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ST. GAUDEN'S STATUE OF LINCOLN
LINCOLN PARK. CHICAGO
MAKING OF ILLINOIS
IRWIN F. MATHER, A. M,
A. FLANAGAN COMPANY
I. F. MATHER
A. FLANAGAN COMPANY
A. FLANAGAN COMPANY
The history of Illinois, embracing more than two cen-
turies of discovery, exploration, settlement and develop-
ment, is rich in incident and abounds in valuable lessons.
Her soil has been occupied successively by Indian,
Frenchman, Englishman and American.
The men who planted her foundations were generous,
noble and brave.
Within her borders clashed and finally harmonized the
principles of Cavalier and Puritan.
Her sons have become leaders in the councils of the
nation, and, on the field of battle, have led our armies to
victory. No less famous than her statesmen and soldiers
have been the commercial and industrial leaders nurtured
upon her soil.
Notwithstanding the fact that there is so much that
is honorable and glorious in her steady progress, " from
a wilderness of prairies " to a great and populous State,
the history of Illinois is unfamiliar to most of her citizens.
The youth in her public schools are better acquainted with
the early history of Virginia, or Massachusetts, than with
the stirring events connected with the establishment of
their native State, and we should encourage our boys
and girls in the study of the history of their State and
strengthen the love for Illinois.
The author wishes to thank for helpful suggestion and
kindly criticism : Mr. John E. Ferreira, of East Chicago ;
Supt. Walter R. Hatfield, of . Pittsfield ; Prof. David
Felmley, of Normal; Dr. Edward C. Page, of De Kalb;
Dr. W. E. Simonds, of Galesburg, and Gen. P. C. Hays, of
Many of the illustrations have been obtained through
the courtesy of Mr. Charles Evans, Secretary of the
Chicago Historical Association.
Supt. T. C. Clendennen, of Cairo, furnished the illustra-
tion of a " Bird's-eye View of Cairo.'
The illustrations of the bronze relief tablets in the
chapters on Marquette and La Salle were obtained from
the Marquette building, Chicago. The tablets pertaining
to Marquette's journey were designed by the sculptor,
Mr. Herman A. McNeil, a faithful student of Indian char-
acteristics. The heads of the noted Indian Sachems and
early explorers were modeled by Mr. Edward Kemeys,
the sculptor whose work received wide recognition at the
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. ILLINOIS 15
The Mississippi Valley Foster
Geology of Illinois Northern
The West R. B. Porter
II. THE INDIAN 21
History of the United States McMaster
History of the United States Bancroft
Last of the Illinois Judyc J. D. Caton
Illinois and Indiana Tribes H. W. Bcckicith
Annals of the West Peck
American Slate Papers
FRENCH AND BRITISH OCCUPATION.
III. JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE 33
IV. LA SALLE 48
V. TONTI . 60
VI. LA SALLE 's RETURN TO ILLINOIS 68
San-alive and Critical History of America Windsor
La Salic Parkman
History of Illinois Davidson and Stance
Early Voyatjcs Shea
Historical Collection of Louisiana French
Journal of Father Uarqiicttc
The Winning of the West Roosevelt
VII. OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH 78
Catholic Missions Shea and Kip
Early. French Voyages Gravier
New -France Charlemix
Early History of Illinois Judtje James Breeze
Records of the Chicago Historical Society
Magazine of American History
VT1T. FORT CHARTRES AND THE BRITISH 86
Illinois in the Eighteenth Century Mason
Early Settlements of yorthirest Territory Dillon
Montcaltn and Wolfe Parkman
Conquest of Canada Warburton
Settlements on the Mississippi in 1771 Pitt man
IX. COL. GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AND THE AMERICAN OCCU-
Pioneer History of Illinois Reynolds
Campaign in the Illinois Clark
History of Indiana Dillon
Vol. IX. of Michigan Pioneer Collections
Old Record Book Col. John Todd
Conquest of the North West Wm. H. English
X. THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 112
The St. Clair Papers
Charters and Constitutions Poore
Laws and Journals of Congress
XL THE ILLINOIS PIONEERS 117
History of Indiana Dillon
Pioneer History Reynold*
XII. THE ILLINOIS BANGERS 123
XIII. THE BLOCK HOUSES AND OLD FORT DEARBORN 129
Field Book of War of 1812 Losslng
History of Illinois Edwards
History of Illinois Ford
My Own Times Reynolds
Fort Dearborn John Wenticorth
History of Illinois Brown
XIV. KEEL BOATS . . .133
XV. STATEHOOD AND THE CONSTITUTIONS 141
Fergus' Historical Series Chicago
XVI. THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY 149
Sketch of Edward Coles Washburn
Memoirs of E. P. Love joy
XVII. OUR STATE CAPITALS 157
History of Illinois Ford
Life of Edwards Edwards
Report of George Forquier Senate Journal, Session
American State Papers, Vols. XX, XXI
XVIII. NAUVOO AND MORMONS 165
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1869 John Hay
History of Mormonism Hove
Ms. of Solomon Spauldiny
XIX. TRANSPORTATION 170
XX. ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR 179
History of the American War Mansfield
The Other Side, or a Mexican History of the War.
Translated by Alex. C. Ramsey
History of the Battle of Buena Vista Cotton
XXI. LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS 185
Abraham Lincoln, a History Nicolay and Hay
Abraham Lincoln P. A. Hanaford
The Pioneer Boy
CIVIL WAR PERIOD.
XXII. ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR 199
Grant's and Sherman's Memoirs
The Story of the Fifty-fifth Illinois Ciw/.-o 1
History of Illinois Davidson and Stourc
Illinois, Vol. II Moses
XXIII. CHICAGO 209
XXIV. OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS 224
XXV. EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS 229
Reports of State Supt
Pioneer History of Illinois
NAMES OP OUR COUNTIES 263
STARVED ROCK STATE PARK 268
GOVERNORS OP ILLINOIS AND NOTABLE ILLINOIS DATES . . . 272
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Statue of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Park .Frontispiece
The Great Seal of Illinois 14
Material from Which Coal Was Made 17
Black Hawk 25
Starved Eock Opposite 26
First Settlement in Chicago Opposite 33
Departure of Marquette 34
Totem of the Illinois 38
Marquette Opposite 38
The Piasa God (from an old drawing) 40
Death of Marquette 46
Robert Cavelier La Salle 49
La Salle Opposite 52
Flag of France 77
Fort Chartres (1718) 88
A Typical Log House 96
Col. George Rogers Clark 98
Gen. Arthur St. Clair 114
View of First Fort Dearborn 132
Lovejoy Monument (Alton) 140
Xinian Edwards 141
Judge Nathaniel Pope 142
Shadrach Bond 146
Pierre Menard 148
Gov. Edward Coles 149
First Capitol (Kaskaskia) 157
Second Capitol (Vandalia) 159
Third Capitol Building, Springfield 161
Fourth State Capital, Springfield 164
Bird's-eye View of Cairo 174
Lincoln Monument, Springfield 188
Lincoln's Home, Springfield 191
Great Lincoln Rally, 1860 Opposite 192
Stephen A. Douglas 193
The Chicago Wigwam Opposite 194
Old State House at Kaskaskia (before destruction) 196
Abraham Lincoln 198
General U. S. Grant 200
View of Chicago in 1821 210
John Kinsey's House 213
New City Hall, Chicago 217
Field Museum, Chicago 219
Art Institute, Chicago 221
U. S. Courthouse and Postoffice, Chicago Opposite 222
Library Building, State University 233
Panorama of the University of Chicago Opposite 236
French Canyon, near Starved Rock 269
Indian Tribes of Illinois Opposite 27
Plan of Villages of Illinois Country 85
Forts and Settlements of the Early French 94
Burnt District, Chicago Fire 216
Illinois, Showing Counties and Their Population 271
"By thy rivers gently flowing,
O'er the prairies, verdant growing
Comes an echo on the breeze,
Rustling through the leafy trees,
And its mellow tones are these,
And its mellow tones are these,
The State of Illinois is a gently sloping tableland. Its
extreme length is three hundred and eighty-five miles,
and its extreme breadth two hundred and eighteen miles.
It is larger in area than New England without Maine.
If Illinois were laid upon the Atlantic coast, it would
stretch from Boston, Mass., to Old Point Comfort in
Virginia. With the exception of a broken, hilly ridge of
land that crosses the southern portion of the State from
west to east, the surface of Illinois is nearly level, and
slopes from an altitude of eleven hundred and seventy
five feet above the sea on the north, to Cairo, where the
altitude is but three hundred and fifty feet.
Including the boundary rivers, Illinois possesses many
hundreds of miles of navigable waterways. These streams,
furnishing a ready means of transportation, were important
factors in the early development of the State. A northern
tributary to the Illinois River takes its rise in the broad, flat
prairies within cannon s'hot of Lake Michigan. At an early
day a canal was constructed, connecting this river with the
lake, thus forming a continuous water passage from the
Atlantic Ocean, by way of the St. Lawrence, to the Gulf
Closely linked to both the Northern and the Southern
States by lake and river, Illinois lies wholly within that great
temperate belt that has been the birthplace of the most ag-
l6 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
gressive peoples of the world. In the heart of the Missis-
sippi Valley, a region capable of feeding the human race for
ages, Illinois is essentially a farming State, and grows
within her borders nearly every staple food product of the
world. To illustrate the wealth of her agricultural re-
sources, it may be said that the value of all the gold and
silver mined in the United States during the year A. D.
1910, was $126,036,973. The value of the farm products
of Illinois for the same year was over $290,295,000.
While nature bestowed upon Illinois so productive a
soil, she also filled the earth beneath with an abundant
store of minerals. The geologist tells us that millions of
years ago, when the earth was young, upon the bare ribs
of rock, were laid great deposits of limestone and sand-
stone. The "Niagara" limestone, appearing here and
there throughout the northern portion of the State, is
extensively quarried. This stone entered largely into the
construction of the Capitol building at Springfield, and
the Eads Bridge at St. Louis. Another deposit of lime-
stone, which has added to the wealth of Illinois, contains
lead and zinc. This ore galinite gave name to the city of
Galena because of the mines opened in that region.
Above these layers of limestone is found a deposit called
"St. Peter's Sandstone." Because of its purity and free-
dom from coloring matter, this sandstone is extensively
used at Alton, and other places, in the manufacture of
glass. Starved Rock, Deer Park and many of the pic-
turesque bluffs located within the area of LaSalle county
and along the Illinois River are of this formation.
At Joliet ; in the vicinity of Rock Island ; within certain
parts of Calhoun county and in other localities may be
found pronounced formations of the Niagara limestone
group. In other sections of the State may be seen the
sub-carboniferous and the carboniferous, containing coal;
MATERIAL FROM WHICH COAL WAS MADE.
in fact, these formations are to be found in practically
every part of the State if borings are sunk deep enough
to reach those lying beneath the surface.
Above these deposits are found many layers of lime-
stone and sandstone containing fossils of various kinds,
18 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
which are records of the earlier vegetable and animal life
of the globe.
These deposits were succeeded by the coal measures.
The warm, moist atmosphere of that period rendered vege-
tation luxuriant. Great forests covered the slopes and
hills, and impenetrable jungles spread over the marshy
plains. Pine trees lifted their stately heads side by side
with the graceful lepidodendron. Gigantic ferns raised
their tufted fronds high in the steamy air. Many other
strange growths flourished in these ancient forests. One
peculiar tree, the sigillarid, had a large, fluted trunk, which
resembled a clustered column. Thirty feet from its base ex-
tended immense branches, covered with a grass-like foliage-
The bark of such a tree, five feet in diameter, was thirteen
inches thick. The wood was in the form of a cylinder and
enclosed a ten-inch column of pith. Caterpillars and snails
crawled upon the slimy banks of streams; within the
swamps and seas dwelt many huge creatures 'having forms
resembling frogs and lizards; bright-hued butterflies,
beetles and dragonflies arose in brilliant clouds above the
As ages passed, these forests gradually sank with the
soil in which they grew and became imbedded in the miry
deposits, or were swept by dark rivers into shallow lakes.
Through the agency of heat and pressure this embedded
vegetation was gradually transformed into coal.
Two-thirds of the surface of Illinois is underlaid by these
vast coal deposits, every layer of which corresponds to an
ancient forest and varies in thickness from a few inches
to eleven feet. In some counties these veins of coal are
sometimes near the surface; in others, shafts are sunk to
a depth of several hundred feet. As it requires eight cubic
feet of wood to form one cubic foot of coal, these ancient
forests must have been growing for ages.
England, the greatest coal consuming nation of the
world, possesses twelve thousand square miles of coal
measures. It is estimated that the coal energy produced
by the coal consumed in that country in a single day is
equal to the power furnished by nineteen servants for each
inhabitant, and that at this rate of consumption the coal
supply of Great Britain will be exhausted in two hundred
and fifty years. At the same rate, the coal measures of
Illinois would furnish England with mechanical power and
heat for one hundred thousand years.
Above the coal are layers of sandstone and limestone.
One of these deposits, the "Burlington" limestone, fur-
nished the material to build the court house at Monmouth.
From another, the "Keokuk" limestone, was constructed
the Mormon Temple at Nauvoo, the Custom House at
Galena, and the Postoffice at Springfield. A fine quality
of lime is made from a third deposit, the St. Louis lime-
stone. The city of Joliet owes much of its importance to
the splendid quarries of limestone found in its vicinity.
As time went on, many strange creatures appeared upon
the earth. Great beasts roamed the forests ; frightful rep-
tiles sported in the rivers and shallow seas. This is called
the age of Mammoths. During this period, the waters
of the Gulf of Mexico receded from a few miles below
the mouth of the Ohio River to their present limits. The
peninsula of Florida was raised above the sea, and the
ranges of the Rocky Mountains were uplifted
The period of Mammoths was followed by the Ice age;
2O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
tropical heat was succeeded by arctic cold. Great floes
of ice and towering bergs, carrying soil and rocks from
the distant North, drifted southward. In this manner the
surface of the State was covered with a mass of rock and
gravel to a depth of two hundred feet at the north. The
thickness of this deposit gradually decreases, until, at the
southern border, it almost disappears.
Upon the disintegrating mass of mineral, vegetation
grew luxuriantly, covering the earth with a rich carpet of
verdure that, decaying, formed the black soil of the prairies
and the deep loam of the bottom lands.
By this process there were released from the rocks those
mysterious elements which give beauty to the flower, color
to the fruit and substance to the grain.
The State contains seven distinct drainage basins, each
of these being drained respectively by Lake Michigan, the
Mississippi, Ohio, Embarrass, Kankasia, Big Muddy, Rock,
and Illinois Rivers. Many large sections of the State are
almost level and thousands of acres were ready to be tilled
by the first fanners without the usual necessity of remov-
ing trees or stumps.
The natural drainage combined with an exceptionally
rich soil has, through the industry of the husbandmen,
given to Illinois her exalted position as the first agricul-
tural State in the Nation.
When first explored, Illinois, like other portions of our
country, was inhabited by the red men. How many years
they had dwelt here or what peoples they displaced, we do
not know. There are historians who believe that they were
preceded by another race, who built beautiful palaces and
large cities which long ago crumbled into dust. Others
suppose that mounds, and various evidences of an earlier
occupation of the territory, were the works of the ancestors
of the Indian.
When the Europeans discovered America they found the
Indians living in small villages or scattered in roving bands.
Indians east of the Mississippi River have been classified
in groups, each embracing several tribes more or less con-
nected by ties of blood, and these groups placed in three
general divisions : the Muskhogees, who lived south of
the Tennessee River and comprised the Choctaw, the
Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole tribes ; the Iroquois, who
occupied the territory extending from the Hudson and
Delaware Rivers westward to the Great Lakes and north
to the St. Lawrence. These warlike people included the
famous five Nations of New York, Mohawk, Oneida,
Onandagua, Cayuga and Seneca, and also the Cherokees,
Htirons, Eries and the Tuscaroras.
And finally the powerful Algonquin family, who occu-
pied the remaining territory east of the Mississippi River.
22 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
This family embraced the Narragansetts, Pequots and
Mohegans of New England; the Powhatans and Dela-
wares of Virginia ; the Shawnees, who dwelt on the Ohio,
and a large number of the tribes living on the shores of
the Great Lakes.
Everywhere the early voyagers came in contact with
these people. The French found them upon the banks
of the St. Lawrence. It was an Algonquin who came into
the village of the Pilgrim, shouting "Welcome ! English-
man !" An Algonquin greeted Roger Williams as he
landed on the site of the future city of Providence, with
the words, "What cheer?" Captain John Smith bought
corn from them in Virginia ; William Penn made his treaty
with them in the shade of the Pennsylvania elm; the
Jesuit missionaries baptized them with the waters of the
The Indian knew nothing of the value of iron or other
metals, but fashioned their simple implements or weapons
out of stone and bone. Their dress was made from the
skin of animals or the fiber of some kinds of bark, and
their rude huts were covered with the same materials. Their
only musical instrument gave forth discordant sounds.
Improvident to the extreme they cultivated the soil
but little, and depended almost entirely upon the chase.
Hunting and dancing constituted their chief enjoyments.
"Their great business in life was to procure food and
devour it, to subdue their enemies and scalp them. It is
probable that if they had never come in contact with the
whites, they would have remained untamed, savage and
To such a people the "Illinois country," with its rolling
THE INDIAN. 23
prairies, the feeding-ground of buffalo and deer; its for-
ests filled with bears and panthers; its navigable rivers
over which their canoes could be propelled with little exer-
tion, offered a congenial home. Seven different nations
dwelt in the re-
gion, and al-
though they all
belonged to the
ily, they were
con stantly at
who had come
This tribe pro-
duced the great
T e c u m s e h.
North of them
to the Lakes,
lived the brave
and sagacious CHICAGOU.
Miamis who Illinois Chief, Who Visited France in 1725.
were always opposed to the white men, and greatly retarded
the early settlement of the country.
West of the Miamis were the fierce Kickapoos, who
occupied the lands along the Vermillion and Sangamon
24 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Rivers. Here they lived for a hundred years until they
were driven westward by the whites.
The Pottawattomies drifted westward from the St. Law-
rence River, and divided into three sections, one of which
settled upon the headwaters of the Kankakee and Illinois
The Winnebagos lived to the west, but were driven
northward beyond the bounds of the present State, and
finally settled near Green Bay. These people distinguished
themselves in various wars against the whites.
The restless Sacs and Foxes settled upon Rock River,
and for a hundred years were a menace to the early settlers
Between these various peoples and occupying the fairest
lands, dwelt the Illini or Illinois Indians, a term signifying
The Illinois, a powerful confederation composed of the
Kaskaskias, Tamaroas, Cahokias, Peorias and Mitchi-
gamies, laid claim to all the lands from the sources of the
Illinois River westward to the Mississippi and southward
to the Ohio. Their favorite meeting ground was in Central
Illinois. Here upon the Illinois River, near the present
village of Utica, was located the largest of their seventeen
villages, which they called Kaskaskia. Upon Peoria Lake
was the chief town of the Peorias, while, nearly opposite
the present site of St. Louis, the Cahokias and Tamaroas
had established their chief village.
One of the French missionaries, Father Membre, speak-
ing of these Illinois Indians, states that, while they were
"tall of stature, strong and robust, the swiftest runners in
the world and good archers," they were "idle, revengeful,
jealous, cunning, dissolute and thievish." On the fertile
meadows that lined the banks of the rivers the squaws and
old men cultivated vegetables and Indian corn, which they
stored in rude caves for winter use. These Illinois Indians
waged constant war with the neighboring tribes, who
wanted to possess their splendid hunting grounds. Victory
was usually upon their
side, for they were brave
and sagacious. The
blood-thirsty Sioux fre-
quently made war upon
the more peaceful Al-
gonquins on the Illinois
side, but the most dread-
ed foes of the Illinois
Indians were the fierce
Iroquois, whose home
was south of distant
Lake Erie. They often
made the long journey
of more than five hun-
dred miles through the
forests to slaughter the
tribes in the valley of
the Illinois, laying waste
their fields and leaving their villages in smoking ruins.
The early French were kindly received by the Illinois
Indians, who hoped to procure firearms from them, and
with their assistance, to subdue the common foe. The
friendship and goodwill, which had been so strongly estab-
lished between the Frenchmen and the Illinois Indians,
Chief of the Sacs and Foxes.
26 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
continued as long as the French pioneers remained in the
territory of Illinois.
Near the close of the seventeenth century, the Iroquois,
possibly encouraged by the English, sent six hundred
picked warriors against the Illinois. The attack was a sur-
prise ; twelve hundred Illinois warriors were killed, and the
entire tribe was scattered. After the Iroquois went back
to Lake Erie, many Illinois returned to their homes, but
their strength was broken. Hemmed in by relentless tribes,
their numbers steadily diminished. In 1769 the remnant
of the band, pursued by the Pottawattomies, was compelled
to take refuge on the site of old Fort St. Louis.
Here they could have defended themselves for a long
time, as the rock is impregnable and provisions were not
lacking. But water could be obtained only from the river
far below, by means of a vessel attached to the end of a
grape vine. The Pottawattomies, concealed near the base
of the cliff, seized the vessels as they were lowered. In
vain did the Illinois attempt to get their water supply in
the middle of the darkest nights, and at last, famishing
with thirst, they slowly starved to death, only one escap-
ing to tell the tale of their sufferings. The promonotory
on the Illinois River, where this tragic event occurred, re-
ceived the name of Starved Rock.
Thus miserably perished, hunted to death by their own
kindred, the last of that confederation which at one time
constituted the most powerful people of the Illinois valley.
The Indians were destined to give place to a stronger
race. By treaty and conquest, the remaining tribes were
finally removed, and Illinois became the possession of the
TITK RLACK HAWK WAR. 2/
THE RLACK HAWK WAR.
The Black Hawk War was the last united effort of the
Indian tribes to drive the whites from the soil of Illinois.
At the opening of the Nineteenth century the Sacs and
Foxes occupied the entire territory included between the
Rock River and the Mississippi.
On November 3d, 1804, by a treaty made at St. Louis
between General Harrison and five chiefs representing the
Sacs and Foxes and the Winnebago tribes, these lands
were ceded to the United States, with the understanding
that the Indians would leave the territory when the lands
were required by the whites for "actual settlement."
During the war of 1812 some Indians who were opposed
to the conditions of this treaty, under the leadership of
Black Hawk, sided with the British and were known as "The
British Band." The remaining Sacs and Foxes, with Keo-
kuk, the principal chief of the tribe, opposed the policy of
aggression against the United States.
At the close of the war of 1812 Black Hawk established
his village at the confluence of the Rock and the Mississippi
Rivers. All went well with the Indians until 1830, when
Keokuk, without the knowledge of the rival chief, made a
final cession of all lands held by his tribe east of the Missis-
sippi River. The treaty further provided that Black Hawk
and his band were to give up their villages, corn fields and
hunting grounds during the following year. When the
veteran warrior heard the news he was thoroughly aroused
and declared both treaties to have been obtained through
fraud. Without delay he strove to unite all Indians in the
common cause of resisting the whites. In the meantime
28 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Keokuk and his band quietly crossed to the west bank
of the Mississippi River.
When Black Hawk and his Indians returned from their
winter hunting trip in the spring of 1831 they discovered
that the very ground on which their village stood had been
purchased by a fur-trader who was preparing to plant a
corn field of seven hundred acres which the Indians had
cultivated for years. The indignant chief was for imme-
diate war, but temperate counsels prevailed and the field
was finally divided between the white man and the chief
with the understanding that each was to cultivate his re-
spective half. But constant disputes arose and in May
eight white men united in a memorial of grievance to Gov-
ernor Reynolds. A call for volunteers, to protect settlers,
was made without delay. Early in June General Gaines,
arrived at Fort Armstrong, on Rock Island, prepared to
execute the orders of the Governor.
Black Hawk and his band were persuaded to cross the
Mississippi and the soldiers took possession of the Indian
village. Finding that the Indians were not inclined to be
hostile, rations were issued to them and the volunteer sol-
diers were dismissed.
Early in the spring of 1832 Black Hawk and his men re-
crossed the Mississippi and marched up the Rock River,
declaring that they were going to their friends, the Winne-
bagoes, who lived in Wisconsin, for the purpose of plant-
ing corn. General Atkinson, in command at Fort Arm-
strong, warned him to return, but undeterred, Black Hawk-
pressed on to Dixon's ford, where he pitched his camp.*
* Related by a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon.
THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 29
Mrs. Dixon invited the chief and his friends to dine with
her and treated him with much courtesy. Black Hawk
never forgot the kindness shown him hy this woman.
The news of Black Hawk's return to Illinois quickly
reached Governor Reynolds, who immediately sent General
Vv'hiteside with eighteen hundred volunteers to expel the
intruder from the State. When General Whiteside
reached Dixon he learned that Black Hawk was encamped
upon the banks of Sycamore Creek, thirty miles distant.
A force of nearly three hundred men, in command of an am-
bitious officer, named Stilhnan. was sent forward to recon-
noiter. Black Hawk was feasting his Winnebago friends
at the time and sent six of his warriors, under the protection
of a white flag, to meet the approaching party. The undis-
ciplined volunteers fired upon the Indians, killing two of
their number. Justly aroused, Black Hawk commanded
his men to give battle and the volunteer force was driven
back in confusion, leaving eleven of their number dead
upon the field. These were the first white men killed in the
Black Hawk war.
The alarm of an Indian war rapidly spread among the
exposed settlements and farms. Chiefly through the aid
of the noble old Pottawattomie chief, Shebana, the settlers 5
in the region of Bureau Creek were warned and fled for
safety to Ottawa. Those near Plainfield and Naperville
found shelter at Fort Dearborn. A few families upon In-
dian Creek, who refused to heed the warning, were mur-
dered, and two little girls, Sylvia and Rachel Hall, were
carried into captivity.
General Whiteside immediately marched to the scene of
Stillman's defeat, but Black Hawk had moved northward.
30 THE MAKING Oi f ILLINOIS.
The soldiers who had volunteered for Indian service had
seen enough of fighting and as their terms of enlistment
had expired refused to pursue the chief and his band.
Two thousand more men were speedily enlisted, but in
the interim Black Hawk and his warriors were preying upon
the settlements near Galena. The most notable attack in
this region was upon the Apple River fort, where Elizabeth
now stands. The Indians besieged the place for an entire
day, but the brave garrison defended the fort so gallantly
that Black Hawk withdrew and turned his attention to an
attacking force approaching under Colonel Dement. These
troops came very near falling into an ambuscade, but es-
caped in safety to the shelter of buildings at Kellogg's
grove, where they were secure from the enemy.
A more formidable army was now sent against the In-
dians, and Black Hawk retreated northward intending to
save himself by crossing the Mississippi River. At Blue
Mounds, upon the banks of the Wisconsin River, he was
overtaken by General Henry and a battle ensued on July
2 ist, in which the Indians lost about fifty warriors. The
Indians continued their retreat until August 2d, when they
were again overtaken near the mouth of Bad Ax River.
Here a fierce battle was fought and almost all in Black
Hawk's band were killed or drowned.
Broken hearted the veteran warrior fled to a Winnebago
village and gave himself up to two chiefs, who delivered
him to the Indian agent, General Street, at Prairie du Chien.
General Scott, with nine companies of troops, had ar-
rived at Fort Dearborn, but his men were stricken with
cholera and he took little or no part in the campaign.
When his men recovered they were marched to a de-
THE BLACK HAWK WAR. 3!
serted Indian village between the present site of Beloit and
Tuttle Creek, and soon after proceeded to Fort Armstrong.
Early in September Black Hawk and his captured war-
riors were sent to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis. The
following spring the famous warrior was carried to Wash-
ington City and thence sent to Fortress Monroe. After a
trial he was returned to his own people as nothing but
"honorable warfare" could be charged against him.
In the cities of the East he attracted much attention and
won compliments from every side. He told the legislators
that the day would come when the courts of justice and
prisons of the white men would be powerless to protect
society from criminals that the white man's civilization
fostered and developed.* ''Serious predictions," remarked
Wendell Phillips, "and it is a warning worth heeding."
Black Hawk was restored to his tribe as a chief subordi-
nate to Keokuk, and established his home on the banks of
the beautiful Des Moines River. Here he lived in peace
and contentment until his death, which occurred on October
3d, 1835. His friends buried him in a sitting posture and
erected above the grave a large mound of earth.
Black Hawk has been called "the last native defender
of the soil of Illinois," and although a brave and fearless
man, he was claimed by some to be inferior in talent to
Tecumseh or Little Turtle. He fought bravely and some-
times victoriously, but did not show any very remark-
able talents as a leader. That he was injured by his oppo-
nents cannot be denied ; and that he displayed the white flag
and gave notice of his willingness to surrender with his
small band of warriors, and thus avoid useless bloodshed,
32 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
and was met and answered by the rifle instead, is also true.
Black Hawk was conscious of the inferior strength of his
body of men, when compared to that of his foes, and from
the beginning of hostilities had nothing to gain and every-
thing to lose by engaging in battle with the Americans.
He fought bravely against superior numbers and without
the assistance of allies, although he had been promised
help from them. The other Indian tribes having avoided
the unequal contest, he was left to depend solely upon his
In a closing address to his defeated warriors he is quoted
as saying: "Farewell! Black Hawk tried to serve you and
avenge your wrongs. He drank the blood of some of the
whites. His plans, however, are stopped ; he can do noth-
ing further. He is near his end. His sun is setting and
he will rise no more. Farewell to Black Hawk." Ther.e
can be no doubt that the character of Black Hawk is beyond
reproach as a man of honor, full of noble and generous
aspirations. Victor Hugo, basing his opinion of him on
the reports of his enemies alone, in his Jersey speech, de-
clared him the peer of "any patriot, and as much above
Alexander, Scipio, Napoleon and such barbarians, as the
moon in its zenith is above the earth."
FRENCH AND BRITISH OCCUPATION
*JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE.
The St. Lawrence River, flowing eastward, empties the
waters of the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean, directly
opposite the continent of Europe. This noble stream was
discovered in 1534 by Jacques Cartier, who took possession
of the entire country drained by it, for the King of France.
By the middle of the seventeenth century, the French were
making extensive plans to occupy this territory and estab-
lish a great empire.
Treaties were made with the Indians, and a thriving
trade in furs was carried on with the remote tribes dwelling
on the distant shores of the Great Lakes. A chain of
trading and military posts was established which served
to overawe the savage, and for many years prevented the
advance of the English. The strongly fortified cities of
Quebec and Montreal became centers of military power
and commercial operations in the New World.
Among the bold spirits who laid the foundations of New
France in America, none are more worthy of honor and
admiration than the early Catholic missionaries. These
men, actuated by a religious enthusiasm, boldly explored
the trackless wilderness and planted their humble missions
among remote and savage tribes.
* This spelling is given in an autograph letter now in the pos-
session of the Chicago Historical Society. Marquette also
uses it in his Journal.
among the most
zealous of these
Born of an hon-
family he early
self to the service
of the Church,
and in 1666, was
sent by the Jesuit
Order to the In-
dian missions up-
on the St. Law-
rence River. A
store - house and
cluster of log cab-
ins constituted a
trading post at
the mouth of the
Here the young
priest was sta-
tioned and de-
voted himself so
zealously to the
study of the In-
that in two years
he had mastered
JOLLIET AND MARQUF.TTR. 35
six of the dialects. Burning with a desire to labor
among more remote tribes, Marquette obtained per-
mission to preach to the Indians of the Upper Lake
region. With none but Indian guides he ascended the
Ottawa River, threaded his way through the forests,
crossed Lake Nippissing, and penetrated as far west as
Point St. Esprit on Lake Superior. Everywhere he won
the friendship of the simple red men by the gentleness of
his manner and the purity of his life.
At length he was placed in charge of the mission of St.
Ignace, which had been established by Father Allouez, at
Mackinac. From wandering bands of savages who came
under the sway of his influence, Father Marquette heard
of a mighty river to the west, and became filled with a
desire to preach the gospel to the tribes that dwelt upon
The Court in far-away France was also anxious to dis-
cover this mysterious river. On June 4, 1672, the French min-
ister wrote to the Governor of New France that there was
"nothing more important for the colony than the discovery
of a passage to the South Sea. His majesty wishes you
to give it your attention." Thus urged, Frontenac entered
upon the task with much enthusiasm. In November of the
same year he instructed Sieur Louis Jolliet, a Quebec
fur-trader and "a man of great experience in this kind of
exploration," to "discover the South Sea by the Moskou-
ten's country and the great river Mississippi, which is be-
lieved to empty into the California Sea."
It now became necessary to select a missionary to accom-
pany the expedition and the choice fell upon Marquette,
who received a letter bidding him prepare for the long and
36 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
tedious journey to the Illinois country, where he had longed
for years to spread the gospel.
The message was delivered upon the festival of the
Immaculate Conception, and so great was the missionary's
joy that he resolved to name the first church he should
establish in the unexplored region "The Mission of the
On the seventeenth of May, 1673. Jolliet and Marquette,
in two birch canoes, driven by the strong arms of five
French boatmen, proceeded along the western shore of Green
Bay to the mission station of St. Xavier. From this point
they paddled up the shallow waters of the Fox River ; the
boatmen were equally skillful with the axe, rifle and paddle.
At evening the canoes were drawn upon the pebbly shores
and a hut of boughs was speedily made, before which a
cheerful camp-fire chased back the darkness of the night.
The forest supplied game, and the streams fish in abund-
ance. The difficult task of dragging their boats over the
tumultuous rapids was finally accomplished, and at length
they crossed Winnebago Lake and entered the quiet waters
of the upper Fox River. The stream threaded its way
amid rice swamps, the feeding ground of large flocks of
On the seventh day of June they reached an Indian
village which the good Father describes as, "standing on
the crown of a hill, while all around, the prairie stretched
beyond the sight, interspersed with groves and belts of tall
Marquette was delighted to find in the center of the
village a large cross, erected by a former missionary, decor-
ated with rude offerings of skins, belts, bows and arrows.
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE.
The simple red men were greatly surprised that these
seven voyagers were desirous of exploring an unknown
wilderness beset by countless dangers.
When at length the strangers were ready to depart, the
people of the
panied them to
edge, and pro-
vided guides to
windings of the
ing at the por-
tage, the frail
canoes, lifted to
the shoulders of
the men, were
marsh and for-
est to the head
waters of the
River. Here the
Launching their boats, the travelers floated down
the turbulent waters amidst scenes of imposing beauty.
On the seventeenth day of June, 1673, they were
filled with joy on beholding the majestic flood of
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
the Mississippi rolling before them. Its strong current
bore them rapidly into solitudes never before vis-
ited by white men. Tall crags lifted their heads hundreds
of feet into the air. Bluffs of stupendous size jutted into the
river. Prairies dotted with groves and gemmed with
flowers swept away from them on either side like emerald
seas. Herds of deer and buffalo
were continually in sight. Again,
the river rolled between primeval
forests, the homes of wolves, bears
At the end of two weeks they
discovered a broad trail which led
westward into the interior of the
country. Leaving the five men to
guard the boats, Jolliet and Mar-
quette followed the path for a dis-
tance of six miles, and suddenly
came upon a large Indian village.
Great was the consternation of
the natives at the unexpected ar-
rival of the white men.
When the first commotion had
subsided, four chiefs, bearing
aloft peace pipes, advanced to
meet the strangers. "To what nation do you belong?"
"We are Illinois," one of the chiefs replied. "In token
of peace, we have brought you our pipes to smoke. We
invite you to our village."
At the door of the large wigwam, a chief stood to receive
TOTEM OF THE ILLINOIS.
[The painting from which the picture was made was discovered
by chance at Montreal, a few years ago, and has strong claims to
probability. THWAITES : " Father Marquette."]
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE. 39
them. Raising his hands to the sun, he exclaimed : "How
beautiful is the sun, O Frenchmen, when you come to visit
us. All our people welcome you."
Conducted into the presence of the great chief of the
Illinois, whose lodge was not far distant, they were received
with every majk of respect, and after kind words and pres-
ents had been exchanged, the chief gave to Marquette a
calumet or peace pipe, the bowl of polished redstone, the
stem decorated with feathers.
"This is the sacred calumet," said the old man. "It sig-
nifies that wherever you bear it, you are the messenger of
peace. All our tribes will respect it, and it will protect you
from harm. I beg of you in behalf of the whole nation,"
continued the chief, "not to go any farther down the river,
for your lives will be in the greatest peril."
At the close of the council a great feast was served in
their honor, consisting of four courses. The first course
was a pudding of pounded corn. With a horn spoon one
of the chiefs deftly fed the Frenchmen from a wooden dish.
The second course consisted of broiled fish. The same
Indian carefully removed the bones and placed the meat,
bit by bit, in the mouths of the guests, much as a bird
might feed its young. The third course of broiled dog,
considered a delicacy by the Indians, was not relished by
the white men. But the last course, of choice and tender
buffalo meat, was much more to their liking.
After the feast, the guests were led into each one of the
hundred wigwams, where they were kindly treated, and
given many presents.
The next morning, six hundred of their entertainers
accompanied Jolliet and Marquette to the canoes. It is
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
THE PIASA GOD.
From an old drawing.
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE. 41
probable that this meeting occurred near the mouth of the
Des Moines River.
Resuming their journey, the voyagers floated out upon
the current of the stream. Passing the mouth of the
Illinois River, they glided beneath the picturesque Piasa
bluffs and, with astonishment, discovered upon the smooth
surface of the cliff the hideous figures of two Indian gods,
painted in gorgeous colors.
Marquette relates that, "Each of these frightful figures
had the face of a man, the horns of a deer, the beard of a
tiger, and the tail of a fish, so long that it passed around
the head and between the legs. It was an object of Indian
worship, and greatly impressed me with the need of sub-
stituting for this monstrous idolatry the worship of the
"As we discoursed of them," continues Marquette, "sail-
ing down beautifully clear water, we heard the noise of a
rapid on which we were about to fall. I have seen nothing
more frightful. A mass of large trees, entire, with branches,
came floating from the mouth of the river, so impetuously
that we could not, without great danger, expose ourselves
to pass across. The agitation was so great that the water
was all muddy and could not get clear."
This stream was the Missouri, which rushes down from
its distant source in the mountains, and renders turbid the
waters of the Mississippi for the rest of its course.
In a few days they reached the mouth of the Ohio, whose
clear waters were a striking contrast to the murky flood
of the Missouri.
