Wabash. Although the fertility of the soil is 
unequalled, few have ever seen this country. The reason is obvious; there is no 
communication with it ; and hence, speculators and settlers have passed around it, 
going west, either by the Michigan lake, or by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. 

Five thousand persons left Buftalo in one day to go up the lake, and yet not one 
went into the valley of the Wabash. A slight inspection of the maps of Indiana, 
Ohio, and Illinois, will show a direct route to the Mississippi from the west end of 
Lake Erie, to be up the Maumee, and down the Wabash valley to Lafayette. It 
may, therefore, be considered certain, that when the rail-road from St. Louis to 
Lafayette is completed, the great travel from the Mississippi valley to the east, 
will be by the lakes, through the Wabash and Erie canal, the shortest and quickest 
route by several days. A person at the mouth of the Ohio will pass up to St. 
Louis, then take the rail-road and canal to Lake Erie, in preference to following 
the meanders of the Ohio river in a steamboat. Can there be a doubt on this 
subject ] What time will be occupied on this route to New-York 1 Not exceed- 
ing six days. From St. Louis to Lafayette (240 miles), one day may be allowed ; 
from Lafayette to the lake, at the rate of 4| to 5 miles on the canal (now in opera- 
tion considerable part of the way), forty-eight hours ; and from the lake to New- 
York city, via rail-road (now commenced), not exceeding two days. 

What changes this must make in the value of property on the route ! The value 
of land depends on the fertility of the soil and the facility of transportation. From 
a personal inspection of the western states, during six months past, I am fully con- 
vinced the Wabash valley has the best soil and most favourable climate. In the 
latitude of Philadelphia, you avoid the extreme of great heat in summer, and of 
cold in winter, and also avoid the danger of early frosts, so prevalent in higher 
latitudes. You may ask, what will be the markets for Indiana 1 ? I answer, New- 
York and New-Orleans, the former by the Erie canal, and the latter by the Wabash 
river (navigable to Lafayette for steamboats), and by the rail-road above-mentioned 
to St Louis; also Montreal, by the Welland canal. A choice of all these markets, 
equally accessible, is presented to farmers on the Wabash valley, who possess a 
great advantage over Michigan and Wisconsin, in the early navigation of the Wa- 
bash river. The produce of this valley can by this river .pass down to New-Orleans 
in flat-boats, free of tolls, and be transported to Charleston, Baltimore, New- York, 
and Boston, six weeks before the New- York canal opens. This early market may 
be estimated at a good profit in business. 

You may ask if the Wabash and Erie canals will surely be completed? Un- 
doubtedly they will. Indiana and Ohio are pledged to complete them. Nearly 
all is now under contract, and government has given lands adjoining sufficient to 
finish the same without any expense to the states. 

As like causes (other things being equal) produce like effects, it will not tax 
your credulity to believe, that the rich lands on the Wabash valley will equal those 
on the Ohio, New- York, and Pennsylvania canals, which vary from 25 to 60 dol- 
lars per acre. Is it possible that lands yielding 40 bushels of wheat, 70 of corn, 60 
of oats, and 450 of potatoes, and distant only ten or twelve days transportation from 
New- York or New-Orleans cities, can be less than $50 per acre ? 

In making selections, I have, when practicable, procured both prairie and tim- 
ber, though I am sure there has been a common error to pass the rich prairie 
because timber cannot be found adjoining at the government price. Under this 
belief many settlers have, to their sorrow, entered the timber and left the prairie, 
because they supposed nobody would enter that without possessing the timber. 
The prairie has been entered lately. And such is the facility for raising timber on 
prairies, by sowing the seed of black walnut and locust, that the desire for timber 
land has diminished. Those who doubt the comparative value of timber land, will 
do well to consider that 12 dollars is a fair price for clearing timber land. 

Timber land, when cleared in the usual manner, is left incumbered with stumps 



132 CULTIVATION OF THE PRAIRIES. 



and roots, fatal obstacles to labour-saving machines. $12,000 will be required to 
clear 1000 acres of timber land ; whereas the 1000 acres of prairie can be put in 
tame grass without ploughing. 

A prairie farm may be put in complete cultivation at from $3.75 to $9 per acre, 
according to the computations of my son Edward, who has been extensively 
engaged in cultivating the prairie for the last year. From a personal examination 
of the land in France, and on the Wabash valley, I feel no hesitation in pronouncing 
the latter decidedly the best for the beet sugar manufacture. In France, eight, 
ten, and twelve dollars per acre are paid for rent, and yet great profits are made. 
An acre of good land will yield 44,000 pounds of sugar beet, from which 2400 
pounds of sugar can be extracted, which, at ten cents per pound, amounts to 240 
dollars per acre. 

In England, paper is now made from the residuum of beets, after the saccharine 
matter is extracted. An application for a similar patent is now pending in the 
patent office. The sample of paper exhibited is very good, and the rapidity with 
which the paper is made, must reduce materially the price of the article. Many 
labour-saving machines are introduced to aid in the cultivation of new lands. In 
a few years it is probable that ploughing on smooth lands will be effected by steam, 
and even now mowing and reaping are successfully done by horse-power. 

Such are the profits of cultivation, that I would advise all who can to improve 
some part of their lands. A small improvement will repay expenditures, and 
greatly enhance the value of the whole investment. Three benefits may be 
expected : 1. The crops will pay expenses and yield a great profit. 2. The land 
cultivated and the land adjoining will be advanced several hundred per cent. 3. If 
stock is put on the farm the same is numerically increased, and greatly enhanced 
in value by improving the breed. 

Either of these considerations is sufficient to justify cultivation and guaranty a 
large return. I might mention the successful cultivation of hay in the west from 
one and a half to two tons is a fair crop. This can be cut and pressed without any 
labour-saving machines at two dollars per ton : and if the grass was cut by horse- 
power, the expense would be still less. The profits on one hundred heifers at five 
dollars, might easily be supposed. Fifty breeding sows would probably bring 700 
pigs per annum, and by these means a large farm could be stocked with little 
capital advanced. 

