Skip to main content

Full text of "Illinois in the eighteenth century; a report on the documents in Belleville, Illinois, illustrating the early history of the state"

See other formats



Illinois in the 

eighteenth century. 






Illinois State 

Historical Library 

Volume 1. Number 1. 


A Report on the Documents in Belleville, Illinois, Illustrating 
the Early History of the State 

University of Illinois. 






EDMUND J. JAMES, President. 

M. H. CHAMBERLIN, Vice President. 

GEORGE N. BLACK, Secretary. 




Documents in Belleville, 111., 

Illustrating the early history of the State. 








When the county of 'Randolph was separated from that of St. Clair 
in 1795, the records of the former governments passed into the care 
of different jurisdictions and have suffered diverse fates. Those of 
legal interest to the new southern county, constituting the largest 
part of the official papers of the eighteenth century, remained for a 
time at Kaskaskia; and then were removed to Chester, where they 
were neglected by the county officials and many thoughtlessly de- 
stroyed, so that few documents of this period have reached a more 
historically interested generation. 1 Other records were left in the 
court house at Cahokia, where they remained until the year 1814, 
when they were deposited in the court house at the new county seat, 
Belleville. 2 The fate of the Cahokia documents has been more for- 
tunate than that which befell the more important records at Kaskas- 
kia ; for probably the majority of the papers have been preserved, as 
there are in existence records dating from every period of the history 
of Illinois during the eighteenth century, with the exception of that 
of the English occupation, 1765 to 1778. At the end of this report 
will be found a catalog of these early documents in the various offices 
of the court house at Belleville. 

It seems best to preface this catalog with a brief history of the 
institutions and the laws under which these documents originated, 
and also to give some account of the men who have written them. 
The proposed limits of the report will not include a study of political 
events or an analysis of the documents themselves in order to dis- 
cover their evidence on the political, legal, and social conditions of the 
times. For this reason the documents have been little used, except 
in two cases. Such a study must be made, but it will be several 
months before it can be completed, and the desirability of an early 
report to the trustees of the Historical Library has determined the 
limits of this preliminary study. 

1. Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, 49; Perrin, "The oldest Civil Record in the 
West", in Transactions of the 111. State Hist. Soc., 1901, p. 64. 

2. History of St. Clair County, 183. 


There is only one document belonging to the French period; it is a 
Record of the Registrations of Donations, kept by two successive 
clerks of the court in the district of the Illinois during the years L737 
to 1769 inclusive. 1 

In 1717, the territory of the Illinois was placed under the govern- 
ment of the province of Louisiana and on Sept. 20, 1721, the Western 
Company divided the province into nire districts, one of which was that 
of the Illinois. 2 This extended east and west of the Mississippi be- 
tween the lines of the Ohio and the Illinois rivers. The district was 
subordinated to the provincial government, and appeal from the de- 
cision of the local court might be made to the superior council sitting 
at New Orleans. 3 The civil government of the district consisted of a 
commandant, a commissaire, a judge, a principal scrivener of the ma- 
rine, a king's attorney, a keeper of the royal warehouse, a sealer of 
weights and measures, a clerk of the court, huissiers, deputy clerks, 
and notaries. Generally several offices were combined. For instance, 
in this district the duties of the commissaire, the judge, and the 
scrivener were always performed by one man; as were also the duties 
of attorney and keeper of the warehouse; and a notary was clerk of 
the court. 4 All civil officers were directly responsible to the intend- 
ant. 5 The commandant, whose military duties were the more impor- 
tant, was under the orders of the governor. Besides these officers of 
the district, the commandant of each village may have had some civil 
duties. 6 

There is a need of a much more careful study of all the sources 
than has yet been made, before the rather complicated machinery of 
the French colonial government in the Mississippi valley can be un- 
derstood. The limitations of this paper, however, require only an 
explanation of the duties of the clerk of the court, when he registered 
certain kinds of donations. To understand these it will be necessary 
to study the legislation of Louis XIV and his successor upon the sub- 
ject, since this was the law practiced in the French settlements on the 

Since the Middle Ages the French law has divided private legal 
acts into two broad classes. In the first are included all agreements, 
acts, and deeds, which individuals make voluntarily, such as contracts, 
wills, donations, etc. These, therefore, are called acts of voluntary 
jurisdiction. In the second are placed all those acts which require 
the intervention of a court. The former class is under the jurisdic- 
tion of the notaries, whose engrossed copies have complete validity 

1. Registre des Insinuations des Donations aux Siege des Illinois, see Catalog, No. 1; Perrin, 
' 'Oldest Civil Record in the West", in Transactions of the 111. State Hist. Soc., 1901, p. 64etseq. 

2. French Hist. Collections of La., Ill, 49-59, 101-104; Collet, in Mag. of Western Hist., VIII. 
268; Winsor, Narrative and Critical Hist., V., 43. 

3. Pittman, Present State of the European Settlements, \1\Yrenc\\, Hist. Collections of Lit., Ill, 
101-104; Winsor. Narrati-ce and Critical Hist., V.. 43. 

4. French. Hist. Collections, III, 49-59, 101-104; Pittman, Present State of the European Set- 
tlements, 53; Edits, Ordonnances Royaux, etc.. I., 581, art. 14, Registre des Insinuations des Dona- 

5. The title of this officer varied ;but generally he signed himself, King's Councillor. Com- 
missaire General of the Marine, and Intendant. Gayarre History of Louisiana, II, appendix. 

6. Breese, Early History of Illinois, 216. 


without the need of an approval by a civil judge. 1 Provided all for- 
malities are complied with, the notarial act is as effective as a judg- 
ment of the American court. 2 During the eighteenth century, others 
besides the notaries might draw up wills under certain conditions. 
This privilege was accorded the testator, the installed parish priest, 
and military officers; but whoever may have written them, all acts of 
this character were brought finally to the notaries, who were obliged 
by law to make and keep minutes of them. 3 

In order that they might exercise a needed control over the notarial 
acts and to prevent their loss the French kings, beginning with 
Francis I, (1539), promulgated laws which made compulsory the 
registration of certain classes of acts, among which were donations 
and wills. 4 Edict followed edict until the law of deeds, wills, and 
donations became so complex that a revision was necessary. Louis 
XIV. in his old age undertook the task, which was completed by his 
successor. During the first third of the eighteenth century these two 
kings issued a series of general laws, 'which regulated the writing, 
preservation, and registration of all acts drawn up by notaries. 

The first of this series of ordinances was that of December, 1703, 
which systematized the law of registration and established a bureau 
for that purpose at each of the royal courts. 5 The clerk, who was 
charged with the duty of registration, acted as a recorder rather than 
as the agent of the court to which he was attached. The number of 
acts required to be registered was greatly increased ; but it is sufficient 
for our purposes to note that donations and wills were still included. 
Several explanations of this edict followed; but the two ordinances 
issued in February of 1731 are of special interest, for they governed 
the clerk's action in keeping this record of registration in the Illinois. 
The first of these has not been printed; the second was a codification 
of the previous law of donations inter vivos and abrogated all former 
edicts, laws, and coutumes on the subject. Hereafter there were to be 
only two forms for the gratuitous disposal of property, namely, 
donations inter vivos and testaments or codicils. 6 

The donation inter vivos, before it became effective, must be 
accepted by the donee in person, or through attorney, or by notarial 
act. All such donations, with the single exception of those made by 
contract of marriage, were limited to property actually in the pos- 
session of the donor. There was another exception made for the same 

1. Larousse, Grande Diet. Universel, art. Notaire. 

2. Koy, Histoire du Notarial au Canada, I, 262; Brooke, Treatise on the Practice of a Notary 
of England, 8. 

3. Coutume de Paris, art. 248; Isambert, etc., Recrteil general, XXI, p. 292, arts. 25-37, pp. 
386-402; Edits, Ordonnances Royaux, etc., II, 296 (interprets the law in the colonies), I. ,372: 
Viollet, Histoire du Droit, Civil Francais, 3d ed., 952-965. Great privileges were granted to 
soldiers engaged in war. Wills drawn up by priests in the Mississippi settlements received 
the vise of the commandant. 

4. Larousse, Grande Diet. Universe!, art. Insinuation; La Grande Encyclopedic, art. 
Insinuation; Viollet, Histoire du Droit Civil Francais, 965-971. 

5. Isambert, etc.. Recueil general, XX, 438-441; La Grande Encyclopedic, art. Insinuation, 
As early as 1690, Louis XIV had issued a declaration on the subject of donations. Isambert, 
etc., Recueil general, XX. 113. 

6. Isambert. etc., Recueil general, XXI, 343-354. The first ordinance regulated the 
method of registration, the fees of the clerk, etc., as may be learned from the Illinois register, 
in which reference to the law of February 17, 1731, was frequently made. The second was an 
ordinance concerning donations, a partial translation of which is printed in Appendix II. 
The present French law has made few changes, if any, in this ordinance. (Compare 
Code Civil Fran (ais, Bk., Ill, Tit. 2K On June 25, 1735, an ordinance concerning testaments 
was issued. Isambert, etc., Recueil general, XXI, 386-402. 


contracts: donations to direct heirs contained in them needed no- 
registration. This was also true of donations of movables, when 
there was actual delivery, and of small sums of money. All others 
must be registered on penalty of nullity at the nearest royal court, 
from which there was direct appeal to the king. 

For this purpose there was kept at each royal court a particular 
register, which was numbered and paraphed on every page by the 
first officer of the court. 1 No vacant space between the deeds was left 
for fear of unauthorized interpolations. At the end of each year this 
register was inspected by the same officer and, if found in accordance 
with the law, the judge approved it, closed the register with his sig- 
nature, and gave it into the keeping of the clerk. In this register 
there was copied the entire donation, if it were made by a separate 
act; or that part of any act, which contained the donation, so that 
reference to the notary's minute to learn the terms of the gift would 
not be necessary. Upon demand the clerk was obliged to give access 
to the book; and, if requested, to make a copy of the deed for a fixed 

In the register containing the registration of these donations inter 
vivos, the clerk in the district of the Illinois has also kept a record of 
testaments and codicils. That these must be registered has been al- 
ready stated; but I have been unable to find any law permitting or 
ordering the registration of wills in the particular record reserved by 
the Ordinance of 1731 for donations infer vivos. 2 Since wills, how- 
ever are only a particular kind of donation, it is probable that the 
clerk was following a universal custom. 

Such was the French law regulating the registration of donations 
and of wills or codicils, and the clerk in the district of the Illinois 
observed this law with as much care as if he were attached to the 
court of the provost of Paris, at least during the earlier years. The 
leaves of the book were all numbered and paraphed by the judge of 
the district; the formulae of the registration were carefully observed; 
the deeds were written so that the pages were filled, even crowded. 
In one instance the clerk it was the later one who was less care- 
ful missed an eighth of a page and across this space he has drawn a 
line and written, "passed by mistake." The acts registered may be 
thus classified: 1. Simple acts of mutual donation of real and personal 
property, both present and to be acquired, made by contract of mar- 
riage, so that in case of the death of one, the survivor would have all 
the property possessed by both. These donations were to be null 
and void in case of the birth of a child. 2. Acts of donation by one 
party to the other in the contract of marriage. 8. Acts of donation 
by a third party to one or both of the contracting parties in a con- 
tract of marriage. 4. Acts of mutual donation mortis causa? 5. 
Simple acts of donation by one party to another. 6. Acts of donation 

1. Isambert, etc., Rec-ueil general, XXI, 345-349. A paraph was a flourish of the pen 
under the signature, the number of the page, or words inserted on the margin. It was used 
to prevent falsification. 