As the voyagers proceeded southward, the banks of the
Mississippi became low and marshy, and were covered
42 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
by dense fields of cane, from which arose clouds of mos-
quitoes to attack the travelers.
One morning- upon the eastern bank of the stream they
beheld a band of Indians, armed with guns. When the
peace pipe was held aloft, the savages invited the strangers
to the land and prepared for them a feast of white plums,
buffalo meat and bear's oil.
Bidding adieu to these simple people, the travelers re-
sumed their journey through stretches of forest and swamp.
A few miles above the mouth of the Arkansas they sud-
denly came in sight of a large Indian village, situated a
few feet above the level of the water. These Indians had
probably been mistreated by the Spaniards, for on per-
ceiving the white men, they approached with fierce war
whoops and uplifted weapons.
Some leaped into canoes and pushed out from the shore,
others fitted arrows to their bows and rushed to the at-
tack. While vainly waving his peace pipe, Father Mar-
quette narrowly escaped a war club, which a warrior
furiously hurled. At length the older chiefs, who had
arrived and discovered the peaceable intentions of the
strangers, called off the warriors and invited the French-
men to land. Trembling, they obeyed, not knowing what
was in store for them. An old Indian chief was found who
could speak the Illinois dialect, and after friendly relations
were established, the Indians prepared a feast for their
guests. The next morning the whites were escorted down
the river to a large village opposite the mouth of the
Arkansas River, where dwelt the head chief of the tribe.
He received the strangers before his lodge, beneath a scaf-.
folding of poles. The floors had been covered with rush
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE. 43
mats and skins. Upon these the. Frenchmen were placed,,
while the warriors, according to rank, were seated around
them to the number of several hundred. A young Indian,
who had an excellent knowledge of the Illinois tongue,
acted as interpreter.
"Through him," writes Marquette, "I first spoke to the
assembly by the ordinary presence. They admired what
I told them of God, and showed a great desire to keep me
The Indians told the strangers that they could reach
the mouth of the river in ten days, but that along the banks
they would meet warlike tribes, who had been furnished
with guns by the Spaniards. They themselves dared not, as
formerly, go to that region to hunt the buffalo, but were
compelled to live mainly upon Indian corn. The conference
lasted the entire day, and was only interrupted by the vil-
lagers, who constantly brought in dishes of food, consisting
of mush, boiled corn, and dog flesh. These Indians were
skillful in the manufacture of clatters, earthen pots and
other articles. They were also provided with knives,
hatchets and beads, which had been obtained from those
tribes that traded with the Spaniards or French.
From information gathered thus far, the Frenchmen had
definitely ascertained that the Mississippi emptied into the
Gulf of Mexico, and believing that the object of their voy-
age had been attained, they held a council as to what course
they should take and wisely determined to return to their
headquarters at the mission of Green Bay.
On the seventeenth of July they turned their canoes up
stream and began the homeward voyage. It was difficult
to force their way against the swift current. Day by day
44 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
they toiled under a summer sun, and by night slept amidst
the fogs and vapors of the marshes.
Exhausted by the heat and exposure of the voyage, Mar-
quette became ill, and for weeks lay in the bottom of the
canoe scarcely able to raise his head. Reaching the mouth
of the Illinois River, they determined to continue their
journey up that stream, having been informed that its
source was within a few miles of Lake Michigan. Father
Marquette gives a glowing account of this region.
"We have seen nothing like this river for the fertility
of the land, its prairies, woods, wild cattle, bustards, swans,
ducks, parrots and even beavers. It has many little lakes
and tributary rivers." After paddling a number of days,
they came to a large village of Illinois Indians, consisting
of seventy-four lodges. This village, called by the dwellers
Kaskaskia, was located near the present site of Ottawa.
Friendly relations were established with this people, and
a company of young warriors gladly guided them to the
shores of Lake Michigan. From this point they proceeded
to Green Bay Mission, where they arrived at the close of
September, after an absence of four months, having
traversed in their birch canoes a distance of two thousand
five hundred miles.
Marquette remained at the mission to recover from his
illness, but Jolliet pushed on to Canada to make his report
to the Governor. When near Montreal his canoe was over-
turned, his papers lost, and he himself narrowly escaped
This unfortunate occurrence robbed the daring fur-trader
of the laurels justly due him. As the journal of Father Mar-
quette was the only source of information left, to this mis-
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE. 45
sionary was given the honor of the exploration. Jollict
was the official leader of the expedition, while Marquette
was in the capacity of a subordinate; popular sentiment
nevertheless has reversed the positions of the two men, and
the honor due the fur-trader is bestowed upon the
On the 25th of October, 1674, Marquette s health being
somewhat restored, he set out with two faithful boatmen,
Pierre and Jacques, to fulfill his promise to establish a
mission at Kaskaskia, the chief town of the Illinois In-
dians. A band of Pottawattomies and another of Illinois
Indians accompanied the missionary. The party, filling ten
canoes, paddled along the shores of Green Bay and made the
difficult portage to Lake Michigan.
Ascending the Chicago River a short distance, Father
Marquette was taken with bleeding of the lungs, and was
unable to proceed any farther. So, his companions made a
rude sledge and, aided by some friendly Pottawattomies,
drew him slowly over the ice to a place about five miles
from the shore of Lake Michigan, where the devoted
Pierre and Jacques built for him a cabin of logs and roofed
it over with bark. A hole served for a window and a mat
upon the dirt floor was his only bed. Here, upon the very
site of Chicago somewhere on the west branch of our
river this great and noble man and his faithful compan-
ions remained during the long and severe winter of 1674-5,
far from home and without even the rudest conveniences
of life. When spring arrived the health of Marquette had
become better and they were able to continue their journey
and finally reached their destination.
The Indians received Marquette, we are told, "as an angel
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
from heaven," and listened to his eloquent words with
reverence and joy. A chapel was erected for the good
man, who remained a while among them, preaching and
visiting from wigwam to wigwam ; also establishing in their
midst the mission of the Immaculate Conception. When
failing strength warned him that he must return to his
friends in Canada, he summoned his beloved Indians to a
grand council, held "on the great meadow which lies be-
DEATH Ol' MARQUETTE.
tween the river and the present village of Utica. Father
Marquette took his place in the center of the assemblage.
About him, seated in a circle, were five hundred chiefs and
warriors; beyond them were fifteen hundred young men and
behind these a thousand women and children. Then the
missionary preached to them his farewell sermon and gave
them his advice and blessing. They begged him to remain
among them, but he knew he must depart, for his life was
JOLLIET AND MARQUETTE. 47
fast ebbing away. He promised them, however, that he
would return or send another to finish the work he had
begun. Such is the story of the establishing of the first
mission among the Illinois Indians.
Greatly enfeebled, Marquette set out upon the return
journey. A band of devoted Indians accompanied him
as far as Lake Michigan. Tenderly did these men of the
forest care for the dying missionary. At night they made
him a shelter, cooked his food, and spread his couch of
leaves and furs. Having reached the lake, they placed him
in a canoe with the faithful Pierre and Jacques, bade him
an affectionate farewell, and returned to their forest home.
Father Marquette continued to grow weaker, and knowing
that death was near, requested the boatmen to land on a
pleasant slope near the mouth of the St. Joseph River.
This they did on the nineteenth day of May, and, erecting
a small hut, kindled a fire, and spread a couch for the
dying man. He thanked them for their kindness to him,
asked forgiveness for any wrong, gave minute directions
for his burial, and praised God that he was permitted to
die in the wilderness as a missionary of the Holy Faith.
During the night he was constantly in prayer until his spirit
peacefully took its flight. His weeping companions buried
the body as directed, and sadly made their way to the
Mission at Mackinac.
The next winter a hunting party of Indians, who had
loved the missionary, took up the bones, and in accord-
ance with their custom, carefully washed them, and bore
them in a funeral procession to the Mission of St. Ignace
at Mackinac, where they were buried beneath the altar of
the little chapel.
Robert Cavelier, knight of La Salle, was born of a rich
burgher family in the City of Rouen, France. In 1666,
at the age of twenty-three, he landed at Montreal and ob-
tained a grant of land eight miles above the town where
the St. Lawrence widens into the Lake of St. Louis. Here
he built a village, surrounded it with palisades, and sold
out the adjacent land to settlers, who were to pay him in
small annual payments. The place was dangerous because
of hostile Indians, but was favorably located for trading
in furs. While developing his possessions, La Salle ap-
plied himself to the study of the Indian language, and
within two years was master of the Iroquois tongue and a
number of other dialects.
From friendly Indians who stayed with him during the
winter, he first heard of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers,
lying far to the south and west.
Believing that by these rivers lay the route to the Indies
he resolved to explore them. With four canoes and four-
teen men, La Salle paddled down a tributary to the Ohio,
discovered that stream and descended as far as the Falls of
the Ohio, now Louisville. He returned to Canada, and
in 1673, in company with Frontenac, proceeded to the head
of Lake Ontario. Here they held a grand council of the
Indian chiefs, made a treaty with them and built a log
fort near the present site of Kingston, which they called
Tidings of the discovery of the Mississippi having
reached them, La Salle sailed for France to lay before the
King a vast scheme for building a chain of forts from
the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. Armed with
letters from Governor
Frontenac his recep-
tion at the court was
most cordial. He was
honored with the title
o f Chevalier ; was
made governor of Fort
Frontenac, and invest-
ed with the ownership
of the adjacent lands.
Wealthy relatives sup-
plied him with much
money, and he return-
ed to Canada to en-
gage in fur trading.
The wooden fort was
supplanted by a large
one of stone, containing
barracks for the sol-
diers, a mill and bake
oven, a blacksmith's
shop and a separate
house for the officers.
Nine cannon were ROBERT CAV *WER LA SAU.E.
mounted and served to protect the little village that was
springing up in the shadow of the fort.
The ambitions of La Salle and Frontenac to monopo-
5O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
lize the fur trade in this region and colonize the West had,
by this time, however, made them many bitter enemies.
All the traders of this part of the country were becoming
unfriendly and the Jesuits also gave them considerable
trouble for having usurped most of the power in Canada
that had formerly been possessed by the Jesuits.
In 1677, La Salle made a second visit to France, and re-
ceived new honors and more extended privileges. Upon
his return he brought with him an Italian gentleman named
Henri de Tonti. This man served as his assistant, and,
during the succeeding years, proved a faithful follower and
devoted servant. In November, 1679, La Salle, with a
company of men including Tonti and Father Hennepin,
a priest, proceeded westward along the shore of Lake
Ontario. At the mouth of the Niagara River, after obtain-
ing reluctant permission from the Seneca Indians, they
built a warehouse, which served as winter quarters for the
men. La Salle had conceived the idea of building a vessel
above Niagara Falls, to be used in navigating the Upper
Lakes. Toiling through the deep snows of midwinter, the
men, under the leadership of Tonti, reached a spot six
miles above the falls, where a rude shipyard was cleared
upon the banks of a small stream. Two Indian hunters,
who had come with them, constructed large wigwams in
which they were to live. While the Indian hunters sup-
plied them with game, the men felled trees, hewed timbers
and .soon had the keel and ribs laid.
The Seneca Indians, upon whose hunting grounds the
men were working, were greatly displeased when they saw
the timbers assume the proportions of a ship, and attempted
to burn it. The carpenters, too, became discontented, and
the successful completion of the boat was threatened.
Through the persevering efforts of the brave Tonti, the
dissatisfied carpenters continued their work, and at the
opening of spring the little vessel of forty-five tons' burden
was completed and ready for launching. "The friar pro-
nounced his blessings on her ; the assembled company sang
a Te Deum, cannon were fired, and French and Indians
alike, warmed by a generous gift of brandy, shouted and
yelped in chorus as she glided into the Niagara. Her
builders towed her out and anchored her in the stream,
safe at last from incendiary hands ; and then, swinging their
hammocks under her deck, beyond reach of the tomahawk,
slept in peace. The Indians gazed on her with amaze-
ment. Five small cannon looked out from her portholes ;
and on her prow was carved the image of a dreadful
monster, the Griffin, whose name she bore, in honor of the
armorial bearings of Frontenac."
While the Griffin was building, La Salle had dispatched
his French traders in canoes, paddled by Indians and laden
with merchandise, to purchase furs from the Indians liv-
ing on the shores of the Upper Lakes. It was a great
event for an Indian village when the white trader arrived
with hatchets, knives, beads and cloth. Furs worth many
dollars in Paris were gladly bartered for a hatchet which
had cost but a few francs. The Indian was satisfied with
the exchange, for with the hatchet of steel he could quickly
cut down the tree or hew the log. The bow was skillfully
shaved with the blade of a knife for which the red man had
gladly exchanged his wares. Rival traders and companies
attracted by the enormous profit of the business, tried to
injure La Salle by spreading false reports among the
52 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
tribes, and "Canada became for him a nest of hornets, buz-
zing in wrath, and watching for the moment to sting."
When the commander returned from Fort Frontenac,
whither he had gone in the depth of winter, the company,
thirty-four in number, embarked upon the vessel. The
canvas was spread, a salute was fired from the five cannon,
and the "Griffin" sped upon her memorable voyage across
Lake Erie, while the crowd of silent Indians gazed in
astonishment and awe from the shore.
Upon the third day they entered a strait, which La Salle
named Detroit. Here was such abundance of game that
the men, leaping upon the bank, soon returned laden with
deer, bear, turkey, grapes and plums, with which the deck
was speedily strewn. Continuing their course, they crossed
a small lake, which La Salle named St. Clair, and upon
the following day Lake Huron opened magnificently before
them. While crossing this lake they encountered a furious
tempest that threatened to send them all to the bottom,
and caused the stoutest among them to fall upon his knees,
but the storm quieted and they finally reached the little
Mission Station of St. Ignace at Mackinac and dropped
anchor in the quiet bay.
The rival traders and priests of the little mission openly
extended a welcome to La Salle. while they secretly har-
bored jealousy. After a salute had been fired, La Salle,
wearing a rich robe of scarlet and gold and attended by
his men, was rowed to the shore, and all marched in pro-
cession to the little chapel. At this station the commander
arrested four of his white traders, who had played him
false and squandered .his goods. Tonti was sent to St.
Mary's to arrest two others for the same offense. Upon
[The above portrait is said by Winsor, " Narrative and Critical
History," to be based on an engraving preserved in the library of
Rouen, entitled " Cavilli de la Salle Francois," and is the only picture
of La Salle, except one, a small vignette, published by Gravier, which
shows the face of a slighter man than is here indicated and one of
more spiritual cast of countenance than the above.]
LA SALLE. 53
Tonti's return with his prisoners La Salle sailed through
the straits and across Lake Michigan to Green Bay, where
others of his traders more faithful than those found at
Mackinac, delivered to him a large cargo of furs. Here he
made a lasting friend of a Pottawattomie Chief, who en-
tertained him with hospitality. La Salle resolved to send
back the "Griffin" with the cargo of furs collected here
and at other points along the journey. This cargo was of
such value that if it arrived in Canada his creditors would
all be paid and he would be a rich man. Accordingly the
"Griffin," richly freighted, was dispatched with orders to
unload at Niagara and return with all speed to the head of
La Salle continued the voyage in four large canoes con-
taining a blacksmith's forge, mechanic's tools, arms and
ammunition. His party consisted of thirteen men and a
skilfull Mohegan hunter and guide. In the voyage along
the western shore they encountered violent storms and
suffered much from hardship and hunger. As they ap-
proached the southern shore, game became plentiful and
the weather was more pleasant. Paddling up the eastern
shore they entered the mouth of the St. Joseph River.
Here they were to await Tonti, who, with a company of
twenty men, was approaching from Mackinac. Tonti did
not arrive, and La Salle's men clamored to be led into the
country of the Illinois, where they knew an abundance of
corn for the winter was stored. But the commander re-
fused to desert his faithful lieutenant, and set his discon-
tented men to building a fort. At the end of twenty days
Tonti arrived, but brought no tidings from the "Griffin."
It was now more than two months since the ship had set
LA SALLE. 53
Tonti's return with his prisoners La Salle sailed through
the straits and across Lake Michigan to Green Bay, where
others of his traders more faithful than those found at
Mackinac, delivered to him a large cargo of furs. Here he
made a lasting friend of a Pottawattomie Chief, who en-
tertained him with hospitality. La Salle resolved to send
back the "Griffin" with the cargo of furs collected here
and at other points along the journey. This cargo was of
such value that if it arrived in Canada his creditors would
all be paid and he would be a rich man. Accordingly the
"Griffin," richly freighted, was dispatched with orders to
unload at Niagara and return with all speed to the head of
La Salle continued the voyage in four large canoes con-
taining a blacksmith's forge, mechanic's tools, arms and
ammunition. His party consisted of thirteen men and a
skilfull Mohegan hunter and guide. In the voyage along
the western shore they encountered violent storms and
suffered much from hardship and hunger. As they ap-
proached the southern shore, game became plentiful and
the weather was more pleasant. Paddling up the eastern
shore they entered the mouth of the St. Joseph River.
Here they were to await Tonti, who, with a company of
twenty men, was approaching from Mackinac. Tonti did
not arrive, and La Salle's men clamored to be led into the
country of the Illinois, where they knew an abundance of
corn for the winter was stored. But the commander re-
fused to desert his faithful lieutenant, and set his discon-
tented men to building a fort. At the end of twenty days
Tonti arrived, but brought no tidings from the "Griffin."
It was now more than two months since the ship had set
54 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
sail from Green Bay, and they were fearful that she had
gone down with La Salle's entire fortune. He was deeply
in debt to the Canadian merchants, and if the vessel were
lost he would be a hopeless bankrupt. Amidst this gloom
and uncertainty the fort was finished and called Fort
Miami, because of the presence of a tribe of Indians bear-
ing that name.
With anxious eye La Salle scanned the dreary horizon.
But as day after day passed and no sail appeared, he sent
two men to Mackinac to guide the vessel, if it should ever
appear, to Fort Miami. The company sadly completed
their preparations for ascending the river, "whose weedy
edges were already glossed with thin flakes of ice." On
the third of December, 1679, no tidings having been re-
ceived from the "Griffin," the party began the voyage up
the St. Joseph River. In four days they arrived at the
present site of the city of South Bend. Here they expected
to find an Indian trail leading to the headwaters of the
In the absence of the Mohegan hunter, who was search-
ing for game, La Salle tried to find the path and became
lost in the tangled woods and blinding snow. The men
scoured the region to find him, and fired their guns to
direct him to camp. Late the next afternoon he appeared
carrying, dangling from his belt, two opossums, which he
had killed with a club as they were hanging from a bough
of a tree. After losing his way, La Salle had been com-
pelled to skirt a large swamp, and did not again reach
the bank of the river until late at night. He fired his gun
to signal his companions, and after wandering far, espied
in the distance a camp fire. Making his way to it he found
LA SALLE. 55
no one, but near it a soft bed of leaves and twigs, from
which some one had hastily retreated at his appearance.
He vainly called to the invisible person in every Indian
tongue known to him. Finding that the owner would not
return, he crept into it himself and slept soundly until
With the return of the Mohegan the trail was found, the
canoes and freight were lifted upon the shoulders of the
men and carried across the marshy, snow-covered plain
that separates the sources of the Kankakee River from the
St. Joseph. The canoes were placed upon the current of
the narrow stream, which wound its sluggish course
through a marshy morass whitened with snow and edged
with gray elder bushes and withered rushes. Game be-
came so scarce that the discontented men threatened to
desert and join the Indians. As the voyagers proceeded
the stream widened and the miry waste gave way to un-
dulating prairies, in summer the feeding ground of count-
less herds of buffalo and deer. Occasionally they could
see, upon the distant horizon, Indians in pursuit of game,
while at night blazing camp fires twinkled like great
eyes. The hunger of the party was unexpectedly appeased
when they found a huge buffalo bull mired near the bank
of the stream. After he had been killed a rope was passed
around his body, and, by the united efforts of twelve men,
he was dragged to the shore.
At length the party, with revived spirits, floated into the
more majestic Illinois River. Upon either side were wooded
hills, from whose summits the voyagers could see the
prairies of green stretching away into the distance. The
stream threaded its way amidst islands covered with stately
56 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
woods. On the right of the travelers was Buffalo Rock,
for many years a favorite gathering place for the Indians,
and a few miles below, upon the left, they beheld a lofty
cliff, crowned with forest trees. This cliff was afterwards
famous as Starved Rock. Upon the right bank, the undu-
lating meadows swept back to the distant hills. Upon this
plain, near the present village of Utica, w r as situated the
chief town of the Illinois Indians. Silence was everywhere,
for the wigwams were deserted and no living thing was
to be found. The Indians were on their southern hunting
trip at this season of the year. The pits in which they
stored their corn were found, and La Salle moved fifty
bushels to his canoes, with the intention of repaying the
owners when he should meet them on the river below.
Proceeding upon their way, they entered the expansion of
the Illinois River known as Peoria Lake, a sheet of water
twenty miles in length and three in breadth. As they pro-
ceeded many columns of smoke ascending from wigwam
fires warned them that they were approaching an Indian
village. The lake again narrowed to the width of a river, and
as they turned a sudden bend, eighty lodges came in view,
pitched on either side of the stream. La Salle immediately
arranged the eight canoes abreast, himself upon the left,
and Tonti upon the right. The men exchanged their pad-
dles for their guns as the swift current bore them into the
midst of the astonished Indians. A scene of wild con-
fusion followed. The warriors, howling and whooping,
rushed for their weapons, while the women and children
sought the protection of their wigwams. In the midst of
the hub-bub, La Salle and his little band leaped upon shore,
and with guns raised awaited the combat. The Indians,
LA SALLE. 57
recovering from their first fright, and desirous of making
peace, advanced with the calumet, and the hostile demon-
trations upon both sides ended in expressions of friendship.
A feast was prepared, and, according to the Indian code
of hospitality, the food was placed in the mouths of the
Frenchmen by the savages. At the close of the feast, La
Salle explained to the Indians his reason for taking the
corn from the deserted village, and amply repaid them for
it. He then told them that he wished to build a fort in
their midst to protect them from the Iroquois. If, how-
ever, they did not look upon his plans with favor he would
pass on to the Osage Indians and give them the benefit of
his protection and trade. Anxious to retain the friendship
of the French, and jealous of the other tribes, the Illinois
readily consented and promised all that was asked. The
remainder of the day was spent in dancing and feasting.
La Salle's enemies continued to follow him. During the
night an Indian named Monso, a chief of the Mascoutins,
in the employ of rival Frenchmen, arrived at the Indian
camp. He gathered the chiefs in a secret council, and
warned them not to trust La Salle because he was voyaging
below to stir up other tribes against the Illinois, and was
in truth a spy of the Iroquois. He hoped to check the
advance of the party or to induce the men to de-
sert their leader, who was secretly informed of Monso's
intrigues by a friendly chief. At a feast held the next day
an old chief arose and warned them against the dangers
of the Mississippi. He pictured the hostile tribes, the de-
vouring monsters and the raging whirlpools. While the
leader was in no way discouraged by the speech, its effect
upon his men was perceptible. La Salle thanked the chief
58 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
for the warning, but replied that if there were great dangers
to be encountered there would be all the greater glory if
their journey were successful. But had they not been
deceived by lies ? Continuing, he said, "We were not asleep,
my brother, when Monso came to tell you under cover of
night, that we were spies of the Iroquois. Look at what
we have brought you. It is not weapons to destroy you,
but merchandise and tools for your good. If you still
harbor evil thoughts of us, be frank, as we are, and speak
boldly." The chief said nothing, but made a sign for the
feast to proceed. The next morning La Salle was cut to
the heart by discovering that six of his men had deserted.
Calling the others together he told them that any man who
wished to return in the spring should have free leave to
go safel/ and without dishonor.
As an attempt was made to take his life by placing poison
in the pot in which their food was cooking, La Salle re-
solved to leave the Indian village immediately and build
a fortified camp for himself.
A strong position was selected on a low hill two miles
below the village on the southern bank of the river. An
embankment was thrown up on every side, and a palisade
twenty-five feet high was also placed around the entire fort.
Lodgings for the men, built of bullet proof timber, were
located at two angles of the enclosure. A priest's chapel
occupied a third angle, the magazine and forge, a fourth.
The tents of La Salle and Tonti were placed within.
Such was the first civilized occupation of the region which
now forms the State of Illinois.
La Salle christened his new fortification Fort Crevecoeur
(Heart break). The name tells of disaster and suffering,
LA SALLE. 59
but does no justice to the iron-hearted constancy of the
sufferer. He planned to build a ship, load it with buffalo
hides, descend the Mississippi and cross the Atlantic. The
iron and rigging of such a vessel had been placed in the
hold of the "Griffin." But all hope of again seeing that
vessel had been abandoned. Never faltering, this man of
indomitable energy resolved to make the journey on foot
to Fort Frontenac, a distance of twelve hundred miles, and
bring back the materials necessary for building and
equipping such a vessel. Leaving Tonti in command of the
fort, La Salle started, with five companions, upon the return
to Fort Frontenac. This wonderful journey across bleak
plains, through storms of snow and ice, was accomplished
in seventy days.
Tonti, with four trusty men and a dozen unscrupulous
fellows, was left in command of Fort Crevecoeur, when
La Salle set out for distant Canada. The season of the year
was the worst possible for such a journey. The Illinois
River was filled with floating ice, which retarded the prog-
ress of the party, but they pushed their way up the stream
to the deserted town of the Illinois, where they had bor-
rowed corn on their downward trip. While camped here
La Salle visited Starved Rock. Impressed with its nat-
ural advantages as a fortress, he sent word for Tonti to
examine the place, and if an outbreak of Indians occurred,
to fortify it.
The party continued its journey up the river to the pres-
ent site of Joliet, where the heavy ice rendered further
progress by water impossible. Concealing their canoes,
they began that remarkable journey overland. As they
neared the lakes the country became a dreary waste of
melting snow and half-frozen mud, intersected by swollen
streams, which were waded or crossed upon rudely con-
structed rafts. On the 23d of March they reached the
mouth of the Calumet River and on the 24th arrived at Fort
Miami at the mouth of the St. Joseph where La Salle
found the two men who had been sent to search for the
missing "Griffin." All hope of finding the vessel had been
given up, and he ordered the men to report to Tonti at
La Salle and his party then pushed on to Canada. The
hardships of the party increased with every step of the
journey. Sometimes they were compelled to sleep for
several nights in succession upon the bare ground without
any means of building a fire with which to keep warm.
Their clothes, wet with rain and snow, if taken off for the
night, froze stiff so that
they could not put
them on in the morn-
ing. Lacerated by
thorns, plunging to
their waists in half-
frozen swamps, chilled
to the bone by icy
streams, tracked by
bands of savages, they
finally overcame all diffi-
culties and arrived at
Fort Frontenac on the
sixth of May. Had La
Salle not possessed an
iron constitution and an
mination, he never
could have performed such a journey. Nature and man
seem to have conspired to wreck his fortunes. The "Grif-
fin" had disappeared, and the valuable cargo of furs, after
safely passing the great lakes, had been swallowed up in
the rapids of the St. Lawrence. His enemies were attempt-
ing to work his overthrow with the government,
and ruin him with his creditors. But La Salle did
62 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
not despair. Hastening to Montreal he appeared before
his astounded enemies, satisfied his clamorous creditors and
obtained the necessary supplies for his fort upon the dis-
tant Illinois and material for the ship, which was then upon
the stocks. Then he returned to Fort Frontenac to prepare
a new expedition.
Born to command, La Salle lacked those qualities by-
which men are won and held. To his companions he was
stern, cold and incomprehensible. Scarcely was his iron
hand removed from the fort upon the Illinois before the
garrison began to talk of revolt. His large schemes had
no attraction for them, and they showed their discontent
and dislike in a hundred ways. When the men from Fort
Miami arrived with the tidings that the "Griffin" was
wrecked and La Salle a hopeless bankrupt, unable to pay
them their wages, they became openly rebellious.
In accordance with La Salle's instructions, Tonti, with
a few men, had gone up the river to examine the Rock
of the Illinois. No sooner had he departed than the gar-
rison arose in rebellion, destroyed the fort, seized the
ammunition and fled. Two of their number who remained
true hastened to Tonti, who was now left in the midst of
treacherous savages with but five men, two of whom were
the good friars Membre and Ribourde. Returning to the
dismantled fort, Tonti collected the tools and stores that
had not been destroyed by the mutineers. These he re-
moved to the great town of the Illinois, near Starved Rock,
hoping by this display of confidence to banish the distrust
that had been planted in the minds of the Indians by La
In this Indian town, which consisted of 5,000 to 8,000
people, Tonti and his five companions would have remained
unmolested but for the fact that a new engine of destruc-
tion was about to be hurled upon them. The terrible
Iroquois, who dwelt on the shores of Lakes Ontario and
Erie, were preparing to sweep down upon the unsuspecting
Illinois. They had already destroyed or scattered the
Hurons and Eries, and were now turning their attention
to the Indians who lived in the West.
At the moment when Tonti and his men were dwelling
among the Illinois, five hundred of the Iroquois warriors
were swiftly traversing the forests and prairies that sepa-
rated them from their enemies. The Miamis had also been
induced to join in the attack upon 'their neighbors and
kindred. Swiftly the wild bands advanced upon the doomed
village. The alarm was first given by a Shawnee Indian,
who discovered the approaching foe. The news spread
rapidly from wigwam to wigwam, and all became excite-
ment and confusion. The squaws, with frantic screams,
snatched their children and sought protection in the un-
derbrush, or trusted to the speed of their canoes, while the
warriors, seizing their weapons, began to prepare for the
coming battle. Tonti and his men were soon surrounded
by an angry crowd, who accused them of being in league
with the Iroquois. In their rage the savages seized the
forge and tools brought from the fort and threw them into
the river. The women and children were hastily embarked
in canoes and sent down the stream, where they were pro-
tected by sixty braves. The remaining warriors, four hun-
dred in number, spent the day in preparing for battle. As
evening approached they built huge fires that cast a glare
for miles, illumining the village, river and forest with the
64 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
brightness of day. About these fires, their bodies be-
smeared with war paint and decked with feathers, the braves
of the Illinois danced, howled and brandished their weapons
in an attempt to screw up their courage to meet the dreaded
foe. At dawn the Illinois scouts returned, and mistaking
an Iroquois decked in a French uniform for La Salle, re-
ported that the Frenchman was with the enemy. At this
the infuriated warriors rushed upon Tonti and his men
with the determination of despatching them for their ap-
parent treachery. The Frenchmen were only saved by a
promise that they would join them in fighting the Iroquois.
As the Illinois hurried across the river and reached the op-
posite bank, the Iroquois emerged from the woods that
skirted the Vermillion River. Both bands, now face to face,
began to leap, to dodge behind every available cover and to
fire their guns. Tonti saw at a glance that the foe, who out-
numbered the Illinois, were armed with superior weapons,
and would doubtless be victorious. Presuming upon the
treaty of peace between the French and Iroquois, at the
imminent peril of his life, he seized a belt of wampum,
which he waved above his head and advanced to meet the
approaching savages. His swarthy Italian complexion and
half-savage dress was nearly the cause of his death, for
the Iroquois, mistaking him for one of the Indian warriors,
rushed upon him, and one young brave plunged his scalp-
ing knife into his body. Fortunately the blade was deflected
from a vital part by striking one of his ribs, but the blood
gushed from the wound. A chief, who perceived his true
character, now attempted to staunch the wound, and others
helped to stay the approaching battle. A conference of the
Iroquois was held. Some were for putting Tonti to
death at once, and one warrior stood with his scalping
knife ready to strike, while others, who dreaded the ven-
geance of the French, demanded that he should be set at
liberty. At length Tonti decided the tide of the angry
controversy by declaring that 1,200 Illinois and sixty
Frenchmen were being held in reserve. The half-believing
Iroquois thereupon sent him back with a peace belt, and a
battle was prevented for a time. The Illinois, believing that
safety now lay in flight, set fire to their lodges, and under
the cover of the smoke and flame, fled in their canoes down
the river and rejoined their women and children. The
Iroquois, crossing the river, destroyed everything of value,
and encamped amid the burning wigwams. Tonti and his
men had taken up their abode at the fort. The next day
the Iroquois, believing the number of the enemy to be very
great, sent Tonti with a hostage to make peace with the
Illinois, who were delighted with the prospect, and in
return sent a young Indian brave as a hostage to the camp
of their foes. This young Indian came near proving the
destruction of them all by betraying the weakness of their
tribe to the crafty Indians. With loud cries the Iroquois
rushed upon Tonti, charging him with having deceived
them, and it required all his tact and courage to extricate
himself and his companions from this new difficulty.
Perceiving that he could no longer be of service to the
Illinois, Tonti with his five companions embarked in a
leaky canoe and set out upon the journey to the French
mission at Mackinac, where they intended to remain until
their leader, La Salle, put in his appearance.
The Iroquois, no longer restrained by the presence of the
French, started in pursuit of the fleeing Illinois. Day
66 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
after day the savage foes fought each other as pursuer and
pursued continued down the stream.
When near the mouth of the Illinois the fleeing tribes
separated; some crossed the Mississippi, others continued
down the stream. The tribe of the Tamaroas, believing
that pursuit was over, tarried near the river, and were sud-
denly attacked by overwhelming numbers. The warriors
fled in terror, leaving their women and children to fall into
the hands of their ferocious foes. Burnings and tortures
followed. At length the savages, whose greed for slaughter
had been satisfied for the time, returned to their homes,
taking with them the women and children, who had been
Meanwhile Tonti and his men paddled their dilapidated
canoe northward until they were compelled to land to re-
pair it. While the men were engaged in this work, Father
Ribourde, charmed by the beauty of the scenery, wandered
to a distant grove. Here, while engaged in prayer, he was
killed by a band of Kickapoo Indians who were hovering
near. "Thus, in the sixty -fifth year of his age, the only
heir of a wealthy Burgundian house perished under the war
clubs of the savages, for whose salvation he had renounced
ease and affluence."
The saddened party continued the journey up the river
until, compelled to abandon the canoe, they proceeded to-
ward Lake Michigan on foot. Their provisions became
exhausted, and they subsisted as best they could upon
acorns, roots and wild onions. One of them became lost
while hunting for game, and did not return to camp for
several days. Tonti, weakened by his wound, and the many
privations of the journey, fell sick. Their destination was
the village of the Pottawattomie Indians, upon the shores
of Green Bay, where they felt sure of shelter and food for
the winter. The cold increased as they proceeded north-
ward. But for a few ears of corn and some frozen pump-
kins found in a deserted Indian village the entire party
must have perished. At length, near the end of November,
they fell in with a hunting party of Pottawattomie Indians,
who greeted them warmly and fed them bountifully. The
exhausted Frenchmen were placed in canoes and carried
to the village two leagues away, where their famine was
"turned to abundance."
The chief of the village was an ardent admirer of
La Salle, whom he had befriended the year before, and
was accustomed to say that "he knew but three captains in
the world, Frontenac, La Salle and himself."
With the opening of spring, Tonti and Father Membre
paddled across to Mackinac, and in June were overjoyed by
the arrival of La Salle upon his return from Fort
LA SALLE'S RETURN TO ILLINOIS.
Ignorant of Tonti's whereabouts, La Salle was hasten-
ing from Fort Frontenac to the Valley of the Illinois, with
a party of twenty-five men and abundant supplies, when,
arriving at the St. Joseph River, he left a portion of his
stores at the ruined fort and pushed on to the Valley of
the Illinois. Everywhere was desolation, silence and
death. He found the great town of the Illinois a mass of
ruins. The plain about was strewn with wrecks of Indian
homes, and even the ruined fort was ornamented with
ghastly heads and skulls. The work of destruction had
been completed by trampling- down the growing corn
around the site of the destroyed village.
La Salle carefully searched the ruins for remains of
Tonti and his men, but none were to be found. His fort
was destroyed, and only the keel and ribs of his vessel
remained upon the stocks. Tonti and his men had dis-
appeared, and the peaceful valley had become a scene of
desolation. But La Salle was not to be overcome by mis-
fortune. He descended to the mouth of the Illinois, look-
ing anxiously for traces of his friend, and everywhere were
the evidences of the deadly work of the savages. On the
edge of a prairie, near the mouth of the Illinois, they came
upon the charred and mutilated bodies of the unfortunate
Tamaroas, but no evidence of the missing men was to be
found. The party sadly returned at the beginning of win-
LA SALLE'S RETURN TO ILLINOIS. 69
ter to Fort Miami. As La Salle passed through the coun-
try devastated by the Iroquois, he resolved to form a league
of the western tribes, and to colonize them upon the plain
about the rock of St. Louis. Here, protected by a garrison
of Frenchmen, the Indians would be secure from the in-
cursions of their terrible foe. He would be able also to
monopolize the fur trade of all the Indian tribes dwelling
in the Mississippi Valley. La Salle devoted the winter to
forming this Indian Confederation. The remnants of the
Mohegan and several other eastern tribes, dwelling near
Fort Miami, were ready to cast in their lot with the great
white chief. If he could reconcile the Miamis and the
Illinois, who were gradually returning to their desolated
homes, the confederation would be accomplished. At a
village of the Miamis which he visited, a number of Iroquois
were behaving with great insolence, boasting of their
bravery and prowess. La Salle rebuked them so sternly
for their many wicked acts, that during the night they
quietly slunk away. The astonishment of the Miami tribes
was great, and La Salle's influence was increased by the
act. The Illinois Indians readily consented to join the
confederation. Having united these western tribes La Salle
returned to Canada in the spring to obtain needed supplies
and make terms with his creditors. On his way thither he
was overjoyed to meet Tonti at Mackinac Mission, and to
have him for a companion during his return journey.
A prosperous voyage repaid him for his many hardships,
and in the fall he again started for Fort Miami, which he
reached late in the season, with renewed hopes. During the
month of December La Salle set out upon another expedi-
tion, although the streams were sheeted with ice and the
7O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
ground was covered with snow. The object of this, the
greatest of all his undertakings, was to open the way for
reaching France and Europe by means of the great rivers
flowing to the gulf, and thus, avoiding the hardships of over-
land transportation and the menace of warring Indian tribes,
to place on a sure basis the commercial relations of the
French colonies with the mother country.
The baggage and canoes were placed upon sledges and
drawn by the French and Indians from the present site of
Chicago to the sources of the Illinois, and thence down
that frozen stream. Arriving at Fort Crevecoeur, they
found the river open, and, embarking in their canoes, the
party reached the great river on the sixth of February.