Hay at New-Orleans varies from 20 to 50 dollars per ton. An average for the 
last three years may be thirty dollars. The cost of floating down hay in flat-boats 
to New-Orleans may be eight dollars per ton. 

There is a practice mentioned by Mr. Newell, and highly recommended by 
others, of putting in hay-seed without ploughing the ground. This is done by 
burning the prairie grass in the spring, and harrowing in the seed. The seed 
catches quick and grows well Blue grass especially succeeds in this way, and 
the grass will sustain stock all winter without cutting hay or fodder for them. A 
large drove of horses was kept last winter at Indianapolis on blue grass, on the 
open fields, at the small expense of one dollar per head per month. 

From personal examination, I am convinced that ditching and hedging, as prac- 
tised in Holland, England, and France, almost entirely, and successfully adopted 
in Illinois, is cheaper than rails. The general complaint of the earth crumbling 
by frost is prevented by sowing blue grass seed on the sides. Mulberry trees 
might be raised on the slope of the ditch, with great profit. Indeed, such is the 
rapid growth of the mulberry in these rich prairie lands, that the purchase of this 
land at $1.25 an acre, and planted by these trees alone, would in a few years be 
highly valuable. Such is the extent of the prairie, that woodland will always be 
valuable for timber. The woodland is also rich, and fine for cultivation; and if 
trees under a certain diameter are cut, a fine grazing farm may easily be made, 
and the good timber preserved. Similar pastures are found in Kentucky; these 
yield $3 profit per acre annually. It may be asked, how can non-residents best 
cultivate their lands? I would remark, that it is customary to rent land (once 
broke and fenced), for one-third of the crop, delivered iii the crib or barn. At this 
rent the tenants find all. 



LETTERS FROM A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 133 



I would advise to employ smart enterprising young men from the New England 
states, to take the farm on shares. If the landlord should find a house, team, cart, 
and plough, and add some stock, he might then require one-half of the profits of 
the same. I would advise to allow for fencing or ditching a certain sum, and 
stipulate that the capital invested should be returned before the profits were 
divided. A farmer could in this way earn for himself from $700 to $1000 per 
annum, on a lease for five years. The second year a mowing machine might be 
furnished, if one hundred acres were seeded down to tame grass. Mast for swine 
is found in great abundance, and the number of hogs could easily be increased to 
one thousand by adding to the number of breeding sows. 

Corn is so easily raised that it is found advantageous to turn hogs into a field of 
this grain without gathering it. It has long been the practice in New- York to 
raise oats and peas together, and turn in the swine to harvest the same when ripe. 
Experiments this summer in Connecticut show a great profit in raising spring 
wheat and oats together, and feeding out the same to hogs. I have omitted to say 
that good bituminous coal is found in the valley of the Wabash. The veins are 
from five to ten feet thick, and a large wagon-load will supply one fire for a year. 
Salt is also manufactured in large quantities and superior in quality to the Ken- 
hawa salt. 

Farmers in Indiana and Illinois are now successfully inclosing their farms by 
ditching, which has cost from fifty to seventy-five cents per rod. The laws of the 
states of Indiana and Illinois compel the owners of lands adjoining to pay one half 
of fencing, whenever they make use of, or derive any benefits from the fences of 
their neighbour. This lessens the expense of fencing one-half. 

If it be asked what are the profits of cultivation] I answer, if the land is rented 
for five years, the profits accruing during this period will repay the capital 
advanced in the commencement, with twenty-five per cent, interest per annum, 
and leave the farm worth twenty dollars per acre at the expiration of the lease. 
Probably the profit will be much greater. Yours, respectfully, 

H. L. ELLSWORTH. 



LETTERS FROM A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 



The six following letters from the pen of a talented young Philadelphian, a cor- 
respondent of the editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer and Daily Courier, appeared 
in the columns of that gazette during the spring of the present year, under the 
title of " A Rambler in the West." They are beautifully written, and possess 
more than ordinary interest for those anxious to acquire information relative to the 
Western County, more particularly the state of Illinois. 

No. I. 
The Journey The " Far West" A Prairie on fire Alton Chicago. 

Vundalia (111.), Jan. 29, 1837. 

I promised you, my dear P , when I left our good Quaker city, that I would 

give you some account of my wanderings. I had intended long ere this to have 
complied with my promise, but circumstances which we cannot control have hith- 
erto prevented me from discharging that pleasing duty. I design now, however, 
to present yon with a short account of my rambles. 

The morning was cold and lowering, and the rain was descending in torrents, 
when the carriage arrived which was to convey me on my journey. It was truly 

12 



134 LETTERS FROM 



a cheerless morn, and the streets through which we passed were almost deserted, 
save where here and there a single pedestrian, wrapping himself in his cloak, de- 
fied the " peltings of the pitiless storm." I need not say that the lowering appear- 
ance of the heavens tended in any degree to elevate the spirits of the youthful 
adventurer, who was leaving the scenes of his early days the home of his youth 
the thousand sweet associations of friends and " fatherland," on a tour of experi- 
ment to a new and almost unsettled country. But I had determined that the feel- 
ings of regret and despondency, so natural to the occasion, should not have a 
lodgement in my bosom for experience had fully convinced me that they produce 
no beneficial results, but were oft-times productive of serious injury. Brushing 
away a hasty tear, which, in spite of all my philosophy, lingered in my eye, I 
bounded into the car with, apparently, a light and joyful heart. The door closed, 
and soon the last glimpse of my much-loved city faded from my view. After be- 
stowing my hearty benedictions on it and the many kind friends its walls contained, 
I applied myself to the accomplishment of my purposes. I was anxious to obtain 
a knowledge of the country through which I passed, the character of its popula- 
tion, the nature of its soil and climate, and that mass of valuable information 
which travel alone can furnish. 