2. Ibid., XX., 438-441, XXI, 401, art. 79; Larouse Grande Dicf Univ., art. Enregistments 
La Grande Encyc., art.. Insinuation. 

3. These were forbidden, but may have been permitted to soldiers. Isambert, etc., 
Recueil general, XXI, 393, art., 27. 


in return for which the donee promised some compensation. These 
were generally made by aged persons in return for the promise of 
support. 7. Solemn wills and testaments. 8. Codicils. 9. Formal 
renunciation of the "community of property" by the wife. 1 The prop- 
erty, which is thus disposed of, included real estate, mortgages, notes 
of all kinds, state bonds, money, household and personal property, 
and slaves. 

In the largest number of cases these acts were drawn up by a no- 
tary, generally by the notary who, as clerk of the court, registered 
them and received three livres for so doing. There are, however, a 
number of contracts of marriage and of wills, which were written by 
priests, or by the military commandant of one of the settlements, or 
by an officer in the army, and some wills written by the testator. 

Usually the party interested in the deed brought it to the bureau 
of the court to have it registered, in which case the following formula 
was used by the clerk: "Today, the seventh day of April, 1752, 
there has appeared at the bureau of this jurisdiction before the clerk 
whose signature is below, Mr. Jean Baptiste Gouier called Cham- 
pagne, inhabitant of St. Philippe, dwelling in the parish of Ste. Anne, 
with a .copy of his contract of marriage with Miss Marie Joseph 
Lacroix, passed before the late Mr. Jerome Rousillet, notary, on the 
date, February 14, 17ob." Sometimes the clerk was commissioned to 
make the registration, in which case he wrote after dating: "We, 
Bertlor Barrios, clerk at the Illinois, by virtue of the commission of 
Francois Lacroix to register, etc." The invariable formula at the 
close is this: "And after having read the said contract of marriage 
in our bureau, we have inscribed the said donation on the Record of 
the Registrations of this court in accordance with the ordinance for 
their preservation and validation, by reason ' of which, etc. Done in 
our bureau the day and year above written." Then followed the sig- 
nature of the clerk with a paraph. 

The time intervening between the redaction of an act and its regis- 
tration varied considerably. Generally only a few days were allowed 
to pass before the parties appeared in the court to fulfill the require- 
ments of the law. As a rule the bridegroom brought the contract of 
marriage, but not always; and in the case of wills the executor, after 
the death of the testator. At times, years elapsed before this final 
act of registration, as in the case of a contract of marriage dated 
February 17, 1726, and registered August 2, 1741. In this case the 
donation was made before the promulgation of the Ordinance of 1731, 
but it will be remembered that this ordinance did not change the 
existing law on the registration of donations. There were cases 
when a doubt arose whether an act had been registered and the party 
interested requested the clerk to search the record and, if necessary, 
to fulfill the requirements of the law. Thus, on October 25, 1741, 
Francois Lacroix requested the clerk to look up his contract of 

1. Viollet, Histoire du Droit, Civil Francais , 3d ed., 826-848. 




marriage, which had been drawn up November 8, 1739, by M. Jerome, 
deceased. Since it had not been registered, the clerk recorded the fact 
and corrected the omission. 

The first entry in the book was made on January 15, 1737, by Jean 
Baptiste Bertlor Barrois. 1 This was not the only book under his 
charge; for the French law required the memoranda of all acts of the 
court to be carefully and systematically kept. As royal notary, he 
was obliged to make and preserve his minutes and copy his engross- 
ments; 2 as clerk of the court, he had four distinct registers; 3 as clerk 
of the marine, he was obliged to keep records in seven registers ; 4 and 
as clerk of registration, he must have had a book for the registration 
of other acts than donations. It is doubtful whether the entries in 
any one of them were numerous, since his registrations of donations 
averaged only four a year. The entries are in various handwritings, 
so that probably he had the assistance of several deputy clerks in the 

Barrois lived at Kaskaskia until December of 1754. He called him- 
self clerk of the court and named this register the Record of the Reg- 
istrations of Donations at the Court of the Illinois . Yet writers on 
Illinois history have generally regarded Fort Chartres as the seat of 
both civil and military government and, by inference, the place where 
the court of justice always held its sessions. 5 In favor of this view is 
Pittman's statement that the fort was the seat of government and that 
the commissaire's house was situated there; 6 the burial of the judge, 
Delaloire Flancour, in 1746 at the same place; the statement of Bar- 
rois that on October 25. 1741, he was requested to search the register of 
the late M. Jerome of Fort Chartres, whom he called both notary and 
clerk, for a donation in a contract of marriage, which Jerome had 
been expected to register. 7 Since this contract of marriage was drawn 
up by Jerome on November 8, 1739, he must have been acting as notary 
and clerk of the court at Fort Chartres two years after Barrois had be- 
gun his register of donations in Kaskaskia. From these facts it may 
be inferred that between January 15,1737 and November 9,1739, the 
judge held sessions of the court at both places, unless Barrois was acting 
as deputy of Jerome at Kaskaskia. It is not probable, however, that 
Barrois was deputy clerk of registrations, since there was no provision 
for such an officer in the ordinances. 

But was the court at Fort Chartres continued after 1739? Pittman's 
testimony is only of value for the later period of the French occupa- 
tion, and it is certain that the judge sat at Fort Chartres after De- 
cember, 1754; for during that month Barrois left Kaskaskia, where he 
had continued to register acts of donation, to take up his residence at 

1. The names Jean Baptiste were obtained from a contract of marriage, drawn up by Barrois 
in 1757, in which he appeared for the bride, his daughter Celeste. Manuscript in the Missouri 
Hist. Society's Collection. In the register he called himself Bertlor Barrois. See also 
American State Papers, Public Lands, II. 217. 

2. Edits, Oidonnances Royaux, etc . I, 217. 

3. At least such was the case in Montreal. Ibid., II, 386. 

4. Tsambert. etc., Recueil general, XIX., 289. 

5. Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, (Old Fort Chartres), 23 et seq.; Moses, Illinois 
Historical and Statistical, 1, 98. 

6. Pittman, The Piesent State of the European Settlements. 45. 

7. De faire recherche dans les registres de feu M. Jerome rivant Greffier aux dites Illinois resi- 
dent an fort de Chartres. From the Registre des Insinuations des Donations, Oct. 25,1741; see also 
the Appendix III, Jerome Rousillet; Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, 32. 


Fort Chartres, as is proved by the record. Also from the few quota- 
tions from the sessions of the court made by Judge Breese we know 
the court was in session in 1756 at the same place. 1 Therefore the 
question concerns only the years 1739 to 1754. During this period 
the fort was badly in need of repair and permanent abandonment of it 
was contemplated. 2 So dangerous did the situation become in 1748 
that the commandant temporarily withdrew his troops from it and 
concentrated his forces at Kaskaskia. 3 The quotations of Judge 
Breese from the record of the court prove it to have been in session 
in that settlement in 1749 and 1752. 4 Furthermore, on Oct. 25, 1741, 
the register of the clerk Jerome was in the hands of the clerk Barrois 
at Kaskaskia. which would not have been the case had a successor to 
Jerome been appointed at Fort Chartres. 5 The natural inference from 
these facts is that the civil government was moved from Fort Chartres 
to Kaskaskia sometime after 1739 and before Oct. 25, 1741. Still the 
evidence is not conclusive, for during the years 1737 to 1739 the judge 
probably held court at both places, and it is possible that this con- 
tinued to be the case. 6 

The rebuilding of Fort Chartres was completed in the year 1754, 
and during December of the same year Barrois began to date his reg- 
istrations at Nouvelle Chartres, which he continued to do up to the 
year 1757." The first registry of his successor, Labuxiere, dated 
March 14, 1757, was an act drawn up by the notary Barrois on March 
10, 1757. This is the last official act by him which is recorded in the 
Registre, so it is probable that he died between that date and March 
14. If that was the case, it is strange that Labuxiere never used the 
phrase, the late M. Barrois; but it is possible that he was as unfamil- 
iar with the correct phraseology as he proved himself to be with other 

There is very little to be learned from the register about Bertlor 
Barrois, since there is no act recorded in which he was personally in- 
terested. From the contract of marriage of his daughter, Celeste 
Therese, in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society, we learn 
that he was at that time, Jan. 8, 1757, a widower, his wife's name 
having been Magdalen' Cardinal. The church register at Kaskaskia 
contains the record of baptism of their son, Louis, in ] 732. 8 In the 
year 1756. Magdalen Barrois, widow of Louis Marin, registered her 
contract of marriage. Possibly she was another daughter if her name 
is any evidence. When the United States government sent commis- 
sioners to these Mississippi settlements to examine the land titles, 
there were several heirs of Barrois living in the Illinois district. 9 
From the same source comes information of an earlier date which 

1. Breese, Early History of Illinois, 214-220. 

2. Mason. Illinois in the Eighteenth Century (Old Fort Chartres), 32. 

3. Doc. re 1. to the Col. Hist, of the State of N. Y.. X, 143. 

4. Breese, Early History of Illinois, 217 et seq. 

5. Registre des Insinuations des Donations, October 25.1741 ; see above. 

6. The only objection is that the registers of the clerk Jerome were sent to Kaskaskia. 
There mipht have been some other reason for this than the one proposed in the text. 

7. Ma*on, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century (Old Fort Chartres), 34; Moses, Illinois Histor- 
ical and Statistical, I. 114. 

8. "Kaskaskia Church Records," in Transactions of the 111. State Hist. Soc., 1904, p. 399. 

9. American State Papers, Public Lands, II, 138. 


proves the notary to have been an owner of land. A certain man 
named John Rice Jones had, in 1813, a claim for land in Kaskaskia, 
which he had obtained from the heirs of Catherine Place, said to be 
daughter of Jean Baptiste Lebert dit Barrois. 1 The claim appeared 
to the commissioners of doubtful validity, because there were evi- 
dences of forgery. Upon investigation it was found that in an old rec- 
ord book of land titles, made in the time of Judge Louis Auguste De- 
laloire Flancour, there was a claim of Jean Bte. Bertlor Barrois for 
thirty toises square at Kaskaskia, granted by M. d'Artuguiette to said 
Barrois March 10, 1736; also two arpents of land granted by the same 
commandant Feb. 10, ] 736. The entry of these claims was made May 
21, 1742. Neither of them was the land claimed by Jones, so the 
commissioners made an unfavorable report, although the belief of the 
inhabitants of Kaskaskia seems to have been that Bertlor Barrois 
actually possessed land situated near that claimed by the petitioner. 

Joseph Labuxiere, 2 the successor of Barrois, continued to keep the 
register at Nouvelle Chartres until the end of the French Regime. 
He is said to have come from Canada and to have married Catherine 
Vifvarenne of St. Philippe. 3 Of his private life little else is known. 
He was not so careful in conforming to the law as his predecessor, 
although this may have been due to ignorance. Still a general relax- 
ing of the stricter forms of government is to be noticed throughout 
the settlement, a sign of which is the cessation of the annual inspec- 
tion of the register by the judge after 1757. It was the period of the 
Seven Years War and the officials in the Illinois must have felt them- 
selves completely cut off from the home government, the regular com- 
munication with which had formerly held them so strictly to their 

Although the treaty of Paris in 1763 had ceded this territory north 
of the Ohio river, it was not until Oct. 10, 1765. that the English 
took possession of Fort Chartres. 4 Up to that time the French 
officials continued to govern the district. During 1763 Labuxiere 
registered several deeds. In the next year there was no entry made 
until the autumn, when the change in the destinies of the Northwest 
may be read in the words: "arreste le present journal le dix 8bre 
1764, Lefebvre^ Two days later, however, there was occasion to 
open the book again to enter the last act of donation drawn up and 
registered by French officials on Illinois soil. 