The stream was filled with floating ice and they were com-
pelled to camp and await open water. As soon as they were
able they launched their canoes and started on their voyage
to the sea.
Passing the mouths of the Missouri and Ohio Rivers,
they camped at Chickasaw Bluffs, on the 24th of February.
Here one of their number, Pierre Prudehomme, was lost
while hunting, and as the others had seen fresh tracks of
Indians, La Salle feared that he had been killed. Some of
his followers built a small stockade fort on a high bluff by
the river, while others ranged the woods in search of the
missing hunter. At length the man was found and brought
to the camp, where he enjoyed a hearty meal, for he was
half dead from starvation. To commemorate the restora-
tion of the hunter, La Salle called the stockade Fort Prude-
As the party continued its journey down the river, the
climate became more springlike. Trees were budding, and
LA SALLE'S RETURN TO ILLINOIS. 71
flowers opened their petals to the warm air and sunshine.
The river wound its course through wastes, swamps, and
stretches of cane brake. One day, near the middle of
March, they became enveloped in a fog so thick that they
could see neither shore. While thus floating, the booming
of an Indian drum sounded upon their ears. Crossing to
the opposite bank, the men landed and threw up rude
breastworks of fallen trees and branches. When the fog
lifted, the astonished Indians upon the farther shore dis-
covered the strangers at work. Advancing to the water's
edge, La Salle made signs of peace and beckoned the
Indians to come over. When their canoe approached
within gunshot one of the Frenchmen paddled out to meet
them, and upon being well received, the entire party pro-
ceeded to the Indian village. It proved to be a town be-
longing to the Arkansas Indians, who dwelt near the mouth
of the river now bearing their name. The Frenchmen were
provided with every comfort possessed by their friendly
entertainers. Separate lodges were given them, and an
abundance of feasting followed. La Salle took possession
of the entire country in the name of King Louis of France,
and with much ceremony erected a cross in the center of
the village. At the end of three days the Frenchmen, ac-
companied by two Indian guides, continued their journey
down the mighty river.
Three hundred miles below, their guides showed them
a path which led to the town of Taensas. Father Membre
and Tonti decided to visit it. Shouldering their canoe, the
men carried it through the swamp to a lake which was
once the bed of the river. When they reached the town
the Frenchmen gazed upon the well-constructed houses
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
with astonishment. Tonti writes that he had "seen nothing
like it in America ; dwellings large and square, built of sun-
baked mortar, mixed with straw, surmounted by dome-shaped
roofs of thatched cane. Two buildings larger than the others
attracted the attention of the visitors. The one set apart for
the chiefs was forty feet square and contained but a single
room. The chief sat
upon his throne to re-
ceive his visitors. His
three wives sat near
him and howled an ac-
companiment to his
speech. About him
stood sixty grave men,
clad in white robes
made from the inner
bark of the mulberry."
The other building
was the temple of the
sun, where were kept
the bones of departed
chiefs, supposed to have
been children of the
Sun god. A fire was
kept constantly burning upon the altar by three old men
appointed to that service. The temple was surrounded by
a wall decorated with the skulls of victims whose lives
had been given as sacrifices to the Sun god.
These Indians were the Natchez, a tribe who later played
a prominent part in the Indian history of the Southwest,
and by many were supposed to have been the remainder of
La Sallc's Faithful Indian Hunter.
LA SALLE'S RETURN xo ILLINOIS. 73
the ancient Mound builders. They were sun worshippers,
and their villages and peculiar customs were unusually in-
On the sixth of April, 1682, the voyagers were glad-
dened by the salt breeze blowing fresh from the Gulf, and
soon its broad bosom, tossing restlessly, burst upon their
sight. The intrepid La Salle had triumphed over every
obstacle, and at last the mystery of the great river was
revealed. At a distance above the mouth of the Mississippi
the party landed. While the Indians looked on in amaze-
ment, La Salle planted a column inscribed with the arms of
France, and took possession of the territory drained by the
mighty river and its tributaries in the name of his sovereign.
A leaden plate, bearing a Latin inscription, was buried near
the column, and above it was planted the cross.' Then
with hymns and volleys of musketry ended the ceremony
that gave to King Louis XIV. of France the vast basin of
The boats were now turned up stream and the toilsome
return journey began. At times the voyagers were with-
out food, at others they lived upon the flesh of alligators.
When the party reached Fort Prudehomme, La Salle was
taken with a burning fever, and had to remain there for
more than a month ; but, desiring to proclaim the wonderful
discovery, he sent the faithful Tonti on before him. As soon
as La Salle became strong enough he pushed on to Mack-
inac, where he was joined by Tonti, and together they
formed plans to establish the confederacy of the Western
Indians. Tonti was sent to Starved Rock, or the Rock of
St. Louis, as La Salle named it, to begin the work of clear-
ing the summit on which to build a fort for the protection
74 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
of the pioneers and the Illinois Indians against their com-
mon foe, the Iroquois.
The Rock of St. Louis is deserving of more than passing
mention. It is a steep bluff upon the south side of the
Illinois River, not far from the present city of La Salle, and
opposite the village of Utica. It "rises steep on three sides
as a castle wall, to the height of a hundred and twenty-five
feet above the river. In front it overhangs the waters that
wash its base; its western brow looks down on the tops
of forest trees, and on the east lies a wide gorge, or ravine,
choked with the mingled foliage of oaks, walnuts and elms,
while in its rocky depths a little brook creeps down to
mingle with the river. From the trunk of the stunted cedar
that leans from the summit you may drop a plummet into
the river below, where the catfish and turtle may plainly
be seen gliding over the wrinkled sands. The cliff is
accessible only from behind, where a man may climb up,
not without difficulty, by a steep and narrow passage."*
This description is not accurate now. The rock may be
entirely gone in the year 3000.
In the month of December La Salle and Tonti began the
work on the fort. Dwellings and storehouses built
with timbers dragged up the rugged path, soon crowned
the summit of the rock. The whole was surrounded by a
strong palisade. The fortress was named by La Salle Fort
St. Louis, in honor of the King of France. The scattered
tribes of Indians, who looked upon La Salle as their cham-
pion against the dreaded Iroquois, reared their wigwams
and lodges in the valley below. From this fortress, in-
LASALLE'S RETURN TO ILLINOIS. 75
accessible as an eagle's nest, La Salle looked down upon
the homes of twenty thousand Indians, from whom he
could muster four thousand warriors. His singular plan
for forming a colony had been marvelously successful.
La Salle now left Tonti in command of Fort St. Louis,
and hastened to France, by the way of Quebec, to ask King
Louis to aid in planting another colony at the mouth of
the Mississippi River. If this were done, he could take his
furs, purchased from the Indians, down the river and sail
through the Gulf of Mexico. The long and dangerous
voyage through the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence
would thus be avoided. At this time France was at war
with Spain, who claimed the sole right to sail vessels in
the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. King Louis was greatly
pleased with the idea of establishing such a colony and
driving Spain from the Gulf. He gladly gave La Salle four
vessels, abundant supplies and a hundred soldiers. With
their numbers increased by the addition of six priests, six
gentlemen and a number of mechanics and laborers with
their families, the expedition set sail on the 24th day of July,
1684. But misfortunes came upon them thick and fast. One
vessel was captured by Spanish buccaneers, the others, fail-
ing to find the mouth of the Mississippi, sailed along the
low marshy coast in vain search for it, and, landing upon
the shores of Matagorda Bay, erected a fort. Soon after
one of the remaining vessels was wrecked, losing many
supplies, and at length the last ship, while exploring the
coast, was lost and her crew drowned. Gloom and despair
settled over the little band huddled about the solitary fort
upon the desolate Texas shore. La Salle was blamed for
the overwhelming disasters. Lack of good food and water
76 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
caused many to fall sick, while others were killed by In-
dians. The rising discontent of the unfortunate people
was fanned to a flame by evil-minded persons, who hated
their leader and desired his death. La Salle led an ex-
pedition in search of the great river, and unfortunately
these men were permitted to be of the number. A hunting
party of which they formed a part was absent so long that
La Salle sent his nephew and a companion to search for
them. The nephew was a hot-headed, unreasonable fellow,
who, when he came up with them, not only rebuked
them severely, but took the best portions of their game
for himself. The men became very angry, and that night
killed the nephew, his companion, and a faithful Indian
guide who had accompanied La Salle in his long journey
from Fort St. Louis. The next day La Salle, accompanied
only by Father Douay, sought to learn the cause of the
delay, and was shot from ambush by the cowardly mur-
derers. In this miserable manner, at the early age of
forty-three, perished the most remarkable explorer of the
new world. Like his own Rock of St. Louis, he had stood
unmoved in the storms and disasters that swept around
His murderers were soon after killed in a quarrel with
their companions. La Salle's brother and a few men who
were left, after enduring many hardships, made their way
to Fort St. Louis upon the Illinois. Here they were kindly
treated by Tonti, who was kept in ignorance of his com-
In the spring these men forged a draft in the dead lead-
er's name, which was generously honored, and with the
money thus secured they returned to France. A few
LA SALLE S RETURN TO ILLINOIS.
months after their departure Tonti learned from a band
of Indians of the unhappy fate of La Salle. He deserved
a title of nobility and great wealth from his country; in-
stead, after his death at the hands of villainous assassins,
he was denied even a grave beside the murky river in the
FLAG OF FRANCE
OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH.
The good Father Marquette established the earliest mis-
sion among the Illinois Indians, at their chief town, which
he named "Kaskaskia." He felt that his life was ebbing
away and he must depart, but he promised to send other
missionaries to carry on the work he had begun. With
sorrowful eyes did the Indians watch his canoe disappear
in the distance, for they had learned to love this man, whose
pure life and gentle words taught them peace and good
will. Other missionaries held services in the little cross-
crowned chapel that stood near the village and ministered
to the sick and dying.
At about the close of the seventeenth century, probably
as early as 1695, fear of the ferocious Iroquois impelled the
Illinois tribes to abandon their village and remove to the
southward. The mission station under the charge of the
Catholic fathers was moved with them.
A beautiful valley about six miles in width is formed by
the confluence of the river which is now called Kaskaskia
with the Mississippi. Between these two streams but six
miles above their junction, where the waters of the Kas-
kaskia curl beneath the bluffs of the eastern bank, a new
site was chosen for the village. Row upon row of Indian
lodges soon covered the plain. A log chapel and a house
for the Jesuit Fathers was built above the village and en-
closed with a neat stockade. With the help of the Indians
OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH. 79
the land adjoining the mission was cultivated. Cattle, hogs
and other domestic animals were introduced.
About this time, probably in 1700, a mission station had
been established by Father Pinet among the Tamaroa
Indians at Cahokia, four miles south of the present site of
East St. Louis. The following year a number of French-
men settled there. Houses were erected, and each settler
was given a piece of ground 300 feet square. Cahokia
became a village of considerable importance, and in 1795
was made the county seat of St. Clair County. This honor
was wrested from it in 1814 by the thriving town of
Belleville. Damaged by the floods of 1844, Cahokia fell
into decay, and at the present time is only a hamlet.
The early French immigrants were attracted from Can-
ada by the reports of mild climate and fertile soil. After
New Orleans and other French colonies were planted in
Louisiana, numbers of settlers came to the Illinois country
by the less laborious route of the Mississippi River. Be-
fore many years had passed a regular trade was established
between the settlements of Upper and Lower Louisiana.
Cargoes of flour, tallow, bacon, hides and leather were
floated down to New Orleans, where they were shipped
to the West Indies and France. The boatmen brought
back sugar, rice, indigo and articles manufactured in
Europe. By the middle of the eighteenth century sev-
eral thousand Frenchmen and their descendants were
living upon the banks of the Mississippi and its tribu-
Kaskaskia was now the metropolis of Northern Louis-
iana. The log chapel had been replaced by a larger building
of stone. In the midst of many acres of cultivated
80 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS
land was situated a house for the Fathers and a Jesuir
College. Beyond lay the village, its rows of white houses
fronting the street upon which were located the store-
houses of the fur-traders and me 'chants. Across the river
to the east arose the high bluffs of "Garrison Hill," crowned
by a fort built to repel a threatened attack of the Chicka-
The houses were quaint in appearance and peculiar in
construction. The walls were formed by planting, deep
in the ground, a framework of posts held together by cross
strips. The whole was strongly braced at the corners, and
resembled many ladders placed one above the other. This
framework was then filled in neatly with straw and mortar.
The carefully trimmed walls were given many coats of
whitewash within and without. The roof of thatch was
quite steep, and often projected over the broad porch which
extended round the entire building. The floors were made
of slabs hewn from logs. These dwellings, of uniform size
and appearance, gave to the village an air of peace and con-
tentment, in keeping with the simple lives of the people.
Longfellow has given us a description of such a town in
"Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and
Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the
Thatched were the roofs, with dormer windows, while
Over the basement below, protected and shaded the door-
The dress of these people was simple and quaint. Coarse
blue shirts were covered with vests and pantaloons of
OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH. 8l
homespun. A long blue coat with pointcJ. hood was a
common outdoor garment. Upon hunting expeditions and
in winter, coonskin caps and pantaloons of deerskin were
worn. The dress of the women was of blue cotton or
Spanish cloth, made with a short waist and full skirt. A
blue handkerchief was a common head covering for both
sexes. Both men and women wore deerskin moccasins,
decorated with shells and beads.
With primitive wooden plows drawn by oxen yoked by
the horns instead of the necks, these people cultivated
thousands of acres of land, and raised bountiful crops of
tobacco, hops, oats and wheat. Corn was raised to feed
the hogs or to make hominy, for the early French did not
use corn bread. The horses, driven tandem, were atta-ched
by a neat harness of rawhide to rude carts having wheels
of solid wood. Spinning wheels and looms were unknown
to these people; butter was made by beating the cream
with a spoon or shaking it in a bottle.
The cultivated lands were held by the village in common,
and portions dealt out to the heads of the families in
proportion to their numbers. If the land was neglected
or went uncultivated, it was taken again by the village.
A pasture and woodland, many acres in extent, was also
used in common for the herds and flocks of the synple
people. As the numbers of families increased by marriage
or the arrival of immigrants, portions of land would be
taken from the common pasture and added to the cultivated
fields. The affairs of the village, even the planting and
gathering of the crops, were regulated by a council of the
Their homely tasks were interspersed with amusements,
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
festivals and holidays, for these French were a merry people.
Middle-aged and young alike enjoyed dancing, while the
old men and priests looked on with beaming eyes. Even
the Indians and the slaves joined in this simple revelry. On
the last night of the old year it was the custom for the
young to dress in unusual garb and, entering the houses of
the village, engage the inmates in merry making. The
entire community then gathered at a common meeting
place, where with dancing and feasting the new year was
ushered in. Another festal season was the sixth of January.
Four kings had been selected at the gathering the year
before by distributing to the men a cake in which four
beans had been hidden. The lucky finders of the beans
each selected a queen to assist in arranging a king ball.
At the close of the first dance the queens selected new
kings, whom they formally saluted with a kiss. These kings
OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH. 83
in their turn selected other queens, and thus the mirth and
merriment continued for the week preceding Lent.
As agriculture was the only occupation of the village,
many of the young men entered the employ of the fur
companies, or on their own account went on long trading
expeditions among the Indians who dwelt upon the Missis-
sippi or Missouri Rivers. Upon their return in the fall,
laden with furs, the entire community united to do them
Flatboats, in which furs and farm products were floated
down to New Orleans, gave employment to others. The
voyage required months for its completion, and was at-
tended by many dangers. As the boats floated with the
current they were propelled by mammoth oars called
sweeps. On the return voyage the boatmen were assisted
by large sails. When the wind failed the men were com-
pelled to walk along the shore and pull the boat by means
of a long rope ; or the boat was "cordelled" by means of
a rope carried ahead and tied to an overhanging tree or
projecting rock, while the crew pulled hand over hand.
The relations of these French settlers with the Indians
by whom they were surrounded were always friendly. Their
tact and fairness caused them to escape the wars which
frequently engaged the colonists upon the Atlantic coast.
Together they explored rivers and traversed the forest in
search of game ; together they received the sacrament from
the priests and stood with bowed heads around the altar.
Thus for nearly a century did the white man and the
native owner of the soil dwell in a peace that was rudely
broken by the advent of the blunt and inconsiderate Eng-
84 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The relations between the French and the Indians is
well illustrated by an incident which occurred soon after
Kaskaskia came into possession of the Americans. For
a murder that had been committed in a broil, three young
Indians were given up by the Illinois Chiefs to the newly
instituted authority. The sympathy of the Kaskaskia peo-
ple, especially the women, was entirely with the Indians,
and they desired that they should be received into the true
church and publicly baptized before their execution. Ac-
:ordingly each of the young men was adopted by a woman,
who gave him a Christian name and was to stand as his
god-mother during the ceremony. The entire female popu-
lation of the town was busily engaged for a number of
.days in preparing for the occasion. Needles were plied
incessantly, and finally the preparations were completed.
The evening before the execution the Indians escaped, as
some believed through the assistance of their fair sympa-
thizers. When the danger blew over the young men re-
turned and were permitted to remain unmolested.
Kaskaskia rapidly increased in numbers, and in 1725
became an incorporated town, with special privileges from
Kinti' Louis XV.
several Villages ta tic
TVJti Part of tie
River Mississippi &c,
FORT CHARTRES AND THE BRITISH.
Twenty miles above the ancient village of Kaskaskia, a
long, irregular mound of earth marks all that remains of
the once formidable Fort Chartres; yet this fortress was
erected on a scale of magnificence unequaled by any other
fortification of France in the new world.
In 1718, young Pierre Duque Boisbriant, the newly-
appointed Commandant of French military affairs in Illi-
nois, arrived at Kaskaskia with instructions to erect a fort
in the Mississippi Valley.
Midway between Kaskaskia and Cahokia a site was
chosen on the valley lands a mile from the great river, and
here the soldiers of France cleared away the virgin forest,
hewed out the timbers for the walls, and with much toil
brought the stone for the foundation from the bluffs four
miles away. After more than two years of labor and at a
cost of one million crowns, the fort was completed, and
named in honor of the Due de Chartres, son of the regent
of France. It immediately became the seat of French
military power. Large warehouses and factories of the
trading companies were erected, and under the protecting
shadow of the fortress the village of New Chartres sprang
into life. The fort, as will be found hereafter, was re-
modeled and enlarged in 1750.
To the fort came Philip Renault, Secretary of the French
Trading Company, bringing with him mechanics, slaves,
FORT CHARTRES AND THE BRITISH. <V
settlers, and miners, for the French expected to find precious
ore in the bluffs that lined the Mississippi River.
The valley lands between Kaskaskia and Cahokia were
cleared and planted to corn, wheat, tobacco and cotton.
The French villages of St. Philip and Prairie du Rocher
were founded and grew into thriving settlements.
The people of the fort and village led a merry life.
Lordly processions of gentlemen and richly dressed ladies
marched into the chapel to hear mass. Gay hunting parties
issued from the gates of the fort and returned at night
full laden with spoils of the chase.
Stately receptions were given, where officers in uniforms
covered with gold lace Danced with ladies robed in velvets
and satins. The fashions of Paris were reproduced in this
military station on the distant Mississippi.
The fame of Fort Chartres spread to every settlement in
the new world. It became a common saying 01 the early
days, "All roads lead to Fort Chartres."
From the great warehouses of the Commercial Com-
pany, parties of traders went out to barter with the Indians
and returned laden with furs and hides which were shipped
in batteaux to New Orleans.
When France and Spain were at war in Europe, an attack
upon the fort was planned by the Spaniards of distant Santa
Fe. The soldiers of Spain marched across the plains of
Colorado and Kansas intending to secure as allies the
Osages and next to fall upon the Missouri Indians, who
were friendly to the French. By mistake the guides led
them to a village of the Missouri Indians, whose chiefs
listened gravely while the Spaniards revealed their plans
of attack. That night the Spaniards, sleeping among the
FORT CTIARTRES AND THE BRITISH. 89
supposed Osages, were murdered to a man, with the ex-
ception of one fat priest who was permitted to escape
because of the crucifix he carried.
In 1736 the dashing Pierre D'Artaguiette led the soldiers
of Fort Chartres against the distant Chickasaws. His fleet
of canoes and batteaux, filled with officers, soldiers and
Indians, made an imposing appearance as it floated out
upon the current of the river. Fierce was the battle and
terrible the defeat of the French. The captured officers,
including the commander and Vincennes, who had come
from the fort on the Wabash, were burned at the stake by
the infuriated victors.
When the sad tidings reached Fort Chartres the bells
were tolled and the people walked in sorrowful procession
to the chapel of Sainte Anne.
In 1750 a new commandant, the Chevalier Makarty was
sent to Fort Chartres with orders to reconstruct the fort
of stone. Accordingly the wooden walls were torn down
and at an incredible expenditure of labor and treasure the
new fort was erected.
When completed it was the strongest and most preten-
tious fortress in the new world. We can hardly realize
the difficulties that attended the building of so great a
structure in the heart of a western forest. The iron that
entered into its structure and the skilled workmen had
to be brought from France. Wagon roads had to be built
over which rude ox-carts hauled stones prepared at distant
quarries. The walls of the fort were eighteen feet high and
enclosed four acres of land. The four bastions of masonry
each contained eight embrasures, forty-eight loop holes,
and a sentry box. Above the arched gateway, fifteen feet
90 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
in height, was a platform of cut stone reached by a stair-
way of nineteen stone steps.
Within the walls stood the great stone storehouse,
ninety feet long by thirty feet wide, and a guard-
house with chapel and rooms for the priests on the
second floor. The government house was eighty-four
feet by thirty-two feet, with a great stone porch running
across the front, and the coach house and pigeon loft near
by. The two rows of barracks measured each one hundred
and thirty-five feet long by thirty-six in breadth. In one
angle of the fort was situated a bake house containing
two ovens, with a well near by. Apart from the other
buildings was located the magazine, a building of stone
thirty feet square and thirteen feet high, the roof and door-
way being also of stone. This magazine is the only building
that still remains. The stone from this fort has furnished
material for the walls and chimneys of many farm houses
in the vicinity.
Under the brave commandant Makarty the soldiers of
Fort Chartres issued forth to take part in the wars with
the English, and fought upon many battlefields in the
French and Indian war.
To the soldiers of Fort Chartres Washington surrendered
at Fort ISfecessity, and they were present at the overthrow
of General Braddock.
When Canada was won for the English by General
Wolfe, in the famous battle beneath the walls of old
Quebec, it was thought that the territory controlled by
Fort Chartres might be retained for the French. But, by
the treaty of 1763 all the French territory of the New
World east of the Mississippi was ceded to England. By
FORT CHARTRES AND THE BRITISH. QI
a secret treaty at about the same time, the territory west
of the Mississippi was given to Spain.
The aged St. Ange kept possession of the fort until the
arrival of the English, and in October, 1765, formally
delivered it to the new commander, Captain Thomas
French soldiers and even Indian warriors wept when the
lilies of France were hauled down from above the walls
and the hated cross of St. George was flaunted to the
breeze. St. Ange and his little garrison, believing that they
would be upon French soil, withdrew to St. Louis. Here
he continued to rule for a number of years until displaced
by a Spanish governor.
A large number of French inhabitants, unwilling to dwell
in a country ruled by men of a different race and creed,
whom they had been taught to hate for generations, sold
their possessions and left the country. The greater number
withdrew to the settlements of St. Genevieve and St. Louis.
Others embarked upon the Mississippi and removed to
Natchez, Baton Rouge or New Orleans.
The English immediately established civil courts and
introduced the jury system of trial. The French did not
take kindly to the English courts. They had been content
to submit all disputes and difficulties to the priests.
In the spring of 1772, the great river, as if to avenge the
defeat of the French, overflowed its banks and swept in a
mighty flood across the bottom lands. The western wall
of the fort crumbled into the raging waters and the place
had to be abandoned. The British removed their military
stores to the fort opposite Kaskaskia, which was named
in honor of the British commander in America, Fort Gage.
0,2 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Kaskaskia continued to be the center of British power
and influence until the entire territory was given over to
The policy of the English Government was to prevent
colonists from settling in the newly acquired territory.
They desired to turn the vast region into a hunting ground
where only British agents could purchase the quantities of
furs that were annually sold by the Indians. In a proc-
lamation dated October 7th, 1763, King George forbade
"making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking
possession of any lands beyond the sources of any rivers
which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the north or
This policy would have made a perpetual wilderness of
a vast region unsurpassed for fertility.
In violation of the king's proclamation the British gov-
ernors permitted companies to purchase lands from the
Indians. The Illinois Land Company, composed of Eng-
lish traders and merchants, obtained two vast tracts of land
from an Indian council, representing the Kaskaskias,
Peorias and Cahokias, held at Kaskaskia on July 5th, 1773.
The deed, signed by ten chiefs, each making his mark,
gave the white men an immense tract of land embracing
many counties of Illinois. The consideration for this
princely domain was, "two hundred fifty blankets, two
hundred sixty strouds, three hundred fifty skirts, one
hundred fifty pairs of stroud and half thick stockings, one
hundred fifty breech cloths, five hundred pounds of gun-
powder, one thousand pounds of lead, one gross knives,
thirty pounds vermillion, two thousand gun flints, two
hundred pounds brass kettles, two thousand pounds to-
FORT CIIARTRES AND THE BRITISH. 93
bacco, three dozen gilt looking-glasses, one gross gun-
worms, two gross awls, one gross fire steels, sixteen dozen
of gartering, ten thousand pounds of flour, five hundred
bushels of Indian corn, twelve horses, twelve horned cattle,
twenty bushels salt, twenty guns, and five shillings in
This deed was recorded in the office of a notary public
at Kaskaskia, September 2, 1773. This is one of many
such deeds made at this time, and but for the establishing
of an independent government by the colonists, the titles
might have been sustained by the British Government.
Colonel Wilkins, the British commander at Kaskaskia,
made many grants of Indian lands to his friends. One of
these grants, consisting of thirty thousand acres, came into
the possession of John Edgar, a British officer who came
to Kaskaskia and established a store. This British grant
was afterwards confirmed by Congress, and made Mr c
Edgar the richest land owner in Illinois.
FORTS AND SETTLEMENTS OF
THE EARLY FRENCH
OHIO AND MISSISSIPPI
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AND THE AMERICAN
The annals of the Revolution contain no achievement
more brilliant or daring than the winning of Illinois for
the Americans by George Rogers Clark. The colonists
on the Atlantic coast were struggling heroically with the
British foe within their own borders, and gave little heed
to the western country beyond the Alleghany mountains.
With the exception of a few French settlements in the
Valley of the Wabash, on the Mississippi, and a fringe of
settlements in Kentucky planted by adventurous Virginians
and North Carolinians, the entire territory was a wilder-
The strong military posts at Detroit, Vincennes and
Kaskaskia were occupied by the British, who had won
over the Indian tribes with offers of gold for the scalps of
men, women and children.
George Rogers Clark had gained renown in Kentucky
by successfully leading companies of men against the
Indians in those conflicts that gained for the region the
name of the "Dark and Bloody Ground." Perceiving that
the attacks of the savages had been instigated by the British
agents, who furnished them with aYms and ammunition,
Clark resolved to capture and win the entire territory for
the cause of the colonists. Full of his project, he hastened
back to Virginia and laid the plans before the Governor,
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Patrick Henry. The idea of subduing the British strong-
holds in the west was pleasing to the Governor, who gave
to Clark "$6,ooo in paper currency and an order on the
commander at Fort Pitt for boats and necessary stores."
He was also authorized to enlist seven companies of fifty men
each, with a promise to
every man of three hun-
dred acres of land
should the expedition
prove successful. En-
listing a few men at
Pittsburg, Clark floated
down the Ohio River as
far as Kentucky, where
others to the number of
one hundred and fifty
were added to his com-
mand. Continuing h i s
journey to the Falls of
the Ohio with his force,
which now aggregated
about two hundred men,
COL. GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. he built a fort on Corn
Island, opposite the present site of Louisville, and stored
his supplies. After hearing the complaints of some of his
party, none of whom knew upon what errand they were
bound, Clark now for the first time revealed his plans to
the men, and announced the real destination of the expedi-
tion. This announcement was received with expressions of
disapproval by some of his men; but the majority favored
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. 99
Some of his followers, dismayed by the daring of the enter-
prise, deserted during the night and waded to the Kentucky
shore. The remainder of the soldiers, accustomed to hard-
ships and danger, were enthusiastic in their approval ot
On the 24th of June, 1778, he embarked his little army
of one hundred and fifty men, plunged through the rapids,
and continued down the Ohio to the mouth of the Ten-
nessee, where his forces landed upon an island. Here they
met a party of hunters returning from Kaskaskia, who
informed them that the soldiers of the fort were numerous,
and that sentinels were stationed on the bluffs of the Mis-
sissippi. They stated further that the discipline was not
strict, because no one supposed an attack was contem-
plated. Clark determined to march across the country,
a distance of one hundred and seventy miles, and take the
fort from an unexpected quarter. The hunters eagerly
joined the party in the capacity of guides. As the utmost
secrecy was necessary to the success of the undertaking,
scouts were sent ahead to kill game and capture any wan-
dering bands of French or Indians.
Threading tangled forests and marshy swamps, the sol-
diers at length emerged upon the open prairies. Once the
guide, John Saunders, lost the way and the men, becom-
ing suspicious, determined to kill him. But at length the
trail was found, and he led them with little loss of time to
within three miles of Kaskaskia, where they arrived upon
the afternoon of July 4.
Thus far their advance had been unobserved and, to make
the surprise more complete, Clark led his little army
through the thickets above the town and kept them con-
IOO THK MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
cealed until nightfall. Crossing the Kaskaskia River, they
captured the inmates of the ferry-house, from whom they
learned that none of the villagers supposed a foe to be
near and that the soldiers of the fort were entirely off their
guard. Taking these people with him as guides, Colonel
Clark separated his little army into two divisions. One
band surrounded the town ; the other, led by the com-
mander, proceeded to capture the fort occupied by the
When Fort Gage was burned in 1766, it is probable that
the British removed their stores and supplies across the
river to Kaskaskia and took possession of the old Mansion
House built by the Jesuits. This building, which was in
the southern portion of the town, was fortified and doubt-
less proved sufficiently strong for their needs.
The soldiers in the mansion far outnumbered the attack-
ing party, but Colonel Clark trusted for success to the
suddenness and boldness of the attack. The officers of the
fort, it is said, were giving a ball to which the young men
and maidens of the village had been invited. As the little
army approached the postern gate, lights streamed through
the windows, and the sound of music and merriment could
be heard from within. Posting his men near the entrance,
Clark boldly marched in and stood with folded arms, an
interested spectator. As the lights from the flickering
torches shone upon his face, an Indian, who had been re-
clining upon the ground, recognized him and sprang to
his feet with a fierce war whoop. The dancers stopped
aghast, while the soldiers ran toward their quarters. But
Clark, with grim humor, invited them to continue their
merriment, announcing, however, that they were now danc-
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. IOI
ing under the flag of Virginia instead of that of England.
At a signal, his men rushed in and captured all the
officers and men. The band, concealed near the village,
hearing the shouts of victory, rushed into the town with
hideous cries, and drove the terrified people into their
homes. The panic-stricken inhabitants delivered up their
arms, and the capture of the British stronghold in Illinois
was accomplished without the shedding of a drop of blood.
The affrighted people passed a sleepless night. Dreadful
stories had been told by the British agents of the harshness
and cruelty of the Kentuckians, or "Long Knives." If
their lives were spared, the French expected nothing less
than that they would be driven from their homes and their
property confiscated, as had happened to the Acadians a
few years before. Clark, on the other hand, had no thought
of doing them harm, but was anxious to win their friend-
ship. The next morning he called together the chief men
of the village and assured them that he had penetrated
the wilderness to protect the people rather than do them
Continuing, he said, "We do not war against Frenchmen.
The king of France, your former ruler, is the ally of the
colonies; his fleet and his arms are fighting our battles,
and the war must shortly terminate. Go and inform the
inhabitants that they can dismiss their fears." When the
French heard the message, their terror was turned to wild-
est joy. The young men and maidens with songs and
shouts danced through the streets bearing garlands of
flowers and the older men sought in every way to honor
Captain Bowman, with a company of men and a num-
102 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
ber of French militia, was now sent against Cahokia, a
French settlement, fifty miles north of Kaskaskia, on the
Mississippi River. These people accepted the change with-
out resistance and took the oath of allegiance to the
The forts had been captured and the French won over
to the cause of liberty, yet there remained the more difficult
task of winning or subduing the Indian tribes. These tribes
were allies of the British. Colonel Clark felt that his work
would not be completed until their strongholds were cap-
tured. His army was very small, and could with difficulty
sustain itself surrounded by so many enemies. Many of
his men had enlisted for only three months and that time
had expired. He persuaded a hundred of them to re-enlist
and, with the addition of seventy French volunteers, re-
solved to march upon Vincennes at once. When the French
heard of his determination, they begged him to give up the
attempt as many of the residents at Vincennes were their
friends and relatives. Father Gibault, the village priest,
grateful to the soldiers for not molesting his church or
people, volunteered to go to Vincennes and persuade the
people there to transfer their allegiance to the Americans.
As Father Gibault was a man of influence, his request was
With but two companions the priest set out upon his
mission. He easily persuaded his people to throw off the
yoke of the British, and marching to the fort, which con-
tained but few soldiers, the citizens pulled down the British
flag and hoisted that of America.
When the good news reached Kaskaskia, Colonel Clark
" "-at Captain Helm and a company of French volunteers to
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. IO3
take formal possession of the fort. This officer's bravery
and knowledge of Indian character admirably fitted him
for the trying position of commander. Below Vincennes,
upon the banks of the Wabash, lived a powerful chief, who
was styled the "Grand Door of the Wabash." Captain
Helm skilfully won this chief to the American cause, and
the submission of the other Indians living in the valley
Colonel Clark now took upon himself the greater task of
dealing with the horde of savages, representing nearly
every western tribe, who had come to Illinois to learn
just what had happened, and to hear for themselves all
that the "Long Knives" had to say. A meeting was called
at Cahokia, and the streets of the little village swarmed
with savages. Colonel Clark had studied the Indian char-
acter so carefully that he knew how best to treat them.
Instead of appearing anxious to gain their friendship, he
addressed them in a long speech and carefully explained
the reasons for war between the colonists and Great Britain.
In conclusion, he said, "As I am convinced that you never
heard the truth before, I do not wish you to answer me
until you have taken time for consideration. We shall
therefore part this evening, and when the Great Spirit shall
bring us together again, let us speak and think as men
with but one heart and one tongue."
The next day the chiefs, having concluded to turn from
the British and accept the Americans, gathered to the
council. One chief, their spokesman, thus addressed
Colonel Clark : "We will take the belt of peace and cast
down the bloody belt of war; our warriors shall be called
home ; the tomahawk shall be thrown into the river, where
IO4 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
it can never be found, and we will carefully smooth the
road for your brothers whenever they wish to come and
see you." The peace pipe was again lighted, and after it
was passed around the council ended.
Colonel Clark's character and tact are well illustrated
by an incident that occurred at this meeting. The Meadow
Indians had been offered a large reward to kill the Ameri-
can commander and, attending the council for that purpose,
camped near the American headquarters. But Colonel
Clark, ever watchful and alert, was not to be taken off his
guard. At midnight the s vages attempted to break into
the house in which he was supposed to be sleeping. In-
stantly they were seized by the French militia and bound
hand and foot. The people of the town, alarmed at the
uproar, seized their arms and rushed to the assistance of
the commander and his men. The crest-fallen warriors
begged to be released, but Clark turned from them indif-
ferently. He even refused to see the friendly chiefs who
came to intercede for their guilty kinsmen. Next morning,
calling all the tribes to a grand council, he released the
captive chiefs that he might speak to them in the presence
of their friends and allies.
"After the ceremony of Indian etiquette had been fin-
ished, Clark stood up in the ring of squatted warriors,
while his riflemen, in travel-worn hunting shirts, clustered
behind him. Taking the bloody war belt of wampum, he
handed it to the chiefs whom he had taken captive, telling
the assembled tribes he cared neither for their treachery
nor enmity. He had a right to put them to death, instead
he would escort them outside the camp, and after three
days begin war upon them." The humbled warriors begged
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. IO5
earnestly for peace, but the commander turned a deaf ear
to their entreaties. At this point, two young warriors
came forward and offering themselves as a sacrifice, silently
awaited the expected tomahawk. Advancing, Colonel Clark
ordered them to uncover their heads, and thus addressed
them : "I am rejoiced to find men among all nations. These
two young warriors who have offered themselves as a
sacrifice are at least proof for their own countrymen. Such
men are worthy to be chiefs, and with such I like to treat."
Taking them by the hand he introduced them to the assem-
bly as men worthy to be chiefs of their tribe and, because
of their courage, freely forgave the crime of all. These
two men were ever after held in high esteem by their
An alliance was formed with these Meadow Indians that
was never broken, and the renown of Clark spread to every
tribe. As he never did a dishonorable act, his influence over
them became very great.
Peace was made with the Indians, but a still greater diffi-
culty confronted him. The commander at Detroit, Gen-
eral Hamilton, having learned the strength of Clark's
forces, prepared to lead an expedition against the forts and
retake the country. "Throughout September, every soul
in Detroit was busy from morning till night mending boats,
baking biscuits, packing provisions in kegs and bags ;
collecting artillery stores, and in every way preparing for
the expedition. Fifteen large boats were procured, each
able to carry from 1,800 to 3,000 pounds. These were to be
loaded with ammunition, food, clothing, tents, and espe-
cially with presents for the Indians. Cattle and vehicles were
sent ahead to the most important portages on the route.
IO6 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
When all things were in readiness Hamilton had a grand
council of chiefs, and made them a great feast, at which
oven were roasted whole."
The next day, October 7, 1778, the army, numbering
five hundred men, French, English and Indians, started
across Lake Erie to the mouth of the Maumee River. Pull-
ing their boats up the river to the portages, they placed
them upon cart wheels and rolled them through the woods
to the sources of the Wabash. Embarking his forces upon
this river, Hamilton slowly proceeded, stopping at every
Indian village to hold a conference and give presents to
the chiefs. Upon the morning of December 15, 1778, the
British army appeared before Vincennes. The French
immediately deserted Captain Helm, who was left with
but one American, named Henry. The two men placed
a loaded cannon in the open doorway, and when the Brit-
ish advanced, Captain Helm, standing with lighted match
in hand, commanded them to halt. Hamilton, ignorant
of the strength of the garrison, halted his men and de-
manded the surrender of the fort.