My course lay through the line of internal improvements of the State of Penn- 
sylvania, which are truly creditable to her citizens, and without much delay I 
arrived at Pittsburgh, whose business and activity indeed surprised me. I entered 
one of the noble steamers which crowded her wharves, and was soon proceeding 
at a rapid rate over the calm and tranquil waters of the " Beautiful River." Away 
we flew over its glad waters, and soon the spires and steeples of St. Louis peeped 
over the distant hills. I thought, upon my arrival there, that I was approaching 
the "far west;" but when I mentioned west, I was laughed at, and was pointed to 
that immense region which stretched far beyond the Mississippi, and was told, that 
when I travelled week after week, and thousands upon thousands of miles in that 
direction, I would then be approaching the confines of the "Great West" I was 
inclined to be discouraged ; but being determined to visit the Illinois country, be- 
fore attempting that arduous journey, I was soon on another boat, and ploughing 
the dark and troubled waters of the rapid Mississippi. The day I left St. Louis 
was peculiarly fine one of those days in autumn when summer seems to linger 
on earth, as if unwilling to yield to Boreas' chill and nipping blast 

The scenery on the banks of the river was truly grand and sublime. Large jets 
of rock obtruded far into the stream, and reared their mighty heads almost to the 
clouds. So regular were they in their proportions, and so nicely chiselled, it 
seemed as if dame Nature had built for herself, in this western world, a huge and 
mighty castle, with lofty columns and frowning battlements, defying the skill of 
man to rival its majestic grandeur. Whilst enjoying the sublimity of the scene, 
night threw her mantle o'er the earth, and the " sentinel stars set their watch in the 
skies" when suddenly the scene was lighted by a blaze of light illuminating 
every object around. Lo, it was the prairie on fire. Language cannot convey, 
words cannot express to you the faintest idea of the grandeur and splendour of that 
mighty conflagration. Methought that the pale queen of night, disdaining to take 
her accustomed place in the heavens, had despatched ten thousand messengers to 
light their torches at the altar of the setting sun, and that now they were speeding 
on the wings of the wind to their appointed stations. As I gazed on that mighty 
conflagration, my thoughts recurred to you, immured in the walls of a city, and I 
exclaimed, in the fullness of my heart, 

" Oh fly to the prairie, in wonder, and gaze 
As o er the grass sweeps the magnificent blaze 
The world cannot boast so romantic a sight .- 

A continent flaming 'mid oceans of light" 

I arrived early on the following morning at Alton, which is a flourishing and 
thriving place, and presents a busy appearance. With its situation I was much 
pleased, but more gratified with the enterprize of its citizens. Every one here was 
active and industrious there were no loungers no idlers no "loafers" to be 
seen. Every one seemed engaged in some occupation, and was pursuing it with 



A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 135 



industry and zeal. Large stores as large as those which adorn our eastern cities 
were building on the water's edge ; dwelling houses of all sizes were springing 
up, and the hum of busy industry was sounding through the streets. I left this 
city with regret, being compelled to pursue my journey. After a very pleasant 
ride through a most delightful country, I arrived at Chicago. 

Chicago is, without doubt, the greatest wonder in this wonderful country. Four 
years ago the savage Indian there built his little wigwam the noble stag there 
saw undismayed his own image reflected from the polished mirror of the glassy 
lake the adventurous settler then cultivated a small portion of those fertile prai- 
ries, and was living far, far away from the comforts of civilization. Four years 
have rolled by, and how changed that scene ! That Indian is now driven far west 
of the Mississippi ; he has left his native hills his hunting grounds the grave of 
his father and now is building his home in the far west, again to be driven away by 
the mighty tide of emigration. That gallant stag no longer bounds secure o'er those 
mighty plains, but startles at the rustling of every leaf or sighing of every wind, 
fearing the rifles of the numerous Nimrods who now pursue the daring chase. That 
adventurous settler is now surrounded by luxury and refinement ; a city with a popu- 
lation of over six thousand souls has now arisen ; its spires glitter in the morning 
sun ; its wharves are crowded by the vessels of trade ; its streets are alive with the 
busy hum of commerce. 

The wand of the magician or the spell of a talisman ne'er effected changes like 
these ; nay, even Aladdin's lamp, in all its glory, never performed greater wonders. 
But the growth of the town, extraordinary as it is, bears no comparison with that 
of its commerce. In 1833, there were but four arrivals or about 700 tons. In 
1836, there were four hundred and fifty-six arrivals, or about 60,000 tons. Point 
me if you can to any place in this land whose trade has been increased in the like 
proportion. What has produced this great prosperity ] I answer, its great natural 
advantages, and the untiring enterprize of its citizens. Its situation is unsurpassed 
by any in our land. 

Lake Michigan opens to it the trade of the north and east, and the Illinois and 
Michigan canal, when completed, will open the trade of the south and south-west. 
But the great share of its prosperity is to be attributed to the enterprize of its 
citizens : most of them are young many there are upon whose temple the golden 
lock of youth is not darkened ; many who a short time since bade adieu to the fas- 
cinations of gay society, and immured themselves in the western wilderness, de- 
termining to acquire both fame and fortune. And what has been the result] 
While many of their companions and former associates are now toiling and strug- 
gling in the lowly vale of life, with scarcely enough of the world's gear to drive 
away the cravings of actual want the enterprizing adventurer has amassed a 
splendid fortune has contributed to build up a noble city, the pride of his adopted 
state, and has truly caused the wilderness to bloom and blossom like the rose. 
Such are always the rewards of ever daring minds. 



NO. n. 

Peru. 

Peru, (111.) Feb. 4. 1837. 

I resume my narrative. 

The next point to which my attention was directed was Peru. This place will 
unquestionably become one of the greatest inland towns in the West, and second 
only to Chicago. A traveller riding through would smile if you were to tell him 
that this place was destined to become a city. One humble tenement is all it 
boasts, and a stranger would be apt to imagine, when you told him that a town was 
laid out there, and that lots were commanding from $1000 to $2500 apiece, that 
the speculating fever was raging with all-pervading influence. But upon careful 
examination and mature reflection, I have arrived at the conclusion above stated. 