Several years elapsed before the old register was again used. Then 
it was to record acts drawn up on the western bank of the Mississippi 
river in St. Louis. There were five entries made between September 
1, 1768, and June 6, 1769, by Labuxiere in that settlement. The 
book was still called the Record of the Registrations of the Dona- 
tions at the Court of the Illinois. Although this seems anomalous, 
it is not difficult to explain. That part of the province of Louisiana, 

1. Amer. State Papers, Pnblic Lands, II, 216. 

2. Often spelled Labnssiere, or Labusciere. 

3. Billon, Annals of St. Louis, 27. 

4. Doc. rel. to the Col. Hist, of N. Y., X, 1161. 

5. ' 'The present journal is stopped, October 10, 1764. Lefebvre." Lefebvre was acting 
judge at that time. Doc. rel. to the Col. Hist, of N. Y., X, 11(31. 


which was west of the Mississippi, was ceded to Spain November 13, 
1762; but it was not until August 18, 1769, that the Spaniards took 
official possession of it; and not until May 20, 1770, that their repre- 
sentative arrived in St. Louis. 1 

Meanwhile, there was need of some form of government in St. 
Louis, which had been founded by Laclede in 1764, just at the time 
when these various changes in sovereignty over the Mississippi 
valley were being made. As soon as the news of the cession of the 
eastern Illinois to the English reached the French settlements, there 
was an exodus of settlers to Laclede's new village across the river, so 
that in a year St. Louis became a more populous settlement 
than Kaskaskia had ever been. 2 Relatively only a few were 
left on the Illinois side. The Commandant Villiers had gone to 
New Orleans with most of his officers and men in June, 1764, and 
evidently Valentine Bobe Desclauseaux, the last officially appointed 
judge of the district, had followed his example; at least he dis- 
appeared from these regions. To represent the French government 
at Fort Chartres, until the English should take possession, there 
remained St. Ange de Belle Rive, Commandant; Joseph Lefebvre, 
Attorney General, Keeper of the Royal Warehouse, and acting Judge ; 
and Joseph Labuxiere, Clerk and Notary. 3 After the deliverance of the 
fort to the English, they went to St. Louis, where they continued to act 
in their official capacity as representatives of France. The title of 
their government was, "The Court of the Illinois" ; for the western 
bank of the Mississippi had always been a part of the district. On 
April 3, 1767, Lefebvre died. Of the civil officials of the French gov- 
ernment in the Illinois, there remained but one, the clerk and notary. 
Up to May, 1770, Labuxiere performed the duties of judge, attorney, 
keeper of the royal warehouse, clerk, and notary; and with St. Ange 
represented the French government in the conveyance of the district 
to the Spaniards. 4 

Under Spanish rule Labuxiere acted as notary until Dec. 23, 1780, 
after which date Mr. Billon found no trace of him in St. Louis. He 
says: "He died elsewhere, I think at new Madrid, and left three sons, 
Joseph, Louis, and Francois." 5 From the records of the court of 
Cahokia, founded under the Virginia Act of 1778, the later history 
of Labuxiere can be traced. 6 By June 29, 1782, he had returned to 
the eastern side of the Mississippi: for the County Lieutenant Rich- 
ard Winston with the consent of the court of Kaskaskia appointed 

1. Amer, State Papers, Public Lands, II., 240; King, New Orleans, 107, et seq.; Ogg, The 
Opening of the Mississippi, 335 et seq. 

2. Billon, Annals of St. Louis, passim. 

3. Doc.rel. to the Col. Hist, of N. Y., X, 1161. Mr. Billon must be mistaken in the office 
held by Lefebvre. He calls him civil judge, and says that later he was appointed keeper of 
the royal warehouse. This is a reversal of the relative importance of the offices. Probably he 
was never officially appointed judge, so retained the title of the lower rank in all deeds, 
while performing the duties of the judicial office. This was the usual course. Billon, 
Annals of St. Louis, 30, 47. 

4. Ibid., 31, 47. 

5. Ibid., 30. There was a Joseph Labussiere in New Madrid in 1806, but he was only twen- 
ty-one years old. Amer. State Papers, Public Lands, II, 577. 

6. Catalog, Nos. 2a, 3; Mason, Lists of Early Illinois Citizens, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 31, 
p. 68. 


him attorney for the court of Cahokia. On December of the same 
year he was empowered to act as notary; and on June 20, 1785, he 
took the oath of office as clerk of the court, a position he held until 
the establishment of a government by the United States over this ter- 
ritory in 1790. He died on April 29, 1791 and left many heirs, 
as is apparent from their claims to lands before the United States' 
commissioners. 1 The presence of Labuxiere in Cahokia explains how 
the Record of Registrations happens to be now in Belleville. He 
brought it across the river with him. Since Cahokia was not a seat 
of government under the French regime, there never were many offi- 
cial records in the archives, and all the other records of Fort Chartres 
were removed to Kaskaskia, when the English changed the seat of 
government to that village in 1772. 2 

There was still another official connected with the record whose 
duties must be explained. According to the royal ordinance the reg- 
ister must be numbered, paraphed, and once every year inspected and 
closed by the principal officer of the court. 3 This inspection and clos- 
ing of the register in the district of the Illinois was performed in 
January, only once later. From 1788 to January, 1746, this duty was 
discharged by Louis Auguste Delaloire Flancour. Esquire (later Sieur 
de Flancour), Principal Scrivener of the Marine, subdelegate of M. 
de Salmon, (or whoever was intendant), Commissaire and Judge of 
the Civil Court in the district of the Illinois. 4 

The first title is not explained in the general Ordinance of the 
Marine by Louis XIV. in August 1681, or in the subsequent supple- 
ments to the edict, so far as I can learn. 5 There were ecrivains in the 
marine; but they were like our pursers and served on the ship, which 
they could not leave until the voyage was completed. 6 This Illinois 
official served on land and evidently was a subordinate of the com- 
missaire general of the marine at New Orleans, and therefore must 
have had supervision of the fishing and boating interests of the dis- 
trict with power to judge in the first instance all disputes arising 
therefrom. 7 All officers of the civil government were connected in one 
way or another with the marine. As subdelegate of the intendant he 
was chief of the departments of justice, police, and finance. 8 His 
duties included a general oversight of all departments of civil govern- 
ment; but his power was not well defined and must have brought him 
into frequent conflict with the major-commandant. The next titles, 
commissaire and judge, probably represented one office, namely that 
of judge of the civil and criminal court. The law of the French col- 
onies was that of the provosty and viscounty of Paris or to give it the 
better known name, the coutume de Paris. 9 Capt. Pittman who vis- 
ited the settlements on the Mississippi a few years after the end of 

1. Missouri Reports, IV. 343; American State Papers, Public Lands. I. and II, index. 

2. Mason. Illinois in the Eighteenth Century (Old Fort Chartres), 43. 

3. Isamhert,etc.,AV<-w/Z'^tf/, XXI, 349, arts. 24 and 25. 

4. Ecrirain principal de la marine, subdelegiie de M. de Salmon, commissaire et tenant le siege 
civil de justice aux Illinois. Registre des Insinuations des Donations, 

5. Isambert.etc., Recueil general, XIX, 282-366; Edits, OrdonnancesRoyaux, etc., 1, 360-364, 391- 
394, 434-436, 532-533. 546-550. 

6. Isambert.etc. ,Reci<eil general. XIX. 306. title, III. 

7. Ibid., XIX, 285; Rambaud, Histoire de la Civilization fraticaise II. 244-246. 

8. Ibid., II, 30-34; see numerous commissions of intendants in Edits, Ordonnances Royaux, 
etc.. III. 

9. French, Hist. Collections of La., \\\, 49-59, art. 15. 


the French dominion has characterized this official with many offices, 
as, "a mere cypher rather kept for form than for real use," and his 
judgment has been accepted by more recent writers. 1 Remembering 
the part played by the intendants in the government of France and 
the continual quarrels of the governors and intendants in Quebec and 
New Orleans, one hesitates to accept this judgment of a passing 
English soldier as final, unless substantiated by some convincing evi- 
dence, which up to the present time has not been produced. 

The judge after inspecting the register wrote in it the following 
formula: "Today, the 23 of January, 1731, we (name and titles), 
having found that the present register conforms to the King's decla- 
ration of February 17, 1731, and having numbered and paraphed it, 
do hold it closed from this day, and have left it in the possession of 
Bertlor Barrois, as clerk of the jurisdiction of this court, in order 
that he may be able to communicate its contents to all persons who 
shall have an interest therein. This is all done in accordance with 
the above mentioned declaration. At Kaskaskia, the day and year 
above written, I have signed." 

Flancour died in 1746. and was buried at Fort Chartres. 2 In 
January of the next year the office of judge was vacant, and the 
register was inspected and closed by Joseph Buchet, who was keeper 
of the king's warehouse and acting as royal attorney and judge. 3 
The garde des m'agazins belonged to the department of the 
marine; and his duty was to maintain a sufficient supply of all 
necessities for the equipment of the army, and for trade with, and 
gifts to, the Indians. 4 In 1748 Buchet was still performing the duties of 
all the higher offices, but in the next year he signed himself 
Scrivener. Subdelegate, Commissaire, and Judge, thus announcing to 
us his promotion. He held the position until January 12, 1757. at 
least. 5 After that date the officials evidently became more lax in dis- 
charging their duties, for the register was never again officially 
inspected by the judge of the court, although the names of two men 
are known who acted in that capacity, John Arnold Valentine Bobe 
Desclauseaux, who signed a deed November 11, 1763, and Joseph 
Lefebvre, who accompanied St. Ange to St. Louis. 6 


Up to the present time, only a few local records have been known 
of the period of the Virginia occupation, such as Clark's narratives 
and letters; John Todd's Record-Book: St. Clair Papers; and the 

1. Pittman, The Present State of the European Settlements. 45. 

2. Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, (Old Fort Chartres), 33; Church Records of Ste. 

3. \ous, Joseph Buchet, Garde d?s ma^azins du Roi aux Illinois, Procureur aux lieu vacans et 
de la majeste an dit lieu garde la jurisdiction royal des Illinois . le siege racans. Registere des 
Insinuations des Donations. January 16. 1747. 

4. Isambert. etc.. Recue /'/ gene ral. XIX, 284, art. 14. See inventory of goods in the ware- 
house in Billon, Annals of St. Louis. 47. 

5. In 1756, Huchet was absent and the register was inspected by Andre Chevalier, who 
signed himself "Garde des Magazms, Subtreasurer. Attorney, and acting Judge in the 
absence of M. Buchet." 