"No man shall enter here," exclaimed Captain Helm,
"until I know the terms."
The British officer replied, "You shall have the honors
Accordingly the entire garrison, consisting of one officer
and one soldier, marched out and laid down its arms. The
news of the fall of Vincennes did not reach Kaskaskia until
six weeks after the capture of the fort. Through a French
trader who lived at St. Louis, Clark learned that Hamilton
had reduced his force to eighty men; that he was well
supplied with ammunition and provisions, and that he in-
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. IO7
tended with the opening of spring to obtain re-enforcements
from Detroit and recapture all the posts in the Ohio and
Colonel Clark immediately decided to advance, with his
little army, and attack Vincennes before the opening of
spring. Captain John Rogers and forty men were at once
sent out in a boat containing provisions, ammunition and
several small cannon, with instructions to proceed by
water to the mouth of the White River and there await
the land expedition.
On the 7th of February, Colonel Clark, with one hun-
dred and seventy men, began the march to Vincennes, a
distance of two hundred and forty miles. Fortunately the
weather was not cold, but as the plains were under water
the march was difficult and fatiguing. The commander
devoted himself ceaselessly to keeping up the spirits of his
men. He and his officers shared every hardship and were
foremost in every labor. The men were divided into com-
panies. Each company in turn was permitted to hunt by
day and invite the entire army to a feast at night. Tents
there were none, but blazing campfires were built, and
around these they spent their evenings in singing, dancing
and feasting upon buffalo hump, elk saddle, venison and
wild turkeys. The pleasures of the night caused them
to forget the toils of the coming day, and thus, without
murmur or complaint, they reached the "drowned lands"
of the little Wabash. "The channels of these two branches
were a league apart, but the flood was now so high that
they formed one great river, five miles wide," the over-
flow of water being three feet deep in the shallowest part
of the plains between and near the main channels.
IO8 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Without delay the commander hewed a boat from the
trunk of a large tree. Then, crossing over the first channel,
a scaffold was placed on the edge of the flooded plain.
The men and baggage were ferried over and placed upon
the scaffold ; the pack horses were brought across and
reloaded as they stood in the water. The second channel
was crossed in the same manner. Thus they traveled mile
after mile in the icy swamps, oftentimes waist deep, until
they stood upon the main channel of the Wabash, ten miles
from Vincennes. Their provisions were exhausted, and the
boat commanded by Captain Rogers had not arrived.
Parties were sent in different directions to search for
food and boats, but succeeded in finding nothing but a
small canoe. A party of Frenchmen in a boat were hailed
and came to land. They informed Clark that the British
did not know of the presence of the army and that the
inhabitants of the village were friendly to him. This was
cheering news to the little army, and as one man killed a
deer that day all had something to eat. The next day
was consumed by the soldiers in crossing the deepest
channels in canoes, and on the following day they traveled
but three miles, much of the time in water up to their
necks. Coming to a small elevation called "Sugar Camp,"
they stopped and were compelled to stay for another day
in a drenching rain without food. Four miles of water
still lay between them and the highlands. The next morn-
ing dawned more clear, and Colonel Clark addressed a
speech to the men, informing them that when they had
crossed the plain and reached the woods beyond, there
would be an end to their fatigue, and the prize would be
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. ICQ
The men responded with a shout and followed their
leader as he stepped into the stream. Then followed the
most thrilling of all their experiences. The water was so
deep in places that Colonel Clark feared many of the weak-
est would be drowned, but by the help of the strong, all
reached the woods, shouting and cheering encouragingly.
Here, however, the water was as deep as on the plains,
but those who were short and weak, by floating upon logs
and clinging to branches, managed to struggle on for
several miles farther until they reached a dry spot of
ground, ten acres in extent. Here fires were made, but
the weak were so exhausted it was necessary for two strong
men to take one between them and march up and down.
Fortunately an Indian canoe, containing some squaws and
children on their way to Vincennes, was captured. In the
boat, to their delight, they found a "quarter of buffalo,
corn, tallow and kettles." Broth was immediately made
and served to the famishing soldiers. With fine weather
their spirits revived and, marching a little way to the edge
of the timber, they came into full view of Vincennes, not
'two miles distant. "Every man now feasted his eyes and
forgot that he had suffered anything, saying that all that
had passed was owing to good policy, and nothing but
what a man could bear." A number of horsemen who were
shooting ducks in the ponds were decoyed to camp and
captured. By one of these men, Colonel Clark sent the
following letter to the people of the village :
"To the Inhabitants of Vincennes:
Gentlemen : Being now within two miles of your village
with my army, determined to take your fort this night, and
not being willing to surprise you, I take this opportunity
1IO THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
to request such of you as are true citizens, and willing to
enjoy the liberty which I bring you, to remain still in your
houses, and those, if any there be, who are friends of the
King, let them instantly repair to the fort, and join the hair-
buyer general, and fight like men. And if any of the latter
do not go to the fort, and shall be discovered afterwards,
they may depend upon severe punishment. On the con-
trary, those who are true friends to liberty, may depend
upon being well treated ; and I once more request them
to keep out of the streets, for every one I find in arms on
my arrival shall be treated as an enemy!
George Rogers Clark."
Soon after sunset Clark, with his little army, entered
and took possession of the town. Hamilton knew nothing
of the presence of the Americans until the firing began
upon the fort and one of his men was shot down. Then
the drums called the garrison to arms, but the fort was
completely surrounded, and when a porthole was opened
to thrust out a cannon, a dozen bullets from the unerring
rifles of the woodsmen found an entrance. Thus the attack
continued during the night. Protected by houses, palings,
ditches and banks, the riflemen poured in a deadly fire,
whenever a form appeared or a window opened.
At nine o'clock the next morning, Colonel Clark de-
manded the surrender of the fort. While Hamilton was
deliberating, the men cooked and ate the first regular meal
they had tasted since their entrance into the drowned lands.
Upon Hamilton's refusal to surrender, the firing began
again. Clark found it difficult to keep his men from ex-
posing themselves by rushing from cover to storm the fort,
in such contempt did they hold the marksmanship and
skill of the British soldiers. It was sport for these men,
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK. Ill
who could shoot the head from a turkey at one hundred
yards, to fire through the loop-holes and send their bullets
into every crack and crevice. In the afternoon Hamilton,
seeing that it was useless to continue the defence longer,
agreed to surrender, and the fort was turned over to Clark
and his followers.
The next day Colonel Clark took possession of the fort,
changed its name to Fort Patrick Henry, ran up the Ameri-
can flag and fired a salute to celebrate the important event.
The prisoners were permitted to return to Detroit, except
Hamilton and a few officers, who were sent to Virginia.
The Indian tribes of the region hastened to make peace
with one who had conquered their allies with so little
Two important advantages were gained by the capture
of this territory : the Indian tribes were subdued, and the
colonies were able to claim the Northwest Territory, with
the Mississippi for its western boundary. The Virginia
Assembly controlled all the captured country, which they
called the Territory of Illinois.
Colonel Clark served as a soldier during the remainder
of the Revolution, and at its close he enlisted under the
flag of France and fought the Spanish on the lower
Mississippi River. The latter years of his life were spent
near Louisville fighting disease and poverty. Near the
close of his life the State of Virginia offered him a sword.
To the committee which presented it, he exclaimed : "When
Virginia needed a sword I gave her one. She sends me
now a toy. I want bread." With these words he thrust
the blade into the ground and snapped it with a blow from
THE ORDINANCE OF 1 787.
At the close of the Revolution the States of Massachu-
setts, Connecticut and Virginia, by virtue of their original
charters, laid claim to all the territory between the Ohio
River and the Great Lakes westward to the Mississippi.
These colonies, with great reluctance, finally ceded their
claims to the newly established national government, and
the country was called "The territory of the United States,
northwest of the Ohio River." In this manner did our
Government come into possession of the vast domain from
which were carved the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan and Wisconsin.
Settlers began to enter the region, and it became neces-
sary for Congress to provide a form of government which
might insure peace and security to the people. Accord-
ingly, on July 13, 1787, the "Continental Congress" framed
a law which is known in history as the "Ordinance of 1787."
As this instrument has become so famous it may be well
to notice some of its wise provisions which were helpful in
promoting the happiness and prosperity of the people.
In England many had been put to death because they
refused to worship in the manner prescribed by the King.
Even in the colonies there were those who believed that
every man should follow a form of worship established by
the Government. The "Ordinance of 1787" provided that
"no person of peaceable demeanor was to be molested on
THE ORDINANCE OF I/S/. 113
account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments."
The kings of England had often thrown men into prison
and kept them there for many years, without allowing them
a form of trial. Sir Walter Raleigh was thus confined in
the Tower of London for twelve years. Unjust imprison-
ment has ever been a weapon used by tyrants to close the
mouths of men whom they feared. To provide against this
abuse, it was enacted in the ordinance that : "No man
shall be deprived of his liberty or his property, but by the
judgment of his peers (equals), or the law of the land : and
should it be necessary for the common preservation to take
any person's property, or to demand his particular services,
full compensation shall be made for the same."
In England only a few had the means of procuring an
education, but the colonists in America at an early day
established schools for their children. The framers of the
"Ordinance of 1787," with wise forethought, organized a
system of free schools to be supported by taxation and by
money derived from the sale of public lands, some of the
lands being also set aside for the support of a university in
At the close of the eighteenth century slavery existed
in many countries. In America it flourished in several
Statesmen were beginning to see the evil of the con-
tinuance of such a system. Others believed slavery to be
wicked and contrary to the laws of God. Honest toil is
honorable. Wherever slavery exists the people look upon
work as degrading. The framers of the "Ordinance of
1787" were providing a home for honest, self-respecting
people. They therefore enacted that slavery and involun-
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
tary servitude, except as punishment for crimes, should be
prohibited forever in the Northwest Territory.
Furthermore, the territory was to be divided into not
less than three, nor more than five States. If it seemed
best, Congress might ''form one or two (more) States in
that part which lies north of an east and west line drawn
through the southerly
bend or extreme of
(However, when Illi-
nois became a State in
1818, the northern
boundary was fixed, not
by running a line west
from the extreme
southern end of the
lake, as prescribed in
the Ordinance, but by
a parallel sixty-one
miles farther north.
This was done for the
purpose of securing lake
frontage to the State.)
Civil authority was
vesting in a governor
who was to be commander-in-chief of the militia, with
power, until a general assembly was organized, to appoint
all civil officers of each county. A court consisting of
three judges was also appointed. These judges, with the
governor, were to adopt such of the laws of the thirteen
original States as were deemed best for the territory.
GEN. ARTHUR ST. CLAIR.
THE ORDINANCE OF I/Sj. 115
Whenever there were five thousand free male inhabitants
of legal age within the limits of the territory, the people
were to elect a general assembly, consisting of one repre-
sentative for every five hundred voters. The assembly was
to choose ten men, and Congress was to select five of these
to act as a Council or Upper House.
Such was the government provided by the "Ordinance
of 1787," and with slight changes it has proven adequate
to the needs of territorial government up to the present day.
Whenever the population of a Territory numbered 60,-
ooo, it might take the necessary steps to become a State.
The wise provisions of this ordinance respecting per-
sonal liberty, education and slavery have more or less in-
fluenced the destinies of all States formed from the public
President Washington appointed as the first governor
General Arthur St. Clair, and the little village of Marietta
on the Ohio River became the seat of territorial govern-
ment. In 1788 Governor St. Clair and his three judges
entered upon the duties of their offices.
October 6, 1790, President Washington wrote to the
governor requesting him to carry out "the wishes of the
late Congress relating to the inhabitants at Vincennes,
Kaskaskia, . and the other villages upon the Mississippi."
Continuing he writes, "It is a circumstance of some
importance that the said inhabitants should, as soon as
possible, possess the lands to which they are entitled by
some known and fixed principle." Governor St. Clair
immediately set about carrying out President Washington's
commands, and arrived at Kaskaskia in February, 1791, de-
termined to adjust matters in an impartial manner.
Il6 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The country as far north as the Little Mackinaw Creek
on the Illinois River was organized into a county and
named St. Clair, with Cahokia as the county seat. This,
the "mother county" of Illinois, was divided into three
judicial districts. A court of common pleas was established
and three judges appointed: John Edgar, of Kaskaskia,
John C. Moulin, of Cahokia, and John Baptiste Barbeau,
of Prairie du Rocher.
William St. Clair, brother to the governor, became the
first recorder of deeds, and William Biggs the first sheriff.
The first lawyer to locate in Illinois was John Rice Jones,
a highly educated Welshman, who came to Kaskaskia in
1790. It is said he possessed much ability and had a
practice extending from Kaskaskia to the Ohio River.
Lawsuits were as expensive and inconvenient in those
days as at the present time. In a certain suit brought in
Cahokia to recover the value of a cow, the damages were
assessed at $16.00. The defendants, who lived at Prairie
du Chien, appealed the case. The sheriff, with his summons
and subpoenas in his pocket, fitted out a boat with goods
suitable to trade with Indians, and started on his journey
of four hundred miles to carry out the instructions of the
court. Having served his subpoenas and his summons,
he returned in the same manner. His charges for mileage
and service, together with other expenses, carried the costs
of the suit to more than $900.
THE ILLINOIS PIONEERS.
The soldiers of Colonel George Rogers Clark were the
first Americans to enter the Illinois country. Some of these
men probably remained here, while others, after their term
of enlistment had expired, returned to Kentucky and Vir-
ginia, spreading abroad glowing reports of the wonderful
richness and fertility of this region.
In the spring of 1781, a company of people from Mary-
land, composed largely of Colonel Clark's veterans under
the leadership of James Moore, crossed the Alleghany
Mountains and prepared to descend the Ohio River. A
number of flat boats, at that time called "arks," were built
for this purpose. These boats were froni thirty to forty
feet in length and ten or twelve feet in breadth, a large
craft for those days. The entire boat was decked with
a rude, strong roof, which had much the appearance of a
farmyard, for it was covered with wagons, carts and
plows, spinning wheels, hay, coops of chickens, bags of
seed and feed for the cattle. Beneath the roof were
crowded together the men, women and children, with the
horses, sheep, hogs and cattle. At length when all was
prepared, the little fleet of boats loaded with people and
animals glided out upon the current of the Ohio and began
the long voyage to the "Illinois country." Many were the
dangers encountered. Sometimes the voyagers were at-
tacked by Indians; then it was necessary for the women
Il8 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
and children to crouch low while the men beat back the
savages by firing through the "port holes" with which the
sides of the "arks" were provided. Often at night they
dared not light a fire for fear that the blaze might attract
the lurking foe.
After a journey of many days the boats reached the
rnouth of the Ohio and, stemming the current of the Mis-
sissippi, arrived in safety at Kaskaskia. The little company
settled on the broad valley west of the village; and the lo-
cality, from the fact that they were the only American set-
tlers, received the name of "American Bottom."
But the majority of the immigrants to the new country
came in great covered wagons drawn by oxen or horses.
These brave pioneers, unmindful of the dangers around
them, pushed their way through the dark and tangled for-
ests. If the streams which intercepted the route were too
deep to be forded a raft would be constructed on which
the family, the cattle and the wagons were ferried to the
opposite bank. Occasionally the cattle would stray from
the camp during the night and be lost for days.
At all times the hunters of the party watched for the
approach of prowling Indians. At night, as they gathered
about the blazing camp fire and engaged in songs and
merriment, one of the number would be detailed to stand
guard. The steaks of buffalo, bear or deer, which were
cooked every night, were supplied by the rifles of the hun-
ters. A Johnny cake, baked before the fire on a "journey
board," from which was derived the name, completed the
When the horses were turned loose to feed upon the
rich grass of the open glade, a tinkling bell was attached
THE ILLINOIS PIONEERS. IIQ
to the neck of the leader. Its noise served to guide the
owner to the spot where the horses had strayed during the
The women and children slept in the wagons, but the
men and boys, wrapped in their blankets, lay down about
the camp fire.
The journey usually occupied many months. At last
the family or colony, having arrived on the banks of a
river whose beauty pleased their fancy, resolved to make
a permanent home. Rude cabins were erected, and the
work of clearing away the forests and planting a crop in
the virgin soil was begun without delay. The early immi-
grants disliked to settle upon the beautiful prairies on ac-
count of the distance from water, the absence of shade and
on account of green-headed flies which swarmed there.
In 1782, the settlement of New Design was established on
the beautiful elevated lands overlooking the Kaskaskia and
Another colony of one hundred and fifty-four people
from Virginia arrived in 1797, under the leadership of Rev.
David Bagley. They had been subjected to much exposure
and suffered many hardships. The season was unusually
wet, and more than half the colonists died from the effects
of a malignant fever. "Fever and ague" and "milk-sick,"
a peculiar disorder, caused by drinking the milk of cattle
diseased from eating the rank herbage or a peculiar weed,
attacked many new comers.
The many cases of sickness gave rise to the report that
Illinois was an unhealthy country, and this, for a time,
checked the tide of immigration.
The habits and manners of these early pioneers were
I2O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
plain and simple. Accustomed to life in the forest, they
knew little of the ways of more thickly settled communities.
The deer, bear, buffalo, elk and fox provided material from
which were made hunting shirts, caps and moccasins.
Skilful with ax, drawing-knife and auger, each settler made,
not only his humble cabin, but the necessary furniture as
Oiled paper supplied the place of window glass. The
beams of the floor and the weight poles of the roof were
held in place by wooden pegs. The door swung upon
wooden hinges and was fastened by a wooden latch, which
was lifted from without by a deer thong run through a hole.
Any person was at liberty to enter a home if "the latch
string was out." Often the rude cradle was made from
the half of a hollow log. Rich indeed was the housewife
who could display upon her broad mantel shelf a few
pewter dishes and spoons which had been brought from
the old home "back East." In those early days one could
travel the entire length of a stream without finding a bridge,
and a single water mill ground wheat and corn for the entire
settlement. Sometimes the spring floods caught the settler
unprepared and prevented him from going to mill. At
such a time, when his meal had "run out," he resorted to
the "gritter." This was made by perforating a sheet of
tin, obtained from some cast-off vessel. Inverted, it was
nailed to a board and looked much like a large nutmeg
grater. Putting one end of the board in a tray made from
a hollow log, the settler, grasping an ear of soaked corn
with both hands, proceeded to rub it over the roughened
surface. In this primitive way did our fathers often obtain
the meal for fheir corn bread. "Lye hominy" was also
THE ILLINOIS PIONEERS. . 121
a staple article of food and, with the pork to be found in
every household, gave rise to the expression "hog and
As fear of the Indians decreased, farms became larger,
and settlements grew into little villages. Cotton and flax
were raised, and herds of sheep were pastured in the woods.
Gradually clothing made from cotton, flax and wool took
the place of that made from the skins of wild beasts.
These pioneers had many "merry makings" to enliven
the arduous labor of clearing land, splitting rails and plant-
ing crops. If misfortune overtook a settler the entire
neighborhood turned out to help gather the harvest or plow
the land. While the men worked in the field their wives,
who had accompanied them, spread a bountiful repast upon
tables made of wagon boards. After dinner the men gath-
ered in groups and talked politics or engaged in wrestling
and foot racing. Often, however, a horse race enlivened the
day's pleasure, for these early settlers were passionately
fond of this sport. They were good story tellers, too, and
at such a gathering some veteran of the Revolution related
the story of the capture of Burgoyne,or extolled the bravery
of Morgan at the battle of Cowpens. Others, famous in
Indian wars, told and retold of hairbreadth escapes from
the savage foe. "Log rollings" and "husking bees" were
also popular gatherings. And after the work was finished,
to the music of a squeaking fiddle, the merry makers, old
and young, danced until the early morning hours. Then
the horses were "hooked up," and with much noise and
laughter the company separated.
Living remote from settlements, each man played the
part of carpenter, blacksmith, or harness-maker, as neces-
122 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
sity required. James Lemon, a pioneer minister and farmer
of Monroe County, was one day engaged in plowing a
field upon which the stubble was so heavy that his son
was compelled to use a pitch-fork to keep the plow from
"clogging." When the team was turned out for dinner
the father, as was his habit, left the harness upon the plow
beam. The boy, having tired of the work, remained behind
long enough to hide one of the home-made collars, ex-
pecting to have a "playing-spell" while his father was em-
ployed in making a new one. On returning from dinner the
fanner missed the collar, and after reflecting a few moments,
promptly took off his leather breeches. These the boy
was compelled to stuff with straw and stubble. They were
then straddled across the neck of the horse and served as
a collar. The father, bare-legged, followed the plow and
kept the roguish son busily at work during the long after-
Many of these early pioneers were men of great force
of character, and afterwards rose to positions of prominence
in the State and nation. Shadrach Bond, the first governor
of the State, was a member of the first colony that settled
in the "Illinois country."
THE ILLINOIS RANGERS.
The frequent outbreaks of the Indians at the opening
of the War of 1812 made it necessary to provide for the
protection of the settlers. Accordingly Congress organized
ten companies of mounted rangers and assigned to four
of them the task of guarding the Illinois frontiers. Each
man provided his own horse, gun and provisions, and was
paid one dollar for every day of service.
These hardy rangers, accustomed to the life of the fron-
tier, were a most valuable aid in repelling the attacks of
One of the most daring of these men was Tom
Higgins, a member of Captain Tourney's company.
Tom was strong and muscular, absolutely without fear,
and possessed of good judgment in time of danger. One
morning when stationed at Hills Fort, near the present site
of Greenville, a band of Indians was discovered, and the
Rangers started in pursuit of them.
The wily savages, knowing they were being followed,
ambushed their pursuers, and killed several of them. Al-
though the Rangers fought bravely, they were greatly out-
numbered, and finally retreated to the fort. Tom Higgins,
however, waited behind the others to have another pull
at them, and taking careful aim, shot down a savage.
Just as he was mounting his horse, which had been
wounded, a voice from the tall grass saluted him with the
124 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
words "I'm wounded, Tom, you won't leave me ?" Higgins
replied, "Come on, Burgess, and I will put you on my
horse." As Tom attempted to lift the wounded man the
terrified animal jerked the bridle from his owner's arm
and ran away. Keeping the murderous savages at a safe
distance with his leveled rifle, Higgins calmly directed Bur-
gess to crawl through the long prairie grass to the fort,
which was standing only- a short distance away.
As soon as the unfortunate man was well on his way
to a place of safety Tom plunged into a dense thicket and,
closely followed by the Indians, ran for the fort, when sud-
denly he was confronted by other savages. To avoid them
he leaped into a deep ravine and continued his desperate
flight. As he ran he perceived for the first time that he
had been shot, and looking over his shoulder, saw that he
was being closely pursued by three savages. At this instant
the foremost Indian fired and Tom fell, wounded the
second time ; as he arose the other two fired, and he fell
again, pierced by two more bullets.
Then the three savages, with uplifted tomahawks, rushed
forward to complete their work, but the brave fellow arose
the third time, and by presenting his rifle first at one and
then at another kept them at bay for a time. The largest,
thinking that the rifle must be empty, sprang forward, only
to fall dead with a bullet in his brain. The other warriors,
with a shout, rushed forward to avenge the death of their
comrade, and a terrific hand to hand conflict began. The
wounded man defended himself with a long knife until he
was again hurled to the ground by a blow from a toma-
hawk, which was thrown with such unerring aim that it
cut off his ear. As Tom lay upon the ground the two
THE ILLINOIS RANGERS. 125
sprang upon him, but he managed to seize a spear from one
and thrust it through the body of the other.
The unequal combat had occurred in full view of the
fort, but beyond the range of the rifles held by men, who
believed that it was all a ruse to draw them out into another
ambuscade. Finally Mrs. Pursley, a brave woman who
had watched the battle, mounted a fleet horse and started
to the rescue, declaring that she "would not see so brave
a man killed." The men, not to be outdone by a woman,
hastened after her, and at their approach the remaining
Tom, fainting from loss of blood, was carried to the fort,
where his wounds were dressed and the balls extracted
from his body. For many days he lingered between life
and death, but eventually recovered and lived to receive
a pension for his bravery. Later in his life he was made
the doorkeeper of the State General Assembly at Vandalia.
During this period there was incessant war between the
red man and the white, each watching for every opportunity
to overcome the other. It happened that as Captain Short
and his Rangers were encamped near the present site of
Covington, in Washington County, they discovered "Indian
signs," and immediately started in pursuit of the savages,
who were driving off a number of stolen horses. Captain
Short knew from the signs that the band was large, and
dispatched a trusty scout for reinforcements. The Rangers
overtook the savages and a battle ensued, in which the
white men were worsted and beat a hasty retreat. Moses
Short escaped being killed because of a thick twist of to-
bacco in his pouch, which received the bullet that otherwise
would have entered his body.
126 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The next day reinforcements arrived, and the Rangers
again took up the trail of the Indians, who, flushed with
victory, had grown careless. When approaching the forks
of the Little Wabash River the report of a rifle warned the
Rangers that they were near the foe, and, by a cautious
advance, the savages were surrounded before they were
aware of the white men's presence. When the Indians
discovered that there was no hope of escape they chanted
their death song and fought desperately until the last
warrior was killed. By such bloody conflicts was the soil
of Illinois wrested from the red men.
During the War of 1812, the Indians, reinforced by num-
bers of British, often gained the advantage over the Rangers
who dared to penetrate into the "Indian Country," as
Northern Illinois and Iowa were called.
In the spring of 1814 Governor Clark of Missouri sent a
force of two hundred men up the Mississippi to attack
Prairie du Chien, which was held by the British and In-
dians. The attack was successful, but in the summer the
fort was retaken by the enemy.
General Howard, ignorant of this unfortunate occurrence,
determined to send reinforcements to the remote post, and
fitted out a force of one hundred and eight men, who were
placed in charge of Lieutenant Campbell. Sixty-six of
these men were Illinois Rangers, and, commanded by Cap-
tains Riggs and Rector, occupied two of the three keel-
boats in which the expedition embarked.
The Indians were not ignorant of the destination of the
soldiers, and resolved to give them battle at the Rapids
near Rock Island. When the boats reached this point the
wily savages approached with every profession of friend-
THE ILLINOIS RANGERS. I2/
ship, but quietly urged the French boatmen, against whom
they cherished no ill will, to return to their homes. But for
this event Lieutenant Campbell and his men might have
been taken off their guard.
As the boats proceeded up the rapids the barge contain-
ing Lieutenant Campbell, which was in the rear, was blown
by the strong wind upon a small island near the Illinois
shore. With the approach of evening the boat was tied
up, the necessary sentinels stationed, and the men were
ordered to prepare fires upon which to cook their suppers.
This was the opportunity for which the Indians had waited.
Under the command of Black Hawk they poured across
the narrow channel and rushed upon the troops, who
quickly sought the shelter of their boat. From behind logs
and trees the Indians poured in a storm of bullets upon
the soldiers, who defended themselves as best they could.
In the midst of the battle the boat took fire, and every
man would have been destroyed but for the timely arrival
of the Illinois Rangers who, at the first sound of firing,
had turned their boats, and in the teeth of a howling gale,
hastened to the rescue.
Captain Rigg's boat became stranded upon the jutting
rocks of the rapids, but Captain Rector with his brave men,
in plain view of the hundreds of savages who lined the
shore, coolly guided his vessel to the windward of the
burning craft, while his Rangers poured volley after volley
into the savages. The French boatmen leaped into the
water and, protected by the side of the boat, skilfully guided
it to the burning barge. The soldiers and wounded men
were quickly transferred to the rescuing boat, which
glided safely out into the midst of the stream and began
128 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
the retreat to St. Louis. The island where this attack oc-
curred is still called Campbell's Island.
The Rangers in Captain Rigg's boat had their hands full
to keep at bay the savages by whom they were surrounded,
In the night, after the fierce wind had subsided, they suc-
ceeded in getting their boat off the rocks, and followed the
others to St. Louis, which they reached without further
The next year another body of troops, commanded by
Major Zachary Taylor, attempted to penetrate the Indian
country, with the purpose of burning villages and destroy-
ing cornfields. But the expedition was no more successful
than the previous one, and the savages compelled them
to retire with a serious loss.
With the beginning of winter gloom and fear settled
down upon the frontier of Illinois, but the treaty of Ghent
between America and England closed the war, and the
Indian depredations ceased for a number of years.
THE BLOCK HOUSES AND OLD FORT DEARBORN.
As an additional protection against the savages, many
block houses were erected. These extended from the Illi-
nois River to the Kaskaskia, thence to the Salt Springs
near the present town of Equality, thence up the Ohio and
Wabash Rivers. These forts furnished a refuge for nearly
all settlers of the frontier.
They were built of hewn logs, carefully put together, so
as to afford no crevice for hand or foot of an Indian foe. The
doors were made of thick puncheons, held in place by
strong wooden, beams. Port-holes on every side, above the
height of one's head, gave opportunity to repel an attack.
The second story projected over the first and, in this pro-
jecting floor, holes were made through which rifles could
be fired at any Indian who might try to force an entrance.
Sometimes these block houses were located on the edge
of a prairie, but, if situated in the timber, the ground was
cleared for a distance on every side, that no protection
might be given to the lurking foe.
Stockade forts were made by building four block houses
at the corners of a square, and connecting them with a
stockade twelve or fifteen feet in height. This fence was
made of huge posts placed side by side, and planted firmly
in the ground. If there was no spring within the enclosure,
a well was dug, and sometimes huts were erected. Port-
holes seven or eight feet above the ground were reached
from raised platforms. Two heavy entrance gates, securely
130 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
barred, were made large enough to admit wagons and cat-
tle. In times of danger the families of the entire neighbor-
hood would flee to such a fort, bringing their stock with
them. By day the cattle were permitted to graze in the
clearing and woods, but at night they were usually driven
within the enclosure. Often, when the gates were opened
in the morning, the savages concealed in the woods beyond
the clearing would fire upon the inmates of the fort.
Camp Russell, the largest and strongest of these stock-
ades, was built by Governor Edwards at Edwardsville.
The ancient cannon of old Fort Chartres were removed
thither and placed upon the walls, where they served to over-
awe the savages. This fort became the center of military
operations during the War of 1812, and was made a store-
house for supplies. Within this stockade, defended by stout
hearts and strong arms, the people of the territory often
sought shelter and protection.
Twenty-two block houses were erected between Kas-
kaskia and the present city of Alton, but, in spite of these
precautions, the settlers were frequently attacked within the
One evening three men, venturing out from Jourdan's
fort to gather firewood, were attacked by Indians and only
one succeeded in making his escape. At another time a
band of savages, wandering through the woods, came into
the vicinity of Hill's block house. Stealthily approaching,
they picked the mud from a crevice in the chimney and
saw a soldier sitting near the fire. A rifle was inserted
and the man was shot. The report of the gun caused the
soldiers to rush to their posts. Now it happened that a
man named Lindley had gone out of the stockade to carry
THE BLOCK HOUSES. 13!
feed to the stock and had left the large gate open. The
Indians made a rush for the entrance, but the men within
hastily closed and barred it, leaving poor Lindley on the
outside, in the midst of the terrified cattle.
The baffled Indians turned their attention to the soldier
who had sought refuge among the herd. Every creature
stood with dilated nostril and uplifted tail, glaring at them.
As the savages with raised weapons and blood-curdling
yells rushed forward, the cattle, bellowing loudly, turned
and fled. Lindley, who was a powerful man, on the in-
stant contrived a plan of escape. Leaping astride a steer
as it passed him, he coiled his long arms around the aston-
ished creature's neck and slipped beneath its huge body.
The arrows of the Indians only served to quicken the speed
of the herd, and Lindley was quickly carried out of danger.
The savages returned to the attack of the fort, but at
length were repulsed and driven away, taking their dead
and wounded with them. That night Lindley returned to
the fort and in a few days the scattered herd was recovered.
The most pretentious defense against the Indians of
Northern Illinois was old Fort Dearborn, which was erected
at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1804, and named in
honor of General Dearborn.
At the breaking out of the War of 1812 it was garrisoned
by fifty soldiers under the command of Captain Heald. By
the direction of General Hull this garrison evacuated Fort
Dearborn and attempted to reach Fort Wayne. Upon
entering the broken sand-hill country to the southeast,
they were treacherously attacked and twenty-three of the
garrison murdered, together with many women and children
who accompanied them.
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During the early settlement of the Illinois country the
rivers formed the great highways of travel. Goods were
brought in flat boats and barges from Pittsburgh and New
Orleans. The wheat and produce of the country were
floated down to Louisiana in boats manned by the settlers
themselves, but as the voyage was full of danger and re-
quired many months, a class of men called keel-boatmen
gradually arose, who made this work their sole business.
Their boats were built very large and symmetrical, with a
cabin for passengers as well as a space set apart for freight
A long oar, sometimes thirty feet in length, with a blade
like the fin of a fish, was used for steering the craft, while
four large oars at the bow furnished the propelling power.
A speed of five or six miles an hour could be obtained when
glidingi down the stream ; but it was no easy task for such
a boat to stem the current of a river, especially the Missis-
sippi. A large sail was used when the wind favored, but
often the crew walked many weary miles along the shore,
and pulled the boat after them by means of a long rope.
Sometimes the rope was carried ahead of the boat and
attached to a rock or over-hanging tree, and then the crew
stood upon the deck and pulled "hand over hand."
The dangers of river navigation were increased by the
large number of pirates and savages that infested the banks
134 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
of the Mississippi River. These desperadoes would sally
forth from their hiding places at the mouth of a convenient
river or from the steep bluffs near Grand Tower, and fall
upon solitary keel boats, seizing the cargo and murdering
the crew and passengers.
At length the pirates became so bold that keel boats were
compelled to travel together for protection.
In 1797 Spain placed on the Mississippi a large fleet of
armed boats, which speedily cleared the river of these out-
At Beausoleil Island, in the year 1787, river pirates
boarded a richly-laden keel boat bound from New Orleans
to St. Louis, capturing the owner and the entire crew.
Their rescue was effected by the courage and daring of a
young negro servant named Cacassotte, who shrewdly
planned it. By laughter and good humor he gained the
confidence of the robbers and persuaded them that he was
delighted thus to gain his freedom. Cacassotte, who acted
as cook, resolved to attempt the execution of his plan at
the dinner hour after the pirates had imbibed freely". When
the desperadoes had seated themselves at the bow and
stern the negro and his two colored comrades went among
them distributing food and drink.
As he appeared before the leader, who, armed to the teeth,
was standing at the bow, Cacassotte gave the signal, and
instantly three robbers were struggling in the deep water.
With the swiftness of lightning, they rushed upon three
more of the men, who straightway joined their companions
in the river.
Before the remainder of the robbers could recover their
presence of mind they too were pushed overboard. Then,
KEEL BO ATS. 135
seizing the rifles which were scattered upon the deck, the
negroes shot the drunken fellows as they struggled in the
These keel-boatmen were fearless and hardy men. Their
peculiar occupation developed herculean strength in many,
and made desperate characters of not a few.
Naked to the waist, they propelled their boats with their
strong arms, amidst many dangers. At the close of the
day they partook of a strong pull at the whiskey bottle
before eating their hearty supper of hominy and pork.
To the music, of a sprightly fiddle or the rippling of the
waters, these men were then lulled to sleep, to be awakened
the next morning by the steersman's horn, which called
them to another pull at the bottle and an early breakfast
before their day's work begun.
The keel-boatmen greatly enjoyed rude sports. Some
were excellent shots with the rifle. All were fond of fight-
ing, and often waged battle with the crews of rafts and flat
boats, whom they cordially hated.
The most notorious character among these keel-boatmen
was Mike Fink, who acted in the capacity of spy, scout
and boatman in the war of 1812. Born at Pittsburg, from
early boyhood Mike followed the life of keel-boatman. He
was a man of great strength, skillful with axe and oar, and
noted as the best rifle shot in the Mississippi Valley. As
his keel boat, the "Lightfoot," glided down the river Fink
would amuse himself by shooting the tails from the pigs
upon the shore. Seeing a negro upon the wharf with his
foot elevated, the reckless fellow shot off his heel. The poor
darkey fell to the ground howling with pain. At the trial
which followed, the jury refused to listen to Mike's ex-
136 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
planation, which was that he wished "to correct the defect-
ive foot and prepare it for a genteel boot."
Fink had a boon companion named Carpenter, who was
also expert with the rifle. The two friends frequently
amused themselves and entertained the crowd of boatmen
by shooting tin cups full of whiskey from each other's
One day, while under the influence of liquor, Fink and
Carpenter quarreled, and after apparently making up de-
cided to indulge in their favorite pastime.
Carpenter was the first to place the cup on his own head.
Mike walked away the required distance, turned, took care-
ful aim and fired; Carpenter fell dead. Fink tearfully
claimed that it was an accident, and the spectators believed
this to be true. A few months after, however, the drunken
fellow boasted that he had killed Carpenter intentionally.
Thereupon a friend of the murdered man shot him upon
the spot. Thus ended the life of one of the most notable
and desperate of these early characters.
A gentleman who took a trip on one of these boats in
company with his cousin, who was going to New Orleans,
has left an interesting account of a disaster which befell
them a few miles above the mouth of the Ohio River.
"One dark rainy night our boat drifted rapidly down
stream with the current. We usually 'tied up along the
shore' on very dark nights, but our captain, who was also
pilot, declared he could steer in the darkest night that ever
"Most of the passengers had retired to their cabins and
were asleep, when suddenly there came a crash, which sent
me out of my berth onto the floor. I sprang to my feet
KEEL BOATS. 137
and my first thought was of Nancy (the lady under my
charge). I ran to her cabin and found her up and dressed,
and not nearly so badly frightened as I had feared she
" 'What has happened?' she asked.
' 'The boat has struck a snag and may sink. Stay right
here until I come for you.'
"Then I went on deck, where all was confusion. There
were twelve or fifteen passengers there, running about like
"The most excited of all were five men from St. Louis.
They had dragged their trunk and carpet bags to the deck,
and were calling for a skiff or yawl to take them to shore.
All the captain or mate could do or say to quiet them was
in vain. Three or four lanterns were lighted, and served
to increase the terror of all by revealing the black, turbid
waters into which we were gradually sinking to what ap-
peared to be certain death.