Peru is situated on the Illinois river, at the head of river navigation, and is the 
point of termination of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. 



136 LETTERS FROM 



This canal, when completed, will be the most splendid project of internal im- 
provement in the Union. Its dimensions are sixty feet wide at the top water 
line 36 feet wide at the bottom, and six feet deep the estimated cost of which 
is nine millions. This is a great link in the grandest chain of internal improve- 
ments known in the world "it unites the Mississippi with our inland seas, the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence with the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rocky mountains with 
the Atlantic coast." Where can be found a work of internal improvement more 
important than this 1 

Besides, the great central rail-road from the mouth of the Ohio terminates here. 
It is situated in the midst of a most fertile region, abounding in grain, in coal, in 
iron, and in hydraulic power. These things being considered, is it wrong to sup- 
pose that a large inland city will here arise 1 For myself I have no doubt of 
the fact, and would stake my reputation on the result. And but a few short 
months ago, the land there was entered by an enterprizing Pennsylvanian, (one ! 
who, by his business talents, enterprize, and unspotted reputation, has amassed a 
munificent fortune, and who can be pointed to as a distinguished example of the 
success which attends well-directed efforts) for a dollar and a quarter per acre 
now it will readily command from 5000 to 10,000 dollars per acre. 

I assure you, my dear , I have often wished as I was roaming over this beau- 
tiful country, that you were with me, to view this scene in all its glory, to cast 
your eyes over a boundless tract of land, on which stern Winter has cast his fleece- 
white mantle, to feel the west wind blowing on your cheek, and to experience that 
thrill of pleasure which the sight of those grand and mighty prairies alone can 
bestow. But perhaps you will see them at a more propitious period. Come, when 
Flora casts her garlands o'er the land, Come, 

" When universal Pan 
Knit with the graces and the hours in dance, 
Leads on the gentle Spring." 

Come, when the prairie flower is in blossom come when " the rank grass is wav- 
ing in billowy pride." Come when the chain that now binds these sluggish streams 
is loosed, and hear them laugh and merrily sing as they journey on to the ocean. 
Come then and view this rich, this growing, this flourishing country examine its 
resources. See the field that is opened for enterprize and talent look at the 
laurels which can be gained by exertion here, reflect on its increasing greatness, 
and the influence it is destined to exert upon our common country ; and my word 
for it, a city life will lose its charms, and you will, without a sigh, bid it farewell, 
take up your staff, and come and pitch your tent in the great the growing the 
mighty the boundless West 



No. III. 

A Snow-Storm on the Prairie. 

Peoria, (111.) Feb. 8, 1837. 

"Now sharp Boreas blows abroad, and brings 
The dreary winter on his frozen wings ; 
Beneath the low-hung clouds, the sheets of snow 
Descend, and whiten all the fields below." 

Such was the burden of my song when I awoke from a most refreshing slumber, 
and saw large white flakes descending, and the whole country covered with the 
snowy garb of winter. It is oft-times a very pleasant employment to watch the 
progress of a snow-storm, but then you must be sheltered from its violence, for I 
assure you, you cannot at all sentimentalize when you are breasting its fury, and 
have a long and dreary journey before you. However, this morning I was in a 
peculiarly good humour, and disregarding the solicitations of my friends, who 
begged me to remain until the storm had abated, I determined to resume my 
journey. Soon the merry jingle of the sleigh-bell announced to me that my vehi- 
cle was at the door of my friend's hospitable mansion into it I sprung with joy- 



A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 137 



ous gaiety, and away we flew over the broad and boundless prairie. My noble 
steed seemed to feel a new excitement as he inhaled the fresh morning breeze, 
which lent life and vigour to every nerve. 

A prairie is most beautiful in " the spring time of year," for then it is a garden 
formed and cultivated by nature's hand, where spring the clustering flowers which 
bloom in rich luxuriance, and "shed their fragrance on the desert air." But when 
stern winter casts her mantle over the earth, and binds the streams in icy fetters, 
then a prairie is a spectacle, grand and sublime, and will well repay for the hard- 
ships and privations of Western travelling. I was compelled, however, to ride 
against the wind, which whistled around and blew directly in my face. So violent 
was the storm that I was almost blinded by the thick flakes that were dashed di- 
rectly in my .eyes. Had I acted with prudence, I should have discontinued my 
journey, and made myself comfortable for the remainder of the day at the log hut 
where I dined but I determined, in spite of wind and weather, to reach Peoria 
by night. Whilst progressing quietly on my way, gray twilight extended her 
evening shades on earth. Still I drove on, anxious to reach my point of destina- 
tion. Not a single star peeped out from the heavens to shed its light on a benight- 
ed traveller. The storm increased in violence, and the cold winds whistled a 
wintry tune. I now found I had strayed from the road, and here was I on a broad 
prairie, without mark or mound, and had lost the trace, which was ere now covered 
by the falling snow. 

Unfortunately I had left my compass behind, and now I was on a broad sea 
without a chart or compass, and without one stray light in the heavens whereby to 
direct my course. The mariner, when tossed upon the billows of the stormy ocean, 
has at least the satisfaction of knowing where he is, for the needle will always point 
to the pole, and his chart v\ . ell him of the dangers in his path but the weary 
traveller, who has lost his way on a Prairie, is on a boundless sea, where he can- 
not even tell the direction he is pursuing, for oft-times he will travel hour after hour, 
and still remain at nearly the same point from which he started. Had even one 
accommodating star beamed in the heavens, I should not have been the least dis- 
concerted, for then I could have some object whereby to guide my steps. But all 
the elements combined against me, and I assure you my feelings were by no means 
comfortable. Memory ran over the sad history of the numerous travellers, who 
had been overtaken by night, and been buried in the falling snow; many who had 
started in the morning full of gay hopes and buoyant anticipations, who, ere another 
sun had risen, had found a cold and solitary grave arrested in their course by the 
chill and icy hand of death. Alas, thought I, how true it is, 

"For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn , 

Or busy housewife ply her evening care ; 
No children run to lisp their sire's return 
Or climb his knee, the envied kiss to share." 