6. Billon, Annals of S. Louis, 31; Doc. r;l. to the Col. Hist, of N. Y., X, 1161. 

-2 H 


American State Papers; 1 Only two of these are both contemporary 
and local. On account of this scarcity of sources the documents of 
this period at Belleville are the most interesting and valuable of all 
those in the archives of the court house and will illuminate an ob- 
scure period of state history. Cahokia was not a centre of govern- 
ment under the French and accident alone accounts for tLe presence 
there of the record which has been described; but under the Virgin- 
ia dominion a court and a commandant were established in the vil- 
lage and the numerous documents of this government were finally car- 
ried to Belleville, where they have been preserved. 2 There are a few 
sheets of a record in the English language of a court which sat in 
Cahokia between the time of Clark's conquest and the establishment 
of a civil government by John Todd. The remaining documents are 
written in French with an occasional copy of an English paper. 
Among them is an almost complete record of the sessions of the Vir- 
ginia court at Cahokia from Nov. 26, 1779, to April 1, 1/90; and 
the register of the clerk of the same court. Besides these there are the 
minutes of the sessions of the court of the "justice of the week" for 
July 9, 1785, to Feb. 18, 1786; and about four hundred miscel- 
laneous papers such as petitions to the court, briefs, warrants, etc. 3 

If the documents of this period are the most valuable, the most in- 
teresting of them is the record of the court, which held sessions im- 
mediately after the conquest in the summer of 1778; because it sup- 
plements the account of the civil government given in Clark's memoirs 
where is found the only notice in his writings of the organiza- 
tion established by him in the territory. He there says: "I inquired 
particularly into the manner the people had been governed formerly, 
and much to my satisfaction, (I found) that it had been generally as 
severe as under the militia law. I was determined to make an advan- 
tage of it, and took every step in my power to cause the people to feel 
the blessings enjoyed by an American citizen which I soon discovered 
enabled me to support, from their own choice, almost a supreme 
authority over them. I caused a court of civil jurisdiction to be es- 
tablished at Cahokia, elected by the people. Major Bowman, to the 
surprise of the people, held a poll for a magistracy, and was elected 
and acted as judge of the court. (Manuscript here illegible.) After 
this similar courts were established in the towns of Kaskaskia and 
St. Vincent. There was an appeal to myself in certain cases and I 
believe that no people ever had their business done more to their sat- 
isfaction than they had through the means of these regulations for a 
considerable time." 4 

1. Clark 's Sketch of his Cantvaign in the Illinois, Ohio Valley Hist. Serie', No. 3; Clnrk's 
Mss., in the Library of the Wis. Hist. Soc. ; Clark's Memoir, in English's Conqiiest of th 
North-west, I, 457-565, and partially printed in Dillon, Indiana, 114-167, and ///. Hist. Collec- 
tions, vol. 1, passim ; Mason, John Todd's Record- Book, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 33; Smith, St. 
Clair Papers, Public Lands, 2 vols. 

2. See Catalog. Nos. 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5a, 6, 9. For two reasons I have discussed the docu- 
ment of the French period at relatively greater length than these. First it was possible to say 
all that is essential to be said of the register at the present time. In the second place, the doc- 
uments of the Virginia period being longer and more important require a more careful study 
than I have been able to give them up to the present. I have therefore limited myself to using 
only the most apparent information contained in them. 

3. Juge de semaine . 

4. English, Conquest of the North-west, I., Appendix, 484. 


The new source is a record of this court at Cahokia which is writ- 
ten on both sides of four loose sheets of paper. 1 Their mutilated con- 
dition and the fact that the pages are not consecutive are evidences 
that they once formed part of a book in which the complete record 
had been kept. It was written in English by two persons, one of 
whom was evidently Captain Bowman and the other, Lieutenant Per- 
rault. There are, in all, incomplete records of nine sessions of this 
"Court of the Committee of Cahos." The dates are as follows: 
Thursday, Dec. 31, 1778; Thursday, Jan. 7, 1779; Friday, Jan. 8; date 
lost; date lost; Friday, April 12: date lost; Friday, April '60; Friday, 
May 7. From one of the other documents we learn that the court 
was in session as early as Nov. 2, 1778, for it issued an order for a 
public sale on that date. 2 The cases brought before the court were 
both civil and criminal. There is no evidence of a trial by jury. 

At seven of the sessions there were four judges; at one, five; at one 
only two. In this last case the court adjourned for lack of a quorum. 
The president of the court up to Jan. 7, and from the second session 
held in April, was Captain Bowman. The absence of Bowman from 
Cahokia from the middle of January to the firsi week in April is ex- 
plained by his presence on the winter expedition made by Clark 
against Vincennes. He had been recalled to Kaskaskia by Clark in 
January to help repel a threatened attack on that place by the British 
and did not return to Cahokia before the Vincennes expedition. From 
his journal we learn that he was in Kaskaskia before Jan. 27. Clark 
started for Vincennes, Feb. 5 and did not begin his return journey 
until the last of March, so that Bowman could not reach Cahokia in 
time for the session of the court on April 2. 3 During his absence 
Lieutenant Perrault was president, and the record contains an account 
of his taking the oath of office. The judges assisting the president 
were not always the same; but in all the sessions the names of seven 
judges besides the two presidents are given. These are, Langlois, 
Captain Turanjeau, Gratiot, Captain Trottier, Granot, Girardin, and 
Beaulieu. Evidently there was a bench of eight judges counting the 
president of the court. The number of judges, the number required 
for a quorum, and the weekly sessions remind us of the county court 
of Virginia upon which this court was obviously modeled. 4 Since these 
judges were elected by the people the first election on the soil of Illi- 
nois was not held in May, 1779, by John Todd, as has been assumed 
by former writers, but in the autumn of 1778 under the authority of 
George Rogers Clark. 5 

After the conquest' of the northwest by Clark, the Assembly of 
Virginia passed in October, 1778, an act to establish a civil and mili- 
tary government in the territory which was christened the county of 

1. Catalog, No. ."a 

2. Catalog, No. 2b. 

3. Clark's Sketch, in Ohio I'alley Hist. Series, No. 3, p. 76: Bowman '.s- Journal, in same, 99; 
Clark's Memoir, in Dillon, Indiana, 161. also in English. Conquest of the North-west,^., 520. 

4. Hening. Statutes at Large, V..489, art. 1. 

5. Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, 55; Boyd, "The County of Illinois," in Amer, 
Hist. Ktn-ieTv, IV, 4, p. 628. 


Illinois. 1 In the preamble it is stated that the government was to be 
temporary in character since, "On account of the remoteness of the 
region it was difficult, if not impracticable, to govern it by the 
present laws of the commonwealth/' The governor was empowered 
to appoint a county lieutenant or commander-in-chief, who was 
authorized to appoint and commission deputy commandants, militia 
officers and commissaries, who were to serve during his pleasure. 
The citizens of the region were to be assembled to elect such civil 
officers as they were accustomed to. These were to receive their 
commissions from the county lieutenant and to be paid for their 
services as had been customary. Provided other officials were needed, 
they were to be appointed by the county lieutenant with the advice 
of the council, and drafts might be made on the treasury of Virginia 
to the amount of five hundred pounds for their salaries. All officials, 
both civil and military, were to take the oath of allegiance to Vir- 
ginia and the oath of office according to the form of their own re- 
ligion. In criminal prosecutions, if the defendants were found 
guilty, the lieutenant might grant pardons, except in cases of murder 
and treason. In these cases he could only suspend execution until 
they had been reviewed by the government of Virginia. 

On December 12, 1778, Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, com- 
missioned John Todd as County Lieutenant of the county of Illinois. 
The following passages of his letter to Todd pertain to the formation 
of the civil government and to the powers granted it: "Altho Great 
reliance is placed on your prudence in managing the people you are 
to reside among, yet considering you as unacquainted in some Degree 
with their Genius, usage and maners, as well as the Geography of 
the Country, I recommend it to you to consult and advise with the 

most inteligible and upright persons who may fall in your way." 


"and I know of no better Gen'l Direction to Give than this that you 
Consider yourself at the head of the Civill department and as Such 
having the Comm'd of the militia untill ordered out by the civil 
Authority, and to act in conjunction with them." 

"You are on all Accatons to inculcate on the people the value of 
liberty and the Difference between the State of free Citizens of the 
Commonwealth and that Slavery to which Illinois was Destined. A 
free and equal representation may be expected by them in a little 
Time, together with all the improvm ts in Jurisprudence and police 
which the Other parts of the State enjoy." 

'The Ditails of your Duty in the civil Department I need not give 
you, its best Direction will be found in y r innate love of Justice and 
Zeal, to be intencively usefull to your fellow-men. A general Direc- 
tion to act according to the best of y r Judgment in cases where these 
Instructions are Silent and the laws have not Otherwise Directed is 

1. Hening, Statutes at Large, IX, 5?2-535; printed also in Appendix IV. 


given to you from the necessity of the case, for y r Great Distance 
from Governmnt will not permit you to wait for Orders in many 
Cases of Great Importance." 1 

In May, 1779, Todd reached Kaskaskm. His first duty was to at- 
tend to the appointment of militia officers. In most cases he con- 
firmed the appointments made by Clark in Cahokia; for Commandant 
Trottier and Captain Turanjeau of his list of officers bear the title of 
c; i] itain in the record of Clark's court. 2 On the other hand Perrault, 
who was lieutenant and justice under Clark, received no office under 
the new government. 

The act of the Virginia assembly required the election of offi- 
cers, "for the preservation of peace and the administration of justice," 
such as the inhabitants were accustomed to. 3 Did Todd follow his 
instructions in this particular? The inhabitants had experienced 
within recent years both French and English judicial institutions, 
either of which he might have followed and remained within both 
spirit and letter of the act. The former had consisted of. one judge 
who tried both civil and criminal cases without the assistance of a 
jury. The English court had been created by a proclamation of Colonel 
Wilkins on November 21, 1768, which was issued in accordance with a 
letter of instructions from General Gage. 4 This court was composed of 
seven judges and was held every month at Fort Chartres. At most 
it had jurisdiction only over civil cases and very probably it was lim- 
ited to actions for debt and the trials were held without jury. 5 What 
change, if any, was made in the character of the court by the "Quebec 
Act" of 1774, which subordinated the territory north of the Ohio river 
to the government of Canada, I do not know; but as the British troops 
were withdrawn from the Illinois in the spring of 1776, leaving a 
Frenchman, Rocheblave, in charge, there was practically no time to 
inaugurate a radical change. 6 Under Philippe de Rocheblave what- 
ever order had been introduced into the department of justice by the 
English commandant disappeared. Certain English merchants com- 
plained that he acted against them in the dual capacity of attorney 

1. Cal. of Va. State Papers, I., 312 et seq.; also in Mason, John Todd's Record- Book Fergus 
Hist. Series, No. 33, pp. 159-164. 

2. AW. ,164. 

3. Hening, Statutes at Large, IV, 553; appendix IV. 

4. I have been unable to find either proclamation or letter, nor have I seen a reference as 
to where they may be found. The accounts in the various histories quoted below show such a 
striking similarity that they must have been derived from a common source. This may of 
course be the original documents. Brown, History of Illinois, 213; Davidson and Strive, A Com- 
plete Hit to ry of Illinois, 165; Moses. Illinois Statistical and Historical, \, 140; Dunn. Indiana. 78. 

5. Moses, Court of Enquiry at Fort Chartres. 292. In this account, which differs from the 
generally accepted one, Moses has drawn his information from the statement in a letter of 
Ensign George Butricke, who was stationed at Fort Chartres at this period. Speaking of 
Colonel Wilkins he w-ote: "He has now granted commissions of the peace to several people, 
both French and English; of these he has formed a court of judicature, who are allowed to 
determine on all causes of Debt without a Jury. How this may answer with the laws of Great 
Britain 1 will not pretend to sav. He has appointed Mr. George Morgan president of this 
court which has given great offence to all the French inhabitants in the colony, he being uni- 
versally hated by all those people." Hist. Magazine, VIII, 262-270. 