"The men who had brought their trunk on deck seized
one of the yawls, leaped in with their baggage, before any
one could prevent them, and pulled to shore, which the
flashes of lightning showed was not more than thirty yards
"About the time they landed with their baggage, I ob-
served that the boat began to rock just like a basin sinking
in shallow water. The captain noticed this also, and
' 'You are all safe. The boat is on a sand bar and can't
"In fact one of the crew had cast the lead line a moment
before, and discovered that we were in only about five feet
138 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
of water. I went back to Nancy, who was anxiously await-
ing my return.
" 'What shall we do?' she asked.
" 'Go to bed and sleep until morning,' I answered. .
"She did so. It rained all night. It was one of those
cold, disagreeable rains that makes one shiver, and one's
bones ache. Next morning we saw five or six wet, mis-
erable wretches sitting on the bank, shivering and begging
the captain to take them on board.
"They were the selfish cowards who would have escaped
with their luggage and left the remainder of us to drown.
Their haste to get to land was so great that they forgot to
moor the yawl in which they went ashore, and it had floated
"Though the captain had another, he would not send for
them, and left them all night in the rain. But soon after
daylight he brought them all aboard.
"Our boat had struck a snag which knocked a hole in
the bottom ; but fortunately, after striking, we came imme-
diately to such shallow water that we could not sink.
"We lived in this grounded boat for over a week before
another keel boat came and took us down the river to our
With the advent of steam both flat and keel boats grad-
ually disappeared, and with them departed the race of brave
and hardy men who played so important a part in the devel-
opment and settlement of Illinois.
IvOVEjOY MONUMENT ALTON.
STATEHOOD AND THE CONSTITUTION.
In 1809 the Territory of Illinois was separated from
that of Indiana, a territorial government was organized
and Ninian Edwards, of Kentucky, was appointed governor.
Partly on account of peace with the Indians, which fol-
lowed the War of 1812,
and partly owing to an
act of Congress in
1813, which gave set-
tlers the right to "pre-
empt" the public lands,
the tide of immigration
began to roll in upon
the new region. (It
might be well to ex-
plain here that the law
of pre-emption provid-
ed that when a settler
had made improve-
ments upon a piece of
government land, he
could not be supplanted
by another purchaser NINIAN EDWARDS.
until he had been afforded an opportunity to buy the land
from the government.) The pioneer had used deer skins,
coon skins and various other pelts as a medium of ex-
change, but the payment of the soldiers and the arrival of
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
immigrants caused money to become more abundant.
The population increased rapidly from 1812 to 1818.
Many of the soldiers from the States of Virginia, Tennessee
and Kentucky were so well pleased with the country that
they sent for their families and established permanent
homes. Before 1818 ten new counties had been formed,
making a total of fif-
teen, and the popula-
tion of the State had
increased to almost for-
"The Bank of Illinois'''
was established ?t
Shawneetown i n 1816,
and the following year
other banks were locat-
ed at Kankasia and
Although the popula-
tion had not reached
60,000, the number re-
quired for statehood by
the "Ordinance o f
1787," the people, ener-
getic and restless, clam-
ored to be admitted to the Union. Congress passed an
"enabling act" reducing the requirements to 40,000, and a
questionable census reported the necessary number. The
territorial delegate to Congress was Judge Nathanial Pope,
who thoroughly understood the needs of the Illinois coun-
try. Deep and lasting should be our gratitude to this
JUDGE NATHANIEL POPE.
STATEHOOD THE CONSTITUTIONS. 143
great man for his wise forethought in placing important
amendments to the bill which admitted Illinois as a State.
One of these amendments provided that three-fifths of
the 5 per cent fund from the sale of public lands should
be devoted to "the encouragement of education" and that
one-sixth of this sum was to be used exclusively for the
establishing and maintenance of a university or college.
To-day the State is reaping the fruits of this wise legislation.
Another amendment, which has proven of inestimable
value to Illinois, provided that the northern boundary
should be extended to the parallel of forty-two degrees
and nine minutes north latitude. This was fifty-one miles
north of the line indicated by the "Ordinance of 1787." But
Judge Pope contended that it would be of great advantage
to Illinois and the nation to have the new State embrace a
part of Lake Michigan.
In his plea upon the floor of Congress he used these elo-
quent words :
"If her commerce is to be confined to that great artery of
communication, the Mississippi, which washes her entire
western border, and to its chief tributary on the south, the
Ohio, there is a possibility that her commercial relations
with the South may become so closely connected that in
the event of an attempted dismemberment of the Union,
Illinois will cast her lot with the Southern States. On the
other hand, to fix the northern boundary of Illinois upon
such a parallel of latitude as would give to the State terri-
torial jurisdiction over the southwestern shores of Lake
Michigan, would be to unite the incipient commonwealth
to the States of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New
York in a bond of common interest well nigh indissoluble.
144 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
By the adoption of such a line Illinois may become at
some future time the keystone to the perpetuity of the
Judge Pope, with all his wisdom, probably "builded bet-
ter than he knew." Had the original boundary prevailed
Chicago would have been situated in Wisconsin instead
It is a question whether in that case the city would
have become so great, for the Illinois and Michigan canal,
and the Illinois Central R. R., which contributed so largely
to her early growth, were due wholly to the enterprise of
the State and would not have been built to any city in an
In 1856, the votes of the fourteen counties formed from
this strip made Illinois a Republican State and assured the
candidacy of Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. This
change in boundary gave to Illinois the city of Galena, the
home of U. S. Grant.
These are some of the reasons why the change of our
northern boundary through the wisdom of Judge Pope was
of very great importance to Illinois and the nation.
In July, 1818, thirty-three delegates gathered in Kaskas-
kia to draft a constitution for the future State. The greater
number of them were farmers, men of limited education,
but possessed of much natural ability and experience in
public affairs. The constitution framed by them was a
brief document, copied largely from the constitutions of
Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. In a series of eight articles
it defined the duties and powers of 'the executive, judicial
and legislative departments of the new State.
STATEHOOD THE CONSTITUTIONS. 145
A curious provision of this constitution placed the veto
power with a "Council of Revision," consisting of the
governor and the judges of the Supreme bench.
No salaries were fixed, but it provided that the Governor
should not receive to exceed $1,000 annually, and the
Secretary of State not more than $600.
As if doubting the wisdom of placing too much power
directly with the people, the Constitution provided that the
only officers to be elected should be Governor, Lieutenant-
Governor, Sheriff, Coroner and County Commissioners.
Other officers were to be appointed by the Governor or
the General Assembly.
Their labors ended, the members of the Convention
adjourned on August 26, and on December 3, of the same
year, Illinois was admitted to the Union as the eighth
Few public documents stand, unaltered, the test of time
and experience. The ready-made Constitution was poorly
suited to the needs of the people of Illinois. Upon it was
heaped the blame for the many misfortunes that befell the
State in its early years.
At length, in 1848, a new Constitution, which corrected
many of the defects of the old, was adopted by the people.
But as this Constitution was framed when the people were
heavily in debt and before the natural resources of the
country were known, it failed to provide for the expansion
of the young State.
In December, 1869, a convention of the people gathered
at Springfield "To alter, revise or amend the Constitution"
for a third time. This Convention, numbering eighty-five
delegates, was the ablest body that had ever gathered in
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
the State. It was composed of men of ripe experience,
sound judgment and profound learning, who had gained
distinction in their various professions as lawyers, farmers,
merchants, bankers, physicians and editors. Such a body
of men, inspired by high and patriotic motives, could not
fail to produce a docu-
ment suited to the needs
of the people. The result
of their deliberations
was the present Consti-
tution, which many stu-
dents o f politics c o n -
sider wiser and better
than that possessed by
any other State in the
Union. The State,
however, in its rapid de-
velopment has o u t -
grown many of its pro-
visions, and a consider-
able number of amend-
ments have been added
from time to time so
that the instrument may
continue to serve the
purpose for which it was originally intended. One of the
new and commendable articles of the Constitution provides
for the establishment and maintenance of an efficient pub-
lic school system. Another very important clause of the
instrument distinctly prohibits any city, town or county
of the State from becoming a subscriber to the capital stock
STATEHOOD THE CONSTITUTIONS. 147
of any railroad or corporation. It further provides for the
establishing of a minority representation in the State legis-
lature. This principle permits every voter to cast as many
ballots for one candidate to the legislature as there are
representatives to be chosen in his district, or he may
divide his votes among the various candidates as he wishes.
Thus the minority party in any district in the State may
mass its votes upon a single candidate. This, the third
Constitution, was adopted by the people in 1870.
The first governor of Illinois was Shadrach Bond, who,
like many men who have contributed to the greatness and
honor of the State, was born beyond its limits. He came
to the Illinois country from Maryland in 1794, when but
twenty-one years of age. Compelled to work upon a farm
in the American Bottoms, he obtained little schooling,
but by diligent use of his time he acquired a store of
knowledge which made him a power among men of that
early day. With jet black hair and eyes, tall and erect, com-
manding in appearance and dignified in bearing, he won the
esteem and respect of all men. A captain in the War
of 1812, he was elected as the first territorial delegate to
Congress. Appointed as the receiver of public moneys,
he removed in 1814 to Kaskaskia, and erected there a
spacious brick house, which he occupied until his death.
The first lieutenant-governor of the State, Pierre Menard,
was born near Montreal, Canada, in 1766. When but a
lad he came to Vincennes and hired out to a French mer-
chant. About the year 1790 he removed to Kaskaskia and
set up a business for himself. He was short of stature,
impulsive in his nature, bright and alert, and possessed of
a kind heart that won him many friends.
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The soul of honor, Pierre Menard treated red men and
white with equal consideration. Over the Indians, who
had implicit confidence in him, he possessed an influence
greater than that of any other man in the territory. At
his spacious home he dispensed a boundless hospitality
to rich and poor alike. In those days salt was expensive
and difficult to obtain.
At one time Pierre Me-
nard held the only sup-
ply to be found outside
of St. Louis. In great
distress, the people of
the region came to buy.
He ranged those who
declared they had mon-
ey with which to pur-
chase upon one side of
his store and those who
confessed they had
nothing on the other.
Then he addressed them
in his broken English:
"Your men who got de
money can go to St.
Louis for your salt. Dese poor men who got no money
shall have my salt, by gar." At the expiration of his term of
office he retired from public service and lived upon his large
estate at Kaskaskia, where he died in 1844. The State, in
recognition of his services, named a county for him. Charles
Pierre Choteau of St. Louis, erected at the east front of
the capitol at Springfield a monument to his memory.
THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY.
The first negro slaves were brought to the American
colonies in 1619 by a Dutch trader and sold to the Virginia
planters. A century later, in 1721, Philip Renault pur-
chased 500 ne-
groes a t S a n
to Fort Char-
tres t o work
in the gold
open. But no
the slaves were
sold to the
tlers. All the
of Illinois were
descended from GOVt EDWA RD COLES.
I5O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
these San Domingo negroes. At this time the countries of
Europe permitted slavery in their various colonies. The
laws of France regulating the practice were humane and
merciful. They provided that slaves were to be instructed
in the Roman Catholic religion. The Sabbath also was to
be observed by them. Marriages between whites and blacks
could not be solemnized. Masters were commanded to
deal kindly with their slaves, and to care for those rendered
useless by infirmity or old age. Negro families were not to
be separated by sale, nor could a negro over forty years of
age be sold from the land on which he lived.
Slavery never flourished in Illinois. In 1810 there were
but 1 68 slaves within the borders of the Territory, and in
1820, with all the increase in population, only 917. But
many of the settlers came from States where slavery flour-
ished and were desirous of continuing the system. When
the "Ordinance of 1787," prohibiting slavery in the North-
west Territory, was passed, many people believed that
the institution would disappear from the South as it had
from the North. But the invention of the cotton gin and
the steam engine greatly increased the demand for cotton.
The States bordering upon the Gulf became vast cotton
fields, cultivated by slave labor. In New England and
Great Britain millions of spindles were whirling and shut-
tles were flying to supply the waiting world with clothing.
Instead of dying out, slavery became firmly fastened upon
the nation. Those who were benefited by its existence
began to do all in their power to make it a permanent
While Illinois was still a Territory, several attempts were
made to repeal that clause of the "Ordinance of 1787,"
THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY. 151
prohibiting slavery. These attempts upon Congress might
have proved successful but for the influence of James
Illinois was admitted as a free State in 1818, only after
the most serious objection from the slave-holding element.
To satisfy those who had been defeated, the first general
assembly, whose members had been largely reared in slave-
holding communities, enacted a series of "black laws"
which were as severe as those of any slave State.
Since this iniquitous institution has passed away, it may
be interesting to examine these laws which did not entirely
disappear from our statute books until 1848. "Any one
who freed his slaves within the State was compelled to
give a bond for $1,000, a guarantee that those liberated
should not become public charges, livery free negro was
required to obtain a certificate of freedom certified to under
seal of a court of record. This certificate was recorded
in the county in which his family settled. Every negro not
holding such a certificate was* adjudged a runaway slave.
He was to be arrested, and if he was not claimed within
six weeks or his freedom established, he was to be sold
for a period of one year. At the end of this time if no
one claimed him a certificate might be granted him.
Any person employing a negro who did not hold
such a certificate was liable to a fine of $1.50 for each
day the negro was employed. To harbor a slave or
hinder the owner from retaking him was declared a
felony, punishable by a fine of two fold the value of the
slave and whipping not to exceed thirty stripes. No
person could sell to, buy from, or trade with any slave,
without consent of his master, under penalty of forfeiting
152 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS
to the owner four times the amount of the transaction.
Any slave found ten miles from home without a permit was
liable to arrest and to receive thirty-five stripes, on the
order of a justice of the peace. A lazy or disorderly slave
or bond servant was to be corrected with stripes, and for
every day he refused to work he was to serve two. Riots
or unlawful assemblies of slaves were punishable with
stripes not to exceed thirty-nine. In all cases where white
citizens were punishable by fines, slaves were punished by
whipping at the rate of twenty stripes for every $8.00 fine.
But the punishment was not to exceed forty stripes at
any one time."
After the admission of Illinois, the entire nation soon
became engaged in an angry contest over the question of
admitting Missouri as a free or slave State. The excite-
ment had not subsided at the time of the second general
election in Illinois in 1822. Although the subject of slavery
was not mentioned, yet every one felt that "the question
was in the air." To the surprise of the people, Edward
Coles, a native of Virginia and a strong anti-slavery man,
was elected governor. The smouldering embers were
fanned into a flame by his eloquent message to the general
assembly. It strongly recommended that the Black laws be
repealed, and that the slaves of the French settlers be no
longer held in bondage.
The friends of slavery attempted to make a slave State
of Illinois. This could be done only by amending the
Constitution. Accordingly the legislature, which contained
a majority of members who favored slavery, adopted a
resolution submitting the question to a vote of the people
at the next election. The passage of this measure was
THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY. 153
considered a great victory for the friends of slavery, who
indulged in many triumphal celebrations.
But the opponents of slavery did not lose heart. There
were still eighteen months before the election, and each
party put forth every effort to gain adherents. Such
an exciting canvass had never before been witnessed.
Every one became engaged in the party strife. Fami-
lies were divided; neighborhoods surrendered to the
bitter warfare; personal combats were frequent. Every
newspaper of the new State was ranged upon one side or
the other. Papers were established during the campaign
to which the ablest writers of their respective parties con-
tributed. Pamphlets were distributed containing statistics
for or against slavery. The "friends of freedom" organized
"anti-slavery societies." Governor Coles contributed his
entire salary, $4,000, as a campaign fund. On election
day each party turned out in full force. The lame, the
halt, the blind, the aged, were assisted to the polls by their
friends. When the votes were counted it was found that
slavery had been defeated by 1,800 majority. This was
the most exciting and important election ever held in early
Illinois. Feeling in the matter speedily subsided. Six
months after, it was difficult to find a politician who would
admit that he favored the introduction of slavery into
Outside the State, the contest over slavery raged fiercely.
Slave-holders believed that discussion of the subject from
the platform or in the newspaper should be prohibited. This
was denying the right of free discussion and liberty of
speech. These are two principles that have always been
dear to the Saxon.
154 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, a Presbyterian minister, was
editing- a religious paper in St. Louis. In the columns of
the Observer, he fearlessly attacked the institution of
slavery. A mob entered his office, broke his press to pieces,
threw his type into the river, and compelled him to leave
the city. Determined to remove to a free State, he went
to Alton, purposing to re-establish his paper. Two other
presses were destroyed by mobs, but his friends, now fully
aroused, collected money with which to purchase a fourth
press. The press arrived on the night of November 7,
1837, an d was stored in the stone warehouse of Godfrey,
Gilman & Co. The next night, news of its arrival having
been circulated, a drunken mob, armed with guns, brick-
bats and stones, assembled and demanded the press.
Mr. Lovejoy and a few friends, who had also armed
themselves, were gathered in the building. "It is my
determination to defend my property," exclaimed Mr.
"Shoot the Abolitionists ! Tear down the house !"
shouted the mob, and, suiting the action to the word, they
began to break the windows and fire upon the building.
The men within returned the fire, killing one and wound-
ing others of the mob. "Burn the building," shouted the
drunken ruffians. Ladders were raised and a man quickly
ran up and applied a torch to the roof.
Mr. Lovejoy, with a rifle in his hands, appeared and was
shot down, pierced by five bullets. Thus died the first
martyr to the cause of slavery in the State of Illinois.
Widespread excitement was caused by this tragic death.
Papers came out in mourning. Public meetings were held
ki many places. Orators declared that Lovejoy had found
THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY. 155
a grave in a free State ; that the martyrdom of this repre-
sentative of justice, liberty and free speech would kindle
a flame, which years would fail to extinguish.
An institution known as the "underground railroad"
existed in many of the Northern States. The engi-
neers and conductors were people who believed slavery
to be wrong. The road had its beginning on the banks of
the Ohio River and its terminus in Canada. The passen-
gers were escaped negroes who were conducted by night
from one friendly family to another, where they were con-
cealed during the day. Who the operators of this mys-
terious system were no one knew. But in nearly every
community there lived some farmer or business man whose
house was a refuge for these unfortunate beings. Levi
Coffin was the most prominent of all the men who were en-
gaged in assisting runaway negroes to Canada. He was
born in North Carolina, but early developed such a hatred
for the institution of slavery that he determined to live in a
free State, and removed to Indiana. It is said that he
sheltered more than a hundred fugitives every year.
The slave-holders began to complain that they were
being systematically robbed, and that they should be pro-
tected. Accordingly Congress passed the Fugitive Slave
Law which made it a crime to assist a runaway slave. But
instead of benefiting the slave-owner, the passage of this
law raised a storm of opposition.
Thus the struggle against slavery continued. In Kansas
civil war broke out. Preston S. Brookes, a member of
Congress from South Carolina, became enraged at Charles
Sumner, of Massachusetts, for offensive insinuations con-
tained in a speech delivered against slavery. He attacked
156 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Senator Sunmer on the floor of the Senate chamber, and
beat him into insensibility with a heavy cane.
While few people expected to see slavery abolished,
there were some, both among Whigs and Democrats, who
believed that it should not be permitted to spread to new
States and Territories.
Dissatisfied members from all parties united to form
the Republican party, which was pledged to prevent the
spread of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln had become noted because of a series
of debates which he had held with Senator Stephen A.
Douglas upon the political questions of the day. In an
address before the people of Springfield, he used these
words : "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I
believe this Government cannot endure half slave and half
free, I do not expect the Union will be dissolved, but I
do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all
one thing or all the other."
The election of Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the
Republican party in 1860, was followed by the great Civil
OUR STATE CAPITALS.
When the Territory of Illinois was separated from Indiana
by Congress in 1809, Kaskaskia, the most important com-
mercial center of the region, was chosen as the seat of
The Territorial legislature held its sessions in a large
rough building of uncut limestone, located in the center
of the square. This venerable structure had been the head-
quarters of the military commander during the time of
French occupancy. The lower floor of the cheerless struc-
ture was fitted
up for the use
of the House.
of the council
occupied a small
where they per-
formed their la-
about a circular
FIRST CAPITOL. table. The vil-
lage of Kaskaskia continued to flourish as the capital
of the Territory. It was the chief town of the region. Easily
accessible to steamboats and post-roads, the large com-
mercial firms had here their headquarters. It became the
home of many statesmen and public men.
158 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
But when the members of the convention gathered to
frame the first State Constitution, they provided in this
instrument that "the seat of government should remain
at Kaskaskia until the General Assembly should other-
wise direct." They also provided that this body should
''petition Congress for a grant to the State of four sections
of land for the seat of government," and if the prayer was
granted that a town should be laid out thereon, which
should remain the capital of the State for twenty years.
The land was to be situated upon the Kaskaskia River,
and east of the Third Principal Meridian. The only reason
for a change of location at this time was "a mania for
speculation" and the hope that fortunes might be made
by building a new town.
Carlyle, which had been laid out on the Kaskaskia River
by two gentlemen from Virginia, was competing for the
honor of location with a site higher up the river known
as "Pope's Bluff." While the contest was raging, a hunter,
named Reeves, appeared before the convention and de-
clared that "Pope's Bluff and Carlyle wasn't a primin' to
his bluff." His cabin was located still higher up the river
at a point where the Third Meridian crossed the stream.
The location was indeed beautiful. Under the shade of the
gigantic trees, "former lords of the forest might have held
grave council." The site was so commanding that the
commissioners fixed upon the hunter's home as the location
for the future capital.
Tradition relates that a wag who was present suggested
to the commissioners that, since the Vandals were a power-
ful tribe of Indians, who formerly occupied this region,
the name Vandalia would preserve the name of the extinct
OUR STATE CAPITALS.
SECOND CAPITOL, VANDAUA.
Three different State houses were built at Vandalia. The first, a
two-story frame building, was burned December 9, 1823. The sec-
ond, a commodious brick structure, erected at a cost of $12,381.50
toward which the citizens contributed the sum of $3,000 was de-
molished in 1836 to make place for the present building, which the
people of Vandalia erected to prevent the removal of the capital
to Springfield. But the capital remained in Vandalia only a few
months, however, or until 1837, when the legislature passed a bill
ordering its removal to Springfield. This was immediately done
and the State refunded to Vandalia the $16,000 her residents had
expended in constructing the building. The brick columns of this
building were replaced by iron pillars September 18, 1889.
l6o THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
race and also make an excellent name for the new capital.
Accordingly the town site was called Vandalia.
A temporary State House of two stories was speedily
erected upon a foundation of rough stone. Two men were
paid $25 to transfer the State records to the new capital.
In December, 1820, they shouldered their axes and cut a
road through the forest for the small wagon containing the
A little village sprang up, and when the new State House
was burned in 1823 the citizens speedily raised $3,000 with
which to assist in erecting a new building.
In the center of the square, a commodious brick structure
was erected, which answered well the needs of our early
This building, in 1836, gave place to a more beautiful
structure, which still adorns the city of Vandalia, and is
used for the Court House for Fayette County.
Immigration was pouring into the rich farming lands
in the central and northern portions of the new State. Long
before the limit of twenty years had expired, agitation be-
gan for the removal of the capital from Vandalia, which
had grown to be a beautiful little city.
In that early day before the introduction of railroads,
when all travel was by stage or by horseback, the location
of the capital at a more central point was of greater
importance than it would be at the present time.
After much discussion the legislature passed an act re-
quiring that the two houses meet on the 28th of February;
1837, at 10 o'clock, to select a suitable place for the per-
manent location of the seat of government, after the ex-
piration of the Constitutional term at Vandalia.
OUR STATE CAPITALS.
Twenty-nine towns were rivals for the honor. The six
whose chances seemed good were Illiopolis, Peoria, Jack-
sonville, Alton, Vandalia and Springfield. On the fourth
ballot seventy-three votes made Springfield the choice of
the convention. The success of Springfield was due largely
to the able delegation, consisting of two senators and seven
THIRD CAPITOL BUILDING, SPRINGFIELD.
l62 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
representatives sent to the legislature from Sangamon
county. The delegation was known as the "long nine,"
because the combined height of its members was fifty-four
feet. Abraham Lincoln and Ninian Edwards were mem-
bers of this famous delegation. These men, able, per-
sistent and talented, went to Vandalia with the express
determination of obtaining the location of the capital at
Springfield. With this end in view they pulled together
and voted as a unit on every question.
At this time almost every section of the State desired
appropriations to improve rivers, construct railroads and
lay out canals or public roads. "The long nine" took
advantage of the situation. All axes could be sharpened
upon their grindstone if in return delegates would vote
for the removal of the capital to Springfield. The "log
rolling" of the "long nine" continued throughout the
winter, and resulted in final victory.
At this time Springfield was an ambitious village of 1,500
people, second in population only to Jacksonville. Its
frame houses were poorly constructed; sidewalks were
lacking, and the streets were often rendered impassable
by the deep mud.
President Lincoln enjoyed telling this story of the town
of which he was so fond :
Thompson Campbell, Secretary of State, one day re-
ceived an application from a meek looking man, with a
white necktie, for the use of the assembly chamber to de-
liver a course of lectures.
"May I ask," said the Secretary, "what is to be the sub-
ject of your lectures?"
"Certainly," was the reply, with a very solemn expres-
OUR STATE CAPITALS. 163
sion of countenance, "it is on the second coming of our
"It is no use," said Campbell, "if you will take my
advice you will not waste your time in this city. It is my
private opinion that if the Lord had been in Springfield
once, he would not come the second time."
The corner-stone of the new State House, which was to
be built in the center of the village, was laid with much
ceremony July 4, 1837. The building, which cost $200,000,
was greatly admired for its beauty, and was considered
large enough to meet the needs of the State for many
The advancement and prosperity of a State may be read
in its public buildings. Before twenty-five years had
passed, our State had outgrown its third capitol building,
which is now the Court House for Sangamon County.
Again did rival towns, especially Peoria and Decatur, bid
for the tempting prize. Finally the citizens of Springfield
donated "the Mather lot," a beautiful tract of seven acres, to
which four acres more have been added. Upon this the
State has reared a pile of architecture so rich and ornate
in design, so ample in proportion, and so costly in struc-
ture, that the question of capital removal will probably
never again be discussed.
The corner-stone was laid in October, 1868, and the
entire structure was completed at a cost of $4,260,000.
The opening of vast coal fields, the centering of railroads
in the city, the establishing of manufactures, the energy
and thrift of her citizens, has caused Springfield to grow
from an inconsiderable village to an attractive and beautiful
city, a fit home for our capitol, a fit capital for our State.
NAUVOO AND THE MORMONS.
In the little village of Sharon, Vermont, was born on
December 23, 1805, a child named Joseph Smith, who was
destined to wield a wide influence and establish an addi-
tional religious sect. When Joseph was but a lad his
father removed to Palmyra, New York.
At about the age of fifteen young Joseph Smith attended
one of the great revival meetings which were being held in
the State and was deeply affected. He relates that retiring
to a wood for prayer and meditation he beheld a wonderful
vision. Two persons appeared to him in a pillar of light.
One of these heavenly visitors commanded him to unite
with no established church. He further states that he was
again visited by an angel, who revealed to him the location
of certain gold plates hidden in the earth, that contained a
record of the former inhabitants of America. In a few
/ears these were obtained and translated by him and pub-
lished as "The Book of Mormon."
About this time there appeared an itinerant preacher
named Sidney Rigdon, who had one time worked in a print-
ing office in Pittsburg. To this office one Solomon Spauld-
ing had sent a writing styled "The Manuscript Found,"* a
romance of the origin of the North American Indians. Cer-
tain people claim that this manuscript obtained by Sidney
Rigdon is the basis of "The Book of Mormon." A com-
*This manuscript is in the possession of The Oberlin (Ohio)
1 66 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
parison of the two books, however, necessitates an aban-
donment of this theory. There is no common incident or
name, in fact, no resemblance whatever between 'The
Manuscript Found" and "The Book of Mormon." The
Mormons, moreover, claim that Joseph Smith made this
translation several years before he became acquainted with
Sidney Rigdon, who joined the sect November 14, 1830.
The "Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" was organ-
ized at Fayette, New York, on April 6, 1830. The little
band, at this time numbering but six members, chose Jo-
seph Smith to be the presiding officer.
The church grew rapidly and in 1836 dedicated its first
temple at Kirtland, Ohio. This structure still stands and
is a remarkable monument of Mormon industry and zeal
Through a revelation it was declared that Independence,
Mo., was to be the future "City of Zion." To this religion
many of the faithful gathered. But there was much strife
between them and the people of Missouri concerning relig-
ion and the question of slavery, for the Mormons did not
hold slaves. The newly organized county of Caldwell was
given them for their exclusive use. Here they gathered in
great numbers and established the city of "Far West." To
this place Joseph Smith and other leading Mormons from
Kirtland, Ohio, came in the year 1838. But the persecu-
tions did not cease and in the winter of 1838-39 they were
driven from the State and sought shelter in Illinois, pur-
chasing a large body of land in Hancock County. In the
midst of this tract, upon the banks of the Mississippi, they
established Nauvoo, "the Holy City of the Saints."
A special charter was secured for this new city and John
C. Bennett was elected mayor. Each of the two great
NAUVOO AND THE MORMONS. 167
political parties the Whigs and the Democrats desired
to secure the support of the Mormons.
Thus it happened that when Dr. Bennett went to Spring-
field to secure a charter for the new city life was aided by
the politicians of both parties.
A Nauvoo Legion was established which, in addition to
the regular powers of the Militia of the State, was to be
"at the disposal of the Mayor in executing the laws and
ordinances of the City Corporation."
The Governor of Missouri made a demand upon Gov-
ernor Carlin of Illinois for Joseph Smith, who had fled
from the State while under arrest. A warrant was issued
for him and he was brought before Judge Douglas, who
found the warrant defective and released the prisoner.
Because of constant persecutions and fearful that their
leader might be taken from them, it is said the Mormon
Council enacted a law "That no writ issued at any other
place except Nauvoo for the arrest of any person in the
city should be executed without approval endorsed
thereon by the mayor." The result of this law was soon
apparent. Any man who committed a crime would now
endeavor to hide in the city of Nauvoo, and it is certain
that the Mormons were blamed for many crimes committed
The Mormons now became unpopular everywhere. After
the release of Smith by Judge Douglas his followers had
returned to the Democratic party.
The Whigs, realizing that they were lost to their party,
began to attack them through the columns of their papers.
The Legion had been furnished by the State with 250
l68 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
stands of arms and three pieces of cannon. These the
papers magnified into many thousands of arms.
The people, now inflamed, prepared to make war upon
the Mormons, and the Governor called out the troops.
Before his arrival upon the scene, the entire militia of
McDonough and Schuyler Counties had assembled at
Carthage and Warsaw. The Governor, fearful that the
Mormon leaders would be sacrificed to the fury of the peo-
ple, obtained from the officers a promise that they would
keep within the limit of the law in the discharge of their
Knowing that warrants had been issued, Joseph Smith
and his brother Hyrum went to Carthage and gave them-
selves up to the sheriff. But on June 27, 1844, they were
assassinated at the hands of a mob.
In summing up the character of Joseph Smith one writer
"But whether knave or lunatic, whether a liar or a true
man, it cannot be denied that he was one of the most
extraordinary persons of his time, a man of rude genius,
who accomplished a much greater work than he knew ; and
whose name, whatever he may have been whilst living, will
take its place among the notabilities of the world." *
As organized, the church consisted of three presidents
and twelve apostles, who were abroad preaching Mormon-
ism. Two of the presidents Joseph and Hyrum Smith
were dead. The third, Sidney Rigdon, proposed to seize
the power, but becoming unpopular a fierce dispute arose
between him and the twelve apostles who had returned at
the news of their leaders' death.
*Smucker's History of Mormons, page 183.
NAUVOO AND THE MORMONS. 169
The apostles with Brigham Young at their head gained
control and sent missionaries everywhere preaching Mor-
monism and the martyred Joseph Smith. Many flocked
into the church and the sect grew rapidly. At the death
of the Prophet the church numbered about two hundred
thousand, "a number equal, perhaps, to the number of
Christians when the Christian church was of the same
Meanwhile the State had revoked the charter of Nauvoo
and the Saints prepared for the journey to the promised
land, where they hoped to live undisturbed.
In the spring of 1846 the great company began to depart,
and after enduring many hardships arrived upon the shores
of Salt Lake. Of this region their industry soon made a
garden. Here were laid the foundations of a mammoth
Temple, which has been completed after many years of
labor and the expenditure of great treasure.
The city of Salt Lake grew up around it, and with pass-
ing years the church of the "Latter Day Saints" has grown
in wealth and in the number of its people.
But many Mormons refused to follow Brigham Young to
Utah, nor would they accept the doctrine of polygamy
announced by him in 1852. These people, many of whom
lived in Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, began a movement to
reorganize the church. This was finally accomplished and
in 1860 Joseph Smith, a son of the founder, was chosen to
be the presiding officer.
This branch of the Mormon church, the "Re-organized
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," has its head-
quarters at Lamoni, Iowa.
* Ford's History of Illinois, page 359.
When Illinois became a State, in 1818, the only means
of transportation available was the pack horse or mule and
the heavy ox-wagon over the roadless prairies ; the canoe,
flat-boat and keel-boat on the rivers which crossed the State
or formed a part of its boundary lines.
Immediately after its admission into the Union, immi-
gration into Illinois increased astonishingly. Emigrants not
only from the older States but also from foreign countries
rushed within its borders, and, spreading over its northern
prairies, reached the banks of the Mississippi or the wooded
bottoms of the Illinois, the Okaw and the Sangamon.
Farms by hundreds sprang up; at first, the portions
chosen for settlement were the wooded and watered sec-
tions, and here the woodman's ax made the clearing neces-
sary for the farm. On this account the work of preparing
land for cultivation was slow. Soon, however, settlers
realized the value of the rich open prairie lands for farming
purposes, and by the tens of thousands the acres were put
under the breaking plow, and the tall wild prairie grass
gave way to growing corn and waving wheat fields.
Thousands of farms came into cultivation, and towns
and villages innumerable were laid out and carefully sur-
veyed. Lots in blocks and lots single were put at auction
everywhere, until at last "the principal product of Illinois
is town lots" became a common saying.
TRANSPORTATION. I/ 1
With so many towns, cities and villages coming into
being, with the rapid development of farming industry,
the problem of transportation naturally presented itself.
How were the fast increasing crops to reach the markets,
and how were the settlers to transport from the East and
South the many things required in their new homes?
The first attempt to solve this all-important problem was
made in 1836, when Illinois was eighteen years old. In
that year a bill, recommended by Governor Duncan, was
introduced into its legislature providing for a "system of
internal improvements." This bill became a law on Feb-
ruary 27, 1837.
It provided for the issue of over ten million dollars'
worth of bonds to be used for the improvement of naviga-
tion on the Illinois, Wabash, Rock and Kaskaskia Rivers,
and also for building several railroads, among which were
lines from Cairo to Galena, Alton to Mt. Carmel, Peoria to
Warsaw, Alton to the Central railroad, another name
for the Cairo and Galena line.
The first railroad, "the Great Northern Cross," was be-
gun May 9, 1838, at Meredosia. Eight miles of track were
completed, and the people, anxious to see the cars run,
had a locomotive shipped by water from Pittsburgh. All
the horses and oxen of the community were required to
haul the huge machine up the river bank. This engine,
the first ever seen in the Mississippi Valley, made its first
run November 8th, 1838, with Engineer Joseph Field in
charge and Governor Duncan and a party of his friends as
passengers. This was only ten years after the building of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first one in the
172 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The railroad building under State supervision and the
brilliant scheme of improvement so full of promise on the
start, was doomed to failure. Due to dishonesty of con-
tractors, to lack of business experience and to the greed of
many, the proposed work under State provision had to be
stopped. The blunder of embarking upon an undertaking
without the necessary knowledge to conduct it successfully,
was followed by a still greater blunder, that of disposing
of what transportation property the State owned with such
haste that hardly anything was realized. This can be given
as one instance : The Meredosia Railroad completed to
Springfield at an expense of $1,000,000, was sold to Mr.
Nicholas H. Ridgley, of Springfield, for $21.100.
Railroads, nevertheless, were indispensable for the suc-
cessful development of the State, and what had not been
accomplished by the State itself was to be carried suc-
cessfully through by private enterprise or by private enter-
prise with State aid.
On September 20, 1850, Congress passed an act grant-
ing the right-of-way, and making a grant of land to the
States of Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi, in aid of the
construction of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile. This
grant gave to the State of Illinois the alternate sections of
land, for six sections in width, and designated by the even
numbers, on each side of the road and its branches re-
quired to be built in the State.
The grant was "for the purpose of aiding in making the
railroad and its branches aforesaid" and upon the condition
that such lands, including the right-of-way, "shall be applied
in the construction of said railroad and its branches and
shall be applied to no other purpose whatsoever." This
grant, by Congress to the State, was in trust for the specific
purpose of building that railroad.
At the time this act was passed the State was, and had
been for years, in default of interest due upon its bonds.
The State constitution then in force forbade the use of State
money or credit in aid of the building of railroads, so the
state chartered a company (Illinois Central Railroad Com-
pany), which assumed all the obligations contained in the
act of 1850, and, in addition thereto, agreed to pay to the
State annually, in lieu of taxes, seven per cent of the gross
earnings of the Company.
The grant of right-of-way of 1850 was, of course, only
for such land as the general government still owned at the
time. The company had to buy, and did buy a good deal of
other land, some of which for those days was high priced.
In Chicago, a portion of the Fort Dearborn Reservation, and
other land, was sold to the railroad through a subsequent
act of Congress.
The building of the Illinois Central made the immediate
settlement of the State possible. Towns sprung up along
the lines of railroad, and from these there radiated settle-
ments in all directions. Not only did the building of the
road bring the settler, but it also brought a market for the
products of his labor.
The Illinois Central for the year ended April 30, 1910,
paid the State $1,197,280.02, and the total amount paid to
April 30, 1910, aggregated $29,100,427.81.
The amounts paid are increasing from year to year as the
business of the road increases. This steady stream of cash
into the State treasury has done much to keep the State free
from debt, strengthen its credit and lighten its taxes.
174 TIIE MAKING OF ILLINOIS. '
The linos of the Illinois Central now extend south from
Chicago to St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis and
New Orleans, and west to Omaha, Sioux City and Sioux
While the Illinois Central was pushing the construction
of its tracks to reach the southern end, the Ohio and Mis-
BIRDSEYE VIEW OF CAIRO, ILL.
sissippi was opening one of the most important trunk lines
in the State reaching from Cincinnati, in Ohio, to St.