Insensibly I felt a strong inclination to sleep I had always heard that this was a 
dangerous symptom, and if I yielded to its influence, my life would certainly be 
lost I endeavoured to shake off the drowsy feeling. Never before have I expe- 
rienced such a strong inclination to sleep. Never before did I exert myself more 
to keep awake. I halloed I shouted I beat my breast to preserve animation, 
and tried every method to prevent my yielding to the drowsy influence. My noble 
horse was almost exhausted, and I myself began to despair of reaching a place of 
shelter when suddenly a ray of light beamed upon the snow, and shed a shadow 
around me. Encouraged by this favourable token, I urged on. My jaded steed 
also seemed to know that he was approaching a place of shelter, for he quickened 
his pace, and shortly afterwards I discovered at a distance, a small log-hut, from 
whose window beamed a broad blaze of light. Soon was I at the door, and warm- 
ly welcomed by the kind owner, who shook the snow from my garments, and gave 
me a seat before a blazing fire. 

Oh, how delightful was the sense of security as I sat sheltered from the wintry 
blast, and listened to the tales of the inmates, many of whom had, like me, been 
overtaken by the storm, and now were relating the events of their journey. I have 
passed many delightful evenings in the course of a short but eventful life I have 

S I-** T~~ 



138 LETTERS FROM 



been at the festive board, where the wine-cup was pushed merrily around, and 
song, and laughter, and merriment abounded I have mingled in the society of the 
gay I have been 

" Where youth and pleasure meet 
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet." 

But never have I passed a more happy evening than in the small and narrow cabin j 
of that Illinois farmer. 



No. IV. 

Peoria Illinois The West. 

Peoria, Feb. 8, 1837. 

Early on the ensuing morning I arrived at Peoria. Peoria is situated on the 
Illinois river, and is in very truth a most beautiful site for a town. A few miles 
above, the river expands in a lake, upon the banks of which it is situated. The 
approach to the town is through alternate wood-land and prairie. It is the county- 
town of Peoria county, and has a bright prospect of rapidly increasing. It now 
has a population of fifteen hundred, and boasts of a large and commodious court- 
house and several fine mansions. It commands at all seasons an unbroken water 
communication with St Louis, and is situated in a most delightful country. Its 
trade now is brisk, but it will increase in a ten-fold degree upon the completion of 
the Illinois and Michigan canal. 

The highly respectable and talented author of " A Winter in the West," in one 
of his letters in 1834, expresses the following sentiments in reference to this 
work: "The State of Illinois, judging from the progress already made, will not 
complete the canal for half a century. The want of capital is here so great, as 
almost to seal up every outlet for enterprize, though they present themselves on 
every side, and our eastern capitalists are so completely ignorant of the prodigious 
resources of this region, that it will be long ere this defect will be supplied." To 
a part of this assertion we are obliged to enter our dissent, while to a part we 
will most cordially assent 

There exists no doubt on my mind, that this great and important work will be 
completed in five years; which, considering the immense magnitude of the under- 
taking, is certainly a short time. Every effort is now making to hasten its comple- 
tion. A large part of it is under contract, and labourers are at work upon a con- 
siderable portion of the line. The Commissioners are men of acknowledged ' 
talent and integrity, and there is every reason to believe that the state, feeling a 
just and praiseworthy pride in the construction of this grand link in the chain of 
internal improvements, will urge its immediate completion. But we do agree 
with the author referred to, that our eastern capitalists are completely ignorant of 
the resources of this region. 

Eastern capitalists cannot realize the great opportunities that every day present 
themselves for safe and profitable investment, and the great returns received for 
capital invested. With many the opinion is prevalent, that the accounts received 
through the medium of the press, are but the "puffs" of adventurous speculators, 
who by this method " crack up" their property, with the design of defrauding in- 
nocent purchasers. That this system has been most extensively pursued, cannot 
be denied ; but that this country is destined to advance most rapidly in the scale 
of importance, and that investments judiciously made now, will insure a great profit, 
can be shown to the satisfaction of any reasoning mind. 

Take out your map, and look at this noble state ; look at its geographical situa- 
tion, between 37 and 42 deg., N. lat. ; see the mighty Mississippi rolling its swift 
and turbid current along the western borders; look at the Wabash pursuing its 
silent way along the eastern side; see the "Beautiful River" washing the southern 
boundary ; and look at that calm and placid stream, so properly denominated " a 
natural canal through a natural meadow," dividing the state and extending far and 
wide its fertilizing influence. What portion of our country is better watered or 



A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 139 



more capable of commanding a great hydraulic power 1 Reflect upon the face of 
the country and the nature of its soil. Here are no high and barren hills, or thick 
and dense woodlands, but broad and rolling prairies. 

The state of Ohio will, at the next census, rank the third state in the confede- 
racy ; I mean as regards wealth and population and yet what immense labour 
was required "to clear" a large portion of her territory, and then, at her early 
settlement, we had but a capital stock of six millions of souls. And if Ohio in 
thirty years rank as the third state in this Union, I ask what time will it require 
for a state to stand beside her where the ground is already prepared by nature's 
hand for the farmer when we have a capital stock of over thirteen millions, and 
when the facilities for emigration are ten-fold increased. Besides, Illinois contains 
a larger quantity of ricli land than any other state, and therefore can maintain a 
large agricultural population, which is the great basis of national wealth. These 
things being considered, can we doubt that ere long these beautiful prairies will be 
adorned by the home of the settler will re-echo the shrill whistle of the plough- 
man, as he " homeward plods his weary way," or the glad and joyous song of the 
reaper, as he gathers in the golden harvest? 