6. Houston, Constitutional Documents of Canada, 90; Coffin, The Province of Quebec and the 
Early American Revolution, Univ. Wis. Bulletin, I.. 276 et seq.; Mason, Philippe de Rocheblave 
and Rocheblave Papers, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 34, p. 237; "Clark and the Kaskaskia Campaign 
Documents", in Amer. Hist. Review, VIII. 492. 


and judge; and Rocheblave explained that persons accused of crime 
demanded first English and then French law according as one or the 
other was favorable to them. From these complaints it is evident 
that Rocheblave was acting as sole judge in both civil and criminal 
cases and that the English bench of seven judges no longer existed, 1 

Although a reversion to the older French procedure had appar- 
ently taken place, still Todd might have urged the previous use of 
the English court as a justification for ignoring the French model: 
for the inherent dislike of Americans for the one-man rule would 
have debarred that kind of a court, even if there had been anyone in 
the county capable of performing the duties of judge. It is reason- 
able to suppose that the English residents, such as Daniel Murray 
and Richard Winston, must have thrown the weight of their influence 
against the reinstatement of the French tribunal. - 

Todd apparently gave little attention to either of these earlier 
courts; for there were in existence judicial institutions with which he 
was familiar, even if the inhabitants had not yet become accustomed 
to them. These were the courts founded by Clark in the three 
villages. As has been said, they were modeled after the county 
court of Virginia; an institution which both Clark and Todd had 
helped to introduce into Kentucky, just previous to starting on the 
expedition to the Illinois. 3 The county government of Virginia 
consisted of the county lieutenant, the court, and the minor 
officials. The court, which had both civil and criminal jurisdiction, 
was composed of the justices of the peace, and held monthly ses- 
sions. 4 The most important differences between the institution as it 
was founded in Illinois and its prototype were the election of the 
justices by popular vote and the existence of three courts in one 
county. The first of these differences was established by the 
Virginia assembly, and the second was due to the distances between 
the villages. Eleven years later Governor St. Clair was obliged to 
adopt a similar expedient for the same reason. 5 But in both cases 
the judicial institutions thus created were town rather than county 

Nine justices of the peace were elected in Kaskaskia, and seven in 
each of the villages of Cahokia and Vincennes. 6 In Cahokia, at least, 
elections were regularly held until 1789. During the first few years 
the formality of taking the oath of office took place on June 19. 7 The 
observance of this date, which was so religiously adhered to, leads me 
to believe that it was the anniversary of the inauguration of the first 
popular government in Illinois by John Todd. Interesting as would 
be the determination of the date of this event in the history of the 

1. Mason, Philipve de Rocheblave and Rocheblave Papers , Fergus Hist. Series, No. 34, pp.1'57, 

2. Ibid., 289. Rocheblave called both of them Englishmen. 

3. Roosevelt, The Winning of the West, 1,320-322; (/ark's Memoir, in Dillon, Indiana, 
115-119. Todd's presence in the campaign has been questioned. English, Conquest of the 
Northwest, I, 253. But see Mason, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, 51. 

4. Statutes at Large, \~ ., 45; Howard. Lncal Constitutional History of the U. S., 88-97 ; Chan- 
ning, Town and County Government, J. H. U. Studies, II, 45. 

5. Smith. St. Clair papers, II, 172. 

6. Jitge de Paix. 

1. Record of the court at Cahokia. 

state, the evidence is not sufficient to give more than a probable 
result. It is known that Todd appointed the militia officers in 
Cahokia on May 14, 1779, and about the same time must have 
announced the election of the civil offices. 1 Law and common usage 
would have required that some time elapse after the proclamation 
before proceeding to the election, so that, with preparations and 
delays, it might well have been June 19 before the new government 
was installed. The u cherif " was for a few years also elected by popu- 
lar vote; but later he was named by the court, as were the clerk and 
bailiff (huissier) from the beginning. 2 

The court held a session regularly every month. Usually one day 
was sufficient for the transaction of all legal business; but occasion- 
ally there were adjournments to the next day and also extraordinary 
meetings during the month. For the interim the court appointed one 
of its members juge de semaine, whose duties were similar to the 
Virginia justice of the peace. Without a careful study of the record, 
it will be impossible to pass judgment upon the law in use; but there 
is no reasonable doubt but that in most cases the French law was fol- 
lowed, although at times the English procedure and probably the law 
were used. There are several instances of trial by jury, the first oc- 
curring in 1780. 3 In this first case the eight jurors were illiterate 
Frenchmen and made their marks. In the registration of deeds the 
same formulae were employed as in the register of the French court 
described above. 4 

The government thus established was soon left to its own guidance 
without interference on the part of Virginia. John Todd had decided 
as early as Aug. 17, 1779, to ask to be relieved of his office, and he re- 
mained in Illinois only until the end of the year. On Dec. 23, he 
wrote Governor Jefferson from the "Falls of the Ohio," evidently hav- 
ing left his post. Jefferson desired him to reconsider his decision; 
but there is no evidence that he ever returned or that a successor was 
officially appointed. The other officials of the county continued to 
regard him as the head of the government until October, 17b!0, as is 
proved by their letters to him. 5 After that date communication be- 
tween the east and Illinois was only intermittent. The legal condi- 

1. Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 33, p. 164. 

2. 19 Juin 1780 Pres. Cap/. '1 rot tier 

Ch. Graf iot 
Michel Beaulieu 
Antoine Girardin 

Pierre Martin 

La cour assemble Bpte. Saucier 

Joseph Lepage, J. Bpte. La Croix, Clement Langlois, Ch. Duchesne, Fr Couree, Philippe Jer- 
rais. Antoine Arinant comme ayant ete name par une assemble public dimanche dernier 18 du 
curant dans la maison de M. Fr. Trottier Cap. Commandant la milice des Cahokios pour prendre 
lieurs place comme en qualite dejuge de paix, etc. 

Les suirant juges mentiones en I 'outre part par la derniere election faite out prie le serment de 
fidelite aux Etats ainsi que celui dejuge de Paix etc. selon leurs liste a I ''exception de Joseph Lepage 

La cour a ordonne que Fr. Saucier soit appointe dark de la cour. 
(There followed the paths of dark and bailiff.) 

Jean Bte. Hubert la Ctotx a remi a le cour la commission de Cherif.Yrom the record of the 
court at Cahokia. 

3. If juries were not used during 1 the English period, as appears to have been the case, this 
was the first recorded jury trial in the territory of the present state of Illinois. 

4. Here is an example from the clerk's register: Se requerant la dite Marie Aubuchon in- 
sinuation du dit testament lecture faite de celui en notre greffe nous /'arons insinue et enregistre sur 
la rf.gistre des insinuation de la siege suivant I 'ordonnance pour servir et va/oir ce que de raison dont 
act le ditjour et an. 

5. Mason, John -Todd Papers, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 33, pp. 157,189,206,211,227,229. 


tioii of the government of the country became anomalous, for the 
Virginia Act of 1778 establishing the county was to remain in force 
only for twelve months and thereafter until the end of the next session 
and no longer, in May, 1780, the act was continued by the assembly 
for a similar period, and was not renewed. 1 "The statutory organiza- 
tion of Illinois expired, therefore in 1781, and from that time until 
the passage of the ordinance of 1787, there was no government resting 
upon positive provisions of law in the territory northwest of the Ohio 
river." 2 

The reason for this cessation of Virginia's interest is to be found 
in her negotiations with the United States' government in regard to 
the cession of this territory to the latter. A bill to that effect was 
passed by the Assembly as early as Jan. 2, 1781, but the business 
dragged through several sessions of the United States congress, and 
it was not until March 1, 1784, that the official cession was com- 
pleted. 3 

This transfer of sovereignty made no immediate change in the form 
of government or- in the political condition in Illinois. 4 The isolation 
of the county was only occasionally broken. In 1783, there were in 
the county Virginia commissioners, who reported that the greatest 
confusion prevailed for lack of proper government. 5 The French also 
made several attempts to arouse either Virginia or the United States 
to take some action in their behalf. In the register of the clerk of 
the court of Cahokia there is an account of an assembly of the inhab- 
itants called by the commandant April 3, 1781, at which Pierre Pro- 
vost of Kaskaskia was appointed to represent them in Virginia, and, 
if necessary, at the congress of the United States. Later in 1783, M. 
Carboneaux was sent to Virginia on a similar mission. He reported 
that the magistrates through neglect of their duty had lost all con- 
trol, that murderers were unpunished, and that certain persons were 
establishing themselves as lords of the soil. 6 The same representa- 
tive afterwards carried his complaint to congress and on Feb. 21, 1785, 
that body determined to send commissioners to Kaskaskia; but there 
is no evidence that any further action was taken. 7 In the summer of 
1786, the inhabitants of Kaskaskia again petitioned congress for a 
government. The reply was that it had, "under consideration the 
plan of temporary government for the said district and its adoption 
will be no longer protracted than the importance of the subject and a 
due regard to their interest may require." 8 The next year Gen. Har- 
mer visited the district and stopped some of the abuses such as land 
grabbing. 9 The government promised by congress was not established 
in Illinois until the spring of 1790. 

1. Herring, Statutes at Large, IX, 555, X, 308; Appendix, TV. 

2. Boyd, "The County of Illinois," in A*ner. Hist.Re-c., IV, No. 4,625. 

3. Journal of Congress, VIII, 199, 203, 253, IX, 47-51; Herring. Statutes at Large, XI, S71- 

4. Journals of Congress, IX. 47-51. 

5. Draper Collection, Clark Afss.. LX, Illinois Papers, No. 3. 52. This is a copy of a docu- 
ment in the office of the Auditor of Public Accounts of Virginia. 

6. Ibid. No. 3. 1-4. This is only an extract from the original document; Roosevelt, The 
Winning or the West, II, 185. 

7. Journals of Congress, X, 45; Boyd, County of Illinois, in Amer. Hist. Rev.. IV, 634, note 2. 

8. Journals of Congress, IV, 688. 

9. Smith, St. Clair Papers, II, 32; Amer. State Papers, Public Lands, I, 10. 


Left to themselves it is not strange that the needs of society re- 
quired of the institutions, created under the Virginia Act, other and 
more complex duties than had been originally intended; and in the 
difficulties of the people struggling with the problem of self govern- 
ment, is found sufficient cause i'or extending the limits of power 
belonging to court and commandant. These limits had been, at best, 
very indefinite, as a reading of the original act and the instructions 
of Patrick Henry show. In each of the villages, Kaskaskia, Cahokia, 
and Vincennes, was a commandant and a court with other officials. 
Over these was the county lieutenant. On his departure, Todd 
apparently appointed Richard Winston as his deputy. That he re- 
garded Winston as next in command is proved by his letter in which 
he delegated to him the chief command during a temporary ab- 
sence. 1 Denmnbrunt, in his memorial to the governor of Virginia, in 
December, 1791, stated that "when Col. Winston was appointed to 
the command of the county of Illinois," the "said colonel" commis- 
sioned him as commandant of Kaskaskia. 2 The title of colonel was 
that borne by the county lieutenant. Additional evidence is found in 
the register of the clerk of the court, where there is a letter from 
Winston in which he signed himself. County Lieutenant. 3 This 
letter was dated June 29, 1782. When he ceased to act as head of 
the government does not appear from any of the records. 