Louis on the Mississippi River, and crossing the State of
Illinois east and west about 125 miles north of Cairo. This,
the extreme southern city of our State, is built on a "delta"
formed by the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
It was named Cairo after the ancient Egyptian city, built
on the delta of the Nile, and, on that account, the section
of the State bounded on the east and west by the two
rivers which meet at Cairo, and on the north by the Ohio
and Mississippi Railway, was naturally nick-named Egypt.
At Cairo one of the most important U. S. military
posts was established, during the Civil War in the sixties.
Here it was that General Grant began his noted career as a
successful commander, and from her wharves were em-
barked the gallant troops which reduced Forts Donelson
and Henry. The Illinois Central Railroad has spent much
money on its approaches to the Illinois Egyptian city, and
across the Ohio it has built one of the most massive bridges
to be found on the continent. Once nothing but a marsh and
a bog, the land on which the city now stands has been
made safe only after millions of expense in filling and in
mural protection against the periodical overflow of the two
mighty rivers which almost encircle her.
One by one railroads have been built, until Chicago and
Peoria have become railroad centers and terminals second
to none. Almost every town or city within the borders
of the State has been connected by rail, and Illinois to-day
has more miles of operated railroads than any other State
in the Union.
The Chicago and Northwestern, the Chicago and Alton,
the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, the Baltimore and
Ohio, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, the Vandalia
line, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, the Ohio,
Bloomington and Western, the Chicago and Eastern
Illinois, the Jacksonville and Southeastern, the Wabash,
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, the Cairo Short Line,
the Mobile and Ohio, the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati
and St. Louis, these are some of the prominent railroads
which, with more than forty others, have laid their tracks
within the borders of the State, and, with their telegraphic
lines, have made a perfect network over its varied and fertile
1/6 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
With the use of electricity as a motive power, Illinois has
not been outstripped by any of its sister States. From
East St. Louis east, from Chicago in every direction, out
of and about every one of its large cities, the electric rail-
roads have their trollies stretched, and cars, lighted and
heated and moved by that mysterious agent, are everywhere
seen hurrying and carrying the busy to and from their daily
Only sixty-three years since the State was without a
railroad! Only sixty-two years since the first engine was
seen, by the wondering settlers, on the banks of the Illinois.
Only fifty years since the State made its grant to the
Illinois Central Company.
In these fifty years the enterprise of its citizens has made
it possible for them to reach any portion of the great State
with greater ease and comfort and in less time than in 1835
they could travel a score of miles.
From Chicago, Cairo, 365 miles away, is reached in
less than eight hours and a half. In 1835 it would have
taken double that number of days. St. Louis is reached in
less than eight hours from Chicago. In 1835 the trader
made the trip in nineteen days ! The ox-cart is gone, the
pack-mule is no longer seen, and even the horse is fast
being superseded by steam and electricity in the rushing,
growing life of the State. Wonderful, indeed, is the tran-
sition from ox-cart to trolley.
So far we have dealt with overland transportation ; but
no less important and, according to some, far more im-
portant, on account of its cheapness, from the standpoint of
both operation and maintenance, is the transportation which
properly constructed waterways afford between different
sections of the country.
The States of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Mary-
land had built numerous canals. It was, therefore, perfectly
natural that the early settlers of Illinois should also think
of constructing them. Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the
Treasury, directed the attention of Congress to the im-
portance of building a canal to connect the waters of the
Illinois River with Lake Michigan.
Others took up the project, and finally a Congressional
Act was passed authorizing "the State of Illinois to open a
canal through the land to connect the Illinois River with
Lake Michigan." The land for ninety feet on either side
was granted to the State.
Four commissioners were appointed, who employed
civil engineers to compute the probable cost of construc-
tion. Their estimate was $700,000.00, and the State pro-
ceeded with the work until $1,500,000.00 had been spent
with little progress. Work was suspended until the Illinois
members in Congress succeeded in having passed by that
body an act granting to Illinois "for the purpose of aiding
her" to complete the work, the alternate sections of public
land for five miles on each side of the canal, along its
entire route, amounting to 2,243,323 acres. A large force
of men was employed, Chicago and Ottawa were laid out,
and, at the end of twelve years, the work was completed.
The canal was sixty feet wide at the ground level, thirty-six
feet at the bottom, and six feet in depth. Five feeders
furnished the water supply, twenty-five bridges spanned it,
seventeen locks were used in lifting and lowering boats,
178 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
and a steamboat harbor was built where the canal joins
the Illinois River.
On April 16, 1848, the canal boat General Thornton, gaily
decked, made the first journey, of one hundred miles, on
the waters of the completed Illinois and Michigan Canal,
the citizens of La Salle and other towns along its route,
as well as those of Chicago, celebrating the event.
In 1865, Chicago enlarged and deepened the channel,
so that it might assist in clearing the Chicago River of
accumulated filth. The large expenditure for this purpose
was to be repaid from the future earnings of the waterway.
But when the city was laid waste by the dreadful fire of
1871, the State promptly placed the entire sum expended
in the treasury of the stricken city. Since its completion,
in 1848, until 1887, tne canal earned enough to pay for
the expense of building it, and $2,000,000.00 besides.
In 1882 the canal was, by legislative action, made a na-
tional waterway and placed under control of the United
States Government. Extensive improvements on the Illinois
River for the promotion and development of commerce,
an admirable passenger and freight steamboat service on
the lakes, as well as on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers,
all combine in giving to Illinois excellent water transporta-
ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR.
When, in 1845, war was declared upon Mexico, and
President Polk called for volunteers, the men of Illinois
responded with enthusiasm. Everywhere strains of martial
music and the oratory of public speakers rallied the people
to the defense of the flag. While the quota from Illinois
was only "three regiments," six were furnished, and many
companies were refused. Colonel John J. Hardin com-
manded the first regiment, and Colonel William H. Bissell
the second. These regiments assembled at Alton, and
hastening southward joined the troops of General Taylor
in August, 1846. The war was on in earnest. General
Taylor's troops had already won the battles of Palo Alto
and Resaca de la Palma, fighting so bravely that a Mexican
poet wrote these lines regarding them:
"Dark is Palo Alto's story ;
Sad Resaca Palma's route;
On those fatal fields, so gory,
Many gallant life went out.
, *i *P '\* *P H* *K
On they came, those Northern horsemen,
On, like eagles toward the sun;
Followed then the Northern bayonet,
And the field was lost and won."
The Illinois troops, with those from other States, forming
an army 4,500 strong, marched to Monterey and thence,
l8o THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
after a long delay, to Buena Vista (beautiful view), where
they were confronted by an army of 20,000 men, com-
manded by General Santa Anna.
This army comprised the flower of the Mexican regulars
and volunteers. Santa Anna was confident of victory. On
the morning of February 22, Washington's birthday, he
sent an officer to General Taylor with this message: "You
are surrounded by 20,000 men, and cannot avoid being
shot to pieces. I give you this notice, that you may sur-
render at discretion." "I beg leave to say that I decline
to accept your invitation," replied General Taylor.
Where the valley was most narrow, with lofty mountains
on each side, General Taylor formed his line of battle. The
plain beyond had been cut into deep ravines by the moun-
tain torrents. Captain Bragg's battery and the Kentucky
volunteers were posted west of the little stream at the
left of the plain. Washington's battery of eight guns, and
the First Indiana volunteers, were stationed at Angostura.
The First Illinois, under Colonel Hardin, and a Texas com-
pany occupied the remainder of the line, which was thus
completed to the high ground of the plateau. Beyond them,
extending toward the mountains, were placed the First
Dragoons, the Second Illinois, the Second Indiana and the
Up the valley came General Santa Anna with his 20,000
troops, expecting to sweep the Northern invaders before
Seeing the disposition of the American troops, he sent
General Ampudia with his division to climb the mountain
side and fall upon the left flank of the little army. At three
o'clock the battle began, and continued on the left until the
ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR. l8l
going down of the sun. The Illinois men had never been
under fire. As the balls began to come thick and fast the
soldiers involuntarily ducked their heads.
"Steady boys. Don't duck your heads," shouted Colonel
Bissell from the saddle.
At that moment, with a roar, a cannon ball passed so
near to the Colonel that involuntarily he stooped to
"You may duck for the big ones, boys," Colonel Bissell
At dawn Santa Anna advanced his troops in three
columns. All day the battle raged. The Mexicans on the
left overpowered brave Lieutenant O'Brien, and compelled
him to withdraw his battery. For some unaccountable
reason the Indiana troops retreated in disorder.
The brave Illinois troops stood almost unsupported,
fighting with Mexicans in front of them, upon their right,
and a great cloud enfolding them upon the left. Their
rifles flashed forth sheets of flame. The valiant Colonel
Bissell saw that they must fall back, and gave the com-
"About face, to the rear ! March !"
As though upon the parade ground the troops moved
at the command of their officer, in whom all had confi-
dence. Still back toward the Narrows our men were
pressed, until now General Taylor, who had hastened from
Buena Vista, took command. The batteries of Bragg and
Sherman thundered forward, and began to pour grape and
canister, into the masses of the Mexicans. Again the
cannons blazed forth, and the line at that point began to
l82 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Upon the left Ampudia was put to flight by Colonel
Jefferson Davis and his brave Mississippians. The Illinois
troops, supported by the Kentuckians, started in pursuit.
This was most disastrous to our brave men, for as they
dashed into one of the deep ravines, the Mexicans, rein-
forced by 12,000 men, returned to the conflict, and gather-
ing upon the edge, proceeded to shoot down the Americans
like sheep. The only door of escape, the mouth of the
ravine, was being closed by the enemy's cavalry when the
welcome sound of Washington's battery was heard, and
in a moment the well-directed shot of our batteries began
to explode in the midst of the cavalry. Panting and
breathless, those of our men who were left emerged from
the slaughter pen and were reformed by Colonel Bissell.
The supreme moment of the battle had arrived. Cut
down by our shot and shell, their lines broken by the
unerring fire of our riflemen, the Mexicans streamed back
over the plain, pursued under the shadow of the moun-
tains, and the battle was over.
That night the Mexican army fled southward, leaving
its wounded upon the field. The Mexican nuns ministered
to Americans and Mexicans alike. It was the conduct of
these noble women that inspired the poet Whittier to write
a beautiful poem, "The Angels of Buena Vista."
" 'Speak and tell us, our Ximena, looking northward far
O'er the camp of the invaders, o'er the Mexican array,
Who is losing? Who is winning? Are they far or come
Look abroad and tell us, sister: Whither rolls the storm
ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR. 183
" 'Down the hills of Angostura, still the storm of battle
Blood is flowing. Men are dying, God have mercy on
'Who is losing? Who is winning?' Over hills and over
I can see but smoke of cannon clouding through the moun-
"Nearer came the storm, and nearer, rolling fast and fright-
'Speak Ximena speak, and tell us who has lost and who
'Alas ! Alas ! I know not : Friend and foe together fall ;
O'er the dying rush the living. Pray my sisters, for them
The battle of Buena Vista, so fierce and so stubborn,
was a turning point in the war. Upon this battlefield were
buried the bodies of many Illinois boys. The noble Colonel
Hardin fell in the ravine of death. His body was brought
home by his men and buried at Jacksonville.
General Taylor refers to the services of the Illinois troops
as follows : "The First and Second Illinois and the Ken-
tucky regiments served immediately under my eye, and I
bear a willing testimony to their excellent conduct through-
out the day. The spirit and gallantry with which the First
Illinois and Second Kentucky engaged the enemy in the
morning restored the confidence to that part of the field,
while the list of casualties will show how much these three
regiments suffered in sustaining the heavy charge of the
enemy in the afternoon. In the last engagement we had
the misfortune to sustain a very heavy loss. Colonels
Hardin, McKee and Lieutenant Colonel Clay fell at this
184 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
time while gallantly leading their commands. Colonel
Bissell, the only surviving colonel of these three regiments,
merits notice for his coolness and bravery on this occa-
The Third and Fourth Illinois regiments, under the com-
mand of Colonels Foreman and Baker, were joined to the
troops of General Scott. They took part in the storming of
Vera Cruz, and after the fall of the place they advanced with
the army against the City of Mexico. In the battle of Cerro
Gordo, the Illinois troops greatly distinguished themselves,
charging upon the enemy's line again and again.
The other Illinois troops did not reach the fields of bat-
tle, but the Fifth Illinois infantry, under Colonel Newby,
was first ordered to Fort Leavenworth, and endured the
hardships incident to a wearisome march across the arid
plains to Santa Fe.
With the surrender of the City of Mexico the war closed,
and the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo was signed. The
result of this war was to establish the southern and west-
ern line of Texas, and to give to the United States a vast
region, from which have been formed California, Nevada,
Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah, an area of
country greater in extent than the original thirteen States.
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS.
Early in the spring of 1830, a large covered wagon drawn
by four yoke of oxen, was driven through the woods of
Indiana by a tall, strong young man, who carried a long
whip with which to guide his ox teams.
This young man was Abraham Lincoln, who had re-
moved with his father's family from Kentucky, when but
a lad of eight, and had grown up among the hills and
woods of Southern Indiana. And now, at the age of
twenty-one, he was setting out with his father's family to
help them establish a new home in Illinois. The wagon
contained all the possessions of the Lincoln family. The
journey through the muddy forest roads and across
swollen streams was hard and long. None of the kind
frontiersmen with whom they stopped imagined that the
rough, ungainly young man who drove the oxen would
some day become the first citizen of Illinois and the greatest
man of his time.
At the end of fifteen days the little company reached the
Sangamon River, ten miles south of Decatur, where a farm
was chosen and a log cabin built.
Abraham Lincoln was now his own master, but he re-
mained at home until his father was well settled. He and
his cousin, John Hanks, built a barn, cleared and plowed
fifteen acres of land, which they fenced with rails split from
the tall timber that grew on every side.
l86 TIIR MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Young Lincoln needed new clothes, but no member of
the family had any money. A few miles from the Lincoln
cabin lived Mrs. Miller, a thrifty woman, who owned a
Hock of sheep, and from their wool wove strong, home-
spun cloth, called "jeans." Lincoln bargained with this
woman for a pair of trousers, promising to make four hun-
dred rails for every yard of cloth used in the garment. The
clothing was furnished, and in payment for them the young
man split fourteen hundred rails.
As he was no longer needed at home, Lincoln and his
cousin John started out to shift for themselves.
They engaged with a man named Offutt of Beardstown
to take a flat-boat and cargo to New Orleans.
With the opening of spring they repaired to Springfield,
only to learn that although the cargo was ready, no boat
could be obtained. Lincoln at once proposed to Mr. Offutt
that John Hanks and himself would build a flat-boat if he
would pay them twelve dollars per month. The offer was
accepted, and the two men went to old Sangamon, seven
miles northwest of Springfield. Here upon the bank of
the river they felled trees, hewed them into shape, and in
clue time carried Mr. Offutt's cargo in safety to New
While at Old Sangamon Lincoln captured the entire
village with his entertaining stories and quaint jokes. It
required only four weeks to build the boat, but in that short
time the awkward, good-natured young man made friends
who remembered him through life. A man named Roll,
who helped young Lincoln upon the flat-boat, relates that
in appearance "he was a tall, gaunt young man, dressed in
a suit of home-spun jeans, consisting of a roundabout
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS. 187
jacket, waist coat and breeches, which came to within about
four inches of his feet and were generally stuffed into the
tops of his rawhide boots. He wore a soft felt hat, which
had at one time been black, but now, as its owner dryly
remarked, "it had been sunburned until it was a combine
Near the village was a whittling log, where the "men
folks" were in the habit of meeting at noon and after work
was finished. The log had been peeled of its bark, and
upon it the men sat and whittled as they talked, just as
our grandmothers used to chat over their knitting.
Mr. Roll tells us, "So irresistibly droll were Lincoln's
yarns that whenever he'd end up in an unexpected way, the
boys on the log would whoop and roll off." During this
month of story telling the log became polished by frequent
use, and thereafter, until it crumbled to decay, was known
as "Abe's log." The inhabitants of the little village watched
with regret the departure of the interesting story teller.
A few miles below old Sangamon was the little village
of New Salem, where a mill had been erected and a dam
built across the river. Upon this dam Lincoln's flat-boat
stuck and hung with its bow high in the air. The people
lined the bank, and in a good-natured way shouted sug-
gestions to the men in the boat, but they soon discovered
that their advice was unnecessary. Lincoln unloaded a
portion of the cargo, bored a hole in the bottom of the boat
to let out the water, tilted up the stern, and to the aston-
ishment of the crowd the craft slid over the top of the dam
and floated in the deep water below. The cargo was re-
loaded, and Lincoln and his companion continued their
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Mr. Offutt was so pleased with the result of the New
Orleans trip that he offered young Lincoln a position in
a store he was planning to open at New Salem. When
the young man arrived months after to take his place the
people still remembered the strapping fellow who was "such
a master boatman."
Lincoln employed his leisure time at the store in reading
LINCOLN MONUMENT, SPRINGFIELD.
and study. He wished to know something of English gram-
mar, and learning that a book on the subject was owned
by a man who lived eight miles away, he walked the dis-
tance and borrowed the volume. With the assistance of the
village lawyer he mastered the contents of the book and
greatly improved his language.
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS. 189
When he wished to speak on any subject it was his
habit to go off alone and put his thoughts into clear, simple
words. This habit of careful thinking and speaking proved
of great value to Lincoln in after life, especially during the
period of his political career.
In the vicinity of New Salem lived a number of wild,
reckless young men, who were in the habit of challenging
any new comer to wrestle or fight. They went by the name
of the "Cleary Grove Boys," and resolved to test Lincoln's
strength, of which Mr. Offutt had frequently boasted. The
strongest of them, Jack Armstrong, challenged the young
man to wrestle, and as he could not well refuse, he con-
sented to the match. Jack's friends soon discovered that
their champion was no match for Lincoln, and pressing
close they attempted to lend assistance by sly kicks and
blows. This angered the young man, and seizing Arm-
strong by the throat, he choked him until he was black
in the face. Seeing that Lincoln was fully aroused and
possessed of the strength of a giant, they avoided provok-
ing him further. This evidence of his pluck and strength
had the effect of causing these rough young men to become
his ardent admirers.
At another time, when some women were trading in the
store, a rough bully came in and began to use profane
language. Lincoln ordered him to leave, and was at once
challenged to fight. As soon as his customers had been
waited upon, he followed the ruffian into the street, threw
him down, and rubbed smartweed into his eyes until the
cowardly fellow begged for mercy.
Lincoln's reputation for good nature, strength and cour-
age was now well established. He had no further trouble
I^O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
with the young men, and often acted as peacemaker be-
By his honesty and integrity he won the confidence of
every one. In making change for a customer, a woman
who lived several miles from the little village, the young
man took a "flip" six and one-quarter cents more than
was due the store. Upon discovering his mistake he walked
the entire distance to her home to return the money.
At another time he used the wrong weight in measur-
ing tea for a woman. After she had gone he found that
she should have received two ounces more. That night
after the store had been closed and the shutters put up he
carried the tea to the woman.
In 1832 the Black Hawk war broke out, and Lincoln,
with many other, young men, volunteered to fight against
the Indians. When the company in which he had enlisted
was called upon to choose a captain, three-fourths of the
men walked over to Lincoln, thus designating him as their
At the close of the war Lincoln was in Southern Wis-
consin, and in company with a friend started to walk back
to Illinois. At Peoria they secured a skiff, and in it con-
tinued their homeward journey. Reaching Havana the
young men walked across the country to their home at
Lincoln soon purchased a grocery store, but having as
a partner a reckless young man, the store accumulated
many bad debts, and before very long "winked out." He,
was many years in paying the debts contracted by this un-
fortunate venture, but in the end canceled all the obliga-
tions contracted by himself and his partner.
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS.
Next he became postmaster, and having- little to do, dis-
tributed the mail from house to house, carrying the letters
in the crown of his hat.
He was appointed deputy county surveyor, but never
having studied the science of surveying, he applied himself
to the subject, and with the aid of the village schoolmaster,
obtained a fair knowledge of the work. The people of
Petersburg are proud of the fact that Abraham Lincoln
laid out their town.
LINCOLN'S HOME IN SPRINGFIELD.
By his strict honesty, amusing stories and charming good
nature, he constantly widened the circle of his acquaint-
ances and won favor with the people. When a man was
to be chosen to represent them in the Legislature they
naturally thought of Abraham Lincoln.
He was duly elected, but being too poor to pay his stage
hire, he walked the entire distance, nearly one hundred
192 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
miles, to take his seat in the State Legislature at Vandalia.
When Lincoln was in the store at New Salem he had
taken up the study of law, and now he devoted himself to
the work so earnestly that in 1837 ne was ready to settle
at Springfield and begin the practice of law. All these
years he had been winning the affection and confidence of
the people. When it was known that he had become a
lawyer his services were much sought after.
In those days lawyers, in attending court, rode on
horseback from county to county. One day, while riding
in company with other lawyers, Mr. Lincoln, who was
dressed in a new suit, noticed a pig fast in the mud. He
knew if he went to its rescue his clothes would be ruined,
but he was so kind-hearted that the picture of poor piggie
haunted him, and he could not get it out of his thoughts.
After riding two miles he turned his horse's head and re-
turned to the mud puddle. Hitching his horse he waded
into the mud, and seizing the squealing pig by the legs
and tail, brought him safely to dry land.
Mr. Lincoln had served the people so faithfully in the
State Legislature, and had won such distinction as a speaker
and debater, that in 1846 the people elected him to Con-
gress. Here he came in contact with the greatest men of
At this time the question of slavery was beginning to
attract the attention of the whole people. The Southern
States, in which were many slaves, were desirous of making
slave territory of all the land that had been obtained from
Mexico. Many people in the North believed that no slaves
should be permitted in this new region. From this time
on men began to range themselves upon one side or the
A Prfi&i.-&rdfBab! |.
: THE PRAIRIES 'CM FIRE5J!
rn.tftci* A. narrJKA.il
GREAT LINCOLN RALLY SPRINGFIELD, AUGUST 8, 1860.
Reproduced from the Daily State Journal, of August 9, 1860. This was the
greatest rally of the campaign. Mr. Lincoln was present and spoke briefly
his only campaign speech of that year. The newspaper account says:
"At the conclusion of these remarks, Mr. Lincoln descended from the plat-
form and with difficulty made his way through the vast throng who eagerly
pressed around to take him by the hand. By an adroit movement he escaped
on horseback, while the crowd were besieging the carriage to which it was
expected he would return."
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS.
other of this great question, and a new party, the Repub-
lican, was formed by the men who believed that slavery
should be extended no farther.
Mr. Lincoln believed that slavery should not be brought
into the new
f u 1 speeches
on this subject
to or read by
and made him
than ever. In
Senator S t e -
phen A. Doug-
las, who was a
a tour of the
at a number
of places. Ev-
sands of peo-
ple turned out to hear the brilliant orators discussing the
subjects of "slavery" and "State Rights," and these ques-
tions became more prominent than ever before.
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS.
194 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The Republican party was becoming stronger every
year, and when its delegates met at Chicago, in 1860, to
select a candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln of Illi-
nois was chosen. During the convention some men carried
to the platform a number of rails that he had split when
a young man, and the delegates cheered themselves hoarse
at the sight.
From this time forward Abraham Lincoln becomes a
great character in our nation's history.
His election to the Presidency precipitated the Civil War,
with its four years of bloodshed and sorrow. During those
trying times President Lincoln managed the affairs of the
nation with consummate wisdom.
On the eve of taking up the work of his office for a second
term he uttered these noble words:
"With malice toward none ; with charity for all ; with
firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let
us strive on to finish the work we are in ; to bind up the
nation's wounds ; to care for him who shall have borne the
battle, and for his widow and his orphan to do all which
may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among
ourselves and with all nations."
With one stroke of his pen he gave the slaves their free-
dom, and when our great armies had brought victory to
the North and peace to the nation, it seemed that the great
work of Abraham Lincoln had been accomplished. And
so it proved, for five days after the surrender of the Con-
federate army, on the evening of April I4th, as the great
war President sat in Ford's Theatre, he was shot by John
Wilkes Booth, the actor.
An entire nation North and South bowed in grief, and
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS 195
from every part of the world poured in messages of sorrow.
The humble "rail-splitter of Illinois" had taken his place
among the great and honored dead of the world.
LINCOLN'S FAREWELL TO THE CITIZENS OF
ADDRESS DELH- D FEBRUARY n, 1861.
MY. FRIENDS : No one not in my situation can appreciate
my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and
the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I
have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a
young man to an old man. Here my children have been
born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or
whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater
than that which rested upon Washington. Without the
assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him I
cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trust-
ing in Him who can go with me and remain with you, and
be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will
yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in
your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate
PHOTOGRAPH OF THE OLD STATE HOUSE AT KASKASKIA TAKEN
A FEW MONTHS BEFORE IT WAS SWALLOWED UP BY THE RIVER *
CIVIL WAR PERIOD
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the
right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the
work we are in."
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR.
Our prolonged struggle for the preservation of the Union
has taken its place in history among the great wars of the
For the numbers engaged, the valor displayed by the
soldiers of both North and South, the issues involved and
the length of time the conflict lasted, it has proven the
most remarkable war of modern times.
Volumes have been written upon the part taken in this
great civil duel by the soldiers from Illinois.
In all, our State furnished 260,000 men for the conflict.
This places Illinois in the fourth rank, for, the States of New
York, Pennsylvania and Ohio excepted, she furnished more
troops than any other. But in 1860 each of these States
had many more inhabitants, and in proportion to her
population then, Illinois furnished a greater number of
soldiers than any other State except Kansas. One is
almost tempted to claim that the war could not have been
won without the aid of the brave men from Illinois, but
this would be unfair to other loyal States. It required the
united efforts of all, and every State deserves praise and
honor. Illinois was peculiarly fortunate in furnishing many
First of all we must place our President, Abraham Lin-
coln, the one man of the nation to guide the country dur-
ing its dark hour of conflict.
GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR. 2OI
Next to him stands General U. S. Grant, the greatest
captain of his time. After these great men come a long
list of illustrious generals, such as General Hovey, who
resigned the presidency of the State Normal School to
command a regiment of volunteers; Generals John A. Lo-
gan, John A. McLernard, Richard Oglesby, John M. Pal-
mer, John A. Rawlins, John Pope, and a host of others, who
added to the luster of Illinois by their valor and courage
displayed on the battlefield.
But these great leaders, of whom we are justly proud,
would have been powerless but for the rank and file of
patriotic men who left their harvests ungathered, their tools
upon the work bench, their ledgers upon the desks, and
marched southward to the inspiring music of war.
At Belmont, November 7, 1861, the Illinois troops under
command of General Grant fought the first battle of im-
portance. From here they marched against Forts Henry
and Donelson. The taking of Fort Donelson was the first
great victory for the North, and throughout the country
a shout of thanksgiving went up.
Some of the Illinois regiments were nearly cut to pieces
in this engagement, and the loss of officers was very great.
It was at this battle that General Grant gained the name
of Unconditional Surrender Grant, by dictating the follow-
ing message to the Confederate commander, General
Buckner : "No terms but unconditional and immediate
surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately
upon your works."
In recognition of the valor displayed by the Illinois
troops in this battle, a New England author wrote the fol-
lowing poem, which was published in the Atlantic Monthly :
2O2 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
"Oh, gales that dash the Atlantic's swell
Along our rocky shores,
Whose thunders diapason swell
New England's glad hurrahs,
"Bear, to the prairies of the West,
The echoes of our joy ;
The prayer that springs in every breast.
God bless thee, Illinois.
"Oh, awful hours when grape and shell
Tore through the unflinching line ;
'Stand firm, remove the men who fell,
Close up, and wait the sign.'
"It came at last ; now, lads, the steel !
The rushing hosts deploy ;
Charge, boys, the broken traitors reel,
Huzza! for Illinois.
"In vain thy rampart, Donelson,
The living torrent bars ;
It leaps the wall, the fort is won,
Up go the stripes and stars!
"Thy proudest mother's eyelids fill,
As dares her gallant boy,
And Plymouth Rock and Bunker Hill,
Yearn to thee, Illinois."
One of the most daring deeds of the war was performed
by General Benjamin H. Grierson and his Illinois cavalry,
during the siege of Vicksburg. Starting from La Grange,
Tennessee, he swept through the entire State of Mississippi
and part of Louisiana, burning bridges, destroying rail-
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR. 2O3
roads, striking Confederate outposts and damaging much
property. He reached the Union lines in safety, having
ridden a distance of 800 miles in sixteen days. The last
thirty hours his men rode without eating or resting. So
exhausted were the soldiers that they went to sleep in their
saddles, and were only aroused by the sound of musketry.
After a skirmish they would again relapse into sleep.
A record of Illinois troops in the war would recount
weary marches and fierce battles in Arkansas, Texas, Ten-
nessee, Mississippi, Georgia and other Southern States.
Illinois troops withstood the shock of the rebel hosts
upon the bloody field of Shiloh ; Illinois troops fought at
Perryville and Corinth ; Illinois troops contended at Chicka-
mauga and climbed the heights of Missionary Ridge and
Lookout Mountain ; Illinois troops waited weary weeks in
the trenches around Vicksburg, and shouted for joy when
the city finally surrendered; Illinois troops fired the first
shot at the battle of Gettysburg; Illinois troops marched
with Sherman "from Atlanta to the sea," and took their
place in the last grand review.
On the banks of the Mississippi, and where the Tennessee
ripples over its rocky bed; in the valleys of the Southern
mountains, and by the waters of the Gulf, along the track
of the marching hosts, may be found the resting places of
thousands of Illinois soldiers who went forth to battle but
STAY AT HOMES.
While the great mass of men at the North were loyal
to the Union, there were others to be found in nearly every
community who secretly sympathized with the South. Be-
2O4 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
lieving in the system of slavery, they would have "preferred
the triumph of the South to the restoration of the Union
with slavery abolished." These men interfered in many
ways with the work of the war. Desertion was encouraged,
resistance to the draft was advised, and some of them acted
as spies for the enemy. A secret association was formed,
known as the "Knights of the Golden Circle." Members
of this order, aided by officers of the South, even went so
far as to plan the liberation of the Confederate prisoners
held at Chicago and Rock Island. The scheme also in-
cluded the burning of Chicago. But the authorities were
warned in time and the attempt was frustrated.
To counteract the work of this organization, the loyal
men formed a secret political society known as the "Union
League of America." Organized first in Tazewell County
in 1862, this order rapidly spread from State to State, and
before the close of the war it had reached a membership of
175,000. This organization, a mighty influence for good,
materially assisted the Union cause.
The work of the soldiers in the field was nobly assisted
by the "stay-at-homes." Without patriotic men to carry
on manufactures and railroads, harvest crops, till fields and
provide for the women and children, the success of the
North would have been impossible.
These men with their aid and sympathy, freely giving
of their time and money, kept the flame of patriotism
burning brightly, and made possible our glorious success.
When news reached Illinois of the bloody and glorious
victory of Fort Donelson, Governor Yates, often called "the
soldier's friend," accompanied by his staff, hastened to the
field of battle to assist in caring for the sick and wounded.
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR. 2O5
A sanitary commission was established. Medical sup-
plies and provisions were collected and distributed among
the wounded in camp and hospital. The State also estab-
lished hospitals at Peoria, Quincy and Springfield, to which
many wounded were conveyed. Immediately after the
battle of Shiloh, the governor chartered a steamboat, and
with nurses, physicians and supplies, hastened to the scene
of conflict. His coming was hailed with joy by the suffer-
ing soldiers, many of whom had lain upon the ground for
a week with their wounds unattended. The boat, loaded
with those most severely injured, hastened to the Northern
hospitals and returned with all speed for others. In this
way thousands of our wounded soldiers were brought back
to the State, where they were cared for by their relatives
Governor Yates remarked, "We must not let our brave
boys think they have been forgotten, but follow them in
their weary marches, with such things as they need for
their comfort, which the Government cannot supply, and
with messages of love and encouragement from home,
wherever they go and at whatever cost."
Auxiliary associations, aid societies and soldiers' homes
were established everywhere. Through these agencies
thousands of dollars in money and large quantities of pro-
visions were collected and distributed, the whole amounting
to more than a million dollars.
THE WOMEN OF ILLINOIS.
The mothers and sisters of Illinois were foremost in
every effort to lend aid, and give comfort. Scarcely had
the smoke of battle cleared away when they presented them-
2C>6 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
selves to nurse the wounded. At home they organized
societies to knit stockings, pick lint for the wounded, and
prepare delicacies and reading matter for their sons and
brothers at the front. The efficiency of the home organiza-
tions was due largely to our heroic women.
The patriotic women of Galena, unable to enlist, deter-
mined to make uniforms for the first company that their
town sent into the field. Accordingly they purchased the
necessary cloth, employed tailors to cut the garments, and
made them up themselves.
The ladies of many communities made the flags that were
borne aloft as the companies marched to the war.
Among the factors that contributed to the success of the
Union cause scarcely any was more important than the
many inspiring and thrilling songs that were composed and
sung at that time, some of the best of which were written by
citizens of Illinois. George F. Root of Chicago was one
of the most gifted composers of war music. His songs,
"Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching," "Just
Before the Battle, Mother," and "The Battle Cry of Free-
dom" were sung on every battlefield, and around every
When the "emancipation proclamation" was issued by
President Lincoln many officers took offense, and some
were upon the point of resigning their commands. At
about that time a glee club from Chicago came into the
camp singing a new song, "The Battle Cry of Freedom."
"The Union forever, hurrah ! boys, hurrah !
Down with the traitor, up with the stars.
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR. 2O/
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom."
The effect was wonderful. The words ran through tfie
camps like wild fire. Every one took up the refrain.
"The Union forever, hurrah! boys, hurrah!"
From tent to tent sounded the harmony. All thoughts of
resigning were thrown to the winds while the great army
united in the mighty chorus.
The inspiring songs, "Brave Boys are They," "Kingdom
Coming" and "Marching Through Georgia," were written
by Henry Clay Work of Illinois.
From the pine woods of Arkansas, the swamps of Vir-
ginia, the mountain tops of Georgia and the bayous of
Louisiana, ascended a chorus of song whose music thrilled
the patriotic soul, and whose words recalled again and
again the principles for which the boys in blue were risking
their lives. These songs, simple in language and sweet
in melody, touched the heart beyond the power of argu-
ment, recalling again the words of Andrew Fletcher, uttered
two hundreds years ago, "Give me the making of the
ballads, and I care not who makes the laws of a nation."
One Confederate commander remarked, "I shall never for-
get the first time I heard 'Rally Round the Flag.' It was
a nasty night, during the Seven-days fight ; I was on picket,
when just before taps, some fellow on the other side struck
up that pong and others joined in the chorus. Tom B.
sung out : 'Good heavens, Cap, what are those fellows
made of? Here we've licked them six days running, and
now on the eve of the seventh they're singing "Rally Round
2C>8 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
the Flag." : I tell you that song sounded to me like the
death knell of doom, and my heart went down into my
boots, and it has been an up hill fight with me ever since
A few days after the surrender of Lee, another Confed-
erate commander who heard these songs sung by a Union
quartette, exclaimed: "Gentlemen, if we'd had your songs
we'd have licked you out of your boots. Who couldn't have
inarched or fought with such songs?"
And so these stirring army songs, breathing a spirit of
patriotism and loyalty, played their part in winning the war
for the Union.
Fort Dearborn, which had been destroyed by the Indians
in 1812, was rebuilt in 1816, and the settlers began to gather
about it again. The Indian trader, John Kinzie, with his
family, was the first to return, but until 1827 the number of
families did not exceed eight. In 1829 the survey of the
canal, which was to unite the waters of Lake Michigan
with the Illinois River, and the arrival of commissioners
to lay out a town, mark the beginning of the great
Then followed the official act of organization, authoriz-
ing the platting and surveying of the original town site.
This embraced the territory which now lies between Madi-
son and State, and Kinzie and Halsted streets. The map
of the town, drawn by the first city surveyor, James Thomp-
son, bears the date, August 4, 1830.
Chicago River, one and a half miles in length, is formed
by the union of two small streams, which flow the one from
the northwest and the other from the southwest. This
peculiar feature naturally divided the town site into three
parts, North, South and West. The cabins of the early
settlers were reared upon the west side known as Wolfe's
Point. On the north side was built the Miller House, and
op the south side was located a pretentious tavern, partly
log and partly frame, kept by Mr. Elijah Wentworth.
The prospect of obtaining work upon the canal attracted
people to the new town, and in the following year Cook
County, named for Daniel P. Cook, representative in Con-
gress, was organized, and included, aside from its present
territory, five other counties.
In 1830 Stephen Van R. Forbes taught the first school
in a log cabin standing near what is now the corner of
Randolph street and Michigan avenue. The first church
service was held in 1832. In 1833 Chicago was honored
with a weekly mail and post office. During this year an
election was held to determine whether it should become
an incorporated town. Twenty-eight men, the entire male
population, were present at the polls. In the following
year the levy for city taxes amounted to $48.90, and a loan
of $60 for public improvements was negotiated.
In 1836, although the town had increased to more than
two hundred voters, the State Bank refused it a loan of
The Legislature incorporated "the city of Chicago" in
1837, and on the first Tuesday in May the Hon. William
B. Ogden was elected mayor.
The census now showed a population of 4,179, and the
people began to think seriously of making permanent pub-
lic improvements. The altitude of the city was only a few
feet above the level of the lake. Consequently there was
no drainage, and after a heavy rain the entire surface was
covered with water. Accordingly the city raised the grade
of the streets several feet above the ground floors of the
dwellings, filling in with clay dredged from the harbor on
the lake front, and the houses were raised to conform to
the new level.
212 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The enterprise and energy of the little city was shown
by the method it pursued to obtain its water supply.
In 1839 a company erected a reservoir at the corner of
Michigan avenue and Water street, and with a pump, pro-
pelled by a twenty-five horse-power engine, drew water
from the lake and distributed it to the city through pipes
made of logs, bored to carry a stream from three to five
inches in diameter. But the little city soon outgrew this
primitive system, and in 1851 another plan was devised.
A new company made a crib of wood 20x40 feet, and sunk
it in the lake six hundred feet from shore. From this crib
the water was conducted to the lake front, where it was
collected in a well twenty-five feet deep. Here a pump with
a two hundred horse-power engine forced the water through
the distributing pipes. Three stone reservoirs in different
portions of the city were used for storing purposes, and a
large tower at the engine house served the double purpose
of chimney and reservoir. In 1862 one hundred and five
miles of water pipe had been laid.