Can we doubt that, ere long, Illinois will stand among her sister states "her 
brow blooming with the wreath of science, her path strewed with the offerings of 
art, her temples rich in unrestricted piety," her prairies waving with the fruits of 
agriculture, her noble streams bearing upon their bosoms the produce of every 
clime, her borders filled with a ricli *id thriving population, attached to the insti- 
tutions of our fathers ; lovers of rational and enlightened liberty, and {reflecting 
honour and glory upon our common country. But I must pause ; my eyes grow 
heavy my candle has almost burnt to its socket and I must bid you good night. 
For now, 

"The lamp of day is quench 'd beneath the deep, 
Aud soft approach the balmy hours of sleep." 



No. V. 
The East The West Enterprize Agriculture. 

Springfield, (HI.) Feb. 27, 1837. 

Here am I at the neat and pretty town of Springfield, a place of considerable 
trade, and containing a truly kind and hospitable population. The journey from 
Peoria to Springfield was most delightful. The air was pure and balmy the 
heavens were blue the roads were in fine order, and the "tout ensemble" was 
(to use a western term) " gorgeous." I am now snuely ensconced in a comfortable 
room, and intend to entertain you with a few detached and unconnected thoughts 
and I will commence by saying, that the period of the year is fast approaching, 
when the tide of emigration rolls to the western world. As soon as the streams 
that now are bound by winter's chain, are loosed as soon as the noble steamers, 
that " walk the waters like a thing of life," are plying up and down our rivers, the 
numbers of emigrants who will come to this land of promise, will far exceed that 
of any previous year. It is not merely the oppressed and afflicted of foreign climes, 
who have left their native hills for this land of peace and plenty ; but many of our 
most enterprizing citizens, actuated, some, by a desire to improve their fortunes, 
and others by that truly American spirit the love of rambling (for we are truly a 
migratory people,) will forsake their own comfortable homes, to examine the pros- 
pects of this much talked of, much written of, and far-famed country. 

That those who possess sufficient intelligence, to appreciate and understand the 
advantages of this country, and a spirit of enterprize that will support them under 
the privations they must necessarily encounter, will be charmed and gratified with 
their western tour, I have no doubt; nor do I question that Illinois, in the progress 
of another year, will rank among her citizens, many of the most intelligent and 
enterprizing of our sister states. That this country possesses advantages of a most 
important character, and offers many attractions to the youthful adventurer to him 



140 LETTERS FROM 



ivho would acquire both thine and fortune, can, I think, easily be shown, and I would 
n-esent a few considerations tending to illustrate the subject. 

And I will premise by saying, that there is no truth more evident to the reflect- 
ng mind, than tlrat in this transatlantic world, every one must be the architect of 
lis own fortune- no matter what course of life is adopted, be it professional or me- 
chanical, the basis upon which every hope of future eminence must rest is, diligent, 
untiring, persevering application. Assuming this fact as granted, I would refer to 
he superiority of the western portion of our continent over the eastern, as regards 
:he acffuisition of wealth professional eminence political distinction, and the 
opportunity offered of exercising influence an society and the destinies of our com- 
mon country. 

As respects the acquisition of wealth the great basis of all wealth is the agri- 
cultural interest, and that country must be the richest, which is the most capable 
of sttpportingkthe largest agricultural population. Land,^ich and fertile soil, is the 
foundation of\. nation's glory. It is true, that commerce tends much to enrich a 
people, and large, nay, immense fortunes, have been made in the pursuit of trade. 
But who does not know the mutations of trade ? who is not cognizant of the fluc- 
tuations of commerce ] who is ignorant of the fact, that he who is engaged in com- 
mercial transactions may to-day be master of thousands, and roll in splendour and 
luxury, and to-morrow be a bankrupt, and know not where to lay his head? Do 
you seek for the evidence of this fact ? Go to any of our large cities and inquip6, 
and you will find the sad truth written in indelible characters, so plain that he who 
runs may read. 

Now none of these mutations and fluctuations afflict the agricultural or producing 
class of society no panics or pressures occur among them a stormy sea cannot 
swallow up their earnings, nor a raging fire destroy the toil of years. The seed 
is dropped into the ground, and, "He who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," 
sends the genial sunshine and refreshing showers, and the ripe and yellow harvest 
awaits the labourer's gathering. 

Now, land in the western world is rich and fertile, and I will venture to say, 
that the soil of one of the prairies is more productive than any soil in your much 
loved state, not even excepting the far-famed Lancaster county, where the toil and 
labour of many years has been expended in improving it. This rich and fertile 
soil can be entered at SI .25 per acre, or bought "second-hand" for from $2.50 to 
$3.50 per acre. And it has been proved by actual experiment, that an enterprizing 
settler can break and sow 80 acres, and^rom the profits of his crop can realize a 
sufficient sum to enter and pay for his land ; thus in one year, by the toil and labour 
of his hand, acquiring a fee-simple title to a fine and improving farm. In what 
portion of the eastern states can this be done 1 "I pause for a reply." Again 
wealth will be acquired by the~natural increase of the country. 

This whole region (particularly the states of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin 
Territory,) is filling up with great and unexampled rapidity. The increase of the 
country is truly wonderful, and one who has not witnessed it can scarcely believe 
it The growth and prosperity of Chicago may be taken as a fair example of the 
unprecedented increase and advancement of the country. Cities and towns spring 
up in every quarter, and a mighty tide of emigration is rolling far and wide its fer- 
tilizing influence. 

A small sum of money now judiciously invested, will increase in a ratio not even 
dreamed of by an eastern capitalist. Speak to them of the advantages of this re- 
gion, and they smile, and tell you, you are exercising the powers of a fertile ima- 
gination. They manifest the same incredulity as was exhibited by the eastern 
monarch, when told by the philosopher, that he came from a country where water 
became congealed, and bore upon its bosom, men, and horses, and chariots. The 
monarch was indignant, that any one should attempt (as he supposed) to impose 
upon his good sense and experience ; for he had been sunned in a burning clime 
and there the streams were never bound by winter's chain, but were ever rolling 
their turbid waters, and yet the philosopher's tale was no less true than strange 
and so it is with our eastern capitalists they can form no idea of the increase am 7 
unexampled advancement of this country, for it is unparalleled in the annals of the 



A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 141 



world ; and although they sometimes think they are very wise in discrediting our 
statements, they are only acting from a principle of human nature, (which is truly 
illiberal and narrow,) to disbelieve any thing that is contrary to their preconceived 
opinions, and has never occurred under the observation , of their senses. 