On the authority of Governor St. Glair's statement that after Todd's 
departure, "a person by the name of De Numbrun was substituted," 
it has been generally believed that Demunbrunt acted at some time 
in the capacity of county lieutenant; but he clearly stated in his 
memorial to the Governor of Virginia that he had been appointed 
commandant of Kaskaskia by Winston. 4 In Todd's Record-Book 
there are two entries made and signed by Demunbrunt as Lieutenant 
Commander, which certainly is not a title corresponding to county 
lieutenant, but. was more likely borne by the commandant of the 
village. 5 After the end of Winston's rule, probably there was no 
general government for the whole county, but each village controlled 
its own destiny. There is a hint that such was the case in the fact, 
that in 1783 the judges of the court at Cahokia assumed the name of 
magistrates, and the title of commandant of Cahokia does not appear 
in the record after that date. Francois Trottier, who had been ap- 
pointed commandant by Todd, in the spring of this year petitioned 
the court to relieve him of his office temporarily, as he was obliged to 
leave Cahokia. Later in the record he was always called M. Francois 
Trottier, a significant fact. 6 

1. Mason. John Todd's Record- Book, Fergus Hist. Series No. 33, p. 172. 

2. r a l. of Va. State Papers, V, 407. 

4. Amer State Papers, Public Lands, 1, 19; Boyd. (.'oi/titv of Illinois, -imet. Hist. Rev., IV, 
631: Cal.of Va., Stale Papers. \ , 407; Smith, St. Clatr Papers. II, 169. Since writing the 
above I have found in the collection of the Chicago Hist. Society a document, dated 1784, 
signed Timothe Demunbrnnt. Major Commandant. 

5. Mason, John Todd's Record -Book, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 33, p. 18."). Under the French 
the major commandant was in charge of the district, while there were other commandants in 
each of the villages, perhaps called lieutenant commandants. 

6. Record of the court at Cahokia. The title of niajristrates was, however, Riven to the 
Virginia justices. Ingle, Local Institutions of Virginia, J. H. U. Studies,, III, 89. 


By a careful study of the record of the court it will be possible to 
fill out our knowledge of the history of the period from 1779 to 1790, 
w T hich up to the present time, owing to the scarcity of sources, has 
been very fragmentary. A superficial examination of the sessions 
shows that the court exercised many sovereign powers, some of which 
belonged legally to it, while others may have been assumed from 
necessity or from the desire for gain. Instances of such administra- 
tive acts are numerous. The court summoned assemblies of the 
people: issued proclamations and passed resolutions, all the judges 
signing the record on such occasions; fixed its own fees, which were 
not excessive, since the schedule followed closely that of the French 
court. Such acts probably did not exceed the limits of power accorded 
any Virginia county court, or the authority specially granted to that 
at Cahokia. Todd had been instructed by Governor Henry to consult 
with the most intelligent of the inhabitants, and he had probably per- 
mitted the courts to decide all local questions. This power they con- 
tinued to exercise after his departure. 1 The principal abuse of power, 
charged against these courts of Illinois, was that they granted titles 
to land. This they unquestionably did, and were probably guilty of 
many frauds. The judges at Vincennes pleaded ignorance as an 
excuse for their action. They said that after the departure of Todd 
the commandant assumed that he had the same rights as were exer- 
cised by the French commandants and granted this privilege to the 
court. 2 The French commandant with the counsel of the civil judge 
did possess the power 6f granting land to the settlers, as is shown by 
the numerous claims based upon such grants in the volumes devoted 
to the public lands in the American State Papers. Their authority 
for so doing was delegated to them by the governor and intendant of 
the province of Louisiana. 3 

That Todd had the same right was denied by Governor St. Clair. 
But Todd's own proclamation and his subsequent action prove that 
he believed that the discretionary power given him included also this 
authority. In the proclamation of June 15, 1779, he prohibited all 
persons from making new settlements upon the bottom lands, except 
in the manner practiced by the French. The proclamation was made, 
because he feared an inrush of speculators; so he refused to allow 
settlements except in the long narrow strips of the French grants, 
which stretched from the river to the bluffs. 4 Later Todd gave land 
to the settlers at the new post, which was erected at the junction of 
the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, and asked the assembly of Virginia 
to settle the price saying nothing about the confirmation of titles. 5 

If Todd believed himself empowered to dispose of land titles in 
this manner, there is nothing strange in the fact that Winston, who 
was his delegate and successor, should have acted as if he had the 
same authority. But after 1782 there is no evidence that Winston or 
anyone else held the office of county lieutenant. 6 What authority, 

1. Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Fergus Hist. Series, No. 33. pp. 154-164. 

2. Roosevelt, The Winningofthe West, II, 181; Amer. State Papers, Public Lands, 1,10,18. 

3. Ibid., I. ,10,16; Edits, Ordonnances Royaux, etc., 1,572-574.590. 

4. Amer. State Papers, Public Lands, I, 18; Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Fergus Hist. 
Series, No. 34, p. 171; Roosevelt. The Winningofthe West, II, 171. 

5. Cal. of Va. State Papers., 1,358. 

6. See page 21, note 4. 


except that of the courts and possibly of the local commandant, re- 
mained in the county to regulate the occupation of the land? And 
there was need that authority be exercised, for the conditions were 
rapidly changing. Americans were crowding into the territory; 108 
settled in Vincennes and a larger number in Illinois before 1787. 1 
They even forced themselves into the government, the names Philip 
Engel arid Thomas Brady appearing on the list of judges at Cahokia 
in 1785. On account of these conditions and since the United States 
delayed, the courts assumed the authority, which circumstances 
forced upon them. After the first grants, there was no hesitation 
and many frauds were practiced. That the magistrates believed, as 
those of Vincennes declared, that they were acting within their au- 
thority seems reasonable. But certainly the delegation of power from 
Toddto the courts had been stretched beyond the utmost limits. 

With the two exceptions, Brady and Engel, the court was, and re- 
mained from beginning to end, French in its personnel. There was 
no law against re-election and generally one or two magistrates of the 
preceding year were re-elected ; but no name appears for many suc- 
cessive years except that of Philip Engel, who remained judge from 
1785 to 1790. The first clerk was Francois Saucier, who was succeed- 
ed in 1785 by Joseph Labuxiere, of whom mention has already been 
made, For some reason he failed to be re- appointed in 1788; but the 
successful candidate, Pierre Billet, served only a few months, when 
Labuxiere was recalled to the office which he retained until the com 
ing of Governor St. Clair. 

1. Roosevelt. The Winning of the West, III, 235, note 1. 

THE UNITED STATES, 1788-1818. 

The next group of documents falls in the period between the organ- 
ization of the northwest by Governor St. Glair and the establishment 
of Illinois as a state in 1818. Since there are numerous other sources 
for the history of this period, the Belleville documents do not contain 
much of general interest. For this reason and because the report is 
already long, I have limited myself to indicating the course of events 
without further discussion. For a list of the documents reference 
may be made to the catalog. 

The government of the Northwest Territory was organized 1788; 
but it was not until March 5, 1790, that St. Olair reached the Illinois 
and put an end to the French court. This held its last session April 
1,1790 and adjourned to May 3, a date it was not destined to keep: 
because St. Glair, on April 27, 1790, established St. Glair County, 
which included the southwest part of the present state between the 
Illinois and Ohio rivers. 1 Since the French villages were so far apart, 
the .Governor divided the county into three districts, "though not 
strictly warranted by law", and the "judges of the peace" were so dis- 
tributed that the courts could be held in each, while the judges of 
probate, the prothoriotary of common pleas, and the clerk were in- 
structed to appoint deputies to act in two of the districts.- Later, in 
1795, Randolph county with Kaskaskia as county seat was separated 
from St. Glair, Cahokia being the chief place of the latter. 

One of the most serious difficulties confronting the new government 
was the question of land titles. The whole subject of land grants 
under the French, English, and Virginia dominions was investigated, 
but it was not until the first of the nineteenth century that it was 
finally adjusted. 3 

In the year 1800, the Northwest Territory was divided into Ohio 
and the territory of Indiana which included Illinois. Finally in 1809 
this was again divided, Illinois territory inchiding the district west of 
the line reaching from the Wabash, "due north to the territorial line 
between the United States and Canada." 

1. Greene, The Government of Illinois, 14; Moses, Illinois Historical and Statistical I ., 196; 
Smith, St. C/air Papers. II. 165. 

2. Ibid., II. 172. 

3. Amer. State Papers, Public Lands, I, and II ; U. S. -Statutes at Latge, II, 337. 


The relative paucity of documents of these years is very surprising, 
and I have found no adequate explanation. With the exception of 
the records of deeds and of wills, with a record of the court of com- 
mon pleas for a few months during the years 1795 and 1796, there has 
been preserved almost nothing of interest before the year 1808. After 
that date the documents are numerous and all offices show complete 
records from the time Illinois was admitted as a state in 1818. 


In this catalog I have described the documents as they were pre- 
vious to my visit to Belleville. Since that time, the documents in 
the office of the circuit clerk have been bound in a uniform black 
cloth binding with leather corners and back. What has been done 
with the loose and unclassified papers in the county treasurer's office 
(No. 12 of the catalog), I do not know. A recommendation was made 
to the supervisors that these be arranged in order and deposited in a 
safer place. Some explanation of the cause of such combinations of 
documents in the same binding, as in the case of No. 5, is needed. 
These documents were in the greatest confusion, when I first saw 
them. Without a premonition that my arrangement was to be 
regarded as final, I assorted them and placed, for their better preser- 
vation, the loose sheets and the smaller documents with others of 
similar size. The binder has perpetuated these accidental unions. 
For the same reason the Extrait des Registre de la Jurisdiction des 
Cahos has been dignified with some parchment covers, which were 
without contents until I placed this clerk's register within them, 
because it fitted. 


1. Reyistre des Insinuations des Donations aux Siege des Illinois, January 15, 

1737 -June 26, 1769. 

Bound in parchment: size, 13}^' by 8J- 2 ' inches; pages, 146; blank pages, 1; 
last page missing; water-mark, shield with fleur-de-lis, surrounded with 
scroll; 122 registries; language, French; on first cover Insinuations is 
spelt Insinutions, but it is corrected on the back cover. 

2. a. Record of the court at Cahokia, November 26, 1779 April 1, 1790. 

Unbound; made up of six record books sewed together; size varies, 
but it is about 12> 2 ' by 8 inches; pages, 348; blank pages. 48; several 
pages missing; various water-marks; no name to document; language, 
b. Eecord of public sales. November 2, 1778 June 22, 1782. 

Unbound: pages, 50; blank pages, 10; water-mark. DTKIIAM; no name 
given to document; language, French. 

3. Extrait des Registre de la Jurisdiction des Cahos, December 12, 1778 October 

28, 1788. 

Originally bound in flexible paper cover, it was placed by me in the 
parchment covers in which it is now bound: size, 15 by OV-j inches: 
pages, 58; blank pages. 4; pages numbered Folio 5, etc.: language. 
French, but there are a few English deeds and letters; it is the register 
of the clerk of the court acting as recorder. 


4. Registre des audiences par(?) Le juge de Semaine comence Le 9 juillet 1785 et 

reforme Le 14 fevrier 1786 a In Cour tenue le d 1 jour. 