As early as 1860 Chicago was beginning to be a railroad
center, and the commerce of lake and river was increasing
The growing population, at this time, numbering more
than 100,000, required a better system of drainage. The
sewerage of the city, the refuse of packing houses situated
along the banks of the river, were all poured into the
stream. As the current was always sluggish the Chicago
River gradually became a dreadful nuisance. Complaint
was also made that when the wind was in certain quarters
filth was carried out to the crib, to be redistributed by the
waterworks through the mains.
214 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The water supply was purified in 1863 by the construc-
tion of a tunnel beneath the lake, through which pure water
could be drawn. The new tunnel necessitated a monster
crib, a powerful engine, and a stone tower one hundred
and thirty feet high. These extensive improvements cost
the city a million of dollars.
So successful had the city been in forcing a tunnel be-
neath the lake bed that the people resolved to tunnel the
river for the purpose of facilitating business traffic, which
was often impeded by the opening of pivot bridges which
spanned the stream. In 1869 a tunnel, with a double
driveway and foot path for pedestrians, was built under
the river on the line of Washington street, connecting the
South and West Sides. Two years after, a larger and better
tunnel was forced under the main stream on the line of
La Salle street, connecting the North and South Sides.*
Pure drinking water was abundant, but the Chicago
River was becoming more and more polluted. At length
the city obtained permission from the Legislature to estab-
lish a continuous flow of water from the lake to the Illinois
Canal by way of the Chicago River. At first it seemed
absurd to think of making water flow up stream, but after
many miles of solid rock had been excavated and the ob-
structing barriers torn away, the murky flood of the river
began to move into the new channel, which henceforth
was to serve as its outlet.
THE GREAT FIRE.
Chicago had grown to be a populous city of 300,000
people, and was the great distributing center for the Mis-
*Thse tunnels have since been rebuilt.
sissippi Valley and the lake region. Its many large trunk
railroad lines reached out their hundred arms to gather
in the wealth of Southern and Western States.
The products of forest, mine and fertile soil were brought
to her wharves by a thousand vessels. From her great
warehouses and factories articles of commerce were sent
to every land. The fame of her enterprising merchants
and sagacious business men had become world wide. Her
rapid growth had made her the marvel of the world. While
her substantial business blocks were constructed of stone
and brick, her many miles of outlying streets were lined
with thousands of wooden dwellings. Suddenly she was
overtaken by the most awful fire that ever devastated a
community a calamity so severe that it almost completely
wiped the thriving metropolis from the map.
In the southwestern part of the city, amidst rude and
inferior buildings, lived Mrs. O'Leary. Report has it that
on the night of October 8th, 1871, she went out to milk her
cow and carried to the shed a lighted lamp. The unruly
beast, irritated by its mistress, kicked over the lamp, which
exploded, and the ignited oil was scattered upon the straw
and refuse. In an instant the shed was in a blaze, and the
adjacent dwellings, dry as tinder, speedily caught fire. The
flames spread to other buildings, and before the inhab-
itants realized the seriousness of the situation, the fire was
beyond control. Fanned by a strong gale that was blow-
ing from the southwest, the flames swept toward the center
of the doomed city. Gathering in volume as it advanced,
the fire fiend marched toward the Chicago River. Billows
of flame and smoke rolled heavenward, casting showers of
brands and sparks far in advance. The stately and sub-
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
stantial iron and stone structures in the business portion
of the city crumbled and melted away like wax before its
heated breath. The river proved a feeble barrier to the
onward sweep of the flames. The court house, built of great
BURNT DISTRICT OF THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE.
blocks of stone, although standing apart, succumbed to the
destroying monster. Hope of staying the fiery flood was
abandoned. The crackling wood, the crash of falling build-
ings, the explosions of combustibles, the roaring of
flames and the shouts of the people intermingled in an awful
chorus that unnerved the stoutest hearts and brought terror
to the more timid ones.
An eye witness says : "For miles around was a circle of
red light. The brute creation was crazed. The people were
mad. They crowded upon frail points of vantage, on high
sidewalks, which fell beneath their weight and hurled them
bruised and bleeding in the debris. Seized with wild panic,
they surged together, cursing, threatening, imploring, fight-
ing to get free. Liquor flowed like water, for the saloons
were broken open and men and women were to be seen on
all sides frenzied with drink. Amid this terrible chaos,
NEW CITY HALL BUILDING, CHICAGO.
hundreds of lost children also rushed around crying and
screaming for their parents."
The desolation of the people was complete. A hundred
thousand, rendered homeless by the flames, huddled to-
gether upon the bleak prairies or gathered in open spaces
upon the lake beach. Here young and old, sick and strong,
vile and virtuous, millionaire and beggar, were drenched
by the downpour of rain that followed the fire. Seventeen
thousand five hundred buildings, covering 2,124 acres and
2l8 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
valued at $150,000,000, had been swept away by the flames.
When news of the dire calamity spread abroad, the civil-
ized world responded generously. Donations of food, cloth-
ing and money began to flow in upon the stricken city.
Bureaus of distribution were organized, and contributions
in money to the extent of $7,000,000 were sent in. A special
session of the Legislature reimbursed to the city the $3,000,-
ooo it had expended upon deepening the canal.
But the city, though in ashes, was not dead. The cour-
age, self-reliance and ability of her citizens remained. With
characteristic energy they began to rebuild their homes
and engage in business. Massive business blocks, larger
and more stately than those destroyed, lifted their heads
above the waters of the lake. The destruction of the city
by the flames did not astonish the world more than its
later prosperity. The new Chicago grew more rapidly than
the old, and in a few years it had become the second com-
mercial center of the nation.
THE WORLD'S FAIR.
When a site was to be selected for holding a great fair
in honor of the four hundredth anniversary of America's
discovery, the choice very properly fell to Chicago. Colum-
bus landed upon the new world in 1492, but the prepara-
tions for the Exposition were upon so vast a scale that it
was not formally opened until May 1st of the year follow-
ing the anniversary.
Under the skilful management of an able and patriotic
committee, Jackson Park, fronting upon Lake Michigan,
was transformed into an enchanted land. Beautiful build-
ings arose upon every hand. Stately and appropriate
edifices were erected by the nations of the world and be-
came headquarters for the foreigners who thronged the
Fair. Congress appropriated ten millions of dollars to be
used in various ways, and every state erected buildings in
which were grouped the products of mine, forest, cultivated
field and workshop. Treasures of art and science were
gathered from every quarter of the globe and added to the
of the en-
with a multi-
tude of visi-
tors and for
s i x months
of the great
crowded with people from every civilized land of the globe.
After the close of the Exposition its buildings were, with
one exception, torn down ; the area which they had occupied
was cleared and is now a part of beautiful Jackson Park.
The building which was not demolished is known as the
Field Museum of Natural History in many respects the
most remarkable museum of its kind in the world.
Coming, as it did, on the last decade of the nineteenth
century, the "World's Columbian Exposition" was a fit
22O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
crown, not only for the expiring century, but for the four
hundred years of growth and development which made
possible the gigantic display of instructive and delightful
wonders brought together within its portals.
With the location of the "World's Fair" in Chicago the
population of the city was greatly increased, and every suc-
ceeding year has added to the number of people already
there. The system of drainage which was sufficient for
hundreds of thousands was inadequate for millions, and it
was found necessary to build the
CHICAGO DRAINAGE CANAL.
This remarkable structure, which was finished at the be-
ginning of the year 1900, is indeed a triumph of engineering
skill. As has been mentioned before, the city of Chicago
had, in 1865, deepened the Illinois and Michigan Canal
so as to cleanse the waters of the Chicago River. If in
1865 such work was deemed advisable, in 1894 it became
It is more than probable that in pre-historic times the
Chicago River, as well as one or two others now obliterated,
were outlets to Lake Michigan. The great canal then
restores the ancient topographical conditions.
To accomplish this it was necessary to cut through the
rocks and glacial drift to be found between Lockport and
Chicago. It meant a cut twenty-eight miles in length and
thirty-five feet in depth. This continuous depth makes the
Chicago canal the greatest artificial waterway ever con-
structed. The flow is of over 300,000 cubic feet of water
per minute. At Lockport the canal becomes a harbor or
basin, about 500 feet in width, for the purpose of accom-
222 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
modating the largest lake vessels. Seven years of time and
fifty-six millions of dollars ($56,000,000), with the employ-
ment of more than one hundred thousand men, are the fig-
ures given for the work accomplished. For a drainage
canal twenty millions of dollars ($20,000,000) would have
sufficed, but to this the city added over thirty-six millions
($36,000,000), that it might not only facilitate drainage,
but become the terminus of a mammoth ship canal, which
would reach the Gulf by the smaller navigable rivers and
Its commercial value is as great as its sanitary worth.
Through the canal to the Illinois and Mississippi and thence
to the Gulf go the ships of Chicago. Chicago's enterprise
has made her an Atlantic seaport.
With her marvelous growth, Chicago has also provided a
magnificent system of parks and boulevards, which now
cover more than two thousand six hundred acres of land.
The six large parks and many smaller ones aggregating
nearly one hundred in number are connected by forty-eight
miles of boulevards, which form a wonderful driveway
through and around the city. Two of these boulevards
Drexel and Grand are conceded to be the finest thorough-
fares of the kind in the United States ; each of which is two
hundred feet in width and adorned with a large variety of
magnificent floral decorations. One can start from Jack-
son Park, on the South Side, and make a complete circuit
of the city in an automobile or carriage, without leaving
the parks or boulevards. These parks are plentifully sup-
plied with many notable specimens of ta^uary and monu-
ments. Lincoln Park, on the North Side, contains an ex-
ceptionally fine collection of zoological specimens of par-
ticular interest to school children also a free bathing beach,
where thousands of the city's younger element congregate
during the summer season. Of more than passing interest
is the Field Museum of Natural History in Jackson Park.
Here are contained many thousands of selections pertaining
to natural history that have been procured from all parts
of the world regardless of cost.
The authorities are also providing a series of Municipal
Playgrounds, chiefly for the use of children. These grounds
are being located in different sections of the city and are
open daily with proper attendants and officers provided by
the city to care for the grounds and the crowds that fre-
quent them. Many "of the smaller parks also contain Field
Houses, where lectures and entertainments are provided
without cost to the public. Almost every school in the
city is now within reach of one or more of these play-
grounds, or places of wholesome amusement, and the last-
ing benefits that such recreation is conferring upon the
health and morals of the city's youth cannot be estimated.
Wonderful, indeed, has been the development of Chi-
cago, which was a despised hamlet when St. Louis, Cleve-
land, Cincinnati and Detroit were flourishing towns. At the
opening of the twentieth century she has outstripped her
sisters, and stands to-day with her population of 2,185,283
people (1910 census), the greatest grain market, the great-
est live stock market and the greatest railroad center in
the world. Though removed from the ocean, she is the
largest shipping port on the continent, and as a money
center is second only to New York city.
OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS.
Every State provides for the confinement of its criminals
and cares for its unfortunates. To this end Illinois has
provided a beneficent and liberal system of State, penal
and charitable institutions.
The rude log jails of the early days were insufficient to
hold the many desperate criminals that were to be found
upon the frontier. A penitentiary building was greatly
needed, but the people were unwilling to endure the burden
of taxation necessary to secure it. Fortunately, at this time,
Congress ceded to the State 40,000 acres of land, the funds
derived from the sale of which were to be applied toward
the erection of a State prison. Such a building, containing
twenty-four cells, was erected at Alton in 1827. But in
a few years it proved inadequate, and the State erected at
Joliet a building that would accommodate 1,000 prisoners.
In 1860 the convicts were removed thither from Alton.
As the population increased, another similar institution
was built upon the banks of the Mississippi River near
THE COUNTY POOR.
In nearly every county is to be found an almshouse
located upon an ample farm. Here the poor or sick who
OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS. 22$
have no other home are kindly cared for. Charity is dis-
pensed to others through the County Court or by the Board
THE DEAF AND DUMB.
It was discovered that some of these dependent classes
could be made self-supporting citizens by a careful system
of education. To Orville H. Browning of Quincy, who had
made an exhaustive study of the subject, belongs the honor
of inaugurating a movement to establish an "Asylum for
the Education of the Deaf and Dumb." The school was
located at Jacksonville, and opened on January 26, 1846,
with only four pupils. As the work of the school became
known its numbers rapidly increased, until at the present
time, it is the largest school of the kind in the world. Here
have been trained to lives of usefulness nearly 4,000 per-
sons, who otherwise would have been a burden to society.
The boys are taught typesetting, broom-making, carpentry
and other useful trades. The girls learn to do housework,
to draw, to paint and make many kinds of fancy work.
ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE.
No class of unfortunates appeals to us more strongly
than the insane. Miss Dorothea Dix early applied herself
to the bettering of their pitiable condition. This woman
traveled over the State, speaking to audiences upon the
subject, and enlisting the sympathy of the people. When
the State Legislature met, she addressed to them an elo-
quent and convincing argument favoring the establishment
of an asylum for the care of the insane. Accordingly, such
a hospital was located on a beautiful stretch of prairie-land
226 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
a mile south of Jacksonville. From 1851, the year in which
the first patient was received, the institution has grown and
prospered. As the population of the State increased it
became necessary to make provision for many more
patients than could be accommodated at the Jacksonville
Asylum. The Legislature, in 1869, provided for the
erection of two other hospitals: One known as the
Northern Home for the Insane, located on the banks
.of the Fox Rrver, near Elgin; the other established at
Anna. Although these hospitals are very large, in a few
years the State was compelled to build another, which
was located near Kankakee. This institution has attracted
much attention, both at home and abroad. It consists of
a large hospital building, surrounded by a number of de-
tached cottages, which are occupied by the patients. The
plan has proven so successful that it has been copied by the
States of Ohio, Indiana and New York.
Illinois now has nine hospitals (or asylums), for the
insane. They are located as follows: Elgin, Kankakee,
Jacksonville, Anna, Watertown, Peoria (South Bartonville),
Chicago (Dunning), Chester (for insane criminals). One
of the nine hospitals provided for by law is not yet fully
INSTITUTIONS FOR THE BLIND.
Yet another beneficent institution had its beginning at
Jacksonville. Samuel Bacon, a blind man, in 1847 opened
a private school in that city for those who were afflicted
This gave the people the idea of a school for the blind,
OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS. 227
and in 1849 a bill for the establishment of such an institu-
tion passed the Legislature. It was opened during the same
An act passed in 1887 provided for the establishment of
an industrial home designed to promote the welfare of tli3
blind by teaching them trades and afford them employment;
that will best tend to make them self-supporting. No steps
were taken toward it until 1893. It is located at Chicago.
Several other charitable institutions should be mentioned.
In 1875 the School for Feeble Minded Children, which had
been an outgrowth of the Deaf and Dumb Institution at
Jacksonville, was removed to Lincoln, where it was pro-
vided with ample and beautiful buildings. This school,
under the management of Dr. Chas. T. Wilbur and those
who have followed him, has done noble work in fitting feeble
minded children, as far as possible, for earning their own
At Normal the State has established a "Home for the
intellectual, moral and physical development of children
whose fathers served in the Union army or navy during
the war." The idea of founding this home originated in
a "most patriotic impulse on the part of the people to fulfil
the pledge made to the gallant soldiers who imperiled their
lives on the field of battle during the dark days of the Civil
War, that if they fell in the fight the widows and children
should be cared for." This pledge is being sacredly kept
by the State and nation.
228 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
In 1885 the General Assembly established a Home for
Soldiers and Sailors. This institution, built at a cost of
$200,000, was located at Ouincy. It has proved a boon to
many a brave veteran who, without its comfort, would be
compelled to spend his old age in poverty and want.
In response to a movement set on foot by the State
Teachers' Association, the legislature in 1867 passed an
act providing for the establishment of a State Reform
School. This institution is located at Pontiac. It is for the
confinement, education and reformation of boys between the
ages of 10 and 16 years who have been convicted of crimes.
Male criminals between the ages of 16 and 21 years, who
have not before been sentenced to a penitentiary, may also
be sentenced to the reformatory instead of a penitentiary at
the discretion of the court.
The Eye and Ear Infirmary is located at Chicago. Its
object is to provide gratuitous board and medical treatment
for all indigent residents of Illinois who are afflicted with
diseases of the eye or ear.
In 1895 The Soldiers' Widows' Home of Illinois was
established. It is located at Wilmington, Will County.
The Illinois State Colony for Improvable Epileptics is
located at Lincoln. The nature of this institution is dis-
closed by its title.
The State Training School for Girls was established in
1893. Its permanent location is at Geneva. It is for the
confinement, education and reformation of girls between
the ages of ten and sixteen years, who have been convicted
of offenses punishable at law.
The St. Charles School for Boys is located at St. Charles.
It was established as a home for delinquent boys.
EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS.
The Continental Congress which prepared the "Ordi-
nance of 1787," wisely provided for a system of public
schools for the Northwest Territory. The sixteenth sec-
tion of every township was reserved to provide funds for
the maintenance of public schools within said township.
Two entire townships in each State were also set aside for
the use of a "future seminary of learning" or university.
Thus generously did these early statesmen provide for
the education of the children who were to be born in the
territory north of the Ohio River. But it was not until
many years after these lands had been appropriated that
they were sold and the money was used for the purpose in-
tended. As yet the entire territory was a wilderness.
The early French of Illinois established a seminary of
learning at Kaskaskia in 1721. But this institution prob-
ably exerted little influence upon the community, for
Governor Reynolds tells us in his "History of Illinois" that
these happy people "had use for neither knowledge nor
wealth, and therefore possessed not much of either."
The early American settlers of Illinois for the most part
were ignorant and poor. Living in thinly populated re-
gions, they gave little thought to the education of their
The first schools were held in the cabins of the settlers,
and were taught by wandering teachers whose educational
230 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
qualifications were little above those of the people whom
they served. Gradually, however, log school houses were
built in many communities. The floors of these rude build-
ings were made of thin slabs called puncheons, which were
hewn smooth upon one side. Often the entire end of the
school house was taken up with a huge fireplace crowned
with a chimney of sticks and mud. The desks and benches
without backs were hewn from logs and a long thin slab
served as a writing table.
Reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling constituted
the course of study. In the same reading class could be
found copies of the New Testament, Weem's Life of Wash-
ington or Franklin, and the Pilgrim's Progress.
The teacher usually went around the neighborhood with
a subscription paper. His charges were from $1.00 to
$2.50 per school month for each pupil. As there was little
or no money in the new country, he took his pay in
produce, wheat, tallow, skins, wool or young cattle. If
a single man, he usually "boarded around" in the humble
cabins of his patrons. Before and after school hours he
assisted in splitting wood, making fires or milking the
cows. It is said that John Doyle, an Irishman, taught a
school at Kaskaskia in 1778. John Seeley, who has been
called "the first American school master of Illinois,"
taught in Monroe County as early as 1783. The first
school house was built in 1811 at Shiloh in St. Clair County.
In this irregular fashion, public instruction continued
during the early days of the pioneers.
The village of Upper Alton was the first to lead off in
the attempt to establish a school sustained at public ex-
pense. The people set apart 100 lots, the funds provided
EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS. 231
from the sale of whidi were to be applied "half for the
support of the Gospel" and half for the public schools.
In addition, a tax for the support of the schools was
imposed upon the remaining real estate of the town. But
no general effort was made to establish a public school
system throughout the State until 1825, when the legis-
lature passed an act whereby public schools, supported
by taxation, were to be opened in all counties of the State.
A majority of the public had never been taxed to support
schools of any kind, and resented the idea of being com-
pelled to pay the tuition of other people's children. The
measure proved so unpopular that four years later the law
was repealed and another substituted, which declared that
no man should be taxed except by his own consent.
This was a hard blow, to the public schools, but a tide
of immigration friendly to education had begun to pour
in from the East. The sentiment in favor of schools ex-
pressed itself in the founding of a number of
Dr. John Murray, in 1818, established a Baptist College
at Upper Alton. McKendree College, at Lebanon, was
planted in 1828, with Rev. (afterward Bishop) E. H. Ames
as the first principal. Peter Cartwright, a noted Methodist
preacher, was one of the prime movers in this enterprise.
A movement to establish a school at Jacksonville was in-
augurated as early as 1827. The result was Illinois College,
formally opened in 1829. Julian M. Sturtevant, the first
teacher, afterward became President in 1844. Dr. Edward
Beecher became the first President in 1831.
Within the twenty years that followed the legislation of
232 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS/
1825, most of the denominational* colleges of the Stare
were established. During this period a colony came from
western New York with the intention of locating a college
settlement in the new State. A tract of land near Knox-
ville was purchased for the purpose. In the midst of the
colony lands Knox College was founded in 1837, and the
town of Galesburg was laid out around it. The institution
attracted to the new town people of sobriety, earnestness
and refinement. Of all the communities that assisted in
the upbuilding of "the great West," none performed a
greater work or is deserving of more praise than the
colony of Christian people which established Knox College.
Another institution worthy of mention in this connec-
tion is the Monticello Female Seminary at Godfrey. This
school, the first seminary in the Mississippi Valley for the
education of young women, was founded in 1835 by Cap-
tain Benjamin Godfrey. The first building was erected
amidst the foliage of a primeval forest. To-day the work
of teaching is carried on in a beautiful stone structure
built at a cost of $250,000. Its course of study was mod-
eled after that of Yale College, and from the first it
possessed a faculty of cultured men and women.
The influence of these schools upon the people of the
new State can never be estimated.
Their students and graduates settled in every portion
of the State, and as doctors, lawyers, farmers, preachers
and business men did much to -elevate the life and influence
the opinions of the early settlers. It was no small task
to convince the people that the paramount duty of the
State was to give to every child the opportunity to obtain
a common school education. Indeed, it was largely through
LIBRARY BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA.
234 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
the efforts of the teachers and friends of these denomina-
tional colleges that the present public school system was
There was held at Peoria in 1844 a convention of educa-
tors, which addressed a memorial to the legislature de-
manding the imposing of a general school tax and the
establishment of the office of State Superintendent of Public
Instruction. In 1853 tne ^ rst State Association of Teach-
ers met at Springfield, and the following year the legisla-
ture complied with this request. A school tax was imposed
and Ninian Edwards became the first State Superintendent.
The advent of better teachers and improved school-
houses announced the dawn of a new day. The citizens
of Illinois are justly proud of the system of public educa-
tion, which has done so much to advance the State to a
front rank among the commonwealths of our nation.
The amount expended by Illinois for educational pur-
poses is exceeded by that of New York alone. It surpasses
that of Pennsylvania or Ohio, is more than twice that of
Missouri, and is seven times greater than the amount
expended by Kentucky.
THE NORMAL SCHOOLS.
The public school system having been fully determined
upon, it became necessary to found a school where teachers
might be properly trained. Accordingly, in 1857, the State
legislature passed a law establishing a "State Normal Uni-
versity," "to qualify teachers for the common schools of the
The Board of Trustees selected by the legislature chose
a site for the new school near Bloomington. Here the
EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS. 235
buildings were erected, and around them sprang up the
beautiful little city of Normal. The school entered at once
upon a successful career with Charles W. Hovey as the
first principal. It has performed excellent work for the
cause of education, and has taken high rank among the
oth<v normal schools of the nation.
But our commonwealth is of great extent. In a few
years a training school for teachers was demanded by
Southern Illinois. In 1874 the "Southern Illinois Normal
University" was located at Carbondale. This institution
has done an important work for the public schools of
As the population increased, the State established other
Normals at Charleston and DeKalb, and funds are already
appropriated for still another to be located in the western
part of the State.
THE STATE UNIVERSITY.
The crown of our educational system is the State
University. The wisdom of the early legislators in grant-
ing many thousands of acres of land for the founding of
a seminary of learning bore fruit in Illinois, when the
State University was located between the cities of Cham-
paign and Urbana.
Dr. John M. Gregory, of Michigan, was inaugurated
president in 1868, but not until five years later was the main
building of the school completed. Recently, beautiful new
buildings have been erected; various departments of in-
struction have been enlarged and others added. To-day
the Illinois State University compares favorably with the
largest and best equipped schools of the nation.
236 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
In recent years other schools and colleges have been
established within the borders of the State. The phenom-
enal growth of the city of Chicago, with its libraries, art
galleries and museums has attracted to its vicinity some
of the best of these institutions, making Chicago the
greatest educational center of the interior. The Chicago
University, the Northwestern University, the Lake Forest
University, and the host of theological seminaries, com-
mercial and professional schools, add their beneficent in-
fluence to the educational forces of the State.
Appendix A Resume.
Prepared for use as a Text Book on the History of Illi-
nois, and bringing the contents of this volume down to
By S. R. WINCHELL.
The State of Illinois is three hundred and eighty-five
miles in length and two hundred and eighteen miles in
width, covering 55,410 square miles, or 35,462,400 acres.
The highest elevation of land is in the northern part of
the state, which is about 1,175 ^ eet above the level of
the sea. From here the surface slopes gradually to the
most southern point, where it is only 350 feet above the
Gulf of Mexico. The surface is level, except for an ir-
regular range of hills in the southern part, stretching
from Grand Tower on the west to Shawneetown on the
The territory of Illinois extends to the middle of the
Ohio River on the southern boundary and the middle
of the Mississippi River on the west. The Illinois River
23^ THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
lies wholly within the state, and is nearly 500 miles in
length, about one-half of which is navigable.
Pjy the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which unite? Lake
Michigan with the Illinois River, there is a continuous
water passage through the State from the Gulf of St.
Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico.
Because of the extreme length of Illinois from north
to south, which is more than five and a half degrees of
latitude, nearly every staple food product of the world
is grown within her borders. The value of all the gold
and silver mined in the United States in one year is not
equal to that of the farm products of Illinois in the same
period of time.
Illinois is covered in large part by the products of the
carboniferous era. From the northwest to the southeast
an immense coal field may be traced for 375 miles, and
from St. Louis to the northeast, about 200 miles, cover-
ing a total area of about 45,000 square miles. Only cer-
tain portions of this great area contain workable coal
mines, however. The coal produced is bituminous.
Various kinds of limestone are quarried within the
state, from which many of the public buildings have been
The soil is generally black, of a loamy character and espe-
cially adapted to agricultural purposes.
The Illinois. The Illinois Indians comprised a con-
federacy of the Peorias, the Kaskaskias, the Cahokias,
the Tamawas and the Witchigamies. They occupied and
claimed nearly the whole of the State of Illinois, as well
as contiguous portions of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri.
They belonged to the great Algonquin family, and were
friendly to the French. For this reason, and in order
to deprive them of thtir rich hunting grounds, the hos-
tile Iroquois, as well as other tribes, made constant war-
fare upon them.
The original name of the Illinois was "Illini," meaning
"real men." The French changed the plural ending of
the word by substituting their own termination, ois.
But finally the Iroquois surprised the Illinois and con-
quered them. The shattered remnant, in 1769, were
assailed by the Pottawottomies, and actually died from
thirst and hunger, in their impregnable fortress at what
has since been known as "Starved Rock," on the Illinois
River. Only one escaped to tell the tale of their suffer-
The Black Hawk War. By a treaty signed at St. Louis
November 3, 1804, the Indians ceded to the United
States all land lying between the Rock River and the
Mississippi River, and agreed to remove west of the
Mississippi. But Black Hawk, a chief of the Sacs, and
some others of the Sacs and the Foxes, did not approve
of the treaty, and during the war of 1812 sided with the
British, and at its close continued in a hostile mood.
240 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
In 1830, Black Hawk undertook to unite all Indians
against the whites, and in the spring of 1831 a dispute
arose about a cornfield which had been purchased by a
fur trader and which Black Hawk would not surrender.
Governor Reynolds therefor sent General Gaines with
a company of volunteers to Fort Armstrong, on Rock
Island, near the Indian village, who persuaded Black
Hawk and his band to cross the river. But early the
next spring Black Hawk and his men recrossed the river,
declaring that they were going to their friends, the Win-
nebagoes, who lived in Wisconsin, for the purpose of
planting corn. Governor Reynolds immediately sent
General Whiteside, with 1,800 volunteers, to drive them
back. A reconnoitering party was met by messengers
from Black Hawk carrying a white flag. Contrary to
the rules of warfare the volunteers fired on the Indians,
killing two of them, which so enraged Black Hawk that
he attacked the volunteers, killed . eleven of them and
drove the rest back to their general. This was the first
bloodshed in the Black Hawk War.
The war continued, with occasional conflicts, till August
2d, when nearly all of Black Hawk's band were de-
stroyed, and the valiant warrior surrendered, through the
friendly offices of two Winnebago chiefs. The Govern-
ment at Washington could charge nothing against him but
"honorable warfare," and he was permitted to return to his
own people. He died near Des Moines, on October
JOLLIET AND M]ARQUETTE.
Jacques Marquette was a French Catholic missionary
to the Indians on the St. Lawrence River, and later to the
Indians of the Upper Lake region. He endeared himself
to the Indians everywhere by the gentleness of his man-
ner and the purity of his life.
Sieur Louis Jolliet was a fur trader of Quebec. In
November, 1672, he was instructed by Frontenac, the
Governor of New France, to make a journey of discovery
to the Mississippi River and its mouth. Marquette was
chosen as a missionary to accompany the expedition.
Nothing could have pleased him more.
Jolliet and Marquette, with five French boatmen, in
two birch canoes, started from the mission of St. Ignace,
going southward along the western shore of Green Bay
to the mission of St. Xavier, up the shallow waters of the
Fox River, across Winnebago Lake, by Portage to the
headwaters of the Wisconsin River, down the Wisconsin
to the great Mississippi, and down the Mississippi tc
the mouth of the Arkansas River. From this point they
returned to the mouth of the Illinois River, and up that
stream to an Indian village called Kaskaskia, near the
present site of Ottawa. From here they proceeded to the
shores of Lake Michigan and back to the Green Bay
mission, having been absent four months and traveled
2,500 miles in their birch canoes. From here Jolliet re-
turned to Canada, and Marquette, in the fall of 1674,
set out to establish a mission at Kaskaskia. Arriving in
Chicago, he was taken ill and remained until spring,
242 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
when he proceeded to the accomplishment of his task.
But his health failing rapidly, he reluctantly bade them
farewell and started to return to his friends in Canada.
With two faithful companions he reached the eastern shore
of Lake Michigan, near St. Joseph, and there peacefully
and thankfully surrendered his work to his Master and
closed his eyes in death. The next winter some Indians
transferred his bones to the mission of St. Ignace at Macki-
nac, where they were buried.
Robert Cavelier, Knight of LaSalle, was born in France,
went to Montreal at the age of twenty-three, became an
adventurer and discover, and later a fur trader.
LaSalle's connection with the history of Illinois begins
in December, 1679, when he, with an Italian named Tonti,
and ten Frenchmen, entered the State in canoes by way of
the Kankakee River.
Floating into the Illinois River, they passed the cliff
afterwards famous as "Starved Rock," and built a fortified
camp a few miles below Peoria, which was the first
home of civilization to be established within the borders of
the State of Illinois.
This camp he called Fort Crevecoeur. From here he
returned with five companions on foot to Fort Frontenac
in Canada, a distance of 1,200 miles, for the purpose of
obtaining materials for building a ship which he might
fill with buffalo hides and take down the Mississippi River
and across the Atlantic.
Tonti was left in command of the fort. But a succes-
sion of troubles immediately followed. According to in-
structions received from LaSalle, he took a few men and
went up the river to examine the cliff, near Kaskaskia, the
chief village of the Illinois. As soon as he departed those
left behind rose in rebellion, with the exception of two,
destroyed the fort, seized the ammunition and fled. The
hostile Iroquois then came upon the Illinois and Tonti
came near losing his life. At last he escaped to the French
mission at Mackinac.
LASALLE'S RETURN TO ILLINOIS.
When LaSalle returned to the village of the Iroquois
on the Illinois River he found nothing but desolation.
Not knowing what had become of Tonti and his men, he
descended to the mouth of the Illinois, where he came
upon the field of death where the unfortunate Tamawas
had been slaughtered. Returning then to Fort Miami,
he resolved to form a league of the western tribes and
colonize them about the Rock of St. Louis, as he had
named the cliff on the Illinois River. Again he returned
to Canada to obtain needed supplies and at Mackinac
Mission he was overjoyed to meet Tonti, who returned
with him to Canada. Coming again to the present site
of Chicago, he continued down the Illinois and the
Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas, and below
to Texas, and then to the Gulf and took possession of the
country in the name of France. Returning to Mackinac,
244 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Tonti was sent to the Rock of St. Louis to prepare the
place for a fort. LaSalle followed and the fort was
named Fort St. Louis. So far his plan for a colony was
successful. He now left Tonti in command and went to
France for aid in planting colonies at the mouth of the
Mississippi River. The King gave him the aid he de-
sired, including four vessels, abundant supplies and 100
soldiers. But the vessels were lost and captured by the
Spanish. Disasters multiplied and LaSalle was at last
killed by the treachery of some of his own men, who had
become disaffected. He was forty-three years of age at
the time of his death.
OLD KASKASKIA AND THE EARLY FRENCH.
The earliest mission among the Illinois Indians was
established by Marquette at Kaskaskia. This mission
was moved about 1695, when the Illinois abandoned the
region through fear of the Iroquois, and re-established
near the junction of the Kaskaskia River with the Miss-
issippi, where the Indians chose a new site for their
A few years later Father Pinet established a mission
among the Tamaroa Indians at Cahokia, four miles south
of the present site of East St. Louis. Other Frenchmen
settled there and the village became one of considerable
importance. Within less than a hundred years it became
the county seat of St. Clair county. But in 1814 the
county seat was transferred to Belleville. In 1844 heavy
floods destroyed the village of Cahokia, and it has since
been nothing but a hamlet.
By 1750 there were many Frenchmen living along the
banks of the Mississippi River, having found access from
the Gulf much easier than by way of Mackinac. The
province of Louisiana extended indefinitely northward
along the river, and Kaskaskia was the chief metropolis
of the northern portion. In 1725 it became an incor-
FO'RT CHARTRES AND THE BRITISH.
The French and the Indians dwelt together in perfect
In 1718 a site was chosen midway between Kaskaskia
and Cahokia for the building of a fort. This was named
Fort Chartres, and immediately became the seat of
French military power. The French villages of New
Chartres, St. Philip and Prairie du Rocher grew into
In 1750 Fort Chartres was torn down and recon-
structed of stone. This was then the strongest and
most pretentious fortress in the New World. The sol-
diers of Fort Chartres were engaged in many battles
during the French and Indian War. This fort was for-
mally delivered to the English in October, 1765^ they
having come into possession of all this territory former-
ly held by the French, through their conquest of Canada.
In the spring of 1772 the fort was partially destroyed
by an overflow of the river, and the British removed their
military stores to the fort opposite Kaskaskia, which was
named Fort Gage, in honor of the British commander in
246 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARK AND THE
Colonel George Rogers Clark, with a commission from
Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia, which at that
time claimed the territory lying west, even to the Miss-
issippi River, marched northward from Kentucky with
upwards of 150 volunteers for the purpose of capturing
Kaskaskia and Fort Gage and driving the British from
the territory. This was in June, 1778. On the fourth
of July they arrived within three miles of Kaskaskia,
having marched a distance of 170 miles, most of the way
through tangled forests and marshy swamps. The cap-
ture was successfully accomplished without bloodshed,
and soon Cahokia was also in possession of the colonies.
But the Indians were allies of the British, and were
not disposed to submit to peaceable occupation of their
country by the Americans. A great council was held
at Cahokia and Colonel Clark was successful in persuad-
ing them to be friends.
Colonel Clark next marched his men across the State
and captured Fort Vincennes, on the Wabash, which
gave the whole Northwest Territory to the colonies. The
Virginia Assembly named the captured country the Ter-
ritory of Illinois.
THE ORDINANCE OF 1787.
Under the Ordinance of 1787 Governor St. Clair, who
had been appointed by President Washington the first
Governor of the Northwest Territory, which included
the present States of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Wis-
consin, came to Kaskaskia, in February, 1791, from Ma-
rietta, the seat of the territorial government, for the pur-
pose of organizing a local government and distributing
the lands to their rightful owners.
St. Clair county thus became the first organized county
within the present state, and Cahokia the first county
THE ILLINOIS PIONEERS.
The first Americans to enter the Illinois country were
the soldiers of Colonel George Rogers Clark. In the
spring of 1781 a company of people from Maryland com-
posed largely of Colonel Clark's veterans, came by boat
to Kaskaskia by way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Other immigrants followed in great covered wagons
drawn by oxen or horses, coming from Virginia and the
At first their comforts and conveniences were very
few, but after a time, as the number of people increased
and the fear of the Indians decreased, the settlements
became villages, and extensive farms were cultivated,
with large herds of sheep. Shadrach Bond, the first
Governor of the State, was a member of the first colony
that settled in the Illinois country.
THE ILLINOIS RANGERS.
At the opening of the war of 1812 the Indians became
very dangerous and Congress assigned four companies
of rangers to guard the frontiers of Illinois. The con-
248 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
flicts between the red men and the white were frequent
and bloody, the British joining with the Indians. But
after the treaty of Ghent, by which the war between
America and England was ended, the Indians gave no more
trouble for a number of years.
THE BLOCK HOUSES AND OLD FT. DEARBORN.
As a means of defense against the Indians numerous
"block houses" and stockades were built, extending from
the Illinois River to the Kaskaskia, thence eastward to
the Ohio River, and up this river and the Wabash to Vin-
In northern Illinois the most pretentious defense against
the Indians was Fort Dearborn, which was erected at the
mouth of the Chicago River in 1804. This was garrisoned
by only fifty soldiers at the outbreak of the war, and they,
by order of General Hull, attempted to escape to Fort
Wayne. But they had gone but a few hundred yards when
they were attacked by Indians and twenty-three of them,
v/ith several women and children, were ruthlessly massa-
The necessity of using the Mississippi River for trans-
porting the products of the country to New Orleans, and
bringing back goods purchased there, gave rise to a class
of men who made a business of such transportation in what
were called keel-boats.
Many pirates and savages infested the banks of the
river and the keel-boatmen had many a conflict with
them in defending their cargoes, until, in 1797, Spain placed
a large fleet of armed boats on the river, which quickly
cleared it of these outlaws.
STATEHOOD AND THE CONSTITUTIONS.