But judging of the future by the past, and can we have a better lamp to our 
steps than that of experience '.' what may we not anticipate from the increase of 
thi^ country ! It seems but yesterday that the Whole valley of the Mississippi was 
a wilderness, untrodden, save by the moccasin of the red man, where the silence 
and solitude of nature was unbroken save by the shriek of the wolf, or the cry of 
the majestic eagle, 

" AB he gracefully wheel'd in the cloud-speckled sky." 

Now, as if by work of enchantment, mighty states have there arisen, powerful 
in wealth and population sisters of a common confederacy, and reflecting honour 
on our common country cities and towns have sprung up like stars above the ho- 
rizon, and the whole scene is alive with the industry and enterprize of man. Why, 
I ask, will not land in Illinois be as valuable as in any portion of the Atlantic states? 
Why will not land along the borders of the Illinois and Michigan canal command 
as high a price as that upon the Erie canal] The soil is far more productive, re- 
quires less toil to prepare for the hand of the farmer, and the market for produce 
is far superior to any in the east. Does any one pretend to say that lands in any 
portion of the west will ten years hence be sold for $1.25 per acre 1 if so, he arrives 
at that conclusion by a process of reasoning which I cannot understand. To the 
mechanic to the labourer to the working classes of society, this fact offers great 
encouragement; for here they can earn large wages, and the small sums which 
.they invest will increase most rapidly. 

Again, wealth depends upon economy. It is the prudent, saving -man, and not 
the prodigal, who acquires a fortune; a penny saved is a penny earned, was the 
maxim of a wise philosopher, and its truth has been fully tested. Now, in a new 
country, fewer temptations are in your path fewer opportunities for wasting and 
squandering the wealth earned by your labour fewer inducements are presented 
tor the exhibition of extravagances and prodigality, than in our large eastern cities, 
where luxury is the reigning vice where man strives as the object of his highest 
ambition, to outrival his fellow man in the magnificence of his equipage, the extra- 
vagance of his table, and the brilliancy of his entertainments. 

These considerations, then, the low price of rich and fertile soil, the certain and 
great increase of the country, and the want of opportunities for the display of ex- 
travagance and prodigality, exhibit, in a faint degree, the superiority of the west- 
ern country the young and rising west over the over-populated and already ex- 
hausted east If then wealth be the object of pursuit if the acquirement of a 
fortune be the " ultima thule" of your wishes, here is the field upon which to com- 
mence your efforts a field already ripe with the golden harvest, and only waiting 
the labourer's gathering. 



No VI. 

The Acquisition of Wealth Young Men and Old Advantages of the West. 

Jacksonville, March 3, 1SJ7. 

In my last, I endeavoured to exhibit the superiority of the Western Country 
over the eastern, as regards the acquisition of wealth. Unfortunately for us, the 
desire for wealth is the ruling passion of our nation a passion developed in early 
life, sanctioned by parental admonition, and strengthened by each advancing year 
almost the first principle instilled into the youthful mind, is the importance of 
wealth, and almost the first object to which the youthful energies are directed, is 
the acquisition of a fortune. We will not stop to show the pernicious influence 
which this universal worship at the shrine of Mammon has upon the morals, the 
literary tasto, and the intellectual greatness of our people. We will not stop to 



142 LETTERS FROM 



exhibit the dangerous tendency of this money-making spirit, to destroy those nice 
distinctions between right and wrong to vitiate the public taste to impair the 
force of native intellect, and to delay the glorious triumphs of the mind. 

This fact we will leave to an abler pen, confident that our feeble efforts would 
be of little avail in checking thajArdent and earnest desire for wealth so prevalent 
through the land. But there aflrthose to whom, in speaking of the advantages of 
a new country, we can poinrto higher and nobler inducements than the mere 
acquisition of worldly goods many who are engaged in the noble employment 
of cultivating and improving the human intellect, and desire a broad and ample 
field upon which to exert the energies of that immortal mind with which Provi- 
dence has blessed them. 

To those we would speak in the language of affectionate regard, and would en- 
deavour to convince them that, if they desire distinction in that branch of science 
to which their attention has been directed if eminence in their profession is the 
object of their wishes, that they have only to summon up moral courage to enter 
boldly on a scene of action which will inevitably lead to happy and glorious results. 
But they must be endued with the spirit of lofty determination and noble resolu- 
tion a determination that will brave all obstacles a resolution that will support 
them under all privations not that weak and sickly resolution that every difficulty 
discourages, and every obstacle disheartens; but that bold and manly resolution 
which, fixing its eagle eye upon the topmost height, determines to reach the des- 
tined mark, and, like the thunder-bearer of Jove, when storms and tempests beat 
around, soar higher and loftier, and sustains itself by the force and sublimity of its 
own elevation. 

Among the number of advantages which the West has over the East, may be 
enumerated the following: 

1. In the Eag, the professions are monopolized by the older members in the 
WEST, the responsible duties of the professions are confided to the young men. 

2. In the West, greater inducements for the acquisition of a fortune being held 
out by the farming or agricultural interest, and great privations having necessarily 
to-be encountered, the number of professional men is FEWER than at the East, and 
consequently the field is more ample. 

3. In a new country, every thing being to build up and construct, greater oppor- 
tunity is offered for the exercise of professional talent. 

4. The tendency of a new country being to develope and bring forward youth- 
ful talent, exerts a highly favourable influence upon boldness, force, and originality 
of intellect 

In illustration of the first proposition, we need but appeal to the experience of 
every young professional man. How few, how very few, even of our most active 
and intelligent young men can, in our large eastern cities, earn a respectable live- 
lihood ! One or two of the most eminent and experienced monopolize the most 
important and lucrative portions of the business. The community look up to them 
with confidence, for they believe their minds are matured by wisdom and ripened 
by expedience, and the young men are permitted to remain in almost total inac- i 
tivity. 