Unbound; size, II}.. i by 8% inches; pages, 20; blank pages, 4; water-mark, 
star and D C within oval; language, French. 

5. a. Record of court at Cahokia, December 31, 1778 May 7, 1779. 

Loose sheets: size, 12 l i by 8 inches: pages, 8; watermark, lion rampant 
holding a bunch of arrows and a standard, within a circle: language, 
English; no name to document. 

b. Minutes of General Court of Illinois Territory, St. Clalr County, April 

Term, 1811. 
Unbound; pages, 28; language, English. 

c. Minutes of the same, September term. 1813. 
Unbound: pages, 54; language, English. 

6. Settlement of the estate of M. and Mad. Charleville, 1781. 

Unbound; size, 12>< 2 by 8 inches; pages, 58: no name to document: lan- 
guage. French: at the end, there is a letter in English to the court, 
dated July 9th, 1789. 

7. Record A. of the Court of Common Pleas of St. Clair County, October 6, 1795- 

April, 1796. 

Bound in flexible paper cover; pages 90; blank pages 1; records of 43 ses- 
sions; water mark, a crown with C R below: language English. 

There are complete records of the circuit court since 1808. 


8. Record A. of the County Clerk. 

This record has been misplaced, so that I was unable to see it. It covers 
the period previous to 1817. and is a record of administrative proceed- 


9. About 370 unclassified legal papers belonging to the court of Cahokia, 

1778-1790. in two tin filing cases. 

They are generally in French and are written on all kinds of paper, some 
of them mere scraps. They are requests for writs of various charac- 
ters, statements of claims by petitioners, sheriff's warrants, etc. There 
are among them some papers of a later date. 


10. Entries of Letters of Administration and Testamentary, etc., issued by 

the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas in Vacation as by the Law of 
the Territory, March 10, 1794-March 18, 1831. 

Ten years ago, the book was bound in vellum, but has since been re- 
bound in stiff board covers and marked Wills. Page 153. 


11. Record A. St. Clair Co., April 26, 1790-September 7, 1796. 

On fly leaf is written, ''By his excellency Arthur St. Clair Esquire Gov- 
ernor and Commander in Chief of the Territory of the U. S. North 
West of the River Ohio." Bound in stiff board covers; size quarto; 
pages 302; blank pages, several; contents, private deeds of all kinds; 
language French and English. There is also a copy of this record in a 
very clear hand-writing. 

12. Record B. March 14, 1800 March 23. 1813. 

Bound in heavy board covers; size folio; pages 663; blank pages, several; 
contents, deeds of all kinds; language English. 

13. A record of Land Claims under Virginia and U. S. grants, Novembers, 1798. 
Bound in flexible covers; pages 92: blank pages 46; the book was written 

by John Hay and the language is English. 



There are so many more important documents of the French period 
to be edited, that it does not seem wise to expend money on the im- 
mediate publication of the Registre des Insinuation des Donations. 
No doubt a more intensive study of the contents would yield some- 
thing fruitful for our knowledge of the law, social conditions, and 
genealogy of the French in the Mississippi settlements. Yet the re- 
sults would be more of local than general interests. For much of the 
analysis of the institutional conditions existing in the French -colonies 
which is contained in this report, I would have chosen Some other 
source than the Registre, had such been available ; for it contains hints 
rather than explanations of the machinery of government. Possibly 
later a short study of the internal evidence with a few typical docu- 
ments might be made with profit. 

When we come to the documents of the Virginia period the rec- 
ommendation must be the opposite. All of these documents are im- 
portant and give new and valuable information on the history of the 
conquest of Illinois and the government of the succeeding period. Up 
to the present time little has been known about the courts established 
by Clark or in regard to the government founded by Todd. As soon 
as possible this material should be published. I recommend that a 
volume containing the record of Clark's court, selections from the 
clerk's register, and a full record of the court established under the 
Virginia act be issued. It will be unnecessary to publish all the 
clerk's register as many of the documents are inventories, promissory 
notes, and letters of local interest, typical examples of which would 
be sufficient for such a volume. 

There is no document of the later period that is worth publication 
at this time, with the possible exception of Record A. of the Record- 
er's office. An interesting selection from these deeds might be made. 
Although my report is confined to the documents of the Belleville court 
house, still I feel 4hat the time and opportunity are propitious for a 
suggestion on the future policy to be pursued in the publication of 
the historical sources of the state. Up to the present, most of the 
American state governments and historical societies have contented 
themselves with a haphazard publication of documents. The longer 
this policy is continued, the more difficult will become an exhaustive 
and systematic publication of the historical sources of the states and 
more complicated the work of the student. It is time the American 
states should follow a plan for the complete publication of historical 
material, as the European states have been doing for the past century. 
The best methods for such a work have already been evolved by the 
Germans in the Monumenia Gernianiae Hisiorica and the historians 
of other European states have followed their lead, so that today these 
stiidents axe carrying to completion the work of publication along 
definite lines, which were carefully mapped out years ago. 

Some such plan for the exhaustive publication of the material for 
the history of Illinois can now be made, so that the work of future 
editors of documents and narratives may be directed by a general 


scheme. The general outlines of such a plan will not be difficult to 
formulate and should be determined by a commission of historians of 
the state. They might decide on a purely chronological plan or bet- 
ter still on an arrangement of documents and narratives with refer- 
ence to their character and chronology. However, before much can 
be done, there must be made a careful examination of the archives of 
the State and a bibliography of the historical material already pub- 

For the survey of archives, arrangements have already been made, 
I believe, by the Trustees of the State Historical Library and by the 
Historical Manuscript Commission of the American Historical Asso- 



"Affairs at Fort Chartres, 1768-1771", in Historical Magazine, VIII, 8. 

American State Papers, Public Lands, I and II, Washington, 1832. 

Billon, F. L., Annals of St. Louis. St. Louis, 1886. 

Boyd, C. E., "The County of Illinois", in American Historical Review, IV, No. 4. 
., Breese, S., The Early History of Illinois. Chicago, 1884. 

Brooke, R., A Treatise on the Practice of a Notary of England. London, 1876. 
-Brown, H., History of Illinois. New York, 1844. 

Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts, 1652-1781. I and V, 
1875 ff. 

Channing, E. , Town and County Government in the English Colonies of North 
America, J. H. U. Studies, II, No. X. 

Church Records of Ste. Anne. Manuscript copy in Chicago Historical Library. 

"Clark and the Kaskaskia Campaign, Documents," in American Historical Re- 
view. VIII, 491-506. 

Clark's Sketch of his Campaign in the Illinois, in Ohio Valley Historical Series. 
No. 3. Cincinnati, 1869. 

Coffin, V. , Ttie Province of Quebec and the Early American Revolution, Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin Bulletin, I, Madison, 1896. 

Collet, O. W., "Review of Hinsdale's Old Northwest,"' in Magazine of West- 
ern History, VIII, 1888. 
""Davidson, A., and Stuve, B., A Complete History of Illinois. Springfield, 1874. 

Dillon, J., History of Indiana. Indianapolis, 1859. 

Documents in the Court house at Belleville. 

Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York. vols. VII, 
VIII. X, Albany, 1856 ff. 

Draper Collection, Clark Manuscripts, in the library of the Wisconsin Histor- 
ical Society. 

Edits, ordonnances royaux, declarations et arrete du consell d'etat du Roi, con- 
cernant Canada, etc., 3 vols., Quebec, 1854-1856. 

English, W. H., Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio and Life of 
George Rogers Clark. 2 vols., Indianapolis, 1896. 

Eschmann, C. J., "Kaskaskia Church Records," in Transactions of the Illinois 
State Historical Society. 1904. 

French, B. F., Historical Collections of Louisiana. 5 vols., Philadelphia. 1850 ff. 

Gayarre, C. E. A., History of Louisiana. 4 vois., 3d ed.. New Orleans, 1885. 

Greene, E. B. , The Gm^erninent of Illinois. New York, 1904. 

Hening, W. W., Statutesat Large, (of Virginia.) vols. I-V, IX, X: Richmond, 1821. 

History of St. Clair County, III. Philadelphia, 1881. 

Houston, W., Documents Illustrative of the Canadian Conxlil a i in n. Toronto, 1891. 

Howard, E. E. , Local Constitutional History of United States. Baltimore, 1889. 

Illinois Historical Collections. Vol. I., Springfield, 1903. 

Ingle, E., Local Institution* of \'irijini(i. Johns Hopkins rniv<'r*iti/ Stmlit's, III. 
No*. II and III. 

"Intercepted Letters and Journal of George Rogers Clark. 1778, 1779," in 
American Historical Review, 1 . 90-96. 

Isambert, Decrusy. Taillandier, Rci-neU general </<s ani-iennes loi* fr<in<-<tises. 
Vols. XIX. XXI, Paris, 1829. 

Journals of Congress. Vols. IV-XI. Philadelphia, 1800 ff. 

King, Grace, Neir Orleans; The P/mr <in<l the People. New York, 1899. 

L<i (-irandc. Enajflnpcdic. 

Larousse, Grande IHrtinnairc / 

-3 H 

Margry. P., Dcconvcitcs ct etaltlisxement* do- fnnn-dix dtnix L'Anicrl<i\ie septcn- 

Irionale. 1K14-1754. 6 vols., Paris. 1887. 
Mason, E. G., Illinois in the Eighteenth Century; Old Fort Chartrcs and John 

Todd's Record- Booh. Chicago. 1881. 
Mason, E. G.. John Todd, John Tftdd's Record-Book, <tnd Jolin-Todd Puprrx. 

Fergus Historical Series, No. 33. Chicago. 1890. 
?~Mason. E. G., Llxte of Earl]/ Illinois* Citizen*, Fergus Hixtoririil Scricx. \o. 31. 

Chicago, 1890. 
Mason, E. G., Philippe de Rocheblave and Rocheblave Paper*, Fcrgn* JJixtoriml 

Series, No. 34. Chicago. 1890. 
Mixxonrl Reports, Vol. IV., St. Louis, 1870. 

x-f-Moses, J.. Illinois Historical and Statistical. 2 vols., Chicago, 1890. 
Ogg, F. A., The Opening of the Mississippi. New York, 1904. 
Perrin, J. N., "The Oldest Civil Record in the West," in Triiiixurtionx of the 

Illinois State Historical Society, 1901. 
^-Pittman, P., The Present State of the European Settlements on the Mixsisxipni. 

London, 1770. 

.-Reynolds, J., The Pioneer History of Illinois, lielleville, 1852. 
Roosevelt. T.. The Winning of the West. 4 vols., New York, 1896. 
Roy, J. E., Histoire du Notariat au Canada, 4 vols., Levis, 1899. 
Smith. W. H., St. Clair Papers. 2 vols., Cincinnati, 1882. 
Tripier and Monnier, Les Codes Francois, Code Civil. Paris. 1900. 
Violett, P., Histoire du Droit Civil Francais, 3d ed., Paris, 1905. 
Wallace, J., The History of Illinois and Louisiana under French .Rale. Cincin- 
nati. 1893. L - 

' J. , Narrative and Critical History of America. Vols. IV- VI. Boston, 



Isambert. Decrusy, Taillandier, Recueil general des anciennes lois fran- 
caise, XXI., 343-356. 

ART. 1. All acts of donations 'inter vivo* shall be passed before notaries, and 
there shall be made minutes of them, on penalty of nullity. 