The Territory of Illinois was organized in 1809, and
Ninian Edwards was appointed first Governor of the Terri-
The "Bank of Illinois" was established at Shawneetown
in 1816, and the following year other banks were located
at Kaskaskia and Edwardsville.
The people clamored for admission into the Union as
a State, but by the ordinance of 1787 a population of 60,000
was necessary. Congress, therefore, passed an "enabling
act" reducing the requirement to 40,000, and a questionable
census reported the required number.
In the bill admitting Illinois as a State it was provided
that three-fifths of the five per cent fund from the sale
of public lands should be devoted to "the encouragement
of education," and that one-sixth of this sum should be
used exclusively for the establishing and maintenance of
a university or college. It was also provided that the north-
ern boundary of the State should be extended to the parallel
of forty-two degrees and nine minutes, north latitude, which
was fifty-one miles north of the line indicated by the ordi-
nance of 1787. This placed the site of Chicago in Illinois
instead of Wisconsin.
In July, 1818, thirty-three delegates met in Kaskaskia
to draft a State constitution. The convention adjourned
250 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS,
August 26, and on December 3d of the same year Illinois
became the eighth state added to the original thirteen.
A new constitution was adopted in 1848, and a third
THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY.
The first slaves in Illinois were 500 natives of San Do-
mingo, brought to Fort Chartres in 1721 by Philip
Renault to work in the gold and silver mines which the
Commercial Company expected to open. As no gold and
silver were found, there were no mines to work, and the
slaves were sold to the French settlers.
But slavery never flourished in Illinois. The "Ordi-
nance of 1787" prohibited slavery in the Northwest Ter-
ritory, and in 1818 Illinois was admitted as a free State.
At the election in 1822 Edward Coles, a native of Vir-
ginia and a strong anti-slavery man, was elected Gov-
ernor. A majority of the Legislature favored slavery,
and a resolution was adopted submitting to a vote of
the people the question whether Illinois should be a
slave state or not, hoping to secure an amendment of
the constitution. This led to a most bitter and exciting
political contest. Governor Coles contributed his entire
salary, $4,000, as a campaign fund. The anti-slavery
party won by 1,800 majority.
THE MURDER OF LOVEJOY.
Elijah P. Lovejoy, editor of "The Observer," a reli-
gious paper published in St. Louis, fearlessly attacked
the institution of slavery in the columns of his paper.
His office was assaulted by a mob and completely de-
stroyed. He then moved to Alton, in a free state, and
attempted to re-establish his paper, but mobs destroyed
his press twice. A fourth press was purchased by his
friends. It arrived on the night of November 7, 1837.
The next night a drunken mob attacked the warehouse
where it was stored. In the building were Mr. Lovejoy
and a few friends, who had armed themselves to defend
the property. The mob set fire to the building and shot
the men within. This event created great excitement
throughout the state.
OUR STATE CAPITALS.
The first capital of Illinois was Kaskaskia, chosen in
1809, when the Territory of Illinois was separated from
that of Indiana.
The second was Vandalia. The temporary State
House was occupied first in December, 1820. This
house was burned in 1823, and a commodious brick struc-
ture was at once erected, the citizens contributing $3,000
toward the cost. The building was replaced by a still
more pretentious one in 1836, the citizens paying the ex-
pense in order to prevent the removal of the capital.
But in 1837 the capital was removed to Springfield and
the state refunded to Vandalia the $16,000 which the
building had cost. The new State House in Springfield
was built at an expense of $200,000. But so rapid was
the growth of the State that in 1868 the corner stone was
laid for the present magnificent State House which cost
252 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
NAUVOO AND THE MORMONS.
The sect of Mormons came from Missouri to Illinois
in the winter of 1838-39 and settled in Hancock county,
calling their village Nauvoo. But the Mormons became
unpopular in Illinois, as they had been in Missouri, and
the people threatened such violence against the leaders,
Joseph Smith and: his brother Hyram, that they gave
themselves up to the sheriff. On June 27, 1844, they
were assassinated at the hands of a mob. Then fol-
lowed dissentions among the Mormons themselves, arid
in 1846 most of them migrated to Salt Lake, Utah, under
the leadership of Brigham Young, but many dissenters
separated from the main body and in 1860 chose Joseph
Smith, a son of the founder of Mormonism, to be their
president and settled at Lamloni, Iowa.
Railroads. The first railroad in Illinois was "The
Great Northern Cross," begun May 9, 1838, at Mere-
dosia. This was only ten years after the building of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the first one in the United
States. This road was completed to Springfield, at an
expense of $1,000,000, but was sold at auction for
In 1837 the Legislature passed a bill providing state
aid for the improvement of navigation on the Illinois,
Wabash, Rock and Kaskaskia Rivers, and also for build-
ing several railroads. In 1850 Congress gave the Illinois
Central Railroad Company 3,000,000 acres of land for the
construction of a road through the whole length of the
State. In return the Illinois Central Railroad Company
pays into the State treasury annually seven per cent of its
gross earnings in place of the usual taxes. This percentage
has already made an annual income for the State of over
one million dollars, and a total up to 1910 of $29,100,-
427.81. There are more miles of railroad to-day in the
State of Illinois than in any other State in the
Canals. By an act of Congress the State was author-
ized to "open a canal through the land to connect the
Illinois River with Lake Michigan." The land for ninety
feet on each side of the canal was gi anted to the state. It
was estimated that the canal would cost $700,000, but
after $1,500,000 had been spent work was suspended
until a grant was obtained from Congress giving the
state the alternate sections of public land for five miles
on each side of the canal along its entire route, amount-
ing to 2,243,323 acres.
The work was completed in twelve years. The canal
was sixty feet wide at the ground level, thirty-six feet
wide at the bottom, and six feet deep.
The first complete trip of 100 miles was made in
In 1865 Chicago enlarged and deepened the channel
so that it might assist in clearing the Chicago River of
accumulated filth. After the great fire of 1871 the state
promptly repaid the city the money it had expended on
The canal has earned more than twice as much as was
254 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
spent in its construction. The United States Govern-
ment was given control of the canal in 1882, and it be-
came a national waterway.
ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR.
Illinois furnished six regiments for the Mexican War,
though her quota was only three. The First and Second
Illinois Regiments were engaged in the battle of Buena
Vista, and many men were buried on that bloody field.
The Third and Fourth Regiments were engaged in the
storming of Vera Cruz, and in the capture of the City of
Mexico; also in the battle of Cerro Gordo.
LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS.
Early in the spring of 1830 Abraham Lincoln, with his
parents, came into Illinois as immigrants from Indiana,
Lincoln being then twenty-one years of age. The family
settled on the Sangamon River, about ten miles south of
Young Lincoln needed new clothes, and being without
money, he bargained with a woman to make four hundred
rails for every yard of cloth she would use in making him
a pair of trousers. He had to split 1,400 rails for
Setting out to earn an independent living, he became
clerk in a store at New Salem. He was captain of a com-
pany in the Black Hawk War. After the close of the war
he became postmaster. He was chosen to represent
the people of his district in the State Legislature. In
1837 he settled at Springfield and took up the practice of
law. In 1846 he was elected to Congress. During this
year, in company with Stephen A. Douglas, he made a
tour of the State discussing the subject of slavery in the
territory obtained from Mexico.
Lincoln was nominated for President of the United
States at a convention of the Republican party held in
Chicago in 1860. His election precipitated the Civil
ILLINOIS IN THE GREAT WAR.
The State of Illinois furnished 260,000 men for the
great Civil War. Only New York, Pennsylvania and
Ohio furnished a larger number. Only Kansas furnished
a larger number in proportion to her population.
General U. S. Grant was a citizen of Galena when he
first entered the army as a volunteer.
Other illustrious generals from Illinois were President
C. E. Hovey, of the State Normal School ; John A.. Lo-
gan, John A. McClernand, Richard Oglesby, John M.
Palmer, John A. Rawlins, John Pope, and many others.
Illinois troops were engaged in battles in all parts of
the great battlefield, and everywhere distinguished them-
selves for their bravery and excellent discipline.
The Stay-at-Homes. Among those who did not enter
the army were many who sympathized with the South.
Plans were formed by these persons to liberate the Con-
federate prisoners held at Rock Island and Chicago, and
even to burn the city of Chicago. But a society known
as the "Union League of America" was formed in Taze-
256 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
well county in 1862, which did much to check the plans
of the "copperheads," as the Southern sympathizers were
called. The great majority of those who stayed at home
were as loyal as the soldiers themselves, and did much to
aid the Union cause.
After the rebuilding of Fort Dearborn in 1816, John
Kinzie, with his family, returned to his former home,
but for eleven years only six or eight other families took
up their residence there. In 1829 the Illinois and Michi-
gan Canal was surveyed and commissioners arrived to
lay out a town. The official plat embraced the territory
now lying between Madison, State, Kinzie and Halsted
The two branches of the Chicago River naturally di-
vided the town site into three parts, north, south and
Cook county was organized in 1830. At first it in-
cluded five other counties besides its present territory.
The first school was opened in 1830, in a log cabin near
what is now the corner of Randolph street and Michigan
In 1833 Chicago had its first post-office and weekly
The Legislature incorporated "the City of Chicago"
in 1837. William B. Ogden was elected first mayor on
the first Tuesday in May, 1837.
The population at that time was 4,179.
The land surface was only a few feet above the level
of the lake, and was often entirely covered with water.
Therefore the city raised the grade of the streets and
the buildings were elevated to conform to the new grade.
The Water Supply. In 1839 a reservoir was erected
at the corner of Michigan avenue and Water street.
Water was pumped into this from the lake and dis-
tributed in pipes throughout the city.
In 1851 a crib, 20x40 feet, was sunk in the lake 600
feet from the shore, and from this the water was con-
ducted to the lake front and collected in a well twenty-
five feet deep. Here a two-hundred horsepower engine
forced the water through the distributing pipes. In
1862 one hundred and five miles of water pipe had been
In 1860 the population numbered over 100,000, and a
better system of drainage was required.
In 1863 a larger crib was constructed three miles from
the shore, and a tunnel built beneath the lake, which cost
the city a million of dollars.
In 1869 the first tunnel under the river was construct-
ed joining Washington street on the south and west
Two years later the LaSalle street tunnel was con-
structed, connecting the north and south sides.
Later the Chicago River was joined to the Illinois and
Michigan Canal by extensive cutting away of rock and
other barriers for miles, and the water of the river be-
gan to flow away from its mouth. This greatly purifies
the water and improves the drainage.
The Great Fire. On the night of October 8, 1871, fire
258 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
broke out in the southwestern part of the city, and in an
incredibly short time was under such headway that no
human agency could stop it. Substantial structures of
iron and stone melted like wax as the mad flames swept
onward through the heart of the city. The river proved
to be no barrier, and the whole business portion and
thousands of residences were consumed.
A hundred thousand people were rendered homeless
and huddled together on the prairie west of the city.
Seventeen thousand five hundred buildings, covering
2,124 acres, and valued at $150,000,000, were swept away
by the flames.
Donations were sent from all civilized portions of the
globe, amounting to $7,000,000. A special session of
the Legislature gave the city $3,000,000, which it had
spent in deepening the canal.
The World's Fair. The World's Fair Columbian Ex-
position was formally opened May I, 1893, at Jackson
Park, which had been specially prepared for it. Con-
gress appropriated $10,000,000 to aid in promoting the
enterprise. It was the greatest achievement of the kind
the world had ever known.
The Drainage Canal. This great work was begun in
1893 and completed in 1900. It had become a necessity
on account of the incomplete drainage of the city. The
canal is 28 miles in length. It is the greatest artificial
waterway ever constructed. The flow is over 300,000
cubic feet a minute.
The canal cost over $56,000,000.
More than 100,000 men were employed in constructing
it; $36,000,000 of the expense was furnished by the city
of Chicago to make it large enough to serve as a ship canal
from the lakes to the rivers and the Gulf, and thus make
Chicago an Atlantic seaport.
Chicago now has a population of 2,185,283, and is the
greatest grain market, the greatest live stock market, and
the greatest railroad center in the world.
OUR STATE INSTITUTIONS.
State Penitentiaries. The first State's Prison in Illi-
nois was erected at Alton in 1827. In 1860 this was aban-
doned for a new and much larger prison at Joliet, capable
of containing 1,000 prisoners. Another has since been con-
structed at Chester.
The Deaf and Dumb. The Asylum for the Education
of the Deaf and Dumb was built at Jacksonville and
opened January 26, 1846. It is now the largest school of
the kind in the world.
Hospitals for the Insane. Illinois has nine hospitals
for the insane. They are located as follows : Elgin,
Kankakee, Jacksonville, Anna, Watertown, Peoria
(South P>artonville), Chicago (Dunning), Chester (for
insane criminals). One of the nine hospitals provided
for by law is not yet fully established.
Institutions for the Blind. In 1849 a State School for
the Blind was opened at Jacksonville, which is now ranked
as one of the best in the world.
Illinois Industrial Home for the Blind promotes the wel-
fare of the blind by teaching them trades and affording
26O THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
them employment that will best tend to make them self-
supporting. It is located at Chicago.
Other Institutions. The School for Feeble Minded Chil-
dren is located at Lincoln.
At Normal the State maintains the Illinois Soldiers'
Orphans' Home, a home for the intellectual, moral and
physical development of children whose fathers served in
the Union army or navy during the Civil War.
The Illinois Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary is located
at Chicago. The State furnishes about two-thirds of its
At Quincy is a home for soldiers and sailors which cost
the state $200,000.
The Soldiers' Widows' Home of Illinois, was established
in 1895 an d is located at Wilmington.
Illinois State Colony for Improvable Epileptics is located
State Training School for Girls was established in 1893,
and is located at Geneva.
St. Charles School for Boys is located at St. Charles and
was established as a home for delinquent boys.
At Pontiac is the Illinois State Reformatory.
All these institutions except the penitentiaries are man-
aged by a Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities.
The constitution of the state provides liberally for the
maintenance of a free public school system, and prohibits
the legislature, counties, cities and towns from making any
appropriation for, or paying any money to aid any denomi-
national college, seminary or literary or scientific institution.
The first public schools supported by the state were
authorized by an act of the legislature passed in 1825. This
act was so unpopular, however, that it was repealed four
No other state except New York expends more money
for educational purposes than Illinois.
The Normal Schools. In 1857 the legislature passed
a law establishing a "State Normal University" to qualify
teachers for the common schools of the state. This was
located near Bloomington, and the city of Normal sprang
up around it.
In 1874 the "Southern Illinois Normal University" was
located at Carbondale.
Other state normal schools have since been established
at Charleston, DeKalb and Macomb.
The State University. The "Illinois Industrial Univer-
sity," now styled the University of Illinois, is located be-
tween Urbana and Champaign.
The Northwestern University is located at Evanston, the
University of Chicago at Chicago, and Lake Forest College
at Lake Forest.
CONSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT.
The present constitution of the State was adopted in
The Senate consists of fifty-one senators, elected for four
The House of Representatives consists of 153 members,
elected for two years.
262 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
The legislative sessions are biennial.
The salary of Senators and Representatives is one thou-
sand dollars per year, ten cents a mile for actual mileage
and fifty dollars per session for postage, stationery, etc.
The Executive Department of the State consists of a
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State,
Auditor, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction
and Attorney General, all elected by the people for a
period of four years, except the Treasurer, whose term
is two years.
The Judicial Department consists of a Supreme Court,
Circuit Courts, County Courts, Justices of the Peace and
The Supreme Court consists of seven judges, elected
by the people of their respective districts for a term of
The Circuit Courts are held in judicial circuits of 100,-
ooo inhabitants, and the circuit judges hold office for
six years. A county with more than 100,000 inhabitants
forms a single judicial circuit.
Every male citizen of the United States above twenty-
one years of age, who has resided in the state one year,
in the county ninety days, and in the election district
thirty days next preceding an election is a legal voter at
All votes are by ballot.
THE NAMES OF OUR COUNTIES.
Of the one hundred and two counties into which the
State of Illinois is divided, six were named in honor of
Presidents of the United States. These are Washing-
ton, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams (named for John
Quincy Adams, not for his father), and Jackson.
Bond County was named for Shadrack Bond, who
later became the first Governor of Illinois ; while Coles,
Edwards and Ford also took their names from chief
executives of the state.
Of those who have figured in the history of Illinois, or
who were, for one reason or another, prominent in the
early days, the following men have given their names to
William M. Alexander, a state senator in the second
and third general assemblies.
Daniel P. Cook, first attorney general of the state and
a representative in Congress from 1819 to 1827.
Stephen A. Douglas, whose name will ever be asso-
ciated with that of Lincoln ; orator, political leader, rep-
resentative in Congress, United States senator, and
Democratic candidate for the presidency.
John Edgar, pioneer merchant, politician and land
Elias Kent Kane, Democratic leader, pro-slavery advo-
cate, member of the first constitutional convention, judge
of the territory, first Secretary of State and second United
John Logan, M. D., father of General John A. Logan.
264 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
William McHenry, who served in both the War of 1812
and the Black Hawk War; member of the first, fourth
fifth and ninth general assemblies.
John McLean, lawyer, territorial judge and first repre-
sentative in Congress in 1818 and senator in 1824.
Pierre Menard, a French Indian trader, a colonel of
militia, and first Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.
Joseph Ogle, politician and lieutenant of militia in the
Benjamin Piatt, attorney general of the territory from
1810 to 1813.
Nathaniel Pope, first territorial Secretary of State and
last territorial delegate in Congress. But for his efforts
the north tier of counties of Illinois would be in Wis-
consin and Chicago a city of that state.
Benjamin Stephenson, adjutant general of the terri-
tory in 1813.
Leonard White, a gallant soldier; major of militia,
member of constitutional convention, state senator in
the second and third general assemblies; killed in the
battle of Tippecanoe.
Samuel Whiteside, colonel of territorial militia, repre-
sentative in the first general assembly and brigadier gen-
eral of militia during the Black Hawk War.
Conrad Will, territorial recorder of Jackson County,
member of the constitutional convention of 1818, and
member of the general assemblies from the first to the
Among the brave soldiers whose names are perpetuated
in those of our counties are : Jacob Brown, major gen-
eral in 1812 ; George Rogers Clark, who as colonel of
Virginia militia established control in the Illinois coun-
try by capturing Kaskaskia and Fort Vincennes; Baron
Jonathan DeKalb, the German nobleman who served the
colonies and was killed at Camden, S. C., in 1780 ; Major
General Nathaniel Greene of revolutionary fame; William
Jasper, the famous sergeant of the revolution who re-
placed the flag shot away at Fort Moultrie and was later
killed at Savannah ; Joseph Hamilton Daviess, the Ken-
tucky lawyer who gave his name to Jo Daviess County,
'United States district attorney and major of militia ;
Richard M. Johnson, colonel of Kentucky militia, veteran
of the War of 1812, representative in congress, United
States senator from Kentucky and Vice President of the
United States from 1837 to 1841; Henry Knox, major
general and Secretary of War under Washington ; Fran-
cis Marion, soldier of the revolution; Hugh- Mercer,
American officer killed at the battle of Princeton ; Richard
Montgomery, revolutionary general, killed before Quebec
in 1775; Daniel Morgan, commander of the "rifle
brigade" during the revolution; William Moultrie, who
built and defended the fort bearing his name; Zebulon
Pike, soldier and explorer; Count Casimir Pulaski, a
Polish exile who espoused the cause of the colonies dur-
ing the revolution and was killed at Savannah in 1779;
Major General Israel Putnam ; Major General Philip
Schuyler, member of the continental congress and United
States senator from New York; Major General John
Stark of revolutionary fame; Major General Arthur St.
Clair, commander in chief of the army after the revolu-
266 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
tion and governor of the territory of the United States
northwest of the Ohio; Joseph Warren, major general,
killed at the battle of Bunker Hill ; Anthony Wayne,
major general during the revolution, commander in chief
of the army after St. Clair.
Three counties bear the name of naval officers Mc-
Donough, named for Commodore Thomas McDonough,
who commanded the fleet on Lake Champlain in a suc-
cessful engagement with the British near Plattsburg in
1814; Lawrence, for Captain James Lawrence, com-
mander of the Chesapeake, who was mortally wounded
in an engagement between that vessel and the British
ship Shannon, in the War of 1812 ; Perry, for Commodore
Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the battle of Lake Erie
The following statesmen and soldiers who were not
citizens of Illinois are represented in the names of coun-
ties: John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, representa-
tive, senator, Secretary of War, Vice President and
"father of nullification"; Charles Carroll of Carrollton,
signer of the Declaration of Independence ; Lewis Cass,
soldier, statesman, minister to France, senator from
Michigan, Secretary of War under Jackson, Secretary
of State under Buchanan, and candidate for the presi-
dency ; Henry Clay ; William H. Crawford, senator from
Georgia, minister to France, Secretary of War and of the
Treasury, and a candidate for the presidency; Benjamin
Franklin; Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury;
Felix Grundy, senator from Tennessee and Attorney
General of the United States; Alexander Hamilton; John
Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence;
Patrick Henry ; Amos Kendall, Postmaster General under
Jackson ; Richard Henry Lee, member of the Continental
Congress and senator from Virginia ; Edward Living-
ston, Mayor of New York, representative in Congress
from that state, afterward representative and senator
from Louisiana, Secretary of State tinder Jackson and
minister to France ; Nathaniel Macon, colonel in the
revolution, representative and senator from North Caro-
lina; John Marshall, chief justice of the Supreme Court;
Edmund Randolph, soldier of the revolution, member of
the Continental Congress, Attorney General and Gov-
ernor of Virginia, Secretary of State of the United States
and Attorney General under Washington ; Isaac Shelby,
Governor of Kentucky ; Lyttleton W. Tazewell, lawyer,
governor, representative and senator from Virginia.
From DeWitt Clinton of New York, mayor, governor,
senator, lawyer, financier and chief promoter of the Erie
Canal, two counties DeWitt and Clinton have taken
Through the influence of immigrants from three
other states, nine of our counties are named after coun-
ties in those states Champaign and Richland from Ohio;
Christian, Hardin, Henderson, Mason, Scott and Wood-
ford from Kentucky, and Williamson from Tennessee.
Iroquois, Kankakee, Macoupin, Peoria, Sangamon, Wa-
bash, and Winnebago counties recall the red men, the
original owners of the land now comprised in the State
Boone County is named for Daniel Boone; Bureau for
268 THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
Pierre Buero, a French trader; Cumberland takes its
name from Cumberland in Maryland ; Du Page from a
small river. Effingham County is named for Lord
Effingham, who resigned his commission in the British
army, refusing to serve in a war against the colonies:
Fulton, for Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat;
Jersey, for the state of New Jersey; Lake, for Lake
Michigan; LaSalle, for the celebrated French explorer;
Massac, from Fort Massac ; Rock Island, from an island
in the Mississippi River; Saline from the salt springs of
the vicinity; Union, for the federal Union, and Vermilion
from the river which flows through the county.
STARVED ROCK STATE PARK.
Starved Rock stands on the south bank of the Illinois
River, opposite the Village of Utica, about nine miles west
from the city of Ottawa, six miles east of LaSalle, and
ninety-four miles from Chicago. The canyons lie to the
east and west of Starved Rock, along the Illinois River.
In 1911 the legislature passed an act (approved June
10, 1911), which provides:
It shall be the duty of the governor to appoint a commis-
sion to be known as the Illinois park commission, to consist
of three members, only two of whom are to be of the same
political party. One is to serve one year, one two years
and the third three years ; after that the term is to be three
years for all. They are to serve without compensation.
The park commission shall have power to take care of and
manage all state parks acquired under this act or acquired
A RAVINE NEAR STARVED ROCK, CALLED FRENCH CANYON.
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
hereafter, to make rules for the same and to have charge of
all the necessary employes. Section 4 of the act provides
that a tract of land in LaSalle County consisting of 1,155.56
acres shall be secured by the commission and be set apart
for a state park, which shall be known as "The Starved
Rock State Park." The land so acquired shall make one
contiguous and compact tract and shall include within its
area Starved Rock proper. The sum of $150,000 is appro-
priated for the acquisition of the property by negotiation
or by condemnation proceedings. No liquor is to be sold
in any state park.
Starved Rock was purchased by the State of Illinois
because it is a great historical site worthy of preservation.
THE MAKING OF ILLINOIS.
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS
1. SHABRACK BOND 1818
Pierre Menard, Lt. Gov.
2. EDWARD COLES 1822
Adolphus Hubbard, Lt Gov.
3. NINIAN EDWARDS 1826
Wm. Kinney, Lt. Gov.
4. JOHN REYNOLDS 1830
Zadoc Casey, Lt. Gov.
5. EWING (L. D.), 15 days. . .1834
6. JOSEPH DUNCAN 1834
A. M. Jenkins, Lt. Gov
7. THOS. CARLIN 1838
8. THOS. FORD 1842
John Moore, Lt Gov
9 A. G FRENCH 1846
Jos. B. Wells, Lt. Gov.
10. A. G. FRENCH 1850
Wm. Murtry, Lt. Gov.
11. JOEL MATTESON 1853
G. Koerner, Lt. Gov.
12. WM. H. BISSELL 1857
John Wood, Lt. Gov. and
served as Governor 1860
13. RICHARD YATES 1861
Thomas Marshall, Lt Gov.
14. RICHARD J OGLESBY. .1865
Wm. Bross, Lt. Gov
15. JOHN M. PALMER 1869
John Dougherty, Lt. Gov.
16. RICHARD J. OGLESBY. .1873
J. L. Beveridge. Lt. Gov.,
and Served asGovernr r . . . 1873
17. SHELBY M. CULLOM.. .. 1877
Andrew Sherman, Lt. Gov.
18. JOHN M. HAMILTON 1883
19 R. J. OGLESBY 1885
20. JOSEPH FIFER 1889
21 JOHN P. ALTGELD 1893
22. JOHN R. TANNER 1897
23. RICHARD YATES, Jr. ...1901
24 CHARLES S. DENEEN.. . 1905
25. CHARLES S. DENEEN.. .1909
26. EDWARD F. DUNNE . . . . 1913
NOTABLE ILLINOIS DATES
1818 First Constitutional Conven-
Counties represented all at that time
organized in the State. Kaskaskia
1 1 Franklin.
Kaskaskia had three Territorial and
one State Legislature.
1820 Capital changed to Vandalia.
1825 La Fayette visits Illinois by in-
vitation of Gov. Coles.
1826 State income $35,400
State expenses 21 304
Cash in Treasury . . .$14,096
1832 Black Hawk War.
1832 Chicago Population 396.
1834 State Bank Capital, $2,000 000.
1838 Illinois and Michigan Canal
1839 Capital changed to Springfield
and the second session of the
llth General Assembly con-
vened there Dec. 9.
1840 Nauvoo and Mormons.
1848 Second Constitutional Conven-
tion at Springfield, June 7,
1847. Constitution adopted,
1850 Abolition Party in Illinois.
1858 Great Political Debate between
Lincoln and Douglas.
1871 Chicago Fire.
1893 World's Fair in Chicago .
1900 Drainage Canal completed,
1910 Chicago Population, 2,185,283.
1910 Illinois Population, 5,638,591.
1912 Republican, Progressive Conven-
Age of Ice, 19.
Age of Mammoth, 19.
Agricultural Worth, 16.
Allouez, Father, 35.
Alton, 16, 130.
Ampudia, General, 182.
Angels of Buena Vista, 182.
Apple River Fort, 30.
Arkansas River, 42.
Armstrong, Fort, 28, 31.
Asylums for Insane, 225, 226.
Atkinson, Gen., 28.
Bacon, S., 226.
Bagley, Rev. David, 119.
Bank, Edwardsville, 142.
Bank, Kaskaskia, 142.
Bank of Illinois, 142.
Barracks, Jefferson, 31.
Barter with Indians, 51.
Beattsoleil Island, 134.
Bisselt, Colonel, 179.
Black-Hawk War, 27, 190.
Blind, Institutions for the, 226.
Block Houses, 129.
Bond, Shadrach, 122, 146, 147.
Booth, J. W., 194.
Boundary, Illinois, 144.
Bownian, Captain, 101.
Buena Vista. 180-184.
Burlington Limestone, 19.
Cahokia, 79, 86, 87, 102, 103,
Cahokias, 24, 92.
Cairo. 173, 174, 176.
Campbell, Lieutenant, 126, 127.
Campbell, Thompson, 162.
Canals, 176, 177, 178.
Capitals, Our State, 157.
Carlin, Gov. Thomas, 167.
Cartier, Jacques, 33.
Catholic Missionaries, 33.
Chartres, Fort, 86, 89, 91, 130,
Chicago, 209 to 223.
Chicago Fire, 214.
Chicago River, 45, 131, 178, 209.
Chickasaw Tribe, 21.
Civil War, 199.
Civil War Period, 197.
Clark, Geo. Rogers, 97-111.
Clark, Gov., 126.
Clark and the Indians, 105.
Clark's Advance, 99.
Coalfields, 18, 19.
Coles, Gov. Ed., 152.
Colleges, Denominational, 231.
Constitution, 1870, 147.
Constitution and Government,
Convention, Const., 145, 146.
Council of Revision, 145.
Council of Utica, 46.
Counties, Names of Our, 263.
Course of Mississippi, 43.
Creek Indians, 21.
Crve Coeur, Fort, 58.
Davis, Col. Jefferson, 182.
Dates, Notable Illinois, 272.
Deaf and Dumb, 225.
Dearborn, Fort, 29, 131, 132,
Dement, Col., 30.
Denominational Colleges, 231.
Des Moines River, 31, 41.
Detroit Straits, 52.
Distribution of Indians, 23, 24,
Dix, D., 225.
Dixon, Mrs., 29.
Donelson, Fort, 201.
Douay, Father, 76.
Douglas, Judge, 167.
Douglas, Stephen A., 156, 193.
Drainage Canal, 220.
Due de Chartres, 86.
Duncan, Governor, 171.
Fads, Bridge, 16.
Early Fauna, 18.
Farly Forests, 18.
Early Vegetation, 18.
Edgar, John, 93, 116.
Education in Illinois, 229.
Educational Institutions, 229-
Edwards, Governor, 130.
Edwards, Ninian, 141, 162.
Election, State Officers, 1818,
English Gov't. Policy, 92.
Fayette County, 160.
Fayette, N. Y., 166.
Feasts, Indian, 39, 43, 57.
Fink, Mike, 135.
First Railroad, 171.
First Sight of Miss., 37.
Five Nations, 21.
Flat Boats, 83.
Fort Budding, 74.
Fort Crve Coeur, 58.
Fort Chartres, 86, 89, 91, 130,
Fort Dearborn, 30, 129, 131,
Fort Frontenac, 48, 68.
Fort Frontenac Rebuilt, 49.
Fort Patrick Henry, 111.
Fort Hills, 123.
Fort St. Louis, 26, 74, 75.
Forts, Stockade, 129.
French and British Occupation,
French Trading Co., 86.
Frontenac, 35, 48, 49.
Gaines, General, 28.
Galena, 16, 30.
Gallatin, Albert. 177.
General Assembly, 125.
Ghent, Treaty of, 128.
Gibault, Father, 102.
Grand Tower, 134.
Grant, U. S., 144, 201.
Great Northern Cross, The,
Gre.en Bay, 43, 45.
Griffin, The, 51.
Griffin, Loss of The, 54.
Griffin, Voyage of, 52.
Gulf of Mexico, 19, 43.
Hanks, John, 186.
Hardin, Col. J. J., 179.
Harrison, Gen., 27.
Heald, Capt, 131.
Helm, Capt., 102, 103, 106.
Henry, Gen., 30.
Henry, Patrick, 98.
Higgins, Tom, 123.
Hills, Fort, 123.
Hog and Hominy, 121.
Howard, Gen., 126.
Hugo, Victor, 32.
Hull, Gen., 131.
Illinois After Revolutionary
Illinois, Bank of, 142.
Illinois Central R. R., 172-175.
Illinois Country, 22.
Illinois Indians, 24, 26, 45.
Illinois Pioneers, 117.
Illinois Rangers, 123.
Illinois River, 41, 44.
Illinois River Reached, 55.
Immaculate Conception Mis-
sion, 36, 46.
Independence, Mo., 166.
Indian, The, 21.
Indiana, 112, 141.
Indian Characteristics, 22, 23.
Indian Country, 126.
Indian Feast, 39, 43, 57.
Indian Lands Sold, 92, 93.
Indians, Fear of, 121.
Indian Tribes, 21.
Insane Hospitals, 225, 226.
Institution for Deaf and Dumb,
Institutions for the Blind, 226.
Institutions, State, 224.
Internal Improvements Bill,
Iroquois, 21, 26, 63.
Jacksonville, 161, 225, 226.
Johnny Cake and Johnny
Joliet, 16, 19.
Jolliet and Marquette, 33.
Jones, Rice John, 116.
Jourdan's Fort, 130.
Kaskaskia, 44, 78, 86, 115, 116,
129, 144, 157.
Keokuk Indian Chief, 28, 31.
Keokuk Limestone, 19.
Kirtland, Ohio, 166.
Knights of the Golden Circle,
Lake Michigan, 44.
Lamoni, Iowa, 169.
La Salle, 48.
La Salle, Character of, 62.
La Salle, Death of, 76.
La Salle and Miamis, 69.
La Salle's Enemies, 57.
La Salle's Return, 68.
La Salle Visits France, 50.
Latter Day Saints 1st Church,
166, 168, 169.
Laws, Slavery, 150, 151.
Lemon, James, 122.
Lincoln, 156, 162, 184-195.
Log Rolling, 121.
"Long Knives," 101.
Louis XV, 84.
Love joy, Rev. E. P., 154.
Lye Hominy, 120.
Mackinac Mission, 35, 47.
Mackinaw, Little, 116.
Mammoths, Age of, 19.
Marquette and Jolliet, 33.
Marquette, Death of, 47.
McKee, Col., 183.
Membre, Father, 24.
Membre and Ribourde, 62.
Menard, Pierre, 147, 148.
Meredosia Railroad, 172.
Mexican War, 178-184.
Miamis and La Salle, 69.
Michigan, State, 112.
Miller, Mrs., 186.
Missionaries, Jesuit, 22.
Mission, First, 47.
Mississippi River, 38.
Miss. Valley, a French Colony,
Missouri River, 41.
Monroe, Fortress, 31.
' Moore, James, 117.
Mormon, Book of, 165, 166.
Moulin, John C, 116.
Names of Our Counties, 263.
Nauvoo and the Mormons, 165,
New Design, 119.
New France, 33.
New Orleans, 133.
Niagara Limestone, 16.
Nippissing Lake, 35.
Normal Schools, 234.
Offutt, 186, 188.
Oglesby, Gov., 201.
Ohio River, 41.
O'Leary, Mrs., 215.
Old Kaskaskia, 78.
Ordinance of 1787, 112, 143.
Ottawa, 44, 177.
Ottawa River, 35.
Palo Alto, 179.
Paper Currency, 98.
Patrick Henry, 98.
Peoria Lake, 24, 56.
Penn, Wm., 22.
Piasa Bluffs, 41.
Pierre and Jacques, 45.
Polk, President, 179.
Pope, Nathaniel, 142.
Pope's Bluff, 158.
Pottawattomies, 24, 26, 45.
Prairie du Chien, 30, 116, 126.
Prairie du Rocher, 87.
Proclamation by Clark, 109.
Pursley, Mrs., 125.
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 113.
Rangers, Illinois, 123.
Rector, Capt., 126.
Reform School, State, 228.
Renault, Philip, 86, 149.
Revision, Council, 145.
Reynolds, Gov., 28, 29.
Rigdon, Sidney, 165, 166, 168.
Riggs, Capt., 126, 128.
Riots, Slave, 152.
Rock Island, 28, 126.
Rock of St. Louis, The, 74
Rock River, 28.
Rocky Mountains, 19.
Roger Williams, 22.
Rogers, Capt., 107.
Route to Indies, 48.
Russell, Camp, 130.
Sacs and Foxes, 24, 27.
Saguenay River, 34.
St. Clair County, 116.
St. Clair, Gen., 115.
St. Clair, Wm., 116.
St. Esprit Pt., 35.
St. Ignace, 35.
St. Lawrence, 33.
St. Louis, 91, 128.
St. Peter's Sandstone, 16.
St. Philip, 87.
Salt Springs, 129.
San Domingo, 150.
Sangamon, 170, 185.
Santa Anna, 180.
Scott, Gen., 30.
Sharon, Vt., 165.
Shawnees, 22, 23.
Shebana, Chief, 29.
Short, Capt., 125.
Slavery, 113, 149, 156.
Smith, Capt. John, 22.
Smith, Hyrum, 168.
Smith, Joseph, 165-168.
Soldiers' and Sailors' H., 228.
Songs, War, 206.
Spain, 87, 134.
Spain on the Miss., 134.
Spanish Troops, 87.
Spaulding, Solomon, 165.
Starved Rock, 16, 26, 60, 74.
Starved Rock State Park, 268.
State Capitals, Our, 157.
State House, 163.
State Institutions, 224.
State Period, 139.
State Rights, 193.
State Superintendent, First, 234.
State University, 235.
Statehood and the Constitu-
Stay at Homes, 203.
Taensas, Indian Town, 71, 72.
Taylor, Zachary, 128, 179, 181,
Territorial Period, 95.
Thornton, Canal Boat, 178
Tonti, 50, 60.
Tonti in Trouble, 63.
Tonti Wounded, 66.
Tourney, Capt., 123.
Underground Railroad, 155.
Union League of America, 204.
University, Chicago, 236.
University, State, 235.
Vandalia, 125, 158, 192.
Vincennes, 102, 103, 106, 107,
Virginia, 112, 158.
Wabash, Grand Door of, 103.
Wabash River, 103, 129.
War, 109, 179, 190, 197.
War Songs, 206.
Wendell Phillips, 31.
"What Cheer," 22.
Whiteside, Gen., 29.
Wilbur, Chas. T., 227.
Winnebagos, 24, 28.
Wisconsin River, 37.
Wisconsin State, 112, YA
Women of Illinois, 205.
World's Fair, 218.
Xavier, St., 36.
Young, Brigham, 168.
Zion, City of, 166.
See also Appendix (pages 237 to 272) for summary of the Historji
of the State.
A Chapter of Colonial History
EATON G. OSMAN
The purchase of Starved Rock by the State of Illinois, makes this
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and one of the present environs of the Rock.
The story is the fruit of laborious study and collation of all the
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I HEN Grandma was a little girl
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