Here and there an instance may occur of a young man of high and noble en- 
dowments entering boldly into the arena, and, by the force of his intellect and the 
brilliancy of his talents, commanding a large share of public patronage ; but for 
one who thus happily has burst the fetters which confine and restrain the youthful 
intellect, how many have toiled and struggled in the lowly vale of life, then 
"dropped into the tomb, unhonoured and unknown!" The aged and experienced 
j will not confide their business to youthful heads, for they cannot realize that those 
whom a few short years. ago they dandled on the knee, or saw engaged in the 
simple and artless amusements of early childhood, are prepared to discharge the 
high and responsible duties appertaining to a profession. 

Now, in the West the population is mostly young, consisting chiefly of youthful 
adventurers, who have left their peaceful homes with the determination to reap 
the advantages of a new country. A young professional man has enlisted in his 
behalf, not the cold and sordid influence of those whose feelings have been chilled 



A RAMBLER IN THE WEST. 143 



by a contact with a selfish world, but the warm and glowing feelings of early 
youth. He is there surrounded not by the aged fathers of the profession those 
whose brows are silvered o'er by the frosts of time not the experienced soldiers 
who have conquered o'er and o'er again in the fight, and advance to the contest 
confident of success; but he beholds himself surrounded by his equals his com- 
panions and associates, each striving to gain the prize of public approbation each 
struggling to win the pure and spotless laurels which will crown the victor's brow. 

In illustration of the second proposition, we can only add, that there can be no 
doubt that if the acquisition of wealth be the object of pursuit, greater induce- 
ments are held out by the farming and agricultural interest. A professional life is 
at all times a life of toil, and he who aspires to its highest honours must remember 
that they are only to be attained by untiring unremitting effort. The pecuniary 
emoluments are small compared with other occupations of life, and he who desires 
professional eminence must not expect to reap the same amount of this world's 
good as he whose soul is engaged in the pursuit of trade. 

Now an enterprising emigrant, when he leaves his native tillage, as he turns to 
take the last lingering look of the home of his affections as he beholds the spire 
of the village church, where so oft he has worshipped the God of his fathers, glit- 
tering in the morning sun, the last wish which animates his bosom, is the hope of 
some not far distant day, returning to the scenes of his childhood, where every 
object brings some sweet association, laden with the fruits of his toil. In fine, it 
is wealth that he hopes to attain, and it is the prospect of reaping golden fruits 
which enables him manfully to endure the privations to which he is subjected. 
He arrives at the land of promise, and examines the prospect of improving his for- 
tune which the country affords. He finds that the tiller of the soil is the one who 
reaps the most productive harvest, and no matter what profession he may have 
adopted, no matter what branch of science may have -hitherto occupied his atten- 
tion he relinquishes its pursuit forgets the obligations his profession imposes on 
him, and forsakes his calling to assume the manly and independent, but at the 
same time more profitable employment of the farmer. 

But few, few alas! of professional men of the proper stamp and character enVi- 
grate to a new country. It is the hardy yeoman and independent mechanic who 
has the moral courage to emigrate to a new but growing country. The young 
professional man is unfortunately too attached to the comforts of a city life. He 
loves his ease too much to think of forsaking the attractions and fascinations which 
have thrown their spells around him, and he will content himself with wasting and 
squandering the precious hours of youth, (which are truly the wealth of future re- 
membrance,) in the pursuit of the phantom pleasure, which will forever, like 
Creusa's ghost, fly from his embrace. In the East the professions are over-stocked, 
and it is indeed distressing in our large eastern cities to see the large number of 
professional young men, without any employment to occupy their time frittering 
away the powers of their intellect, and acquiring habits that will inevitably tend 
to prevent attaining either standing or eminence in their profession when if they 
would only listen to the voice of reason, and obey its dictates, they might have the 
certain prospect of advancing the character of their profession being" useful to 
society exercising influence on our country, and building up a name 

" That long shall hallow every space, 
And be each purer soul's high resting place." 

But I find if I continue the subject now, I shall be obliged to trespass on your 
limits. Adieu. 

RAMBLER. 



THE END. 



COLLEGIATE 

AND 



COMMERCIAL SCHOOL, 



AT 



NEW HAVEN, CON. 

The subscriber and his brother, assisted by approved teachers 
of Penmanship, French and Spanish, and of some ornamental 
branches, continue to receive under their care and instruction a 
select number of boys, and thoroughly prepare them, either for ad- 
mission to College or for Commercial business. 

The number of pupils in the family is limited to about twenty. 

The buildings belonging to the school are pleasant and commo- 
dious, and their location is retired and beautiful. 

The terms are two hundred and fifty dollars a year, payable semi- 
annually, in advance ; this sum is in full, for the complete accom- 
modation and care of the pupil during a year, excepting vacations ; 
including boarding, washing, and care of clothes, use of rooms, with 
suitable furniture, &c.; also, for instruction in all English branches, 
and in the Latin and Greek languages. Instructions in the French 
and Spanish, and in all ornamental branches, is attended with an 
additional charge. 

There are two vacations in a year; one of three, .weeks, begin- 
ning on the first Wednesday in April, and another of four weeks, 
beginning on the fourth Wednesday in August. 

Besides other principal citizens of New Haven, the following 
gentlemen may be referred to as being particularly acquainted with 
the subscriber and his school : 



His Exc. Gov. EDWARDS, 
PRESIDENT DAY, 
Professor SILLIMAN, 
KINGSLEY, 
GOODRICH, 
OLMSTED, 
GIBBS, 
WOOLSEY, 

October, 1837. 



Rev. Dr. CROSWELL, 

Rev. Mr. BACON, 

Dr. J. KNIGHT, 

Dr. CHARLES HOOKER, 

Mr. AUGUSTUS R. STREET, 
" FRANCIS B. WINTHKOP, 
" S. AUGUSTUS MITCHELL, 
" JAMES BREWSTER. 

STILES FRENCH. 



X 



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