2. Donations inter vivos shall be made in the ordinary form of contracts 
and of acts passed before notaries, and all other formalities, which have been 
required up to the present, in the different laws, customs and usages of the 
land under our dominion, shall be observed. 

3. All donations mortis causa, with the exception of those which are made 
by contract of marriage, shall not be effective, hereafter, unless they shall be 
made in the same form as wills and testaments, all other laws and customs to 
the contrary notwithstanding; so that in future there shall be only two 
forms of disposing of property gratuitously, one of which shall be that of 
donations inter vivos. and the other, that of wills and testaments. 

* . * * * . * * * 

5. Donations inter vivos, likewise those which are made to the Church or 
for pious purposes, can be binding on the donor and be effective, only from 
the day they shall be accepted by the donee or his attorney, general or 
special. In the latter case the power of attorney shall be attached* to the 
minute of the donation. And in case the donation should have been accepted 
by a person who shall have declared himself the agent of the donee, the said 
donation shall take effect only from the day of the express ratification, which 
ratification the said donee shall have made by act passed before a notary, the 
minute of which act shall be preserved. We forbid all notaries and taMwfewe 
to accept donations in favor of absent donees on penalty of nullity of said act. 
* * * * * * * 

15. No donation inter vivos can include other property than that which 
shall belong to the donor at the time of the donation. 


17. Nevertheless, we wish that donations, made by the marriage contract, 
in favor of the husband and wife or of their descendants, even when made by 
collateral relatives or by strangers, be excepted from the provision of article 
15, and that the said donations, made by contract of marriage may include 
both present property and that to be acquired in the future, all or in part; in 
which case, it shall be at the choice of the donee, either to take the property, 
such as it is at the time of the death of the donor, and to pay all debts and 
charges, even those which shall have been made subsequent to the donation, 
or to receive only the property which existed at the time when the donation 
was made, and to pay only the debts and charges existent at that time. 

'>-; * * * * * 

19. Donations made in contracts of marriage in direct line shall not be 
subject to the formality of registration. 

23. In all cases, where registration is required on penalty of nullity, dona- 
tions of real property or of that which, without being real, is taxed according 
to the law, customs or usages of the land, and do not follow the person of the 
donor, shall be registered, on penalty of nullity, at the bureau of the baili- 
wick, or of the royal seneschal's court, or of other royal court with direct 
appeal to our court, of the district in which is situated the domicile of the 
donor, and also of the district in which the property is taxed; and in regard 
to personal property, likewise immovables which are not taxed and follow the 
person of the donor, the registration shall be made only at the bureau of the 
bailiwick, or of the royal seneschal's court, or of other royal court with 
direct appeal to our court, of the district in which is situated the domicile of 
the donor. We forbid all registration in other jurisdictions or in courts of 
seigniors, even in those of peers; and in case the donor's domicile is situated 
in such a jurisdiction, the registration shall be made at the bureau of the 
court which has the cognizance of royal cases in the district where the 
domicile is and where the property is situated, all on penalty of nullity. 

24. In the future, there shall be in each bailiwick or royal seneschal's 
court a particular register, which shall be numbered and paraphed on each 
leaf by the first officer of the court, and closed at the end of each year by the 
said officer; in which register there shall be written the entire act of dona- 
tion, if it is made by a separate act, if not, the part of the act w hich shall 
contain the donation, its charges and conditions without omitting any of it. 
so that the engrossment or the effective copy of said act will be represented 
without need of consulting the minute. 

25. The guardian of the said register shall be required to give access to it 
at any time without a command from the court, and to deliver to parties, 
upon demand, an extract signed by himself, for which he shall receive a 
reasonable remuneration in accordance with our regulations of the 17th of the 
present month. 

26. When the registration shall have been made within the period pre- 
scribed by the ordinances, even after the decease of the donor or donee, the 
donation shall be effective from the day of its date for all persons. It may 
be, nevertheless, registered after the decease of the donee, provided 4he 
donor is still alive; but it shall be effective in that case only from the day of 



Afkhough the following list of French notaries in the western lands -of 
America is far from complete, owing to the lack of available sources, it has 
seemed best to publish it, if for no other reason than to call the attention of 
local historians to the material to be found in the acts of this class of officials. 
A complete list cannot be made until the notarial acts in New Orleans have 


been examined. Mr. Beer of the Howard Memorial Library writes me that 
"about sixty boxes of unexamined notarial deeds of dates mostly prior to 
1800" are in the archives of the Louisiana Historical Society. And "in the 
city archives in the City Hall, there are at least two volumes of early date." 
Jean Baptiste Bertlor Barrois,! 

at Kaskaskia, January 15, 1737, to December, 1754. 

at Nouvelle Chartres, December, 1754, to March 10, 1757. 
Joseph Labuxiere,2 

at Nouvelle Chartres, March 14, 1757. to October 12. 1764. 

at St. Louis, 1765, to May 20, 1770. 
Leonard Billeron.3 

(tux Illinois, February 14, 1733, and October 25, 1736. 
Jerome Rousillet,4 

at Fort Chartres, February 14. 1733, and November 8, 1739. 

nux Illinois, November 17, 1731. 
Phillibert and Baumer,6 

at Vincennes, the latter until 1761. 

at Vincennes, August 2, 1763. 
Francois Louis Cardin,8 

at Michillimackinac, April 6, 1754. 
Robert Navarre,9 

at Detroit, May 15, 1741, to 1759. 
Jean Baptiste Campeau,10 

at Detroit, May 15. 1758, until the end of the French regime. 

at New Orleans, May 31, 1740. 

' at New Orleans, May 21, 1740. 

at New Orleans. August 1, 1749. 

1. Registre des Insinuations des Donations aux Siege des Illinois. 

2. Ibid.: Billon. Annals of St. Louis, passim. 

3. Registre des Insinuations des Donations; Roy, Histoire du Notarial, I., 371. M. Roy states 
that he was appointed by the Lieutenant General of Montreal and was still in Kaskaskia in 
1759; but 1 have found no record of his presence there after 1736, the year before Barrois began 
to act as notary. 

4. Registre des Insinuations des Donations, October 25, 1741. I know nothing more about 
him than is contained in these acts. Rightly or wrongly I have identified a M. Jerome with a 
Jerome Rousillet, both notaries of Fort Chartres. If the identification is correct, he died be- 
tween Novembers, 1739, and October 25, 1741, on which date the clerk wrote of the late M. 

5. Registte des Insinuations des Donations. 

6. Baumer succeeded Phillibert. Dunn, French Settlements on the Wabash,?&; Dunn, Indi- 
ana, 80,99,101. 

7. He was acting as notary. Registie des Insinuations des Donations. 
.8. Roy, Histoire du Notarial, I, 371. 

9. Ibid., I, 370. 

10. Ibid., I, 371. 

11. Ibid., I, 377. 

12. Ibid., I, 377. 

13. Registre des Insinuations des Donations, October 20, 1760. 


Herring-, Statutes <tt Lanjc of. (Virginia,) IX., 552-555. 

AN ACT for establishing the county of Ilinoi*, and for the more effectual protec- 
tion and defence thereof. 

WIIKUEAS by a successful expedition carried on by the Virginia militia, on 
the western side of the Ohio river, several of the British posts within the ter- 
ritory of this commonwealth, in the country adjacent to the river Mississippi, 
have been reduced, and the inhabitants have acknowledged themselves citi- 
zens thereof, and taken the oath of fidelity to the same, and the good faith 
and safety of the commonwealth require that the said citizens should be sup- 
ported and protected by speedy and effectual reinforcements, which will be 
the best means of preventing the inroads and depredations of the Indians 
upon the inhabitants to the westward of the Allegheny mountains: and 
whereas, from their remote situation, it may at this time be difficult, if not 
impracticable, to govern them by the present laws of this commonwealth, 
until proper information, by intercourse with their fellow citizens, on the 
east side of the Ohio, shall have familiarized them to the same, and it is 
therefore expedient that some temporary form of government, adapted to 
their circumstances should in the meantime be established: 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That all the citizens of this common- 
wealth who are already settled, or shall hereafter settle, on the western side 
of the Ohio aforesaid, shall be included in a distinct county, which shall be 
called Ilinois county; and that the governour of this commonwealth, with 
the advice of the council, may appoint a county lieutenant or commandant in 
chief in that county, during pleasure, who shall appoint and commission so 
' many deputy commandants, militia officers, and commissaries, as he shall 
think proper in the different districts, during pleasure, all of whom, before 
they enter into office, shall take the oath of fidelity to this commonwealth 
and the oath of office, according to their own religion, which the inhabitants 
shall fully, and to all intents and purposes enjoy, together with all their civil 
rights and property. And all civil officers to which the said inhabitants have 
been accustomed, necessary for the preservation of peace and the adminis- 
tration of justice, shall be chosen by a majority of the citizens in their re- 
spective districts, to be convened for that purpose by the county lieutenant 
or commandant, or his deputy, and shall be commissioned by the said county 
lieutenant or commandant in chief, and be paid for their services in the same 
manner as such expenses have been heretofore borne, levied, and paid in that 
county; which said civil officers, after taking the oaths as before prescribed, 
shall exercise their several jurisdictions, and conduct themselves agreeable to 
the laws which the present settlers are now accustomed to. And on any 
criminal prosecution, where the offender shall be adjudged guilty, it shall 
and may be lawful for the county lieutenant or commandant in chief to par- 
don his or her offense, except in cases of murder and treason; and in such 
cases, he may respite execution from time to time, until the sense of the gov- 
ernour in the first instance, and of the general assembly in the case of 
treason, is obtained. Hut where any officers, directed to be appointed by this 
act, are such as the inhabitants have been unused to. it shall and may be 
lawful for the governour. with the advice of the council, to draw a warrant 
or warrants on the treasury of this commonwealth for the payment of the 
salaries of such officers, so as the sum or sums drawn for do not exceed the 
sum of five hundred pounds, anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding. 

And for the protection and defence of the said county and its inhabitants. 
Be it cniictt'it. That it shall and may be lawful for the governour, with the ad- 
vice of the council, forthwith to order, raise, and levy, either by voluntary 
enlistments, or detachments from the militia, five hundred men, with proper 


officers, to inarch immediately into the said county of Ilinois, to garrison 
such forts or stations already taken, or which it may be proper to take there 
or elsewhere, for protecting the said county, and for keeping up our commun- 
ication with them, and also with the Spanish settlements, as he, with the ad- 
vice aforesaid, shall direct. And the said governour, with the advice of the 
council, shall from time to time, iintil farther provision shall be made for the 
same by the general assembly, continue to relieve the said volunteei-s, or 
militia, by other enlistments or detachments, as herein before directed, and 
to issvie warrants on the treasurer of this commonwealth for all charges and 
expenses accruing thereon, which the said treasurer is hereby required to pay 

And be It farther enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the governour, 
with the advice of the council, to take such measures as they shall judge 
most expedient or the necessity of the case requires, for supplying the said 
inhabitants as well as our friendly Indians in those parts, with goods and 
other necessaries, either by opening a communication and trade with New 
Orleans, or otherwise, and to appoint proper persons for managing and con- 
ducting the same on behalf of this commonwealth. 

Provided. That any of the said inhabitants may likewise carry on such trade, 
on their own accounts, notwithstanding. 

This act shall continue and be in force, from and after the passing of the 
same, for and during the term of twelve months, and from thence to the end 
of the next session of assembly, and no longer.